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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bayan Baru MP Zahrain quits PKR

HRP/HINDRAF Negeri Sembilan made a police report against UMNO Datuk Nasir Safar on 5/2/2010 led by Negeri Sembilan HRP/HINDRAF Chief S.Sivakumar and m

Police Report below.

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PM letter: No POL Tamil class but Arabic class on

NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com Email:info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Your Reference :

In Reply : HRP/ FEB/2010

Date : 12/2/2010

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak

Perdana Menteri Malaysia

Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444

62502 Putrajaya E-Mail : najib@pmo.gov.my.

Y.B Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin

Menteri Pelajaran,

Pejabat Menteri Pelajaran,

Aras 10, Block E8,

Complex Kerajaan Parcal E, Fax: 03-8889 5846

62604 Putrajaya. E- Mail: khairulam@moe.gov.my

No POL Tamil class but Arabic class on

We refer to the above matter

As school starts every January we receive the standard complaints from parents year in and year out over the last 20 years that Pupils Own Language (POL) ie the Tamil Language is never taught during regular school hours and/or the class ceases after just a few months.

We recollect that even in the early 1990s’ Dr Mahathir Mohammad the then Prime Minister announced and made headlines at least in the New Straits Times that Pupils Own Language (POL) would be taught in national schools during regular school hours but never saw the light of the day. Thereafter Prime Minister Badawi repeated the same but that too was never implemented.

Even the Director General of the Education Alimuddin last year confirmed that “Tamil and Mandarin lessons would be held during school hours”. But in almost all national schools this was never is implemented. While in some other schools POL is only taught after regular school hours. Many Indian parents have complained about the inconvenience, transportation and the extra transportation cost. This is crucial as 70% of the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians have been kept in the poor and hardcore poor category after having been excluded from the national mainstream development of Malaysia by UMNO for over the last 52 years.

We are puzzled that Arabic, which is a non native language in Malaysia is however taught during regular school hours. The irony is Indian parents are forced to send their children for Arabic classes as their schools refused to provide for POL during regular school hours (The Star 12/2/2010 at page N53).

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution provides for equality before the law Article 12 of the same provides for rights in respect of education and “no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race descent or place of birth in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority and in particular the admission of pupils or students.

Section 27 of the Education Act provides “It shall be the duty of the Minister to provide primary education in government and government-aided primary schools. Section 28 of the same provides “Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Minister may establish national schools and national- type schools and shall maintain such schools.

In the circumstances we hereby humbly call upon the Prime Minister and the Education Minister to direct the Director General of the Education Ministry Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Alimuddin Bin Hj. Mohd Dom to forthwith issue a directive to all primary and secondary schools that the Tamil language be included in the timetable and be taught as Pupils Own Language (POL) during regular school hours at all primary and secondary schools throughout Malaysia.

Kindly revert to us accordingly.

Thank You.

Yours faithfully,

……………………..

P.Uthayakumar

Secretary General (Pro tem)

Cc: Tan Sri Dato’ Hj. Alimuddin Bin Hj. Mohd Dom

Director-General of Education Malaysia

Office of Director-General of Education Malaysia

Level 8, Block E8,

Government Complex Parcel E,

Federal Government Administrative Centre, Tel: 03- 88846077

62604 Putrajaya Fax: 03-88894548

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Citizenship denied without reason for Indians


(refer NST 1/2/2010 at page N 16)

Keep on appealing indefinitely, keep on begging UMNO for what is the ethnic Malaysian Indian and Chinese minority’s birth right.

An estimated 150,000 Indian children have been denied their birth certificates and another 300,000 Indians have been denied their citizenship by the cruel, racist, religious extremist and supremacist UMNO regime and ably assisted by their 1,016,799 “graduates” of their Biro Tata Negara to implement and give effect to this atrocities.

P. Utahayakumar

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UMNO : Land for Chinese farmers but not for Indians.

46.5 hectres of farm land for growing pamelo was given out by the Perak UMNO to 62 Chinese farmers for private plantation purposes just to fish for Chinese votes. why was no land given to Indians to cultivate pomelo or cattle farming.

But land for all 134 Tamil schools in Perak (NST 18/10/09 at page 12) and all hindu temples and cemeteries have not been given land although they are for public facilities.

This is UMNOs’ One Malaysia.

Similary even the previous PAS, DAP and PKR led Perak State government did the same thing. Within one month of coming to power Pakatan gave 110,000 land titles to just about every community, the Chinese, Malays and the Orang Asli except the Indians.

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RM 1.00 food bill 12,440 fully residential malay muslim students

This is how far UMNO is prepared to bend to accommodate the Malay muslims hostel students, by subsidising their food.

(BH 30/1/10 page 34).

But the poor, working class and underprivileged Indians are excluded from this subsidised RM 1.00 food bill.

P. Uthayakumar

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Indians should be given 10% of contracts

This begging for 10% of the government contracts comes from the sole MIC Mandore Minister after 53 years, and after being the third most senior” partner with the ruling UMNO led Malay-sian BN government. It took MIC 53 years to realise thi.

P. Uthayakumar.

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Razor-swallowing case to go to Suhakam

Hafiz Yatim, Malaysiakini

While the police and prison authorities have promised a probe over the bizarre razor-swallowing incident involving Raja Azman Raja Petra, his lawyers will nevertheless lodge a complaint to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) next week.

They are arguing that the incident should not have happened especially to those held under remand. Remand prisoners should have been classified under a different category as they have certain rights not enjoyed by normal prisoners.

Lawyer J Chandra, when contacted by Malaysiakini, lamented that Raja Azman had been given prison-like treatment, which included an alleged assault by guards.

Chandra said he and the other lawyers were in the process of preparing the necessary documentation to back up their complaint.

“I hope we could submit a report with Suhakam by next week after the Chinese New Year holidays,” he said.

Chandra was also asked to comment on the police and prison authorities conducting separate probes on the matter.

He said the investigations should also focus on to how the blade made its way into Raja Azman's cell.

Yesterday, Bernama quoted Bukit Aman Crime Investigation Department deputy director I (intelligence/operation) Hadi Ho Abdullah that they would seek help from the Prisons Department to uncover possible motives for Raja Azman's swallowing of the razor blade.

Iron rods used during assault


Furthermore, Chandra said the department will need to explain the reasons behind the assault against 34-year-old Raja Azman.

raja azman raja petraAccording to the lawyer, two guards used iron rods to beat Raja Azman (left) over allegations that he had a handphone in his cell.

“This was related to me by Raja Azman during one of the court hearings in Shah Alam.

“Raja Azman had denied owning the handphone. Such an incidence is truly regrettable and the police and prison authorities should probe this,” he said.

After the beatings, Chandra said his client was put in solitary confinement.

Again, he said such treatment should not be meted out to Raja Azman as he was under remand, instead of serving a prison sentence.

Razor blade not removed

Chandra also revealed that the razor blade in Raja Azman's stomach has yet been removed.

“From what I know, it had yet to leave the stomach,” he said.

Raja Azman, the second child of Raja Petra, had been remanded after he claimed trial at the Shah Alam Magistrate's Court to four counts of theft, and receiving stolen property and criminal trespass.

He was accused of stealing a Nokia mobile phone, a Seiko watch, and a bunch of motorcycle keys, all worth about RM3,850, belonging to a student last year.

Yesterday, it was reported that doctors attending to Raja Azman, have decided not to surgically remove the razor blade in his stomach.

They felt it was unnecessary as the blade had broken in two and it should be allowed to exit naturally.

Meanwhile, Bernama quoted Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein denying that Raja Azman was assaulted in prison.

“There should not be any speculation on this. The matter is being investigated by the police and when the time comes, we will reveal it to the public,” he said, adding the allegations of assault have no basis.

