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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Azmin denies RM9 million shares allegation, to take legal action

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — PKR vice president Azmin Ali today dismissed allegations that he and his wife owned more than RM9 million in shares as baseless and called the attacks disgusting lies propagated by his Barisan Nasional (BN) enemies.

He also said that legal proceedings would be started against those who were making the accusations against him.

Former MIC Youth chief SA Vigneswaran, who is also Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation chairman, had made the accusations yesterday.

Vigneswaran had claimed Azmin and his wife had bought the shares worth more than RM9 million when he was an aide to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who was then an Umno Deputy Prime Minister.

“I have not seen the documents alleged by Vigneswaran but I believe the documents have been manipulated to involve my wife and me,” he said in a statement issued today.

He claimed that his family had been the subject of such attacks since 1998. In that year, Anwar was sacked as DPM and from Umno after allegations that he committed sodomy first surfaced, sparking Malaysia’s worst ever political crisis which was the genesis of the reformasi movement and the formidable Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance.

“I was sought by the police, Anti-Corruption Agency and also the Inland Revenue Board as part of a probe into my assets.

“The same excuse was used to arrest and detain me on Sept 16, 1998 until Sept 22, 1998.”

Azmin expressed regret today with what he called BN’s evil attacks.

“I have directed my lawyer to take legal proceedings towards those who have made such statements and those who have reported such lies.”

Following Vigneswaran’s allegations, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said today that Azmin should explain the allegation.

“It is not wrong to buy shares, but an explanation is necessary as to how the purchase was financed. He must have an answer and an explanation, and we are waiting for the explanation,” Khairy said.

Doubts surface over reasons for Seetha’s suicide bid

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KLANG, Nov 14 —Were domestic problems the real reason why R Seetha attempted to kill herself and her four children with weed killer on Thursday?

Police are now investigating other reason that could have led the 33-year-old housewife to kill herself and her children aged between three and nine years old, which her family attributed to grief over the death of her younger brother who was among five suspects shot dead by police last Sunday.

While he still laments that police should have attempted to arrest those shot dead, including Seetha’s 24-year-old brother Surenthiran, Kapar MP S Manikavasagam, believes domestic problems could also be a factor.

“I still believe the police should have arrested the man but I cannot blame them for the attempted suicide.,” said the PKR politician who yesterday threaten to take to the streets should Seetha die.

The fact she tried to also kill the children because of her grief does not make sense and is unacceptable, said DAP’s Charles Santiago, who visited the family at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital yesterday.

Santiago however said the case still highlights the plight of the marginalised Indian community.

Meanwhile, the New Straits Times today reported that Seetha has brought the weed killer from her home in Gemencheh, Negri Sembilan and hid it in her bag when she came for the funeral in Kampung Perepat, Kapar on Monday.

Quoting sources, the daily also reported that the housewife had longstanding family problems, was depressed and was on medication for a stomach ailment.

However, Human Right Party and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader P Utayakumar, who yesterday said he would bring Seetha’s body to parliament if she dies, has dismissed the news report as ‘misinformation’ by police.

“If I were them, I would do the same thing to divert blame,” said the former ISA detainee.

He said no matter what Seetha’s condition was, the death of her brother must have pushed her over the threshold.

When contacted, Klang police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohamad Mat Yusop confirmed they were looking at other angles and possibilities as to why Seetha attempted to kill herself and her children.

He said the condition of the mother and her children remains unchanged at the hospital.

“We are hoping they recover,” he added.

Refugee standoff in Indonesia eases

Some 56 Sri Lanka asylum seekers still refuse to leave the Australian customs ship [AFP]

A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers have agreed to leave an Australian custom's ship and go to a detention centre in Indonesia, partially easing a standoff which began last month.

The 22 men were among a total of 78 ethnic Tamils on the Oceanic Viking anchored off Bintan island near Singapore.

The men left by ferry for an immigration detention at Tanjung Pinang, local police intelligence chief Zainal Arifin said.

However, the majority of those who remain still refuse to leave the Australian ship that plucked them from the sea in Indonesia's search-and-rescue zone last month.

The asylum seekers, who have already had their refugee claims accepted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, have been assured of rapid resettlement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.

Asked if resettlement would be in Australia, Faizasyah said: "I believe so." He added that the Oceanic Viking had been granted permission to stay in Indonesian waters for another week with the remaining asylum seekers on board.

Australian reply

Australian media had reported an agreement had been reached for the refugees to leave the ship in return for resettlement in Australia within four to six weeks.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans earlier told Sky News said he thought his country would accept the refugees.

"I would expect us to be taking the larger proportion of the group. We're hopeful some will start to come off soon. I don't expect them all to come off at once but we will hopefully see some movement in the next day or so."

The standoff has caused a political headache for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has been under pressure over increasing arrivals that have seen more than 1,600 boat people this year seeking asylum from countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Indonesia has expressed annoyance at talk in Australia of an "Indonesia Solution" to the crisis that would see Australia pay its northern neighbour to temporarily host more Australia-bound asylum seekers.

Indonesia, which sprawls across 17,000 islands to Australia's north, has been a key staging point for migrants being taken by people smugglers on the perilous sea journey to Australia.

PKR Selangor MB: 97 Tamil schools, no state land granted

Selangor Indian EXCO Mandore hands over peanuts RM 160, 000.00 to 3 NGOs’ (read one NGO) and washes his hands from granting land to all 97 Tamil schools in Selangor. We have written to PKR Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid to stop his Indian EXCO Member from playing any further peanuts “wayang kulit” and to get to the point by granting land to all 97 Tamil schools in Selangor. But being an ex UMNO man this Selangor MB inherits the UMNO mindset and mentality by using his Indian EXCO Member to divert attention away from the real issue. “LAND FOR ALL 97 TAMIL SCHOOLS IN SELANGOR”.

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Selangor govt sets aside RM 4 Mil to beef up Tamil schools – PKR Selangor MB’s diversion tactic to avoid giving land to 97 Tamil schools in Selangor.

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Kg Buah Pala: Indians cheated by Kapitan Lim Guan Eng. Forum failed to unplug Buah Pala

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Umno stalwarts named in lopsided deals

SHAH ALAM: Top politicians including former Agriculture Minister Tan Sri Sanusi Junid and former Executive Council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Palil were directors of companies involved in lopsided projects in Selangor, according to declassified documents marked secret by the previous administration.

The companies entered into joint venture projects with the Selangor Agriculture Development Corporation that brought little benefit to the people and and even less revenue to the state.

The documents showed former Mentri Besar Dr Khir Toyo claiming that the reforestation projects would bring in a revenue of RM800 million within 20 years, but so far the projects have contributed barely RM500,000 to the government coffers.

The projects were supposedly initiated to find a balance between physical development and the environment in Selangor.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim (picture), who used provisions under the Officials Secret Act to declassify the documents, said they showed a pattern in which joint-venture projects were awarded to the same people, albeit in different companies.

He said some of the projects were given to dormant companies which did not have the expertise to carry out reforestation. Furthermore, they were awarded without any tenders called.

Four joint venture projects mentioned in the documents were signed between 2001 and 2007 and involved almost 11,000 hectares at the forest reserves in Bukit Tarek, Rantau Panjang, Sungai Jeloh and Bukit Belata.

The parcels of land were leased to the companies for between 50 and 60 years for several projects, including reforesting the areas with commercial trees such as teak, sentang and rubber.

Nothing was done to stop the joint ventures although several parties had raised concerns over the questionable deals.

Khalid said Selangor would have been better off without the one-sided reforestation projects, which he described as a “huge” loss to to taxpayers.

He remarked that the showed why a Freedom of Information law was important to prevent misuse of power by politicians.

More wives = less adultery and prostitution?

RAWANG, Nov 14 — Don’t marry young virgin girls; marry single mothers or widows instead. This was a suggestion made recently by a Kelantan state official to would-be polygamists.

