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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Live - Anwar goes to court

Anwar is in court again for proceedings widely known as Sodomy II.

Anil Netto

Anwar to subpoena Najib, Rosmah

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today he would subpoena the prime minister as his second trial began on what he says are trumped up charges of sodomy.

Speaking outside a packed courtroom and cheered on by 250 supporters shouting “justice for Malaysia, justice for Anwar” the 62-year old former deputy premier said the presence of so many foreign embassy staff in court showed the “interest, concern and disgust” the new trial was attracting.

Anwar’s trial represents a huge political challenge to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is attempting to rebuild the coalition that has ruled Malaysia for over half a century after record losses in elections in 2008.

An upbeat Anwar told reporters after the court hearing was adjourned until the afternoon that his lawyers intended to subpoena Datuk Seri Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, alleging that they were involved in what he said was a conspiracy to jail him.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Anwar, accompanied by two of his daughters and his wife, told reporters the prosecution was down to “the machinations of a dirty, corrupt few”.

The government insists it is not involved in the trial and no one was immediately available for comment on Anwar’s charge.

Najib, who has been premier since April last year, also needs to defuse a religious row that has damaged the government and win back foreign investment that fled Malaysia at a faster rate than almost any other emerging market economy in 2009.

Inside the court, diplomats from the United States, European Union, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom observed the proceedings and 70 people squashed onto benches in the public gallery, including Nik Aziz, spiritual adviser to Anwar’s Islamic political allies, wearing a white turban and black robe.

The trial itself was adjourned until the afternoon as Datuk Seri Anwar’s lawyers sought a date to review a higher court ruling, which refused to allow Anwar access to certain prosecution evidence.

Anwar’s previous convictions for sodomy and corruption followed his dismissal as deputy prime minister in 1998, and most international observers said at the time the trials were not conducted fairly, an accusation that haunts the current hearing.

“The evidence will have to be overwhelming in order to move beyond the perception that Najib Razak is using the judiciary to remove a political rival in a desperate and mistaken move to shore up his own position,” said Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia specialist as Singapore Management University.

If found guilty of the charge of sodomising a young male aide in a country where all homosexual acts are criminal, Datuk Seri Anwar, one of Asia’s best known politicians, could face 20 years in jail.

That would effectively end his political challenge to Datuk Seri Najib and the National Front coalition that the prime minister heads and remove a major thorn in the government’s side ahead of elections that must be held by 2013 at the latest.

Datuk Seri Anwar called for a strong turnout for his first day in court on his Twitter account, while his accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan also said on Twitter he would be in court.

Outside the court, pamphlets supporting Saiful were scattered on the road, denouncing Anwar for not taking an oath on the Koran and for using appeals to frustrate the courts.

Anwar’s lawyers say they cannot defend their client properly without the prosecution’s medical evidence and that access has been blocked by a series of court rulings.

“One of my hands are tied and I am going into this boxing ring,” lawyer Sankara Nair told reporters outside the court. — Reuters

Anwar’s sodomy trial adjourned to 2.30pm

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s defence team will return to the High Court this afternoon to proceed with arguments to delay the trial after winning an appointment with the Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff tomorrow to fix a date to review the Federal Court’s decision on their application to seek more evidence.

Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair said Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi was not in office today but has directed Allaudin to meet the team tomorrow in Putrajaya.

“We there will be back to the KL High Court at 2.30pm and proceed with our stay arguments,” Nair said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider.

The High Court has earlier agreed to adjourn Anwar’s sodomy trial to allow his lawyers to get a date to review a Federal Court ruling that upheld earlier decisions to disallow him from obtaining additional evidence for his case.

“It is important that every opportunity be given to the defence to exhaust all avenues,” said veteran lawyer Karpal Singh, who is on Anwar’s defence team.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah allowed Karpal’s application to adjourn the trial to 2.30pm.

Anwar is accused of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 26, 2008 at a posh condominium in the exclusive Bukit Damansara suburb in Kuala Lumpur. He has denied the charge, saying it’s a conspiracy similar to his first charge in 1998.

The 63-year-old Opposition Leader was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, that was held by his wife, in a by-election in 2008. He had earlier led the opposition Pakatan Rakyat to a historic sweep of four states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.

But he was then mired with the accusation from 24-year-old Saiful, whom Anwar dismissively said was just a “coffee boy”.

The case has been delayed as Anwar’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to obtain evidence they said was necessary for his defence.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers said they have given all relevant documents and evidence as required by law but Anwar lawyer Sankara Nair, who defended Anwar for his first sodomy charge in 1998, said it was “abuse of due process”.

His legal team is led by noted lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse, who also led the team in 1998, and Karpal who is also national chairman of the DAP, an ally in Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition that also includes PAS.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in September 1998 after allegations of sodomy and abuse of power circulated within the ruling Umno party.

He then led an 18-day “Reformasi” campaign against Mahathir but was soon arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) before being prosecuted for sodomising his driver and for corruption.

PAS membership for non-Muslims in 5 years

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — PAS has set a five-year timeline to open full party membership to all Malaysians — however the 59-year-old party will not compromise Islam as its core principle.

The Pakatan Rakyat party is expected to complete the process after the next general election.

“Of course PAS will remain an Islamic party,” said PAS’s National Unity Committee chairman Dr. Mujahid Yusuf Rawa (pic).

Speaking to Harakah Daily, Mujahid added, “But we recognise that we are in a multiracial country.”

“Therefore we hope in the next five years, after resolving concerns we can invite all those who share our aspirations Muslims or not to become PAS members.”

Mujahid issued the statement a month after PAS central committee endorsed the constitutional draft which upgraded PAS Supporters Club to become a Supporters Congress of Assembly.

It will have leadership structures at national, state and division level, but no voting power in the party main or access to contest for main party posts.

The upgrade was does not involve any amendments to PAS’s main constitution.

PAS Supporters Club — formed in 2004 — has more than 20,000, made of Indians, Chinese, Siamese and Ibans.

The new congress’ chief will be assisted by a deputy, five vice-presidents, secretary, treasurer and 18 committee members, with youth and women’s wings.

Vice-president Salahuddin Ayub is adviser to the new body.

PAS put up its first non-Muslim candidate in Election 2008.

“Communal politics is outdated and is opposed to Islamic teachings,” said Mujahid.

“We need a new model which will allow all Malaysians to participate in PAS without the party losing its focus and Islamic spine.

“It that possible? We are confident it is. Just look at our Supporters Club.

“It’s a success and that is why we’ve upgraded it into a congress. This new body should gear itself for the final step. PAS is for all,” said the Parit Buntar MP.

Anwar’s Sodomy II trial starts today

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani and Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, his second since 1998, began this morning with both the defence and prosecution teams spending some time in the judge's chambers. The hearing has now been adjourned to 2.30pm.

The charismatic Opposition Leader is accused of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at a condominium in a posh condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

The 63-year-old grandfather has denied the 24-year-old’s complaint, alleging another conspiracy to put him in jail and derail the opposition’s plans to capture Putrajaya.

He arrived to chaos in the court lobby as reporters, photographers and supporters surrounded him. "It is a sad day for the country. Let's hope justice will prevail," Anwar told reporters as he made way into the courtroom.

He was accompanied by his wife, PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, their daughters Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, Nurul Hana and Nurul Iman. Also in his entourage was DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong.

"We pray for the best but we are realistically enough. These are the machinations of the dirty corrupt few," Anwar added as he walked into the courtroom.

Asked about his coalition's prospects if he was convicted, he replied "The coalition is strong, we have made all alternative arrangements well."

"We have seen the difficulties in the past but we pray for the best." he said just before entering the courtroom.

Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair told reporters they were ready for the trial today but admitted the team would be at an disadvantage because “due process has been abused”. He also criticised the Attorney-General’s Chambers for not providing necessary evidence and documents in line with international standards and norms.

