Saturday, November 28, 2009
Anwar backs Hindraf's Vasantha
Gandhi: I can only say that P Uthayakumar and some hardcore believers in Hindraf did a sensible and meaningful commemoration of the historical event two years ago.
Where are Thanenthiran, Vasanthakumar and Ganabatirau? Is holding a dinner to commemorate the solemn event a fitting move? Get down in the trenches like Uthayakumar to go all the way to submit the memorandum and keep the fire alive. Knock on the doors of the corridors of power to act on the plight of Indians.
Ranjit Singh: Anwar Ibrahim should take the trouble to do some background checks on this character (Vasanthakumar) before endorsing him. Anwar doesn't seem to learn from his lessons as he keeps recruiting hapless and suspicious candidates who eventually backstab him.
Imhindraf: Hindraf members, please set aside your differences for the benefit of Indians. Hindraf came about to protect the Indians worst-hit by Umno discrimination.
DC: Here we go, another one attempting to gain political mileage for his own benefit. Why didn't he raise the Kampung Buah Pala issue to Anwar? We are not going to see change until and unless these so-called Indian champions openly, and with indignation, raise our issues.
Lvbala: That should be the way, Anwar. "Our political landscape has changed. Indian, Hindu and Tamil problems must be seen and projected as a Malaysian problem."
We should stand as one. United regardless of race, ethnicity and religion. United we must stand and free this holy land from corruption. Make Malaysia proud. Be a proud Malaysian.
Murali: First Thanenthiran sold his soul to Umno and now Vasanthakumar and Ganabatirau have sold theirs to Pakatan for political mileage. These are the selfish people I have seen after Samy Vellu. We will see whether they will highlight and solve the Indian issues.
Let It Be: Hey guys, if Vasanthakumar is going to be a frog there's nothing all of us can do here. Whether he's a true Indian or a frog, only time will tell. The Indians are not blind and you can cheat them only once.
To be frank, the defining moment for Malaysia was when Anwar was sent to prison because the powers-that-e believe they can continue to mislead us. It made Anwar a better person, when otherwise he would be sucked into Umno's politics of deceit and corruption.
Hindraf did the right thing to come to Pakatan Rakyat and let all Indians rally together for a long and meaningful road ahead. Hope, trust, perseverance, loyalty and lastly sacrifice is needed for this journey.
Reaching out to all, Hindraf's theme for third year
Kris Khaira: Timber companies in Borneo steal from the vulnerable through illegal logging because of profit. For the same reason, oil palm plantations pay their workers of all races, including Indians, obscenely low wages. The common enemy here is capitalism, a system that prioritises profit over people.
Gibran: Hindraf is not racist; it started by taking up the plight of the suppressed Indians. If they are successful, the ramifications will be great because this allows other marginalised communities like the disabled, single mothers and the like to bring up their issues.
Hindraf's success is pertinent - we could best equate it with the civil rights movement in US in the 60s, once the African-Americans obtained equal rights other marginalised groups started fighting for their rights too. Let us support this movement.
Paradox: Dear Penan brothers, be prepared! Hindraf will join forces with you to help your struggles. Now, this is what we call the real 'Bangsa Malaysia'. Kudos to Hindraf!
Pau Line Yaacob: Hindraf is on the right path. Many misunderstand them as being a race-based organisation but there is no harm in raising the issues of your community.
Pairin raises KadazanDusun issues as well. Would you call him racist and not seeing larger Malaysian issues? Similarly Hindraf speaks for the marginalised Indians. In fact they are going a step further to incorporate the natives from Borneo. Well done.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin next to him, and a number of ministers were thoroughly briefed several weeks ago on the divisive nature of the controversial Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses compulsory for civil servants and university undergraduates.
At the end of the briefing, the PM spoke of the fear and siege mentality the BTN courses had created, particularly among Malay participants.
“This must end,” he told those present, including Muhyiddin, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
The Malaysian Insider understands that all of the Cabinet members who were present at the briefing, arranged by Datuk Seri Idris Jala, nodded in agreement.
Najib is now facing increasing pressure to close down the BTN while the hawkish forces in his administration continue to defend what has been called racist brainwashing courses by participants and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
PR is now on a campaign to expose what its leaders say are political indoctrination programmes to ensure civil servants and students back Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno.
An earlier proposal by the Najib administration to overhaul the BTN, or National Civics Bureau, may not be good enough, with more Malaysians speaking up against the courses.
If the government does not shut down the programme, Najib will face the prospect of more talk that his 1
In recent week, a number of former participants which include PR politicians and journalists have spoken of their experiences at BTN camps.
They have pointed to how facilitators would stoke racial superiority, including portraying the Chinese as the most significant threat to the Malays.
PR parties such as the DAP have been portrayed as communist enemies of the country.
A constant theme of the BTN courses, especially for Malay participants, is the emphasis on racial ideology which is strikingly similar to Umno’s Ketuanan Melayu rallying cry, according to the accounts of some former participants.
Government ministers at Jala’s briefing several weeks ago had all privately acknowledged the need for BTN to be revamped.
Jala had spoken on the need to overhaul BTN, to make it more inclusive.
Jala has been charged with the responsibility of promoting Najib’s 1
His team has been incubating ideas which touch on race, religion and other stumbling blocks to better race relations which have deteriorated.
The BTN courses have already been identified as one of those stumbling blocks.
But this week, as the flap grew over BTN, Muhyiddin defended the programme and denied that it was racist.
Instead the Selangor PR government has been the subject of attacks, particularly in the Bahasa Malaysia press, for attempting to ban its civil servants and students at state-owned institutions from attending the courses.
Umno leaders including Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, a close ally of Najib, have spearheaded a stout defence of BTN as an organization which promoted national unity and was being subjected to unsubstantiated attacks from PR.
While Najib remains overseas attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), his ministers and party-owned newspapers have promoted the idea that BTN is a flawless organisation.
They are also criticising PR parties for being unpatriotic or being against national unity.
Such a stand is likely to put the Prime Minister in a difficult position.
The Malaysian Insider understands that there are moves within the administration to dilute the syllabus of BTN courses, as a compromise.
But such half-measures are not likely to be enough if Najib is serious about reversing what many Malaysians see as institutionalised racism.
The question now is whether Najib will stick to what was articulated in private.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The newly formed Makkal Sakti Party which Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is hoping will help him win over the Tamil working class, is heading for a major split over what some senior party leaders say is “the Samy Vellu-style, dictatorial” tendencies of president R. S. Thanenthiran.
The leaders, who requested to remain anonymous, told The Malaysian Insider, accused Thanenthiran, who has just returned from a holiday in Bali, of high-handedness and failing to share decision making with other senior leaders.
