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Monday, November 16, 2009

Malaysian police shot dead 5 Indians & Seetha's husband arrested over wife's suicide attempt

Man charged with killing mom found dead in prison - Malaysiakini

A 22-year-old man charged with the murder of his mother was found dead in his cell at the Air Molek prison in Johor.

NONEAccording to the authorities, J Saravanan (left) hanged himself using a pillow cover tied to a bar of his cell door.

However, his family refused to believe that Saravanan would have taken his own life and suspect foul play.

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) Johor coordinator Y Mohan told Malaysiakini that the family plans to file a police report on the matter this afternoon.

"When they saw the body in the mortuary, it was covered with bruises.

"The family thinks that Saravanan could have been beaten to death," he said.

Saravanan was charged with murdering K Malilla, 47, using an iron rod at their home in Kampung MIC in Ulu Tiram.

He had also allegedly stuffed her remains inside a travel bag after the incident between 9.30am and 10.30am on Oct 5.

Breaking news – death in custody of another Indian youth (22) @ Air Molek prison, Johor Bahru.

Breaking news – death in custody of another Indian youth (22) @ Air Molek prison, Johor Bahru. Family to lodge police report. Press Confrence at 2.00 p.m on 16/11/2009 at Johor Bahru General Hospital mortuary.

Mohan Hindraf HRP

(019 7102895)


Freedom for Malaysian human rights activists.

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Cops deny husband arrested over Klang mass suicide bid (Malaysian Insider)

KLANG, Nov 15 — Police today denied they had arrested the husband of R. Seetha over her alleged attempts to kill herself and her four children or circulating text messages (SMS) to the effect, saying that he is only being questioned over the incident.

Selangor Criminal Investigation Chief Datuk Hasnan Hassan said M. Manimaran was only asked to help in the investigations.

The 35-year-old lorry driver was approached by police when he visited his wife and children at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital at about 3.15pm today.

He is currently being questioned at the Klang District police headquarters.

On Thursday, the 31-year-old housewife in Klang was reported to have poured weed killer into mug and told her four children to “drink it so you can see uncle”, before consuming the poison herself.

Seetha’s brother, 24-year-old R. Surendren was among five men “high on the police wanted list” who were gunned down by police in Klang Utama on Sunday, and the attempted suicide has been attributed to her overwhelming grief over his death.

Police are looking at the possibility that domestic problems rather than her brother’s death were the reason she tried to kill herself and the children.

However, Human Rights Party leader S. Jayathas in an SMS to the press said the police, who are indirectly being blamed for causing the attempted suicide, were trying to cause a diversion.

Meanwhile, Seetha along with nine-year-old Darshini and Kugendran, five, continue to be in critical condition.

Two other girls — Usharani, seven, and Navina, three, — are being treated in a normal ward.

HRP Commented-

Selangor Criminal Investigation Chief Datuk Hasnan Hassan lied that Manimaran questioned at the Klang District police headquarters. Actually Manimaran was brought to Gemenceh, Negeri Sembilan.

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(Police: Why twist facts on Seetha drinking poison). Father lodges police report. (Malaysia Nanban 16/11/2009)

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Sordid game of politics

By Farish Noor
thenutgraph.com

SILLY season seems to still be around in Malaysia. First we were forced to witness the spectacle of the bust-up that never was among MCA leaders. And last week, we were treated to a display of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders posturing. First these leaders got on their respective soap-boxes to spout, only to step down to hug and make up.

All in all, such amateur theatrics do not bode well for the future of the country's politics.

phone with speech bubble - alaaaa, biasa jeIndeed, one of the most damaging consequences of the theatrics we are witnessing is its effect in eroding public confidence in the political process and in politicians in toto. Following the 11 Nov 2009 publication of the photo of two PKR politicians embracing just a day after they publicly fought, I SMSed 40 people. Though by no means a comprehensive study, the response I received was instructive nonetheless. Close to 26 people replied with more or less the same answer: "What do you expect? Politics lah."

Expecting more

But that is precisely what we ought not to expect, be it from politics and/or politicians.

Have we, as a young nation, aged beyond our time and grown so jaded with politics and politicians that we can accept and normalise such displays of posturing without complaint?

clown asking for votes
Why should we even bother with the politicians we get?
Has our level of expectation sunk so low that we are prepared to accept the casual U-turns, non-committal froth, propaganda and deceitful promises that have become the norm of political praxis and discourse in this country?

And if so, why do we even bother to vote at all, if voting will merely serve us yet another helping of the same assortment of ne'er-do-wells, hypocrites, party-hopping amphibians and demagogues who play to the gallery at the drop of a hat?

The malaise that seems to affect this country is the erosion of belief, not only in state institutions, but also in the parties and politicians whom we expect to bring about the reform of these ailing institutions. But how can we expect people to have faith in politicians, when those politicians behave like, well, politicians.

Political behaviour

This brings us to the question of politics, politicians and political behaviour. Lest we forget, the term "politics" is an ambiguous one that is double-edged. To say of someone that she or he has behaved in a "political manner" is, as we all know, a backhanded compliment. It can often be understood in realist terms as harbouring the propensity to place political gains and considerations above all else. A good politician, in this respect, is someone who plays the political game well; but that doesn't necessarily make the person a good human being. On a similar note, one can also be a good thief — that is a thief who manages to steal and doesn't get caught — but that certainly doesn't make one a good human being.

Graph showing declining credibility
Credibility of politicians has declined with the
increase of political play
The credibility deficit that seems to be mounting for our political parties — and Malaysian politics by extension — perhaps stems from this perception: our politicians have become too good at behaving in a political manner, and have abandoned the principles we voted them in for in the first place.

It was for this reason that PKR in particular was admonished time and again by sections of the public for not doing anything effective about some of the loose cannons in its ranks. The latest brotherly hug-ins does little to assuage our concern that PKR will not get its act together before it is told to pack up and get out.

Now for the sake of politicians who have come to play the political game a little too well, we would like to remind them of certain normative principles in Politics 101. For a start, political parties are composite entities made up of many individuals with different subjectivities that are bound to be different and unique. It is also perfectly normal and mundane for members of any political party to have differences of opinion.

But parties also depend on some degree of consensus in terms of their collective goals and ambitions, and these common goals define that party. It is therefore perfectly reasonable, even banal to state that any party has the right to expel any member who does not agree with the party's common goals. A socialist party, for instance, has every right to expect its members to agree with the principles of socialism.

If it is perfectly rational and mundane for any party to expel members who do not believe in the party's ideology, why, pray tell is it so difficult for some Malaysian parties to do the same with their own maverick members?

