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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pakatan's stance on Islamic issues 'not suicidal'

80% Malay schools to become smart 3-5 Star schools. But 0% Tamil schools for these smarts schools

7,575 Malay schools are already ranked from three Star to five star schools also with rural (Malay) smart schools (The Star 13/2/2010 at page N26).

But for Tamil schools the pre existing poor Indian parents are forced to even buy tables and chairs, computers, library books and sports equipment for their children’s Tamil schools for example the Kalaimagal Tamil school in Kedah and the Tebrau Tamil school in Johor.

UMNOs’ strategy is to keep the Indian minds busy fighting it out for these basic necessities while they succeed in excluding the Indians from the RM 2.8 billion local and overseas scholarships, 100% excluded from UITM, 99% from the local Universities, Polytechnics, skills Training Institutes, etc.

P. Uthayakumar

UMNOs’ UM Graduate Entrepreneur Development Centre excluded to Indians.

This centre exposes fresh graduates to entrepreneurial skills (NST 22/2/10 at page 23) and business loans arranged for them. But we are yet to hear of any Indian students who have benefited from this programme.

Why this racism, religious extremism and supremacy even after 53 of independence.

P.Uthayakumar

Sex News: Godman linked to sex scandal; ashram ransacked



Bangalore, March 3 (IANS) Within hours of a local news channels telecasting video footage of a self-styled godman Paramhamsa Nityananda allegedly indulging in sexual acts with two unidentified women, an enraged mob ransacked his ashram complex at Bidadi in Karnataka.
ranjitha



Though the 32-year-old godman was not present in the sprawling 29-acre ashram when mobs went on the rampage, smashing his portraits, banners, billboards and the reception office, the district police deployed additional forces to protect the devotees, including about 100 foreigners staying within the complex.

“We have deployed two platoons of the state reserve police numbering about 100 men to guard the Nityananda Mission and protect the devotees, as the people from the town wanted to lay a siege,” Ramanagara district police superintendent S.B. Bhisanhalli told IANS.

Bidadi is about 30km from this tech hub.

The sensational video footage showed the godman, who originally hails from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, fondling and kissing the women and in a compromising position with them in turns.

While the video clipping shows that the man in action is Nithyananda, the women’s face is blurred.

The Nithayananda Mission is part of a worldwide movement for meditation and peace. It claims to have about 1,000 branches across 33 countries and about two million followers the world over.

“The goal of Paramahamsa Nithyananda’s advent on planet earth is to spread the inner science of enlightenment by delivering physical health, mental wellness and spiritual awakening to all beings irrespective of their race, gender or nationality,” a mission spokesman told reporters when accosted to know the whereabouts of the godman and about the expose.

“The video footage shown by news channels was not shot here. It must have been taken in Tamil Nadu or elsewhere. Our priority is to first maintain law and order and prevent the situation going out of control,” Bhisanhalli said.

Denying knowledge of the godman’s sexual acts and his misconduct, the spokesman alleged that the video footage was fabricated and aired to defame their ‘guru’ as the non-believers were jealous of his growing popularity.

“We feel a deep-rooted conspiracy behind the so-called expose. It is for the authorities to investigate the video footage to ascertain the truth. We know nothing about the incident,” the spokesman said but declined to be named.

Lamenting that the sleaze had hurt the feelings of the devotees, the spokesman said enemies of the mission hatched a conspiracy to malign and blackmail the pontiff for vested interests.

“Our guru’s mission is to enlighten the people through yoga and meditation. His character is above suspicion,” the spokesman asserted.

*********
Dinamani.com

நித்யானந்தர் ஆசிரமம் முன் ரகளை: போலீஸ் குவிப்பு



திருவண்ணாமலை, மார்ச் 2: தனியார் டி.வி. சேனலில் சுவாமி நித்யானந்தர் தொடர்பான பாலியல் படக்காட்சிகள் ஒளிபரப்பானதை அடுத்து திருவண்ணாமலை நித்யானந்தர் ஆசிரமம் முன் இந்து மக்கள் கட்சியினர் செவ்வாய்க்கிழமை இரவு ரகளையில் ஈடுபட்டனர். இதனால் அங்கு போலீசார் குவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர். திருவண்ணாமலையில் பிறந்தவரான சுவாமி நித்யானந்தர் தனது சொற்பொழிவுகளால் உலகம் முழுவதும் புகழ் பெற்றவர். அவருக்கு ஏராளமான பக்தர்கள் உள்ளனர். திருவண்ணாமலையிலும், கர்நாடக மாநிலம் பெங்களூரிலும் அவருக்கு ஆசிரமங்கள் உள்ளன.திருவண்ணாமலை மாவட்ட இந்து மக்கள் கட்சித் தலைவர் சிவபாபு தலைமையில் அக்கட்சியினர் திடீரென ஆசிரமம் முன் வந்து நித்யானந்தருக்கு எதிராகக் குரல் எழுப்பினர். அவரது பேனரையும் சிலர் கிழிக்க முயன்றனர். இதையடுத்து சிவபாபு உள்ளிட்டவர்களை போலீஸôர் அழைத்துச் சென்றனர். இதனால் அப்பகுதியில் பரபரப்பு நிலவியது.

A peacock and its feathers

Let’s face it. If they leave for nothing then they are of no value. The higher the figure they get for leaving, the higher their value. So if they can get RM5 million or RM10 million then it shows how valuable they are. And that is certainly befitting the big man status they imagine they possess.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Many people have left Parti Keadilan Rakyat over the last decade or so even back when it used to be called Parti Keadilan Nasional. Some of these people were the pioneers who joined the party the day it was launched in the Renaissance Hotel on 4 April 1999 (remember that birthday: 4499). Others joined along the way and left again. And some much later only when they thought the party was going to form the next federal government together with DAP and PAS around dinner time on 8 March 2008.

Many came, many went. And each had his or her reason why he or she came and later left. Some are valid reasons. Some are personal reasons. Some because they felt they were not being appreciated. Some because they felt they were being neglected. Some because they were not treated as important as they would like to be treated. Some because the spotlight was not on them so they were not being credited with superstar status.

To be fair, not all who left did so because they were bribed into leaving or were bought off. Many actually spent a lot of their own money for the sake of the party and did not ask for one penny in return. If they were in this for profit why spend all your life savings on the party and then leave? I personally know many who spent tons of money and then walked away almost broke.

Yes, many joined, many left. Not all joined and left at the same time though. And not all joined and left for the same reasons. And not all joined and left in the same manner.

You can detect the ‘problem people’ in the way they join. If they expect an announcement, a welcoming party to be thrown, champagne to be popped, etc., when they join, then be prepared to have to treat them like superstars. They have made a grand entrance and they expect VIP status and first class treatment all the way. And when they leave they will make sure it is with as much fanfare as when they joined.

You are now seeing these ‘VIPs’ leaving PKR. And they leave like all VIPs leave -- with bells, whistles, trumpets and a choir singing in the background. These are people who imagine themselves very important. They came in with an air of importance. They leave as if they are even more important than when they joined. And they left because they were not treated as someone important.

These are people with huge egos. Their egos are larger than their dicks (or tits if a woman). And since PKR is not able to inflate these egos even further then it is time for them to move to greener pastures.

These are people who love being called Yang Berhormat, Yang Berbahagia, Yang Mulia, and whatnot. I suppose since I was born a Yang Mulia I prefer to be called plain Pet, Pete or RPK. But these people stand on protocol and ceremony and the right manner of addressing must be accorded them. And they stand on protocol and ceremony because they were born a ‘nobody’ and now have suddenly become a ‘somebody’.

“Why doesn’t the Sultan of Selangor give you a Datukship,” my friends ask me. Of course, that was in the days before I durhaka with the Sultan and went into exile. Now he would order my head removed from my shoulders.

This is what my friends do not understand. Why would I need a Datukship? Even if I receive a Datukship the Datuk title would come after my born title. I would be called Raja Datuk Petra, not Datuk Raja Petra. So who cares about the Datukship? I do not need one and would not want one even if they paid me RM250,000 to agree to accept it -- instead of paying RM250,000 to buy one like some people I know.

These orang biasa (normal people) who were born into ‘lower class’ families and now suddenly feel that they are somebody are very dangerous. They demand a lot. They demand you lay the red carpet. They demand you address them with high titles. They demand you allocate a seat for them at the high table. And if they do not get the attention they feel they deserve, they will leave.

