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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Large blast rocks Afghan capital - Al Jazeera

Karzai is to hold his first major meeting of Afghan officials since his inauguration last month [AFP]

A large explosion has shaken the diplomatic and government district of Kabul, the Afghan capital, as the country's president was due to host a conference aimed at tackling corruption.

The were no immediate reports of casualties from the blast, which occurred on Tuesday in the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul.

Buildings shook and windows rattled hundreds of metres from the explosion site.

The blast came as Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, prepared to convene an anti-corruption conference in another part of the capital.

The three-day meeting, Karzai's first official act since he was sworn in as president for a second term, is a response to calls from his Western backers to make the country's government more transparent.

US and members of the Nato military alliance, which both have thousands of troops in Afghanistan, have welcomed the conference, but have also expressed doubts as to what will be achieved.

"We think the conference is certainly a step in the right direction in that it's important to see the government of Afghanistan addressing corruption issues," John Groch, a US embassy spokesman, said.

"At the same time, however, we're eager to see the government move forward with action."

Crackdown urged

Karzai has come under growing international pressure to take a tough line against government officials suspected of corruption, particularly in the wake of the fraud-tainted presidential poll that took place in August.

Karzai was declared the winner by default when Abdullah Abdullah, his main challenger, pulled out, citing irregularities.

Kai Eide, the senior United Nations representative in Afghanistan, had said earlier in October that there had been "widespread fraud" during the elections.

The calls for the Afghan government to crack down on corruption comes as thousands more US troops prepare to deploy to the country to battle fighters loyal to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Barack Obama, the US president, last week ordered 30,000 more soldiers to be sent to the country, following a request by the senior commander of US and Nato forces for more boots on the ground.

Taliban fight

The US's senior military officer said on Monday he was increasingly concerned about the threat posed by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters sheltering on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, said during a visit to Afghanistan that violence across the country was likely to become more severe in the coming months, with fighters holding the upper hand across about a third of Afghan provinces.

"I remain deeply concerned by the growing level of collusion between the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda and other extremist groups taking refuge across the border in Pakistan," Mullen said.

"Getting at this network, which is now more entrenched, will be a far more difficult task than it was just one year ago.

"The insurgency has grown more violent, more pervasive, more sophisticated," he said.

Deployment delay

Mullen's comments came as a senior US commander in Afghanistan warned that the extra troop deployment would likely take longer than expected.

Lieutenant General David Rodriguez said that logistical challenges meant it would probably take nine to 11 months to deploy all the new troops to the region.

Obama's original plan had envisaged the additional deployment being in place within six months.

The initial vanguard of the 30,000 extra US troops – a 1,500-strong force of Marines - is expected to deploy to Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand later this week.

Washington has been trying to press the Pakistani government to push harder against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, who have long used the country as a refuge.

GEMPAR: EMAIL AMERICK SIDHU KEPADA SPRM

From: Americk Sidhu
To: rahman_b@sprm.gov.my

Dear En. Abdul Rahman,

Re: Report lodged by Shamsul Iskandar Mohd. Akin in relation to the recent disclosure by Balasubramaniam.

With reference to the above matter, I wish to inform you that I am counsel representing Mr. Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal.

I have been made to understand that you are desirous of interviewing Mr. Balasubramaniam in connection with the report lodged with your commission by En. Shamsul Iskandar Mohd. Akin on the 3rd December 2009.

In this respect I have been instructed to inform you that Mr. Balasubramaniam is prepared to assist you in your investigations and is further prepared to be interviewed by your goodself, with conditions as follows:

1. That the interview be conducted in either Singapore or London.

2. That the time and date of the interview be mutually agreed upon to suit all parties involved.

3. That all necessary air fares be borne by the MACC including those of counsel involved.

4. That all hotel expenses, subsistence, transportation and meals in respect of my client, myself and other counsel necessarily present, be borne by the MACC.

5. That any statement recorded from my client be in the English language and a copy thereof be given to my client.

6. That audio visual recordings of this interview be made by ourselves.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause you but we are sure you are appreciative of the fact that our client is understandably concerned about his safety and welfare if this interview were to be conducted in Malaysia and will not entertain any assurances given by your goodselves or any other party in consideration of doing so.

Please could you respond to me at this email address to enable me to contact my client for instructions in respect of any proposals you may have.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Americk Sidhu

Let's talk about racism

By Sim Kwang Yang,

We all know that the politics of race has always been the bedrock of Malaysian political culture in the last six decades. The success of the early Alliance and then the Barisan Nasional coalitions comprising race-based parties was due in large part to the electorate's acceptance that Malaysian power-sharing was based on the negotiation between races.

Politicians and their parties fighting for the rights and interests of their race have been the ideological orthodoxy all these while. Nobody would think of calling any ministers or political parties 'racist”, because racism was perhaps deemed politically correct.

Things must have really changed when we witness in recent days the great Malay nationalist icon Dr Mahathir Mohamad and senior Umno cabinet minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz trading personal insults in public, calling each other “racist”.

All of a sudden, the terms “racist” and “racism” have become bad words, as they should be long ago. The question is: What makes a person a racist, and what is racism?

Wikipedia gives the following definition of racism:

“Racism is the belief that race is a primary determinant of man traits and capacities and those racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. In the case of institutional racism, certain racial groups may be denied rights or benefits, or get preferential treatment.

“Racial discrimination typically points out taxonomic differences between different groups of people, although anyone may be discriminated against on an ethnic or cultural basis, independently of their somatic differences. According to the United Nations conventions, there is no distinction between the term racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination.”

Earnest Gellner would argue that there are differences between the idea of “race” and “ethnicity”, the former emphasising on the mythical bond of blood ties and the latter relying on common cultural heritage. But that is another topic for another time.

Emergence of racism

Looking back in history, the first time that racism first assumed political significance must be when European powers encountered strange peoples from other cultures in far away lands at the beginning of empire building a few hundred years ago.

It also coincided with the beginning of the emergence of the modern nation-states and the fall of the old empires in the European continent.

The technologically and militarily superior Europeans were certain to be Eurocentric in their judgement of these so-called “barbaric, primitive, and pagan races” in Africa, North and South Americas, and finally Asia, New Zealand, and Australia.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Social Darwinism was already in vogue in Europe, with thinkers trying to apply the Darwinian theory of natural selection to human races and individuals, when the theory was originally used in reference to animal and plant species. Fortunately for our human species, this faulty theory is all but abandoned today.

Then, in late 19th century Europe, Dr Francis Galton practically invented the science of eugenics, the study of selective breeding so as to improve the human stock.

