Share |

Monday, November 23, 2009

MIC to conduct voter verification, registration exercise - Malaysiakini

MIC president S Samy Vellu has directed all MIC branches to conduct another round of voter verification and registration exercise in their localities nationwide.

He said the first step will be to verify the existing registered voters in each branch to establish their current status.

"They have to ascertain if all the voters are currently residing in their localities or have moved out, and if so, to locate them and verify their (the voters') status," he added in a statement.

samy vellu exclusive on tamil schools 080708 06He said the immediate priority is to ensure that the party's 630,000 members are registered as voters.

Samy Vellu said each branch will be required to maintain a data bank complete with the contact numbers of the voters and their current addresses.

The move is necessary as recent by-elections have revealed that many voters had shifted from their localities but there was no proper record to indicate them.

The next step, he added, is to register new voters with the help of the Election Commission (EC).

MIC branches could seek the assistance of the EC's Mobile Registration Unit or through the Internet.

Identify young voters

The MIC president said steps are underway to identify voters among the younger generation, especially those who have just reached the age of 21 years.

"Towards this, the Youth, Puteri and Putera wings in each branch will have to be mobilised to reach out to the younger generation," he added.

Samy Vellu said MIC divisional leaders will monitor the dual (verification and registration) process and report back to their respective state party chairs who will then submit a complete list to the MIC headquarters.

This exercise will be conducted every six months.

He said MIC needs to have the numbers to ensure Indian votes are delivered to the Barisan Nasional in the next general election.

"This exercise will be taken into account when we evaluate the performance of branches under the Key Performance Indicators and star-rating processes," he added.

HRP : Xavier Jayakumar ” I am a mandore..

mandore2

HRP : Xavier Jayakumar ” I am a mandore for giving hampers to Indian poor in Carey Island at a Deepavali gathering ( Nanban 10/11/09 at page 4)

Developmental Work Too Close to 187 year Old Temple

Too Close for Chitty Folk, page 14
The Star, 22nd Nov 2009
Residents of the 16th century Chitty community in Gajah Berang, which is a heritage village, are concerned about high rise development work 15 meters away from their 187 year old temple. Residents fear that piling and construction work may cause structural damage to the temple which is also a lure for tourists.
Here is another instance of authorities recklessly going ahead with development with scant regard to heritage villages and heritage sites. The government should realise that the Chitty community is a community of historical significance. They are a testament to historical role played by Melaka in regional trade dating back at least 500years. This community is truely a Malaysian community as it is a community that is a result of Indian Malay intermarriage.

The Human Rights Party urges the authorities to treat such communities, their traditional abodes and places of worship with consideration that is approporiate to their significance to the nation as a whole. Too mauch has been lost because of narrow racial and religious bigotry already.
Sugumaran Apparu
Protem Committee Member
Human Rights Party Malaysia

Indian Trader Marginalised

Ticket to Throw, page 1
Big Impact in Small Man’s Win, page 3
The Star, 22nd Nov 2009
The Star reports that an Indian trader who has been operating a mini market for 31 years which includes selling fish and vegetables was denied his license on the grounds that he refuses to move his business to a new market located at the edge of the woods. The trader says other provision shops too sell fish and vegetables but their licenses are renewed. This is a clear case of racial discrimination and an attempt by the racist Administration to reduce Indians in business bymaking them fail.
The Human Rights Party would like to remind the relevant authority that trading licenses cannot be denied to Malaysians, it can merely be regulated, and that too in non discriminative ways.
Sugumaran Apparu
Protem Committee Member
Human Rights Party Malaysia

State Assistance needed to rebuild the homes of the victims of a fire incident on the 18th of November in Kampung Manis, Perai.

The following is a letter that was submitted to the Penang State Government . The highlight of this letter is the issue of the responsibility of the State in cases like this. Is it just to give token help or should the State play a larger role in situations like this. There have been cases in the past where fire or Tsunami victims have been compensated for their loss by the Government. So, what is going to be the case here, we will wait and see. Our take on this matter is that the Government must help the rakyat in appropriate ways to get back on their feet.

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

Date : 23/11/2009

YAB Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister
State Government of Penang

Dear YAB,

Sub: State Assistance needed to rebuild the homes of the victims of a fire incident on the 18th of November in Kampung Manis, Perai. Pulau Pinang

As you are aware there was a fire incident on the 18th of November at Kampung Manis, Perai where two homes were completely destroyed and a third home partially damaged, resulting in two impoverished families afterwards being left with nothing. We write this letter to seek appropriate State Government assistance for these families. The families affected are those of Mr. Varatharaju and Mr.Muniandy.

On the 19th of November, Dr.Ramasamy, the Deputy Chief Minister, visited the families at Kampung Manis, viewed the situation and then handed the two families RM2,000 each. They are grateful to the State Government for this short term help. This helps them tide over this difficult period.

The houses of both these families were totally destroyed, leaving the families only with what they were wearing that day. Both Mr. Varathraju and Mr. Muniandy are contract workers and they earn between RM 600 to RM1,000 per month, barely enough to support their families under normal circumstances. Because they have no other recourse, they are now housed temporarily in a nearby community hall. We have a case here, where two Penang families in the lowest rung of our society, who are operating at the very brink of poverty already, now find their lives further devastated by this fire accident. This is agrave situation.

We would like to request the State Government of Penang to give these families the financial assistance they need to rebuild their homes. They have very little alternative other than to make this request to the Penang Government. The Pakatan Rakyat Coalition has often stated that their basic policy is to allocate Public funds and resources on the basis of need . Here is a case of clear need. These 2 families need to rebuild their homes where their old homes stood so they can at least go back to their already impoverished lives. They are not asking for more. They cannot do this on their own and they must have assistance from the State Government to help them in this hour of their need. This has been done before for other fire victims and for victims of the recent Tsunami.

It is with this kind of hope that the people of Prai voted for the PR government. The PR government should view the gravity of and the opportunity in this situation to consider saving these two families.

It is our opinion that the State Government must respond positively to their request and provide these families with funds they need to rebuild their homes in Kampung Manis. Actions such as these make a real difference to the Rakyat.

We can only see which tree is evergreen when the weather turns to bitter winter.

Thank You,

Your Faithfully,

…………………………….

N.Ganesan
National Advisor
Human Rights Party

The Bala Interview Part 1 of 3

Changes small and corruption big, says Anwar

By YL Chong

SEREMBAN: Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today acknowledged that the Barisan Nasional government was making changes but said these were being delivered in doses that were too small considering the “big scale corruption and leakages” that were continuing.

The government would implement programmes which bring only small benefits to the people and the local mainstream media would highlight these projects, but ignoring the wayward spending by the government ministers and the huge losses due to corruption, leakages and malpractices, he added.

“The BN-controlled media like Utusan Malaysia and RTM would play up the weaknesses of the Pakatan-Rakyat governments, especially in Selangor, as well as controversies involving PKR and its leaders,” Anwar said in his keynote address at the one-day PKR NS State Convention held at the Chung Hwa High School here.

Anwar stated that the party is committed to change the whole corrupt system represented by the BN throughout the nation. When he and other opposition leaders tried highlight to the people the present government’s wrongdoings and excesses, the mainstream press would completely black out their statements or continue to distort the messages.

Another big omission by the MSM is they would give scant or no coverage at all on the high-profile corruption cases like Port Klang Free Zone, wrongful or illegal acts by investigative agencies like the Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, including the lack of follow-up actions on the VK Lingam judicial scandal.

On the PKFZ, the MSM would report on action being taken against the lesser officials, but they don’t question why no action is being taken against ex-Transport Ministers like Dr Ling Liong Sik and other big guns, Anwar noted.

So the corruption and malpractices continue under the BN government, as indicated by its owned government agency Auditor-General’s annual reports the recent years. Putrajaya continue to plunder the public coffer, and the state’s riches as reaped by the national oil corporation, hence the many “multi-milliion-ringgit” leakages in government spendings as highlighted by the 2008 Auditor-General’s Report.

It’s because of the BN government’s systemic corruption including abusing Petronas’ huge muliti-billion dollar annual profits in bailing out non-performing government-linked companies (GLCs) that has led to the country’s decline achieving gross domestic product (GDP) growth, falling behind neighbouring countries including Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, in the recent years.

One of the factors contributing to this worrying state of affairs is the lack of confidence of foreigners in Malaysia’s government leadership, leading to the fall in foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia.