And they will not leave quietly. They will call for a press conference and will announce that they are leaving. And they will tell all and sundry that they are leaving because the party is no good and they are too good for the party. The party is beneath them and they are just too high up and too important to stay in such a party.

That is the trouble when you give importance to unimportant people born into unimportant families. I do not face that problem because I was born into an important family and I prefer to be treated as Pete rather than as Yang Mulia.

Do I sound pompous? I hope so because I intended to sound pompous.

Be careful about giving power and titles and positions to small people. It goes to their head. While I am happy being just plain Pete, these plain people are not happy unless you treat them as big people. And when you don’t, they will leave. And they will make a lot of noise when they leave. They will announce how bad the party is and how they are too good for such a party. And they will make sure that when they leave it is valued and treasured with at least a couple of million Ringgit from the other side.

Let’s face it. If they leave for nothing then they are of no value. The higher the figure they get for leaving, the higher their value. So if they can get RM5 million or RM10 million then it shows how valuable they are. And that is certainly befitting the big man status they imagine they possess.

I suppose I do not appreciate why they are like that because I was already born important. So being treated as an important person does not give me an orgasm. But for an orang biasa turned Yang Berhormat, it is important.

So now you know why so many leave PKR. It is because they imagine themselves as special people who must be treated special. But they were not treated special. So now they want to leave. But they do not want to leave quietly. They want their exit to also be special. And they want people to know that they are too special for the party and therefore have no choice but to leave.

I love it when I am arrogant.

Anwar needs to tackle problem at source

Political analyst Wong Chin Huat said power struggles within parties were a common occurrence but very seldom it would result in leaders leaving a party.

Written by Sharon Tan, The Edge

PKR can stem its loss of lawmakers only when its leadership tackles head on the root cause of all the unhappiness within its rank and file, said Universiti Sains Malaysia Associate Professor Dr P Sivamurugan.

He said PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim needed to remedy the party’s internal situation immediately to prevent more MPs from walking out.

“Anwar has to find out the root of the problem. He can’t blame others. He must look at the root of the problem and find solutions so that the party would not lose more numbers and the confidence of the supporters,” said Sivamurugan when contacted yesterday.

PKR has lost three members of parliament within two weeks. Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri is the latest lawmaker to turn independent, following in the footsteps of Bayan Baru’s representative Datuk Zahrain Hashim and Nibong Tebal’s Tan Tee Beng.

PKR had earlier lost former Penanti assemblyman Mohamad Fairus Khairuddin, who has since joined Umno. The biggest blow to the party, however, was delivered by Datuk Salehuddin Hashim, who quit his post as secretary-general and later left the party.

Internal rivalry between the old guards and the newcomers was said to be among the issues plaguing the party.

“It is very much problems that have not been attended to by the party leadership,” said a party source, adding there had been no offer from Barisan Nasional to be linked to the problems.

Sivamurugan also said the problems had arisen partly due to the absence of a strong number two person in the party. “You cannot blame others if you are keeping your house in order,” he added.

Political analyst Wong Chin Huat said power struggles within parties were a common occurrence but very seldom it would result in leaders leaving a party.

“However, some may see that Anwar may not win his trial (against the sodomy charge), hence there is an erosion of chance of coming into power at the federal level, which then becomes a pull factor to exit,” said Wong.

Nonetheless, he said, if PKR and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) were able to maintain their confidence level, the number of the lawmakers walking out would be minimal.

With the exit of Mohsin Fadzli, PKR’s representation in parliament is down to 27 MPs, which means that DAP has a bigger representation at 28 MPs. While DAP and PAS have voiced their support for Anwar to continue as the opposition leader, he would continue in the role against parliamentary convention.

However, Sivamurugan said if Anwar relinquished the opposition leader role, PR would be weakened as it deemed Anwar as its prime minister-designate.

“If he relinquishes the position, PR will lose the confidence and the trust of the supporters,” he said.

Sivamurugan also said it would be interesting to watch the independent MPs, who could form a block in parliament when it resumes on March 15. The House would see the largest number of independent MPs ever, at six.

The independent MPs are Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) Datuk Dr Chau Soon Bui (Tawau) and Datuk Eric Majimbun (Sepanggar), the ex-PKR trio and Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who contested in Pasir Mas on a PAS ticket.

PKR's resignations

thenutgraph.com

WITHIN a month, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has been rocked with the resignations of high-profile party leaders, including three federal lawmakers. Bayan Baru Member of Parliament (MP) Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim quit in early February 2010, followed by Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng a fortnight later.

It might have been easy to dismiss their resignations as a by-product of local issues, since both MPs had been publicly attacking Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. But then on 3 March, a third lawmaker, Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri of Bagan Serai, Perak, quit, citing PKR's handling of the "Allah" controversy.

These resignations are dramatic, since they alter the parliamentary composition of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR). PKR is now no longer the biggest parliamentary opposition party. The DAP is. What could this do to the power balance within the PR? If the convention is that the opposition leader is chosen from the biggest opposition party, would the PR then need to replace Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with a DAP MP?


Tan Tee Beng (left) and Zahrain
Is the PR's parliamentary presence weakened in any way? More importantly, what does this say about PKR? Are these resignations a signal that the party is in turmoil, as some headlines suggest? Or are they merely the latest in the young party's series of growing pains?

On the other hand, could the resignations not be a good thing for the party to clarify its internal leadership issues?

Non-performing quitters

"Yes and no," says PKR's Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, when asked if the resignations could actually be a silver lining. "On one hand, it will certainly make my job as party election director easier, since I am responsible for monitoring the KPIs (key performance indicators) of all our MPs."

According to Fuziah, the KPIs monitored are:

Parliamentary performance: Do PKR's MPs participate actively in debates, ask questions in their constituencies' interest, or ask questions of BN MPs and ministers?

Constituency work: Are their service centres accessible and functional? Have they identified local community stakeholders? Do they network and perform regular outreach?

Communications strategies: Do urban MPs make full use of the new media? And do rural MPs have other strategies, such as holding regular ceramah?

"I would say that the three quitters failed in meeting these KPIs," Fuziah tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview. She adds that these KPIs are not meant to penalise MPs, but to help the party ensure their seats remain winnable in the next elections.

PR disaster?


Fuziah
On the other hand, Fuziah says this string of high-profile resignations could damage public perception in the PR, and specifically in PKR. "We must brace ourselves, because this is exactly what the BN wants," she says.

Associate Professor Dr Joseph Liow of the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University agrees. "To be fair to PKR, Umno has itself been identifying 'weak links' in the PKR chain, playing up their sense of insecurity or ambition, and picking them off selectively," he says in an e-mail interview with The Nut Graph.

The question is, why is PKR the party that seems the most insecure or vulnerable among the PR?

"PKR absorbed too many ex-Umno people who retained a selfish and outmoded understanding of politics. These defections actually took too long to happen," says Dr Ooi Kee Beng of Singapore-based International School of Southeast Asian Studies.

He tells The Nut Graph via e-mail that it would have been much healthier for PKR if these people had shown their lack of staying power at an earlier stage.

"But because of Anwar's initial concentration on getting crossovers from the BN, the consolidation of the PKR and the PR that should have followed their electoral success did not take place properly," he says.

Ooi's reasoning is that these resignations are actually a natural cleaning-up process for PKR. After all, it is a relatively new party. And given how quickly it rose to become Malaysia's largest opposition party, not all of its leaders would have been up to the job.

"Sooner or later, these defectors were bound to run afoul of what the party stands for," he explains.

Even if this was true, would these resignations unbalance the PR's internal power relations? Political scientist Dr Mavis Puthucheary doesn't think so. "Even if it is the biggest opposition party now, the DAP cannot assume the leading role in PR, because the coalition needs to remain multiracial," she tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview.


Liow (Pic courtesy of Joseph
Liow)
"The DAP might be multiracial in philosophy, but it has no significant Malay [Malaysian] membership to qualify as truly multiracial," she explains. And so, she says, PKR will still be crucial in forming the bridge between the DAP and PAS.

Liow agrees. "I don't think there will be a major reshuffle at the moment," he says. "Anwar was [chosen as] de facto head of the opposition because he is Anwar, not because he is from the party with the largest number, or formerly largest number, of parliamentary seats."

