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Thursday, October 8, 2009

India flood victims find destruction

An Indian Air Force relief mission drops supplies to survivors in the flooded region.

HYDERABAD, India (CNN) -- A blanket of water hides the devastation underneath it. Miles and miles of villages, small cities, and farmland are spoiled by standing flood water.

Mohammed Farooq Basha says his family had no food or water for two days.

Mohammed Farooq Basha says his family had no food or water for two days.

First the waters raged for days, then they seemed to pull back almost as fast as they came but the damage had been done with such fury that more than 1.5 million were left homeless.

"Everything was drowned," flood victim Mohammed Farooq Basha said. "The water came to the second floor we called for help. No one came."

He lives in Kurnool where more than 200,000 people were trapped when the water suddenly surrounded the town in Andhra Pradesh.

For two days he and his family survived without food or water until the floodwater receded freeing them, he told CNN. "We were hungry, thirsty. The child got a fever."

But they lived. Now he is back sitting in front of his home trying to put his life back in order. It means removing the thick mud that has attached itself to everything in his home.

He is not the only one toughing it out and trying to reverse the effects of the worst flooding here in decades.

"I am completely devastated," 50-year-old Ramaya said.

Like many he lost not only his home but his business. All the dahl -- lentils that are a staple of the Indian diet -- he had prepared to sell were spoiled by the grayish brown flood waters.

He did not mince words when asked about aid to flood victims. "Nobody has come to help. Nobody," he said. "No drinking water, no clothes, nothing for four of five days."

But there are efforts being made. On the ground the government camps are visible in some villages. In the air the Indian Air Force helicopters have been dropping supplies for days, never mind making intensely dangerous rescue missions in the first few days.

Some people were stuck in trees including a family of four, Indian Air Force Helicopter Pilot P.K. Chugh said. "They were stuck on the branches of the trees for two days without food or water ... no sleep. Just imagine yourself sitting on a branch without sleep, food, water."

Aid workers from both local and international non-governmental organizations are also in the area trying to help. But with so many people in need of food, water and shelter the needs are way beyond what is being done.Video Watch as relief efforts continue »

Besides the humanitarian toll there is an economic one too. The floods have damaged hundreds of kilometers of crops in the two southern states.

In India 60 percent of the working population relies directly on the land to make a living and another 10 percent indirectly, economists say. In both Karnatak and Andhra Pradesh vegetable crops have been badly hit and not only by the floods.

India has also suffered droughts in many states this year. The brutal combination has created higher food prices and threatens to impact India's economy as a whole.

But for those caught in the extreme weather the concerns are all about survival.

Back in Kurnool, Padmawati sits rubbing the mud off utensils and worries where she will get her next meal and if there will there be any clean water to wash it down.

"There is nothing to eat, no water to drink, there is no sanitation and no power."


Corruption will sink us all - Malaysiakini

Once upon a time, many Malaysians believed that corruption was a necessary lubricant for development.

Our leaders knew that if we maintained all the regulations that we inherited from the British, growth would be slow.

NONEWe would not be able to increase the material wealth of our people fast enough and this would mean losing votes.

So many closed a blind eye, others just looked the other way. Corruption became part of life.

Today, after more than five decades of independent rule, our problem is not so much that there is too little growth but that we have paid too little attention to our own well-being.


It is therefore heartening to know that there are some young leaders who are slowly but surely focusing on two issues that will be integral to Malaysia's future going forward as one of the most developed nations in Southeast Asia.

These issues are equatability and the environment. In Penang, a lot of effort is now underway to convince developers and house buyers that there need to be more affordable housing. This is not
social housing but properties that many young people can afford.

Of course, this task is very difficult. But hopefully, the current economic meltdown owing to
excessive greed has taught banks and the business community about the real value of business: good relationship with one's customers.

Tanjong Tokong ruffled feathers

This writer's commentary on Tanjong Tokong ruffled many feathers.

Yet, I maintain my stand that there needs to be a balance between development and the protection of our living
environment; whether that includes clean air or cultural identity.

NONEHeritage ultimately means we are fighting to preserve or protect something not for ourselves but for future generations. This also applies to the right to affordable housing.

In a highly urbanised state like Penang, competition for land is very intense.

It might be that in the not too distant future, we may all have to live in high-rise buildings.

Definitely, most below the age of 40 can only afford apartments hence the call for responsible development in the mentioned article.

The other important issue is the environment. With global warming now an undeniable scientific fact, we may have to get ready to alter the way we live.

Storms will get worse and there will be more flooding. Thus responsible development must also include considerations for thebenvironment.

Whether we like it or not, both equatability and environmental issues are going to be the future big issues in the political arena.

Basically, in a global economic environment that is now even more challenging, Malaysia can no longer afford all the terrible waste of resources through corruption.

Old ways coming to an end

And corruption is the cancer that is making the income gap wider and resulting in massive environmental disasters.

It is good that once again Penang is leading the way in our country's fight against corruption.

NONETransparency International singled out Penang for a special mention. Detractors of the Penang state government will say that nothing has changed, that the current chief minister only talks about being transparent but does not walk the talk.

The former chief minister even pointed out the Kg Buah Pala case as an example of Lim Guan Eng's lack of transparency.

The reality that there is so much debate surrounding the various development projects in Penang that there has been frank and open discussions with the respective stakeholders, some of whom
openly attack the state government.

All this is evidence of a more transparent administration.

Of course, more can be done but here is a case of the gods are willing but the priests are not.

Malaysians must remember that the rapid material development that we have experienced in the last three decades have been predicated on a 'hands-off' and non-interference ideology.

Foreign investors prefer a working environment that can give them high returns without minimum fuss.

We gave them extra-territoriality through the free trade zones, a malleable and fairly educated workforce, most of whom are not allowed to be part of any union, so wages could
be kept low.

But now, we cannot compete with production centres in India, China and Vietnam where the costs are very low.

This mantra has been repeated a thousand times and if need be, it must be repeated a thousand times more.

The old ways of doing things are now coming to a close.

Without fear or favour

Malaysia needs to be collectively more efficient to attract FDI and retain whatever we have now.

That means we must have low tolerance of corruption, which is robbing future generations of the opportunities that we've had.

The foreign investor of the future wants to be able to tell their customers that the products they buy are not the results of forests being indiscriminately cut.

In short, as we move up the value chain, we need to add value to the things we produce.

This new type of production requires more professionals and they want to be part of a socially-responsible society.

Penang used to have an old motto, much forgotten and sometimes recalled with shame. 'Penang Leads' must now be the clarion call for Malaysia, to be really a developed country, a high-
income economy and a more equitable society.

Malaysia needs to combat corruption without fear or favour.

Lim Guan Eng to Koh Tsu Koon on debate

Lost my faith at my corruption agency Malaysia

Invasion threat: Security beefed up at border - Malaysiakini

The police have beefed up security at all main entry points from Kalimantan Barat to Sarawak following a threat by an Indonesian extremist group to invade Malaysia today.

NONESarawak police chief Mohmad Salleh said additional general operations force personnel have been deployed, especially in the border towns of Tebedu and Serikin.

Police are also keeping watch over several illegal entry points to prevent any untoward incidents.

"Until now, we have not received any reports of movement concerning members of the group known as Bendera," Mohmad Salleh was quoted as saying in a Bernama report.

NONEThe police chief said his men will also mount roadblocks along the main roads and carry out surveillance in industrial and plantation areas which have large numbers of Indonesian employees.

He added that a police team from the criminal investigation department has surveyed the areas and so far nothing unusual has happened.

He also said that so far there has been no reports of Malaysians going to Kalimantan being threatened or those there being disturbed.

