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Monday, October 12, 2009

“This Is It”


(CNN) -- A brand new song by Michael Jackson was released on the late singer's Web site early Monday.

Interest has been running high in "This Is It" -- the song, the two-disc album and the movie.

Interest has been running high in "This Is It" -- the song, the two-disc album and the movie.

However about 45 seconds of "This Is It" did the rounds online Sunday after being leaked ahead of its scheduled release on Michaeljackson.com.

"This Is It" will be followed by a two-disc album with the same title on October 26.

The album features music that inspired the film "Michael Jackson's This Is It," which is scheduled for release October 28.

The album's first disc features some of Jackson's biggest hits, arranged in sequence as they appear in the film. The disc ends with "This Is It," which includes backup vocals by The Jacksons.

Disc two offers previously unreleased versions of some of the artist's classic tracks.

The song will play at the close of the film, which will feature Jackson's career highlights and last rehearsals, his publicists said.

2 storey House Compensation?? In Your Dreams!


Referring to NST Report ; 'Kg Lorong Buah Pala folk try to rebuild' 2009/10/12 By Looi Sue-Chern.

Again, again and again, please refer to the 2nd page of the Nusmetro agreement to the Buah Pala villagers, the one and only agreement given to the Villagers! Please think for your self if this agreement is a valid one? Second, please refer to the highlighted section of this page (4th Paragraph), Lim Guan Eng is blabbering about RM600,000 2storey house, but they have a bad intention! which has already be sensed by most of us except for the supporter of DAP or Lim Guan Eng's allies! Today Gary Ho told that they are waiting for the approval from the Council!! This is a known fact " IF ANY OF THE PROJECT PLANS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED, THE AGREEMENT IS CONSIDERED INVALID!" This is what it means in the agreement! Now, they have demolished the houses in the Village, and erected the signboard for their condo project! Where is the 2storey house that the Chief Minister promised to the poor villagers? THIS HAS BEEN PLANNED EARLIER AND KNOWN FACT THAT THEY NOT GOING TO BUIILD THE HOUSE IN THIS AREA! THIS IS LIM GUAN ENG'S LIES!!! IF YOU WANT TO BUILD THE HOUSE? WHY ONLY NOW YOU HAVE ASKED FOR THE APPROVAL OF THE COUNCIL? THIS ARE ALL LIM GUAN ENG'S PLANNED LIES! HE WILL NOT BUILD THE HOUSE ! HE WILL MAKE SURE THE COUNCIL CANCEL THE PLANS NOW, SO THAT THE AGREEMENT WILL BE AN INVALID ONE AND THE VILLAGERS WILL BE LEFT WITHOUT ANYTHING!! PURE CLEAR AND DIRECT PLAY OUT BY LIM GUAN ENG AND HIS GOVERNMENT! DISCRIMINATION! ABUSE OF POWER AND SELF CENTERED CHIEF MINISTER! WHY I AM ATTACKING HIM ALL THE TIME? THIS IS THE REASON! HE IS PLAYING THE POOR PEOPLE OUT!

Rwindraj@Cryingvices..

Isa scores landslide win

PAS VP tells why non-Malays ditched Pakatan - Malaysiakini


PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub today admitted that Pakatan Rakyat has not done enough to solve the problems faced by the Indian community and this led them to vote for Barisan Nasional in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

NONEOn the swing of Chinese votes, he said: "They wanted to teach us a lesson."

Yesterday's by-election saw BN candidate Isa Samad trouncing his PAS rival Zulkefly Mohamad Noor with a thumping majority of 5,000 votes.

In view of this, Salahuddin said Pakatan has to review its strengths and performance.

"One of the major factors why the Indian community is divided is because of the internal problems within MIC and the formation of the Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party," he said.

"In the last (general) election we got strong support from the Indian community... they had no choice, there was no alternative and they had high expectations of Pakatan.

"Now, they are not all for the BN government but I would say that their support is not as solid as it was in the last election (for Pakatan)," he added.

Salahuddin said Pakatan need to be more serious in addressing the woes faced by the Indian community.

"Pakatan is not doing enough," he added.

Surprised by Chinese swing

Meanwhile, Salahuddin said he was surprised that Chinese voters had also turned their backs on Pakatan.

"To some extent a certain percentage might have been influenced by Prime Minister Najib Razak's '1Malaysia' concept," he noted.

NONESalahuddin pointed out that the Chinese community has been keeping a close watch on Pakatan's progress, especially in Selangor, since the last general election.

"They see that we are not serious in proving our unity with the internal conflicts we have been facing lately," he said.

"The Chinese wanted to send a clear signal to Pakatan to teach us a lesson," he added.

However, he stressed that Pakatan was the 'underdog' in the Bagan Pinang by-election and the main priority was to change the mindset of the people especially in doing away with corruption.

"That was our main mission, to build a strong case to fight corruption... we may have lost the battle but we will win the war," he said.

Isa was stripped of his Umno vice-presidency after being convicted of money politics by the Umno disciplinary board in 2005. His six-year suspension was later reduced to three upon appeal and ended in 2008.

It's not an issue of race

Meanwhile, PKR's strategist Tian Chua stressed that the issue should not be looked at from a racial viewpoint.

tian chuah comment on ppp defection 050409"Usually in rural areas, the people are more susceptible to BN's money politics. However, it has been proven that such tactics do not work in urban areas.

"It is not race but rather the social economics of the people. The poorer ones are less educated and more susceptible to material gains and intimidation," he said.

"If we do not curb money politics, BN can buy voters and our system can never be clean. We have to stop thinking in terms of race. The desire for change cuts across racial lines," he added.

Criticising Isa's candidacy, Tian asked why BN did not field another candidate if the Bagan Pinang constituency is considered a stronghold for the ruling coalition.

"Why didn't Najib put someone else who is not convicted of corruption? Najib chose to nominate a friend of his.

"Therefore, it could be seen that Umno has no determination to make credible changes in leadership and we can expect to see the same kind of corrupted leaders," he added.

Café owner stabbed, handcuffed bundled into the car boot and kidnapped by five policemen

Date : 12th October 2009 FIRST REMINDER

Y.B Dato Seri Hishamuddin Hussein

Home Minister,

Aras 12 Block D 1,

Complex Kerajaan Fasa D, By Fax No: 03-8889 1613

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, By E-Mail :hishamuddin@moha.gov.my

62546 Putrajaya. By Post

Dear Sirs,

RE: Café owner stabbed, handcuffed bundled into the car boot and kidnapped by five policemen before

the very eyes of wife and four children. Inaction by Kajang police.

We act fo Madam Sheila Kaur A/P Banoor Singh and her family of No.50, Jalan Pahlawan, Bandar Mahkota Cheras, 56000 Selangor.

We refer to the above matter and to our earlier letter dated 02/09/09.