A Turnover Overturned (Part 2)

By Americk Sidhu

A comprehensive consideration scintillatingly written of Dr. Munawar Anees? legal battle to clear his name in the Malaysian courtrooms and is left with what passes off for Justice in Malaysia ? Injustice. This is the concluding part.

We are now in the High Court

Needless to say, the Kuala Lumpur High Court, coincidentally presided over by the Honourable Attorney General’s very own brother, threw the application out of Court faster than you could say ‘travesty’ on the spurious grounds that the Applicant himself was not present. What this has to do with the price of guavas in Guatemala is anyone’s guess.

The fact that the Applicant was living in the USA, having hastily departed from this insanity immediately after his release from prison, which is completely understandable in the circumstances, and having to undergo intensive psychiatric treatment for his mental trauma, was no excuse for not being present in Court on those numerous occasions the matter was called up for disposal, but not disposed of.

Even an email tendered to the Honourable Judge by Manjeet explaining the Applicants predicament was obnoxiously discarded on the flimsy grounds there was no proof it was sent by the Applicant and received by his counsel, despite the word of counsel that it had.

Neither was it a sufficient excuse that the Applicant was well represented by a very senior and capable lawyer who was acting in his best interests, unlike some other lawyers we know of.

Neither was it of any consequence that the application for these diaries was merely an interlocutory matter where litigants seldom waste time turning up in Court unless they want to, not because they have to.

Neither did the Judge, anywhere in his lop sided judgment, ever address his mind to the justice that the application ought to have attracted.

What the Judge did in essence was to mould his judgment around the requirements of the prosecution (read: ‘being political correct and subservient to the powers that be’) and to put his official stamp on the piece of rubbish he tried to disguise as a well thought out and balanced opinion on the merits of the application. Who was he trying to kid?

Inevitably, an appeal to the Court of Appeal was filed against this decision.

In the meantime, another similar application was filed in the High Court for the same relief, which eventually suffered the same fate and therefore as a matter of course, ended up as an appeal before the Court of Appeal also.

Therefore, at this stage there were two appeals pending before the Court of Appeal relating to the refusal to release the lock up and prison diaries.

Why were these documents so important to Munawar?

The answer is simple. They would have established gross impropriety on the part of the police, the prosecution and the defence lawyer. That is why they couldn’t be allowed to see the light of day.

If Munawar’s statutory declaration is referred to, it will be seen that the police and the defence lawyer were harassing Munawar whilst he lay in his hospital bed, which was also his prison cell. Anyone calling to visit him would have their particulars recorded by the prison guard on duty outside the ward. This would form part of the prison records. This document would prove visits by officers of the Special Branch with Yacob Karim in tow, which in turn would corroborate what Munawar was accusing them of trying to do … persuading him to withdraw his appeal. Yes, even his own ‘counsel’! There is absolutely no reason for a police officer to visit a convicted person in jail unless he was being interviewed in respect of another offence, which he wasn’t, let alone with his own counsel, whose dubious ‘retainer’ had ended at the Sessions Court.

Back To the High Court and the Appeal Proper

Munawar was fast becoming a thorn in the flesh of the entire corrupted system. He just wouldn’t go away. His persistence was becoming tiresome to many interested parties. This system was however stuck with him whether they liked it or not.

So what better way to get rid of him than by a display of judicial subterfuge.

After numerous adjournments of the hearing of the appeal, the Judge insisted it proceed. Fair enough. No one wants files unnecessarily hanging around cluttering up the smooth running of the appellate system. But sometimes, just sometimes, this is inevitable, especially when you are waiting for a Higher Court to deliver decisions on two appeals which would have a direct bearing on the issues before the High Court.

This was no excuse.

Munawar was not present in Court so the Judge took advantage of the situation and dismissed his appeal despite protestations from Manjeet.

The arguments were totally ignored by the blinkered and programmed Judge who had his judicial mind short circuited and forced focused on one aspect and one aspect alone. This was a window of opportunity to bury Munawar for good. Reliance was placed on a section in the Criminal Procedure Code (s.313 (2)), which said a Judge of an Appellate Court was entitled to throw out an appeal brought by a convicted person if he does not show up in court.

Munawar was jobless and undergoing psychiatric treatment in the United States. He could not afford the time nor the expense to travel to Malaysia every time his appeal was called up, and there were many.

Munawar was represented by two diligent counsel, Manjeet and Balwant.

Munawar had already completed his sentence. In other words, there had been no stay of execution of sentence after his conviction in the Sessions Court. He would not have had to go to jail if he lost his appeal. There was no fear of him absconding from an unspent conviction and sentence. He had paid his debt to society. For what, we do not know, but that is the philosophy.

The only delay in the appeal was caused by the Court of Appeal not fixing a date to hear the two side appeals. This was not Munawars fault. All he was asking for was to have his appeal heard on the merits and this could only have happened if he had the prison diaries and the lock up register produced before the Court. Why the secrecy? Why were the Courts determined not to allow these logs to surface?

This situation did not impress the High Court Judge. He was probably more impressed with the instructions he had received to get rid of Munawar because he was becoming an embarrassment to Mahathir’s government.

So on the flimsiest of grounds and based on a completely wrong interpretation of law, both statutory and common, he found that Munawar’s absence in Court on that day entitled him to dismiss the appeal. As a rider, the learned Judge, in an act of utter benevolence, stated that he was in effect doing Munawar a favour by dismissing the appeal because he was entitled, under the provisions of the Criminal procedure Code, to enhance the sentence if he had heard the appeal. This was despite the fact that the prosecution had at no time, indicated they were pursuing an application to enhance sentence.

The learned Judge felt vindicated in his illogical judgment by making reference to two decided cases in which the Judges had adopted a similar course of action. He failed miserably to appreciate a very fundamental difference between those cases and Munawar’s.

Both the appellants in the cases the Judge relied on had been convicted of offences in the Lower Courts and were both on bail with stays of execution of their sentences pending the outcome of their respective appeals to the High Court.

Munawar had completed his sentence.

This learned Judge also completely ignored that part of the section of the Criminal Procedure Code, upon which he was relying to dismiss Munawar’s appeal, which unequivocally states that the Judge is obliged to give directions before he takes the drastic step of dismissing an appeal and depriving an appellant of his God given right to be heard. This he did not do. He never issued the required threat that the appeal would be dismissed if Munawar did not turn up at the next hearing date. He never gave Munawar a chance.
Therefore an appeal against this decision was lodged in the Court of Appeal. There were now three appeals before the Court of Appeal. Munawar refused to go away.

The Fiasco in the Court of Appeal

Many many years later, Munawar’s substantive appeal was finally called up for disposal. Perhaps they had hoped Munawar had disappeared off the radar. He hadn’t. He presented himself in the Court of Appeal at that ostentatious building in Putra Jaya they call ‘The Palace of Justice’. The irony of it all.

Everything went according to plan.

Their plan.

The appeal was called up, counsel from both sides submitted. The Court dismissed the appeal. Short and sweet.

Reasons: None.

Grounds of decision: None.

Two side appeals: Still pending

Where does one go from here?

To the Federal Court of course.

At the Federal Court

This is the apex Court of the Malaysian judicial system. You can’t go any higher. This Court is presided over by thecreme de la creme of judicial minds. Handpicked men and women chosen for their legal knowledge, prowess, fair mindedness, dedication and commitment to upholding the rule of law. These men and women are the protectors of the constitution. They are lumbered with the onerous task of keeping society on track and protecting the rights of the ordinary citizen, if there are any to protect. More often than not there aren?t. This makes their judicial lives a little easier.

To keep the riff raff away, these justices of the Federal Court are also empowered to act as judicial traffic cops. This means they are able to let in only those they feel like entertaining. Therefore applications for invitations have to be made in advance and in most circumstances.