Anwar pointed out that the Goverrnment leaders could not even be consistent in giving out facts with regard to official GDP figure, with the Prime Minister citing GDP growth next year projected at 9.0 percent at one stage, amending it to 6.0 percent later, while Minister in the PM’s department Mohamed Nor Yaacob stating it as 4.0-5.0 percent, and yet another deputy minister putting it at 2.0-3.0 percent.

Anwar later spoke to reporters on his impending role in Selangor as economic adviser to the state government, and he promised he would go in to ensure party leaders concentrate their efforts on delivering a clean, accountable and responsible government.

On reservations about Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s leadership expressed by many bloggers recently, including Raja Petra Kamarudin’s call that the MB be sacked for poor performance, Anwar said to be fair, the Auditor-General’s Report had given the highest rating to Selangor and Penang in terms of good governance since March 2008, scoring the highest level of four, which compared favourably against other states under BN control.

On the removal of civil servants alleged to be sabotaging the Selangor state government as encouraged by certain quarters including several bloggers, Anwar said to be fair, such measures could be taken only after thorough investigation, based on facts.

He agreed there could be “categorical instructions” by certain UMNO leaders to civil servants to sabotage the Selangor state government, but citing an example, if the State Secretary were to be “sacked”, Anwar asked: “What good would it do if the BN government continued to replace him with another federal officer of UMNO’s choice without PR input?”

“When I start there as economic adviser next week, I will ensure we embark on reforms as we are committed to cleaning up any weaknesses,. We will work out poverty eradication programmes to help the poor and needy, regardless of ethnicity, and expand on education and agriculture facilities to uplift the people’s standard of living in Selangor,” Anwar added

Something strong is brewing in Pakatan

The opposition coalition may have revealed too much of its weaknesses, affecting its credibility in the eyes of the voters but these internal conflicts could turn to the advantage of Pakatan as they force its component parties to confront issues and find amicable solutions.

By Zubaidah Abu bakar. The New Straits Times

The loose pact that is Pakatan Rakyat is being strengthened and the opposition parties are hoping it will match a rebounding Barisan Nasional, writes ZUBAIDAH ABU BAKAR

THE component parties of the opposition pact, Pakatan Rakyat, are set to formalise their loose alliance next month under a Common Policy Framework.

A national convention, the climax to the ongoing state conventions that will be completed by the end of the month, should see the birth of a more united political bloc, one the opposition leaders hope would be a viable alternative to the Barisan Nasional ruling alliance.

It would be a double celebration of sorts should the Registrar of Societies approve the registration of Pakatan Rakyat Malaysia in time for its national convention in Shah Alam on Dec 19.

It is the first time that the three major opposition parties are seeking to be united as a legal entity with a common logo and single political aim.

Malaysia's political ground, still fluid 20 months after the last general election, has pushed Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Pas and DAP into adopting basic ground rules and guiding principles to strengthen the coalition and further sustain their co-operation.

Until now the three parties, with their differing aims, ambitions and diverging policies, have been grappling to offer Pakatan Rakyat as a credible alternative to BN's coalition of 13 political parties. More Malaysians, particularly those who had supported the opposition parties, are beginning to have doubts about its ability to rule.

Without doubt, Pakatan has lost some momentum since Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over the premiership from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in April.

Thanks to the measures that Najib has since introduced, BN has regained some support lost in the last general election.

The health of the economy is a key challenge for Najib and current indications of the nation's recovery will help in BN's efforts to win over those who voted for the opposition last year.

A recent survey by the Merdeka Centre, showing that voters are beginning to feel positive about the economy, is a boost for the BN government.

In the survey conducted in September, 56 per cent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the prime minister's performance.

A total of 47 per cent felt the country was heading in the right direction over issues which included the economy, while 56 per cent were satisfied with the way things were developing.

It may have been a smashing year for Pakatan last year but not so this year.

Cracks have been appearing frequently this year in this alliance of convenience, as each component party tries to impose its way on how to govern the states the coalition controls. The strain caused by a series of events has only unsettled the supporters.

As a result, Pakatan Rakyat leaders have been expending a lot of energy on damage control, putting the ship back on course to check eroding credibility and public trust.

"Sometimes, everybody wants to talk like a jaguh kampung and we end up working like a fire brigade," opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in calling for more discipline among Pakatan leaders at the Kelantan Pakatan Rakyat convention in Kota Baru last weekend.

At the conventions of the three component parties of Pakatan held in Perak, Penang, Selangor, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and Terengganu, warnings had been issued to members to toe the line.

Similar messages are expected at the other conventions, too.

"There will be no more warnings to errant leaders after this," said PKR elections director Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

By putting a stop to unwarranted and unsolicited comments, Pakatan leaders hope their members will remain steadfast in achieving a shared vision and target.

Party leaders at all levels have been reminded time and again that Pakatan is neither the forum nor the place for any group or individual to champion personal ideologies or those of the component parties.

Since its impressive performance at the general election last year, Pakatan has witnessed several public disagreements among its leaders, intra- and inter-parties alike.

Recently, two PKR members of parliament -- Zulkifli Noordin and Sivarasa Rasiah -- were involved in a public spat with Zulkifli challenging Sivarasa to quit his party post and face off with him in a contest over party policy.

At a recent meeting with a group of bloggers, Anwar assured that Zulkifli, the controversial Kulim Bandar Baru MP, regarded by opposition supporters as a thorn in the Pakatan flesh, had been cautioned.

Continuing distrust and doubts within the Pakatan fold have left people wondering whether the component parties can function well politically.

Doubts remain over Pakatan's prospects for long-term survival, especially when the component parties had a similar coalition in the 1999 general election called the Barisan Alternatif that broke down two years later when DAP pulled out over Pas' insistence on setting up a theocratic Islamic state.

Pakatan, despite problems at the local and state levels, is not likely to fall apart any time soon since its structure at the national level is beginning to get institutionalised to become a force to match the sturdy BN.

The opposition coalition may have revealed too much of its weaknesses, affecting its credibility in the eyes of the voters but these internal conflicts could turn to the advantage of Pakatan as they force its component parties to confront issues and find amicable solutions.

BN leaders should be sensitive to the development in the opposing political bloc or it will be an uphill task in certain states when the two coalitions go to the people again in the next national polls due by 2013.

Questioning the monarchy

By Rachel Leow
thenutgraph.com

istana negara
Construction site for the new Istana Negara (© Rachel Leow)

IF you drive down Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur today, along the road that runs from the Sri Hartamas housing estate to the foot of the majestic Masjid Kuala Lumpur, most of the journey will be flanked on your right by a large temporary wall. That wall girds the borders of the new Istana Negara construction site, slated for completion in 2009 or 2010.

This new Istana will house each of our nine Malaysian sultans during their five-year stints as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Something about the interminable length of the drive past that long white wall made me ask myself: Why do we need a new Istana? Let alone one that sits on 96.52 hectares of land, and, in these severe financial times, one that is reportedly costing the rakyat RM1.1 billion?

ISTANA NEGARA
The current Istana Negara along Jalan Syed Putra (public domain / Wiki Commons)

To give you some idea of what 96.52 hectares of land is, here are some real-world expressions of the size of the new palace. One Jalan Duta Royal Istana is equivalent to 2.3 MidValley Cities, 4.9 KLCC parks, 209 Khir Toyo mansions, and 3,472 average semi-D houses (at 3,000 sq ft each). Our present Istana Negara, on Jalan Istana, is a historic building dating back to 1928, and it sits on 11 hectares of land. Our new Istana therefore represents a nine-fold increase in the amount of land that has been set aside for our Malaysian royalty.

Let's not forget, we live in a constitutional monarchy. That means that our monarchs are accountable to us. Accountability is what I want to talk about in this article, and I want to do this by taking a short detour to modern day Britain.

Criticising the monarchy


The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Mizan
Zainal Abidin (© Presiden Republik
Indonesia / Wiki Commons)

Some time ago, I was struck by an article in the Guardian that reported on a series of parliamentary discussions over the state of the British royal family's finances. The royal family, uniquely among all British public sector institutions, was deemed exempt from all public spending cuts necessitated by the financial crisis. In fact, they even appeared to be seeking a raise on their yearly allowance, which at present stands at around £7.9 million per annum. Despite their present £21 million surplus in royal reserves, Buckingham Palace officials claimed, in an annual report on royal finances in June, that without a raise, they would be £40 million in the red by 2019.

