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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

High court accepts Guantanamo Uyghur case

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court tentatively agreed Tuesday to accept an appeal from a group of native Chinese Muslims who had asked to be released into the United States from American military custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In February, demonstrators in Washington protest the detention of Uyghurs at Guantanamo.

In February, demonstrators in Washington protest the detention of Uyghurs at Guantanamo.

The case may soon dissolve, however, because nearly all the men have been or are expected to soon be sent voluntarily to other nations.

The Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed in recent weeks to take in 12 of the 13 remaining prisoners, U.S. officials have said. Only one man, Arkin Mahmud, is likely to remain held indefinitely at the U.S. naval station at Guantanamo Bay. His lawyer told the Washington Post the man has mental health problems that cannot be treated in the tiny country. Mahmud's brother is among those headed to Palau.

The men are Uyghurs, an ethnic group from western China. They were accused of receiving weapons and military training in Afghanistan. Some of them have been cleared for release since 2003 and several other Uyghurs have been released to other countries. The United States said it would not send them back to their homeland because of concern they would be tortured by Chinese authorities.

The Chinese government has said no returned Uyghurs would be mistreated and has repeatedly warned other countries against taking the men. Beijing officials this summer again urged the United States to hand over all remaining Uyghurs instead of sending them elsewhere.

China alleges the men are part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a group the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist organization, that operates in the Xinjiang region. East Turkestan is another name for Xinjiang.

Eight Uyghurs are a party to the pending appeal with the Supreme Court. In a September 23 letter to the court, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the administration's top attorney in high court matters, said the U.S. government "has every reason to believe that at least six of the [Uyghur] petitioners shortly will be resettled in Palau, although it is impossible to be certain until they actually board the plane."

Kagan had said the initial transfer would happen by October 3.

Among the lead Uyghur plaintiffs is Hazaifa Parhat, accused of attending a terror training camp in Afghanistan at the time of the September 11, 2001, attacks. He denies the charge.

A federal judge in October 2008 ordered the Uyghurs released inside the United States because they were no longer considered "enemy combatants." U.S. District Judge Richard Urbina had said further imprisonment "crossed the constitutional threshold into infinitum."

U.S. military hearings known as combatant status review tribunals determine whether a prisoner can be designated an "enemy combatant," and prosecuted by the military. Some legal and military analysts have likened them to civilian grand jury proceedings.

The Bush administration appealed that decision in its final days, and a federal appeals panel ruled in February there was no legal or constitutional authority for the prisoners to be immediately freed on U.S. soil, even though they were unlawfully detained and no countries at the time were willing to accept them. The Uyghurs then asked the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Obama administration officials have said privately they were unwilling to launch a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court on the detainee issue. The Obama Justice Department has concentrated on the negotiations with Palau.

Lawyers for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is representing the Uyghurs in court, said the men pose no terror threat and could have been released into a Muslim community in the United States until their cases were resolved.

If the Uyghurs all find new homes outside U.S. borders, the former prisoners would no longer have standing to challenge their former enemy combatant status and detention in federal court. The high court then would likely dismiss the appeal at the urging of the government, leaving the larger constitutional issues unresolved.

Bermuda in June accepted four of the Uyghurs, after quiet negotiations with U.S. officials.

"I am no terrorist, I have not been terrorist, I will never be terrorist. I am a peaceful person," said one of those four, Kheleel Mamut, in a June 12 interview with CNN on the Atlantic Ocean island.

Albania accepted five Uyghur prisoners in 2006, but has refused to allow any more in the country. Human rights activists say the European nation is concerned about economic and diplomatic retaliation from China.

Any final decision on the Uyghurs by the high court could have implications for other Guantanamo prisoners. The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that detainees can go to federal court to contest their imprisonment, but that civilian judges lack the authority to order them freed.

In addition to the Uyghurs, more than 200 prisoners, many of them suspected terrorists, remain in the detention facility. Approximately two-thirds have appealed their continued imprisonment and have complained the government is unfairly keeping them from finding out if any evidence exists that could clear them.

Many fear arrest, physical abuse or persecution if they are sent to their homelands, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The Justice Department over the weekend announced three detainees would be sent with their approval to Yemen and Ireland.

Efforts to find places for the detainees have been stepped up since President Obama announced he would close the military prison at Guantanamo in coming months.

Deadly train collision in India

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- At least nine people died and 15 were injured as two major passengers trains collided in northern India on Wednesday, a railway official said.

Rescue operations were under way, said Anant Swaroop, spokesman for India's northern railway, and officials feared the death toll would climb. It was not immediately clear how many people were trapped in the wreckage.

The Goa Express slammed into the stationary Mewar Express early Wednesday in the city of Mathura. Bodies were pulled out from a wrecked car of the Mewar Express, said Aditya Verma, a senior police official in Mathura. The car had a special compartment for women, disabled passengers, cargo and train guards, he said.

The Goa Express, bound for New Delhi from the western coastal state of Goa, was apparently running on the same track as the Mewar, which shuttles between New Delhi and Udaipur, in western Rajasthan state. Both trains have stops in Mathura.

A witness told CNN's sister station CNN-IBN that the driver of the Goa Express changed tracks at the last minute. Another witness described the massive thud when the trains collided and passengers on upper berths came flying down.

Pua asks MACC to probe auditor-general's findings

Deepavali Misson: 2 year reflection on Indian Situation (Malaysiatoday)

By Vetrivel

The 2007 Deepavali was among the most heart-wrenching for the Indians in Malaysia. Just a few days earlier, a Temple was demolished in Padang Jawa in Shah Alam and Hindraf was giving its maiden speech & gatherings all over Malaysia.

Sms-es were flying not on Deepavali wishes but on the inauspicious behaviour of UMNO and the temple-breaking as well as the UMNO AGM on November 8th which was on Deepavali 2007. This was also added with the excitement of the Bersih Rally on the 10th which was viewed with interest by Indians all over Malaysia over the Internet with guests as well as family members. During this Deepavali, we heard and saw Khairy calling those on the streets “Beruk” and Badawi challenging the people on the street “Jangan cabar saya!”.

The Bersih event created more enthusiasm among the Indians who were already in a boiling state of anger when Hindraf came into view by daringly Challenging the Goverment! Headlines were splashed with pictures of lawyers who dared the goverment and were suing for hundreds of Millions of ringgit including the landmark case of a Trillion dollar class action suit against the British goverment.

These were events the Indians had never seen before. Never have the Indians dared to speak up and challenge the goverment. Election after election for over 50 years, they religiously voted the BN as incumbent goverment. Since 1990 all MIC candidates got 100% success in all elections except the Lunas by-election. All this was about to change.

Within 2 weeks from Deepavali, the Indians were on the street in amazing numbers. Buses were stopped as far as Penang and JB. People were checked from car to car, phones were confisticated and their sms checked. Even hotels were instructed not to let rooms to Indians during the rally of november 25th. It was akin to being harrassed just for being Indian. How the government of the day was able to declare enemy on its own citizens is bewildering!

25th Nov was even stranger, seeing so many Indians willing to break their shackles and daring to break rules and even face jail by attending the Rally. It was amazing seeing Indians in large numbers and even more amazing seeing the Government create a warzone by pelting 30000 people (conservative figure) with tear gas cannisters.

CDs were made of this incident - recordings, statements. An unheard of record number of court cases and trumped up charges were brought on the people. The lawyers went into ISA while another is in UK to date.

The momentum created from the Deepavali of 2007 took 50 years to build and explode! It did not stop there, the Indians voted in Bulk and March 8th happened as Malaysia took a Giant leap forward.

There were many Rallies in between and with the leaders in ISA the momentum and energy of the people focused on Opposition parties. The coordinators of Hindraf did not prepare for such a large scale involvement of Indians and hence no blueprint to carry forward the people in the right direction from then on. The group was rigid on its 18 points demand rather than use the dynamism which was created to chart a future for the Indians. This was one BIG opportunity wasted.

