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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Waythamoorthy: We're not racist - Malaysiakini

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) chairperson P Waythamoorthy has denied that he is spearheading a racist movement.

"We just can't understand this racist label pinned on us through no fault of our own," he told Malaysiakini.

"People who say that we are racists should first examine the meaning and definition of the term," added the Hindraf leader who is on self-imposed exile in London.

p waythamoorthyWaythamoorthy was responding to an avalanche of public comments against him.

This followed mostly calls in Sabah and Sarawak that PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim should re-assess his position in the party. Waythamoorthy was quoted in the article as well.

He reiterated his charge that Umno has over the past half-century finally degenerated into a racist organisation.

But he disagreed with the assertion that Hindraf and Umno are similar or that it is a case of "the pot calling the kettle black".

"A racist is one who denies other people their place in the sun and their legitimate rights under the Federal Constitution. That's Umno. That's the truth whether some people like it or not.

"A person fighting for his place in the sun and his rights under the Federal Constitution – read Hindraf – cannot by any stretch of the imagination be labeled racist. That would be defamation," he stressed.

The Hindraf view is that Umno has in fact emerged as the single greatest threat to the security of Malaysia "because of the irresponsible and infantile manner in which they conduct their politics".

He cited the lingering 'Allah' controversy as an example.

Only Indian issues

The Hindraf chair also readily admitted that he only talks about Malaysians of Indian-origin all the time and their issues.

However, Waythamoorthy sees nothing wrong with this approach "since we are in line with the Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities adopted as Resolution 47/135 by the UN General Assembly on Dec 18, 1992".

He claimed that if he and his brother Uthayakumar do not speak up on Indian issues as human rights lawyers, "no one else in Malaysia will".

Uthayakumar, the elder brother of Waythamoorthy, is the pro-tem president of the Human Rights Party (HRP).

While dismissing MIC as a party led by a "bunch of self-serving sycophants", Waythamoorthy also claimed that Pakatan's Indian reps have been barred from raising issues concerning the community "for fear that they will show up Pakatan as being ineffective and antagonize the non-Indians".

"I am an Indian. I know only Indian issues and no one is taking up their cause," he reiterated on what "is good enough for him."

"I know that other Malaysians are also being systematically marginalised as well by the system. It's not my business to speak up for them," he said.

'Examine your conscience'

The Hindraf chair again stressed that he has done his part for other Malaysians by arranging a briefing on the Malaysia Agreement at the House of Commons in London on March 9.

The delegation of other Malaysians to the briefing is expected to be led by Jeffrey Kitingan who, among others, heads the Borneo Forum, an NGO.

Elsewhere, Waythamoorthy has also made contacts with the British Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Commonwealth Secretariat to bring the plight of Sabah and Sarawak to world attention.

He also hopes to help East Malaysian states at the European Parliament, the US State Department and the United Nations just as he has done for Hindraf.

"We have been reaching out to other Malaysians in our own way although we are very busy pushing our own case worldwide.

"If I am a racist, surely I won't lift even a finger to help others fight for their place in the sun," he said.

Police to record Nasir's statement - Malaysiakini

Malacca police will call Nasir Safar, a former aide of the prime minister, to facilitate in the investigation over his remarks which were deemed to be racist.

The state police chief Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof said police would call Nasir to record his statement soon, probably next Monday or Tuesday.

"So far, the investigation is 85 per cent completed and only waiting for his statement to fully complete the probe," he told reporters in Malacca yesterday.

He said the case was being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 and the police had taken statements from 30 witnesses, including state assemblymen and members of the media.

Mohd Rodwan said 45 reports were lodged at police stations nationwide concerning the remarks made by Nasir, 61, who is also the deputy chief of Tanjung Piai Umno.

Nasir in a statement on Thursday, made a public apology to all Malaysians, saying that he had taken cognisance of the various reactions that had arisen following the speech he made during a 1Malaysia seminar held at in Malacca last Tuesday.

- Bernama

Poll-winning Pakatan-Hindraf combo

The best way for the Pakatan Rakyat to win back its lost Indian electoral ground is to team up with the Human Rights Party (HRP) with its socio-political arm Hindu Rights Action Front or Hindraf, suggested a Penang based academic.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)deputy dean from USM's school of social sciences Sivamurugan Pandian said such a combination looked the best bet for Pakatan to reach out to Indian voters across the country, despite Hindraf's self-destructive tendencies.

Given that virtually all Indian-based parties and organisations were linked to Barisan Nasional, he said it was politically crucial for Pakatan to include an Indian face to its fold.

He said Pakatan now had a Muslim face in PAS, Chinese face in DAP and a Malay-led multi racial face in PKR.

"Teaming up with HRP - Hindraf would secure Pakatan the majority Indian votes required to reach Putrajaya in the 13th general election.

"Otherwise Pakatan would not be able to muster the Indian votes," the academician predicted, although Hindraf has been at Pakatan's and the Barisan Nasional's throats whenever an opportunity presented itself.

Sleeping with devil for mutual benefit

sivamurugan pandian saiful bukhari sodomy allegations penang 020708 02Still, Sivamurugan (right) raised the question of whether HRP - Hindraf was willing to team up with Pakatan.

"Currently HRP - Hindraf attacks both the BN and the Pakatan.

"However, both should be able to work out a deal for mutual benefit if they want to," he said.

He told Malaysiakini said it would not be difficult for PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim to forge ties with that group since both had pulled together so well in last general elections.

That move could also fill a gap in the Pakatan -- the lack of leaders charismatic enough to appeal to the Indian masses, pointing out that the present lot have failed miserably to fire the imagination of the community.

He said none of them have emerged thus far, despite being elected representatives for the past 20 months, to stand out as a grassroots leader.

"Indians are dismayed that they didn't get a strong political representation in Pakatan,' said Sivamurugan.

On contrary, he said HRP - Hindraf leaders, especially P Uthayakumar and his London-based brother Waytha Moorthy, have consistently fought for working class Indians over various issues, without elaborating.

Sivamurugan said despite attempts by certain former Hindraf activists to destabilise the movement the HRP - Hindraf leaders have fought consistently for the Indian community.

Zaid says MB vs MB will be true test for judiciary

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — Former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has applauded the judiciary for its independence and courage in a number of recent rulings, but points out that the true test of its mettle will be how it makes decisions in politically-charged cases.

The former Umno minister, who is now a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) strategist, cited the upcoming Federal Court decision in the tussle between Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir to be declared the rightful Perak mentri besar as key to restore public confidence in the judiciary.

“The decision... will be the deciding factor as to whether the courts under (Chief Justice) Tun Zaki (Azmi) will be different from the previous era.

“It will decide whether the practice of constitutional democracy and the rule of law will exist again in Malaysia,” he wrote on his blog today.

The Federal Court will deliver its decision next Tuesday in the appeal by Nizar to be declared the Perak mentri besar in a case which was sparked off by the controversial takeover a year ago of the Perak state government by the Barisan Nasional (BN) after three PR lawmakers defected.

Nizar had originally won the right to be mentri besar in the High Court here, but the Court of Appeal subsequently overturned the decision.

In his blog posting, Zaid (picture) compared the judiciary following the dismissal of a number of top judges by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad with the current crop of judges, and pointed out that the courts now appeared more independent and courageous.

He cited a number of recent rulings, including the Federal Court’s decision to overturn what it called the “blatant and obvious” mistake of the controversial 2000 Adorna Properties ruling which had resulted in victims of land fraud being unable to recover their property.

Another recent ruling which earned Zaid’s praise was the High Court’s ruling allowing the word “Allah” to be used by the Catholic newspaper Herald in its Bahasa Malaysia section following a ban by the Home Ministry.

“Independent and courageous in the context of judgments is being brave enough to make decisions based on facts, the law and the constitution without considering whether the decision is popular or not, or whether it is praised or mocked by the public.

“Judges should also not take into consideration whether the opposition or the government support their decisions. Fair and wise decisions are their responsibility.”

But Zaid said how the judiciary performs in politically-charged cases would determine whether judges are truly free or still bound by “the old ways of the Dr Mahathir era.”

The “old ways” were when “sub-standard” judges were used to give rulings in favour of the government by ignoring legal and constitutional principles, he said.

Zaid argued that the public would only be convinced that judicial reforms were under way if Nizar wins the case.