To get past these ’security guards’ an aspiring appellant would have to convince them that he or she is entitled to present his or her grievances at this level. The requirement that justice has been in short supply is totally irrelevant.

Invitations to present these grievances are rarely granted as otherwise this would open the flood gates to thousands of justice seekers whose presence before the Honourable Justices Almighty would necessitate tedious written excuses for supposed reasoned decisions, primarily inclined to preserve the status quo of their political masters also known as the Government of the Half Century, upon whom their positions, titles and salaries depend. And besides, the carpets would get dirty.

So Munawar found himself in a position where he had to file an application to the Federal Court to be allowed to present his appeal, against the decision of the Court of Appeal, before those Honourable Justices.

This was necessary as his ‘matter’ had ostensibly begun at the Sessions Court and should have ended at the Court of Appeal. That’s the law. But with any good piece of Malaysian law, there is always a way to get around it. It’s called a ‘loophole’ or a ‘lacuna’. You can easily create one, depending on who you are. Munawar was not one of the chosen few. His application was doomed from the start.

Their Honourable Justices surprised all involved by actually presenting Munawar with a written judgment dismissing his application for leave to bring his substantive appeal before them. This would have been totally acceptable if their Lordships had not chosen to embark on a frolic of their own by embellishing the decision of the High Court and sanctifying it.

This they were not asked to do.

Back to the Court of Appeal

At about the same time Munawar was scratching his head over the latest blow to his expedition in search of justice and fair play, a decision was made by the Court of Appeal to the effect that a disgruntled appellant could actually seek a review of a decision made by that court if it was found the merits of the appeal had not been addressed. A very brave and trail blazing judgment. You don?t get decisions like this very often, especially when it involves something extremely difficult to grasp in terms of concept, something called ‘justice’.

Remember the Court of Appeal had previously dismissed Munawar’s appeal without delivering a written judgment. No one knew why. No one was able to decipher the reasons without one.

This prompted an application for a review of this previous decision. If there wasn’t a decision, then it could be argued that the merits of the appeal had not been addressed. Fair enough.

But in any good application of this nature, there is a minefield to cross first and the chances are you will become a victim of judicial C4.

For the uninitiated, there is something an uninspired Judge will always look for as a means of avoiding ground breaking and judicially conscious material, irrespective of whether the situation necessitates this. This escape plan is founded on the principle of ‘stare decisis‘. What this piece of Latin obfuscation means in simple terms is that a Judge of a lower Court is totally emasculated from making up his own mind as long as a decision of a similar nature has been made, albeit wrongly, by a higher court.

The philosophy behind this customary discretion is based on the premise that Judges of a higher court know what they are talking about and those on a lower rung don’t.

Maybe this worked well for ancient Romans but it doesn’t really work that way in modern day Malaysia. Here, no matter what rung you are on in the judicial hierarchy, you still have no idea what you are talking about.

Nevertheless, if we recall, the Federal Court had decided to refuse Munawar’s application to present his appeal before that Court. That’s where the matter ought to have ended, but their Lordships, in their infinite wisdom, went further and said the High Court Judge was right in dismissing the appeal. They did this without hearing any substantive arguments in relation to this point, which wasn’t a point before the Court in the first place. The only issue before that Court was whether Munawar would be allowed to bring his appeal before it.

Therefore the Judges of the Court of Appeal jumped on this and said that they were unable to consider the application for review because they were bound by the gratuitous decision of the Federal Court, which, by extrapolation, had studied the merits of the appeal and decided there weren’t any, so goodbye folks.

That ought to have put the final nail in the coffin of Munawars’ quest for justice.

But it didn’t.

Manjeet, who had by this stage, spent 11 years, or rather, more than a quarter of his career at the Bar, pursuing the elusive search for justice for Munawar, came up with another brain wave. Let’s go back to the Federal Court and ask them to expunge all that part of their judgment which relates to the actual substance of the appeal and then there won?t be any more of this ‘stare decisis‘ thingy for the Court of Appeal to rely on.

Fair enough.

The Federal Court should not have gone into the merits of the appeal if they said they couldn’t hear it. The fact that they did, borders on hypocrisy. But that is another issue for another day.

Back to the Federal Court

So another application was filed in the Federal Court to expunge all that part of the judgment which related to the merits of Munawars appeal.

The matter was heard in due course and after much judicial deliberation, which must have extended to at least a couple of minutes, Munawar was told in no uncertain terms that the Court would not consider entertaining this frivolous request.

And there ended almost 12 years of misery for Munawar in his futile attempts to regain his dignity and his sanity which he lost through a conviction for a crime he did not commit.

That is how the machinations of our judicial system function.

It matters not that you have been an innocent victim of political manipulations. What matters more is that you have been forcefully sacrificed for the political good of a few bad men and for this you should remain eternally grateful. You are our hero, so be thankful.

Hidup Malaysia! The country is indebted to you for your sacrifice.

Reflections

It is almost impossible to imagine the psychological impact all this must have had on Munawar. Is the extent of his perseverance indicative of someone who is guilty? What guilty person in his right mind and who had already served his sentence, would persevere as vehemently as Munawar has done, an opportunity to ensure that his dignity was restored and the record set straight. He was never guilty of the offence he was forced to admit to. That is more than obvious to any reasonable person superficially fluent with the situation but what is equally as obvious is that this state of affairs seemed to completely escape those entrusted with the powers to rectify injustices… The Judges themselves.

Shame on you.

It is also incredible how efficient the Malaysian Special Branch are in successfully ‘turning over’ a completely innocent person and converting him into a blubbering shadow of his formal self, prepared to say anything and admit to everything and at the same time knowingly exposing himself to incarceration.

Aren’t the Special Branch supposed to be a group of sophisticated and highly trained police officers of an elite section of the Royal Malaysian Police Force dedicated to preserving the security of the nation and ridding society of thieves, robbers, murderers, thugs, pimps and general scoundrels? If this is so, they have failed and continue to fail, miserably. What appears to have happened is that their job description has been read to them upside down and back to front, so much so they are unable to distinguish the good guys from the bad.

Are they so beholden to a few bad apples that they are unable to disassociate themselves from the evil they perpetrate? Are they able to sleep at night knowing they have done the wrong thing? That what they do is bad? That decent human beings don’t behave this way? Don’t they appreciate the harm they are inflicting on perfectly innocent members of society? Does this all really not matter to them? Has their judgment really been so clouded by their subservience to political heavyweights that they are no longer capable of seeing the real from the unreal? Right from wrong? Good from bad? What has turned these people into Satan’s disciples?

Maybe they themselves are victims of brainwash.

Munawar’s fight has not ended. It will go on in perpetuity and perhaps at a different karmaic level until something gives. It has to. Munawar is not a padi planter?s son from the depths of the Terengganu hinterland. He is not going to go away with his tail between his legs and accept what has happened to him as God planned fate. This time they picked the wrong guy.

Munawar is not going to go away any time soon.

Which brings us to ‘Sodomy II’.

Why was it necessary to find another victim of Anwar Ibrahim’s supposed carnally convoluted desires? They had Munawar all ready and nicely packaged. It would have been so much easier. He had already confessed to allowing Anwar to have his way with him. He pleaded guilty to this indiscretion and three tiers of judicial intervention had confirmed this as being the truth. What was stopping Anwar being charged using Munawar as the cornerstone of the potential prosecution? It could have been an open and shut case. In theory anyway. But they didn’t.

Why? Because they could never have survived the onslaught that would have erupted. Manjeet would have seen to that.

It was far easier to strike a deal with an impressionable 24 year old dropout than to deal with the formidable Munawar and his legal team.