Precarious PKR

All three academics concur that PKR needs to manage this recent crisis well if the PR is to have a fighting chance in the next elections. All three allude to Anwar's "distractions" and inability to steward the opposition coalition well. Liow says internal discipline is really the deeper issue in PKR that remains unsolved. Ooi says the party needs "courage to cut away dead wood, and pick good people even if [they currently] do not have so-called grassroots support".

To PKR's credit, Fuziah says the party introduced a training academy in October 2009 focusing on capacity building of the party's leadership at all levels. "So far, we have covered half the country, and we have already identified potential leaders and candidates," she says.

"In 2008, we did not have much of a choice in fielding candidates, but I am confident the next time we will have a better pool of candidates."


Puthucheary
Puthucheary, however, points out the PR's overall inability to come up with a convincing common platform as a key issue here, a weakness the BN is happy to capitalise on.

"After the March 2008 elections, there was hope that the country was moving away from racial politics, but the reverse has actually taken place," she says. "Umno has done whatever it can to scare and divide people along racial lines, and it seems to be working."

And so Puthucheary says if the PR cannot get its act together, then the public is going to ask if there is any real choice between the BN and the PR.

Najib cannot find real comfort in PKR’s agonizing self-cleansing process when his 1Malaysia concept and Barisan Nasional are in such tatters

UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders are fully exploiting the present turmoil in Pakatan Rakyat caused by the PKR’s agonizing self-cleansing process but the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak cannot find real comfort when his 1Malaysia slogan and concept – in less than a year – and the Barisan Nasional are in such tatters.

Only in today’s Sin Chew Daily, the Gerakan youth leader Lim Si Ping said that this is the best time for Gerakan to pull out of Barisan Nasional and that it is only by leaving Barisan that Gerakan can restore its dignity.

If Pakatan Rakyat is tottering on its last legs as pictured by the mainstream media (msm) in the past few days, such a thought would not have occurred to the Gerakan youth leader!

Nanyang Siang Pau today reported that the Prime Minister has issued an ultimatum to the three MCA warring factions to “ceasefire” within this month because of an imminent Cabinet reshuffle in April, leading to the latest speculation that the newest permutation in the “Three Kingdom” MCA battle will see a Chua-Liow vs Ong realignment.

It is not only the lesser Barisan Nasional parties who are chronically afflicted with fatal schisms like MIC and PPP, even the UMNO “Big Brother” is seriously fractured, with Najib’s authority weakening, instead of strengthening, by the day.

This is obvious by the way that Najib’s 1Malaysia concept was rubbished by forces in Umno.

Yesterday, Berita Harian openly joined Utusan Malaysia in the divisive , provocative and incendiary campaign to falsely paint Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and the Pakatan Rakyat Penang State Government as anti-Malay and anti-Islam, when such incitement goes against the very grain of Najib’s 1Malaysia campaign.

It highlights the impotence and irrelevance of the Minister in charge of the 1Malaysia programme Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the entire 1Malaysia campaign.

In fact, it could be asked whether Najib is actually the real target of such an irresponsible and inflammatory campaign as the projects cited to attack Guan Eng and the Penang State Government were or are Federal projects – like the Penang Global City Centre, the second Penang bridge and the UDA project in Tanjong Tokong.

The 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme (GTP) RoadMap launched by Najib in January, focusing on the need to promote an “all-inclusive 1Malaysia media”, admitted:

“However, when some of the reporting and writing becomes too ethnic-centric or even takes on a more race-centred angle, it raises, rather than breaks down, barriers. Further, instead of providing constructive and valid criticism, some writers abuse the greater freedom of expression now available to use terms and express feelings that are racist or inflammatory in nature and tone.” (p 16)

The 1Malaysia GTP Roadmap is describing the genre of Malaysian journalism which is anti-1Malaysia – presently spearheaded by Utusan Malaysia and now joined by Berita Harian, both UMNO-owned vehicles.

Would it be wrong to infer that the irresponsible, racist and inflammatory attack by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian against Guan Eng are directed ultimately at Najib by the Prime Minister’s enemies in Umno – unless Najib is himself the mastermind behind the Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian attacks against Guan Eng?

On Sunday, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah made a very significant speech when he publicly revealed that all is not well with Najib’s 1Malaysia in Umno itself, and asked UMNO leaders to bravely speak up on their reservations and objections to the 1Malaysia concept.

Abdullah should know better. When he was Prime Minister, there was sky-high praises for his “Islam Hadhari” concept but which disappeared from public consciousness in the first day of the Najib premiershjp!

PKR and Pakatan Rakyat can only emerge from the current long-overdue shake-ups and shake-outs stronger and healthier, unaffected and unswerving in the historic mission to bring about far-reaching political change in the next general elections.

Who can say that Najib can prove the famous RAHMAN prophecy wrong that he will be the last and final UMNO Prime Minister of Malaysia?

MCA On Track To Winning Back People's Support, Says Tee Keat

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 (Bernama) -- The MCA, the second largest Barisan Nasional (BN) component party, has found its footing and is gainning momentum towards winning back the hearts and minds of not just Malaysian Chinese but also people of other races in the country, its president, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, said Thursday.

"I would be lying if I say the MCA's turnaround post-March 8 has been resounding, but I believe we are on the right track. There is still a lot to be done," he told Bernama in a interview.

Ong said the party had come out with several initiatives which had put the party on track to winning back support, such as setting up the 1Malaysia Community Alliance Foundation and focusing on improving the quality of life and future well-being of the poorer segments of society, including the urban poor.

"The foundation will look into several key result areas affecting education and skills development, community care, plight and issues of hawkers and petty traders, healthcare as well as shelter and housing. This will truly be an initiative that focuses on 'people first'.

"For example, the 1MCA Mobile Service Centre, which is scheduled to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in conjunction with the AGM (this weekend), will ensure that we genuinely reach out to the people who need assistance as opposed to asking them to approach us," he said.

Besides that, Ong said, the party had also set up a non-governmental organisation (NGO) consultative council to move away from its traditional approach of ad hoc consultation and just championing certain sectarian interests to wider and greater participation by various community stakeholders.

"The MCA has to reach out to forge genuine partnerships with community stakeholders who are faced with real challenges and issues. We need to be proactive partners in seeking solutions with clear short, medium and long-term plans.

"We can't afford to provide one-size-fits-all solutions, which is why we must be issues-centric by coming together in specific causes, namely economy, politics, education, social harmony as well as culture and arts, to look into specific issues affecting specific segments of the community," he said.

Ong said the party had completed several dialogues with several groups, including members of an interfaith council, footwear manufacturers, the SMI Association of Malaysia and Malaysian Retail Chain Association to speak up on issues affecting these people.

"We have learnt that the party must not only be involved in mainstream politics and deliver on its promises but also be seen to be speaking up," he said.

On the party's focus, Ong said he would continue with the message of change and would announce the party's KRAs (Key Result Areas), which would focus on five areas.

This comprised preparing the party machinery for the 13th general election and the membership drive, assisting the needy through the 1Malaysia Community Alliance Foundation (1MCA), engaging and championing the interests of community stakeholders via the "1MCA NGO Consultative Council", integrity, transparency and good party governance as well as introducing direct presidential and state liaison committee elections.

During the interview, Ong also spoke about feedback from the ground and that the fewer public spats between party leaders of late had gradually improved the level of public confidence in the MCA.

"The MCA is now making inroads to woo back the Chinese community. March 8 (2008) was a painful experience for the party but hopefully the lessons learnt will put the MCA in better stead in regaining its pride, come the 13th general election," he said.

Asked if internal conflicts had made it harder for the party to win back the Chinese support, Ong said there was bound to be differences in opinions as the MCA had more than a million members but what the members now wanted was for the party to move forward.

"I have come across members who had never been my strong supporters (before) telling me that the party should stop the internal bickering and focus on winning the next general election. In the central committee, the overwhelming majority wants the party to pull up our sleeves and begin the work of winning back public confidence in the MCA.

"With this kind of resolve from an overwhelming majority of MCA members, if we can stay focused, we will be able to win back support," he said.

On how he viewed his leadership in the past 12 months, Ong said there were ups and downs but each achievement would only drive him to work harder while each setback would only make him stronger and wiser.

"I took over the presidency at a time when the party was at one of its lowest ebbs following the March 8 general election setback. I am grateful for the overwhelming support that the members have shown as we crawl out of the doldrums to make an honourable comeback in the next general election.

