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Sunday, March 21, 2010

IGP: 'Third party' intervening in the police force - Malaysiakini

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Musa Hassan has revealed the presence of a 'third party' that is making demands on the police force.

In an interview published in Utusan Malaysia's Sunday edition Mingguan Malaysia today, Musa said the third party could be “pihak politik” (politicians) or “orang-orang tertentu" (certain individuals).

According to him, the efforts at putting pressure on the Royal Malaysian Police Force (RMP) may derive from being uncomfortable with orders that he had given.

NONE“So there have been some orders issued directly to officers under me without the knowledge of the top management (of the police force),” said Musa (left) in Mingguan Malaysia.

“To me, this is trend is an erroneous one, because in the police force, there are certain (rules pertaining to) commands and supervision.

“The only one allowed to issue orders is the IGP, according to the laws,” said Musa, stressing that Section 4 of the Police Act 1957 states that all actions and supervision falls under the IGP.

“If there is a third party trying to intervene, it could ruin the police. Because at this time, (police) personnel are confused (as to who to obey) as there are other (sources of) authority that are issuing them orders,” he asserted.

'Somebody wants me to leave already'

Musa clarified that if a person in authority gave orders, then it is that person is responsible for issuing those orders, and legal action can be taken against the person in question.

“But if there is a third party giving orders and yet we do not know who they are, then if (police) officers are doing things wrong, then my officers will become victims.

"This is because kesalahan yang dilakukan, mengikut arahan yang tidak sepatutnya (the offense is following those orders that should not have been issued).

NONE“If those who issued the orders then deny that they were behind the directives, then this will adversely affect the police force,” he added.

On that matter, Musa said he hoped such interference would stop, as the administration of police matters, action and operations being carried out are done under the authority of the IGP and other top officers.

Asked to comment on the China Press report that claimed he had tendered his resignation, Musa said he was perplexed and surprised as to why the report emerged.

“Something that I had not done, I was said to have done. It is as if some quarters want to rush me into leaving this position (as IGP).

"We know when we are supposed to go, so there is no need to speed up the process. But if someone does want to speed up that process, I need to receive the order from the government to retire early.

"If that is the case, I will retire (early). That's all I can say. But on the part of the government, nothing has happened,” he said.

Asked about claims that a particular minister was not quite on the same page as he, Musa said: “I don't know. I am only carrying out my duties. Whether somebody likes or does not like the way I carry out my tasks, I don't know.”

Asked whether the issue would adversely affect the police force, Musa said: “I feel it will.”

“When a leader is seen as being susceptible to diperkotak-katikkan (manipulation), then the lower ranks will feel the same way,” he said, adding that some had sent him SMSes asking how this could occur.

“I don't know how to answer them. So I tell my officers to be patient. I also understand, I will be retiring this September,” he added.

Dato Seri Anwar(DSAI), if you call Hindraf racists for wanting to correct the consequences of the evil racist system, what do you call yourself who cr

By Naragan

At the outset of this piece, let me set the tone – the days of manipulation of the Aiyyas are gone. You cannot go on with your opportunistic ways and become the Prime Minister you want to be, by buying the votes of the Aiyyas for a bottle of cheap liquor. You are not getting to Putrajaya, without first settling your scores with the Aiyyas. And there is a lot to settle and you know it.

We do not need you as a leader of this country in your present manipulative form, because, from our Aiyyas view point, it is no different to us than what Najib has to offer. There is no real and substantive change.

Dear DSAI, you have the audacity to call Hindraf a racist organsiation after having ridden to victory in 5 states on shouts of “Makkal Sakthi” a Hindraf Slogan in the last GE by stealing our votes with those shouts. You are exposing the opportunist in you.

DSAI. you are responsible for creating this racially bigoted system in Malaysia, in the first place.. Go back to the 80s and the 90s, Do you remember you were the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983, Minister of Agriculture in 1984, Minister of Education in 1986, Finance Minister in 1991 and DPM in 1993 – all in, a total of at least 15 years in setting up and fine tuning the current racist regime. What we have today is the outcome of exactly the policies of your past. You are responsible for what we have today, DSAI.

We in Hindraf and HRP are struggling, tooth and nail to change exactly that exploitative system, that you are responsible for setting up. You call us racists for doing that. What does that make you, dear DSAI, the creator of that system. Again, I say it, it was in your and Mahathir’s heydays that this racist system was crafted and fine tuned. It was in this period that marginalization of the Indians accelerated.

DSAI,.we have had enough, please stop your slick acts. We are no more the Aiyya’s that you and the likes of you take us to be. We are now just as savvy as you, if not more, because of our experiences of repeated betrayals.
So, please start coming clean - if you truly want to make it as the next PM. You will only get there, with complete Indian support and you know that. If you want that complete Indian support, then start getting away from your own ghost and start to listen. Shouts of Makkal Sakthi are not going to get you there, we have learnt that lesson only too well.
Start positively addressing the critical problems of the Indian poor.