Jamaluddin and Osman say it was PR’s fault they quit

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 6 — Their defections triggered the downfall of the Perak Pakatan Rakyat government one year ago but until today, former PKR duo Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu still insist that it was not their fault.

They blame the weak PKR leadership and top leaders in the fallen PR government for ostracising them and add that there is still a deep feeling of regret.

“Umno people often come up to us to thank us for giving them Perak but I always say to them — do not thank me. Thank (former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad) Nizar (Jamaluddin) and thank the PR.

“The fall of the PR government was caused by the PR itself and not us, me and Osman,” said Jamaluddin.

The former PKR state treasurer and Osman spoke to The Malaysian Insider recently in an exclusive interview at the Impiana Casuarina Hotel coffeehouse here.

Both men, now Barisan Nasional-friendly independents, said that they still feel great disappointment with the PKR, a party they had grown to love over the past decade.

“It is sad, really. I feel very disappointed that things had to turn out this way,” said Osman.

Jamaluddin said that although a year had gone by and a certain calm had settled, he still often felt sad that all his years with the PKR had been for naught.

One year on, and the duo of Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Osman Mohd Jailu still insist that the fall of the PR government in Perak is not their fault. - Picture by Choo Choy May

“We feel calm, but very regretful sometimes. After all those years with the PKR, my time, my struggles, everything disappeared just by the submission of one letter to say that I had resigned.

“(PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) was my idol. Yes, that is true. He was my idol for years, but when I saw him for what he truly became, things changed,” he said.

The Perak crisis erupted in the early days of February last year when rumours began to spread that the PR government was not as cohesive as it claimed to be.

The Ngeh-Nga cousins from DAP were rumoured to be dictating all policies and decisions made by the government and Nizar was called a mere “puppet mentri besar.”

When both Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman went “missing” on Jan 31, word spread like wildfire that the duo had already planned to defect.

Hence on February 3 when they tendered their resignations from the party and declared their allegiance with the BN, it did not come as a surprise to many.

Today, however, Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman claim that they never planned to leave the PKR or quit their seats.

“We were just angry with how the government was being run. Many decisions made were not told to us.

“It was just the top three guys in the government who were calling all the shots. How would you feel? Furthermore, the PKR leadership was weak and never made any effort to fight for our rights,” said Jamaluddin.

He added that to teach the PR a lesson, he and Mohd Osman decided to go on a “little holiday” at the end of January, hoping that they would buck up.

“We never wanted to quit. We were in Grand Seasons Hotel in Kuala Lumpur all that time when they claimed we had gone missing.

“And you know what? Nizar and no one from the PR government even tried calling us to say — please come back, let us discuss this,” said Osman.

Jamaluddin said that the plan was merely for the two of them to quit from their posts as state executive councillors and nothing more.

“If they failed to change, we only planned to quit as state executive councillors, nothing else. But when the PKR leadership submitted the undated resignation letters to (former Speaker) V. Sivakumar we knew what we had to do,” he said.

Jamaluddin and Mohd Osman (picture, right) also claimed that everything had been a part of a grand plan laid out by Anwar himself to remove them from the scene and replace them with his men.

“What we heard was that Anwar wanted to let Mustaffa Kamil and Ismail contest our seats in a by-election and if they won, he (Anwar) planned to cause trouble in the PR government and insist that Mustaffa replaces Nizar as mentri besar,” alleged Jamaluddin.

Mustaffa Kamil Ayub was recently anointed the Perak PKR chairman and Ismail Yusof is the former state PKR chief.

Party insiders say that Mustaffa Kamil is Anwar’s blue-eyed boy and he may very well be named as the next Perak mentri besar if PR wins in the next polls and PKR again takes more seats than PAS.

“These were the reasons why we had to leave. I believed in the party but the leaders are weak. And Anwar only cares about himself and his people. When there are people like these in a party, the party will be destroyed,” said Jamaluddin.

In agreeing with his friend, Osman said that the decision to leave PKR had been difficult but it had brought some calm into his life.

Both men admitted that in the early days of their defection, the response from the rakyat towards them were less than desirable.

“But it was not as bad as the people claim. I did not have people coming up to me to tell me off,” said Mohd Osman.

Jamaluddin said only two people had refused to greet him — a fellow villager and a PAS member. “Other than that, it was fine. I went out in public and served my constituents,” he said.

When asked if they had plans to migrate to Umno, both men laughed, saying it was too soon to ask such a question

Mohd Osman (picture, left), however, expressed interest in re-contesting his seat in the next general election.

Jamaluddin said he would leave it to the hands of fate and did not discount the possibility of even rejoining the PKR if the party were to court him.

“Who knows, we may be asked to recontest, if it is true what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that he wants local candidates who are close to their constituents,” said Jamaluddin, but declined to say if he was willing to contest under Umno’s banner.

The duo said that although their daily schedules were taken up by having to make appearances in court for their ongoing corruption trial, they made it a point to meet with their constituents every weekend.

Both men face corruption charges for accepting bribes in exchange for expediting a RM180 million housing development project in Seri Iskandar in 2008.

“The most important thing is that we are close to the people. We make them our friends and we focus on servicing them, not on harping on political issues,” said Jamaluddin.

He noted that in the early days, people accused them of being “bought over” by the BN and that in exchange for handing over the Perak government, their corruption cases would be thrown out of court.

“We let it be. We never felt the need to go around explaining because at the end of the day, the truth will come out,” said Osman.

So what of the next election? A PKR source told The Malaysian Insider that while the seat of Changkat Jering was a relatively safe one for the PR, Behrang could very well pose as a threat.

“Changkat Jering is a state seat under Bukit Gantang and Nizar is the MP for the area. In general, people are still angry with the power grab. The sentiment is still there,” said the source.

For Jamaluddin’s seat. however, the situation remains murky. “He is close to the constituents, that is true. The seat is very crucial. We have to work hard,” the source added.

In the March 2008 elections, Jamaluddin beat MIC’s Dr M. Ramasamy when he polled 6, 771 votes against the latter’s 5,744 votes with a majority of 1,027 votes.

Mohd Osman beat incumbent, former Perak Speaker Datuk Mat Isa Ismail of Umno, and garnered 9,411 votes against 8,309 votes with a majority of 1,102 votes.

Zambry: My job is looking after the people

By Clara Chooi and G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, FEB 6 — As the assemblyman for Pangkor, Umno’s Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir was well-liked by his constituents. As the Perak Mentri Besar, however, he has been the target of much public scorn and ridicule the past year.

After all, he came into office as the result of a power grab by Barisan Nasional one year ago today.To add to his problems, Zambry was also unfortunate enough to have taken office at a time of economic crisis. Still, in his one-year tenure as mentri besar, he has held his own and survived the fiery and persistent opposition from his Pakatan Rakyat foes as well as an angry Perak electorate.

In an exclusive interview recently with The Malaysian Insider, Zambry spoke extensively on the challenges he faces, his goals and vision for Perak as well as his prediction for the next election.

Q: So one year on, do you think more people like you now or less?

A: (Laughs) You ask Manimaran la! Well, I can’t judge. If I judge and say that everybody loves me, then that is overreacting. To me, what is important is to give service and you can see the people’s gestures towards you when you are on the ground. I have been doing this for the past one year, going down, meeting the people, and you see from the smiles on the faces of the people, the body language, you can see the difference. I think Clara knows this, she has been following this.

Q: So are you confident that you have convinced the people of Perak that you are the government and you are not just a pretender government?

A: It is not a question of whether I am convinced if we are the government because we have been the government right from the very beginning. We have been through the process of democracy and followed the rule of law. All those other issues were not started by us in the first place. So I continue as a government and I assume my role as a mentri besar, looking after the people as well as doing the job that was presented to me as a mentri besar.

Q: You speak about the process of democracy but as we all know, in a system of democracy, the government is elected by the people. (In Perak) this would obviously be contended by other parties for they do not see the Barisan Nasional government as having been elected by the people. What are your views?

A: Coming back to the process of democracy — it is based on elections, right? This process is when the people choose their representatives, right? So there you have 28 from the BN, you have six from PAS, another seven from PKR and 18 from DAP. The point of forming government into one coaliton (Pakatan Rakyat) did not arise at all at the time. We have to come back to the point that when the people chose them, it was because of the PR or because of what? It was because of their respective parties. And people chose us, the 28 of us. So whether it is back to the people, it is a question of when the people chose you to be their representative. And now, probably many are questioning whether we are the representatives of the rakyat. Of course we are the representatives of the rakyat, based on the process of election.