Eugenics gained a respectable following in the 20th century, and the core idea of the genes somehow determining the moral and intellectual character of the human individuals was accepted en masse by Hitler's Nazi ideology.

That is the underlying philosophy of racism - that some races are superior to others by virtue of their superior genes.

For fear that their superior German Aryan blood may be polluted by the inferior blood of the Jews and other minority groups, Hitler ordered his Final Solution that saw the genocide of six million people.

Partly because of the global guilt over the holocaust, the United Nations formed after World War Two made it a point to pass the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and made it morally incorrect for any nation or groups to persecute or discriminate anyone based on creed, religion or race.

But the political appeal of primordial tribalism was still too great to be resisted. As an instrument for mass mobilisation, as an anchor for personal identity, and as a mythical pointer to the collective destiny of the community, “race” hits at the nadir of our guts immediately.

After World War Two, the survival and glory of the race were the rallying cry of many groups in those former colonies of the Western imperial powers all over the world. They used the ready-made ideology for their brand new nationalism in Africa, Asia, and South America, alongside the revolutionary slogans of the communists.

Out of Africa II

It was thus that the early founding fathers of Malaysia were drawn into the power of racial equations, and Malaysian politics has always been racial since then.

The person who laid down the theoretical groundwork for the Malay nationalism as narrated by Umno is none other than Dr Mahathir Mohamad through his magnum opus 'The Malay Dilemma'.

In his article 'Racism: Towards Year Zero', Dr Kua Kia Soong has this to say about Dr M's theoretical work:

“Mahathir is obviously not familiar with the philosophy of the social sciences; otherwise he would have known that 'race' as a concept has been discredited in social science years now and any social scientist worth his/her salt would not dare to air such racial theories in respectable centres of learning.”

Kua is right of course. Not only is racism banished from the social science, it is also exiled to the margin in politics in developed liberal democracies, and ultra-right nationalist groups seldom get the public support to take government power.

The tenets and dogmas of racism have also lost much of their credibility because of the advance in the physical science, especially in the science of genetics.

Until today, there is no scientific proof that our genes have any determination over our intelligence, our moral character, or our mental capabilities. I would even posit that scientists will never succeed in this mission impossible as long as humankind cannot resolve Rene Descartes' bifurcation of the human individual into mind and matter.

In contrast, recent studies in genetics have shown that the genetical differences that determine the physical variations among the various races are negligible in our collective genome!

Two recent studies also show that all human races are descended from a small band of homo sapiens in the plains of Africa.

One study named Out of Africa II traced the footsteps of all humans to a small group of new human beings in Africa slightly more than one million years ago. Through archeological and other evidences, they trace human's migration over land bridges made possible by climate conditions from Africa to other parts of the world.

The other theory called the Eve Theory takes advantage of the fact that the chromosome materials are transferred unchanged from the mitochondria of the mother to the daughter. By studying and comparing the mitochondrial genes of all women all over the world, these scientists claimed that they can trace the ancestry of all human groups to one woman in Africa, whom they named Eve.

This is the latest paradigm concerning the origin of our human species.

It exists only in our minds

In short, “race' and “ethnicity” are cultural construct; they exist in our language and our mind only. They do not exist objectively like the sun or the moon, or like the living species called homo sapiens.

That is not to say that the terms “race” and 'ethnicity” have no meanings and should be discarded. They have rich meaning in our cultural history, and have allowed us to build up a beautifully diverse depository of cultural and historical narratives that form our collective human civilisation.

But as the ideological basis for political action, the temporary success of racism and racial politics is exceeded only by their intellectual and theoretical poverty. They may prevail for a while, but in the long run, racial prejudices and racial hatred will not be able to stand the test of historical time.

The sooner Malaysian politicians, community leaders, public intellectuals, commentators and opinion makers veer away from racist and racial conversation, the better it is for the democratic future of all Malaysians.

After all, we are all brothers and sisters of one human race.


SIM KWANG YANG can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com.

BTN: Joint Media Statement by P. Uthayakumar & Y.B Manoharan Malayalam (15/12/09)

Joint Media Statement by P. Uthayakumar and

Y.B Manoharan Malayalam (15/12/09)

BTN anti Hindraf video “P. Waytha Moorthy musuh utama negara”

We refer to the newsreport which reported that 1,016,749 (Utusan Malaysia Buliten 27/6/08 at page 19) (almost all malay muslims) had attended the Biro Tata Negara courses over the years to implement UMNO’s racist, religious extremist and supremacist policies in particular against the poor and working class Indians. And that the Hindraf 25th November 2007 “demonstration” was screened on video at this BTN course and which ended with a full screen picture of Hindraf Chairman P. Waytha Moorthy and the concluding words “musuh utama negara”. (HRP posting dated 4th December 2009 - http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com).

But Datuk Ahmad Maslan the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department “denied claims that the BTN courses were racist” “ A parent wrote to an English daily recently after her son came back from five-day course, claiming that he and his Indian friends were hounded, attacked and blamed for the Hindraf demonstration (NST 15/12/09 at page 10). This is a clear cut case of Sedition but the BTN Director has not been prosecuted for Sedition and / or criminal defamation.

But to the UMNO led Malay-sian government this is not Sedition. But when a suspected UMNO linked mob from outside Kg. Medan attacked and grievously injured 100 over poor and working class Indian of Kg. Medan including five Indians who were murdered in cold blood and at least one before the very eyes of uniformed policemen and when P. Uthayakumar complained vide his letter to the British Prime Minister of this “ethnic cleansing” he was speedily and expeditiously prosecuted for Sedition. This charge carries a maximum jail term of three years and the courts are now going on full steam against P. Uthayakumar and his trial now fixed for hearing on 13/1/2010.

But we are not inclined to lodge a police report on this matter as from past experience:-

1) The police are not going to seriously investigate.

2) The Attorney General would not prosecute the criminals.

3) Even if there is a token prosecution there is no history of a court conviction.

4) Even if the Court convicts there is suspicion of the criminal not serving out his jail sentence as was the case of former Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor who was convicted for having caused Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye. We recall newsreports that on the day of his “release” from prison, reporters were waiting outside the prison but never saw him come out!

Based on this New Straits Times newsreport the two million Indians in Malaysia feel threatened and fear for the safety of their lives by this Biro Tata Negara courses.

In fact the same is a threat to national security but the Director of this BTN course would never be detained under the Internal Security Act (which we want abolished) as was done for the four (4) Hindraf lawyers on 12/12/07.

Equality before the law at works as is enshrined in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution?