"There is still a lot work to be done and we will not shirk our responsibilities towards the people. One can't go wrong if he or she has the interest of the people and party first and foremost.

"Politicking in itself will not get you very far," he said.

Asked if the postponement of last year's party annual general meeting (AGM)to this weekend was a setback for the party, Ong said he did not think so because "in politics, there is always a time and place for everything."

"The party's general assembly was supposed to be held in November last year, but this was postponed as the MCA Central Committee felt that there was a need to adjust the timing. This coming weekend is a good time as it also coincides with the MCA anniversary, which is traditionally held either in late February or early March," he said.

Cops to quiz Penang Pakatan reps - Anil Netto

More pressure on Pakatan reps. Police are expected to question several Penang Pakatan reps at noon today over a political gathering apparently held without a police permit.

Those expected to be questioned at the 28th floor of Komtar include Lim Guan Eng, V Raveentharan, Jason Ong and Sim Tze Tzin.

Raveen (Batu Uban), Jason (Kebun Bunga) and Sim (Pantai Jerejak) are Penang State Assembly members from PKR.

The political gathering was held in early February at the Pesta expo site in Sungai Nibong on the island.

PKR Quitters: Why now, really?

By Nathaniel Tan,

It’s a very simple question, which gets to the essence of why people switch political parties.

Is it truly a question of principles? Disagreement over the Allah issue perhaps?

Seems pretty nonsensical to me. The Pakatan stance on the Allah issue has been clear from the very beginning – why leave now, and not then?

For Zahrain, was it only after revelations of lobbying to get a multimillion contract awarded to a RM 2 company that he felt perhaps PKR had not been true to its goals after all?

Fairus moving just after being cleared by the MACC? Hmm.

Some speak of an independent 3rd force. In principle, this may not be a bad thing.

But let’s look at the quality of people making up this current ‘3rd force’ – rejects not only from PR or BN, but both; people investigated (and subsequently, wonder of wonders, cleared) by the MACC; and so on. I don’t think that’s the healthy 3rd force we’re looking for in this country.

Anyone truly dedicated to change knows that it doesn’t come easily. I think time is easily telling who will persevere out of integrity and passion, and who is perfectly willing to abandon ship when the going gets tough.

ps- there are rumours of another MP having been seen cavorting decadently with BN people, but I’ll leave out unsubstantiated stuff for now.

Malaysia - Caning the messenger?

Photo from EPA

The managing editor of a leading Malaysian newspaper has received a threatenig letter from the government over an an editorial his newspaper published criticing the decision to cane three women for adultery.

The government of Malaysia has sent a threatening legal letter to The Star newspaper, after its managing editor, P Gunasegaram, spoke out against the decision to cane three women for adultery.

In an editorial titled “Persuasion, not compulsion”, Gunasegaram questioned whether the sentence imposed on the women was approriate to their offence, and expressed concern about the situation in Malaysia if the interpretation of shariah law in the country approaches the situation in other nations.

We don’t want public flogging, we don’t want arms chopped off, we don’t want people to be stoned to death, and we don’t want people to be burned at the stake.

The letter from the Home Ministry to The Star did not specify what exactly it objected to in Gunasegaram's article; the "show-cause" notice only demands the paper now give a good reason why the government should not take action against it.

In Malaysia, "action" against newspapers means there's a good chance that its publishing licence may not be renewed.The licenses are reviewed annually, and revocation is a constant worry in a country where media are closely monitored.

The Star has immediately issued an apology, saying

We would like to categorically state that there was no intention to insult or offend Muslims.

The fact remains that a number of Muslims did take offence, and complained.

The article in question has now been taken down from the Star's website.

Since Gunasegaram is not a Muslim, The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has decreed that he is not allowed to express these opinions, even if they do address matters of internal politics germain to his personal rights as a citizen of Malaysia.

Mais secretary Mohamed Khusrin Munawi said:

those who were not well-versed with the shariah criminal law, had no rights and not qualified to question a law governing Muslims.

There are others within the country who argue that a free media, and thoughtful debate on matters relevant to the whole population, are essential elements of a successful nation.

For people who want to make up their own mind about the issue, the text is still available here, but here's a clear warning, this article has already been deemed unacceptable by some Muslims. Those who agree with Mais - that non-Muslims should not comment on matters pertaining to shariah law - are strongly advised not to follow the link.

PROTES anjur himpunan aman bantah GST di Parlimen 15 Mac

Perak PKR MP Mohsin Samsuri quits

Mass protest against GST when Parliament resumes

Court throws out ex-Hindraf detainee’s RM100m suit (Malaysiakini)

The Kuala Lumpur High Court today struck out a RM100 million defamation suit brought by Kota Alam Shah state assemblyman M Manoharan against the government, police chief Musa Hassan, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, and three newspapers.

The dailies involved are The Star, The New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia.

hindraf btn 151209 manoharanManoharan, who is legal advisor to the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and had been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for 18 months, filed the suit on Sept 11 last year, alleging that they had linked him with a international terrorist organisation.

One of the reasons why he and four other Hindraf leaders were detained under the ISA was because of their alleged links with Sri Lanka separatist group Tamil Tigers.

Judicial commissioner Zabariah Mohd Yusof granted their application to strike out the suit after hearing submissions from both parties in chambers.

Manoharan, who is lawyer, when met by reporters, said he would appeal the ruling.

He said the court allowed the application by the government, Musa and Gani with costs.

Senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh for the government, Musa and Gani said Zabariah allowed the application on grounds that the statement by Musa and Gani was made on an occasion of qualified privilege.

Manoharan had sought, among others, exemplary and aggravated damages, and an injunction to prevent Musa and Abdul Gani or their agents from repeating the alleged defamatory words against him.

Hindraf advocates non-violence

In his statement of claim, he said that Hindraf relied on peaceful means to brings about reforms and that the government had mounted a campaign to put him and Hindraf in a bad light.

He claimed that Musa and Abdul Gani had falsely and with malicious intent caused the defamatory words to be published in the three newspapers.

Manoharan also claimed that his detention under the ISA on Dec 13, 2007, at the Kamunting detention centre in Taiping was unlawful and politically motivated.

He was released on May 9, 2009.

He claimed that Musa and the government had used the defamatory words as a ground to detain him under the ISA.

The government, Musa and Gani – in their application filed on Nov 2, 2009 – said the suit was made in a vicarious capacity and was a plain and obvious case to strike out and the words were not defamatory as they did not refer to Manoharan to but to the organisation, Hindraf.

- Bernama

New head of Indian Studies Dept will be named soon (Malaysiakini)

K Pragalath

Last year’s controversy over the Universiti Malaya Indian Studies Department’s (ISD) non-Indian head is expected to be resolved soon.

NONEThe university’s deputy vice-chancellor, Hamzah Abdul Rahman (right) confirmed that a new head for the ISD would be appointed by May or June this year.

“Presently we have received 35 applications for the position. A total of 11 Indians have been shortlisted based on merit,” Hamzah said.

The ISD was in the spotlight last year following a decision to appoint a Malay lecturer as the department’s head on the basis that there were too much internal politicking.

The decision did not go down well with Indian NGOs and the MIC who called for intervention into the department’s administrative affairs.

Following that, vice-chancellor Ghauth Jasmon said that the staff was given three months to resolve internal issues within.

Yesterday MIC Youth, led by its secretary-general C Sivarajah, sent a memorandum to the vice-chancellor’s office calling for an Indian to be appointed.

They have recommended former department head K Thilagavathy to lead the ISD.

When asked about MIC Youth’s recommendation, Hamzah said that he is not sure whether Thilagavathy had submitted her application for the job.

HINDRAF/HRP Letter to PM on Indian Studies Department:- http://www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com/2009/09/08/unconstitutional-downgrading-of-the-indian-studies-department-at-university-malaya/

Mandores and Mandorism – A system whose time has come!

Who is a Mandore?

Historically, a Mandore was a supervisor in the rubber estates, whose role was to ensure the estate bosses got their work done by the Indian rubber tapper – the daily paid wage workers. Besides just supervising to get the job done these Mandores also had the role of goading the workers on, on unpopular policies. They resorted to manipulation, force and deceit, in many cases to do this. Then, when dissatisfaction brewed and the workers began to speak out they also played the role of the spy for the master – telling on trouble makers. In many of these situations they connived with their masters because of their understanding of the nuances of the tappers lives and communities.

