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Monday, March 22, 2010

21/3/2010:-P.Uthayakumar’s speech at official opening of 1st HRP Bilik Gerakan DUN Tiram & Parliament Tebrau for 2012/2013 General Elections

P.Uthayakumar’s speech at official opening of first HRP Bilik Gerakan for 2012/2013 General Elections at 23A, Jalan Beladau 30, Taman Putera Wangsa, Ulu Tiram, Johor. 21/3/2010 at 10am.

Vote for Ourselves – 15/38.

1) This is our researched and considered solution to the critical Indian problem.

2) We have to vote for ourselves (Nam Namake Vakalipom)

3) By creation of Indian majority Parliament and State seats.

4) There are 1,250,000 Indian voters as at 2010 from all over Malaysia.

5) This has never been done before in Malaysia’s 53 years of Independence.

6) Forward Plan (Mun Nokki Chellum titham).

7) In 53 years we have never had any Indian majority MP and Adun seat to speak up for the Indians.

8) And this is the reason why the Indian problems have become thus critical today.

9) For 50 years MIC won on Malay majority seats.

10) So their loyalty to UMNO.

11) Today there are 11 Opposition Indian MPs.

12) But they too won in Malay and Chinese majority seats and are unable to speak for the Indians.

13) For example in Penang, there are 5 Adun and 2 MP’s but when it came to preserving the only remaining Indian heritage village of Buah Pala in Penang, they could not do anything to prevent its destruction.

14) The One Indian MP and one Indian Exco Member in Kedah could not do anything to stop the demolishment of the Ladang Batu Pekaka Hindu cemetary by the Kedah PAS government.

15) Similarly the three Indian MPs one Exco and one ADUN in Selangor could not stop the demolishment of the Ampang Hindu temple.

16) And despite over two years now the land title for even the Padang Jawa Hindu temple that was one of the main triggering causes of the November 25th HINDRAF Rally vis a vis the 8th March General Elections has not been issued even by the new Selangor State government.

17) The 14 BN and PR Indian MPs cannot do anything to set up a special school like the MRSM for the 817 Tamil School students who had scored 7As for focused development of the human capital they represent.

18) The 14 Indian MPs from govt and opposition cannot get the Indian poor included in the 450,000 10 acre land ownership schemes like in FELDA, Felcra, Risda, FAMA, MARDI etc.

19) In short they are powerless to protect and promote the interests and rights of the Indian minority community in this country.

20) This is plainly because with the current Mandorist arrangements they have with the Tuans and Towkays, these Indian representatives are not empowered to represent the Indians.

21) They have to toe their party lines, and their party lines do not include protecting and promoting Indian interests and rights.

22) DAP can speak up for the Chinese because they are elected by the Chinese in their 28 Chinese majority DAP constituencies.

23) In Kedah, for example, there is only one DAP ADUN and he could solve the Kedah pig farm demolishment problem within four days. This is because he is empowered ie he was voted in by the Chinese majority and does not have to fear losing Malay votes.

24) As it stands at the next general elections we will end up having no choice but to vote again either for the ruling party or the opposition.

25) We have to elect ADUNs and MPs who will promote and protect Indian interests and rights. This will happen only if these MPs’ and ADUNs win on Indian votes.

26) There are 1,250,000 Indian voters as at 2010.

27) From this we have to create Indian majority seats in 15 Parliamentary and 38 State seats.

28) For a start we focus on one State seat and one Parliament seat in DUN Tiram and Parliament Tebrau seats, in Johor which I hereby also launch.

29) Firstly DUN Sri Andalas and Kota Raja Parliament seats in Selangor, DUN Lunas and Padang Serai Parliament seats in Kedah, DUN Perai and Batu Kawan Parliament seats in Penang, DUN Buntong and Ipoh Barat Parliament seats in Perak, DUN Port Dickson and Teluk Kemang Parliament seats in Negeri Sembilan, DUN Tanah Rata and Cameron Highlands Parliament seats in Pahang and DUN Tiram and Tebrau Parliament seats in Johor.

30) All these DUN seats form from about 30% to 46% Indian voters except Tiram and around 20% Indian voters for Parliament seats (except Tebrau)

31) We have to register as voters in these constituencies and make those constituencies Indian majority constituencies.

32) Then whoever is elected from that constituency will speak up for the Indians in their state because they won on the overwhelming Indian votes. Can be from BN,PR of HRP.

33) So every one of the 7 states will have one MP and one State Assemblyman for a start.

34) 8% of Indian voters but scattered all over Malaysia.

35) The popular votes were 51% for BN and 49% PR. We no longer want to be Kingmakers in 62 Parliament and 150 state seats with 10% to 46% Indian voters.

36) We want 15 Parliament and 38 state seats which can be created from this 1,250,000 Million Indian voters.

37) 3 Think Tank meetings so far at our HRP HQ in Bangsar training future MP’s and State Assemblymen.

38) Not to become politicians per se but political activists who will have the interest of the people first and not the typical self serving politicians.

39) Our only weapon is our votes.

40) How are we to vote for ourselves?

41) Step One Identify all unregistered eligible Indian voters in the constituency and the other parts of Johor and register them as voters in DUN Tiram.

42) Step Two Those attaining 21 years to register immediately as voters in DUN Tiram.

43) Step Three For example the Indians make up 15% of the voters in DUN Tiram. If one Indian voter brings in one other voter to vote in DUN Tiram then we would have a 60% Indian majority seat.

44) Step Four DUN Tiram Voters to get their relatives and friends to change their voting constituency to DUN Tiram. To do this, they have to change their IC address to an address in DUN Tiram.

45) To change the IC address you need to go to the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara personally and fill out a form for change of address.