This is UMNOs’ political reality vis a vis the Law, Justice, the administration of Law and Order, Independence of the Judiciary etc in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia …………

We hereby call upon Prime Minister Najib to forthwith announce the abolishment and also implement the abolishment of this Biro Tata Negara course with immediate effect.

…………………………… …………………………….

P. Uthayakumar YB Manoharan Malayalam

Secretary General (pro tem) Ahli Dewan Undangan

Human Rights Party (HRP) Negeri Selangor,

Kota Shah Alam

a1

13-nov

MCA: 13 resign today, 8 more needed for polls

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Thirteen MCA central committee members led by vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai submitted their resignation letters today to the party's secretary-general in a bid to trigger fresh party polls for the troubled party.

A total of 21 or two-thirds of the 31 elected CC members must resign to pave way for fresh polls which means that Liow, who has been pressuring for a reelection, needs just eight more resignations by Christmas Day.

If the 21 necessary resignations are met by the dateline, the party will conduct fresh elections within 30 days.

Liow said the resignation reflects the seriousness of him and his men in solving the protracted party crisis which he claimed could only be solved through fresh elections.

The following submitted their letters today with Liow: Wong Nai Chee, Datuk Wong Mook Leong, Datuk Liew Yuen Keong, Wong Siong Hwee, Datuk Yu Chok Tow, Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Wee Jeck Seng, Datuk Dr Yeow Chai Thiam, Datuk Hoh Khai Mun, Datuk Edward Khoo and Lee Wei Kiat.

Nazri: No review of MACC officers’ immunity

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The government has no plan to review the immunity from legal action accorded to officers of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) because it comes with specific conditions and is not absolute, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said Section 72 of the MACC Act 2009 provided for immunity from action, suit, prosecution or other proceedings against MACC officers in any court or before any other authority.

“The immunity is applicable on the condition that such act or statement is done or made, or was omitted to be done or made, in good faith.

“Nevertheless, the immunity will not be applicable if it can be proven that there was a criminal act, mala fide or evil intention by the MACC officers in discharging their duties under the MACC Act 2009,” he said when replying to a question from Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang).

Tengku Razaleigh had wanted to know whether the government would review the vast authority, including protection or immunity from legal action, enjoyed by the MACC.

Replying to a supplementary question, from Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur), that MACC officers only acted against leaders of opposition political parties, Mohamed Nazri said this was not true at all.

“If we have been following the news lately, six of the seven people whom the MACC had brought to court were directly or indirectly linked to Umno. Only one was from the DAP,” he said. — Bernam

Anwar’s bid for High Court review to be decided on Jan 5

By Debra Chong- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Hope still flickers for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ahead of his Sodomy II trial, which is set to start next month.

He previously tried to block the trial from proceeding by applying to the High Court to disqualify the entire prosecution team and failed.

But the 62-year-old grandfather has repeatedly charged the prosecution of carrying out a “trial by ambush”.

The High Court here today will decide on Jan 5 if it will review a certificate said to show there are no facts in the Opposition Leader’s favour.

Judge Datuk Aziah Ali fixed the date in her chambers after being closeted with the lawyers acting for Anwar and the prosecution team in her chambers this morning.

Under Section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), the prosecution must tell the defence in writing if there are any facts in his favour so that trial can start.

The prosecution had earlier this year issued a document, signed by deputy public prosecutor Hanafiah Zakaria stating there were none.

But Anwar claims there are, and has pointed to two medical reports said to state there were no signs of anal penetration on his complainant, former male aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24.

This is the second time Anwar is charged for sodomy.

If convicted this time, it is likely to snuff out the former deputy prime minister’s burning ambition to take over Putrajaya.

LIMA '09


1. This year's Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition is not as big as the previous ones. This is to be expected as the countries that produce aircrafts and warplanes are going through financial and economic crisis. All international air shows are not as well represented as before. But for such a period of recession the turnout at LIMA in terms of exhibitors, airplanes and ships is still quite impressive.

2. But what is worthy of note at this LIMA is the progress of Malaysia's own aerospace industries. This took up almost one-third of the space and the exhibits were reflective of their progress and sophistication. Malaysian companies now design and produce electronic command and control systems. They proudly exhibit their capabilities in the production and servicing of sophisticated aircraft components and mastery of aviation electronics.

3. There were quite a number exhibiting UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). These remote-control airplanes come in many sizes. They can be used for aerial photography and target location and even for aggressive attacks against the enemy.

4. The first Malaysian submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, was also on show. I had more than an hour briefing on the different functions and features of the submarine.

5. Of all the fighting crafts I have seen the submarine is easily the most complex. It has scores of monitors and TV screens to inform the operators of what is happening in every part of the craft. There were wires and tubes everywhere. All of them I am told are crucial to the operation of the vessel, on the surface, at periscope depths and underwater.

6. Because of the small space available everything is cramped and overlap each other. I wondered whether the crew can identify all these wires, tubes and equipments and locate where they head to. The commander assured me that they could. They have learnt to locate things in the dark even in case of electricity failure.

7. I noted that all the parts bear scientific names. All the manuals on operation and emergency measures were in English and French.

8. The sleeping bunks are tiny. Once in bed the crew can hardly raise their heads. It was claustrophobic and I don't think I can survive in that environment. But the boat sailed all the way from France to Malaysia without mishap. The crew do not seem to suffer from anything serious.

9. A group of MPs including from the opposition also visited the submarine and they were as impressed as I was.

10. I remember the first navy vessels of the Royal Malaysian Navy, which I visited in 1958 when they sailed right up to Alor Star. They were wooden boats, rather small and armed with a small gun. A friend laughed when I told him about my visit. We have come a long way since then and the Royal Malaysian Navy is now as modern a force as any other country.

11. I would have liked not buying the submarine. I don't think we would be going to war. But the neighbours have bought submarines and our navy would feel rather inadequate if they don't have at least two of these very costly vessels.

12. Altogether I would consider the 9th LIMA a success. Apart from the displays LIMA has helped initiate and stimulate Malaysia's aerospace industry.

Conversion still a problem

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

eraser unsuccessfully tackling the 'Islam' sign in IC
Removing the "Islam" label on a MyKAD is not that easy

PETALING JAYA, 15 Dec 2009: Despite cabinet announcements about conversions to Islam and proposed legal amendments to allow a Muslim convert to divorce in the civil court, other scenarios arising from conversions are not being addressed.

As a result, numerous conversion cases are not being resolved and beg the question of how effective the state's response has been to the complex issue of conversion to Islam in Malaysia.

For example, proposed amendments to the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 to allow a Muslim convert to end a civil law marriage in the civil court only addresses this one scenario.

