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Friday, October 23, 2009

HINDRAF – PAKATAN PLAYING TRUANT WITH MALAYSIAN INDIANS

The ability of MPSA in their demolition of Mathurai Veeran Temple in Persiaran Kerjaya, Jalan Glenmarie, Seksyen U1, Shah Alam clearly shows the truancy of Pakatan coalition in disregarding the Malaysian Indians need.

The UMNO led coalition had failed the Malaysian Indians miserably either directly or through their mandores for the last 52 years and purely on that basis the Malaysian Indians voted en-block for the Pakatan throughout the country.

Besides hoping to be uplifted from marginalization and discrimination, the ability for Pakatan to ensure that “every person has the right to profess and practice his own religion” as stated in article 11 of the Federal constitution was one of the major consideration.

Pakatan leaders seem to have taken their cue from BN led government by continuing their practice in demolition of Indian temple and followed by statements issued by their chosen mandores to appease a certain segment of the society.

The Menteri Besar for Selangor is the chieftain for all Selangorian and such he has to take a stand to be responsible for each and every citizen’s rights to ensure what is just and fair.

The irresponsible act by the Pakatan led Selangor government, with this incident shows that the autorities whether it was BN / and now the PR do not show the respect for religious and cultural sensitivites of the Indian community.

Why to date, the Selangor Menteri Besar is yet to indentify those Indians temples / shrines in Selangor and act accordingly to gazette them if it is proved that they are pre-Merdeka or provide the relevant permits. What has he done to alleviate issues related to demolition of the temples / shrines of Malaysian Indian devotees in Selangor?

Similar to BN, the Pakatan government continues to fail to understand the complete socio development and cultural background to the temple / shrine issue. They have been no concrete attempt to resolve these issues other than sending their mandores to placate the public.

The Pakatan state governments in Selangor in this instance had decided arbitrarly without taking into consideration the sensitivities of Hindu devotees nor have they made any attempt to legalize, gazette to recognize and protect the special status of places of worship for the Malaysian Indians.

Like a schoolboy, the Pakatan coalition is exhibiting truancy against the Malaysian Indians without taking responsibility against their legal and moral obligation to protect the Malaysian Indians who a part of the citizenry.

P.Waytha Moorthy

HINDRAF –CHAIRMAN

Gobind stays suspended but gets salary

(The Star) - KUALA LUMPUR: Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo’s one-year suspension from Parliament stays but he will receive his remunerations, benefits and allowances, the High Court ruled.

Justice Mohd Ariff Mohd Yusof said the Dewan Rakyat was empowered under its Standing Orders to suspend MPs found in contempt of the House, and Gobind’s allegation that the then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was involved in a murder case was an act of contempt.

He ruled that the proceedings of the Dewan Rakyat in suspending Gobind could not be reviewed by the courts by virtue of the privileges of Parliament, as provided for under Article 63(1) of the Federal Constitution.

Justice Mohd Ariff, however, noted that the Dewan Rakyat’s Standing Orders could not suspend Gobind from “his duties as an MP”, but only from his service to the House.

He ruled that the choice of words in Gobind’s suspension was “merely one of form and not substance”, and that Gobind’s duties as Puchong MP remained unaffected.

On the issue of remuneration, the court ruled that there was no legal provision to withhold an MP’s benefits and allowances, and so declared that Gobind was entitled to his.

He then ordered that the monies owing to Gobind since his suspension on March 16 be paid up with an 8% interest.

On March 16, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia suspended Gobind from “his duties as a Member of Parliament for 12 months” for his allegations against Najib.

The suspension came after the Dewan voted for a motion against the DAP MP.

Subsequently, on April 24, Gobind filed a writ of summons against the Speaker, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, the Dewan Rakyat secretary and the Government.

In applying the principles of the recent Federal Court decision in the case of Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir & Ors v V. Sivakumar, Justice Mohd Ariff said it was for the courts to ascertain whether powers claimed by the House had in fact been provided for.

On April 17, a panel of five Federal Court judges unanimously ruled that Sivakumar, then the Perak Speaker, did not have the power to suspend Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and six state executive council members from the state assembly.

Nik Aziz calls for EGM to pick new PAS leaders

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has urged the party to hold a special muktamar to weed out “problematic leaders” whom he said have made the party look inconsistent.

Nik Aziz’s call suggests that the party has yet to solve its differences on whether to strengthen the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or to work closer with Umno. He said that the special muktamar should decide on the fate of the party leadership.

“This time, I strongly believe that there is a need to replace the main players occupying the national PAS leadership posts,” said the Kelantan mentri besar.

“You can call it a preparation for the 13th general election,” he added.

At the party muktamar last June, almost all of Nik Aziz’s men were defeated in the party election, most notably Datuk Husam Musa who lost the deputy presidential post.

In his statement dated Oct 21, Nik Aziz said the outcome of the special meeting would help fence-sitters to decide whether to back PAS or not in the coming elections.

“For the sake of ‘tajdid’ (renewal), we have to call for a special muktamar. If the muktamar resolves not to replace the president, for example, then we move on,” he said in the statement which was posted on his blog last night.

He said PAS must take similar steps as taken by Umno and MCA in calling for an EGM to sort out their internal problems. “The issue in MCA was corruption; we do not have to worry about holding an EGM as we are not plagued with corruption. Our problem is with two or three problematic leaders,” said Nik Aziz.

The statement was made to back a similar call by a pro-PAS academician, Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, who blamed the conservatives in the party for causing the embarrassing defeat in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

Abdul Aziz described Selangor PAS chief Datuk Hasan Ali — who attempted to ban the sale of beer and to empower mosque officials to act as moral police — as a liability to PR, urging the party to take disciplinary action against the state executive councillor.

“In the Selangor dispute, Abdul Hadi (PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang) was silent which led to some people in the party equating him with former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi,” said Abdul Aziz in his commentary published in Malay tabloid Sinar Harian.

The commentary caused a stir in PAS and Abdul Aziz was criticised by party leaders as not understanding the party’s struggle.

'Who judges the chief judge?'

(NST) - KARPAL Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) questioned who would keep an eye on the chief judge once the Judges' Ethics Committee Bill 2008 came into force.

He said the chief judge chaired the Judges' Ethics Committee and would hear cases brought before the committee when it was formed.

"But, what will happen if he (the chief judge) is in breach of the code of ethics? The bill does not state what recourse is available in such a situation."

Karpal said the code was demeaning to the judges as there had never been such a code until 1994.

"They have been self-regulating. Judges are personalities of great integrity," he said while debating the Judges' Ethics Committee Bill 2008.

When tabling the bill, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk V.K. Liew told the house that the code of ethics would set guidelines of proper conduct for judges to carry out their duties in a fair, efficient and expedient manner.

If the bill is passed, any complaint against a judge would be referred to the chief justice and can be heard by a Judges' Ethics Committee if it does not warrant a referral to the tribunal.

The bill proposes that the Judges' Ethics Committee Act 2008 be put in place to manage cases where judges are found to have broken the code of ethics.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim echoed Karpal's view on the action to be taken against the chief judge if he was found to have breached the code.

"The bill is silent on this. This is unfair. The judges, like everyone else, should be allowed the option of an appeal. They should be given the right to appeal."

However, Anwar stressed, any code of ethics would be meaningless if the judiciary did not have the freedom to carry out its duties.

He also said the code of ethics would be useless if the judges lacked integrity.

Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong) said the bill was proof of the government's efforts to clean up the judiciary.

"There was the Judicial Appointments' Commission that was passed last year and now, we have this bill. This shows we are serious about reforming the judiciary."

Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui (Independent-Tawau) said it was sad that a few "rotten" judges had raised questions about the judiciary and its integrity.

He expressed confidence that the new Judges' Ethics Committee would help address this problem.

The debate on the bill concluded yesterday evening, but the government will wind up points raised after the budget is passed in December.

THE CIVIL SERVICE – a Malaysian perspective.

By Hussein Hamid

The Civil Service assist the business of Government with the ruling party of the day. The Civil Service has in the past recruited its employees based on the principle of selection on merit and on the basis of fair and open competition. With the British the key element of the Civil Service is its political impartiality. The Civil Service administrative impartiality in Malaysia has been brought into question by UMNO’s distinctive approach to Public Administration. We need to examine what is the nature and impact of political involvement by the political elites on the Civil Service of our country.