But the idea drew flak from some critics, who said instead that more efforts should be made to reduce divorce rates and assist single mothers.

The issue of polygamy is being hotly debated now, with the controversial Kelantan official’s suggestion and the emergence of a Polygamy Club founded in August by the wife of a polygamist.

Hatijah Aam, 55, said she started the club with the aim of curbing social ills such as prostitution and adultery. It has 300 members.

“After sharing the same man for 30 years, we are like sisters,” Hatijah told The Straits Times. Sitting beside her, Noraziah Ibrahim, 52, the younger wife of Hatijah’s husband, smiled.

Noraziah met Hatijah’s husband after her own partner had died.

“She had children to feed. Can you imagine? She needed help,” said Hatijah.

The two are married to 72-year-old Ashaari Muhammad, patriarch of a clan spawned from five marriages — he has since divorced one wife, while another died in a car accident while on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in 2003.

Of his 38 children, 19 sons and four daughters are also polygamists. Ashaari has 200 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

“Some people think polygamy is bad, but it is actually a beautiful thing,” said Hatijah.

Most Malaysians remember Ashaari as having led a deviant Islamic sect that was banned in 1994 because of his claims that he was able to absolve sins, and that an Islamic messiah from the east would appear ahead of a prophesied doomsday.

Ashaari suffered a stroke in 2003, and is now unable to speak. His third wife was not present at the interview as she was tending to him.

The family’s story is just one example of polygamous marriages in Malaysia.

Muslim men are allowed up to four wives under Islamic law. Critics say the practice is cruel and has been distorted from its original purpose.

The practice was prevalent during Prophet Muhammad’s era to provide for the many widows and orphans, as a consequence of men dying in frequent wars.

Activists say most modern polygamists in Malaysia marry younger women and neglect their first wives.

While Hatijah’s family seems to be living harmoniously, rights groups argue that most polygamous families suffer abuse and jealousy.

Sisters in Islam (SIS), a non-governmental organisation which upholds the rights of Muslim women and campaigns against the practice, says polygamy is not a solution to prostitution.

“Marriage — whether polygamous or not — cannot be a cure-all for an issue as complex as sex work,” SIS programme manager Masjaliza Hamzah told The Straits Times.

“Society should stop seeing marriage as the one-stop answer to the issues and concerns faced not only by women sex workers, but also single mothers, widows and older women.”

She quoted verses from the Quran which discourage polygamy, and pointed out that although Prophet Muhammad practised it, he did not allow his son-in-law to marry another woman unless he divorced the Prophet’s daughter.

Only 2.8 per cent of Muslim marriages here are polygamous.

Different states also have varying criteria for would-be polygamists.

Kuala Lumpur requires a written consent or views from existing wives. In Perak, a man’s promise to treat wives fairly is sufficient.

Hanafiah Hamzah, a 53-year-old television cameraman, said strangers look down on him for having more than one wife. “Society looks down on polygamists. People always think it is for the sex,” he told The Straits Times.

Hanafiah married his first wife, who is now 47, two decades ago. Seven years later, he married his second wife, now 36.

While both wives are cordial to each other, he admits it is not easy.

“You cannot be fair to both of them. If a wife or a child is sick, who do you go to?

“If my friends say they want to be polygamous, I always tell them, you better not. My first wife never used to complain, but now she gets frustrated easily. It is my mistake,” he said.

Masjaliza said there is some stigma attached to the practice: “People don’t wear it like a badge of honour. There is a level of discomfort. Maybe people are ashamed.”

Indeed, while some top leaders in the ruling Umno and the opposition PAS have more than one wife, most of them attend official functions accompanied by only one wife.

But this is not deterring Hatijah, who is branching out Polygamy Club to Indonesia.

The government has warned that the club could be a ploy.

The family has been ‘trying very hard to deceive the public’ into reviving the banned religious cult through religious, business and social activities, Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, director-general of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, told the New Straits Times. — Straits Times

Outcry over police shoot-out in Klang

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 — Opposition MPs and activists are demanding that an investigation be held into the police shooting of five Indian crime suspects this week after the sister of one of the dead men tried to commit suicide.

The fatal shooting of the five members of the PCO Boy gang in Klang on Sunday triggered an outcry by Indian politicians including former Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders.

Police killings were among the reasons for Hindraf’s massive street protest in 2007, and helped swing Indian sentiment tremendously against the Barisan Nasional (BN) in last year’s general election.

It remains a volatile issue. Six days ago, police shot dead the five they said were responsible for at least 10 armed robberies around Klang Valley since last year.

Selangor Criminal Investigations Department chief Hasnan Hassan was quoted as saying that the men, aged between 24 and 30, had been known to injure their victims. Police also seized a semi-automatic Remington .45 pistol, five swords and a machete.

MIC vice-president S. Subramaniam yesterday urged police to review their procedures when dealing with suspects. “The incident of shooting suspects is damaging the image of the police force,” he told reporters.

But the opposition is going one step further — it wants an investigation. Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) MP Gobind Singh Deo wants the government to make it mandatory for an inquest to be held in all cases of deaths caused by the police.

“I can see no reason for the police to be afraid of an open inquiry if they have nothing to hide in these incidents,” he said in a statement yesterday.

DAP MP for Klang Charles Santiago also said the police have come under fire one too many times for abusing their power. He said media reports had stated that at least 39 people were killed by police in shoot-outs last year.

P. Uthayakumar, recently released from detention for leading the Hindraf protest, also demanded action. He cited a 1999 government statistic that 1.3 persons are shot dead by police every week, and claimed that up to 90 per cent of the dead in the last two years were Indians.

The shooting stirred even greater controversy after the sister of one of the dead suspects tried to kill herself and her four children two days ago.

R. Seetha, 33, fed weedkiller to her children, aged between three and nine, and then drank it herself. Her family said she was distraught over the death of her brother Surenthiran, 24. Her husband Manimaran said his wife was extremely close to her brother. All five are still in hospital.

Police have defended the shooting, saying it did not have a “shoot to kill” policy. Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Bakri Zinin said in a statement four days ago that the shooting took place after a high-speed car chase and the suspects fired shots as they tried to force the police off the road.

“When police officers shoot, they do not shoot to kill; they shoot to stop the deadly threat,” he said.

The government has yet to respond. The controversy can be politically sensitive as the police force is a powerful organisation which gives most of its support to the BN.

But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will also want to hold on to hard-won gains in support from the Indians.

From a low 30 per cent when he took office in April, it has risen to over 65 per cent, according to recent surveys. Last month, a public outcry forced the authorities to charge a police constable with causing grievous hurt to suspected car thief A. Kugan, who died in custody early this year. — Straits Times

Najib: What I like about Bush

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday praised former United States president George W. Bush for his staunch support of free trade, and urged other leaders to do the same.

“I have been saying privately, but I might as well say it publicly, that the thing I liked about President Bush’s foreign policy is that he was very pro-free trade,” he said at a panel session at the Apec CEO Summit 2009.

“Frankly I don’t like the other policies, but I like his policy on free trade.”

Najib said yesterday he hoped that the US and other countries could bring the Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks to a successful conclusion to help sustain the economic recovery.

“Apec in Singapore is a wonderful opportunity for us to make a very strong political statement that we will resist protectionism,” he said.

“I hope the same message will be repeated here in Singapore, and I hope the world leaders will see to it that the Doha Round will be completed next year,” he added, to applause from the 1,200 business executives and government officials attending the conference.

Najib said that other than a rejection of protectionism, there must also not be any premature withdrawal of stimulus measures until there was real recovery led by the private sector.

His comments came amid fears about protectionist pressures fuelled by growing joblessness and the fragility of the global economic recovery.

Specifically, there was concern among Apec members about the Obama administration’s attitudes towards free trade, in the light of its “Buy American” policy and the strong domestic pressure to protect American companies and jobs.

