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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Thousands still without food, water in parts of quake-hit Chile

Concepcion, Chile (CNN) -- A tale of two Chiles began to emerge late Monday, with life starting to return to normal in Santiago, Chile, and northern parts of the country, while other areas struggled with lack of food and water and looters roaming the streets.

Nearly three days after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake, rescuers in the hardest-hit areas, including the city of Concepcion, Chile, and the Maule and Bio Bio regions, scrambled to reach possible survivors. Looting broke out as thousands of residents in southern and central Chile remained without food, water, electricity, gas and other basic services.

"The situation there is quite precarious," U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons said at an afternoon teleconference from Santiago. He described the damage as "major, major devastation."

More than 700 bodies have been retrieved, and officials say the toll could climb.

Massive swaths of the area were leveled in Saturday's quake, with buildings toppled into ruin and roads made unpassable with gaping fissures. Cars were tossed about like in a children's toy set.

Stores have been looted and one was set on fire Monday in Concepcion, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the afternoon sky. Military officials said a curfew in the city, Chile's second most important and densely populated municipality, would be in effect from 8 p.m. Monday to noon Tuesday.

Looting and vandalism has been reported in the city, and many residents set up roadblocks at neighborhood entrances and patrolled the streets. Many in the ad hoc security committees carried sticks or clubs and some had attached knives to the tips of their weapons.

The military must provide security throughout the town, one woman said in an interview with CNN Chile, CNN's partner network in the nation.

"We don't want to spend one more night in the darkness and in fear," said Jacqueline Van Rysselberge. "We are no longer hungry, we are so scared."

Officials said they were sending more soldiers into Concepcion.

While security was a concern in Concepcion, most of the fatalities occurred in the nearby city of Maule, where 544 of the 723 reported deaths occurred.

In Maule a sewer system collapsed, several water towers were close to toppling and people in many communities lacked basic services, the National Emergency Office said Sunday.

See scenes of devastation from the quake

It was a different situation in Santiago, the nation's capital, where electricity and water services were restored to much of the city and many residents could use their cell phones and other conveniences. About 90 percent of the city's stores were open, Simons said.

"Santiago has returned to normal fairly quickly," the ambassador said.

In the quake's immediate aftermath, more than 1.5 million people had been without power in and around Santiago, according to Chile's National Emergency Office.

Rescuers from Santiago, recently returned from a stint in quake-ravaged Haiti, worked through the day to free people who could be trapped in a 15-story building in Concepcion, about 70 miles (112 kilometers) from the earthquake's epicenter.

Fire commander Juan Carlos Subercaseaux confirmed Monday that three people were trapped in the collapsed building, according to CNN Chile. Rescuers said they heard banging and yelling from an apartment, CNN Chile reported.

Impact Your World: How you can help

Authorities believe 40 or 50 people could be inside the building, but do not know whether they are alive. Video on CNN Chile showed a woman's body being removed from the building's seventh floor Monday afternoon.

Six hospitals in Chile collapsed and another two were severely damaged in the earthquake, the World Health Organization said, adding there's a shortage of health care personnel.

The Chilean air force has set up four field hospitals, each holding up to 60 patients. WHO on Monday called on other countries in the region to send field hospitals and generators to help.

The rescue-and-recovery work unfolded as Chile's defense minister blamed the navy for not issuing a tsunami warning after Saturday's earthquake rocked the South American country.

A large wave crashed into the Chilean islands of Juan Fernandez, killing at least eight people and leaving another eight missing, the Chilean emergency office said. Waves also caused damage along the coast of the Chilean mainland.

A warning could have allowed villagers on the coast to flee to higher ground.

"The truth even if it hurts [is that] a division of the navy made a mistake," Defense Minister Francisco Vidal told reporters.

After the quake struck early Saturday morning, President Michelle Bachelet said a tsunami was unlikely.

Dozens of countries posted tsunami warnings, and Chilean authorities later realized the large waves that slammed their country's coastal areas were generated by the earthquake.

"What we saw ... is a tsunami," Vidal said.

The navy has an emergency system under which captains in each port may issue warnings when sea levels begin to rise, even when the navy doesn't issue a warning. Those port captains eventually sounded the alarm, warning residents to flee.

All 300 American and Chilean employees at the U.S. Embassy are safe, Simons said.

There were no reports of any American fatalities or serious injuries, he said, but efforts to locate and contact thousands of Americans living and working in the country continued.

Calling the quake an "unthinkable disaster," Bachelet said a state of catastrophe in the worst-hit regions would continue, allowing for the restoration of order and speedy distribution of aid.

The government hopes to resume normal commercial air service soon, Bachelet said in remarks the Chilean government published on its Web site.

Authorities also were working to prevent the possible spread of disease, she said.

"Earthquakes or tsunamis like those that we have had cause a great quantity of diseases," Bachelet said.

"We're facing an emergency without parallel in the history of Chile. The passage of time has demonstrated that we're facing a catastrophe of unforeseen intensity, one that caused damages that are going to require immense, united efforts from all sectors of the country -- private and public," Bachelet said.

As desperate residents in Concepcion scrounged for water and supplies inside empty and damaged supermarkets Sunday, authorities used tear gas and water cannons to disperse people in some areas.

Bachelet said the government and the country's major supermarkets had reached an agreement under which the stores will give away basic foods to those affected by the quake.

Chile has received offers of international aid and will accept the help that it needs, Bachelet said.

The nation's ambassador to the United States, Jose Goni, listed Chile's top priorities Monday afternoon.

"After a detailed assessment of the situation," Goni said, "the Chilean government has requested aid from the U.S. government consisting essentially of field hospitals, power generators, water-purification plants, rescue teams, medical crews, tents, satellite telephones, temporary infrastructure for people in need and dialysis autonomous systems."

The United Nations said Monday that Chile had requested international assistance and indicated it is ready to help.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will travel to Santiago on Tuesday on a previously scheduled trip through Latin America. She originally was scheduled to arrive Monday.

Saturday's earthquake is tied for the fifth-strongest since 1900, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Another 8.8 quake struck off the coast of Ecuador in 1906.

Stronger earthquakes occurred in Kamchatka, in northeastern Russia, in 1952 (magnitude 9); off the west coast of northern Sumatra in 2004 (magnitude 9.1); at Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1964 (magnitude 9.4); and just south of Concepcion, Chile, not far from the epicenter of Saturday's quake, in 1960 (magnitude 9.5).

Why Haiti's less powerful quake was a bigger killer

More than 90 aftershocks have been recorded since Saturday, ranging from 4.9 to 6.9 in magnitude. A 6.2-magnitude aftershock was recorded near the earthquake's epicenter Sunday.

Bachelet said Saturday that about 2 million people had been affected in some way, but she did not elaborate. The Chilean Red Cross reported that about 500,000 homes sustained considerable damage.

President-elect Sebastian Piñera sought to rally spirits in nationally televised remarks Sunday night, announcing a reconstruction plan called "Up With Chile."

"We will raise Chile," Piñera said. "It's not going to be a short task. It's not going to be easy. It will require a lot of effort, a lot of resources, and a lot of time."

Law students take their activism online

Kit Siang backs Anwar to remain Opposition Leader

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Lim Kit Siang has pledged support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to remain as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) choice for prime minister even if the number of PKR representatives falls below that of the DAP.

The DAP stalwart said that despite the recent defections of two PKR MPs, he did not expect Pakatan Rakyat’s cohesion to be affected.

“I think there is no change in Pakatan and the PKR despite the present developments,” he told The Malaysian Insider this morning.

Lim brushed off talk about Anwar’s position as the Opposition Leader being affected by weakening support for his leadership.

“I will not even talk about that,” said Lim.

PAS lawmakers today issued a rare joint statement supporting the leadership of an embattled Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has seen several lawmakers and former leaders deserting his party in the past few weeks.

The statement signed by all 23 PAS MPs and three Senators stated that they would continue to carry out the people’s trust given in Election 2008 to bring changes and reforms over injustice, poverty and human rights violations to establish a government founded on religious and moral principles.

It also came about after Anwar, who is de facto PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact, tweeted that he had no issues with DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang taking over as Opposition Leader if more PKR lawmakers walk out of his party.

PKR now has 29 MPs after Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru) and Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal) quit in the past two weeks.

There has been speculation that Anwar would be asked to resign as Parliamentary Opposition Leader if more PKR lawmakers quit but both PAS and DAP leaders have privately assured him they preferred he remain in the post.

“Opposn Leader:no problem for ybKit to tak over fr me. We work as a team unlike Umno!” Anwar tweeted in his Twitter microblogging website last night, referring to the Ipoh Timur MP, and using short forms common in tweets.

Anwar, who is facing a second sodomy charge in a decade, has said he was prepared to give way to other leaders.

Lim told The Malaysian Insider that even if there were more defections from PKR, Anwar would remain as Parliamentary Opposition Leader.

“His position remains unaffected and the DAP will continue to support Anwar as the Opposition Leader and as the Prime Minister-designate,” he said.

Perak Pakatan disregards Ganesan’s assembly notice

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Perak’s Pakatan Rakyat 28 assemblymen will not comply with the notice for the March 30 state assembly meeting sent out by Datuk R. Ganesan as they do not recognise him as the state speaker,

This decision comes in spite of their promise to act as a strong opposition following the Feb 9 Federal Court ruling that Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir is the rightful Perak Mentri Besar.

Former mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin told The Malaysian Insider this morning that while he respected his ouster as the rightful state chief, Pakatan still maintained that Ganesan was not the rightful Speaker of the House.

“He is just an alien from the jungles of Sungkai,” he said, referring to the former Sungkai assemblyman.