Situation in Pontianak calm

Malaysian Consul in Pontianak M Zairi M Basri said the situation in Pontianak was calm and there were no signs of anti-Malaysia activities.

He said that based on surveillance yesterday at the Pontianak main bus terminal, which provides transportation service from Pontianak to Kuching, nothing unusual happened.

"The situation here is peaceful and there are no unusual activities involving Bendera's campaign although we are given to understand that Benderal has its members here.

NONE"There's no problem here. We will hold a Malaysian Hari Raya open house in Pontianak this weekend and we have invited the governor of West kalimantan because Malaysia-Indonesia relations are very good," he added.

There are about 200 Malaysians in Pontianak comprising workers and businessmen who commute between Pontianak and Malaysia.

Bendera made the threat following its disgruntlement with Malaysia over a number of issues, the latest being the alleged theft of a traditional Balinese dance.

Protests in Indonesia saw angry locals torching Malaysian flags, while hackers defaced Malaysian websites.

The poor treatment of Indonesian workers, especially maids being severely abused at the hands of their Malaysian employers, have also been a sore point.

Already split, now a third faction emerges in MCA

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — MCA’s much talked about “third force” finally unveiled its unexpected face in the form of central delegate Datuk Tan Kah Choun at a press conference today.

Tan claimed that the “third force” not only has the backing of one-third of the party's central delegates but also the blessing of former MCA giants like Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy and Tan Sri Lee San Choon, among a host of others.

The “third force”, he claimed, supported neither MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat nor suspended deputy president Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek's camps but was against both, to ensure the survival of the party.

He, however, refused to reveal who were in the “third force” and expressed confidence that a majority of the party's central delegates would be “intelligent” enough to rally behind him.

The Rasa Jaya MCA branch chairman also said he had been requested to be the one to give today's conference and said that he was willing to take the fall for it, even if it meant being sacked from the party.

Chua confident of a win going into EGM

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Oct 8 — The protracted cold war between the MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and his deputy will come to a conclusion at this Saturday’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM), and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek says he is confident of his chances of becoming MCA’s interim president.

He said this to The Malaysian Insider during an interview in the run up to the EGM.

(An interview request was also made to MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat's special assistant but was declined due to the president's time constraints.)

Dr Chua arrived for the interview yesterday at a hotel coffeehouse in Petaling Jaya, which has become the default venue for his sessions with the media, looking casual and relaxed.

He says he was confident as his supporters collected signatures from more than half of the roughly 2,400 central delegates in order to petition for the EGM.

He added however there was a possibility that shifts in allegiances could have occurred either way since the signatures were collected and says he would not question the eventual outcome even if the delegates reject him and endorse his suspension.

He also talked about why Ong had allegedly failed to move MCA forward, his own plans to unite the party should he be returned as interim party president and how he plans to win back Chinese support to MCA.

TMI: How do you rate your chances at the EGM?

Dr Chua: Well, if it is based on the number of central delegates who signed the petition to request for the EGM, then we already have half the delegates. Of course the long period of campaigning, some may have been converted into not supporting (me). Meanwhile there are also those who didn't sign who are also converted into supporting. I would say that I am still quite confident. Confident because I have confidence in the wisdom of the central delegates of MCA. And most of them are quite matured and they can see that the president never performed. Or did nothing. He came in with a lot of high expectations. But when he came in with such a high expectation, at the end of the day, it was an anti-climax to be fair. Just slogans, catchy Chinese phrases here and there. Good for campaigning but not for running a big party like MCA where we need to deliver results.

TMI: What have delegates been telling you?

Dr Chua: It's not easy to get delegates to sign you know. They have to spend all their money to come here. More so, they are all businessmen, small traders, workers and to take a Saturday off is a big sacrifice and I must thank them. They do it because they know the party cannot continue at this stage for another two years. Another two years could be general election. There is no performance. They party is badly divided now. There is a president who doesn't listen to the grassroots. He makes appointments as he himself admitted to pay political debts. People who supported him last time should be appointed. He said that according to one of the sources of a newspaper. So you find very junior people appointed to the central committee presidential council which is unprecedented in the history of MCA.

TMI: But from his point of view, he might say that he wants to give the party a fresh start?

Dr Chua: Oh yes, you can. You can always have a process of renewal. A process of renewal doesn't mean that you neglect the middle and those above 50 years old. Whether you like or not, you still need a mixture of the young, the middle aged and the older ones.

TMI: So he had been neglecting those above 50?

Dr Chua: I would say he totally neglected them. I wouldn't even say 50, even those above the age of 45 also, all gone. But you need people with experience because we are a ruling party. We must have a combination of a mixture of the young, the middle aged and the veterans.

TMI: As for appointing those who supported him in the past, isn't that a common practice in political parties?

Dr Chua: Oh yes, but (you should appoint) people who have contributed to the party. People who are known in the party. So now you have people who are appointed as senator who nobody knows. A political unknown. except to a very small group of people. We have presidential council people who are just first term as a divisional leaders. The presidential council discusses government policies and Cabinet policies. We cannot have people who have no idea at all. You want to have fresh faces, there are a lot of talented people who may not be very active, I would prefer them. But at least they have ideas. We don't want yesmen. We want talented people, people who can contribute to the party and nation building and not yesmen. That's why I described some of his appointed people are mother of all yesmen.

TMI: Can you give any specific examples of how he has not been able to move the party forward and the people he appointed not been able to discuss government policies?

Dr Chua: How can you move the party forward when you only have had six presidential council meetings when it should be a weekly affair? You don't meet, how you going to move? It is just a major setback. That means you are making decisions on your own. There is no collective responsibility. There is no team spirit. There is no consensus politics. It cannot be a one-man show. It is a one-million-member party. The strength of MCA is the amount of grassroots leaders you have, at the division, state and federal level. You must know how to utilise the party resources and machinery to serve not your own self, but the rakyat.

TMI: You've come up with a manifesto for the party, but Ong has said he sees your manifesto as an attempt to remove him. Would you like to respond to that?

Dr Chua: Very simple. The vote of no confidence is a referendum on his performance. It is a most basic democratic process. We want central delegates to assess him. Nobody forced any central delegate to vote you know. So in the event that this (a motion of no confidence in Ong) is passed, we must have a plan on how to move the party. The grab for power is for those who pass (a motion of no confidence in the president) and have nothing for the party. This is not a grab for power, this is a normal democratic process, if it goes through, we must have a contingency plan on how to unite the party, how to consolidate the party and how to move forward. We cannot say, have a vote of no confidence, and he leaves and then we say “My God, we don't know what to do!” And I can tell you the response that we get from delegates who are neutral has been fantastic. Because they are sick of hearing both sides — my side and the other side — everyday condemning each other. Nobody comes up with any plan on how to move the party forward. And I say in the manifesto very clearly. If he moves off because of a vote of no confidence, then the circumstances are created such that if I am re-instated as the deputy president, then I have to assume that post. I have already said in the Chinese press very clearly that I am only an interim president. I have no intention of holding it longer than necessary. I have only 1½ to two years. And my biggest challenge is how to consolidate the party, unite the party and reduce the internal conflict we have now which is basically created by him. His appointment generated a lot of unhappiness. If you have done well as president, then you should not be worried about a vote of no confidence. You should be happy. In the last party election, he secured 60 per cent support. If he had done well, he could get 70 per cent support in this vote of no confidence. This is a most democratic process. It is not a coup d'etat by the army. It is a very democratic process that if you have done well, you submit yourself to your members’ evaluation. It is just like (Umno president) Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Umno AGM is coming soon. Najib cannot say people cannot evaluate me. In his case, I am sure he will pass with flying colours. I am not praising him, but the fact is, he has done well in his one year, nobody can deny that.

TMI: So you say you have only 1½ years if you become interim president?

