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Thursday, March 18, 2010

No way Waytha, UMNO: has no intention to address critical Indian problems raised by HINDRAF.

Minister in the Pime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz says “ the government has closed the doors on the fiery London – based Waytha for his anti- constitutional standpoint ”.

But at all material times Waytha Moorthy was merely struggling for “Equality” and by extension” Equal Opportunities for the marginalized and oppressed ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia.

In every people power struggle there are scarifices to be made and prices to be paid. This is the price that Waytha Moorthy has to pay so that we will eventually make Malaysia a land of equal rights and of equal opportunities.

One thing is crystal clear; UMNO has intention to address critical Indian problems.

Waytha Moorthy has no regrets and does not for a second waiver from his vision and stands firm by this Hindraf people power struggle. UMNO knows this.

Looking at it positively, UMNO has just created a little “Dalai Lama” by this decision.

Waytha Moorthy now will get more attention wherever he goes internationally in all his campaigns from his base in exile in London and the world over including the European Union, USA, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan all for and in the cause of the Hindraf people power struggle.

Waythamoorthy’s struggle and the HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi Peoples Power struggle continues.


(Information Chief)

Watch Video:-

Selangor Sultan gives Perkasa AGM a miss

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, March 18 — The Selangor ruler has decided not to attend the first annual general meeting (AGM) of Perkasa on March 27 in what is a major snub for the right-wing Malay group.

However, Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who leads Perkasa, in a press conference outside Parliament this afternoon confirmed that the AGM will carry on.

Ibrahim, who was accompanied by Perkasa deputy secretary-general Daud Ibrahim, said that the Perkasa AGM will take place as planned this March 27 at the Dewan Tun Razak 2, Putra World Trade Centre.

“The Perkasa AGM will go on as planned on March 27... 10,000 members so far have been confirmed. There may be more, as observes and more people want to attend,” said Ibrahim.

The Perkasa head stated that this proved that there was a “sign of a rise of unity among Malays.”

“His Honourable Sultan of Selangor has cancelled his [attendance at] the AGM for reasons... I have been informed that the office of Sultan Selangor will be issuing a statement today, I have no comment on the statement.”

But Ibrahim then revealed that he was in the process of taking legal action against the Sun newspaper for a news report that had been published a day ago about the Sultan of Selangor not attending the AGM.

“I have hired a lawyer to take legal action against the Sun. They released news a day ago and I do not know where they got the news from. The Sun is malicious, they have a hidden agenda,” said the Pasir Mas MP.

According to him, the report had claimed that the Sultan of Selangor had “advised” Ibrahim to tone down on his “ultra-malay” stance, something with the Perkasa president maintains never happened.

“The Sultan of Selangor had never instructed me to tone down my supposedly ultra-Malay stance. I am not ultra-Malay or a chauvinist.”

“In fact the Sultan said he appreciated my efforts in championing the rights of the Malay community.”

He said before his lawyers began the legal process, he expected an apology from the Sun to “his utmost satisfaction.”

“I would like to remind other newspapers to not sensationalize news, or bear the consequences. I am not racist. I am a nationalist, patriotic, and a good Muslim. I support the laws of the Federal Constitution,” said Ibrahim.

He said that Perkasa’s mission was still clear and remained strong to this day.

“We will continue to defend current issues concerning the rights of Malays and Bumiputras, and also Article 153 of the Constitution,” said Ibrahim.

Perkasa, which originally began as a one man mission, has managed to garner support from many states in Peninsular, with claims of membership running into the thousands.

Ku Li takes oil royalty issue to Terengganu

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Umno’s peaceful coexistence with Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will be tested severely when the veteran politician takes his oil royalty road-show to Terengganu tonight.

For the past few weeks, Umno leaders have stopped attacking the Gua Musang MP, concerned that verbal assaults will push him into arms of the opposition and provide Pakatan Rakyat with a strong leader should Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim be convicted of sodomy.

Umno leaders have also been treating the Kelantan prince royally in the past few weeks, even inviting him to sit at the main table during a briefing for BN MPs by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last week.

But the politician, popularly known as Ku Li, is slated to question why Putrajaya withheld oil royalty payments to Terengganu during the PAS reign in the state, and raise question on how the federal government used funds owed to the state government.

The founding Petronas chairman will bring these issues up at the oil royalty dialogue in the Terengganu Equestrian Resort in Kuala Terengganu after special prayers tonight.

The then PAS Terengganu government had sued Putrajaya when it stopped the 5 per cent oil royalty payments in 1999 when the Islamist party captured the state.

The federal government converted the oil royalty to a goodwill payment that was managed by federal agencies and Umno warlords with some of the money going to host the Monsoon Cup regatta and an Islamic Civilisational Park in Pulau Duyong complete with a number of mosques, including a crystal one.

Critics have complained the projects were a waste of money and the goodwill payments are a method for Umno to dole out largesse to their supporters.

Putrajaya agreed to pay oil royalty back to Terengganu in 2009 after the state dropped the suit, five years after BN recaptured the state in the 2004 general election.

But documents unearthed to prove that Terengganu was entitled to the oil royalty are still in the possession of PAS, which had ruled Kelantan since 1990.

It now wants oil royalty from gas produced in a joint production area in a disputed maritime zone with Thailand.

Putrajaya has dismissed the request, citing a three nautical mile limit for territorial waters but has relented to give RM25 million as goodwill payment through federal agencies.

Ku Li has argued his case for Petronas to pay out 5 per cent oil royalty to his home state in a Kota Bharu forum last Jan 28 and will further his arguments in Kuala Terengganu tonight.

He also said at a Bar Council event early this month that the oil royalty issue was a case of federalism and state rights in the larger context.

When he first began supporting the oil royalty claim by Kelantan, several Umno leaders openly asked the Gua Musang Umno chief to quit his seat and party posts.

Tengku Razaleigh replied he remains loyal to the party but insisted the oil royalty issue is a question of principle.

Zahrain’s a liar, a BN attack dog, says Pakatan

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders hit back today at former PKR man Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim’s sensational claims about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s planned Sept 16 takeover of Putrajaya by calling him a liar.

Yesterday Zahrain (picture) had accused PKR and its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for straying from the path of righteousness to become “subservient” to the DAP.

The Bayan Baru MP, in his inaugural speech as an Independent, took the opportunity to slam his former party comrades, pointing out that he had been cheated into believing that the Sept 16 takeover would actually happen.

Today, PR leaders, led by PKR Secretary-General Saifuddin Nasution claimed that Zahrain was a non-performing MP since 2008 and that his “sudden” vocal stance was because he was Barisan Nasional’s “attack dog” and “mercenary.”

“In two years as MP, Zahrain had never talked in a royal debate, or budget, policy... but now suddenly, he has suddenly found a voice. I believe this change is because he is an attack dog of BN.”

“The MPs from PKR who have defected are BN’s attack dogs and mercenaries,” said Saifuddin.

Saifuddin asserted that Zahrain’s claims about Sept 16 were figments of his imagination, and claimed that PR had proof that he was lying and will reveal more soon.

“It’s a lie, a creation of his mind. Zahrain’s a liar,” he said.

BN delays GST until after next election

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The Najib Administration will only revive the introduction of an unpopular consumption tax after the next general elections where it hopes to regain Barisan Nasional’s (BN) customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The government last week announced it was putting the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill on hold despite indicating it will go ahead to debate the law in the current Parliament sitting.