Q: Datuk Seri, you have been in office for a year. Looking forward, what is your vision for Perak?

A: That is the most important thing for us because being the mentri besar, I cannot play politics all the time or what I call, the emotive politics, all the time. You cannot be an effective leader by simply playing on the rhetoric; telling the people that you are the best, you are the rightful leaders or whatever it is. To me, the most important thing is what you can do for the state, for the betterment of the people because after all, being a mentri besar, it is also what the people expect you to be. You are a leader for everyone so people will judge you based on what you are doing on the ground and what you have delivered for the betterment of the people.

So when I was first appointed, the first thing I did was not to continue playing politics. I really focused on how to develop the state. One of the ways was to immediately form the Institut Darul Ridzuan, the IDR, which is a think tank for the state. We managed to get the good brains, the youths to come and join me, and together we worked on how to build the state. And thank God, now we have a clear vision. We call it Perak Aman Jaya. It is a very big blueprint for the state, emphasising on seven major outcomes, no more outputs, in line with the Federal Government’s and the Prime Minister’s dream to have a high-impact economy. Those are the areas that we are working on.

In addition to that, we also have to be serious about spearheading our economic activities. I formed the Economic Council of the state and also to ensure that there is more participation from the public, I formed the Council of Civil Society. I look at them as the third force that you cannot ignore. They have their responsibilities and their rights to voice their views. I have also been working on attracting investments and now they have begun coming in. And Clara also knows sometimes that I even have to meet up with investors in my residence if I cannot meet them here due to my workload.

Q: When you speak of improving the economy, specifically which areas are you referring to? Tourism and?

A: It is not only tourism, it is many other areas. In fact in my recent visit with the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and India, and also when I went to the US, I sat down with a number of people including the capital venture groups. We discussed the possibility of looking at the right economic focus for the state.

One of the areas, besides tourism, we also have other advantages like biotechnology, which is very important these days. Also, the manufacturing sector. For example during my visit to the US, we had the discussion on creating a new generation of solar technology.

Education is another area. There are several universities about to set up here, including my recent discussion with one Harvard university professor when I was in the US and they are also considering to have one customised programme with us, for the region or for Asia. Meanwhile, work is underway also to set up the medical university, the Premier International University, despite all the hiccups they are facing due to financial strains but now they are coming seriously to it. So I hope with all this... because Perak has the human capital... so we hope we can have better education.
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Another area, as you all know, Perak has a lot of minerals, a lot of natural resources. We do not only want them (investors) to come and take out these resources but we want to have a final product done here. And then, of course, agriculture is another area. So we hope that with all this combination, the right focus, the economy would be able to spur our economic growth back on track.

Q: What kind of growth are you looking at for the next year and the next five years?

A: Well, I do not want to be too optimistic because whether you like it or not, our economy is an open one and we will of course be affected by what is happening around the world. I am expecting to have a 5–7 per cent growth, I hope in the immediate year. With the speed that we are moving now, I think we can move forward fast.

Zambry has been the target of much public scorn and ridicule the past year. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

Q: What was the rate of growth in 2009?

A: It was about 3 per cent or so. It was caused by the world economy.

Q: A long time ago, Perak was very famous because there were many people, a lot of industries. And then the tin mining industry crashed and the human capital left. Are you attracting back all these lost skills?

A: They are, they are. I give you one example of the present chief executive of the IDR. He was working with Innovative Associate, formerly known as Ernst & Young. He was an associate and a vice-president but he came back to help us.

The most important thing I believe is that we have to empower the younger generation, the professionals, give them new hope that this is the place to come and seek for greener pastures. Therefore, we have to identify new areas that can accommodate them. For example, in the area of ICT. We have to open up to them and most importantly is that we must facilitate them. The role of the state is to empower them by giving them hope and also to facilitate. We cannot just give them a false impression so we must help them in whatever way we can.

Q: A lot of people say, especially your rivals, say that you follow them; you have given out goodies, grants and all that, to win support.

A: Yes, this is not the first time they raised the issue. I remember when we passed the budget, they called it a “copycat budget.” I have been arguing this many times because if you really look at it, which part of it have we followed them? I can assure you they have been following us all the time. We never argue on good things for the people.

For one example is the ICT programme, they continued because they know it is good for the people. They also know that we have been giving dermasiswa for the people, so when they came in, they improved it just a little bit by increasing it by RM1 million but we have been doing it all this time.

However, I do not want to argue on this because why should we argue on what we can contribute to the people. They say that we have been following them so I ask them – show us.

I can list down all the things that we have done because we have been doing it for more than 50 years and some things are taken for granted. And suddenly when they come in and they announce the waiver for parking summonses, that became a big news for them.

Now, I have been working on issues affecting the people for years but when we solve it, they say that they had done it. And then when I managed to attract big investments, they say that it was from their time. They can lie once but not every time. People are fed up. I do not know why they are behaving that way.

To me, it is not a question of giving out goodies -- what is important is to continue the policy of the BN. And then you have to remember, I also have to listen to the people and find out what they want because we are servicing the people. There are things that have to be addressed immediately. For example, we have to increase assistance for education. And then you know there are many Indians out there who are very poor so what is the best approach? I do not want an ad hoc approach – to patch up here and there. We must find out a more concrete approach to help the people.

For example, the Indian community. I want to ask the PR, have they really helped them? Some of them are very poor, they cannot even afford to send their children to school. So I said, why not we give them a piece of land, say a few thousand acres, and then let them plant oil palm through Yayasan Perak, for example, and the proceeds from there can be kept in a special fund to help the Indians. Hopefully one day, we no longer have Indians who cannot send their children to school.

For the case of the Chinese, there was one policy that the PR argued was a “copycat” one. This involved the giving of 2,500 acres of land to the Chinese independent schools (Suwa). I do not want, when I become the mentri besar, whatever promises made by the PR are stopped just because these are two different governments. I am not going to do that to the people. So I met them (Suwa) and they told me they wanted the land so I said OK. Then they came back and they said they wanted the cash instead because they thought it would be difficult to divide up the land amongst the nine schools. I discussed it in the state executive council meeting and we, the government, finally decided to agree and give them RM3.6 million annually. Finally, they came to another decision. They said one company wants to look after the land and they decided that they wanted the land back so I said OK, I will give you the land back. You see, this is how we handle it.

Similarly for the Sekolah Agama Rakyat, they say they have been helping but how? For us, we know they really need our attention. So I also allocated and since we have a bigger number of Sekolah Agama Rakyat in Perak, it is only fair for me to give another 5,000 acres for them.

In other words, what I am trying to say is that we have to find a permanent solution to things. We do not want to find for the sake of our political convenience, to get the people to support us for the next election and yet at the end of the day, things are only done for the sake of politics. I do not want to be seen as just a mere political leader, playing with the sentiments alone.

Q: If elections were called this week, or this coming month, do you think: 1) Can the BN win the state and 2) Will you still be the mentri besar?

A: (Laughs) Well, the question does not arise at all. If at any time, when the Prime Minister decides to call for the elections, we will be ready. I know they have been arguing and they want us to dissolve the assembly. It is all just political psychological warfare that they are playing with us. They want me to go into their boxing ring, to fight with them. But I do not want to play. We have to be smart as well, we do not want to be carried away or to get pulled into the ring.

The most important thing for us is to serve the people. My commitment is testimony to this and I think, let the people speak up. It is not about now or when, if you do it now (dissolve the assembly) or you do it later, if you do not do the right things for the people or deliver to the people, then at the end of the day, the people will make their own judgement.

So now, they want to dissolve it. I say, why? Because they are the one who started it. They are the ones who started the whole political debacle in Perak. Why suddenly they want us to play to their game? So now they are angry with me because I do not want to play to their game. As simple as that. (Laughs) Let me put it clearly to them, if they think that the BN is scared because we do not have the support of the people, then alright never mind, we will not dissolve. If you say you have the people’s support, then you go and resign your 28 seats. Then we will see if you will get support from the people?

Q: You challenged them to do this?

A: Yes, I challenge them. They have been telling the people, we never tell, I never go around telling the people that I have the support and so on because my main concern is to develop the state, to help the state while I am still the mentri besar. This is my responsibility and this is what I have to do. They keep on going around telling people this and that. If you think you are very popular with the people, and you say we are not, ok never mind, we will not dissolve the assembly and we will not resign our 31 seats. You go, you say are the best, then you go ahead.