Heritage Hope for Kampung Tanjong Tokong



Kampung Tanjong Tokong is a Malay village on the verge of complete disappearance. In fact t
he Malay houses, some having stood for hundreds of years, have been demolished and the villagers moved to transit homes nearby. The developer, the Urban Development Authority (UDA), is compensating these villagers with high rise apartments.However, a group of villagers are lobbying for the kampung (village) to be retained as a heritage site - taking a leaf out of the pages of the Kampung Buah Pala saga. Kampung Buah Pala had tried this route, hoping that the village will be declared heritage site to save it from demolition, but failed and Kampung Buah Pala is now, no more. Two experts in heritage conservation, Dr. Wazir Jahan Karim and architect Lawrence Loh presented the plans for preserving part of Kampung Tanjong Tokong to the Penang State Government. CM Lim said the state is powerless in halting demolition and development as the land belongs to UDA. Nevertheless, the state will submit the plans for conserving part of the village to UNESCO as there are historical traces which proves that Kampung Tanjong Tokong existed even before Georgetown, which is itself a UNESCO Heritage site. Video by Chan Lilian, Citizen Journalist

300 student leaders defy ban to attend meet - Malaysiakini

About 300 student leaders today defied threats of disciplinary action from campus authorities to attend a national university students' congress in Petaling Jaya.

They were, however,forced to sit on the floor after the bookings of the original venue in Taman Setiawangsa was cancelled at the last minute.

kongres gerakan mahasiwa nasional 200310Universiti Malaya had yesterday barred students from attending the convention, warning that they could be subjected to disciplinary action.

UM vice-chancellor Dr Ghauth Jasmon said in a campus circular that the convention contravened section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA).

"Therefore, all students are prohibited from participating or involving themselves in any of the congress' activities," he said.

He warned that students found defying his directive could be punished under the UUCA.

According to organiser Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia, the Dewan Centrum Setiawangsa was the third to have cancelled their bookings as a result of what the students believe to be political pressure.

The 2010 National University Student Movement Congress, held today, finally relocated to the Petaling Jaya City Council Civic Hall where participants shared the venue with those attending another meeting - the Selangor government's National Youth Conference.

“When I arrived (at Dewan Centrum Setiawangsa) for our rehearsal yesterday the management told me that they were instructed not to allow any university student activities in the hall,” said congress director Mohd Hilman Idham.

'Don't invite Nurul Izzah'

However, according to Hilman, the manager said that the students can still use the hall if they cancel their invitation to PKR Lembah Pantai parliamentarian Nurul Izzah Ibrahim to officiate the event.

“They also demanded that we pay a 50 percent deposit, and that we show them the congress' programme,” he said.

Hilman also revealed that notices were put up today in university campuses warning that students who attend the congress risk having disciplinary action taken against them.

Representatives from the university's student affairs departments also visited residential colleges to remind students to stay away from the event.

kongres gerakan mahasiwa nasional 200310 nurul izzah anwarNurul Izzah,who launched the event with a rousing speech about her involvement in the reformasi movement as a student, said that such strong-arm tactics inadvertently force students to the streets.

“Stop this hypocritical behaviour. (The government tells) these students not to demonstrate in their streets, and yet they are harassed when they want to hold an indoor congress,” she said.

Meanwhile, organiser Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin called for those behind the harassment to come out in the open.

“We don't know who is doing this to us, but we want to send them the message that we are rallying the grassroots to bring change to Malaysia.

“If they feel uneasy about this, then they should direct their dissatisfactions at us, and not harass the venue managers,” he said.

Zaid slams Perkasa for twisting facts - Malaysiakini

Pakatan Rakyat coordinator Zaid Ibrahim lashed out today at Malay rights group Perkasa, accusing it of twisting the facts concerning the special rights of bumiputeras.

He was referring to Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali's interview with Malaysiakini where he was quoted as saying that the Malays have been "insulted and derided" and Malay rights as bumiputera have to be protected.

selangor youth convention 200310 zaid ibrahimSpeaking at the National Youth Conference organised by the Selangor government in Petaling Jaya, Zaid (right) said Perkasa was an example of irresponsible leadership.

He charged Perkasa with deliberately alarming the Malays just to achieve its aims.

"This is what we call primitive politics," said the former law minister and ex-Umno member who had quit the all-Malay party last year over difference in principles.

He told the students present that Ibrahim has repeatedly troubled the community with his call that the rights of the Malays privileges as provided for in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution have to be protected.

"Even I am Malay but who wants to take our rights away that he has to protect them?" asked Zaid.

The former minister also implied that Dr Mahathir Mohamed was involved in their activities as the former prime minister is scheduled to officiate the NGO's first general meeting next week.