The decision comes after feedback from BN MPs suggested that opposition to the GST was also palpable among component party members apart from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) bench.

“BN will delay the GST Bill until after the next general elections to ensure we win big,” a BN MP told The Malaysian Insider on condition of anonymity.

He said it would take time to gather public feedback and also to educate people about the GST which the government said will initially be four per cent, substantially lower than the present Sales and Services Tax of between five and 10 per cent.

“The reality is that people don’t like the new tax and the PM is aware of it,” the MP said, referring to Datuk Seri Najib Razak who had stressed that “the days of government knows best is over” when he took office last April.

The opposition has flayed BN over the tax and claimed it was scuttled due to their campaign. However, they want the tax proposal to be completely dropped and have promised to make it a campaign issue.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had said last Saturday the government delayed the Bill for more time to gather public feedback.

“It (the GST) will not be tabled for second reading in the March/April session (of Parliament) because we need more time to engage with the public. We want the public’s opinion on GST,” Husni told reporters after opening the Kuala Lumpur Malay Chamber of Commerce (KLMCC)’s annual general meeting.

However, the move was interpreted as retreat of sorts by an administration that has not put forth the most convincing argument for introducing the GST.

It is understood that BN lawmakers, and even senior Umno officials, have asked the government to reconsider the unpopular move.

“If it’s true that the debate will be delayed then the government can use the time to explain the issue to the public... each sector in turn so that the public truly understands what the implementation of the GST means,” said Sri Gading MP Datuk Mohamad Aziz, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider.

The GST, which would have generated revenues totalling around RM8.8 billion, was due to be introduced in 2011, to replace an existing sales tax as part of measures to reduce Malaysia’s dependence on oil revenues, which currently account for almost half of government income.

Malaysia’s budget deficit hit a more than 20 year high of 7.4 per cent of gross domestic product in 2009, according to government data.

Meditations on a Malaysian philosophical society, preamble to a Malaysian cybernetic republic

We continue to live in interesting times in an age wherein, like Lao Tzu would say, the only permanent thing is change. We are living with a hope that one day a “republic of virtue” ruled by a “philosopher-transformative-ruler” will come into being.


Azly Rahman

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(Questions pertaining to a possible virtual forum of a Malaysian Philosophical Society, circa 2010)
The Death of Socrates. 1787
Oil on Canvas, 129.5 x 196.2 cm (51 x 77 1/4 in).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

We continue to live in interesting times in an age wherein, like Lao Tzu would say, the only permanent thing is change. We are living with a hope that one day a “republic of virtue” ruled by a “philosopher-transformative-ruler” will come into being. While we work to construct such a utopian state, let us explore the following set of questions:

i) How are human beings controlled by those who own the means of intellectual and economic production? How does power, in its raw and refined form, operate? How is it dispersed? How is power sustained? How is truth produced and owned? How is truth multiplied, disseminated, and broadcasted? What is the relationship between culture and truth?

ii) How is the self constructed? How are we alienated? What is inscribed onto the body and into the mind, in the process of schooling? How is human imagination confined and how might it be released? How is the mind enslaved by the politics of knowledge? How is historical knowledge packaged? How do we define our existence in this Age of Information?

iii) Who decides what is important in history? What is an ideal multicultural society? How have our ideas of multiculturalism influenced the way we organise our lives? What historical knowledge is of importance? What tools do we need to create our own history?

iv) How is the individual more powerful than the State? How might a philosopher-ruler be created? How is an authentic system of justice possible? Who should rule and why? How is a society based on distributive or regulative justice possible?

And finally our ultimate question will be: how might we realise and establish a democratic-republic of virtue -- one that is based on a form of democracy that is meaningful and personal?

These are also some of the questions that come to my mind as I plough daily through the writings in Malaysia Today and other progressive online national and international news and views portal in search of a terrain to plant the seeds of frontier thinking.

Throughout the course of my study on the origin and fate of this society, I have learned how much the work of those who have contributed to the social construction of the Malaysian self and the democratic ideals that this nation aspires to realise.

I have learned how the early philosophical journeys of the Malays, Indians, and Chinese look like, what kind of statecraft was practiced, what the metaphysical system of these peoples constitute, what form of social-humanism is to be fought for, what a Malaysian social justice may mean, what a multicultural Malaysian might look like, and finally, what brand of nationalism must be embraced in an age wherein, as W.B Yeats say, “the Centre can no longer hold”.

However, the answers they provided are inadequate especially in these challenging times.

I am essentially a student of Trans-cultural Philosophies and Cultural Studies interested in education for liberation and to promote the idea that in this age of hypermodernity and rapid technological changes one can advance to different levels of thinking and acquire wisdom. I want to help people ask relevant questions so that one can explore meaningful relationships between the Self and the Culture/Environment/Social Structures one inhabits.

I want to explore the history of the questions asked and to find out how we arrive at this or that historical juncture. I believe these questions will help us go back to the origin of things and in the process, to understand the world we live in.

I believe that these questions can help us go back “to the Centre” and to our “Primordial Nature”, through what the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau calls “sentimental education”, or, to explore, as the Indonesian poet W.S. Rendra once said in his play The Struggle of the Naga Tribe (Kisah Perjuangan Suku Naga), the “world within and the world outside”. Through these questions I believe one can break free of shackles of domination and release the imagination and create better utopias.

And as Rousseau continues: “Man is born free … and everywhere He is in chains”, and that the first language he needs is the cry of Nature.

Based on a Columbia University thesis I produced on the intellectual origin of the city of Cyberjaya and its relationship to hegemony and utopianism, I am currently further contemplating on a social theory of how nations develop and hyper-modernise as a result of trans-cultural flow of ideas, impacted by emerging technologies of human control. I want to know, in the process of developing an explanation of how the human being loses its essence, gets alienated, and become conditioned by the system of signs and symbols; by its genealogy, anatomy, chemistry, and its cybernetic properties.

Ideas dance and flow gracefully from one nation to another; from the mind of one group of people to another, from a nation at the centre to those in the peripheries and the hinterlands. But in their dance there is always beauty and deadly persuasion.

It is believed that, in this age, we are born into a matrix of Chinese complexities, and we will spend our lifetime understanding it, possibly escaping it, and consequently constructing an understanding of our Existential self.

We are born to be makers of our own history, not as victims or victimisers, nor objects of history to be forgotten and reduced to numbers. In this world without borders, are all essentially, trans-cultural citizens differentiated only by our national identity cards and our passports.

I want to share the experiences I have in developing the human mind and in the teaching multiple perspectives of knowing. I am looking forward to these contributions. At the end of my writings, I hope we can name the inherent contradictions between our existentialism and the world of cybernetics we inhabit.

Let us exchange ideas so that we may produce the thesis and anti-thesis of ideas, guided by the spirit of inquiry. We will be all the more enriched on this intellectual journey we are to embark upon.

Let us all, through this interactive forum and through your experiences and multiple perspectives of knowing, develop a manifesto of social change using radical and alternative tools of analysis and prescriptions. Let us construct the foundations of a “republic of virtue”; one based on trans-cultural ethics, peace and social-justice, meaningful democracy, and science for the people. Let us challenge ourselves with the ideas we are going to explore, to expand, and to exhaust so that in the final analysis, we will generate more questions than answers to deconstruct and shatter paradigms we are familiar with.

Let us have opinion leaders and lawmakers read the synthesis of our thoughts and help them understand and mediate issues plaguing us. Let us become many Niccolo Machiavellis who will advise our princes and princesses so that the latter may better serve and transform the lives of the paupers in our society.