Q: But if they resign, their candidates cannot recontest the seats.

A: Oh never mind, because they say they are representing their parties and their parties are very strong. The popular support for them is because of their party and the struggle of the Pakatan Rakyat. So let’s go, go for the 28.

Q: Datuk Seri, do you think that your calm and confident ways are the qualities that attracted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make you the mentri besar? You do not really jump at things, you take your time to say the things you want. So what do you think were the qualities that got you the post of mentri besar?

A: (Laughs) I do not know in the first place. All my friends they know that I like to be frank with everyone and I am always the last person to find enemies. That is not my way, despite what people say about me. And then as you all know that they have been writing a lot about me in the blogs and so on but I never react to that because I know at the end of the day, we are all human beings. Furthermore, you are the leader. The leader must be the last person to make any rash decisions, you have to think wisely and ask around first. So these are the things I guess. I thank the leadership for trusting me. I can face Clara and Manimaran and others, because I know we are all human beings. I believe in my conscience and that is important to me.

Q: Recently one Perak assemblyman, (BN-friendly Independent) Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, said that if the elections are called, the BN can win at least 34 seats. What do you think?

A: Thank you for saying that, especially coming from Jamaluddin. This I cannot reveal because if I do, then it becomes news to the Opposition. We are working closely, we are watching. In fact I am watching not only based on what the people are telling us but mind you, I am also working independently with other groups to seek the people’s opinions about the government. So in other words, we have various feedback. Well, 34... (pauses)

Q: So you agree? That there is a possibility of winning these 34 seats?

A: Well of course, as a politician, as a state liaison chairman (of Perak BN), I have the confidence. And I have that confidence.

Q: You also have information (to support that)? You say you are working closely with other groups to find out who the people support?

A: Oh yes. Independently as well. Because I want to see the background. In order to be objective, you have to get information not only from your circle but you must also open up to the others. I have also engaged some independent view in order to know the position of the government. In order to gain a more meaningful view so the government can learn from there.

Q: How would you rate your BN administration not just in comparison with the PR government but also in comparison with the previous BN governments?

A: How do you rate it? Well, it is difficult for me to answer. You know, Clara. You know me. I think since you have been here, my style is that I do not want to place myself very high in the sky. I think, let the people judge for themselves, I do not want to make any comparison whatsoever even with my previous predecessors in the BN. Probably we all have different ways and styles and they lived in their time and they contributed very significantly during their time. And you know times have changed. Things are different today. Probably I am fated to take the lead during the time of crisis.

Q: You have had a harder task in comparison to the others?

A: Oh yes, indeed that is true.

The mind war for Perak

By Sheridan Mahavera - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Feb 6 — Standing precariously on the rotting wooden floor of a kampung house, Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar stares out at what hours ago used to be the bedroom wall.

Now, the Kubu Gajah state assemblyman is staring down into the garden at the remains of that wall, which collapsed that morning. He belts out orders to a building contractor over what he wants to see done for the house owner before nightfall.

He gets assurances that something will be done so that the whole structure doesn’t collapse but what he tells owner Khalid Osman is not very heartening.

“I’m sorry but you’ll just have to find another place to stay. I can help stabilise it so it doesn’t fall apart anymore but the house has been thoroughly eaten by termites,” says Raja Ahmad Zainuddin.

The prognosis merely confirmed Khalid’s fears but for the 50-year-old, what really mattered was that his wakil rakyat took the time to come down and see what his problem is.

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin (left) at the house which is falling apart. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

And in the next elections, Barisan Nasional is betting on this to be its main selling point, that BN politicians are better at resolving the everyday problems of Ali, Ah Chong and Aru than Pakatan Rakyat.

Of course bringing development and economic progress are still hallmarks of a BN administration and the Perak government under Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir has excelled in this.

But many BN politicians, grassroots activists and supporters say that crowing about getting RM11 billion in investments is not enough to win over rural folk.

“ADUN (state assemblymen) BN tak turun padang (did not go down to the ground),” says one long-time Umno activist in Larut on why the BN lost in the March 2008 general election.

“They became aloof and took their support for granted. Many of them don’t even live in their own constituencies and only return once in a while,” says the Umno man, who declined to be identified in criticising his party bosses.

Behrang state assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi echoed this, claiming that Pakatan had won on “protest votes” from people disillusioned by BN’s arrogance.

“That’s why Najib (BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak) said that in the next election, he wants candidates who are people-friendly and who actually stay in their constituencies,” says Jamaluddin, an ex-Pakatan assemblyman who jumped ship and is now a BN-friendly independent.

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin says that the main BN approach is not to have one-off, large-scale programmes but consistent little meetings with ordinary folk to listen to grouses and help where they can.”

He thinks the “protest votes” led to an unprecedented loss in support for seasoned Umno politicians like him in seats where they had previously scored huge majorities. Raja Ahmad Zainuddin, for instance, won the Kubu Gajah seat by only 66 votes, down from the over 7,000 votes he garnered when he won the Larut parliamentary seat in 2004.

Raja Ahmad Zainuddin says people wanted to teach Barisan a lesson in the last election.

“People just wanted to teach us a lesson. They didn’t really expect that it would lead the BN to lose Perak. They are not Pakatan supporters per se and I think next time around, they will come back to us.”

And he claims to have really taken the lesson to heart. The former Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board chairman now visits his constituency’s service centre everyday.

He makes it a point to know his constituents’ latest problems and pays regular visits to the poor, the infirm and to the old.

“Even if it’s only for five minutes I turun (come down) every day. I help out everyone, be it a BN supporter or Pakatan. And I help all races,” he says.

For the folks in kampungs that are cut-off from mainstream society, such regular meet-greet-and-listen contacts go a long way to making them feel valued.

And that was proven in 2008 because that was essentially Pakatan’s approach.

“Many of my neighbours voted for Pakatan last time because orang BN didn’t come down to see them. But now, we are seeing more Umno people here in the village, so maybe next time, things will be different,” says a village official in Selama.

“Teaching Malays how to think”

There was no laughing in the ceramah crowd in Taman Meru, Jelapang when PAS’ Dr Khairuddin Abdul Malik took the stand.

It wasn’t a side-splitting speech filled with folksy humour common in a PAS ceramah. Instead the Perak PAS deputy commissioner gave a slide presentation so caustic that he had to apologise several times if his points were harsh.

Women and children were part of the ceramah crowd where Khairuddin spoke.

The theme of his talk centred on the view that the Perak Pakatan government under Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin was pro-Chinese at the expense of the Malays.

This perception is being spread by Umno in Perak’s Malay heartlands of Larut, Bagan Datok, Parit, Pengkalan Hulu and Kuala Kangsar. PAS grassroots activists are worried that it is steadily converting Malays who voted Pakatan in 2008 back to Umno and the BN.

“I want my government to give opportunities for Malays to do business,” says a stall owner in Bukit Gantang, when asked what he wanted from the state administration.

If left unchallenged, this perception could blunt attempts by Pakatan to boast of its achievements during its 10-month term to Malays. These initiatives could be re-spun to seem like they only benefited one community.

To counter this perception, Khairuddin explained how Pakatan’s programmes benefited proportionately more Malays compared to other groups because the aim was to help the poor regardless of race.

“In the Malay community, eight per cent of all Malays are poor while Indians are two per cent and the Chinese are 0.8 per cent. So when we do programmes for the poor, of course Malays would benefit the most.

“Umno says we only give land titles to Chinese villagers. In reality we have given more titles to Malay villages but Umno does not talk about this.”

He doesn’t just blast Umno and BN. The main aim is to erase the deeply-grafted assumption in the Malay mind that only Umno can truly represent and look after the community.

It is also to refute the allegation that PAS’s partner DAP was the “Communist, anti-Malay Chinese” while MCA represented the “good Chinese.”

“Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng gave twice the amount of funds that Umno gave for the development of Islam in Penang. He even formed a Syura Council to discuss Islamic issues. Ask yourselves, is this what a communist government would do?,” Khairuddin asked the crowd.

A former senior civil servant says the perception is entrenched in the Malay psyche largely because of 50 years of communal politics.