46) Then go to Post Office , SPR counter and ask them to change to the new Tiram address.

47) People ask if this can be done. For example Lim Guan Eng not only moved as a voter from Melaka to Penang but has in fact become the Chief Minister of Penang. So, if such people can do it, surely we too can do it.

48) This task is especially for our children and grand children and for our future generations to come.

49) Our strongest weapon is our word of mouth campaign. So we need to go out beginning today and start spreading this message rather urgently to at least ten other people as the elections can be called anytime from this year to 2013.

50) If we put our minds to it we will change all of that. It is totally in our hands.

51) In yesterday’s Malaysian Nanban headlines (MN 20/3/10) even Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had asked which HINDRAF? This is all the more reason why we have to stand up on our own feet as we can no longer trust both BN or PR.

52) We never imagined that the 25th November Rally would ever take off. Similarly if each and everyone of us work as hard and show the same level of commitment and dedication as in the 25th November HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi spirit we will certainly succeed in this our struggle.

Vetri Nitchiyam.

Ethu Deiva Satiyam.

Thank you.

P.Uthayakumar

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) wants to be engaged with issues – so which issue has PR done well for the Indian poor? Which one? The 100,000 to 300,00

The estimate for the stateless Indians in the country ranges anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000. We do not know for sure because of the very nature of the problem and also because of the lack of reliable statistics from the UMNO government. But some recent data suggests that only in the state of Selangor there are around 40,000 Indian children who have been denied birth certificates. We know from our ground experience there are cases all over the country in large numbers.

Of course the National Registration Department comes under the Federal Government. Is that reason enough DSAI for your PR government not to do anything substantial about this problem. As I have said, all of that just sounds like silly excuses. For we know, that if there is a will there is always a way

For instance, the Selangor and Kedah Menteri Besars and the Penang Chief Minister can set up a department each in the States, with one Director, Several managers, officers, adequate administrative staff and about a hundred or so temporary field officers within the State Secretariat to address this issue.

The issue requires identification of the stateless people through campaigns, working on every individual case identified and staying with the cases through the entire procedure till they are all reinstated as full fledged citizens of the country. This may take 12 -24 months to cover most of the cases . Just think, how many lives will be positively impacted, how many people now will come out of the blanket of stateless non existence, they can go to schools, they can register for government welfare programs, they can get hospital treatment at subsidised rates, they can open bank accounts, they can get licences or permits for small trades and so on and so forth. So many people will be brought back into the mainstream.

Surely this is not too unrealistic a thought, is it. Have the PR governments embarked on a program like this -DSAI? Do the State governments not have budgetary resources to do this or does not the so called policy of “pluralism” extend to reach to these kinds of problems? What is the meaning of pluralism for the Indian poor, if that is the case? It is totally irrelevant isn’t it?

Come on, DSAI start getting real if you really want to become the new PM of this country. Your path there requires that you need to get out of conventional modes of thinking.

We in Hindraf and HRP want to see substantive new effort on all such critical indian problems. We think you can do mush more than what you have done. So do not say ” We have done much more than BN. It may not be to the full satisfaction of Indians but what do you want the state government to do?” If that is all you can say then do not make empty statements that you want to engage with the issues. If you really want to engage with the issues then you must act positively and in appropriate ways on the issues. You are right, there is no need to debate with Hindraf, all PR needs to do, is to just work on the issues, and stop all the Mandorist illusion creating stuff, a-la MIC.

If we do not see any changes in spite of all these inputs then, you tell us DSAI does it make a difference who rules this country, for the Indian poor?

N.Ganesan
National Advisor
HRP and Hindraf

Anwar Ibrahim cutting ties with Hindraf or with critical Indian problems?

[Anwar+statement+on+HINDRAF.JPG]

Samy Vellu Bribes Hindu Goddess Kali ?

By: The Traveler, Sunday, March 21, 2010

Indians are generally crazy of gold. The price per gram now stands at RM 125.00 and probably many Indians are hard hit in their quest to amass gold for their posterity.

However, for Samy Vellu, MIC president for 32 years, the soaring price of gold seems to have no effect.

According to his mouthpiece Tamil Nesan daily, Samy Vellu offered gold ornaments to Hindu goddess Kaliamman.

 goddess kali
Tamil Nesan


Accompanying him to the Jalan Ipoh, Kampong Kassipillai Sri Maha Kaliaman temple was his lovely family; wife Indrani and daughter in law Shaila Nair Vell Paari.

The offering of gold to goddess Kali was supposed to be part of Samy Vellu’s 73rd. birthday celebration.

Samy Vellu’s ishta thevathai or choice of Hindu god is interesting. Does he possess all the traits of Kali?

In Hinduism, Kali is known to be fearful and vicious goddess often carrying a machete in her hand. Many worshippers still offer animal scarifies to Kali, but now, this inhumane offering has been prohibited in many Malaysian Hindu temples.
One cannot question Samy Vellu’s choice of god and the type of offerings -- be it a gold spear, gold teeth, gold garland or whatever -- he wishes to provide his favorite goddess for eternal power till his death.

That’s, of course, his human rights if the expenses he shove on the goddess comes from his legitimate earnings.

Is that the case with Samy Vellu?

From Maika Holdings to AIMST University, countless charges of hijacking people’s money has been leveled on Samy Vellu and reported to the relevant authorities in the last three decades.

Just days ago, Makkal Osai Tamil daily accused Samy Vellu of pocketing RM 200,00 donated by National Land Finance Co Operative Society (NLFCS) to Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED).

Samy Vellu did not deny taking but said the money was donated for General election purpose which itself an offence under elections laws.
If Samy Vellu can get money like this, why he would bother about gold price?
He even can offer golden crown for goddess Kali from the money he hijacked from poor plantation workers to silence goddess kali as he used to silence reporters, MIC members and others who could challenge him.