The cowardice of it all.

[Loyarburok Editorial Note: You can read Dr. Munawar Anees' account of 'The Price I Paid for Malaysian Justice' here.]

So be it

My son needs counselling. He needs the attention of a psychiatrist. The Sungai Buloh Hospital, however, does not agree. Maybe they are under pressure to discharge him from hospital so that he can be sent back to prison.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are some who have contacted me to tell me that I should not be using four-letter words in my articles. They don’t mean four-letters words like U-M-N-O. They are talking about that other four-letter word that starts with F and ends with K. yes, that’s right, F-O-R-K, fork.

The reason given is that young people read Malaysia Today and we should therefore steer clear of corrupting the minds of young people. Actually, today, young people of 12 or 13 know more about life compared to when we were kids of that age. I was probably 18 before I had the experience of what kids of 12 or 13 are experiencing today. Even my grandchildren of age seven amaze me. They appear more matured and aware of things at that age compared to our days in the 1950s and 1960s.

I suppose that is still no excuse for using four-letter words and, today, I shall refrain from doing so in this article. But let’s face it: sometimes there is no other more perfect way of describing a situation then using that ‘special’ word. Seriously, are you scared of corrupting young minds with the four-letter words I use when they can get more corrupted by reading the graphic details in the news carried by the mainstream media regarding Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy 2 trial?

Reading what they report about Anwar Ibrahim’s trial is like reading a script from a pornographic movie. My one four-letter word can’t corrupt young minds any more than what the mainstream media is doing. What harm can my four-letter word do that the mainstream media is not already doing?

Anyway, the last week or so I have been under a lot of stress with regards to my son’s case so I have had to lepas geram (vent my anger), so to speak. The stress is not so much related to what they are doing to my son. That is to be expected and not at all a surprise. The stress is because of the ‘harassment’ I suffer from my friends and family about what to do about my son.

My family are divided on the issue. I am adamant that my son should stay in the Sungai Buloh Prison, not to ‘serve his sentence’ as what the government-controlled mainstream media is reporting, but under remand while awaiting trial. He has not been convicted yet and is NOT serving any sentence, as what the government-controlled mainstream media is portraying.

My wife, however, wants our son out of jail, as do our other children who feel that to allow him to remain in prison just means the powers-that-be can continue torturing him both physically and mentally. But to get him out would mean we need to post bail and I just do not have the RM10,500 needed for his bail.

A few friends have offered to help pay for the bail but I have declined the offer, although I am most grateful for the gesture. If my son had been arrested and charged for participating in an anti-Umno demonstration or for holding a candle during an anti-ISA candlelight vigil that would be another matter altogether. That can be considered a noble cause and drawing on the financial support of my friends for bail would be morally right. But my son has been charged for petty crimes, which has nothing to do with ‘the cause’. It would be morally wrong to expect my friends to extend financial support for what can be considered a ‘personal problem’.

Then we have to worry about what to do after we post bail. First we have to ensure that he attends trial and not disappear. What happens if they can’t find him on the day of the trial and he is nowhere to be found? Wouldn’t the government-controlled mainstream media just love this?

“Like father, like son,” would scream the headlines. First the father skips bail, now the son does the same. How do I handle that fallout? We would be playing right into their hands.

I have no control over my son. He is, after all, a man, and no longer a kid. And we have been ‘separated’ for more than 20 years since he was a school-going teenager. I cannot direct him on what to do. Furthermore, I am not anywhere near where he is. How do I communicate with him?

And the third issue, which is of more concern to me, is that we can’t bail my son out and then dump him back onto the streets. That would not solve anything. That would in fact compound the problem. The reason he is in trouble in the first place is because he lives on the streets where he is exposed to all sorts of things, drugs and petty crimes included.

We need to get him off the streets and prison is the best way of getting him off the streets. If the powers-that-be would just keep their hands off him then prison would be the ideal place for my son. But the problem is in prison he is at the mercy of those who want to punish him to get back at me.

So, bailing him out would not solve all the problems. It would only solve one problem -- getting him out of the hands of those who wish to harm him. But we would solve one problem and open up another problem. What happens once he is back on the streets? Would it just result in more petty crimes and more drug problems?

Yes, my son is a drug addict. As much as it pains a father to have to admit this, this is the truth. My son’s predicament is a predicament facing many Malay families. But the fact that I am not alone and thousands of other Malay families also face this same problem does not ease the pain one bit.

This is a huge social problem facing the Malays. And it is not a new problem. This has been a problem since way back in the 1960s and 1970s. Malays take to drugs easily. In the 1960s and 1970s it was ganja, marijuana, hashish, weeds or whatever. Today, it is harder stuff. But it has been a problem that is two generations old and the government has not been able to do anything about the problem. It has in fact become more serious since 40 or 50 years ago.

Do you know that many drug addicts surrender and volunteer to be admitted into government-run drug rehabilitation centres when the streets ‘run dry’? This is because drugs are easily obtained in these centres. The institution set up to rehabilitate drug addicts is where drugs are freely available.

So, getting my son out on bail is not the main problem. Even if I relent and accept the many offers of financial help from my friends that still does not solve the bigger problem. What do I do after that? How do I keep my son off the streets? Would I just be sending him out of the frying pan and into the fire?

Over the last one week this is what has been bugging me. My friends mean well of course. They pressure me into accepting their offer of help so that my son can be bailed out. They just want him safely out of the hands of the authorities so that they can’t continue to mistreat him. But they are not looking beyond that. They are not taking into consideration that we may be solving a ‘small’ problem but opening ourselves to a bigger problem.

My son needs counselling. He needs the attention of a psychiatrist. The Sungai Buloh Hospital, however, does not agree. Maybe they are under pressure to discharge him from hospital so that he can be sent back to prison.

My lawyers are trying to meet the hospital authorities next week to discuss this matter with them. They want the hospital to not send my son back to prison but to instead put him under psychiatric treatment. My son is very disturbed and under severe psychological trauma. In short, he is going bonkers and is no longer stable.

The police, however, are investigating his ‘attempted suicide’, which is a crime. This means they can charge him and, if found guilty (which would be easy to do), he can be sent to jail. He is already in jail, although merely under remand while awaiting trial. Now he can be kept in jail to serve a sentence for the crime of attempted suicide as well.

So the issue of bail may be academic after all. If my son is convicted of attempted suicide the issue of bail no longer applies.

Anyway, my wife and I disagree on how to handle this matter. I am adamant on doing nothing. My wife has the opposite view. And this morning we had a heated argument about it. So I told my wife that she can do whatever she likes but to not include me in whatever plans she has. I want nothing to do with the matter and will not get involved. She is on her own on this.

Okay, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it looks like my wife and I are going to have ‘separate programs’ this Sunday because of our ‘cold war’ on what to do about our son. My wife is a very determined person. But then, so am I. So we will ‘go our separate ways’ on this issue. So be it.

I have agreed to allow her to use Malaysia Today to send out any messages on the latest developments that need sending out. But this will be ‘her show’. I wash my hands of the matter and will not lend my name to whatever plans she may have.

And that is my final word on the matter of my son. And if that means it will be a long time before my wife and I speak to each other again then so be it. I do not relent that easily, and neither does she.

Investigation into Raja Petra’s son’s injury

(The Star) - The Prisons Department has lodged a police report to enable an investigation into whether Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin’s son was mistreated in prison.

Home Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said he had personally directed department director-general Datuk Zulkifli Omar to lodge the report following various claims of abuse against Raja Azman that have been made over the Internet.

He said the findings of the probe would be announced once the investigations were completed to provide a true account of how Raja Azman was injured and if he had been abused while in prison.

“I told the Prisons director-general that he should lodge a report to allow the police to investigate the matter because if the people will not believe his account then we will bring in a different authority to look into, and shed light on, the matter,” he told a press conference here Friday.

