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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kedah CPO allows PAS crime in demolishing hindu crematorium at Kuala Ketil, Kedah.

Today the 16th day of December 2009, a third police report was lodged that the PAS led Kedah state government should not demolish the Batu Pekaka, Kuala Ketil Hindu cemetery and asking for 24 hours police protection. But despite this the Kedah Chief Police Officer Dato Syed Ismail in collaboration with PAS, PKR and UMNO ruthlessly allowed the demolishment of this hindu crematorium.

Our P. Uthayakumar telephoned Dato Syed Ismail the CPO of Kedah at about 8.30 p.m on 16/12/09 and asked why there was no arrest for this PAS crime of partly demolishing this hindu cemetery today which is a crime further to Section 295 ( Injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 297 ( Trespassing on burial places, etc) and 298A ( Causing etc., disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing, etc., the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion) of the Penal Code and read with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution (freedom of religion) and which is punishable with up to two years jail term. This CPO merely replied that they would investigate, which is absurd. An arrestable offence was committed right before the very eyes of the Malay-sian police and they yet again turn a blind eye just because the victims are Indians and of the police are biased in favour of the majority malay muslims.

P. Uthayakumar told his CPO Kedah that the police had not taken action because the Malay-sian police, PAS and UMNO are racist and religious extremist and would have instantly taken action, arrested and prosecuted the criminals if it was a malay muslim cemetery that was demolished.

But again Article 8 of the Federal Constitution provides for equality before the law but which is blatantly disregarded by the Malay-sian police

Court of Appeal allows MACC to quiz after office hours

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 17 — The Court of Appeal today ruled that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can interrogate witnesses beyond office hours.

The decision of the three-man Bench, comprising Justices Hasan Lah, Ahmad Maarop and Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad, was unanimous.

Once again, the High Court has been overruled by the Court of Appeal, in a case brought by the opposition against the establishment.

The MACC had lost the case last month when the High Court ruled that Kajang town councillor Tan Boon Wah had been illegally detained for questioning overnight at its head office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam on July 15.

High Court judge Mohd Ariff Mohd Yusof had ruled on Nov 21 that the phrase “day to day”, which was at the core of the dispute between Tan and the MACC, cannot mean “round the clock” investigation which includes recording statements from the witness.

Mohd Ariff then applied the dictionary meaning to the phrase and said it should be confined to office hours, which are between 8.30am and 5.300pm.

“We are of the view that Section 30(3)(a) of the MACC Act comprises two points as submitted by counsel,” Hasan observed when he read out the judgment, which disagreed with the High Court ruling.

“There is nothing in the provision to say that ‘day to day’ is restricted to normal working hours,” he noted.

But the three-men bench failed to define what the term should mean, a point which lawyer Karpal Singh, acting for Tan, pounced on.

“The Court of Appeal did not say what ‘day to day’ means. We are still in doubt,” Karpal told reporters later.

“Are they saying it’s round the clock? If it’s round the clock, it will lead to serious complications,” he added, and pointed that the administration of justice will be compromised.

“Because the nature of evidence taken from someone woken up in the middle of the night is of very low quality.

“Evidence must be given when witnesses are alert, otherwise, MACC officers can drag you out of bed,” the DAP leader quipped.

The 69-year-old stressed that “even suspects in a crime are given more protection than witnesses” under lock-up rules, which require suspects to stay in their cells between 6.30pm and 6.30am.

“In the meantime, I would advise MACC officers to be careful in their investigations by not getting witnesses to testify in the middle of the night,” he warned.

Tan was taken in about 9pm on July 15, the same day as political aide Teoh Beng Hock, who was later found dead on a 5th-floor landing outside the MACC office and whose death is currently the subject of an on-going inquest.

Tan was questioned until about 2am and went home the next day at lunch time.

Earlier, lawyer from the Attorney General’s Chambers, Amarjeet Singh, argued that the anti-graft body’s power to combat corruption had been boosted through the MACC Act, passed by Parliament last year and which take effect this year.

The new laws also do not restrict the MACC to carrying out its work within a specific time frame, Amarjeet said.

“Investigations take paramount consideration,” he stressed.

The federal counsel also said it was unreasonable to expect the MACC to stop investigations after dark because crime happened all the time.

“If an offence occurs at night and someone comes to report, do we say ‘Hold on. Come back at 8.30am the next day?’” Amarjeet quizzed.

Even if the term “day to day” did not mean “round the clock” as the High Court had claimed, it should not apply to the first appointment set by the MACC, Amarjeet claimed.

Tan had been subpoenaed by the MACC to show himself at the head office by a certain time, Amarjeet said. If he ignored that subpoena, Tan could have been jailed.

Amarjeet said the High Court had mistakenly applied the term to the entire investigation starting from the first appointment instead of subsequent meetings and asked the appeals court to reject the High Court’s judgment.

Karpal repeated his previous analogy that lock-up rules protect suspects in an investigation and commonsense should imply that witnesses receive similar protection under the law.

The senior lawyer, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, also argued that the commision had not acted in “good faith”, a crucial element to promote its own purpose, which is to better fight corruption.

He mocked today’s decision for showing that “witnesses have no right to rest.”

Karpal told reporters he will appeal against today’s decision, which he stressed, was of public interest.

He added he will file for leave to stay today’s decision at the Federal Court on Monday because tomorrow is a public holiday.

He hopes the top court will give an early date to settle the debate over the meaning of the phrase “day to day”.

'Utusan' man suspends column

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Utusan Malaysia assistant chief editor Zaini Hassan has tentatively stopped his weekly "Cuit" column following three police reports lodged against him and the Malay daily.

Zaini, through his column last week, was alleged to have written a racist article entitled "India di India, India di Malaysia" (Indians in India, Indians in Malaysia) that could stoke racial tension in the country.

Zaini's space in Utusan Malaysia yesterday only carried an announcement on him going "on strike" and the details of the police reports against him.

A caricature of Zaini sitting in front of a computer with his hands and legs tied and his mouth sealed with plasters was drawn on the right side of the column.

The word tutup (shut down) was also pasted on the computer monitor.

The column stated that the first police report was lodged on Dec 10 at Sentul police station by MIC youth member T. Padmanathan.

Padmanathan, in his report, claimed that the daily had "crossed the line" in press freedom and the statement could cause disharmony, affect the Malaysian Indians' reputation and create dissatisfaction among the community in the country.

He said based on the article, Zaini could have referred to one of the members of parliament, but Zaini had abused his freedom as a writer as the article could spark off racial tension.

Two more police reports against Zaini and Utusan Malaysia were lodged in Perak and Klang.

A copy of the daily was also burnt in Klang.

Rising prices, stagnant incomes put squeeze on middle class

A shopper walks past a ‘sale’ sign at a shopping mall in Putrajaya. People are feeling the pinch of inflation that has outpaced the rise in income levels. — Reuters pic

By Lee Wei Lian

PETALING JAYA, Dec 17 — As a working professional who enjoys eating out James Yip noticed the charges on his bills have crept up significantly within the last year.

He says that a dinner for two at his favourite outlets used to cost him about RM30 for two but that has risen to RM50 or RM60 now.

Yip, a senior consultant attached to a top US multinational, also noticed his grocery bills creeping up from RM30 to RM50 per week for him and his wife and this has led to him opting for cheaper brands than what he would normally buy.

Malaysians like Yip are feeling pressured by seemingly runaway inflation that has outpaced the rise in income levels, resulting in a cut in living standards.

For people like him, reports that inflation is on the downtrend and will only be between 1 and 2 per cent for the year are met with disbelief.

"I don't think it is accurate," he told The Malaysian Insider.

While the financial stress has been bearable so far, some say that if the trend continues, it could become a major problem.