Gods silence is understandable. God speaks only in Tamil movies and not in real life. If God can speak in real life, goddess kali will definitely refuse the tainted offerings from Samy Vellu.

On the contrary, some earthly creatures are willing to sell their soul for a miserable flight ticket to Delhi.

The two mainstream media, The Star and The New Straits Times, are keeping their dead silence on Samy Vellu even though they have enough resources, unlike Tamil Dailies with their limited readership, to pursue and expose Samy Vellu’s misdeeds.

The English dailies are silent. Their reporters have no journalistic ethics. They allow themselves to be bought by crook politicians. More so, they will glorify the swindlers birthday.

The NSTP reporter Suganthi Suparmaniam has no time to write about MIED scandals. Samy Vellu 73rd. birthday story is more important for the Indian community than the RM 200, 000 hijack because of the free trip she took to Delhi where she stayed in a five star hotel.

All paid by Samy Vellu.

The Star reporter Letchumanan is worse, making annual Parvasi pilgrimage for more than ten years on Samy Vellu’s bill. His duty is to spin stories for Samy Vellu who is untouchable in the Star for his murky stories.

Can you expect Letchumanan to write on the illegal transfer of RM 200,000 from MIED purportedly used for election expenses?

Obviously, Letchumanan will not write anything that could jeopardize his annual free pilgrimage for the next ten years.

Samy Vellu not only silenced English daily reporters, the current MIC CWC members, too.

In the first two meetings, the temperature was very high. To cool the members, Samy Vellu threw a 50 % discount offer, some 100 %, for the entire CWC members Parvasi trip to Delphi.

The irony was that former MIC deputy president Subramaniam supporters also took Samy Vellu’s offer.

Now, you know why the subsequent CWC meetings became a tame affair and hardly noticed by the media.

Did Suganthi Supramaniam, Letchumanan and MIC CWC members realize that the money Samy Vellu paid from his pocket may come from the RM 200, 000 stolen from poor plantation workers who toiled the rubber and oil palm estates to pay the RM 10 per month?

“Arasan andru kolvan, Deivam nindru kollum”, a Tamil old adage. The King will punish you immediately but God will punish you later, if you translate it crudely.

Let’s have faith in Goddess Kali: she will not be easily bribed like the earthly creatures.

 mied

Pandemonium in the house as MP breaks procedures

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Parliament descended into pandemonium today as Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan broke parliamentary procedure in order to threaten Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) with being referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee.

Abdul Rahman spoke after Question Time and cited Parliamentary Standing Order number 37 1 (A) to give himself time to issue the threat to Anwar explain his “One Israel” remark.

The warning from the BN backbencher was initially met with fierce objection from Ipoh Timur MP and the DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang who argued that Abdul Rahman had no merit to raise the Standing Order.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, however, allowed the Kota Belud MP to finish speaking.

Permatang Pauh MP Anwar Ibrahim had recently claimed that APCO Worldwide, an international public relations company hired by the Najib Administration to promote his 1 Malaysia concept, is Israeli-linked and was behind the “One Israel” campaign that marked former premier Ehud Barak’s government in the 1990s.

Abdul Rahman said the statement issued by APCO denying the allegations made by Anwar was proof that the 1 Israel slogan is in no way linked to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia slogan.

The BN government also denied that APCO is in their hire, said the Kota Belud MP.

“Yang Berhormat Permatang Pauh has clearly misled the House based on the statement made by APCO,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

“If this is not stopped, it can be continuously used by the opposition in their ceramah events,” he added.

In allowing Abdul Rahman to continue Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, said that “the opposition have often been allowed to raise their point of order so we should allow the others too. I just want to let him finish presenting his argument”.

Chaos ensued in the House as other opposition MPs attempted to stop Abdul Rahman from continuing while their BN counterparts blasted them for attempts to disrupt the proceeding.

“On what grounds is Kota Belud allowed to table the motion?” shouted Lim Kit Siang only to be drowned by shouts of “coward” and “sit down” from the BN side of the House.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had to interfere amid the chaotic sitting and told the Deputy Speaker that the government took the allegation, which he claims is not true, very seriously.

This did not stop the verbal fracas.

Opposition MPs continued arguing that the House had not been consistent as BN MPs are allowed to raise the Standing Order when a PR leader allegedly makes a misleading statement while BN lawmakers have walked away unscathed when doing so.

Kiandee then managed to calm the heated situation and reasoned that the motion allows Anwar to explain his allegation in a week’s time failing which the government will consider taking further action.

He subsequently decided to allow the motion. Any decision made by the House Speaker is final according to Parliamentary Standing Orders.

The Deputy Speaker did not allow opposition lawmakers to raise the same Standing Order following the Government’s denial that APCO is working for them. Opposition lawmakers claim the denial is a lie.

Anwar promised DPM posts to PAS, DAP, says Zahrain

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Independent MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (picture) said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim promised to create three deputy prime minister posts for representatives of each Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component party, if he were to become prime minister.

The three, claimed Zahrain, were DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and one other person from Sabah or Sarawak.

He added that the plan was Anwar’s strategy to ensure that DAP and PAS leaders were “well-fed” with positions in the government and would then continue to throw their support behind him as prime minister.

The renegade MP told The Malaysian Insider in an interview last night that information of such an agreement, though unconfirmed, had reached him when he was still in PKR.

“You mean you did not hear of this? You should ask Anwar about what he promised Kit Siang and Hadi? He must have promised them something,” he said.

In an immediate reaction, DAP’s Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang denied ever being offered the DPM post if Pakatan Rakyat captured Putrajaya.

“Anwar has never offered any post to me,” the Ipoh Timur MP told The Malaysian Insider.