At the forum, Najib also said he wanted 5 per cent economic growth next year for Malaysia, higher than the official forecast of 3 per cent.

“I’m not happy with 3 per cent — I want 2 more per cent next year and beyond,” he said.

For countries like Malaysia, he said, the old paradigm of “manufacture in the East, consume in the West” no longer worked.

His government is working on “new growth model strategies” for Malaysia to achieve the higher growth, which are expected to be unveiled by the end of the year. — Straits Times

Selamatkan Tok Guru

By Sheih kickdefella

Sekali lagi saya merayu agar pimpinan parti PAS, pegawai-pegawai tinggi Kerajaan dan juga akar umbi untuk segera selamatkan Nik Aziz. Janganlah biarkan legasinya berakhir dengan sesuatu yang tidak manis.

Sungguh sedih bila Kafir Quraisy Malaysia yang menyelamatkan Nik Aziz dan bukannya Parti yang disayanginya.

Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz tidak bercadang ke Mekah pada tahun ini. Memang tiada perancangan tetapi Tuan Guru yang kita sayangi telah dipujuk oleh Menantunya, Abdul Ariffahmi Ab Rahman untuk ke Mekah kerana Ariff bercadang ke Mekah pada tahun ini.

Tiada orang lain yang memecahkan berita pakej RM65,000 satu kepala ini melainkan Ariffahmi sendiri yang memberitahu “Ana pergi ke mekah tahun ni, gi dengan pakej VVIP” kepada setiap orang yang tidak tahu dia akan ke Mekah.

Apabila Tuan Guru menerima pujukan menantunya, berkembanglah cerita bahawa kepergian Tuan Guru dengan peruntukan PMBK tetapi lama kelamaan tersebar bahawa ianya ditaja menerusi seseorang yang mendapat projek-projek Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan.

Yang mengejutkan bila Tuan Guru yang ikhlas itu mengaku kepada wartawan pada 10 November 2009 bahawa memang benar kepergiannya di taja oleh orang luar.

Sekali lagi saya menyeru kepada Ariffahmi supaya melepaskan jawatannya sekarang, seperti yang pernah saya nasihatkan kepadanya, “anta sudah banyak mencemarkan nama baik Tok Guru, cukuplah.”

Kenapa mesti Kafir Quraisy yang terpaksa memimpin Tuan Guru supaya keluar dari kontroversi. Di mana dia yang kasih dan sayang pada Tuan Guru kita?

Seedless Slogans

By Augustine Anthony

People love seedless fruits. It is convenient for our consumption. The value of the fruit ends the moment it enters our digestive system. But a fruit with seeds can maintain continuity if placed in the hands of a creative and resourceful owner.

Just imagine if we pick up the seed and visualize the beginning and the end of what the seed can become, we will see many things that the mind had not thought or perhaps had taken for granted. We will begin to see the seed becoming a shoot, a little plant, then a tree after which it will bear fruits and we get to enjoy the fruits. More fruits mean more seeds and more seeds mean more trees and the cycle continues. Of course we can expand this simplistic explanation into a complex and endless discourse. But in short, in the miniature seed we are able to glimpse the continuity of a grand scheme of things.

Play the concept forward and then play it backward, play the idea from the seed to the fruit and fruit to the seed. We will see nothing but harmony and purpose. The seed has a purpose for which it must grow as a tree to bear fruits and the fruits have a purpose to produce more seeds and the end result is continuity of purpose.

Empty Slogans

Like seedless fruits, empty slogans are also a convenient item for consumption which will experience its death pang without any hope of continuity the moment the shout is over. If a meaningful national slogan cannot be expanded into grand scheme of things, it will become a disservice to a nation as it turns hope into a mirage and a vibrant society into a mass in a state of inertia that will soon see its distant surrounding overwhelming it. Lip service has the capacity of turning the greater population into a cynical lot.

An idea called democracy

An idea is a seed with a grand scheme of things with continuity in mind. Today the world over, we hear the rejuvenated shouts of democracy echoing in every corner. At its inception the idea was to give power to people and that people themselves should decide what is best for them.

The Greeks started it. The Romans experimented on it. The French Philosopher Montesquieu debated it (the concept of separation of powers is an integral part of democracy). We now have Congressional and Parliamentary Systems. To safe guard the realization of “Power to People”, creative and resourceful thinkers had put in place various mechanisms for compliance. Inventive people know too well that without instruments exacting obedience, people in general will tend to abuse anything that is designed for a common good.

The sacred position of common good necessitates instruments outlining the obligations of all who form and become inclusive of a collective voice called a society. Documents outlining the contractual relationship between People and the State, which we now understand in our country as the Federal Constitution, had become imperative with room for expansion and improvisation. The effective adherence and commitment to the Constitution is made possible by various administrative institutions with the introduction of separation of powers to safe guard that sacrosanct citizen and state relationship.

Now a forward or backward reading of democracy and “power to people” in which ever way will reflect harmony and purpose. And because of this unity, there is hope for modification, improvement and enhancement of the concept. There is room for remodeling and there is space for improvisation in an ever evolving society.

Society and Evolution

A society consisting of living beings is endowed with a self generating pattern of evolution. It is constantly changing. It needs to remodel itself and that can only be done effectively by adaptation and improvisation and this is where the slogans are introduced to spark an innovative idea for a renewed beginning. A slogan with an intended grand scheme of things can give birth to a vision of harmony and purpose very much like the seed and the fruit.

A slogan is a spark as well as an impetus. It ignites and remains a flame.

Trivializing Slogans

Reformasi

What is Reformasi apart from being a wonderful slogan?

Does this seed have a greater purpose for reformation to survive or continue? Right thinking members of society ask what this movement intended to achieve by the very shout of this slogan. Can we visualize this seed turning into a grand scheme of things with comprehensive policy safe guards that will allow room for experiments and improvements?

In hearing the shouts of Reformasi, people would generally think that it is intended to bring reformation to the people which encompass a positively altered way of thoughts that will pave the way for the restructuring of the unworkable system of governance that is pulling this nation down.

After more than ten years from the first clenched fist of Reformasi, we see that many associated with this movement struggling with basic issues like unethical party hopping, corruption, mediocrity and the propagation of distrust among the ethnically divided fragile cooperation. Racial and communal political patriotism and championing are still deeply rooted in many within this movement.

As this slogan is only a sub slogan of the main slogan of democracy, one expects that this slogan will compliment and supplement democracy but sadly the basic ideas of good governance which is part of democracy whether of a state or a political party, still elude many within this slogan. No wonder we hear less and less of the shouts of Reformasi nowadays.

Is Reformasi dead? Or is there a renewed direction to this slogan.

Change

What is Change? Is it not obvious that a change can be for better or worse? A mere sloganeering with word such as “change” does not define an idea with a grand scheme of things in mind.

The fact is reformasi is a form of change but more importantly a change in a positive sense. Thus the slogan change is in effect an outdated slogan going back to reformation. In fact reformation is a superseding theme for the slogan called “Change”. Reformation is an improvised positive term for change, applicable in an advance, clean and efficient system of governance.

Between Change and Reformasi, there is confusion and we are regressing even in sloganeering.

A slogan that screams change must have reformation in mind otherwise sporadic whispers “that the only change that is taking place is the change of heart of many who feel that they are terribly short changed”, might become loud and boisterous shouts.
If there is one reformation that our society must desperately and urgently embrace, then it must be the reformation with renewed mindsets of our people that free us from the very system that has a terrible grip on all our actions and reactions. Look around and see how feudal and patriarchal our society has become.

1Malaysia

What is the grand scheme of things by the utterance of this 1 Malaysia?

Is it one nation with one identity called Malaysians where there is no place for race based society and congregation, one language spoken by all where none will be a stranger in a crowded promenade, one education system where there will be no distrust and suspicion, one judicial system where there will be no confusion and confrontation, one financial system that streamlines our financial prudence, one system of governance where all will have equal opportunity, appraisal, recognition and occupancy. One vision, one struggle, one goal, one dream and one unwavering hope, not of Malaysia for Malaysians, but Malaysians for Malaysia our motherland?