In a tweet from his @AnwarIbrahim twitter microblogging account, Anwar hoped for strong support from his followers.

“The lawyers are ready to give a shock in court. Umno repeats ‘quickly to courts!’ Yes, we will show what is relevant. Don’t avoid,” the de factor PKR and Pakatan Rakyat leader wrote in the tweet.

Some 30 middle-aged men and women have arrived in the Kuala Lumpur court complex which is under tight security. Journalists have also lined up to cover his second trial in almost 12 years. Also in court were international observers and Saiful’s father, Azlan Mohd Lazim.

PKR supreme council leader Datuk Chua Jui Meng told reporters the party backed Anwar and were prepared for the second sodomy trial.

The complainant also took to cyberspace, writing “All this while, I have only one request which is to testify in court.

“While I have waited patiently, he still tries everything to deny my rights. Whatever it is, we will wait for the High Court judge’s decision on Feb 2 whether his application to delay is accepted or not,” Saiful added.

Veteran Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah also tweeted his thoughts on the trial in his @razaleigh twitter account, saying "Another trial to shame the country the world over. Is this case even triable anymore?"

Anwar’s legal team last Thursday filed an application to delay the proceedings with his lawyer S N Nair saying Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah will hear their arguments and decide whether the trial actually begins.

The Federal Court last Friday had affirmed a Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to allow Anwar’s defence team access to documents relevant to the case. Anwar had sought to get more evidence saying it affected his defence but the court only allowed him everything except the DNA samples from Saiful.

Police have also warned people, particularly Anwar’s supporters, against gathering today near the courts. Both Anwar and party strategist, Batu MP Chua Tian Chang, had used twitter to ask supporters to gather outside the court this morning.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman said police have received intelligence about the gathering but said no permit has been requested and it would be illegal and cause traffic congestion.

Four truckloads of policemen have secured the court compound while traffic policemen have set up cones to manage traffic. Flyers headlined “Anwar scared?” have been scattered at the sidewalk leading to the court complex.

It said the trial was between someone who took an oath, referring to Saiful, and someone who is unwilling to do so, referring to Anwar, and his efforts to delay the trial.

RPK Speaks His Mind - Was Anwar Really Poisoned?


SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

BIN LADEN's are behind a lot of Malaysian Projects!!!

UMNO does not fear US Sanctions

What's a tiny sanction here or there?

By John Doe

"Malaysia has Strong Fundamentals", said Mahathir. What exactly did he mean by that?

Let's look at an insignificant bloke here:

MOHD NOOR HARUN @ ALINOOR
Partner
Financial & Project Management

alinoor@enem.com.my This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Mohd Noor holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from University of Birmingham, UK.

He was previously with National Technocrat Innovative Management Committee and the Information Technology Steering Committee, where he rose to the rank of National Innovator & Inventor before he left to join Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) in 1994.

His last held position was Head of Procurement Tender & Contracts with Saudi Binladin Group (SBG). In this capacity, he was responsible for managing all aspects of day-to-day operations of the projects within SBG’s overall business strategies, including project’s development progress and the construction engineering functions. These were projects valued RM2.5 Billion, mega projects in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and the Putrajaya Mosque

TAKEN FROM: http://www.enem.com.my/V2/partnerassociate.html

2 RTM NEWS CLIPS are below:

the first is:

DRB-Hicom Partners Saudi Firms To Set Up Integrated Automotive Cluster

Author: Posted by Woon/Source-Bernama

Date: 05/11/2008

Kuala Lumpur - DRB-HICOM Bhd announced that it had signed an agreement Tuesday with the Jazan Economic City Land Limited (JEC), the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) and GIIG International Holding Company Ltd(GIIG), to explore business prospects in respect of establishing an integrated automotive cluster project.
TAKEN FROM:

http://besonline.rtm.gov.my/details.php?pageno=45&field=bu_CreateDate&order=ASC&search=&title=Business/Economy&id=905

and the second is:

MMC to deliver value to shareholders

Author: Posted by Woon/Source-Bernama

Date: 08/01/2009

MMC, together with the Saudi Binladin group, are the landowner and master developer for the JEC project.
TAKEN FROM:

http://besonline.rtm.gov.my/details.php?pageno=83&field=bu_Title&order=ASC&search=&title=Business/Economy&id=1170

Now Click here to see OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS:



And in a Language that is easier to understand:
Setelah berjaya di negara sendiri, Saudi Binladin melangkah ke seluruh penjuru dunia. Lapangan Terbang KLIA juga pernah mendapat sentuhan kumpulan Bin Laden ini. Ketika ini, gergasi perniagaan Saudi Binla din Group dikendalikan bersama oleh 13 orang daripada 51 orang saudara Osama bin Laden. Hubungan baiknya dengan keluarga diraj a Arab Saudi juga masih bertahan.
TAKEN FROM:


And finally, use this link to cross reference all the Bin Laden Family Names:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bin_Laden_family

So, BRING IT ON, AMERICA !! UMNO is definitely NOT afraid of your pitiful sanctions !!
They have Osama bin Laden's FAMILY backing them here !!

Reaching the middle Malay Malaysian

thenutgraph.com


(See-saw image by scusi/Dreamstime)

THE DAP's unveiling of "Middle Malaysia" couldn't have been at a better time. But with the ongoing "Allah" debate and the defiance by Parti Keadlian Rakyat (PKR)'s Zulkifli Noordin, an apt question is, just who are Middle Malaysians?

From party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's description, Middle Malaysia indicates a state of mind or a set of values based on moderation and mutual respect. However, the DAP's new catchphrase is also an electoral strategy. Lim's confidant, parliamentarian Liew Chin Tong, says in an interview: "We're responding to the leadership vacuum left by the Barisan Nasional (BN), which has no middle-ground leadership. There has been no effort to create space for ordinary people, who may not be ideologically inclined, but who just want a government that works."

But whether it is an election strategy or a mindset approach, defining Middle Malaysians may be a trickier exercise than assigning group labels such as "moderate", "tolerant" or "the silent majority". Ultimately, assessing the DAP's game plan raises at least two questions. Are collective values consistent? And is the line of moderation largely drawn along ethnic boundaries?

Where's the middle?


Nik Aziz
How consistent are moderate values? A modern-minded, Western-educated, occasional beer-drinking Malay-Muslim Malaysian may today strongly object to letting non-Muslims in Malaysia use "Allah". Conversely, hardcore Islamists like PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat have no qualms over sharing "Allah" with other faith communities.

Other examples: a young PKR leader like Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad can be forward-thinking on meritocracy and needs-based affirmative action, and yet be uncritical about Islamic moral policing by the state. Or take PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's indecisiveness over disciplining hardliner Zulkifli at the risk of angering PKR's Malay Malaysian support.

If PKR, whose leadership espouses plurality and equal rights, is concerned about losing its Malay Malaysian base, is being moderate in Malaysia largely defined by race?

In the March 2008 general election, to be moderate meant having values contrary to the BN's alleged corruption, cronyism, and race-based policies. But election results showed that the middle ground was largely Peninsula-based non-Malay Malaysians who voted for the opposition. Opposition parties netted only 35% to 40% of the Malay Malaysian vote, notes DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua.

The question then becomes, who are the middle Malay Malaysians? As the largest ethnic group at over 60% of the population, it should matter to the DAP, which knows it cannot succeed in elections without the help of its partners, PAS and PKR.

Making sacred what isn't


Norani Othman
Political sociologist Prof Dr Norani Othman thinks the Malay Malaysian middle class, also known by the idiom "Melayu Baru", is still evolving. "They have not shown clearly whether they have had a change of values to be necessarily cosmopolitan and global in outlook," she tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview.