The senior leaders have requested an emergency general meeting of the 27-member Central Committee when they hope to debate the issue and resolve differences.
While one faction of the CC says they want to table a vote of no-confidence against the president and remove him, another faction said their intention is to thrash out all differences and shortcomings with Thanenthiran to end the squabbles.
“We want to close ranks and save the party,” a senior leader said.
“This party was hard to get (registered) and there is so much work to do to help the poor Tamil people. We don’t want to waste this golden opportunity by squabbling among ourselves.”
Party secretary-general Kannan Ramasamy told The Malaysian Insider that CC members have requested him to call a emergency meeting to discuss various “outstanding issues” but he declined to go into the details.
He said any nine members of the CC can write to him requesting an emergency meeting.
“I have called for a meeting next week and my role is more like a mediator aiming to resolve the outstanding issues,” he said.
The meeting is expected to be held on December 2 at the party headquarters in Shah Alam, sources said.
Thanenthiran could not be reached for comments but a CC member allied with him said the president is aware of the grouses and lobbying with CC members to “head-off” the December 2 emergency meeting.
When contacted many CC members appeared divided over the issue.
While some criticised Thanenthiran others were more anxious to contain the split and close ranks.
Among the grouses critics have levelled at Thanenthiran was that he conducted the October 10 launch by Najib and the inaugural congress that followed in an autocratic manner.
He refused to share the limelight with other senior leaders, a CC member said.
Thanenthiran allegedly gave preference to himself, his wife and a brother while sidelining senior party leaders, said another CC member.
“He also did not account for the funds used to organise the function,” said a CC member adding there was “big over spending”.
But the main grouse seems to be that Thanenthiran dominated the Oct 10 launch and the general assembly that followed “the way Samy Vellu dominates the MIC."
“We are against this kind of arrogant leadership…we are not stupid people to line up and nod our heads to Thanenthiran. That's why we reject the MIC,” said a CC member.
Many leaders among the Indian community had expressed shock that Najib had even consented to launch the party because they saw its leaders as political novices.
They also said Thanenthiran did not have the political maturity or leadership acumen to lead the party and wondered aloud how far the party would go before heading south.
The founders of Makkal Sakthi Party, including Thanenthiran, were either former mid-level leaders in the Hindraf movement or came into the limelight after the founders of Hindraf were detained under the ISA leaving a big leadership vacuum in the movement.
The former Perak Hindraf co-ordinator who is now deputy president of Makkal Sakthi party, A. Waythamoorthy, said party leaders were ready to discuss and resolve all issues.
“There is so much to do and so little time to achieve success that we cannot waste the time squabbling among ourselves,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
“We have our work cut
He declined to go into the unhappiness some CC members are expressing against the party president.
“It is best we resolve matters among ourselves and get on with our main task,” said Waythamoorthy.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Veteran lawmaker Lim Kit Siang condemned Umno bloggers on their campaign to paint the DAP as a communist party.
Lim told The Malaysian Insider that the tactic used by governing party is “gutter politics at its worse”.
“This is gutter politics at its worse of the political desperadoes who does not have any political issues against DAP. DAP’s record have shown that it is a patriotic Malaysian party dedicated to the improvement and welfare of all Malaysians and races.
“DAP leaders have paid the price for their courage on their convictions and have not wavered on our political stand. It should not distorted and perverted,” he said.
Umno blogs have been working overtime in trying to make the DAP as the country’s new public enemy number one by labelling it and its leaders as communists in an effort to shore up Malay support.
An Umno blog, Parpukari, even went as far as caricaturing Bukit Kepayang assemblyman and Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu of the DAP in a communist uniform.
Lim’s confident Malaysians would not fall into the trap.
“I am really skeptical if they can gain support but if they can demonstrate either DAP or Pakatan are wrong in our policies and programmes or if Umno and Barisan Nasional have better policies and programmes and not in a campaign of lies and falsehood. I also have trust in the Malaysian electorate,” he added.
Its Seputeh MP Teresa Kok was amused by Umno’s latest tactic and called it “archaic”.
“If you really want to paint DAP as communist party then why did they ask the chairman of the China communist party Hu Jintao to come here. Why did Najib lead a trade delegation to China and even invest in the country. Malaysia has also given mega-projects to Chinese companies. So who is closer to the China's communist party compared to DAP? I think they have nothing better but to make DAP look ugly ,” she said.
She added that if Umno persists in using the race card to divide Malaysians then it would be difficult to achieve Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s slogan of 1 Malaysia.
Political analyst James Chin was not surprised with the smear campaign.
“They have been doing that for quite a long time already. Their strategy is actually quite simple, they paint DAP as communist and anti-Islam. They also paint PKR as anti-Islam and anti-Malay and a traitor party. And they paint PAS as a deviationist party so this is part of the overall strategy,” Chin said.
He explained that the Umno blogs are only used to “reinforce the pro-Umno crowds”.
“It will not work because if you look at the number of blogs in Malaysia, the country has the largest number of socio-political blogs in the region. The ratio is about one pro-establishment to ten anti-establishment blogs so they are really being outnumbered. The aim of the pro-Umno blogger is not to convince but to reinforce the pro-Umno crowds. That is why there are very few pro-Umno blogs in English, the majority are in Malay. They are there to reinforce the brand and not so much to sell the brand,” he said.
Another analyst, Khoo Kay Peng, questioned why Umno was labelling DAP as communists when the country recently welcomed China’s president Hu Jintao.
“It senseless and not very classy for them to do that. You call DAP communist and then you roll down the red carpet when the president of the biggest communist country in the world came to Malaysia then telling the whole world that this is your main trade partner in this region.
I think it is not very wise. DAP is a social democratic party, it is a little bit middle left but I do not think that it is a party of communism,” Khoo said.
He added that Umno bloggers should do better in their attacks against DAP.
“If Umno bloggers are paid to do this work then I don’t think they are doing a good job. You cannot just put a label like that but what they should do is to provide good oppositions on issues and ways that the Pakatan state are being run,” he said.
I agree we must give credit to those working hard to “improve the psychological well-being of the Malays” and for that matter for any race to improve its mental wellness. This is important. This is a noble act. The question is: in doing so, do we want to plant the seeds of cooperation and trust– or racial discrimination and deep hatred? Herein lies the difference between indoctrination and education. Herein lies what the work of Malaysia’s Biro Tata Negara is about.