“Malays generally don’t think far enough when they look at policy. For example, when the government cuts subsidies for boarding schools. They don’t see that it affects mostly Malay students because they are the largest group in these schools.

“And when non-Malays get a few land titles, they over-react.”

The Pakatan strategy is not just about a regular ceramah circuit to keep the memory of them and their downfall alive among the rakyat.

Khairuddin explained Pakatan’s programmes at the ceramah.

A DAP official explained that the parties are increasing their new voter-registration drives in all constituencies by having mini-contests that reward agents who register the most.

The three parties are also intensifying recruitment drives where they want to increase members in every area by 30 per cent, says Khairuddin.

It is going to be a battle of values in the war for political control of Perak, opined a long-time Ipoh-based Parti Keadilan Rakyat activist.

Since Pakatan and BN have chalked up their own noteworthy accomplishments whether it is helping the poor, resolving land issues or bringing in development, choosing between BN and Pakatan is no longer a choice between who has the better track record and whose ideals are better.

For the first time in their lives, Perak folk will be able to truly compare between two different ways of governance and the values that underline their policies.

Whether it is Pakatan or the BN, the ceramah and the small group meeting are tools that Perak folk will see more often as both coalitions try to sell them their values.

Open Letter to ALL Pakatan MPs

Dear Few Pakatan Rakyat Elected Representative (You Know Who You Are) Yang Berhormats,

I am writing this to vent my frustration, irritation, disgust, disbelief and anger on how many of you are acting recently. It is with the sincerest and most honest intention that I am writing this, as a Pakatan grassroots 'small fry' member who, like millions of other Malaysians, came out in full force to support you all when you were practically nobodies and put you where you are today, sitting in the highest decision-making bodies in your own states and country respectively.

Emmanuel Joseph,
(A Nearly Nameless,Faceless,Positionless Pakatan Member) DAP Socialist Youth, Klang.

Some of you were luckier than others, and been appointed to important government posts. Some even head entire state governments. Congratulations. Your long wait and tireless efforts paid off. But please do kindly remember, it was not only your efforts alone, but the efforts and will of more than half the Malaysian electorate that put you where you are. You did not win entirely on your own charm, your education level, your profile in your respective fields of expertise or struggle. Frankly, most Malaysians who supported you did not even care who you were or what you did, as long as you were not donning a dark blue cap with a BN logo on it. That is the reason we had aircraft mechanics voted into power in the last General Election.

The next time any of you decide to foam in the mouth about lack of funding, lack of resources and other similar grouses, please bear in mind these few facts. Firstly, you stood for the election on your own free will. Nobody put a gun on your foreheads asking you to run for elections, nobody begged you to contest. Out of your own reasons, rightly or wrongly, you stood representing the people. And because of that, the people rallied behind you and riding on this, you were catapulted into where you now are.

Secondly, others have had far less than you, suffered much more than you and been doing it for far longer. Take a look at the likes of YB Dr Tan Seng Giaw, YB Fong Kui Loon, YB Dr Wan Azizah, YB Mustafa Ali, YB Nasharuddin Mat Isa and many more. What more YBs Karpal, Kit Siang and Nik Aziz? Who was there to fund them? Who supported their families when some of them were thrown into ISA? Most of you are only first term Yang Berhormats, so why can't you sacrifice less than 5 years of your life if you are sincere in your cause?

Thirdly, regardless of your previous political alignment, you are with Pakatan now. It is the people's alliance, not a cronies' alliance. If money, resources and luxurious allowances are what you crave, then you have the wrong party ... maybe even the wrong country. And if you were in it for those express reasons, please do the honorable thing and resign.

Dear Yang Berhormats,

The next time you decide to shoot from the hip about party policy, please bear in mind these few facts. Firstly, you are not Pakatan Rakyat, you are a part of Pakatan Rakyat. The policy of Pakatan Rakyat is not your sole prerogative, nor is it yours, your father's or your grandfather's to decide. There is a hierarchy in place and it is there for a reason. You are a single member of Pakatan Rakyat and, as an elected rep, have the trust of the nameless, faceless, positionless Pakatan grassroots to speak on its behalf in explaining the policy to the people, not deciding on the policy for the people.

Secondly, your opinions, however valid you perceive them to be, and your points, however salient you believe them to be, remains just that, yours. Not the party's, not the alliances' and hell, no, not the peoples'! If it is your own opinion, by all means say so. Please don't confuse everyone by muddling and befuddling everything and everyone and turning what is clearly black and white into a giant grey mess.

Thirdly, please remember that the media loves to give you attention even more than you love the attention it gives you. Especially when you shoot yourself in the foot. While you're busy shooting your own feet, the media is amputating the very feet Pakatan stands on, no thanks to the likes of you. If you don't like what Pakatan stands for, then by all means, do resign.

The next time you decide to bring out your personal vendetta against any Pakatan colleague due to a long standing feud, a dissatisfaction over your appointments or that of your political followers or just because you just don't like the guy's face, please try doing these steps instead: first, try talking to the person. Nothing clears the air like a good honest conversation. Second muhasabahlah diri . You are nothing near perfect, yet we still voted you in. Isn't that nice? Shouldn't you then be nice to your comrades? Third, remember that every action has a reaction. Call it a law of physics, or political karma, it will come back to haunt you one day! If you feel you are still right and Pakatan is wrong, then don't demand that Pakatan withdraw! Your own withdrawal from office will more than suffice.

Dear Yang Berhormats,

Please remember, the people who voted you in can as easily vote you out. The people who worked hard to ensure your victory can work as hard with a vengeance to ensure your loss. You carry the aspirations of an entire generation on your shoulders. Please do not snuff out our dreams for a better Malaysia. There are enough elements out there that want Pakatan destroyed, so internal self-destruction is the last thing needed right now. And if you believe you don't need the Malaysian electorate, then, rest assured, the Malaysian electorate needs you even less. Thank you, and have a pleasant (remaining) time in political office.

PKR rubbishes claims of Zaid's expulsion

(Harakah) PKR has rubbished claims that it plans to expel outspoken senior leader Zaid Ibrahim and keep Kulim MP Zulkifli Noordin and Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Hashim.

“This is utter nonsense. All three including Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng will be facing the disciplinary board,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.

“It is now up to the board to probe and then its decision endorsed by the supreme council. But I can tell you for sure, there is no such bias against Zaid or any plan to embarrass him. In fact, it is laughable to even think that there is such a move against him when he has contributed so much to PKR and Pakatan in such a short while.

“But having said that, it is also a fact that he did lash out in public against Zulkifli Noordin. Whether we personally agree with him or not – he too has to respect the party’s internal channels or Zul and Zahrain will then say PKR is favouring Zaid! So all four have to go through the process with the disciplinary board and it is for the disciplinary board to recommend.”

Time for PKR to crack the whip


PKR insiders attribute the latest speculation to supporters of the four leaders fishing for information of the central leadership’s intentions.

"This is not the right way and it can lead to even greater punishment if it is blown out of proportion,” Tian cautioned. “We just have to be patient, due process must take place. PKR must be seen to act fairly. As the saying goes, one man cannot a party make. We must accept this and not let personal feelings come first.”

Both PKR and Pakatan Rakyat have warned members that indiscipline will be treated harshly at both party and coalition levels, especially members who go public with statements against their own colleagues and their own parties instead of voicing their frustrations through internal channels.

Zulkifli started a media ruckus last month when he lodged a police report against PAS MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad over the Allah issue. Days later, Zahrain and Tan followed suit by condemning DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, ostensibly over the latter's stewardship of their Penang state.

Zaid was pulled up for publicly scolding his PKR party for not sacking Zulkifli, claiming that such leniency would only open the floodgates to further erosion of public confidence in both PKR and Pakatan.

All four men have been warned to stop their public vendetta and grousing, but so far, only Zaid has complied with the PKR gag order.

The other three have been unrepentant and have given further interviews to the Umno-BN press. Their action will increase the pressure on PKR to deal with the situation swiftly, and insiders believe the disciplinary panel may now have no choice but to announce severe sentences as deterrents.

Why hasn’t the PM taken Nasir to task?

Aliran is totally disgusted with the way certain so-called political leaders behave and express themselves, completely ignoring the reality of this country and dismissing the history of this land. Without a care, they spew filth from their dirty mouths and seem hell-bent on creating havoc.

By P. Ramakrishnan (President, Aliran)

It is rather unfortunate that our top leaders do not castigate them or take them to task for the harm they are likely to cause to the unity of the various communities. They are very dangerous and can create misery for the majority of Malaysians who do not approve the conduct of these troublesome elements – in fact most Malaysians condemn such unscrupulous behaviour.

The latest outpouring of venom comes from the very top, from someone close to the Prime Minister himself. His top aide, Datuk Nasir Safar, threw caution to the winds, revealed his puerile mind and uttered some rubbish that is not supported by facts.

His offending remarks at a two-day 1 Malaysia seminar in Malacca yesterday were outlandish: “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies.”

He even had the audacity to threaten that the government could revoke the citizenship of Indians any time if excessive demands were made by the community.

Another outlandish claim by him - that the (federal) constitution was drafted by Umno and that other parties were not involved - only goes to show how daft he could be. Let’s not forget history. The Federal Constitution is the product of our shared and joint commitment to the creation of an independent state which was then known as Malaya. Does he even realise that there was a Malaya before Malaysia?

He had, of course, denied having said all these offensive words. That’s what they all say whenever there is a strong reaction to their derogatory remarks. If Nasir did not utter these seditious words, and if he was indeed misquoted and misrepresented by those who were present, then Datuk, sue them! That is the only solution before you to safeguard your dignity and preserve your integrity. You cannot hoodwink the rest of the country with your unconvincing explanation and denial.

When people like Nasir are not taken to task and disciplined publicly, we have a situation where it is assumed that there is a tacit approval from the top to carry on.

We have the case of Datuk Ahmad Ismail of Penang who was slapped with a three-year suspension of his Umno membership for calling the Chinese “pendatang”. The strong reaction from the Chinese community, forced the hand of Umno to take a firm stand on this issue. But recently that three-year suspension was lifted, drastically reducing the sentence and making Ahmad’s crime appear not that grave after all.

Then we had the cow-head incident, the Allah demonstration, the Perkasa launch all of which only demonstrated that there are no stopping people who go overboard with their offensive remarks. If only the Prime Minister and his Deputy had condemned the behaviour of these elements in very strong and unequivocal terms from the very beginning, then the message would have been conveyed that no nonsense would be tolerated. We would not be in this difficult situation today – simply because they failed us as our national leaders.

If the PM does not address this serious issue sincerely and forthrightly, it will be the undoing of his premiership; it will be goodbye to his 1 Malaysia slogan. While he is trying to proclaim his 1 Malaysia policy, there are elements all over the country undoing our unity and harmony. We have them in our schools, our universities, in the police, in the judiciary, in the civil service and other places of influence and power poisoning minds and polluting the body politic.

If they are not weeded out and severely punished, we will no longer be the model country for a plural society.

Nasir’s resignation is not going to obviate his crime or lessen his offence. He owes an apology not only to the Chinese Malaysian and Indian Malaysian communities but to the entire nation whose peace and harmony could have been affected by his callous remarks.

It is not sufficient for the PM to distance himself from Nasir’s insensitive and seditious remarks. He must order him to apologise unreservedly. The PM must ensure that Nasir is not recycled to head other entities or appointed a director to any business concern. He must be punished and must be seen to have been punished. Only then would it be seen as meaningful redress of this grievous wrong.

Public Confidence And The Trial of Anwar Ibrahim

From Razaleigh.com

Certain features of the trial of Dato’ Sri Anwar Ibrahim pose a serious challenge to public confidence in the government. Public confidence is essential to the basic functioning of government.

1) The trial is being conducted in an overwhelmingly politicized environment. Part of its context is the earlier trial of Anwar on the same charge, a trial which was perceived worldwide as politically motivated. We do not longer live in an insulated world.

2) Pre-trial publicity by the local mainstream media has been so blatantly unbalanced as to convey the impression that the media are pursuing a political agenda. Since the local mainstream media is either government owned or tightly controlled, this translates into the impression that the government itself has an interest in its outcome.

3) Many Malaysians believe that sections of the executive and political establishment have an interest in this trial. There does not seem to have been any attempt to remove this suspicion.

In such circumstances the principle that justice must not only be done but seen to be done is breached. As in the case of the constitutional crisis in Perak and in the openly illegal denial of oil royalty payments to Terengganu and now to Kelantan, we as Malaysians suffer when our Government loses credibility domestically and internationally.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
Member of Parliament, Gua Musang
Press statement: February 4, 2010

Stop Anwar Sodomy2 trial if Najib is serious about Malaysia 2.0 new economic model …

By Lim Kit Siang,

In his 2010 New Year Message issued on 31st December 2009, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak forecast that Malaysia will emerge stronger in 2010 with the long-term as well as short and medium-term initiatives taken by the Government.

However, Malaysia has becoming weaker instead of stronger whether in terms of national unity or in international competitiveness since the first day of the new year.

The first month of the new year was marred by irresponsible mischief to create inter-religious discord over the Dec. 31 judgment of the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan lifting the 2007 Home Ministry ban on the Catholic Church weekly Herald and allowing the use of the word “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia version – with a spate of desecration of churches, mosques, surau and Sikh Gurdwara.

As a result, Malaysia’s international image and standing suffered unprecedented battering in the first month of the year, aggravating Malaysia’s crisis of confidence, undermining Malaysia’s international competitiveness and tarnishing Malaysia as a safe and secure haven for FDIs and as an ideal location for tourists and students.

Malaysians hoping for a surcease to such damning adverse international publicity for Malaysia in February are in for grave disappointment – for Malaysians already cannot hold their heads high in the past week because of the shame and indignity the Malaysian government has brought to the nation and people with the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy2 trial, with worse to come for the rest of the month.

Malaysia’s senior statesman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah cannot be more right when he gave three reasons why Anwar’s ongoing sodomy trial is “posing a serious challenge to public confidence in the government”, viz:

  • “The trial is being conducted in an overwhelmingly politicized environment. Part of its context is the earlier trial of Anwar on the same charge, a trial which was perceived worldwide as politically motivated. We do not longer live in an insulated world.”

  • “Pre-trial publicity by the local mainstream media has been so blatantly unbalanced as to convey the impression that the media are pursuing a political agenda. Since the local mainstream media is either government owned or tightly controlled, this translates into the impression that the government itself has an interest in its outcome.”

  • “Many Malaysians believe that sections of the executive and political establishment have an interest in this trial. There does not seem to have been any attempt to remove this suspicion.”

Malaysia suffered a three-place drop in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2009-2010 falling to 24th from 21st spot the previous year because of much poorer assessment of its institutional framework and governance – with every indicator in the area exhibiting a downward trend from judicial independence to security since 2007.

With Anwar’s Sodomy2 trial, Malaysia is again in the dock of international opinion with far-reaching repercussions in terms of Malaysia’s attractiveness as a haven for FDIs, tourists and international students.

Najib has promised an important initiative in 2010 to lay a strong foundation for the nation’s prosperity in the future – a new economic model, whose announcement had been repeatedly delayed since last year.

If Najib is serious about Malaysia 2.0 new economic model to restore Malaysia’s worsening competitiveness, the Umno/Barisan Nasional government should stop Anwar Sodomy2 trial which has not only put Malaysia on international trial but reminded Malaysians that they cannot expect much from Najib’s Malaysia.2 new economic model when the Najib governance is so modelled on the old Mahathir script which had produced the Anwar Sodomy1 travesty of justice.

Government To Propose Kg Baru Redevelopment Under New Concept

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Saturday announced the redevelopment of Kampung Baru in the heart of the city under a concept which, among other things, does not require relocation of the residents or land owners.

He said the residents and land owners would have the right to determine the type of development in accordance with their requirements.

The government also proposed to set up a special body run by the government trustee without private sector participation so that the Kampung Baru residents were assured of the development to be undertaken in their interests, he said.

"I hope that after we have put forward a good proposal, the residents here will have the opportunity to study it and concept to be applied. I hope that after that the residents, particularly the land owners, can accept the proposal," he told reporters after attending a briefing at Kuala Lumpur City Hall and going on a walkabout in Kampung Baru.

Najib said Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin had been asked to prepare a Cabinet paper on the redevelopment and that he would hold a dialogue with the residents after the Cabinet approves the paper.

Najib gave the assurance that the government would launch the redevelopment immediately after getting the agreement of the residents, and said this concept of development would overcome all restrictions which kept the land value low.