When we first got our independence the Politician makes the policy and the Civil Servant execute it. There was no corruption and everything was accountable and transparent. To buy a small item one must have a quotation. The more expensive item has to be tendered out and the development project was carried out by the JKR.

But things slowly began to change, as UMNO wanted politically a committed Civil Service because they perceived that Party allegiance is important to those who were going to implement their policies. UMNO embarked on a strategy to enhance their control over the Civil Servants to ensure bureaucratic compliance with their way of doing things e.g. the award of tenders to preferred contractors and cronies, divide and rule of the people based on race, selective prosecution of the opposition, a Police Force that will do their biddings etc etc.

The appointment of political appointees to “advise and to oversee’ the Civil Service and the appointments of preferred top civil servants by the politicians was done on the mistaken premise that this would energize a normally neutral Civil Service into a “Committed Bureaucracy!” Political influence over appointments in Public office – especially at senior levels – became more pronounced. This in turn resulted in the pervasiveness of patronage by these Civil Servants to the Politicians.

We should give thought to not only how these Senior Civil Servants were appointed but also in the manner of their leaving. Some are transferred laterally, some are put in cold storage and some will have their retirement postponed and their tenure extended on a contract basis at the pleasure of the Barisan Politicians/Ministers. All this is indicative of the politicization of the Civil Servants.

So what now defines the career of a civil servant – merit or political patronage? And what is the impact of these changes?

As Barisan Nasional tighten its control over Government and the Civil Service, did it actually make any difference to the implementation of Government Policies or was it done more for the maintenance of the Political elites and the elites within the Civil Service?

Let us look at the coming of Daim. When Daim became the Finance Minister, with a view of political expediency, the whole system was changed. The Ministry of Finance took over the tender part from the JKR on major projects. In some projects there was not even a tender process – direct negotiation with the contractor or the supplier was conducted. The line continued to blur and accountability and transparency was not heard of anymore. The Government officer followed the orders of his Ministers and other political appointees. And since there was no change of political party for the last fifty years this became the accepted norm throughout the Civil Service. The KSU and his Department became an extension of his Minister’s ‘team’. The Civil servants continued to become the yes man to the politician whether they like it or not. The Barisan Nasional politician was all-powerful that they could make the job as a government officer miserable if you did not do their biddings.

Remember all government money is given to the Head of Department via an Allocation Warrant and politician cannot spend the money without the approval of the Head of Department. So to play safe Government officer just play along with the politician and execute what the politicians decided. Thus the Malaysian Civil Service became a mirror of what was happening within UMNO – or to be more brutal, more often then not colluded with the politicians and too often became willing participants of the politics of patronage. A number of KSU were beneficiaries of political patronage and retired wealthy beyond their means! Some even joined business that they had ‘assisted’ during their KSU’s tenure – compromising not only their personal integrity but also that of the Civil Service.

The March 8th 2008 election changed the status quo of a number of states. The difference is that in some states like Selangor, Penang, Kedah the Barisan Nasional was no longer the Policy maker. The Pakatan Rakyat party replaced them. It looks like the Government officer are learning and adjusting to the situation well. Of course there are government officers who are loyal to the BN and that is where the problem start but I think eventually the government officer would all wake up from the BN spell and be a truly executive power. It is only natural that the ruling party would want officers who are loyal to them. But I think the Government officer are learning fast and would be loyal to whatever government is in power be it BN or PR.

It must be noted that the extension of the service of senior civil servants beyond the mandatory age of retirement is detrimental to the morale of those in the lower echelons and should be discontinued. Nobody is indispensable. However the retirement age of 56 yrs and is too young for the present generation whose life expectancy is 72. The British did the pension law during a different era. Now folks are healthier and will live up to 70. Singapore has increase the retirement age to 60 years. There are good officers that should be retained – especially the professional one – but the law has to be changed and the retirement age be raised as in the advanced countries. Possibly 56 is too young to retire.

We are a changing society and the government officer as well the politician is learning as well. But this is a capitalist Democracy and the party in power surely want to exploit the monetary benefit of being in power. That is the reality and we all have to live with it. But what the rakyat want now is simple. Accountability and transparency.

The lack of succession planning in the civil service has reached serious proportions. If the Malayanisation policy has worked before where our officers were groomed to take over the reins from the expatriates, I do not see why we could not emulate this now. All I can say is that it works to the advantage of politicians rather than the civil service, whereby the “Contractors” are beholden to them by virtue of such extensions and completely owe their loyalty to the Members of the Administration instead of to the King and Country.

In conclusion it must be said that the Civil Service is a loyal servant of the Government of the day. Our problem is that when a Government takes it upon itself to compromise the Civil Service for its own end, not for the Rakyat, then a conflict of interest will arise. The Rakyat now knows more about the success and failures of Government initiatives. Ultimately Government and the Civil Service accountability is to the Public – the Public will want to know what are the benefits they derived from these public expenditures. Are their needs being resolved or are the Civil Service becoming increasingly distanced from the voting public? Are the demands of the Political elites being met at the expense of the Rakyat?

We have seen what happened in Selangor with the SELCAT inquiries. The Politican leaves but the civil servant remains. All KSU and PTD are loyal to the government in power. Actually the relationship of Government officer and Politician is a Love and Hate relationship. In creating project most of the input are from government officer. Only the big project come from their political masters but the working paper are still done by the government officer. Actually the country could run without the political leadership. Our administration that we inherit from the British is good and we could do better with educated KSU and Heads of Department. This is happening now. Soon we would be like Japan where the change in leadership does not make much difference. For now the Civil Service serves two masters. The Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. It will evolve to meet the expectations and aspirations of their Political Masters. We wait to see which Master will put the aspirations and expectations of the people ahead of the interests of their Political parties.

Making it right in the courts

By Ding Jo-Ann
thenutgraph.com

IS the setting of key performance indicators (KPIs) for judges just trading in justice for efficiency? In The deal about judicial KPIs, lawyers wondered whether the backlog of cases being solved through KPIs is only creating a larger problem of injustice.

Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi, for one, believes the new system is working. At a 14 Oct 2009 swearing-in ceremony for judges, he praised the judiciary for their hard work. "This morning," he said, "I received a handwritten letter from a senior lawyer ... He congratulated the judiciary and said that in four months he [completed] eight trials, close[d] his files and collect[ed] his fees. Previously, he estimated it would take five years to complete just one trial."


Zaki Azmi
However, Zaki did not offer advice on how to balance speed with the paramount need for justice. Listening to his speech, it would appear that all was well on the ground. New systems are being implemented, everyone is working hard, and congratulations are due all round.

Still, there are legitimate concerns about the execution of justice since the KPIs were implemented. In an exclusive interview with Federal Court chief registrar Hasnah Mohammed Hashim on 14 Oct 2009, The Nut Graph tries to find out how the chief justice will address these issues. In the interview, which was cut short because she had to attend the judges' swearing-in ceremony, Hasnah said judges have reached their KPIs. But, she said, "KPI is more of our internal assessment ... it's not meant to be at the expense of justice."

TNG: May I recount some of the stories from the lawyers? We would like to hear the administration's response.

Hasnah Mohammed Hashim: I know, about the magistrates telling people that they have KPIs to meet and things like that.

There's a case where after five days of trial [in the Sessions Court], the judge said parties must submit closing submissions the very next day.

Okay, why not?

And the notes of proceedings were not ready yet.

Yes, in fact the chief justice is of the view that, why not? Submissions should be done immediately after the closing of the case.

The lawyers say they need to extract the relevant evidence and include that in their submissions to show that it backs up their arguments. They need to study the evidence before they can submit.

We feel that the lawyers should come prepared. If the case is fixed for five days, there's always a possibility that the case could finish [in five days], [so] they should be prepared [with submissions already]. But if they want a short adjournment, we should allow. That message has been sent out — but short adjournments meaning a week, two weeks.

I was also told that the judge had to check whether the KPIs had been met before deciding whether or not to grant more time for submissions.

In a way it's good, it's good because now there is a check, especially for the lower courts, that they are actually sitting and doing their cases. In the past, sometimes in the afternoon, no one is sitting. Now, morning, afternoon and even in certain cases, until 8pm, they are still sitting. We encourage that because if they can clear their cases and if both parties agree, then why not?