He then urged the 900 participants not to be fooled by "the fear that has been engineered by irresponsible politicians".

"selangor youth convention 200310 crowdsIn Malaysia (number of) bumiputeras is large. In Sabah and Sarawak, the Ibans are about 60 percent and that does not include the Melanaus.

"It is not right to say our rights will be taken away by anyone," he told the mostly Malay participants.

He pointed out that the majority of parliamentarians are bumiputeras, so it is an impossible to move an amendment to the special rights.

"Although it is an irrational approach there are people who would be fooled and trapped by it... that is why it is important to educate yourself," he said.

Let people see oil royalty agreement

On another matter, Zaid challenged the federal government to put on display the oil royalty agreement between Petronas and the state governments so that the people can evaluate for themselves.

"Have ever seen the agreement? Why can't the three-page agreement be displayed to the public? Why? Simply because they want to trick the people," he said.

The issue of the petroleum and liquefied gas royalty has been a hot issue since last year after Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced that Kelantan and Terengganu will be given "goodwill" payments for the oil that extracted off their coastal borders.

Opposition MPs, especially those from PAS-ruled Kelantan, rejected the offer saying that the federal government should pay the state royalty - to which it is entitled - rather than a 'goodwill payment', likening it to charity.

Zaid said the agreement between the state governments and Petronas clearly specifies the former's share of the company's profits.

"It does not state anywhere the distances in nautical miles (which is disputed by federal government). It just states, if I get RM1, you will get 5 sen," he said.

Social media can help bring change

Israeli fire kills Palestinian teen

The Israeli army claims the Palestinian boys were hurt by riot-control weapons rather than live fire [AFP]

Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian teenager during violent clashes in the occupied West Bank, medics have said.

Muhammad Qadus had been taking part in a demonstration on Saturday, in which stones were thrown at Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Palestinian hospital officials said the 16-year-old was struck in the heart by a bullet fired by Israeli forces.

Qadus was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital.

Medical sources said that the Red Crescent ambulance sent to collect him was delayed by Israeli forces.

Live ammunition?

The Israeli military said the soldiers did not fire live ammunition, but used riot control weapons such as teargas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the Palestinians who were approaching a nearby Jewish settlement.


However, sources have told Al Jazeera that Qadus was shot and killed by two live bullets to his chest.

The clashes also seriously injured another 16-year-old Palestinian boy, identified as Useid Abed an-Nasser Qadus, the cousin of the dead boy.

Medical sources said was shot in the head and was transferred to a hospital for emergency surgery.

An Israeli military spokesman insisted that both injured Palestinians were hurt by riot-control weapons rather than live fire.

The spokesman said the incident came amid "a violent and illegal riot" near Iraq Burin, during which dozens of rock-hurling Palestinians approached Bracha, a nearby settlement.

One "rock-hurler" was arrested, he added.

Clashes take place in the village on a nearly weekly basis over a water well that Palestinians claim Jewish settlers are trying to seize for their own use.

The fatality was the first during a string of clashesthat erupted this week following of Israel's consecration of an ancient synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem and would likely increase tensions.

The death has overshadowed a visit by Ban Ki-moon,the UN secretary-general, to the Palestinian territories to reiterate the commitment of the Quartet of Middle East negotiators' to an independent Palestinian state.

The Quartet - which brings together the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the US - had issued a statement condemning Israeli settlement building and calling for a peace deal by 2014 after a meeting in Moscow the previous day.

Following Israel's announcement of 1,600 new housing unitsfor a development in East Jerusalem last week, the Palestinian Authority pulled out of planned "proximity" talks demanding a complete halt to settlement activity.

Indira’s fight for kids to go to Parliament

Kulasegaran (right) said the problem was caused by Parliament and should be resolved by Parliament. — Picture by Choo Choy May

By Clara Chooi

IPOH, March 20 — Parliament will again be the stage of an inter-religious custody battle, when M. Kulasegaran raises the plight of M. Indira Gandhi, in a bid to force legislation banning conversions to Islam as a means to gain custody of children.

The Cabinet had decided last April that children remain in the religion of the parents at the time of marriage, should one of them decide to convert to Islam. It also decided that outstanding issues in a marriage must be settled before conversion to avoid children from becoming the victims.

But a subsequent decision by the Conference of the Malay Rulers to seek the view of state authorities had delayed the government’s plan to table amendments to three laws — the Islamic Family (Federal Territories) Law 1984, Administration of Islamic (Federal Territories) Law 1993, and Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

So far, the government has given no indication of when the laws will be amended.

Kulasegaran, who is Indira’s lawyer, told a press conference here today that the problem faced by Indira and her husband was not caused by either the Syariah or civil courts, but by Parliament, which had failed its duty as a law-making institution.