He said the value of land in the area could exceed RM20 billion if the residents accepted the redevelopment concept which would realise the full potential of Kampung Baru.

The value of land in Kampung Baru is only around RM350 per square foot when that in nearby areas such as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) exceeded RM2,000.

"With the conversion of the land status, the land owners in Kampung Baru will enjoy a huge shift in terms the value of the land they owned.

"A new era for Kampung Baru will begin as soon as the residents accept the government proposal," he said.

Gan Pei Nei: Justice For Anwar, Justice For The People

'We will have big gathering'

Charged for trying to burn surau, No charge for burning hindu temples

In 2004 the Sri Kadagakali Amman hindu temple in Midlands estate was burnt down by group of ten criminals including also consisting ununiformed policemen. A police report was lodged by eye witnesses A protest memorandum was sent to the Inspector General of Police at the Federal Police Headquarters at Bukit Aman and then to the office of the UMNO Attorney General.

Thousands of hindu temples were demolished at the rate of one in every week as was revealed by the present PKR Menteri Besar of Selangor at the Selangor state Assembly last year scores of hindu temples were forced to be relocated next to severage ponds and industrial waste land.

The latest was the burning down of a hindu temple in Taiping in June by a Malay Muslim mob. There was pin drop silence by even the top leaders of PKR, DAP and PAS their 82 Opposition MPs’ including their 11 Indian mandore MPs’, NGOs’, Civil Society, Bar Council, Malaysian Human Rights Commission etc. The police refused to seriously investigate and Attorney General refused to prosecute the criminals unlike in this instant case of mercy trying to burn down a surau. All because the victims were hindu and Indians. Because the Indians are soft targets and weild no political or economic clout.

And so UMNO and also PKR, DAP and PAS turn the other way round One Malay-sia?

P.Uthayakumar

surausurau-2

Charged for trying to burn surau, No charge for burning hindu temples

In 2004 the Sri Kadagakali Amman hindu temple in Midlands estate was burnt down by group of ten criminals including also consisting ununiformed policemen. A police report was lodged by eye witnesses A protest memorandum was sent to the Inspector General of Police at the Federal Police Headquarters at Bukit Aman and then to the office of the UMNO Attorney General.

Thousands of hindu temples were demolished at the rate of one in every week as was revealed by the present PKR Menteri Besar of Selangor at the Selangor state Assembly last year scores of hindu temples were forced to be relocated next to severage ponds and industrial waste land.

The latest was the burning down of a hindu temple in Taiping in June by a Malay Muslim mob. There was pin drop silence by even the top leaders of PKR, DAP and PAS their 82 Opposition MPs’ including their 11 Indian mandore MPs’, NGOs’, Civil Society, Bar Council, Malaysian Human Rights Commission etc. The police refused to seriously investigate and Attorney General refused to prosecute the criminals unlike in this instant case of mercy trying to burn down a surau. All because the victims were hindu and Indians. Because the Indians are soft targets and weild no political or economic clout.

And so UMNO and also PKR, DAP and PAS turn the other way round One Malay-sia?

P.Uthayakumar

surausurau-2

Stolen jet engines found

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has tonight confirmed that the stolen F-5E engines have been located in Uruguay.

The attorney-general, in a statement, said the engines were discovered in the South American country following co-operation from the authorities there.

Expressing his gratitude over the assistance rendered by the Uruguayan officials in helping bring an end to the case of the stolen engines, Gani said that the two countries will continue to work closely to enable the return of the engines to Malaysia.

The two F-5E jet engines were stolen in 2007 and discovered missing one year later, before a police report was lodged.

RMAF Sergeant N. Tharmendran and company director Rajandran Prasad were charged early this month in connection with the theft.

Malaysia bought 14 F-5Es in 1974 and decommissioned them in 1999. One crashed in the Malacca Straits near Perak on May 31, 1995.

Only six of the jets remain operational after they came back to service in 2003.

Ku Li says no law for compassionate payments

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today declared that the law does not allow Petronas to give compassionate grants instead of oil royalty to states, but stopped short of calling it illegal.

The Kelantan prince maintains that the state is entitled to oil royalty while the federal government, which is only offering RM20 million as “wang ehsan” or a compassionate grant, says that oil is being extracted beyond the maritime boundaries of this East Coast state.

Kelantan is of one of Malaysia's poorest states.

"Some people say this could be an illegal payment. I am not a lawyer to determine this," said the Gua Musang MP, who was the founding chairman of Petronas.

The Umno veteran has come under fire from his own party for his stand, with some party leaders claiming he has reversed his earlier opinion when the government substituted oil royalties with a grant to Terengganu when PAS took power in 1999.

Razaleigh pointed out that the “wang ehsan” payments to Terengganu was made to the wrong parties instead of the state government which is named under Section 4 of the Petroleum Development Act 1974. He added that Petronas should have honoured the agreements with state governments.

“Under the Act, the cash payment must be made to the state government concerned and not to any other party if payment is to be made,” said the former finance minister, popularly known as Ku Li.

He noted that the “wang ehsan” went to the Crystal Mosque in the Islamic Civilisation Park, a leaking swimming pool, a collapsed stadium, a collapsed school lab and a collapsed bus station and the Monsoon Cup sailing regatta.

The Umno leader pointed out that the Crystal Mosque cannot be used for worship and is surrounded by the poor in Kuala Terengganu while the Monsoon Cup is for the rich.

He said the issue must be corrected and recommended the formation of a National Petroleum Advisory Council, which is provided for under the Petroleum Development Act.

Razaleigh said the council should be made up of senior national leaders to advise the prime minister, adding his stand was not about politics but about doing the right thing.

He has been the only Umno leader to insist on Kelantan's right to oil royalties, and publicly made his stand at a gathering in the Sultan Mohamed IV Stadium, Kota Baharu on Jan 28.

Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and other PAS leaders were present at the gathering.

Razaleigh also pointed out that the laws and agreements in question were signed between Petronas and each state government and not the federal government.

He added that these agreements must be honoured.

“The federal government has no part in it. The issue of royalty is between states government and Petronas," Razaleigh said in response to question on whether the issue was being politicised.

He added that in his opinion, Petronas should not have followed the directions of politicians but act in accordance with the law.

He also said the late Tun Abdul Razak, who directed him to set up Petronas, always had the welfare of the poor and poor states in mind but he was sad and ashamed that this had been forgotten by the people. Tun Razak's son Datuk Seri Najib is now the prime minister.

"He told me in no uncertain terms to ensure the poorest states in the East Coast and Sabah and Sarawak would benefit from the oil wealth.”

Razaleigh said he never anticipated the difficulties that the Terengganu and Kelantan governments now face when oil was first found.

He said he supported the Terengganu state government's refusal of payment until the issue is straightened out, adding those responsible for abusing funds should be investigated.

As for Kelantan, he said the people were ashamed at the government's offer of “wang ehsan”.

"They offer to give RM20 million when cigarette companies give RM50 million to RM100 million to sponsor sports events," said the politician, who has faced calls from Umno to step down as MP because of his stand.

Razaleigh said his concern was whether Umno could retain Gua Musang if he quit.

Would the police DARE take action?

However, considering Nasir Safar’s ‘special status’, the AG also can’t decide on the matter. The AG will have to ‘seek guidance’ from the Prime Minister as to whether to charge Nasir Safar or not.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

45 police reports have been made against Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s former special officer, Nasir Safar. So the police have no choice but to ‘record his statement’. That is the SOP of the Malaysian police force. If a police report is made against you then they must record your statement.

I remember, last year, IGP Musa Hassan said that they are not able to take any action based on rumours and Internet postings. A police report must first be made before the police can take action. And the action to take would be to record the statement of the one the police report has been made against. Then they will investigate the matter and decide if a crime has been committed.

Allow me to digress a bit here. In my own criminal cases, it was the police who made a police report against me. In other words, no police report was made against me. And since they can’t take action against me unless a police report is first lodged, the police themselves made a police report against me.

So the police do not need anyone to make a police report before they take action against you. If they really want to take action but no police report has been made, the police themselves can make that police report, as what happened to me.

Okay, now back to the issue in hand, if the police -- after the statement has been recorded and an investigation has been completed -- is of the view that a crime has been committed, they still can’t take action yet. Instead, they must refer the matter to the Attorney-General, who will then decide if there is any case to prosecute.