These days, the idea of Ketuanan Melayu is going bankrupt, sinking with the bahtera merdeka. It works only for Malay robber barons who wish to plunder the nation by silencing the masses and using the ideological state apparatuses at their disposal. In the case of the BTN it is the work of controlling the minds of the youth. The work of BTN should be stopped and should not be allowed anymore in our educational institutions. It is time our universities especially are spared of counter-educational activities, especially when they yearned to be free from the shackles of domination. Look at what has happened and what is still happening to our institutions with the University and University Colleges Act and the Akujanji Pledge.
Over decades, many millions of Malays and non-Malays have not been getting the right information on our nation’s history, political-economy, and race relations. History that is being shoved to us or filter-funneled down the labyrinth of our consciousness is one that is already packaged, biased, and propagandized by our historians that became text-books writers. History need not be “Malay-centric”. Special rights for all Malaysians should be the goal of distributive and regulative justice of this nation, not the “special rights of a few Malays”. History must be presented as the history of the marginalized, the oppressed, and the dispossessed — of all races. We toil for this nation, as the humanist Paramoedya Ananta Toer would say, by virtue of our existence as “anak semua bangsa … di bumi manusia”. Malaysia is a land of immigrants.
In this regard we can learn from the former British colony called America. Whatever the shortcomings may be, America is a land of immigrants and still evolving. Even a Black man or a woman can become president. This is what America conceives itself to be and this is what Malaysian can learn from. Can a non-Malay become a Prime Minster is he/she is the most ethical of all politicians in the country?
No one particular race should stake claim to Malaysia. That is an idea from the old school of thought, fast being abandoned. Each citizen is born, bred, and brought to school to become a good law-abiding and productive Malaysian citizen is accorded the fullest rights and privileges and will carry his/her responsibility as a good citizen. That is what “surrendering one’s natural rights to the State” means. One must read Rousseau, Locke, Voltaire, and Jefferson to understand this philosophy. A bad government will not honor this — and will fall, or will sink like the bahtera merdeka.
The history of civilizations provides enough examples of devastation and genocide as a consequence of violent claims to the right of this or that land based upon some idea of “imagined communities.” We must teach our children to make history — a history of peace amongst nations. This must be made into a new school of thought: of “new Bumiputeraism” that encompasses all and do not alienate any — because life is too brief for each generation to fight over greed.
The eleventh hour of human existence and our emergence in this world has brought about destruction as a consequence of our inability to mediate differences based on race, color, creed, class, and national origin. Each ethnic group thinks that it is more socially-dominant than the other. Each does not know the basis of its “self”. Each failed to realize its own DNA-make up or gene map.
Life is an existential state of beingness, so must history be conceived as such. Nationalism can evolve into a dangerous concept– that was what happened to Europe at the brink of the two World Wars. It happened in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Indonesia when Suharto fell. I argue that we must live evolvingly in the “historical presence of historical constructions”. The past and the future is in the present.
Back to BTN.
Courses devoid of critical treatment and sensibility and ones that retard student thinking — such as “Kenegaraan” — in our universities are designed to tell our mind to live in an imagined past. BTN is playing this dangerous game of blind nationalism still passing down packaged information that do not take into consideration the complexities of globalization and the promise of multiculturalism. We need to offer courses such as Multiethnic Malaysia that will have students aspire to think like multiculturalists and help this nation evolve better.
The ministry of education higher education combined has hundreds of experts — many overseas trained and have tasted the “spirit of multiculturalism” and the “beauty of intellectual freedom” in their classrooms abroad — who ought to have engineered a paradigm shift to help dismantle indoctrination agencies such as Biro Tata Negara.
But where are the voices in the wilderness of our public universities — those who should be speaking up against ‘Ketuanan Melayu or Ketuanan this or that race’? Why are many of these experts, instead of fighting for radical changes to affect radical-peaceful structural changes, are making big decisions to further advance the cause of racism? One-dimensional thinking prevails — the thinking that does not allow diversity of ideas and failed to develop cross-cultural perspectives. Ideas move nations but indoctrinations remove intelligence. Political masters– however corrupt to the core they are — dictates the work of our academicians.
Whoever writes history and turn that into say, BTN propaganda, controls the future (or at least they think they do). We must question what is taught during the sessions or during any history lesson; fundamentally:
Whose history are we studying?
Is it meaningful to me?
Who wrote this history? Why? Who benefits?
Who gets included and excluded in this history textbooks?
Who’s the hero — who’s the villain?
What I want to see is a stop to the systematic and ongoing stupefication of the Malays and the non-Malays and to let them be free from being run-down emotionally by boot camp facilitators who make a living humiliating people. We have a new generation of best and brightest Malaysians to educate. As an educator I have worked with thousands of them. These are extremely creative individuals who enjoy being challenged at the most respectable and intellectual levels — not through indoctrination methods such as those used in BTN camps. They want to be fed with more questions and not be shoved with BTN-type of answers. We cannot afford to turn term them into docile beings while at the same time we holler the slogan “human capital” or modal insan the world over. It will be a “modularly insane” human condition if we continue to capitalize on human docility.
The Biro Tata Negara as an indoctrinating institution was conceived by “intellectuals” who themselves are trapped in their own cocoon or glass coconut shell of “wrongly-defined” Malay-ness and in a paradigm that teaches a poor understanding of Malaysian history. These intellectuals are running around in our public universities promoting a more sophisticated and pseudo-intellectual version of racism. Inciting racial sentiments in classroom and boot camps is big business nowadays — profits made in the name of patriotism. But who’s monitoring the trainers?
Education is not about insulting one’s intelligence and instilling fear in our children. This is what the creators of BTN need to learn. In short, the indoctrinators need a good education on how not to indoctrinate. “Melayu ‘kan hilang di nusantara … ” if we allow the dumbing down of Malaysians to continue.
Progressive parliamentarians must discuss this serious matter concerning the organization’s deliberate attempt to promote disunity and to further fertilize the seeds of racism, at a time when we need to come together as Malaysians in order to face humanity’s greater problem such as the food, oil, and water crisis that will plague us as human beings — at a time when we must focus on constructing a new republic of virtue that will be founded on transcultural ethics, responsive and reflective politics, and a social-democratic-based economic system that do not tempt and feed human greed of the things they do not need. Our Asian despotic brand of capitalism continues to destroy the very foundation of our existence and our moral fibre. It is greed — big time — that brought down the National Front.
Through the work of the Rakyat, Divine intervention helped speed up the process of removal of Greed disguised as political parties in power. That’s the metaphysical interpretation of March 8, 2008.
We are not running Hitler Youth camps in Malaysia. We must not even come close to setting up one.
Oleh Tan Melaka
PEMBACA sebuah akhbar Inggeris baru-baru ini bertanya, kenapa mayat Noordin Mat Top seorang anggota Jemaah Islamiah telah dibenar dibawa pulang dan dimaafkan, kenapa tidak Chin Peng?