Other scenarios have been occurring with no recourse for those affected, lawyer A Sivanesan told The Nut Graph.


A Sivanesan
Sivanesan, who is also a DAP assemblyperson in Perak, related some stories of people who have sought his help in the last two years.

bullet February 2008: A teenaged Indian Malaysian boy from Tapah was converted to Islam by school friends who took him to the religious department where he recited the syahada (proclamation of faith) and received a conversion certificate. He was subsequently given a MyKad which stated "Islam" as his religion.

His family only discovered his conversion two months later when a sister found his MyKad in a pocket. The boy, now 19, has resumed performing Hindu prayers and wants to leave Islam. But the family, whose father is a prominent businessperson, is not keen to pursue it in court for fear the publicity will damage their name and standing in the Indian Malaysian society.

"They fear that even the chances of marriage for the boy's sisters will be affected," Sivanesan said.

bullet Early 2008: An Indian Malaysian female student at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kajang, was converted by university mates. Her father, a teacher, and mother, a homemaker, only learnt of her conversion in her final year of studies.

The family had wanted to seek legal recourse after her final year exams but the girl "disappeared" with friends for a few days. In the end, the family decided that it was best for her to leave the country. She now works in Singapore.

bullet September to October 2009: A 28-year-old Indian Malaysian Muslim woman by birth from Sitiawan, Perak, wants to be declared a Hindu in order to marry her Hindu fiancé. She says she never practised Islam and was raised a Hindu although she was born to Indian Muslim parents who did not practise Islam. She now wants her religious status in her MyKad changed.

bullet November 2009: A non-practising Indian Malaysian Muslim wife and Hindu husband in Klang are considering legal recourse to obtain a MyKad for their 12-year-old son which does not state "Islam" as his religion. The father is a factory worker and the mother works in a textile shop in Klang.


Children raised as non-Muslims have MyKads
stating "Islam" as their religion
(© jmhullot / Wiki Commons)
Sivanesan also has a 26-year-old niece, who converted to Islam to marry, who is now a single mother with two children after her Muslim husband from Bangladesh abandoned her four years ago. The niece has returned to Hinduism but her MyKad states that she is Muslim.

Sivanesan said these stories have not been made public out of fear that the publicity will be more damaging to those affected, than helpful.

He added that many who get caught in this quandary chose to keep quiet because of the difficulty in finding syariah lawyers to represent them.

Those who engage civil lawyers, or want to challenge the validity of conversions, become embroiled in the jurisdictional tussle between civil and syariah courts.

"Civil lawyers can't represent such clients in the syariah court where only syariah-compliant lawyers may appear. There are few syariah lawyers who are sympathetic as most feel they would be going against Islam if they were to take up conversion cases," Sivanesan said in an interview at his Brickfields office.

No more deed polls

tennis
The National Registration Department now pushes the matter of removing "Islam" from
MyKads to the courts (left silhouette © Michal Zacharzewski / sxc.hu,
right silhouette © Kriss Szkurlatowski / sxc.hu)

Sivanesan said that until the late 1980s, people could use deed polls to apply to the National Registration Department to remove "Islam" from their identity cards. Now, the department pushes the matter to the courts.

However, in a rare recent case, a deed poll was successfully recognised by the Court of Appeal.

In its judgment in June 2009, the court allowed a person who was deemed a Muslim to challenge his or her status in the civil High Court.

It was the case of storekeeper Zaina Abidin Hamid alias S Maniam, whose originating summons was struck out by the High Court but reinstated by the Court of Appeals. He sought for himself and his children to be recognised as Hindus and by their Hindu names, stating that he had professed Hinduism all his life.

Maniam was born to Indian Malaysian parents who had identity cards which said they were Muslims. He said his parents followed the Hindu way of life and raised him as a Hindu. In 1973, he obtained a deed poll to adopt a new Hindu name. He also married a Hindu woman under civil marriage laws.

His case, however, received little media coverage.

Courts decide

shanmuga
K Shanmuga
Lawyer K Shanmuga said he noticed a shift in government policy that has affected the MyKad registration of illegitimate children after the Federal Court decision on Lina Joy in May 2007.

Previously, children born out of wedlock to a non-Muslim mother and a Muslim father were issued identity cards that did not state their religion as Islam. They were also allowed to change their Muslim names and their status as Muslims in their identity cards.

"At one time, this could be done without the need to go to the syariah court to decide the child's religion.

"About 10 years ago, I had a case where the religious council agreed that children born to a non-Muslim mother and Muslim father had to follow the mother. Both Islamic and civil law say the 'putative' father of an illegitimate child has no rights over that child.

"But now the government is insisting that the children have to go to the syariah court if they want to remove their classification as Muslim," said Shanmuga, who is currently handling a number of such cases with clients who are now above 18 who want to change their MyKads.

Shifting ground

Shanmuga said "things started to change as far as the law was concerned" in the 1990s, with the minority decision in the Dalip Kaur v Pegawai Polis Daerah Bukit Mertajam judgment. In that case, the court ruled that apostasy from Islam required the deliberation of Islamic law scholars. Hence, the syariah court should have jurisdiction to hear such matters, the civil court decided then.

That minority decision influenced judgment for the Soon Singh v Perkim Kedah case in 1999, which in turn influenced the Lina Joy decision.

"These problems have been on-going. These people continue living their lives thinking there is no need to do anything until they run into problems when they want to get married, or have children," Shanmuga said

Greatest disappointment that Najib failed to “walk the talk” with concrete action whether on recognition of Unified Examination Certificate or institu

By Lim Kit Siang

Yesterday, the Chinese press gave front page headline treatment to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s message for the 90th anniversary celebrations of the Chong Hwa Independent High School in Kuala Lumpur, but this has been replaced with deep disappointment and sadness that the Prime Minister has again failed to “walk the talk” like his “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” motto, his pledge to front-line transparency and to combat corruption.

Najib’s message for the Chong Hwa Independent High School 90th anniversary celebrations souvenir publication stands out as the best message ever given by any Prime Minister in the past five decades, crediting the Chinese Independent Secondary Schools as “important national assets” not only of the Chinese in Malaysia but of the country and extolling their contributions to nation building particularly in human resource development.

This has raised sky-high expectations that Najib would announce concrete actions to “walk the talk” of his message and it was a great disappointment all round that he attended the Chong Hwa Independent High School 90th anniversary dinner last night completely empty-handed.

There was neither announcement of recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate which is recognized by reputable universities worldwide or concrete action by the federal government to institutionalize government support and funding for the 60 Chinese Independent Secondary Schools despite the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of their being “national assets” and important contribution to nation-building.