Judging by the internal strife, dissention and ill-discipline among several parties in Malaysia today, particularly among the MCA, MIC, PKR and PAS, one might conclude that this most basic rule of political association is lost. And it is lost on the very same people who seem more inclined to play the game of politics than perform the task of governance as politicians.

Arm wrestling
Some seem more inclined to play the game of
politics than govern
If that is the state that we are in today — where the political game has taken a life of its own and has come to assume a greater importance than principles, ideology, governance and government — then we are in a deeper crisis than even this jaded historian imagined.

For it is when the public interest and the demands of governance are surrendered at the altar of realpolitik, that the path of political reform is closed off to the people. That would not only be an impasse for us all. Worse, it would be a betrayal of the highest order by the "politicians" among us. So, for Malaysia's sake, we hope these individuals can stop being such a bunch of politicians.

MB vs MB: Federal Court of Judicial Pillars or Political Stooges?

But without Nizar resigning, how could the post become vacant, and how could the Ruler appoint another mentri besar? This is the mother of all questions that the judges must answer before any one can rule that Nizar has lost his post.

By Kim Quek

There was deep disappointment and angry resignation when the Federal Court panel of five sat on Nov 5 to hear the Nizar vs Zambry appeal, immediately after rejecting Nizar’s request for a full panel to hear the case.

The appearance of the five judges alone was sufficient to impart the sense of foregone conclusion, for these are familiar faces that appeared in the series of hearings of the Federal Court held in respect of the current Perak constitutional crisis, and they all seemed to lean towards the Barisan Nasional.

The first three - Alauddin Sheriff, Arifin Zakaria and Zulkefli Makinudin – are virtually permanent fixture in the ‘Perak cases’, while the remaining two – Ghazali Yusoff and Hamid Embong – have also been involved. One cannot help but wonder: what happened to the rest? Why can’t we have fresh faces to also impart their wisdom over such a grave constitutional crisis?

What about the eminent Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Richard Malanjum, whose seniority was only next to Alauddin Sheriff (President of the Court of Appeal), and whose judgments often won admiration of the legal fraternity and the general public alike. He has not sat in a single case. Why should the country be deprived of the opportunity of tapping into his rich experience and much valued judgment?

Then, what about our very senior Justice Gopal Sri Ram – an appellate court judge since 1994 – who is distinguished by his deep legal knowledge and sound judgment delivered without fear or favour.

Surely, the participation of Malanjum and Sri Ram will restore some credibility to a judicial system already teetering on total mistrust, thanks to the long string of judicial decisions which have been perceived as blatantly biased and politically partisan since the crisis started in March this year.

SHOW OF ARROGANCE TO REJECT FULL PANEL

This is the third time that the Federal Court rejected Nizar Jamaluddin’s request for a full panel. And what irked the public is the court’s arrogance in rejecting the lawyers’ earnest, compelling and unassailable plea without bothering to offer the reasons of rejection.

That the coming court decision will be of paramount importance is underlined by the fact that it is expected to define the power limits and the inter-relationships of the triangle of King-Prime Minister-Parliament, though the case is over the Perak constitutional crisis. This is because state constitution and federal constitution are similar in these aspects of the law.

An affirmative decision in favour of Zambry will mean that in future the King is vested with the power to sack a Prime Minister. More than that, he can do so without the involvement of Parliament. This of course will mean the negation of the fundamental principles of democracy upon which this nation was founded.

Facing such a momentous decision, is it too much to ask for a full panel, or at least as wide a spectrum of judges as possible, to deliberate on an issue which may make or break our democratic system of government?

Since the Federal Court has convened panels of seven judges to hear drug related cases in the past, why can’t it convene an even bigger panel for the current case, since the issues involved are many times more important?

And why make the ‘Perak cases’ the exclusive domain of the few judges who are already looked upon with increasing dismay by the public for their perceived political partisanship? Why meticulously keep these cases out of bound to the well regarded judges?

Doesn’t Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who only a short while ago was an UMNO stalwart, owe the nation answers to these perplexing questions?

COURT OF APPEAL ERRED

The court completed hearing in one single day of Nov 5, the submissions from the lawyers of both the Appellant (Nizar) and the Respondent (Zambry) as well as from Attorney General Gani Patail. The latter appeared as intervener to help interpret the Perak and federal constitution, though in actual fact, he acted more like an attorney for the Respondent.

The arguments from both sides are largely repetitions of those presented in May in the lower courts, with the exception of the Appellant putting in some fresh arguments. A new input was that the Sultan should not have taken upon himself to interpret the constitution like what he did in his press statement of Feb 5 that considered the posts of mentri besar and his exco vacant if they refused to resign. Interpretation of the constitution should be left to the court. Another point was that as a constitutional monarch, the Ruler was duty bound to take advice only from his mentri besar – not any other including then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The bulwark of the Appellant’s case, as submitted in the lower courts, remains that the Sultan is not empowered under the constitution to dismiss a mentri besar, and that only the assembly, through a vote of confidence, can dismiss him. The Appellant also hammered home the point that the Court of Appeal’s rejection of Nizar as the rightful MB was flawed in that it had failed to take cognizance of the fundamental findings of High Court judge Aziz Rahim.

And the Respondent continues to maintain its contention that BN had the support of the majority of assemblymen and that the Sultan is entitled to determine which party had the majority support, stressing that nothing in the Perak constitution stipulates that such determination of support must be made in the assembly floor.

AG Gani Patail said the Ruler had taken upon himself to determine who had the majority support. He said: “A press statement issued by the Perak ruler revealed this, where he was satisfied that BN had the majority, and therefore, Nizar’s post – despite his refusal to resign – was deemed vacant”.

Note how Gani avoided using the word “dismiss” on Nizar. In fact, none of Zambry’s lawyers or Appellate Court judges had claimed that the Ruler had the power to dismiss Nizar. They only claimed that Nizar’s post had become vacant.

But without Nizar resigning, how could the post become vacant, and how could the Ruler appoint another mentri besar? This is the mother of all questions that the judges must answer before any one can rule that Nizar has lost his post.

EXTREME TREATMENT AGAINST NIZAR UNJUSTIFIED

On reflection of the Respondent’s case, perhaps we should explore a new perspective. Let us ask: what has Nizar done to deserve such extra-ordinary treatment – his support being ascertained by the Ruler personally, ordered to resign immediately, failing which his post was “deemed vacant”? Had Nizar caused our democratic system of government to come to a dead end, which would have been the case if he had lost the majority support and yet clinging on to power by

a) failing to advise the Ruler to dissolve the assembly, and

b) refusing to subject himself to a vote of no confidence?