A simple visualization of this slogan gives many skipped heart beats in exhilaration. Can this nerve tingling excitement translate into an endless euphoria in the collective contemplation of the entire nation?

That endless euphoria is only possible when and if the author of this slogan visualizes and sets in motion an agenda in anticipation of the harvest time.

Upshot

When we elevate our focal point from Malaysia for Malaysians to Malaysians for Malaysia, we reach a higher consciousness where our collective conscience will discard its greedy consumerism enslaved by scarcity mindset and embrace the splendor of conservationism.

Barren lands will turn into vibrant ecosystems, polluted rivers will become pristine waterways and the air will be ours to breathe deep.

Not possible? Think again.

Premier Seeks His Mandate in Malaysia

By PATRICK BARTA | Wall Street Journal

SINGAPORE — The pace of social and economic reform in Malaysia is likely to slow over the coming months but the country remains committed to opening its heavily regulated economy to more competition in the long term, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Friday.

In a rare private interview, Mr. Najib said that steps he has taken since assuming power in April, including relaxing rules for foreign investment in business services and tourism, are “quite unprecedented” for Malaysia.

But more dramatic overhauls, including major restructuring of a race-based political system that reserves ownership of much of Malaysia’s economy for ethnic Malays, will likely have to wait.

“For the next few months, we want to deliver what we have promised” rather than focus on big new reforms, he said. Short-term efforts will include achieving “performance indicators” announced by the government this year to curb crime and improve government services and infrastructure — a program Mr. Najib hopes will further bolster the popularity of his government.

“I need the political support, I need the political base” if more dramatic reform is to be achieved, said the premier, who was chosen for the post by his predecessor, and installed by his party.

Like many emerging economies in Asia, Malaysia has seen its export-oriented economic model — it is Asia’s third-most trade-dependent economy after Hong Kong and Singapore — suffer badly over the past year. Growth contracted sharply in the first half of the year, and while there have been signs of a recovery, Malaysia’s position as one of Asia’s manufacturing hubs faces increasingly tough competition from China and Vietnam, where wages are often cheaper.

Malaysia also faces rising political discord after years of stability, with deep dissatisfaction over its affirmative-action program. Established in the 1970s to help put 30% of the economy in the hands of ethnic Malays, who make up 60% of Malaysia’s 27 million people, the program has left many ethnic Chinese and Indian residents feeling disadvantaged.

Dissatisfaction, led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, spread last year, and the governing National Front coalition — which has ruled Malaysia since 1957 — lost its long-held two-thirds majority in Malaysia’s parliament. That forced former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to accelerate a handover of power to Mr. Najib, his deputy.

The soft-spoken, British-educated son of Malaysia’s second prime minister surprised many investors by moving quickly to placate critics, despite having a reputation as a defender of Malay privilege.

Mr. Najib’s government relaxed rules requiring companies to allocate 30% of their equity to Malays when listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, and eliminated the need for foreigners to take ethnic Malay partners in certain sectors such as health and tourism.

“I read the signals from the last general election, and a responsible government has to respond,” Mr. Najib said in the interview Friday, held between meetings at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Singapore. “I’ve made necessary changes,” he said.

But the changes didn’t include politically sensitive industries such as air travel, utilities and retail, and some investors have argued the government needs to force more competition.

The changes so far are “just PR spin,” says James Chin, a political-science professor at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University. “My impression is that this guy wants to do reforms but he cannot until he goes to an election and gets an election mandate.”

Mr. Chin says he suspects Mr. Najib will call an election next year if the economy recovers, though he isn’t obliged to do so by law until 2013.

Mr. Najib said he agrees Malaysia needs to take bolder steps eventually. He said he is planning to unveil a new economic plan to diversify the local economy. While he declined to say exactly what it would entail, he said Malaysia needs to boost the role of services and encourage more domestic consumption to reduce over-reliance on exports.

He said he would also like to promote niche industries such as Islamic finance, which now accounts for a sizable part of the country’s banking assets.

The government will also aim to rein in its sizable spending on consumer subsidy programs next year, potentially freeing up cash for more productive investments, he said. Malaysia allocates nearly $200 million a year subsidizing the price of sugar, for instance.

The government is working with a local bank to create “smart cards” that will allow it to direct subsidies only to low-income consumers who need them, he said, while redirecting government assistance away “from people who drive Ferraris.”

Whether these additional steps will be enough to appease investors is uncertain.

Mr. Najib’s ideas are “a good start,” says Ed Teather, an economist at UBS in Singapore, especially the bid to cut subsidies. “The concern is that the promises of the government aren’t always followed through on.” He says he believes Malaysia’s growth will rebound to 6% next year before easing to 5% the following year — lower than what some economists think Malaysia must maintain to significantly increase living standards.

Mr. Najib said he also intends to rein in corruption, which has long been an issue of concern for foreign investors. Corruption “is a problem,” Mr. Najib said, but added, “it’s a problem of many countries.”

The country’s progress on that front, he said, may well be judged on how it handles a few high-profile cases working through the system, including one in which a former transport minister and another top executive are accused of committing fraud during the development of a debt-ridden port and industrial facility. A parliamentary committee recently recommended that police and other authorities pursue investigations against the officials.

Mr. Najib said he would support prosecutions of the officials, if the investigations indicate such prosecutions are warranted. But “we cannot rush into it,” he said.

—Celine Fernandez contributed to this article.

Fitnah Barisan Nasional Semakin Kencang

KENYATAAN MEDIA

Kenyataan bekas ketua pemuda MIC, Vigneswaran yang mendakwa saya dan isteri memiliki saham bernilai RM 8.5 juta dari tahun 1992 sehingga tahun 1994 adalah tidak berasas sama sekali. Saya belum melihat dokumen yang didakwa oleh Vigneswaran tetapi saya percaya dokumen itu dimanipulasikan oleh pihak-pihak tertentu untuk mengaitkan dengan saya dan isteri saya. Semenjak tahun 1998, saya dan keluarga sering menjadi sasaran fitnah bertujuan untuk mengaibkan saya dan keluarga. Saya diburu oleh pihak berkuasa seperti polis, Badan Pencegah Rasuah dan juga Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri untuk menjalankan siasatan mengenai perolehan harta saya. Malahan, alasan yang sama digunakan untuk menangkap dan menahan saya pada 16 September 1998 sehingga 22 September 1998. Saya telah memberikan kerjasama penuh kepada pihak berkuasa termasuk butiran lengkap aset kami.

Saya merasa kesal kerana apa yang berlaku hari ini menunjukkan Barisan Nasional tidak akan berhenti dari melancarkan serangan fitnah yang jahat untuk mengganggu keamanan dan ketenteraman saya dan keluarga. Saya melihat tindakan jijik yang terancang ini adalah untuk mengaibkan dan mencemarkan nama saya dan isteri. Kenyataan berunsurkan fitnah dan berniat jahat itu jelas mempunyai motif politik bertujuan merosakkan reputasi saya selaku Ahli Parlimen Gombak serta Naib Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Saya dengan ini menafikan sekeras-kerasnya tuduhan yang dilemparkan oleh Vigneswaran. Saya telahpun mengarahkan peguam saya untuk bertindak segera prosiding perundangan yang sewajarnya terhadap pihak yang membuat kenyataan dan melaporkan kenyataan fitnah tersebut.

AZMIN ALI

The al-Aqsa Mosque

The Malaysian media is totally dependent on the so-called wire services (Reuters, AP, AFP, etc) for foreign news. As a result there has been no report on the Israeli desecration of the al-Aqsa mosque and the beating up of Palestinian Muslims who wanted to pray there.

I don't think the Malaysian media is deliberately blacking out news which are not in favour of Israel but if they depend solely on the wire services they would always be unfair to the victims of Israeli brutalities.

We read very little about the blockade of Gaza and the sufferings of the people there.

What Israel is doing is illegal, but such is the control that Israel exercises on the international media that it can actually openly commit genocide and nothing would happen to it.

These are the people whom we had sympathised with because the Nazis of Germany tried to wipe out. Now they are the ones doing the very thing they, or their forebears had suffered from in the past.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim

The Singapore Straits Times on Tan Sri Khalid contains one error.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was not the CEO of the (Malaysian) Government investment vehicle Permodalan Nasional which "pulled off an infamous dawn raid" on the London Stock Exchange by taking over Britain's Guthrie Corporation in 1981.

The officer involved with the raid was Dato' Desa Pachik, the first CEO of Permodalan Nasional.


Crucial Moment For Tee Keat, Soi Lek Tomorrow

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Come tomorrow, MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek will know whether the Greater Unity Plan brokered by them will be accepted or not when grassroots leaders attend the first briefing on the plan.

Each of the 191 party divisions are to send at least five grassroots leaders -- the division chairman, deputy chairman and secretary as well as the divisional Wanita and Youth chiefs -- for the briefing, which would be held at the party headquarters.

"A high turnout will indicate that their unity plan is well received while a low turnout will indicate the opposite," said a Selangor divisional leader who declined to be identified.

The briefing, expected to touch on five major issues, will be very crucial for both leaders as Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, a party vice-president, and 16 other central committee (CC) members had organised their own briefing sessions for the party grassroots in the past few days.

First on the agenda at tomorrow's briefing is a discussion on how to utilise the party funds for divisional activities.

Secondly, the grassroots leaders will be briefed on the legality of the second requisition for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) by 16 CC members, especially after four of the original requisitionists aligned to Liow were sacked by Ong. The second EGM, scheduled for Nov 28, is an attempt to seek fresh party elections.

The third and most important thing is the Greater Unity Plan, which will seek to ensure that all the three current factions -- headed by Ong, Dr Chua and Liow -- can work together.

The two other issues are direct elections for CC members as well as the party's preparations for the 13th general election.

The briefing will be chaired by Dr Chua, who has been tasked by Ong to chair a special task force committee to implement the unity plan.

Party sources said Ong and Dr Chua would only decide on their next move after meeting the divisional leaders as Liow, who is backed by Wanita chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and Youth chief Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, continue to press for fresh polls to resolve the MCA leadership tussle.

Sexual harassment still a big, big problem

Malaysia is undoubtedly home to many a male chauvinistic pig. One of them is the Labour Department director-general Ismail Abdul Rahim who recently remarked that having a sexual harassment bill "could lead to a dull and rigid environment in the workplace".jag anti sexist parliament protest 150507 mca women

His statement was in reaction to a stand taken by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who wants to legislate laws against sexual harassment at the workplace.

With his callous statement, Ismail has only made it obvious that gender discrimination is still a big, big problem in Malaysia. There is no political will power to consciously tackle this workplace menace if the views of Government servants in the likes of Ismail is considered.

Ismail's remark goes to show that sexual harassment is viewed as a 'remeh' or trivial matter. One that is harmless and needs no action to be taken against. How could saving a woman's self-respect and honour make any work place environment dull and rigid?

Is the Labour Department chief categorically saying that he condones sexual harassment at the workplace? In that case, one can only wonder how many sexual harassment cases have taken place at the Labour Department, without any action taken against the perpetrator.

'... dull, rigid working environment'

Having reflected his ignorance on the issue of sexual harassment, the Labour Department director-general has only made it clear that the issue of gender biasness is a problem that must be addressed immediately without any political interference. To 'pep up' the working environment at the expense of women employees is an insult to all women, be they working or home makers.

The Labour Department director-general is 'blur' to the commitments made to preserve women's dignity at the Beijing Platform for Action at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. One of the 'vow' taken is to remove legal obstacles and gender discriminatory practice.

The Labour Department head it appears is just as ignorant about the fact that Malaysia is signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) when he let out his thoughts that a bill on sexual harassment at workplace "could only lead to a dull and rigid working environment".

NONEIsmail's sexist outlook reminds us of the sexual harassment charge brought against former Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis (left) in April last year. The case, however, was closed after the victim retracted her statutory declaration saying she was "used" to Jamaluddin's "rough way" and jokes . Do such display of power lead to victims of sexual harassment becoming 'paralysed' under threats and fear of losing their jobs?

If power is used to silence women who suffer sexual harassment, then an Act must be put in place to protect all women, but the Act itself must in no way come with loopholes that instead cause women to keep silent each time they experience sexual harassment because seeking justice then becomes a joke.

Not 'trivial' issue

For over a decade now, the women's groups in Malaysia have been advocating for the Sexual Harassment Act in place of the Code Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. The latter was introduced by the Human Resources Ministry in 1999 and was adopted by only a small percentage NONEof employers.

Women's Development Collective in its book 'A Pioneering Step - Sexual Harassment and The Code of Practice in Malaysia published in 2003 states that two years after The Code was launched (in 2001) only about one percent of employers nationwide had set up internal mechanisms to combat sexual harassment in the workplace, a mere 4,500 companies out of the 400,000 employers registered with the Social Security Organisation.

In spite of the many pleas from women's groups on why sexual harassment needs to be addressed seriously, there has been little support from employers on implementing the Code at their workplaces. Sexual harassment instead is viewed as a 'small matter' between office colleagues or between female employees and their male employers.

Why is sexual harassment not taken seriously by employers? Why is the issue of sexual harassment a butt of jokes to the male politicians? Does sexual harassment not denote an act of violence against women at the workplace? Do male employees and male employers feel threatened with the capabilities of their female staff that they have to resort to sexual harassment?

Respect women's rights

There is no denying that sexual harassment has become a threatening problem with serious repercussions facing women workers. A research carried out from 2000 to 2001 revealed that 35% of the 1,483 respondents from six pioneer companies had experienced one or more forms of sexual harassment at their workplace.

The sexual harassment ranged from verbal lewd jokes to physical harassment. It leaves the victims feeling fear, confused, shocked and angry.

Until and unless legal force is employed in eradicating sexual harassment at workplaces, cases of women suffering, and most of them in silence from such harassment will continue, severely affecting the productivity of these women.

In 2001, a coalition of Women NGOs, Joint Action Group Against Violence against Women (JAG-VAW) submitted a memorandum, a thoroughly researched proposal for sexual harassment bill to the Human Resource Ministry.

The bill is intended to replace the existing voluntary Code Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.

At present, women represent 36% of the Malaysian workforce and it is their physical, emotional and mental well being at the workplace that will determine the level of their productivity.

___________________________________________________________________

JESWAN KAUR is a journalist who spent many years writing for the mainstream media before deciding to 'break free' and put pen to paper to focus on and fight for issues that are conveniently marginalised by the powers-that-be.

'Cowhead' temple relocation finally settled?

Photos of happy Indian family made miserable after UMNO Malay-sian police shot dead 5 Indian youths.

Happier Times

142

113

122

________________________________________________

In Misery

151

161

gh-se

Photos of happy Indian family made miserable after UMNO Malay-sian police shot dead. The mother Seetha (31) and her four children in the lowest ebb of their bereavement attempted to commit suicide.

All five are in critical condition at the ICU at the Klang General Hospital.

On 8/11/2009, the police shot dead five (5) Indian youths including a 17 year old juvenile.

Letter to the Home Minister on the Killing spree of the PDRM

HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY
NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245 Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Your Reference :

In Reply : HRP/NOV/09

Date : 13TH November 2009

Y.B Dato Seri Hishamuddin Hussein
Home Minister,
Aras 12 Block D 1,
Complex Kerajaan Fasa D,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
By Fax no : 03-8889 1720
62546 Putrajaya.
E-Mail: hishamuddin@moha.gov.my

Y.B,
Re: 1) Police “shoot to kill order”: appointment with Home Minister on
16/12/2009.
2) Family Suicide: UMNO Malay-sian police cause misery to three generations of Indians.

We refer to the above matter and to the police “shoot to kill order” of
five Malaysian Indians in Klang on 8/11/2009 including a 17 year old
juvenile and subsequently leading to the attempted suicide of one of
the victims sister Madam Seetha and her four children. (Note: All five
are still admitted at the Intensive Care Unit of the Klang Tengku
Ampuan Rahimah General Hospital). This Malay-sian police force
atrocities has caused grave mysery to three generations of this and
scores of other Indian families.

We regret to note that there is no reply forthcoming to our letter to
your goodself dated 9/11/200 on these police murders.

Our monitoring reveals that up to 1.3 persons are being shot dead by
the police in every week (Refer The Star 11/09/2009). For the year
2008 and 2009 we estimate that up to 90% of the Malaysian victims are
of the ethnic minority Malaysian Indian origin when their population
is merely about 8%. For once the Indians seem to have overwhelmingly
overshot their “quota” and that too by about 1, 100%. Bravo One Malay-
sian UMNO!

We hereby also officially accept the invitation by the Federal CID
Director that was broadcasted on NTV 7 news at 8.00 p.m on 11/11/2009
for individuals and NGOs’ critical of the police to follow them in
their next “shoot to kill” mission. We further seek permission for our
camera and video crew to also be present. Kindly confirm the same.

As a lawyer by training your goodself, you may appreciate the most
celebrated legal principle that “a man is presumed innocent until
proven guilty” vis a vis especially Article 5(1) of the Federal
Constitution which provides:-

(1) No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in
accordance with law.

And read with Section 15(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code which
provides: -

“Nothing in this section gives a right to cause the death of a person
who is not accused of an offence punishable with death or with
imprisonment for life”.

(Of course to get around this Section the police each time “plant”
guns, bullets and parangs next to the dead bodies which cannot speak
nor defend themselves ) Even a comment in Malaysiakini yesterday that
the “same guns are exhibited at every such shooting case” is well
worth your serious attention.

In the light of even the 82 Pakatan Rakyat (P.R) Members of Parliament
not even moving an Emergency Motion in Parliament on especially this
very serious matter, we hereby call for a Home Ministerial Statement
made in Parliament forthwith and in any event by the end of next week
that the unofficial “police shoot to kill policy” does not exist.
Kindly also explain this vis a vis the standard police explanation in
about 99% of the times of the police high handed “high drama” that a
group (of up to 90% of the times Malaysia Indians) looked suspicious-
they flee upon seeing the police - the police gave chase -the suspects
shot at the police first - the police “in self defence return fire” -
and killing all the suspects -and in rare occasions one of the
suspects(suspected police informer) makes the escape – but he is never
found - there is no history of even one policeman injured let alone
who had died in this “operasi” - zero independent witnesses - as the
police cordon off the area for the “operasi” - only in rare occasions
a “display” of shattered police car windscreens - even rarer no bullet
holes or marks on the police car – and the police get away scot free
with cold blooded murder of innocent mere suspects when they should be
protectors of the law.

We note that even in the 1980’s the police force had very much more
higher standards. They did not practice this “unofficial shoot to kill
order”.
In this era crime buster S. Kulasingam for example successfully
captured alive about the most wanted at and dangerous criminal ie
Botak Chin despite he himself (S. Kulasingam) having been shot at and
wounded by Botak Chin. Botak Chin was put on trial, sentenced to
death, exhausted all his appeals to the higherst courts, his clemency
pardon being turned down by the King and he was finally sent to the
gallows. (Refer NST 25/09/2005 at page 10) This is the due process of
the law. This is the rule of law!
This is Justice! And this the due administration of law and order!

But this police actions today seems to be upholding the law of the
jungle as if they are the dictator of some African Kingdom where might
is right and with total disregard for especially the poor defenseless
and underprivileged working class Indians.

We do not condone crime but the due process of the law must be complied
with. Only the courts and not the police force should be seen to be
meting out especially “death sentences by shooting”. The police cannot
and should not any longer be allowed to singularly assume the role of
Judge, Jury, Prosecutor, Enforcer and Executioner all in one go.

We are also concerned about the alarmingly high rise in the crime rate
over the last three years under the leadership of the present Inspector
General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan. We once again call for his and
the Criminal Investigations Director (CID) Director Dato Bakri Zinin’s
immediate sacking.

With regards to this matter we hereby seek a meeting with your
goodself as follows:-
Date: 16/11/2009 (Monday)
Time: 1.00 p.m
Venue: Parliament House lobby
Note: 1) Our Mr P. Uthayakumar, the victims’ family, Hindraf and HRP
supporters would be present.

Kindly confirm accordingly.

We regret to inform you that we have no new memorandums to hand over as
the facts seem to be the same but the police atrocities are getting
worse.
We would however be happy to hand over to your goodself our previous
memorandums and letters spanning over the last eleven (11) years which
is running into hundreds of pages.

Kindly revert to us accordingly.

Your faithfully,

_______________________
P.Uthayakumar
Secretary General (pro-tem).

c.c Dato Seri Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62502 Putrajaya.
Fax : 03-8888 3444
E-Mail : najib@pmo.gov.my

How quickly people forget

The SD made by private investigator P. Balasubramaniam linking Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribu, cannot be withdrawn, says Bar Council President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan. She said the statutory declaration was made in accordance with the procedure and sealed by a Commissioner of Oaths.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Now you know why we come out with this revelation in series. Most Malaysians have short memories and can only absorb a limited amount of information at one time. Give them too much in one go and they can’t focus and start going off in the wrong direction. So we have to give this information in small bits and pieces and allow it time to sink in before you offer them more.

Must be something about this mother-tongue education and the teaching of English in Bahasa Malaysia and all that.

Anyway, before you make further comments and start looking like idiots, or even more of an idiot, maybe you should recap what has been said and written before.

Take note you can’t retract a Statutory Declaration (like they said Bala did but actually did not) and if Bala has made a false declaration (like the government says he did) then the government has to charge him (like they did me) instead of promising him RM5 million (like they did me).

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

Why Balasubramaniam's First Declaration Is Still Significant

(Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, 4 July 2008) - P Balasubramaniam has made an about turn and released a new statutory declaration. From media reports, it appears that he claims that those parts of his original Statutory Declaration that pertained to the Deputy Prime Minister were made under duress.

He has not been forthcoming with particulars of his purported duress. This is unfortunate as it raises many questions that the Malaysian public is deserving of answers to. As I understand it, the inflicting of duress in law requires the subjecting of a person to the kind of treatment that would leave that person with no doubt that he or someone close to him would be in grave danger, life and limb, unless that person cooperated with the person inflicting duress.

Is Balasubramaniam saying that representatives of Keadilan inflicted duress or that his previous lawyer did? We cannot overlook the statement given by Anwar Ibrahim at the same press conference yesterday in he explained how Balasubramaniam had come to make the Statutory Declaration. From this perspective, the accusation of duress is not a trivial one as it carries grave implications and consequences.

In the same vein, if in fact the police were in contact with Balasubramaniam yesterday, after the press conference at which he released his original (and now retracted) Statutory Declaration as the media suggests, the police should also make it clear to the rakyat what it is that transpired, if only to clear up any doubt as to the circumstances in which Balasubramaniam retracted his original statement.

I say this because the original Statutory Declaration was itself of grave importance and carried with serious implications. I have noted that some writers have been quick to question or dismiss the value of the original Statutory Declaration for it allegedly being hearsay, or put another way, containing only second hand information not directly within the knowledge of Balasubramaniam.

I do not share this view. Allow me to explain why.