This is a major failure of the KPI of the Najib administration – failing to “walk the talk” to synchronise what it says publicly with what the government is doing actually.

It will most regrettable if all this is just for propaganda to score political points without any political will to translate them into government policies and practices.

The Cabinet should convene a special meeting to translate into action what the Prime Minister said in his message for the Chong Hwa Independent High School 90th anniversary celebrations, as Malaysians do not want the Prime Minister just to give “beautiful” messages but to translate words into action.

MIC Wants Monitoring Mechanism For Indian Businessmen

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 (Bernama) - The MIC has asked the government to create a monitoring mechanism to help Indian small businessmen get loans from commercial banks, president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said.

He said this was brought up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who chaired the Special Cabinet Committee on the Development of the Indian Community recently where the Finance Ministry was urged to review and make the terms more flexible.

"It was also proposed that loans or special guarantee be created to help Indian small businesmen to start business," he said after presenting a cheque for over RM1 million under Tekun Nasional Financing Scheme to 109 Indian businessmen here on Monday.

Samy who was a member of the Cabinet Committee said many Indian businessmen were finding it dificult to get loans from commercial banks including SME Bank although they qualified.

Up to Aug 31, some 2,026 Indian businessmen had applied for loans amounting RM20 million from Tekun. Of the number, 830 applications amounting RM5.8 million had been approved with 1,148 applications still pending.

Another 508 applications were stuck at MIC's Social Strategic Foundation office due to lack of funds while another 300 new application were also received.

Samy said the Prime Minister had announced during Budget 2010 that Tekun had been allocated an additional RM20 million for the Indian community.

He was aware that Tekun was facing shortage of RM350 million to meet the 16,000 loan applications approved and hoped it would be resolved soon.

Home Minister's action was unconstitutional, court told

The Star
By M. MAGESWARI

KUALA LUMPUR: The then Home Minister had acted in breach of the constitutional rights of the publisher of the Herald in imposing a ban on the use of word “Allah,” the High Court heard.

Lead counsel Porres Royan, who acted for the applicant, submitted that Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar had acted in violation of several articles of the Federal Constitution by prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” in the Catholic weekly.

Porres submitted that the applicant has the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” in the Herald as provided for by the Federal Constitution.

He argued that the minister had also acted ultra vires (outside the law) of the the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

“The Act was not meant for the purpose of regulating any religious groups in the practice and progagation of their faith which includes the use of religious publications,” he submitted before High Court judge Justice Lau Bee Lan on Monday.

He submitted that the use of the word “Allah” is essential for the worship and instructions in the faith of the Bahasa Malaysia speaking community of the Catholic Church in Malaysia and is integral to the practice and propagation of their faith.

“Imposing a condition under the Act to prohibit the use of this word would have the effect of regulating this religious group in the practice and propagation of their faith,” he said.

Among others, he argued that there were serious doubt as to the identity of the decision maker of the decision dated Jan 7.

He said Syed Hamid affirmed in his affidavit dated July 6 that he had made the decision to prohibit the use of the word in the publication while his secretary-general Che Din Yusoh in his affidavit-in-reply dated May 26 stated his division had make the decision and another part stated that it was his (Che Din) decision.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Kamaluddin Md however submitted that the minister has the power to impose such a condition and that the minister had exercised his power lawfully.

He said the granting of a publication permit is the absolute discretion of the minister and the permit holder has no choice but to comply with the conditions attached to it.

“Any challenge can only be in respect of the decision of the minister not to grant or to revoke or suspend the permit,” he said.

He said there was no evidence that the minister was prejudiced or biased, had acted in bad faith or had acted contrary to the rules of natural justice in attaching the condition.

“In our country, if one refer to Allah or mentions the kalimah (verse) Allah, it will bring to one’s mind that it refers to the God for Muslims. Kalimah Allah is sacred to the Muslims and put at the highest position and its sanctity must be protected.

“Thus, kalimah Allah is not just a mere word or translation of the word God as described in the Herald, but it is a special name for the Muslims’ God.

“The usage of the kalimah Allah as an intepretation of the word God may cause confusion, religious sensitivity amd disharmony between the Muslims and Christians,” he said when asking the court to reject the judicial review application.

He said further that “the applicant’s contention that the Bahasa Malaysia term for God is Allah and Lord is Tuhan is clearly perverse, erroneous and misconceived.

“We submit that that Allah being exclusive and special name cannot be interchangeably used as a general term,” he added.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam had applied to declare that the Herald is entitled to use the word and that its use was not exclusive to Islam.

Rev Murphy had named the minister and the Government as respondents in the application filed on Feb 16.

The archbishop is named as an applicant in this action as publisher of the Herald.

The hearing continues Tuesday.

Ban ultra vires Constitution, says counsel

Malaysian Mirror

KUALA LUMPUR - The High Court was today told that the ban on Christians using the world "Allah" is unconstitutional.

Counsel for the Catholic Church, that publishes a weekly magazine called The Herald, argued that the Home Minister had gone against the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, when he introduced new conditions banning the use of the word "Allah" to mean any God other than the Muslim God.

Porres Royan, leading a team of five lawyers said the Federal Constitution protects the rights and liberties of religious minorities to enable them to carry out their worship in a free manner.

He said that under section 12 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, the Home Minister, who has full discretion in issuing a publishing licence and may place certain conditions to prevent abuse, had overstepped his power.

Islam official religion

Porres added that Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution acknowledged Islam to be the official religion of the country, but at the same time, other religions can be practised in peace and harmony.

He also said that other parts of the Federal Constitution support the law equally, namely Article 11(3)(a) which states that every religion has the right to manage its own affairs, Article 10(1)(a) which guarantees freedom of speech and Article 8(1) which notes that every citizen is equal in the eyes of the law and entitled to equal protection under law.

Porres also noted that Christianity pre-dates Islam and made references to several early English-Malay versions of the Bible, including one by renowned Malay scholar Munsyi Abdullah who in 1852 filled in the word for God in the Christian sense as "Allah".

"Even if section 9 is valid, the use of the word 'Allah' by one non-Muslim or by a person professing a non-Islamic religion to another cannot by any stretch of the imagination amount to the propagation of a religious belief or doctrine among persons professing the religion of Islam," he said.

"In the case of The Herald, the publication is a propagation of the Catholic Church meant for Christians and is not meant for persons professing the religion of Islam. In fact, the second condition imposed by the minister, that is endorsing the word 'Terhad' and that only distribution is in churches.