"People are just coping with it at the moment," said Yip.

Income levels in Malaysia, which is struggling to move up the economic value chain, have remained little changed in the last 30 years. An engineer starting work today would earn perhaps only slightly more than his or her counterpart in the 1980s.

The same is not true for the cost of goods and services, however.

The ringgit, once almost on par with the Singapore dollar, has been devalued drastically since the 1980s and has impacted purchasing power and made imported items essential for modern-day living such as computers and handphones less affordable.

Meanwhile, the cost of real estate, especially in urban areas, has spiralled upwards, making home ownership more difficult.

Years of underinvestment in agriculture and public transport have caused the import of agricultural products to become a factor in food prices and also left many Malaysians with little choice but to purchase cars by taking out hefty loans with tenures up to nine years long.

The middle class is in the situation of being neither rich enough to brush off the rapid increase in prices nor poor enough to benefit from financial allocations such as RM100 million in free shares as recently announced by the government for the urban poor.

Upper-income Malaysians continue to do well as attested by several sold out high-end property launches and openings of fancy restaurants serving menu items such as RM249 per pax champagne brunches and the number of new luxury cars appearing on the roads.

Some middle-class Malaysians have been able to maintain a decent lifestyle in urban areas despite high prices as they rely on bank loans and credit cards.

"A lot of people are living on credit," says Andy Hong, a marketing manager with a leading local tech firm. "Many will be in debt their whole life. We end up working for the bank."

David Lam, a senior manager with a foreign bank, says that he noticed that the prices of goods have increased this year but without a corresponding increase in income.

"If the issue is not resolved now, it will be a concern," he says.

There is some relief in the form of lower interest rates which lessens the burden for those who have taken housing loans and the government's proposed RM1,000 increase in personal income tax relief next year.

The lower interest rates, however, could hit those who rely on fixed deposits.

Some economists have predicted economic growth for Malaysia next year but many still feel vulnerable with news of Dubai's debt woes, high jobless rates in the US and Japan's worse than expected third quarter economic growth adding to their worries.

"There is still uncertainty about the economic climate," says Yip.

One issue affecting taxpayers, especially those that fall into the middle- and lower-income groups, is the quality of public services.

Some developed countries do impose a high income tax rate but offer in return quality and comprehensive public services such as top-notch infrastructure, public healthcare and education institutions.

Zamri Ramlan, a financial services executive, says he feels he is not getting his money's worth in taxes that is being deducted from his paycheque each month.

"The taxes I have paid this year are substantial. I want to see quality public services provided in return," he said.

Yip, meanwhile, has decided to simply eat out at restaurants less.

"Instead, I go to the mamak shops more," he said.

Remembering Malaysia's Velvet Revolution of 2008

http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/2009/12/change-colonialism-education-speech-to.html
email: republic.virtue@gmail.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The new regime needs to bring abusers of power to justice. The universities need to be freed, the education system need to be radically improved, good healthcare plans made affordable, the Mat Rempit and Along stopped, cultural pride restored through schooling that improves higher-order thinking skills, poverty eliminated, and the independence of the judiciary restored.

A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE

Azly Rahman

(written in March 2008)

“If we've lost, we've lost" - Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, at post-election press conference, March 9 2008

Kesilapan besar Abdullah antaranya walaupun beliau mempunyai anggota Majlis Tertinggi Umno dan Kabinet sebagai penasihat utamanya, namun beliau tidak mengambil pandangan mereka kerana dilaporkan beliau pernah berkata ‘I trust the young one’. - Harakah Daily.Net, March 9, 2008

(To the question: Has Umno become irrelevant?) For the moment, yes. It's not always so. If Umno serves the country well, and looks after all the different races, then Umno will be relevant again. - Dr Mahathir Mohamad, March 9, 2008

Malaysia's 12th general election must now be a possible topic of a hundred PhD dissertations. It is about a revolution in a country trapped in the excesses of hypermodernity. The revolution was aided by the power of cybernetics and the daulat of the rakyat.

It was fuelled by the ruling regime's abuse of the ideological state apparatuses. It was also a rude awakening for a leader snoozing in Sleepy Hollow. While he slept, the rakyat engineered a usurpation - a quiet and unique revolution.

This was the ethnogenesis (birth of a new culture) of hopefully a more sober and sensible Malaysia ready to work together regardless of race, colour, creed, national origin.

There is a lot of work to be done in the area of social justice, education for multi-culturalism, and development for the people, by the people, for the people.

A lot of people must also be brought to justice - those who have been for decades protected by a corrupt regime. We have seen much violation of human rights. We have seen many who voiced their opinion on matters of social justice and freedom thrown into jail and detained without trial.

We have seen, especially during the Abdullah administration, the rise of Malay politicians whose leit motif has been arrogance and perpetuation of dangerous divisive politics.

Back to the Malaysian Revolution of 2008. It was like the storming of the Bastille in France. Malaysians saw the fall of the four states and the rise of a new 'cybernetic' fourth estate. The broadcast media of the old regime gave way to the new, subaltern media of the revolutionary forces. There was no need to storm and take over Angkasapuri.

Revolutionary ideals and notions of social justice were disseminated fast, far, and wide through the Internet. Bloggers, columnists, members of MUD (Multiuser Domains), street artists, intellectuals, social activists, and the man and woman on the street were the revolutionary soldiers.

The hegemony of the ruling party has made many skeptical of the same miraculous win as in 2004. ‘Materials, machinery, and media’, as the eminent anthropologist turned politician Syed Husin Ali would say, 'are the foundation of authoritarianism and hegemony'.

I would add that the mind of Malaysians has quietly processed what constitutes truth and justice. Silently the revolution got underway; a revolution of the mind aided by digital communication technologies spearheaded by bloggers who evolved into ‘blogo-ticians’.

Newer paradigm

Any progressive change is exciting, as long as the revolution is a peaceful one that works towards eradication of poverty, improving the intellectual climate of universities, and true religious and racial harmony.

The people of Penang, Kedah, Perak, and Selangor will now shift to a new paradigm. Tanjung II is now a reality, and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang's dream has come true.

Universiti Utara Malaysia in Kedah will need to be in smart partnership and make intellectual adjustments to a new paradigm. The university faculty will need to read The Blue Ocean Strategy to exist in harmony with the new ruling party. Any effort to free universities from the shackles of political domination is good.

Selangor, the advanced state, will move a new level of sophistication but one founded upon sustainable development that meets the needs of people. The same goes for the paradigm of development in Perak.

Kelantan's prayers against a takeover by Barisan Nasional (BN) was answered. Some say that truth and justice will always be allies of the righteous.

Full credit goes to Malaysians from all walks of life. They are the real winners and they are not to be betrayed. Their children need a better life, through education as a means for social, economic, moral, ethical, and intellectual progress. They are much more intelligent now, after 50 years of independence.

Why did the BN fail? Take your pick:

• Massive corruption
• Rampant abuse of power
• Rise of arrogant leaders
• Lies and deceit by the Election Commission
• Racism
• Inability to engineer equitable
and sustainable development programmes
• Cronyism and nepotism
• Creation of an alienated generation
• Conspicuous consumption
• Failure to control rising prices
• Rampant abuse of the Ideological State apparatus
• Inefficient management of resources
• Blatant disregard of human rights
• Suppression of the rights of the individual
• Exploitation of the dangerous concept of
ketuanan Melayu
• Protection of corrupt leaders

The next step for the four new states is to phase out the vestiges of the old regime and to document what did not work. How did the process of underdevelopment of the rakyat happen in those decades? Documents need to be secured and analysed to prove what went wrong and how we must move forward based on the principles of total accountability.