I look forward to our virtual and intellectual engagements. You are also welcomed to produce ideas in Bahasa Malaysia.

Lastly, my gratitude to Malaysia Today for granting me a space to share my ideas and experiences – since 2005.

Bila pula Orang Asli itu “Bumiputra”

By Zaid Ibrahim,

Lebih 2,000 Orang Asli (kepada saya ungkapan Orang Asal adalah lebih tepat) telah berarak ke pejabat Perdana Menteri di Putrajaya untuk menyerahkan memorandum mereka. Memorandun ini mengandungi hal-hal penganiayaan di tangan kerajaan Barisan Nasional selama lebih 50 tahun, tentang tanah nenek-moyang mereka yang dirampas dan diambil untuk pembangunan tauke-tauke besar BN dan hanya memberi pampasan 6 ekar sekeluarga kepada mereka. Perarakan ini berupa perarakan menentang kezaliman Jabatan Hal-Ehwal Orang Asli terhadap kaum yang terpinggir dan tertindas. Saya sungguh bangga dengan kebangkitan dan keberanian mereka. Walaupun polis menggunakan kuasa mereka untuk menahan perarakan itu ke pejabat Najib Razak, sekurang-kurangnya Orang Asal tanahair kita sudah berani bangkit. Mereka sudah mula “naik minyak” kerana masalah mereka selama ini dipandang ringan oleh kerajaan BN.

Terkenang saya zaman sekolah di Kelantan dulu di mana saya duduk dalam satu kelas dengan Ajong dan Ahim, dua anak Orang Asal yang hebat sekali dalam sukan olahraga. Saya tak tahu di mana mereka sekarang tapi saya harap mereka telah mendapat pekerjaan yang baik dan hidup selesa. Orang Asal yang berjaya inilah yang mungkin dapat terus membela nasib Orang Asal yang terbiar dan terpinggir dari arus pembangunan negara. Alangkah malangnya kalau kawan-kawan saya ini juga terbiar

Tetapi masa depan mereka di bawah BN tidaklah cerah. Kegiatan yang dilaksanakan oleh Jabatan Hal-Ehwal Orang Asli tidak pun mengambil kira atau menerima maklum balas dari golongan ini. Selalu kedengaran permasalahan Orang Asal tidak diberi perhatian yang wajar. Malah kenyataan Menteri Undang-Undang Nazri Aziz di Parlimen semalam (17 Mac 2010) menunjukkan kerajaan BN tidak tahu sangat atau tidak mengambil berat perihal nasib mereka. Bila ditanya oleh Billy Abit Joo (BN-Hulu Rajang) sama ada pengiktirafan status Bumiputera perlu diperjelaskan dan kriteria Bumiputera diseragamkan, Nazri terus menjawab “tidak perlu”. Kata menteri itu, status Bumiputera telah pun diseleraskan dan digolongkan dalam 3 kategori seperti yang diperuntukkan dalam Perlembagaaan Persekutuan. Tiga kategori itu ialah Melayu, anak-anak negeri Sabah dan Sarawak serta Orang Asli.

Saya terkejut. Bila pula Orang Asli ini dimasukkan dalam golongan “Bumiputera”? Saya terus merujuk kepada Perkara 153 and 161 Perlembagaan Persukutuan. Tak ada pula Orang Asli diberi keistemewaan sebagai Bumiputera. Sepatutnya merekalah orang yang paling layak sekali kerana bukan sahaja sebagai Orang Asal dan anak putera bumi bertuah ini tetapi juga kerana mereka paling miskin. Orang Asli bukan dikategorikan sebagai Bumiputera, hanya “Malays and the Natives of Sabah and Sarawak” dianggap sebagai Bumiputera. Inilah nasib Orang Asal di negara ini. Menteri sendiri tidak mengetahui status mereka, masakan mereka akan mendapat pertolongan dan pembelaan yang patut dan sewajarnya. Hanya “pendatang” yang terpilih oleh UMNO sahaja mendapat keistemewaan.

Saya harap rakyat Malaysia dapat “bangkit” bersama Orang Asal dan sama-sama kita bergerak dengan Pakatan Rakyat untuk membela nasib Orang Asal dan juga anak anak Sabah dan Sarawak yang selama ini telah diketepikan dan tidak diberikan layanan yang sewajarnya,. Dalam Model Ekonomi Baru yang konon mendapat pujian itu kita harap nasib mereka yang terpingtgir mendapat perhatian, bukan tertumpu hanya kapada mereka yang suka menjual nama bumiputra mereka.

"Kalau orang Cina di Pulau Pinang buli kita, kita lawan balik orang Cina"

A audio recording of the said speech is available for download at

"Kalau orang Cina di Pulau Pinang buli kita, kita lawan balik orang Cina," Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah said in his speech at a dinner organised by the Penang Malays Chamber of Commerce on March 5.

Penang DAPSY secretary Ng Wei Aik subsequently, on Mar 9, lodged a police report at the Jalan Patani police station at 12pm.

A audio recording of the said speech is available for download at

*Story background:

Shattered Hopes & Broken Dreams - Haris Ibrahim

“The most serious and obvious injustices inflicted upon Sabah is the deployment of non-citizens to become voters, thereby depriving citizens of the right to democracy and self-determination. The main category of foreign voters comprise the 600,000 who have been given Mykads, under “Projek IC Mahathir.” This project was widely debated in the local papers in 2006. A witness to a trial on an election dispute confessed in court to possessing a dubious identity card, telling the magistrate that he obtained his IC through “Projek President Mahathir.” This evidence was never contested, and nor has there been any denial form the former Prime Minister” – Daniel John Jambun, in “A Memorandum on the Fate of Sabah in the Malaysian Federation”, delivered at the House of Commons, London, on 9th March, 2010.

You can read the rest of that Memorandum at The Broken Shield.

Debunking “politicking”

MY previous column, which analysed the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s aversion to local government elections, drew one particular reader's comment that amazed me. KIM GAN wrote: "To avoid the politicking that may impinge on racial [sensitivities], perhaps the campaigning can be minimal and voting can be carried out electronically through the net, sanctioned and monitored by the [Election Commission] and political parties."

As much as the commenter accepts the argument for local democracy, he or she apparently has no confidence in its operation because of his or her fear of politicking. If this is the case, then what is this fear of "politicking" really about?

What is politicking? says politicking is "to engage in or discuss politics". It is also (1) a "political activity, [especially] seeking votes, and (2) an "activity directed towards acquiring power and influence, achieving one's own goals, etc."

Reverso makes clear the word's negative connotation: "If you describe someone's political activity as politicking, you think that they are engaged in it to gain votes or personal advantage for themselves."

But the question is, if politicking is actually competition amongst political parties and politicians for votes, why should we fear it? Analogously, do we fear price wars among hypermarkets or hawkers in their quest to win our bank notes? Would we fear "negative competition" if prospective employers tried to outdo each other to win us over? To take it further, would we fear our admirers if they went all out to defeat each other to win our affections?

I'm sure many people would be flattered to be the focus of some high-stakes competition where rivals try to outdo one another to win money, services or love.

What is wrong with our perception of politics?

So the question remains: What's wrong with politics, or more precisely, our perception of politics?

I would argue that the "politicking" discourse — which is fundamentally an attack on electoral and party politics in a representative democracy — has two roots. The first is a Hobbesian fear of violence. The second is sheer elitism.