No propagation to non-Muslims

"It must mean there is no propagation among persons professing Islam," the lawyer stressed.

The Minister's decision seems to turn guidelines for getting a publishing permit into a rule by which it may shut down and shut out bodies which publish dissenting views.

Muslim groups, such as the state Islamic councils for the Federal Territory, Selangor and Penang among four others and the Chinese-Muslim association, which had been removed from the suit between The Herald and the Home Minister by the High Court previously, returned today in another bid to stop the suit.

They put in a fresh application to intervene before High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan in her chambers this morning, which delayed the hearing from taking place in open court for almost two hours.

Porres the judge said she would reserve judgment on the Muslim groups for later.

Malaysia forces detainees to eat grass!!

by Nathaniel Tan

How can we call ourselves in any way civilised? MK:

Dr Anis Salwa Kamarudin of the Health Ministry’s public health division said the cases are linked to certain habits of detainees, such as eating grass and walking around barefooted.

Some of these detainees like to eat grass which grows in the camp (compound),” she said in a written response on how the disease spreads and what measures are being taken to prevent the incidence of communicable diseases in immigration detention centres.

In May, two detainees died of leptospirosis at the Juru immigration detention centre, while six more succumbed in August at the KLIA immigration detention depot.

Anis explained that infection occurs either directly through contact with urine or tissues of animal carcasses, or indirectly through the contaminated environment soil, water, drainage and plants.

:|

Detainees….. LIKE……. to eat grass?

w.t.f. is wrong with this “dr?” How many people walking this earth “like” to eat grass?

MK pictures of life in detention centres:

I’ve been to some of these places, and yes they are that bad.

Yes, we do sometimes have a large number of undocumented migrants, but is this the way to deal with them?

All these human beings – whose lives are no less valuable than yours or mine – want to do is to work and make a decent living, like any soul anywhere.

We can’t think of a better solution than to keep them penned up like animals, doing nothing all day except eat grass to stave off hunger?

Can you imagine the mental torture that aggravates the intolerable physical conditions of being trapped in such a place for months or years?

Like to eat grass indeed. I think that maybe those responsible for this appalling violation of human rights should be put on a diet of shit infested grass for a month to see how they like it.

My Daughter The Terrorist:

By Beate Arnestad (CNN)

Editor's note: Below is a compelling blog post that looks at the 26-year long civil war in Sri Lanka from the perspective of a filmmaker who met two young Tamil women planning to be suicide bombers. We do not know for sure what happened to the two women she interviewed, though there is a report both survived the war. We know even less about most of the suicide bombers' victims, many of them possibly innocent civilians from the Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka. What we do know is that the war is finally over, after the loss of more than 70,000 lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.

Filmmaker Beate Arnestad with the mother of Darshika – a young woman who joined the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.
Filmmaker Beate Arnestad with the mother of Darshika – a young woman who joined the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

For a few years I lived in paradise: in a tropical environment on an island called Sri Lanka. Every morning I woke up in my four-post bed in Colombo –watching the dawn creeping in through my mosquito net and listening to the awakening sounds of all the tropical birds greeting a new day. I had moved to Sri Lanka from Norway because my husband had been posted there.

But paradise was not perfect. There were many slum areas and stray dogs eating garbage. There were countless beggars, dirty street children and pollution. There was also an unavoidable military presence.

There was a ceasefire in effect, but the city was not back to normal. Every major street was patrolled by heavily armed soldiers. "What do they fear?" I asked.

The reply was always the same: "The terrorists, the Black Tigers, these crazy suicide bombers."

I found there was very little written on the group except that they had begun operations in 1987, that about 30% were believed to be female, and that their most famous action was the murder of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Therefore, I decided to make a documentary film and find out more about this group.

I was told that my chances of success were poor, and that the Tamil rebels, the LTTE, lived in utmost secrecy in the jungle of the guerrilla-controlled areas in the north. Nobody from the outside world could get in touch with them, but somehow I managed.

I recall at one military checkpoint, an inspector told me, "Madam, I wouldn't advise you to leave the government controlled area. On the other side, there is no one to protect you."

"I will be fine," I said with a smile.

When I got to the area controlled by the Tigers, I first saw the Tiger banner, then the cadres in their striped uniforms. The females had their long hair tied up like a braided pretzel. "We're so happy you made it safely to our side," they said. "We will look after you and you will be safe here."

The war-torn territory was full of red signs warning about landmines. There were no five-star hotels; only vacant paddy fields and the untamed jungle reclaiming what once had been buildings but were now ruins of war.

For many months, I traveled in and out of my two worlds, continually trying to convince the Tigers to accept my proposal to make a film on my conditions – which meant no censorship and no screening for their approval. I wasn't interested in talking to leaders and politicians. I was interested in those who had no other alternative but to remain in the war zone – the true victims of war. Eventually the Tigers agreed.

In order to select my main characters, I had asked the guerrillas to organize a kind of casting call for a film about suicide bombers. It was a strange experience. After interviewing 20-30 girls, I decided on Darshika, a 24-year old Catholic beauty and her best friend Puhalchudar. Their friendship was also very special as they had been living and fighting together every day for seven years.

What was the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists? And who decided? As I became more and more drawn into their world, such questions demanded consideration.

As we prepared to begin filming, I asked the girls about their morning routine. "We get up at 4am and then we exercise," they said. "Fine," I said, "We'll be there."

We quickly learned they led a disciplined, Spartan existence. They slept in a tiny room on mats on the floor. When they got up, they braided each other's hair, and then began their early morning karate session. Both had black belts and were eager to impress me with their skills.

With the camera rolling, they explained how they trained to be suicide bombers. They talked about putting on a claymore bomb vest and planning for their own deaths. They explained how once the bomb exploded, their heads would separate from their bodies and take flight – their bodies reduced to tiny pieces.

"How do they select who will take a particular mission?" I asked the girls. They explained that they usually played spin the bottle; the one who wins is chosen, but they were all were eager to be selected. They were also eager to talk.

None of the girls who had been trained to be suicide bombers the previous year were still alive. My subjects were only alive because of the ceasefire.

Eventually, I came to understand that there was no real difference between a normal Tiger cadre and those preparing for suicide attacks. They all expected to die – either in battle, by blowing themselves up, or by biting the cyanide capsules they all were instructed to swallow instead of submitting to capture.

The girls constantly tried to impress me with their toughness. I knew they were not just killing machines, so I asked them directly, "Are you not human beings. Don't you have hearts?" They were surprised at the question and replied that, of course, they had hearts, but, "We can't touch it. There is too much pain in the chest."