To put the debate in context, it is worth noting that there have been a recent slew of drastic cuts in public spending in the UK. This includes a one-year pay freeze for five million public sector workers, and a withdrawing of middle-class tax benefits. In view of all this, the royal exemption has been perceived by many Members of Parliament (MPs) as gratuitous mollycoddling. As Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said, "When we are looking at potentially painful cuts in public services, the royal family should not be feather-bedded in this way. I am talking about the taxpayer paying for Prince Andrew's flights to take part in golf matches."

Queen Elizabeth portrait
Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom
(public domain / Wiki Commons)
There are two points I wish to make about this Guardian article. Firstly, I was struck by the liveliness of the comments section, expressing an extraordinary range of opinions on the British monarchy. These range from the critical to the defensive; from the reasoned to the illogical; from the constructive to the banal. "Welfare bums," one commentator wrote, "they should get a real job." Another declared: "The Queen, defender of the Faith — worth every penny!" Yet another scoffed: "Parasites at worst, anachronisms at best." One voice among the yowling anti-royals said staunchly: "I support the royal family one hundred percent. Firstly, they do bring in money via tourists... But more importantly, they support many charities and sports organisations [and they] represent our country's heritage and tradition, and an age lost in the last fifty or so years. I would be deeply saddened to see that gone."

For better or worse, I ask you: Where in Malaysia can we have such an open, fearless debate on our monarchical institutions? In the UK, open public debate has not resulted in anarchy and the monarchy's dissolution. Rather, it has resulted in a monarchy that has incentive to remain relevant to the people over whom it constitutionally governs, and also continues to be, on the whole, well loved by the majority of British.

That begs the question: Are our royals afraid of what the people think of them that they need to be protected from public opinion?

Transparent spending

Istana Melawati
Side view of Istana Melawati, another royal residence for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,
in Putrajaya (© Gryffindor / Wiki Commons)

My second point concerns the relative transparency of the state of British royal finances. It is possible for any British citizen to access information about royal expenditure. It is possible, in other words, for the public to have some sense of how much of their tax dollars are being used to finance the royal family, and indeed, for some people to complain about it. Accountability is at the heart of all attacks and defences of the British monarchy. Its naysayers claim there is not enough of it; its defenders retort that they are more financially accountable than many heads of states would be in a republic. Royal accountants state, a bit defensively, that the British monarchy supposedly cost each British taxpayer only 69p in the 2008 to 2009 fiscal year.

In Malaysia, I, for one, have no idea how much the rakyat spends on our constitutional monarchs. And I am quite sure that there have been no studies or inquiry commissions into this. Unfortunately, in Malaysia, asking for monarchical accountability of their expenses will probably be construed as derhaka, or hasutan against our royal institution.

There are not even, so far as I am aware, any polls of enquiry regarding the general popularity of the various monarchs and their families, let alone published accounts of royal expenditure.

Under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, all royal projects are obliged to be conducted by open tender, but as PAS's Mahfuz Omar has pointed out, Projek Istana Negara was not, and the project's costs have suffered as a result. Initially slated to cost around RM400 million, our new Istana Negara is about to cost the nation RM1.1 billion instead.

Are the royal family not, according to the precepts of constitutional monarchy, legally bound to the Malaysian constitution, and thus at least financially accountable to the people? Should we, the people, not have some say in how we ourselves are financing our Supreme Heads of State?

Will Anwar be ambushed by trial?

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

Anwar
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (file pic)

DATUK Seri Anwar Ibrahim has failed in his bid, at the Court of Appeal, to obtain evidence from the public prosecutor about his alleged act of sodomy with a young former aide. Layperson reactions have naturally been cynical, dismissing the judgment as political in nature.

Indeed, the Court of Appeal's interpretation of Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), by which it made its judgment, is worrisome from a justice perspective. The judgment nullifies the efforts of the parliamentary select committee which proposed the CPC amendments in 2006 requiring pre-trial disclosure by the prosecution to the defence. The legislature's intention was to "prevent trial by ambush" but the Court of Appeal's judgment in Anwar's sodomy case seems to overturn that principle.

But is Section 51A as clear cut as it is meant to be? And is splitting hairs over its meaning scuppering Anwar's chances for a fair trial?

Meaning of words

Section 51A was introduced to widen the scope of evidence that the defence could obtain from the prosecution. At first reading, it comes across as a clear obligation for the prosecution to make available to the defence evidence that it intends to use during trial.


    Section 51A . Delivery of certain documents
  1. The prosecution shall before the commencement of the trial deliver to the accused the following documents:
  1. A copy of the information made under section 107 relating to the commission of the offence to which the accused is charged, if any;
  2. A copy of any document which would be tendered as part of the evidence for the prosecution; and
  3. A written statement of facts favourable to the defence of the accused signed under the hand of the Public Prosecutor or any person conducting the prosecution.

The meaning of the words "shall" and "any document" is clear, says member of the Bar Council's criminal law committee, Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, who is also the author of Criminal Litigation Process.

"The intention of 51A is to put both parties in a trial on equal footing in the interest of justice. That was parliament's intent. The word 'shall' should be taken to mean 'must'.

baljit singh
Baljit Singh (pic courtesy of
Baljit Singh)
"If the court does not interpret 'shall' as being mandatory, then there is no point to the amendment," Baljit, who is also Gerakan Federal Territory legal adviser, tells The Nut Graph.

"Any document" should also be taken to mean any type of evidence, Baljit adds. It is all the more important when it involves evidence like DNA, for which scientific expertise and time are required if defence lawyers are to analyse it.

However, the Court of Appeal in Anwar's sodomy case decided there were "limits" as to the kind of evidence the prosecution could be asked to produce before a trial. Hence, it overturned the High Court's decision ordering the prosecution to hand over evidence, which included video footage, medical reports, doctors' notes, and witness statements of alleged victim Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and others. The bench, in rejecting Anwar's cross-appeal for DNA specimens held by the prosecution, also said that the evidence requested did not fall under the category of evidence in 51A.

"The amendment [to the CPC] is as good as non-existent," SN Nair, one of Anwar's lawyers, tells The Nut Graph.

Merely procedure?

The Court of Appeal's written judgment is not out yet, so Anwar's lawyers are still unclear about the basis of the ruling although they have filed two notices of appeal at the Federal Court Registry.

But it does appear that the court reverted to the law prior to the introduction of 51A on the basis of the prosecution's arguments. "The prosecution went back to pre-amendment law arguing that they had the discretion as to what evidence to give and to decide which facts were favourable to the accused," Nair says in a phone interview.

Clause (c) of 51A(1) requires the prosecution to provide a written statement of facts that are favourable to the defence. According to Nair, evidence that is favourable to the accused can only be found in witnesses' statements.

"In witnesses' statements, there could be evidence that potentially saves the accused. Sharing of these facts means the defence gets to decide what is favourable in the interest of fair trial," Nair says.

The High Court granted access to these statements to Anwar's defence team but it was revoked by the appellate court.

Some prosecutors also argue that 51A is a "procedural" amendment and not a matter of law, says criminal lawyer Richard Wee.

Richard Wee
Richard Wee (pic courtesy of
Richard Wee)
"While by and large the courts mostly do tell off the prosecution, there are some who buy that argument. They take the view that if a prosecutor fails to adhere to 51A, it's merely a procedural error," Wee says in a phone interview.

Such an interpretation means the prosecution's case can avoid an inconclusive end. If the court were to view 51A as a law rather than procedure, cases could end up much like how blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin was discharged but not acquitted for sedition, simply because police could not find him.

"Similarly," says Wee, "if evidence is not provided by the prosecution under 51A, the defence should be accorded the right to seek for a discharge not amounting to acquittal."

Wiggle room

The repercussions of procedural rather than legalistic interpretation of the law are alarming. Besides placing prosecution and defence on unequal footing, does it also mean law enforcement need not keep to high standards to ensure thorough and fair investigative work?

Shoddy

Shoddy police work is unfortunately a reality, but that's where the law could have been drafted more precisely to plug the gaps. Wee feels that 51A was not drafted specifically enough to take into account the "practical realities of what happens in court".

Some realities include: The prosecution denies before trial to having found any facts favourable to the accused. Or they may produce other evidence in mid-trial instead of evidence disclosed pre-trial. They may argue that new evidence is required in response to the defence's arguments.

Wee feels the wording about making available documents "which would be tendered as part of evidence" limits the kind of evidence that can be requested for and gives room to the prosecution to wiggle out of it.