The rise of this middle class is the result of the New Economic Policy and rapid national transformation under former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It brought fast wealth and drastically raised standards of living along with the sense of entitlement.

"Scratch beneath the surface of those who say they are tolerant, and what they mean is that they are tolerant only if their security is assured. Tolerance comes from being in a superior position," Norani says.

One reason for this, she says, is the sacralisation of the Malay Malaysian's "special position" and privileges. Islam, intended as the country's official religion, is conflated or equated with Malay identity and issues. Thus, any discussion on such matters is considered "a threat to Islam and Malays", and hence, taboo.

Norani notes that the country's leaders have been encouraging this making sacred of Malay Malaysian issues. It perpetuates a sense of racial and religious superiority and causes some to question if they are weak Muslims. It becomes a barrier that keeps middle-class Malaysians from stepping onto the middle ground.

Setting the agenda


Pua
The number of truly middle-ground Malay Malaysians in tune with the DAP's thinking may be too few in number. The party's own membership comprising Malay Malaysians is less than 5% of total members, says Pua.

But he is optimistic that there are more of such Malay Malaysians out there. He believes the "Allah" debate has exposed deep fissures in the collective Malay Malaysian mindset.

"The fact that there are some who can agree with the High Court judgement means there is a group that does not operate based on insecurities. We're not asking them to forsake their ideals about what being Malay and Muslim means, but when we say they are Middle Malaysia, we recognise that they are willing to engage and to respect others' differences," Pua tells The Nut Graph.

The DAP's challenge is to convince middle-class Malaysians by ensuring party policies cater to them as well, Pua adds.

And though there are different degrees of moderateness, the aim is to net support from different people "within the context of Pakatan (Rakyat)", says Liew.

"Through our partners, we can win different people with different definitions of being moderate," he adds. In other words, Middle Malaysia is also about the DAP setting the middle-ground agenda for PAS and PKR without putting them off, especially the Islamist PAS.

"It's a roadmap for the PR. The DAP is clarifying its relationship with PAS and PKR by stating clearly that we need them and are serious about our collective path to Putrajaya," Liew says.

But the Zulkifli saga in PKR shows that this won't be easy. What we mustn't be surprised about is the likelihood that as the DAP and other secularists push to expand middle-ground values, reactions from conservative forces are likely to increase.

Is Middle Malaysia a hopeful gamble? Are the DAP's partners up to it? Whether it works as an election strategy remains to be seen.

The Price I Paid for Malaysian ‘Justice’

The last time Anwar Ibrahim was put on trial, I was tortured and forced to ‘confess’ to sodomy.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704722304575036481877471148.html

FEBRUARY 1, 2010

Nearly 12 years ago, I was languishing in a local hospital as a prisoner of conscience. This loss of freedom was due solely to my long-standing personal and professional association with Anwar Ibrahim, then Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Malaysia. We were falsely implicated in a fabricated case of having committed a mutual act of sodomy.

Such an internment, when driven by ulterior motives, brings a brutal deprivation upon the victim. It acts like a double-edged sword. While one’s freedom of movement is taken away by tormentors, one’s conscience suffocates in a dungeon. A poignant grief sets in once there is awareness that both the body and the conscience have fallen victim to the act of tyranny. That is what distinguishes incarceration out of an actual crime from that emanating from the acts of those who prosecute and persecute innocent others. The tormented memory never fades.

My detention by the Malaysian Special Branch taught me how it feels to be forcibly separated from one’s wife and children. How it feels to be searched and seized, disallowed to make phone calls, handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped naked, driven in an animal cage, shaven bald, endlessly interrogated, humiliated, drugged, deprived of sleep, physically abused. What it’s like to be threatened, blackmailed, hectored by police lawyers, brutalized to make a totally false confession, hospitalized for a consequent heart ailment, and treated as a psychiatric patient with symptoms of Stockholm syndrome. Barely surviving on a meager diet of rancid rice and chicken along with 12 medicines a day, I spent nearly 126 days handcuffed round the clock to my hospital bed, under the watchful eyes of the prison guards.

These tragic events completely ruined me and my family. The financial, physical, psychological and social implications of this calamity reverberate even more than a decade after the horrific occurrence. Words fail to describe what my family and I have quietly endured for the last 10 years. In spite of that, our faith in the ultimate victory of justice and truth has not wavered.

For the last 12 years, I have sought nothing but justice. I have repeatedly approached the Malaysian judicial system—the High Court, the Court of Appeals and the Federal Court—in the hope that justice would be duly provided to me. Unfortunately, my latest request for a review at the Federal Court was dismissed. Why does the judicial system shudder at the prospect of hearing my demand for justice? Why am I denied my day in court?

I am innocent. I am innocent of any and all spurious charges brought against me. I committed no crime for which I was tortured and unjustly imprisoned. I want the Malaysian judicial system to wake up to the fact that gross injustice was committed against me. I want them to realize that the injustice is perpetuated the more I continue to be denied my day in the court. My innocence inspires me to persist and persevere in the path of justice, as it is one of the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution of Malaysia. The judicial system in Malaysia must rise to the call of duty and serve justice without any further delay.

Mr. Anees is a writer based in Tucson, Ariz.

Sodomy II: A Nation Prepares To Go on Trial

By Bruce Tan, Harakah

It is a battle which Anwar will not fight alone. Millions will follow the courtroom battle blow by blow. It is not just Anwar who is on trial but also the judiciary, the law enforcement bodies and even the reputation of Prime Minister Najib Razak himself.

The month of February 2010 will bring the Lunar New Year with its colourful red ‘ang pows’ and the din of fire crackers to remind us that yet another tumultuous year has gone by. It will also witness the beginning of the long awaited court battle where Anwar will defend himself against a charge of consensual sodomy with his ex-aide.

It is a battle which Anwar will not fight alone. Millions will follow the courtroom battle blow by blow. It is not just Anwar who is on trial but also the judiciary, the law enforcement bodies and even the reputation of Prime Minister Najib Razak himself. As Anwar is also Malaysia’s Opposition Leader, it is not just one man’s battle for honour and liberty but a battle in microcosm for the political future of the nation.

A conviction for Anwar may end his political career for good but only if Barisan Nasional wins the next general election. Should Pakatan Rakyat grab the seat of power there are ways to revive his political career starting with a judicial review to right any miscarriage of justice.

If charges are dismissed the Malaysian judiciary will receive a badly needed boost to its dented reputation and Najib may even score some brownie points for not interfering although the government will get a black eye. But if Anwar is convicted in the trial, which is already widely perceived as a parody of justice, a powerful shockwave will be generated which will dim the BN’s chances of fending off an assault by PR at the polls.

Make no mistake about this. It is not a matter of convincing the judge but convincing the public. To some dense Umno warlords, a speedy trial by a friendly judge and then off-to-prison-you-go is just the panacea that BN needs to demolish PR and guarantee its political hegemony. But this is more like a foolish man unable to see that he is sitting on a branch he is also sawing off.

Public perception
What is the public perception of this latest sodomy case? The events leading to Anwar being charged and the intense courtroom battles leading to the trial proper do not inspire much confidence that everything is aboveboard.

The accuser, Saiful did not behave like a rape victim who has been traumatized and humiliated by the alleged act. Public revelations that he had met Najib and a police officer in a Shah Alam hotel before making his police report and photographs of him with top Umno leaders did not bolster his case.

To top it off, Anwar is charged with consensual sodomy although his accuser had publicly declared that he was forced against his will and sworn in a mosque no less. Why is Anwar charged for consensual sodomy when the government has shown absolutely no interest in enforcing this archaic law against practicing gays?

The existence of two independent medical reports testifying that the alleged victim had never been penetrated should have scuttled the case completely but not this one.