It was reported that Raja Azman, 34, who was being held under remand at the Sungai Buloh prison, was rushed to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Tuesday after he was believed to have swallowed a razor blade and injured his wrists.

The Prisons Department claimed that there were no signs of torture, abuse, pressure or force inflicted upon him, but various blogs and the international media had claimed that foul play was involved.

Raja Petra himself had alleged on his news portal that prison authorities had physically and mentally tortured his son and that was why he resorted to such drastic action.

Hishammuddin said that Raja Azman’s arrest was not conducted with malice in mind as indicated by some and that he was picked up for his involvement in a theft case.

“He even admitted to his involvement in the theft when he was taken to court, so there is no question of the arrest being made due to some hidden purpose,” he said.

Raja Azman, the second child of Raja Petra, had in May last year pleaded guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrates Court to four separate counts of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass.

However, he changed his plea to not guilty in June last year.

Hishammuddin denies Raja Petra's son was tortured

(Bernama) -- Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has denied that fugitive blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin's son Raja Azman was tortured while being held under remand at the Sungai Buloh prison.

He said the Prisons Department had made a police report on the matter and that police had commenced investigations.

"We will reveal the full details when the probe is completed," he told reporters here Friday.

He said this when asked to comment on claims by Raja Petra that the Malaysian authorities were targetting Raja Azman to punish him (Raja Petra).

Raja Petra, who absconded from a sedition trial he was facing, claimed that his son had resorted to slashing his wrists and swallowing razor blades because he could not stand the physical and mental torture he was being subjected to at the prison.

The present whereabouts of Raja Petra, the editor of the Malaysia-Today portal, are unknown. Raja Azman, 34, who was being remanded at the prison on suspicion of theft, has been reported to have been hospitalised at the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Tuesday after he was believed to have swallowed a razor blade.

On Thursday, Prisons Secretariat Unit head Abd Rahman Taib had said that Raja Azman had been hospitalised for self-inflicted injuries.

He said Raja Azman had admitted to swallowing a sharp object and also sustained minor injuries on his wrist.

He said there had been no signs of torture, abuse, pressure or force inflicted on Raja Azman and that besides lodging a police report, the Prisons Department had also set up an investigation board over the matter.

What's wrong with Malaysia

The institutions, as inherited from the British, generally worked. The judiciary was independent, it was fairly conservative but it worked and the police force was okay. And other elements in the bureaucracy worked. But after 50 years of the party being in power for 50 years, a half a century, the bureaucracy and the heads of those bureaucratic institutions have become extensions of the ruling party.

Mark Colvin, ABC News

MARK COLVIN: More than 50 Australian federal MPs have signed a letter to the Malaysian Government protesting against the trial of the former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

It's the second time Anwar has been brought to court charged with sodomy, a fact that the letter describes as hard to believe for many friendly observers of Malaysia.

The man who organised the letter, Melbourne Labor MP Michael Danby, says supporters of the incumbent government are manipulating the legal system to drive Malaysia's best known leader out of national politics.

Barry Wain is writer-in-residence at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and he says the Anwar trial and much else that's wrong with Malaysia, can be traced back to Dr Mahathir Mohamad's long rule as prime minister.

He's just published a book called Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times.

I asked him to explain the Anwar case.

BARRY WAIN: At many levels it's inexplicable because the court case is underway one doesn't want to go into all the details of it. It's sufficient to say that right from the beginning when he was accused of sodomy the second time around 18 months ago, the public opinion polls showed that almost nobody in Malaysia believed the charges, the international community does not believe the charges…

MARK COLVIN: It's widely regarded as an entirely political trial.

BARRY WAIN: It is absolutely regarded as a political trial.

MARK COLVIN: The first one was pretty clearly demonstrated as such when the inspector general of police was proved guilty of having beaten him up so badly.

BARRY WAIN: And there were other factors as well; the special branch was found to have sort of kidnapped and intimidated and tortured witnesses who were then required to testify against Anwar.

MARK COLVIN: How does it come to this though? Your book is about Dr Mahathir and you seem to really reach the conclusion that he completely broke down the separation between the state, the government and the judiciary.

BARRY WAIN: The broad area that he did most damage was in institutions; he really cut the institutions adrift in Malaysia. The institutions, as inherited from the British, generally worked. The judiciary was independent, it was fairly conservative but it worked and the police force was okay. And other elements in the bureaucracy worked.

But after 50 years of the party being in power for 50 years, a half a century, the bureaucracy and the heads of those bureaucratic institutions have become extensions of the ruling party.

And Dr Mahathir himself definitely interfered with the judiciary. He sought to subjugate the judiciary to get the political outcome he wanted and that opened a way for monetary corruption into the judiciary.

MARK COLVIN: You said at the beginning that he'd achieved some very big things and some of those are fairly obvious; there are big buildings and bridges and things that you can see; but you also say in your book that essentially he lost Malaysia a very great deal of money. How was that?

BARRY WAIN: I devoted an entire chapter to financial scandals and I excluded from that chapter just some massive projects; for instance he built a new administrative capital for Malaysia called Putrajaya and the initial price for that was something like 20 billion ringgit; it's a lot of money. If you go there and visit it now it's often looks like a bit of a ghost town.

So, ultimately whether that will be successful or not is not clear at this stage and Malaysians may have mixed feelings. I excluded those things, I even excluded his desire to build a national car; the proton, because it wasn't a financial scandal or a scam as such, it was simply it might have been misplaced but...

I just took four financial scandals and my estimate was that 50 million ringgit probably in direct losses in those. There was an attempt to rig the international tin market…

MARK COLVIN: What's that mean in say dollars?

BARRY WAIN: Well, that would have been $US20 billion at the exchange rate at the time and I think you can double that with the losses that you get through opportunity costs and other things other than the direct amounts.

MARK COLVIN: Is that known in Malaysia?

BARRY WAIN: Actually, it is known to the older generation among the politicians particularly, but it wasn't widely publicised at the time. Most of these financial scandals go back to the '80s, some of them in the early '80s; so half the population either wasn't born or was in primary school.

MARK COLVIN: So it doesn't come into play in elections for instance?

BARRY WAIN: It figured in some of the elections back there in the mid '80s and it figured in the split that took place in UMNO in 1987 when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah the former finance minister challenged Dr Mahathir and almost defeated him.

That was the main accusation that Dr Mahathir had taken the ruling party into business and been involved in some of these scams such as trying to rig the international tin price.

MARK COLVIN: But for those not familiar with Malaysian politics it might seem puzzling as to why UMNO keeps on being re-elected given the failings that you have outlined.

BARRY WAIN: Yes and that sometimes is difficult to explain. One has to understand that political mobilisation in Malaysia takes place on racial lines, on ethnic lines, everything is on ethnic lines. Almost every party represents and ethnic group.

Constitutionally and in practice the Malays will run the country and UMNO, which is restricted of course to Malays, to a membership of Malays has always been the party of the Malays and so when it feels threatened, as it does now, it tends to play on those elements of Malay-ness and that includes Islam which is an essential element of Malay identity to rally people to the UMNO cause.

And sometimes this just plays on anxieties, plays on fears until people worry about what might happen if the Opposition, which is often portrayed in the past as predominantly Chinese, gets into power.

MARK COLVIN: It's a dangerous game?

BARRY WAIN: It's a very, very dangerous game and it's already led to extremism and again Anwar's trial can be seen as extreme. One would have hoped that Prime Minister Najib Razak, coming into power less than a year ago, might have moved to make sure that trial didn't take place.

If he was trying to, as he says he is, operating under a slogan of 'one Malaysia' and trying to bring about ethnic harmony.