Dr Chua: Yes. I want to consolidate and unite the party. If we have no unity in the party, we can never face a general election. There will be no witch hunt. People who are elected by the central delegates should be respected. The current president's biggest problem is that he doesn't respect people who are elected by central delegates. He selectively chooses to respect some only. I will listen to the grassroots. Whatever you do must reflect the wishes of the grassroots, especially in the appointment of central committee, presidential council and state liaison committee members. There should be consensus politics and not a one-man show. There should be team spirit then only you can get your members to be committed. Then only you can lift up their morale. The morale today is very low because of the internal fighting. I have no interest in fighting. All I want is just to do my work. One week after the party election, he started the personal attacks against me in the Chinese press and that has been continuing non-stop until the call for this EGM. If Ong had done well, the way Najb had done, at least this one year since taking over, then nobody would have been able to garner or even dream of passing a vote of no confidence against him. This EGM is meaningful and significant because it sends a message to any future president that they must do well otherwise they will be subjected to an EGM and a vote of no confidence.

TMI: You've said before you are not interested in any minister position, that still stands today?

Dr Chua: I will say it again. He (Ong) says I am fighting for a minister’s post; I never ask for minister’s post. He just wants to smear my name that I am power crazy that I am crazy for a minister's post and that a tainted leader cannot assume the presidency. I am sure you're going to ask (about the sex CD). The (sex) CD is a black spot on my political career as a public figure. I have apologised, admitted my mistake and asked all the MCA members and the public to give me a second chance. And today, I must thank the prime minister for giving me a second chance. He appointed me as the BN coordinator in charge of opposition party states. And I must thank the opposition leaders, none of them have ever come and attacked me using the tape. Today, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad is nominated a candidate (for the Bagan Pinang by-election). Isa also has a small black spot in his career. And PM has said it very clearly, a person who has made a mistake should be given a chance. Even a convict who goes to jail. I want to emphasise I am not trying to justify my actions. I am just appealing for a second chance, that is all. Ong keeps on pinning me on this point (the sex CD). Is Ong Tee Keat a Mr Clean? That has not been proven yet. As I've said, he is the first president of MCA investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). The truth or otherwise, we don't know.

TMI: But The Star had reported that MACC has found no evidence against Ong so far (over allegations that received an RM10 million donation from Kuala Dimensi CEO Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing).

Dr Chua: The editorial board at The Star has been politicised.

TMI: If you read comments on the Internet, there are a lot of members of the public who say you are capable but that the black mark makes any leadership position untenable for you.

Dr Chua: If you want to compare like that, then (former US President) Bill Clinton should retire. I am nobody compared to Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton lied, he was impeached. Today he follows Hillary Clinton everywhere and people still have to receive him. People evaluate you on your capabilities and leadership. I have been left without of a post for 20 months. If I don't have support, do you think I can get people to call for an EGM? No way. This shows that people accept your weaknesses and your failure. In life, everybody makes mistakes, let's be honest about it. Nobody is perfect. Are you saying that Najib is not sensitive about morality issues when he appointed me as BN coordinator? I have been asked to assist in the Bagan Pinang campaign. I have to go with Isa.

TMI: What I am saying is that there are sections of the public who see this kind of issue as something they cannot accept, even in Isa's case.

Dr Chua: Of course. On morality issues, you can never get 100 per cent. So the most democratic process is to subject yourself to voting. So Isa is also to be evaluated. And he was chosen because he is immensely popular. And people know he can deliver.

TMI: Moving on to the EGM, there are many permutations in terms of which of the five proposed resolutions will be adopted by the general assembly.

Dr Chua: Whatever permutation comes through, I will accept the decision of the central delegates. I will not challenge that and I will not even question it. If they think I am not fit to an MCA member, well I accept it. If they think I can be a member but not a deputy president, okay I accept it.

TMI: What if it turns out he remains as president and you remain as deputy president? It is back to square one?

Dr Chua: Then it is a strong signal to the president — how many per cent of the people pass the vote of no confidence. I say in a democratic country, if a majority pass a vote of no confidence against you, then you know what to do. Last time, he got about 59 per cent support. So this time, if he has 50 per cent support, what does that tell you? Despite sacking and suspending me, the members still want me back. Respect the decision of the central delegates and their choice.

TMI: Ong says he will resign even if the vote of no confidence fails but more than one-third of delegates vote for it. Do you agree with his stand?

Dr Chua: I leave it to his wisdom. The most basic principle of democracy is that the leadership must enjoy the confidence and support of the majority.

TMI: Do you agree that the presidential council should resign if the delegates overturn the decision to sack you?

Dr Chua: Elected members should not resign because they are accountable to the central delegates. They are elected for three years and they must serve their three years. You can see the mindset of a person. I am very democratic. You know that when the EGM is called, the central delegates have to make a decision by voting. Either to agree with the decision or disagree. Before the voting, you already tell them, you disagree I resign. In other words, you must agree, indirectly sending a strong message. Is that democracy? It is just like a general election, you tell voters, you don't vote us, there will be racial riots. Will it go down well or not? It may serve well 30 years ago but no more. If you say that you are finished.

TMI: Some have criticised you and your supporters saying that you should have appealed and waited for the central committee to make a decision instead of calling for an EGM so soon. Do you agree with this?

Dr Chua: I don't agree. You see, only if they can get two-thirds of the central committee can they sack me. But they already sack me and already tell the whole world. They should send me the findings of the disciplinary board before I appeared before the presidential council. I received the findings at 5.30pm on Aug 26. Then I was informed that the (presidential council) meeting will take place at 7pm. I have 1½ hours to read it including travelling time. From my house in Sierramas to MCA headquarters takes 45 minutes. During that time, I read the report. Assuming I have no driver, I have no time to read the report. What type of message does that send? I have been long in politics, I have been a central committee member for 19 years. From that type of action, you know they are out to finish you off. Why can't they send it earlier to me? I never even made an issue out of it. To sack a deputy president is a big thing. They should send the report much earlier. At least a week earlier. Let you read and prepare your grounds for appeal. My disciplinary hearing is unique — there is no complainant. You go to court, there is no complainant, the court would dismiss the case. My complainant withdrew the complaint because he says he is unhappy with the way the case is handled. He made the complaint in March last year. The hearing is August this year — 15 months later. He says I have been elected, it is not proper to have a hearing anymore. If you think the tape is a stain mark, you should have prevented me from standing for any election. There is code of ethics for candidates you know or not? If you are bankrupt, you cannot stand for election, they will stop you. If you really think morality is an issue after I am elected, sack me straight away. Why wait another year?

TMI: You said you want to unite the party but Ong obviously has his supporters. How do you plan to heal the split in the party?

Dr Chua: Elected members should be respected. Presidential council members are appointed. As long as you make appointments based on leadership ability and track record, whoever you appoint will go down well. When I was state chairman in Johor, after the Team A-Team B crisis, I made sure people from Team B who had a good image and young should be candidates. People like (deputy education minister) Wee Ka Siong. You want to consolidate and unite the party, you must be big hearted and open minded. You must practise what I always say — keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That would be my principle. I was a divisional chairman for 24 years. Nobody challenged me. Not because I am great but because I know how to accommodate everybody. When I stepped down, they left the place vacant last year. I was the longest serving divisional chairman because I can accommodate everybody. Politics is politics, there will always be people against you. But as long as the majority supports you, and as long as you think you are doing right, then you don't have to worry.

TMI: Looking ahead, if it turns out you can return to the party, what role do you see for yourself?