The frenzied legal maneuverings by the prosecutors so far do not convince doubters either. Anwar was first charged in the Magistrate Court which is qualified to hear his case as it does not involve the death penalty. However the prosecutors fought tooth and nail to transfer the case to the High Court as if their whole case depends on it.

If the prosecution has strong evidence Anwar could be convicted in any court under any judge, then such intense effort to transfer his case without any creditable reason would not be necessary.

Furthermore the huge battle not to hand over witness testimonies to the defendant as required by the Criminal Procedure Code smacks of a prosecution which has no confidence in the strength of their own evidence and so must conduct a trial by ambush.

Beware of the truth

Lawyers know how hard it is to prove a case of genuine rape as such acts are usually committed unseen and unheard by witnesses but what are the chances of proving a case which never happened?

The effort to stage manage fabricated evidence in court would be tremendous. Witnesses have to be coached, their testimonies must tally and dovetail together, plausible explanations must be created for seemingly contradictory events and witnesses must remember what to say and what they have said. To make it even more challenging the whole contraption must stand up in court under the aggressive cross-examination of lawyers. But no matter how well planned, an unexpected revelation may throw a spanner into the works and bring the whole edifice tumbling down.

Truth has a way of coming out like water dribbling from a leaky container. Plug one hole and water finds another way out. Plug that and more holes appear.

What happened in Anwar’s sodomy trial 11 years ago should give any conspirators pause. The date of the offence was originally fixed as one night in May 1994. When his accuser Azizan testified that he had not been sodomized after 1993, the charge was changed to one night in May 1992. When the prosecution pointed out that Tivoli Villa, the place of the alleged offence had not been constructed yet in 1992, the charge was changed to one night between January and March 1993. When the defendant produced invoices to show that the apartment was under renovation at the material time the judge refused to accept it.

Do the witnesses have the mental toughness to maintain the charade under intense cross-examination? In the previous sodomy case, Azizan could not. He was asked three times and he replied three times that he had not been sodomized. It was only the judge who saved the prosecution’s case.

The 1999 sodomy trial was widely regarded as a sham. The prosecution in Sodomy II must do better, much better than this to convince a skeptical public.

Consensual or Not?

Anwar is charged under Section 377B of the penal code for voluntarily committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature. This is distinct from Section 377C where someone commits carnal intercourse against the order of nature on another person without the consent or against the will of the other person.

Section 377A defines carnal intercourse against the order of nature. A quirk in the description means that only the person who does the penetration is liable for prosecution. But if the act was consensual shouldn’t Saiful be charged for indecent behavior as well?

However there is a contradiction between the charge and the public stance of the star witness who has publicly insisted that the sodomy was against his will. When the trial begins the first order of business is to ask Saiful to declare whether the sodomy was consensual or not.

If Saiful still maintains that the act was against his will the charge must be amended to Section 377C or it is defective and must be thrown out. There is a whole world of difference between a consensual act and a forced act and we cannot have a man tried for consensual sodomy while the alleged partner insists that he was forced. This is against logic and natural justice.

Of course forced sodomy is more difficult to prove especially when the alleged perpetrator is a 62-year old man with a bad back and the alleged victim is a strapping youth bigger and stronger than him but that is the prosecution’s problem. The prosecution cannot give themselves an easier job by preferring a charge which does not reflect the reality on the ground.

If Saiful changes his tune to admit to consensual sodomy, the trial can proceed but a political time bomb may be triggered. This is because he had sworn in a mosque in front of the press and TV cameras that the act was against his will, with BN making political capital out of it at the Permatang Pauh by-election. This admission will be politically devastating for BN in the staunchly religious Malay heartlands but you reap what you sow.

DNA evidence

From what transpired during the Anwar’s battle to procure evidence from the prosecution it appears that the main evidence against Anwar will be DNA evidence.

In other countries DNA evidence is treated as supplementary or supporting evidence. It cannot stand by itself and is always used to support other evidence gathered. If DNA evidence shows that the defendant was at the crime scene but witnesses can testify that he was elsewhere, then the DNA evidence must be disregarded. This recognizes the fact that DNA tests are not infallible to mistakes and contamination.

Another important point is independent verification. Part of the original DNA sample must be made available to the defendant to enable him to engage his own specialists to verify the result or it becomes the word of the tester against his. However in Anwar’s case the prosecution has pointedly refused to hand over any DNA sample to him.

In the earlier sodomy case, chemist Lim Kong Boon testified that the stains on a mattress contained Anwar’s DNA mixed with several women. However in a brilliant cross-examination, his methodology and expertise were demolished and he was forced to admit that Anwar’s DNA could have been planted. The judge expunged the whole DNA evidence.

During Teoh Beng Hock’s inquest, government pathologists admitted that their samples were contaminated by an accident victim giving rise to doubts about their competence and methodology.

As there is a lag of 2 days between the alleged act and the police report made by Saiful and possibly longer to the medical examination, any notion that usable DNA evidence can be extracted from his rectum is stretching the imagination as such evidence would be destroyed on his first visit to the toilet for bowel movement.

With the public now leery of any DNA evidence, to use unsupported and unverified DNA evidence to try to convince the public of Anwar’s guilt is worse than useless. Such dubious evidence will only reinforce the suspicion that Anwar was framed.

One hopes that the prosecution has more in their bag to present a watertight case. Malaysians deserve better than the 1999 verdict in which Anwar was convicted on the basis of one man’s testimony whom the judge opined, “had no reason to lie.”

A man fights for his freedom, a nation fights for its future

If Anwar is to be convicted it must be based on strong evidence with no room for reasonable doubt. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. A repeat of the 1999 trial with a judgement which convinced nobody and a punishment grossly out of proportion to the alleged crime will be devastating for Malaysia.

Although things remain calm on the surface, civil society is traumatized by such naked display of power and crude perversion of justice. The trust between the government and the people is broken and the government’s respect and legitimacy bleeds away. Deep undercurrents of discontent are created which must eventually manifest in some ways.

Anwar’s fight to clear his name will be a defining moment for Malaysia. This is not about one man’s fight for justice but an indicator of the path the nation is taking.

As long as our democratic institutions are damaged, no Malaysian is safe from unjust prosecution and well-connected guilty ones can escape justice. It also means that there is no check and balance to prevent or remedy all manner of abuses and wrongdoings such as endemic corruption and plundering of resources.

The nation waits with bated breath as we stand at a crucial fork in the road to nationhood, wondering if we will take the path to a maturing democracy or slide down the slippery slope to a failed state like Zimbabwe and Myanmar.

Show Time for Malaysia's Anwar

Asia Sentinel

ImageTrial gets underway in a case designed to sideline the opposition leader permanently

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim went to court today in Kuala Lumpur on charges of sodomizing a former aide in a trial that to everybody but the government itself appears to be built on dubious allegations that were laid to derail the first realistic challenge to the ruling national coalition since the country was formed in 1948.

The trial takes place in an increasingly shaky country, with a sclerotic government faced with a challenge not only from the formal opposition but from a fast-growing Malay nationalist movement, an NGO called Perkasa, which looks as if it is seeking to tow the United Malays National Organisation, the leading ethnic political party, into a violent confrontation with the Chinese community over the so-called Ketuanan Melayu, or Malays-first rights. Police warned against illegal gatherings in connection with the trial.

Anwar, most impartial observers feel, is virtually certain of being railroaded into jail on the current charges unless the judiciary shows some uncharacteristic backbone. If he is jailed, even a short sentence is likely to end his political career. The appeals process could take as long as two years, court observers say. Where that leaves the country is open to question. If he remains free on appeal, Anwar, who has led rallies all over the country in recent weeks to large crowds, could well return to his previous status as a political martyr, which he was during his previous jailing on similar charges in 1998.