Pertanyaan ini sekali gus menimbulkan kekeliruan di kalangan rakyat negara ini dan juga anggapan tentang ketidakadilan Kerajaan Malaysia terhadap seorang bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam, sedangkan hakikatnya ini adalah kes yang berbeza sama sekali.
Tubuh atau mayat Noordin telah dibawa pulang setelah dia dibunuh di Indonesia dan dikebumikan secara senyap tanpa sebarang upacara yang menampakkan simpati dan penghormatan terhadapnya. Suatu lagi yang boleh mengelirukan ialah kononnya dia telah diberikan kemaafan.
Noordin telah ditembak mati oleh tentera Indonesia setelah dia mengganas dan bukannya di Malaysia dan rakyat negara ini tidak mempunyai dendam terhadapnya seperti perasaan dendam dan marah rakyat terhadap Chin Peng.
Rakyat juga tidak pernah meminta supaya jika dia mati, mayatnya dibawa pulang ke Malaysia yang menampakkan dia sebagai seorang yang penting dan berjasa.
Penulis juga setuju jika Chin Peng dibawa pulang ke negara ini tetapi bukan 'hidup-hidup'. Chin Peng boleh pulang dengan syarat dia hendaklah mati ditembak atau dibunuh terlebih dahulu seperti pulangnya mayat Noordin. Mayatnya hendaklah dikebumikan tanpa upacara besar-besaran dan bukan di sebelah bapanya seperti yang dimintanya kerana mungkin bapanya pun tidak mahu berada di sebelahnya.
Selain daripada itu, kerajaan janganlah membenarkan mana-mana pihak menjalankan kutipan derma bagi membangunkan Tugu Peringatan di atas kuburannya seperti yang dilakukan di Nilai terhadap perkuburan bekas-bekas pengganas komunis yang dikelirukan sebagai pejuang menentang Jepun. Hal yang sama juga berlaku di Sarawak.
Pendapat pembaca itu yang mempersoalkan mayat Noordin dibawa pulang, tanpa mempunyai nama penulisnya, maka itu dipercayai mungkin merupakan pandangan akhbar itu sendiri.
Walaupun pendek sekali surat itu, tetapi ia cukup berkesan untuk mengapi-apikan perasaan perkauman seolah-olah kerajaan pimpinan orang Melayu dan Islam di Malaysia memberikan layanan yang berbeza terhadap pengganas.
Harus diingatkan bahawa bekas pengganas komunis Melayu yang dibenarkan pulang ke tanah air dan mati di negara ini seperti Pengerusi Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM) Musa Ahmad dan Samsiah Fakeh telah memberikan kerjasama kepada kerajaan Malaysia lama sebelum upacara menandatangani perjanjian perdamaian antara kerajaan Malaysia dan Thailand dengan PKM di Hatyai.
By Farah Azreen
27 November 2009
UMNO has been embarrassed by a court ruling that one of its state seats in Kedah is up for grabs because the incumbent representative had been absent twice in a row from state assembly meetings
Furthermore, the party is in shambles and even with the able stewardship of Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal in Kedah, the party has still not come to terms with last year's election losses.
The allegedly erratic wakil rakyat Abu Hassan Sarif has filed an appeal to challenge the High Court decision that he is no longer the Kota Siputeh assemblyman and that his state seat is up for grabs.
But many Kedahans are not hopeful of an Umno or Barisan Nasional revival at the by-election, if there is one, or at the next general polls, scheduled to be held in 2013.
Comfortable with Azizan's leadership
It is said that even some Umno people are comfortable with Azizan, Kedah's 10th mentri besar and the first from PAS.
Veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin also conceded that among the Pakatan-held state governments, the Kedah administration is the 'most steady' and least controversial except for the abattoir incident.
"With the image of the PAS-led state government untarnished, it would be an uphill task for the Barisan to defend the Kota Siputeh seat, in the event a by-election is held," he said in his blog.
Abu Hassan had defeated his PAS challenger Ismail Wan Teh by 495 votes; polling 8,160 votes against his opponent's 7,665 votes.
It is understood that PAS may be fielding Ismail again while the Barisan is not likely to give Abu Hassan a second chance as it does not want to be dealing with another 'tainted' candidate.
While a random poll, if it is carried out at this time, may suggest that PAS is the favourite to win the by-election, it would be a mistake for the party to under-estimate Umno, which is already moving on the ground to drum support against Azizan's administration.
For instance, one of the criticisms against the mentri besar is that his administration had failed to draw investments and, therefore, not bringing in much-needed money to the state coffers.
No longer in the limelight
Umno, though no longer hogging the media limelight in Kedah, now works silently and treading carefully when its campaigners enter Pakatan strongholds. Countering talk that Kedah Umno is now being led by a Sabahan, party members drive home the point that Shafie's father-in-law is a prominent local man from Sungai Petani.
Nevertheless, the questions still asked are: Is Umno a united party? Is Shafie well-accepted? Would Kedahans prefer another person to lead Umno? Who do they want?
As normal in Umno politics, there are 'warlords' and there are 'cliques' and 'camps'. And while Shafie is a seasoned politician and seen as a trustworthy leader, he is not able to stop these cliques and camps from rejecting his leadership in Kedah.
Amid this disarray, a certain name has surfaced; a man seen as capable to re-energise the party and to re-group the conflicting factions under one umbrella. He is Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister, elderly statesman, leadership icon and a no-nonsense critic of Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
It is not that his supporters want to bring him into the mainstream to make him a wakil rakyat - certainly not to contest in Kota Siputeh - but more as a unifying factor to take on Azizan and the Pakatan leadership.
In other words, according to some party watchers, his role is to bring Kedah Umno "back on track."
Rallying support for leadership
This does not mean that Shafie has to be removed from his post as Kedah liaison committee chairman. Even in an advisory capacity, Mahathir's presence is seen as pertinent to back Shafie and to rally party members from all corners of the state under a single leadership.
While such formula would not be without its glitches, it is seen as the best idea at this juncture to prepare the party for the expected onslaught in the run up to the 13th general elections, when it comes.
Moreover, Mahathir is a familiar face and one who knows ever nook and corner of his home state. Not a man, woman or schoolgoing child has not heard of the icon who was Asia's longest-serving leader when he helmed the country for 22 years until October 2003.
Despite incessant attacks from critics, Mahathir is also much respected by his opponents and by record-breaking aspirants who admire his 'Malaysia Boleh!' spirit.
Kedahans in Umno is banking on his guardian light to once again bring the shine to the party. - Malaysian Mirror.