"It would have been better to say 'any documents related' to the trial, which would be specific but in a wider sense, covers all other evidence that could be raised during trial," he says.

The obvious conclusion?

Yet, the fact is, there are judges who uphold 51A and ensure it is adhered to, notes Baljit.

"Having case management before trial for evidence to be given to the defence is normal practice and courts will set a date for mention to ensure that all this is complied with," he says.

So if other courts are upholding the law, what else are people to make of how Anwar's appeal was handled other than to think that the judiciary is not free from political interference?

Dr. Pornthip being followed by mysterious strangers?

by Nathaniel Tan

Jelas is finally updated to WP 2.8.6, woohoo! That’s been partly the cause of no postings for so many days, sorry! Hopefully a new theme before too long :P

theSun:

Meanwhile, Gobind said Pornthip had told him that she was being trailed by unknown individuals since her arrival here.

He said he had verbally informed the police on this and also arranged for personal bodyguards for the Thai pathologist.

Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, when contacted, said if Pornthip felt her safety was under threat, she should lodge a police report and can be assured police will look into it.

>:| I guess no defenders of justice are safe in Malaysia.

As for our old friend DCP Khalid, I don’t think it should come as any surprise that those who feel themselves likely being followed by cops are likely to lodge a report with the same said cops :P

Anyway, I hope the second post-morterm answers the questions that need answering, and that the reburial tomorrow goes as planned.

Najib Arrives In New York For Working Visit

From Muin Abdul Majid

NEW YORK, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is currently on a working visit to New York aimed at boosting trade and investment ties between Malaysia and the United States.

The Malaysian prime minister was met on arrival at the Newark international airport Sunday afternoon (early Monday in Malaysia) by the Malaysian ambassador to the United States, Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis.

Accompanying Najib on the trip is his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. On hand to welcome them at the hotel where they are staying in the Big Apple were Malaysian embassy and consulate-general staff as well as a group of Malaysian businessmen.

Najib kicked off his visit with a private dinner with United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon hosted by Datuk Hamidon Ali, Malaysia's permanent representative to the world body.

The prime minister is scheduled to attend gatherings with American investors and financiers as well as meet top Malaysian and foreign corporate figures. Najib will be in New York until Tuesday.

Deadly blasts hit India's northeast


Two bombs have exploded in India's northeastern Assam state, killing six people and wounding dozens more, police say.

Six people died after two blasts went off within minutes of each other on Sunday outside a police station in Nalbari, a town near the state capital, Gauhati, a local police official said.

Up to 25 people have been wounded in the blasts.

Bhaskar Mahanta, Assam's police chief, said authorities suspect the separatist group United Liberation Front of Asom, or Ulfa, is behind the blasts. No group has claimed responsibility.

A senior Ulfa leader, however, telephoned local newspaper offices and television stations to deny its involvement.

Mahanta said the bombers had parked two bicycles fitted with carriers packed with explosives outside the Nalbari police station, which is located in a congested part of the town. These went off, killing passers-by and wounding the others.

Mahanta said police had received intelligence reports suggesting that the Ulfa was planning to avenge last week's arrest of two of the group's leaders.

The blasts came soon after New Delhi announced the government will provide safe passage to separatist leaders willing to talk and find a lasting solution to the state's problems.

Last week, suspected Ulfa fighters triggered a powerful explosion, derailing a freight train and setting more than a dozen oil-tanker railway cars on fire in Assam.

India's northeast is beset by scores of conflicts. More than 10,000 people have died in separatist violence over the past decade.

The region is home to dozens of separatist groups who accuse the Indian government of exploiting the area's natural resources while doing little for the indigenous people.

Teoh Beng Hock exhumed

HRP: After Kg.Buah Pala now the Kapitan is ripping Penang foreshore- Bravo Kapitan Lim Guan Eng master of manipulations!!!

NOV 22 — The declassified minutes on the conversion of PDC Heritage Hotel released yesterday by the Lim Guan Eng administration reveal that the PDC Heritage Hotel site is foreshore land.

Foreshore is the area that is exposed to the air at low tide and underwater at high tide. For development on the coastal zone, a construction setback of 60 metres is normally observed. Setback is a guideline to developers on how far to site permanent structures behind the shoreline in order to avoid problems with short-term coastal response and flooding problems during rough weather.

If we strictly follow the guidelines from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, no permanent structures should be permitted within this setback zone. Guidelines for the width of the setback zone arise from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, which specifies 60m on the open coast.

The 60m setback creates a costal buffer zone that should remain in the public domain. This coastal buffer zone effectively allows public access to the foreshore.

The land of any development site that fails to observe this requirement should be considered as foreshore land. Or in another words, the land of any development site that falls within the 60m setback from the foreshore line is consider as foreshore land.

The minutes on the land conversion reveal that the state legal advisers had reminded LGE that the site is foreshore land, that under the National Land Code proviso it cannot be converted from leasehold to freehold status. In converting the land, Lim has referred to section 76(aa)(iii) of the NLC which says land could be converted “where the State Authority is satisfied that there are special circumstances which render it appropriate to do so” . What are the special circumstances that LGE referred to in justifying the land conversion?

The special circumstances that Lim has cited for justifying the conversion are as follows:

1) That the project was neglected and in an “abandoned” state

2) That the equity held by PDC has been raised from 49 per cent to 50 per cent

3) That the cost of equity conversion is borne by YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd

Lim failed to address public concern over the sale of our foreshore land to private interests.

On Oct 15, 2008, in a press statement, Lim promised that the state government would not follow the footstep of his predecessor in circumventing the National Land Code proviso that prohibits the conversion of foreshore land from leasehold to freehold status.

The sad truth is that the Chief Minister who once fought alleged land scams committed by the previous state government is now personally involved in a questionable land conversion. This is a treacherous betrayal of the people by Lim.

Lim hoped by releasing the minutes on the land conversion, he can divert the attention of the people on the questionable land conversion. As usual he took the opportunity to blame Koh Tsu Koon for the land conversion. If Lim sincerely believes that what Koh did was wrong, he should not go ahead with the land conversion.

This most disturbing incident comes after Lim openly promised not to cheat Penangites of their foreshore land. Disturbing because Lim loves to continue what Koh did, but will blame the latter whenever he is criticised for whatever decisions he makes.

It is important for Penangites to understand why he made the decision that he made. Lim should walk Penangites through the reasoning why that decision was made. The special circumstances that Lim referred to are hardly special at all.

From behind the walls of the A-G Chambers

When one senior prosecutor refused to fix up RPK’s sedition trial by falsifying the evidence he was removed from the case and within 24 hours transferred to a court that hears cases involving unpaid credit cards and car installments. That is what the A-G Chambers has been reduced to; a tool to fix up cases of those opposed to those who walk in the corridors of power. It is time, however, that those of us inside the A-G Chambers speak out and reveal the truth. And today we are going to do just that.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

From Inside the A-G Chambers

Malaysians must be reminded that Gani Patail and Musa Hassan are today Malaysia's A-G and IGP respectively as a reward for fixing up Anwar Ibrahim in the Sodomy I trial in 1998-1999. They remain as the IGP and A-G under Najib's rule as a further reward for burying the Altantuya murder case for which Razak Baginda got away scot-free while RPK got charged for sedition and criminal defamation based on trumped-up charges and fabricated evidence.

To their mind, it should not be too difficult to get RPK convicted and stopped from being a nuisance to their plans. All they need is a police department, A-G Chambers and Judiciary working in tandem and in compliance to those who walk in the corridors of power in Putrajaya.

The modus operandi of fabricating evidence and amending the charges several times in the midst of a trial -- as what happened to Anwar -- have since become the SOP (standard operating procedure) in all cases where A-G Gani and IGP Musa are involved. That happens because: i) they fix up cases; ii) because of sheer incompetence, they don't know how to fix the cases properly; iii) they know the courts will still help them to fix these cases even if they botched up badly.

This collaboration is a good example of Najib's 1Malaysia.

To those who play by their rules, be prepared to suffer. Just look at how Anwar was convicted. And now they are doing the same to him in the Sodomy II trial as well. Even if you win the first round before some brave Sessions Court Judge or High Court Judge, you will still get fixed at the Court of Appeal or the Federal Court - the Superior Courts as these are called.

And I don't need to tell you why they made Tan Sri Zaki Tun Azmi the Chief Justice -- this despite the fact that the Shariah Court was about to punish him for taking a second wife without proper permission from the Qadi.