Dr Chua: I see myself as interim president until the next party election. If the house is not put in order, whatever plan you have will not come to fruition. Right now Ong cannot move the party as it is split all the way down. And you don't blame anybody. You blame yourself. If Najib cannot move the country forward, if Najib cannot get the support of the people, he cannot blame his deputy, his secretary-general or anybody. If there are racial riots in Malaysia, he has to blame himself. That is called leadership.

TMI: What about winning back the support of voters to MCA?

Dr Chua: That is a tough job. That will tie up with government policy and how we project ourselves. This is an EGM where MCA is not a winner. And nobody is a winner. Because the Chinese community is just fed up with us, of the internal fight. When you assume the role of a president, your first role is to ensure your party is united. Then only people have trust and hope in you and believe what you say. If you can achieve that, you achieve 30 per cent. Plus what Najib is doing. Doing the right thing, saying the right thing and getting it implemented. Policies which are fair to all races, policies which are accountable and democratic. That will help MCA as a component party. And service at the local community level. You don't serve the rakyat well, you are finished. The party resources should be channelled to empower the local leaders. Then we have to network with NGOs and component parties. We must establish a cordial working relationship with component parties. When I say cordial relationship with component parties, it does not mean we kow tow to Umno. That is wrong. But we also cannot be confrontational with Umno. Umno is not MCA's enemy. They are our partners. It is a question of how you work with this partner to strengthen yourself and benefit the community. And Umno knows that. If MCA is weak, BN will be affected, the Chinese support will be affected.

TMI: Well, in past, Chinese support for MCA was affected because it was seen to accede to Umno. Do you foresee a new type of working relationship with Umno?

Dr Chua: I have been working at the state level for years. I have to have a good working relationship with the mentri besar and government servants. When I was a minister I had a good relationship with everybody in my ministry. I have a good relationship with the deputy prime minister who is now the prime minister. Having a good relationship doesn't mean you kow tow to them. That is wrong. Relationship is important because we are all human beings. It represents the first step towards you getting them on board or on your side to agree to solving some Chinese problem. More so when you need to bring them to the Cabinet. I give an example, you want the government to give more allocations to Chinese schools in a more structured manner, rather than on an ad-hoc basis, first I have to convince the minister of education. Then I must convince the prime minister that it is good for MCA and it is good for BN. So before I can convince them, I must have good relationship. If I don't have good relationship, to get an appointment also I may not be able to get. I don't want to say who lah. Then only you can convince them to come on board what you are trying to do.

TMI: What is your message to readers of The Malaysian Insider?

Dr Chua: This fight is not about supporting Chua Soi Lek or topple Ong Tee Keat as he would like to make it out to be. I anticipate that there will be a very aggressive stance taken against me. But I leave it to the wisdom of the delegates. I already said don't be personal. If politics is based on personal attacks, it will create animosity. You should fight on your platform and policies and your plan to revive MCA. You have been given one year. I supported him and everybody supported him. And you have failed us. You not only failed us, you caused disunity within the party. You have caused a crisis that needs an EGM to resolve. In the history of MCA, this is the second leadership crisis that needs an EGM to resolve. So it tells a lot. It sends a strong message that MCA is still a very democratic party. We hope that the delegates will vote wisely. That the vote of no confidence against Ong Tee Keat is to ensure that the party regains its influence and its role. And this is important to make MCA relevant. Otherwise, we will be doomed.

Makkal Sakti - Alternative Or Just To Pressure MIC

By Geetha Ganesan

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- News on the launch of new political party Makkal Sakti this Saturday has raised questions among the Indian community which feels that there is a hidden agenda.

The public reaction is: Will Makkal Sakti become an alternative party or just to pressure change in MIC which had been representing the Indian community for 63 years.


Dr S Sivamurugan, political analyst at the Social Science Faculty, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) felt that Makkal Sakti should not be seen as an alternative party to MIC.

"There is no chance for another party to replace MIC. Makkal Sakti can be an alternate party to address public problems which had been overlooked by MIC," he said.

Makkal Sakti could function as a platform to get component Indian parties like the Indian Progressive Front (IPF) and People's Progressive Party (PPP) which refused to cooperate with MIC, but still support Barisan Nasional (BN) to contribute to the community.

"Indian political parties can cooperate to help the 30 percent Indians living under the poverty line. They can help the young generation get job opportunities, educational and welfare aid," he said.

A random survey by Bernama in Jalan Brickfields and Lebuh Ampang, two popular shopping areas for Indians brought similar reaction.

"The MIC had been championing the rights of Indians for a long time but is now disliked as several leaders refused to allow change in the party.

"The anger of the Indian community is at the leadership, not the party," former teacher S.Thiagarajah, 40, said.

M.Alice, 58, hoped that the presence of a new party would make the MIC leaders and members who had been complacent in discharging their responsibility to sit up.

"They have been awakened from their sleep and now realise the importance of support from the Indians. If not, they will forget their responsibility as it is the people who put them there," she said.

Nanthini, 33, an officer with the private sector said the new party would give MIC competiiton and this was good for the party.

"MIC is the main party representing the Indian community, it should be there forever, but for a change, we also need another party (as an alternative) so that MIC will always update itself and do its best for the community," she said.

"The MIC might have done something to Indians once upon a time, maybe... but (I feel) that there is no unity in the party. This is humiliating for the Indian community.

"So if a new party can bring back all the Indians together, why not?" asked S.Tamilmagan, 28, a private sector employee.

Private college student P.Ganesh, 23, said the emergence of Makkal Sakti would make MIC leaders realise that change was needed in the party.

Bread and butter in Bagan Pinang

By Shanon Shah
thenutgraph.com

Bread and butter
Bread and butter issues (© Bruno Neves / sxc.hu)

"IN Malaysia, we must vote for Barisan Nasional (BN); we have been voting for them for a long time," says T Muniandy. "We help them by voting for them, and then they help us." It is 6 Oct 2009, the fourth day of the Bagan Pinang by-election campaign. It is a sunny and sticky late afternoon here in Taman Sungai Ujong at the Sua Betong estate. Residents say there are 20 families living in this residential area — 14 Indian, four Malay and two Chinese Malaysians.

Muniandy close-up pic
Muniandy

Muniandy is an unemployed former oil palm estate worker in his late 40s. "PAS came and said vote for them, I said okay, okay. But we must still vote for BN," he says.

Muniandy is not alone in feeling this way. T Poovammah, 48, tells reporters that she is definitely voting for the BN, too. This is despite revealing that she and her husband only make a combined monthly salary of RM600, and that's during a good month. During the rainy season, they make maybe RM300 to RM400. Why, if their wages are so meagre, would they still want to vote for the BN?

"I'm concerned about my children's studies. The government gives them study loans, you know," she says. When asked if she thinks the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), specifically PAS in this constituency, could improve her lot, she is dismissive. "PAS saya tadak letak," she says, and that is that.

This is a recurring motif in Taman Sungai Ujong. The Indian Malaysian residents who speak are unhappy about their low wages and lack of access to amenities and infrastructures. And yet, many are not about to support the PR. It is not that they despise PAS or its PR partners, but they believe their only political option is the BN. And this sentiment is interesting, given the fact that Indian Malaysians form 20.74% of the electorate here, and could be the deciding factor in who wins the contest.

BN good, MIC bad?

P Youtheyaaroy, a 42 year-old driver, puts this sentiment into perspective. "I think the BN is good, but MIC is a different story," he says. His father was an MIC member, but Youtheyaaroy himself is now a member of the Indian Progressive Front.

portrait
Youtheyaaroy

Youtheyaaroy obviously has an axe to grind about MIC's campaigning style, which according to him smacks of self-importance and snobbery.

"MIC came here and sat under a tent. Have some respect. My house has eight votes. Do you want to look for me or do you want me to look for you?" he says. By contrast, he says the PR and the BN component parties actually went door to door to canvass for votes. So what does he think the MIC needs to do to win back support? "It has to change its entire leadership. Get rid of all the old leaders, and bring in new faces," he says.