Our clilent instructs us that on 29/8/09 her husband Mr.Ravi Shanker A/L Ramasamy (40) was kidnapped, handcuffed, bundled into the car boot of a Proton Waja kidnapped and driven away by five Malay men who said they were policemen. When our client’s husband struggled to free himself, he was stabbed trice on the back and also his chest. To silence our client and her children who were screaming for help a parang was held on her neck. All this was were done before our clients and her four children’s very eyes in broad daylight in an open public place and in peaceful Malaysia which only a few years ago had prided period itself as about the safest countries in the world

Within about fifteen minutes our client had lodged a police report at the Kajang police station vide police report No 025410/09 dated 29/9/09. An All Points Bulletin was never immediately ordered to save our client’s husband. Our client had on their own accord traced the rented car company and provided the details of the drivers cum hirers and their particulars to the detectives for the Investigating Officer one Inspector Rina (019-611 3724)

In May 2009, our client was arrested and detained by the police for three days for unknown reasons and then released.

The police had early this year also inquired from Prabakaran (police poured hot water and badly scalded the victim case) about the whereabouts of our client.

Another police officer who identified himself as one Inspector Nalla (016-930 9455) had been to our client’s café and had also telephoned our client and informed our client that our client’s husband’s body is at one place and then says that it is at another place.

When our client telephoned the Investigating Officer Inspector Rina (019-6113 724), she merely said that she was still waiting for the feedback on the rented car details (which had already been given by our client to her detectives) and other lame excuses.

The assailants in their haste had knocked into a red proton car when reversing and their car bumper had fallen off. It was only three days later ie on 31/8/09 that the police had come and taken away the said bumper and the broken number plate chips of the red Proton. Our client believes that this red proton car was never investigated. Our client believes that even the nursey owners police statement has yet to be taken. Despite the telephone numbers of three of the suspects having been given to the police our client’s husband has yet to be released from captivity nor any arrest made thus far. Not satisfied, our client had asked to see the Officer in charge of the Police District (OCPD) of Kajang but was told that he was not available.

Our client is also dissatisfied with the excuses given by the said OCPD to our client’s upon his inquiries on 1/9/09 afternoon who had denied that the police had arrested our client and / or the police involvement in this kidnapping despite being highlighted to him of the facts that:-

1) Our clients police report implicates the police involvement

2) Handcuffs was used to arrest our client

3) A Proton Waja (usually used by the police) was used in this “operation”

4) A fifth suspected policeman was wearing a black jacket normally worn by policeman and was on a motorcycle (which is a known police modus operandi)

5) Inspector Nalla’s aforesaid involvement

6) Slow and / or no investigation and / or the obvious police inaction

7) No All Points Bulletin ordered at all

8) All other factors which are within the polilce knowledge known to the police

Article 5 of the Federal Constitution provides for the Right to life and Article 8 of the same provides for the equal protection under the law.

Our client now fears for the life and safety of her husband and wishes to register her disappointment at the lackadiastical attitude of the Kajang police despite it being five days today that our client had been arrested by the police but gone missing.

Our client suspects police involvement in this matter and demands the immediate release of her husband and also that the Home Ministry appoints a Special Committee to investigate this our client’s claim

Finally our client would hold the Inspector General of police responsible should anything happen to our client. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the state of alaming rise in especially violent crimes in the country. More alarming of is the direct and indirect suspected involvement many members of the police force in crime itself. In the interim, may we propose that the tenure of the present Inspector General of police is not extended when is term comes up for review this month. This would provide the impetus for fresh blood and a new beginning under the stewardship of your goodself as the new and legally trained current generation Home Minister.

Kindly revert to us accordingly

Thank you.

Your Faithfully,

__________________

Court orders return of Kugan's samples to UMMC

(Bernama) - The Magistrate's Court here ordered the police to return the forensics samples of A. Kugan, who died in police custody early this year, to Universiti Malaya Medical Center (UMMC).

Magistrate Ho Kwong Chin made the ruling on Monday after hearing submissions by lawyer N. Surendran, the counsel for Kugan’s mother, N. Indra, and deputy public prosecutor Hanim Mohd Rashid, who represented the police.

“After hearing submissions by both parties, the court orders that the specimen and other items seized to be returned to UMMC immediately,” he added.

Indra had filed the application to compel the police to return all items, documents, tissue samples and bodily fluids to the UMMC pathology department as she wanted to sent them to a medical centre in Australia for toxicology tests to determine whether Kugan was given any injection prior to his death in January this year.

Kugan, 22, was arrested on Jan 15 on suspicion of being involved in car theft activities but was found dead the day after.

On Oct 1, a police officer from the USJ police station pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two charges of causing grievous hurt to Kugan.

Between hypocrisy and expediency

Image

Pakatan Rakyat is even weaker than Barisan Nasional. Even a united Pakatan Rakyat is not good enough to march to Putrajaya. What more a Pakatan Rakyat that does not understand the meaning of working together as a united coalition like what is happening in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Sometimes it is very difficult to reconcile between what politicians say and what they do. It is a sort of ‘tradition’ that politicians must always do the opposite of what they say. In layman’s terms this would be called hypocrisy. In political terminology, however, it is called expediency.

The Muslim Middle East regards the United States as a Jewish ‘tool’. The US is the ‘Great Satan’. It is the US, after all, that is propping up Israel. If not, Israel would have been destroyed long ago. And day in and day out we can hear verses of the Quran being chanted in the two holiest mosques in the Muslim world, Mekah and Medina, cursing the Jewish enemies of Islam.

There is no mistaking it, as far as Muslims are concerned. The Jews are the lifelong enemy of Islam. They must be exterminated from the face of this earth. But when it comes to the oil money, the Muslim Arabs do not trust their fellow Muslims. They would rather hand over the trillions in oil money to the Jewish banks in Europe and the US.

Where is the so-called ‘Muslim brotherhood’? What happened to the ‘Jews are the sworn enemy of Islam until doomsday’? It appears that Muslims prefer Jews to fellow Muslims when it comes to making money. And even Malaysia as early as the 1970s appointed the Jewish banks to advise Petronas on what to do with the oil money. Yet Umno claims it is the largest Islamic party in the world, far bigger than PAS.

Umno screams Ketuanan Melayu. They spread fear amongst the Malays that without Umno the Chinese would inherit the country. Only Umno can guarantee that the Malays would not become slaves in their own country (hamba di negara sendiri).

But Umno can’t rule without the Chinese and Indians and East Malaysians. Umno, alone, can never win enough seats to form the federal government. Maybe, at best, Umno can form state governments in the four or five northern states in West Malaysia. In the rest of the country and at federal level Umno would be in the opposition aisles.

MCA, MIC and PPP are in turmoil. Would it not serve the ‘Malay agenda’ if all these non-Malay parties collapse? Then Umno would need not to ‘share power’ with the non-Malays. Umno need not allocate any seats to the non-Malays. Umno can contest all the 222 parliament seats and the more than 500 state seats.

But no, Umno is worried. It is worried that if MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and all the other East Malaysian parties collapse or leave the ruling coalition called Barisan Nasional then Umno can never form the government. Umno needs the non-Malays. Without the non-Malays Umno is out of power. Even Tun Dr Mahathir said yesterday that if Barisan Nasional were to become weak then Umno would be in trouble. So they need a strong MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and whatnot so that Barisan Nasional can also be strong and which would mean Umno will remain in power.