“Now we have two custody orders — one by the Syariah Court and one by the civil High Court. Both orders give custody to each parent. But which should prevail?” he said.

On March 11, Indira won a short-lived victory when the Ipoh High Court granted her custody of her toddler, but she will have to return to the courts soon, as her Muslim-convert husband refused to give up the child.

K. Pathmanathan, now known as Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, had immediately filed a notice of appeal to the court and an application for a stay of execution of the High Court order for him to return 23-month-old Prasana Diksa to the mother.

The couple have two other daughters — Tevi Darsiny, 13, and Karan Dinish, 12 — who are living with their mother.

Last April, the Syariah court granted custody of the three children to the father.

Kulasegaran pointed out today that since Indira was a non-Muslim and had no standing in a Syariah court, the civil court’s decision should prevail.

“Since her husband can stand before a civil court, this means that he should be bound by its decisions. But this is arguable because in our country’s present system, there is no proper law to determine this. Parliament has failed in this,” he said.

Kulasegaran said that when the issue was raised in Parliament last year, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had agreed to take the matter to the Cabinet for discussion.

“The Cabinet appointed that lame duck (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri) Dr Koh Tsu Koon to handle the issue,” said Kulasegaran.

Koh, he claimed, had subsequently come up with a temporary decision, which stated that in the cases of conversion, children have to remain in the religion of their parents’ civil marriage.

“In the meantime, the laws governing these issues would be looked into and studied for the purpose of making further amendments,” he said.

Since then, added Kulasegaran, nothing had been done.

“It has gone quiet and no one has raised the issue further. Nazri told me that the matter has now been placed in the hands of the Malay Rulers to decide,” he said.

Kulasegaran added that Koh’s decision was also not binding as there was no formal mechanism for it to be enforced.

“It is just a play of words and nothing more. What we need is concrete amendments of the law,” said Kulasegaran.

He pointed out that the very crux of the issue lay with former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s move to amend Article 121 (1a) of the Federal Constitution, which now states that matters pertaining to Syariah matters cannot be heard in the civil court.

“It all boils down to that problem,” he said, adding that the country needed to quickly formalise new laws and make the necessary amendments to the existing laws in order to solve the deadlock as soon as possible.

“I am not saying this in order to protect the non-Muslims but this would also be good for the Muslims themselves. What we need is something concrete in which we can refer to so as to avoid future confusions and emotional stress for the people,” he said.

Indira has been embroiled in a bitter custody battle for her children since early last year, after her formerly Hindu husband converted her children to Islam without her knowledge.

Since then, her husband has also obtained a Syariah Court order which granted custody of all three children to him.

As a non-Muslim, however, Indira has chosen to wage her legal war in the civil courts, which she claims should be binding to her husband as the couple had exchanged marriage vows in a civil marriage to begin with.

Tan thinks Zahrain not fibbing

PENANG, March 20 — The claim by Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said he had the blessings of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to execute his Sept 16 takeover plan in 2008, may be true.

This is based on the good relations between them (Zahrain and Anwar), said Tan Tee Beng, who quit Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) last month to become an independent MP for Nibong Tebal.

Tan said he did not know of the plan until a state PKR meeting was chaired by Zahrain, who at that time, was the state PKR liason chief.

“I personally think that Zahrain’s claim might be true, in view of his relationship with Anwar, and he was also the state chief at that time,” he said, adding that their relationship was very close and they met on a monthly basis.

When contacted by Bernama here today, Tan, however, said he was against the move by Anwar to persuade MPs to jump ship, instead of getting the mandate of the people to form the government.

He claimed that he had also met Anwar before Sept 16, 2008 to discuss about matters concerning Penang, and had also asked the latter about a possible takeover of the Federal Government.

“Anwar just told me that there were MPs who would be joining Pakatan Rakyat soon but did not elaborate,” he said.

During the discussion, Tan claimed that he told Anwar it was not the proper way to take over the government by encouraging MPs to join Pakatan.

“Lastly, it was all up to Anwar to make the decision and he insisted that the MPs were ready to cross over,” he said.

Two days ago, Zahrain, the independent Bayan Baru MP, had said in the Dewan Rakyat that Anwar had allegedly convinced opposition MPs that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was waiting to confirm the number of BN MPs joining Pakatan Rakyat. — Bernama

Walking the talk is the main issue

Yes, to Muslims, ‘crimes’ are just confined to wine, women and song. Everything else is okay. Offer Muslims pork chops and they will go berserk. Offer them a glass of beer and they will foam at their mouth in anger. Offer them a bribe and they will say, “Alhamdulillah for God’s rezeki showered on me.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Low salaries not main factor in corruption, says MACC

Low salary scales and high cost of living are not the main factor for corruption among the support group in the civil service, according to a survey by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

On the contrary, corruption is caused by individuals’ own weaknesses such as greed and having the desire to live in wealth and luxury despite not having the means to attain them.