Darshika took me to her church; actually mere ruins of a church on a beautiful beach. She knelt in front of the statue of Virgin Mary – which had not been destroyed – and cried, prayed and asked for forgiveness. All at once, her tragic childhood story poured out; how she had seen the churches bombed and the people seeking shelter turned into a bloodbath; how no one could protect them from being slaughtered like animals. That's why she had decided to join the struggle: she would rather die fighting for a better future than being butchered. She had wanted to become a Catholic nun, and now she would sacrifice her life, just like Jesus.

Her friend, Puhalchudar, broke down when she showed us the horrific conditions in a refugee camp – similar to the one she had been displaced to. She told me that rather than a life of slavery, she would fight to liberate her people.

After this, the relationship with the girls changed. I felt almost maternal towards them. When we traveled, I gave them my soft cushions. And they would fall asleep like babies in the car. They were vulnerable children and also deadly weapons. My feelings for them were truly mixed.

I also met Darshika's mother. She must have been my age, but her life was so different. She talked about bringing up a family in the middle of a brutal and never ending war. She only had the one sari she was wearing. Her handbag was absolutely empty. Darshika had disappeared when she was 11 or 12 years old, and her mother really didn't know her anymore.

Our intention was to follow the girls for a longer period and to come back in a few months for further filming. Little did we know that this was the last time I would see them.

I went back to my normal life in Colombo. Whenever I contacted the Tigers, they said: This is not a good time to come, please call later. I called and called until I realized the girls had been transferred for good. I was told that they were planning a mission, and there was no way I could find them.

Six months later, I went with the crew to film a Heroes' Day celebration. This is the time where Tamil Tigers and their supporters gather at cemeteries to honor those who have died for their country. They decorate the tombstones with flowers and light candles, they cry and pray beside the graves. Photos of the new martyrs are displayed. There are also parades.

While looking for the girls, I saw Darshika's mother. She was also searching for her daughter. We agreed to meet in the church the next day. When I showed her footage of her daughter, her eyes filled with tears. "Seeing her is almost like being with her," she said. This was the last time I saw her as well.

A few months later, the war resumed. I returned to Norway to put together my documentary. The Tigers never responded to my calls or emails. A few months later, I got news that someone had seen the girls – and to my surprise, they were very much alive.

On the other hand, I was told Darshika's mother had been killed. After the release of the film, Sri Lankan authorities had identified her as a Black Tiger Mama. Some people believe that is the reason she was executed.

The Tigers lost their struggle. It is believed that thousands died in combat and that thousands died due to shelling and air raids. Toward the end of the war, the entire Tiger controlled population (approximately 300,000) was driven into a small strip of land by the sea. No one from the outside world had access to the war zone. It is believed that thousands again lost their lives as there was starvation and heavy fighting, and no place to hide.

By May 17th, the Tigers' battle was forever lost – their leaders killed and the entire civilian population driven into war camps. There are no words to describe their losses and sufferings.

Beate Arnestad is the filmmaker behind various documentaries, including “My Daughter The Terrorist.”

Kula lodges report against Utusan's 'seditious' article - Malaysiakini

Member of parliament for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran today lodged a police report against Malay daily Utusan Malaysia over an article deemed to be seditious and irresponsible.

NONEKulasegaran, also the DAP vice-chairperson, named the daily and its writer Awang Selamat over the article which he claimed can incite racial hatred and cause public unrest in this country.

The article was published yesterday in the daily's Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia and touched on the issue of Malay supremacy. The article also questioned Kulasegaran for allegedly questioning the issue of Malay supremacy.

The report was lodged at the Dang Wangi district police station at about 2pm. Kulasegaran was accompanied by DAP's MP for Teluk Intan M Manoharan, MP for Seremban John Fernandez and Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen.

In his report, Kulasegaran said that he had never questioned the special privileges as set out in Article 153 of the federal constitution or any rights of the Malay rulers.

"We urge Utusan not to play with fire," he told reporters outside the police station, after making the report.

'This is my country too'

Kulasegaran said that Awang can be misguided and have a wrong understanding of the Malay supremacy concept, but he must not make baseless, false and dangerous accusations against him and DAP.

NONEAlso present was A Rajaretinam, president of the Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisations, better known as Prima. He questioned why the paper played the racial card, inciting racial animosity.

"We are all Malaysians and this is my country as much as yours," he said.

He also questioned the lack of action by the Home Ministry against Utusan. He said that if it was published in another newspaper, the publication would have been asked for a show-cause letter.

Further, he told reporters that the Malaysian Indian NGOs will stage a protest against Utusan Malaysia later this week.

Senator S Ramakrishnan who was also there says the article is a form of racial incitement and that this sort of reporting should stop.

Looking for Deepak

Rahim Noor on Peace Accord and Chin Peng - Part II

Kula lodges report against Utusan's 'seditious' article

HRP’S S. Jayathas arrested by UMNO mandore Indian policemen.

HRP’S S. Jayathas arrested by UMNO mandore Indian policemen.

Once again UMNO used it’s Indian mandore policemen to arrest Hindraf activist. One Indian DSP mandore Jude Pereira and a couple of other Indian civil clothes police mandores did the job (refer Makkal Osai 14/12/09 at page 6).

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Hindraf, masked police & tinted unmarked car @ 2nd BLACK ISA arrest march.

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Hindraf, masked police & tinted unmarked car @ 2nd BLACK ISA arrest march.


As soon as Hindrafs’ second black anniversary ISA arrest of four Hindraf lawyers march started at 2.30 p.m on 13/12/09, a plain clothes masked policeman appeared from nowhere. We believe he came out from a fully tinted unmarked police car. This policeman quickly pulled his mask to his neck when our photographer was about to take his photo (see photos below). We hope it was not a Malay – sian police shoot to kill Indians operasi!

Malay – sian police blockade of Bangsar hindu temple.

Malay – sian police blockade of Bangsar hindu temple.

As prayers was being held at the Bangsar Nageswari Amman hindu temple at about 2.30 p.m on 13/12/09 to mark the 2nd Black Anniversary of the arrest of the four Hindraf lawyers on 13/12/07 and for the fulfillment of Hindrafs’ 18 point demands, the Malay – sian police held a blockade and cordoned off the temple from the public eye (see photo below). For what motive? Was there supposed to be some “operasi”. This is UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malaysia.

P. Uthayakumar.

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PDRM : RM1 Billion 2010 Budget for 1 anti ISA badge! of Hindraf activist.

PDRM : RM1 Billion 2010 Budget for 1 anti ISA badge! of Hindraf activist.