Hobbesian fear

The Hobbesian fear makes politics different from all other human endeavours because it may lead to violence. Or, more precisely, politics is born out of our fear of violence. This fear leads us to believe in and hope for government as the ultimate, disinterested arbitrator. As long as the government is perceived as being fair, then suppression of freedoms is justified.

And because Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual society, the argument escalates. It goes: In the absence of government, there would not only be an "all-out war", but group differences would likely lead to deadly ethnic riots where all members from one communal group attack all members from another group.

But if the over-riding purpose of government is to minimise violence, then a government that suppresses freedoms but allows violence to be carried out with impunity is perhaps not so Hobbesian after all. Such a government is not conservative, but reactionary.


The second line of attack on modern party politics, elitism, treats the population as intellectually inferior — they are just incapable of choosing what is best for them.

Why provide choices that allow voters to decide against their best interests?
(pic of desserts © bewiki | rgbstock)

Hence, while they can handle competition among hypermarkets and act in their best interests as consumers, they would fail miserably as citizens when it comes to competition among politicians.

Instead of choosing what is good for them, the masses would do the opposite — they just like shooting themselves in the feet. The term to describe their stupidity is "populism".

And how would we know when voters fall prey to populism? Is it when they vote for the government in response to handouts like bicycles or sewing machines or last-minute repairing of potholes on the road? No — according to the "politicking" rhetoric, voters respond to populism when they vote against the government despite all these goodies. And so, is the "politicking" discourse then not a sour-grapes response by the sore loser?

An attack on democracy

tea party
(screenshot of prime minister's Facebook page)

We must ask, what is the difference between politicking and "meeting the people"? How does a feel-good Facebook fan party by the prime minister differ from an anti-goods and services tax (GST) rally, or a public forum attended by representatives from both sides of the divide?

The ultimate difference is really about whether there will be differences of opinion. In all likelihood, the PM's Facebook party was not meant for different or alternative viewpoints to emerge. The anti-GST rally, on the other hand, would have offered the public an opinion other than the official line propagated by the government-controlled media. This is also what public forums with multi-partisan participants — and by extension, election campaigns — do.

"Politicking" is essentially about public debate. When we attack politicking, we are actually attacking the very concepts of freedom of speech, the public sphere, and the foundation of democracy — that citizens are capable of making choices advancing their interests.

This is not to say that democracy does not make mistakes. Democracy cannot prevent voters from choosing the wrong government. Democracy minimises that danger by having meaningful debates and deliberations — "politicking" if you like. And as long as society has zero tolerance for violence, "politicking" can remain civil.

If after substantial deliberation, the citizenry still wish to make what may turn out to be the wrong choice, then it is their right to do so, for they will bear the consequences. After all, who can tell them what is right?

The BN's objection to local democracy is therefore greater than the issue of local democracy itself.

It is no different from its objections to a longer campaigning period, to televised election debates and to media freedom in general. It is but a symptom of the BN's anti-democratic "politicking discourse" that was championed by Tun Abdul Razak in the post-1969 atmosphere of fear.

It is sad that the BN has not shifted its position at all on local elections despite a week of criticisms by civil society, the Pakatan Rakyat and even some BN leaders.

It shows a stubborn hostility towards democracy, which may have suited a post-1969 Malaysia, but should not be tolerated by the post-2008 Malaysia.

Wong Chin Huat is a political scientist by training and a journalism lecturer by trade. Former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo asks Malaysians to give Najib a chance, but Wong asks Najib to first give democracy a chance.

Jadual Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim di London

Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan menyampaikan kuliah “Religious Pluralism in a Divided World” di Shaykh Zayed Theater, New Academic Building, London School of Economics and Political Science pada hari ini 18 Mac 2010 jam 5 pm waktu London.

Sebelum itu, pada sebelah pagi, beliau dijadualkan bermesyuarat bersama mantan Naib Presiden Amerika, Al Gore dan mantan Presiden Republik Ireland yang sekarang ini menjawat jawatan Pesuruhjaya Tinggi Hak Asasi Manusia Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu; Mary Robinson.

Esok 19 Mac 2010 jam 7 malam Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan menghadiri satu program khusus bersama rakyat Malaysia yang tinggal di United Kingdom. Program itu akan diadakan di

University of Westminster Hogg
Lecture Theater
35 Marylebone Road,
London NW1 5LS.

MCA ’s three-ring circus rolls around

By Kee Thuan Chye

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat just doesn’t know when to quit, does he? Despite his bravado in promising to step down before the mess hit the fan at the MCA’s extraordinary general meeting last Oct 10, he is still adamant that he will be an asset to a beleaguered party split apart by his high-handedness as president. He has declared — the first candidate to do so — that he will defend his position at the coming party elections on March 28.

This is the very man who promised to quit as president if the no-confidence vote against him at the EGM was passed by just one vote. It was actually passed by a margin of 14, with 1,155 delegates voting for it and 1,141 against. He should have kept his word, and done the honourable thing; instead, he chose to stay on.

That more than 600 members attended the party’s annual meeting on March 7 indicates that he enjoys their support, but that is only a quarter of the 2,379 delegates who will vote in two weeks. Besides, some of those 600 could have attended the AGM just to hedge their bets; there may be opportunists among them who will switch loyalties if another faction looks the surer winner. Furthermore, the political complexion has just changed, now that former president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting has also announced his candidacy.

This is another pathetic twist to the MCA soap opera. In 2008, Ka Ting was the one who led the party to its worst general election defeat ever, losing more than half the seats it had held. In his tenure as president, he was not noted for having any gumption in standing up to Umno’s trampling over Chinese concerns. He also didn’t stand up for Tee Keat when the latter was reprimanded in 2006 by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, then deputy prime minister, for urging the Education Ministry to act on corruption in Chinese schools.

What will Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who have been touted as likely candidates, do now? Chua had been considered the front-runner because, pundits say, he could rely on the support of at least 900 delegates. How will his chances be affected with Ka Ting’s entry? As for Liow, since a large chunk of his supporters are also those of Ka Ting’s, will he settle for the number two position?

What about Ka Ting’s brother, Ka Chuan? Surely, there would be something in all this for him? But Ka Chuan’s track record is not impressive: he was trounced in the 2004 general election in Batu Gajah and managed to win in 2008 probably because Tanjung Malim was a safe seat. And in the MCA elections of 2008, he lost to Chua for the deputy presidency. Why would the delegates want him this time?

The MCA is in for intriguing times. There will be a lot of horse trading right up to the elections as the factions scramble to make up the required figures. Liow was an ally of Tee Keat’s till he apparently betrayed the latter after the Oct 10 EGM. Are we likely to see further betrayals by any of the others? Will Chua the “magician” be wily enough to pull off the art of making the impossible possible, and the possible impossible?

It looks like the same circus is back. You can almost hear the orchestra striking up the opening strains of Send in the Clowns. The sad part is, the delegates may be faced with only these options – of a man who broke his promise, a man who betrayed his friend, a man who cheated on his wife, and a man who lacked courage when he was president.

In the past, there was only a Team A vs Team B; now there are Teams X, Y and Z. With the party already so split, will the March 28 elections lead to unity? There would be animosity even if Ka Ting becomes president again. If Tee Keat wins, the party would be back at square one. All the grief and disgrace the party has experienced would have been much ado about nothing. And Tee Keat was the one whose open contempt for Chua, his deputy then, from the moment he stepped into the presidency led to the unravelling of the whole mess today.