At this point, there is no real viable political successor to Anwar waiting in the wings. Attempts to groom them have fallen apart on political infighting. The opposition coalition has been reeling from a series of defections and intense pressure from the Barisan Nasional, the national ethnic ruling coalition, which has used its political power in a variety of ways. Most recently, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, or MACC, hauled three opposition leaders into court to face charges of political corruption for misusing expense accounts.

The case against Anwar, was briefly adjourned while his lawyers sought to review an earlier decision denying him access to prosecution evidence. A chaotic scrum of reporters, photographers and supporters greeted the 63-year-old head of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, or the People's Justice Party as he and his lawyers entered the court.

At best, the charges appear to be a selective prosecution in a country in which a long string of top politicians have been complicit in a long string of crimes, not just of murder or assault but massive corruption. Najib Tun Razak, the current prime minister as defence minister engineered the purchase or lease of three French submarines that netted his best friend €117 million in commissions. That was just one of a variety of questionable defense purchases during his reign.

The aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, is acknowledged to have been photographed with and met with Najib after the supposed sodomy took place and before he filed the charges against Anwar. Dr Mohamed Osman, who examined the then 23-year old Saiful at Hospital Pusrawi Sdn Bhd on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur on June 28, 2008, filed a medical report that found no evidence of tearing or scarring that would indicate the youth had been sodomized. When Saiful went to another government hospital to obtain a diagnosis, doctors at that hospital refused to confirm that he had been sodomized as well. Nonetheless, Saiful filed the assault report four hours later at a nearby police kiosk.

Police later picked up the doctor and held him for three days, according to the website Malaysia Today, following his filing of the report that no assault had taken place. The doctor later went into hiding with his family. In an abbreviated interview with Asia Sentinel at the time, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar confirmed that Dr Mohamad had been questioned, but said he had not been detained.

The charges against Anwar echo those that took place in 1998, when he was leading the charge against the government led by the United Malays National Organisation and the then-prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who had fired him as finance minister and deputy prime minister. The charges have been widely reported as spurious. The supposed victims of Anwar's sodomy later recanted all of the charges and said they had been tortured and beaten into making them.

Munawar Anees, an internationally respected biologist, was one of four men accused of having sex with Anwar. The others were Anwar's adoptive brother, his wife's driver and a fashion designer. Anees wrote extensively in a statutory declaration of the five days of torture, brutality and deprivation he had suffered prior to being forced into making the charge. The declaration was published in Asia Sentinel on Dec. 9. It can be found here.

The prosecution, faced with contradictions in testimony, repeatedly changed the dates and times the alleged sodomy had taken place. Nonetheless, Anwar was convicted on charges of abuse of power and sodomy and served six years in jail before Mahathir left office and his successor, Abdullah Ahman Badawi, came to power. The sodomy ruling was overturned by the courts in 2004.

Anwar was suspended from running for political office until 2008 because of the abuse of power charge. He almost immediately became a major force in Malaysian politics, cobbling together a disparate coalition of the Democratic Action Party, a largely Chinese left-of-center party, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, a fundamentalist Islamic party, and his own moderate, urban, largely Malay Parti Keadilan, and for the first time broke the national ruling coalition's 50-year two-thirds hold on parliamentary power.

The opposition leader was arrested a day after a nationally televised debate that most observers thought made his opponent look incompetent and out of touch. When Anwar refused to give a DNA sample, charging previous samples had been used in the spurious 1998 case against him, the Barisan pushed a bill through the Dewan Rakyat to allow police to collect samples in criminal cases without the consent of the suspect. Since that time, the charges against Anwar have been modified from forcible sodomy to consensual sex. Saiful, however, has never been charged although presumably he had consented to homosexual sex, a violation of Malaysian law. He has remained sequestered by law enforcement and unavailable to the press.

Of Optimism, Opportunity & the Opposition

By Martin Jalleh

Is the Opposition coalition crumbling like a cookie? Is the door for real, relevant and radical change slowly closing in on us? Shall we just call it a day as we witness Umno’s final curtain of a failed State? Or shall we remain committed to a change in government no matter how challenging? Perhaps part of the answer begins with a review of the Opposition in 2009.

2009 saw the end of the euphoria that enveloped the whole country after the political tsunami of March 2008. It was a year during which the Opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), was brought down to earth and was forced to face the enormity of the challenge to deliver what they had promised during the elections.

It was also a year when the public increasingly perceived the fledging PR to be a “fragile”, “feuding”, “fraying” “faltering” coalition – one that was “not on a firm footing”. For some members of the public, trusting the PR enough to vote them in as the next Federal government was farthest from their minds!

One would have thought that PR, after having lost Perak to the BN in Feb. 2009, as a result of Umno’s subterfuge and scheming, would come to its senses and seek an inseparable synergy. But they continued on with their petty and puerile inter and intra public squabbles, spats and skirmishes, much to the surprise and scorn of the public and the satisfaction of Umno!

Meanwhile, the great hope which the apolitical Hindraf gave to the Indians and in fact to the whole country came to a grinding halt. Some of its highbrowed leaders haggled over its future, hurled accusations at one another, hauled one another to court, and accused PR of hypocrisy. By year’s end, a splintered Hindraf appeared headless, helpless, hopeless and headed for oblivion!

Successes

Coming back to PR, in contrast to those disappointed, disillusioned and even disgusted over what they felt was the coalition’s failure to deliver and to stop its disunity, there were PR diehards who felt that it was too early to dismiss PR altogether or declare its death sentence. It deserved more time and trust to prove itself — even though time was not on its side!

“Are we being fair to Pakatan Rakyat?” asked a reader of Harakah Daily, Li Fook Gao. He commented: “Yes, we gave birth to PR – but unfortunately we expected too much in return and to make things worse, we expected PR to deliver instant results. We expected those 100 apples in PR’s bag to be 100 per cent perfect. When we find two or three rotten apples, we are very quick to punish PR and ask for a refund immediately.”

He concluded: “PR’s survival and success is about us and our country more than it is about PR or BN’s political prosperity. We must ensure that PR survives and becomes the big brother in Malaysia’s politics to kick-start healthy competition between BN and PR…For a better Malaysia, we need PR. Punishing them now will lead us to back to BN’s dictatorship, and that’s exactly what BN wants us to do.”

In 2009, the opposition coalition was only less than two years old as compared to the BN of more than 50 years. It was their first time ruling and PR was made up of many first-timers with very divergent ideologies and inclinations and like any coalition, has an assortment of leaders such as the enlightened, the exceptional, the enigmatic, the erratic, the eccentric, the egocentric, etc.!

Further, PR, like any new organisation, was going through the forming-norming-storming process in order to transcend to a performing and transforming phase. Slowly but surely PR was making made a big leap in its maturing process. The concerted cohesiveness and clarity with which it handled and responded to the “Allah controversy” is an excellent example.

Further, PR was ruling their states quite well. The Auditor-General (AG) gave the highest rating to Selangor and Penang in terms of good governance since March 2008, which compared very favourably against BN-ruled states. The AG also gave a commendable rating to the PR’s performance during its 11-month rule in Perak. Penang was also praised by Transparency International.

In 2009, PR also contributed significantly to Parliament in the form of better and bolder participation and stronger and more sensible arguments during Question Time and debates. In July, PR formed parliamentary committees in tandem with 25 government ministries to help its MPs deliberate on important bills and issues including the Budget.

Even in terms of by-elections, PR fared considerably well in spite of them having to come up against BN’s juggernaut of man, machinery, media, money and muscle. There was a time when it was a foregone conclusion that the BN would be the winner in any by-election. But in 2009 (a year of by-elections), PR and BN faced off seven times, with the opposition pact winning five times to BN’s two.