MARK COLVIN: But does it mean then that Mahathir, like somebody like Lee Kuan Yu in Singapore or like President Putin in Russia is still around as a power?

BARRY WAIN: Well he's around. I don't think he has a lot of power. He has a blog site and it's a very popular one and he writes regularly on politics and buys into politics. He did help get rid of his successor, Abdullah Badawi, he turned on him very viciously.

So Dr Mahathir is there, he is a force, he's still got a fairly strongly following in the country but he doesn't by any means call the shots.

MARK COLVIN: Barry Wain, writer-in-residence at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

And you can hear a 15-minute version of that interview on our website from this evening at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2010/s2818351.htm.

Ban on Kampung Medan book stays

(Bernama) - The High Court today rejected an author's application to quash the government's decision to ban his book on the Kampung Medan riots, almost nine years ago.

In his decision, Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof ruled that the then-deputy home minister's decision to ban the Tamil language book, titled March 8, was valid as he (deputy minister) considered that the circulation of the book would be prejudicial to internal security and public order.

He said the deputy minister, in this case, had absolute discretion to exercise the powers of the minister in prohibiting the publication and the printing of the book, after considering views from the police and the ministry that the book would be prejudicial to internal security, and "poison the minds of the readers, especially the Indian community".

In dismissing the judicial review application, he, however did not order for costs because the case involved public interest.

Mohamed Ariff is the same judge who overturned the banning of the book Muslim Women and the Challenge of Extremism by the Home Ministry on Jan 25.

He said each case had different facts of the case, and to arrive at a decision, he had to consider all factors.

Mohamed Ariff said there was a need for balancing in exercising the judicial function, and that he also took into account cultural and sensitivity factors before making the decision.

On Feb 23, 2007, engineer-turned-lawyer K. Arumugam filed an application for a judicial review seeking to declare null and void the order made by the government on Nov 21, 2006, prohibiting the publication, sale and distribution of the book on grounds that it was a threat to national security.

In his application, Arumugam, 51, named the internal security minister and the deputy internal security minister at that time, as well as the Malaysian government, as respondents.

Earlier, Arumugam's counsel, Edward Saw, argued that the decision to ban the book was irrational and unreasonable to the right of freedom of expression.

He also said the deputy minister failed to adduce evidence that the circulation of the book could be prejucial to internal security as the book was in circulation with 3,000 copies before it was banned on Nov 21, 2006.

Senior Federal Counsel Datin Azizah Nawawi had submitted that the deputy minister at that time (Datuk Fu Ah Kiaw) had considered all views and information before prohibiting the book's circulation.

Arumugam, when met by reporters, said he respected the court's decision and would consult his lawyer on whether to appeal or otherwise.

Sodomy medical report in spotlight again

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

Defence and prosecution lawyers in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial today again battled over the strength of a Hospital Kuala Lumpur report on Anwar's accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan as Anwar sought to strike out the sodomy charge.

In arguing for the Court of Appeal to strike out the sodomy charge, Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh repeatedly pointed to the Hospital Kuala Lumpur medical report, signed by three specialists, which stated there was "no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus or rectum and found no defence wounds" found on Saiful's body.

"This is important, relevant and useful for the accused (Anwar) to place doubt on prosecution's case. Does it matter at what point this is brought up?

"What is the meaning of conclusive? In legal terms, it means beyond reasonable doubt. Conclusive means definite. Conclusive means that's it, none, 100%. That's what it means. It does not mean anything else however much we twist and turn," Karpal said.

Saiful underwent a medical examination immediately after lodging a police report on June 28, 2008, alleging he was sodomised by Anwar two days earlier.

Anwar was appealing Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah's Dec 1, 2009 decision to not strike out the sodomy charge.

Mohamad Zabidin had ruled that the court cannot strike out the sodomy charge at this point based solely on the medical report because anal penetration could only be determined after the court heard testimony from witnesses during the trial.

The trial judge had also noted that penetration was a fundamental element of the sodomy charge under Section 377B of the Penal Code but maintained that it was "up to the prosecution" to decide how they intended to present its case.

Commenting on Mohamad Zabidin's judgment, Karpal said, "It does not matter how many witnesses you call if a fundamental element of the charge stands unproven".

Karpal also submitted that the court had the power to strike out the charge, which he maintained was an abuse of process, oppressive and prejudiced the accused.

"It is a persecution not a prosecution and the courts cannot sit back and let prosecution carry on. It is a court of law, a court of justice. The courts cannot abdicate from its duty, its divine duty, to intercede.

"It doesn't matter that the trial has proceeded. The trial is being rushed. Whoever is doing it has a motive... The charge ought to be struck out now. Or is it the result of some black hand behind the prosecution of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim?" Karpal said.

Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden argued that Anwar's legal team cannot look at the report and conclude that prosecution has insuffficient evidence to conduct their case against the opposition leader.

"The medical report is not substantive evidence. It only corroborates what the author (of the medical report, ie the doctor) has to say in court. It's the (doctors) that will have to come to court (to testify)... We cannot rely on report. We have to call the doctor to explain what it means," Mohd Yusof said.

Mohd Yusof added that the clinical examination was only part of the medical examination conducted on Saiful and the medical opinion was only complete with laboratory investigations.

Last week at High Court, Mohd Yusof read out prosecution's opening statement revealing that semen specimens taken from Saiful's anal region had been certified by the Chemistry Department as belonging to Anwar.

Mohd Yusof today also reminded the Court of Appeal judges to "keep out of the arena" and not appear to encroach in the public prosecutor's duties, as the lead prosecutor sought to defeat Anwar's strike-out application.

Mohd Yusof added that Anwar's strike-out application cannot be sustained because Anwar's complaint was on evidence instead of court procedure.

Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Abu Samah Nordin, who sat with Court of Appeal Judges Datuk Sulaiman Daud and Datuk Azhar @ Izhar Ma'ah, then fixed Feb 17 to decide whether to strike out the sodomy charge against Anwar.

Anwar pleaded not guilty when charged with sodomising Mohd Saiful, 24, at the Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

If convicted, Anwar faces up to 20 years imprisonment.

Perbicaraan Anwar ‘Tidak Adil’

Dari Malaysia Kini

Bekas pelapor khas Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB), Datuk Param Cumaraswam berkata, mengikut standard antarabangsa, perbicaraan kes liwat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim adalah yang paling tidak adil.

Param yang juga salah seorang peguam Anwar berkata, keengganan pihak pendakwaraya untuk memberi senarai saksi dan bukti kepada mereka, amat sangat dikesali.

“Ianya bercanggah dengan prinsip yang terima dalam keadilan sejagat,” katanya.

Param berkata, taktik yang digunakan oleh pihak pendakwaraya itu, dalam perbicaraan kes ini, harus dihentikan.

Karpal Singh, seorang lagi peguam Anwar, bersetuju bahawa perjalanan perbicaraan kes liwat Anwar adalah tidak adil kerana walaupun sudah seminggu berlalu, pihak peguambela masih belum memperolehi senarai saksi.

“Mengapa pendakwaraya merahsiakan senarai saksi? Pihak peguambela perlu tahu siapakah saksi-saksi.

“Sepanjang 40 tahun menjadi peguam, ini adalah kali pertama di mana senarai (saksi) tidak diberikan oleh pihak pendakwaraya,” kata Karpal .

Seorang lagi peguam, Sankara Nair berkata dokumen-dokumen harus disediakan awal bagi mengelakkan penangguhan untuk pihak peguambela mendapatkan pandangan pakar.

“Sehingga hari ini, kami dihalang memperolehi lebih banyak bukti walaupun hakim (Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah), telah mengarahkan pihak pendakwa berbuat demikian,” katanya.