Each state run by the new order of governance must showcase what an ethical system looks like and how the creativity and problem-solving skills of the rakyat ought to be developed. This will teach us what development based on needs means, instead of one based on greed and conspicuous consumption. The latter has destroyed this nation.

The new regime needs to bring abusers of power to justice. The universities need to be freed, the education system need to be radically improved, good healthcare plans made affordable, the Mat Rempit and Along stopped, cultural pride restored through schooling that improves higher-order thinking skills, poverty eliminated, and the independence of the judiciary restored.

The party's over but the revolution continues. Malaysians must make Malaysian Malaysia a reality.

This revolution is made possible by the daulat of the rakyat - the Makkal Sakti of Malaysia's Radical Marhaenism, conceived by many Shao Lin masters and one whose zeal was transmitted through cyberspace!

OUR USUAL REMINDER, FOLKS:
While the opinion in the article is mine,
the comments are yours;
present them rationally and ethically.
AND -- ABOLISH THE ISA -- NOW!

Reaching common ground

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com


PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul
Hadi Awang, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng

PAKATAN Rakyat (PR)'s common policy to be unveiled this Saturday on 19 Dec 2009 appears to have reached some compromise on the divisive issue of PAS's goal for an Islamic state.

Clearly, PAS still upholds this goal, while DAP is against it and so, the matter will apparently not be addressed using those specific words, party sources said.

Rather, PR's common stand on Malaysia's status is to be interpreted in line with the Federal Constitution, while also rejecting discriminatory laws and policies based on race or religion.

"The fact that we stand by the constitution, yet are anti-discrimination, should point to a certain understanding of how PR views the Islamic state issue. We are not going to be caught in a labelling game," says a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader who requested anonymity because tri-party talks on the policy are still ongoing.

The Nut Graph spoke to a few representatives from the three PR parties for details of the common policy, but they declined to be named.

 Logo of PR's first convention
Logo of PR's first convention

Others like DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke explains that the three parties had made a pact not to divulge details on the common policy before it is presented to the 1,500 PR delegates at Saturday's convention. Each party will send 500 delegates.

Addressing political Islam

Until the final wording is revealed at Saturday's convention, the coalition's deliberately vague stance on whether Malaysia is Islamic or secular does not sound much different from Barisan Nasional (BN)'s. An Islamic state is also not a common goal in the ruling coalition, and hence does not find a place in the BN policy.

But PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad is confident that PR's articulation of this issue will be the "best, most inclusive ever on the position of Islam while other religions are given their due".

He tells The Nut Graph that this position on political Islam was achieved through "understanding about PAS's situation" and the party's need to retain its Islamist goal because of decreased support from Malay Malaysians. Results from by-elections held in 2009 have shown that PAS candidates won on the back of non-Malay Malaysian votes, while its share of the Malay vote fell behind Umno's.

"PAS, too, has come a long way in accepting that an Islamic state is not a goal shared by others. There are many other areas we can work together [on]," Dzulkefly adds.

Other PR leaders argue that it is more important for the follow-up mechanisms to prove that there is no supremacy of one race or religion, regardless the label used to describe Malaysia.

"The common policy will reject discrimination in whatever form and there are a lot of human rights elements in the draft.

"We realise that the public are concerned about issues like conversions and syariah whipping. We have resolved that those things need to be addressed, and we have resolved to look into mechanisms after the convention. The process will continue even after the convention," says the PKR source.

Coalition vs individual


How will PKR justify Zulkifli
Noordin's stance?
With a common policy soon to be in place, what then of controversial coalition members like PKR's Kulim-Bandar Baru Member of Parliament Zulkifli Noordin? How will PKR, as a party to the common policy, justify this errant member's stance?

Zulkifli has consistently submitted private motions in Parliament to Islamise the country and put syariah above civil law. His repeated attempts at each parliamentary sitting recently prompted Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn to ask DAP and PKR leaders to state clearly whether they supported Zulkifli.

The PKR leadership has not displayed any intention of disciplining its members who don't toe the policy line. Even de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that errant party members should quit was not apparently directed at Zulkifli, who had a spat with party vice-president R Sivarasa after Sivarasa interpreted it as such.

It may be that the leadership fears the threat of defection, or loss of support by voters who favour Zulkifli. Often, PKR leaders when faced with questions about Zulkifli, have defended the party's inaction by saying that free speech and dissent are allowed in the name of democracy.

The common policy will help PR, however, by distinguishing the coalition's common stand from Zulkifli's individual position, some PKR leaders believe.

"If tomorrow he says something out of line, we have the common policy to show that the coalition's stand is different from his," the PKR source said.

Sticking point

As things have turned out from the talks, the matter of bringing back local elections is instead the sticking point in the PR's common policy. Concerns raised are primarily over ethnic representation according to population; mechanisms to ensure participation by women, disabled and civil society candidates; and whether some local council posts can be elected while others appointed.


Loke
Loke, who is a DAP representative in the inter-party talks on the common policy, said some points in the common policy drafted by Datuk Zaid Ibrahim have been maintained, while others amended.

The lengthy document covers a wide scope of issues PR will declare a common stand on. Apart from religion, these include language, democratisation, parliamentary reform, gender equality education, repealing of draconian laws, privatisation and the economy.

The convention and the common policy are among PR's efforts to formalise itself as a coalition.

PR parties will continue fine-tuning the draft of the common policy till just before Saturday. The final version will be the product of input and numerous rounds of discussion by each party's grassroots and leaders at branch and division levels.

"In the 21 months that Pakatan has been together, we have come to forge a broad understanding and sharing of values that have helped in forming this common policy. This is essentially what we are offering to the rakyat as an alternative government," says Dzulkefly.

Adds the PKR leader: "Once this commitment is endorsed and announced, then people can hold it against us and make sure we take it further."

Much is already at stake for PR which has suffered a dip in public confidence after internal spats and governance issues in Penang and Selangor. Just how committed and how much in common the parties have will be in the details unveiled this Saturday.

Rakyat Wajib Bersatu Menentang GST

Dari Erapakatan

Oleh Roziyah Mahamad

Rakyat Malaysia disaran menentang Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) yang nyata terang-terangan menindas rakyat. Hal ini ditegaskan oleh ketua penerangan PAS Melaka, Sofi Wahab dalam kenyataan akhbarnya hari ini.

Menurut beliau, rakyat tidak kira apa ideology, agama, bangsa dan budaya harus bersatu dalam menyatakan bantahan dan menggesa Kerajaan Pusat menghentikan usaha mereka untuk memperkenalkan GST ini.

“Orang Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS,PKR dan apa jua parti sekalipun akan terpalit dan sama-sama menanggung beban dan risiko jika GST ini diluluskan di Dewan Rakyat,” jelas Sofi.

Beliau yang juga ADUN PAS Bukit Katil pasti GST ini akan membebankan rakyat walaupun kerajaan telah membuat pelbagai janji manis. Kerajaan menabur janji yang rakyat tidak akan terbeban dengan GST ini sekiranya ia dilaksanakan kelak.

“Memang benar kerajaan BN yang memerintah kita pada hari tidak berhati perut dan tiada belas kasihan kepada rakyat. Pada saat dan ketika rakyat dihimpit dengan kesusahan dan penderitaan akibat kenaikan kos sara hidup tergamak mereka menambahkan lagi penderitaan tersebut,” jelas Sofi lagi.

Beliau sebagai berkata, sehingga kini Kerajaan Pusat masih gagal memberi alas an yang kukuh mengapa GST ini perlu dilaksanakan. Kebanyakkan pemerhati politik beranggapan bahawa kerajaan BN sudah kesempitan wang sehingga terpaksa memperkenalkan akta ini untuk ‘merompak’ duit rakyat secara terhormat tanpa memikirkan penderitaan rakyat.