You have to remember it's not just the courts and the lawyers. The clients, the parties involved, have been waiting for so long for their cases. In the past, there were postponements after postponements. No doubt we have some teething problems where our sessions judges and magistrates have been fixing too many cases.

Another anecdote concerned a case where hearing dates had been fixed in advance in the High Court. Shortly before the trial was going to start, the judge asked parties to start one day earlier because a free day had opened up. The judge called all the parties and said they must proceed.

If both parties agree, why not?

They told the judge, we already fixed the trial on these specific dates because the witness can only attend on those dates. But the judge insisted the case go on.

In that case, those are the things we have to iron out. Some are very, very old cases, you know.

On fixing trial dates, everyone wants priority.

Yes, that's true.

Lawyers have many cases, and all the courts want priority. If the lawyer is not free, they'll just fix a date anyway. Some files have been handled by a lawyer for five years and now, the court says pass it to somebody else. Shouldn't there be a window or transition period for such cases?

Yes. In fact, this was brought up by the Bar Council to the chief justice. He has given a so-called transition period until the end of the year. But he said, "If I give you six months, then you want another six months, and forever there will be a transitional period."

As far as the chief justice is concerned, if the matter has been fixed earlier, it should be heard. We are working together with the Bar Council [on this].

So the court will take into account lawyers' dates when fixing trial dates?

Yes, yes, but sometimes, it's so difficult to get common free dates for both lawyers. Sometimes you have to be firm as to the dates but still have to be fair to both parties. It's very difficult to get dates from some lawyers; they are occupied the whole year. On the other hand, there are some old cases that have to be started.

Is there such a thing as Hakim Cemerlang? We heard that some judges got an award?

No, no.

For judges who have cleared many cases, is there a special award?

In the sessions court? In government service, there's Anugerah Perkhidmatan Cemerlang. That's been going on for years.

So, no special award for meeting KPIs?

No, KPI is just one of the factors. There are many other factors that we have to take into consideration. As far as I am concerned, we have to look at other factors. If a judge clears a lot of cases, good for him or her, but then, there are other things — we don't look at just KPI only.

So a balance is being struck between quality, competence and [speed]?

Quality is definitely the main factor. Quality, efficiency.

So if a judge falls behind but they can give reasons, will that be taken into account?

Of course.

The chief justice made a comment, if you're fast, it's like Michael Schumacher — he won't slow down for you to catch up. If you're slow, you will be left behind.

Yes, that's true. If you are good, you can clear your cases. If you are a good manager, you know how to manage your diary and your case, then you can go very fast. What he's saying is more about efficiency rather than the time taken to clear a case.

Sometimes you can actually go straight to the point instead of going around the world. If a judge is sharp, he or she can just go straight to that point, then he [or she] can clear his [or her] cases faster. Quality is very important. Quantity is not a factor.

So if a judge needs more time to deliberate or feels that in his or her discretion, the parties need more time, that would be allowed?

Yes, judicial discretion, we don't disturb. That is their [discretion].

Then how do you strike a balance [between using this discretion and meeting KPIs]?

The court has been in slumber for a long time. Now is the time to clear. Now, there is a clear plan as to what we are going to do. [W]e're looking at all the cases, and not just looking at the numbers, but at how to effectively clear those cases.

As I was saying earlier, during this transition period, if the lawyer has a case in another court because another judge wanted priority and fixed it on the same day, is that a [valid] reason for postponement?

I used to be a sessions court judge; before I fixed trial dates, I always asked the lawyers for their free dates. So if you have agreed to that date, you should not go and fix another trial in another court. But if you have another case in another court, either you can give to your colleague, or you know...

Another [issue] is criminal double parking (where two criminal cases are fixed in different courts at the same time for the same lawyer).

In Penang?

Yes.

Because in Penang, only a small handful of lawyers are doing criminal cases.

So the death penalty could be involved and the case could proceed without the lawyer.

No, I don't think so. I don't know whether that actually happened in Penang, but now, there should be more lawyers doing criminal cases in Penang. All the while, it's been very slow, slow, slow, now it's time to go very, very fast.

25 bungalows on Penang Turf Club site - Anil Netto

The Penang Turf Club is to build 25 bungalows in a RM30 million project which it hopes will generate close to RM2 million annually in rental income.

The bungalows will be built on 5.6 acres of land on the fringe of the racecourse.

Presumably this is on the same land which the Koh administration scandalously rezoned from recreational land to new or mixed development land – which was eventually slated for Patrick Lim’s outrageous Penang Global City Centre project.

I am just wondering what was stopping the Penang local government from re-zoning it back to recreational land use after the PGCC project failed to take off.

The Penang government sold the Batu Gantong to the Turf Club for a small sum for recreational use for the people of Penang back in the early 20th century.

It seems strange to me that part of the land that was allotted to the Turf Club at a low price for public recreational purposes can now be converted to expensive bungalows for the rich.

The other question is, why is the Penang Turf Club going into property development? Is horse-racing now a fading activity?

Teoh’s death warrants highest level of priority, says Bar Council

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council wants a Royal Commission of Inquiry established to investigate the circumstances and cause of death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

Its president Ragunath Kesavan said the testimony of renowned Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand in the Teoh inquest on Wednesday raised serious issues that must be addressed.

The royal commission, he added, should not only conduct a review of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) interrogation and investigation techniques as the cause of death and the interrogation techniques were intrinsically inter-linked and cannot be analysed in isolation.

“It is evident now, more than ever, that the scope of the Royal Commission’s investigations must not be limited to reviewing the MACC’s interrogation methods alone as proposed by the Government,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Ragunath added that under the Penal Code, an inquest was restricted in its scope and findings and would be far less effective than a royal commission.

“Teoh’s death is a matter of immense public interest that warrants the highest level of priority. It is indefensible that a witness in a routine investigation should have been deprived of sleep and interrogated for more than eight hours.

“Even more inexcusable and unacceptable is that Teoh was denied access to legal counsel during questioning,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gerakan vice-president Datuk Mah Siew Keong described Dr Pornthip’s revelation as “very disturbing.”

“The real cause of death must be ascertained and the public must be informed,” he said in a statement.

Mah said the Government must consider Dr Pornthip’s expert opinion seriously and extend the fullest cooperation to her.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said if Teoh’s death was indeed homicide, the culprit or culprits must be brought to justice.

“It’s of paramount importance to restore credibility in both the police and judicial system and those who commit murder must be charged in court,” he told reporters.

Neighbours knew of child’s abuse

Malay Mail
By Aizat Sharif

AT least one neighbour suspected that three-year old Aaliyah Aiman Hussin Abdullah, a child abuse victim
found dead early this month, had been beaten prior to her death — but nothing was done to stop the tragedy.

The neighbour, Lee, 46, who has been residing at the condominium for about a year, suspected the abuse only started with the presence of the Sudanese boyfriend.

“I don’t like to interfere with people’s private lives. But as far as I knew, the child was beaten severely by him.”

Lee also said she and other neighbours never saw the family maid apparently hired to take care of the child, as claimed by the couple.

Prior to the tragedy, another neighbour, who declined to be named, said she heard rumours about the abuse at the condominium at Batu 9, Hulu Langat, Kajang.

“Although the family was living on the ninth floor, I used to see the child. She looked cheerful and active,
I never thought she would be an abuse victim,” said the third floor neighbour.

A security guard, who declined to be named, said he began seeing the Sudanese man entering and leaving the condominium about a year ago.

“At first, I thought both of them were married. I heard the man was also studying at a private college in the city, but not for long.”

A post-mortem at Serdang Hospital revealed that Aaliyah died due to haemorrhaging in the head. There were also traces of bite marks on the body. And based on injuries on her private parts, it is believed that the child was also molested.

Kajang district police chief Assistant Commissioner Shakaruddin Che Mood said the suspects are under
remand until Sunday at the Kajang district police headquarters.

On Oct 12, Aaliyah body’s was found by her mother when she returned home from work. The 24-year-old single mother, who worked as secretary in a firm, then lodged a police report at Kajang district police headquarters.

In the report, she claimed her daughter died after having been abused by her maid, who she claimed fled after the incident.