Where does the solution lie? One doubts whether the team leaders know the answer. As it is, the whole MCA “dramedy” has shown up the reality that the MCA is no longer a force in Malaysian politics. The world of the Malaysian Chinese didn’t end while the in-fighting went on. Life in the Chinese community continued, debunking any claim that the MCA still matters to the Chinese.

Its days are nearly over. Why fight over a dying cause? Time to move on. Time to heed the words of Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik who has suddenly wised up now he’s been out of the Gerakan leadership for a couple of years: “After March 8, politics is going towards an ideological base that is multi-racial in approach.”

Perhaps it’s time for the MCA to implode and start all over again.

MCMC Receives 101 Complaints Against Websites, Blogs

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) received 101 complaints against websites and blogs between January and Feb 23 this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said of the total, 58 were for obscene content and 43 for threatening and disturbing content including insulting the rulers.

"Of these, 15 cases are being investigated under Section 211 and 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 while 63 cases are under various other Acts.

"There are six cases involving website or blog content which have been brought to court under the Act," he said in reply to Datuk Ismail Abd Muttalib (BN-Maran).

Ismail wanted the minister to state the number of actions taken by the government against bloggers for publishing articles which could undermine unity and harmony.

To Ismail's supplementary question on the constraints faced by the MCMC and steps taken to deal with errant bloggers more effectively, Rais said the MCMC had sufficient power to deal with the issue as provided for under the Communications and Multimedia Act.

There were sufficient legislation to deal with other offences such as through the Sedition Act 1948, Penal Code and various other laws, he said.

He added that the Information Communication and Culture Ministry had been working closely with the Home Ministry since three months ago to address the matter.

"Through close cooperation and meticulousness in carrying out enforcement, we are able to do our jobs as required for under the law," he said.

Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar (PAS-Tumpat) said apart from bloggers, the ministry should also act against media organisations which published inaccurate reports.

PICC: Political motive or genuine concern? - Anil Netto

More on the Penang International Convention Centre.

Tan Seng Hai, the person spearheading a petition expressing concern about the PICC sent the following letter to The Star – but it apparently has not been published.

I refer to the report “Council will announce successful bidder of PICC, says CM” (Sunday Star 14 March 2010) in which Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was quoted as saying critics of the PICC have their “own political motives and agenda behind their criticisms”.

I do not belong to any political party and have no affiliation to any organisations. I initiated the on-line petition against building the PICC on my own initiative out of love for Penang and in the hope that the Penang State Government will do the right thing and do it right.

It is disappointing that the Chief Minister has taken such a defensive and arrogant stance to lambast all the critics of PICC regardless that the much of the feedback and input given was sincere and genuine. Many who signed the petition and gave their inputs are apolitical professionals and genuinely care for the State. After all, the Chief Minister himself requested for feedback and input to the PICC project.

I have sent two emails to the office of the Chief Minister requesting a response to the feedback and an invitation to a dialogue with resident associations committees and management committees of Bayan Baru, Sungai Ara, Bukit Jambul and Relau. These are the major stakeholders affected by the PICC project. I have still not received any response from the office of the Chief Minister. I would expect at least the courtesy of a response from the Chief Minister’s office.

Tan Seng Hai

Nazri’s pathetic attempt to distort truth about automatic voter registration

By Nathaniel Tan,

I admit, he sometimes shows himself to possess a semblance of intelligence. Other times? Pure idiocy.

The government has rejected the automatic voter registration system as suggested by the Election Commission as Malaysians cannot be forced to vote, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

“We can’t force (people to vote) in elections although forcing people is the way of the opposition,” said Nazri, taking a swipe at the Pakatan Rakyat MPs.

“(But) I don’t like to force people. Many of such cases (of coercion) has happened to that side (opposition),” said Nazri.

He argued that the decision to vote or to abstain should be left to eligible Malaysians.

Prior to that, Nazri said that the the government would not be lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, although citizens who are 18 years and above can join political parties.

“Although there are people who say if one is mature enough to get married, he or she should be old enough to vote, this is akin to opening the Pandora’s box,” said the Padang Renggas BN MP.

:| Haiyo.

Automatic voter registration = forcing people to vote?

Don’t so stupidlah, friend. Not in the august house at least, please. Jaga maruah sikit sebagai Menteri.

Mandatory voting is what they practice in countries like Singapore, where it is unlawful not to vote.

Automatic voter registration, someone really must tell this ninny of a Minister, merely means giving all eligible Malaysians the opportunity to vote without first having to register.

Is this the same as dragging people to the polling booths, or throwing them in jail if they refuse to go? Obviously not.

People would still be able to vote or not vote. This merely removes the sometimes troublesome intermediary step.

So stop monkeying around with this ridiculous spin doctoring – we have had enough of BN flers twisting the truth all the time.

For the record, I believe the Pakatan Common Policy Platform supports both automatic voter registration, and a voting age of 18.

As long as BN controls federal however, I hope we will stick it to the man by making we sure we win, even with playing by their corrupt rules. So make sure you, your friends, and your family are all registered!! Post office, 5-10 minutes :)

Balancing the "Righting" of History - Hindu Americans Represent in Texas

Austin, TX (March 17, 2010) - The Texas State Board of Education garnered new notoriety last week as the influential body, comprised of non historians, advocated a sharp right wing tilt in history textbooks published for state schools. And the Board's widely condemned party line vote occurred even after hearing spirited testimony and considering amendments from numerous Texans including Hindu American Foundation (HAF) Texas Coordinator, Rishi Bhutada, at the raucous meeting.
In his extensive testimony before the Board here, Bhutada sought to ensure that Hinduism is portrayed as one of the oldest living world religions and pressed for an amendment to remove a separate discussion on the development of monotheism in the exclusive context of Judaism - an addition made during one of the many rounds of the curriculum's current drafting. Over 800 HAF supporters, mostly from Texas, sent emails to the Board endorsing HAF's amendments aimed at clarity, consistency and accuracy in the textbook process.
"The TEKS (Texas Education and Knowledge Skills) for all the major world religions already included discussion of their origins and central ideas, which would arguably cover development of monotheism not only in the Judeo-Christian context but these other religions," stated Bhutada. "Special focus on monotheism could also paint a misleading picture that monotheism is exclusive to Abrahamic religions when Hinduism, which encompasses a complexity of theologies ranging from panentheism to monotheism, would be left utterly misunderstood."
HAF also supported the Sikh Coalition in its push for the inclusion of Sikhism in the new World History TEKS. The Sikh Coalition successfully lobbied for the inclusion of Sikhism in sixth grade social studies and world geography TEKS drafts last summer, but the world history curriculum did not conform to these changes.
The 15-member board debated high school U.S. and world history over the course of three days and in a 10 to 5 partisan vote, Republicans on the Board prevailed in approving a draft of social studies curriculum which stressed conservative views on American capitalism and questioned the Founding Fathers’ commitment to the separation of church and state.
"Unfortunately politics and propaganda have reigned supreme in the TEKS process," said Suhag Shukla, HAF's Legal Counsel and Managing Director. "Texas students will now learn a version of history, especially relating to the crucial issue of the separation of church and state, that is not supported by American jurisprudence or history."
The final version of the Texas Education and Knowledge Skills will not be approved until May of this year and whether the amendments proposed by HAF and others were adopted is uncertain. To date, the latest approved proposed curriculum had yet to be made public.
Bhutada and Shukla bemoaned the potential fallout of this latest vote by the Texas School Board.
"If this brand of politics continue into adoption of science curriculum as it has in states like Kentucky and Louisiana, we'll face 9th graders in India and China learning calculus and advanced chemistry while American students question evolution," Bhutada added. "And the impact could be devastating not only for Texas school children, but the future of America as a competitor in the global market."