Reporters point out to Youtheyaaroy that MIC is part of the BN. He reiterates his stand — the BN is okay, but MIC is a problem. Political analyst Prof Dr James Chin, from Monash University, Sunway Campus, suspects that this ability to separate sentiments towards the BN and the MIC could be due to a third factor.

"It could be that (Prime Minister and BN chairperson) Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been able to appeal directly to the Indian (Malaysian) community, bypassing the MIC," he suggests.

Voting with stomachs

But what about national issues, such as the mysterious death of political secretary Teoh Beng Hock, and the death of suspected car thief A Kugan in police custody? None of the residents seem to be overly concerned. Teoh's death seems irrelevant, and even Kugan's death is framed from the perspective of crime and security. Even the headline-grabbing cow-head protest in Selangor does not seem to raise passions here.

Chin says it therefore looks as though working class Indian Malaysians will be voting with their stomachs, not based on ideology.

"Working class voters worry more about bread and butter issues. Something like corruption is more of a middle-class concern, because this is a class that already has its basic needs taken care of," says Chin.

Poovammah
Poovammah

Chin is right. Youtheyaaroy, Muniandy and Poovammah all seem oblivious to allegations of corruption against BN candidate Tan Sri Isa Samad. In fact, Youtheyaaroy even says that corruption is bound to happen among high-level political circles. However, he says he has no hard feelings against former Menteri Besar Isa.

Instead, he brings the discussion back to issues of making a living and caring for his family. "Our wages are low, we need more school buses to send our children to school safely, and we need to be protected from crime," he says.

How interesting — a by-election so closely watched by the rest of the nation is being fought on such local issues, at least for the Indian Malaysian community. Does this then give the BN an edge, since it is fielding a former menteri besar as its candidate? There are still three days left in the campaign — it is still anybody's game.

Politics invades Transparency International?

My SinChew

Transparency International (TI) is the only international non-governmental organisation specialised in curbing corruption, but the TI-Malaysia is currently having a dispute. As a monitoring organisation, it is unable to set a good example but has caused unnecessary quarrels. How is it going to fight corruption and play its role well?

TI was established in 1993 and it has set up branches in 120 countries. Its objective is to bring incorruptible people from different governments, businesses and societies together through its branches in order to create change towards “a world free of corruption”.

Malaysia is facing a serious corruption and the efficiency of law enforcement units is not satisfactory. The country is in need of an non-governmental organisation to call on people with conscience to fight corruption together with the domestic social forces. The split of the organisation has dealt a blow to the followers' morale and reflected that even such a noble organisation is unable to escape from personnel issues.

It is ironic that in the earlier released Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2009, TI revealed the complex relationships among political party members, officials and entrepreneurs in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal. It also described the common thread running through politics, the civil service and private sector as a “revolving door”. And now, we can see that the leadership of TI-Malaysia is in fact “complicated”, too.

Datuk Paul Low, who has resigned as President of TI-Malaysia, is a former MCA life member. He resigned from MCA on 19 June this year after he was questioned by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang. Low had joined MCA in 1991, which means that, he had a political background when he was the President of TI-Malaysia. The leader of an anti-corruption organisation must transcend politics so he will have no scruples in performing his duty. TI-Malaysia has failed to ensure that MCA leaders are not involving in corruption, especially when MCA leaders are also cabinet ministers.

Just like an unwritten code of Sin Chew Daily, journalists are not allowed to join any political party, so as not to affect fairness and neutrality of news reporting. How is a journalist with a political stand going to play the “Fourth Estate” role? Similar to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officials and the police, they should transcend politics in order to professionally perform their duties.

When Low was appointed as a PKFZ task force member by the Transport Minister on 10 June and the Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Administration and Corporate Governance, he was still a MCA member. It might not necessarily affect his profession, but it would trigger a discussion.

On the other hand, TI-Malaysia founder Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim has joined DAP on 23 Aug last year and sworn in as a DAP senator in July this year. Based on the same principle, he should have resigned earlier.

Politics has invaded many areas and organisations, causing many unnecessary disputes and troubles. Hopefully, TI-Malaysia may draw a line between the organisation and politics as soon as possible to defend its credibility and professionally, return to its anti-corruption duty. (By LIM SUE GOAN/Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/Sin Chew Daily)

PAS, DAP To Hold Consultations To Solve Political Grievances

SHAH ALAM, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- Selangor PAS and DAP have agreed to hold more consultations to resolve their political grievances in the true spirit of consensual politics.

State PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Mohamed Ali said both parties believed that protesting openly against any decision made by the state government would only dent Pakatan's image as a whole.

"We will use proper channels to get feedback from all parties concerned, namely PAS, DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, on certain issues and policies, and not resort to making open criticisms," he told a packed press conference after attending a round-table meeting with top Selangor PAS and DAP leaders at a hotel near here Wednesday.

The meeting is seen as the latest move to undo the 'bad blood' between PAS and DAP leaders in Selangor, where both parties had lashed out against each other over various issues.

Dr Hasan said that issues and grouses pertaining to the sale of alcoholic drinks in Selangor, and the Select Committee for Competency, Accountablity and Transparency had been amicably settled in a few closed-door meetings he had attended.

PAS Ready To Study Pakatan Rakyat Being Registered: Nik Aziz

KOTA BAHARU, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- PAS spiritual leader, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, said his party is willing to study a suggestion that the opposition parties register Pakatan Rakyat as a legal entity like the Barisan Nasional to enable them to campaign as a coalition.

"That's a technical problem and can be done if the situation and laws require us to do so," he told reporters at his office in Kota Darulnaim here today when asked to comment on a suggestion by Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof that would enable them to campaign as a coalition.

Nik Aziz said Pas had experience in other coalitions earlier and the matter of some parties in the Pakatan Rakyat said to be in disagreement with each other can be discussed further.

"So the question of Pas not cooperating with DAP because of differing party policies does not arise. Now too we are campaigning together, we can do that, it's up to the central leadership," he said.

Please read

Jegan,
OK, Say you are right. the police can shoot and kill anyone and then call them criminals to justify their shooting. This is inspite of the fact that the police are indeed a law unto themselves, as a result of which they render our country lawless. Never mind, I give you all that.
Now consider this - The Indian boys who were shot in Kulim the other day, were from the age group of 20-29. Once the Human Resource Minister Dr.Subramaniam said 200,000 Indian youths are involved in crime. The number of Indian youth in the age group 15 -29 years is 35% of the total Indian population (of 1,800,000) or about 630,000. Let us assume a male female ratio is 50/50. That will make it 315,000 male Indian youths in this category. Let us also make an assumption that most of those involved in criminal activities are males - say 90%.
There are therefore 180,000 Indian male youths out of 315,000 who are involved in crime. That is about 60% of the Indian male youth in the population. That is for now 2009, what about the children they are going to have and their grandchildren. What is going to be the net the impact on the Indian community as a whole in the next 50 years. Not a bright future for the coming generations of Indians in the country, is it?
These young chaps were born between 1980-1989 not very long ago. They were born into circumstances that led them to crime. Just what are these circumstances that lead to crime, why do we have these circumstances,. why do these circumstances persist and who is doing something to turn this situation around - who? UMNO, MIC, PKR,DAP,PAS ?
Don't you think that any Party that wants to provide leadership for the Indian community must deal with this extremely serious problem, head-on. This is directly a result of the governing policies of the last 50+years. These policies must change, we do not want a repeat. Shooting our way out is not an answer at all. If that is the answer , it means potentially shooting 60% of our Indian youths to rid ourselves of the problem of crime. But then again, will the problem go away. The processes in society that breed crime remain, so more will be produced to replace those that have been shot and killed. On top of all that , there is a concerted effort to keep Indians ignorant and confused about the root causes of this misery. The killing will continue, until we all understand the real causes and begin to hold the people who govern this country accountable for these problems.
HRP is the first Indian based Political party, a wing of Hindraf, that has dared to stand up and ask for this accountability in very clear and no nonsense terms.. Let us understand that this is what they are trying to do. And they are just beginning. Let us all support their efforts. They are our hope for a better future in this country.There is no other way. There just is no other way for all of us Indians in this country. Unless some among us are willing to sacrifice. Hindraf/HRP leaders have shown they will sacrifice for the rest of us. Let us all now strongly support them.
“ It is by the struggles of the weak, made under compulsion, to resist the reign of force and wrong that we secure, extend and preserve justice"
United we stand
United we act
On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 10:54 PM, human rights party malaysia <hrp.malaysia@gmail.com> wrote:

Hye jegan. It's me again. I think u don’t get the info CORRECTLY. Sorry. i not meant to be sarcastic .Hope you can answer me.