Pada 16 Julai lalu, Hakim Mohamad Zabidin mengarahkan pendakwaraya menyerahkan kepada pihak peguambela, senarai saksi, bukti, rakaman CCTV dan laporan perubatan berhubung kes tersebut.

Bagaimanapun, keputusan itu dibatalkan selepas pihak pendakwaraya mengemukakan rayuan. Selepas itu, Mahkamah Persekutuan juga menolak rayuan Anwar.

India Censorship by Shiv Sena's Goons

Image(Asia Sentinel)Waving the bloody shirt to make political points is an old trick

Can you imagine a top-of-the-line Hollywood film's release being threatened in Los Angeles by a minor political party just because its star said something in support of a foreign sports team? Not only that, imagine the story becoming the top story on the national TV networks. Sounds bizarre? Not in India. Bizarre is normal in India.

The continuing protests by Mumbai's Shiv Sena against the Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan once again underlines the uneasy presence of lumpen elements in Indian politics and their tendency to use "icons" or national figures to project their politics of hatred and violence. Shiv Sena has declared war on "My Name is Khan," which opened Friday in Mumbai, starring the eponymous Shah Rukh, aiming to hurt the economic interests of the top Hindi film actor and teach him a lesson. Posters of the film have been torn down and cinema halls have been vandalized by Sena goons. Given the Sena's history of violence, some exhibitors were so intimidated that they refused to open the advance booking for the film—despite heavy security arrangements and assurances by the state government that law and order in the city will be maintained at all costs.

Mind you, Shiv Sena has a history of violence and its supreme leader, Balasaheb Thackeray, has never been put behind bars despite speeches inciting communal violence time and again since the 1960s. The Thackerays consider Mumbai their personal fiefdom. Their far-right regional political party has waged many battles, first against the South Indians, then against the North Indians and the minority community—all in the name of an ideology that Maharashtra belongs only to the Marathi community.

Apparently, Shiva is not against the film or the actor per se in the current controversy. They are against remarks Khan made a few weeks ago favoring Pakistan's cricket team. The movie star, who also owns a private cricket team that participates in Indian Premier League matches, expressed his displeasure against the boycotting of Pakistani players by all IPL teams in a recent auction. (The teams said they did so for security reasons). Many commentators spoke against the undignified way in which the Pakistani players were excluded. But Shiv Sena hung on to the words of the superstar. Bad luck that he had his highly-anticipated film hitting the theatres two weeks later.

The Sena, which was losing ground to its breakaway faction, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, decided to fully milk this opportunity—it had controversy written all over it: Cricket, Pakistan, a Hindi film starring a superstar involving a Hindu-Muslim love angle set in the backdrop of global terrorism. Shiv Sena was doing a Bombay—the Mani Ratnam film on Hindu-Muslim romance set in the backdrop of anti-Muslim riots in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid's demolition.

Everybody loves a controversy

The way the controversy has spiraled into a national issue raises many questions. And I have problems with all the major actors of the controversy.

First, Shah Rukh Khan. I am with him—he has every right to express his opinion in a country like India that prides herself on her democratic credentials. But my problem with Khan is that after expressing his opinion and after refusing to apologize for saying what he said, why develop feet of clay? There are alleged reports that he wants to meet Thackeray senior but the meeting has been spoiled by a ruling government minister. I hope it is not the case that the controversy was allowed to steamroll to generate unprecedented media coverage for the film and now that the publicity has peaked, it is time to call off the show. Khan should Thackaray's bluff.

Second, Shiv Sena and its company. Mr. Thackeray, why only target Khan? Other celebrities and commentators have said similar things and have rightly got away with it. Is it because Khan is a Muslim that his remarks in favor of the Pakistani cricketers make his patriotism suspect? If latter is the case, then sorry, Thackeray, it is a cliché. The new and resurgent India rejects this kind of fallacious thinking—especially when organizations like the Times Group are trying to bring India and Pakistan culturally closer through their Aman ki Aasha (Hope for Peace) project. Will you then burn the copies of the Times of India too? No matter what you say, your brand of nationalism is so narrow that it should not be allowed to get out of the headquarters of your party. No wonder your party has been rejected by people but stooping to old tactics like attacking film and cricket stars would not win you new votes.

Third, the media. The media especially likes controversies and if it involves films and film stars, even better. The same old same old panel discussion is foisted on the tired viewers. The party spokespersons start blaming each other and all ghosts from the past are brought to life—1984 (anti-Sikh massacre), 1992 (anti-Muslim riots), 2002 (the Gujarat pogrom), 2008 (Mumbai terror attacks) and so on. TV hosts, anchors, please note. Ban the speakers from raking up the past—everyone has skeletons in their closet but two wrongs do not make a right. Talk about today, talk about now. Don't let politicians hide behind the wrongs of the past.

Last but not the least, the viewers. Don't get too much riled up by the controversy. This too shall pass. Support good cinema and free speech. And next time you go to vote, remember to teach those political parties a lesson that seek power through dividing people.

Zafar Anjum (www.zafaranjum.com) is a Singapore-based writer and journalist. These are his personal views.

Will Najib now ask Umno executive secretary Abdul Rauf Yusoh to resign for doing a Nasir Safar at an Umno Club function in London?

By Lim Kit Siang,

The denial by Umno executive secretary Datuk Abdul Rauf Yusoh that he had made racist remarks at an Umno Club function in London a few days ago is most revealing for its self-incriminatory and confessional nature.

Rauf, who led an Umno delegation to London to meet with party members in a private closed-door meeting earlier this week was alleged to refer to non-Malays as “bangsa asing” who were trampling on the Malays in “Tanah Melayu”.

In a letter sent to The Malaysian Insider, Ahmad Naim Mazlan, a first-year finance and accounting student heard Rauf saying “Jangan biarkan bangsa asing pijak kepala kita.” (Don’t let the foreigners walk all over our heads.)

Ahmad Naim said in his letter:

“There was also a vigorous defence of Datuk Nasir Safar’s recent comments against non Malays which branded non Malays as beggars and prostitutes. According to one Umno Youth exco member present, those comments were not racist but quite contrarily, ‘just facts’….

“Throughout the session, non-Malays were treated as the enemy, and whilst they did praise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, there was no mention of 1 Malaysia, unity or multiracial nation-building. During some moments in the session, they sounded nothing less than Vikings on the path to war — an Umno Youth exco said something to the effect of Umno willing to fight to the death the threats made by non-Malays. These threats were, strangely enough, never detailed….

“Whatever one thinks of Umno’s sloganeering via 1 Malaysia, the fact is that if even these individuals cannot help but promote the diametric opposite to what 1Malaysia is supposed to entail, then what hope is there for Umno and BN?

“As much as what Najib says and does count above all else, it is most shameful that his generals are doing their best to derail the Malaysian dream. Najib’s decision to fire his aide only last week was commendable, but he was just an aide. Will he take similar measures against people with positions in the party who speak out against 1 Malaysia? I may be just a kid yet, but if Najib is to succeed as a reformist, then he must make sure the entire — or at least much of the party — follows suit.”

The question asked by the first-year finance and accounting student, who is son of a life-long Umno member, is most pertinent and valid.

Will Najib now ask Umno executive secretary Abdul Rauf Yusoh to resign for doing a Nasir Safar at an Umno Club function in London?

This question is all the more relevant as Abdul Rauf, in his denial of having made any derogatory remarks, has compounded his offence and insensitivity by virtually admitting what Ahmad Naim had written, except to give the excuse that he was speaking at “a closed-door meeting and no one outside should be listening in to what was being discussed”.

Najib should clarify whether he endorses Abdul Raul’s contention that it was all right for Umno leaders to share Nasir Safar’s racist views at the Malacca 1Malaysia seminar labelling Indians and Chinese in Malaysia as “pendatang” and that “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies” so long as they are expressed in internal Umno forums and not publicly?