Yesterday the 13th day of December 2009 marked the 2nd year black anniversary of the arbitrary and unlawfully detention of the four Hindraf lawyers under the draconian International Security Act (ISA) on 13/12/02007.

What is puzzling is that the police who have been allocated RM 1 Billion for the 2010 national budget had put up road blocks along Jalan Bangsar, galvanized 50 uniformed and un-uniformed policemen, ten police patrol and unmarked cars, two platoons of riot police in riot gear with two accompanying jeeps, all just to arrest 1 HRP Information Chief S. Jayathas and then to confiscate just 1 Hindraf anti ISA badge at the Jalan Travers police station.

Even the ground commanding senior police officer Superintendent (Supt) Azri did not know the grounds of S. Jayathas arrest when asked for the same by P. Uthayakumar. The Supt merely said “siasatan awal” but when pressed “siasatan awal” for what offence he had no answer to which P. Uthayakumar retorted “so you do not know the law? (or more like “so you abuse the law in a high handed manner”)

MIED IN THE DOCK

The Malay Mail,
Trustees have 30 days to account for financial losses and abuse of power

KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC’s billion-ringgit educational flagship Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED) is in turbulent waters, following a legal notice against its eight trustees by one of its own members alleging serious irregularities, ranging from financial mismanagement to abuse of power.

The action, by prominent lawyer politician S. Vigneswaran, is expected to open the vault of “secrets” in the alleged issue of personal loans of some RM100 million to individuals, company officials and at least one trustee.

Alleged flaws in awarding contracts for the construction of MIEDrun Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology University (AIMST) University in Semeling, Kedah, would also come under scrutiny.

The trustees, including chairman and MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, have 30 days to account for financial losses, abuse of power and other alleged discrepancies under the Companies Act.

Sources said prominent individuals with close links to MIC leadership and former political leaders would be asked to explain their role in this fiasco that has wrecked the credibility of the party and the MIED that operates on government grants and public donations.

Vigneswaran, a former MIC youth leader and current MIED member, yesterday confirmed that he had launched the derivative action under Section 181 of the Companies Act 1965 against the eight trustees.

The section allows MIED, as an entity, to sue to recover or punish its trustees, directors and officers for losses, fraud, negligence and other failures.

Vigneswaran, who is also coordinator of the Barisan Nasional Supporters Club, that deploys youth support for the government during by-elections and political events, said he was exercising his rights as a member to “right the wrong”. He declined further comment.

The eight trustees are Samy Vellu, deputy MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel, former Senate president Tan Sri G. Vadiveloo, former MIC vice-president Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar, former MIC treasurer-general Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, former MIC vice-president Tan Sri M. Kumaran, Tan Sri K. Ampikaipakan and Datuk Dr T. Marimuthu.

Vigneswaran is seeking damages on behalf of MIED for losses to the company arising from:

● The trustees giving out loans on interest in contravention of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association without a money-lending licence.

He contends that such acts are void loan transactions that have and are resulting in the company suffering losses estimated at more than RM90 million.

● The trustees sanctioning loans and withdrawals for the company’s and/or its subsidiaries’ director and/or officers and/or their nominees in contravention of the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.

This, he claimed, resulted in more than RM10 million in losses to the company.

● The trustees’ breach of fiduciary duties and breach of trust, whereby the company suffered losses from transactions and contracts awarded to the construction of AMIST University, the nation’s first private university.

● The trustees appointing fellow trustee Vadivello to a salaried office of the company and in making an unauthorised payment of RM350,000 to him.

● Their action in holding office as a trustee for the current year in breach of Section 143 of the Companies Act, and clause 12 (b) and clause 17 of the company’s Articles of Association.

● Their action to operate the board with an unlawfully constituted composition of the board resulting in the company being exposed to adverse legal position.

He noted that Samy Vellu, Mahalingam, Nijhar, Marimuthu, Vadivello and Kumaran having retired by virtue of section 129(2) of the Companies Act have been operating with no resolution passed for the current year to re-appoint them annually since their respective retirements.

An AGM should have been convened last year, to obtain the sanction of members to allow the six trustees, who were already above the age of 70 in 2008, to continue in office for the year 2009.

MIED is not a business entity. It is a Section 24 company, or a trust organisation that is limited by guarantee.

There are many limitations on what MIED can and cannot do, and has a board of trustees instead of directors who are elected by the life members.

The assets of the MIED, whose core business is providing study loans, includes Institute Teknologi Negeri and Vanto Organisation which were once wholly owned by MIC.

The institute sourced millions of ringgit from the Indian community, received about RM300 million from the government and acquired a RM220 million loan from Bank Pembangunan Malaysia to build the AIMST campus on a 228-acre site in Semeling. The cost of construction ballooned from an initial RM230 million to close to RM500 million.

Nijhar wants matters resolved internally

MIED founder member and trustee Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar has asked members not to “put the cart before the horse” in the crisis that has besieged the educational institute considered MIC’s jewel in the crown.

He requested that members could still resort to external intervention if their grievances were not resolved internally at general meetings that would be called soon.

Nijhar sent a text message to MIED members, a copy of which was also sent by him to The Malay Mail, following the letter by S. Vigneswaran to the trustees and another from Datuk S. Subramaniam to the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

He noted that eight members of the MIED, all non-trustees, out of a total of 30, have asked the trustees to call for general meetings to resolve outstanding issues.

The trustees, he said, are meeting soon to discuss this request and that irrespective of any views on the legality of the board, the dates and agenda for the adjourned AGMs and other general meetings would be fixed soon.

He said letters by Vigneswaran and Subramaniam would be tabled at these meetings, and the two could raise issues and decide on the course of action to be taken on each of the matters.

“I would request that in the interest of MIED that these matters be resolved internally.”

Safeguarding the interest of members

SECTION 181 is a statutory derivative action introduced by Parliament in 2007 that allows members of organisations and minority shareholders to act to safeguard their interest and that of the corporation against abuse, mismanagement, fraud and losses, but without incurring a huge personal cost.

The court decides on the issues brought before it and decides to grant leave or otherwise to proceed with the class action.

The section allows MIED, as an entity, to sue to recover or punish its trustees, directors and officers for losses, fraud, negligence and other failures.

The law requires the person taking the class action to give 30 days’ notice to affected officers for them to respond or take action before an application is made to the court for remedies.

Want to know what the Jaikishan brothers look like?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Looking for Deepak: see video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAvpXciH0b0)

Cakap Orang Puteh

Malaysians have an extremely important role of mastering English to acquire knowledge at a faster pace to ensure there is no 're-colonisation' of the country, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. (Bernama: read more here)

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin