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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Court's 'Allah' decision ominous for Anwar? - Malaysiakini

It's hard to shrug off the feeling, but the High Court decision on New Year's Eve allowing for the term 'Allah' to be used by non-Muslims casts an oblique shadow on the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial scheduled to begin on Jan 25.

No doubt the government can appeal and the appellate courts may yet uphold the Home Ministry's fatuous argument that the term 'Allah' is exclusive to Muslim worship.

But if somebody is keen on showing that the courts in Malaysia are impartial and the judiciary independent, then it would be expedient to demonstrate this in decisions whose import would be considered far less damaging to the government's self-image of religious uprightness.

herald court case 080805 01By this count, the term 'Allah' can be used by the Catholic publication, The Herald, but would-be apostate Lina Joy cannot be allowed to renounce the religion she was born into even though the Federal Constitution allows citizens freedom of religion.

One need not be cynical to suggest, based on the track record, that the courts in this country have a pliable attitude to jurisprudential theories and socio-political imperatives.

This is all very well insofar as one accepts that the law is not a precise science but a process of reasoning in which diverse answers might all be right depending on the perspective and social objectives which subjectively provide the greatest moral satisfaction.

It's no slur on judges to say that they may decide cases first and determine the principles afterwards.

When a high-octane case comes before the courts, it enters a welter of discursive imperatives.

These are to find a just result; to achieve a result consistent with results of comparable past cases; to produce a result most beneficial to society by avoiding moral hazard, which exists when a decision encourages perverse behaviour; to mete out punishment and excuse the good; and to sculpt legal doctrine to fit changing social mores and standards.

All these imperatives factor when a judge decides a case, including one that is barely acknowledged – crafting an outcome consonant with his or her politics.

Thus former Umno lawyer and now chief justice, Zaki Azmi, can claim as defense against any imputation of bias that he will not sit on any cases involving the party and then allow judges who have already rendered verdicts on the Umno-led takeover of the Perak government to be on the Federal Court panel as final arbiters of the question of which coalition has the right to rule the state.

Nice dodge that, but it will not wash.

No signs of penetration

It will require not just a dodge but a leap to convict Anwar of sodomy because the settled law in cases like his is that penetration must be medically proven for a finding of guilt.

It is known that the two medical reports on the condition of relevant body parts of Anwar's alleged crime showed no signs of having been penetrated.

the charge against anwar ibrahim sodomy allegation trial 070808Sans evidence of penetration, the Attorney General's Chambers soldiers on. And the government, despite the chastening experience of the 1999 general election when Umno lost 20 seats to the opposition largely because of shaky corruption and sodomy convictions against Anwar, is again willing to risk defeat at the next general election – they would have lost their two-thirds majority in 1999 had PAS not insisted on an Islamic state agenda.

The government must belief they have a case against Anwar, albeit one without a smoking gun – medical evidence of penetration. Otherwise it's hard to credit them their grasp of reality.
Pundits are inclined to think that the Chinese saying – “May you live in interesting times” – was preternaturally crafted as a sardonic commentary on the goings-on in Malaysian politics, so fecund with the unexpected.

Sure, as the well-placed know, the facts behind the published political news in Malaysia are always eye-popping. But in the era of a free blogosphere, the curtains are drawing down on that reality. A very good thing that.

Danish cartoonist 'attack' foiled - Al Jazeera

Danish police surrounded Westergaaard's home following an alarm alerting them to the intruder [AFP]

Danish police have shot and wounded a Somali man who tried to break into the home of a cartoonist whose 2005 drawings of Prophet Muhammad outraged Muslims around the world.

Intelligence authorities said the 28-year-old suspect was armed with an axe and knife when he attempted to enter the home of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in the eastern city of Aarhus on Friday.

Michael Larsen, a police spokesman, said authorities arrived at the house after receiving an alarm alerting them to the intruder.

"[The authorities] found a person and he attacked the police with an axe and a knife. He was shot in the leg and the hand and he is in hospital [now]," Larsen told Al Jazeera.

The suspect's wounds were reportedly not life threatening.

Larsen said police officials are treating the incident as attempted murder, both of Westergaard and a police officer. The man, who's name has been withheld as part of Danish privacy laws, was to be charged on Saturday.

'Ties to al-Shabaab'

Officials from the Danish security and intelligence service, Pet, said the suspect, a Danish resident, had close ties to the Somali group, Al Shabaab.

"The attempted murder of cartoonist Kurt Westergaard is linked to terrorism," the agency said in a statement.

"The person arrested... has close links with the Somali terrorist organisation Al-Shabaab as well as with the heads of al-Qaeda in east Africa."

Westergaard has been under police protection since his work appeared among a dozen controversial cartoons, which sparked violent protests in a number of countries around the world in 2006 and again when they were republished in 2008.

Several Danish embassies were attacked by angry crowds and several dozen people were killed during riots at the time.

220,000 Indian hardcore poor desperately needing rice help to survive on day to day basis.

In the Kota Raja Parliamentary constituency alone 1,000 Indian families swarmed to register for the government’s Welfare Department and the national rice subsidy programme (NST 2/1/2010 at page 8).

Based on this 1,000 x 222 Parlimentary constituencies = 220,000 Indian hardcore poor desperately needing even rice help for their basic day to day diet.

This is happening even after 52 years of Independence under UMNO’s Malay-sian government.




The direct causes of economic marginalization.
Unequal rights and unequal opportunities in the Name of NEP

In the last two parts I have discussed the meaning of the term ‘Marginalization’, its various manifestations, gave a concrete example of this marginalization process in the life of Mariappan and discussed the basic historical events that led to it. In this part I am going to talk about the five different ways in which the direct causes of economic marginalization - unequal rights and unequal opportunities contribute to economic marginalization.

A quick recap of the term economic marginalization: - Economically marginalized is
to be denied opportunities for participating productively in the economic development of the nation,
to have been pushed out of the mainstream of economic development.

As I start this part, you may want to watch this video first:
about Kampung Manis, an Indian squatter settlement besides the Malayan Sugar Mill in Prai, Penang. A video shoot of a squatter settlement which attempts to capture and explain what we are trying to portray in this series of articles on marginalization.

Squatter homes that are on the verge of being demolished, squalid living conditions, low income lives, unattended health and medical problems leading in many cases to short lives, especially among men, abandoned by the system, deprived of all luxuries of life, living from day to day, unsure about the meaning of life, manipulated by politicians whose attention spans are no more than the article in the daily newspapers or till the day of the election. This is economic marginalization, whose story has been told so many times over, just told one more time in Kampung Manis.

However this marginalized state for the poor Indians was not a forgone historical outcome. If there had been appropriate support in the 1950s and 60s when the Indian plantation workers were first being pushed out from the estates, in the form of FELDA or FELCRA or other rural land development programs the results today would be very different . But nothing like that happened, as the problem of the Indian poor was not a national priority for the UMNO led Government then…or even now. What started then as a problem with low priority soon became institutionalized by the expanded racist policies of the UMNO regime into conscious and intended neglect. UMNO saw in it, a way for them to maintain their supremacist position vis-à-vis the Indians.
This was an Apartheid type of racist system as far as the Indian poor were concerned. The Chinese community had taken a path of tackling their own problems using their own economic strength. The Indians found themselves without economic strengths as a community to chart an independent course and without political strength as a community to avoid the unequal treatment that was forced on to them by the UMNO regime. The inequality that was forced on them largely came from the implementation of the NEP.

NEP, though started with the objective of reducing absolute poverty irrespective of race, turned out to be a program to promote and secure the interests of the emerging middle class Malays while reinforcing and aggravating the poverty of the Indians. After the early years of the NEP, as the early Malay insecurity of being overwhelmed by the Chinese faded, the NEP became an aggressive racist patronage based program to consolidate, grow and protect the interests of the increasing class of rich Malays. It was in the period beginning with the NEP that the policy of conscious neglect of the Indians came into full bloom.

During this period the rights of the Indians as citizens steadily eroded, in spite of the explicit guarantees in the Federal Constitution.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution states:
153. (1) It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
What has happened is a wholesale usurpation of the resources of the country by UMNO without consideration for “the legitimate interests of the other communities”. And it occurred with impunity.
This usurpation whose direct results were economic marginalization manifested itself in 5 different and often overlapping ways.:
1) By outright denial of basic rights
2) By direct denial of entitlements
3) By indirect denial of entitlements
4) By minimum allocation of Government budgetary resources,
5) By total non- allocation of Government budgetary resources.

1) Denial of rights

i) Employment opportunities in Government and in Public Sector enterprises for the Indian poor have reduced to zero in the Government Sector. The Government used to be a large employer of the Indian poor. In 1966, out of the 202,250 Indians employed, 48,850 or 24.2 per cent were employed in the lower rung of the Government; today employment by the Government of Indians at this level is practically zero. This was an outright denial of their rights for equal employment opportunity in the Government by the very Government that was supposed to safeguard such rights. On top of the opportunities in the Government sector that was denied, opportunities were also denied in the large number ( see the table below) of Government owned companies.
Number of Government owned Companies 1960-1992
Industry 1960 1980 1992
Agriculture 4 83 146
Building & Construction 2 65 121
Extractive Industries 0 25 32
Finance 3 78 137
Manufacturing 5 212 315
Services 3 148 321
Transport 5 45 68
Others 0 0 9
Total 22 656 1,149

ii) Rights to higher wages in the plantation sector were denied by the UMNO government policy of allowing in large numbers of foreign workers who depressed the earnings of the Indian workers from the 1980s. This benefited the owners of the plantation but it set the Indian workers back. There are an estimated 2 million foreign workers in the country today.
To illustrate, Boustead Holdings Bhd, Genting Plantations Bhd, IOI Corp Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd. are the four largest Plantation companies in Malaysia. The major shareholder of Boustead Holdings Bhd is Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) , Genting Bhd and LTAT are two biggest shareholders of Genting Plantations, IOI Corp Bhd 's largest shareholder is one Tan sri Dato Lee Shin Cheng, Sime Darby's major shareholders are ASB, PNB and a Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra. Together these companies made a total profit of 7 Billion Ringgits in the last 4 years 2005-2008. The policy of allowing foreign workers benefited these elites but not the Indian workers, they were denied their rights for better wages and working conditions. UMNO had become the representative of the rich and the interest of the Indian poor mattered none at all.

iii) Rights to adequate resettlement compensation was denied as the workers not only lost their jobs in the estates, but, more importantly, housing, crèches, basic amenities, socio-cultural facilities and the estate community support structure. They also lost the plots of vegetable farming and cattle grazing land allotted to them by the plantation companies, which they had used to cultivate to supplement their household incomes. The retrenched plantation workers were only paid termination benefits as specified in the Employment (Termination and Layoff Benefits) Regulations 1980, i.e.20 days’ wages for every year of service. These regulations were originally passed to protect industrial workers when the companies that employed them went into receivership. It was not appropriate to use this law in the plantation sector because it did not take into account housing, other amenities provided and sources of secondary incomes to the estate workers as wage substitution. Secondly, the Government owned plantation companies were not making losses when they retrenched the workers. On the contrary, they made enormous profits when they converted plantation land for property development.

The examples I have given above are just the tip of the iceberg. The denial of rights became a very pervasive aspect of the lives of the Indian poor.

2) Direct denial of entitlements

i) A large number of Indian poor are without proper identity documents –birth certificates and or identity cards. This effectively means they cannot or did not attend schools, cannot get proper jobs, will have no EPF or SOCSO accounts, cannot get driving licences, cannot get licence or permits for petty trade, cannot open a bank account, cannot avail of the even measly benefits of the Government to name just a few of the more obvious loss of entitlements. In the estates the Indian workers worked in an informal context where birth certificates and ICs, among other documentation, were not emphasized. Once they were pushed out this became a serious requirement which they were not able to meet. The result is deprivation. Here is an example, not an altogether untypical one - Jeeva Santhrika gets about RM4 per day to feed 5 mouths in her family. Her husband is in jail (because of a poverty related crime). There is no water and electricity supply in her squatter house. Both she, her husband and all her children do not have birth certificates and of course as a result no identity documents. Which means they get none of the entitlements in the law. (although they may all be third, fourth and fifth generation Malaysiana). Jeeva Santhrika earns RM 10.00 per day, working in a second hand goods shop. She has to pay RM 3.00 for 10 pails of water from a neighbor and RM 3.00 to buy candles per day. Jeeva Santhrika has a balance of RM 4.00 per day to feed five mouths and also to feed herself. (The Star 18/12/09 page 51). In this way she and her husband have been robbed of their entitlements as citizens, let alone as human beings. I am not sure, but I would not be too much off the mark, if I said that, that was the reason her husband had resorted to whatever it was that landed him in prison.

ii) Primary schooling - 371 of the 523 Tamil primary schools are still only partially aided by the government. There is no funding at all for the infrastructure of the schools. This is a direct denial of the entitlement of these children as young citizens of the country. Primary education is foundation education and because of lack of proper resources this foundation is not done well and this results ultimately in loss of significant human potential in these children as they grow up. This directly contributes to their economic performance later in life. A total of 106 Tamil schools, mostly in the plantations, were identified in 2004 as in need of repairs. Many schools use containers for classrooms. Others are located in shoplots. All the 371 schools do not sit on land owned by them. Many of them are located in very hazardous sites. Several are under pressure to move out from the sites where they are located. The major recurring theme in this primary Tamil School system is struggle for basic requirements, not one searching for educational excellence or one attempting to create world class citizens.

iii) A large number of Indian poor have been denied even the miniscule amounts given out by the welfare departments . For those earning below RM 720.00 per month (poverty level) the government promises RM 400.00 per month as welfare help. (NST 29/3/09 page 23).. But in reality the welfare department that is largely manned by Malay officers turn away the eligible Indian poor for the smallest of reasons. We have so many reports of this. Here is one example of such a case. Widow Parameswary (47) a diabetic, lives with her five children in one congested room at the back of a garage. Their toilet is just a zinc enclosure without a door but a piece of cloth. Her daughter does not have a birth certificate. They cook next to a drain and the washroom. She does not get any Welfare aid or a government flat. (TN 6/1/09 page 14). The welfare program, meaningless as it is is meant for such poor people, but we repeatedly come across cases like Parameswary. The welfare system is a poorly funded and inflexible system. Decisions are made by the rule book. This is typically the case with the way the Malay welfare officers deal with non- Malay cases – they throw the rule book at you. Their welfare aid has become a joke, especially with the Indian poor.

3) Indirect Denial of Entitlements

i) Ignorance of entitlements. Because of the ignorance of the Indian poor of the ways of officialdom , their inability to communicate effectively with government officials, problems understanding the procedures and various requirements many of the poor Indians ousted from the estates were unable to get their birth certificates (BC)s and or ICs. They do not get any assistance from the Government officers in getting their BCs and ICs. Many have become demoralized and have given up applying for the identity documents – in effect, they have resigned themselves to a legal limbo that effectively prevents them from enjoying the privileges and benefits that is truly their entitlements. This ignorance became another useful and convenient avenue for UMNO to deny the Indian poor their entitlement. It is estimated that there could be as many as 100,000 Indians in this category of stateless people.

ii) Denial of participation in Government rural development programs. These programs never reached the poor Indians because the plantations, were classified as private business, and hence were outside the scope of the development program, very conveniently. All of these fine print are part of a grand scheme of exclusion.
The consequence was that plantation resident families, especially in the smaller estates, continued to live in squalid conditions without adequate water and electricity supply even though development funds were poured into rural areas during the NEP period. The plantation owners did not provide adequate living facilities and the UMNO government did not provide them either because they were living on private land.

iii) Complicity of the Administration in denying the entitlement in law by enforcing the law selectively – do not enforce where it involves Malay businesses and enforce more than necessary where it involves Indian interests. The plantation companies were required by law to provide basic amenities, which they often ignored. The Government Administration did not enforce the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 that would have compelled plantation owners to provide the basic facilities to improve the quality of life of the resident plantation families. Then Director General of Labour, Tengku Omar Tengku Bot, justified the lack of enforcement of the law in the plantations by pointing out that the department has “to be sensitive to the employer’s feelings and limitations…. We are not dealing with criminals or criminal law… . we are enforcing social law here”(Sunday Star, July 28, 1991).
However with scrap metal traders, the approach by officialdom is quite different. Of the scrap metal traders in Malaysia, 85 % are Indians. According to the Malaysian Indian Metal Traders Association secretary General Mr.R.A. Param,( July 22 2008 The Star) the livelihood of the scrap metal traders has been getting more and more difficult. He says that they have to get approval from seven government departments – the Local Council, the Land Office, the Fire and Rescue department, the District Health Department, the Drainage and Irrigation department, Public Works Department and the Police. Does that not sound like the racist UMNO government is trying to make it real difficult for this trade and the traders. This is the systematic way the racist UMNO blocks even in those areas where the Indians have by some turn of events developed an advantage. Many of the traders operate without licences as a result and are harassed daily by the authorities. This is a surreptitious way of denying the Indian operators their entitlements.
See how the officialdom has been trained to exclude. Biro Tata Negara would have played no small part in allof this. The Malaysian Administration took on an appearance close to the completely white Adminitsration of South Africa during the height of Apartheid – all 500,000 of the SA administration. We often hear the Politicians saying the policies are Ok but the implementation was at fault – as if that exonerated the politicians. It was part of a big game to stealthily esxclude and to deny entitlements.

iv) The UMNO Government indirectly blocks Indians from seeking upward mobility through denying asssitance for education . Overseas degree programs where the majority of students are Indian Malaysians are denied recognition in the name of not meeting the required educational standards. This is nothing more than an indirect way of blocking. Recent clear example of this is the derecognition of Medical degrees offered by Crimean State University after Mahathir made a visit and found that most of the students from Malaysia there were Indians. He came back and new Ministry certification requirements were introduced and the Crimean University Medical degree was derecognized.
The poor Indian students who go overseas for Law, Engineering or Medicine are denied loans by PTPN. Denial of loans for overseas education is a way of making it more difficult for poor students from getting degrees which would make them upward mobile.
One other way of minimizing entry of poor Indian students into local public Universities was to have all Indian students wanting to go to public Universities to sit for the extremely difficult STPM examination while Matriculation which is a much easier exam is reserved exclusively for the Malay-Muslim students. This way you can still call it meritocracy as the basis for selection to the local public Universities, while conveniently ignoring the uneven playing difficulties of the entrance exams – how is that for ingenuity.
All these are devices which do not directly block but have the effect of making it more difficult for Indians to gain their entitlements and become upward mobile. This is directly a result of the Malay supremacist agenda of UMNO.

4) Minimal allocations of budgetary resources

i) Limiting the amount of money spent by the government for the Indians in tertiary education is another tactic to block Indians. Places are limited in public universities, polytechnics and technical schools and places in appropriate disciplines. There are 163,779 students studying at the 20 government Universities nationwide at an annual expenditure cost of RM 2.8 Billion. Our estimate is a mere 1% of this expenditure will accrue to Indian Malaysian students. Very few scholarships are awarded to Indian students for local universities and for overseas universities. Most of the Indians students who have made it through University in the country have done it largely by family support. Many parents have spent their entire life’s savings to put their children through tertiary education. The statistics the Government often puts out to show the number of Indian students in all Universities does not reflect Government support, it only reflects the degree of sacrifice of the otherwise poor parents.

ii) Places for PhD programs in local universities, are limited to a handful. 8,132 Phd graduates have been produced from the 20 government Universities. We suspect that not more than a few would be Indians. Teacher’s training college intakes are pitiful. Only 4 (1.45%) students out of 581 new student intake at the Sultan Idris Teachers Training College for the year 2009 (TN 3/1/08 at page 16) were Indians. This just shows how much Indians count in the UMNO’s scheme of things.
Only a handful of seats in Medical Faculties of the Malaysian Government Universities are made available to Indians. Exact statistics are not available but it is estimated to have been around 1 -2 percent of the places.

There are 62,000 diploma places and 60,000 degree places for 2010 at 27 Polytechnics in Malaysia (NST 22/11/09 at page 25). Our estimate is a mere 0.1% of these places will be allocated for Indian students no matter their qualifications

5) Total non- allocations of budgetary resources

i) In the following Rural Development programs there is zero or almost
zero allocation of resources for the Indian poor:
FELDA( Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority)
FELCRA (Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation
RISDA (Rubber industry Smallholder Development Authority)
MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat Malaysia)
FAMA (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority)
KESEDAR(South Kelantan Development Authority)
DARA( South East Pahang Development Agency)
KEDA ( Kedah Development Authority)
PERDA (Penang Regional Development Authority)
KEJORA (South East Johore Development Authority)
KETENGAH (Trengganu Regional Development Agency)

Taking just one very indicative rural development program of FELDA - Federal Land Development Authority is a Government agency handling the resettlement of rural and landless poor into newly developed areas. It focuses on opening smallholder farms growing cash crops. FELDA's schemes are open only to Malay settlers drawn from rural Malay poor. Priority was given to the landless. New settlers are assigned to a particular settlement, and are given 10 acres (40,000 m² or 4.1 hectares), 12 acres (4.9 hectares) or 14 acres (5.7 hectares)[of land to cultivate usually either rubber or oil palms.The costs of acquiring, developing and allocating the land are borne by loans made to FELDA settlers. These loans are repaid in monthly instalments deducted from the settlers' income over a 15-year period

Nowhere in the Federal Constitution does it say that programs like this must exclude Indians. But that is exactly what has happened. This is very clearly basic UMNO policy. The original Land (Group Settlement Areas) Act of 1960 governing the development of scheme areas does not specify any ethnic preference in settler recruitment, merely requiring settlers to be Malaysian citizens. Also, Felda’s own policy guidelines permit it to recruit 30% of any scheme population from non-Malays for schemes that are located outside Malay reservation areas.

In 1980, the World Bank raised concerns over the ethnic bias in FELDA settler selection by pointing out that if the government was serious “about increasing the non-Malay share in agriculture, some increase in the non-Malay share of settlers was warranted.” It was especially concerned about Indian estate workers who faced increasing under-employment following the estates’ conversion from rubber to oil palm and who in normal circumstances “would be good candidates for land development schemes.”

The World Bank’s concerns went unheeded by UMNO and condoned by the Mandore MIC. No change whatsoever was permitted to the policy emphasizing Malay participation and restricting non-Malay participation in rural development programs. It became a platform for patronage that has been developed and honed and fine tuned over the last 50plus years, and provides the necessary opportunities for accumulation of wealth for the growing appetites of the UMNOputras..

Large part of the National Budget (easily 500 Billion Ringgits – a very conservative estimate of RM 10 Billion per year for the last 50 years) was channeled through these agencies for the various development programs for the rural and agricultural sector. There was zero allocation in any of the programs and projects for Indians in the country.

Even if the allocation were commensurate with the percentage of Indians in the total population, the Indian allocation should have been about 10 Billion Ringgits. Not an insubstantial amount. The picture today would be very different, had this happened. Clearly this shows that the outcome of marginalization of the Indian rural poor was not an unavoidable one, but was a direct result of non allocation of any resources to the problem.

ii) Zero allocations or almost zero allocations in the following educational programs by UMNO
FELDA Academy
RISDA College,
Elite shools like MRSM, RMC, Aminudin Baki Institution, MCKK,
Special academies like the Aviation training Centre and Flying academies
Various MARA programs -IKM, Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi,Institut Kemahiran Belai Negara

Taking one of these educational institutions - UiTM. UiTM began in 1956 as RIDA training centre, became MARA college in 1965, now has 4 satellite campuses, 15 branch campuses, 9 city campuses and 19 affiliated colleges. a workforce of 15 000, the university offers more than 300 unparalleled academic programs, almost 120,000 students. This is the biggest University in Malaysia. It is an open policy that this institution will not take in any non-Muslim Indian students. Need I say more. Had there been a similar program for Indians today the problem we have with Indian youth so embroiled in crime would have been totally averted not to mention other positive outcomes.

The MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) is another prime example of exclusion of Indians students - there are 42 such schools throughout the country. Their intake is 5,100 per year. (Source UM – 19th Nov 2008 page 10.) The purpose of these schools is to target the cream among the students for development into future leaders of the country. But it is obvious UMNO has no need to develop future Indian leaders so do you think that any of the 817 Indian children who scored 7As in the 2009 UPSR exam will get in to the MRSMs. Or even if a few are given admission, they will be many indirect blocks to them joining these programs, like concerns about food, religious practices for which there will not be any special consideration for non-Muslims.

There are a total of 11,000 students in MRSM. Each of the MRSM is built at a cost of around RM100 million. Compare this with the RM100 million promised (only promised mind you) for the 523 Tamil schools throughout the country. These kinds of programs are very glaring examples of gross usurpation of the national resource.

iii) The Government give zero or almost zero support for Indian entreprenuer development. The following are few entrepreneur development programs of the UMNO Government. There are many many more.
Agropolitan Projects
Technoprenuers development
Small and Medium Enterprise development

Just taking the Agropolitan project, this is basically a womb to tomb
entrepreneur development project in the Agricultural sector. This totally excludes Indian participation. Their womb to tomb program is:
• Initial Study – markets, products, technologies, demand, sweet
• Establish overall scheme – roles of different govt depts.,
budgets for the development project
• Provide finance. Seed capital
• Provide know how – training, exposure,
• Provide basic requirements – land, seedlings, fish fry..etc,
• Provide technical support – yield improvement, troubleshooting
• Provide marketing support

This kind of special support is required in order to really build an entrepreneurial community from scratch. Not even a small portion of the funds or services are made available to budding Indian entrepreneurs.

iv)No Indian small businessman ever gets assistance from the programs of any of these funding schemes of the UMNO Government.
SME bank schemes
AGRO Bank scheme
Tekun Nasional Schemes
Taking one of these, the Tekun Nasional scheme – the objectives of the
scheme are:
• Provide business funding which is easily available and
quickly disbursed.
• Provide information on entrepreneurs and business opportunities
• Offer training and support to entrepreneurs participating in
Tekun programs.
• Create a community of Tekun entrepreneurs who will form a hard
driving, innovative and progressive business network.
• Nurture a culture of entrepreneurship within the Malaysian
• Encourage and foster a culture of prudence in the Tekun

To give you an idea of the participation in the Tekun program of Indians see what Samy Vellu has to say and compare that with the statement from the Tekun MD. Samy Vellu said 352 Indian entrepreneurs from Perak, Kedah (205), Penang (20) and other states (1,258) had received TEKUN Nasional loans this year and last year. A total of 93 entrepreneurs received loans amounting to RM761,000 on July 24 2009 in a ceremony.

Compare with the following statement from Datuk Abdul Rahman Hassan,
the Managing Director of Tekun ’ Sehingga 31 Disember 2007 , TEKUN Nasional telah menyediakan pembiayaan sebanyak RM 772.0 juta kepada 139,000 orang usahawan diseluruh negara. Untuk tahun 2008 ini, TEKUN Nasional telah memperuntukkan sebanyak RM 182 juta sebagai pembiayaan kepada seramai 19,000 usahawan.’ That is close to 1 Billion Ringgits. Have you ever heard of any loan disbursements to any Indian businessman friend or relative of yours.

What Indian entrepreneurs get is just an eyewash, to make it look like the Indians are being assisted, when in fact it is just the MIC Mandores helping themselves to the little crumbs thrown their way while creating an illusion of Indian entrepreneurial development program.
In summary.

I have tried to show , how by taking away the rights of the Indian poor progressively and by denying equal opportunities to them, in the name of NEP the UMNO led Government with connivance from their Mandores MIC have pushed Indians out to the fringes of Malaysian society to be economically marginalized.

In part one of this series I started with a definition for economic marginalization - to be denied opportunities for participating productively in the economic development of the nation. To have been pushed out of the mainstream of economic development.
Hopefully, the common thread behind how all that occurs is clearer now.

Viva la Makkal

Zahid: A-G’s call on stolen jet engines

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi remained tightlipped over the progress of investigations into the two stolen RMAF F-5E jet engines, saying today the Attorney-General is now the sole authority in the case.

Zahid (picture) said investigation papers on the jet engines theft have already been submitted to the A-G, making it legally impossible for him to comment on the case which has placed the country's security policy under severe domestic and international scrutiny.

"Right now the probe is entirely in the hands of the police and they have submitted their investigation papers to the A-G for further legal action.

"So only he (Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail) has the authority to comment on the matter now," Zahid told reporters after launching this term's national service here.

The two General Electric J85-21A turbojet engines, said to be worth RM100 million, were found missing after an audit in 2007. A police report was only lodged in early 2008 but the matter came to light last month.

Two days ago, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hasan said the police have re-submitted their investigation papers to the A-G, revealing that there were updates in their investigations.

Musa also confirmed that only two jet engines had gone missing and not four as mentioned in news reports that quoted sources. He urge all quarters not to speculate on the matter.

He has also said three low-ranking airmen and a company agent were the only ones involved in the theft.

Gani had said that he viewed the theft as a "serious matter" and promised to launch a thorough probe.

However, the promises of action have met with fierce scepticism from the public and especially opposition leaders who are now calling for a royal commission of inquiry to probe the fiasco.

The Najib administration's effort to reform its government has suffered a gloomy setback by the theft as the opposition seized the opportunity to back its claims that the Barisan Nasional government is corrupt.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was defence minister when the engines went missing, now faces tremendous pressure to hang those responsible but political pundits are already betting on a scapegoating exercise by his government.

Khir Toyo says in mourning over Allah ruling

Khir criticised the court decision on the use of the word ‘Allah’.

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Selangor opposition leader Dauk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo has said that he is now in mourning as a Muslim following the decision by the High Court to allow the Catholic church to use the term "Allah" in its weekly publication Herald.

"I am very saddened as a Muslim over the judgment in allowing the Catholic church to use the word Allah in their weekly publication. Allah is only for Muslims. In other languages God is referred to as Tuhan whereas in Islam it is Tuhan Yang Maha Esa (The one and only God). Therefore you must understand the distinction between the two," said Khir.

Khir, who is also the Sungai Besar Umno division head, stressed why other religions should not be allowed to even mention the name "Allah" as he claims it would cause “damage, chaos and confusion” among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

"We don't want other religions to use it as it (the word Allah) refers to the one and only God. Now that the High Court has allowed the usage of the term Allah, soon any religion can apply their own reasoning to use the word Allah. Imagine if a deity were to be referred to as Allah. Surely it would create a lot of tension," explained the Umno man.

Khir criticised and questioned the judge who had made the ruling.

"I am not happy with the High Court's decision. Human beings are, at the end of the day, just human beings, no matter how fair you try to be, there is no way you can be 100 per cent impartial. And the judge who made the decision was not a Muslim, so I question the fairness in the decision," said the former Selangor Mentri Besar.

He urged Christians in the country to understand his views and claimed that Muslims and non-Muslims have been living together in harmony for 52 years, and all this time there was no question on the use of "Allah" as everyone in the country apparently knew and accepted the fact that the term was exclusive for Muslims.

"The problem is just image. If a young Malay child were to read the pamphlets or Christian publications which referred to the Christian God as Allah, would the child not be confused?" asked Khir, alluding to the fact that the decision could possibly result in the Malay Muslims in the country being under siege.

However, not all Muslim politicians share the views expressed by Khir.

Dzulkefly believes the court decision will bring the different faiths closer together.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad from PAS applauded the High Court's move as he believes that the decision will in fact bring the different faiths closer together in an effort to better understand and respect one another.

"To me, I see this as an opportunity to bring all of us closer together despite our religious differences and submit to the God Almighty. We all believe in God and we call God Allah.

"There is most certainly plurality in Islam. Islam accepts and recognises the fact that there are different religions out there in the world. Even though all these religions may not be united, we all believe we worship God Almighty," said Dzulkefly, referring to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the three Abrahamic religions which shared the same basic ideals of God as creator.

Dzulkefly, who is Kuala Selangor MP, affirmed his support of the High Court's ruling by explaining that "Allah" has been used by Arab Muslims, Arab Christian and Jews for centuries and that they had no problem with it. According to him, even the Quran has stated the need to respect the right of religion — "To you your way, to me my way." (Surah 109.)

He hit out and reprimanded Umno hawks who have been arguing against the use of "Allah" by Catholics, labelling them as "narrow-minded".

"Why is the Umno-BN government being so parochial about the issue? What they are doing is so narrow-minded, and will inadvertently limit any proper attempt at understanding the different religions in the country.

"At least we are united by way of the brotherhood of man, one from Adam and Eve. We always talk about unity and perpaduan. To me, this is one of the greatest, most effective ways for people of all faiths to be ruled under the common brotherhood of man… we all submit to God Almighty, there is oneness in this," said Dzulkefly.

However, he was disheartened when told of a news report saying several NGOs were urging the government to appeal the High Court decision and as well as possibly get the Conference of Rulers involved in the matter.

He suggested an open public debate to discuss the issue in order for everyone to voice their concerns and opinions.

"We should have a debate. Let's get it off our chests. I, for one, am willing to debate it. Until and unless we can speak up as adults, we will always be trapped in ignorance."

The government had said that the ban on the use of the word Allah was necessary to avoid confusing the majority Muslims in the country where Islam is the official religion.

But the church claims the ban violates its constitutional right to practise its religion freely.

According to Father Lawrence Andrew who edits Herald, the term “Allah” has been used by Christians in the region to refer to their God since 400 years ago. He said that it is still actively used today.

Lawrence explained that “Allah” in the Christian context is used to refer to the trinitarian concept of “God the Father” which is different from the Muslim use of the word to refer to the “one and only God”.

He claimed the use of the word has not died out and is still being used in church worship among indigenous Sarawakians and Sabahans, who form a substantial number of the Christian faithful in the country.

The church first took the government to court last year after the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the annual publishing permit for Herald, the country’s only Catholic paper.

It was forced to refresh its suit again this year after its 2008 permit expired without any decision from the court.

It remains unclear if the home minister will seek to reverse the decision through the appellate court but he is likely to do so given the sensitivity of the issue.

Pakatan man denies plans to quit seat

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Despite widespread speculation in his constituency, PKR Hulu Selangor MP Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad (picture) has denied he plans to resign because he is ill.

Instead, the former deputy mentri besar said he plans to stay on as a lawmaker until the next general election.

The PKR man also denied rumours that he had asked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to announce his wish to retire as the Hulu Selangor MP.

"I have never asked Datuk Seri Anwar to make such an announcement. I do not know. It is up to him," he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

While he insists he will not be quitting, a possible by-election in the constituency is the main topic of discussion among not just the locals but also among the top leadership in both PR and Barisan Nasional (BN) camps.

Speculation is at fever pitch, especially with a“high-powered” ceramah in Rasa tonight led by PR supremo Anwar and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

It is understood that many locals are anticipating a major announcement from Anwar.

Notwithstanding Zainal's denials, the anticipation of a by-election continues to be stoked by plans for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to visit Rasa and other surrounding settlements in the constituency on Jan 9.

The MIC machinery in the constituency has also become a beehive of activity with MIC deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel in the constituency nearly every day, settling one local issue after another, his aides said.

Asked yesterday if he planned to attend Anwar's ceramah tonight, Zainal said he would not do so because of family commitments.

"I will not attend the ceramah but I will send my special officer. I am sending a representative because I fear more speculation about my absence.

"My daughter will be getting married so I will have matters to attend to," a frail-sounding Zainal said when contacted at his home in Batu 9 in Cheras.

But when he was asked to comment about reports of his ill health, he replied: "Not true, not true... not true at all.

"No, I have not decided to resign. God willing I will continue to serve as an MP. The voters are getting closer to me and I am getting closer to them. I will continue helping them."

It is understood that he underwent surgery in September for an undisclosed ailment.

Talk about his impending resignation started about a month ago.

In Election 2008, he defeated Palanivel by a wafer-thin 198 votes.

He acknowledged that he had a chat with Anwar in Parliament recently.

"Anwar said he was satisfied with my performance and he asked about my situation and asked me to take care of my health," he said.

Eight NS camps shut down for violations

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — Eight National Service (NS) camps have been closed for violating guidelines set by the Defence Ministry, its minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid said today.

He said these camps were either suspended or have had their contract terminated due to guideline violations.

"We have issued new guidelines. Problematic camps have been issued a notice of closure. The remaining camps are those that have been approved as they followed the guidelines," he told reporters after launching this term's NS.

He, however, did not reveal what the violations were.

"We have no intention of being harsh on them but because of the well-being of our children, we want them to have the best facilities," said the minister.

There were 87 camps operating the NS initially but only 79 are in service following the closure of the eight camps.

A total of 120,000 trainees have been assigned for NS training this year.

Aziz Bari Diberi Amaran,Satu Lagi Pencabulan Demokrasi Ahli Akademik

Dari Malaysia Kini
Oleh Abdul Rahim Sabri

Walaupun berdepan dengan pelbagai tekanan dan penarikan diri ahli panel, namum forum membantah e-undi dalam pilihanraya kampus, tetap diteruskan walaupun terpaksa diadakan di koridor dewan kuliah utama Akademi Pengajian Islam (API) Universi Malaya (UM) malam tadi.

Forum yang membahaskan tajuk “E-Voting dan Masa Depan Demokrasi Mahasiswa” dikejutkan penarikan diri pensyarah terkenal Dr Abdul Aziz Bari (kiri) sebagai ahli panel beberapa jam sebelum majlis itu berlangsung.

Forum anjuran Gabungan Mahasiswa Bantah E-Undi (BANTAH) itu terpaksa diadakan di luar dewan tersebut selepas pihak pentadbiran membatalkan penggunaan dewan kuliah untuk forum tersebut, tiga hari lalu.

Sebelum ini dilaporkan dua penyelaras BANTAH menerima ugutan dalam bentuk surat layang dan mesej SMS serta didesak membatalkan forum tersebut. Forum itu berlangsung selama satu jam setengah bermula jam 9.45 malam.

Pengerusi BANTAH, Mohd Aizat Mohd Salleh ketika ditemui pemberita selepas forum itu berakhir mendakwa, penarikan tokoh akademik itu disebabkan surat amaran telah dikeluarkan kepadanya oleh pentadbiran Univerisiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA).

“Ini adalah satu pencabulan demokrasi kepada ahli akademik,” katanya ketika mengulas penarikan diri Dr Abdul Aziz pada saat-saat akhir.

Diberi surat amaran

Menurut Aizat, sebelum ini, pihaknya telah dua kali mendapat persetujuan kehadiran pakar perlembagaan itu untuk menghadiri forum malam tadi.

Sebelum majlis itu bermula, Mohd Aizat memberitahu Malaysiakini, bahawa beliau menyedari keputusan Dr Abdul Aziz itu setelah menyemak emelnya jam 1 tengah hari semalam.

Menurutnya, sebaik sahaja menyedari hal tersebut, beliau cuba meyakinkan Abdul Aziz supaya menghadiri majlis tersebut dengan membalas emelnya.

Bagaimanapun, sehingga jam kira-kira 4.30 petang semalam, emelnya kepada Dr Abdul Aziz Bari tidak dijawab.

Dalam emel lima perenggan yang dihantar kepada Mohd Aizat yang juga exco MPMUM, Dr Abdul Aziz memohon maaf kerana tidak dapat hadir sebagai ahli penal forum tersebut, selepas dikatakan mendapat surat amaran dari UIA.

Mengulas lanjut, Mohd Aizat berkata beliau bercadang untuk berjumpa dengan Dr Abdul Aziz Isnin ini bagi mendapatkan penjelasan berhubung surat amaran dan bentuk tekanan yang diterima oleh tokoh akademik tersebut.

Sementara itu, ketiadaan Dr Abdul Aziz tidak mematahkan semangat BANTAH untuk menerus penganjuran forum malam tadi, yang disifatkan sebagai kemuncak penentangan pelaksanaan pengundian secara elektronik dalam pilihanraya kampus itu, yang dijangka diadakan pertengahan bulan ini.

200 pelajar hadir

Forum itu mendapat sambutan hangat dengan lebih 200 pelajar yang beramai-ramai duduk bersila dan bersimpuh di atas hamparan tikar, di hadapan dewan tersebut.

Selain mahasiswa UM dan UIA, forum malam tadi turut hadir pelajar dari Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) dan Kolej Universiti Islam Selangor (KUIS).

Ahli panel forum tersebut terdiri daripada ADUN Teja Chang Lih Kang, Pengerusi Pro-Mahasiswa (Pro-M) Nasional Mohd Shafie Hashim manakala pengerusi Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin pula menggantikan tempat Dr Abdul Aziz Bari.

Forum tersebut dipengerusikan oleh Mohamad Izzuddin Hilmi Mohamad Zaini, salah seorang tertuduh dalam kes menconteng dan cubaan membakar dewan kuliah API, beberapa bulan lalu.

Dalam majlis itu juga, pihak MPMUM dan Pro-M, masing-masing mengedarkan risalah kepada hadirin, yang menyatakan sebab mereka membantah penggunaan e-undi.

BANTAH juga turut menggantungkan kain rentang di dewan kuliah tersebut untuk mengumpul tandatangan pelajar yang membantah pelaksanaan sistem tersebut.

Are police reports by police/MACC against Guan Eng, Ean Yong, Dr. Pornthip and Suara Keadilan part of a high-level sinister design/conspiracy to clamp

By Lim Kit Siang

On Christmas Eve, the Selangor Police lodged a police report of sedition against DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, for his speech at the Pakatan Rakyat national convention in Shah Alam on December 19 expressing national sentiments that the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam was a case of murder.

Three days later, the Selangor Chief Police Officer Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar alleged that the DAP Selangor Chairman and Selangor State Executive Councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah had “intimidated” the police in “directing” the police to stop their investigation of Guan Eng – when all that Ean Yong had done was to call on the police to stop their baseless investigation.

Yesterday, two MACC officers, Mohd Yusoff and Raub Ghani, lodged police reports against Suara Keadilan for an article in the Parti Keadilan Rakyat newspaper “which confirmed as murder the death of Teoh” as well as against Thai pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan for “leaking” the information to unauthorised people the forensic report of the second post-mortem on Teoh on Nov. 22.

In the Top News of 2009 for the various media, Teoh Beng Hock invariably topped the list for his tragic death at the MACC headquarters last July.

One electronic media even named the MACC “the Malaysian of the Year” – not for the breakthrough it had achieved in fulfilling its parliamentary mandate to spearhead an anti-corruption drive to catapult Malaysia among the least-corrupt nations but for so dismally and disastrously failing its mandate, or as Malaysian Insider has put it, MACC “stood out as an unfortunate symbol of all that is wrong in the country, unkept promises”.

Collectively, the police and MACC reports against Guan Eng, Ean Yong, Dr. Pornthip character as they bespeak of a sinister design or conspiracy in high places to clamp down and strike out at fair comment on important issues and developments in the country.

Those in authority and power have got their priorities all wrong.

Instead of making Malaysians safe and secure in the streets, public places and even the privacy of their homes, so that gated communities are being dismantled instead of being installed at unprecedented rates in various parts of the country, the police are more pre-occupied with wasting precious police resources and man-hours on the political agenda of the Barisan Nasional to with its political opponents.

Instead of declaring war on corruption, the MACC continues to give top priority to its agenda as the catspaw of the Umno/Barisan Nasional political masters by declaring and continuing its war against the Pakatan Rakyat.

Unless the MACC can win public confidence by operating as an independent, non-partisan and professional anti-corruption body, it is heading for another run as top newsmaker in 2010 for perverting its statutory mandate and abusing the vast powers and resources entrusted to it by Parliament to combat corruption.

The police are also undergoing a similar crisis of public confidence.

U.S. Study Finds Unusual Protein Modification Involved In Muscular Dystrophy, Cancer

WASHINGTON, Jan 2 (Bernama) -- With the discovery of a new type of chemical modification on an important muscle protein, a University of Iowa (UI) study improves understanding of certain muscular dystrophies and could potentially lead to new treatments for the conditions, according to a report by China's Xinhua news agency.

The findings, which were published in the Jan 1 issue of the journal Science, may also have implications for detecting metastasizing cancer cells.

After they are initially made, most proteins are modified through the addition of sugar chains, fats or other chemical groups. These modifications can completely change how a protein works and where it is located in the body. Disruption of these modifications can alter protein function, too, and can lead to disease.

The UI study focused on dystroglycan, a cell membrane protein that is disrupted in many forms of muscular dystrophy. Normal dystroglycan is modified with a unique sugar chain that allows the protein to "glue" muscle membranes to the basal lamina -- a tough layer of extracellular proteins. This arrangement reinforces the fragile muscle membrane and prevents small tears that occur naturally from expanding and damaging the membrane.

Recent work, including studies by the UI team, show that disrupting dystroglycan's ability to attach to the basal lamina causes congenital muscular dystrophies and also leads to cancer progression in epithelial cell cancer. In these conditions, the dystroglycan sugar chain is incompletely or incorrectly assembled and the dystroglycan cannot bind tightly to laminin.

"Dystroglycan is a complex and unusual glycoprotein. It is heavily covered with many types of sugars. We wanted to know the shape and make up of the unique sugar chain that allows dystroglycan to bind to laminin," said study leader Kevin Campbell, professor of UI and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Lead study author Takako Yoshida-Moriguchi, a postdoctoral researcher in Campbell's lab, used a combination of biochemical methods and chemical and structure analysis to determine that a critical link within the sugar chain involves a phosphate group. This type of link is found in yeast and fungi but has not previously been found in higher organisms like mammals.

"This phosphate link is very unusual, which may explain why the actual structure of dystroglycan's laminin-binding sugar chain has been a mystery for many years despite the efforts of numerous research teams," said Campbell. "The findings help explain what is happening in congenital muscular dystrophies where the dystroglycan sugar chain is truncated and ends at the phosphate. The bare phosphate does not bind laminin; it has to be further modified."

Several enzymes are involved in building the sugar chain beyond the phosphate, and mutations in these enzymes are the cause of congenital muscular dystrophies.

"If we can discover the entire structure and make up of the sugar chain beyond the phosphate link, we might be able to target some of the enzymes involved in building the sugar chain, and thus, develop therapies to treat congenital muscular dystrophies," Campbell said.

In certain cancer cells, one of these enzymes, known as LARGE, also is suppressed. Campbell speculated that loss of LARGE activity produces dystroglycan that is unable to interact with the basal lamina, which makes the cancer cells more mobile and allows them to escape into the bloodstream. The study's findings could lead to new methods for tracking metastasizing cancer cells.

Bakun dam set to become a cash cow

The Star

BAKUN: The Bakun hydroelectric dam is expected to become a cash cow that will churn out millions of ringgit for Sarawak starting this year.

Beginning October, the state government is projected to receive RM320mil in royalty payments from the developer of the RM7.8bil project.

The project developer, Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, will pay RM162.3mil in a one-off special payment to the state government, plus RM155mil in water royalties and RM3.6mil in licensing fees, a source told The Star.

“The royalties and licensing fees (for generation of electricity) will then become an annual payment from next year,” the source said, adding that the RM162.3mil one-off payment was for the cost of the project that the state government had sustained.

“These payments are expected to be paid to Sarawak after September 2010, when the dam is scheduled to start generating electricity,” said the source.

Sarawak will also earn annual royalties from the sale of electricity to the peninsula once the 670km submarine cable is laid at the bottom of the South China Sea between Kuching and Johor.

The source said Sarawak Hidro and the state government had already agreed in principle to the terms and conditions of the royalty payments.

The Bakun project is now about 98% completed. However, it is learnt that there is a slight delay to the impoundment of the dam.

Originally, the sealing of the river diversion tunnels to allow the 69,500ha of dam reservoir to be flooded was supposed to be done by September 2009.

Yesterday, Bakun sources said the impoundment had yet to start because the finishing works to the main dam wall were still nearing completion.

However, at least 200MW of electricity can be generated once the first two turbines are activated by September this year.

The dam, which has been a controversy since 1996 when construction started, is the second highest concrete-faced rockfill dam in the world after the Shuibuya dam in China.

It has also been bogged down by delays, resulting in the Federal Government paying more than RM500mil in compensation to the affected parties, particularly during the 1997 economic crisis that saw the project shelved for 16 months.

There are still dilemmas, though.

About 900 natives are still staying in the area that will be flooded by the reservoir, which is about the size of Kelantan.

No News Is Bad News

Malay Mail (Used by permission)

PETALING JAYA: The past two months have been a waiting game for the Malaysian Malay Contractors Association (PKMM), which has been kept in the dark by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) over the payment for projects its members have undertaken.

Despite being promised by the national housing company that the contractors would be paid their dues by the end of last year, PKMM said it still hadn’t received any update on the matter.

Its secretary-general Baharuddin Sariman told The Malay Mail yesterday that SPNB had not been in contact with the association for the past two months.

"We haven’t received any news. We don’t know how SPNB is going to come up with funds to pay the contractors," he said, adding that the association was open to meet with SPNB to discuss the matter.

"We hope to meet them very soon, within the next week or so."

Asked if the contractors would be open to negotiations on the payments, he said SPNB should to pay the contractors according to the jobs done.

"The contractors need to be paid, no matter what. They have their own expenses and bank loans to worry about. The reported amount owed is RM500 million and if it is paid up, the industry can expect a turnover of some RM2 billion, four to five times the amount owed."

The payment would certainly do the industry good, Baharuddin added. The Malay Mail reported on Oct 30 that
SPNB had promised to pay the 34 Class A Bumiputera contractors, who had undertaken 34 housing development projects throughout the country, by yesterday.

Though sources had claimed the amount owed was about RM500 million, SPNB chairman Datuk Azian Osman said the figure was actually below RM300 million.

Azian had blamed the economy and poor housing sales as reasons why the contractors had not been paid.

However, he declined to say how SPNB would raise the funds.

Subsequently, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah told The Malay Mail that SPNB would rely on its land, unsold houses and other financing solutions to settle the debt.

Ahmad Husni had also said the ministry would not bail out SPNB as the situation was viewed as part of the business cycle.

Comments from the ministry and SPNB could not be obtained at Press time.

Gambar 'sebat' dan malam tahun baru

Gambar 3 Disember sidang media di depan Ibupejabat Polis Bukit Aman selepas menghantar laporan polis terhadap MB Negeri Sembilan isu penyeludupan wang RM10 juta

Seludup RM10 juta : MB Negeri Sembilan Dihukum Sebat

Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan, Datuk Seri Utama Haji Mohamad Bin Haji Hassan dijatuhkan hukuman sebatan oleh Mahkamah Rakyat berhubung jenayah mengirimkan wang secara haram ke luar Negara membabitkan 10 juta ringgit ke London pada tahun 2008.

Hukuman sebatan secara simbolik itu diadakan dihadapan ibupejabat Keadilan Negeri Sembilan. Suasana yang pada awalnya tenang mulai tegang apabila pihak berkuasa mengerahkan pasukan polis simpanan FRU untuk menyuraikan perhimpunan aman itu.

“Dengan kita polis berani. Dengan umno takut. Menikus. Kesian juga pada polis- polis yang menerima tekanan oleh UMNO.”

Turut dikaitkan dengan penghantaran wang secara haram ini ialah isteri perdana menteri, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Rosmah didakwa telah melakukan transaksi wang secara haram melibatkan 6 ratus ribu ringgit sewaktu beliau sedang membeli belah di Dubai, Ogos lalu.

“Ada kelompok yang rapat dengan rejim secara seronok hantar duit juta-juta ke luar negara. Rosmah hanya sebab tak cukup duit shopping di Dubai, 6ratus ribu dihantar kesana. Dalam keadaan rakyat begitu susah payah dibawah ni," kata Badrul Hisham Shaharin,

Pengerusi Perwaja dan Maju Holding, Tan Sri Abu Sahid turut dikatakan telah memindahkan sejumlah 22.2 juta ringgit ke luar Negara.

Seorang lagi tokoh korporat yang rapat dengan rejim pemerintah iaitu adik kepada Syed Mokhtar Al- Bukhari, Syed Mohammad dikesan telah memindahkan wang secara tidak sah sebanyak 1.19 juta ringgit.

16 November lalu, pimpinan PKR telah menghantar surat rasmi kepada Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan memohon penjelasan berhubung dakwaan itu, namun mohamad Hassan memilih untuk mendiamkan diri. Kegiatan ini telah melanggar Akta Pengurupan Wang 1998.

Isu ini juga dibangkitkan dalam sidang dewan undangan negeri Sembilan namun sekali lagi mohamad gagal memberi penjelasan. Pada 3 disember lalu, pimpinan PKR nekad memfailkan kes ini ke Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman, namun badan yang kononnya berkecuali itu juga mengambil langkah sama, mendiamkan diri.

“Setiap kali wang Negara dihantar keluar Negara secara haram dalam jumlah yang besar, ia melibatkan ekonomi Negara. Melibatkan periuk nasi rakyat. kecuali mereka yang rapat dengan rejim pemerintah…….yang memang nyata,” katanya lagi.

26 0ctober lalu, Bank Negara Malaysia telah mengumumkan pembatalan sebanyak 20 lesen perniagaan pengurupan wang di bawah Akta Pengurupan Wang 1998. Namun tidak disertakan sebab musabab pembatalan lessen berkenaan.

sempat bergambar bersama teman - teman selepas semuanya selesai
Selepas hukuman dijalankan
Polis gagal menyelamatkan Mohamad Hassan dari disebat kerana terlewat sampai, jalan jem. Polis cukup marah hari tersebut kerana terpedaya dengan maklumat awal kononya kami nak buat 11 pagi di depan bangunan Umno. Hampir 200 Polis dan gangster Umno menunggu sejak pagi malangnya kami buat petang di tempat lain.....kesian mereka
Sidang media selepas 'laksana hukuman'
Pak Din TTJ, antara pelaksana hukuman
Sani Md Shah menyebat dengan penuh 'geram'
YB Taufek memberikan ucapan sebelum 'jatuh hukum'

Sebatan dimulakan

Perbicaraan dimulakan lebih 100 yang hadir setuju Mohamad ialah pengkhianat dan wajar dihukum.Azmizam dari AMK Selangor juga turut hadir tanda sokongan

Manakala malam 31 Disember pula menghadiri Forum Perdana di Dataran Senawang anjuran pusat Khidmat DUN Paroi. Sekitar jam 11.45 malam diadakan majlis pelepasan Konvoi Anak Muda dari Senawang ke Cameron Highland. Konvoi yang disertai oleh 200 buah motorsikal ini bertujuan mengumpulkan anak muda dan mengarahkan mereka menyambut tahun baru dalam aktiviti berfaedah. Konvoi ini juga mendidik 'pemboncengan berhemah' kepada peserta.

Peserta konvoi siap sedia untuk berlepas

bersama Norazizi (Setiausaha KEADILAN Rembau), YB Taufek (YDP PAS Rembau), Sani Md Shah (Timb. AMK Rembau) bergambar bersama Marsyal Konvoi.antara 'jentera' yang bersiap untuk berkonvoi

Pakistan suicide bomb kills scores at volleyball match

The victim of a bomb attack in north-west Pakistan is moved at a hospital in Bannu, 1 January 2010
Victims of the attack were taken to nearby hospitals

At least 88 people have been killed by a suicide bomb attack at a volleyball court in the troubled north-west of Pakistan, local police say.

Police chief Ayub Khan said the bomber drove towards a field where people were watching a match, before detonating a load of high-intensity explosives.

The attack happened near Lakki Marwat, close to North and South Waziristan.

The Pakistani army has been conducting a campaign against the Taliban in the tribal areas since October.

The number of people killed in militant attacks in Pakistan is fast approaching 600 in just three months.

Militants have attacked both "hard" targets, including army or intelligence offices, and "soft" ones such as markets or the crowd that was hit in Friday's bombing.

The latest attack killed more people than any other since a bombing at a market in Peshawar left some 120 people dead on 28 October.

'Militant hub'

Dozens of people were reported to be injured in Friday's attack. Several buildings collapsed, trapping people under rubble.

Aleem Maqbool
By Aleem Maqbool, BBC News, Islamabad

The Pakistani army's operation in South Waziristan, which began in October, was billed as the turning point in the country's fight against the Taliban.

The military says things have gone extremely well, and that it now controls most of that former Taliban stronghold.

But the period since the offensive started has coincided with a massive upsurge in militant attacks that has now claimed the lives of over 600 people right across the country.

The government says the hitting of soft civilian targets, as the one in Lakki Marwat, is proof that the militants are getting desperate, and know the authorities have the upper hand. Most Pakistanis will be unconvinced of that.

"The villagers were watching the match between the two village teams when the bomber rashly drove his double-cabin pick-up vehicle into them and blew it up," district police chief Ayub Khan told AFP news agency.

"Every day there are volleyball matches taking place," said one man who was injured in the explosion.

"Today, all the people had gathered together watching, when suddenly a [Mitsubishi] Pajero came in the middle of the field and blew up."

Mr Khan told reporters the attack may have been retaliation for attempts by locals to expel militants.

"The locality has been a hub of militants," he said.

"Locals set up a militia and expelled the militants from this area. This attack seems to be a reaction to their expulsion."

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool reports from Islamabad that among those killed are believed to be members of a local peace committee who have been campaigning for an end to the violence.

Rescue efforts

Mushtaq Marwat, a member of the group, told Pakistan's Geo TV that the attack occurred as the committee was meeting in a nearby mosque.

It is a small village with very few rescue facilities
Khalid Israr
Regional official

"Suddenly there was a huge blast. We went out and saw bodies and injured people everywhere," he said.

Other people recalled seeing a bright flash before hearing an ear-piercing explosion.

One witness said that later, people were using vehicle headlights to search for victims in the dark.

Khalid Israr, a senior regional official, told Reuters news agency that the military had been deployed to help local authorities.

"It is a small village with very few rescue facilities. Rescue equipment is being sent there from other places."

North and South Waziristan form a lethal militant belt from where insurgents have launched attacks across north-west Pakistan as well as into parts of eastern Afghanistan.

Our correspondent says it had been feared that while the army was congratulating itself on its campaign, militants had simply escaped to neighbouring areas such as the one where Friday's attack happened.

The attack came as a general strike was held in Karachi, Pakistan's commercial capital, in protest against a bombing there on Monday and riots that followed.

The bombing, which killed at least 43 people, targeted a Shia Muslim march and was claimed by the Taliban.

Map showing recent attacks in Pakistan
Lakki Marwat, 1 January: At least 60 killed in bombing at volleyball pitch
Karachi, 28 December: At least 43 killed in attack on Shia Muslim march
Dera Ghazi Khan, 15 December: At least 27 killed in bomb attack on market
Multan, 8 December: Intelligence agency office attacked - at least 12 killed
Peshawar: Many recent attacks - 28 October market bombing killed about 120
Lahore: Targeted several times - market bombs killed 50 on 7 December
Rawalpindi: Several recent attacks, including one at a mosque on 4 December in which 35 died
Islamabad: Security tightened after series of attacks - 20 October bombing killed nine at International Islamic University
Charsadda, 10 November: Car bomb kills 34 and wounds 100

Leaders mourn Tok Mat’s death, once friend and foe Dr M absent

Puan Sri Salbiah Abdul Hamid bids farewell as the hearse bearing the mortal remains of her husband, the late Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, departs for the cemetery. – Picture by Choo Choy May

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 - Today was a sad day for Umno as party leaders mourned the death of Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, the controversial former government strategist and Information Minister, who died this morning. He was 71.