Zahrain added that as the post of deputy prime minister was not provided for in the Federal Constitution, Anwar had every right to create as many deputy prime ministers as he wanted.

“You can create as many as you like, five, six, seven, 10. And mind you, the people would be paying for their salaries at the end of the day,” he said.

Zahrain added that without such an agreement, DAP and PAS leaders would not blindly support Anwar.

“You think they would support him for nothing? You mean they are going to say — ok, ok, we support you as prime minister but we do not want anything. Come on,” he said.

He added that knowing full well that pleasing PAS and the DAP would ultimately grant him his much-needed support, Anwar was willing to make all kinds of promises to PR member parties.

“He has to play juggling... he has to juggle the balls and one day he might drop some balls then at the end of the day, he has no balls,” said Zahrain, in jest.

He added that Anwar’s Putrajaya dream was not just a “want” or a “wish” but an “obsession.”

“That’s why I tell you, the country will go down if he actually takes power. He will promise everybody one thing and yet, deliver nothing. That is what he does — make promises.

“I am afraid if the PR succeeds in convincing the people and they become the government one day... because they (PKR, PAS, DAP) will eventually quarrel and then someone has to be subservient to someone else if the coalition were to work but who is going to give in? Definitely not PAS and DAP,” he said.

Zahrain said that the three PR parties were only standing together today for the purpose of taking over the government.

“There is a lot of hypocrisy in the PR. PKR is holding the balance now, that is true, but how long can they hold the balance between DAP and PAS? PAS wants hudud law. You think DAP will stand for that?

“Today, everyone is putting aside their differences until they take over the government and when they do, then suddenly one group will say, I want this, and another group will say, no, I want that. This is why it will never work,” he predicted.

Zahrain also claimed that Anwar’s promise game had even reached outside Malaysia, which was why the fiery leader had so much support from nations like the US.

“Anwar used (former Prime Minister Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) to get to them (the Americans). Mahathir’s Look East policy never sat well with them and Anwar made full use of that, as well as his sodomy trial, to garner support from them. He has promised the Americans that if he became the Prime Minister, they would be his partner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Zahrain also voiced his strong belief that the Barisan Nasional would win back its two-third majority in the Parliament come the next election.

“It is quite clear because the PR has lost its Malay support quite drastically. Support from the Indian community has also dwindled drastically and at the same time, support from the Chinese community has stagnated.

“In any case, how can you have a prime minister who is merely a popularity seeker, who only knows how to make promises and who cannot deliver?” he said.

Zahrain targets PR but BN is collateral damage, analysts say

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Did the newly-independent Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (picture) over-play his hand by his “revelations” in Parliament last week that eight Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs would have helped Pakatan Rakyat (PR) capture Putrajaya in 2008?

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said Zahrain’s disclosure of the BN MPs’ identities, who were to help realise Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s September 16 plan, may backfire.

“It hurts the ruling coalition more than Pakatan Rakyat ,” said Khoo, adding disclosing the name only casts doubts on whether MPs in BN’s own ranks can be trusted by their peers.

Zahrain listed the MPs who were to jump as Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (BN-Gua Musang), Datuk Seri Abdul Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan), Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis), Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (BN-Batu Pahat) and Datuk Seri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (BN-Jerantut).

He also named Datuk Chua Soon Bui (SAPP-Tawau) and Datuk Eric Majimbun (SAPP-Sepanggar), who did quit BN and sit as Independents in the House.

“I’m surprised at the strategy, what will their colleagues in BN think of them?” added Khoo, pointing out that Sept 16 was an old story which didn’t happen and Zahrain disclosures was nothing new.

For two consecutive days Zahrain, who left PKR on February 12 to become an Independent MP, took pot shots at the Opposition Leader’s planned take-over of the Federal Government after Election 2008.

University lecturer James Chin pointed out that only politicians remember Sept 16 and that its impact on Anwar and PR was minimal. It does, however, provide more ammunition for the Umno-owned media to use against the opposition.

Chin said Zahrain’s disclosure on what transpired before September 16 will only make it harder for Anwar to try to use the defection route again.

“They (BN MPs) will think twice about trusting Anwar and it will be difficult for him to trigger defections,” said the political analyst from Monash University Sunway.

However he added that most people would take what the now independent MP is saying with a pinch of salt.

“In general, most Malaysians don’t like defectors as they’re see them as traitors.”

While agreeing that Zahrain’s disclosures may have no impact on diehard PR supporters, social scientist Dr Chandra Muzafar says fence-sitters will see Anwar in a different light.

The former Keadilan deputy president expressed no surprise at Zahrain disclosures because similar promises about defections from BN were made by Anwar, when the opposition party was in its infancy.

“As someone who was with Anwar, we were told many ‘tales”, such as 20 MPs quitting BN to form a new party,” Chandra told The Malaysian Insider.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said the BN looks as if they are trying to “milk” any political mileage they can get from Zahrain’s defection but their strategy in Parliament remains unclear.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said besides being a personal betrayal of Anwar, the disclosures are unlikely to have any major impact on the opposition.

“It’s personal more than anything else,” he said, adding Zahrain’s speech in Parliament was very well ‘choreographed’.

“For the first time he had a prepared speech and all BN MPs including ministers were in the House.”

Pua said the move may have even been planned by BN to shame their MPs from ever cutting a deal with Anwar.

“Who knows what message he was trying to send?” he added.

There is deep-seated unhappiness in PKR, says Chandra

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Former PKR MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim’s “revelations” in Parliament last week is not an Umno ploy to split the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), say analysts.

Instead, they feel it is an indication of an “existing unhappiness” in PKR.

One-time PKR deputy-president and social scientist Dr Chandra Muzaffar told The Malaysian Insider that the now-independent MP’s statements finally showed Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s true colours.