Investigations later found there was no such maid working for the couple and only the Sudanese man had been staying in the apartment.

The couple were then arrested and taken in for further investigations.

PAST CASES OF CHILD ABUSE

May 4, 2009

A 12-year-old girl was scalded with a hot iron and beaten with a mop by her mother at a house in Petaling Jaya after the child told her father about the woman’s alleged extra-marital affair. A school teacher had spotted several burn marks on the arms of the victim, the eldest of three children, and bruises on her thighs and back of her head. The housewife was detained by police.

May 4, 2009

A 36-year-old woman kicked her 10-year-old stepson in his stomach after he refused to put away his toys in their home in Damansara Jaya. After she had packed several of his toys in a plastic bag and put them in the storeroom, the boy took the bag out.

The enraged woman grabbed the bag and swung it towards the boy, hitting him on the head. The boy fell down and the woman allegedly kicked him three times in his stomach. When the assault continued, the boy fought back by punching his stepmother several times. He later called his father.

The following day, the woman refused to let the boy enter the house after he returned from school. He was forced to wait under the scorching sun for several hours until his father came home. The father then took the boy to a police station where they lodged a report against the woman, who is now being probed for child abuse.

March 10, 2009

A 35-year-old father threw his four-month-old daughter on the mattress to quieten her after her constant crying often agitated him. The incident happened at Kampung Masjid Sungai Ara, Bayan Lepas.

When the child became quiet, her parents panicked and sent her to a bomoh for treatment before taking her to the Penang Hospital. A medical officer later confirmed the baby died on arrival at 4pm and checks showed that she was a victim of abuse. There were bruises on the cheek and left ear.

Jan 9, 2009

A 29-year-old man hit his four-year-old girlfriend’s son with a hammer and burnt him with a lighter, all because the child had urinated on his bed. The boy, N. Iswaran was locked in the bathroom and beaten several times at the house at Jalan Kok Doh, Taman Sejahtera, Kepong. The neighbours rushed the boy to Selayang
Hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Police later detained his mother and the boyfriend.

Oct 15, 2008

A 25-year-old woman, on the police wanted list for abusing and murdering her son, was arrested after being on the run for eight months. She was nabbed when police raided the house in Chaah, Segamat, where she and her husband were hiding. However, her husband, who is also wanted for another murder, was not at home at the time.

The woman had rushed her son in February to the Sungai Buloh Hospital, claiming that he had fallen off the balcony of the family’s flat. The boy died and a post-mortem revealed his injuries were actually signs of abuse. Police reclassified the case. The woman upon questioning, claimed her husband had abused the child. However, before police could arrest the man, the couple went into hiding.

May 15, 1990

A 26-month toddler B. Balasundram was found dead after being abused physically and sexually by his father. His death lead to the amendment of the Child Protection Act 1994.

1Wrong Malaysia: No prosecutions in Lingamgate

Loyar     BurokBy Richard Wee

This post is reproduced from here.

22 October 2009

I am going to write this based on what I see, heard and concluded. So at the end of this article, please tell me if I am wrong or correct.

About 2 years ago, a friend e-mailed a video link of a man on the phone mentioning names of people in the Judiciary. I instantly recognised the man as VK Lingam. (Much later, there was a second video link of the second half of the conversation.) But I am not a 1Video Forensic Expert, so I could be wrong.


In the conversation, I can hear discussion about getting a Tan Sri-ship to the receiver of that call. The man who looked and sounded like VK Lingam had insisted that the receiver of that tele-conversation should get his Tan Sri ship as soon as possible. But I am not a 1Video Forensic Expert, I could have heard wrongly.

Then as I walked out of my office room, I informed my other partners to watch the Video. We laughed at the amount of time this person who sounded and looked like VK Lingam, said the word ‘Correct, Correct, Correct’. But we were also very upset as the Video looked and sounded like a recording of a man fixing up Judicial Appointments of Judges in Malaysia. But then again, I am not a 1 Video Forensic Expert, I may have heard wrongly.

Later, I found out many members of the Malaysian Bar watched this Video, and the lawyers were so upset, that over 2,000 of us handed a memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding a Royal Commission to get to the bottom of this. I was part of that peaceful march and my friend Lee Shih and I were right at the back of that group that morning.

I also recall when a few of us were planning the walk, Lim Chee Wee, George Varghuse and I visited Putrajaya on the Sunday before the Walk, where the 2 gentleman walked from the Palace of Justice to the PM’s Office at Putrajaya, to gauge the distance so that to prepare the walk that week. I was lucky, I did not have to walk that Sunday - Chee Wee asked me to drive his car and wait for him and George at the end of their walk.

But the thought that lingered in my mind as we did our simulated Walk that Sunday was “Is it wrong for us to Walk?”

We then had the Royal Commission where I was asked by Lawasia, an International organisation of Lawyers based in Australia, to attend the Hearing on a watching brief. I watched and heard the testimonies of many people. Some were defensive, some clearly had something to hide, and some were just cocky and dismissive. But my feelings as I listen to the Hearing, was that something was definitely wrong, and that it was likely that the man in the video was in fact VK Lingam. But I am just 1 small Malaysian, I may be wrong.

I thought I was correct at that time. But obviously, I must have been wrong. Despite 2,000 of us who marched that day at Putrajaya, the thousands of comments and articles condemning the content of that Video and more importantly the damning hearing and eventual Report by the Royal Commission; our 1Government - through the 1 and only Public Prosecutor - have today announced that the VK Lingam case is closed and no prosecutions will be carried out.

So, now you can see what I said earlier, I made 1 too many wrong conclusions above. I must be wrong, wrong, wrong as I was clearly not correct, correct, correct.

LINGAM TAPES


1. The NST reported that the Lingam case is closed. He will not be persecuted (or prosecuted).

2. He must be feeling very relieved. But what about the Commission's report on his influence over me in the selection of judges?

3. I was waiting for my day in court so I can defend myself. I have a lot of things to say about attempts to influence me on the appointments of judges.

4. Now that Lingam has no case to answer, how does it affect my being accused of being influenced by him, remembering that the tape was about his alleged phone conversation with other individuals. Did he say that I asked him to speak to those people? Was my name involved in his phone call?

5. These questions will remain in the minds of the people who read the conclusion of the Commission. So what now?

6. For some time during the past regime I was told that a thorough search was made to find instances where I abused power or accepted illegal gratification while in office. Apparently nothing was found.

7. Could it be that one way of getting at me was to accuse me of being influenced by Lingam in my choice of judges?

Pairin Returned Unopposed As PBS President

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 22 (Bernama) - Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan has been returned unopposed as Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president for another three years following nominations from 55 out of 60 party divisions in Sabah.

Announcing this on Thursday, PBS information chief Johnny Mositun said nominations were not received from five divisions because they could not hold their annual general meetings for this year.

Also returned unopposed were the two deputy presidents, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili for the non-Muslim Bumiputera quota, and Dr Yee Moh Chai representing the Chinese members in the party.

However, Mositun said the deputy president post for the Muslim quota would probably see a contest after incumbent A. K. Aliudin, vice president Rakam Sijim, incumbent youth chief Datuk Jahid Jahim and supreme council member Almudin Kaida garnered enough nominations to vie for the post.

He said Jahid was also nominated for the youth movement post, paving the way for a straight fight with deputy treasurer cum Liawan Division chief Jake Nointin.

"Jahid can only contest for one post so he will have to make a decision by Oct 27 which is the closing date for accepting the nomination. We will be able to know the line up on Oct 28," he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to officiate the PBS triennial congress scheduled for Nov 7.

Malaysia Should Attach Information Officer At Embassy In Jakarta

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- Former Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin on Thursday called on the government to attach an information officer at the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia as a move to counter-balance rising information-savvy of people in the republic.

He said the information officer could assist the Indonesian media in getting immediate explanation on any arising issue as the new freedom enjoyed by the Indonesian press had enabled the dissemination of information, whether true or untrue, and provocations to be done faster and without restrictions.

"Right now, most of the communication between the embassy and the Indonesian press are done officially.

"So, if there is an information officer at the embassy, the communication process will be much easier because not all explanations should be conveyed in an official manner."