Nizar added in view of this, Pakatan representatives would not attend the assembly sitting unless it was called by DAP’s V. Sivakumar.

“We will otherwise not comply with any instruction given by Ganesan. If we were to be present in this assembly sitting, it would only be if we receive assembly notices from sivakumar and not Ganesan,” he insisted.

Nizar explained their decison was due to Ganesan’s violation of Article 36A of the Perak Constitution by failing to resign as a practising lawyer after three months of his appointment as the Speaker.

Sivakumar concurred this but said that no decision had been made as yet on whether he would be sending out notices of his own.

He admitted that the Pakatan are presently caught in a Catch-22 situation if they were to issue their own notices of assembly, the sitting would be yet manother chaotic one and look as if the Pakatan was reneging on its promise to play nice.

On the other hand, if they attend the assembly without issuing a notice of their own, it could mean conceding to Ganesan as the Speaker.

“We will make our decision soon. But yes, we still maintain that Ganesan is not the Speaker,” he said.

Notices had been sent out to all assemblymen yesterday, informing them that the next assembly sitting would convened on March 30.

Meanwhile, Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said that the most important thing now was for the High Court to quickly give a date to hear Sivakumar’s suit against the Election Commission (EC) for failing to hold by-elections in three constituencies in Perak last year —

Changkat Jering, Behrang and Jelapang.

On Oct 22 last year, High Court Justice Lau Bee Lan granted leave to Sivakumar, three Pakatan assemblymen and three voters to challenge the EC’s decision, on grounds that they had a prima facie case against the respondent.

The suit called for the EC to hold the by-elections for the assemblymen for the three constituencies — Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Hee Yit Foong — as they had submitted resignation letters to the then rightful Speaker, Sivakumar.

“The decision by Justice Lau was made four months ago and there is still no hearing date. This is obviously very biased of the courts,” Ngeh told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

He added that the case was important to the Pakatan for if the courts decide to compel the EC to hold by-elections in the three constituencies, it would mean that the appointment of Ganesan during the May 7 sitting last year was invalid.

“It was Hee who took over proceedings as the Deputy Speaker of the House at the time but if she is no longer an assemblyman, then it means she should not have even been inside the House at the time,” said Ngeh.

Ngeh also said that on the possibility of Pakatan appointing an opposition leader for the assembly, he would concede the post to Nizar.

He agreed that by convention, the post would be given to the party holding the most number of sits in the assembly.

“But we in Perak Pakatan are very close so we do not think that way. I think Nizar is fully capable,” he said.

Nizar, however, is of the position that a DAP assemblyman should hold the position as they hold more seats.

The DAP has 17 seats while PAS has six and PKR has five. The Perak assembly has 59 state seats.

Both Pakatan and Barisan have 28 seats while the remaining three are three Barisan-friendly Independents.

PAS lawmakers back embattled Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — PAS lawmakers today issued a rare joint statement supporting the leadership of an embattled Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has seen several lawmakers and former leaders deserting his PKR in the past few weeks.

The statement signed by all 23 PAS MPs and three Senators stated they would continue to carry out the people’s trust given in Election 2008 to bring changes and reforms over injustice, poverty and discriminatory human rights to a government founded on religious and moral principles.

It also came about after Anwar, who is de facto PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact, tweeted that he had no issues with DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang taking over as Opposition Leader if more PKR lawmakers walk out of his party.

PKR now has 29 MPs after Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru) and Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal) quit in the past two weeks.

“We regret the action taken by several Pakatan Rakyat MPs who have chosen to abandon the principles of our struggles,” the PAS statement said.

The MPs who signed were Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (Marang) (picture, left), Ustaz Nasharudin Mat Isa (Bachok), Salahuddin Ayub (Kubang Kerian), Datuk’ Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena) (picture, centre), Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman (Pengkalan Chepa), Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (Kuala Krai), Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (Tumpat), Dr Lo’ Lo’ Mohd Ghazali (Titiwangsa), Puan Siti Zailah Mohd

Yusof (Rantau Panjang), Dr Siti Mariah Mahmood (Kota Raja), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor), Ustaz Taib Azamuddin Md Taib (Baling), Dr Che Rosli Che Mat (Hulu Langat), Datuk Seri Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin (Bukit Gantang), Datuk’ Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah (Kota Bharu), Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut (Kuala Terengganu), Ustaz Muhammad Husin (Pasir Puteh), Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Che Uda Che Nik (Sik), Ustaz Firdaus Jaafar (Jerai), Ustaz Mohd Nasir Zakaria (Padang Terap), Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (Parit Buntar) and Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman (Pendang)

The three Senators who signed the statement were Muhammad Yusof Husin (Kedah), Ahmad Rosli Ibrahim (Kelantan) and Mumtaz Md Nawi (Kelantan).

“We are confident of the struggles and leadership of the Pakatan Rakyat parties and will further our efforts among the people and in the Dewan Rakyat which starts March 15,” the statement added.

The PAS lawmakers also took the opportunity to ask the people oppose the ruling Barisan Nasional government’s new proposals to raise petrol prices and essential goods apart from the proposed Good and Services Tax (GST).

“We also want to state our full support to the leadership of the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” they said.

There has been speculation that Anwar would be asked to resign as opposition leader in the parliament if more PKR lawmakers quit but both PAS and DAP leaders have privately assured him they preferred he remain in the post.

Anwar, who is facing a second sodomy charge in a decade, has said he was prepared to give way to other leaders.

“Opposn Leader:no problem for ybKit to tak over fr me. We work as a team unlike Umno!” Anwar tweeted in his Twitter microblogging website last night, referring to the Ipoh Timur MP, and using short forms common in tweets.

The Pakatan Rakyat now has 80 MPs in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat against Barisan Nasional’s 137. There are now three Independent MPs and two from SAPP, which quit the ruling coalition in September 2008.

Former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim has speculated that up to 10 lawmakers will quit the party in coming weeks, adding they will remain independent and not support Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.

Zaid questions defectors’ reasons for leaving party

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — PKR Supreme Council member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has rubbished the reasons given by defectors for quitting the party.

When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, Zaid said the reasons ex-PKR members like Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng (picture, right) gave for leaving the party needed to be analysed.

“Whether the reasons for them leaving the party were legitimate or not, we will look into them as a party. Look, PKR and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are not perfect. If you leave because you are disgruntled and unhappy, there’s nothing that we can do,” said Zaid.

He stressed that if party members had a problem or issues that needed to be addressed, the solution would be to discuss the problems, not “leave the party.”

He also used himself as an example where he did not always fully agree with the party’s stand on some matters.

“I still have my own views on how the party handles some matters. I may not fully agree, but I use the various avenues provided by the party to make my point.”

When asked whether the rising emergence of independent MPs like Tan and another PKR defector, Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, would pave the way for a viable third force in Parliament, Zaid laughed and dismissed the possibility.

He said that even though they claimed that they were independent MPs, they will not play the neutral ground when the time comes.

“They are not independent, they are independent in name only. They will eventually support Barisan National. Look at the Perak frogs. Obviously the independent MPs will become Barisan-friendly, why else would they leave Pakatan?” questioned Zaid.

Tan is the latest departure by a PKR Federal lawmaker, following Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim’s recent decision to also leave PKR.

Ex-Penang deputy chief minister Mohd Fairus Khairuddin also quit the party on Sunday night for Umno while ex-PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim confirmed he quit two weeks ago.

PKR now has 29 MPS in Parliament, this latest round of defections has reduced Pakatan Rakyat’s bench to only 80 lawmakers against Barisan’s 137.

The other two allies in Pakatan are DAP with 28 MPs and PAS with 23.

However, Zaid remained optimistic about PKR’s political future.

“There is not going to be a mass exodus from PKR. We are stronger now, stronger in terms of support from the people who voted for Pakatan.

“If people want to leave, good riddance if the reasons are not genuine,” he said.

Ex-PKR lawmaker says more will quit soon

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — A former PKR lawmaker fuelled speculation that more will quit Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s party, saying this included MPs and state assemblymen.

The lawmaker, among five who left PKR since Election 2008, told The Malaysian Insider last night that “future defectors” had called him for advice.

“They wanted to know what it was like and they wanted my advice. They wanted to find out what I had faced,” he said on condition of anonymity.

In the past two weeks, Penang MPs Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru) and Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal) had walked out of PKR citing dissatisfaction with the leadership, party and ally, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The two outspoken MPs were the most high-profile resignations followed by that of former PKR secretary-general Datuk Salehuddin Hashim and ex-Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Fairus Khairuddin.

The former PKR lawmaker revealed that the number of those walking out of PKR was larger than many expected, adding it was not planned as a group but as individuals.

“Each have their individual grievances and reasons on why they want to leave from PKR. I understand their positions — the decision is not an easy one to make.

“But it is not like a planned move for all to leave, like what people think. For example, person A does not know that person B wants to leave too,” he said.

He added that he could not reveal the names of those who want to leave as that would not be fair to them.

The lawmaker also rebutted claims that the defectors were being bought over by the ruling Barisan Nasional federal government, stressing that they had genuine reasons for wanting to leave.

“When they called me, they never once asked me how much I had gotten from Barisan for leaving,” he said.

Instead, the lawmaker revealed that the general consensus was that most were unhappy with the direction that the party was heading and had lost confidence in its leadership.

“I cannot say exactly that they all blame (party de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim entirely, but they all feel that PKR has lost its way and lost its very basic ideals.

“They all believed in PKR’s struggles and ideologies and they still do but it looks like at the present moment, these struggles have become very individualistic and personal,” he said.

He noted that some also believed that the PKR was not a strong enough voice in the Pakatan Rakyat.