Did Nizar do any of these? No! In fact, he did the opposite. He repeatedly advised the Ruler to dissolve the assembly due to a stalemate, but was turned down. He wanted an emergency session of the legislature to resolve the stalemate; that was also turned down.

Since Nizar had committed none of the sins against the principles of democracy as enshrined in our constitution so to speak, what justification was there to subject him and his cabinet to such extreme treatment as described?

That begs these further questions: Why was the Ruler in such a hurry that he couldn’t wait for a short while longer to let the assembly meet to resolve the impasse? And why did he reject his mentri besar’s advice to dissolve the assembly when it was apparent that there was a political impasse – a classic case of instability which is always resolved by returning the mandate to the electorate? Granted that the Ruler has the discretionary power to withhold consent to a dissolution of legislature, but should a constitutional monarch exercise that power without accountability?

The time has come for our highest court to put things right. This is a rare opportunity for our judiciary to redeem its tattered image and for the judges to shine with their judicial integrity.

The stake involved is so grave that whatever decisions they make, each and every one of the panel should have the courage and dignity to stand up for their views for which they must write their individual judgments, unlike the recent practice of hiding under a single judgment, claiming it to be unanimous decision.

Graft is most serious problem country faces, new poll shows

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — Corruption and abuse of power is the most important problem which needs to be solved, a new survey of voters in the country released today showed.

The survey by the independent Merdeka Center also showed a whopping 74 per cent of those polled were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of corruption and abuse of power issues.

Merdeka Center conducted the poll, commissioned by the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), between Sept 16 and Oct 12 this year, and has a margin of error of 2.78 per cent.

The poll was conducted before the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) charged a number of minor political figures and officials for corruption and abuse of power.

Among those polled, 52 per cent felt the country was headed in the right direction, while 47 per cent were of the opinion that Malaysia was headed in the wrong direction.

The economic recovery was cited as the main reason by those who felt the country was headed in the right direction.

For those who felt the country was going in the wrong direction, political instability and graft were listed as the top reasons.

A total of 13 per cent polled felt corruption and abuse of power was the most serious problem that needed addressing, followed by social problems at 12 per cent. Just 10 per cent thought crime and public safety was the country’s most pressing issue.

While 74 per cent were dissatisfied with the government’s handling of graft, a total of 67 per cent were also unhappy with how the administration dealt with social problems.

Among those surveyed, a very high 66 per cent were also dissatisfied with how crime and public safety were being addressed.

Unsurprisingly, 81 per cent of respondents felt corruption was a serious problem.

Notably, the kind of graft listed as most serious was petty corruption, with 42 per cent viewing it as “very serious.”

This was followed by nepotism (41 per cent), fraud (37 per cent), corruption among politicians (34 per cent), grand corruption (30 per cent) and administrative corruption (24 per cent).

An example of petty corruption faced by the public was given by a 24-year-old female in Kuala Lumpur who told of her experience when stopped by the police for a traffic offence.

“He asked how I wanted to settle it. Should it be ‘inside court’ or ‘outside court’,” she told the Merdeka Center.

The MACC was also perceived to be bias while one respondent pointed out that pinning an “Anti Rasuah” badge on the uniforms was ineffective.

Notably, one respondent pointed out that the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) was “good because people now get to know what has happened in the past.”

On media reporting of corruption, 58 per cent could not name an incident of corruption that was widely reported in the media.

Of the 42 per cent who could, some 42 per cent cited the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

This was followed by corruption among politicians (12 per cent), allegations about former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Khir Toyo (eight per cent), Teoh Beng Hock/MACC (seven per cent) and money politics in Umno (six per cent).

On celebration night, Pakatan turns defensive

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KOTA BARU, Nov 16 — The 19th anniversary of PAS rule in Kelantan turned into a damage-control exercise last night with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders coming to the defence of Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat who is facing allegations of cronyism and corruption.

At a public rally near here to commemorate the PAS's administration anniversary, PR leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang described the controversy surrounding the state government as another political conspiracy to weaken the coalition, drawing parallels to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation of the Selangor government.

Nik Aziz remained adamant, declaring to some 10,000 supporters who gathered at the Islamist party training centre that he will go to Mecca next year.

“With or without sponsorship, I will go next year,” he said to loud cheers from the crowd.

“And when I pray there, I will mention the name of Umno leaders who have defamed me one by one, may God open their hearts to repent,” said Nik Aziz.

The PAS spiritual leader has been embroiled in the controversial appointment of his son-in-law Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman as the Kelantan Mentri Besar Corporation (PMBK) CEO and his integrity has come under question for accepting a sponsorship from a businessman to perform the haj in Mecca.

Nik Aziz had decided to cancel the pilgrimage following pressure from the media and within his own party.

Opposition leader Anwar, who also spoke at the rally, described the controversy as a sign of Umno's desperation to take over the East Coast state which has been under PAS rule since 1990.

“This is too much, we have to fight till the end,” said Anwar.

“For almost 20 years, the attacks have never been so intense, are the Kelantanese going to keep quiet?” he asked the crowd.

The PR leaders also questioned MACC's lack of interest in other cases involving BN officials.

“Our skirt was lifted up slightly, but they have been naked all these while,” said Kelantan executive councillor Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.

The clock is ticking on the NEAC

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 — The National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) was set up by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to articulate new economic strategies for Malaysia, to enable the country to dust off its old export-oriented growth model and evolve into a high-income economy that would be underpinned by a vibrant services sector.

Lest we forget, it was also a reaction to the global financial crisis, which plunged almost every country on the planet into recession.

In late May, Tan Sri Amirsham A.Aziz (picture), former chairman of Maybank and an ex-minister of the Economic Planning Unit, was appointed its chairman, with the privileges of a minister thrown in. It took a further two months to appoint the NEAC's nine “experts”.

It's been almost five months now and precious little is known about what conclusions, if any, the NEAC has reached.

Compare this to the sense of urgency the NEAC's predecessor — the one set up by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in January 1998 under Tun Daim Zainuddin — possessed.

To be sure, the NEAC established then was faced with the Asian financial crisis with a tumbling ringgit and a free-falling stock market. Given the circumstances, it acted with considerable dispatch.

By June, it had established Danaharta as an overall asset manager and final purchaser of bad debt of the books of troubled banks. Danaharta is now acknowledged globally as a good way to deal with a banking crisis.

By July — six months after its inception — the NEAC had come out with a detailed blueprint — the National Economic Recovery Plan — which presented six separate areas of action to be taken to deal with the crisis.