So what Ketuanan Melayu are we talking about? And how does Umno serve the Malay agenda when it needs the non-Malays more than it needs the Malays to remain in power? Only half the Malays support Umno -- slightly over 50% to be exact. The other 50% support the opposition. And Umno can do nothing to bring back Malay support. So Umno needs the non-Malays more than it needs the Malays if it wants to remain in power.

See what is going on in the Bagan Pinang by-election where the voting is going to end soon. It is Malays who are whacking Malays. Fights have erupted and heads are being broken. Malays are spilling Malay blood. Umno regards the fellow Malay PAS as its greatest enemy. And PAS too regards its fellow Muslim Umno as its greatest enemy.

So it is Malay-Muslim Umno versus fellow Malay-Muslim PAS. Without the heavy presence of the police, by now there would already be a few bodies in the mortuary. The only reason no Malay-Muslims have killed fellow Malay-Muslims in Bagan Pinang is because there is no opportunity to do so. Withdraw the police from Bagan Pinang and see what happens. The mortuaries in and around Port Dickson would be stacked with bodies, all Malay-Muslims killed at the hands of fellow Malay-Muslims.

No, there is no Malay brotherhood. There is not even Muslim brotherhood. In spite of the rhetoric from the Malay-Muslims from both Umno and PAS, Malay-Muslim brotherhood does not exist. Umno as well as PAS need the non-Malay ‘infidels’ to win elections. And they spill the blood of fellow Malay-Muslims just to win the election.

While on the subject of the Bagan Pinang by-election, and since the voting is almost over, let me reveal that this by-election is probably the opposition's worst managed by-election since the March 2008 general election. Has the opposition become too arrogant or become over-confident? Does Pakatan Rakyat think it can win elections without trying? Just because the opposition rallies (ceramah) attract ten times the crowd that Barisan Nasional rallies attract does not mean you are assured of a win.

We have been saying this for the last 20 years or more. Opposition rallies or ceramah always attract huge crowds. But in many cases the opposition loses that constituency when it comes to votes.

Many of the people who attend these rallies are not even registered voters in that constituency. Most are outsiders. And many attend these rallies just for entertainment purposes. They love to hear the speeches of the better orators from the opposition. Many within the crowd of spectators are even Umno members who come to get entertained but will never vote for the opposition.

Gauging your chances of success by the crowd you can attract to your rallies is foolhardy. And we have been saying this for more than 20 years but the opposition never listens. Embarking on a voter registration exercise instead of wasting your entire resources organising rallies or ceramah would be better. Don’t forget, only 50% of eligible voters actually vote. And 60% of the 50% who do not vote are not even registered to vote.

Only eight million people come out to vote when those who are eligible to vote total about 15-16 million. So we do not need more people attending ceramah, especially if they will not be voting in that constituency. We need more people coming out to vote. Why can’t the opposition get this through its thick head?

In Bagan Pinang, the opposition is so disorganised. There are allegations that Kuala Lumpur has taken over the Bagan Pinang election campaign while the locals from Negeri Sembilan are being sidelined. It was not until the fourth day after Nomination Day when PAS invited the other component members from Pakatan Rakyat for a meeting. In the end, PAS did their own thing while PKR and DAP, who were left out in the cold, organised their own programmes independent of PAS. PAS did not even arrange for the Wakil Rakyat from PKR and DAP to speak at the ceramah.

We would have imagined that after the March 2008 general election, and the many by-elections since then, the opposition would improve itself because of the experience it has gained. This does not appear to be so in Bagan Pinang. It appears like they have gone backwards and act like this is their first election.

What has happened to Pakatan Rakyat? The Bagan Pinang by-election is not a PAS by-election. It is a Pakatan Rakyat by-election even though the candidate is from PAS. And how can Kuala Lumpur just walk in and take over while sidelining the local Negeri Sembilan boys?

Maybe it is good that PAS loses this by-election. Maybe this is what is needed to wake them up. Umno cannot make it without the other 13 component members of Barisan Nasional. What makes PAS think it can make it all on its own without PKR and DAP -- and worse, without the involvement of the local boys on the ground?

I would not be too disappointed if PAS gets massacred good and proper later today. Maybe they need this wake up call. But what hurts is the fact that they would get massacred not because Umno is strong but because Pakatan Rakyat conducted themselves like a bunch of amateurs.

Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat both realise that only through group effort can they make headway. The turmoil in MCA, MIC and PPP worries Umno. They know that a weak MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and so on will result in a weak Barisan Nasional and which, in turn, will result in a weak Umno. So they scream about Ketuanan Melayu but they know that Ketuanan Melayu will not send them to Putrajaya. Umno needs MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and the rest more than the non-Malays do.

The Indians and Chinese do not care a damn what happens to MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and the rest. But Umno does because Umno needs their non-Malay partners to be able to stay in power. Umno, alone, can’t do it. They can never win enough seats on their own. Without the seats from MCA, MIC, PPP, Gerakan and the rest Umno can never form the government.

Pakatan Rakyat is even weaker than Barisan Nasional. Even a united Pakatan Rakyat is not good enough to march to Putrajaya. What more a Pakatan Rakyat that does not understand the meaning of working together as a united coalition like what is happening in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

Better to lose the battle

By Tengku Razaleigh,

Much as the likely win by Tan Sri Isa Samad in Bagan Pinang today would be welcomed by the leadership after the string of losses Umno has suffered, I am afraid what the nation needs is for Umno to lose again. This is because again we have fielded a candidate proven to be corrupt.

A win by Isa would translate into an endorsement of corruption-as-usual within the party and the government that it leads.

For the good of the party, the dignity of the Malay community it claims to represent and for the sake of the nationwide reform in governance and politics that we must undergo, it would be better if Umno lost today, and used the loss to begin internal reform.

Corruption is the scourge of the country. Umno is a step away from being identified with that scourge.

SABM reaches out

By Haris Ibrahim

If there was one silver lining on the dark cloud that hung over us this weekend, it was the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia roundtable discussion with our prospective smart partners from civil society that took place on Saturday at the Rumah.

The objective of this exercise was, firstly, to identify and get to the meeting table like-minded NGOs and NGIs who share the ‘One People, One Nation’ aspiration and are willing to talk less and walk more to try and realise this dream.

We had representatives from a Muslim scholars group, independent art and music folk, religious groups, youth groups and social activist groups on hand, young and old, on hand to hear what we had to say.

People settling in before the start of a long afternoon session

People settling in before the start of a long afternoon session

Bryan & Kim Cheng

Bryan & Kim Cheng

Fahmi Reza & Padmini Solomon

Fahmi Reza & Padmini Solomon

Munir & Kharis

Munir & Kharis

Mustaqeem ( right ) and his Indonesian observer friend

Mustaqeem ( right ) and his Indonesian observer friend

Naragan & Patrick

Naragan & Patrick

We kicked off sharp at 2.30pm with Jaya

Jayanath

Jayanath

sharing a little bit of background on how SABM got off the ground in 2007, how we had reached where we are now and then taking the participants through our defining document : the SABM Charter.

Jaya then passed the baton to me.

I quickly took the participants through certain key issues and the position of SABM on the same.

Robert Foo was next to take the mike and share with the participants our ‘Say No To ISA’ initiative that we will be pushing as part of our people empowerment efforts.

Finally, Danny appraised the participants of the all-important Voter education and registration drive that SABM has undertaken.

Danny

Danny

The time for discussion originally allocated was an hour and a half. It finally took some three hours.

It was lively, fully participated, critical yet constructive. We in the SABM core-group are immensely grateful for the thoughtful contributions of ideas from all.

We received commitments from most, if not all, present, to help us take the message of ‘One People, One Nation’ to the rakyat.

We will kick off our nationwide roadshow next month. First port of call will be Penang. Look out for announcements here and at the SABM Website.

Before that, though, we will be reaching out to the political parties on both sides of the divide through a dialogue scheduled for the 31st of October. Invitations for this historical session where the rakyat take the lead in telling the politicians the direction we want to see this nation take have already gone out. It remains to be seen how many of the parties will attend.

Will keep you informed on this later.

Also, from 15th October on, the Rumah will have a full-time person on hand to help us co-ordinate our activities. That means if you’d like to pick up our SABM T-shirts and buttons you can do so by dropping by at the Rumah between 12pm – 7pm from Wednesday to Sunday. To be sure someone will be on hand, call us at 03-20950435 before dropping by.

Robert

Robert

What a weekend!

By Haris Ibrahim,

If you’re driving down Jalan Ampang today, look out for the new signboard that adorns the MCA headquarters.

th_headlesschicken-1Meanwhile, OTK, who has reportedly gone on leave, was spotted last night karaoking, belting out his favourite, ‘Yesterday’.

And most of the 3,000 odd Makkal Sakti Party members who attended the party launch were somewhat bemused at the gift that awaited each of them as they entered the hall.

toiletpaper-1Seems most of them had not received the party flyer announcing the program for the day.

small_kissing_butt_poster-1

Thanenthiran, it seems, had little to say about Samy, whilst Najib was counting on the Indians to deliver Bagan Pinang.

thanennajib-1

Apparently the majority of the Indian voters of Bagan Pinang did.

Samy, meanwhile, who Dr M has suggested should join OTK and CSL and simply fade away, has decided to take a ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ stance.

head in ass


PR rout in Bagan Pinang by-election – PR must go back to drawing board

By Lim Kit Siang

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad’s victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election was not unexpected, as in the by-election, Isa the candidate bulked larger than Barisan Nasional the party.

This is the cause for the comment that BN can win the battle in Bagan Pinang by-election but will lose the war in the country in the next general elections, for Isa’s victory despite his record of Umno money politics would be a clear and unmistakable message that Umno/BN could not be redeemed or reformed to play any meaningful role to cleanse the country of deep-rooted corruption.

What was unexpected was Isa’s 8,013-vote and thumping majority of 5,435 votes sweeping all the eight voting streams – the result of gross abuses of power, money politics as well as the postal ballot chicanery.

The rout suffered by Pakatan Rakyat in Bagan Pinang by-election should destroy the myth entertained by any quarter that Pakatan Rakyat is embarked on a invincible path to victory in the next general elections whether national or state.

With the rout in Bagan Pinang, Pakatan Rakyat must go back to the drawing board and address the many issues bedevilling the coalition but which had been swept under the carpet, aggravating public concerns about its unity, discipline, cohesion, viability and sustainability as the alternative of the Barisan Nasional for federal power in Putrajaya.

For a start, Pakatan Rakyat leaders must stop being shy about the need to demonstrate discipline and common sense of purpose at all levels of Pakatan Rakyat as well as have the courage to admit and to resolve any crisis of confidence undermining public support for the coalition.

The myth of Malaysian diversity

By Shanon Shah
thenutgraph.com

HERE'S a statistic to think about: the nine by-elections since the March 2008 general election have seen a total of 36 candidates contesting. Only two, or less than 5.6%, of these candidates have been women.

The two were L Sarala, who contested in the record-breaking Bukit Selambau by-election in April 2009, and Aminah Abdullah, who contested in Penanti in May. Both contested as independents, and both were written off by pundits and journalists as never having an actual shot at victory. And yes, both lost their deposits in the end.


L Sarala (right) meeting voters in Bukit Selambau

The thing is, analysts and experts have said plenty about the shift in Malaysian society and politics since March 2008. There was even a lot of initial talk that Malaysian voters had had enough of racial politics, implying a shift towards inclusiveness and embracing diversity.

But is this really the case? Is the Malaysian political scene truly ready for this change? Maybe we should look at the participation of women in these nine by-elections to help us find the answers.

Academic and women's rights activist Dr Cecilia Ng tells The Nut Graph that the dismal number of women candidates can be attributed to the histories and structures of Malaysian political parties. Was gender sensitivity a part of each party's agenda from day one?


Aminah Abdullah, the only other
woman candidate out of nine by-
elections
Of course, this question can be tackled from a position of principles and ethics, but in any election, we must also take into account the dynamics of realpolitik. And the realpolitik of by-elections is quite different from that of a nationwide general election. For example, six of the nine post-March 2008 by-elections were called because of the incumbents' deaths. Therefore, unlike a general election, by-elections are often wholly unexpected and take political parties by surprise.

"The local division of each political party then must be able to push its strongest candidate at the very last minute," Ng explains. And the strongest candidate would invariably be a male figure. This male figure is usually promoted by the male-centred youth wings of the political parties, which are traditionally the most influential at the grassroots level.

The cold, hard truth

Much has been said about the barriers — cultural, structural and financial — that women face in politics. But, as Ng explains, this is the cold hard truth about realpolitik: no party is going to field a candidate who is not well-known or respected by voters in a constituency. This is especially true in by-elections for state seats, where local issues prevail.

"Parachuting candidates from outside is not the answer, and if a party's women's wing does not push its own candidates, the party will not consider fielding a woman," Ng explains in phone interview.


Ng (Courtesy of Cecilia Ng)
But this is not an irreversible situation. Common sense says that a party which is serious about gender sensitivity and equality, and of securing the votes of half of Malaysia's population, will actually prepare the ground for women's participation. "It is doable. It's not just top-down direction in a party, it's also bottom-up advocacy," says Ng. "The women have to push, and the men have to be sensitive."

Shooting fish in a barrel

However, confining the discussion to women's participation in elections also misses the forest for the trees. The issue is not that there are not enough women in politics, it is rather that politics in Malaysia places such a limited premium on diversity.

True, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) definitely scores points when it criticises the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s race-based politics. But showing up the BN's communal rhetoric is like shooting fish in a barrel. One just has to appear marginally less racist and less corrupt to gain the moral high ground.

A survey of the PR's campaign rhetoric over the past nine by-elections also shows that the coalition's "inclusiveness" is severely limited. It talks about embracing diversity and respecting the rights of non-Malay Malaysians, yes. But does it talk about diversity beyond multiracial politics? Does it talk about respecting religious, sexual and ideological diversity, for example?

Perhaps the answer can be found when juxtaposing the coalition's nice-sounding campaign rhetoric with what happens outside of the by-election period. Concerts need to be banned, Muslims who drink alcohol need to be nabbed and whipped, Muslims with a different point of view need to be silenced, and so on. And apart from Parti Keadilan Rakyat's much-touted constitutional amendment that will allow greater representation for women, what else is the coalition doing to address gender sensitivity?

There are so many other issues of representation to think about — indigenous rights, the rights of the poor, the rights of those with HIV/AIDS, those with disabilities, and so on. And don't even talk about embracing citizens who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual (LGBT). Their votes are important, and in countries like Nepal they get elected to parliament; but in Malaysia, LGBTs are demonised, criminalised and discriminated against even though they can be a potentially important voting constituency.

Dealing with baggage


(Baggage pic by Gundolf / sxc.hu)

The issue is not that Parliament and the state assemblies absolutely must have elected representatives from each community. This defeats the purpose of letting voters decide with their conscience and letting the chips fall where they may in any given election.

As Angela Kuga Thas, a coordinator with the Women's Candidacy Initiative, tells The Nut Graph: "The standard formula does not need to be only about representation from each community. For example, saying that Indian Malaysians can only be represented by an Indian Malaysian representative. We must move beyond this mentality."

By extension, two hypothetical candidates could both be Malay-Muslim Malaysian. But if one is an inclusive, non-sexist, non-homophobic, non-racist democrat and the other has problems with women's rights, gays and non-Muslims, then voters will actually have a real choice on their hands.

But that scenario looks very unlikely for now. Still, it's nice to dream. As Kuga Thas says, "Everybody has his or her own baggage. The trick is picking the candidate with the least amount of baggage — we must have leaders who can self-reflect instead of always pointing fingers at others."

Only when this happens — and continues to happen — can Malaysians confidently say that Malaysian democracy truly embraces the diversity of our peoples.

Bagan Pinang: Congrats to the BN! - Anil Netto

Congrats to the BN! It finally broke the Pakatan’s winning streak on the peninsula. There will be much rejoicing in the mainstream media about how the tide has turned.

But at what cost?

In its desperation to win in its own stronghold, Umno put up a popular local candidate whom its own party disciplinary board had found guilty of “money politics” (let’s call a spade a spade and refer to it as corruption). A candidate who perhaps best reflects the ethos of the party – at a time when the MCA itself is in utter disarray following the PKFZ debacle.

What message does this send out about “1Malaysia” and “1World”? We might as well disband the MACC…

Says an observer who was closely following the by-election campaign:

I feel sad for the nation. It has gone three steps backwards after leaping two steps into a new era of non-partisan politics and nation building.

The electoral process is back to ‘door gifts’ (who said money politics?), same old racial and religious platforms, the questionable postal votes system, new swimming pool, use of government machinery to win. Even TM and Tengku Razaleigh recognised the wrong choice of candidate and the message it would send out….

“But who cares … as long as we win.”

(Meanwhile) the MCA will be buried in the mud of PKFZ… (and Samy is finished too).

The Elections Commission appeared more interested in removing party paraphernelia and symbols on polling day instead of clamping down on the obvious abuses during the campaign period such as the promise to turn Port Dickson into an Army Town with all kinds of facilities. It seemed more interested in picking out the fly in the soup than chasing away the 600-pound gorilla in the kitchen.

OneMalaysia indeed.

Apa Signifikan Keputusan Bagan Pinang ?

Daripada Blog Azmin Ali

Apa signifikan keputusan Pilihan Raya Kecil DUN Bagan Pinang yang diumumkan semalam ? UMNO semakin selesa dan perlu kekal dalam ‘form’ yang sedia ada ( jasad dan ruhnya ) sebagai pengamal rasuah yang dominan di Malaysia. UMNO juga tidak perlu sebarang transformasi. Justeru itu, UMNO tidak memerlukan Perhimpunan Agung Khas ( EGM ) untuk meminda perlembagaan bagi membendung gejala dan amalan rasuah yang sudah menjadi barah dalam institusi politik perkauman sempit di Malaysia. Malahan, sebarang usaha untuk melakukan transformasi dalam UMNO adalah usaha yang sia-sia kerana sekurang-kurang pengundi di Bagan Pinang amat selesa dengan UMNO dan pemimpin UMNO yang rasuah. Dunia hari ini mendapat jawapan yang jelas bahawa UMNO menghalalkan rasuah dan rakyat Malaysia ( atau sekurang-kurangnya pengundi-pengundi di Bagan Pinang ) mendewa-dewakan Sang Perasuah.

UMNO perlu membuat persiapan awal untuk menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum ke 13 dengan menonjolkan barisan calon-calon UMNO di kalangan perasuah kerana itulah cita rasa rakyat Malaysia.

Catatan ringkas di atas bukanlah untuk menghukum rakyat Malaysia secara membuta tuli tetapi itulah persepsi dunia hari ini dan juga rakyat Malaysia yang cintakan keadilan dan kebenaran. Keputusan Bagan Pinang pastinya akan meletakkan Malaysia di peta dunia di kalangan negara-negara yang rosak nilai dan moral anak bangsanya.

Mengambil lirik lagu rasmi UMNO : “UMNO terus mara, untuk rakyat Malaysia”.

AZMIN ALI

5,435

by Nathaniel Tan

ps- this is lame, but I couldn’t help asking: seen my little caption contest entry yet? :P

Well, good gracious that’s quite a beating :P

Much can be said about this result and its implications. I want to concentrate on that which is within our power.

I hope this will be an opportunity for those of us within Pakatan to take stock of where the coalition is going.

I think so far, we have ‘ridden’ on the momentum of events like people falling out of buildings and stepping on cow heads - things that a) we should certainly not depend on for our political fortunes, b) are merely own goals scored by the other side.

I do believe that we have to step up our game, and transcend the poor quality of Malaysian politics.

I have argued time and again that internal strife is part and parcel of any political dynamic, and I accept that fact of life.

In Malaysia though, it does seem to be getting a bit out of hand - all across the board. It’s time to demand less pettiness, and more statesmanship.

For Pakatan, I believe the time has come for the component parties to put its eggs in the Pakatan basket, and not their own. I reckon this is the main factor that will determine (as I repeat for the millionth time) whether we sink or swim.

The rakyat - especially the ever precious middle ground - do not seem terribly interested in individual party ideologies. They just want to see a viable alternative to a corruption-ridden, racist BN.

If Pakatan does not step into this role, it is only a matter of time before Najib convinces the rest that with some PR image makeovers, BN can pretend to play that role and still quietly conduct business as usual behind the scenes.

Have they won this battle only to lose the war? It’s a nice, catchy thing to quote, but only you and I will determine the truth of it.

Majority Of Indian Votes In Bagan Pinang Went To BN, Says MIC

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- The MIC believes that the Indian voters have returned to the Barisan Nasional fold based on the results of the Bagan Pinang by-election in the four Indian-majority voting streams.

Its vice-president Datuk Dr S.Subramaniam said initial survey by the MIC revealed that the BN had won in all the four voting streams within the state constituency namely Ladang Atherton, Pekan Siliau, Ladang Brandwall and Sua Betong.

"We are very happy with the results in the four polling stations where the MIC was put in-charge," said Dr Subramaniam, who is also the Human Resources Minister, in a statement.

He said the results were an indication that the Indians were returning to the BN fold.

Dr Subramaniam also stressed on the need for unity within the Indian community to speak with one voice.

The Minister thanked all the MIC division and branch leaders who had worked very hard to ensure victory for the BN in the by-election.

In the by-election yesterday, BN candidate Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad garnered 8,013 votes to beat PAS state commissioner Zulkefly Mohamad Omar who polled 2,578 votes.

BN's Victory In B/Pinang Inspires Party Members

PENANG, Oct 12 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the by-election for the Bagan Pinang state seat in Negeri Sembilan yesterday has given a new inspiration to party members.

He hoped the win would encourage party members at all levels to work hard to achieve greater success in future.

Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad's success in defeating the PAS candidate, Zulkefly Mohamad Omar, with a majority of 5,435 votes showed that the people had more confidence and trust in the BN, the Prime Minister told reporters after meeting with Penang BN leaders, here Monday.

Najib said there were several factors that could have contributed to the BN success, including the government policies, the strength of the division and the candidate himself.

"It looks like they (the people) have more confidence and trust in the BN and this could be due to several factors which we can evaluate, whether the factor of government policies and changes made at the national level, the position of the division or the candidate himself, or a combination of the three factors," he said.

Najib, who is also the BN chairman, wanted all the component parties to carry out detailed studies on all factors for the victory or defeat of the party in any election so that it could become a guide for future polls.

"If we secure a big win, we must defend the victory, and if we lose, we must redeem the loss," he said.

He refuted the claim that the victory of the BN candidate purportedly showed that the BN condoned corrupt practices by party members.

He said he had already explained earlier that Mohd Isa had served his sentence and the offence that he had committed was not a criminal one but merely violating party ethics.

Najib's visit to Penang today was the first by him since assuming the post of Prime Minister. Besides meeting with the BN leaders here, his presence in the state was also to receive the Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (DUPN), which carries the title Datuk Seri Utama, conferred by the Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas.

Isa is vindicated... and Samy and PR too

By Jeff Ooi

UPDATED VERSION. Mohd Isa Samad may measure a petite 5-feet-2 from the ground, he now stands taller than BN-Umno combined.

Without an official footing in national level politics, will Isa get his quid pro quo and be made a state Exco?

Bagan-Pinang_2009.gif
SOURCE: Malaysiakini, Oct 11, 2009

The record shows he has won the Bagan Pinang by-election with a 5,435-vote majority, defeating PAS candidate Zulkefly Mohamad Omar by more than doubling the margin of 2,333 votes BN-Umno scored during GE2008.

Significantly, BN-Umno managed to recapture the three voting centres that fell to PAS in 2008, namely Pekan Silliau, Ladang Atherton and Sua Betong. There is also obvious erosion of Chinese votes to the BN's favour, notably in Kampung Bagan Pinang and Teluk Kemang.

Even the 40% block of postal votes, the key contention of a lop-sided contest, were solidly delivered to favour BN-Umno. The majority this time has increased to 2,920 votes from 1,891 in 2008. BN-Umno's score in postal votes improved to 3,521 from 3,080 in 2008, while that for PAS worsened from 1,189 votes to 601 yesterday.

In a way, Isa is vindicated.

Despite his party having slapped him with a 6-year political jail sentence and later with a parole for proven money politics, he has been recycled, reused, and has survived the severe test of political resuscitation that Soi Lek failed to get.

Both Isa and Soi Lek have been exemplary examples of political taboos for many a Malaysian who despise moral decadence among public figures who hold and wield power while they last.

However, in Najib's 1Malaysia, it's glaring that Umno and MCA practise two different sets of moral compass for people who walk the corridors of power, and they are showered with different fate.

All these happened one day after the other within the last two days. I can expect Malaysians to debate this issue actively in the days to come -- 1 Malaysia, 2 Moral Systems for communal politics.

Samy vindicated too

In another way, MIC chief S. Samy Vellu should feel vindicated too.

One day before voting in Bagan Pinang, on October 10, BN chief Najib Razak tried to subvert MIC -- and by default plant a vote of no-confidence in Samy -- by officiating the launch of another race-based political entity by the name of Malaysian Makkal Sakti Party.

According to MIC sources quoted in Malaysiakini, out of the 1,870 Indians who voted in Bagan Pinang, BN got a whopping 1,387 votes while PAS only managed 483.

Isn't MIC still holding fort? MIC can now proclaim that with Samy at the helm, it is still the only power representing the Indians in Malaysia.

But other minor components in BN, minions such as Gerakan and PPP, are crying foul of the BN taiko's new crusading agenda -- shape up or ship out.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS... The Bagan Pinang results are also a false vindication for the Pakatan Rakyat and voters who turned away from BN.

With Isa's landslide win, they can safely say: 'Umno has legitimised corruption'. But don't forget the changing dynamics in bread-and-butter politics.

I have participated in 6 out of 8 by-elections and campaigned for PR in Peninsular Malaysia thus far, and I had been observing. It's a lesson yet-to-be learned by many political hopefuls.

In Bagan Pinang, the candidate was from PAS. I noticed DAP under the leadership of Negeri Sembilan chief Anthony Loke had gone all the way to provide ground support to the local PAS leadership which saw wobbly logistics playing haunt on them throughout the 7-day campaign.

DAP chose a strategic, visible location along the Jalan Pantai trunk road to place its operation centre and bore all the costs incurred for manpower, and campaign essentials. PAS showed its appreciation by having the announcement of the candidate at the DAP Ops Room, and held the finale rally at the same premises.

Causal Campaigners vs Casual Campaigners

However, the same cannot be said of PKR in terms of ground presence and real logistics support. Most PKR leaders relied on the so-called magic of Anwar Ibrahim and offered their oratory skills at the ceramahs. Ground presence and campaign leadership were abundantly absent.

In Bagan Pinang, its a clear case of Causal Campaigners contrasting the Casual Campaigners among the PR component parties that decided the outcome.

Those outstation PR YBs -- we have 82 MPs to count on nationally, and over a couple of hundred of state assembly persons on register -- seemed to think that they don't have to go work the ground to ensure a victory.

A handful of PR YBs used press statements, not even blogs in the digital age, to remotely campaign at large.

Many other PR YBs thought they needed just to show up only during the last laps of the campaign and to squeeze their ways onto the same stage that Anwar speak on the finale super rally -- and steal a camera opportunity or two for good Press.

These free-rider PR YBs had better be prepared for more landslide defeats in their respective homegrounds, far worse than the one we saw in Bagan Pinang yesterday.

Mohd Isa Samad has just proved that there's no replacement for consistent solid legwork on the ground to win the hearts and souls of the electorate.

Whether he made a pile for himself in between the money trains of development, or whether he should unfairly inherit a big stash of victory-guaranteed postal votes is entirely a different matter, though.

For now, PAS has to do some soul-searching to determine if the Hasan Ali factor in Selangor has contributed to the tremendous erosion of support to PR among the non-Malays/non-Muslims alike.

Lord Sri Bhagavan Najib

Isa : Bukan hanya faktor saya kemenangan ini.

Sudha Devi - 'Queen Sheba' heads for Sambaland

Malaysian women diplomats are often an unsung force but behind the scenes, their numbers are growing steadily and more are making it to the top rung as ambassadors.

The latest in the line that traces back to the much often mentioned PG Lim is a Kulim-born economics graduate who will head for the world's fifth largest country and one of the most watched global emerging market.

Meet V Sudha Devi, career diplomat, wife and mother of two teenagers.

Sudha Devi received her letter of appointment from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Oct 7 to replace the retired Ismail Mustapha as Malaysia's ambassador to Brazil which is gearing up to host the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

"I am honoured with the appointment, it's a big trust by the government. I am excited; there will be challenges because Brazil is a big player in Latin America and an emerging economic power in the world," said the 49-year-old envoy who has had postings to Switzerland, Singapore and Germany in her 23 years so far with Wisma Putra.

The first-time ambassador told Bernama her appointment underlined the equal opportunities for women in the Malaysian foreign service, which she joined in 1986 after undergoing the elite Administrative and Diplomatic Corps (PTD) training.

Debunking the perception that a career with Wisma Putra was for single or divorced women, Sudha Devi said there were many like her who had supportive spouses and juggled the job successfully with a family.

"I have my two children with me throughout my foreign postings but I would not have been able to do it without the support of my husband," she said, crediting spouse Art Thamboo, a former journalist turned media practitioner.

The Internet and Skype enabled their children, a son and a daughter, to speak to their father in Kuala Lumpur daily when they were abroad.

Women now make up a third of officers in the ministry and 15 percent of the top posts in over 100 Malaysian missions and consulates worldwide, she added.

Currently, woman envoys are heading missions that include The Hague, Poland, Romania, Vietnam, Senegal and Croatia.

Women have more than doubled

"The number of Malaysian woman ambassadors may seem small compared to those in some countries but this has nothing to do with a lack of opportunities.

"The foreign service here was very much male-dominated before but the number of women have more than doubled since I first came here," said Sudha Devi.

A former student of St Anne's Convent and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sultan Badlishah in Kulim, Sudha Devi takes to her new post a depth in multilateral and bilateral affairs and an economics degree from University Malaya.

"Unlike in the past when politics dominated, economic matters have become a key part of our duties to help boost trade for the country," said Sudha Devi.

For that, she is making it a priority to learn Portuguese, the dominant language in Brazil, to help her network and add to her knowledge of French and German.

Prior to Brazil, she was the deputy director-general of the Malaysian secretariat for Asean.

Sudha Devi had also served as second secretary at the Malaysia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, first secretary at the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore and minister counsellor with the Malaysian Embassy in Berlin.

During one of her home stints, she was dubbed the "Queen of Sheba", a nickname that still tickles her.

"I was handling the African desk for countries south of the Sahara and there were 42 countries, all under my watch," she said.

"But it has been good training, in Wisma, it is all about training. We are taught not only diplomatic skills but to hone our knowledge and adaptability for all kinds of situations," she said.

The Malaysian embassy in Brazil was established in 1981. - Bernama

PAS Accepts Defeat But Questions Postal Votes System

(Bernama) -- PAS has accepted its defeat in the Bagan Pinang state by-election but has named postal votes as a factor for its failure to wrest away the Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold.

PAS vice-president and the party’s Bagan Pinang election director, Salahuddin Ayub, claimed that the party’s loss was caused by the “fear-factor” of gangsterism that made it difficult for the party to reach 13,664 voters in the area.

“PAS accepts the decision but remains committed to striving for a more transparent postal vote system,” he told reporters after the result was announced that BN’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad had defeated PAS’ Zulkefly Omar by a majority of 5,435 votes.

Isa, the former Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar garnered 8,013 votes while Zulkefly, who is the state PAS commissioner had 2,578 votes.

For postal votes, BN had 3,521 votes while PAS had 601 votes from the total postal votes of 4,604 made up of 4,571 military votes and the rest from the police.

Landslide for Isa

UPDATED

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

PORT DICKSON, Oct 11 — Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad has won the Bagan Pinang by-election by a landslide of 5,435 votes, snapping its losing streak in peninsula Malaysia since Election 2008.

The huge margin of victory will give Umno in particular a big boost, which it hopes will mark the party’s revival.

BN retained the Bagan Pinang state seat after Isa polled 8,013 votes to 2,578 votes for Negri Sembilan PAS chief Zulkefly Omar. The margin of victory was more than double BN’s win in last year’s elections.

When met by reporters after his victory was announced, Isa said: “This is a sign of a good beginning, the Chinese, the Indians, and also the Malays are now supporting BN”.

Today’s results will also mark the return of Isa to active politics since his suspension from Umno in 2005.

A mentri besar for 22 years, he left the state administration after the 2004 general elections to become the federal territories minister. But he resigned from the government after he was suspended from Umno for his involvement in vote buying — a widespread practice which the party is trying to curb through a constitutional amendment expected to be passed early next week.

Muhyiddin Yassin (left) congratulates a jubilant Isa. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Early analyses suggest BN won in all polling streams, and wrested back the Indian votes it lost last year. Indian votes were seen as significant because they accounted for 20 per cent of the electorate.

Umno officials say the turnaround suggests Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s intense courtship of Indians contributed to their support for BN here.

The party also made gains in the crucial postal votes from army personnel. Isa took 3,521 postal votes while Zulkefly received just 601 votes. Last year the postal votes tally was 3,080-1,189 in BN’s favour.

Umno will be hoping today’s victory, which was expected, can be the catalyst for the party’s revival of fortunes. The party ran an efficient campaign by rallying around Isa’s popularity in the constituency.

Umno’s party machinery has been energised in anticipation of today’s win and leaders will be hoping this will put it in good stead to stop Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) momentum.

Still, the election of a tainted politician, who won on his personal popularity in a small state seat, is likely to reinforce negative perceptions of Umno nationally. A recent poll by the independent Merdeka Centre showed a majority of voters in peninsular Malaysia did not approve of the candidacy.

With Isa’s win, Umno may find it harder to shake off the image many Malaysians have of them as being tainted by corruption.

But Najib will be hoping that a reenergised Umno and an improving economy will be enough to swing the pendulum back in favour of Umno and BN by the time the next general elections are called.

The second coming of Isa

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider

Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — For Umno, normal service resumed today with Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad’s landslide victory in the Bagan Pinang state seat in Negri Sembilan.

Malaysia’s political behemoth snapped a losing streak that was threatening to continue until the next general elections.

But the party should not view this as a watershed victory.

Umno has owned this seat and Isa, for all the talk about being a corrupt politician, is a saint at home.

In over 20 years as Negri Sembilan mentri besar (MB), he has more than taken care of his constituents.

From development projects to paving roads even in plantations, he has made Port Dickson — where Bagan Pinang is located — Isa Samad territory.

In Negri Sembilan and Port Dickson in particular, Isa has also built a reputation as being one of the most approachable politicians.