Internal shortcomings in an organisation such as weak leadership, opaque system and procedure, the existence of bureaucratic red tapes and extensive discretionary powers open up the opportunities for corruption.

Is corruption on the rise among civil servants?

MACC corporate communications director Datuk Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya said there was a decline in the number of corruption involving the group in 2007, 2008 and last year.

This, he said, showed that the level of integrity and awareness among civil servants on the scourge of corruption and their responsibility in battling corruption were on the increase.

In 2007, a total of 591 people were arrested for corruption. Of the total, 51 per cent or 303 were members of the civil service.

The number decreased to 282 civil servants or 47 per cent of the total number of arrests of 605 in 2008.

There was a sharp decline last year when only 194 or 39 per cent of 500 people arrested were civil servants.

Statistics also showed that the number of corruption charges against civil servants were on the decline in the past three years.

In 2007, 133 charges were brought against civil servants. The number went down to 104 in 2008 and further declined to 90 last year.

Among the reasons for this were the success of programmes introduced by the government and awareness campaign by MACC community education division.

The implementation of corruption prevention modules in induction courses, promotion of officers and the introduction of government policies including on public delivery system and the setting up of Good Governance Committee contributed to the better figure.

Following an increase in awareness, members of the civil service were becoming more forthcoming in reporting offer of bribes, leading to the arrest of bribe givers, Ahmad Khusairi said.

For instance, he said, in 2007, a total of 89 civil servants came forward to report bribe offers. In 2008 and last year respectively, there were 81 and 79 officers who reported attempts to bribe them.

Ahmad Khusairi said between January and this month this year, 14 civil servants came forward to report bribery attempts.

“This is an encouraging trend. Integrity, which the government is trying to imbibe among the civil servants, is becoming a reality,” he said.

In line with this development, he said, the MACC would carry out a massive anti-corruption campaign to nab those who tried to bribe civil servants.

Civil servants would also be constantly reminded of their obligation to report corruption under Section 25(1) of the MACC Act, failing which they could be fined up to RM100,000 or jail not more than 10 years or both upon conviction, Ahmad Khusairi said.

He warned the public not to attempt to bribe civil servants.

“The law will come down hard on them, including a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of bribe or RM10,000 whichever is higher,” he said. — Bernama

***********************************************

Remember my earlier article about lies, damn lies and statistics? Well, here we go again. The MACC is giving us statistics on corruption cases and they are telling us that corruption has reduced because less people have been caught.

Is it not possible that the number of people being caught for corruption has come down because those who commit acts of corruption are getting smarter and therefore it is not so easy for the MACC to catch them like before? Is it not possible that the MACC has given up on trying to catch corrupted officials because most times when the cases go to court those on trial get acquitted anyway? Is it not possible that the MACC officers see no point in fighting a losing battle -- so if you can’t beat them then join them and now the MACC officers are getting a cut of the action? Is it not possible that the MACC officers are otak lembu (cow brains) while those corrupted people are far cleverer? Is it not possible that the MACC is too busy trying to get opposition people on all sorts of flimsy and frivolous charges like cakes and cows that there is just no time left to go after the real criminals?

Yes, there are many possible reasons for the decline in cases of people caught for corruption. It does not have to mean that the country is getting cleaner. It could just mean that the cleaners are getting dirtier.

Anyway, why talk so much about corruption and what to do about it and whatnot? Okay, corruption is not confined to just the Malays or Muslims. Non-Malays and non-Muslims are also corrupted. But then Zoroastrian, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and whatnot are not the official religions of this country. Islam is. And Islam takes preference and priority over all other religions. And while the imams in the mosque can whack the other religions and call them false religions, you may not do the same to Islam. You say Islam is a false religion you will get arrested and will be sent to jail. But you can say what you like about the others.

Therefore, people are more concerned about corrupted Muslims. In fact, the religious department wants Muslims to lead pure lives. They do not like you and your neighbour’s wife bonking in a hotel room. Non-Muslims can bonk till dawn and the government doesn’t care. At 3.00am the religious department officers will come knocking on your hotel room to check whether you have a naked woman in your bed. And if you refuse to open your door they will break it down. (Read here)

Yes, the Malaysian government is against you playing footsie and bonking pussies that don’t belong to you. And they mean business. So don’t play play. And it not just ‘illegal’ pussies that upset the religious department. Drinking, gambling, etc., are also no-nos for Muslims. You drink or play poker and they will haul your arse into court and if found guilty you can get caned; even women offenders.

So you see, with such high morals that Muslims have to observe, we are more concerned about corruption committed by Muslims, who are God’s chosen people, while we really don’t care about those non-Muslims who are supposed to go to hell anyway even if they lead the life of Mother Teresa.