The NEAC proposed stimulus packages and regularly came out with bimonthly, even biweekly, Economic Update newsletters for key decision makers. In addition, it did six separate studies into sectors — from tourism and education to services and transport — that it felt deserved more attention from government.

It did not operate in a vacuum either, consulting with various industry and business groups — both local and foreign. At one point, even economic journalists working for the foreign press were invited to present their views.

Indeed, one would be hard-pressed not to believe that the NEAC was crucial to weathering the storm of 1998.

What is known about its successor is precious little. There has been scant press coverage, except for a little news item that said the council was planning a study tour of Korea to observe first-hand how that nation evolved into the high-income country that it is now.

A study tour? Surely, this cannot be the best the NEAC and its much-vaunted panel of experts can come up with. There are any number of books describing the miracle of Asia's tiger economies and the NEAC will probably get more bang for its buck, for these books invariably aren't restricted to Korea but include Singapore and Taiwan as well.

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the NEAC. In his dialogue at the Apec Summit, Najib talked about having a new economic model by the end of the year. That's just two months away.

In addition, the country's civil servants have started work on the 11th Malaysia Plan. It cannot possibly exclude Malaysia's new growth model. — Business Times Singapore

MIC's Winning Team In The Making

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 (Bernama) -- The MIC on Sunday launched a nationwide evaluation exercise on its leaders at all levels aimed at creating a "winning team" and organising programmes cutting across racial lines to face the next general election.

Party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the MIC was determined to "reinvent and re-energise" the party to remain relevant and wrest back the six parliamentary and 12 states seats it lost in the last general election.


He said the evaluation process would be done through a high-level Balanced Score Card (BSC), Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and Star-Rating "that will now steer the party's direction towards a people-centric party through its internal transformations and reform".

Speaking to reporters after launching a workshop on "A Sense of Urgency" for the party's 150 divisional leaders here, Samy Vellu said the three evaluation initiatives marked another milestone in MIC's effort to remain relevant and to reinvent itself as a progressive, caring and innovative party.

"After the last general election, the MIC has undergone various and numerous changes to reconnect with the people and the community by engaging in rebranding exercises, introducing new and young blood into the party as well as bringing about party liberalisation reforms to attract new members into the party," he said.

He said the BSC would consist of six perspectives encompassing various areas of paramount importance such as internal party efficiency, developing a creative delivery system, engaging with the people through timely and on need-based programmes and assistance, winning back and attracting new members, gauging people's satisfaction and the 1Malaysia perspective.

He said the members' perspective would focus on sustaining current members, attracting new members, winning over members and conversion of members who were non-voters into legitimate voters while the people's perspective would consist of outreach programmes, economic well-being initiatives, education and business ventures.

In line with the national agenda of 1Malaysia, Samy Vellu said, the MIC had included the concept in the BSC to undertake programmes that would strengthen unity and understanding among the various races.

He said a committee had been set up to implement the three initiatives (BSC, KPI and Star-Rating) and evaluate the party leaders every three months.

"With this initiative, the MIC has elevated its seriousness and commitment to reach out to every Indian in Malaysia utilising its proven system and structure nationwide.

"Indeed, it is expected to position MIC as a dynamic, caring and as a people-centric party by making all its grassroots leaders more responsible and accountable to the community as well as the party," he said.

-- BERNAMA

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themalaysianinsider.com
Samy Vellu, MIC claim credit as Indians start backing BN again

Samy says BN’s Bagan Pinang by-election win shows MIC has recouped Indian support. — file pic

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 – Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu and the MIC are laying claim to the return of Indian support for the Barisan Nasional (BN), and this appears to have given the embattled leader a new lease on life.

“The return of Indian voters is our victory in Bagan Pinang and we know now how to win back the Indian votes,” MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu told The Malaysian Insider on the sidelines of A Sense of Urgency forum at a hotel today.

The MIC is quickly exploiting the gains achieved in the recent Bagan Pinang by-election where nearly 70 per cent of Indian voters who had voted for PAS in 2008 returned to BN in a dramatic reversal.

The party feels the reversal was an MIC achievement and is taking swift steps to exploit and ride on the momentum of the Bagan Pinang victory.

Today's party forum is for state and division leaders and is conducted by outside corporate experts to explain in detail why the MIC lost support, why Hindraf gained popularity and how to recover lost support.

“Nearly 50 per cent of Indian voters dumped us in 2008 and we now know why and how to win back their loyalties,” said Samy Vellu.

Samy Vellu said that after Indian voters fled the MIC they were not happy outside the MIC.

He said they instead felt isolated and exploited by people and political parties.

“They feel lonely and unappreciated,” Samy Vellu said. “They are lost and they want to come back.”

“They need leadership and appreciation and we are beginning to give it to them,” he said adding the party was reforming itself, hiring experts and opening up for new blood including the educated class.

Earlier when opening the forum, Samy Vellu, speaking in a mixture of Tamil, Malay and English, urged delegates to drop the defeatist mindset that has gripped the party and rise to fight again.

“If we fail to rise and fight back we are already defeated…we are buried for good and forever,” he said likening the MIC to an old, battered lady, limping in life and waiting for death.

“To attract the loyalties of Indians we have to become attractive again,” Samy Vellu said adding the party is transforming into a young and lovely woman with a sexy get-up. “People will die for a lovely woman.”

Samy Vellu said the party will soon form 700 new 1 Malaysia branches and most will be led by new faces including fresh university graduates.

He also said complacency was ruining the MIC and the forum was a way to reenergize the party and make it attractive to attract new blood.

He said that while rivals were speaking up but in a disorganised way, the MIC is a party and well organized at all levels and speaks with one voice.

While a new upbeat mood is visible in the MIC, the task of winning back the Indian voters is a formidable task but divisions in Pakatan Rakyat and its failure to deliver on election promises is helping MIC reinvent itself.

The meaning of “Malay”

By Shanon Shah
thenutgraph.com

Milner
Anthony Milner
"BIAR mati anak, jangan mati adat." Quoting the Malay proverb that places culture above one's child, Prof Anthony Milner argued on 21 Oct 2009 during a lecture in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) that Malay-ness was defined by civilisation, and not descent or bloodlines.

The lecture by Milner, who is Basham Professor of Asian History at the Australian University, argued that the Malays of this region might have seen themselves differently from how they do now, certainly in contemporary Malaysia. After all, the concept of race was a colonial import from Europeans who were trying to categorise people from different parts of the world in a successful attempt at divide and rule.

But did the Malays here self-identify using the same racial framework? Could Malay-ness have possibly been defined differently in a pre-colonial, pre-racial Malaya? If the answer is yes, was there a moment when the Malays of Malaya stopped seeing Malay-ness in civilisational terms and exclusively in racial terms?