Dirty little secrets - Al Jazeera

This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a bloody three-year conflict that set Communist North Korea against a South Korea supported by a UN coalition headed by the US.

It was the first armed confrontation of the Cold War and by the time a truce was agreed in 1953, two million soldiers and two million civilians had been killed or wounded.

Six decades on, the conflict is still not formally resolved.

Troops from both sides continue to face each other across the 38th parallel, while the relationship between Washington and Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, is dominated by acrimonious quarrels over the latter's nuclear weapons programme.

But there is another bitter and intractable dispute that continues to haunt both sides.

North Korea alleges that the US used biological weapons against Korean civilians during the war– dropping "germ" bombs containing insects, shellfish and feathers infected with anthrax, typhoid and bubonic plague on villages across the country.

The US has always vehemently denied these claims, dismissing them as crude and outlandish communist propaganda from a secretive and totalitarian state.

Nevertheless, the accusations have refused to go away. Pyongyang continues to press for an apology for an "outrage" that the US insists never happened.

Professor Mori Masataka has been trying to unravel the truth about alleged germ warfare

Twenty-year mystery

In a specially extended edition, People & Power set out to investigate this extraordinary story.

Our journey began in North Korea where we were given unprecedented access to follow a leading Japanese academic, Professor Mori Masataka, who has been trying to unravel the mystery for the last twenty years.

On this, his fourth visit to the country, Mori's intention was to talk to men who claim to have witnessed, first hand, biological attacks on villages in 1952.

But neither he nor People & Power's location producer, Tim Tate, were under any illusions.

North Korea is one of the world's most secretive states and is usually impenetrable to journalists. Everywhere our cameras went, government officials went too, strictly monitoring where and what we could film.

In a vast museum in the centre of Pyongyang, Mori explored a room given over to what the North Koreans claim is direct evidence of US germ warfare – including specimen jars filled with flies, mosquitoes and fleas all allegedly injected with deadly pathogens.

A smartly uniformed army officer, Captain Ryu Uk Hui, drew his attention to some salvaged bomb casings.

On impact, she said, they were adapted to split open and release the insects to infect the local population. A film-show followed.

North Koreans said masses of insects crawled around bomb casings which fell in the snow

The grainy black and white footage, purportedly North Korean news film from 1952, appeared to show masses of insects crawling on the snow covered ground beside the bomb casings.

All this could have been phony, of course, and that is how the US has always responded to such claims, especially to filmed "confessions" from 36 captured US airmen – also screened in Pyongyang's museum – in which they give the North Koreans apparently detailed accounts of their participation in the US "germ" raids.

Accounts that, it must be said, were all retracted on the air crew's' return home to the US after the war.


But other testimony is more difficult to fake convincingly.

Later, we are driven deep into the North Korean countryside, to a village called Hwanjin, where two elderly farmers are patiently waiting.

It is clear they have been tidied up for the occasion and both wore patriotic badges pinned to their tunics, yet their weathered faces, calloused hands and still grimy fingernails speak of long years spent in the fields.

Although it is impossible to be sure, neither seems to be a Communist Party apparatchik primed for the occasion. And one speaks with convincing passion about the events that took the life of his father and many others, in the days after the insects came.

"It was in March", says Yun Chang Bin. "The flies were big and their colour was brown-ish.

"Not long after that, about April, terrible epidemics like typhoid fever were spread. People in the village developed high temperatures. Loss of appetite and then aches on the arms and legs, there was much pain."

There were some 50 households in the village, he went on, and more than thirty people died.

"My father died. He suffered a high fever, and then he was not able to use the lower half of his body, he wasn't able to eat and was not able to move."

As his fellow farmer nods encouragingly beside him, Yun Chang Bin looks directly at Professor Mori.

"I want you to go and tell the peace-loving people in the world about the atrocity the Americans committed to inflict pain to us, to make us unhappy, to kill all us Korean people, by scattering germ bombs to exterminate us."

Tears and grimace

At another village, another eyewitness, Li San, Bum holds his arms out as he describe the iron bomb that almost six decades ago had tumbled out of a low flying plane onto a nearby frozen lake, spilling its cargo of insects out onto the snow. And then the villagers began to get sick and die.

"When they moved their bowels their stools had blood in them. And then they developed fever, and the fever made them vomit everything. My grandmother died after contracting this fever. One of my uncles died as well. So we should regard the Americans as arch enemies - how can we think well of them," Li San says.

Mori has interviewed dozens of North Koreans over the years and has heard similar tales from all of them. "They told me their stories, shedding tears and grimacing with anger. They told me this germ warfare actually happened."

Yun Chang Bin says his father died from high fever after the US bombed near his village

But however convincing he has found these accounts, Mori knows that testimony from North Korean citizens will not be enough to convince a sceptical world that the US used germ warfare in Korea.

"A scientific investigation or medical or biological investigation should be carried out. I think it is definitely necessary that a non-political purely-scientific organisation should be sent to North Korea to investigate", Mori says.

As it happens, within months of the original allegations being made back in the 1950s, North Korea invited an international commission to visit the country.

International commission

Composed of scientists from France, Italy, Sweden, the Soviet Union and Brazil, and led by Joseph Needham, a distinguished – if left-leaning - British embryologist, the commission toured the affected areas, interviewed the sick and the dying and carried out a detailed analysis of their infections.

The resulting 600-page report included results of post-mortem on the victims: these identified bubonic plague, cholera and anthrax.

It concluded that germ warfare had been deployed exactly as the North Koreans claimed. Yet despite its apparent wealth of scientific evidence, it was again dismissed by the US as communist disinformation.

Which is why, if a new international enquiry was ever undertaken, it would have to spread its net far further than North Korea and to the US, in particular, where the truth almost certainly lies, buried deep in the Cold War secrets of a superpower.

It was there that People & Power discovered that during the 1940s and 1950s American scientists at the US Army base in Fort Detrick, Maryland, had developed ways of delivering bomb-loads of insects infected with bubonic plague and other deadly pathogens.

Our investigations also uncovered two remarkable documents in the US National Archives.

Unit 731

They revealed that the US had bought the expertise of Unit 731, a Japanese army biological warfare team, which conducted human experiments in the 1930s and 1940s to perfect the technology of bacteriological warfare: in World War 2, the Japanese military had dropped thousands of "germ bombs" across Northern China, killing millions of civilians.

A third crucial document – marked "Top Secret" – showed that in September 1951, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff issued orders to begin "large scale field tests… to determine the effectiveness of specific BW [bacteriological warfare] agents under operational conditions."

If these "field tests" were indeed undertaken, then they may have drawn again on the expertise of the Japanese biological warfare team.

In Japan, People & Power found home video footage from one of the former members of that team, shot just before his death, in which he claimed that its leaders had indeed assisted the US in mounting "an attack" in Korea.

But perhaps the most telling evidence came from a former US air force officer who took part in bombing raids over North Korea.

Kenneth Enoch was shot down in January 1952 and held as a POW for 20 months.


While in captivity, he was one of 36 US air force officers who made written and filmed "confessions" that they had taken part in "germ bomb" missions.

When these POWs were repatriated in 1953, the US department of defence threatened to charge them with treason for co-operating with their captors.