I don’t know whether it is naivety or sheer desperation for political survival that the opposition leader attended the occasion organized by the artifical HINDRAF leaders.
As it stands, with the showdown with Jeffrey & Zaid, Anwar seems to be embarking in a path in recruiting or shall I say endorsing suspicious personalities.
Similar to Najib who jumped the gun to endorse Makkal Sakthi Party Malaysia, Anwar seems to be acting in sequence to endorse another offshoot of the HINDRAF movement who lacks credence.
Foot for thought, the architect who financed and brought in Makkal Sakthi Party into BN was this philanthropist OMS Thiagarajan who is closely associated with Datuk S. Subramaniam and owns about 40% of the tamil daily Makkal Oosai.
The same person now financed the occasion that Vasantha Kumar organized and was present during the occasion that was gracefully attended by Anwar.
Vasantha Kumar is also known within the Klang community to have close relationship with one K.P.Samy, the undying ally of Datuk S. Subramaniam and practically attends all the MIC functions since his release from ISA.
Why Anwar would even engage such skeptical & suspicious character bemuses me unless it politics as usual.
It is so obvious; all these purported HINDRAF leaders claim that they have the support of the grassroot but only have one thing in unison that is in their own political agenda and those of the mandores both in Pakatan and Barisan National.
Anwar doesn’t seem to realize that he in turn now has been used as a pawn by this faction of HINDRAF headed by the alleged Special Branch Vasantha Kumar to launch his political career or is he so gullible to embrace someone with such dodgy credential?
At least Thanenthiran of Makkal Sakthi Party had the dignity to voice his political ambition and chose his part on what fitted him best by courting the BN faction. However this character Vasantha Kumar in his platform launches character assassination against Uthayakumar and Waythamoorthy who are synonymous with HINDRAF from day one.
Does this lend any credibility to a purported leader? Would you not rather be talking about your plans on how to uplift the society on such an occasion?
Both Uthayakumar and Waythamoorthy have proven credibility. Uthayakumar, for the last eighteen years have been battling with the police on human rights violations when everyone stood silent and watched. Waythamoorthy in highligting the plight of the marginalized Malaysian Indian and abolishment of ISA throughout the world resulted in recognization of the HINDRAF’s struggle and release of the ISA detainees.
Today, one faction is courted by BN and the other faction is courted by Anwar. What is baffling is why neither party could ever court the originators of HINDRAF?
In my view, I think both these political parties rather have a politically motivated personality under its reign rather than one with a steadfast goal who would fight for justice and equality based on the needs of the society such as the original HINDRAF have been doing for the Malaysian Indians even if some may call it racist.
Sitting in a neutral position, all I can presume is Anwar has definitely lost his bearing besides his oratory skills in identifying and pursuing what is just and equal for his own political goals.
Anwar, I hope you know what you are doing, as this guy could end up being another political trap for you as was the Saiful episode.
The issue today we are still struggling to realize is not peculiar to Indian causes alone, just because Hindraf has presented an Indian case. If the government both BN/PR does not realize its failure to create an equitable society based on pure economic parameters it will eventually lead to multi faceted social consequences which will be more difficult and costly in terms of remedy in years to come. Hindraf is just a forerunner of similar marginal community support groups and they need to succeed because the ramifications will be great as Hindraf’s success will pave the way for other minorities groups who are in a similar plight to seek representation and attention for their cause. Hindraf is the catalyst for the expression of those who need attention, who need support, who need affirmative programs. Such groups need not be limited to race based or religious based, it could be the disabled, the single mothers, the homeless, the urban squatters and so forth. Hindaf actions could be well equated with that of the civil rights movement in the 60’s. Once the civil rights bill was endorsed by congress other marginalize communities were also able to raise their plights and problems too.
We should also look at the hindraf rallies as a real cry for freedom. Their success will endorse greater democracy in the country and will turn the page of old politics of misrepresentation and distortion. We will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, religion against religion.
Here is Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein enjoying a few cold Anchor beer with a few ladies in his younger playboy days. These pictures have been around for some time now but it is an appropriate time to share them again in light of his recent decision to have a woman suffer from six stroke from a cane. Hishammuddin Hussein was never caned for drinking beer because certain people in Malaysia can getaway with murder while people like Kartika are treated like dogs for the most minor infractions. Yup, she is going to be punished for the same crime the Home Minister himself is no stranger to. The woman officer should have demonstrated the caning on him for his past infractions of the laws he is enforcing now. Hopefully the western media with pick up on this bit of hypocrisy. Click pictures to enlarge.
This is supposedly one of his mistresses, the air stewardess that was caught having an affair with him in Johor Bahru. And she is said to be the same lady that he took to Mongolia on a trip with the then PM.
According to Balasubramaniam's lawyer, Americk Singh Sidhu (left), the first part involves statements that the private investigator was in a position to ascertain their truth.
"He was therefore alluding to the fact that these statements were made to him, but was not alluding to the truth of those statements."
This include where Balasubramaniam said he was told about the fact that Najib and murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu had a relationship.
"The second part of Bala's first SD reflects what he experienced himself. This would be not be regarded as hearsay evidence."
Examples are the message Balasubramaniam saw on Abdul Razak Baginda's mobile phone on the day the political analyst was arrested.
The SMS message, purportedly from Najib Abdul Razak, informing Razak Baginda that the then deputy prime minister was "seeing the IGP (inspector-general of police) at 11am that day and to be cool".
Razak Baginda, known to be Najib's close confidant, was later freed from the charge of abetting the murder of his former lover Altantuya.
Americk also said that the Altantuya trial raised more questions than answers and where certain evidence was not brought to court.
"As the matter stands, we have two highly trained members of the Special Action Force killing a Mongolian national for no apparent reason. This is what was bothering Bala at the time he made his first SD."
The following is the final of a three-part interview:
Malaysiakini: When you recorded Bala's first SD, did you feel he was telling you the truth?
Americk: I have said this before. I have no reason to doubt the contents of Bala's first statutory declaration (SD). However, it must be borne in mind that there are actually two parts to Bala's first SD.
The first part involves statements that Bala says were told to him by third parties. Bala himself cannot verify the truth of these statements. That is why I said at the first press conference that these statements reflect exactly that.
All Bala was saying is that these statements were made to him and that he perceived them with his own senses. He was therefore alluding to the fact that these statements were made to him, but was not alluding to the truth of those statements.
In legal parlance these statements were hearsay and would not be admissible as evidence in a court of law until and unless they could be supported by other independent evidence and even if they were, the weight of this combined evidence is something a judge would have to consider before accepting or rejecting it.
Examples of statements under this category would include the following:
1) That Altantuya had a relationship with Najib.