The master for his part always remained in the background. He used many ruthless schemes to maximize his personal gains from the background. He skillfully used his Mandore to be his fall guy. In return for the fronting he did for the master, these Mandores enjoyed a few more perks in life. The master gave a very small portion of truly what should all have gone to the tappers, to the Mandores and set off with the rest. Those tidbits gave the Mandores a status that they strutted while the master got the large chunk of the value that was created by the tappers. The master got off with the loot. The Mandores got a few crumbs . The tappers got the short end of the stick.

That was the process of yore, devised by the plantation owners of those days to ensure they got the maximum possible yields. They allowed only enough to be paid to the tapper and his families’ subsistence , some toddy and maybe a little for his festivals, but not more.

Then the white masters left and the brown and yellow tuans took over in the 1960s. This system remained and evolved. What started as a system for maximizing the profits in the plantations became in time a system for subjugating the Indian poor to maximize the returns for the tuans in the economy as a whole wherever the Indian worker was involved. The tuans influence now extended to all aspects of the economy and politics.

Mandores become Mandorism.

What is Mandorism?

Mandorism in short, is a system for subjugation of the Indian working class by Indian middlemen fronting for the power elite of the country.

With Independence came an opportunity for a better life for all. But it was not to be. It was independence for The Malay, Chinese and Indian elites only. It was not Independence for the workers. It was really not any different for the workers – in fact it got worse for the workers.

At this stage of the nation, there was collusion and contention between these 3 sections of the elite. They colluded where their collective self preservation was concerned and they competed where their individual self preservation was concerned. It was in the collusion mode that Mandorism arose.

The new Mandore’s role now, was to hold the down the Indian poor so the elite could pole vault off their backs undisturbed into their newfound opportunity for prosperity. The new system was such that it benefited the elite but it impoverished the workers and the workers had to be kept ignorant and they had to be kept down. One policy which clearly impoverished the Indian workers was the fragmentation of the estates and the ejection of the estate workers en masse into the urban centers. The dislocation created was massive, the negative effects of which are still being felt.

How did this happen without any effective opposition from the people so thrown out. Enter the new Mandore – the MIC. Their historical role now, it is clear was to mollify the effects of all this deprivation and dispossession. Mandorsim was born.

Here are some key features of how mandorism operates/operated:

1) The new Mandores assumed leadership for the Indian workers through the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) beginning in the 1950s. They extended the Mandores role from inside of the estates to the outside and to all aspects of the economy and politics that involved the Indian workers.

2) The interests of the workers were increasingly compromised by these MIC Mandores for positions in the Federal Cabinet, in Parliament, in other Governing councils for the Mandores at all levels in the MIC.

3) The MIC Mandores were made responsible for resolving the issues and the problems of the Indian community through the ethnocentric political arrangement of the Alliance. The elder brother UMNO took on the role of the Tuan and MIC became their Mandores.

4) The Mandore was not really expected to solve the problems of the community – they could not anyway, because of the miniscule allocation of resources. They were just to hold the Indian poor down so the tauns could take away the resources to their higher priorities without questions from the Indian poor. The MIC mandores were expected to give a perception that they were solving the problems. So, whenever problems arose and there were plenty of them, UMNO would just pass the buck to the Mandore MIC and Mandore MIC would create mirages of doing something about the problems and the poor were fed with a steady diet of such illusion.

5) So what kind of things does the Mandore MIC do to create these illusions– set up illusory bodies like the National Land Finance Cooperative (NLFCS), the NESA scheme, the MIC Unit Trust Scheme, the Koperasi Pekerja Jaya company, the Maju Jaya Cooperative, the MAIKA Scheme, The AIMST and MIED funds. These bodies were the Mandores answers to the woes of the Indian community. Not only did they all not provide any tangible benefit to the Indian poor , they bankrupted the Indian poor further in many cases.

Compare this with what the tuan was doing on the other side – FELDA, FELCRA, PERDA, KEDA, KEJORA, MARA, PNB, PNS, KHAZANAH, PETRONAS, FAMA, all the other Government Linked companies, to name just a few. Look at the net effect of all those development efforts and the opportunities they had created and how they have brought about sea changes to the Malay community. The Indian poor achieved zero with all the illusory schemes of the Mandoreswhile the Mandores continued to sell off the rights of the Indians with impunity and connivance with UMNO and destroyed the future of several generations of Indian – all for some crumbes for the Mandores.

6) The MIC Mandores did not consolidate and develop the position of the Indians in the country at all. They compromised all that for the crumbs of positions as Minister, Deputy Ministers some other positions in Government, stole whatever little crumbs that were thrown at the Indians, obtained grants of lands, shares for themselves, their cronies and their relatives.

7) For the problems of the Indian community, elder brother UMNO would always send in the Mandore MIC to front for them. And what does the Mandore do – he says, I will raise it in Parliament, he says, I will raise it in the Cabinet meeting, he says I will raise it to the PM. He creates an illusion of representation. Result – zero.

8) They put up pictures of handing over some mock cheques in the Tamil newspapers, they issue statements in the Tamil newspapers that the PM gave a 100 million Ringgits, the PM gave 65 million Ringgits, a new school building has been approved, the Indian entrepreuners would be given loans, the Indian poor will be allotted low cost houses, the temple demolition will be stopped or postponed and such other lies and nonsense. Net effect, the Indian newspapers which anyway were owned by the MIC Mandores sells more copies (Samy Vellu owns the Tamil Nesan and Subramaniam controls the Makkal Osai) and the Mandores look like they are busy settling the problems of the Indian poor. The truth is that nothing has changed, the tuan loots, the Mandores get some crumbs and the poor keep getting shafted.

9) For other problems that seem to be getting out of hand for the tuan UMNO and which could cause some embarrassment or hurt, they send in the Mandore MIC to sweet talk, to bribe, to threaten and to coax the key individuals into submission and kill the offending problem off. We see this in so many instances – the temple demolitions, the squatter home demolitions, the police murders to name a few.

All of this represents just a facet of the whole system in the country – a pernicious one nevertheless. There is just no political will in the system to resolve the Indian working class problems, so Mandorism steps in and keeps the problem at bay. There is a lot of play acting,but no real substance of a long term and sustainable solution.

Enter the Newest mandores – the PR mandores

In the last general Elections the Indian poor for the first time threw off the illusions created by the MIC Mandores and kicked them out and put in place in 5 States, Governments that they thought would have more political will to address their longstanding issues. They placed a lot of hope in the Pakatan Rakyat Coalition. But much to their disappointment what they got was just more of the same. Old wine, just new bottle.

What do they get, a new set of Mandores who facilitate their new tuans to demolish, to destroy, to delude, to throw more crumbs, to mollify. If we go back up this story and replace the MIC Mandores with the PR Mandores the story will not read much different, only these Mandores are doing in these last two years what the MIC Mandores have been doing for over 50 years.

They help their tuans break Indian settlements, demolish Indian temples, demolish Hindu burial grounds, give mock cheques in the newspapers, promise secondary schools after the next elections, give a little bit of land for a school here, a school there, give some handouts to fire victims and play it big in the newspapers. They support the Srilanka Tamil refugees in a big way, they want to kill off the MIC Mandores, burn their effigies, they want to kill off Hindraf, the emerging champion of the poor Indians, they lie, they twist, they do everything what MIC has been doing for the last 50+ years.

They propose no permanent solutions to any of the problems. They develop no master plan to address any of the problems. They have no no vision for a healthy and thriving Indian community as part of a larger healthy and thriving Malaysian community, they have no political will to address these problems head on. They are interested only in supporting their new tauns, keeping their political positions, looking good within their respective political parties and hoping to get nominated by their parties for the next general elections and then maybe retire with a lifelong pension.

So what is the difference – MIC Mandores or PR Mandores. All the same stuff, just different in name and style.

Mandorism as a system must be demolished

Time has come for us to completely kill off this Mandorist system. Mandores do not represent the poor and marginalized. They represent the interest of the tuans. What is needed now is a true representation of the poor and the marginalized in the halls of power. Only then will policies be forced in place for the poor and the marginalized. Not just for the Indian poor and marginalized but for the poor and marginalized of all of Malaysia. The current two coalitions really do not represent the poor and the marginalized, that is why they have similar policies and methods in spite of their avowed differences– an example of this similarity is this policy of the continuation of Mandorism. The powers-that-be must deal with the true representatives of the poor and the marginalized, they should not try and manipulate their way out of their obligations to the poor of the country. The Mandorist system has been a way for them to do it.