To disprove the woman's claim that she was his second wife, (or was it third or fourth?), Zaki burned the marriage certificate which was evidence of his illegal marriage to that woman. So, without that evidence, all it proved was that he had merely convinced that woman they were already married so that she would allow him to screw her. Hey! Isn't that also an offence? Never mind, though. Today, he is the Chief Justice and Muslims are not supposed to dig up someone's bad past. So let’s leave that for another day.

The point is this. The Superior Courts (but don't let them tell you the legal brains there are superior than that in the lower courts), which is closely monitored by Tan Sri Zaki, will cover-up for the A-G and the IGP. But if anyone else makes any mistake, you will surely pay for it, no matter how trivial. That's what happened to Karpal Singh when he filed Anwar Ibrahim's appeal in English. The Court of Appeal summarily dismissed the appeal -- not that these Judges do not understand English.

In RPK's sedition and criminal defamation trials, the police fabricated evidence by doing a cut-and-paste of Malaysia Today's website and tried to pass it off as a downloaded printout of the articles RPK was alleged to have written. When RPK's counsel, Gobind Singh, caught them red-handed, the A-G amended the charge.

That was not the only fabrication. There were many more.

They did that too in Dato' Ramli Yusuff's case. In case you have forgotten, Dato' Ramli was the former Director of the CCID PDRM who had investigated the Along money-lending syndicate's connection to Musa Hassan. IGP Musa Hassan needed to take Dato' Ramli out. So Musa went to Gani and Gani advised him to use the MACC where Musa's in-law was one of the Directors.

So they got the MACC to launch an investigation against Dato’ Ramli and roped in the mainstream media to create this sensational news that Dato' Ramli was a corrupted cop who had RM27 million in his bank account. But they could not make that charge stick after Dato' Ramli engaged his friend and lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, to prepare his defence. Since Rosli was a hindrance, he too must be taken out.

The game plan was easy. Publicly humiliate Rosli so badly so that all his clients would run away. They knew Rosli's partners and corporate clients would not have the stomach for these things. After they charged Rosli, it was so easy to get to Ramli because everyone else got scared and could be made to toe the line -- or else face the same consequences as Rosli.

Then they charged Ramli -- but not for the RM 27 million originally bandied about because there was never any RM27 million in the first place. It was just a nice figure they plucked from the air. Instead, they charged Ramli for abuse of power in using a police Cessna plane, and for some small change.

Already, the Court in Kota Kinabalu has discovered Musa Hassan's hidden hands in making that false charge and acquitted Ramli without even calling for his defence. But A-G Gani Patail instantly filed an appeal.

Malaysians would still remember that A-G Gani did not want to file an appeal vs Razak Baginda's acquittal. So why the appeal against Ramli? Because Ramli will be very dangerous to them if he comes back to the Police Force. Well, we will just have to wait and see what happens to the A-G's appeal in the Superior Courts.

So that you get a clear picture, Ramli's trial lasted 57 days (longer than most murder trials) in which IGP Musa Hassan was the 75th as well as the star witness, literally, as he has 4 stars on each side of his shoulders. Since his acquittal, Ramli has lodged a police report against the ACA officer Sok One a/l Esen who, as part of Musa Hassan's conspiracy, fabricated a false charge against Ramli. Ramli is still hopeful that the Police Force will protect their brothers in blue and will investigate the MACC for it's abuses against someone as senior as he was. Let's see if Ramli's hopes come true.

In the meantime, Rosli Dahlan, who was also involved in preparing the CCID's affidavits when A-G Gani refused to represent the CCID in the Along investigation case, has launched a RM50 million claim. Despite Utusan Malaysia having profusely apologised for their “unethical journalism”, he still sued that UMNO newspaper and 11 officers of the MACC and A-G Chambers for fixing him up. Rosli remained furious that they did all that to him just because he defended Dato' Ramli. Rosli has also filed a second suit against The Star and their pimp editors, Dato Seri Wong Chun Wai and Dato Lourdes Charles. Word has it that Rosli is also gunning for another mainstream media, the culprit which frontpaged the “RM 27 million Cop story”.

We are not sure if Rosli is aware that he is treading on very dangerous waters by taking on all the mainstream media, the MACC and the A-G Chambers all in one go. He must not forget that Goh Cheng Poh @ Tunku Goh, who was released by the A-G and who instead charged the six policemen for gathering false evidence against Musa, is still waiting to take him out.

These days, lawyers get hit very easily and the Police won’t give a damn if Rosli gets hit. Whatever may be Rosli’s motivations, he must either be very brave or is simply mad to take on all of them. You can rest assured they will start another propaganda to make Rosli look every inch the crooked lawyer, whereas the likes of VK Linggam is cleared by the A-G and Dato’ Nazri Aziz.

But what do you tell to Rosli who still believes the Courts is the last bastion of justice?

In typical Gani Patail's bumbling style, he directed his Chambers to file six statements of defence for 11 of the officers named, when only 1 would be sufficient as they are all government servants. But no, the A-G wanted to file six defences, as if the number of defences filed mattered. Well it did, when it was pointed out that the six statements of defence were filed wrongly!

The A-G Chambers had filed six statements of defence in the wrong court for a wrong court file number. That counts for six mistakes in one go! Under ordinary circumstances, that could be fatal and could lead to a judgement in default against these officers, in the manner Zul Rafique took such a judgement for Dato' Azim against RPK. That's also what the great Dato' Shafee Abdullah did. And both claimed they had a big victory over RPK. Did they?

Coming back to Rosli, did he do that? Did he take a default judgment against these officers? You would expect he would. After all that they did to abuse and assault him in front of his staff; after they handcuffed him till his wrist bled; after they mistreated him in the ACA dungeon lock-up; after they threw him into the ACA dungeon and refused him bail just to make sure he really suffered and will never not forget that one very long night in Ramadan 2007; after they humiliated him the next day by parading him handcuffed along the court's corridors. And they did all that, just one day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri in October 2007 just to inflict the greatest pain and embarrassment to him, his wife and three kids. You would say fair game if he took default judgment against these officers the way Dato' Azim and Dato' Shafee took judgment against RPK. Did Rosli do that? No!

Instead of taking judgement in default against his abusers, Rosli politely called and wrote to the A-G's Chambers to tell them of their mistake and requested they rectify the mistake. The following two letters show Rosli's counsel writing to A-G Chambers and the AGC's reply. Do you see a thank you in the AGC's reply? Obviously not.

In case Rosli is deluded by his friends and counsel (and let me reveal that some of them are moles planted to distract him) into believing that his sense of fair play would be reciprocated by them, let me say just one thing: STOP DAY DREAMING MAN! These ungrateful bastards won't think twice about pinning your balls on the wall. They do not deserve to be treated with decency. You just have to hit them hard and hit them with all that you got. Read that loud and clear Rosli!

Rosli may be a smart lawyer who does not need anyone to teach him the law. But there is something we inside the A-G Chambers can teach him about beating the abusers of the law at their own game. And this is what we want to tell you, Rosli. You want to win your case badly? Then trick them the way they have tricked everyone else just to win a case.

See what RPK did to the sedition and false declaration charges? Today, RPK has been discharged and Musa Hassan is red-faced after making a public declaration that he will bring RPK back the latest by October 2009. Musa, it’s already mid November. Your time's up!

So Rosli, look at what has happened and don't ever say we did not tell you - don't bother being a gentleman with this AG, IGP or even the Courts!

AI condemns intimidation of lawyers

PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International is concerned over attempts to intimidate lawyers carrying out their professional duties in Malaysia.

Margaret John, the AI coordinator for Singapore and Malaysia, said the latest attack on the home of prominent lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon illustrated once more the risks faced by Malaysian lawyers protecting the legal rights of government critics.

Last Tuesday evening, several Molotov cocktails were thrown into the house of Manjeet but no one was injured.

Manjeet believed the attack was linked to private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s recent exposure of an alleged cover-up in the Altantuya affair and the involvement in it of prominent public figures.

Bala made the startling allegations in an interview done last month in the presence of three lawyers, one of whom was Manjeet.

“The incident illustrates once more that lawyers in Malaysia, acting in their professional capacity to protect the legal rights of government critics, are exposed to risks of harassment, threats and worst,” John said in a statement.

Her full statement follows:

“ I have learned that several Molotov cocktails were recently thrown into the home of prominent Malaysian lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon, a former Bar Council President. He said he regarded the attack on his home as a possible warning and threat to him and his family.