“It is either Anwar has failed to give good advice to the other Pakatan parties or that the other Pakatan parties refuse to listen to his advice,” said the lawmaker.

He added that over the past few months, he had been contacted by many lawmakers, both MPs and state assemblymen alike, all voicing their individual frustrations in the party.

“Some have problems with their respective division leaders or state leaders or the general party leadership too,” he said.

He told The Malaysian Insider that the defections would come soon but would not happen en bloc.

“It will be one at a time. You wait and see,” he said.

The defections of the two Penang MPs have triggered speculation that another 10 MPs and several other assemblymen would follow suit.

BN moves closer to two-thirds majority

The BN needs 148 seats for a two-thirds majority. With support of the three independents, it will get there with just another eight defectors. A two-thirds majority is not just a psychological booster, but is also necessary for smooth passage of the next redrawing of electoral constituencies that will begin next year.

The Straits Times

DATUK Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was hit yesterday by a flurry of resignations by ex-loyalists, including an MP from Penang.

Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng said he was becoming an independent because there was no longer any avenue for dissent in the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

'I have been told not to openly criticise party leaders. This is not what PKR used to stand for - accountability and justice,' he said at a press conference.

Former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim also confirmed yesterday that he was quitting the party. He does not hold an elected seat.

Speaking at the same press conference, he said he believed that more lawmakers will leave in coming days. 'It may be more than 10. But they won't all jump at once, they will go in ones and twos,' he said, blaming the party for favouring new members and sidelining loyalists.

Mr Tan is the second MP to quit PKR in a month, after Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Hashim left in a huff following a quarrel with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. Datuk Seri Zahrain is also from Penang.

Rais Says Government Will Not Check Info Flow On Internet

(Bernama) -- Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said last night the government would not impose any restriction on the flow of information on the Internet but hoped that the people would be guided by religious and cultural values in deriving benefit from the cyber world.

He said the government could enforce the maximum restriction through legislation to check the negative elements spread through the new media, especially the Internet.

However, it would not resort to such measures, similar to the proposal by China to use the so-called “Green Dam” censorware on all personal computers, he said.

“We have not done anything like that. We only ask that we use our religious and cultural values for our good. Besides, I admit that enforcement of the laws under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 will be to the maximum,” he said.

Rais said this on the “Soal Jawab” interview programme aired live tonight over TV3.

The minister was interviewed by Media Prima Group Editor (News and Current Affairs) of TV7, TV8, TV9 and Radio Networks, Datuk Manja Ismail.

He said the ministry and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) were carrying out certain exercises before enforcing the relevant laws.

Rais said the people should not blindly accept anything published by the new media.

“We are building a civilisation, a culture. We have our way in our country, Singapore have their own way, and Thailand theirs.

“We now have Facebook, Twitter. We are not angry. What are our values with regard to our participation in Facebook? How are those in Europe and the United States assaulting us subtly? Don’t we think about that?

“How do we handle our children who spend more time on Facebook than on their studies, on religious education? What I am saying is that the Internet is not our invention. We have to be cautious. Take the good, leave the bad,” he said.

Rais said every individual must have duty of care when publishing on the Internet and in speech so as not to undermine national security.

“Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (provides for) an individual to have duty of care when writing in blogs, and in speech, so as to ensure that the nation’s security is unharmed.

“The act has existed since 1998. Some 113 cases have come up. The Attorney General’s Chambers is acting on them. Twelve cases are being prepared and action will be taken. Rais said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had agreed for a special officer from the Attorney General’s Chambers to look into the adequacy of existing laws.

Asked about the use of Facebook by several leaders to interact with the people, Rais said: “In such matters, we are using it for the country’s benefit. But there are people who publish to criticise. We have to be patient because this is a section of the Internet world which has survived on controversies.”

Ekonomi Negara Sudah Pulih?

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, AJK PAS Pusat.

Pengumuman dibuat oleh YAB PM DS Najib beberapa hari lalu bahawa ekonomi telah pulih tentunya merupakan satu berita gembira. Dalam suku terakhir tahun 2009, ekonomi mencatat pertumbuhan sebanyak 4.5%, meskipun mengalami penguncupan sebelumnya; penguncupan tiga suku sebelumnya, iaitu 6.2% pada suku pertama, 3.9% pada suku kedua dan 1.2% pada suku ke tiga.

Bagi tahun 2009, ekonomi negara mencatat penguncupan sebanyak 1.7%, iaitu lebih rendah daripada penguncupan 3% yang diunjurkan sebelum ini. Untuk pengetahuan umum, pertumbuhan adalah sebanyak 4.6% dalam tahun 2008. Ekonomi telah pulih tegas Najib dan pimpinan kerajaan seperti Menteri Besar Pahang yang kurang arif tentang ekonomi lantas menyebutkan bahawa ini semua adalah kerana kebijaksanaan Najib mengurus ekonomi negara.

Penulis tidak suka untuk menganggu keseronokan dan euporia ini. Rakyat telah lama terhempit dengan pelbagai penderitaan hidup. Mereka mahukan satu suntikan harapan. Najib pula sangat berhajat untuk membuktikan bahawa beliaulah penyebab pemulihan ekonomi ini dan dialah harapan untuk rakyat.

Malangnya penulis terpaksa berterus terang bahawa Najib tersilap dalam membuat rumusan bahawa ekonomi telah pulih, kecuali dalam erti yang terlalu ‘teknikal’. Lebih silap lagi ketika dia dan pimpinan Umno/BN menyangka bahawa dialah pencetus dan pemangkin kesemua ini.

Yang layak disebut Najib hanyalah bahawa ekonomi tumbuh pada 4.5% dalam suku keempat 2009 dan keseluruhan 2009 mencatat penguncupan pada paras 1.7%, iaitu lebih baik dari penguncupan 3% yang dijangkakan. Ada pun sebab utama pertumbuhan 4.5% yang dicapai tidaklah kerana apa jua langkah ajaib dan keberkesanan pendekatan Najib mengurus ekonomi kecuali kerana permintaan global pada suku akhir 2009 sememang meningkat dan ini disaksikan di semua negara.

Meletakkan punca utama kerana suntikan rangsangan fiskal seperti didakwa Najib agak tidak tepat kerana dari jumlah RM 67 bilion yang diperuntukkan dalam dua pakej rangsangan fiskal itu, sehingga akhir September 2009, hanya RM8.2bilion sahaja yang dibelanjakan (ms 3, Dalam Laporan Ekonomi Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia 2009/2010).

Najib mutakhir ini pula mendakwa telah membelanjakan RM17bilion dari pakej tersebut, dengan jumlah bayaran setakat ini sebanyak RM13.9bilion. Puratanya sebanyak RM1bilion disuntik sebulan dakwa beliau dalam 13 bulan lalu.

Dengan mengambil kira kesan berganda kegiataan ekonomi akibatnya, mungkin ada kesannya sedikit terhadap pertumbuhan KDNK dalam sebuah ekonomi yang KDNKnya ialah anggaran RM700bilion. Penulis boleh akui.

Namun pertumbuhan 4.9% suku akhir 2009, tegasnya adalah akibat permintaan global yang semakin pulih dan kesemua negara-negara Asean seperti Indonesia, Vietnam dan Singapura mengalami pertumbuhan yang lebih baik dan rancak lagi. Ini tidak termasuk China dan India yang mengalami pertumbuhan yang lebih mantap.

Pun begitu, apakah dengan pertumbuhan 4.5% dalam suku akhir 2009 lalu maka kerajaan BN di bawah Najib ini mampu berkokok seluruh kampung yang ekonomi telah ‘pulih’? Tambahan pula kalau seperti didakwa mereka bahawa ini adalah hasil suntikan pakej rangsangan kerajaan kerana kaedah rangsangan adalah kaedah ’pump-priming’ atau ’mengepam’ ekonomi. Ia adalah tidak mapan, tidak lestari atau ’sustainable’ dan bersifat jangka pendek.

Tidak ada yang boleh di sorak atau diberikan tepukan gemuruh akibat ’kejayaan’ pertumbuhan ini! Pemulihan sebenar ekonomi perlu menggarap beberapa persoalan asas yang bersifat fundamental dan struktural yang telah mengakibat ekonomi negara, seperti diakui oleh Menteri Kewangan kedua-2 sebagai mengalami satu dekad ’kebekuan’ atau ’stagnation’.

Paling asas adalah menangani persoalan struktural yang telah terperangkap dalam satu model ekonomi berpendapatan rendah, berprestasi rendah di segi nilai tambah yang rendah dan produktiviti yang juga rendah. Bagaimanakah kerajaan mampu menjana ekonomi berpendapatan tinggi yang memilikki kegiatan ekonomi bernilai tambah tinggi sekaligus menghasilkan produktiviti yang tinggi?

Itu adalah model ekonomi yang dihajati negara untuk keluar dari perangkap modal lama. Ia tentunya perlu menggarap kegiatan bidang selain dari ekonomi seperti pendidikan dan latihan yang menghasilkan warga kerja dan buruh berkemahiran tinggi (supply-side economics) bersekali dengan mencapai pertumbuhan mapan dan lebihan bajet yang mampu dilaburkan bagi memacu pertumbuhan seterusnya.

Pemulihan ekonomi secara jangka-panjang dan mapan adalah jawapan kepada permasalahan ekonomi negara. Pastinya ’pemulihan’ atau ’recovery’ tidak hanya sekadar merujuk kepada perbandingan angka pertumbuhan dalam dua suku. Itu ’pulih’ secara ’teknikal’ sahaja.