He said this in his keynote address at the Malaysia-Indonesia Relations 2009: Media and Culture seminar at Universiti Malaya here.

About 200 participants, comprising academicians and media practitioners from Malaysia and Indonesia, are participating in the two-day seminar.

Rape used as weapon in DR Congo war ( Al Jazeera)


The Democratic Republic of Congo is grappling with rampant rape, which has become an every day practice and is used as a weapon of war, the UN has said.

It said almost 5,400 cases of rape against women were reported in the South Kivu province during the first six months of the year.

Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said South Kivu, near Rwanda, was an increasingly dangerous place for civilians, especially for women.

"Night-time attacks against civilians by unidentified armed elements, and rape against women, remain widespread," Byrs said.

About 90 per cent of the rapes are allegedly committed by armed groups or regular forces.

Nabwemba Natabaro, a woman in South Kivu, told Al Jazeera that she had been held in the bush for two months and repeatedly gang raped, after being abducted from her village.

"My family thought I had been killed and lost all hope of ever seeing me. Then I managed to escape. I was very sick," she said.

Her family brought her to a hospital where she was diagnosed with HIV.

'Tortured by attackers'

Rossette Kavira, a gynaecologist at a hospital in the town of Goma, said: "There isn’t a single day that we don't get raped women coming to the hospital. This explains how widespread the problem is.

"Almost all victims require surgery due to bleeding or wounds inflicted through torture by their attackers."

Due to the huge numbers of rape victims, some women have to wait for months for reconstructive surgery.

Dede Amanor-Wilks, Action Aid's director for West and Central Africa, said many rape cases go unreported.

"Currently the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] is thought to have the highest incident of rape in the world, but statistics that come to surface are only a fraction probably of the rapes that actually occur," she told Al Jazeera.

"Rape has been used by all armed groups as a weapon that is more readily available than bullets and bombs"

Mohammed Adow,
Al Jazeera correspondent

"Different statistics are coming up in different parts of the eastern DRC all the time. One commonly used statistic is that there are about 400 rapes a day."

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, reporting from Goma, said there were growing fears that the use of rape was turning into a norm in the DR Congo conflict.

"Rape has been used by all armed groups as a weapon that is more readily available than bullets and bombs.

"In many cases the social stigma associated with rape leaves the survivors shunned by husbands, parents and their communities," he said.

The fighting in the eastern DRC between UN-backed Congolese government forces and Rwandan Hutu rebels have worsened in recent months.

The country hosts one of the biggest UN aid operations. Hundreds of thousands of people in the east of the country have been driven from their homes due to fighting, many of whom need protection from violent attacks.

While we are at it

Image

Zul should take his fight all the way and propose that the present Secular system of choosing the government be abolished. After all, this Secular system was introduced by the Kafir British and is certainly un-Islamic.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Zul Noordin wants constitution amended to clarify country’s status

(Bernama) - The government has been urged to amend several articles in the Federal Constitution to clarify certain issues including the status of the country which adopts a dual-system (a hybrid legal system) and not a secular state as claimed by some quarters.

The amendments to the constitution were also necessary to draw up the differing line between the constitution as the main federal law and the implementation of Islamic law and syariah.

The call was among the 24 lists of private members’ bills submitted by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bandar Baru Kulim, Zulkifli Noordin, listed in the Meeting Procedures of the Dewan Rakyat which is currently in session.

Zulkifli said Article 3 of the Federal Constitution must be amended to ensure that the facts on the position of Islam were not manipulated and misinterpreted by certain groups to give the impression that Malaysia was a secular state.

The controversial PKR MP had proposed that the words “Islam is the religion for the Federation, including in terms of the law and syariah” be included to remove any doubt on the status of the country.

“The fact is that Malaysia is not a secular state, but a nation that puts Islam as the religion for the federation, thus the amendments to Article 3 of the Federal Constitution, as suggested, will clarify the position with regard to the status of the country without any doubt,” he said.

He said Article 4 of the Federal Constitution must be amended to add in the words “the Constitution is the primary law of the Federation and except for the Islamic law and syariah, any other law that is passed and that contradicts it must be void for as long as it is contradictory”.

“The House must take cognisance that in many instances the Islamic syariah law has become void or cannot be enforced because Article 4 of the Federal Constitution places the country’s law above other laws and regulations.

“These include Islamic and syariah law such as the ban on the use of the turban in national schools, the wearing of the purdah and jilbab in government departments, the enforcement of the syariah law such as for ‘khalwat’ (close proximity), zina (adultery), ‘qazaf’ which contradicts the syariah law and others,” he said.

Also suggested for amendment was Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution on the question of changing the religion for Muslims.

In this matter, Zulkifli proposed the inclusion of the words “including changing his/her religion except for Muslims which must comply with the Islamic law and syariah. For the followers of Islam, the question of converting into or abandoning Islam must be determined by the Syariah Court which has absolute power over it”.

In addition, Zulkifli also submitted a private member’s bill to urge the government to enforce a law or to prohibit or impose conditions on the sale of liquor and condoms at convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and KK Mart.

“There have been many cases where Malay teenagers and youths who are Muslims who have abused the sale of liquor and alcoholic drinks and the availability of condoms at convenience stores for immoral activities,” he said.

In a separate proposal, Zulkifli urged the Home Ministry to initiate investigation immediately on Sisters In Islam (SIS) because it was feared that its activities were contradictory to Islamic syariah.

He called on the ministry to investigate how the organisation was allowed to use the label Islam whereas its registered name did not state so.

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Here we go again. Zul has opened a Pandora’s Box by tabling this private members’ bill in Parliament to stipulate in no uncertainty that Malaysia is NOT a Secular State, as some people claim, but is in fact a Hybrid State.

Now, before we take this argument further, first let us understand the meaning of the word hybrid.

Main Entry: hybrid

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: composite, mixture

Synonyms: amalgam, bastard, combination, compound, cross, crossbreed, half-blood, half-breed, half-caste, in-cross, miscegenation, mongrel, mule, outcross

Antonyms: homogeneous, pedigreed, pure, purebred, thoroughbred, unmixed

Yes, that is what the Thesaurus has to say about the word hybrid. So, a Hybrid State, as opposed to a Secular State, Theocratic State, Republic, Monarchy (meaning absolute monarchy and not Constitutional Monarchy), and whatnot, would mean it is a state that is a mixture of two or more systems.

Malaysians have a name for this. Malaysians call it rojak. And rojak would be similar to the English salad, except that it is hotter (meaning spicy rather than temperature), a mix of many types of fruits and vegetables. Hey, is the tomato a fruit or vegetable? The jury is out on that one as is the argument about whether the chicken or the egg came first. Did the chicken come from an egg or the egg that came from a chicken?

I will let Zul sort this one out as I am sure if he can make sense from a Hybrid State then he can certainly answer the question as to whether the chicken or the egg came first.

I suppose I would be considered a hybrid seeing that I am not pure, as the Thesaurus indicated. And so would Anwar Ibrahim, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Abdul Razak, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Najib Tun Razak, etc. – all hybrids. And the list goes on. Zul, however, would be considered a pedigree, as his blood is not tainted like the rest of us.

Anyway, back to the issue of the Hybrid State. If Islam is the issue and Zul’s only interest is to ‘protect’ Islam from those who wish to ‘challenge’ it, how can a Hybrid State solve this problem? Why not go all the way and get Malaysia proclaimed a Theocratic State. Then Islam will not only be the ‘official’ religion but the laws of the land as well. Then, when someone ‘challenges’ Islam, he or she can be properly and severely dealt with.

The added advantage to this would be that all the other Holy Books other than the Quran can be banned and anyone found smuggling Bibles into the country could be arrested and whipped with a stint in jail. No places of worship other than mosques will be allowed. And so on and so forth.

Islam will now be fully protected, insulated and isolated from the influence and contamination of the other religions. Islam will truly be served and Muslims will be saved and their souls guaranteed heaven.

Malaysia is facing a serious problem. Every year, the Auditor-General’s report repeats the same thing. Corruption, abuse of power, mismanagement of public money, wastage of public funds, and so much more. And every year the report is like a photocopy of the pervious year’s report. And for decades the same thing is reported. But it never improves. It just gets worse.

I am sure this was on Zul’s mind when he proposed that Malaysia be declared a proper and genuine Hybrid State.