2) That Razak Baginda was introduced to Altantuya by Najib at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.
3) That Altantuya was promised a commission of US$500,000 for her services in the Scorpene submarine deal.
The second part of Bala's first SD reflects what he experienced himself. This would be not be regarded as hearsay evidence. Examples of these statements include the following:
1) That he had contact with Altantuya on a number of occasions in October 2006.
2) That Razak Baginda hired him to keep Altantuya away from him.
3) That he saw Azilah (Hadri) and Sirul (Azhar Umar) bundle Altantuya into a car outside Razak Baginda's house on the night of Oct 19, 2006.
4) That Altantuya, at that time and place, had asked Bala to arrange for her to see Najib.
5) That Bala had, on Oct 21, 2006, received a call on his mobile phone from Musa (Mohd) Safri whilst he was outside the front gate of Razak Baginda's house, asking to speak to the police officer who was there attempting to persuade three of Altantuya's friends to disperse.
6) That Bala had given evidence for the prosecution in the Altantuya murder trial and had not been asked a number of very pertinent questions.
7) That Bala had himself seen a message on Razak Baginda's mobile phone (the day Razak Baginda was arrested), purportedly from Najib, informing Razak Baginda that he was "seeing the IGP at 11am that day and to be cool".
It is also pertinent to note that Razak Baginda (left) had every opportunity of denying all Bala had said in his first SD, at the press conference he called after his acquittal. However, he chose not to say anything except that he had given his statement to the police.
If there is any doubt as to the veracity of Bala's first SD, this can be tested by comparing it to two other statements recorded from him.
The first statement was recorded by the investigating officers in the Altantuya murder case. This is the statement Bala complained of in his press conference and first SD. He alleged that all 'sensitive' information he had given the police was erased from that statement.
The second statement was given to senior federal counsel Sallehuddin (Saidin) just prior to the commencement of Altantuya's murder trial. It must be remembered Sallehuddin was one of the prosecutors on the first prosecution team but dropped when the second prosecution team was mustered.
According to Bala, this second statement is 76 pages long and details everything that appeared in his first SD.
If the police are really keen in looking into this whole matter again to determine the truth, my suggestion would be to obtain copies of both these statements and compare them to the contents of his first SD. After all, they were prepared by the prosecuting authorities and should be readily available to the police.
What prompted Bala into making the first SD?
As Bala pointed out, he was a little frustrated that the police had not investigated the murder properly and that the prosecution had not conducted their case appropriately. He had been called to give evidence as a prosecution witness but was not asked a number or relevant questions.
He felt the police and the prosecution were trying to cover up the possible involvement of other parties in this murder.
There is no doubt Azilah and Sirul shot Altantuya in the head and blew her body up with C4 explosives. The court has already found them guilty.
There is also available on the Internet a full confession under s.113(1)(a)(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, signed by Sirul and dated the 9.11.2006 (Travers report no. 7380/06) in which he has detailed the circumstances in which he and Azilah committed this murder.
There is also a mention of a promise of a reward of RM100,000 for these services. This statement was recorded by one inspector Nom Phot Prack Dit at Bukit Aman. This statement was not allowed to be tendered at the murder trial.
Azilah and Sirul did not give evidence under oath in their defence and therefore avoided any cross-examination on motive.
As the matter stands, we have two highly trained members of the Special Action Force killing a Mongolian national for no apparent reason.
This is what was bothering Bala at the time he made his first SD.
In his experience as a police officer attached to the Special Branch, he found it rather odd that two policemen would kill someone without receiving instructions to do so from their superiors.
In this case Azilah (right) and Sirul were Najib's bodyguards and were supposed to take instructions from Musa Safri, Najib's ADC (aide-de-camp).
Bala felt Musa Safri, at least, should have been called to the stand to testify.
Do you think the Altantuya murder trial was conducted in a fair manner?
Fair to who?
I think the first question that ought to be asked is why it was necessary to change all the players in this trial even before it started? No doubt this is the prerogative of the accused in their choice of counsel, and of course the Attorney General's Chambers in the appointment of prosecutors it feels more suitable. Of course a judge can be changed as well, but all three parties at once seems a little odd.
As the trial proceeded, it became obvious that there was a concerted effort by the prosecution and the defence to prevent any highly fragile evidence from being adduced. This became even more obvious during the questioning of Altantuya's cousin, Burmaa Oyunchimeg, by Karpal Singh, who was holding a watching brief for Altantuya's family.
Burmaa (left), whilst being questioned by the prosecution had mentioned a photograph shown to her by Altantuya that showed Altantuya, Razak Baginda and a senior government official at a meal. The prosecution and the defence vehemently objected to the eventual answer that Burmaa gave, ie that the senior government official was Najib.
This episode begs the question as to whose interests the defence was supposed to have been protecting? Certainly not their own clients.
It is also interesting to remember Sirul's statement from the dock at the end of the trial. He said, and I quote, "A black sheep that has to be sacrificed to protect unnamed people who have never been brought to court or faced questioning".
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) confirmed this yesterday but declined to comment further as investigations are ongoing.
"As part of standard investigating procedures, the bank shall inform the appropriate authorities of any findings which fall beyond the scope of the bank's purview for their further action.
"Once the investigation is completed, BNM will refer the matter to the Attorney-General's Chambers," it said in a statement to Malaysiakini.
Earlier, PKR's strategy director Tian Chua claimed that Mohd Hasan (left) could have broken the country's banking laws by allegedly transferring funds amounting to RM10 million through a money changer.
Tian Chua also revealed that Mohd Hasan had used the services of Salamath Ali Money Changer Sdn Bhd to transfer the amount to London.
Hasan keeping silent
Bank Negara had yesterday said that Salamath Ali had contravened Section 30 of the Money-Changing Act 1998 and its licence had been revoked on Oct 26.
"BNM adheres to rigorous monitoring systems and processes in ensuring that our regulatees and licensees function effectively and responsibly as financial intermediaries in serving the needs of the public," it said.
Mohd Hasan, who is also Rantau state assemblyperson, came under fire from the opposition during the ongoing state assembly sitting.
However, he kept mum and refused to give an explanation on the matter.
Opposition representatives have also called on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to conduct a probe on the scandal.
Hindu crematoriums are government responsibilitiy. UMNO’s mandore
In any country crematoriums and burial places are the responsibility of the state government and the local authorities. The only exception in the whole wide world is Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia where it is left to the local community.Why then does the local Councils collect assessment and quit rent from the Indians?