Tambahan kalau ekonomi masih di belenggu dengan segala kegiatan yang tidak menghasilkan dayasaing atau ’competitiveness’ dengan polisi yang mengutamakan kroni, perlindungan industri yang tidak berdaya maju, monopoli, pemberian subsidi pada sasaran yang salah, pengurusan timpang yang tiris dan bocor yang sarat dengan amalan rasuah.

Kedua, kenaikan lebihan dagangan luar (external trade surplus) pada tahun 2009 sebanyak RM118.35bilion tidak diikuti dengan peningkatan sejajar simpanan asing (foreign reserve). Simpanan asing pada tahun 2009 menokok hanya USD5 bilion pada jumlah USD96.7bilion pada tahun Dis 2009 dari USD91.5bilion pada tahun Dis 2008.

Pakar-pakar ekonomi amat runsing dengan ketidaksejajaran atau kesenjangan ini yang sekaligus memaparkan bahawa di sana terdapat aliran keluar dana lebih banyak dari kemasukan dana ke dalam negara. Bank Negara Malaysia juga turut runsing dengan fenomena ini yang sekaligus mengisyaratkan ’kehilangan keyakinan’ pelabur terhadap ekonomi negara.

Dengan ekonomi yang telah sekian lama dipacu oleh perbelajaan kerajaan atau faktor ”G” dalam formula KDNK/GDP yakni KDNK= C + G + I + (X-M), di mana C- adalah Perbelanjaan (awam), G – perbelanjaan kerajaan, I – pelaburan swasta (luar dan dalam) dan (X-M) atau (Ekpsot – Impot), ia telah mengakibatkan defisit belanjawaan selama 13 tahun dan ke paras 7.4% bahkan ada yang menyebutkan sebagai 8% tahun 2009.

Justeru itu kerajaan tidak lagi mampu melakukan ’pengepaman’ atau ’pump-priming’ dalam menjana pertumbuhan. Hutang kerajaan Persekutuan tahun 2009 adalah ke tahap RM362,520bilion atau bersamaan 55.2% KDNK, berbanding RM306,437bilion pada 2008. Faktor ”G” tidak lagi mampu digunakan untuk menjana pertumbuhan KDNK.

”I” seperti dalam KDNK ialah pelaburan swasta samada dari sumber luar atau asing dan tempatan. Sumbangan pelaburan swasta di negara kini hanya pada paras 10% berbanding lebih dari 30% dalam tahun 90an. Hakikat ini mesti diakui oleh kerajaan BN sekarang ini.

Kehilangan dayasaing negara telah meletakkan negara bukan sahaja gagal mengamit pelaburan asing langsung (FDI) bahkan sebaliknya mengalami aliran keluar dana tempatan sebanyak RM9.14bilion pada tahun 2007, RM26bilion pada tahun 2008 dan RM14.6bilion untuk 9 bulan dalam tahun 2009.

Fenomena pengaliran keluar dana tidak boleh lagi dihujjahkan sebagai pelabur tempatan mahu menyambut seruan menjadi pelabur global. Ketika kerajaan tidak lagi mampu memacu pertumbuhan dengan ”G” kerana melebarkan defisit, maka ”I” diperlukan. Namun ”I” tidak mampu memacu pertumbuhan kerana pelaburan swasta tidak dapat dijana. Kelembapannya akan menjejaskan penjanaan kerja, pelaburan dalam kegiatan ekonomi bernilai tinggi untuk merancakkan pencapaian ke arah ekonomi berpendapatan tinggi dan akhirnya pertumbuhan yang mapan.

Sementara itu model ekonomi negara yang bergantung kepada pendapatan sumber minyak dan gas sudah tidak lagi wajar dan tidak mapan (sustainable) kerana telah ke paras 45% dari seluruh pendapatan negara.

Akhir sekali, andainya inflasi terus meningkat kerana antara lainya, kenaikan cukai, seumpama kesan GST, penarikan subsidi seumpama bahan bakar, kenaikan tarif utiliti seperti elektrik, maka rakyat akan terus kehilangan kuasa membeli. Dengan itu peningkatan ‘C’ atau perbelanjaan akan turut terjejas.

Kesan ini akan menjejas ‘demand side’ atau permintaan. Sedikit sebanyak faktor ’C’ atau perbelanjaan inilah, yang telah membantu peningkatan pertumbuan dalam suku akhir 2009. Namun sayugia dingatkan bahawa ‘gaji sebenar’ atau ‘real wages’ buruh atau ‘labour’ di negara ini hanya mengalami peningkatan sebanyak 2.6% mengikut Bank Dunia dalam 1994-2007. Dengan kata lain faktor ’C’, akibat dari ’gaji sebenar’ dan gaji ’boleh berbelanja’ (disposable income) yang tidak meningkat, akan mengekang pertumbuhan yang lebih rancak.

Kita beraleh kepada faktor (X-M) atau Ekspot tolak Impot. Lebihan dagangan telah penulis sebutkan di atas. Sememangnya kita adalah sebuah negara yang bergantung kepada ekspot. Itu tidak salah. Dan inilah juga yang memacu pertumbuhan dalam suku akhir tahun lalu ini secara signifikan. Tetapi sebaliknya pula, selama manakah produk-produk negara boleh terus berdayasaing, kalau kita terperangkap dengan nilai-tambah yang rendah dengan pelaburan swasta (I) serta ekonomi domestik mandom dan lembap?

Fikirkan. Mampukah kita melonjakkan dayasaing negara atau ‘competitiveness’ dalam mendepani persaingan global yang semakin sengit dan getir?

Kesemua penghujjahan dan senario ini membuktikan bahawa ekonomi negara belum pulih dalam erti yang sebenarnya. Sedarlah wahai semua! Kesedaran adalah titik bermula perubahan dan reformasi tulen.

PROTON'S PROGRESS


1. Since the appointment of Dato Nazmi Salleh as the chairman a lot of improvements have been shown by Proton. It is once again making money. More Proton cars are appearing on the streets, particularly the new Saga, the Persona and the Exora.

2. I was invited to see the new F1 car being developed by Dato Seri Tony Fernandes and Dato Kamaruddin Meranun at the facilities they had acquired in Norwich, England. I had promised to sit in and start the engine of this car if it could be built in the short time they had before the first F1 race in Bahrain in March. I was pleasantly surprised that by the time I arrived on February 22, not only could I sit in the racer and start the engine but the car itself had been undergoing trial races in Spain. They had brought back the car for me to sit in and start the engine. The next day they were to take the car back to Spain for further speed trials.

3. I was glad to see quite a number of Proton engineers working on the production and assembly of the car.

4. The British people were very excited that once again a Lotus car would be in the F1 race. The three drivers were optimistic. The two foreign drivers, Jarno Trulli and Hekki Kovalainen, were very experienced. Fairuz Fauzi our Malaysian driver was the first to test-drive the car in Spain. I hope he would get a chance to drive in the actual race. I wish them the best of luck.

5. My next stop was the Lotus factory where the Elise and Evora sports cars were being produced. Lotus had not done well and was losing money. But the new CEO, Dany Bahar has put new life into the management bringing in experienced people from well-known racing teams and sports car producers.

6. New sports cars were being designed and they looked as good as the Ferraris and the Aston Martins. I test drove a turbo-charged Proton Exora, an electric Tesla which Lotus was building for an American company and the Lotus Evora.

7. A lot of Proton engineers were working with Lotus engineers contributing to the development of Lotus cars.

8. The next day I flew to Turin, Italy to see the lubricant plant which had been bought by Petronas. It was again heartening to see Malaysians among the top executives of the company.

9. The final stop was the design firm of Giugiaro together with Proton which were designing a new small car and a redesigned Persona for Proton. Some 20 Malaysian designers and engineers were working on these projects together with the Italians.

10. It may be remembered that one of the objectives of going into the automotive industry was to develop Malaysia's engineering capability. Seeing all these Malaysians in the development of sophisticated automotive designing and engineering work seems to indicate that we have largely acquired engineering design, development and production to put us on the road to becoming a developed country.

11. Some people said that the price of cars in Malaysia is very high because the Government is protecting Proton. Actually the high price is due to the Government's attempt to discourage petrol guzzling big cars. Whether there is Proton or not Malaysians will pay a high price for their cars. Cheap cars will lead to even worse jams than now.

12. Most people started to own cars only after Proton cars were produced. Such was the increase in the usage of cars that in one 10-year period, Proton cars contributed 18 billion Ringgit towards Government revenue. Considering that the total Government investment was only RM480 million Ringgit in 1984-85, the returns on the investment must be considered very high. The people as a whole must benefit from Government expenditure of this large sum of money.

13. Besides, Proton supports about 300,000 workers, vendors and their families. It produces almost 200,000 cars yearly. If we import foreign cars at RM25,000 per car, the outflow of money would add up to approximately RM5,000,000,000 or five billion Ringgit. Even after deducting some component imports the amount saved in foreign exchange is huge.

14. At one stage there were rumours of an attempt to practically bankrupt Proton so as to sell it off cheaply. This was what happened to Agusta. Proton has assets which the buyers can develop profitably. But I am glad that these are just rumours and no one talks about it anymore. If a person looks at the whole picture he will appreciate that Proton is too valuable an asset to sell for RM4.

Apa Hal Salehuddin Hashim?

KENYATAAN MEDIA
UNTUK EDARAN SEGERA

Tarikh: 2 Mac 2010

APA HAL SALEHUDDIN HASHIM?

Saya tidak tahu dan tidak ingin tahu apakah peranan yang dimainkan oleh bekas Setiausaha Agung KEADILAN, Datuk Salehuddin Hashim. Beliau menafikan tuduhan sesetengah pihak bahawa beliaulah di belakang tindakan Anggota Parlimen (AP) yang keluar Parti dan saya mempercayainya.