Kerajaan sebelum ini bercadang untuk melaksanakan GST pada kadar 4 peratus dan pengecualian diberikan bagi barangan keperluan. Antara barangan keperluan tersebut termasuklah beras, sayuran, tepung dan gula.

“Persoalannya adakah rakyat hanya makan beras, sayuran, tepung dan gula sahaja, bagaimana dengan barangan keperluan harian lain, sudah tentu ia akan naik harga. Begitu juga dengan perkhidmatan, sudah tentu caj perkhidmatan tertentu akan naik dan membebankan rakyat,” tegas Sofi.

Terdahulu, Menteri Kewangan Kedua, Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah telah membentangkan rang undang-undang di Dewan Rakyat. Bacaan kedua dan seterusnya akan dilakukan Mac 2010.

Husni berkata kerajaan berhasrat untuk melaksanakan GST pada pertengahan 2011, untuk memberi masa yang mencukupi kepada semua pihak untuk bersedia sebelum dilaksanakan.

Why not a single Minister from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, Sabah and Sarawak dare to be as outspoken as Nazri to speak out against racism as well as BTN

By Lim Kit Siang

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz is proving to be a political leader of surprises, not only with his bold and courageous denunciation of Biro Tata Negara (BTN) divisive, racist and seditious indoctrination course but in speaking out forthrightly against Utusan Malaysia’s unadulterated racism.

Condemning Utusan Malaysia for its “outdated” racist propaganda, Nazri said the Umno-owned newspaper must accept that Malaysia is a multi-racial country.

It is a tragic and terrible commentary on the success of the nation-building process that 52 years after nationhood, a national daily which is owned by UMNO, the party in power in the past five decades, has refused to accept that Malaysia is a multi-racial country and continue to call Chinese as immigrants and Indians with derogatory terms like “keling”.

With such racist mindset and mentality in the corridors of power, Najib’s 1Malaysia concept and policy has no meaning whatsoever, and it is no wonder that the public preview of the 1Malaysia programme for the seven National Key Results Area (NKRA) initiatives today has to be put off.

Food for thought for all Malaysians is why 52 years after Merdeka, Nazri’s outspoken defence of multi-racialism against racism is such a rarity among the present generation of UMNO Ministers and leaders.

Is this because of the communal poison from the divisive, racist and seditious BTN indoctrination courses over the decades?

An equally important question is why there is not a single Minister from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, Sabah and Sarawak who dare to be as outspoken as Nazri to speak out against racism as well as BTN and Utusan Malaysia’s racist outpourings which subverts the very basis of a multi-racial Malaysian nation?

500,000 Eligible Voters In Perak Not Registered

IPOH, Dec 16 (Bernama) -- About 500,000 out of the 2.37 million eligible voters in Perak have not registered with the Election Commission (EC) as at April this year.

Perak EC director Ahmad Adli Abdullah said many of them were still unaware that they could register as voters and could change their addresses at the post-offices.

"They don't have to return to their hometown to discharge their duties as responsible voters if they have moved to other places," he told reporters after presenting the EC promotional banners to Pos Malaysia, here on Wednesday.

He said those who were above the age of 21 and eligible to vote should register as voters to fulfill their responsibilities for the country.

"It is sad when the level of public awareness on the importance of voting is still low because one vote can make a big difference in any election," he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Pos Malaysia general manager Mohd Azizi Mohd Sanusi said Pos Malaysia had always wanted to assist the government in fulfilling its social responsibility.

"Today, for example, Perak Pos Malaysia will help the EC to achieve its objective by offering voters' registration service at 84 post offices statewide," he added.

The truth shall set us free

My Sinchew

The recent spat between former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz is surely the biggest miracle since the 8 March general elections last year.

The two UMNO stalwarts have, in the wake of their bitter battle, left exposed the plain truth about our politics and policies which have for so long been falsely glossed over as being blind to race.

There were no winners in this battle. The sad fact of the matter is that they were both correct in their respective statements. Dr. Mahathir's statement that UMNO is a racist party because no other race can join is bang on the money.

It is in line with one of the many definitions of racism and as close as one will get to the truth about Malaysian politics which is built on foundations of racism.

One of the simplest definitions of racism is prejudice or discrimination based on race. The three so-called leading parties in Government are all race based and in this regard exclusive instead of inclusive and therefore they are racist based on the above definition.

This brings us to the fact that a system of government which subscribes to this "separate but one" style of governing can only offer false hope. In this connection, individual race based parties cannot effectively lead all of us under the 1Malaysia banner because they are each sworn to ensure the triumph of their own people.

What we really have therefore is a government based on compromise where a give and take approach is practiced.

While giving and taking is acceptable where it concerns minor matters, it is quite unacceptable in matters relating to the fundamental guarantees such as equality and rights in respect of education and property.

These are the inalienable rights guaranteed by our Constitution to each citizen and they can never be subject to a give and take approach via policies such as the NEP. Where the fundamental guarantees are concerned, the only policies that work are need based policies which are open to all and blind to race.

Speaking of policies, Nazri's admission that the National Civics Bureau programme or BTN needs a revamp because it concentrates on Malay supremacy was a long time coming and provides validation to critics who argue that this country is infected with divisive racist policies.

The next step is to look into every area from university admissions to the awarding of government contracts and expose all the policies that favour one race over another.

Whatever the reasons behind it, the candidness from Nazri and Dr. Mahathir must be lauded. They may have been fighting but how refreshing it is that the truth has come out.

Let us hope that this sudden generosity towards speaking the truth and recognising racist elements within our country does not abate. The people demand for more of the same from the rest of our politicians.

On that note, could someone from Government please stand up and admit that this country needs the UMNO owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia as much as it needs a knife in the back or a hole in the head?

The latest incident involves Utusan Malaysia author Zaini Hassan who penned an article titled Tales of Indians in India and Indians in Malaysia. His observations about Indians in Malaysia were downright rude and racist.

To illustrate this effectively, I have translated selected bits of his article which appeared last Wednesday below.

"In Malaysia, only the smart Indians always make noise. They control the Bar Council and now there are many of them in Parliament, not representing the MIC, but representing the DAP and PKR... Never mind. The Malays are not like the Indians, although there are Malays with 'keling' blood, but the soft Malay blood in them is more overwhelming."

The Malays are not like Indians because the Malay blood is softer than the keling blood. Wow. I'll just let that sink in without saying more.

This Hitler-esque observation deserves the strongest condemnation from every member of the Government.

Either that or UMNO can continue to mollycoddle this newspaper and get blown away at the next General Election by its own gun because the Utusan Malaysia is currently the most objectionable of all the Government linked political machineries.

The real danger about articles like this from Utusan Malaysia is that it has the potential to stir up the more radical quarters among the Malays such as the infamous "cow-head protesters" into committing further irresponsible acts which serve only to destroy race relations in the country.

So to the rest of the members of Government, please follow the fine examples of Nazri and Dr. Mahathir.

Feud if you must but at the same time go ahead and speak the truth and decry the shackles of racism and divisiveness which bind this country. For the truth will set this country free. (By DAVID D. MATHEW/MySinchew)

Akhirnya tak basah tunggu Bas...