“I don’t think it is an Umno strategy. The revelations are more about September 16.

“The events of September 16 have not really been revealed before. There are good things to come out of this, if you ask me,” said Chandra.

According to Chandra, this means that Anwar no longer can claim the moral ground.

“It’s an affirmation, it confirms what I have known for a long time. Anwar has no right to occupy the moral high ground,” he added.

Zahrain, who is Bayan Baru MP, claimed that Anwar contacted BN MPs to defect to PR to help the coalition topple the Federal government on Sept 16, 2008.

Zahrain named Dr Puad Zarkashi (Batu Pahat), Datuk Abdul Ghapur Salleh (Kalabakan), Datuk Anifah Aman (Kimanis), Datuk Eric Majimbun (Sepanggar), Tengku Datuk Seri Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar (Jerantut), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Gua Musang), Datuk Chua Soon Bui (Tawau) and Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (Kinabatangan) as those who were ready to defect.

“I don’t think that BN is behind this, it’s a result of an existing unhappiness in PKR,” said Professor Shamsul Amri of UKM when asked to comment on Zahrain’s outburst.

The lecturer stated that recent events had actually opened space for a third voice to be heard, and that the public now had access to three different points of view.

“I want to look on the brighter side. Malaysians should be given more information, information that’s usually kept within the party.

“I’m quite relieved that this has come out in the open, rather than just passed around like a rumour,” he added.

The Monarch Has No Power to Sack Any Member of The Cabinet Exco

By NH Chan

The reality is neither the King nor the Sultan has any power to sack the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar or the other cabinet ministers/executive councillors

I have divided this primer to a monarch’s powers in two sections.

Section One deals with the appointment of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar and other Cabinet Ministers/Executive Councillors by a constitutional monarch.

Section Two will deal with the constitutional monarch’s power to dismiss the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar or other Ministers/Executive Councillors.

Before I embark on the basic or known law on the dismissal of a Prime Minister/Menteri Besar and of the rest of the Cabinet Ministers/Executive Councillors by a constitutional monarch, I should first explain the known law on how they are appointed by the monarch.

Section One

The appointment of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar and the Cabinet/Executive Council

The Federal Constitution

Article 43(2) says:

(2) The Cabinet shall be appointed as follows, that is to say:

(a) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House; and

(b) He shall on the advice of the Prime Minister appoint other Menteri (Ministers) from among the members of either House of Parliament (The emphasis is supplied by me)

Article 43(2)(a) deals with the appointment of the Prime Minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives.

Article 43(2)(b) deals with the appointment of the other Ministers by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister.

The Laws of the Constitution of Perak

Now, compare Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution with Article 16(2) of the Laws of the Constitution of Perak.

Article 16(2) says:

(2) The Executive Council shall be appointed as follows, that is to say:

(a) His Royal Highness shall first appoint as Menteri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly; and

(b) He shall on the advice of the Menteri Besar appoint not more than ten nor less than four other members from among the members of the Legislative Assembly; (I have supplied the emphasis)

Article 16(2)(a) deals with the appointment of the Menteri Besar by the Sultan who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly.

Article 16(2)(b) deals with the appointment of the other Executive Councillors by the Sultan on the advice of the Menteri Besar.

You will notice the striking similarity between the Federal and the Perak State Constitutions on the appointment of the Prime Minister and the Menteri Besar, and the appointment of the other Ministers and Executive Councillors.

The King/Sultan appoints the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar “who in his judgment” is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives/Legislative Assembly

The question here is, does the phrase “who in his judgment” confer on the constitutional monarch a discretion to appoint any person to the post of Prime Minister/Menteri Besar as he pleases?

Both Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution and Article 16(2)(a) of the Perak Constitution use the same wording, viz.: The King/Sultan shall appoint a Prime Minister/Menteri Besar to preside over the Cabinet/Executive Council a member of the House of Representatives/Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House/Assembly.

The phrase “who in his judgment” by itself means nothing more than “who in his opinion.” It carries no further meaning than what is stated by Lord Diplock in Teh Chang Poh v Public Prosecutor [1979] 1 MLJ 50, at 52 where he explains the concept of a monarch in a constitutional monarchy. However, when it concerns the appointment of a Prime Minister or a Menteri Besar the phrase “who in his judgment” must be read together with:

Article 40(2) of the Federal Constitution:

(2) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions, that is to say:

(a) the appointment of a Prime Minister;

(b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament;

Or in the Perak Constitution, Article 18(2):

(2) His Royal Highness may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions … that is to say:

(a) the appointment of a Mentri Besar,

(b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly,

The combination includes the phrase “may act in his discretion” and it means – according to the dictionary meaning of the word “discretion” – the King/Menteri Besar has the freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation, freedom or authority to make judgments and to act as one sees fit.

The King/Sultan, therefore, has the discretionary power to appoint any person to be Prime Minister/Menteri Besar as he pleases subject only to his own perception of the person most likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives/Legislative Assembly.

But, it is necessary to point out that in the Perak case of Nizar v Zambry, the Sultan has no power to appoint Zambry as the Menteri Besar because Nizar was still the holder of the office. It is only when the office is vacant would the Sultan be able to appoint another person to the office of Menteri Besar.

The unconstitutional appointment of Zambry to the post makes him an imposter. This is a blatantly unconstitutional exercise of a non-existent executive power by a pretentious constitutional monarch. Are we back to the days of the pretensions of King Charles I?

A constitutional monarch has no executive power except that which the law allows him. And the Constitution of Perak would only permit the Sultan to act in the performance of a few discretionary functions stated in Article 18(2). In relation to the office of Menteri Besar Clause (2)(a) applies. It says:

(2) His Royal Highness may act in his discretion in the performance of the following function … that is to say:

(a) the appointment of a Mentri Besar,

Clause (2) (a) is clear enough. The Sultan only has the discretionary function to appoint a Menteri Besar. So that as long as Mohammad Nizar Jamaludin is still in office as Menteri Besar, the Sultan has no other discretionary function to appoint another person. Therefore, the Sultan’s appointment of Zambry Abdul Kadir is an unconstitutional exercise of a non-existent discretionary function to appoint a second Menteri Besar.

In reality the Sultan has no executive power to sack the incumbent Menteri Besar, Nizar Jamaludin at all (see my critique on the judgment of the Federal Court in Nizar v Zambry).

The King/Sultan shall on the advice of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar appoint other Ministers/Executive Councillors from among the members of either House of Parliament/the Executive Council

Article 43(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution states:

(b) He shall on the advice of the Prime Minister appoint other Menteri (Ministers) from among the members of either House of Parliament. (The emphasis is supplied by me)

And Article 16(2)(b) of the Perak Constitution states;

(b) He shall on the advice of the Mentri Besar appoint not more than ten nor less than four other members from among the members of the Legislative Assembly; (The emphasis is supplied by me)

As you can see in both the Federal and the Perak Constitutions the King/Sultan appoints the Cabinet Ministers/Executive Councillors on the advice of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar.

What does “on the advice of” mean?

It means the King/Sultan has to act on the order of the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar. The constitutional monarch has no option. He must act as he is told. This is how Lord Diplock explains it in Teh Chang Poh v Public Prosecutor [1979] 1 MLJ 50, at 52:

Although this, like other powers under the Constitution, is conferred nominally upon the [King/Sultan] by virtue of his office … and is expressed to be exercisable if he is satisfied of a particular matter, his functions are those of a constitutional monarch … he does not exercise any of his functions under the Constitution on his own initiative but is required by Article [43(2)(b) or 16(2)(b) of the Federal and Perak Constitutions, respectively] to act in accordance with the advice of the [Prime Minister/Menteri Besar].

So that the phrase “on the advice of” the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar means “on being told or notified” by the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar.

The King/Sultan does not act on his own initiative. He can only act as he is told or instructed or notified by the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar.

Source: Bernama

Source: Bernama

Section Two

Has the Constitutional Monarch any power to dismiss the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar or any member of his Cabinet/Executive Council?

In the case of the sacking of a Deputy Prime Minister and any other Ministers there is Article 43(5) of the Federal Constitution. In the case of the dismissal of a member of the Executive Council in Perak there is Article 16(7) of the Perak Constitution.

Article 43(5) of the Federal Constitution states:

(5) Subject to Clause (4), Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any Minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister but any Minister may resign his office.

This is what Clause (5) of the Constitution meant:

(a) All the Ministers (except the Prime Minister) hold office during the pleasure of the King.

(b) Unless (it means “except when”, “if not”) the appointment is revoked by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister.

(c) But a Minister may resign his office.

But what do the phrases that I have highlighted above really mean?

(a) The phrase “during the pleasure of the King” means “I choose to, and therefore of course shall, do it or have it done” – an imperious statement of intention. The idiom is based on the definite special sense of pleasure with possessives (my, his, the king’s, etc.), viz. one’s will, desire, choice (The accused was found guilty but insane and was ordered to be detained during Her Majesty’s pleasure). : Fowler’s Modern English Usage, second edition revised by Sir Ernest Gowers, OUP, 1965. So that all Ministers, except the Prime Minister, hold office on the King’s will, choice. And they will remain in office as such until or

(b) Unless the appointment is revoked by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister. The word “unless” means “until” or “except when” the appointment is revoked on the advice of the Prime Minister.

So that (a) and (b) together mean that a Minister (other than the Prime Minister) shall remain in office until or except when the appointment is revoked by the King/Sultan on the advice of the Prime Minister.

(c) Or the Minister may resign his office.

One thing that we are sure of, the phrase “during the pleasure of” does not mean that the King can sack any Minister at will. The phrase “during the pleasure of” has a distinctive meaning – it means that he shall hold office as such Minister unless the appointment is revoked by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister. Effectively, the appointment of a Minister can only be revoked by the Prime Minister because the King has no option but to act as he is told (advised).

Article 16(6) and(7) of the Perak Constitution state:

(6) If the Mentri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

(7) Subject to Clause (6) a member of the Executive Council other than the Mentri Besar shall hold office at His Royal Highness’ pleasure, but any member of the Council may at any time resign his office.

Clause (7) means that a member of the Executive Council (except the Menteri Besar) holds office at the Sultan’s pleasure which, as I have already explained, means that he stays in office as an Executive Councillor on the Sultan?s will or choice.

The phrase “at the Sultan’s pleasure” does not mean that the Sultan can sack an Executive Councillor at will. I have previously subscribed to the notion that the Sultan can sack an Executive Councillor at will but I now realise that I was wrong. Luckily what I have said previously was obiter (it means “a thing said by the way”: The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981). But in law obiter dictum means “a remark by the judge which is outside the content of his judgment – plural: obiter dicta. (See Le Mot Juste – a dictionary of classical & foreign words and phrases.)

However, unlike a Minister who can be sacked by the Prime Minister, neither the Menteri Besar nor the Sultan can sack an Executive Councillor. There is no provision for this in the Perak Constitution. However, under Clause (7) “any member of the Council may at any time resign his office.”

Clause (6) of Article 16 only allows the Menteri Besar to “tender the resignation of the Executive Council” en bloc. So that even though an Executive Councillor can at any time resign his office, the Menteri Besar could not sack him.

However Clause (6) will only apply when “the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly.” But who is to say that? Certainly, it is not for the Sultan to say so. The Perak Constitution does not confer the Sultan with any power to determine that the Menteri Besar has lost the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly. He is only a constitutional monarch with no additional power to make such a determination.

In reality the Sultan’s functions are those of a constitutional monarch and this means that he does not exercise any of his functions under the Constitution on his own initiative. He has to abide by the collective opinion or decision of the majority of the elected representatives in the Legislative Assembly.

So that until it has been established by the Legislative Assembly that the Mentri Besar no longer command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then only would the Meenteri Besar be required to tender the resignation of the Executive Council en bloc. But if he doesn’t do that, there is nothing the Sultan could do about it. He has no power whatsoever under the Constitution to sack the incumbent Menteri Besar.

However, there would be no need for the Menteri Besar to resign the Executive Council if the Sultan had acceded to the Menteri Besar’s request to dissolve the Assembly.

But the Sultan can withhold his consent to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

This is provided in Article 18(2)(b) of the Perak Constitution. It says:

(2) His Royal Highness may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions ? that is to say:

(a) the appointment of a Menteri Besar,

(b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly,

The reality is, neither the King nor the Sultan has any power to sack the Prime Minister/Menteri Besar

You can see at once that Article 43(5) does not apply to the Prime Minister. This is the only provision in the Constitution where a Minister – a deputy Prime Minister is a Minister – can be sacked: see my article, Was the sacking of Anwah Ibrahim from the Cabinet 11 years ago lawful?

Article 43(5) exempts the Prime Minister from its application. There is no other provision in the Constitution where the King is empowered to sack the Prime Minister.

Nor is there any provision in the Perak Constitution where the Sultan has the power to sack the Menteri Besar. Article 16(6) of the Constitution of Perak, as I have explained above, does not empower the Sultan to command the Menteri Besar to vacate his office.

Of students and social revolutions

The Mawi-Siti Norhaliza culture of thinking constructed in our universities are still reflective of false consciousness, mass deception, 1Malaysia, Hadhari-pop mania and iconoclasm, and emblematic of talking heads of money-making machines that prey especially upon the weakness of the Malay spirit.

A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE

Azly Rahman
http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/

I congratulate our students in Malaysia for being interested in activism again. At a time when race issues and racism is on the rise, we need voices in the wilderness to speak in unison en mass, eerily shattering the silence of the forest. We need those voices to haunt the corridors of academia; corridors that have been busy merely with issues of politicization of this or that, instead of becoming fertile areas to plant the seeds of philosophy and social revolutions.

Our universities need to discuss critical issues in society and invite promoters of freedom. A few years ago Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was invited to Columbia University in New York raise issues of global concern.

More importantly, Ahmadinejad was invited in the name of promoting and continuing the tradition of academic freedom. Our universities are more interested in inviting Mawi and Siti Norhaliza so that the students can continue to be glued to images of pop idols, and so that they will be turned into one-dimensional beings. We cannot continue to feed our students with bread and circuses. They need philosophy, political economy, multiculturalism, and scientific socialism on a daily basis.

The Mawi-Siti Norhaliza culture of thinking constructed in our universities are still reflective of false consciousness, mass deception, 1Malaysia, Hadhari-pop mania and iconoclasm, and emblematic of talking heads of money-making machines that prey especially upon the weakness of the Malay spirit.

How did we come to a stage in history that Kennedy-era economist Walt Rostow would call ‘the age of mass consumption of mass deception’? It is our fault that the state of affairs is nauseating.

We are being denied justice in virtually all aspects of governance. This is the legacy of hegemony wrought upon the nation through the 22-year rule of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.This is the danger of letting one stay in power for way too long.Power corrupts and absolute power can corrupt absolutely.

We have not developed a critically conscious citizenry, we let the three branches of government collapse from the tree of knowledge that we artificially plant in order to showcase democracy to the world. We let the system silence the people and we dumb-down our educational institutions. We don't know exactly how the next general election will favour the despotic regime.

Danton of the French Revolutionary period lamented days before his execution: "... better be a fisherman than engage in all these". He may be wrong. We must all be like Robespierre, I suppose, and fight on until we conspire with fate to change the scheme of things.

I believe we will see natural justice take its course. As Rousseau said: "Everything is Good in the hands of the author of Things, everything degenerate in the Hands of man". Indeed the challenge is to stop the rot. Only with regime change will this be possible. Only through education for critical consciousness can the nation survive intact.

Our universities need to be turned into more intellectually challenging places and more systematically be forced to open their doors to critical dialogue. They must allow radical speakers to be invited. Students must not be denied the need to hear critical perspectives. Their minds must be cultivated with revolutionary theories that would teach them to revolt against all forms of oppression and domination.

We must demand that our schools and universities produce documents of change in the way we teach students about freedom of speech and improvement of thinking. We cannot allow our students to develop into leaders that we have now -- those interested in maintaining the status quo of a sinking ship.

The documents of change must succinctly state our commitment to raise the level of thinking of all students from pre-school to post-graduate schools. A higher order of thinking skills, critical thinking, and creative thinking must be made explicit goals. Benchmarks of higher-order thinking skills must be set and standards put in place.

Schools must bridge the achievement gap, educational resources must be allocated with equity so that we do not produce classes of people that will antagonise each other and lead the way for the kind of revolution we do not want to see - as in the case of France that culminated with the burning of Paris a few years back.

Multi-culturalism must be the foundation of our schools and educational institutions; the meeting of diverse needs of the learners and the creation of a nation of people who will not only respect one another's struggle but collaborate in removing regimes that create divisions in society; regimes that antagonize classes of people, using race and religion as tools of hatred.