Orang sudah tahu semua ADUN dan AP yang keluar mempunyai masalah kewangan ataupun masalah disiasat oleh SPRM. Namun tidak dinafikan ada juga masalah pribadi dengan pimpinan parti atau kerajaan negeri. Boleh dikatakan semuanya menemui PM Najib Razak dan ada kalanya isteri beliau, Rosmah Mansor, sebelum bertindak keluar.

Saya sentiasa berpendapat bahawa apabila daki sudah dibersihkan, kulit akan lebih menarik dan badan lebih sihat. Kita harus jangan lupa bahawa dalam sejarah permulaannya PAS, DAP dan bahkan UMNO menghadapi masalah Presiden, Setiausaha Agung dan pemimpin lain mereka berhenti. Akhirnya semua parti muncul lebih kuat.

Salehuddin telah memberikan khidmat baik kepada KEADILAN selama kira-kira enam tahun, tiga tahun sebagai Setiausaha Pengelola dan tiga lagi sebagai Setiausaha Agung. Biro Politik telah mencatatkan terima kasih atas jasanya.

Ada anggapan kononnya Parti mendapat khidmat Salehuddin secara percuma. Saya ingin merakamkan yang sebenar, iaitu Salehuddin bersetuju dibayar RM9,000 sebulan, walaupun asalnya beliau meminta US3,000 sebulan. Bayaran ini dibuat bukan oleh Parti tetapi oleh salah seorang penyokong.

Saya memang tahu selama beliau berkhidmat dengan baik, sikap Salehuddin terhadap Parti, terutama pimpinannya, sering turun naik. Akan tetapi kemarahan beliau memuncak apabila “permohonannya” untuk menjadi CEO Syarikat Perangsang, yang membawa gaji lebih dari RM50,000 sebulan, ditolak tidak lama sebelum beliau meletakkan jawatan.

Kini Salehuddin meramalkan kira-kira 10 orang lagi AP akan keluar Parti. Biarkanlah Salehuddin dengan ramalannya dan hanya masa saja yang akan membuktikan sama ada ramalan itu akan terbukti tepat atau tidak. Namun, dengan maklumat yang ada pada saya, saya percaya ini hanya sebagai tuduhan melulu bersifat perang urat saraf yang tidak mempunyai asas kukuh.

DR. SYED HUSIN ALI
Timbalan Presiden, KEADILAN

The politics of disaster aid

thenutgraph.com


Food donated by an aid organisation being delivered to a remote location in Haiti
following the earthquake in January 2010 (Pic by DVIDSHUB @ Flickr)

ON 13 Jan 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti, killing thousands instantaneously. Then on 20 Jan, a 6.1-magnitude aftershock rocked Haiti once again. There are conflicting reports, but it can be assumed that more than 200,000 lives were lost as a result of the earthquake and its aftermath. That number matches the 2004 Asian tsunami death toll.

As with the 2004 tsunami, the outpouring of public sympathy for Haiti was instantaneous. The US, haunted by the spectre of former President George W Bush's incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, committed massive aid to Haiti. Yet, within 24 hours of the first earthquake, the FBI had to release a fraud alert warning the public of sham donation appeals. The bureau appealed to internet users to "apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before responding to those requests".

Yet another earthquake has struck, this time in Chile on 27 Feb, and aid is bound to start flowing that way, too. So, exactly what due diligence was the FBI referring to? What sort of critical examination can the public apply when donating to help relieve an epic natural disaster?

Good hearts vs logistical challenges

Malaysians tend to be very sympathetic towards natural disaster survivors, says Mercy Malaysia president Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus. This has been true of both the Haiti earthquake and the Asian tsunami, he says.

"We've received calls from groups wanting to donate money to help the survivors of the [Haiti] earthquake," he tells The Nut Graph in an e-mail interview. "All we did was hold a press conference [in early February], informing the public that we were collecting money for Haiti." He added that people were also taking the initiative to organise their own events to raise funds.

The question, however, is if this public generosity translates into actual help for those who suffer most.


Dr Faizal providing assistance in Sri Lanka in 2003 (Courtesy of Ahmad Faizal Perdaus)

"It's common for global generosity to face logistical challenges following a natural disaster," says Jason Smith, Asia and Pacific communications head for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

"Very often the infrastructure in impacted countries is destroyed, and movement of donations from outside countries to the people who need them is slowed," he tells The Nut Graph in a telephone interview.

Smith says what compounds this problem is that most countries do not believe big disasters will hit them. Therefore, they do not put in place legal systems or infrastructures to handle large volumes of international aid.

"For example, governments need to decide in advance to give tax and import exceptions to humanitarian relief teams. Often, governments do not think about this before a disaster strikes. And then, disaster strikes," he says.

Other infrastructural issues

Natural disasters also have a more devastating impact on the most vulnerable societies, says Anni Natasha Azmi, fund development manager for Force of Nature Aid Foundation, referring to countries in which even existing infrastructures are undeveloped.

She tells The Nut Graph in a telephone interview that these infrastructures include democratic institutions that respect human rights and encourage transparency and accountability.

This point is important, because the extent of Haiti's devastation was not just due to the earthquake's intensity. It was also due to Haiti's extreme poverty — resulting in weak physical infrastructures and homes — which is in turn a direct result of decades of US-sponsored dictatorship. After all, a 1989 earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area was of almost the same magnitude as Haiti's but killed only 63 people. And Chile was hit by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake — 500 times more powerful than Haiti's — yet its death toll at press time is in the hundreds, not hundreds of thousands.

A similar outcome to Haiti's, because of sociopolitical factors, can be said of the Asian tsunami. Back then, Aceh was in the grip of a guerrilla war against military rule, while Sri Lanka was still reeling from a decades-old civil war.


A Sumatran village in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004 (Public domain / Wiki commons)

Therefore, it is important for donors to understand that when a natural disaster hits countries like this, the survivors have multiple crises to deal with. And urgent disaster response and relief will only take up the first three months of aid efforts. After that, long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts need to kick in, and this could take years depending on the severity of the aftermath.

Essential information

So what do donors — both individual and corporate — need to know in order to make sure their money reaches the people who need it most?

Anni says they need to understand firstly that their donations will probably overwhelm the affected country's bureaucracy.


Anni (Courtesy of Anni
Natasha Azmi)
"It's also better to give to local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who know the culture on the ground and how things are done," she says.

Smith agrees, and says one of the IFRC's system's strengths is that their national societies work directly with communities, and are thus seen as credible partners in the response process. Anni cautions that this might not always be the case — some big international NGOs have been known not to partner with local NGOs in relief efforts.


Smith (Courtesy of Jason
Smith)
"Donors should also demand to know exactly where their ringgit goes to, and the relevant NGOs must come up with detailed reports on how the donations have been spent," she adds. For example, she says Force of Nature publishes these details on all the projects it funds on its website.

Dr Faizal also says Mercy Malaysia is one of the few NGOs in Malaysia that publishes its audited accounts every year in the major newspapers.

He says Mercy Malaysia is now certified with the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP International), the humanitarian sector's first international self-regulatory body. HAP International certifies members that comply with its standards, thus assuring disaster survivors, staff, volunteers, host authorities and donors that the agency will deliver the best humanitarian service possible in each situation.

Above all, Anni says that although there will be overwhelming donations in a natural disaster's immediate aftermath, affected countries will continue to need long-term aid.

"A natural disaster does not only wipe out lives, but also institutions and livelihoods. These take a long time to rebuild," she says.

Anwar Ibrahim will continue as Parliamentary Opposition Leader even if PKR MPs number less than DAP’s 28 MPs

A Malaysian Insider journalist has just drawn my attention to a tweet by Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yesterday that he has no problem in my taking over from him.

I was also asked whether the DAP would rally behind Anwar.

My response was that the question of DAP rallying behind Anwar does not arise, as we are solidly in support of his leadership in Pakatan Rakyat, as Parliamentary Opposition Leader and as Prime Minister-designate in the Pakatan Rakyat plan to wrest power from Umno and Barisan Nasional in the next general elections.

As far as the DAP is concerned, Anwar continues as Parliamentary Opposition Leader even if PKR Members of Parliament number less than DAP’s 28 MPs.

All keen followers of the Malaysian political scene see what is happening in PKR as a long-needed self-cleansing process which, however painful and agonizing, is necessary to restore public confidence in the credibility and viability of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat.

I contributed to Zul’s victory & I’m sorry

By Nomad Muslim | The Malaysian Insider

MARCH 2 — Dear Editor, I would appreciate if you publish this long but terribly important letter on Zulkifli Nordin, Umno, the Malays and the tragic state Malaysia finds itself in today. Thank you and may Allah (sw) bless you.

The letter:

I did contribute to Zulkifli’s victory and I’m sorry dear Malaysians

I’m a Muslim student in Malaysia from an African non-Muslim country. I have been here for a while to know much about this country.

Although I’m in the science stream, I follow the Malaysian political scene with fervour. In fact, foreign students particularly Muslims follow Malaysia’s sorry state with disgust and shock.

A nation we thought we could be proud of and sell to others including our countries, but unfortunately hell-bent on proving that God’s Grace can be a curse.

As Malaysia prepared for the now historic March 08 elections, we did whatever we could in our own simple ways of contributing to the Pakatan (later formed of course) groups particularly PAS and PKR.

Either we encouraged our Malay brethren whom we knew were registered to go and vote or at least help in disseminating the PAS and PKR political platforms and popularize their candidates. One such candidate was Nulkifli Nordin, a Reformasi stalwart.

Reading his blog then which was started in Feb 2008 was interesting. What a shameful metamorphosis indeed! In case he deletes it, we have captured it for posterity and Allah (sw) knows much more. Now here comes what I did.

On March 02, 6 days before the poll, as I went through Malaysian blogs, I came across damaging information against the UMNO candidate for KULIM Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir published in the blog of former DAP MP James Wong, who linked to a statement issued by The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH).

The statement was carried by The Merdeka Review and it was in Chinese. I immediately alerted Zulkifli through email and a comment left at his blog. I also sent him the link to Lim Kit Siang’s reaction to what Abdul Azizi has done by threatening to burn down the KLSCAH in 2000.

By then, the people who were visiting his blog were very small in number. He was desperately popularizing his blog through Malaysia-Today, Harris Ibrahim and Zorro blogs which are of course very popular. But my information will change a lot. As I left the comment in his blog, I requested that his not publish my comment but act on its message. He heeded my call. To him, I was just a concerned “Malaysian” who was fighting with him (or for him?) to secure him a victory against Umno.

Zulkifli Nordin thanked me and on the same date that I alerted him published the KLSCAH information plus Lim Kit Siang’s press statement on Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir’s antics. Using the photo provided by Merdeka Review, he added: Tolak budaya samseng and then wrote: (We thank you wanyama for alerting us on this news….).

Wanyama was the fake name I used to sign in. The reaction was swift. That particular entry was published in Malaysia today. I personally linked it to Harris Ibrahim’s blog and Zorro’s too through commenting in their blogs. 20 people including me commented on the entry and I wrote: “Well, I’m the one who rang the alarm bell. Mr Zulkifli, this is a big chance to awaken the Chineese. It should be printed today and made sure every Chinese voter gets it. It is politics of honesty, accountability, responsibility and good manners. UMNO samsengs have no such qualities no wonder they are threatening people with fire. How can such people be made MPs? Kulim voters, be they Chinese, Malays or Indian, reject samseng.”

Zulkifli who was struggling with the Chinese vote got a golden chance to awaken the Chinese in Kulim and distributed thousands of flyers over this “Extremist” UMNO man (to use his own words…how days change). This also proved fatal to UMNO. Desperate to defeat him, UMNO was distributing demonic CDs against Anwar Ibrahim in Kulim and Zulkifli was campaigning on the premise that he was a Reformasi man and that he was DSAI’s lawyer. Rather than continuing on its demonic spree against DSAI, UMNO in Kulim was put on the defensive and by March 06, it was clear that Zul was headed for an emphatic history.

UMNO tried to disqualify him 2 days to the polling date on the premise that he didn’t submit his Account Statement and he lodged a police report against the Returning Officer and also sent a scathing letter to The Star for publishing a report titled: “Question mark over Zulkifli” and demanded that it publishes his press statement. Later the EC clarified that he was eligible to contest. Note that UMNO wanted to act against him only after his chances of winning became clear and didn’t object to his candidacy on the nomination day as usual.

Then the DAY came and Zul went on to win the Kulim seat. His ranted against the evil, corrupt, extremist and disgraceful Umno (his words) and the people listened and voted for him. One day after the victory, a Mahathirist commentator who used the pen name: arb_ok wrote: “Assalamualaikum YB, Congratulations on your recent election as the people’s representative. On behalf of my friends from KL who went back all the way to Kulim just to vote you, we sincerely hope that you shall carry your new responsibilities to the fullest.

Please remember not to take the voters for granted. The Kulim folks are no longer awed by the BN. I personally hope that despite you winning on Keadilan ticket, you shall not pursue the cause of DSAI as he is a gone case. Please remember to serve the Kulim folks well and you shall be rewarded handsomely.

And I must let you know that my vote went to the candidate and not the party. I despise Keadilan for their struggle on Anwar. Largely the Kulim folks are not fond of Anwar but we were simply sick of the PM and his advisers.

Selamat berkhidmat. Wassalam and syabas YB.”

I responded to this rabid Mahathirist and defended Anwar, Zul and PKR as a “Malaysian” and I wrote:

“Dear arb_ok

Ass.wr.wb

Your understanding is warped and your intellectual poverty is immense and heartrending that it needs attention. Let me address the issues that you have raised one by one.

1. You congratulated the new YB on his victory which is right. Then you went on to claim credit on behalf of your friends in KL. Well, you need to show the evidence that there were friends of yours who authorized you to speak on their behalf. I myself is from KL and went to vote in Kulim for Noordin. You said the new YB should carry his duties well since Kulim voters are no longer awed by BN. Agreed! But it is Malaysia which also is not awed by BN and its pussyfooters.

2. Then you addressed the new YB saying that he shouldn’t pursue the cause of DSAI since he is a gone case. It is here that I’m very interested in. first of all, what’s DSAI’s cause and who determines that cause? Secondly, how did you know that he was gone? Using which barometer? By what law, by what justice? Your calculation that you voted for the candidate but hates his party unearths your buffoonery since at the end of the day a candidate is voted on the basis of the ideals and manifestos of his/her party. Moreover, if Noordin is good, then it means the party that fielded him must have been good in the sense that it looked for the good people.

3. You wrote: “I despise Keadilan for their struggle on Anwar.” I must say that your hatred to Anwar the person has rendered you a buffoon beyond salvation point. This is because KeADILan is a party made of diverse people with diverse background driven by one goal: a better Malaysia. The fact that Anwar is part of that mass movement or party shouldn’t confuse you my dear. Yes, I can see you hate Anwar but Anwar even is not aware of your existence, so it will be civil and informed not to nag others about him as you are desperately doing here. Furthermore, the fact that KeADILan was formed after Anwar was jailed doesn’t make it an Anwar party. In any way, a party is borne at a given moment due to a certain political, economical or national cause at a given moment too, and therefore KeADILan’s birth at the height of the political assassination of DSAI doesn’t make the party bereft of any idea or its multifarious supporters and winners a hapless bunch of people wallowing in intellectual penury.

4. You said Kulim people are not fond of Anwar. Hehehe Which Kulim people are you talking about? It is just like how you said on behalf of KL friends. Mah! You are so cheap and condescending my dear. Your view and atavistic rage against Anwar can’t be said to be that of Kulim or its people. I’m sorry to inform you that Kulim is not you. Kulim has thousands of people with different ideas, perceptions, beliefs and orientations, therefore, your childish rants that the people of Kulim are anti-Anwar as if you are the Kulim itself makes your argument utterly naïve and ludicrous. Just say, as far as I’m concerned, ok? Thanks, wassalam.”

One may ask why all this trouble, well, we did all this to support the change and Malaysia’s prospect for a better tomorrow. We support the Islam of Tok Guru Nik Aziz (note I say Nik Aziz and not Ustadh Hadi) and the leadership of DSAI and now Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. We did this in order to support the people we thought were conscientious enough to understand that there is a crying need for a new paradigm in this nation and the salvation of this outwardly glamorous nation but deeply rotten inside. We did this because we have seen how rotten the system is, how failed Malaysia is becoming and how defeatist culture and inherent opportunism is becoming the accepted norm.

In 2006, a friend from another country was arrested in Kedah while he was going to Thailand. He was informed that his visa had expired the previous day by the Kedah Immigration and then he was detained. A relative of his requested me to accompany him to Alor Star to visit the man. I did. What I saw was shocking. Rather than putting the man through due process, the Immigration men demanded RM10,000. And when we informed them that his case has already being taken to court, a lawyer from UiTM who was working with the Immigration men said this to me: “all this will be solved. Both the prosecutor and the judge are known to me and he will be released immediately provided you pay the amount”, and then he gave me his account number.

He was a treacherous man selling his motherland. He is a product of a corrupt system that’s hailed as a success. We wanted the likes of Zulkifli to do something for Kedah, Malaysia and all those who love this nation. And those petty Umnoputras who rant against the world for demanding a fair tribal for DSAI, it is because even poor foreign students know how corrupt Malaysia’s judiciary is. We are witness to it and the world knows much than you can imagine.

Like would a Malay(sian) student in the US would in all probability support Obama, or the same student in India would do a dig for the Congress, the overwhelming majority of foreign Muslim students in Malaysia unequivocally support Anwar Ibrahim. Make no mistake about it and we aren’t stupid about it. We also salute beloved Tok Guru Nik Aziz whose courage and fatigue represent the spirit of the nation. And we also salute the always urbane and truly patriotic Ku li. For me and many others, these three men (plus many others in the trenches) are the real patriots. A patriot is the one who demands the best of his/her nation, not a vile, tribal posturing, knife (keris) waving buffoon who can’t express himself in an intelligent way. These three men also have been victims of the system and they are ones who can only correct it.

For us, Zul was part of the true patriots. The man who accused his UMNO rival of extremism became its ugly and unacceptable face. There was no intellectual input from him on any issue, a typical Ibrahim Ali, only younger. The fact that Ibrahim Ali is a vile character who can bad mouth others isn’t a sign of patriotism and neither would his empty tribal rhetoric take the Malays to a new frontier. I have been observing Zul, and I must say I feel sorry that I did little to help him win an argument against a rival whom he embraces today betraying the men and women who struggled with him all along. May be the Arab saying that revolution eats its children is true.

In fact, the Malays are very strange people if not the strangest on earth. Say, if you work together and you disagree, they will become your enemies and even do unimaginable things to you simply because you parted ways. Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.

They will also go to your “original” enemies simply to spite you but it is they who spiting their own souls and dignity. You can say they are a people who cut off their noses to spite their faces. Ya Allah! Take former PKR Secretary General Dato Salehuddin Hashim for example. The fact that he has had few disagreements with (may be) some PKR leaders, today, he wants to destroy the party! That’s his way of his struggle and reformasi. Reading his statements in the Malaysian Insider and The Edge yesterday reminded me of the Quranic verse: “And do not be like she who untwisted her spun thread after it was strong [by] taking your oaths as [means of] deceit between you because one community is more plentiful [in number or wealth] than another community. Allah only tries you thereby. And He will surely make clear to you on the Day of Resurrection that over which you used to differ.” (16: 92)

When Malaysian MPs were going to Korea two weeks ago, I was at KLIA leaving for my country-South Africa. As I waited for my flight and roamed the airport, I saw PKR MPs Zuraidah Kamaruddin and Kapar MP M. Manickavasagam, PAS MPs like Dr Hatta Ramli and Dr. Lo’lo Ghazali and some UMNO MPs. Zul was the loudest and the most uncouth. Wearing a tight jeans and a T-Shirt (infidel clothes I guess), he never even greeted the Pakatan MPs. He stuck with UMNO MPs and you could see him haughtily laughing from around the corner. Loudly speaking on the phone, you could think he was excited for flying. I almost wanted to talk to him, but some UMNO MPs guarded him and I was fearful knowing that I’m a foreigner even if a Muslim.

Definitely he was a trapped man, and a perfidious character devoid of God’s fear. I want to say this to Zul, dishonesty and betrayal of ideals and friends is not part of serving Islam. And Islam is not served by attacking private premises, bad mouthing others, tribalising its universal message and turning it into a base political tool. Islam is more than that my dear! One way of serving Islam is respecting your friends and comrades even if they are non-Muslims let alone Muslims and disagreements in ideas and ideologies in Islam is a mercy. If certain PKR leaders take a position and you take another, that’s a mercy unto you all. Don’t force others to take your position and don’t humiliate others and be conscious of God in Whose Court you shall answer alone. Your intentions should be for Him and remember God wants us to prove that we love Him by loving humanity.

Zul today wants PAS and PKR to severe ties with DAP but he thought it fit that he should use DAP support to win. He saw it fit to use Lim Kit Siang’s statement against his UMNO rival to get the overwhelming Chinese vote and today he talks as if UMNO gave him the seat. Any person with an iota of intelligence will tell you that Lim Kit Siang is more pro-Islam and Malay today than he was on March 07, 2008. Rather than capitalizing on that; and bringing the nation together and giving the Malays dignity and bringing to an end this heartrending mentality of: “we are sensitive people, (you mean others aren’t?), we will ran amok. We are weak, we need eternal crutches”, Zul is going back, back on anything good.

If he was a visionary leader, he would have understood that neither UMNO nor the current mentality will sustain the Malays. He would have taken his people to a new frontier much as they may hate it because a great leader takes his people where they DON’T want but aught to be while a leader (UMNO type) takes his people where they WANT. (Responding to base reactions, empty rhetoric and visionless politics devoid of God’s fear and based on brutal tactics).

Allah (sw) has been good to you Malays in many ways. He made you Muslims, He brought the Chinese and Indians to this country, if you doubt their benefit and contributions, ask others. Ask us! After Islam, the presence of the Chinese and Indians in this country is the greatest grace Allah (sw) has bestowed upon you Malays. He gave you a beautiful, an abundant nation. He gave you meek people who accept second class status and never demand much-the Sabah and the Sarawak Bumis. He gave you resources and a strategic place to call home. Rather than glorifying God and taking care of this nation, you cry daily, whine daily, threaten others daily, refuse to ask yourselves critical questions. Blame others, shame yourselves by repeatedly saying ‘we are weak, we are sensitive’ and defame Islam by using it as a tribal bomoh culture rather than a universal message.

You cry our “Allah”, since when did Allah become your tribal god? Please explains to us Muslims from the four corners of the earth why “Allah” is yours for example? You are not more Muslims than us. Are you? So tell us why? You won’t respond and if you do, it will be along the usual lines: “Our people will be confused.” All that you know is to say: our people are weak, our people are sensitive, our people are easily confused, and our people can easily run amok”. Is that’s how you prove your intelligence? Is that’s how you want others to respect you? Is that’s how you want Muslims in other countries to take your case and explain it to others? Is this is how you want to be viewed globally? My dear brethren, my dear Malays…till when? For us Muslims in other parts of the world, we know why! Unfortunately the people who are responsible for this tragic state are the same people who are leading you today and you never even stop for a moment to ask: where are we heading. May be you will wake up when you have already fallen to the pit!

Islam is not for Muslims alone. Non-Muslims can use Islam against us if they feel we aren’t being true to what we purport to believe in. If the Chinese and Indians say NEP is un-Islamic, that’s true. The Prophet (pbuh) would have decreed the same today. The Prophet (pbuh) would have issued a decree saying the poor Chinese and Indians should be given aid too. But a typical UMNO-Zulikifli type would respond: “We are sensitive, hak kita, ini bumi kita…we will use the keris… we will run amok…May 13” There won’t be a single intelligent response. An Islamic input, a humanist input, an economical input. It will be the same Ibrahim Ali and May 13 rhetoric. Not only you shame yourselves, you do that to those who love you because of Islam.

There is a crying need for the Malays to wake up and realize that business can’t be as usual. That protests don’t build a powerful community. They need to realize that Islam is for all and that UMNO’s tribal posturing will harm them more others and that the world isn’t waiting for them. You are being overtaken by all and sundry while you rant and rave, stuck in your own created quagmire. The Ibrahim Alis, demonic Utusan-undoubtedly Malaysia’s face of evil-, the Puad Zarkashis, The Alhabshees, BTN, and opportunist, inherently dishonest turncoats who can be bought for few Ringgits won’t help you in becoming a better people and a nation.

A man who can’t show your capability, but rather trades in your anguish, a man who sacrifices your future for political expediency, a man who doesn’t share with you the latest economic figures, research out, etc but sings a tribal song to you in order to inflame you and arouse your base emotions is not the one who will make you prosper and succeed in the Two World. You need intelligent leadership, a God fearing leadership, an honest leadership, true Malay leadership. You need Ku Li, Nik Aziz and DSAI. Allahuma Fashhad (O God be the witness).

“And that ears (that should hear the tale and) retain its memory should bear its (lessons) in remembrance.” Holy Qur’an 69: 13)

School Improvement Programme To Help Raise Performance Of Schools

PUTRAJAYA, March 2 (Bernama) -- The Education Ministry will introduce the School Improvement Programme to help raise the performance of schools nationwide.

Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Tuesday the programme would focus on schools with not so inspiring performance, especially those in the rural and interior areas.

"We will introduce this programme so that no one makes the assumption that the high performance schools (HPS) are elite schools and the Education Ministry only focuses on helping the 20 such schools.

"We have 10,000 schools nationwide. We want to take care of all of them. It's important to raise the performance of schools whose achievement is less than 40 per cent," he said at the ministry's month assembly here.

Present were the two deputy education minsiters, Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong and Dr Mohd Puad Zakarshi.

Muhyiddin said the ministry also proposed to reward school principals, head teachers and teachers who succeeded in raising the performance of their schools through this programme, just like what was given to administrators of the HPS.

"The most important component to raise the performance of a school is the school leadership, including the principal, head teacher and teachers.

"It may take a long time for a school to achieve the HPS status but if it can raise its performance by 10, 20 or 30 per cent, it is regarded a success.

"Such principals, head teachers and teachers will be given rewards and incentives because they have proven to be successful in raising the performance of their respective schools and deserve to be rewarded," he said.

Muhyiddin dismissed the assumption that the selection of the 20 HPS was orchestrated, saying that the aim of the HPS was to set a benchmark for other schools in the country to achieve the highest standard.

On another matter, Muhyiddin said the ministry's Arts, Sports and Co-curriculum division would be revamped with sports being placed separately in efforts to strengthen sports in schools.

Muhyiddin, who is also chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports, said the committee planned to make sports a currucilar or compulsory activity in schools instead of co-curricular as was the practice now.

To achieve this, the number of teachers trained in sports would be increased and the development of sports infrastructure would be given attention.

"There are not enough trained sports teachers now. So, in the interim, we will form strategic ties with the Olympic Council Malaysia, National Sports Council and sports associations (to train the students) and we will pay them an allowance," he said.

He said he was focusing on sports because it could not only build the character of students but also had huge prospects.

He urged the ministry staff to set up a stronger communication system with the people, parents and organisations with a stake in the nation's education system to further strengthen sports.

1Regular 1Water supply for 1UMS-KAL, please - Anil Netto

It looks as if the water shortages in Labuan, previously highlighted in this blog, have not yet been resolved, judging from this letter by an upset parent.

Since July-August 2009, many letters have been written to everybody and anybody in authority to resolve the major water crisis that has hit the Universiti Malaysia Sabah-Kampus Antarabangsa Labuan. Despite all the requests and pleas and the resulting promises, there seems to be no end to the water shortage crisis. If anything the situation has worsened, with the static tanks that have been set up not being filled up when empty. Invariably, students have to endure a day in every three days with ZERO water.

Many students have been spending time in town to find clean food as there is insufficient water to wash the dishes properly. My daughter had told me that many of the male undergraduates have resorted to staying at the Labuan International Airport from Friday to Sunday night, or whenever there is a holiday. The airport is the one place where there is regular water supply, air-conditioning, and Internet access. During the Mauladur Rasul holiday weekend, there were so many UMS-KAL students at the airport, that airport officials started to scold them and they were chased out from the airport.

The air-conditioning in many of the buildings in UMS-KAL has also been switched off as there is insufficient water for the air-conditioner cooling towers. In the last report from the Labuan Authority, they re-assured the undergraduates that a dozen tankers would be put into service from 1 February. However the hostel undergraduates have not seen any improvement except that the water smells of diesel as diesel tankers are believed to have been converted to water tankers without a thorough clean-up.