Why are Muslims so upset if I check into a hotel with my neighbour’s wife and bonk her till dawn? Why are Muslims so upset if I drink and gamble? Why are Muslims not upset if I am corrupted and take bribes? Why will Muslims not vote for me if I womenise, drink and gamble but they have no problems voting for me if I take bribes?

Yes, to Muslims, ‘crimes’ are just confined to wine, women and song. Everything else is okay. Offer Muslims pork chops and they will go berserk. Offer them a glass of beer and they will foam at their mouth in anger. Offer them a bribe and they will say, “Alhamdulillah for God’s rezeki showered on me.”

PR can work, provided…

MARCH 20 — As Zaidel Baharuddin’s The Malaysian Insider article ‘Pakatan Rakyat to Pakatan Riot’ explains, there remain unresolved doubts about how PR parties can work together to lead the country.

Surely they cannot be given the reins to rule? Or can they?

I have been a long-time sceptic of PR. But having laboured long and hard over how they might share power, I am now warming up to them.

I am beginning to sense that they might actually be viable as an alternative to BN, provided they are willing to make some fundamental changes in the way they think about power sharing.

If they can discard the conventional wisdom that applies as to how a federal government should normally operate, and build a new model suited to PR, then it might just work.

Imagine three fuels. Leaded, Unleaded and Diesel. These fuels when mixed together cannot power any car. But yet each fuel could be used to run a specific kind of car quite effectively. And this is, to me, the key to solving PR’s power-sharing impasse.

If Malaysians insist on having Malaysia governed centrally as a single unit (like riding in one big bus with one driver using one fuel), then BN remains the only option.

Pakatan Rakyat fuels cannot be used for this bus when mixed together. But what if we threw out the ‘single bus’ model and opted for a ‘tag-team model’ instead?

The tag-team model would mean that there would be separate vehicles going forward independently, but yet working together, supporting one another, even competing with each other, and united and bonded by the desire to get everyone to the same destination.

Let me elaborate.

For illustrative purposes, Malaysia could be divided into three distinct socio-economic zones. Say, firstly, the West Coast of the peninsula; secondly, the East Coast of the peninsula; and thirdly, Sabah and Sarawak. Each zone is like a vehicle in this tag-team model.

The tag-team model would have the following governance structure:

Firstly, a ‘presidential-like’ prime minister, who would oversee all matters that truly relate to holding the federation together and bringing it forward for the sake of all Malaysians. His responsibilities would therefore include all portfolios, but only in so far as they are truly relevant at a national level (much like that of a US President).

He would then delegate his executive authority in relation to the administration of federal matters for each zone to an appointed viceroy. The viceroy for each zone would in essence be the driver of the vehicle in the tag team.

The viceroy’s federal responsibility for his zone might include finance, trade and industry, education, religion, health, infrastructure and human capital development, tourism, youth and culture, etc. The federal Cabinet will ensure that each zone is allocated a fair and equitable share of the federal budget to enable the viceroy to do his job. The viceroy would be a full member of the Cabinet and would remain answerable to the prime minister.

The viceroy for the West Coast might be from PKR or DAP (or this zone could itself be split into two to make for easier governance). The viceroy for the East Coast might be from PAS. And the viceroy for Sabah and Sarawak might be from a new PR component party representing those states.

The viceroy would be selected by the prime minister in consultation with party leaders. Although representative of the party to which he or she belongs, the viceroy must be independent and be willing to put the interest of the country first, before the zone or the party he or she represents.

The prime minister will manage all inter-zone affairs himself, for the interest of the country as a whole. But beyond that, each zone will naturally go forward based on policies of the PR party to whom its viceroy belongs. Yet the administration of the zones will be structured to promote and foster collaboration and co-operation, and be subjected to the collective accountability of the Cabinet and compliance with the Federal Constitution.

The struggle between PR component parties to secure other Cabinet positions becomes less intense, because via the viceroy, they each have effective administrative influence where real change can take place, especially in the zone where they have the greatest support.

Other federal ministries will focus on national policy development but no longer wield the authority to impact real change on the ground, since this is left primarily to the viceroy.

This would be a total departure from the BN governance model of today.

What happens to state governments? They remain as they are. To build state governments into the equation makes it too complex a model to manage. This is especially so if Barisan Nasional remains in control of a large number of state assemblies. This is only a proposal how PR could allocate federal responsibility between the parties should they come into power.

The net effect is that we have different parts of the country that will have different federal administrative styles. And as private citizens, we would be quite at liberty to move to the zone that we think most suits our lifestyle, and other people might move in the opposite direction for the very same reason.

So there will no longer be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model.

I struggle to see how PR can ever look to run the federal government based on the ‘one bus-one driver-one fuel’ model, given their ideological differences. But if they offer the ‘tag-team’ model, then it might be an interesting proposition to consider.