Shortcomings

The successes of PR were however overshadowed by its many setbacks and shortcomings. In Aug., Anwar conceded that his party PKR was the “weakest link” in PR and that “there is a flaw in our vetting system. We rushed to choose candidates to contest in the last general elections but I promise that this will be improved.”

In Oct., PR was humbled in the Bagan Pinang by-election. Before PAS could reveal the results of its post-mortem, Anwar without any hesitation attributed the defeat to the “weaknesses and shortcomings” in PR. Some supporters were even relieved that PR had lost! It was a much-needed harsh wakeup call.

Lethargy had set in as the year went by. PR was being lackadaisical. If not for the political lassitude of 20 missing PR MPs in Parliament, the BN’s Budget Bill (in mid-Dec.) could have been voted out and PR could have won a vote of no confidence against the BN government. The coalition was resting on its laurels. It was also lagging behind and looked rather lost at times in its efforts to make inroads into East Malaysia.

An exasperated Lim Kit Siang warned: “Pakatan Rakyat had been suffering a prolonged and unceasing bout of loss of public confidence… to convince the Malaysian electorate in its credibility, cohesion, integrity and common sense of purpose.” PR may be only a “one-term miracle”, he prodded them on.

As the PR chief, Anwar also received a lot of stick from his comrades and supporters. In Feb., Karpal Singh slammed Anwar for “creating enough trouble” and asked him to quit. Raja Petra, a strong critic and supporter of Anwar said that the latter was in a “self-destructive mode”. Others accused Anwar for being too soft and slow to stop those who threatened the well-being of PR. But the seasoned politician took the slaps in his stride.

The latest ruckus, rigmarole and rubbish churned out by Zulklifi Nordin and Zahrain Mohd Hashim reinforced the fact that the PR has its fair share of riff-raff, rascals, rotten apples, and renegades who want to ruin the PR for good. Whilst there is no need to be alarmist, such political rogues should not be allowed to run riot. They need to be reined in, reproved or removed!

Sabotage

Umno spent 2009 in making a mockery of the people’s mandate given to the Opposition by sabotaging the PR-ruled states through the manipulation and maneuvering of key institutions of democracy such as the judiciary, the office of the attorney-general, the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Najib himself explicitly inferred that the institutions were no longer impartial. Tengku Razaleigh pointed at Umno as being the source of the faltering institutions, adding that Umno has “become corrupt, this corruption has weakened it, and as it grows weaker it is tempted more and more to fan racial feeling and abuse public institutions to maintain power. This is a death spiral.”

The stage for the Sodomy II Trial or show-trial was set up in 2009, the 10th anniversary of the first trial. Sivarasa Rasiah a PKR vice-president would write: “…what is really at stake here is the use of this framed up case as a political weapon to stop the advance of Anwar Ibrahim and the political movement of PR that he leads which threatens the very existence and future of the current BN government and its key leaders.”

With the help of the mainstream media, the ICT and the internet, and Apco Worldwide, a global Public Relations consultant, employed to re-engineer and redeem the PM’s flagging image, PR was portrayed as weak, wavering and wobbling. Umno was on the other hand presented as a party that was reformed, with Najib back in the saddle rendering rhetoric and all ready to take the country for a ride!

PR’s successes were downplayed. Detractors, dissidents and disgruntled leaders within the coalition were used to derail its progress. Attention on Umno’s scandals and schisms were diverted by distractions of all sorts. Federal funds to the PR-ruled States were either denied, delayed or distributed discriminately. Along the way, people and things disappeared!

PR leaders were demonised. Anwar whom Umno had once deemed “irrelevant” was denounced as a “traitor”. (Ironically from the speeches and stance of Dr M and Tengku Razaleigh, it is Umno that has become increasingly “irrelevant”!). Umno was displayed as the great defender of Islam, the Malay race and the royalty and self-declared the “People’s Champion”.

But it soon became very clear that Najib’s “culture of change” was a mere charade, claptrap and chicanery. One need only to look at 2009 – a year of big slogans, buckling economy, bad judgments, brutal police, biased mainstream media, “bloody racists” and burgeoning bigotry – to easily spot the leopard in Umno!

The forming of Perkasa by a man who keeps on party hopping to save his own hide, and who now wants to bring hope to the Malays by harping and hanging on to Umno’s racist past, reduced Najib’s “inclusive” Umno to hollow hype and hypocrisy. The fact that Perkasa’s Selangor chapter was launched by the “Father of all racists” gave Najib a further headache!

On the last day of the year 2009, Lim Kit Siang noted that Najib’s promises were nothing but play-acting, i.e. a mere “performance”: “After nine months (of Najib’s premiership), 1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now has proved to be mere publicity and propaganda puff of Najib’s premiership with no meaningful change or consequence to the lives of Malaysians.” The performance persists till today.

The fire bombs on churches as the aftermath of a landmark ruling by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the Allah issue, reduced to ashes Najib’s 1Malaysia boast. After being PM for almost a year, and being obsessed with annihilating the PR, Najib failed to fight the fires of racial and religious fanaticism often fiercely fanned by his own party and the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia which has what Nazri Aziz calls, “an outdated racist propaganda”.

Soldiering On

A dead constitution, a divided nation, decaying institutions, a dour economy and a PM dogged by allegations – perhaps the events and issues of the year 2009 point to the pressing reality that all real, relevant and radical change in Bolehland can only come about by a change of Government!

Coming back to PR, the leaders of the coalition were undaunted by the onslaught of a desperate Umno and the tasks ahead. In Dec. 2009, PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad introduced the PR’s Common Policy Framework as a “Dawn of a New Awakening” – a daring framework of common goals and grounds derived out of debate and discussion of the three parties, determined to deliver the “revolution of a political culture” in unison.

The leaders of PR must realise that the road to Putrajaya requires stomach, stamina, solidarity and the sacrifice of personal agendas and parochial party issues for the nation’s larger scheme of things. Sloganeering and navel gazing will not do. With each passing day they need to be reminded of the dictum like the 1,500 delegates at PR’s 1st National Convention were: “Perform or Perish!”

The Opposition is not alone on the narrow less-travelled path to Putrajaya. There are many Malaysians like those the country witnessed in 2009, with an indomitable, intrepid and inspirational spirit who are willing to pay the price to bring about the change the nation so badly needs, be they ordinary citizens, government servants, politicians or even judges.

But the nagging question many are prompted to ask is whether the members and the leaders of the Opposition are ready? They have to make the choice of either seizing the moment or selling their souls!

(The above article is an edited version from a series of articles by the author on a review of the year 2009 published in the latest issue of Aliran Monthly. Get a copy, its a “must read”!)

MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth in a matter of days if rumours on the grapevine are p

In an interview with Sin Chew Daily yesterday, the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammed was refreshingly frank when he admitted that the mysterious death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC Headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16 last year had caused the MACC image and credibility to fall to the lowest point ever but he hoped to lead the commission out of the bottom and restore public confidence and acceptance.

This is a far cry from his predecessor, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan who could be so insensitive as to publicly declare: “Teoh Beng Hock’s case is nothing. It is a very small case” – a height of folly and irresponsibility which cut short his brief but ignominious tenure as the first MACC Chief Commissioner.

Abu Kassim has asked for a year to reverse the bad impression the MACC has made on the public so that he could convince Malaysians that the new anti-corruption body is “independent, transparent and professional”.

MACC will not have a year to redeem itself as its public image may plunge to an even lower depth in a matter of days if rumours on the grapevine are proven right that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim would be arrested and charged for alleged “cow and car” corruption.

Members of Parliament and Malaysians were promised when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 2008 Bill was debated in Parliament in December 2008 that the MACC was going to become another ICAC (Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption) respected world-wide for its uncompromising and no-nonsense commitment against corruption without fear or favour for position, status or influence.