Badawi took an iron fist role to deal with the Indians with children arrested and defiant people charged when bringing cards as well as flowers.

But 2 years later, we see Najib taking a subtle path compared to Badawi. His soft spoken tendencies and 1Malaysia policy to recover lost ground may be luring the Indians into a false sense of complacency. Nevertheless, Najib could win the heart of Indians where Badawi failed.

We also see Hindraf in a different light with each of the 5 leaders heading into different directions. Accusations of one of them being an undercover Special Branch Officer still looms large. The HRP was born from these events. The coordinators have also moved on their own path. Some even to chart glory by associating with the very BN government they had originally opposed! In fact, the Makkal Sakthi cry has been sabotaged to be the name of a political party by none other than Hindraf ex-coordinator, Thanenthiran. Time has proven leaders are willing to sacrifice on their principles and Thanenthiran will be remembered forever for this.

We can also see that things have not changed much since 2 Deepavalis ago. UMNO has not learned much though it claims so. How else do we figure out the Hari Raya Open House organized on a Deepavali weekend? MIC has learnt nothing from these incidents though they were thrashed badly in elections. Samy Vellu still continues at the Helm.

Apart from these, the Indians have learnt to vote in bulk. BN gained the most from this. This was apparent in Bagan Pinang but the MACC should probe on the admission of voters who claim to have received RM500 and sarees for Deepavali.

Promises for schools remain to be seen.

So have the Indians really returned to the BN fold within 2 years or do we have to wait another 50 years to see another revolution of sorts to show Ketuanan Rakyat?

Will Pakatan Rakyat take cue and be the savior the Indians hope for?

hindraf-wter1

Thai expert says Teoh’s death ‘80pc’ homicide

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand told the Coroner’s Court this morning that there was an 80 per cent probability that Teoh Beng Hock’s death was a homicide and not suicide, and suggested that some of his injuries were sustained before his fatal fall.

She said that Teoh’s injuries showed he could have been strangled and that he sustained anal penetration before he fell to his death earlier this year.

The stunning testimony made by the pathologist, who gained prominence from her work on identifying Tsunami victims and in the recent death of Hollywood star David Carradine, appeared to suggest Teoh was assaulted before his death.

Using a graphics presentation, she told the court that not all the injuries sustained by Teoh were consistent with that of a fall.

The skull fracture on Teoh’s head, she said, was not typical of an injury from a fall, but more compatible from blunt force applied directly to the skull.

She also noted round marks on Teoh’s neck which could mean “manual strangulation” with fingers.

She said that her assessment was based on Teoh’s autopsy report and from photographs taken at the site where his body was found.

Dr Pornthip was engaged as an expert witness by the Selangor state government.

Earlier she told the court that she had conducted over 10,000 autopsies in her career, of which more than 100 dealt with fatal falls from high places.

Najib considers change in way Cabinet is selected

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — When Datuk Seri Najib Razak reviews the performance of his Cabinet in November, one of the trademark features of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government could be tested: The allocation of positions along party, racial and geographical lines.

Government sources told The Malaysian Insider the prime minister is seriously considering revamping the main criteria used in selecting ministers and deputy ministers.

For as long as BN has governed, prime ministers have based their selection of ministers on the seniority of BN component parties, the number of seats held by a party in Parliament, and based on a racial and geographical breakdown.

Implicit was the belief that all component parties should be rewarded, regardless of the performance and track record of its ministers and deputy ministers in previous administrations.

So this has meant that MCA could always count on having four ministerial positions and a clutch of deputy ministerships while MIC and Gerakan were guaranteed at least one senior Cabinet post.

Traditionally, the Health and Transport Ministries have been the purview of MCA. The lion’s share of Cabinet positions has been given to Umno.

But officials and Umno insiders said that Najib believes the main consideration of an appointment as minister and deputy minister should be an elected representative’s track record of service and his or her ability to deliver on the promises of the Najib administration.

The PM believes that he would be limiting himself if he continues to be hamstrung by the old criteria, especially given the weak state of the MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP.

Najib is considering selecting his Cabinet based on performance. — file pic

All these BN parties have two things in common: they are in the midst of debilitating political infighting and can no longer say they command the support of their constituencies.

So if these parties do not resolve their issues quickly and reconnect with their communities, there is a possibility that they may end up with fewer positions in Cabinet.

Najib’s rethink on a new approach also comes at a time when Sabah and Sarawak BN parties are demanding more recognition consistent with their greater political pull.

If Najib goes ahead and uses these new criteria in selecting ministers and deputy ministers, the big winner could be Umno.

The reason being, while race may no longer be the main criteria used for selection as ministers or deputy ministers, the ruling party is the most stable in the BN stable.

Sources have said there will not be wholesale changes made in November, just minor tweaks.

They also caution that best intentions can be overridden by political realities, noting that Najib initially pencilled a slimmed down Cabinet in April but changed his mind after being lobbied vigorously by politicians, royalty and other vested parties.

Putrajaya mulls Canberra’s appeal on boat people

JAKARTA, Oct 21 — Putrajaya will study Canberra’s request to tighten immigration controls and issuance of visas to prevent human trafficking and the problem of boat people, after 260 Sri Lankans recently pushed off for Australia from Malaysia but were now being held in Indonesia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd made the request during their bilateral meeting after the inauguration of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yodhoyono here. Rudd also made the same request to Indonesia and Singapore.

“The meeting was convened upon Rudd’s request. He also expressed his satisfaction with the good bilateral ties between our two countries,” Najib said at a press conference with the Malaysian media.

Specifically, Najib said, Rudd had raised several issues including Australia’s concern about the problem of boat people, who were using Malaysia their transit point before making their way illegally into Australia.

A recent example, he said, was concerning a group of Sri Lankan boat people who entered Malaysia on their way to Australia, but ended being detained by the Indonesian authorities.

The Sri Lankans have threatened to burn their boat to prevent further detention. Indonesian navy have detained several Indonesian crewmen from the boat and a few Sri Lankans identified as people smugglers by the Australians.

Najib said among the preventive measures that could be considered by Malaysia were an increase in the number of immigration officers at certain countries, who would scrutinise visa applications to Malaysia, so that tourism and human trafficking activities could be clearly ascertained.

The prime minister said it was learnt that the human trafficking activities had become rampant because of the handsome profit, as the traffickers would charge between US$15,000 and US$20,000 (RM51,000 to RM68,000) for each Sri Lankan who wanted to enter Australia.

“This is also linked to Sri Lanka’s internal stability. If the Sri Lankan government can assure that the Tamils there can integrate in the country’s development, the possibility of them becoming boat people will be reduced,” he said.

Watch the video clip in this link:-

http://athirvu.com/refugee.asx

20-point agreement between Sabah and Malaya

Image

Now that 16 September, Malaysia Day, has been declared a public holiday from next year, let’s take it the next step and see what the 20-Point Agreement is all about, which has been a sore point for Sabah for a long time now, although Sarawak does not appear to be too flustered about it’s 18-Point Agreement.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Separate but equal

THE establishment of Malaysia was much like a marriage. Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak entered into matrimony on 16 Sept 1963. Indonesia and the Philippines spoke out against the union instead of forever holding their peace.

Despite the opposition, the four regions pledged unity as a single, sovereign federation, promising to be faithful and equal partners in good times and in bad, in joy and in sorrow.

And they lived happily ever after.

Or didn’t.

Fast forward 45 years after the union. Singapore has, since 1965, seceded from Malaysia. The relationship between Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak is no longer sacrosanct, a marriage rocked with broken promises. The East Malaysian states have “descended” in ranks to become no more than a wronged spouse in an unfortunate union, with West Malaysia enjoying political supremacy and socio-economic advantage.