Would every Umno Minister and MP be required to publicly declare whether they agree with Nasir Safar or not?

How can Najib convince Malaysians that he is sincere and serious about his 1Malaysia slogan and concept to create national unity based on diversity and inclusiveness in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation when this is openly opposed inside Umno?

Fifty-two years after Merdeka, has Umno itself become the greatest threat to Malaysian nation-building and Najib’s 1Malaysia’s concept?

The questioning by Ahmad Naim, though only first-year finance and accounting student, is proof that there is still hope for the vision of a united and inclusive Malaysian nation where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion or region second – and that the future of Malaysia is really in the hands of the new young generation of Malaysians who want to move away from the politics of race hatred and religious intolerance rather than the present breed of Umno and Barisan Nasional politicians.

Muhyiddin’s Myths & Make-Believe

Bolehland’s economy is Stagnant, Shaky, Startling & Sliding

by Martin Jalleh

Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin tries very hard to make sense of what he says most of the time. When he fails to make sense he makes fun of those whom he criticises. He then constructs (make believe) his preferred reality of the country and ends up making the fool of himself.

In a report on Malaysia released at the end of January, the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) warned: “Events of the past month give the impression that pressures are building and the entire situation is becoming much more unstable”. Malaysia was “veering towards instability” (Malaysian Insider, 10 Feb. 2010).

The PERC reported that the impression that Malaysia has given since New Year’s Day was that the situation in the country is becoming increasingly unstable; a group of elite minorities were dominating the national agenda to the extent that it was hurting Malaysia’s attractiveness to investors; and it is “probable” that no other Asian country is suffering from as much bad press as Malaysia.

Among the developments that caught PERC’s attention were the theft of military jet engines; detention of terror suspects from a number of African and Middle East countries; warnings that Islamic militants were planning attacks on foreigners at resorts in Sabah; renewed ethnic and religious “violence” that included arson at some churches and desecration of mosques; and controversy over the integrity of key institutions like the judicial system in the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Lim Kit Siang (LKS) had then asked for Najib’s response to the PERC’s “blistering” report and the prospect of Malaysia becoming even more uncompetitive internationally because of the PM’s failing strategy of (what the PERC called) “trying to be all things to all people, but in the end he might satisfy no one”. But the PM preferred to be silent.

It was Muhyiddin who believed he had something to say that mattered. The report was “nonsensical”. They must be “talking through their nose” and they “know nothing about the country…Maybe those guys are sitting at a table somewhere in a remote corner of Hong Kong. They have to come here and we will be happy to bring them down here and see what is stability, what is security, what is war, what is trouble.”

Muhyiddin claimed that the report appeared to be part of a hidden agenda to destabilise the country. Malaysia is “not asking them to help us anyway. We are helping ourselves and we don’t need their comments because I think a lot of other people know and evaluate ourselves very objectively. We are not basing it on emotions but facts and reality.”

So let’s look at our “self-evaluation report” (that Malaysia is sliding down the slope of becoming even more uncompetitive internationally), made last Dec by our very own Second Finance Minister Husni Ahmad Hanadzlah, who revealed the following shocking facts and reality:

  • Malaysia’s economy has been stagnating for the past decade (in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis)

  • It is now trailing badly behind its neighbours like Indonesia in the race for foreign investment.

  • It’s export-dependent economy has been hit hard by the global recession, contracting by a forecast 3.0 percent in 2009 and jeopardising its ambitions of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

  • Malaysia is trapped in a low-value-added, low-wage and low-productivity structure.

  • Among its peers China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, Malaysia’s economic growth over the past three years was second-lowest.

  • It has lost its competitive edge to remain as the leader of the pack in many sectors of the economy. Its private investment has been steadily in decline. (When the country achieved nationhood in 1957, Malaysia was the second most economically-advanced country in Asia after Japan.- LKS)

  • While Singapore and Korea’s nominal per capita GDP grew within the last three decades by 9 and 12 times respectively, Malaysia grew only by a factor of four. (Today, South Korea’s GDP per capita is US$16,450, Singapore US$34,346, Hong Kong US$29,559 while Malaysia is still at US$7,469.)

  • The services sector is underdeveloped, private investment is half the levels before the 1997-98 Asian crisis, and the manufacturing sector is suffering from lack of investment.

  • (In Oct. Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed admitted that the Thai auto industry had surpassed Malaysia’s despite entering the game at a later stage.)

  • (Malaysia fall three places from 21st to 24th ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2009-2010 and a drop of two places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2010: Reforming Through Difficult Times from 21st to 23rd placing).

Muhyiddin also declared: “The fact is that Malaysians are happy and are not facing any major disaster and there is no racial trouble in the country or war among us. So what are they talking about?”

If Malaysians are so happy then why are more people leaving and intending to leave and what about the PM vow to bringing home talented Malaysian diaspora? Was he also talking through his nose? Let’s look at our “self-evaluation” and the following shocking facts and brain drain realities provided in Dec.2009 in Parliament by Deputy Foreign Minister Kohilan Pillay:

  • A total of 304,358 Malaysians left the country between March 2008 and August 2009 for better education, career and business prospects

  • This works out to some 630 Malaysians leaving the country every day – a big leap from the 139,696 Malaysians who migrated to other countries in 2007.

  • The number of Malaysians who surrendered their citizenship almost doubled in 2009 – about 3,800 Malaysians have given up their citizenships to date compared to 2,000 in 2008.

  • (“Kohilan has the knack to criticize the Penang state government for not being able to guarantee 1,000 electrical engineers but said nothing about the federal government’s role in pushing away more than 300,000 highly skilled Malaysians with its racist policies, tolerance of corrupt practices, incompetency and inefficiency. – Khoo Kay Peng)

Ugly Umno

The PERC report also said that while Islamic activists who are “threatening Malaysia’s secular credentials” are getting the widest coverage, it was the Umno elites, described as “a fringe group of insiders who have been able to profit disproportionately from the policies of the ruling coalition” that deserved the most attention.

“They are threatened with a loss of political power that could also impinge directly on their substantial business interests. Malaysia’s future will be determined largely by the tactics this group of insider elites resort to in order to stay in power and the success of those tactics. Their commitment to democracy is a major question mark. If they blatantly manipulate the system in order to remain in power, the public backlash could be worse than anything Malaysia has seen in its modern history.”

Could it be this part of the report that prevented Muhyiddin to see beyond the end of his nose. Perhaps the he took umbrage to the ugly things that were said about Umno. Alas, there is really no need for him to be hard-nosed and to turn his nose up at the PERC report. Why, all he has to do is just look under his nose and he will find a very honest self-evaluation in Umno itself by its very respected member, Tengku Razaleigh!

Tengku Razaleigh recently called Malaysia a sham democracy, one which existed only in name but grievously compromised in substance, reality and fact (how about this fact Muhyiddin?) He added that reforms could not be expected from the incumbents in power.

Launching Ideas, a new think-tank set up to promote democratic ideals, at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial, the veteran Umno leader added that the original founding ideals laid down by Malaysia’s first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman had become warped and the “founder” would not recognise today’s Malaysia because it has been replaced by a domineering style of leadership with the “cult of the great leader”.

“We have left it to the deranged for too long …To expect change from the incumbents (Umno/BN) is to expect, in the Malay saying, the mice to repair the gourd…‘Bagai tikus baiki labu.’ ”

It is crucial for the well-being and economy of our beloved nation that the deputy PM who is still wet behind the ears not to be too quick to open his mouth or thumb his nose and accuse others of speaking through their nose. He should get out of his remote corner of Putrajaya and be all eyes and ears on what is really happening in the country.