Powers that be must get out of the denial syndrome

The powers-that-be now need to stop denying that the poor are beginning to speak up and that this is not reversible anymore. They must accept that the expectations of the people cannot be bottled in any more. The likes of me who do not quite belong to the category of the poor and marginalized are increasing, as more and more become aware of what is really happening and why. No matter that the poor may still be inarticulate themselves, the numbers who are speaking up for them are increasing and are doing so increasingly fearlessly. The process is set. You cannot put the genie back into the bottle.

This truth must be accepted and the denials and the petty intrigues must stop and realism must set in, to prevent further pain and further loss for Malaysian society as a whole.

The powers that be must demolish the Mandorist system and start negotiating a better future with the poor and marginalized themselves through their true representatives. There is no other way out of this problem of the poor and marginalized Indians.

So let us all start getting real and initiate positive moves to go on forward. Starting with the elimination of the Mandorist system.

Viva la Makkal

Naragan

PAS to file more Indian mandores in next poll but demolishes hindu cemetary in the mean time

PAS to file more Indian mandores in next poll but demolishes hindu cemetary in the mean time

We sympatise with the hopes of some Indians had, who were carrying PAS flags during the last general elections. These poor Indians are so desperate that they would support anybody.

Last month a delegation of PKR members visited Kelantan Menteri Besar. Today a delegation of Indians met PAS President Hadi Awang who made kosong (empty) promises to field more Indians in next polls.

But in the meantime the Kedah PAS ruthlessly and with impunity demolishes the Ladang Batu Pekaka, Kuala Ketil hindu cemetary. PAS has never ever condemned UMNO for demolishing the thousands of Hindu temples, cemeteries, the Kg Medan racial attacks on the Indians, etc because PAS would lose Malay votes.

But never mind UMNO’s atrocities against the Indians. PAS, PKR and DAP are not going to help the Indians. All what PAS, PKR and DAP wants is only the precious Indian votes not their critical Indian problems. So they will field some Indians as candidates.

Admin

UMNO forces Indian orphans to beg for their daily upkeep.

We were at the Masi Magam Festival in Teluk Bahang, at the last few remaining fishermens’ Hindu temple, the Sri Singamuga Kaliamman Teluk Bahang, Penang, annual festival.

We could not help but notice a few group of poor and underprivileged Malaysian ethnic minority Indian children orphans from Batu Grace Ashram, Kulim, Kedah who were forced to beg for this daily upkeep at their orphanages. We have earlier noticed them at other major such Hindu festivals, on the streets, offices, homes, Indian shopping areas, etc.

But we do not see this happening to Malay muslim and Chinese children.

Why? Because the UMNO controlled Malay-sian government and their financially powerful banking, business and cooperate companies takes care of the Malay muslim orphans. Similarly the Chinese powerful business, chambers of commerce, corporate and banking community takes care of the Chinese orphans (if any).

But the Indian orphaned children are left on the streets to beg for their survival. What self esteem, self confidence and motivation will these children grow up with? Compliments to UMNO and Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia.

The duty to care for orphaned children is on the government of the day. This is the norm in any part of the world except in One-Malaysia where UMNO pushes the buck on the pre existing poor and under privileged Indian community with no or very little financial support from the Indian and also non Indian corporate, Banking or business community unlike the Malay and Chinese orphaned children.

P.Uthayakumar

DAP, PKR dare not admit ASP Vasantha Kumar uses him as a police mandore against Hindraf/HRP.

Despite crowd pullers like Penang Chief Minister Kapitan Lim Guan Eng, his Deputy DCM II mandore Ramasamy, M.P Lim Hock Seng and Adun Thanasekaran, only 200 Indians attended the Indian function.

Here Kapitan Lim Guan Eng goes on promising the supposed plans for Indians Penang state land for Tamil schools, Hindu temples, business licenses, business opportunities etc. Like the MIC mandore culture, this Kapitan Lim Guan Eng also promises to recognise bright Indian students at another wayang kulit ceremony. (MN 2/3/2010 at page 16).

But this Kapitan Lim Guan Eng the demolisher of Kg Buah Pala, the last traditional Indian village in Penang would not announce Yayasan Penang state scholarships for Indian students, land for all 28 Tamil schools in Penang and all hindu temples, crematoriums, Indian settlements, all in one go and as a permanent solution, the number of Penang state tenders and projects to Indian contractors (we are aware of zero contacts and projects given to Penang Indians), ten acre Felda like land schemes for poor Indians in Penang, etc., was never announced.

Instead this Kapitan Lim Guan Eng uses police mole ASP Vasantha Kumar to attack Hindraf and HRP to divert attention away from the DAP Penang state government’s kosong Tamil newspaper and mandore politics.

We wonder why DAP or PKR has not admitted this ASP Vasantha Kumar as their member let alone giving a senior party position as he claims to be a “top Hindraf Leader”. But Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim like UMNO uses this ASP Vasantha Kumar as their police mandore.

Admin

Khalid wins Bank Islam appeal

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has won his appeal against Bank Islam. - Picture by Jack Ooi

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, March 3 — Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has won his appeal to set aside the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment ordering him to pay Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad RM66 million over a loan dispute.

Khalid is suing BIMB for alleged wrongful sale of his shares in Guthrie Berhad.

The Court of Appeal ruled today that the High Court was wrong to grant the bank a summary judgment for the counter claim that it had filed seeking the payment for an alleged breach of the Bai Bithamin Ajil (BBA) facility.

Today’s ruling sets aside the High Court judgment pending the hearing of his suit against the bank. Khalid is suing the bank for wrongful sale of his shares in Guthrie Berhad.

The court ruled that Bank Islam’s counter claim will now be heard together with the main suit in which Khalid had filed against the bank.

The hearing will be heard between March 15 and 18.

“I am satisfied with the fair decision of the court and I have been advised by my lawyers that I have a good case against the bank,” said Khalid.

In the main lawsuit, Khalid is seeking a declaration that the BBA facility entered between him and the bank in 2001 is null and void.

Khalid is also seeking a declaration that the bank had breached the collateral contract and the BBA facility.

He is also seeking general damages for the wrongful sale of Guthrie shares he owned that was charged under the BBA facility.

The bank had then filed a counter claim seeking payment of the RM66 million due under the BBA facility.

On Aug 21 last year, the High Court had entered summary judgment against Khalid in the counter claim.

Government woos conservative base with canings

Datuk Seri Najib is committed to economic reforms, and at the same time is desperate to win over the conservative Muslim group. - Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — The caning of three women under Islamic law is the latest move by the government to woo conservative Muslims, a risky tactic that could cause a backlash by ethnic minorities and damage economic reforms.

The first ever canings of women in traditionally moderate Malaysia were carried out in February after syariah court sentencing for adultery. Another woman faces caning for drinking beer.

The canings came hot on the heels of a row over the use of the word “Allah” by Malay-speaking Christians that triggered attacks on churches and mosques and ahead of another court case this week over Christians’ right to use the word.

The punishments have been endorsed by officials from the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the party of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, which dominates the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition that has ruled for 52 years.

It stumbled to its worst ever results in national and state polls in 2008, leading to the ousting of its then premier and Najib’s appointment in April 2009 to turn round its fortunes.

Najib says he is committed to economic reforms to roll back preferential treatment for ethnic Malays, but he is desperate not to alienate the 55 per cent of the population that is Malay and Muslim and is the cornerstone of support for the BN after ethnic Chinese and Indian voters deserted it.

“There is an overt thinking by many in Umno that it is going to be difficult to regain lost support especially among the Chinese,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of the Merdeka Center, an independent polling organisation.

The controversies have registered with fund managers who last year asked Najib in New York about the beer drinking case during a roadshow to promote reforms and win investment that has increasingly chosen Indonesia and Thailand.

One Malay opposition legislator announced today he was quitting to sit as an independent, saying the opposition had “insulted” Islam by supporting the right of Christians to use the word “Allah”.

A Merdeka poll showed about two-thirds of Malays find Islamic punishments for immoral behaviour appealing and Umno now finds itself battling a resurgent Islamic party for those votes.