“Sarawak and Sabah feel that we have been sidelined. There is still that uneasy feeling [that begs us to question], ‘Are we really part of the three regions (i.e. Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak)?’” says Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Datuk Seri Dr James Jemut Masing.

With the political events that have swept the nation, that bleak situation might change. As a result of the 8 March 2008 elections, Sabah and Sarawak’s support have become particularly important to the survival of the Barisan Nasional (BN). The East Malaysian states have once more found leverage, just as they did in 1963, when they were wooed to join the federation of Malaya to form Malaysia. Then, it was so that their native populations would provide a counterweight to Singapore’s predominately Chinese population.

“I would like to emphasise that Sabah and Sarawak are two of the most critical partners of Malaysia. And 8 March shows, we cannot ignore that. You cannot ignore us,” Masing says in a phone interview.

Political observers say the key to cultivating unity between East and West Malaysia is to overcome the national historical amnesia about Sabah and Sarawak’s equal partnership in the federation. The two states’ cultural and religious autonomy must also be respected.

“To foster unity, we must recognise that there are three regions in Malaysia. Not two out of the 14 states. If we understand that, I think a closer relationship can be built much faster,” Masing says.

Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who is president of United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko), and a former chief minister of Sabah, concurs.

If we want national unity, “it must not be artificial — you know, singing this song or that song... it should be more practical, [such as] settling grouses and changing the people’s mindsets.

“There is still this perception that Malaysia refers specifically to the peninsula. When I tell people in Semenanjung that I am going back to Sabah, they ask me when I am coming back to Malaysia. The mindset that Sabah [and Sarawak] is an addendum to Malaysia must change,” he tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview.

http://www.thenutgraph.com/separate-but-equal

****************************************

According Prof. Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Sabah and Sarawak cannot withdraw from the Federation. He iterated that joining a federation is irrevocable. See Point #7 of Sabah 20-point agreement prior to formation of Malaysia.

Former Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Supreme Council member, Dr Chong Eng Leong stressed that Sabah and Sarawak are supposed to be equal partners in the Federation when the two states agreed to FORM Malaysia. To correct the fact, Sabah and Sarawak NEVER JOINED Malaya. Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak consented to form a new Federation called Malaysia in September 16, 1963.

Prof. Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi did suggest that the only way for Sabah and Sarawak to drop out of Malaysia is to be expelled, just like what happen to Singapore.

However, I do agreed with Prof. Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi who is from the Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) when he stated that Sabah Immigration Law was undermined by the influx of illegal immigrants to Sabah. "It has been undermined by closing one eye, two eyes, three eyes, all three eyes. It is clear for everyone to see like an elephant in the sitting-room." He indirectly said that Sabahan are too generous to the illegal immigrants while the federal government have couldn't-care-less attitude to enforce the immigration law in Sabah.

http://malaysiadigest.blogspot.com/2008/09/no-way-for-sabah-and-sarawak-to-leave.html

********************************************

The 20-point agreement, or the 20-point memorandum, is an agreement made between the state of Sabah (then North Borneo) with what would be the federal government of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia in September 16, 1963. A similar agreement was made between the state of Sarawak and the federal government but with certain differences in their 18-point agreement.

History

The agreement was written for the main purpose of safeguarding the interests, rights, and the autonomy of the people of Sabah upon the formation of the federation of Malaysia. It was originally envisaged that Sabah be one of the four entities in the federation, the others being Malaya, Singapore, and Sarawak. However as times passed, Sabah and Sarawak has ended up being merely one of the 13 states in the federation.

The position today

There has been numerous calls for the agreement to be reviewed to take into account social, economic, and political changes over time.

The agreement

Point 1: Religion

While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo.

Point 2: Language

a. Malay should be the national language of the Federation.

b. English should continue to be used for a period of 10 years after Malaysia Day.

c. English should be an official language of North Borneo for all purposes, State or Federal, without limitation of time.

Point 3: Constitution

Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances. A new Constitution for North Borneo (Sabah) was of course essential.

Point 4: Head of Federation

The Head of State in North Borneo should not be eligible for election as Head of the Federation.

Point 5: Name of Federation

“Malaysia” but not “Melayu Raya”.

Point 6: Immigration

Control over immigration into any part of Malaysia from outside should rest with the Central Government but entry into North Borneo should also require the approval of the State Government. The Federal Government should not be able to veto the entry of persons into North Borneo for State Government purposes except on strictly security grounds. North Borneo should have unfettered control over the movements of persons other than those in Federal Government employ from other parts of Malaysia into North Borneo.

Point 7: Right of Secession

There should be no right to secede from the Federation.

Point 8: Borneanisation

Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.

Point 9: British Officers

Every effort should be made to encourage British Officers to remain in the public service until their places can be taken by suitably qualified people from North Borneo.

Point 10: Citizenship

The recommendation in paragraph 148(k) of the Report of the Cobbold Commission should govern the citizenship rights in the Federation of North Borneo subject to the following amendments:

a) sub-paragraph (i) should not contain the proviso as to five years residence.

b) in order to tie up with our law, sub-paragraph (ii)(a) should read “7 out of 10 years” instead of “8 out of 10 years”.

c) sub-paragraph (iii) should not contain any restriction tied to the citizenship of parents – a person born in North Borneo after Malaysia must be federal citizen.

Point 11: Tariffs and Finance

North Borneo should retain control of its own finance, development and tariff, and should have the right to work up its own taxation and to raise loans on its own credit.

Point 12: Special position of indigenous races

In principle, the indigenous races of North Borneo should enjoy special rights analogous to those enjoyed by Malays in Malaya, but the present Malays’ formula in this regard is not necessarily applicable in North Borneo.

Point 13: State Government

a) the Prime Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council.

b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo.

Point 14: Transitional period

This should be seven years and during such period legislative power must be left with the State of North Borneo by the Constitution and not be merely delegated to the State Government by the Federal Government.

Point 15: Education

The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control.

Point 16: Constitutional safeguards

No amendment modification or withdrawal of any special safeguard granted to North Borneo should be made by the Central Government without the positive concurrence of the Government of the State of North Borneo.

The power of amending the Constitution of the State of North Borneo should belong exclusively to the people in the state. (Note: The United Party, The Democratic Party and the Pasok Momogun Party considered that a three-fourth majority would be required in order to effect any amendment to the Federal and State Constitutions whereas the UNKO and USNO considered a two-thirds majority would be sufficient).

Point 17: Representation in Federal Parliament

This should take account not only of the population of North Borneo but also of its seize and potentialities and in any case should not be less than that of Singapore.

Point 18: Name of Head of State

Yang di-Pertua Negara.

Point 19: Name of State

Sabah.

Point 20: Land, Forests, Local Government, etc.

The provisions in the Constitution of the Federation in respect of the powers of the National Land Council should not apply in North Borneo. Likewise, the National Council for Local Government should not apply in North Borneo.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/20-point_agreement_%28Sabah%29

Lessons from Manohara

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com


Beware the big bad wolf (Ralf Kraft / Dreamstime)
BACK in May and June this year, the story of Indonesian teen model Manohara Odelia Pinot and her escape from her Kelantanese prince husband dominated headlines for its sensationalism and high drama. Who could resist a real-life soap opera with allegations of mental and physical abuse by a prince on his 17-year-old bride?

Beyond the drama, it was also possibly the first time that many, especially non-Muslims, learnt that under syariah law, a husband could order his wife to return to him. This was what Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Sultan Ismail Petra, 31, did on 5 July 2009, asking Manohara to be loyal to him and to repay a debt of RM972,750, which he later revised to over RM1 million.