For sure, if that were the case, it will make it so much easier for me to decide where to cast my vote at the next general election.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Ku Li claims Petronas makes 'huge oil discovery'

(Bernama) - Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today claimed he was told that the national oil company, Petronas, has made a “very big discovery of an oil field, probably the biggest in the world”.

This discovery, he asserted, meant that Petronas would have a very good future. However, the founding chairman of Petronas declined to go into details.

"I was told... no announcement (was) made (about) a very big discovery of oil. I was told there was a big discovery... which could depress the oil price. I was also told it is the biggest oil field or oil well (not only) in this part of world but also in any part of the world.

"I cannot disclose the (location)... I cannot tell you," he said when asked repeatedly about the discovery, which he mentioned in his talk titled, 'Conversations on the Constitution and Oil Royalty - A Constitutional Right?' organised by the Bar Council today.

He also did not identify who had told him of the developments in Petronas.

Razaleigh had recently spoken against the federal government's stand that the Kelantan government had no right to demand royalty for the oil extracted from the state's offshore area.

Razaleigh, a former finance minister, said a large oil find means Petronas had a good future but added, it must be properly managed.

"I hope Petronas will be managed well... no leakages, so that money will come back to the people," he added.

He also said that he was very happy to note that despite Petronas having to spend money for the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers here and the development of Putrajaya, the federal administrative capital, the national oil company "is still in the black, with money and had some reserves left".

Petronas contributed about RM75 billion annually to the federal government, which is equivalent to about 42 percent of the country's revenue.

Since it was founded on Aug 17, 1974, Petronas has grown to be an integrated international oil and gas company with business interests in 31 countries.

Petronas is ranked among Fortune Global 500's largest corporations in the world.

Fortune ranks Petronas as the 95th largest company in the world in 2008 and 80th largest in 2009.

It also ranks Petronas as the eighth most profitable company in the world and the most profitable in Asia.

Oil prices have fallen in the last two weeks by up to 2.8 percent to below US$80 a barrel early Friday. London Brent Crude for May fell US$1.60 a barrel to US$79.88.

Sidang Media Tian Chua Dan Nurul Izzah Sebaik Selesai Beri Kenyatan Kepada Pihak Polis

Sabah State Assembly next month should pass special resolution to support RCI on 50 years of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia

The Sabah State Assembly, when it meets next month, should pass a special resolution supporting the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on how the dreams and aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians in forming Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed in the past five decades.

However, even before the Sabah State Assembly meets starting on April 15, I hope that the Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional MPs would speak up in Parliament in the current parliamentary debate on the royal address to endorse my call in Parliament on Thursdays for such a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

2013 in three years’ time mark Sabah’s 50th anniversary in the formation of Malaysia. It is appropriate in preparing for the occasion to seriously assess whether the dreams of Sabahans and Sarawakians in 1963 to form Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed.

Have the people of Sabah been granted their full citizenship rights as Malaysians in the past five decades?

Let the debate and soul-searching begin as to how one of the richest states in Sabah had been reduced in five decades to become the poorest state in the federation.

Before Malaysia was formed in 1963, a Cobbold Commission conducted a fact-finding survey of the people of Sabah and Sarawak for their views as to whether the new nation should be established out of the federation of Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei with Malaya.

Numerous fact-finding tours were also organised at that time to send Sabah and Sarawak leaders to Malaya to see for themselves the benefits and developments Sabah and Sarawak would enjoy if they agree to the establishment of Malaysia.

It was precisely on the dual promises of the constitutional safeguards for Sabah (commonly known as the 20 Points) and Sarawak and the material and developmental rewards the two states would enjoy that the new Malaysian nation was formed in 1963.

My visit into the Sabah interior yesterday has reinforced my conviction that a Royal Commission of Inquiry on five decades of Malaysian federation is vital and paramount as there are deep-seated frustrations and dissatisfactions that the two promises of constitutional safeguards and development progress for Sabah and Sarawak had not been realised.

The purpose of such a Royal Commission of Inquiry is for the Malaysian government and people to ascertain and to remedy and rectify the frustrations and disappointments of Sabahans and Sarawakians over the dual promises on the formation of Malaysia some 50 years ago.

Yesterday, together with DAP MPs Hiew King Cheu (Kota Kinabalu), Teo Nie Ching (Serdang) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut), and DAP Sabah State Assemblyman for Sri Tanjong Jimmy Wong, I visited Keningau and saw for ourselves the historic “Batu Sumpah” at the Keningau District Office, bearing the words:

“BATU SUMPAH MENGIKUT PERLEMBAGAAN

  1. Ugama Bebas dalam Sabah
  2. Tanah2 dalam Sabah di kuasai oleh Kerajaan Sabah
  3. Adat istiadat anak rayat Sabah dihormatkan dan dipelihara oleh Kerajaan.