However, in less than two months of its establishment on 1.1.2009, the MACC became a joke. Instead of building public confidence in its journey to become another ICAC, feared and respected by all, it was quickly reduced into a “Malaysian Agency for Cows and Car” for the Barisan Nasional government to victimize Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

The chief culprit was none other than the first MACC Chief Commissioner who publicly declared in February last year that the MACC had “good and strong evidence” of corruption against the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Mentri Besar over the car and cows controversy – destroying all MACC claim to credibility for being independent, professional and uninfluenced by the dictates of its political masters.

Can Abu Kassim imagine the firestorm of condemnation if the rumours on the grapevine are proven right and Khalid is arrested and charged for alleged “Cows and Car” corruption, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that the MACC continues to be the catspaw of Umno/BN political agenda to declare war on Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war against corruption regardless of from whatever quarter?

It is now a year since the former MACC Chief Commissioner publicly declared Khalid guilty of corruption – over “cows and car” episodes – and awaiting the fiat of the Attorney-General to prosecute.

Is Abu Kassim going to execute the fiat to arrest and prosecute Khalid?

Talk on the grapevine is that the arrest and prosecution of Khalid for alleged “cows and car” corruption is part of the larger Umno/BN grand strategy of a pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat involving fomenting implosion inside Pakatan Rakyat parties while launching and intensifying individual assaults against Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz, DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh, Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and other Pakatan Rakyat MPs and leaders through abuse of national institutions and instruments like the police and the MACC.

There is even a timeline to achieve maximum impact and results for this pincer attack on the Pakatan Rakyat parties – the Chinese New Year Feb. 14 – 28, 2010!

There can be no reason, excuse or justification for the MACC continue to be UMNO/BN catspaw to hang the cloud of a “Cows and Car” arrest and prosecution over the head of the Selangor Mentri Besar for a whole year.

If Abu Kassim is serious and wants to rise from the bottom of the pit to start the arduous process to restore public confidence in the independence, transparency and professionalism, let Abu Kassim state without any equivocation the status of the MACC case against Khalid over the “Cows and Car” corruption allegation.

In his interview with Sin Chew, Abu Kassim admitted that the death of Teoh Beng Hock had destroyed the MACC’s image, saying:

“If time can turn back, I hope to return to the day when the Teoh Beng Hock incident took place, so that we could rectify everything and never let it happen.”

Although Abu Kassim had gone further than his predecessor in admitting that as Teoh fell from the MACC building and died when he was in MACC custody, “the MACC cannot absolve itself of blame”, this is no recompense to Teoh’s family who had gone through hell in the past six months over the loss of their loved one.

What gesture is forthcoming from Abu Kassim as MACC Chief Commissioner in the light of such an admission of responsibility if not yet guilt for Teoh’s unnecessary death at the MACC premises in Shah Alam last July?

However, what is Abu Kassim’s explanation for the police report lodged by MACC officer Raub Ghani against Thai forensic pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunand falsely accusing her of divulging details of the second post mortem conducted on Teoh Beng Hock?

This is not the action of a MACC belatedly prepared to accept responsibility if not guilt for Teoh’s death and want the whole truth about the mysterious death to be revealed!

Although the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas rejected the Teoh family application to commit Raub for contempt, Abu Kassim must still nonetheless account for Raub’s action.

Was Raub acting with full authority and mandate of MACC when he lodged the false police report against Pornthip?

If Raub was acting in his personal capacity misusing the name of MACC, what disciplinary action is Abu Kassim taking against Raub?

Is Abu Kassim prepared to discipline and suspend Raub for acting in a manner bringing the MACC into greater public opprobrium?

Will Abu Kassim apologise for Raub’s action?

Cops from sergeants and above to benefit from pay scheme

The Star
by SARBAN SINGH

SEREMBAN: Policemen from the rank of sergeants and above will get a rise in salary and allowances under a new pay scheme.

The new pay and incentives come three years after they were recommended by the Royal Commission to improve the police force.

The biggest gainers will be new inspectors who will get a starting salary of RM2,060 compared to RM1,492 previously. Diploma and STPM holders will also be allowed to join the force directly as sergeants and they will start with a basic salary of RM1,500. A sergeant’s basic salary previously was RM890.



The new scheme has been approved by the Public Service Department following recommendations made by the Royal Commission on the Enhancement of the Management and Operations of the Police.

Sources said new inspectors would have a take home pay of more than RM3,000 which included a special incentive of RM200, cost of living allowance of RM100 to RM200, and a housing allowance of RM420.

They said police inspectors had now been moved to the Professional and Management Group as they were now required to be degree holders.

Policemen will also have another reason to cheer as they will be paid arrears backdated to Jan 1, 2009. Other senior officers will also enjoy increases of between 4% and 8% of their current basic salary and civil service allowance.

“Senior police officers will get one jump in their salaries to the new scheme. This will be from RM200 to RM600,” he said.

The civil service allowance of officers with the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and Superintendents will be increased by RM50.

Sources said the ranks of Senior Assistant Commissioner I and II (SAC I and SAC II) have also been abolished and replaced with just SAC. Also abolished is the post of chief inspector.

This means that an inspector can be promoted to the rank of an ASP after passing the relevant examinations.

Citing an example, he said corporals who passed their Efficiency Level Assessment examinations were being paid higher than sergeants who did not pass theirs.

“We cannot have a situation where a lower ranking officer earns more than his superior. That is one reason why the changes were done to the matrix salary system,” he said.

In 2007, the Government increased the salaries of police and military personnel by 9% to 42%. The current increase of salary and incentives is to further enhance the operations and management of the police force.

In an immediate response, Cuepacs president Omar Osman said the Public Service Department must ensure it did not jeopardise the chances of non-officers to be promoted to officers.

“There are some 200 Customs non-officers who have not been promoted to officer level although they have recognised degrees.

“We hope the department will spell out exactly what are the chances of those in the lower rung to be promoted to the Top Professional and management Group once they get their tertiary education. Then it will be a level playing field,” he said.

Teoh Beng Hock Inquest: Contempt of court application against MACC officer denied

The New Straits Times

SHAH ALAM, Mon: A Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officer will not be cited for contempt of court for lodging a police report against Thai forensic pathologist Dr Porntip Rojanasunan.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas yesterday dismissed the application filed by Teoh Meng Kee, brother of Teoh Beng Hock, for contempt against a MACC Putrajaya officer, Raub Ghani.

Beng Hock, a political aide, was found dead on June 16 last year on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam hours after he was called in for questioning by the MACC.

Meng Kee, filed the application to cite Raub for contempt last month after he (Raub) lodged a police report against Dr Pornthip following a Suara Keadilan newspaper article.

Raub, 41, had alleged that Dr Pornthip had leaked information pertaining to the report on Teoh’s second post-mortem.

The application was filed on Jan 5 through counsel Karpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo.

In his ruling today, Azmil said: “In criminal contempt, intention is not relevant. Instead, the more important thing is whether the act itself had interfered with the course of justice.

“The police had investigated the case and the Attorney-General has decided there was no case against Dr Pornthip.”

Hence, Raub’s act did not interfere with the course of justice,” Azmil said.

On Jan 15, counsel Tan Hock Chuan, who was appointed by the Attorney-General to assist in the inquest, informed the court that the AG’s chambers had found no basis in Raub’s report and will not be pressing charges against Dr Pornthip.

Inquest proceeding continues on Feb 19 with Sungai Buloh Hospital pathologist, Dr Shahidan Md Noor’s evidence. Dr Shahidan had conducted Beng Hock’s second postmortem in November last year.

The second post-mortem was ordered by the court following Dr Pornthip’s testimony in court where she found that Beng Hock’s case was 80 per cent homicide.

Aliran launches 'Thinking Allowed online'

The folks at Aliran are revamping their website and today, they have launched a regular column “Thinking Allowed online,” featuring almost daily commentaries on current issues.