More importantly, what was not revealed in the media scripts about a teenage beauty escaping from the clutches of a purportedly evil prince was that beyond Manohara, a particular trend has been developing in syariah law. The number of applications for "perintah kembali taat" by husbands against wives has been on the increase in recent years, observes syariah lawyer Saadiah Din. And wives who don't return to their husbands within a stipulated time can be declared nusyuz by the syariah court. In Bahasa Malaysia, nushuz is translated as derhaka: disloyal, rebellious or treacherous.

Safeguard for husbands

Once a little-known application in Islamic law, more men are requesting the syariah courts for such an order to forestall the consequences of a subsequent divorce.

While Saadiah points out that it is illogical to demand loyalty from a wife who has valid reasons to leave her marriage, Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association (PGSM) deputy president Musa Awang says it is necessary as a safeguard for husbands.

He concurs with Saadiah's observation that the number of perintah kembali applications has increased. Although no statistics are available, he says they have grown since 2005, owing to greater awareness among men about the law. Some in the syariah legal community have in fact made concerted efforts to promote the application, he adds. This, Musa says, was in response to complaints by men who were separated from their wives for a lengthy period until their divorces were finalised.


Manohara
Without a nusyuz declaration, should the divorce take place many years after the estrangement, the husband would still have to pay nafkah or maintenance for the interim period of separation. Conversely, a nusyuz wife would not be entitled to receive maintenance. And if the couple divorces eventually, the wife forfeits her right to receive the backlog of nafkah from the time she was declared nusyuz until the divorce is finalised. An unrepentant wife can also be punished with a fine for disobeying her husband under the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984.

Islamic law stipulates that a wife is nusyuz under the following circumstances: when she withholds her association with her husband; when she leaves her husband's home against his will; or when she refuses to move with him to another home. A wife ceases to be nusyuz once she repents and obeys her husband.

These circumstances are identical under Section 59 of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984, and Section 60 of Selangor's Islamic Family Law enactment. In both laws, the clear benefit for a man to have a nusyuz wife is that he is exempted from paying his wife's maintenance for so long as she holds that status.

Musa says this is a "safeguard" for husbands until divorce is finalised, especially if wives have dishonest reasons for leaving a marriage. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) president Zaid Kamaruddin agrees with Musa that the law on nusyuz should be maintained because obedience is "part and parcel" of Islamic marriage.

Un-Islamic?

Saadiah, however, argues that forcing someone to be loyal to another is un-Islamic. "I usually decline clients who want to file for perintah kembali," Saadiah tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview. "I believe nusyuz should be repealed from enactments because the idea of forcing someone is un-Islamic."

In most cases, if a wife has reached the point of leaving her husband, there would be little to compel her to remain married. Saadiah cites domestic violence or a man's unfaithfulness as legitimate reasons for a wife to leave a marriage.

Perintah kembali and nusyuz can also be abused by husbands to shortchange wives who are survivors of domestic violence, Saadiah notes. Women who cannot immediately afford to hire a lawyer may move out of the marital home first, and it is while they are looking for legal aid that the husbands file to demand their loyalty, she adds.

But Musa argues that under the law, the syariah courts will not declare a wife nusyuz if she has valid reasons and presents these in court. These include being abused, being denied her dues as a wife as required under Islamic law, or if the husband becomes polygamous without her permission.


Zaid Kamaruddin
Adds JIM's Zaid: "The husband's responsibility is to provide nafkah; and on the wife's part, she is to be obedient. But it is conditional obedience according to other laws in Islam. If she says she is abused, she must prove it."

Responding to Saadiah's contention that nusyuz declarations ought to be abolished, Musa says, "The wife will get her chance to defend herself and make counter-claims. The court will not declare nusyuz right away upon the husband's application." In most defences by wives, a divorce application is included, he notes.

Musa also claims that more often than not, the court rejects the husband's perintah kembali application and does not issue a nusyuz declaration on the wife. "In about 60% of cases, the wife has reasonable grounds to leave the marriage," Musa admits. He says a declaration is usually issued when the court hears the husband's application and the wife is absent in court despite being summoned.

Shared responsibility missing

But apart from the fact that the syariah courts in Malaysia have been ever so slow in dispensing justice to Muslim women, a larger problem prevails. Sisters in Islam legal officer Nazreen Nizam notes that the shared responsibility for a marriage is not reflected in the law when it comes to nusyuz, even though the Quran addresses circumstances where husbands are nusyuz, too.

Justice should also be in the text of the law, and not just at the court's discretion, argues Nazreen, who also supports the abolishment of the clauses on nusyuz for wives.

"It is not enough to say that the court will allow the wife to give her defence," she says. "Why does the law only address nusyuz for the wife and not for the husband? The Quran talks about the husband being nusyuz and lays responsibility for a marriage on both parties; so in the law, he should be equally liable to nusyuz."


Musa Awang
While Musa contends that a nusyuz declaration only affects nafkah and not the woman's right to custody and matrimonial property after the divorce, Nazreen paints a different picture. A nusyuz wife can affect the court's perception when deciding the division of assets, she says. "It stigmatises the woman and has bearing on the court's decision."

As such, a nusyuz wife, if she fails in her defence against her husband's perintah kembali order, is victimised a second time if the court's judgement on the divorce is coloured by her status.

Tengku Fakhry's application for Manohara to return to him is expected to be heard later this year in 2009, according to news reports. Separately, in the civil court, the prince has also sued his wife and her mother for RM105 million for defamation.

The truth about Manohara's claims aside, her riveting tale has highlighted an application under Islamic law that is gaining in popularity among Muslim men. And perhaps more critical than the story of a young beauty escaping her prince is the problematic application for nusyuz in Malaysia — no less, it would seem, because of its selective interpretation of the Quran.

“Dr Death” drops bombshells at Teoh inquest

Thailand’s most senior forensic pathologist, the reknown Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, has dropped some bombshells at the Teoh Beng Hock inquest this morning.

Dr._Porntip_day_1_DSC00965

Dr Pornthip is the Director of the Forensic Science Institute, Ministry of Justice, in Bangkok - Photo credit: thaitsunamihelp.org

This is the latest via Twitter from Malaysian Insider:

  • Court allows Dr Pornthip to examine Teoh’s shoes to confirm her hypothesis that he was dragged before falling to death.
  • Coroner’s court breaks for lunch and will resume at 2pm.
  • DPP Kevin Morais, acting for the MACC, asks Dr Pornthip to clarify definition of strangulation.
  • Dr Pornthip says Teoh’s death is 80pct homicide and 20pct suicide.
  • Dr Pornthip confirms that Teoh was alive when he hit the ground but may have been unconscious even before falling.
  • Dr Pornthip says skull fracture not typical of injury from fall but more compatible from blunt force applied directly to the skull.
  • Dr Pornthip notes round marks on Teoh’s neck could mean ‘manual strangulation’ with fingers.
  • Dr Pornthip says injury to Teoh’s anus caused by penetration with object before fall, based on pictures taken from death site.
  • Dr Pornthip gives a graphic power point display based on a post-mortem pictures to show & explain Teoh’s injuries.
  • Dr Pornthip tells court not all injuries on Teoh’s body consistent with fall from a height.
  • Dr Pornthip explains her views are based on Teoh’s autopsy report.
  • Questioned by Malik, Dr Pornthip says Teoh died from a fall about 6am to 8am on July 16, 2009.
  • Dr Pornthip tells court she has conducted more than 10,000 autopsies, of which about 100 dealt with fatal falls from a high place.
  • Court resumes with Dr Pornthip taking oath at witness box.
  • Teoh Beng Hock’s parents, elder brother & younger sister in court to hear Dr Pornthip’s testimony.
  • Court stands down until 10.15am to set up equipment for Dr Pornthip’s evidence, expected to last an hour.
  • Selangor lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar introduces Dr Pornthip as expert witness for the inquest.
  • AG’s lawyer Tan Hock Chuan introduces UKM forensic chief Prof Shahrom Abd Wahid to sit in for back-up explanation.
  • Court sets up projector system in front of witness box for evidence from Dr Pornthip.
  • The Selangor government has engaged Dr Pornthip to testify as expert witness.
  • Famous Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand to testify today. She worked on Asian Tsunami victims & David Carradine’s death.
  • Coroner’s court resumes hearing on Teoh Beng Hock’s death today.