“He and his family were fortunately out of the country at the time. The incident illustrates once more that lawyers in Malaysia, acting in their professional capacity to protect the legal rights of government critics, are exposed to risks of harassment, threats or worse.

“Many of you will be aware that Manjeet Singh Dhillon is counsel for (now former) prisoner of conscience Dr Munawar Anees and will know that Dr Anees made a Statutory Declaration during his incarceration a decade ago, in which he detailed the appalling treatment to which he had been subjected in prison. Manjeet has remained his counsel during the numerous court challenges to clear Dr Anees’s name.

“The Molotov cocktail attack is believed to be related to Manjeet Singh Dhillon’s recent interview with private investigator P Balasubramaniam, who had alleged a year ago that Prime MInister Najib Abdul Razak had been sexually involved with murder victim Altantuya Shaariibuu of Mongolia and that police were ordered to remove evidence of any links. Balasubramiam later retracted the allegations and fled.

“Manjeet Singh Dhillon asserted that he conducted the interview (now on Youtube) as a professional duty in the absence of Balasubramaniam’s actual counsel, Americk Sidhu.

“Amnesty International has previously expressed concern about attempts to intimidate lawyers carrying out their professional duties.

“In the most controversial case in Malaysia’s recent history, defence lawyers were harassed and their offices searched during the trial for sodomy a decade ago of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. At that time, prominent defence lawyer Karpal Singh was arrested under the Sedition Act in connection with remarks he made in court.

“Referring to high levels of arsenic in Anwar’s blood, Karpal Singh expressed in court his concern that “someone out there wants to get rid of him…even to the extent of murder. I suspect that people in high places are responsible for the situation”. Karpal Singh is himself a former prisoner of conscience.

“One of the more recent cases involves five lawyers who were arrested for illegal assembly when they gathered outside a police station where a group of candlelight demonstrators was held. The five lawyers wished to provide legal assistance to detainees.
“A number of international standards guarantees protection for lawyers carrying out their professional duities. These include: UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and the Latimer House guidelines. Such standards, however, do not always provide protection in Malaysia in cases in which there is a link to criticism of the government.”

Court ruling takes bite out of local council summonses

(The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: If you have been issued local government summonses for illegal parking, not displaying a valid parking ticket, open burning or not having a dog licence, can you just throw them away?

Yes, you may be able to get away with it, going by a recent High Court ruling in a landmark case which stated that local councils did not have the right to prosecute anyone as such a prosecution would contravene the Federal Constitution.

What is common hearsay — that tickets issued by local councils have no legal bite — has been proven in a case in the sleepy hollow of Lanchang, Pahang.

Little man’s big win: Subramaniam showing the court order as his wife hugs him outside their shop in Lanchang, Pahang. The High Court ruled that the local council has no right to prosecute him for not obeying its order to move his fish and vegetable business. — AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star.

Mini-market owner Subrama­niam Gopal, 50, defied the orders of the Lanchang Temerloh Muni­cipal Council to move his fish and vegetable business to the new council market and was taken to court on four charges of operating his business — the GSM Mini Market — on Jalan Besar Lanchang, without a valid licence.

Temerloh High Court Judicial Commissioner Akhtar Tahir overturned a magistrate court’s ruling and said that if anyone was going to prosecute Subramaniam, it should be the Attorney-General. Judge Akhtar then ordered that Subramaniam be given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

Does this mean that members of the public can throw away summonses and not fear legal reprisal?

“Considering that the High Court declared Section 120 of the LGA unconstitutional, it would appear that there is no power to prosecute,” said lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

Lawyer Derek Fernandez, however, said it is better not to ignore the summons because a warrant of arrest could be issued against the offender if he is not in court when his case is called.

Father of two David J said he had often heard that one need not pay local council summons, unlike traffic police summons, and had not paid for many of them.

On Penang’s land conversion — Ong Eu Soon

NOV 22 — The declassified minutes on the conversion of PDC Heritage Hotel released yesterday by the Lim Guan Eng administration reveal that the PDC Heritage Hotel site is foreshore land.

Foreshore is the area that is exposed to the air at low tide and underwater at high tide. For development on the coastal zone, a construction setback of 60 metres is normally observed. Setback is a guideline to developers on how far to site permanent structures behind the shoreline in order to avoid problems with short-term coastal response and flooding problems during rough weather.

If we strictly follow the guidelines from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, no permanent structures should be permitted within this setback zone. Guidelines for the width of the setback zone arise from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, which specifies 60m on the open coast.

The 60m setback creates a costal buffer zone that should remain in the public domain. This coastal buffer zone effectively allows public access to the foreshore.

The land of any development site that fails to observe this requirement should be considered as foreshore land. Or in another words, the land of any development site that falls within the 60m setback from the foreshore line is consider as foreshore land.

The minutes on the land conversion reveal that the state legal advisers had reminded LGE that the site is foreshore land, that under the National Land Code proviso it cannot be converted from leasehold to freehold status. In converting the land, Lim has referred to section 76(aa)(iii) of the NLC which says land could be converted “where the State Authority is satisfied that there are special circumstances which render it appropriate to do so” . What are the special circumstances that LGE referred to in justifying the land conversion?

The special circumstances that Lim has cited for justifying the conversion are as follows:

1) That the project was neglected and in an “abandoned” state

2) That the equity held by PDC has been raised from 49 per cent to 50 per cent

3) That the cost of equity conversion is borne by YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd

Lim failed to address public concern over the sale of our foreshore land to private interests.

On Oct 15, 2008, in a press statement, Lim promised that the state government would not follow the footstep of his predecessor in circumventing the National Land Code proviso that prohibits the conversion of foreshore land from leasehold to freehold status.

The sad truth is that the Chief Minister who once fought alleged land scams committed by the previous state government is now personally involved in a questionable land conversion. This is a treacherous betrayal of the people by Lim.

Lim hoped by releasing the minutes on the land conversion, he can divert the attention of the people on the questionable land conversion. As usual he took the opportunity to blame Koh Tsu Koon for the land conversion. If Lim sincerely believes that what Koh did was wrong, he should not go ahead with the land conversion.

This most disturbing incident comes after Lim openly promised not to cheat Penangites of their foreshore land. Disturbing because Lim loves to continue what Koh did, but will blame the latter whenever he is criticised for whatever decisions he makes.

It is important for Penangites to understand why he made the decision that he made. Lim should walk Penangites through the reasoning why that decision was made. The special circumstances that Lim referred to are hardly special at all.

Ong Eu Soon reads The Malaysian Insider.

Penang government is people-centric – Jeffrey Chew

NOV 17 – I wish to correct several assertions made by Anil Netto, “Pakatan: Pro-business or pro-people ? — Anil Netto” in the Aliran article on his contention that the Penang state government has bowed down to corporate interests. This is untrue.

The Penang state government holds on to and remains a people-centric government that subscribes to Competency, Accountability and Transparency(CAT). For this reason, the Penang state government has reiterated that there will be full consultation for all major public projects. One should not listen to rumour and treat it as fact.

The Penang state government sympathises with the demands for cancellation of projects by the people affected by projects of those approved by the previous state government.

However any cancellation of the projects approved, such as those in Tanjung Bunga as demanded by the residents, would entail hundreds of millions of ringgit in compensation that would bankrupt the state as it is money that the state government cannot afford.

The state government is still paying off losses of tens of millions of ringgit from land scams committed by the previous BN state government. The PR state government will not fulfill the wishes of BN to see it financially bankrupt.

Much as the state government would like to help the residents in Kampung Buah Pala, the state government cannot defy a Federal Court order or be held in contempt of court.

In subscribing to the rule of law, one can not uphold it when it is in your favour but disregard it when it does not benefit you.

However the state government has successfully obtained from the developer a compensation of a RM 600,000 double-storey terrace houses for 24 of the residents who accepted, the highest compensation amount in history offered in recognition of the plight of the residents who were staying there for nearly 150 years.

What the state government has done is to tighten controls, increase oversight and issue stop work orders over these HILLSLOPE projects, including against developers who have given donations to Penang’s Partners Against Poverty programme, a PR state government initiative to ensure every family in Penang gets a minimum RM 500 a month to become the first state to wipe out hard core poverty in Malaysia.