The Sentul Indian community for example (refer NST 9/11/09 at page 52) has to beg UMNO for RM 500,000.00 and a monthly grant to upgrade and maintain the Sentul Sivan Temple Hindu crematorium. UMNO’s mandore MIC is playing the usual “ Wayang Kulit” by making this grand RM 500,000.00 announcement which will as usual not trickle down. Even the fencing for this crematorium that is still being done up as of now is sponsored by some small Indian time businessman.
To start off with, UMNO has taken away this crematorium land that was given by the British in 1923 to the Hindus. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Why hasn’t Prime Minister Razak’s One Malaysia not granted state government land to not only this. But also to hundreds of other crematoriums and burial sites as what was given to the malay muslim burial sites.
Estate workers: RM 700.00 per month. But UMNO lies in Parliament (ref NST 20/11/09 at page 10) that they earn up to RM 1,700.00 per month. UMNO does this as the poverty line index for rural poverty is RM 720.00 per month. This UMNO’s lie is to keep the Indians out of the RM48 million for the poor, welfare, low cost housing, e-kasih, disabled, squatters, etc vis a vis the RM 191.5 Billion 2010 national budget.
Detainees death confirmed as suicide. What’s new UMNO? (ref The Star 20/11/09 at page N36). When a young hale and healthy J.Saravanan is killed at the Air Molek prison, he is said to have committed suicide within four days of detention. UMNO’s Malay-sian police and prison authorities are still kidding themselves that the Indians are still believing what they officially say. Not at least after the 25th November Hindraf Rally.
Poor Indian lady, 7 children earns RM 350.00 p.m., living in shack cannot pay RM 50.00 p.m rental, now homeless (ref Malaysia Nanban 21/11/09 at page 16) Veeni Arjunan (35) from Manjong will any time from now become homeless as she could not even pay her monthly rentals of RM 50.00 per month. The landlord has now told her to move out. Veeni and her seven children will become homeless at any time from now. There are hundreds of thousands of such poor and homeless Indian families in Malaysia but who get almost zero help from the Malaysian government. All this despite UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s RM 220 Million Budget 2010 allocation for welfare senior citizens and the poor. The poverty line index as per this budget is RM 720.00 per month. But all his help does not reach Veeni because she is an Indian poor. She and hundreds of thousands of other Indians are rejected even at the counter levels of the welfare departments. In any event it is the duty of the Malay-sian UMNO Welfare Department to ensure that not even one Indian is homeless and suffering from poverty.
UMNO’s Air Molek Prison & police lying on the suicide by J.Saravanan.This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of other such cases involving Indians being killed in police and prison custody and the police shoot to kill policy against the Indians. (ref The Star 21/11/09 page 29). There is a Tamil proverb that you cannot hide one whole pumpkin in a plate of rice. Another Tamil proverb goes to says that when a cat closes its eyes it assumes that the whole world would turn dark. This is exactly what UMNO, the Air Molek prison and the Malay-sian police are trying to think and to do.
Klang G.H and police axis in further oppressing Indians ( ref The Star 14/11/09 at page N3) Distraught grandpa still can’t get to see poison victims young children whose mother Seetha had fed them with paraquat and she herself had commited suicide. This is how closely the Malay-sian hospitals work with the police. This case is just the tip of the iceberg of the marginalization and victimization of the Indians in Malaysia.
This RM 20,000.00 is supposed to be for all the students in Selangor who had scored 7As’ in their UPSR. And this 20k would be hatch and rehatched by this PKP mandore maybe 20 times at 20 different presentation ceremonies or more over and over.
This PKR Indian Exco mandore has a P. A who is an ex DAP mandore. This PA has been specifically assigned to maintain a good rappourt with especially the Tamil press and to permanently mislead the Indian community and with the view to keep his Indian EXCO mandore boss afloat politically in Selangor. This Selangor Indian EXCO Mandore will never get to the point in at least procuring his “tuan” PKR Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid in granting Selangor state government land to all 97 Tamil schools in Selangor. Get to the point Mr. EXCO Mandore and stop your MIC style paper politics. We have had enough of this under the 50 year old rule of Selangor and Malaysia by UMNO who were ably assisted by their MIC mandores
The Deputy Prime Minister says one thing. The BTN website says another. No, let not the words come out of my mouth. Let it instead come out from the ‘mouth’ of the BTN website (http://www.btn.gov.my/). Let the course module speak for itself. If you are not clever enough to read between the lines and catch the subtle message in this BTN website, then you are not smart enough to be a Malaysia Today reader.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
| By Asia Sentinel|
Many snouts in the public trough
The Port Klang Free Zone scandal may be big, but it is only the latest in a long line of Malaysian scandals going back to the early 1980s. Time Magazine quoted Daniel Lian, a Southeast Asia economist at Morgan Stanley in Singapore, saying that the country might have lost as much as U$100 billion since the early 1980s to corruption."
The scandals listed below are only a small sample of the looting of the country's coffers:
In July of 1983, what was then the biggest banking scandal in world history erupted in Hong Kong, when it was discovered that Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF), a unit of Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Bhd, had lost as much as US$1 billion which had been siphoned off by prominent public figures into private bank accounts. The story involved murder, suicide and the involvement of officials at the very top of the Malaysian government. Ultimately it involved a bailout by the Malaysian government amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mak Foon Tan, the murderer of Jalil Ibraim, a Bank Bumi assistant manager who was sent to Hong Kong to investigate the disappearance of the money, was given a death sentence, and Malaysian businessman George Tan who had participated in looting most of the funds, was jailed after his Carrian Group collapsed in what was then Hong Kong's biggest bankruptcy, and a handful of others were charged. No major politician was ever punished in Malaysia despite a white paper prepared by an independent commission that cited cabinet minutes of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad giving an okay to a request to throw more money into the scandal in an effort to contain it.
That was just the first Bank Bumi scandal. The government-owned bank had to be rescued twice more with additional losses of nearly US$600 million in today's dollars. Ultimately government officials gave up and the bank was absorbed into CIMB Group, currently headed by Nazir Razak, the prime minister's brother. That scandal, which stretched over several years before its denouement in 1985, set the tone for 24 years of similar scandals related to top Malaysian officials and was the first to prove that in Malaysia, you can not only get away with murder, you can get away with looting the treasury as well.
Perwaja Steel, for instance, lost US$800 million and its boss, Eric Chia, a crony of Mahathir's, was charged with looting the company. He stood trial, but was acquitted without having to put on a defense.
In the mid 1980s, the Co-operative Central Bank, a bank set up to aid the Indian smallholder community, had to be rescued by Bank Negara, the country's central bank, after hundreds of millions of ringgit in loans granted to a flock of United Malays National Organisation and Malaysian Indian Congress politicians became non-performing. Some had never been serviced at all. Although the chief executive and general manager were charged with criminal breach of trust, none of the politicians were ever charged.