Each then retracted their confessions in front of military cameras: each claimed they had been tortured or indoctrinated by North Korean and Chinese guards.

But when we tracked down and interviewed Enoch, now a sprightly 85 and living in a gated retirement community in Texas, he denied having been ill-treated or indoctrinated – and appeared to make at least a partial admission that the US did use biological weapons in the Korean War.

"The people who deal in that don't have to go and fight, and that's a pretty sweet deal for them. You know, but they send it with you," he said. Nevertheless, he continued to deny that he personally played any part in biological weapons attacks.

At one point, Enoch said his statements had been coerced by the North Koreans

Records of Enoch's bombing missions over North Korea were removed by US air force investigators from the official records in March 1952 – two months after he was captured and one week before he made his confession to "germ warfare".

People & Power asked both the US state department and the department of defence for an interview about the issue raised in our film.

They turned down the offer and also declined to answer ten specific questions we put to them about North Korea's allegations.

"Baseless claims"

Instead, a spokesman for the US administration dismissed the claims as "baseless" and said they were "the disinformation campaign that refuses to die."

So who is to be believed? Professor Mori Masataka, thinks he knows the answer. "Use of germ weapons in war is in breach of the Geneva Convention. I think that's why the Americans are refusing to admit the allegations. But I have no doubt. I'm absolutely sure that this happened."

The clear implication, of course, is that were North Korea's claims ever to be proved, the US might be open to prosecution for war crimes – which would be awkward, to say the least, at a time when the US is relying on its moral authority to underpin international efforts to combat global terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Either way, one thing is clear. Until the allegations are laid to rest and the US's innocence or culpability is established beyond doubt - perhaps by an independent enquiry – one of the most enduring Cold War mysteries will continue to haunt Washington's relationship with the world's most secretive state.

Orang Asli: We want say on Dewan Negara rep

Meeting comes to naught

Cops halt Orang Asli advance on Putrajaya

UMNO force Tamil school in containers Qualifies for Guinness Book of World Records

Tamil school pupils in SJKT Jugra in Banting have to study in a steel box, cramped up and in claustrophobic conditions because of shortage of classrooms, and 214 Tamil school pupils are cramped into six classrooms and two classes had to be held in either the library or canteen. The library and allocated space for the classes are only separated by book racks. A visit by the Malay Mail found that the library was not only lacking in reading material, it could only fit less than 15 pupils at one time. (MM 24/2/2010 at page 5).

How come this does not happen to any Malay, Islamic, Chinese or Arabic schools in Malaysia?

As usual to add insult to injury UMNO gets it’s Indian mandore to do a wayang kulit giving the impression as if UMNO had done a favour to the Indians and this is blasted in the three Tamil newspapers, Tamil Radio and TV Tamil news.

P. Uthayakumar

16, 793 voters changed address 11, 163, 409 registered voters

(Refer BH 24/02/2010 at page 6)

This is in furtherance of the Indian political empowerment strategy – where Indian voters in the first leg are to register as voters in Kulim, Perai, Buntong, Seri Andalas, Port Dickson and Tanah Rata which all have from an average of 30% to 46% Indian voters.

P. Uthayakumar.

99% Pantai Dalam stalls, Kuala Lumpur by Malays and Indonesians

Almost all the illegal stalls along Jalan Pantai Dalam leading to Pantai Hill Park are either owned and run by Malay muslims or Indonesian. Despite the traffic jam it is casing it is allowed by UMNO because the Malays benefit. The only stalls operated by Indians are a car wash and that too because the Malays do not prefer to do this business. An Indian hair stylist rents this illegal stall from a Malay.

There are a large number of illegal Indonesian stalls selling food, goring pisang, phone shops, fruit shops, etc. Hundreds of such stalls perated by the Indians have been demolished within months. But these Pantai Dalam stalls have existed for a good long 30 years already. But never mind for UMNO because it is either the Malay or Indonesian muslims who are the operators. And now this 30 years will be further extended by the Federal Territories Minister announcing that the stalls will only be demolished upon buildi\ng the new stalls.

P. Uthayakumar.

UMNOs’ RM 300 Million to Felda, Felcra and Risda. Indians excluded.

UMNO has granted RM 300 million to look at ways to improve production and market the produce of the three agencies.

But one million or so pre-existing Indian plantation workers have been completely excluded from opportunities in these ten acre land ownership schemes, but a token participation of an estimated 1% in Felda.

But for Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib this is One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar.

Indians excluded by UMNO & PKR Felda’s Bisnes Tani & Pasar Tani

Indians excluded by UMNO & PKR Felda’s Bisnes Tani & Pasar Tani

(UM Mega 19/2/2010 at page 1,2,3,4)

The Agriculture and Agriculture based Industry Ministry, Mardi, Fama, are all backing up the 322 Fama participants of contract farming in 949.86 hectres of land in Selangor alone.

But UMNO & PKR has deliberately excluded the poor and underprivileged Indians from this scheme.

When PKR Selangor could grant 949.86 hectres of agriculture land to the poor Malay muslims why is there not a single hectre of this Fama land ever granted to the thousands of poor and underprivileged Indians since PKR has been in power for two years now? As it stands they are no different from UMNO vis a vis the poor Indians.

P. Uthayakumar

JKKK helps (only poor Malay muslims).

The Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Keselamatan Kampong (JKKK), the lowest and grassroots level government body was created to help all Malaysians at the very grassroots level.

But in reality the grassroots Indians excluded from this JKKK help.

Right from the poor Indians needing welfare help, medical help, Sosco help, Indian orphans, Hindu temple and cemetery land, land for Tamil schools and Indian settlements, are all ignored or prevented from being channeled to the appropriate authorities, causing hundreds of thousands of Indians from being excluded from the national mainstream development of Malaysia by this Malay-sian JKKK.

But Prime Minister Najib Razak otherwise cries One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar

5 generations of an Indian family denied Fundamental Rights !

Indian Concerns Should Be National Concern

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Bernama) -- The grievances of the 1.8 million-strong Malaysian Indian community should be viewed as a national concern and addressed in the 10th Malaysia Plan, a socio-economic expert said here.

Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, who is the principal research fellow of the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said there were concerns the community's problems were seen as a 'community' concern, rather than national.

" most government agencies do not look seriously into issues pertaining to crime, violence, urban poverty, and issues pertaining to quality of life, inadequate infrastructure for Tamil school, low recruitment and promotion opportunities in both public and private sectors.

"Often, both politicians and public servants are calling on political parties and voluntary organisations to address these issues," he told Bernama.

He said, the community strongly felt that socio-economic concerns of all Malaysians should be the concern of the government. Hence, public funds should be utilised to address major concerns beyond the capacity of the voluntary sector.

He said this was one of several grievances put forth by community leaders, non-governmental organisations and political parties at a three-day discussion held late last year to receive input and feedback on the Ninth Malaysia Plan�s policies and programmes.

This was aimed at providing input to the 10th Malaysia Plan, which would be tabled in Parliament in mid-year and implemented from 2011.

Denison said the community also wanted the government to scale up programmes for the Indian youth to ensure they reached a larger segment.

"Reaching out to young people only at the post-secondary level does not take into account the comprehensive nature of social problems at the individual, family and community levels," said the former head of MIC 'think-tank' Yayasan Strategik Sosial.

He said, there was a need for government agencies to "build into" programmes, like a mapping project which could document the impact over the next five to 10 years to capture the transformation experience or individuals and families.

"The urgent need in the 10th Malaysia Plan process is to budget for five years and provide adequate funding for operations and programmes.