The law requires direct evidence of a fact. Second-hand knowledge is considered to be unreliable. However it does not follow that ‘hearsay’ evidence is not admissible or irrelevant in all cases. Evidence is multi-faceted and is never merely proof of one fact. Considered from different angles, a single piece of evidence may tell more than one story.

For example, A tells B that A had stolen some money. B then tells C. C’s evidence of the conversation is not admissible as an admission by A or as proof of theft. Put another way, A could not be convicted purely on the say so of C. Evidence of A having committed the theft would have to be put before the court, in one form or the other. This is the essence of the hearsay rule.

However, this does not mean that the fact of B telling C is of no relevance. The fact is that A and B had that conversation and though C’s evidence may not be able to establish the truth of what was told to him by B, it can establish that such a conversation took place. The law permits this. If admitted, such evidence could be considered as ‘circumstantial evidence’.

Seen in this light, it is clear that the original Statutory Declaration was of great significance. In it Balasubramaniam categorically stated that he gave information to the police about the conversations he had had with Razak Baginda and Altantuya AND that such information was excluded from his statement AND that the Prosecution did not ask him any questions about this aspect of the information he gave to the police. These pieces of evidence were not hearsay as they were matters directly within the knowledge of Balasubramaniam. They were also manifestly relevant.

Additionally, for the reasons explained above, the fact of the conversations between Balasubramaniam and Razak Baginda and Altantuya respectively were also of relevance for equally suggesting an alternative or additional line of enquiry that the police ought to have looked into but apparently did not.

The about-turn and the possible, though as yet uncertain, involvement of the police do not do any good for the already seriously undermined confidence of the rakyat in the justice system.

We deserve better.

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

Bala's original SD stands: Bar

(Daily Express, 5 July 2008) - The SD made by private investigator P. Balasubramaniam linking Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribu, cannot be withdrawn, says Bar Council President Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan. She said the statutory declaration was made in accordance with the procedure and sealed by a Commissioner of Oaths.

"A statutory declaration is a document that contains evidence given on oath.

It is sworn before a Commissioner for Oaths. As in the case of all evidence given under oath, it cannot be withdrawn," she said.

However, she said, a statutory declaration could be supplemented or corrected. "... and just as in the case a witness giving false evidence in court, anyone who swears a false declaration can commit an offence," she said when contacted.

Balasubramaniam, who had testified in the Altantuya murder trial, called a news conference on Thursday to reveal his 16-page statutory declaration dated July 1, containing allegations about the slain Mongolian's involvement with Najib.

However, at 11.30am Friday, Balasubramaniam announced that he was retracting the entire statutory declaration. He also issued a new declaration in which he said that his previous statements were inaccurate and not the truth.

Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Hazman Ahmad, who is representing Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, the first accused in the Altantuya murder case, said Balasubramaniam had the right to substitute his previous statutory declaration with a new one.

"He doesn't need to go through court process to come up with a new statutory declaration, but the question is, what is the status of the previous declaration? Is this amounting to cheating? It's up to the Attorney-General to take action," he said when contacted.

Lawyer Hasnal Redzua Marican, who is representing Corporal Sirul Azhar Omar, the second accused in the same case, said there were no provisions under which the statutory declaration could be retracted.

Lawyer Amer Hamzah Arsyad described Balasubramaniam's action as inappropriate as if he was making a mockery of the country's laws. He said the former policeman should have been firm with his allegations.

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

Bala told all six months ago: Nephews

(The Sun Daily, July 7, 2008) : The nephews of missing private investigator P. Balasubramaniam claimed today that their uncle had revealed to them months earlier all the details he had stated in his first statutory declaration (SD) which alleged that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had links with murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Brothers R.Kumaresan, 27, and Segar, 24, of Batu Caves said their uncle had shared with them about what he had mentioned in his first SD about six months earlier, and they believed he would one day make it public.

Kumaresan, an information technology (IT) professional said his uncle had expressed relief after he made his first statutory declaration public on Thursday but what he did the next day by denying it had shocked the siblings.

Balasubramaniam who had made public his first SD on Thursday based on what political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda -- one of the accused in the Alatantuya murder case -- had told him, on Friday retracted his allegations via a second SD, claiming his first SD had been made under duress.

The brothers spoke to reporters at the Gombak district police headquarters with their lawyer R.Surendran yesterday after giving a statement to investigators over a police report he lodged on the disappearance of his uncle, aunt and three cousins on Saturday.

"He claimed he made the first SD under duress, but from the expression on his face on that day, it was clear that he was not, everyone could see that," said Kumaresan.

"But when he retracted the SD and replaced it with another the next day, the expression on his face showed that he was really under duress. Compare his face on the first day with the second day.

"We are very close to our uncle and know him very well. There is no way he would have disappeared like this without informing us first." he said adding that his family strongly believe Balasubramaniam and his family had not gone into hiding but are being detained at an unknown location.

Kumaresan said had his uncle planned to go into hiding or feared for his safety, he would have done so on the very first day, after making the first statuatory declaration.

"But everything was normal after he made the statement on Thursday; and then Friday he goes missing with his family." he said.

Kumaresan said he also had no idea of who M Arulampalam, the lawyer who accompanied his uncle when he made the second SD is.

"We are worried about their safety. My aunt is a like mother-figure to me. I do not even know if they are still alive." he said.

Segar, an engineer said his uncle had also handed him an envelope two days before he made his first SD and told him to pass it to Kumaresan.

"He told me to tell Kumarasen to open it two days later but after he made public his first SD, we opened it and found that it was a copy of the SD," he said.

Meanwhile lawyer R.Surendran said the main concern of Kumaresan and Segar was the safety of his uncle and his family and not the statutory declarations he had made.

"I hope the police will look more into the angle that Balasubramaniam may be held against his will, as it does not seem that he has gone into hiding." he added.

Altantuya: Call for Royal Commission

altantuya n bala SHAH ALAM: Pakatan Rakyat senior leaders want a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe a cover up of events surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shariibbu following the latest revelations of private investigator P.Balasubramaniam.

“It is time to set up a RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry) which can probe this whole episode in a fair and independent manner in the name of justice not just for Altantuya but also Bala,” said Xavier Jayakumar of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (National Justice Party) said.

Xavier said there were still too many unanswered questions with regard to Altantuya murder in October 2006.

“There has to be an independent investigation and this can only happen by tabling a White paper in Parliament and having a Royal Commission of Inquiry,” Xavier said.

Lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah, another member of the party’s executive council, echoed Xavier’s views and said an independent investigation, including into the alleged links between Prime Minister Najib Razak and Altantuya was “paramount “.

“Bala is a key witness in this whole episode. There is evidence to show he was forced to retract his first SD and now he himself is saying he was offered money to do it,” Siva said. “We need to get to the bottom of the matter and the best way is to have a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

PAS vice-president Sallehuddin Ayob said Bala’s latest testimony clearly showed that a Royal Commission was appropriate to uncover the truth regarding the Scopene deal and the murder of the Mongolian .

He also said there was enough evidence from Bala to re-open criminal investigations into the murder.

“For the of sake of justice to be done, the case should be re-opened. It is very clear that there are grounds for the Attorney-General to order a review,” he said.

DAP Publicity Secretary Teresa Kok said Najib should be more forthcoming about his involvement in the whole episode.

“If there are such allegations by Bala, then as Prime Minister Najib Razak is duty bound to explain from A to Z,” he said.

Bala was hired by political strategist Abdul Razak Baginda, an aide of Prime Minister Najib to check on Mongolian model Altantuya when she arrived in Malaysia to confront Razak over RM500,000 commissions in the French-Scopene submarine deal .

Bala went missing on July 4 last year, a day after releasing a second statutory declaration refuting his first issued the day before, in which he exposed alleged links between Najib and Altantuya who was the lover of Razak.

In the first part of the interview, filmed overseas, Bala said he was offered RM5 million by a carpet businessman named Deepak, who is said to be an associate of Rosmah Mansor, wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak .

A search with the Registrar of Companies lists Deepak Jaikishan as a director of Carpet Raya Sdn Bhd with registered addresses in Ampang, Selangor and Cheras Kuala Lumpur.

The company reportedly recorded an income of RM122million.

Efforts to contact Deepak for comment were unsuccessful.

Some parties have alluded Deepak as a “Mr Fix-it” who carries out certain tasks for Rosmah from time to time.

PI Bala drops Bombshell 3: Update 1

VVIPs likely to be named

FINALLY, private investigator P.Balasubramaniam has come out of hiding after 15 months to give a no holds barred interview on what happened to him.

In the presence of three prominent lawyers on Oct 27, he reaffirmed that his first statutory declaration released on July 3 last year was true and that he was offered to RM5million to retract it.

He named carpet businessman Deepak—who is said to be an associate of Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Prime Minister Najib Razak—as the person who met him at a Rawang restaurant and made the cash offer.

Excepts of the video interview has been posted on YouTube

In the interview, Bala said Deepak made more than a cash offer.

“He asked me to go to Putrajaya but he never mentioned who he wanted me to go and meet… then after that he offered me RM5million to retract the SD,” Bala said.

The meeting allegedly took place at a restaurant in Rawang, on the same day Bala’s statutory declaration became public alleging links between Najib, his aide Razak Baginda and murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaaribu.

Today, the first part of Bala’s interview appeared on YouTube and Raja Petra’s www.malaysia-today.net . This is to be followed by a series of other portions of his Bombshell 3 expose.

Bala is likely to name people who played a role in the retraction of his first statutory declaration, which was replaced by a second one read out at a press conference the next day, on July 4 last year.

It is learnt that some of the personalities to be named are those close to the Prime Minister and his wife as well as senior police officers.

The 50-year- old former Special Branch officer is also expected to give a full account of his family’s ordeal while hiding away from Malaysia.

It is learnt that he and his family first went to Singapore , then flew to Bangkok before arriving in New Dehli and Chennai via Kathmandu.

Who are the people and why they went to such lengths to buy Bala’s silence is likely to become clearer as his expose in the interview unfolds.

RPK Speaks His Mind - ISA and Religious Brainwashing

DPM leaves it to A-G to decide on fresh Lingam probe

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 13 - The government will leave it up to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to decide if Datuk V.K. Lingam alleged role in fixing judicial appointments should be re-investigated, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

The deputy prime minister noted it was for the A-G to decide if they were valid reasons for the case to be reviewed when responding to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) operations review panel's (PPO) move to ask the A-G's permission to review the Lingam case,.

Bowing to public pressure and unhappiness over the government’s decision that “no further action” be taken over the judicial appointments scandal, panel chaiman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil confirmed that permission was being sought on grounds of public interest.

“Well it is up to the A-G to assess the request by the panel whether if there is any valid reasons to do, we leave it to them to decide,” Muhyiddin told reporters here.

The government has flip-flopped over its stand on the Lingam case especially when two ministers managed to contradict each on the status of the case.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had said, in a written reply to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, that no action would be taken against Lingam.

He said Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail had found “no case” against the senior lawyer.

However, just a week later, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced that the Lingam case was still under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

“The investigation in relation to V. K. Lingam’s video case is still under investigation by the MACC and the police are no longer handling the case,” Hishammuddin said in a written reply to Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong.

On Monday, Nazri again sparked an uproar in Parliament when he said “judiciary fixer” Lingam had been let off the hook “because he had broken no law”.

Nazri also suggested that Lingam breached no laws as he might “have just acted to fix the appointment of judges as if he was brokering the appointment of senior judges to impress people”.

Nazri argued that, from the legal perspective, Lingam could have “merely made a suggestion” as to who should be appointed to senior posts in the judiciary.

Lingam was implicated in a scandal involving senior judges and found by a royal commission to be the person recorded “fixing” the appointment of judges.

The royal commission found strong evidence against Lingam and in its report suggested that action be taken against him and others implicated in the infamous “correct, correct, correct” recording.

Other figures implicated include Eusoff, Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and tycoon Vincent Tan, a close friend of former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Photos also emerged of Eusoff and Lingam together on a holiday in New Zealand in the late 1990s.

Even though Eusoff claimed the meeting with Lingam in New Zealand was a coincidence, testimony by Lingam’s former secretary L.G. Jayanthi contradicted his claim.

Jayanthi claimed that she was instructed by her boss to make travel arrangements for him and his family together with Eusoff’s family to New Zealand.

MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamad has also said that the A-G will release a special statement soon on the controversial closure of the case even though the Home Minister had stated that Lingam was still under investigation by the commission

Catholic paper will get 2010 permit

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 – The dispute over next year’s publishing permit for Malaysia’s sole Catholic newspaper The Herald is settled and it will continue to be published next year while Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today hotly denied it had ever revoked the permit.

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew confirmed talk that the newpaper’s annual licence, which is under the scope of the Home Affairs Ministry, has been approved.

“It’s not a victory or anything,” Andrew told The Malaysian Insider over the phone while on his way home after an hour-long dialogue with senior aides to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in Putrajaya this evening.

“They are now talking sense, using reason instead of emotion,” he added.

Andrew expects to receive the permit within a week, after he reminded ministry officials of the bad experience he had in getting the current permit.

He had been notified the 2009 permit was approved only on Dec 31, the expiry date of the previous year’s permit, and received the permit proper only in January.

“They said they are issuing it,” Andrew said.

All print media owners here must have a publishing permit or risk jail and a fine under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The issue had caused a public outcry a few days after being highlighted by The Malaysian Insider earlier in the week.

But national news agency Bernama reported Hishammuddin today calling the revocation report baseless as the weekly's publication was still allowed in four languages namely Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

"The only issue here is whether they would be allowed to print The Herald in Kadazandusun," he told a news conference after chairing a post-cabinet meeting here today.

Hishammuddin said that the weekly's editor had sent a letter to the ministry informing them of a deferment in the publication of the Kadazandusun version.

The parish priest of St Anne’s Church in Port Klang had been invited to a meeting yesterday with Hishammuddin’s special officer, Datuk Lau Yeng Peng, to clear up the confusion caused by two letters issued by the ministry a few months back.

Other key staffers also present at the meeting included Datuk Michael Chong, also a special officer to the home minister; and the head of the publication control and Quranic text division.

“We are to take the first letter and ignore the second letter,” Andrew said, adding that “the confusion was caused by wrong wording in the letters.”

Andrew did not want to comment further on the explanations from the ministry, but confirmed that one of the reasons given requested him to write in for a refund for “payment made too early”.

Ministry officials said the church only needed to pay the fee three months before the permit expires, implying that it was too hasty when it paid in August instead of October.

The ministry had on Aug 5, sent out a letter approving the 2010 permit for the paper to publish in four languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

In the same letter, it noted the church had applied to publish in Kadazandusun, an ethnic language widely used in Sabah, but rejected the request, even though a large number of Malaysia’s 850,000 Catholics hail from Borneo. No reasons were given.

The ministry then requested the church to pay the RM800 fee made out to the Chief Secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry through a bank draft or money order within a month from the date of the letter, or before the current permit expires, which is on Dec 31.

The letter was undersigned Norlin Mudzafar on behalf of the home ministry’s chief secretrary.

The church promptly paid up within the month.

The next month, Andrew said, he received another letter from the ministry, dated Sept 3, and undersigned by Abdul Razak Abdul Latif from the publication control and Quranic text division, also on behalf of the ministry’s chief secretary.

The second letter rejected an application to change the language, which puzzled Andrew because he did not remember applying to change any language in The Herald.

The priest was more confused when the letter instructed him to furnish the ministry with four documents for a refund on the RM800 fee, namely: a valid copy of the bank statement in the name of the publisher, the “Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur”; a valid copy of the applicant’s identity card (IC); a valid copy of the organisation’s registration certificate; and a letter requesting a refund.