It is important to analyse this more closely, since so many now accept "race" as an inheritable and indeed inherent category of identity.

Civilisational Malayness

Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Embong tells The Nut Graph, "I agree with Milner that historically Malay identity was much more fluid and complex, enabling one to talk of a civilisational Malay-ness." Rahman, a principal fellow at UKM's Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas), does not discount the fact that the importance of descent and blood ties in determining Malay identity did prevail through history. However, he says the civilisational aspect remained pronounced.

"Even the Federal Constitution adopted a civilisational definition of Malayness, defining [in Article 160] a Malay as someone who habitually speaks the Malay language, practises Malay culture, and embraces Islam," he continues in an e-mail interview. Of course, he says this definition is limited only to Malay Malaysians because there are Malays in other parts of Southeast Asia who may not be Muslim.

Pic of dictionary open to Melayu - a- to follow the malay way of life, or b -to become a muslim
Only applicable in Malaysia: The Concise Student Dictionary / Kamus Siswa Lengkap
defines a Malay as one who follows the Malay way of life, or becomes a Muslim

The issue of Islam certainly adds complexity to the construction of the Malay Malaysian identity, says Dr Helen Ting, a research fellow at Ikmas. She tells The Nut Graph the phenomenon of political Islam was practically unheard of two decades ago in terms of the state's powers to determine who was a Muslim, and how a Muslim should or should not behave.

Helen Ting
Helen Ting (pic courtesy of
Helen Ting)

Ting does not use terms like "ethnicity" and "race" interchangeably. Ethnicity, unlike race, does not attempt to explain all behavioural, intellectual and cultural differences as "inherent" in any way. Rather, ethnicity denotes a distinct cultural group with a shared heritage such as a cultural system, language or even religion. This may or may not include a shared ancestry or blood ties.

As such, ethnicity in itself is value neutral. "There is nothing right or wrong about this identity unless this identity leads [an individual] to disrespect or reject other identities as inferior or inadequate," Ting explains.

Which then brings us full circle to the question of "Malay-ness" in contemporary Malaysia. Does the definition of "Malay" in Malaysia entail rejection or disrespect towards other identities? The opposite question also needs to be asked could there also be a rejection or disrespect towards those identifying as Malay in Malaysia?

Confronting myths

saya pun melayu — young boy on cover
I, Too, Am Malay book cover

This is where Parti Keadilan Rakyat supreme council member and ex-Umno maverick Datuk Zaid Ibrahim says it is counterproductive to dwell on definitions. He tells The Nut Graph in an e-mail interview, "There is no need, I feel, to dwell on the true definition of a Malay [Malaysian] since it has been so defined in the [federal] constitution.

"What is important is for the government not to continue perpetuating the myth that there is one set of special rights for Malay [Malaysians] and another for the rest of our people."

Although Zaid shuns making any overt definitions of his own, his reasons for writing his book I, Too, Am Malay seems to lean towards cultivating a civilisational understanding of Malay-ness. "I want them to accept the realities where only those with the right education, right values, good work ethic and willingness to accept personal responsibility will do well," he says.

"No amount of Malay political power can protect them since in a corrupt political system those who wield power are merely pawns of the capricious and the greedy, irrespective of race," he continues.

Rahman Embong
Rahman Embong

A paradigm shift is what Zaid, Ting and Rahman are looking for. According to Ting, ethnic diversity is not the problem in Malaysia. "It is more a bigoted view of those outside [certain ethnic, racial or religious] boundaries that makes problems," she says. And so, she says a shift in how Malaysians think about diversity and differences is in order.

And according to Rahman, that shift is probably already happening. He points towards the growing popularity of Najib's 1Malaysia slogan.

"Many of the young people see their future in non-ethnic terms. They want to see 1Malaysia — shorn of its political rhetoric — become a reality," he says.

But mindsets are not the only things that need to change. Systems and processes need to evolve also. Ting says there must be a way to penalise political leaders when they become exclusionary and reward them when they are inclusive. Rahman says the growth of a two-party system is also an effective way to keep racial politics in check.

Zaid Ibrahim
Zaid Ibrahim
Zaid, however, has a caution. "No peaceful changes or transformation can take place in Malaysia unless Malay [Malaysians] are willing participants in that process," he says.

The good news is that history shows us that Malay identity, and indeed any ethnic or racial identity, can evolve and be redefined. It's good news, because it means that things can always evolve for the better. All it takes is a bit of honesty and self-awareness in looking at the past.

Anwar Isytihar Perang Pertahan Selangor

Dari Malaysiakini
Oleh Abdul Rahim Sabri

Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hari ini mengisytiharkan perang terhadap Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang bercita-cita untuk merampas Selangor daripada Pakatan Rakyat.

“Serangan daripada pusat, Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) kata nak rampas, walau tidak secara langsung tapi maksudnya begitu. Najib bukan saingan kepada menteri besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim..

“Sekarang silakan Najib. Masuk sahaja dan sentuh Selangor, kita bertempur habis habis-n,” katanya.

Najib juga merupakan pengerusi perhubungan Umno Selangor dan pengerusi BN.

Anwar berkata demikian dalam ucapatama dalam konvesyen PKR Selangor di Dewan Jubli Perak Shah Alam pagi ini.

Kira-kira 1,500 perwakilan daripada 22 cabang PKR di negeri ini memberi tepukan gemuruh ekoran pengisytiharan perang itu.

Anwar yang juga ketua pembangkang berkata serangan untuk merampas Selangor, dapat dilihat daripada beberapa isu yang cuba ditimbulkan untuk melemahkan kepimpinan Khalid yang juga pengerusi PKR negeri.

“Hari-hari serang Tan Sri Khalid. Tak habis dengan isu lembu untuk hari raya korban, dia serang dengan isu kepala lembu. Kita jangan ingat (serangan) selesai. Kalau kita rasa selesai, kita silap.

“Bila PM (perdana menteri) nak serang dan rampas, dia akan guna segala jentera. Mungkin dia gunakan kata-kata yang lunak, ia manis bagaikan madu tetapi ia umpama racun bisa bagaikan hempedu,” katanya.

Katanya, perkara itu juga menjadi antara sebab utama beliau menerima tawaran Khalid yang juga pengerusi PKR Selangor untuk menjadi penasihat ekonomi negeri itu.

“Saya datang untuk bantu kerajaan negeri dan rakyat dan tidak mahu menimbulkan ketegangan politik. Saya mahu (tugas) menteri besar menjadi lebih kukuh.