The idea is to look at the story behind the news and analyse the issues behind the headlines from a perspective of justice, human rights, multi-ethnic politics and universal spiritual values – all that Aliran stands for.

For this endeavour, Aliran has assembled a team of more than two dozen columnists – a blend of veteran activists, renowned scholars and seasoned commentators.

Kicking off the new section is Aliran president P Ramakrishnan with a piece “Traitors and treachery!”

“If ever elected representatives are turned into renegades and turncoats, we must not only punish these traitors in the next round of elections but we must severely punish the party that encourages treachery,” says Ramakrishnan, in the inaugural commentary.

In the weeks to come, we will be further revamping and expanding our online commentaries, making the website a must-read to find out what makes Malaysia tick.

These independent commentaries will be current and from the vantage point of 33 years of observing Malaysian society. They will complement our existing online material made up of Aliran Monthly articles, media statements and civil society concerns.

Check out the Aliran website now – and keep an eye out for the team of daily commentators.

Anwar Ibrahim: We Will Never Surrender

Kartika: Just get it over with

PENAN FEATURE IN EDEN PROJECT OIL PALM EXHIBIT

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

1 February 2010


PENAN FEATURE IN EDEN PROJECT OIL PALM EXHIBIT

The Eden Project's new oil palm exhibit features
the Penan tribe. © Eden Project/Survival.
A new exhibit at the world famous UK visitor attraction the Eden Project features the Penan of Sarawak and the destruction of their forests to make way for oil palm plantations.

The oil palm exhibit in the Eden Project’s hugely popular Rainforest Biome includes a quote from a Penan man whose community is trying to stop oil palm companies moving on to their land:

‘The oil palm plantation companies – they destroy the forest. They will destroy our natural habitat and that is the only source of food for the Penan. I wish that the government would stop doing this type of ‘development’, as they call it.’

Last year Survival International visited Penan communities whose forests had been cleared and their land planted with oil palm by the company Shin Yang. One Penan man told researchers, ‘When the logging started, we thought we had a big problem. But when oil palm arrived, logging was relegated to problem number two! Our land and our forests have been taken by force. Our fruit trees are gone, our hunting grounds are very limited, and the rivers are polluted.’

Another group of Penan have told researchers, ‘Oil palm plantations have not benefited us at all; they have only robbed us of our resources and land… oil palm plantations have destroyed our source of livelihood and made us much poorer. A lot of people are hungry every day because our forest has been destroyed.’

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Just like the logging companies that precede them, the oil palm companies are taking the Penan’s land without their consent and without any consultation. The Malaysian government must stop sanctioning this theft and instead start ensuring that the indigenous people of Sarawak’s land rights are respected.’

An Eden Project spokesperson said, ‘Eden is home to the largest rainforest in captivity… By connecting people to the plants from which everyday products are made Eden hopes to make the survival of the rainforests and other environments more relevant to its visitors.’

The Eden Project is in Cornwall, in the southwest of England. It receives over a million visitors every year.

To read this story online: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/5489

PAS defends Ku Li

Thaipusam wayang! PKR, DAP & PAS mandores beat MIC mandores.

gudda44Thaipusam wayang! PKR, DAP & PAS mandores beat MIC mandores.

By dishing out peanuts promises of cash by way of mock cheques. That is if these hindu temples and Tamil schools actually receive this promised cash. After this paper politics no one would ever know if the Tamil schools and hindu temples actually received the said RM 50,000.00 We have received many complaints that most of them if at all only get a fraction of the mock cheque sum as what the MIC had been doing for over the least 50 years.

But why are all these hindu temples, cemeteries and tamil schools not granted state government land all in one go as a permanent and lasting solution as opposed to a temporary and piecemeal solution which can be done by the stroke of the pen of their “tuan” Menteri Besars of Selangor and Kedah and Kapitan Chief Minister of Penang.

See photographs the desperate PKR,DAP and PAS mandores and their wayang kulit theaterics at Batu Caves, Ipoh, Penang and Sungai Petani. All just for the cameras. To stay politically relevant and politically afloat! And to finally replace and take up the vacant slots left behind by the MIC Mandores.

Editor

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UMNO separates traditional and heritage hindu ritual riverbed from Batu Caves (refer NST 28/1/10 at page 12)

Yet again the UMNO racist religious extremist and supremacist regime by design segregated and separated the traditional 200 year old hindu ritual (especially for Thaipusam) riverbed from the main Batu Caves temple on the following counts:-
1. The Sentul Railway station is a dead end. If only this Railway station had been shortened and brought forward and built on the empty piece of land just before the main road leading to Batu Caves, a whole long stretch of this Batu Caves ancestral riverbed could have been preserved and maintained as part and parcel of the Batu Caves Heritage and to be in tune with Batu Caves being a World Heritage Site.
2. Was the closure of the main road from the said riverbed to the Batu Caves Hindu Temple to make way for some UMNO linked companies to make hundreds of millions of Ringgit Malaysia by the building of the spiraling elevated bypass across the railway tracks.
3. Why wasn’t an overhead railway bridge built instead which would have cost a fraction of the spiraling elevated bypass and in order to maintain this ancestral and heritage walkway from the said riverbed to the Batu Caves hindu temple.
4. In the alternative why wasn’t an underground railway passageway not built to maintain this walkway from the said riverbed to the Batu Caves hindu temple.
5. The whole row of 20 traditional up to fifth generation Indian flower shops leading to Batu Caves has now been by passed with the building of this new spiraling elevated bypass and which risk closure at anytime now.
6. Why didn’t the Selangor state government, the 82 PKR,DAP or PAS MPs’ and/or in particular it’s Indian MPs’, Exco member, State Assemblymen or Senator mandores order a Stop Work Order with the view to restore this original historical, traditional , and heritage walkway to Batu Caves.
7. Even now we demand for the restoration of the original road and the maintainance and preservation of the original walkpath to Batu Caves. The present PKR led Selangor state goverment even at this juneture can act at least to undo these injustices.
8. Why didn’t the PKR led P.R. Selangor state government lodge an MACC report on the possible acts of the corrupt practices by these UMNO linked companies that unduly benefited from this project.
9. The Batu Caves Tamil school has now been cut off from the riverside part of Batu Caves and also causing grave inconvenience to parents and school children forced to cross the steep,dangerous and unsafe overhead bridge across the railway lines to get to their school.
10. Why couldn’t the original Railway gate crossing be preserved and the then existing road been maintained which would have cost a fraction of the cost of this spiraling elevated bypass.
11. We are not aware of a public signboard and any advertisement in especially all the three Tamil newspapers notifying the eventual closure of this ancestral walkpath from the riverbed to Batu Caves hindu temple. Why?

P.Uthayakumar
1/2/2010

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Thaipusam; Kapitan Guan Eng and Tuan Selangor MBs’wayang kulit (refer The Star 30/1/2010 at page N39)

Just by putting on a garland and showl, smiling at the Thaipusam Indian crowd and dishing out RM 50,000.00 to Tamil schools and hindu temples as also seen on Malaysiakin.TV on 30/1/2010 is just a drop of salt in the ocean in so far as the critical Indian problems are concerned.

We want real solutions to the critical Indian problems especially in PKR and DAP ruled Selangor and Penang.

We repeat that Selangor and Penang State government land be granted to all 98 and 28 Tamil schools in Selangor and Penang respectively and land for all hindu temples, cemeteries and Indian squatters and settlements.

This one act by the mere stroke of the pen of Kapitan Lim Guan Eng and the “Tuan” Selangor MB will solve at least half the critical Indian problems in these two states. But PKR, and DAP would not do it as they “assess” that they may lose the Malay votes and so never mind that the Indians have to suffer.

P.Uthayakumar

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