Detainees still die in police stations. In fact, the extra-judicial killings in Malaysia are very high. We only focus on those killed in police stations. What about those killed ‘resisting arrest’, which is as high as those killed under custody? And then there are those killed under remand in prisons. And now, people even die when called in as witnesses to have a friendly talk with MACC officers. Imagine if you are not just a witness called in for a friendly discussion but are actually a suspect.

Should we propose that PDRM and MACC be issued a lottery licence to help them improve their revenue and reduce the financial burden to the taxpayers? Then, when you are called in by the PDRM or MACC for interrogation, you can buy a lottery ticket and place a bet on whether you will be able to walk out again alive.

Zul should take his fight all the way and propose that the present Secular system of choosing the government be abolished. After all, this Secular system was introduced by the Kafir British and is certainly un-Islamic. The Prophet never held elections. Neither did the four Caliphs who came after him. The Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman Empires never held elections either. So why is Malaysia holding elections like what Secular States normally do?

And we must establish which version of the Shariah Zul is talking about. Talking about the Shariah is well and fine. However, as I have written in the last few articles, the Shariah is not constant and neither standardised. The interpretation of the Shariah developed over 300 years from the mid-600s to the mid-900s. And there are variants to the interpretation, depending on time and place.

Sudan, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, the UK, Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., all have different variants to the interpretation of the Shariah. Some even combine the Shariah with Roman, Greek, English, French, Italian, etc., laws. So which version is Zul talking about?

If you want, I can go into detail on the different interpretations of the Shariah. But this will take, maybe, 20 or 30 pages and I am sure many of you would just skip it without bothering to read it because you will find it boring or not of concern to you.

Nevertheless, the Shariah is actually many laws encompassing family laws, inheritance laws, contract laws, and whatnot, and the bone of contention to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, criminal laws known as Hudud.

Let us take just one such law, the law of divorce. In some Muslim countries the women can apply for divorce and in others they can’t. In some countries if the husband abandons the wife and disappears for two years she can apply for a divorce and in other countries she can only file for divorce if the husband who disappeared is 90 years old from the time of his birth. In other words, if he disappears at the age of 40, then the wife has to wait another 50 years to file for divorce.

In some countries the divorce becomes final after three menstrual cycles. In others it must be two years and in some countries nine years. And in some countries the wife can continue living in the husband’s home while awaiting the finality of the divorce while in others she will be considered still married and therefore can’t get a divorce if she continues living in her husband’s home.

So you see, it is not merely a matter of amending the Constitution by adding a few extra words. Much work needs to be done in establishing the correct system. And the key to this whole thing would be, how can Malaysia become a better place and corruption, abuse of power, etc., be eradicated, plus more freedom of the press, and so on be achieved which adding a few extra words in the Constitution will not solve?

Sri Lankan refugees deserve better

By Jeyakumar Devaraj,

The PSM is concerned for the safety and wellbeing of the 207 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers who are being held at the Immigration Detention Centre at the KL International Airport as well as the 108 Sri Lankan refugees detained at Pekan Nanas Immigration Detention Centre.

According to our sources, there are 15 women and 6 children among these 207 Sri Lankans who were picked up at a roadblock in Batu Pahat, 10 days ago before being transported to the KLIA for detention.

Out of the 108 people detained at Pekan Nenas Immigration Detention Centre, there are 10 women and 10 children. One of the women is in her eight month of pregnancy. It was also reported that the Sri Lankan Embassy, including the Deputy High Commissioner, were forcing a group of Sri Lankan refugees to sign agreements for repatriation. The refugees refused to sign the agreements and the embassy personnel assaulted them by beating and kicking them to force them to sign the agreement.

It is of particular concern to us that both the UNHCR and Suhakam have been denied access to the Sri Lankan detainees at the KLIA Detention Centre in KLIA. The refusal of the authorities to allow access to these detainees, only serves to heighten the apprehension of observers that human right violations are taking place. This sense of apprehension is further heightened by news that Sri Lankan government officials have been allowed to interrogate these asylum seekers and are pressuring them to return to Sri Lanka.

The Malaysian government must not forget that an important principle in the handling of asylum seekers is that they should not be repatriated to their own countries - as they claim to have escaped from these countries because they were afraid that they would be harmed. The international community accepts this principle, and even if Malaysia is not a signatory of the particular international covenant on refugees, it is vitally important that Malaysia respects and abides by this principle.

The fact that these Sri Lankan asylum seekers, many of whom have UNHCR documentation, might have been attempting to embark on a hazardous and illegal journey to a third country is an indictment of the way the Malaysia has been treating asylum seekers.

Even though they may have UNHCR documentation, the refugees residing in Malaysia are not permitted to work. Of course they have to work illegally for how else can they support themselves and their families while waiting for placement in another country - a process that may take several years? But working without official sanction opens them to abuse by their employers - who do they complain to if the employer refuses to pay them their wages as promised? The lack of a proper work permit also exposes them to extortion by various enforcement personnel.

Given that Malaysia has issued work permits to more than 2 million migrants to work in various sectors of the economy, the Malaysian Government's reluctance to release work permits to the 40,000 asylum seekers is difficult to understand. Why not regularise their stay in Malaysia? Why force them to work surreptitiously at the fringes of Malaysian society? Why traumatise them further?

Apart from difficulty in obtaining work permits - asylum seekers face great difficulty in getting medical treatment in Malaysia. Government hospitals do not differentiate between asylum seekers, migrant workers and the health tourist. They are all charged far in excess of what Malaysian pay for health care. Similarly, the children of asylum seekers are barred from registering in government schools.

It is high time for Malaysia to review our treatment of asylum seekers. Are we living up to our claim of being a caring society if we treat a desperate group of people so callously?

The PSM therefore calls upon the government to:

Immediately allow UNHCR and Suhakam access to the Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers currently held at the KLIA Depot, Pekan Nenas and elsewhere.

Ensure that no asylum seeker is repatriated back to his own country forcibly.

Set up a task force to suggest changes to our legislative framework such that the need of asylum seekers for employment, health care and education can be handled humanely.


Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj is a Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member

Kadir Jasin, Opinion Leadership and the Lack Of It.

The country is on the verge of realising a two-party/coalition democracy, at which point the electorate will have the choice of two equally viable and inclusive alternatives. But to get there, Pakatan Rakyat parties must commit to a Common Policy Framework as a precursor to registering the coalition.

By Suflan Shamsuddin

Kadir Jasin recently wrote an article entitled ‘Zaid, The Hurricane Hattie Of PR’, in which he describes Datuk Zaid Ibrahim as someone whom, wherever he goes, creates havoc and ruffles feathers. The facts on which he relies relate to certain aspects of Zaid’s past with which he claims to be acquainted. He seals his argument by referring to Zaid’s announcement to take leave from PKR’s political bureau meetings, following his supposed fallout with the party’s leadership over Sabah. The article appears to be intended to forewarn those who might seek to or have to associate with Zaid of his political ambitions and his propensity to cause chaos wherever he goes.

If he wrote the way he wrote, as a nobody, just to heckle a personality for the sheer sake of it or as a means to vent his own frustrations and demonstrate his own petty insecurities, then I would have taken his opinion for what it appears to be. Misguided and unfounded. But harmless.

But Kadir Jasin, given his illustrious past, is supposed to be a lot more than just a nobody. He is supposed to be an influential member of society and an opinion leader. And his opinion is that personalities like Zaid should not rock the boat, should not champion the underdog, should not stand up for what they believe in and be true to their principles, and should never challenge the status quo. Instead, what they must do is to pay homage and deference to the settled order, and say ‘how high?’ when asked to ‘jump’. And it is this opinion with which I take issue, i.e. to disparage and hold in contempt the audacity of courage, principle and hope, which Zaid demonstrates.

It would be quite different were Zaid to do a Zulkifli Noordin, proposing an amendment to Article 3 of the Federal Constitution on the role of Islam that clearly runs contrary to the stated position of PKR. Or a Hassan Ali, who invites discordance within ranks by holding views that are rejected by all Pakatan Rakyat parties. Or an Ibrahim Ali, who chooses to flip-flop between parties and ideologies, depending on who might be the highest bidder. Or state assemblymen who, at the first sign of trouble with the authorities, are willing to sacrifice the mandate of the electorate and jump ship to save their own skin. These are personalities whose trouble far outstrips the value they bring, and who clearly ought then to be brought to book. Articles that remonstrate such behaviour would make sense for a respectable opinion leader of distinction to write.