Before that, the Malaysian government was believed to have lost US$500 million in an attempt at Mahathir's urging to corner the London tin market through a company called Maminco, driving the world price of tin from US$4.50 per tonne to US$7.50. It then sought to cover up the loss by establishing a US$2 company called Mukawasa from which allocations of new share issues to the government's Employees Provident Funds' were diverted. Mukawasa expected to sell the shares at a windfall profit to hide the tin speculation.
Mahathir also was behind an attempt by the then governor of Bank Negara, the central bank, to aggressively speculate in the global foreign exchange market. Bank Negara ended up losing an estimated RM20 billion. The governor, Jaffar Hussein, and the head of forex trading, Nor Mohamed Yakcop were forced to resign.
There have been many other political and financial scandals since. In 2005, Bank Islam Malaysia, the country's flagship Islamic bank, reported losses of RM457 million mainly due to provisioning totaling RM774 million as a result of bad loans and investments incurred by its Labuan branch. Cumulatively, Bank Islam ran up nonperforming loans of RM2.2 billion, partly from mismanagement and poor internal controls but also "years of regulatory indifference fueled by the misconceived notion of an untouchable Bank Islam because it was a favorite child of the Malaysian government, being the first and model Islamic bank in the country and region," according to a December 19, 2005 article in Arab News.
"Bank Islam had a reputation in the market for being the spoilt child of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance; and the perception of the bank was more of a Muslim financial fraternity or government development financial institution," the report said.
In 2007, in what was called Malaysia's Enron scandal, the publicly traded Transmile Group Bhd, whose chairman was former MCA President and Cabinet Minister Ling Liong Sik, was caught having overstated its revenue by RM530 million. A pretax profit from Rm207 million in 2006 was actually a loss of RM126 million, and a pretax profit of 120 million in 2005 was a loss of RM77 million, causing the government postal company Pos Malaysia & Services Holdings Bhd to warn that its earnings for the 2006 financial year might be affected by the reported overstatement, as the postal group owned 15.3 percent of Transmile.
Over the years 2001 to 2006, the government had to spend billions to rescue seven privatized projects including Kuala Lumpur's two public transport systems, the perennially ailing Malaysia Airlines, the national sewage system and a variety of others that, in the words of one study, "had been privatized prematurely." The government also repeatedly bailed out highway construction concessionaires, all of them closely connected to Umno, to the tune of another RM38.5 billion.
In 2008, it was revealed that Rafidah Aziz, who had served as trade and industry minister for 18 years, had been peddling approved permits for duty-free car sales and allegedly lining her pockets. Two companies which didn't even have showrooms – one of which belonged to the husband of Rafidah's niece – received scores of permits. Although Rafidah came in for heavy criticism from within Umno, she remained in office until she was defeated in party elections.
In the 1960s, federal prosecutors in the United States who were attempting to jail the late labor boss Jimmy Hoffa for looting the Teamsters Pension Fund of millions of dollars with his cronies were puzzled by the fact that their revelations appeared to have little effect on the union's rank and file. It was because no matter how much money Hoffa and his cronies stole, there was always money left because the fund was so rich. That appears to be the case with Malaysia.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 – Days after resolving the controversy in the Kelantan Mentri Besar Corporation (PMBK), a local council in PAS-ruled Kelantan has been accused of mistreatment of workers and abuse of funds by the councillors.
According to a report yesterday in the online
The report, which also accused council members of abuse of public funds for “study tours”, was removed just hours after it was published.
The Malaysian Insider understands the decision to remove the report was made to prevent further damage to the Kelantan government's image.
But the state executive council in charge of local government, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, who was recently appointed PAS deputy secretary-general, claimed no knowledge of the retraction but admitted that the MPKB has been affected by the economic slowdown and decided to replace overtime pay with equal time off.
“The workers were never forced to work overtime, and those who were willing to work extra hours were informed that they will be compensated with time off,” Takiyuddin told The Malaysian Insider.
On the overseas study tours, Takiyuddin said all local councils in the state have stopped the practice and the councillors are only allowed to visit “successful local councils in the country”.
He said the last trip to Australia some two years ago was made in collaboration with a local university and an Australian university to provide training for the councillors.
“All of them had to attend lectures, and the outcome of the trip was thoroughly assessed upon their return,” said Takiyuddin.
He also dismissed the suggestion that the issue surfaced because of the infighting within the members of the Kelantan government.
“There is no conflict, we are just doing our work,” he said.
The state government has been bogged down by accusations of cronyism and corruption since early this month over the controversial appointment of the mentri besar's son-in-law Ariffahmi Abdul Rahmad as the CEO of PMBK.
Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who became the mentri besar in 1990, also came under heavy criticism for receiving sponsorship from a businessman to perform the pilgrimage in Mecca.
Following pressure from party leaders and the public, Nik Aziz has cancelled the religious trip and ordered his son-in-law to leave the state investment arm.
The various controversies in the state have led to discussion of succession plan by some members of the administration.
While Southeast Asia’s feared militant was killed in a gunbattle with Indonesian police last September, the current Interpol website on the status of the Malaysian is baffling. Strangely, the man, who was better known as Mat Top, continues to haunt the mind – more than two months after his bloody end.
The Interpol website has Mat Top on its “Most Wanted List”! The master bomb-maker’s name and photograph continue to appear on the Interpol website’s ‘Red Corner’, along with 556 other international criminals still wanted by the global police.
But that’s not all. There is also an IP-UN Security Council Special Notice (Interpol-United Nations) against Mat Top, a notice for individuals or entities associated with terror outfits like the Al-Qaeda or Taliban. The notice imposes sanctions such as travel ban and freezing of assets.
The Malaysian had been on the run from Indonesian security dragnet after he was implicated in a series of horrific bomb blasts which rocked the country, since the devastating 2002 Bali bombings which left nearly 200 people dead.
On Sept 17, Mat Top, 41, was killed during a police raid in Solo Central Java. Three weeks later, he was buried at his village in Pontian, Johor.
The terrorist was alleged to have been associated with the Jemmah Islamiyah (JI), which had links with the militant Al-Qaeda group. Later, he went on to set up his own outfit, Tanzim Qaedat, another violent terror group.
Born in Johor and graduated from the University of Technology in his home state, Mat Top left Malaysia, along with several key JI leaders, to Indonesia, when the Malaysian Government clamped down on suspected Islamic militant groups in 2001.
He was alleged to have masterminded several bombings in Jakarta – the 2003 JW Marriott Hotel blast, the Australian embassy bombing, a year later, the second 2005 Bali bomb explosion, and the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton blasts in July this year. – Bernama