Malaysia’s economy leaked a net US$2.5 billion (RM8.5 billion) of portfolio investment in the first three quarters of 2009, according to the latest available government data, while neighbouring Indonesia saw US$10 billion inflows for all of 2009.

Analysts say the religions issue could cause economic damage.

“The unanticipated backlash, both domestically and internationally, could distract Najib from tackling some of the larger economic problems,” political analyst Ong Kian Ming said.

Malaysia’s political system mirrors the ethnic makeup of this country of 28 million people and that has left Umno battling the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), a party that advocates Islamic laws and an Islamic state, for Malay votes.

As Najib has unveiled economic reforms that have started to scratch away at a decades-old New Economic Policy (NEP) that gave preferences to Malays, groups have started to sprout up to defend Malay rights, seen as synonymous with Islam, leading to a ratcheting up of ethnic and religious tensions.

It is predominantly poorer Malays who will be hit by a new goods and services tax and the removal of fuel and food subsidies to shrink a budget deficit that hit a more than 20-year high of 7.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008.

“With a large number of Malays relatively low income and more dependent on government assistance and services, any cutbacks might pose to be a challenge (for the government),” said Ibrahim.

Some Malays have set up an organisation called “Perkasa” (Strength) to defend their rights including privileges under the NEP. They endorse the canings and Islamic punishments.

“Many Malays support the canings and even PAS has been left behind on this as I was expecting that canings would first take place in Kelantan and Kedah (two PAS-ruled states),” said Perkasa leader Datuk Ibrahim Ali, an independent MP and former deputy minister.

While the canings may appeal to “conservatives” and to rural Malays, PAS only broke out of its rural strongholds when it successfully allied with a mainly ethnic Chinese party and reformists in a grouping led by former deputy premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, himself a former Islamist student leader.

PAS proved astute in handling the attacks on churches, by showing solidarity with Christians while Najib bridled at suggestions that the government had fostered an atmosphere of hatred that had lead to the attacks.

PAS officials say Umno’s approach on the canings was a political ploy to win over the 15 per cent of Malays who remain undecided as well as to split PAS from its ethnic Chinese allies.

“The caning issue is just political bait,” said Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, a senior PAS official.

“Because if you take them on their own argument, then the question they need to answer is do they really want to take it all the way and have full implementation of Islamic law?” — Reuters

Rais claims PKR on verge of collapse

Mohsin announced his resignation from PKR this morning, citing concerns over the party’s stand on the “Allah” row. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, March 3 — Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim is convinced that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will fold in the wake of resignations by many of its members.

He said this trend had been expected and it was now becoming a popular topic. He said this after attending a special briefing by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on the Universal Service Provider, here today.

He was asked to comment on a series of defections by several of the party leaders lately. Rais said the reason was obvious because the party’s policies were not based on the struggles for the people or to bring improvement to the country.

“It is based on the ambition of someone who wants to be the prime minister. It is also based on family politics because the party leader comes from a particular family. I don’t have to mention any name.

“The members are probably feeling restless. We hope the people in Penang will come to a conclusion and make their final consideration in the near future,” he said.

When asked whether the PKR was in the midst of collapsing, he said it was clear that the party had lost the direction of its struggles as well as its capability to contribute to the growth of democracy that had built our society.

He advised the public to study the purpose and objectives of a particular political party before joining it.

The PKR today lost another elected representative when the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bagan Serai, Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri, announced that he was leaving the party.

Mohsin said he had lost confidence in the struggles and political objective of the PKR and the Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

He was following the footsteps of the Bayan Baru MP, Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, and the MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, as well as former Penang deputy chief minister I, Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, who had left the party.

Meanwhile in Ipoh, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said he was not surprised by Mohsin’s resignation from PKR as it had been expected.

Everyone already knew that the party was facing problems but the party leaders were still trying to hide it, he told reporters after chairing the weekly State Exco meeting, here today.

Zambry, who is also Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said that as usual, the opposition parties would quickly point their fingers at Umno as being involved.

“They will quickly accuse us...they will say that Umno is behind their internal problems,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Perak PR leaders described the reasons given by Mohsin Fadzli to leave the PKR as weak.

Former Perak mentri besar, who is also the MP for Bukit Gantang, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, said the complaint on the use of the word “Allah” which had been ignored by the PKR leadership should not be made the reason for the resignation.

Perak DAP chairman, who is also the Beruas MP, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, said discussions had always been the basis for cooperation within PR and Mohsin could have used this channel fully.

Perak DAP secretary, who is also the Taiping MP, Nga Kor Ming, however, said the move by the opposition MPs who had left PR would make the pact stronger after this.

Meanwhile, the Perak PAS Youth movement called on Mohsin to resign as the MP for Bagan Serai because he had betrayed the mandate given by the people who had elected him as the PR representative for the constituency in the last general election.

Its vice-head, Salman Salleh said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should also begin investigation to check whether there was any element of corruption involved in Mohsin’s resignation from the PKR. — Bernama

A peacock and its feathers

Let’s face it. If they leave for nothing then they are of no value. The higher the figure they get for leaving, the higher their value. So if they can get RM5 million or RM10 million then it shows how valuable they are. And that is certainly befitting the big man status they imagine they possess.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Many people have left Parti Keadilan Rakyat over the last decade or so even back when it used to be called Parti Keadilan Nasional. Some of these people were the pioneers who joined the party the day it was launched in the Renaissance Hotel on 4 April 1999 (remember that birthday: 4499). Others joined along the way and left again. And some much later only when they thought the party was going to form the next federal government together with DAP and PAS around dinner time on 8 March 2008.

Many came, many went. And each had his or her reason why he or she came and later left. Some are valid reasons. Some are personal reasons. Some because they felt they were not being appreciated. Some because they felt they were being neglected. Some because they were not treated as important as they would like to be treated. Some because the spotlight was not on them so they were not being credited with superstar status.

To be fair, not all who left did so because they were bribed into leaving or were bought off. Many actually spent a lot of their own money for the sake of the party and did not ask for one penny in return. If they were in this for profit why spend all your life savings on the party and then leave? I personally know many who spent tons of money and then walked away almost broke.

Yes, many joined, many left. Not all joined and left at the same time though. And not all joined and left for the same reasons. And not all joined and left in the same manner.

You can detect the ‘problem people’ in the way they join. If they expect an announcement, a welcoming party to be thrown, champagne to be popped, etc., when they join, then be prepared to have to treat them like superstars. They have made a grand entrance and they expect VIP status and first class treatment all the way. And when they leave they will make sure it is with as much fanfare as when they joined.

You are now seeing these ‘VIPs’ leaving PKR. And they leave like all VIPs leave -- with bells, whistles, trumpets and a choir singing in the background. These are people who imagine themselves very important. They came in with an air of importance. They leave as if they are even more important than when they joined. And they left because they were not treated as someone important.

These are people with huge egos. Their egos are larger than their dicks (or tits if a woman). And since PKR is not able to inflate these egos even further then it is time for them to move to greener pastures.

These are people who love being called Yang Berhormat, Yang Berbahagia, Yang Mulia, and whatnot. I suppose since I was born a Yang Mulia I prefer to be called plain Pet, Pete or RPK. But these people stand on protocol and ceremony and the right manner of addressing must be accorded them. And they stand on protocol and ceremony because they were born a ‘nobody’ and now have suddenly become a ‘somebody’.

“Why doesn’t the Sultan of Selangor give you a Datukship,” my friends ask me. Of course, that was in the days before I durhaka with the Sultan and went into exile. Now he would order my head removed from my shoulders.

This is what my friends do not understand. Why would I need a Datukship? Even if I receive a Datukship the Datuk title would come after my born title. I would be called Raja Datuk Petra, not Datuk Raja Petra. So who cares about the Datukship? I do not need one and would not want one even if they paid me RM250,000 to agree to accept it -- instead of paying RM250,000 to buy one like some people I know.

These orang biasa (normal people) who were born into ‘lower class’ families and now suddenly feel that they are somebody are very dangerous. They demand a lot. They demand you lay the red carpet. They demand you address them with high titles. They demand you allocate a seat for them at the high table. And if they do not get the attention they feel they deserve, they will leave.

And they will not leave quietly. They will call for a press conference and will announce that they are leaving. And they will tell all and sundry that they are leaving because the party is no good and they are too good for the party. The party is beneath them and they are just too high up and too important to stay in such a party.

That is the trouble when you give importance to unimportant people born into unimportant families. I do not face that problem because I was born into an important family and I prefer to be treated as Pete rather than as Yang Mulia.