1st

Who said we HRP & HINDRAF are supporting CRIMINALS??

How you classifying him (KUGAN) as a criminal. Does he been commit guilty in any court? Do he was charged??

So,

By your theory police should shot dead anyone without mercy and classified them as criminal and you will say its right act?

How the very same police are shot your bro/sis and define them linked with criminals OR TERROSIST. Fine!! Even they are innocent but for me they are criminal (based on your theory. POLICE ALWAYS RIGHT!!) .will you accept it?

Come on jegan. Stop posting mamak shop comment (“talk politics before the the teh tarik finish”) if you have the fact then post it and we willing to accept the public comment openly. I’m not defensive. But from what you’re saying (very long) below. I think you should do some homework/analysis on HINDRAF and HRP's.

Don’t confuse by confusing...

Please feel free to visit www.makkal.org, www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Thanks again for posting your comment.

Regards

Man shot dead, police suspect gangland rivalry

PORT DICKSON, Oct 7 – In what the police suspect to be gangland rivalry, a man was shot dead while having a drink at a grocery shop in Lukut last night.

A gunman fired two shots at K. Shummugan, 41, at close range, killing him on the spot, outside the unnumbered shop in Taman Pantai Emas.

The victim sustained a gunshot wound each in the head and body. A third bullet, believed to have gone wide, was found lodged in a notice board of the shop.

It is not known how the gunman escaped.

At the time of the incident about 9pm, the shop proprietor was at the rear of the premises. He told police that he initially thought firecrackers were being let off when the man was shot.

Negri Sembilan CID chief ACP Zaki Masroh today said initial police investigations had not ruled out underworld links to Shummugan’s killing.

He said the victim was drinking toddy outside the shop when the gunman turned up at the shop.

Zaki ruled out any political motive or link to the Bagan Pinang by-election on Oct 11. – Bernama

Cabar isa hapuskan toll PD

Anti-Samy protestors: We'll be back

The Carpetman who is Rosmah’s Bagman and much more

Image

I only do business with Rosmah, said the Carpetman. My relationship with Rosmah is only for business purposes. I am not sleeping with Rosmah, he pleaded. So please do not tell the public that I am Rosmah’s Toyboy.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The company is called Carpet Raya Sdn Bhd (company number 492434-H). The paid up capital of the company is RM8.7 million. The company has five directors who are also the shareholders of the company; each holding almost equal shares in the company.

But I am interested in only one of its shareholders/directors who goes by the name of Deepak -- 37 years old, unmarried, and good-looking enough to qualify for a Bollywood movie.

The company was registered ten years ago on 26 August 1999. The last accounts filed with the Registrar of Companies on 24 November 2006 shows that the company has total assets of almost RM90 million, total liabilities of about RM67 million, and reserves of more than RM12 million.

The revenue of the company for 2005 was RM122 million and the profit in excess of RM7 million. Of course, the RM7 million profit is the official or declared profit. No company in Malaysia declares its real profits anyway. So, on a revenue base of RM122 million, you can expect the real or undeclared profit to be many times that.

But that was the accounts for 2005, which was four years ago. How much more has the company made over the last four years, which they prefer to keep hidden from public view? Take my word for it. We are talking about hundreds of millions here.

The company is supposed to be in the business of selling carpets. Is the carpet business really that lucrative that one can earn hundreds of millions? RM122 million a year is sure a lot of carpets. Ah, but that is not really what the company does for a living. The carpet business is just a front. Sure, they do sell carpets. But that is not where the real money is. The real business of the company is to act as the Bagman for Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the Prime Minister.

I met the Carpetman more than a year ago. He asked to meet through a mutual acquaintance because he was alarmed that I was about to reveal that the Carpetman is actually Rosmah’s Bagman. But that was not the thing that got him all flustered. What did was the revelation I was going to make that he is not only the Carpetman who is Rosmah’s Bagman but that he is also her Toyboy.

I only do business with Rosmah, said the Carpetman. My relationship with Rosmah is only for business purposes. I am not sleeping with Rosmah, he pleaded. So please do not tell the public that I am Rosmah’s Toyboy. The impression he wanted to make is that his relationship with Rosmah is confined to the boardroom and does not extend to the bedroom.

Well, that is not what Mumtaz Jaafar says. And who is Mumtaz Jaafar? Hey, if I start talking about her then I would also have to mention her relationship with Saiful, the person who alleges that Anwar Ibrahim sodomised him. And if I start talking about that then we will end up talking about the Sodomy 2 case as well. So let’s get back to the subject of the Carpetman, Rosmah’s Bagman cum Toyboy.

The whole country is very focused on Najib Tun Razak’s extramarital affairs. Sure, every Malaysian knows about this. And every Malaysian also knows about him getting caught in a Port Dickson hotel room with Ziana Zain. In fact, Isa Samad even had photographs of Najib clad only in a towel with the delicious young thing in his bed. And Isa handed the photograph over to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (And that is why Mahathir just does not understand why Najib would choose Isa to contest the Bagan Pinang by-election when it was Isa who tried to bring Najib down with the photograph).

Anyway, let’s not digress too far. As I said, every Malaysian knows about Najib’s extramarital affairs. But how many also know that Rosmah has a penchant for Bollywood types. Hell, she will even arrange datukships for them if they treat her the way she loves to be treated, if you know what I mean. And this particular chap I am talking about, the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy, is far better looking than Shahrukh Khan (or is it Datuk Shahrukh Khan now?) -- not to mention younger as well.

Yes, I have been keeping this story under wraps for more than a year now. But it is now time that the story be told. There is more, though. Deepak the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy has been very naughty. And all these naughty deeds were done on behalf of Rosmah.

In due course more will be revealed about the role of the Carpetman and how he has served Rosmah. Today is not the time to do that though. So stay tuned for further episodes of the Carpetman cum Bagman cum Toyboy of the so-called First Lady of Malaysia.

No ‘succession plan’ yet if Anwar is convicted

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ... who will lead, if Pakatan wins federal power, if he is convicted and jailed? – Picture by Choo Choy May

By Syed Jaymal Zahid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 – Pakatan Rakyat (PR) national leaders admitted today the opposition bloc has yet to discuss a “succession plan” should Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim be convicted of sodomy again.

Anwar had claimed this week in a speech at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies in Washington that the opposition was making plans for the future in case he dies or is convicted.

Should the PR wrest federal power, it is generally agreed between the component parties, with the possible exception of PAS, that the PKR de facto and parliamentary opposition leader will be prime minister.

The lack of ideological commonality, or even communication, between the three component parties makes the succession plan extremely important as Anwar has been the factor which holds the frail coalition together.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told The Malaysian Insider that the pact will discuss this matter at a PR convention scheduled for either late this month or early November.