Is this how the Higher Education Ministry and the Government train and nuture the future professionals of this country? Are we telling them mediocrity is acceptable? There is no use even duscussing 2020 ‘developed nation’ status when a basic amenity like clean water supply cannot be provided to a university for the last one year. Tan Sri Koh Tsu Khoon, please do include this as one of the main KRA for 2010.

JKR Labuan, please do something fast, and Ministry of Higher Education, please don’t leave the students in a lurch. To the PM, all we are asking from 1Malaysia is 1Regular 1Water supply for our 1UMS-KAL.

Frustrated Parent
Butterworth

Anwar: No way are they sending me back to jail

Full-paying patient scheme slammed

No reason to question LGE's integrity

HRP attempts to carve Indian-majority seats

Athi Shankar (Malaysiakini)

The Human Rights Party launched its voters’ registration campaign in Prai as part of its strategy to create Indian-majority constituencies at the state and Parliament-level.

HRP believes the Prai state legislative assembly constituency could be the launchpad for its political quest to create at least 15 Indian-majority state seats across the country.

Prai, a state seat under the Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency, has 14,175 registered voters of which 5,074, or 36 percent, are Indians.

Penang deputy chief minister II P Ramasamy currently holds both the Prai state and Batu Kawan parliamentary seat.

HRP hopes to register about 4,100 more Indians in order to turn Prai into an Indian majority seat.

‘Giving Indians a voice’

The voter registration drive was launched by HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar in Penang yesterday.

He said the Prai state seat was key in the party’s plan to kick-start its ‘Malaysian Indian Political Empowerment Strategy’ to create 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats with an Indian majority.

According to Uthayakumar, the Indian community is plagued with problems because they do not form the majority in any constituency.

“By having Prai as a Indian majority seat, HRP and Indians would have a more say in the state policies.

“We can demand for better treatment for Indians from the state government,” he said.

He said HRP outlined its empowerment strategy because Indians could no longer trust any of the elected representatives, regardless of whether they are from Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.

PM Najib practices true oppression against Indians in One Malay-sia

But his kosong UMNO propoganda otherwise is “Aim for a truely united country” (The Star 1/3/2010 at page N8).

Penang DAP Kapitan – mandore axis

This is the comment we had just received from our supporter Siva of Parit Buntar.

“ Dear mandore Ramasamy. Penang under DAP administration. More than 2 years ready nothing have been done for 28 tamil schools in Penang. You keep on promising to give land to Valdor Tamil school which under your Parliment for 7 months but yet to get land title. Simple calculation 4 years for 1 tamil school. You need One hundred and twelve (112) years for 28 tamil schools. You will do better than UMNOs’ mandore Dato Seri S Samy Vellu and proven that you are good mandore for Kapitan Lim Guan Eng.”

S’gor PKR Indian Exco mandore’s kosong one new Tamil school Tamil paper politics ala MIC

This Selangor PKR Exco mandore seems to be as thick skin as his 50 year predecessor MIC mandore in that he still continues with his Tamil school Tamil paper kosong politics ala MIC despite our repeated exposure of this his political rhetoric and even our formal complaint letter to his “tuan” Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim vide our letter dated 23/2/2010.

He has turned out to be a “fine” mandore politician as what his “tuan” Anwar Ibrahim and Tan Sri Khalid of PKR wants him to be.

But this Indian Exco mandore merely (kosong) promised the building of one new Desa Riya Tamil school in Petaling Jaya to generate excitement, play to the gallery and score political points and to stay politically afloat and alive and relevant among the especially vulnerable the Indian community.

But we ask again:-

1) Contrary to the Tamil paper sub headlines “New Tamil school for Desa Ria Tamil School” announces Xavier. (MO 1/3/10 page 2) Where is the truth of it?

2) Where is the official letter of this by the Selangor State government?

3) The land title or the aforesaid official letter to this proposed Desa Ria Tamil school was never made public at the announcement ceremony!

4) The approval letter by the Federal Government Education Ministry and the relevant authorities to the Selangor State government was never made public by this PKR Indian Exco mandore!

5) What about Tamil school land by the Selangor government to all 98 Tamil schools in Selangor all in one go! which would force the UMNO Federal government to grant full financial aid! Why no announcement on this by this EXCO mandore’s Tuan Menteri Besar Selangor. Why this piecemeal and temporary and/or non existent political rhetoric to fool and pull wool over the Indian communities’ eyes. Why not a wholesome and permanent solution by this mandore’s tuan Menteri Besar’s public announcement all in one go and with the effect of a wholesome as opposed to the present piecemeal and temporary solution on the Selangor state governments’ letterhead that all 98 Tamil schools are henceforth given state government land.

After all it has already been two years since PKR is ruling Selangor. And they only have a mere two more years to go before the next general elections and they may or may not be retained as the next Selangor state government thereafter. Why can’t PKR grant Selangor state land to all 98 Tamil schools in Selangor during their tenure as there is no way UMNO is going to do it if the come back to power in Selangor? PKR and their Indian Exco mandore would not do so as they fear losing Malay votes! But never mind these Tamil schools’ dilapidated and near cow shed like conditions.

And that brings us to the next question of what then is the difference between UMNO and PKR, DAP and PAS?

Based on his previous records, this PKR Indian Exco mandore is expected to hatch and rehatch over and over again this one new proposed Tamil school right up to the next general elections and maybe even thereafter as the malay proverb goes “Ayam telor sebiji rioh sekampung”. Further he is going to say that the Selangor state government had done their part but it is now the Federal government that has derailed this new Tamil school plan. If that be the case why then this premature new Tamil school announcement in the first place.

Admin.

Lim Guan Eng’s no land title & no show after HRP urged him to announce land for rare seafront hindu temple.

It was the Malaysia’s leading Masi Magam annual festival at the Sri Singamuga Kaliamman, Teluk Bahang hindu temple in Penang on 28/2/2010 which drew some 30,000 hindu devotees from especially all over Penang, Seberang Perai, South Kedah and North Perak. Our pro tem Secretary General P.Uthayakumar, National adviser N.Ganesan, Penang state HRP leader Kalai were all at the Human Rights Party stall. The police special branch set up shop right opposite our stall pretending to sell ice water and peanuts but monitoring and video recording with hidden video cameras. (See photos of Police SB). HRP was least perturbed.

HRP was warmly greeted by the old and young alike. Among our surprise was the eight month old sixth generation Kg.Buah Pala baby whose mother was expecting when Kg Buah Pala was ruthlessly demolished by the DAP Chief Minister of Penang Kapitan Lim Guan Eng. P.Uthayakumar had told her parents that he had read about this expecting mother and her predicament (from behind bars without trial at Kamunting Prison during his 514 days of incarceration.)

The HRP team received warm greetings, hugs, people crying, first emotional meeting since P.Uthayakumar’s release from Kamunting prison. Our valuable feedback from the general public was in effect that their only hope is in Hindraf and HRP. They see our sincerity and selfless struggle without fear and favour of both UMNO and PKR, DAP & PAS.

Some appeared to be confused as a result of UMNO’s and the police special branchs’ multi million Ringgit Malaysia “Ops Padam Hindraf” outlawing of Hindraf to confuse and break up the Hindraf and HRP people power movement by the creation of the Makkal Sakthi Party, ASP Vasanthakumar’s leading role in Operasi Padam Hindraf etc which is ably backed up by UMNOs’ control of the print and electronic media especially through the Home Ministrys’ KDN instructions to the three Tamil dailies. Our nett assessment is the Indian community’s support seems to be currently only simmering but waiting to peak and explode at the right time ie during the 2012/2013 general elections.

Given time this confusion, clouding and the impression of a break up in Hindraf will clear up within months.

HRP made their presence felt, launched their kempen Tawan Perai State seat and Batu Kawan Parliamentary seats by making them at least 60% Indian majority seats as per P.Uthayakumar’s book “Indian political empowerment strategy- the way forward”.

http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/books/TheWayForwardTamilVersion.pdf

This book, HRP’s latest February buletin and an exhibition on the Hindraf and HRP struggle was also put up by the very dedicated Penang HRP state committee.

When invited to make an impromptu speech by the said temple committee leaders, P.Uthayakumar made only two briefs but spot on points:-

1) The launch of the aforesaid Tawan Perai and Batu Kawan state and Parliamentary seats respectively vis a vis the Indian political empowerment strategy.

2) He asked the temple committee chairman in their welcoming speech later that evening to ask that the Penang Chief Minister Kapitan Lim Guan Eng should announce and backed up with the Penang State Government official letter that this 200 over year old hindu temple is henceforth granted the two acre seafront land that the temple is sitting on and with an undertaking that the title to the land would be granted within 60 days especially so in recognition of the History and Heritage status of this rare seafront hindu temple vis a vis the Indian fishermen who had lived and died in Penang.

But it is believed that this racist Kapitan Lim Guan Eng upon getting this information gave this function a miss and instead as usual assigned his “able” DCM II Indian mandore to attend the function vis a vis to be the fall man cum punching bag ala what MIC had been for UMNO.

After all it has already been two years since DAP is ruling Penang. And they only have a mere two more years to go before the next general elections and they may or may not be retained as the next Penang state government thereafter. Why can’t DAP grant to this temple Penang state government land during their tenure as there is no way UMNO is going to do it if the come back to power in Penang on or after the 2012/2013 general elections.

We are here talking about “our” Penang state government as 90% of the Indians had voted for PKR, DAP and PAS in the 8th March 2008 general elections on our political directions.

S.Jayathas,

Information Chief