But Zaid’s feather-ruffling actions have never been out of disrespect to party principles and values. On the contrary, it is because he zealously upholds these principles and values above anything else that he courts more controversy than many other politicians. And it is this upon which Kadir Jasin frowns?

The country is on the verge of realising a two-party/coalition democracy, at which point the electorate will have the choice of two equally viable and inclusive alternatives. But to get there, Pakatan Rakyat parties must commit to a Common Policy Framework as a precursor to registering the coalition. And it is the shaping of this document that Zaid has had the arduous responsibility to helm. Might Kadir Jasin’s tirade be nothing more than a manifestation of the jitters felt by those who fear Pakatan Rakyat’s success in achieving this milestone?

I am sure that there will be comments to say that to even consider Kadir Jasin as an opinion leader is itself laughable. But as much as I might be ever so slightly tempted to support such a view, I think it lamentable to do so; because it would be below the belt, and undermine the stating of a serious principle at stake. And that is that it is the responsibility of opinion leaders to help shape the creation of a progressive and competent society, and not retard it, by their example, by their action, and by what they say.

A while back I wrote an article in Malaysia Today about the Malay struggle, and described how it is not a struggle of retaining special rights or racial dominance. Instead it is an internal one, which requires us Malays to take up an internal jihad to change our behaviours and values in order to accept personal accountability, to be achievement orientated, to be adept at independent and critical analysis, and to play by the book.

Kadir Jasin’s opinion runs contrary to this struggle. He wants us to retain our feudal values. It is his kind of opinion leadership and those of his political masters that help hold many Malays back from being anything other than serfs for the ruling elite, and impedes the nation from progressing beyond the authoritarian patronage-based political circus of today.

Bar Council revives call for RCI into Teoh's death

(The Edge) - The Malaysian Bar has revived the call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into the death of political secretary Teoh Beng Hock following the testimony of Thai pathologist Dr Porntip Rojanasunan that there was an 80% probability that his death was a homicide.

In a statement today, Malaysian Bar president Ragunath Kesavan said the RCI should have a wide ambit to investigate the circumstances and cause of Teoh's death and to conduct a concomitant review of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) interrogation and investigation techniques.

"These two aspects are intrinsically interlinked and cannot be analysed in isolation from one another," he said.

Kesavan said it was evident now, more than ever, that the scope of the RCI's investigation must not be limited to reviewing the MACC's interrogation methods alone, as was proposed by the government.

"Under the Penal Code, an inquest is restricted in its scope and findings, and would be far less effective than an RCI would be," he said.

An uneasy peace in MCA

By Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — The announcement of MCA’s peace plan today left niggling doubts over how solid the reconciliation between former rivals will be and whether it will really be the end to months of power struggle.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who brokered the plan, is also unsure if the idea of maintaining the status quo in MCA will work.

Under the plan, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek agreed to bury their differences.

Ong and Dr Chua agreed to find ways to stabilise the party, with the two at the helm, without bringing the party to the brink.

Another EGM and fresh polls is also off the agenda under the truce.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Najib is going along with the plan for now but like everyone else, wonders if a refusal to accept the verdict of party delegates will have consequences.

A press conference, hastily convened at MCA’s headquarters at 2.30pm this afternoon, got off to a frosty start when esrstwhile rivals Ong and Dr Chua entered the room and sat one seat apart without making small talk.

There was also an awkward silence as all present in the room waited for the third party — Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai — to arrive.

Vice president Datuk Ng Yen Yen shuffled uncomfortably in her seat even after Liow arrived.

A sombre looking Liow did not talk during the press conference but later told reporters he would have to “discuss” the unity plan with central committee members.

During the press conference, it was confirmed that Liow would remain deputy president for now pending a response from the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on Dr Chua’s application to be recognised as deputy president following the annulment of his sacking.

If the ROS declares Dr Chua the deputy president, it could prove an obstacle to the unity plan.

Chua’s role now remains ambiguous.

“I will brainstorm with other leaders,” said Ong when asked about Dr Chua’s role in the party.

The other question which was answered during the press conference but in an unconvincing fashion was whether Ong and Dr Chua would be able to work together.

“I am optimistic and hopeful,” said Ong when asked if the two men would be able to overcome months of deep seated animosity.

Dr Chua put it in more pragmatic terms saying both men had about half the support of the general assembly and therefore had to unite to move the party forward.

“The EGM was an eye opener for both men. There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics,” said Ng after the press conference.

There is a feeling among party observers now that Liow’s position has worsened due to the peace plan.

Though the announcement of a peace plan was supposed to be a joyous occasion, there was no backslapping or laughter, just polite smiles and handshakes.

Another question that remains is how Ong’s intention to stay on as president will affect his image since the party general assembly passed a motion of no confidence against him.

He said today said that he had decided not to resign after receiving numerous letters, e-mails and text messages of support and wants to take care of unfinished business.

Whether the party delegates will be able to accept this explanation after traveling from all corners of the country to cast their vote remains to be seen.

But with Dr Chua appearing to be throwing his support behind the peace plan, his supporters are unlikely to make much of a fuss.

“The EGM was to get rid of Tee Keat and now that Soi Lek is supporting a unity plan, then there is no reason for him to resign,” argued a source close to Ong.

Ong denied Najib had applied pressure on the two men to make peace.

The revelation that Najib had met the two men however could reinforce the perception that MCA is unable to solve power struggles on its own.

Ultimately, the uneasy peace in MCA is likely to mean Ong and Dr Chua will have to draw up a time frame for succession.

Witness refuses to say how much MACC paid him

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Oct 22 — The agent provocateur whose work resulted in the arrests of two former PKR state executive councillors for corruption, refused today to disclose in court how much the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had paid him for his services.

Mohamad Imran Abdullah, 34, who is the star witness in the trial, caused a stir when he refused to give the information despite being told to do so by the Sessions Court Judge Azhaniz Teh Azman Teh.

The question was posed during cross-examination by defence counsel Abdul Roni Rahman, who is representing the two former PKR men, Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, 52, and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, 57.

Roni: Were you paid some compensation for your work?

Mohamad Imran: As 'sagu hati' (a gift), yes.

Roni: Can you tell us how much the MACC (formerly Anti-Corruption Agency) paid you?

At this juncture, Mohamad Imran hesitated and MACC prosecution unit head Datuk Abdul Razak Musa stood up to interject.

“I object to this question. It is irrelevant,” said Abdul Razak.

Judge Azhaniz Teh frowned before asking, “Why is it irrelevant?”

The judge then ordered Mohamad Imran to answer the question.

The nervous-looking witness however refused to do so and after a pause, told the court, “I am sorry, tuan, but I do not want to answer this question.”

Judge Azhaniz Teh looked at Abdul Razak and asked, “This is your witness and he has refused to answer the question although the court has ordered him to. Why the secrecy? Is it against any government policy?”

Abdul Razak said that if the witness were to answer the question, the court should be cleared. He added that answering such a question was against public policy.

Defense counsel Surjan Singh, who is representing another accused in the trial, then stood up and loudly disagreed with Abdul Razak.

“This is not against any public policy. We all know that all informers are paid. He already admitted that he was paid so what is wrong with telling the court how much?” said Surjan Singh.

Judge Azhaniz Teh then told both the prosecution and the defence to submit on the matter after lunch.

When the case resumed, Abdul Razak said that payments made to agent provocateurs was a “government secret matter” which was why he did not want the information to be made public.

He cited sections in the Evidence Act 1950 to back his earlier statement that the information was not relevant to the trial.

When the defence stood up to disagree, Judge Azhaniz Teh asked, “What is the purpose of asking that question? How is it relevant to the trial?”.

Surjan Singh stressed that the information was vital as the amount received by Mohamad Imran for his work as an agent provocateur would indicate the latter's mental state when carrying out his duties.

“It would show his frame of mind to do the job successfully in ensuring an arrest and a conviction.

“He himself admitted he is an agent provocateur. Also, he admitted he was paid.