By Chegubard
Selvaraju Sadasivam, antara 'pemimpin' penduduk setempat menyatakan inilah kali pertama penduduk ditunaikan janji oleh orang politik. Beliau mengatakan beliau sendiri sudah tidak percaya orang politik kerana sememangnya penduduk taman sudah banyak kali dijanjikan macam - macam oleh orang politik tetapi semua tipu. Orang politik selama ini hanya masuk kawasan dan ambil gambar tetapi semuanya tipu..... Akhirnya beliau menjadi ahli KEADILAN petang itu kerana kepercayaan yang tinggi dengan KEADILAN

"Kami sudah minta 'hentian bas' , lampu jalan......dari sejak Ghani Hasan (Adik Mohamad Hassan) jadi ADUN Rantau.... waktu pilihanraya 2004 Bn masuk kawasan ini janji macam macam.... kami undi Bn sebab percaya... Maka ADUN Rantau, Mohamad pun jadi MB... tetapi semua tipu sama macam adiknya juga... 2008 penduduk pecah dua separuh undi Bn separuh Undi KEADILAN... kali ini PRU akan datang saya rasa satu undi pun Bn susah dapat !! " Batumalai, Pengerusi Kuil Munaeswara Alayam, Kuala Sawah, Rantau

Sudah setahun rasanya Pusat Khidmat Rakyat KEADILAN Rembau mendapat aduan dari penduduk Taman Bunga Raya, Rantau (DUN Menteri Besar N.Sembilan) mengenai beberapa perkara seperti memohon lampu jalan dan hentian bas.

Kawasan taman yang di diami agak sedikit 'terkedalam' menyebabkan keadaan juga agak tidak selamat. Ini ditambah dengan langsung tidak ada lampu jalan akan menjadi undangan secara tidak langsung kegiatan jenayah. Sudah beberapa kali ragut dan gangguan seksual berlaku terhadap warga taman tersebut yang pulang bekerja waktu malam.

Hentian bas di hadapan taman tersebut menjadi satu - satunya tempat di mana anak sekolah dan pekerja kilang menunggu bas. Mereka keluar subuh untuk tunggu bas, bayangkan jika hari hujan subuh itu mereka pasti basah dan berada di sekolah dalam keadaan tidak selesa.

Sudah beberapa kali sebelum berjumpa dengan KEADILAN masalah tersebut di adukan kepada wakil kepada MB malah kepada MB sendiri malangnya ada satu ketika penduduk yang dimarahi kerana kononya meminta dengan melampau.

Sejak mendapat aduan dari penduduk KEADILAN telah menghantar beberapa surat kepada beberapa agensi terbabit. Malah wakil KEADILAN juga telah hadir mendesak lampu jalan dan hentian bas dibina.

Alhamdunillah dua bulan lepas 2 lampu jalan telah dipasang. Walaupun melalui maklumat yang diperolehi 3 lampu harus dipasang dan sudah mendapat kelulusan namun hanya dua 'dibenarkan oleh tangan ghaib' kerana kononya kerana tak boleh pasang kesemua 3 yang diluluskan kerana ia permintaan 'pembangkang'...

Namun mengenai hentian bas, che'GuBard sendiri sudah sekali meninjau bagaimana anak sekolah terpaksa menunggu bas dalam keadaan hujan. Tidak tahan melihat perkara tersebut, maka KEADILAN Rembau telah mengusahakan pembinaan 'Bus Stop Rakyat' yang dibina secara gotong royong.

Perbelanjaan berjumlah RM 815.00 di keluarkan dan RM 190 dari perbelanjaan tersebut adalah kutipan dari semua penduduk terbabit untuk menunjukkan rasa kerjasama.

Ketika majlis ringkas penyerahan 'Bus Stop Rakyat' jam 5 petang,9 Disember 2009 dilihat wakil dari Bn...berlegar - legar ambil gambar dan maklumat..... apalah 'kaudunya' hati kamu ini orang Bn .... ?

Kami anak muda yang menerajui KEADILAN Rembau tak ada peruntukan ratus juta wang rakyat dari peruntukan DUN atau Parlimen atau memiliki saham besar tetapi kami janji akan terus berjuang melawan demi rakyat !!!

Shroud from Jesus' era found, researchers say

Shimon Gibson, the excavation director, describes the weave of the cloth as a simple one. The tomb's location and style of wrappings indicate the shrouded man was affluent, researchers say.
The shroud was found in a tomb complex on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Shimon Gibson, the excavation director, describes the weave of the cloth as a simple one.

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Researchers said Wednesday for the first time they have found what they believe to be pieces of a burial shroud from the time of Jesus.

The find is of importance because tests on the shroud and the body it wrapped revealed the earliest proven case of leprosy in the Old City of Jerusalem.

And in addition, the weave of the shroud raises fresh doubts about the Shroud of Turin, which many people believe was used to wrap the body of Jesus.

According to researchers involved in the excavation and subsequent testing, the recently discovered shroud lends more credible evidence that the Shroud of Turin does not date to Roman times when Jesus died but from a later period.

The latest shroud was found in a tomb complex on the edge of the Old City of Jerusalem.

"This is the first time that we have a shroud from the time of Jesus," said Shimon Gibson, the excavation director.

He called such a find in the Jerusalem area unique because the high humidity levels in the city do not normally allow for the preservation of organic material.

Gibson said the remains of the man covered in the cloth consisted of different wrappings for the body and the head, which was consistent with burial practices of the era. He also said research had shown that the weave of the cloth was a simple one, much different from the more complex Shroud of Turin's.

The origin of the Shroud of Turin, a burial cloth that some believe bears the image of Jesus, is a source of great controversy, with many academics arguing it dates from the Middle Ages and not the time of Jesus.

The burial cave, which has been dubbed the Tomb of the Shroud, was first uncovered in 2000 and was one of more than 70 separate family tombs of the first century. It is in a location described in the Bible as the "Field of Blood," next to the area where Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, is said to have committed suicide.

Based on the tomb's location and the style of the shroud wrappings, researchers have said the shrouded man was an affluent member of Jerusalem society.

Because of the unique nature of the find, the remains of the shroud and the bodily remains were subject to molecular and DNA testing. Researchers said they were surprised to find that the shrouded man suffered from both leprosy and tuberculosis.

The discovery of leprosy was found in DNA samples taken from the skeletal remains and is the earliest proven case of the disease, according to Hebrew University professor Mark Spigelman.

It is likely the shrouded man died from tuberculosis, Spigelman said, and its presence in other remains found at the site suggest "the significant impact social diseases such as tuberculosis had on society from the low socioeconomic groups up to the more affluent families, such as Tomb the Shroud in first-century Jerusalem."

Nik Aziz: No one queried Ariffahmi appointment

PKR, MIC, IPF and UMNO cheat Sentul Indian squatters again – delay demolishment by one week.

The last Indian settlement in Sentul will be wiped out in one weeks time. It will not be preserved. This is the best favour UMNO in collaboration with PKR, MIC and IPF get to do for the Indians. Simply because they are politically and economically weak and coupled with a racist, religious extremist and supremacist UMNO which now has had a spill over effect even on PKR, DAP and PAS who abandon even the most critical Indian issues. (Star metro 16/12/2009 at page M 6)

www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com

pkrrr

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SPM 12 subjects : UMNO pushes to powerless MIC mandore cabinet minister.


But this mandore MIC Minister has no powers to solve this problem. To start off with he is not the Education Minister. But then why push the buck to him This UMNOs’ strategy is so that the Indians would vent their anger on this MIC mandor when the “goods are not delivered’ while UMNO gets away scot free as they have been getting away for over the last 52 years.

Editor.

subra

ssubramaniam

PAS Kedah MB uses PKR Indian Exco Mandore to demolish hindu crematorium in Kuala Ketil, Kedah.


PAS, PKR and DAP are not very much different from the previous 50 year UMNO regime? UMNO had used their MIC mandores to oppress, suppress, marginalise and exclude the Indians from the national mainstream development of Malaysia. And now PAS, PKR and DAP are following suit.

This PKR Indian Exco Mandore (like the previous UMNOs’ MIC mandore) has to cheek to say that this Pekaka estate crematorium is illegal when it has operated for over 100 years.

This PKR Indian Exco mandore or their PAS, PKR or DAP “tuans” should try saying that a muslim or Chinese burial ground is illegal. They will know what will happen! So they pick on the poor and working class Indians who are politically and economically weak as their victims.