Several Umno and top government leaders including the country’s fifth Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi all expressed sadness over what they described as a great loss to Umno when they came to pay their last respects to Mohamed, known affectionately as Tok Mat, at his house at Bukit Damansara here.

“As fellow party members, his death is a great loss to us in light of the services he has given to us in Umno and also his contribution to the struggle for the nation,” Abdullah told reporters after reciting his last prayers for Tok Mat.

Tok Mat, being the longest serving Umno and Barisan Nasional secretary-general, had always been loyal to his party despite the major crises Umno endured throughout its existence, said Abdullah further.

In the last months of his life, Tok Mat wrote a book entitled “Umno: Akhir Sebuah Impian” which many thought would be a tell-all book, detailing what went on in Umno and the souring relationship between him and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Many in Umno even believed that the book was meant as a hatchet job on Dr Mahathir.

But, ever the gentleman, Tok Mat said at the book launch in October that he had no quarrel with the fourth prime minister. He said then that he wrote the book because of love – love for the party and love for the country.

Dr Mahathir, however, failed to reciprocate the gentlemanly gesture Tok Mat had displayed. The former prime minister did not turn up at his funeral today.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a one-time protege of Tok Mat's, in defence of his mentor, said the latter’s good deeds were always misinterpreted and that much of the advice given in his book were indeed out of love.

“When we had dinner two weeks ago, he told me to read the book and reflect ... although the hatred towards him was at its peak at the time, his book was all about his love for the party, how he wished that Umno would be healed and return to its roots of serving the people,” he said.

“We share the same birthday, Jan 4 and we also share the same wedding anniversary date, March 26,” said a teary Zahid. He then told reporters that his mentor’s death is felt most by him given their close relationship in the past.

Meanwhile current Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, who is an old friend of Tok Mat's, said the latter’s death was not merely a great loss but that he was someone who is “irreplaceable.”

“He has always been a leader who believes in the importance of fighting for his countrymen and that the spirit of the struggle must always come from the heart,” said Rais.

Rais was among the many government and Umno leaders who had come to pay their last respects to Tok Mat. Others included party vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

Rais said that while he was saddened by his friend’s death, he was at the same time happy to note Tok Mat had died a painless death.

According to Tok Mat’s wife, Puan Sri Salbiah Abdul Hamid, her husband had passed away at about 8 to 9am. She discovered his death when she tried to wake him up.

“But he never responded. I checked his hands and they were cold ... that’s when I knew he had passed away,” she told reporters. She appeared calm and composed.

Tok Mat had been struggling with his health and has referred to his last few months as “borrowed time.”

His wife when asked to comment on her husband’s death gave a small smile and said, “he died a peaceful death, Alhamdullilah (I am grateful to god).”

His body was taken for final prayers at the Omar Al-Qhattab Mosque here at 4.50pm and he was laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery at 5.35pm.

Police don’t know their law — Fahri Azzat (

JAN 1 — How did the Royal Malaysian Police Force screw up when they arrested the five lawyers on May 7 last year? Royally. There was a curious report on Dec 21 in The Star (Nation Section, page 20). Investigating officer ASP Hoo Chang Hook explained to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission that after the investigating papers were sent to the Attorney-General Chambers, the police were told by DPP Tun Abdul Majid that “there was no case to bring to court because there was no element of violence or force”. The DPP also reportedly “advised the police to be careful not to use section 28A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) indiscriminately to deny an arrested person the right to a legal counsel”. What he really meant was section 28A(8) that allows the police to deny your right to legal counsel in certain circumstances that would facilitate abetment or escape of accomplices, or destruction of evidence.

Tun Abdul Majid’s caution was also spot on because that is precisely what the Royal Malaysian Police Force did that evening. They violated both the lawyers’ and their client’s constitutional rights. Not only did they prevent the lawyers from seeing their clients, they arrested them and locked them up overnight. That is how much the police respect the law and how much less they respect lawyers. In typical twisted Malaysian justice, the police broke the law but the lawyers were behind bars.

So while the caution was correct, I confess an initial surprise at the opinion of law purportedly expressed by Tun Abdul Majid that the offence of unlawful assembly operates only when an element of violence or force is present. Let us consider his opinion more closely. From them we know that Tun Abdul Majid was speaking about unlawful assembly pursuant to section 141 of the Penal Code which provides as follows:

An assembly of five or more persons is designated an “unlawful assembly”, if the common object of the persons composing that assembly is:

First — To overawe by criminal force, or show of criminal force, the Legislative or Executive Government of Malaysia or any State, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant; or

Second — To resist the execution of any law, or of any legal process; or

Third — To commit any mischief or criminal trespass, or other offence; or

Fourth — By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to any person, to take or obtain possession of any property, or to deprive any person of the enjoyment of a right of way, or of use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or enjoyment, or to enforce any right or supposed right; or

Fifth — By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.

Explanation — An assembly which was not unlawful when it assembled may subsequently become an unlawful assembly.

But that is not the only provision that relates to unlawful assembly. The provision most commonly used to charge for a crime of unlawful assembly is that contained in section 27 and 27A of the Police Act because these provisions are the ones that require us to obtain a police permit to hold a public gathering of more than three people. Section 27(5) of the Act provides as follows:

(5) Any assembly, meeting or procession

(a) which takes place without a licence issued under subsection (2); or

(b) in which three or more persons taking part neglect or refuse to obey any order given under the provisions of subsection (1) or subsection (3),

shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly, and all persons attending, found at or taking part in such assembly, meeting or procession and, in the case of an assembly, meeting or procession for which no licence has been issued, all persons taking part or concerned in convening, collecting or directing such assembly, meeting or procession, shall be guilty of an offence.

So to qualify as an unlawful assembly under section 27 of the Act there is no need for violence. All that is required is (i) an absence of police permit and (ii) more than three people gathering. But can the police use this provision then?

The answer would still be no, because of section 27(2) of the Act which provides the following:

(2) Any person intending to convene or collect any assembly or meeting or to form a procession in any public place aforesaid, shall before convening, collecting or forming such assembly, meeting or procession make to the Officer-in-Charge of the police district in which such assembly, meeting or procession is to be held an application for a licence in that behalf, and if such police officer is satisfied that the assembly, meeting or procession is not likely to be prejudicial to the interest of the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to excite a disturbance of the peace, he shall issue a licence in such form as may be prescribed specifying the name of the licensee and defining the conditions upon which such assembly, meeting or procession is permitted:

Section 27 therefore operates when “any person intending to convene or collect any assembly or meeting or to form a procession in any public place”. The Federal Court in Siva Segara Kanapahti Pillay vs Public Prosecutor [1984] 1 CLJ (Rep) 353 has decided that knowledge and intention are essential ingredients that must be established before a finding of guilt can be made under section 27(5)(a) of the Act. There was no such intention present in the five arrested lawyers. They were there to see their clients and happen to assemble in front of the gate because it was convenient to do so.

There is a moment of great irony at the end of the report when a commissioner asks Hoo why the five lawyers arrested could not have been put on police bail and requested to come back the next day to give their statements. His reply was that “under the Lock-up Regulations 1953 suspects could not be questioned between 6.30pm and 6.30am”. This is an evasive answer because it avoids the crux of the question i.e. what couldn’t you have been reasonable about the arrest of the lawyers? It is evasive because the arrest was purely done to teach lawyers a lesson that you do not mess with the police. If you do, we will teach you a lesson. Arrest you and put you in lock up. See how you like it. It doesn’t matter if there was no crime or not, we will do it because we can.

There are a few significant things to note from this incident. Firstly, our police do not understand our laws. This suggests a low level of intellectual and moral operation. How can they police when they don’t know the law? Secondly, our police are unable to apply the laws correctly. Do we know the mean level of education in our police force? How many are SPM dropouts who never cut it anywhere else? Thirdly, our police do not bother to take legal advice on the correctness of their actions. This implies that they do not conduct their work bona fide. Fourthly, our police see lawyers as a hindrance to their work. They do not respect lawyers, their work or role in the law. Fifthly, such actions are rewarded by our government instead of discouraged. Nobody will be take responsibility for that flagrant display of abuse of power. They just commit too many with the tacit consent of their political masters. So nobody will.