“Jangan ada anak-anak kecil yang nak bermain-main di sini, saya datang kerana ada pengalaman. Kalau ada anak kecil main-main, kita tangkap dan lempar keluar,” katanya

Anwar juga berjanji untuk memperkukuhkan Pakatan Rakyat dan mempertahankan ekonomi negeri itu.

Beliau berkata, ini kerana laporan ketua audit negara menjelaskan bahawa prestasi dan rekod baik telah ditunjukkan oleh Khalid dan ia tidak pernah dicatatkan oleh menteri besar sebelum ini.

Dalam ucapan itu juga Anwar optimis bahawa kerajaan Selengor di bawah Pakatan Rakyat dapat dipertahankan dalam pilihanraya akan datang dan prestasinya juga akan jauh lebih baik daripada pilihanraya Mac tahun lalu.

“Ini markas kita, ini kubu kita. Dia datang sentuh, kita lesing dia,” katanya yang sekali lagi mendapat tepukan gemuruh hadirin.

Dalam sidang media selepas itu, Anwar yang juga ahli parlimen Permatang Pauh menjelaskan bahawa pengisytiharan perang itu adalah tindak balas terhadap pengisytiharan Umno untuk merampas kembali Selangor.

Bagaimanapun beliau tidak menolak kerjasama antara kerajaan negeri dan kerajaan pusat yang melibatkan pembangunan dan kepentingan rakyat.

“Kita tentunya akan bertahan dan serang balas (jika ada serangan). Dan pendekatan kita dari awal, dari segi kerajaan adalah kerjasama, bukan lawan. Dan kerjasama antara kerajaan negeri dan persekutuan.

“Kalau urusan pembangunan ikut lunas yang baik dan lunas demokrasi, kita ikut dan bukan bermaksud untuk melawan,” katanya.

Fresh Polls Next For MCA After Greater Unity Plan?

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 (Bernama) -- Is the MCA headed for fresh polls or an early party elections once the "Greater Unity Plan" (GUP) is fully implemented and the internal bickering subsides over the next six months to one year?

Some political analysts and party insiders believe this is going to be so, saying indications are strong that things are moving in that direction because massive and speedy efforts have been taken to push for direct elections.

The party is only scheduled to have its triennial elections in 2011, having held the last one in October last year.

The direct election is particularly for the positions of party president, deputy president and state chairmen and deputy chairmen, but debate continues on whether the direct elections should also cover the Central Committee (CC) positions.

One thing is for sure. The party has set up a task force to look into the matter, and the CC meeting on Wednesday will discuss it at length.

Party sources said that once the final proposal is adopted by the CC, an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) is likely to be called before the end of the second quarter of next year to approve all the necessary amendments to the party constitution.

When the proposal is approved by the party's central delegates, it is highly likely that the party might hold fresh elections before the end of next year, during its general assembly, and use the new direct elections system, said a party leader who did not want to be identified.

Another indication of fresh polls or an early election is seen in a statement made by party president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, who has hinted strongly that he would allow party elections but on the condition that the party attains stability first.

Ong, who is the transport minister, reportedly said that in order to achieve this, the party must follow through with the GUP launched on Oct 22 to unite the warring factions.

"This process must take place. If fresh polls are to be held, they cannot be held immediately. The party must be stabilised first. If you want fresh polls, we need a peaceful environment so that our comrades can vote with peace of mind," he was reported as saying in an interview with Malaysiakini, the online news portal.

Ong had also said that the plan to eventually hold fresh polls was his response to the outcome of the Oct 10 EGM.

Deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek also gave a strong indication of fresh elections after the implementation of the GUP when he said he did not rule out such a possibility over the next few months.

Dr Chua, who chairs the 12-member GUP task force, said: "We never said we can't have direct elections. We also never said we can't have fresh polls. But we want to stabilise the party first, and the fresh polls may follow."

"Maybe, we will hold the fresh polls through direct elections after six months; this is more democratic," he said, adding that the current priority is to implement the GUP.

If the turnout at yesterday's briefing is any indicator, then the party is most likely headed in that direction.

Grassroots leaders from 155 of the 191 party divisions attended yesterday's briefing and pledged their support for the GUP.

However, some members aligned to vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai are pushing for an EGM on Nov 28.

Liow has claimed that the gathering of party divisional leaders yesterday did not reflect the views of the grassroots as decisions were made by some leaders only and not by all the delegates.

While Ong and Dr Chua seem to have passed the first hurdle in getting party members to support the GUP, they still need to watch the Nov 28 EGM called by Liow's faction because a high turnout at the second EGM will definitely throw a spanner into the efforts to have a direct elections system.

Mohon penjelasan MB NS isu penyeludupan RM10 juta ke luar negara

Badrul Hisham Shaharin
d/a Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Rembau,
No. 390, Taman Seri Rembau,
71300 Rembaun N.Sembilan

Tarikh : 16 November 2009

Kepada

YAB Datuk Seri Utama Hj Mohamad Hj Hassan,
Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan,
Pejabat Menteri Besar,
Tingkat 5B, Wisma Negeri,
Seremban, N.Sembilan.

YAB Datuk Seri Utama ;

SURAT TERBUKA : MOHON PENJELASAN ISU 'PENYELUDUPAN' RM10 JUTA KE LUAR NEGARA

Adalah dengan segala hormatnya perkara di atas dirujuk.

Ini bukanlah kali pertama saya menghantar surat kepada YAB Datuk Seri Utama memohon penjelasan mengenai perkara berkepentingan rakyat. Seharusnya menjadi adab asas untuk menjawab surat lebih lagi selaku pemimpin besar di negeri ini. Amat menjadi harapan kesibukan YAB Datuk Seri tidak dijadikan alasan menjawab serta menjelaskan isu penting demi kepentingan rakyat semua atau tindakan tidak menjawab surat dan hanya menafikan secara dangkal di media kerana YAB Datuk Seri sendiri gagal atau tidak punya jawapan untuk bersoalan yang dibangkitkan.

Pada 26 Okt 2009, Bank Negara Malaysia telah mengumumkan pembatalan sebanyak 20 lesen perniagaan pengurupan wang di bawah Akta Pengurupan Wang 1998. Walaubagaimanapun Bank Negara tidak memberi alasan dan sebab pembatalan lesen-lesen yang dinyatakan.

Antara bukti-bukti diperolehi BNM, didapati maklumat yang menunjukkan Datuk Seri Utama Haji Mohamad Bin Haji Hassan, Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan melalui Salamath Ali Money Changer Sdn Bhd (salah satu lesen perniagaan pengurupan wang yang dibatalkan) telah mengirim sejumlah wang yang bernilai RM10 juta ke London pada tahun 2008.