What is wrong in helping hard-core poor? For Anil to hint of pay-offs or trade-offs to developers because of their donations to help hard-core poor is mischievous and insidious and in common with those who wish to undermine PR state governments with allegations of financial wrongdoing or even corruption.

When the state government reduced the height of buildings within the George Town heritage area to preserve, protect and promote heritage conservation and our Unesco status, a developer for a project approved by the previous BN state government made huge demands for compensation.

Why is Anil strangely silent on this? Does this mean that he is also in cahoots with the developer as he regularly implies when decisions made are not against the developers? And who is going to help us pay all this compensation? Anil?

There are procedures to follow and rules to comply, all of which which entail financial costs. When action taken does not place the state government in danger of being bankrupt or short of funds for social development programmes, the PR state government has never hesitated to act.

Anil refuses to give credit to the state government’s firm and unyielding stance in rejecting the RM25 billion Penang Global & City Centre project, which was announced during the very first days of the Penang PR state administration without any pressure from NGOs.

Let no one question the integrity of Penang state government and its commitment to fighting corruption wherever it exists. This uncompromising stance has been commended not only by the Attorney-General Report 2008 but the CAT governance praised by Transparency International, a first for any state or Federal government in Malaysia.

Whether he realises it or not, Anil is singing the same tune as BN apologists who yearn for the return of the crony government of BN in Penang.

It is not easy to reform a government accustomed to the excesses and bad habits of the previous [BN] state government for the past 51 years. Mistakes may be made and corrective measures are being taken.

But PR state government will never forget that it is the people’s yearning for change that borught about the political tsunami of March 8 2008 and will ensure that the difference the people wishes to see will be implemented.

* Jeffrey Chew is the Special Investment Officer to Chief Minister of Penang.

The penulitimate line had a factural error "the previous PR state government for the past 51 years" and was corrected accordingly. Ed.

Teoh’s second autopsy done, findings not revealed








Lee Lan with the media after the autopsy

- Pic by Choo Choy May

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

SUNGAI BULOH, Nov 22 — Pathologists took two hours to complete the second autopsy for DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock today at the Sungai Buloh Hospital but they did not reveal the findings.

Teoh’s younger sister, Lee Lan told reporters they have been briefed by Dr Porntip Rojasunand on the autopsy but could not divulge the details. The renowned Thai pathologist has been hired by the Selangor government to observe the autopsy done by the hospital’s chief pathologist Dr Shahidan Md Noor.

“We were briefed but we don’t understand the briefing given by Dr Porntip as she was using a lot of scientific terms,” said Lee Lan, who acted as the family’s spokesman.

Her parents and elder brother were present at the hospital where they had earlier said prayers and burnt some offerings for Teoh, who died under mysterious circumstances outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor office last July 16.

She tried to console some journalists apparently left confused and frustrated by the lack of details on the post-mortem despite having waited for more than six hours.

“Let’s wait for the inquest to resume,” she finally said, adding she was not sure when the full report will be ready. The inquest into Teoh’s death will resume on Dec 9.

She added that the family will rebury Teoh at his tomb in the Semenyih Memorial Park on Tuesday.

Teoh’s family lawyer Gobind Singh Deo left the hospital earlier with Dr Porntip without meeting the media, presumably to avoid disclosing the details of the second autopsy.

Apart from Dr Pornthip representing Selangor, the MACC sent UK pathologist Dr Peter Vanezis to observe the autopsy together with the pathologists who performed the first autopsy.

The postmortem was performed from lunch time and finished about 3pm.

Teoh’s body was exhumed yesterday after a ruling by the coroner’s court which heard Dr Pornthip’s testimony that Teoh’s death is 80 per cent homicide, contradicting the findings of the first post-mortem which suggested the 30-year-old had committed suicide.

Teoh’s family had disputed the results as he was due to register his marriage on the morning he was found dead.

Dr Pornthip claims being followed to cemetery

Dr Pornthip is observing the second Teoh post-mortem. — File pic

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojasunand claimed that she was followed to the Nirvana Memorial Park in Semenyih yesterday when she went for the exhumation of Teoh Beng Hock's body.

Teoh family lawyer Gobind Singh Deo revealed this today, saying that police had responded swiftly to provide security for the renowned pathologist whose testimony had led to the coroner's court ordering a second autopsy.

"To those who followed her, please come forward. Tell us who you are and what you want. Don't be cowards," Gobind told reporters at the Sungai Buloh Hospital where Dr Pornthip was observing the second Teoh post-mortem.

She has been hired by the Selangor government to observe the autopsy for the political aide who died in mysterious circumstances outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Selangor office on July 16.

Sungai Buloh Hospital chief pathologist Dr Shahidan Md Noor is conducting the autopsy which will also be observed by MACC expert Dr Peter Vanezis from the United Kingdom. The pathologists who carried out the first post-mortem are also observing today's procedure which began at noon.

The two pathologists — Dr Khairul Aznam and Dr Prashant Samberker — had testified during the inquest into Teoh's death that he died as a result of suicide. Dr Pornthip said it was 80 per cent homicide, paving the way for the second autopsy.

The autopsy is expected to take about five hours.

Malaysia, no pass marks in the corruption index

By Tunku Aziz

About this time each year when Transparency International in Berlin releases its Corruption Perceptions Index, there are many in high places chewing their sticky, dirty fingers while keeping them crossed, hoping against hope, that the world would be kinder and Malaysia’s score on the corruption league table would come out more favourably than last year’s and all the previous years since the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index was first released in 1995. The prayers of the corrupt in government and politics have been ignored again. The predictability of it all is uncanny. The question is why are we continually perceived as corrupt, and are the perceptions justified?

The ambivalence of Tun Mahathir to corruption during his 22 year administration was never in dispute. In a perverse sort of way, he was charmingly honest and did not try to pretend that he was against corrupt practices. He was a great “in the national interest man” who saw corruption not in monochrome, but in glorious Technicolor which could even be made to look extremely attractive seen through his 20/20 Vision however sordid it is in reality.

I am sure the great visionary of all that is tallest, longest and biggest did not lose any sleep over the many shady deals involving Bank Negara and the Employees Provident Fund that, but for the grace of God and the beneficence of the milch cow that is Petronas, would have rendered us insolvent and a hostage of the IMF. He made no promises to fight corruption, and we did not expect anything from him in this respect. He was, by my definition, a corrupt man.

His successor, the one term wonder, affectionately known as Pak Lah of the “work with me and not for me” fame, was made from a different mould. A perfectly decent human being, he possessed impressive religious and moral credentials. When he declared that his top priority was to take the war against corruption into enemy territory, the country rejoiced, but it was to be short lived. A lot of white washing here and there, and a little tinkering around the edges did nothing to reduce corruption. If anything, the consensus was that corruption during Pak Lah’s watch was worse than when Mahathir held sway over us.

As Pak Lah himself admitted without saying so in so many words, there were other more pressing matters requiring his attention that it was only in the twilight of his stewardship that he woke up and realised that there was a little promise he had made that he had to fulfil. So in great haste, all he managed to do, bless the poor man, was to leave behind a less than useless legacy in the shape of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission which on present showing is useful neither to man nor beast. And that is being charitable.

The first anti-corruption public relations exercise was the setting up of the National Institute of Integrity Malaysia which, while trying its best to justify its existence, has achieved next to nothing because it is seen as being unable to focus on its mission. Institutions of themselves are not as important as what their people do inside their often magnificent buildings. Malaysia’s dismal failure to curb corruption as effectively as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, the cleanest in this region, has everything to do with the leadership in government, the Attorney-General’s chambers, the police and the MACC. It all comes down to people in the end. Mere institutions without people of honour and integrity to lead them do not amount to anything. Remember that saying about how you can fool some people some of the time, but not all people all of the time. It is a lesson that seems to have escaped our leadership.

With one scam after another swirling around their ankles on a daily basis, our leaders, no matter what tricks they try to come up with, have all but lost their high moral ground from which to sermonise on the evils of corruption. The country is mired in corruption and every level of the service has been touched by corruption, defined as the “abuse of entrusted power for personal gain, and official corruption in our country is escalating to enormous heights because there is no political will to begin with. The thing to remember about the Corruption Perceptions Index is that it reflects the views of the expatriate business community, resident in our country. They are the people who are sought to respond to questionnaires about corruption in our country. And they are not blind to what is going on in their dealings with the government. True, many have no direct experience of being subjected to official extortion, but they exchange stories which are the basis of their perceptions.