Salahuddin, who sits on the newly formed PR secretariat representing PAS, said that the convention will also, among others, seek to quickly identify and establish a PR ideology.

So far, nothing concrete have come out of the various meetings that have taken place.

And observers have noted that working out a succession plan would be an uphill task.

One of it is the DAP and PAS factor. Though recently declaring truce over a host of sensitive issues, many remain skeptical that the two can iron out their differences especially on the unresolved issue of the Islamic state.

“There is distrust among the two parties on various issues so one can imagine, in Anwar’s absence, how will DAP and PAS work out on who takes charge next?” said a PR insider who did not want to be named.

Outspoken DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, who has been very critical of PAS in the past, however, is more optimistic.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insider today, the Ipoh Timur MP said the proposals to structure PR should be taken as a sign of the pact’s reduced reliance on Anwar.

“The effort to formalise the coalition shows that. We will meet in Parliament soon to strengthen the coalition,” said Lim.

Will the Indians fall for the same tune played by different pipers?

By Haris Ibrahim,

Was it MIC’s

samy vellu

or Makkal Sakti’s

thanenthiran

who said :

“We believe that by working closely with the present government, it would bring greater benefits to the community…I can see the change (brought by Najib) in the system… a real and meaningful change for the betterment of the Indian community and the people…He is serious, sincere and sensitive to solving issues of the Indian community… he doesn’t sit or sleep on issues but confronts to solve and get the results”.

Don’t know?

This Malaysiakini report will confirm that these are the words of Thanenthiran, the new poli-tikus holding himself out as the new messiah of the Indian community.

You’d be forgiven if you thought these were the words of Aiyo Aiyo Samy.

Have the Indians learnt from years of deception by Samy and MIC, or wil they fall prey to this same old forked-tongue talk, by a new serpent?

Bagan Pinang: MIC Makes Inroads In Estates In Bagan Pinang

PORT DICKSON, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- Over the last 10 days, the MIC's election machinery bulldozed its way into the four estates in the Bagan Pinang constituency and appeared to be holding the "Indian bastion" from slipping into the opposition hands.

MIC president Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu said the MIC wanted to keep its pledge to deliver as many Indian votes as possible to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Oct 11 Bagan Pinang state by-election.

He said that since nomination day last Saturday, almost 1,000 party members, including those from the Youth, Wanita, Puteri and Putera wings had "literally camped" at the predominantly Indian populated estates.

"We have maintained our position in the estates even before nomination day and have assured the Indian voters (in the estates) that the government will continue to bring changes and progress to them," he said after concluding another six straight hours of campaigning in Bagan Pinang Tuesday night.

Bagan Pinang, which is the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency, has 30 per cent non-Malay votes.

Twenty per cent or 2,834 of the voters are Indians and are mostly concentrated in the four estates -- Bradwell, Atherthon, Siliau and Sua Betong -- and 10 per cent or 1,498 are Chinese scattered in the constituency.

The Malays account for 62 per cent or about 8,500 of the voters, including postal voters.

Samy Vellu said his confidence in getting the Indian voters' support for the (BN) candidate would be further strengthened by Human Resources Minister and MIC vice-president Datuk Dr. S.Subramaniam's scheduled announcement tomorrow on his (Dr Subramaniam's) meeting with officials of Sime Darby which own the four estates.

Dr Subramaniam had said that he would announce details of his discussions with the plantation giant last Monday on the solutions to many of the estate workers' woes.

Samy Vellu who is leading the MIC charge in Bagan Pinang, admitted that the Indian voters were not only concerned with developments but also wanted their rights to be protected by the government.

"We have held several discussions with the residents in the estates and they are happy with the initiatives being taken by our prime minister.

"They are very clear now. They know for a fact that the government has taken steps to bring progress to the Indian community and that it can only continue if the BN is given a stronger mandate," he said.

Samy Vellu said other MIC leaders like deputy president Datuk G.Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam, who have also been campaigning daily, had managed to "break the barrier" with the Indian voters since the last general election where many of them had supported the PAS candidate.

"The environment and mood among the Indian voters is now different compared with the last general election," he said.

He said the MIC expected a big turnout at the party's Deepavali open house tomorrow at 8pm at the Sua Betong estate which would also be grced by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other top BN leaders.

-- BERNAMA

October 07, 2009 15:24 PM

Makkal Sakti Sees Change In Government Towards Indian Community

By R. Ravichandran

SHAH ALAM, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party which will be launched on Saturday, is not only confident of winning Indian support but also securing a future for itself in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government, but not the Opposition.

Party founder and national president R. S. Thanenthirran said the three-month-old party had attracted 50,000 members and predicted that it would reach 100,000 by year-end, going by ground sentiment.

"We believe that by working closely with the present government, it would bring greater benefits to the community," he told Bernama in an interview at the party headquarters.

Thanenthirran rejected the possibility of a partnership with the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), a loose pact of Parti Keadilan, DAP and PAS, saying that PR had failed miserably in solving problems of Indians in states ruled by PKR like Penang and Selangor, and cited the Kampung Buah Pala issue as a case in point.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to launch the party at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang, The event will be attended by 5,000 members.

Thanenthirran denied that the government was behind the setting up of the party and that was why the prime minister was invited for the launch.

"We invited him in his capacity as the prime minister. He is the prime minister for all the people and not just for BN members, we're humbled and honoured with his acceptance," he said.

Makkal Sakti, he said, had noted Najib's responses to the problems of the Indian community since taking office, and if the government was sincere in helping Indians, the party would cooperate with the government.

"I can see the change (brought by Najib) in the system...a real and meaningful change for the betterment of the Indian community and the people," he said.

Najib had addressed issues besetting the community, raised by Makkal Sakthi such as the allocation of land for a Tamil school in Lukut, processing of long overdue citizenship applications and funding for Tamil schools.

The prime minister had also moved to increase Indian equity in unit trusts and participation in the civil service, education and social development.

"He is serious, sincere and sensitive to solving issues of the Indian community...he doesn't sit or sleep on issues but confronts to solve and get the results," noted Thanenthirran.

But for now, the party is not mulling to seek a place with the BN, although it would consider if invited, as the party focuses on building itself.

"It is not in our mind presently, the important task ahead is gaining and winning the support of the Indian community. We leave it to the political parties to judge our strength and service to the people," said Thanenthirran.

He may be new to politics but said he had the pulse of the grassroots from his days as the national coordinator with the now banned Hindraf activist group that took him through the length and breadth of the country for 514 days.

Besides, he also has 20 years of community service as national treasurer for the Malaysian Youth Council and Hindu Youth Council.

The estate-born Thanenthirran, who hails from Kedah, said he initiated the formation of Makkal Sakthi from a need to have a strong platform to serve the Indian community.

"We identify ourselves not as leaders but as the people's servant. This is not a one-man party or a one-man show. All decisions are collectively made. There is enough room for democracy," he said when asked how he would diffentiate Makkal Sakti from other Indian-based parties in the country.

The new party has nothing to do with MIC or other Indian-based parties, he stressed.

"Let them do their job and we do ours. Let the people judge for themselves," said the 47-year-old businessman.

Without disclosing any names, he claimed that several leaders from Indian-based parties had indicated they wanted to join Makkal Sakti.

They were welcome, he said, as long as they supported the party's struggle for the people and wanted to create more political awareness of their legitimate rights and bring them into the mainstream of the country's development.

The party stood for transparency, accountability, integrity, truth and and 'dharma' (justice), said Thanenthirran.

He said half of the party's 33 central committee members were from professional groups such as IT experts, businessmen, lawyers and corporate people.