“If he was paid peanuts, he would not have gone to the extent that he had gone, in order to obtain the arrests,” said Surjan Singh.

He added that given the short opportunity for research on the matter, he had been unable to find any authority to state that Mohamad Imran should not be compelled to answer the question.

“If I am given more time, I can submit further on this matter,” he said.

Judge Azhaniz Teh granted Surjan Singh his request and fixed Monday, October 26, to hear the submissions.

During the trial earlier, Roni attempted to wrangle an admission from Mohamad Imran that both Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman had been victims of entrapment.

After they were slapped with corruption charges, the two former PKR men defected from their party in February this year and became Barisan Nasional-friendly Independents, a move which led to the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak.

Roni also pointed out more discrepancies in Mohamad Imran's reports to the MACC, this time over the handing over of cash to Mohd Osman.

On August 16, 2008, when Mohamad Imran met with Mohd Osman at the Aquarius Coffee House of the Summit Hotel in Bukit Mertajam, the former inaccurately stated in his report that RM5,000 had been handed over to Mohd Osman although the latter never touched the cash.

Roni: In Aquarius, you put the money on the table.

Mohamad Imran: No. I had the money in my hands and intended to give it to Mohd Osman. And then Mohd Osman told me to give it to (PKR politician) Usaili Alias. (Usaili is another accused in the trial).

Roni: Do you agree that Mohd Osman did not want to accept the money and that was why he asked to give it to Usaili, who was the elections director for the Permatang Pauh by-election?

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

Roni: I am not confusing the facts here. Let me ask you a direct question – You gave the money to Usaili because the money was intended to go to aid PKR in the by-election?

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

The RM5,000 was allegedly meant to help Mohamad Imran in securing a multi-million ringgit housing project development in Seri Iskandar, a township some 45km from here.

Roni then asked Mohamad Imran if everything that he had done between Aug 4 and Aug 19, 2008, had been under the orders of MACC officer Firdaus Mohd Idris.

Mohamad Imran said yes and added that another MACC officer, by the name of “Azam”, had also been coaching him.

Roni: This means that it was not your personal intention to embark on this so-called housing project in Seri Iskandar?

Mohamad Imran: I agree.

Roni: Do you agree, that from then until even now, such a project does not even exist and there was never any intention on the part of anyone to embark on such a project?

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

Roni: Do you agree that during the handing over of RM1,000, RM1,400, RM2,000, RM5,000, RM5,000 and RM9,000 (on separate occasions before Aug 19), there was no arrests made by the MACC?

Mohamad Imran: I agree.

Roni: There was no arrest during this time because the funds were actually meant to help PKR in the Permatang Pauh by-election.

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

Roni: The MACC did not make arrests because on these occasions, the two former state executive councillors (Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman) were not present (during the handing over of the money) at the time.

Mohamad Imran: I do not know.

Roni: This is because MACC's main target was to arrest the two of them.

At this juncture, Abdul Razak stood up to object.

“How would he (Mohamad Imran) be able to answer this question? He is not from MACC,” he said.

Roni then changed his line of questioning but Mohamad Imran, who was beginning to look frazzled, stumbled through most of the next few queries, triggering laughter in the courtroom.

Roni: Do you agree that giving a bribe is a criminal act?

Mohamad Imran: (nods) I agree.

Roni: Do you agree that offering sex (bribes) is also wrong?

Mohamad Imran: (pause) I am not sure.

The audience in the gallery sniggered.

Roni: Since you agree that giving a bribe is wrong, so then you are agreeing that you were wrong to offer bribes to the accused.

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

More laughter from the courtroom was heard.

Roni: Do you agree that a person who did not receive a bribe, did not commit a crime?

Mohamad Imran: (pause) I disagree.

At this point, the two former PKR men were seen grinning.

Roni: Since there was actually no real intention to embark on the housing project in Seri Iskandar, do you agree that you cheated Usaili, Ruslan, Zul Hassan and Fairul by saying you wanted to develop such a project?

(Former Perak Tengah district councillor Zul Hassan, 45, and businessman Fairul Azrim Ismail, 31, are also jointly charged for various counts of corruption in the same trial.

Former Perak Development Corporation technician Ruslan Sahat was also charged but his charges were dropped when he passed away on Aug 3.)

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

Roni: If you do not tell the truth to someone, does it make you a liar?

Mohamad Imran: (Long pause and silence).

Roni: It is a simple question. If you say something that is not true, you are a liar. Agree?

Mohamad Imran: I disagree.

The trial continues tomorrow with the cross-examination of Mohamad Imran by Fairul's lawyer, Mohd Asri Othman.

Court differs from Perak decision as Gobind remains barred

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo (picture) remains barred from the Dewan Rakyat after the High Court ruled today that legislative proceedings cannot be challenged in court, in a decision which appears to go against an earlier Federal Court ruling.

The decision by the High Court today relies on a generally accepted principle of Separation of Powers but contradicts a Federal Court ruling in April which said it was allowed to inquire into legislative proceedings.

The Court ruled today that the constitution was supreme and that it cannot question proceedings of the Dewan Rakyat.

But in April, the Federal Court panel of Augustine Paul, Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Arifin Zakaria, Nik Hashim Nik Ab. Rahman, and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin was willing to depart from this precedent, which gives respect to the doctrine of separation of powers in a case between ousted Perak Speaker V Sivakumar and Barisan Nasional assemblymen in Perak.

In that case the Federal Court ruled Sivakumar did not have the power to suspend Datuk Zambry Abd Kadir, the mentri besar, and six BN executive council members from attending the state assembly.

The ruling cleared the way for the seven men to attend the state assembly and head off attempts to mount a no-confidence vote against the Perak BN government.

With that decision the Federal Court appeared to have punctured the hallowed doctrine of separation of powers upheld by court decisions on five previous occasions.

In the previous decisions, the court had followed provisions in the constitution which says the courts cannot interfere in proceedings of the legislative assembly.

In the case of Gobind today, the High Court appeared to be returning to that doctrine.

In his decision earlier, Judicial Commissioner Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof took pains to point out that Gobind’s case was different from the Perak case because nobody was questioning the “validity” of the committee that suspended Gobind, unlike the committee chaired by Sivakumar.

He also noted that there were clear provisions in law for the Dewan Rakyat committee to decide if Gobind’s act was an offence that could be categorised as “contempt of the house”.

For those reasons, he said, the court was not reviewing Gobind’s 12-month suspension.

But the novice judge also pointed out that the courts exist to provide “check-and-balances” to the arbitrary decisions made in Parliament, which were not backed up by clear provisions in law.

Mohamad Ariff ruled that the first-term MP cannot take part in the lower house proceedings until March 18 next year, but is entitled to his monthly salary and other monetary benefits as clearly stated in Article 64 of the Federal Constitution.

He noted that under the law, Gobind could only be fined a maximum of RM1,000 for breaking the rules in Parliament, and be arrested if he does not pay the fine.

The judicial commissioner also ruled that an interest rate at eight per cent a year to be added to Gobind’s pay and be backdated to March, when Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia passed the motion to suspend the fiery man for contempt.

Gobind’s lawyer and father, Karpal Singh, said it was a fair ruling and they would not be appealing.

“It’s a fair decision. The judge has done a lot of work.

“While what Gobind had said was tantamount to contempt, they had no right to take away benefits,” the veteran lawyer said.

Karpal, who is also DAP chairman highlighted that today’s decision held “far reaching consequences” for Parliament Speakers from now on.

“A landmark decision has been reached where the decisions of Parliament are now subject to judicial review.

“Parliament must be careful of decisions it adopts. It can’t do as it likes anymore,” he told reporters outside the courtroom.

“This judgment shows that the Speaker’s decision can be questioned in a court of law,” he added.

Karpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, joked that Pandikar and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, as minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, should get a copy of the written judgment when it is completed.

“Parliament is not absolute,” he stressed, and ended: “it goes against what they believed all along.”

Gobind, who is also a lawyer, said that he was satisfied with the ruling, but moaned about not being able to take part in the upcoming Budget 2010 debate.

“The suit was filed as a matter of principle,” he said.

“I was hoping to get back to Parliament, but at the same time I am relieved that the judge did say that I am still the MP for Puchong,” he added.