"In addition, the government should establish a community consultative council to meet on a quarterly basis to review feedback on developments and highlight difficulties encountered at the grassroots, especially at the implementation level," added Denison.

Doors are closed on Waythamoorthy

The Malay Mail,
Hindraf leader barred from returning to Malaysia because of his anti-constitutional stance

KUALA LUMPUR: P. Waythamoorthy, the self-styled leader of Hindraf, who fled Malaysia for refuge in the United Kingdom, is not welcomed home.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said the government was not willing to allow him back.

"Although he has confided he wants to return, the government has closed the doors on him," Nazri told The Malay Mail at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Nazri said the drastic decision was made not because he was fighting for the rights of Tamils in Malaysia but because of his stance that Article 152 of the Federal Constitution concerning Malay rights be abolished.

On several occasions, Waythamoorthy, had remarked in public that the inherent rights of Malays in the constitution must be removed.

According to Nazri, the large majority of "our Tamil brothers" are loyal to the constitution and the rules but only want a bit more equality and a reasonable share of the economic cake.

In April 2008, the Malaysian authorities revoked Waythamoorthy’s passport.

He travels on a United Nations' document issued by the British Government which granted him political asylum last year after the revocation of his passport.

Presently, he resides in London after five Hindraf activists, led by its founder P. Uthayakumar, who is Waythamoorthy's elder brother, were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in December 2007.

All five detainees were released shortly after Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Prime Minister last April.

A Tamil daily reported last week that Waythamoorthy and Hindraf adviser N. Ganesan went to the House of Commons to endear the British Parliamentarians on what he claims as the marginalisation of ethnic Indians in Malaysia.

The report added that Hindraf had joined forces with a group representing the interests of indigenous groups from Sabah and Sarawak, represented by Common Interest Group Malaysia (Cigma) activists Daniel John Jambun and Nicholas Bawin Anggat.

Both groups insisted that Britain had a historical, legal and moral obligation towards former subjects in its ex-colonies.

Ganesan alleged the Indian community, largely the descendants of indentured plantation labourers brought into Malaya by the British from Tamil Nadu, were being systematically marginalised by the government.

Last September, Waythamoorty stated he wanted the Malaysian government to give him back his passport.

He said he was prepared to take responsibility for his actions, even at the risk of being detained under the Internal Security Act.

He had also said the government owed him an apology and holds Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, the former Home Minister, responsible for revoking his passport.

Syed Hamid, however, denied he had ordered it.

Anwar paints gloomy outlook for Malaysian economy

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) today expounded on weaknesses in the Malaysian economy, blaming it on the government’s dependency for pump priming measures, over reliance on petro dollars, the widening public-private investments gap, and capital flight in the country.

The Permatang Pauh MP told Parliament that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s optimism to say the “worst is over” was a stark contrast to the bleakness of the country’s present economic status.

The opposition leader pointed out that although the economy seemed on the mend in the fourth quarter of last year, Malaysia still continued to fall behind other nations in terms of competitive edge and attraction of foreign direct investments.

“At the same time, too much pre-occupation has been given to plans to upgrade the economy into a high value economy that we risk putting aside key economic issues concerning social justice; that should always take centre stage in any economic development agenda in Malaysia,” he told the House.

The former deputy prime minister also said that the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty had borne little fruit, and what was worse, figures from the UN Human Development Report in 2009 showed that Malaysia ranked 66 in terms of economic inequality, behind Singapore (ranked 23), Hong Kong (24), South Korea (26), Brunei (30) and Cuba (51), among others.

He said that despite the government’s incessant dependency on pump priming between the years of 2002 and 2004, the poverty rate still rose 12 per cent in the period.

“This should baffle everyone because this is a period of pump priming when a lot of state financial resources were diverted into the economy. Alas, only cronies and connected people benefit while the poor continued to suffer,” he said.

Anwar said that the economic gap between the different groups in the country was so bad that the task of leading the economy towards wholesome development was beyond today’s administration.

“A gigantic reform and monumental shift in the management of the economy is required if Malaysia is to upgrade itself into a high-value economy and ensure that prosperity is distributed equally to all groups and levels,” he said.

The government’s pump priming measures, undertaken since 1998, were also criticised, with Anwar saying that such measures should only adopted for short periods to boost the economy.

He said the government, overly-reliant on income from oil and gas, even resorted to “squeezing” Petronas when its profits could no longer support such reliance.

Citing examples, Anwar said that Petronas had to make escalating payments to the government in recent years, beginning with RM32.1 billion for the financial year of 2005, RM47.7 billion in 2006, RM52.3 billion in 2007, RM61.6 billion in 2008, and RM74 billion in 2009.

“In the year ending Dec 31, 2007, and Dec 31, 2008, Petronas contributed to 36.8 per cent and 44.9 per cent to the total government income for the years respectively,” he said.

According to Anwar, if income from other oil and gas companies were taken into account, it would mean that the country drew more than half its revenues from non-renewable sources.

“And despite the bumper income from Petronas in 2007 and 2008, the government continued to spend lavishly and registered deficit budgets,” he said.

Pump priming, he added, also resulted in the widening gap between public and private investments in Malaysia.

“The massive drop in private investment will continue to threaten any efforts to mould [the] Malaysian economy into a high performing, high-value economy.

“Furthermore, the pattern of public spending is not sustainable at the rate it is growing. Any attempt to re-model the economy must address the skewed nature of public-private investments in Malaysia.

“Pakatan Rakyat has always expounded that the country requires a holistic reform to the economic policy framework, especially so given the nature of lopsidedness of our economy now,” he said.

Anwar also claimed that the loss of confidence in Malaysia’s economic prospects were due to a spate of poorly managed issues like the “Allah” controversy, and the “disappearance or failure” of government assets such as missing jet engines and the “submarine which does not dive”, had eventually been the cause of the “shocking” extent of capital flight in Malaysia last year.

“Jon Anderson, an economist with UBS, shocked the financial market when he disclosed the extent of capital flight in Malaysia, which had reached 44 per cent of the GDP at one stage.

“Despite the alarm raised, the government rubbished concern on the pretext that this was reflective of ... government-linked companies’ more daring ventures overseas. At the height of it, an estimated RM355 billion left our country,” he said.

Anwar admitted that GLCs had embarked on a more aggressive stance lately by plumping up their overseas investments, but pointed out that the very quantum of the capital outflow suggested that the bulk of it was due to “genuine investment portfolios being pulled out of the country”.

He claimed that the GLCs’ act of putting more of their cash reserves into foreign investments instead of reinvesting in Malaysia mirrored the fact that their confidence in the country’s economy was waning considerably.

“The government must realise that it must combine its approach to the economic problem of capital flight with a political situation. Only with honesty, transparency, fair-mindedness and commitment to reforms that Malaysia can begin to restore confidence in its economy,” said Anwar.

The former finance minister also spoke extensively on other economic indicators like the severe drop in new capital investments, which he claims proved the country’s economic climate was not as robust as the prime minister had painted it to be.

“These indicators clearly point to an uphill struggle to achieve whatever crafty slogans on high value economy that [the] government has drummed up so far.

“Pakatan Rakyat is consistent that without a holistic reform involving a total fight against corruption, the tightening of the government procurement process, the dismantling of the state-politician business relationship, injecting integrity back into the judiciary and important institutions, and an overhaul of our education system, [then] the efforts to move to high value economy will remain as rhetoric,” he said.