There were several countries that were written off as chronically and systemically corrupt and have succeeded remarkably in breaking out of the vicious cycle of corruption. Corruption is not part of our culture and yet we have allowed it to become our way of life. We are the product of our environment and the government has a responsibility for creating an environment that makes corruption a “high risk, low return business.” But to do that the Prime Minister must lead by example and must confront corruption in all its manifestation, no matter who commits it. A real challenge for Najib if he can find some time to drop his 1Malaysia and look at corruption in the face.

I am not at all sanguine at all about our future as a nation if, by default, we look the other way when disaster is heading straight at us. We will slide further and will have for company those countries that we used to look down upon because we were cleaner. Yes, there was a time, when Tunku Abdul Rahman was prime minister, when corruption only happened in other countries and when ministers and senior Malayan Civil Service officers lived well, well within their means.

Najib must shake off all traces of corruption within our system of governance if Malaysia is to reappear on the competitiveness radar screen of countries that foreign investors feel confident to park their money. Is Najib up to the challenge?

Samy Vellu to exit next year

Samy Vellu has apparently finally made up his mind to quit the scene. — File pic

By Baradan Kuppusamy, themalaysianinsider.com

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — The curtain is finally coming down on the five-decade-long career of 73-year-old MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, and the final act is a grand send-off at the 64th MIC general assembly in May or June 2010.

 samyvellu1a
makkal osai

His deputy Datuk G. Palanivel, who narrowly defeated rival Datuk S. Subramaniam on Sept 12, will take over as acting president, senior MIC leaders said.

However, Samy Vellu, who has informed his inner circle of his plan to depart next year, has not confirmed the actual date.

“We all know he is now prepared to leave but we don’t know the actual date… it is either May or June at the next general assembly,” a senior MIC leader said.

“But he has finally made up his mind... he is ready to leave,” the leader told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity. “He has known for long... in his heart that he has to go and now he is ready.”

“Mid 2010 is the scenario,” he said, adding that Samy Vellu wants his deputy Palanivel to have enough time to strengthen himself in the MIC and Indian society with his own plans and programmes before facing the people in the next general election.

“Datuk Seri (Samy Vellu) does not want to hang around and then get blamed by his successor,” he said.

Samy Vellu's departure became a fait accompli after the party's disastrous showing in the 2008 general election. While he blames "Umno's arrogance" for the losses, Umno and others blamed his own arrogance and failure of Maika Holdings for the defeat.

Utusan Malaysia, quoting MIC sources, first reported yesterday that Samy Vellu is expected to leave in May 2010 but gave few details.

Both the independent Malaysian Nanban and the anti-Samy Vellu Makkal Osai Tamil dailies reproduced the story but Makkal Osai, controlled by supporters of former deputy president Subramaniam, was sceptical about Samy Vellu’s retirement.

“We will have to see it before we can believe it,” the newspaper said.

Samy Vellu first entered politics as a member of the Batu Caves MIC branch in 1959 and gradually climbed the party ranks, one rung at a time.

Famously, he contested 13 times to become secretary of Selangor MIC before he finally won.

Samy Vellu, who is expected to be conferred a Tunship next June, will head a new institution that will group all the projects he had started in his 30-year career as MIC president, including cooperatives, colleges, the AIMST University and the MIED.

The MIC will have stake and a big say in the new organisation, MIC leaders said, adding the "new arrangements" and the issue of Samy Vellu “hijacking” the MIED do not arise.

The thinking is that the party should allow Samy Vellu to continue managing the projects he had started for the benefit of the Indian community and let the new party leader start his own socio-economic schemes.

In that way Samy Vellu's contribution is recognised and he continues to contribute to the community.

His closest aides say Samy Vellu will also cut his links to the MIC in a “final and permanent” manner and will not give advice or interfere in party matters after retirement.

“The departure will be final and total… there will be no interference,” a trusted aide told The Malaysian Insider.

Nevertheless Samy Vellu can exert great influence if he wants to, because the CWC is filled with his hardcore loyalists.

But many CWC members are however expected to swing to successor Palanivel once Samy Vellu’s exit is announced and confirmed.

“Until then they will wait and see how the wind blows,” a former CWC member said.

The big question is whether Palanivel can hold the fractious, faction-ridden party together in the harsh manner Samy Vellu had — demanding total loyalty, imposing hard discipline and expelling members at the slightest whiff of disloyalty.

“Palanivel’s style is different and more consensus driven,” a MIC leader said. “He will not rant, threaten or sack but seek conciliation and open up the party to all Indians.”

“He will serve only two or three terms but his aim is to democratise the party and reconnect it with the Tamil masses,” said the leader allied with Palanivel.

“He will heal the damage inflicted by Samy Vellu and others,” the leader said. "There will be a renaissance in the MIC."

The big loser appears to be Subramaniam who tried but failed to unseat both Samy Vellu and Palanivel.

He has threatened to leave the MIC and set up his own party or NGO but is unlikely to do so, MIC insiders said. "He will sink or swim with the MIC... he has no life outside the MIC."

“But he will try again to be president... a contest between him and acting president Palanivel for the president’s post should not be ruled out,” the insider said.

"He sees opportunity in Samy Vellu's departure and a weak Palanivel taking over," the insider said. "He will hang in there."

The next MIC election is in 2012.
*****
Utusan Malaysia
21/11/2009
.khad1, .khad1:link, .khad1:visited, .khad1:active { color:#3366CC; text-decoration:underline; border-bottom:#3366CC 1px solid; } .khad1:hover { color:#c03; text-decoration:underline; border-bottom:#c03 1px solid; } .khad2, .khad2:link, .khad2:visited, .khad2:hover, .khad2:active, text-decoration:none; border-bottom:none; }

Samy Vellu berundur terajui MIC Mei 2010?

KUALA LUMPUR 20 Nov. - Presiden MIC, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu akan berundur daripada menerajui parti itu pada Mei tahun depan.

Sumber dalaman MIC memberitahu, Samy Vellu mengambil keputusan tersebut untuk memberi peluang kepada timbalannya, Datuk G. Palanivel.

Sehubungan itu, pemimpin kanan MIC itu berkata, Persidangan Tahunan MIC (AGM) yang selalunya diadakan pada Jun atau Julai setiap tahun akan dipercepatkan pada Mei tahun depan bagi membolehkan peralihan kuasa itu berlaku.

''Samy Vellu mengambil keputusan itu dengan tenang dan hati terbuka. Beliau juga sangat yakin dengan barisan kepimpinan yang telah berjaya dalam pemilihan parti September lalu.

''Majlis Tertinggi MIC juga difahamkan, beliau tidak akan mencampuri urusan dalaman MIC dan akan memberi peluang sepenuhnya kepada Palanivel untuk mengetuai parti itu,'' katanya ketika ditemui Utusan Malaysia baru-baru ini.

Samy Vellu mula memimpin MIC sejak 1978 dan beliau berjaya melakarkan 'sejarah' apabila menyandang jawatan berkenaan buat tempoh waktu yang amat lama.

Baru-baru ini, ramai pemimpin Barisan Nasional (BN) menyatakan rasa tidak puas hati terhadap Samy Vellu dan menggesa beliau untuk meletak jawatan bagi memperkuatkan jentera BN.

Mereka mendakwa parti yang memperjuangkan masyarakat India itu paling teruk menerima tamparan pada Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-12 lalu dan semakin tidak relevan kerana ia masih diterajui oleh Samy Vellu.

Dalam pada itu, seorang lagi ahli Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat (CWC) parti itu berkata, Samy Vellu akan menubuhkan pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) untuk menyelia Institut Pembangunan Pendidikan Maju (MIED) dan Institut Perubatan, Sains dan Teknologi Asia (AIMST).

Kata beliau, NGO itu akan diketuai oleh Samy Vellu dan beberapa ahli MIC akan dikenal pasti untuk mengendalikan badan itu.

''Ini kerana beliau ingin menyelesaikan segala masalah di dalam MIED yang merupakan entiti kewangan MIC supaya ia menjadi lebih kuat dan relevan bagi masyarakat India di negara ini.

''Selain itu, Samy Vellu juga akan meluangkan masa lapangnya untuk membuat kerja-kerja kebajikan demi kebaikan masyarakat India di negara ini,'' katanya.

Tambahnya, pemimpin-pemimpin MIC lain akan tetap menghormati keputusan Samy Vellu dan akan memberi sokongan yang tidak berbelah bahagi kepada Palanivel.