Sebalik pula rayat2 Sabah di dalam interior bersumpah taat setia kepada Kerajaan Malaysia.”

These were the terms of the oath of loyalty of the Sabahans from the interior five decades ago in exchange for the formation of Malaysia. Have these solemn pledges laid out in the Keningau Batu Sumpah been honoured by both sides?

I asked the Sabahans in Keningau and they were distressed that the Malaysian Government had not honoured the terms of the Batu Sumpah.

This is what a Royal Commission of Inquiry on five decades of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia should probe into – the extent of fulfillment and shortfalls of the constitutional safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak on the formation of Malaysia.

Even on the other promise of material development, it is clear that the material and infrastructural development and progress of the ordinary people of Sabah and Sarawak had fallen far short of expectations.

The DAP team visited Kg Tuarid Liawan which is only 1.5 km from Keningau and we found extreme poverty and shocking infrastructure backwardness.

In Kg Batu Biah about 8 km from Keningau, there are water pipes for 15 years but with no water supply.

In Tambunan, we saw a road in good condition but which was dugged out last year and remade – the equivalent of pork barrel politics of funds being given to build a bridge where there is no river! I understand the digging of a good road just to rebuild it cost some RM150,000. It would be better to spend this money be giving cash payout of RM10 for every voter in Tambunan and allow some cronies to benefit from such political largesses for “building a bridge when there is no river”.

In fact, Sabah probably leads the country as the state with the most pipes without water and most electric lines without power.

The people of Sabah and Sarawak were promised progress and development, at least to the level achieved by the Peninsular states.

Have these promises to Sabah and Sarawak been fulfilled in the past five decades? The answers must be a loud No.

Where have all the wealth of Sabah and Sarawak gone to in the past five decades?

After nearly five decades, many in Sabah and Sarawak even lack the most basic infrastructures to be found in the rest of Malaysia like regular electricity supply, uninterrupted piped water and good roads and bridges – and not bridges when there is no river!

This year, the people of Tawau celebrated Chinese New Year’s Eve in darkness because of power blackout – not a rare occurrence but a regular ordeal to the people of Tawau, Sandakan, Lahat Datuk and most parts of Sabah.

The people of Sabah are entitled to ask why with Sabah’s immense wealth, they cannot enjoy the basic infrastructures that are taken for granted in other states – why, for instance, Sabahans must suffer constant power black-outs which are unheard of in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Alor Star, Ipoh, Seremban, Malacca, Johore Bahru, Kuantan, Kota Bahru, Kuala Terengganu – even in Kuching, Sibu, Miri?

A Royal Commission of Inquiry on five decades of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia will put all these shortfalls and failures of the dual promises of constitutional safeguards and development progress in proper perspective and in the forefront of the national agenda.

Have you heard of Aneurin Bevan?

If you haven’t, it is time you got acquainted with the man: Aneurin Bevan was the Minister of Health in post-war Britain who played a key role in setting up the National Health Service.

Aneurin BevanIt was Bevan who uttered those immortal words: “The collective principle asserts that… no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”

Which means health care is not a commodity but a basic right that should be made available and accessible to all. It also means we need a top-class public health care system with adequate funding.

At a talk at the Caring Society Complex this afternoon, many in the audience were moved to hear a woman, Roszita, describing how she lost her husband, Ahmad Nazri, 49, a heart patient, because they were unable to raise RM19,000 in time to buy three stents that were needed to deal with blockages.

Since the privatisation of the hospital’s pharmaceutical services, patients have had to buy such things on their own before surgery can be performed.

In Ahmad’s case, he did have the money – but it was tied up with the EPF, which was then apparently involved in a ridiculous ding-dong with the Penang GH over a guarantee of payment letter. By the time, the EPF finally issued the guarantee letter it was too late for Ahmad, who passed away on 19 January 2010.

As Ahmad noted just a month earlier: “Tak ada wang pun mati, ada wang di EPF pun mati. Ini adalah wang sendiri bukan nak minta wang EPF!” (Full story here.)

We can see the Health Ministry and other “health care industry” players rushing to turn health care into a commodity and trying to capitalise on so-called “medical tourism”. Hello, health care is a basic human right! What happened to rakyat didahulukan? How many more Ahmad Nazri’s are out there? I remember my plumber too succumbed to heart failure in very much similar circumstances a couple of years ago.

Steeped in its neo-liberal mindset, the Health Ministry now plans to extend the ‘Full Paying Patients’ scheme to even more hospitals on the quiet. Basically, under this scheme, patients in general hospitals can now jump the queue to see specialists if they have the money. Apparently, the specialists are happy with the scheme (because they make more money, perhaps up to RM20,000 more a month) while patients – the ones with the money, that is – are pleased they can see the specialists more quickly.

But what about those patients without the money? No money, no talk.

What a ‘caring’ society. People First? More like Profits First.