Editor.

kedah-1

Police siding PAS Kedah government (in crematorium demolishment)

Police Report

Name : Maniyan Varathan (Raj)

NRIC No: 501118-71-5235

Address : 122, Taman Batu Pekaka, 09300, Kuala Ketil , Kedah

H/P No: 019-4747164

Kuala Ketil Police Report No: Kuala Ketil/001864/09

Police siding PAS Kedah government (in crematorium demolishment)

We have lodged two police reports on 24/11/09 and 10/12/09 that the PAS led Kedah State government together with PKR and DAP are intending to demolish our Batu Pekaka, Kuala Ketil hindu burial site and crematorium. But the police did not take any action or protect this our hindu burial site. Yesterday (15/12/09) the PAS led Kedah state government uprooted a few old trees inside the said burial site compound.

In fact it is a crime further to Section 297 of the Penal Code for trespassing on burial places etc and which is punishable with up to one year jail what more desecrating a burial place.

This morning I was informed by a local MIC leader and the Baling Police Station that the Deputy OCPD of Baling wants to see us, we believe to facilitate the demolishment of this burial site which we do not agree. I was told that the fencing to the burial site would be demolished today. Why are the police not taking any action and siding the PAS state government?

And why did the police not stop the said PAS government? Why hasn’t the police arrested the criminals and the Attorney General not prosecuted the relevant criminals up to date especially when there is no High Court Order authorizing this demolishment. Also when we have written to the Kedah Menteri Besar vide our letter dated 11/12/09 for the preservation of this burial site and for which we are yet to receive a reply.

Why hasn’t there been any police protection for this our hindu burial site. Because the police know that we are a weak community politically and economically?

We now want 24 hours police protection for this our burial site and would also hold the Inspector General of Police responsible for failing to uphold justice law and order if this burial site is demolished.

We have asked for an urgent appointment with this PAS led Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan vide our aforesaid letter. As he has not replied to our letter but has started damaging our burial site we will be going to his office in a delegation and our supporters on Sunday 20/12/09. We hereby ask for police protection.

……………………………..

Maniyan Varathan (Mr. Raj)

(NRIC No: 501118-71-5235

malaysian_police

Temujanji segera dengan YAB pada 20/12/2009 diiringi P. Uthayakumar dan penyokong-penyokong.


Temujanji segera dengan YAB pada 20/12/2009 diiringi P. Uthayakumar dan penyokong-penyokong.

Kami merujuk kepada perkara yang tersebut di atas dan kepada surat kami kepada YAB yang bertarikh 10/12/2009 dan kepada perbualan telefon di antara Setiausaha Sulit YAB En Helmi dan En P. Uthayakumar dari pejabat kami pada hari yang sama.

Kami merasa amat kesal yang kami telah tidak menerima sebarang jawapan dari YAB walaupun perkara ini adalah segera tetapi pada 15/12/2009 beberapa batang pokok telah ditebang di perkarangan kubur tersebut. Dan kami telah diberitahu yang pada hari ini pagar kubur hindu kami ini pula akan dirobohkan dan kubur kami pada bila-bila masa..

Dalam keadaan ini dan memandangkan perkara ini yang sangat segara, pihak kubur hindu Gabungan Persatuan Tamilar Kuala Ketil dengan diiringi oleh P. Uthayakumar dari parti kami juga merangkap Penasihat Undang-undang dan Peguam kami terdesak untuk hadir bersama penyokong- penyokong di pejabat YAB pada 20/12/2009 bersamaan hari Ahad jam 2.00 petang untuk berjumpa dengan sendiri dengan YAB dengan tujuan untuk mengekalkan kubur bersejarah dan warisan masyarakat India di negeri Kedah ini.

Hanya YAB sahaja yang mempunyai kuasa menurut Seksyen 76 Kanun Tanah Negara dan dengan dibaca bersama Seksyen 3 Land Acquisition Act untuk membantu mengekalkan kubur bersejarah dan warisan kami ini. Dalam apa-apa keadaan sekalipun kami meminta supaya Mandore EXCO PKR, mandore S B polis India berpangkat ASP atau mana-mana mandore India yang lain tidak turut serta dalam mesyuarat dengan YAB ini.

Ini adalah olehkerana perjuangan kami turut merangkumi penghapusan sistem mandore oleh PAS, PKR, DAP dan UMNO dan kami sebaliknya mahu berhubung secara terus dengan pihak berkuasa yang mempunyai kuasa dan tidak mandor-mandor mereka.

Sekian,

Terima kasih.

Yang benar,

_________________

P. Uthayakumar

Setiausaha Agong (pro tem)

“Anwar admits racist speech it was done when i was in the government

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MP Gopalakrishnan Fined RM1,000


source: Bernama News
The Malay Mail
Wednesday, December 16th, 2009 16:17:00

hindraf

Gobalakrishnan (centre) holding up the hands of MIC Central Working Committee member K.P. Samy (left) and Puchong PKR chairman S. Murali after being sentenced at the Shah Alam Sessions court today. Pic: Samsul Said

SHAH ALAM: The controversy over the Hindu Rights Action Force(Hindraf) rally that happened at Batu Caves Nov 25 two years ago finally is coming to a closure.

Only nine are still fighting for their innocence after two more out of the 69 Hindraf supporters who were charged for participating in an illegal assembly pleaded guilty today.

The two were B. Varatharaju, 34, a foreman and Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan, 49.

The other 60 have mostly pleaded guilty over the past couple of years; while several others had their charges withdrawn due to reasons such as being minors or deceased.

Sessions Court judge Hasbi Hassan sentenced both to a fine of RM1,000, in default of seven weeks jail for the charge under Section 143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly and taking into consideration offences under Section 149/440 of the Penal Code for damaging seven vehicles and two gates at the Subramaniar temple in the rally.

Lawyer for the accused, G.K. Geneson, had first applied for a lesser sentence in light of them pleading to guilt, a mitigation factor.

"What happened on Nov 25 was an unfortunate incident. The Indian community was voicing their dissatisfaction and this is a manifestation of social ills. However, not for a moment am I saying what was done was not wrong. More than 50 of my clients have pleaded guilty and I beseech the court to give the same sentencing for my two clients today."

Previously, sentences were a RM750 fine for those who pleaded guilty before claiming trial and RM850 for those who later pleaded to guilt.

Prosecuting are DPP Idham Abd Ghani, Hanim Mohd Rashid, Farah Azlina Latif and Devinderjit Kaur Gill.

Gobalakrishnan, who retains his position as the Padang Serai Member of Parliament, was seen smiling and shaking his lawyer's hand when the session ended.

"I pleaded guilty after taking into consideration the previous sentences, I thank the judge for accepting my plea, my lawyer and God.

"I will now spend more time in my constituency. Especially now at this time that the Indian community is lacking political representation," Gobalakrishnan told The Malay Mail.

Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution provides that a person is disqualified from being an MP if he has been convicted of an offence and sentenced to not less than one year's jail or fined not less than RM2,000 and "has not received a free pardon."

PKFZ scandal: Big fish hooked?

(Free Malaysia Today) - SHAH ALAM: A “big fish” is likely to be charged in the Klang Sessions Court today in connection with the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal.

The suspect is either a former cabinet minister or a prominent politician serving as a member of parliament.

However, no one in authority is confirming the widespread speculation.

Some sources say there is a high possibility that another person will be charged along with the VIP.

If one of them is charged today, he or she will be the fifth person brought to court in connection with what opposition politicians have called the “mother of scandals.”

The highest ranking among the four already charged is former Port Klang Authority general manager Datin Paduka Phang Oi Choo @ Phang Ai Tu, 63, better known as O.C. Phang. She is accused of committing criminal breach of trust in payments worth RM254.85 million to the project’s developer.