Kegiatan ini telah melanggar Akta Pengurupan Wang 1998 antaranya,

Seksyen 30(1)(b), “… perbuatan yang melibatkan, yang berkaitan dengan, atau sebagai persediaan bagi, pengiriman atau pemindahan dana ke luar Malaysia…” dan;

Seksyen 35(b), “memberikan apa-apa maklumat yang palsu dalam sesuatu butir material bagi mana-mana Akta ini”.

Persoalannya,

  1. Adakah benar YAB Datuk Seri Utama terlibat dalam transaksi seperti maklumat yang diperolehi ? Dan kenapa ia melanggar undang – undang ?

  2. Bolehkah YAB Datuk Seri Utama secara telus menerangkan dari mana datangnya dana sebanyak RM10 juta dan apakah tujuan transaksi tersebut?

Jawapan amat dituntut, khabar ini amat melukakan hati rakyat yang ketika ini teruk dihimpit merintih kerana himpitan hidup.

Amat besar harapan kami rakyat marhaen ini mendengar penjelasan YAB Datuk Seri Utama dalam balasan kepada surat ini. Harapnya YAB Datuk Seri Utama tidak seperti biasa hanya menafikan secara dangkal, mengawal media jangan menyiarkan berita mengenai ini dan kemudian 'terus menyapu ke bawah karpet' isu dibangkitkan.

Melalui surat terbuka ini juga saya juga menyeru kepada Gabenor Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz menyiasat segera terhadap Salamath Ali Money Changer Sdn Bhd serta mengumumkan siapa penerima dan pengirim yang berkaitan serta tujuan transaksi yang dijalankan.

Saya telah hilang kepercayaan kepada Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) namun kesempatan ini saya mencabar SPRM (jika ia bukan perkakas regim penguasa) menyiasat segera secara terbuka terhadap punca-punca dana sebanyak RM 10 juta yang dikirim oleh Mohd Hassan dan penerima transaksi yangditujukan.

Satu laporan rasmi juga akan dibuat kepada Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Kormesial PDRM berkenaan perkara ini.

Dari maklumat yang saya perolehi, terdapat banyak tokoh-tokoh pernigaan serta ahli-ahli politik sering mengguna langkah ini mengirim dana ke luar negara. Saya percaya dana sedemikian datang dari punca-punca yang melanggar undang-undang.

Perniagaan pengurupan wang merupakan bidang perniagaan yang multi-billion yang kalau di dalam negara ini dilakukan oleh mereka yang dekat dengan kekuasaan regim penguasa.

Pada tahun 2009, telah berlaku 92 kes yang melanggar seksyen 30 dalam Akta tersebut. Perkembangan ini (pada tahun 2008, 12 kes telah meningkatkan kepada 92 kes pada tahun 2009) adalah satu fenomena yang membimbangkan. Ini menunjukkan bahawa pengiriman wang secara haram makin tidak terkawal.

Manakala maklumat yang ada mendedahkan bahwa BNM mengenakan tindakan terhadap hanya satu pengirim dana yang melanggar Seksyen 30 Akta Pengurupan Wang 1998. Pengurupan wang ini telah dikompaun sebanyak RM50,000.00 pada tahun 2006.

Akhir sekali demi kepentingan rakyat harap surat ini mendapat balasan.

Obama tells Myanmar to free Suu Kyi - Al Jazeera

Obama, second-right, urged Myanmar's rulers to end oppression and free all political prisoners [AFP]

Barack Obama, the US president, has told Myanmar's military government to free Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's jailed pro-democracy leader.

Obama delivered the message on Sunday at a summit with leaders of 10 Southeast Asian nations, which included General Thein Sein, Myanmar's prime minister.

Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, told reporters that Obama called on Myanmar to free his fellow Nobel Peace laureate and other political prisoners, and end oppression of minorities.

"Obama brought that up directly with that government," Gibbs said, indicating that the president addressed Thein Sein.

US diplomats visit

Obama's call follows a visit earlier this month by two senior US diplomats to Myanmar, where they held talks and had a private meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi.

It was the highest-level US visit to Myanmar in 14 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent 14 of the past 20 years under detention by the military government.

Western governments have avoided direct contacts with leaders of Myanmar for decades, citing the regime's poor human rights record and suppression of democracy.

A joint statement issued after the summit - the first ever between a US president and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) - devoted a paragraph on Myanmar, a major obstacle in relations between the two sides.

But the statement did not call for the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, only urging Myanmar to ensure that the elections it intends to hold in 2010 are "conducted in a free, fair, inclusive and transparent manner".

Thein Sein did not address leaders' concerns about Aung San Suu Kyi, said Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister.

"We expected a bit more, but it was not forthcoming. We hope [democracy] ... in Myanmar will become a reality sooner than later," he told reporters.

He said a reference to Aung San Suu Kyi was not included in the statement because there was no consensus.

Trade protectionism

Meanwhile, leaders at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, where Obama made the call for Aung San Suu Kyi's release, have vowed in a final statement to reject trade protectionism and pursue a new strategy for growth after downturns.

The statement on the last day of talks in Singapore on Sunday said that Apec, the acronym by which the grouping is commonly known, rejects "all forms of protectionism".

An agreement on emission reductions was
dropped from the final statement [AFP]
Several Apec leaders have been critical of the imposition of trade restrictions by Washington recently.

The statement also stated that Apec nations would work for an "ambitious outcome" at next month's crucial climate-change talks in Copenhagen, the Danish capital.

However, no final binding agreement on targets was reached.

"We ... reaffirm our commitment to tackle the threat of climate change and work towards an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen," the statement said.

Veronica Pedrosa, Al Jazeera's correspondent at the summit, said a political deal would be backed rather than binding climate change targets.

Caveat dropped

A caveat pledging to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 set in an earlier draft was dropped from the final statement.

Mike Froman, the US deputy national security adviser, had said earlier: "There was an assessment by the leaders that it was unrealistic to expect a full, internationally legally binding agreement to be negotiated between now and when Copenhagen starts in 22 days."

Obama was one of 21 heads of state in attendance, along with Hu Jintao and Gloria Arroyo, the Chinese and Philippine presidents respectively, and Kevin Rudd, the Australian prime minister.

After the Apec summit, Obama flew to China, arriving late on Sunday for a three-day visit that will see him touring Shanghai, the country's financial centre, and Beijing, the capital.

Lars Loeke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, made a surprise visit to meet leaders on the sidelines of the summit.

Froman said.: "There was, I'd say, a general consensus of support for what prime minister Rasmussen laid out, which is... 'one agreement, two steps' where Copenhagen would be the first step in a process towards an internationally legally binding agreement."