Exploring new rights and responsibilities

The Star
Comment by Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi

The newly-amended Universities and University Colleges Act is to provide students with more political space, but they are still prohibited from joining any political party and unlawful organisation.

DISCIPLINARY proceedings are reported to be pending at the Universiti Malaya (UM) against eight students who invited MCA and DAP politicians for a debate at the university without the prior permission of university authorities.

The UM cases are bound to test the extent and efficacy of the much-heralded amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act passed by Parliament early this year.

One of the aims of the new law is to provide students with more political space, to trust them with more freedoms and to balance the might of university authorities with the right of university students.

Freedom of association: prior to the 2009 amendments, students were banned from joining any organisation outside or inside the university without the university’s prior permission. Under the new Sections 15(1) and (2) students are now entitled, individually and in groups, to “become a member of any society, organisation, body or group of persons” without the need for prior permission from anyone.

Hundreds of social, youth, human rights, consumer and women’s organisations and NGOs, whether national or international, are now within the reach of our students. However, this right to associate is subject to three exceptions.

Students are still prohibited from joining:

a) any political party;

b) any unlawful organisation; and

any organisation, body or group of persons which the minister has specified in writing to the vice-chancellor to be unsuitable for the interests and well-being of the students or the university.

Previously every affiliation was prohibited unless it was explicitly permitted; now every affiliation is permitted unless it is explicitly prohibited. A sea-change in the law has indeed taken place.

Serving politicians and working adults who enrol at universities to further their education may seek exemption from the vice-chancellor to be allowed to continue their political affiliation: Section 15(4).

Freedom of speech: the scope of freedom of speech has been expanded greatly. Previously students were forbidden from expressing any support for, sympathy with or opposition to any political party.

Under the new Section 15(6), students can make statements on any academic matter on which they are engaged in study or research. They can express themselves freely at seminars, symposiums or similar occasions, provided such occasions are not organised by the three categories of organisations listed in Sections 15(1) and (5).

Members of the committee who drafted the proposals for the minister were of the view that the new Section 15(6) was broad enough to permit student interaction with politicians and political parties on academic occasions.

Unfortunately, there is an omission in the law in that there is no express mention of who should do the inviting of outsiders for such academic occasions. Can the newly empowered students act on their own initiative, or must the invitation come from university authorities? This issue is at the heart of the proceedings at the UM.

We have to look to the internal statutes, rules and regulations of each university.

It is reasonable to argue that as universities are owners of their premises, they have a right to determine who is licensed to enter or not. They have a right to enforce public order and security requirements.

However, unlike private owners of land, universities are public bodies and must, therefore, use their discretion legally and act in good faith. They have a duty under Article 8 of the Constitution to treat everyone equally and to be impartial in granting or refusing permission to student invitees.

Any breach of this duty is likely to result in judicial review. For this reason, it is advisable for all universities to draw up clear guidelines for handling student invitations to luminaries from outside the campus.

Suspension of student organisations: previously, vice-chancellors had wide and summary powers to suspend or dissolve student organisations.

Now, suspension or dissolution of a student organisation must be preceded by a prior hearing: Section 16(1). Appeal to the minister against the VC’s decision is allowed: Section 16(2).

Decriminalisation: previously if a student violated any provision of AUKU, jail sentences and fines were in place. The amendments decriminalised the offence by removing all criminal penalties and substituting them with disciplinary measures by the university.

No automatic suspension or dismissal: AUKU 2009 removes the provisions for mandatory, automatic suspension or expulsion of a student who is charged with a criminal offence, convicted of an offence, or detained or restricted under preventive detention or restricted residence laws.

The university is given discretion to handle these cases as it sees fit, depending on whether the offence is a serious, “registrable” criminal offence or a minor offence unrelated to academic character: Section 15D.

Right to education: the new law recognises that education is a citizen’s fundamental right.

Students detained under preventive detention laws are not automatically dismissed from the university. They may, with the permission of the home minister and the university senate, take their examination at the detention centre: Section 15D(4).

A student acquitted of a charge in a court of law, released from a detention order or has served out his sentence has a right to return to the university, and his absence through suspension cannot be taken into account in calculating the maximum period he is allowed to complete his studies: Sections 15D(7) and 15D(8).

If a student is suspended or excluded from a public university, he has a right to enrol in a private institution. Alternatively he may, with the permission of the minister, enrol in another public university: Section 15D.

The university’s power to revoke a former student’s degree or diploma has been greatly narrowed down and subjected to procedural safeguards for the student concerned.

New disciplinary procedures: the new law provides for oral or written representation, the right to be represented by others, and the right to appeal to the board.

Strict time limits are imposed on disciplinary authorities to complete hearings and communicate their decisions to students expeditiously, so that students can get on with their lives: Section 16B.

It is clear, therefore, that the new law seeks to enhance students’ freedoms and rights. Whether it will actually usher in an era of more open campuses will depend on how far rights are exercised with restraint, and how far university authorities are willing to accommodate the spirit of the law.

Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor at UiTM and Visiting Professor at USM.

EU Fails To Agree Climate Funds, India Seeks Aid


Sweden's Finance Minister Anders Borg at the Guildhall in the City of London September 4, 2009. Talks on a new U.N. climate deal stumbled on Tuesday when European Union finance ministers failed to agree funds for poor countries and India reiterated demands for aid to help curb its emissions. REUTERS/Chris Ratcliffe/Pool/Files
By Pete Harrison and Marcin Grajewski

LUXEMBOURG, Oct 21 (Reuters) -- Talks on a new U.N. climate deal stumbled on Tuesday when European Union finance ministers failed to agree funds for poor countries and India reiterated demands for aid to help curb its emissions.

An impasse among finance ministers from the 27-nation EU means the issue of EU aid to developing countries - a sticking point in talks on a U.N. pact to fight global warming due in December - will be passed on to an EU summit on Oct. 29 and 30.

"It is a disappointing outcome," Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg, whose country holds the 27-country bloc's presidency until the end of the year, told reporters after talks failed in Luxembourg.

Nine of Europe's poorer countries, led by Poland, demanded their own economic circumstances be taken into account before the EU agrees up to 15 billion euros ($22.5 billion) in financial aid for developing nations.

Developing countries say they cannot cut emissions and adapt to changing temperatures without help from industrialised nations, which grew rich by powering their industries with hydrocarbons and polluting the atmosphere.

Earlier, India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rejected an Indian newspaper report that he was willing to drop a long-standing demand for foreign aid and technology as the price for accepting international curbs on India's rising emissions.

Dropping such a link would have been a big concession for the Dec. 7-18 U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen. India is the fourth biggest emitter behind China, the United States and Russia.

Ramesh said in a statement India would agree to international monitoring of emissions "only when such actions are enabled and supported by international finance and technology".

The 190-nation U.N. talks are bogged down over how to share out greenhouse gas curbs between rich and poor nations as part of an assault meant to avert ever more heat waves, rising sea levels, floods and more powerful storms.

CARBON CURBS

In Washington, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the United States should focus on reducing its own emissions before outlining how it might place carbon tariffs on energy-intensive goods from developing countries such as China and India.

"We don't need to go there at this moment," Chu told the Reuters Washington Summit. Carbon tariffs were featured in the climate bill the House of Representatives narrowly passed in June but are bitterly opposed by developing countries.

In the debate on aid, the EU's executive, the European Commission, suggested last month the bloc provide up to 15 billion euros ($22.46 billion) a year by 2020 to break the impasse.