The others are architect Bernard Tan Seng Swee, 48; Steven Abok, 51, the chief operating officer of Kuala Dimensi, the company appointed to develop the PKFZ project; and Kuala Dimensi engineer Law Jenn Dong, 51.

Tan and Abok face charges of making false claims involving RM5.417 million and Law is accused of cheating PKA of RM116.85 million.

Law and Tan were also jointly charged with with numerous counts of making false claims.

All four have claimed trial and are out on bail. Their cases will be mentioned again in January and February.

In announcing last week that investigations were far from over, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail had told newsmen that more would be charged irrespective of whether they were “big or small fish” and that his office was looking at various offences ranging from money laundering to conspiracy and abetment.

Come on Pakatan Rakyat; wake up please

I want you to make this your New Year Resolution. Come 1 January 2010, make sure you get at least one person to register as a voter -- if you can get more than one to register, even better. Just through your efforts alone we can get at least half those not yet registered to vote to become registered voters.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Half-a-million Perakians yet to register as voters

There are about 500,000 qualified voters in Perak who have yet to register themselves with the Election Commission.

Perak Election Commission director Ahmad Adli Abdullah said the figure consists mostly of those who had just passed the majority age of 21.

”We are using various channels to get the younger generation to register themselves,” he said after a banner presentation ceremony at the Ipoh Post Office here on Wednesday.

”We are also getting politicians to help their constituents to register,” he said, adding that it was the people’s duty as citizens to register themselves to vote.

He noted that there were about 1.2 million registered voters in the state, consisting of about 1.1 million regular voters and about 29,000 postal voters.

Ahmad Adli said the post office was a preferred place for young voters to register.

However, he said many people were still unaware that they could register or change their voting address at post offices throughout the state.

”We will be hiring more staff to man the counters at post offices and would also be going down to the ground into rural areas to urge village heads to help us,” he said.

He said the Commission would also get lists from various government departments to check on their employees’ registration status. – The Star

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

That was what The Star reported today. And this is only for the state of Perak, mind you. What about the other states? All told there are an estimated 4-5 million eligible voters not registered as voters yet.

Take note that Pakatan Rakyat needed only 300,000 more votes to form the federal government in the last general election in March 2008. That’s right, only 300,000 more votes, if you total up the votes from the bottom 30 seats that Barisan Nasional won. If Pakayat Rakyat had garnered those extra 300,000 votes it would have won 112 parliament seats versus Barisan Nasional’s 110 instead of only 82 versus Barisan Nasional’s 130, like what happened last year.

Pakatan Rakyat is good when it comes to ceramahs. But how many times must we remind them that they are preaching to the already converted? They need to preach to the unconverted. And when the unconverted are not even registered voters yet, what good will it do even if you manage to convert them during ceramahs but they will not be voting come the next election?

We have been saying this time and again. Get those millions to register as voters. Then, get them committed to coming out to vote during the elections. As it is, only 70% to 75% of the registered voters come out to vote. And this has been a ‘steady trend’ since Merdeka 52 years ago. This means only half the eligible voters bother to vote. What chance does Pakatan Rakyat have when only half of Malaysians who can vote actually vote?

This should be the top priority for 2010. Pakatan Rakyat must launch a massive voter registration exercise. I know many who bitch, grumble and complain about the government but who have either never voted in their life or are not even registered to vote. You see many of them guzzling beer at the Long Bar in the Selangor Club offering their opinions on what is wrong with the country and what should be done and then go home pissed drunk thinking that they have done their bit for God, King and Country.

We can continue writing in the Blogs and on the Internet about what is wrong with this country and constantly expose the wrongdoings of the government. The politicians can criss-cross the country giving ceramahs to those in the rural areas who have no access to the Internet. But if this effort is not translated into votes then it would be a wasted effort.

The message is getting through. Those in the rural areas who attend ceramahs and the Internet-savvy Malaysians who read Blogs know what is wrong. They understand that changes are necessary and that the only way we will see change is to vote for the right government. But if they will not be voting in the election then what good will that do?

Maybe it is time that the rakyat take matters into their own hands. Maybe it is time that the rakyat launch a voter-get-voter campaign. If every registered voter can convince one family member, neighbour, friend, office colleague, or whatever, to register as a voter, then the four or five million Malaysians who have not yet registered as voters would become registered voters in no time at all.

I want you to make this your New Year Resolution. Come 1 January 2010, make sure you get at least one person to register as a voter -- if you can get more than one to register, even better. Just through your efforts alone we can get at least half those not yet registered to vote to become registered voters.

The game plan should be:

1. Get them to register as voters.

2. Get them to come out to vote on Polling Day.

3. Who they vote for is of course their business and their constitutional right -- but guide them on what they should look for when deciding whom to vote for.

Ultimately, we can only convince them to register as voters and to come out to vote. It is still up to them who they want to vote for. The crucial job thereafter is to turn all these registered voters into INFORMED VOTERS so that when they go to the polling station on Polling Day they will know what is the right thing to do.

And this is where the Blogs, Internet and ceramahs will have to play that role. But even if they do play that role but these ‘convinced people’ will not be voting then we shall see no benefit to all this effort.

My 2010 New Year Resolution: Voter-get-voter campaign. Make that your New Year Resolution as well.

Understanding the Karpal Singh sedition trial

You see, his whole aim is to upset the constitution and turn this country into a republic. His son was in London talking quite openly amongst the students that his father is going to be the first President of Malaya. I heard his daughter was also talking about it here. Apparently she was caught talking about it at a party not knowing that behind her was one of the Tengkus from Negri Sembilan who overheard it. She said that as soon as the constitution amendment is signed, it is finished, we can become a republic.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Karpal Singh is on trial for allegedly making a seditious statement against the Sultan of Perak during a press conference at his office on 6 February this year. The trial adjourned today and will resume in March next year.

What most Malaysians do not understand is what constitutes sedition when it comes to comments about the Rulers. One Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Ghafar Baba, already clarified this back in the 1980s when he said that criticising the Rulers is allowed as long as you do not ask that the Monarchy be abolished in favour of a Republic of Malaysia. Then it would become seditious.

In fact, according to Abu Bakar, the First Caliph of Islam, even chopping off the heads of the Rulers is allowed, let alone just criticising with mere words. And Abu Bakar was supposed to be one of the four ‘Rightly Guided’ Caliphs, rightly guided by God, that is. And are the Malaysian Rulers above the Rightly Guided Caliphs of Islam?

The greatest critic of the Monarchy is Umno and one-time Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It is no secret that Mahathir feels nothing but contempt for the Rulers. Umno knows this. And the Rulers know this as well. But why is it only when the opposition makes comments about the Monarchy -- and mild ones at that too -- it is seditious, but not when Umno or the Prime Minister does the same thing -- and much worse comments on top of that?

To understand the ‘war’ between Unmo and the Rulers that resulted in the Rulers getting dragged through the mud in the 1980s, read the piece below that was published in The Star on 20 April 2008.

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The Mahathir years

In the second segment of Ruling the Rulers (the link to part 1 below), an analysis of the challenges faced by the Malay Rulers over the years, Wide Angle examines the post-Merdeka period.

By Huzir Sulaiman, The Star

THE 1960s, although a tumultuous decade for many other reasons, was relatively quiet in terms of intervention by the Malay Rulers in matters of administration and politics.

The relationship between the Sultans and the Alliance Government was still benefiting from the effort both parties had been obliged to make to find common ground in the run-up to their negotiations with the British in 1956.

(Eventually, the Rulers had been persuaded to drop their opposition to the granting of citizenship to non-Malays born in Malaya, a provision insisted on by the British, championed, naturally, by the MIC and MCA, and accepted by Umno only with a certain amount of trauma.)