He said Rasmussen told the meeting that "in Copenhagen, he would seek to achieve a politically binding agreement that covered all the major elements of the negotiations, including mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance".

"I think there was widespread support among the leaders that it was important that Copenhagen be a success, that there would be the achievement of real, concrete progress in Copenhagen with operational impact," he said.

'BN will win elections if held today' - Malaysiakini

Barisan Nasional would fare better than the last general election if the 13th general election is held today, according to Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian.

merdeka center youth survey 291107 ibrahim suffianHe said BN may also regain its two-thirds in the 222-seat lower house of Parliament, with rival block Pakatan Rakyat winning about 50 to 60 seats.

"This is my personal assessment based surveys done by the centre this year.

"It may not be prefect but would not be far off the mark," he told the weekly Sembang Sembang Forum in Caring Society Complex in Penang today.

Currently BN has 137 parliamentary seats compared with Pakatan's 82 seats. Three more seats are held by independent MPs.

Pakatan strategists have already acknowledged that a vote swing of 10 percent against or for either political coalitions would change the political landscape of the country in the next general election.

Based on the centre's surveys carried out this year since Najib Abdul Razak assumed the coveted premiership in April, Ibrahim said the approval rating for the new prime minister had gone up from 45 percent to nearly 60 percent.

He said the approval rating for Barisan Nasional coalition government saw a sharp upward trend among the Indians perhaps because the community had developed a feel good factor towards Najib.

Indian support on the rise

He said Indians approval rating for BN had leapt from poor 35 to 45 percent during March last year to about 55 percent today.

He cited Najib efforts to directly reach out and address issues affecting the Indian community without MIC as go-between may have given a perception to Indians that 'the prime minister was trying to do something for them."

NONEHe said Najib's visit to the Batu Caves temple had also boosted his standings among Indians.

"Indians perhaps are appreciative that Najib was taking the initiatives to address their legitimate plight," Ibrahim told the audience.

Approval rating for the BN among Malays, said Ibrahim had also shot up from 53 percent on polling day in March 2008 to 57 percent now.

However, he said the Chinese community approval rating to BN had remained unchanged at 35 to 40 percent for the past 20 months.

He said the surveys also revealed that economic issues and rising crime rates feature highly among all Malaysians.

He said majority Malaysians were more concerned on issues affecting their daily lives such as their livelihood, take home pay, job opportunities, business growth and safe living environment.

He said issues like corruption, unfair treatment and political issues were less priority issues to Malaysians, although they acknowledged their importance.

He said majority of the people surveyed were satisfied with the prime minister's efforts to improve the education system, improving government efficiency and managing the economy.

All is not lost for Pakatan

At the same time, he said many Malaysians were upset with the internal bickering and infighting within and among Pakatan allies.

"My personal opinion is BN should do better than the last time if election is held today or tomorrow.

"It could also win back its two-third parliamentary majority,' he opined.

An independent centre, the Merdeka Centre surveys covered about 1,000 respondents chosen random in each round.

Although the surveys could not be 100 percent perfect, Ibrahim however said the survey results could reflective of the opinions and sentiments of 80 percent population.

NONEAlthough BN had a slight edge now over its rival political block Pakatan Rakyat, he said "all is not lost" for Anwar Ibrahim and company.

The Pakatan states, he said for instance could win over the middle ground non-partisan group, which is growing by the day, by improving their performances, and producing cohesive and dynamic blueprints for respective states.

He said lack of access to information could explain the stronger upward approval trend in rural areas towards BN than among urbanites.

"Many rural people, for instance in Sarawak, hardly read newspapers and their only source of information is the mainstream television news such as RTM and TV3.

"Unlike urban people, rural folks have less access to information technology such as Internet," said Ibrahim, adding Internet penetration among youth aged below 30 was about 80 percent.

He said the key to electoral success lied on which party would take the lead to get eligible citizens, especially youth, registered as voters.

Husband arrested over wife’s suicide attempt

The husband of a housewife who had consumed paraquat after her brother was killed in a police shootout on Monday was arrested today for allegedly causing his wife to take the poison.

Lorry driver M Manimaran was arrested this afternoon and taken to the Gemencheh police station for questioning.

“The police think his wife had taken poison because of a misunderstanding with him. They are saying he caused her to attempt suicide as he was having an affair and had ill-treated his family,” said Human Rights Party information chief S Jayathas.

seetha in hospital 15112009On Thursday Manimaran’s wife R Seetha, 33, consumed poison and gave a portion of the weedkiller to her four children aged between three and nine.

She was said to be very depressed over the killing of her younger brother in a police shootout on Monday.

Her brother Surenthiran, 24, was one of five suspected robbers and alleged member of the PCO Boy gang killed in a shootout on Nov 7.

Seetha and her children are still undergoing treatment at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang.

She had come to Klang from Gemencheh to attend Surenthiran’s funeral earlier in the week.

Her husband was widely quoted in the media as saying that she had told him in the hospital that she had consumed the poison over the death of her brother.

However Surenthiran’s family was in for another shock today when the police arrested Manimaran over the poison incident.

Stop this harassment

Following that Seetha’s father R Rampathy lodged a police report at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital police beat to state that the police arrest was an attempt to divert the attention away from the real situation.

He said that the police wanted to wash off any responsibilities over Seetha’s situation which was caused by them killing her younger brother.

In his report he said that he came to know that the police and the hospital authorities had forced Seetha to sign a declaration to state that her decision to consume paraquat had nothing to do with her brother being killed by the police.

rampathy police report_seetha dad_ 15112009Security guard Rampathy (left) alleged that the police were trying to divert the attention away from the shooting and Seetha’s situation so that they do not look bad.

“The policemen who shot and killed my son are not arrested but they have arrested my son-in-law,” he said in his report.

He also said that the police had harassed and detained his family at the Kapar police station on Nov 11.

“I hope they will stop this harassment of my family. We are all grieving the death of my son, the worrying condition of my daughter and grandchildren and now the arrest of my son-in-law,” he said.

Act against the police shooters

He stressed that Seetha had attempted suicide as she could not accept the fact that her brother had been killed by the police.

“She loved her brother very much. Prior to her suicide attempt, she was crying inconsolably in front of his photo,” he said.

“I hope the police do not find unscrupulous means to blame Manimaran for Seetha’s condition. He loved his wife and children very much.

“All this has happened because of the police act in killing my son. I want an immediate action on those who killed him,” he said.

Jayathas who accompanied Rampathy to lodge the report, said it was uncertain as to when the police will release Manimaran.

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