Assuming the AG feels the evidence is not strong enough or they do not quite have a case, then the file will be stamped NFA (No Further Action) and the matter will be closed.

That is how the Malaysian system works.

If I want to write about this matter in greater detail then this article would certainly run into 100 pages. Many of you will for sure not read any piece that is 100 pages long. As it is, I am already receiving complaints from my dear friend Chris that my four- to five-page articles are too cheong hei. Imagine what she will say about a 100-page article.

So, as to not annoy Chris, I will try to keep this piece within five pages or so. After all, this is not a thesis for my law degree. In case you are not already aware, I am practicing law without a law degree just like I write about Islam without first obtaining a degree from the International Islamic University (UIA).

And so that I can keep this article within the required length, I would like to refer to just ONE case. This one case should be sufficient to demonstrate the point I am trying to get across.

In 1999, the Parti Keadilan Nasional Youth Leader, Ezam Mohd Nor, called a press conference to reveal the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA and now called MACC) investigation papers against Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz. The ACA investigation revealed that Rafidah had committed an act of corruption.

Now, we must also remember, around that time Anwar Ibrahim too was indicted for corruption and was found guilty and was sentenced to six years jail. But Anwar’s ‘crime’ involved no monetary gain. Rafidah’s crime did.

Rafidah never denied the act. She in fact admitted it. But she explained that she sat in the meeting that approved the shares to her own son-in-law because Mahathir’s son’s application for shares was also being decided at the same time. According to Rafidah in her press statement, Mahathir had instructed her to make sure that his son got those shares.

So she sat in the meeting to ensure that the committee did just that, approve the shares for Mahathir’s son. When it came to approving the shares for her own son-in-law, she abstained from voting due to ‘conflict of interest’, although she did not leave the room when they deliberated on the matter.

Rafidah did not need to vote on the matter. All she needed to do was to sit there and no officer would dare vote against her son-in-law. No government officer in his right mind would dare oppose giving millions worth of shares to his or her own minister’s son-in-law.

If you personally know Rafidah then you will know that she is a very strong-willed woman. She is not known as ‘The Iron Lady’ for nothing. All she needs to do is to stare at you and your balls will shrink (or tits, if you are a woman). She even dared challenge Mahathir and whacked him good and proper.

Anyway, the ACA and AG were both of the view that Rafidah committed a crime by sitting in the meeting that approved the shares to her own son-in-law. And the AG endorsed the ACA investigation papers and recommended that Rafidah be arrested and charged for corruption.

But before any Minister, Deputy Minister, or any ‘big shot’, can be arrested and charged, the AG must first obtain the approval of the Prime Minister. And the Prime Minister then, Dr Mahathir, said no. So the file was closed with a NFA stamp on the front cover.

The ACA said charge. The AG said charge. The PM said no charge. And that is what finally happened. No charge.

And Ezam revealed this entire episode to the public during a press conference in 1999. And he showed the reporters the documents to prove his allegation. Ezam was not lying. He was telling the truth. But the documents he revealed to the media had RAHSIA stamped on them. So Ezam was arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act. He was then put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to two years jail.

Ezam was actually under Internal Security Act detention in the Kamunting Detention Centre at that time. So all they needed to do was to transfer him from Kamunting to the Kajang Prison to serve out his sentence. He never saw freedom until two years later.

For the government to win its case against Ezam they had to admit that the documents are genuine and are not fakes. Therefore, in that same breath, the government confirmed Ezam’s story about Rafidah. To send Ezam to jail they must admit the authenticity of the documents. If they say Ezam is lying, then how to charge him under the Official Secrets Act?

Okay, the police are now going to record the statement of this Nasir Safar chap. Now, whether the police investigation uncovers any crime committed by Nasir Safar is one thing. But even if they do, they still can’t charge him yet. They need to hand the file over to the AG for him to decide whether to charge Nasir Safar or not.

However, considering Nasir Safar’s ‘special status’, the AG also can’t decide on the matter. The AG will have to ‘seek guidance’ from the Prime Minister as to whether to charge Nasir Safar or not.

Okay, that is one issue. Next would be the recorded statement made by private investigator Bala concerning the Altantuya murder. During his detention and interrogation, Bala told the police that Nasir Safar was there when Sirul and Azilah picked up Altantuya and later murdered her.

A police report was made. The required ‘recorded statement’ was made. Will the police now look into this as well or is this one more case of NFA?

I would place RM1,000 on a bet that BOTH cases will end up with a NFA stamp on them. Want to take this bet? I could certainly do with the money.

Oh, and before I forget, read Raja Nazrin’s statement below: Do Not Mock the Law. Nazrin should be addressing this statement to the police and AG.

Oh, and one more thing, the Malacca CPO, Senior Assistant Commissioner (I) Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof, mentioned in the Star news report below, is the police officer who met Saiful in the Concorde Hotel two days BEFORE Anwar was alleged to have sodomised him. Rodwan was also accused of fabricating evidence during the Sodomy 1 trail as well.

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Cops to take statement from Nasir

Police will record a statement from the Prime Minister’s former special officer Datuk Nasir Safar over his alleged racist remarks during a 1Malaysia seminar here on Tuesday.

The statement is expected to be taken from Nasir, who is being investigated under the Sedition Act, in Kuala Lumpur some time on Friday.

Malacca CPO Senior Assistant Commissioner (I) Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof said police have almost wrapped up their investigation.

“We are speeding up the investigation as it involves a case of public interest.

“The investigation is about 85% complete and we have interviewed 30 people so far,” he told reporters here on Friday.

He added that police had received a total of 45 reports against Nasir -- 13 in Perak, nine in Malacca, five in Kedah, four in Penang, Pahang and Selangor, and three in Negri Sembilan and Johor.

He said police are expected to complete their probe by early next week before submitting the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor.

It was learned that among those called up for their statement were a state assemblyman, state MIC members, six journalists, officers from the State Special Affairs Department, the venue management and participants of the seminar.

Nasir, who was a speaker at the Rapat 1Malaysia seminar at the Melaka International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh on Tuesday, caused a furore when he allegedly uttered racist remarks resulting in several local MIC and MCA members walking out of the hall.

He subsequently explained that he did not intend to make any racist remarks and apologised, following which he tendered his resignation. – The Star

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Raja Nazrin: Do Not Mock the Law

The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, today reminded legal practitioners not to mock nor smear the country's laws.

He said as legal practitioners, they should not only refer to or value a law when it benefited them, but dismiss or mock it if they felt it did not benefit them.

Raja Nazrin said this was because laws were important in ensuring continuity and credibility of an administration or government.

"Your level of excellence and honour in the legal profession in the public eye in future will depend on your wisdom and disciplined practice from now," he said at the presentation of the Certificate of Legal Practice issued by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board, Malaysia, to 238 recipients, here, today.

Raja Nazrin said if justice failed to be effectively and professionally managed, society and the nation would be heading towards destruction with crime becoming much more rampant.

"The legal enforcement machinery is seen to be getting weaker, perhaps personal interest are above professional interest now. Those who make professional interest their prioroty are a minority, who are sidelined from the main decision-making process in an organisation.

"The highest-level mechanism is also seen as increasingly weak to the extent that the public have come to regard the court as mere drama stage and losing their respect and trust.

"This scenario is no creation, but a precursor to the downfall of many Third World countries. The people suffer while the countries' top leaders flee and become exiles in other countries or hunted down for their wrongdoings."

The Perak Raja Muda said justice could not be administered in society or country if the laws contained elements of oppression and giving privileges to the powerful to dominate the weak and the rich to oppress the poor.

In fact, he said, there would be no justice if the legal machinery was impotent.

"A country's sovereignty depends on its seriousness in honouring its laws mirrored by its firmness and never compromising with practices that disrespect the law, and by its intolerance towards malpractices like misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, power abuse and corruption.

"There is sovereignty of the law if there is a strong spirit to uphold the law and truth as a way of life."

He said sovereignty of the law could also be guaranteed as long as the process of meting justice at the courts was not marred by unethical practices done from outside the courts to influence the decisions.

Raja Nazrin said managing justice required the collective role of various quarters, besides the professional understanding and respect for the ethics of every agency or individual involved.

"If the investigating and prosecuting officers do not produce quality work and show a high level of professionalism, if the defence counsel violate their professional code of ethics and if judges sacrifice the principle of truth, then justice will be compromised," he said. – Malaysian Digest