In business, Toyota Motor Corp said it would step up a push for gasoline-electric hybrid cars. The world's largest automaker said it aimed to sell 36,000 of its new Sai hybrid in Japan a year, taking another step towards its goal of selling 1 million hybrid vehicles a year worldwide soon after 2010.

Honda's Chief Executive Takanobu Ito, who had previously acknowledged Honda might need pure electric cars to meet tough regulations in California, told an industry seminar he would consider launching electric cars for Europe, Japan and other markets as well.

"There is no change to my view that hydrogen fuel-cell cars will in the end be proven the best," Ito said. "(But) electric vehicles will also be a core option for cars in the future."

© REUTERS 2009

'No split among Pakatan top leaders' - Malaysiakini

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim reiterated that the Pakatan Rakyat leadership is committed to strengthening the coalition despite reports that there was a rift among its top leaders.

"The commitment given by the party leadership is clear. We will fix whatever weaknesses that are there by working together as a team," said Anwar at a joint press conference with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang.

anwar lodge police report 210709 04As a sign of their commitment, top guns from DAP and PAS were also at the press conference, including PKR vice-president Azmin Ali and Zaid Ibrahim, who is in charge of drafting Pakatan's common policy framework.

"I have no worries about the commitment of the leadership to continue and strengthen corporation with Pakatan, but we do agree that sometimes there are uneasiness at the ground level," he said.

Anwar cautioned that differences between the coalition's leaders or at the grassroot level has to be settled amicably and through the available avenues.

"We will not tolerate any action or statements that can cause our relationship to become murky, especially at the ground level.

"I'm not at all worried about the relationship we have at the central stage but Umno will definitely continue to play up the issue," said Anwar.

Anwar also denied speculations of a rift between Azmin, who is having problems with Sabah PKR leaders and Zaid, who had visited Sabah despite claiming that he was barred to do so by the party leadership.

Azmin was quoted in media reports today as saying that Zaid was not stopped by anyone in the party from attending party events in Sabah.

He urged Zaid to clarify what he meant when he said party adviser Anwar Ibrahim had not given his consent to Zaid to visit the state.

Anwar announced that Pakatan Rakyat will hold a convention in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 12 and 13 to be attended by 1,500 delegates.

"We will kick off with the special convention for the youth on Dec 12 and the Pakatan meeting will be held the next day," he said.

Perak BN's budget will not be legitimate

Meanwhile, Bukit Gantang PAS parliamentarian and ousted Perak Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin confirmed that all 28 Perak assemblypersons will attend the state assembly sitting on Oct 28.

However, Nizar said that Pakatan will not table their own budget for the state's expense although the assembly is to focus on the budget allocation for the state.

Budget 2010 will been tabled on Oct 23 by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

"We received letters from S Ganesan (BN speaker) who has sent out 59 letters to state assemblypersons from Perak to attend the sitting on Oct 28. The letters were dated Oct 12.

"We also received letters from rightful speaker V Sivakumar who sent them out to 49 state assemblypersons. His letters were dated Oct 13.

bagan pinang by election 061009 nizar speech"We have decided (to attend) based on the notice of the sitting by Sivakumar, so all 28 assemblypersons including the speaker will attend the sitting," said Nizar (right).

He stressed that Sivakumar was still the legitimate speaker, and Ganesan was just a pretender to the post.

"He's not the rightful speaker as he was not appointed lawfully. Sivakumar has lodged a report against him," said Nizar.

Asked on what will happen to the budget tabled by BN on Oct 28, Nizar said: "What will happen on Oct 28 is something that will make things worse as Ganesan is not the rightful speaker.

"If he approves the budget, then it's not legitimate. If the sitting continues... we will have other problems too because on Nov 5, the Federal Court decides on who the real menteri besar of Perak is."

"If BN continues with the budget and the court declares Nizar as the rightful MB, what will happen to the budget approved by BN?," added Beruas DAP MP Ngeh Khoo Ham.

Suicide blasts at Islamabad university kill at least five

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Back-to-back suicide bombings killed at least five people at a university here Tuesday and wounded nearly two dozen, authorities said.

Police investigators collect evidence at the suicide blast site at Islamic International University in Islamabad.

Police investigators collect evidence at the suicide blast site at Islamic International University in Islamabad.

The explosions occurred at the International Islamic University in the Pakistani capital, said police official Bin Yamin.

Naeem Iqbal, Islamabad police spokesman, said three men and two female students were killed, and 22 people were injured.

At least four of the injured were in critical condition, said Altaf Hussein, a doctor at a hospital. All the victims are between the ages of 18 and 25.

Usman Virk, a student, said he heard one explosion in the men's section of the university, followed by a blast in the cafeteria in the women's section of the university.

Virk said he saw several injured students with blood-soaked clothes being taken away by rescue crews.

More than 12,000 foreign and local students, including 5,500 women, are enrolled in the 29-year-old university.

The university Web site describes the school as a "unique center of learning in the Muslim world which strives to combine the essentials of the Islamic faith with the best of modern knowledge."

In recent weeks, Pakistan has been relentlessly rocked by a wave of suicide attacks as Islamic militants retaliate against a military offensive to rout insurgents operating along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

On Friday, a suicide car bomber detonated near a police station in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province. The blast killed at least 13 people, most of them civilians.

A day earlier, militants attacked two police training centers and the country's Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore in eastern Pakistan.

At least 30 Pakistani police officers and civilians were killed in those attacks. At least 10 attackers also died.

And on October 10, militants held dozens of hostages for 22 hours inside an army headquarters in Rawalpindi, which neighbors Islamabad. Eleven military personnel, three civilians, and nine militants were killed in the siege.

UM students denied right to representation

Pudu prison demolition

Court throws out Anwar's suit against Dr M- Malaysiakini


The Court of Appeal has struck out opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's appeal on a RM100 million defamation suit against former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

vk lingamJustice Abdul Malik Ishak,who led the three-member panel, allowed counsel, VK Lingam's (left) application, who appeared for Mahathir, to strike out the appeal on a technicality after a 75-minute break.

The court also struck out Anwar's application filed today to seek an extension in time to submit a proper Memorandum of Appeal in Bahasa Malaysia.

Abdul Malik said the court had prepared a short decision and would give its written grounds later.

"The court has anxiously perused and looked at the notice of motion and the affidavits with a fine-toothed comb. We had also appropriately and judiciously looked at the written and oral submissions given and adjudicated it at length," Abdul Malik said.

"We are satisfied that the court should allow both applications to be struck out (i.e Anwar's appeal and the extension in time)."

He said it was a unanimous decision and ordered Anwar to pay costs.

The other members who sat on the panel were Justice Azhar Ma'ah and newly-elevated judge Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad.

With today's decision, Anwar's appeal, which had been scheduled for Nov 2, will be taken off the list.

Anwar had sued the former prime minister for defamation over statements the latter made at a Suhakam conference.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had in July 2007, struck out Anwar's suit without hearing the merits of the case, hence today's appeal.

Not in national language, so not correct

The technicality filed through a notice of motion by Lingam and supported by Mahathir's affidavit centred on Anwar's counsel having not prepared the memorandum of appeal via the national language, Bahasa Malaysia.

"This is in blatant disregard to provisions under Article 152 of the Federal Constitution read together with Section 8 of the National Language Act and the Interpretation Act or the Rules of the Court of Appeal," Lingam submitted.

"The appellant had included a purported memorandum only in the English language and not the national language."

Lingam, who was assisted by lawyer R Thayalan, also argued that Anwar's counsel had not signed the memorandum and thus the application should be rendered defective.

He said that, furthermore, the appellant had not submitted the chronology of events as required and failed to provide a proper index in the record of appeal.

"The several defects in the memorandum of appeal render the record of appeal incurably defective and the appellant's appeal is not properly brought before this court.