Bagan Pinang postal votes in spotlight

This morning’s press conference at the Pas operations centre in Port Dickson to announce the party’s protest over the issue of postal votes:

Photos by Jong

Pas is expected to meet the Elections Commission this evening.

Meanwhile, Aliran president P Ramakrishnan has come up with a statement here on the corruption vs breach of ethics controversy surrounding BN candidate Isa Samad.

Battle royale for Indian votes

The Indian votes in Bagan Pinang will be one of the crucial factors which will determine the outcome of the Oct 11 by-election. It is clear that the community and its leaders are divided and all these factions are in Bagan Pinang.

The general opinion is that BN candidate Isa Samad will be able to secure most of the Indian votes because of his past services to the community in the state and his excellent personal relationship with key Indian leaders in the Teluk Kemang parliamentary constituency.

isa samad 061009 shaking handsDuring his time, Isa was one of the few Umno leaders who behaved as menteri besar for all races. With his simplistic and pleasant disposition, Isa had the advantage of being individually connected to many local Indian leaders in the state.

For example, former MIC state exco members M Muthupalaniappan and M Sundram although not in good terms with the present leadership of MIC, enjoy an excellent relationship with Isa and are said to be actively campaigning for him.

Another example is S Karuppusamy, an active former MIC branch chief in Teluk Kemang who left the party to join PKR due to differences with the MIC leadership in the division and state. However, because of his personal relationship with Isa he is now campaigning for Isa although he has not returned to MIC or any other BN party.

Despite his personal grievances with the MIC leadership, even former deputy president S Subramaniam has decided to join the campaign trail because of Isa.

Apart from the support of Indian political leaders, Isa is said to have considerable influence among the local Indian community as well.

In view of this, it is certain that Pakatan Rakyat parties will have a tough time in convincing the Indian voters to vote against Isa.

Samy Vellu leads the charge

Leading the Indian political charge is MIC president S Samy Vellu, who is all out to prove that he and his party are still popular and relevant. Fresh from his successful bid to get most of his men elected into key positions in the party, Samy Vellu is desperate to show that he is not a liability to BN.

However, Samy Vellu is said to be receiving a cold response from other BN component parties and the local Indian community.

bagan pinang by-election 071009 samy vellu visit 02Even before the BN candidate was named for Bagan Pinang, Samy Vellu visited the constituency several times. However, sources said there were several occasions where Samy Vellu was heckled and some of his visits and ceramahs were boycotted by local Indian voters.

If BN wins the seat, Samy Vellu will announce that Indians have returned to BN because of MIC and his leadership. His advantage seems to be that most of the Indian political factions outside MIC are also working for BN and therefore at the end of the day if BN wins no one will be able to claim who really brought in the Indian votes.

Another key Indian leader working for BN is S Sothinathan who was recently defeated at the MIC polls for the post of deputy president. He is the former MP of Teluk Kemang, which encompasses Bagan Pinang as one of its five state constituencies. Although he has fallen out with Samy Vellu, as a former MP of two terms, his involvement in the campaign will definitely be an advantage for Isa and BN.

Former MIC Youth chief S Vigneswaran, who has announced that he will not be returning to MIC, is also campaigning for Isa through the BN supporters club. The Tamil media recently reported that Sothinathan and Vigneswaran have joined forces to campaign for Isa.

Then we have PPP, another component party of BN divided between the factions of M Kayveas and T Murugiah. Both factions are working separately in favour of BN.

The Indian Progressive Front (IPF), a party founded by the late MG Pandithan, is also said to have some following among Indian voters in Bagan Pinang. Although the party is today divided into some four factions, the advantage for BN is that all these four factions are still supporting BN.

malaysia makkal sakti party official launch 190509 05New party Makkal Sakthi Party headed by former Hindraf coordinator RS Thanenthiran has also announced support for BN in the Bagan Pinang by-election. The party is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Oct 10, a day ahead of the polls.

Therefore, as far as Indian votes in Bagan Pinang is concerned the advantage of BN is that all these different Indian factions although at loggerheads between themselves are united in supporting BN.

Furthermore, unlike other by-elections faced by Umno, Bagan Pinang is different in that there is a candidate out to prove that he is still relevant to the party and who sees this by-election as a second lease of life. Isa is determined to use this by-election to erase the stains spilled on his political career during the last Umno elections where he was suspended from the party for money politics.

Hindraf trio back Pakatan

However, when it comes to Indian votes there are also several factors stacked against BN.

Although, most of the Indian political groups are campaigning for BN, what these groups are doing is merely to show the BN leadership that they are with them and that they are working hard on the ground to attract Indian votes. By doing so, they hope to catch the attention of the BN leadership and prove that they are relevant.

However, to what extent these various groups will be really able to convince and bring in the Indian votes is doubtful. Although Najib's government has shown some positive response towards the plight of the Indian community, there have been no specific programmes or schemes to help the community.

mic election 120909 najibWhat Najib has done so far is to reach out to the various Indian political and NGO factions by dealing with them directly. By doing so, he has in fact weakened MIC and has politically divided the Indian community further into smaller factions. His decision to launch a non-BN Indian based party is unprecedented in the history of the ruling coalition.

In the given circumstances there are also various issues which will drive the Indian votes away from BN. Topping the list is the cow-head issue and the demolition of Kampong Buah Pala. Although the general opinion is that the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang could have saved Kampung Buah Pala, no one can deny that it was the BN-Gerakan government that sold the disputed land for a mediocre price thereby planting the first seed to the problem.

The Indian community has also lost faith in MIC and its leadership since the party elections in September. They are also unhappy with the BN leadership for still not effecting a leadership transition in MIC despite the failed leadership of Samy Vellu. Therefore, MIC and its splinter groups may not be able to attract the Indian voters that easily.

Another advantage for Pakatan is that three former Hindraf ISA detainees are campaigning for them. They are DAP state rep M Manoharan, V Ganapathy Rao and T Vasanthakumar. The Indian community generally feels that they owe an obligation to the five Hindraf detainees for their sacrifices to the community. Therefore the campaign of these three leaders could bring some Indian votes for the PAS candidate.

As for P Uthayakumar, he is still considered a powerful force in the Indian community for leading the Hindraf battle. However, he has called on Indian voters to abstain from voting because BN and Pakatan have both failed to help the community.

However convincing his arguments may be for such a stand, whether it will succeed in a hotly contested by-election such as Bagan Pinang is doubtful.

petition to investigate kugan's death to istana 260909 uthayakumarUthayakumar's stand will also indirectly help BN to secure more Indian votes and the Hindraf leader knows this.

We also should not forget that there are also other popular and powerful Indian leaders in DAP and PKR who will be able to convince the Indian voters in Bagan Pinang. Then there is thePAS Indian supporters club which is also working the ground.

Last but not least, we cannot ignore the popularity of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as far as the Indian community is concerned. His promise to abolish the NEP and create an equalitarian Malaysian society coupled with his oratory skills and charisma will surely bag votes.

Test case for Najib

Apart from this, the recent statement by Samy Vellu that the party's education arm MIED and its university Aimst are NGOs set up by him in his personal capacity and therefore do not belong to MIC has caused an uproar in the Indian community.

MIC sources in Teluk Kemang pointed out that there is much concern among the Indian voters in Bagan Pinang about Samy Vellu's statement, while opposition parties are also harping on the issue.

Bagan Pinang will be the first test case for Najib and the BN leadership to see if they can succeed in bringing back the Indian votes to BN by applying the 'divide and rule' policy. By encouraging many political factions to be created outside MIC appears to be the BN policy of the day to attract Indian voters.

With the victory of Isa in Bagan Pinang, BN may make this 'policy' a permanent feature in future campaigns.