But the honeymoon period of the new constitutional monarchy couldn’t last forever.

By 1981, when Dr Mahathir Mohamad succeeded Hussein Onn as Prime Minister of Malaysia, the country was in the giddy throes of a surge in royal activism.

The period from 1977 to 1983 saw several Sultans make their presence felt in the political arena to a far greater degree than had been previously seen.

The close of Hussein Onn’s premiership saw conflicts between several Sultans and Mentris Besar erupt into the open.

In 1977, the Sultan of Kelantan attempted to intervene in a crisis caused by the deteriorating relations between PAS and Umno (then in a short-lived alliance).

The Sultan attempted to postpone the dissolution of the State Assembly following a vote of no confidence in the Mentri Besar, in order that a replacement MB could be found from PAS without elections being called.

Unrest followed, which was ample pretext for the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency in Kelantan. In the subsequent State elections, Umno came to power, a situation that the Sultan had been trying to avoid.

Things were heating up elsewhere, too. In 1977 the Sultan of Perak ostracised his Menteri Besar to the point that he was forced to resign. In 1978, the Sultan of Pahang rejected the Umno nominee for MB and, in 1981, the Sultan of Johor forced his MB to resign after 14 years in office.

We cannot know with any certainty what the new Prime Minister’s attitudes were towards the Malay Rulers when he assumed office in 1981 in the midst of this burgeoning atmosphere of royal assertiveness.

However, in Paradoxes of Mahathirism: An Intellectual Biography of Mahathir Mohamad, Khoo Boo Teik argues that “Mahathir was not necessarily an out and out ‘anti-royalist’. He found heroes in strong modernising sovereigns such as Peter the Great and the Meiji Emperor but his attitude towards the Malay royalty was less admiring.”

Khoo notes that Mahathir’s disdain for the Malay rulers had been expressed in oblique criticism before.

“C.H.E. Det (Mahathir’s pen name in the late 1940s) had cast the 1949 conflict between the Malay royalty and the nascent Umno leadership as a conflict between ‘rulers and rakyats’. Then, C.H.E. Det stood with those who thought that the rulers had either to yield to the wishes of Umno and its supporters or to forfeit the loyalty of the Malays.”

What is almost certain is that Dr Mahathir would have been aware that the independent-minded Sultans of Perak and Johor were the two most likely candidates to become the next Agong in 1984.

Indeed, their Highnesses were shortly to demonstrate their autonomy in ways that led to a measure of public distress.

In 1982, the Sultan of Perak, in his capacity as Head of Religion in his State, looked at the two permissible methods used to calculate the timing of Hari Raya Puasa, and chose the one different from that used in the rest of the country.

That year the fasting month ended a day earlier in Perak, disrupting travel plans and inadvertently making it a rather stressful holiday for the Malay community.

The following year, both the Sultans of Perak and Johor used the alternate method, and their two States celebrated Hari Raya a day earlier than the rest of Malaysia.

Some commentators have suggested that the distress of the “variant Hari Raya” prompted Dr Mahathir’s subsequent desire to concentrate administrative power in the Federal Government.

But R.S. Milne and Diane K. Mauzy, in Malaysian Politics Under Mahathir, citing interviews with Umno ministers, suggest that what became known as the 1983 constitutional crisis “was precipitated by reports, received by Mahathir, that the Sultan of Johor stated at a gathering that when he was elected Agong he would unilaterally declare a state of emergency, and with the aid of the army, throw out all the politicians.”

“Compounding this were stories that the Sultan was close to certain key military men, and that the army chief, General Tan Sri Mohd Zain Hashim, had criticised Mahathir’s approach and had questioned where the army’s loyalty rested.”

Whatever the case may be, on Aug 1, the Government brought the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1983 before both houses of Parliament, and it was quickly passed.

The bill put forward 22 amendments to the Federal Constitution, including three very significant changes to the position of the Malay Rulers.

First, it removed the need for the Agong to give his Royal Assent to a piece of legislation before it could be gazetted as law. Instead, it stipulated that if the Agong did not give his Assent within 15 days, he was deemed to have done so, and the law could come into effect.

Second, it introduced parallel provisions removing the need for a Sultan to give his Assent to State laws.

Third, it transferred the power to declare an Emergency from the Agong (who was, in any case, supposed to act on the advice of Cabinet in this regard) directly to the Prime Minister, who was not obliged to act on anyone’s advice.

The Prime Minister’s Department had ordered a press blackout on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 1983 and, so, while the fact of the bill’s passing was mentioned, its significance was downplayed, and the debate – including an impassioned speech in opposition to it by DAP’s Lim Kit Siang – did not appear in local media.

For the following two months, nothing appeared. But a right royal storm was brewing.

Immediately, the liberal intelligentsia opposed the provision that allowed the Prime Minister to unilaterally declare an Emergency.

On Aug 2, 1983, Aliran issued a statement condemning the Bill, claiming the proposed amendment “opens the way to political abuse. For the Prime Minister is, in the ultimate analysis, a political personality very much involved in the conflicts and compromises of party politics. There is no constitutional mechanism for ensuring that he will not use his emergency powers against his political foes from any quarter.”

“It is simply not possible to prevent an ambitious Prime Minister in the future from emerging as a ‘supremo’ after the proclamation of an emergency.”

But, under the strict press blackout, it was not reported.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the public, the Agong, under pressure from his fellow Rulers, refused to give his Assent to the Bill.

The Rulers maintained that the Bill contravened Article 38(4) of the Constitution, which states that “No law directly affecting the privileges, position, honours or dignities of the Rulers shall be passed without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.”

The Rulers had also come to understand the full legal implications of removing the need for Royal Assent to legislation. It meant that if Parliament voted to abolish the monarchy, the Rulers would be powerless to stop them.

Tensions continued to build behind the scenes. It was only in October, when Senu Abdul Rahman circulated a letter condemning the amendments, followed by Tunku Abdul Rahman defying the gag order by writing about them in the pages of this newspaper (The Star), that Malaysians woke up to the crisis.

There were also disagreements within Umno -- as Gordon P. Means notes in Malaysian Politics: the Second Generation -- many in the ruling coalition were distressed by the contents of the amendments and the confrontational style of Dr Mahathir towards the Malay Rulers.”

Some establishment figures believed the Prime Minister had far-reaching aims. In a 1988 interview transcribed in K. Das & The Tunku Tapes, Tunku Abdul Rahman and the veteran journalist discuss the constitutional crisis.

If one can look past the bitchy, surat layang (poison pen letter) tone of their stories about Dr Mahathir’s children, one can get a snapshot of the groundswell of suspicion.

Tunku: “You see, the Malays have a cause for adat, resam and so on. Tradition, I have a respect for it but he has none. He dislikes it. You see, his whole aim is to upset the constitution and turn this country into a republic. His son was in London talking quite openly amongst the students that his father is going to be the first President of Malaya.”

Das: “I heard his daughter was also talking about it here. Apparently she was caught talking about it at a party not knowing that behind her was one of the Tengkus from Negri Sembilan who overheard it. She said that as soon as the constitution amendment is signed, it is finished, we can become a republic.”

Against this background of suspicion, the 1983 constitutional crisis spilled out into the open, and the conflict grew even more intense.

In the next instalment of Ruling the Rulers, Wide Angle will look at the propaganda war and the resolution of the crisis. And, the other crises that lay in wait for Dr Mahathir and the Malay Rulers.

Huzir Sulaiman writes for theatre, film, television, and newspapers.

Part 1: Ruling the rulers can be read here (http://thestar.com.my/lifestyle/story.asp?file=/2008/4/6/lifefocus/20851393&sec=lifefocus)