"Hence, the court should allow my client's application to strike out the record of appeal and dismiss Anwar's appeal with costs," said the senior counsel.

Karpal: Not fatal flaw

tan boon hwa sue macc 220709 karpalSenior counsel Karpal Singh (right) for Anwar had the court in stitches when he began his submission in Bahasa Malaysia before seeking permission from the court to speak in English.

"Such was the fuss in my learned friend to make this application seeming to champion the national language when in turn he stood up in submitting in English without seeking the court's permission," said Karpal.

The senior lawyer conceded that an error had been made, but said it was not a fatal flaw.

Hence, Karpal said, the court should allow for the appeal proper to be heard to hear the merits of the case as the date had been fixed.

"We are prepared to submit the memorandum of appeal in the national language now.

"Furthermore, when the matter came-up for case management in July, to fix a hearing date, counsel for Mahathir did not indicate such an error."

Now, Karpal said the counsel (Lingam) was sly enough to bring this matter to the court's attention, when the matter should have been brought up during case management.

Karpal said as senior members of the bar, Thayalan or Lingam should have educated and informed the other party about the mistake and not go through the back door by filing this notice of motion.

"This is just a technical flaw and is not fatal to the appeal process. The courts have in the past decided not to look into the technicality but act in the interests of justice. This should also be the case," he said.

Lingam in his reply said he had yesterday addressed the court in Bahasa Malaysia before reverting to English. Hence, today, he thought it was proper to continue on in English.

In reply to Karpal's comments, Lingam said it is not his job as counsel for the opposing side to educate the counsel for the appellants and they should have known the rules when submitting a memorandum of appeal.

Following today's decision, Karpal said he will consult with Anwar whether to file a leave application at the Federal Court, to appeal today's decision.

"I would advise strongly so as I feel the merits of the case should have been heard. We have 30 days to file an appeal and we hope the appellate judges will quickly provide their grounds for today's decision for us to file in a proper appeal," he said.

Counsel SN Nair, Nicholas Netto and Wan Anwar Wan Syahadat also appeared for Anwar.

Are we racists?

There is a difference between lip service and service to the Rakyat. A difference that is yet to be learned by both governments of the day.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines racism as such
Noun
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 : racial prejudice or discrimination
In the Malaysian context, the first definition may also be modified to the following
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent inferiority of a particular race
This definition gives rise to the racial prejudice and discrimination that we see almost everywhere, in government policies, in the private sector and even in the supposedly egalitarian alternative media.
Let us now look at the speech delivered by YB Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on the 20th of May 2004 in the debate on the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address, as the Parliamentary Opposition Leader.
The Honourable MP for Ipoh Timor calls for the formation of 10 Select Committees as a start towards making the Malaysian Parliament a ‘First-World Parliament’. You may read the transcript here, http://www.dapmalaysia.org/all-archive/English/2004/may04/lks/lks3034.htm
The tenth Select Committee was to focus on the ‘Marginalisation of the Indian Community as the underclass’
The Honourable MP says,
“During the 2004 general election, the “Group of Concerned Citizens” in its paper “Election 2004: New Politics for Indian Malaysians” had summarized nine long-standing fundamental issues faced by Indian Malaysians:
The number of Indian youth dying in police custody has increased;
The socio-economic inequality between the Indian poor and rich and between other communities has worsened;
The State has not responded effectively in addressing social ills in the community;
The State policies towards and financial allocation for Tamil schools remains pitiful;
The University intake policy has been a source of major distress for the community;
The State has not stepped in to help resolve the MAIKA scandal;
The Kampung Medan racially-motivated killings have not been brought to a closure. No public inquiry was instituted.
Low cost housing needs of the Indian poor have not been adequately addressed;
The negative consequences of the final breakdown of the plantation economy on the Indian rural poor have still not be regulated. Aggressive displacement of Indian Malaysians is a serious problem.
These nine fundamental issues afflicting the Indian community, marginalizing them into the new underclass in Malaysia, should be the terms of reference of a Select Committee on the marginalization of the Indian community in the country.”
A few questions rise in the mind upon reading the above.
First, is YB Lim Kit Siang a racist for raising Indian Malaysian issues in Parliament? If the answer is ‘no’, can we label anyone else as a racist for raising the same issues today, regardless of the name of the person who speaks out?
Why has the Pakatan Government, upon coming to power in several states, not addressed the same issues that was raised by one of its current leaders in the Parliament 5 years ago? A lack of political will, or a lack of moral will?
The third prime duty of the government to its people has been defined as to ensure that every family unit of the nation has space in the nation’s territory for a home and a means of livelihood.
When citizens are given different treatments when it comes to means of livelihood, education, right to identity and wage protection; and space for a home, based on race, then we have to accept the fact that we are a racist country and people.
There is a difference between lip service and service to the Rakyat. A difference that is yet to be learned by both the governments of the day. This is compounded by the inability of the supporters from both sides of the divide to discern the primacy of egalitarian service over egalitarian slogans.
We are racists as far as the Merriam-Webster definition goes, and that will not change with the mere adoption of slogans.

Discrimination and Marginalisation

Many are unsure of what is meant by discrimination and marginalisation, and whom it impacts.
Consider the following:
The PR state governments have, commendably, liberally granted state land and huge financial allocations on coming to power. For example:
1. RM 100 million and 400 hectares for a pig project in Sepang, Selangor.
2. 349 Rancangan Perkampungan Tersusun (RPT) and 134 New Villages in Perak, with 110,000 and 102,000 titles respectively, to be given out. Freehold titles for just RM 63 for 110,000 villagers almost 99% of whom are Malay Malaysians, and 102,000 Chinese New Villagers of whom 99% are Chinese Malaysians. “The value of these properties will then go up and they can apply for bank loans to rebuilt their houses” says Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham.
3. The Pakatan Perak government has also allocated 1,000 hectares or 2471 acres of land to 9 Chinese vernacular schools, “for them to generate revenue to pay for their operational expenses” says MB Nizar. Additionally, MB Nizar also donated RM 30,000 for each of the 9 schools. Barisan’s MB Zambry on coming into office confirmed that the issuance of titles will proceed.
4. 3.3 hectares of land for each Orang Asli family was approved, and 18,000 hectares of forest land has been gazetted as Orang Asli reserve, and another 30,000 hectares is waiting to be gazetted says Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham.
5. In Bagan Pinang the UMNO Deputy President Muhyiddin Yasin announced that RM 900,000 will be allocated to upgrade Chinese vernacular schools and Chinese temples. But for the Indians in Bagan Pinang, the Lukut Tamil school which is the only school in Malaysia and perhaps the world over which is situated on the first floor of a shop house was merely promised two (2) acres of land. As usual nothing has been given in writing, let alone having the land little issued. Even then these 2 acres of land will not be enough to cater for a school field, Assembly cum Community Hall and any future expansions. MIC went a bit further and announced that the school will get a computer and a fax machine.
A lot was done with lightning speed within about one month of the Perak and Selangor PR state governments coming into power, and in Bagan Pinang during the by-election. We were all overjoyed. What MCA and UMNO did not do in 52 years, the Pakatan government did in one month! This is what we want to see.
But hang on. Did anybody notice or ask, what about allocations to Tamil Schools? The Indian Malaysians have waited a year and a half since March 2008 but to date there is no mention of anything.
How many hundreds of hectares did the Pakatan government allocate for the 138 Tamil vernacular schools in Perak? How many NGOs and political parties have actually pointed out these omissions to those in power?
The disparity in what is done to uplift Malaysians must cease to exist. There is no cause for joy in slogans and clarion calls when politicians are able to fish for votes with empty promises and food hampers. That opportunity must no longer present itself in this country.
This is what is meant by discrimination, and this is how a Malaysian community continues to be marginalised.