Ultimately, Isa’s brand name, and not Umno’s, won the day today.

But the victory was even bigger than Umno could have hoped for.

Taking the seat by such a huge majority means Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) can ride on this wave to stop any further electoral gains by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), which has now found itself facing its own problems of squabbling and an inability to show Malaysians what it can offer.

Yet there are pitfalls to today’s victory.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has been uncanny in his ability to read political signs, has said Isa’s candidacy itself did not speak well of Umno if it was serious about instituting reforms.

Isa had, after all, been found guilty before by his own party for vote-buying.

A recent poll by the independent Merdeka Centre also found that a majority of voters in peninsular Malaysia did not approve of such a tainted candidate.

Nonetheless Isa’s candidacy, being the sure thing that it was right from the beginning, has energised Umno like never before since BN lost its two-thirds majority in Election 2008.

Umno ran an efficient and effective campaign which had been a hallmark of the party before last year.

The campaign anticipated everything PR and PAS could throw at them.

Still, PR politicians had also anticipated the BN victory and had been bracing itself from day one.

Isa’s win will be used against BN and Umno from now on. It will be used to label Umno as a party of corrupt politicians. Umno is also likely to face some upheaval from Isa’s win.

Despite denials at the beginning of the campaign, the pressure will now build towards reinstalling Isa as Negri Sembilan MB.

And the more right-wing elements in Umno which rallied behind Isa will also be on the rise, and that will spell trouble for the reformists in the party.

It is still, for now at least, a win to be cherished by Umno.

Najib wants Malaysia to have best race relations in the world

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

CHERAS, Oct 11 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pitched his “1 Malaysia” concept to Malaysians again today, saying that he hoped it would turn the nation into a highly developed one in terms of race relations.

“If we can focus on improving and strengthening the relationship between the races, Malaysia can become the most successful country in terms of race relations, in comparison with other nations.

“This is my hope because we have a big future ahead of us. Let’s pray that we will continue our cooperation with the 1 Malaysia mindset,” he told a crowd of more than 1,000 gathered for a 1 Malaysia Hari Raya open house at the Sri Melaka flats in Bandar Tun Razak here this evening.

Najib added that the government could not treat lightly the importance of strengthening the relationship between the races for it could turn into a problem that could topple what Barisan Nasional had already built throughout the years.

The “1 Malaysia” concept, he added, was not a new one, but one that was merely rebranded in a bid to continue the efforts of the country’s forefathers.

“It is not a strange concept that I introduced. It is merely a continuation of what our forefathers had already kick-started, dating back to the time of Datuk Onn Jaafar, the founder of Umno; Tunku Abdul Rahman; and even my father Tun Abdul Razak who expanded Parti Perikatan to create the Barisan Nasional that exists today.

“They, too, prioritised the building of national unity as the main pillar of growth to develop the country,” he said.

He said that during the rule of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the nation’s longest-serving premier had created the concept of “Bangsa Malaysia”, which was similar to 1 Malaysia.

“Bangsa Malaysia is not about ‘bangsa Melayu’, ‘bangsa Cina’ or ‘bangsa India’. It is about all,” he said.

Najib also assured the Malay-centric crowd at the open house that he would not be taking the rights of the Malays and distributing them freely to the Chinese and the Indians.

“No, it is not about that. The Malays will get their rights. And the Chinese and the Indians, too, will be given fair consideration for theirs,” he said.

He cited the New Economic Policy as an example of how rights were “fairly distributed”.

“The policy states, for example, that eradication of poverty should be done regardless of race,” he said.

Najib added that if Malaysians could truly understand the concept of “1 Malaysia”, they could embrace their differences and regard it as “unique” instead of a source for problems.

High Chaparral chief livid over apology request - Malaysiakini

kbp17.jpg

kbp18.jpg
Residents of the demolished Kampung Buah Pala today blasted the Penang government of ignoring their plight and neglecting its duties to help them.

Residents association chairperson M Sugumaran said the government is playing games even while negotiating an amicable solution for remaining the 10 households, who have yet to take up any form of compensation.

He said the state government has demanded the 10 to sign and read out an apology letter to the state government at a press conference.

He said the apology to be prepared by the administration was meant for the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (left) and others for what the villagers had said and done during the height of the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco.

He said the government had barred him and four other principal office bearers of the association from entering Level 28 (Lim's office) and Level 52 (Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy's office) in Komtar since last week.

Sugumaran said the other banned were association secretary Joseph Stephen Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj, assistant treasurer I Pasunagi, committee member O Selvaraj.

He said the 10 remaining householders had been told to first see Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer, not Ramasamy as told to the press, to facilitate negotiations.

"This state government is inhumane. It destroyed our homes while we were still living in them and flattened our 200-year-old village.

"Now it wants us to apologise for its wrongdoing," Sugumaran told a press conference at the now uprooted village.

Family squatting under a tree

Kampung Buah Pala was once famously known as Penang's Tamil High Chaparral for its population of Indians, cowherds, cattle, goats, other livestock, unique and lively Indian cultural features and festivities.

It was demolished last month to pave for a lucrative Oasis condominium project undertaken jointly by land owner Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

Sugumaran (right, in blue shirt) accused the current DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government of allowing the demolishment of their houses, leaving them homeless and stranded.

He claimed that a family was now squatting under a tree nearby the village, another taking shelter in an Umno-owned community hall and one more residing in a vacant motor workshop, while the majority of those evicted are now staying in rented homes.

Sugumaran criticised the state government of neglecting its duties in handling the relocation and resettlement issues of the villagers.

He said the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), not the state government, had been helping the villagers in rental payments and search for alternate decent homes.

He pointed out that under the land sales and purchase agreement between the state government and the cooperative society, all issues pertaining to the villagers, including compensation, relocation and resettlement, have to be settled first before the land title could be transferred.

However, he said Chief Minister Lim transferred the land title to the cooperative society within 19 days after coming to power without settling outstanding villagers issue, even until today.

"This is how the DAP government had rewarded us for voting for Pakatan Rakyat in the last general election,' said Sugumaran.

'Who the rightful trustee?'

Pointing to an Oasis project signboard outside the site, he noted that the developer had not stipulated anything about the double-storey houses promised by Lim for the villagers.

The signboard, he said had also stated that the project development plan was approved by the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) when legally it should have been approved by the island council MPPP.

He said the villagers would still pursue their case to determine who the rightful trustee of their land is - if it is the federal or state government, and claim damages for criminal demolition of their properties and broken promises by Pakatan leaders.

He said in its decision on Nov 10 2007, the High Court stated that the state government had failed to disclose any documents or other evidence to show that the federal government had alienated the land to the state's care.

"Thus, if it is under the federal government's trust, how could the state government sell the land to a cooperative and allow a joint venture private development project?" he said.

He called the former Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon (left) and Lim to hold the much-anticipated live televised debate to enable the public to know the truth behind the scam.

He said a document issued by the state land office revealed that the village land title had contained several restrictions on any future development plan.

"Who gave approval to by-pass these restrictions? A Koh v Lim open debate will reveal all these," he said.