Do I sound pompous? I hope so because I intended to sound pompous.

Be careful about giving power and titles and positions to small people. It goes to their head. While I am happy being just plain Pete, these plain people are not happy unless you treat them as big people. And when you don’t, they will leave. And they will make a lot of noise when they leave. They will announce how bad the party is and how they are too good for such a party. And they will make sure that when they leave it is valued and treasured with at least a couple of million Ringgit from the other side.

Let’s face it. If they leave for nothing then they are of no value. The higher the figure they get for leaving, the higher their value. So if they can get RM5 million or RM10 million then it shows how valuable they are. And that is certainly befitting the big man status they imagine they possess.

I suppose I do not appreciate why they are like that because I was already born important. So being treated as an important person does not give me an orgasm. But for an orang biasa turned Yang Berhormat, it is important.

So now you know why so many leave PKR. It is because they imagine themselves as special people who must be treated special. But they were not treated special. So now they want to leave. But they do not want to leave quietly. They want their exit to also be special. And they want people to know that they are too special for the party and therefore have no choice but to leave.

I love it when I am arrogant.

Anwar needs to tackle problem at source

Political analyst Wong Chin Huat said power struggles within parties were a common occurrence but very seldom it would result in leaders leaving a party.

Written by Sharon Tan, The Edge

PKR can stem its loss of lawmakers only when its leadership tackles head on the root cause of all the unhappiness within its rank and file, said Universiti Sains Malaysia Associate Professor Dr P Sivamurugan.

He said PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim needed to remedy the party’s internal situation immediately to prevent more MPs from walking out.

“Anwar has to find out the root of the problem. He can’t blame others. He must look at the root of the problem and find solutions so that the party would not lose more numbers and the confidence of the supporters,” said Sivamurugan when contacted yesterday.

PKR has lost three members of parliament within two weeks. Bagan Serai MP Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri is the latest lawmaker to turn independent, following in the footsteps of Bayan Baru’s representative Datuk Zahrain Hashim and Nibong Tebal’s Tan Tee Beng.

PKR had earlier lost former Penanti assemblyman Mohamad Fairus Khairuddin, who has since joined Umno. The biggest blow to the party, however, was delivered by Datuk Salehuddin Hashim, who quit his post as secretary-general and later left the party.

Internal rivalry between the old guards and the newcomers was said to be among the issues plaguing the party.

“It is very much problems that have not been attended to by the party leadership,” said a party source, adding there had been no offer from Barisan Nasional to be linked to the problems.

Sivamurugan also said the problems had arisen partly due to the absence of a strong number two person in the party. “You cannot blame others if you are keeping your house in order,” he added.

Political analyst Wong Chin Huat said power struggles within parties were a common occurrence but very seldom it would result in leaders leaving a party.

“However, some may see that Anwar may not win his trial (against the sodomy charge), hence there is an erosion of chance of coming into power at the federal level, which then becomes a pull factor to exit,” said Wong.

Nonetheless, he said, if PKR and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) were able to maintain their confidence level, the number of the lawmakers walking out would be minimal.

With the exit of Mohsin Fadzli, PKR’s representation in parliament is down to 27 MPs, which means that DAP has a bigger representation at 28 MPs. While DAP and PAS have voiced their support for Anwar to continue as the opposition leader, he would continue in the role against parliamentary convention.

However, Sivamurugan said if Anwar relinquished the opposition leader role, PR would be weakened as it deemed Anwar as its prime minister-designate.

“If he relinquishes the position, PR will lose the confidence and the trust of the supporters,” he said.

Sivamurugan also said it would be interesting to watch the independent MPs, who could form a block in parliament when it resumes on March 15. The House would see the largest number of independent MPs ever, at six.

The independent MPs are Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) Datuk Dr Chau Soon Bui (Tawau) and Datuk Eric Majimbun (Sepanggar), the ex-PKR trio and Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who contested in Pasir Mas on a PAS ticket.

Of crossing overs and cultural cancer

A simple life is a virtuous life. Love others and commit yourself to good. Corruption of the soul is the beginning of all corruption. Sages such as Socrates spoke against this.

A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE

Azly Rahman

Should I cross over for those millions of ringgits?

That is a two million ringgit question.

How much does one get for ‘crossing over’ these days? I do not know. But if there are millions of ringgit involved, this nation will continue to rot as corrupt politicians continue switching allegiances, getting appointments to good positions, and making horrifying decisions for you and your children.

We must destroy this culture and heal anew.

We were convinced things will be better after the elections. We were sure that the revolution was going to benefit the masses and no party hopping would occur.

We are wrong. Things are getting more complex, in a complex time of rising prices.

This is my template letter to anyone on the verge of party hopping for money, based on an advise I gave to a politician who wrote to me -- his/her dilemma over switching party allegiance:

Dear sir/madam,

Don’t make this mistake.

Don't do it if it’s for two million ringgit. Or for any amount of money you do not earn ethically. Stay to be free, and speak up against internal party corruption.

You will die satisfied that you have not sold your soul to any other party in whose ideology you actually do not subscribe to. These ‘party jumpers’ have no clear intention, just clear benefits for themselves.

Principles not resource

If resource is the issue, think of how you can take your party to newer heights without more money. Make your party appeal to the younger generation. Know your party’s roots and make it dynamic.

You may not have the money, machinery, and the media at your disposal as means to influence the masses, however you have the will. Focus on helping people and problem solving at the grassroots level. ‘Small is beautiful’

Think about the 'class' struggle we are in. Prevent a generation of our children from the dehumanisation of a new class system. Worker rights need championing in this globalised economy and you can win them their minimum wage for starters.

Figure out how to deliver what you promised and will promise, and find your place in the party’s equation. Phenomenological questions can help you understand your existence and purpose. Without it you are just part of a game of hypocrisy.

Don’t flatter yourself with state honours presented to you in fine and archaic language meant to elevate you beyond what you are. You are not meant to be a ‘yes man/woman’ for powerful people and make others beg for your favour. Politics is about doing societal good not Machiavellian scheming.

A simple life is a virtuous life. Love others and commit yourself to good. Corruption of the soul is the beginning of all corruption. Sages such as Socrates spoke against this. Those sacred scriptures warned us against entertaining our greed more than meeting our needs. How much more do should we become agents of social destruction with the power we have as leaders?

On the question of limited financial resources in pushing our political agenda, here are some thoughts.

Leverage the Internet as a cheap and powerful tool of your campaign, while leaning on traditional methods of appeasing your constituency. Also the SMS system to mirror 'multilevel marketing' for effective campaigning.

Brainstorm with the young. Be creative. The greatest tool of human progress is the two pound universe one carries around - the human brain. The greatest enemy of knowledge is of course, ignorance, said Socrates. Tell the young that it is wrong to be engaged in corrupt practices and to take more than you need. The things we take from society belongs to the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the orphans or all races. Everything that we do is interconnected in this cycle of life. We live a life of complexity, or chaos, and constant change. We must understand too that we are makers of our own history and masters of our own destiny. If we do not live an unexamined life, it will not be a life worth living.

Past wisdom

The great soul MK Gandhi did not have much at his disposal yet he brought down the British empire. He was armed with a deep sense of spirituality and the principle of satyagraha.

Ahmad Boestaman, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Dr Ismail, Onn Jaafar, Nik Aziz, Lim Kit Siang, V Rajaratnam, and many others have shown us what dignity and ethics mean. Learn from them but enrich these concepts of ethics to meet the needs of changing times without losing sight and vision of political realism. Learn from the many around you who are not servants of money.

However if you are logically convinced that your party is on the road to destruction due to massive corruption amongst its leaders, then by all means leave! You have one life to live - make it the best life, for yourself and for others. At a time when we have entered the world of multiculturalism, do not revert to blind ideology of racism.

Ultimately if you take those millions offered, sit in Parliament making decisions for our children, you will be a major crook who continues to rationalise his or her crookedness. You too will sink with the Bahtera Merdeka. The rakyat will help you sink with your two million, bahtera and all.

Like a saying goes, taken from an American Indian tribe: we do not inherit the Earth, we borrow it from our children. To add to this. we do not want to leave a dirty and corrupted world behind -- from the Creator we come, unto the Creator we return.

May the Universal God bless Malaysia. And save her from total destruction.

on blog: http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/