By Jeevindra Kumar Krishnan, Protem Committee Member, Human Rights Party Malaysia

Sex videos played at Pakatan defectors’ graft trial

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Oct 20 – The corruption trial involving two former Perak PKR state executive councillors today saw the screening of a video which showed two of their fellow accused engaging in sex acts with prostitutes from China.

The video showed former Perak Tengah district councillor Zul Hassan, 45, and businessman Fairul Azrim Ismail, 31 engaging in sex with the women.

It had been recorded with pinhole cameras at an apartment in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, by businessman Mohamad Imran Abdullah, 34, who acted as the “agent provocateur” for MACC.

The courtroom was cleared by Sessions Court Judge Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh following an objection from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head of prosecution unit Datuk Abdul Razak Musa.

Defence lawyer Surjan Singh had objected to the move.

“If you are going to dance, dance properly,” he told Abdul Razak.

Judge Azhaniz Teh said he had no qualms about allowing the media to view the video but added that perhaps the matter was best decided by the accused himself.

Lawyer S. Muthu, who is representing Zul, then asked the accused. The latter, with a smile, said he would prefer for the court to be cleared during the viewing.

Lawyers later confirmed the video had been “painful” to watch. Zul, they said, was seen hugging the Chinese national at first, before the two proceeded to the toilet and emerged naked. They later were seen engaging in sexual acts on the bed.

Earlier, another matter raised during today’s hearing was that the RM5,000 that former PKR man Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, 52, was accused of accepting at his office in the State Secretariat on Aug 14 last year, had been given as a “contribution”, instead of as “gratification”, and was to be used for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

In his testimony, the prosecution’s sixth witness Mohamad Imran Abdullah, 34, told the court that he had told Jamaluddin when he met with the latter that day that he had brought with him some “contribution.”

Mohamad Imran, who was the agent provocateur for investigators, said that Jamaluddin had then asked what the “contribution” was for.

He said that another accused, PKR politician and former assemblyman Usaili Alias, who had also been present in the room at the time, had cut in to say: “It is for Permatang Pauh.”

When the MACC’s Abdul Razak asked him what the RM5,000 was intended for, Mohamad Imran said: “To me, the money was to help in the Permatang Pauh by-election and to help me get the project in Seri Iskandar.”

Judge Azhaniz Teh then cut in and asked, “To you? You are saying that this is ‘to you’.”

Mohamad Imran nodded and said, “Yes, to me. To me, the money was meant for Permatang Pauh and the project.”

The court also viewed video footage of the incident in Jamaluddin’s office on Aug 14, which was recorded using a pinhole camera given to Mohamad Imran by the agency.

The recording showed Mohamad Imran passing RM5,000 in notes, all uncovered, to Jamaluddin who did not take the money.

“He told me to hand it over to Usaili, who took it and put it in his pocket,” Mohamad Imran testified.

Jamaluddin, along with Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, 57, and three others; Usaili, 56, former Perak Tengah district councillor Zul Hassan, 45, and businessman Fairul Azrim Ismail, 31, face various corruption charges over the proposed multi-million ringgit development project in Seri Iskandar.

Perak Development Corporation technician Ruslan Sahat was also charged along with the group earlier but the charges were dropped after he died in August.

Meanwhile, the court also screened two other recordings which showed cash, in two separate amounts of RM5,000 and RM100,000, being handed over to Mohd Osman, who subsequently indicated that the cash should be passed to Usaili instead.

One occasion was at the Aquarius Coffee House of the Summit Hotel in Bukit Mertajam on Aug 16, 2008, when Mohamad Imran was seen handing over RM5,000 to Mohd Osman.

“Mohd Osman saw the money and asked for it to be handed over to Usaili, who accepted it,” said Mohamad Imran, adding that the money was to help him get the Seri Iskandar project.

On the other occasion, on Aug 19, in Kluang Station restaurant here, Mohamad Imran had handed over a travel bag containing RM100,000 to Mohd Osman.

In the video, the court saw Mohamad Imran unzipping the bag while facing Mohd Osman.

“I then closed it and pushed it towards him but he gestured for me to hand it to Usaili,” said Mohamad Imran.

Usaili, he added, took the bag and kept it at his side.

Anti-graft officers later entered the scene and arrested Usaili and Mohd Osman, as well as Ruslan, who was present at the same coffee shop that day.

In another recording later, the court saw that Mohamad Imran had also passed RM2,000 to Ruslan at the Sri Sayang Apartment at Batu Feringghi, Penang, on Aug 14, 2008.

The meeting that day had been arranged with Mohamad Imran, who was allegedly asked to bring with him three Chinese nationals.

Zul, Fairul Azrim, Ruslan and MACC (then ACA) officer Norliza Musa, who was going undercover as Mohamad Imran’s girlfriend, were also present during the meeting.

The hearing continues tomorrow with cross-examination of Mohamad Imran.

Under siege, Tee Keat sacks MCA legal chief

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Embattled MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat has sacked the party’s legal bureau chairman Datuk Leong Tang Chong, in the latest falling out with an ally.

Speculation is also rife that several other party officials who were appointed by Ong are now at "high risk" of being sacked, including national organising secretary Yoo Wei How.

When contacted, Leong, who was appointed by Ong, would only say: "No comment, no comment. Ask Tee Keat."

Leong is also non-executive chairman of Star Publications. It is unclear if his removal from his MCA post will have bearing on his position in the newspaper group controlled by MCA.

In a posting on his blog, Ong attempted to play down Leong’s removal, saying it was part of a normal review and reshuffle.

Ong confirmed the sacking in a post at his www.ongteekeat.net weblog which has become his main method of communication recently.

"I have decided to carry out some changes to the party's bureau, Today, Dato' Leong Tang Chong ceases to be chief of the MCA legal Bureau. The potential candidates have been shortlisted and I will be making an announcement on the replacement in due course," he wrote in his blog.

Leong had been given the job of going through the draft of the resolution for a new EGM called by Ong last week after he refused to resign as party president.

"It seems like Ong is planning something big," said one MCA insider about the development.

Ong has been under pressure recently after clashing with his former supporters in MCA's central committee over his call for them to take collective responsibility over the decision to sack former deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and resign en bloc.

The president is now trying to call an EGM to seek the approval from the party's general assembly to call for fresh elections, which is only possible if at least two-thirds of the central committee resign.

It was reported, however, that Ong now only has the support of 14 of the more than 40 central committee members and most are opposed to resigning.

Ong had lost a confidence vote during the Octr 10 EGM but he is not obligated to resign.

Under the party's constitution, Ong can only be forced to resign if he loses a confidence vote by at least a two-thirds majority.

Based on the same principle, Dr Chua is also seeking to be reinstated as the party deputy president.

By sacking Leong, Ong appears to be running out of options because sentiment among central committee members is clearly against him.

Reassuring noises from Pakatan on common platform

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 – In a move to calm fears among its supporters that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was yielding to a resurgent Umno and its own differences, the coalition’s leaders announced dates for its inaugural convention in December where it hopes to unveil its common platform.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim played down the troubles that have plagued his own PKR and among the PR parties , and promised to reveal soon the coalition’s common platform.

Umno and other BN parties have successfully taken advantage of PR’s lack of cohesiveness to paint the coalition as one which has too many ideological differences to take federal power.

Anwar, after chairing the coalition’s meeting in Parliament here today, said 1,500 delegates – 500 each from PKR, DAP and PAS – will be attending the two-day convention that begins on Dec 12.

He said the pact had been working hard to draft a common platform.

“We will reveal it in the nearest time,” said Anwar, who is also the parliamentary opposition leader. No details on the progress of the draft have been given so far.

The Permatang Pauh MP, however, said the common platform could be seen in the party’s streamlined approach to debating the Budget to be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this Friday.

“All the party whip chiefs have been instructed to work with MPs on the debate so that we can increase and strengthen the quality of our debate on the Budget,” said Anwar.