We have a lot to do, as a nation. But we must begin with the unshackling of our mentality in solving problems. If our universities are merely interested in maintaining the hegemony of the ruling class and a corporatist despotic regime that thrives on slogans of economic progress via political stability, we cannot see deep into our national psyche, let alone heal it.

We cannot see the desire within that we wish to subjugate, tame, and put to moral and ethical use. ‘Desire’ here means the maintaining of the entity called the kerajaan, which produces men and machines that help run the mechanistic world of rampant corruption.

The machinery that supports this system is plagued with individuals and institutions that legitimise the propping-up of a broken judicial system, the advancing of sub-intelligent values in the way we teach our students in our universities, the empasis on material gains over spiritual cultivation, the prioritizing of wants over needs, the creation of hate groups, and the maintaining of a parliamentary culture that is fast degenerating into a state of denial.

Stop the rot in our educational institutions. Open our minds to possibilities of progressive changes. Let our imagination and hope for a just society run wild. Honor Socrates and the great thinkers of revolutionary change. Express rage against the machine.We do not have anything to lose except our mental chains.

Chua launches bid for top post to rousing support

Written by Chua Sue-Ann, The Edge

The battle lines are drawn with Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai offering themselves on Sunday, March 21, for the MCA presidency and deputy presidency, respectively, in the party’s fresh polls that will be held on March 28.

Chua joined the race in a three-way fight with incumbent Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and immediate past president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, who is making a comeback.

The contest for the deputy presidency is shaping up to be a two-way fight following Liow’s announcement of his candidacy after another former vice-president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha had offered himself earlier.

Nominations for the party polls will be held at Wisma MCA here on March 22.

Though the candidates are playing it coy for the moment, the battle lines appear set with Chua and Kong making an appearance together on March 21, while Liow and Ka Ting are largely seen as a tag team, and Tee Keat keeping to his “lone ranger” status.

Horse-trading could continue until the polling day on Sunday and fresh twists are not unexpected, with the possibility of central delegates electing a president and a deputy who have been at loggerheads with one another, and potentially extending the party leadership crisis.

Speaking at a press conference here, Chua dismissed questions about a running mate, saying that he did not “team up” with anyone.

Expressing optimism, he maintained his chances were “as high as any of the other two candidates”.
“Anyone elected as president has to accept anyone who is chosen by the delegates (to be deputy president). This is how we can reduce or eradicate the factions,” he said.

In a rousing speech to his supporters, Chua took a swipe at Ka Ting, who led MCA for five years until October 2008. “It must not be denied that during March 8, 2008 when MCA was under the leadership of Ong Ka Ting, the party suffered huge losses but we see that the organisation is still strong and party members are still loyal and committed,” Chua said.

He claimed that MCA’s dismal performance was due to Ka Ting’s poor choice of “parachute” candidates whom he said were unfamiliar to the voters.

If chosen as party president, he pledged to listen to the grassroots’ views when deciding on election candidate.

After saying that, Chua quipped to his supporters, “I am giving you all more power, why no applause?” before the ballroom burst into applause and cheers.

“This time, your choice of party leader is very important. (The leader should be) tolerant, open-minded and willing to listen to the grassroots and not only one who wants to listen to his own voice,” Chua said, perhaps taking a jibe at Tee Keat.

He told the crowd that he planned to strengthen the grassroots by utilising the party’s assets, including MCA-owned newspaper The Star’s profits, which he said totalled some RM40 million to RM60 million.

“I understand the aspirations and demands of MCA members. I have a strategy of how we can unite MCA members and stabilise the current situation in MCA.

“If chosen, I’m confident we can form an MCA that can encompass everyone so we can move forth as a team and be prepared for the next general election,” Chua said.

He added that he would launch his election manifesto on March 22 but remain tight-lipped as to what he would be banking on to win the presidency.

When asked, Chua said he had already “acknowledged the fact” that his secretly-filmed sex tape, which was circulated at the end of 2007, may be used by “people who will use anything for their own political gain”.

“I give assurance that I will not use personal issues (when campaigning). Each MCA leader has his own weakness. It’s a matter of whether it is exposed,” said Chua, who had resigned from his positions after the video recording surfaced.

Former MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, who was present at Chua’s press conference, told reporters that he was prepared to work with any of the three candidates who were vying for the presidency.

Kong, who is housing and local government minister, is widely seen as Chua’s running mate but has dismissed such a conjecture.

Also present during Chua’s announcement were MCA disciplinary board chairman Datuk Seri Fong Chan Onn as well as former central commitee (CC) members Datuk Tan Chai Ho and Loh Seng Kok.

Chua’s announcement at a hotel here was met with a standing ovation from over 600 supporters, many of whom are said to have been transported by bus from Chua’s home state Johor.

At the hotel entrance, almost 100 supporters held four banners bearing Chua’s photograph and slogans proclaiming support for Chua’s bid while asserting that the embattled party needed a strong leader to unite MCA rather than a “hero”.

The crowd enthusiastically blew whistles and shouted slogans urging Chua to “fight to the end”.
Chua resigned as deputy president on March 4, along with seven other CC members, adding to the other group of 13 CC members who had also sent in their resignations in a bid to trigger fresh elections for the party’s powerful central body.

According to the MCA constitution, fresh elections for the CC must be held within 30 days if at least two-thirds or 21 of its 31 elected members resign before their term expires. Chua was reinstated as deputy president by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on Nov 3, 2009 after he was earlier sacked from the party.

MCA’s emergency general meeting on October 10, 2009 saw Chua reinstated as a party member but not as deputy president.

Liow mum
Meanwhile, at a press conference also at MCA headquarters that was held earlier to Chua’s, Liow declined to comment on the presidential candidate that he would be aligning himself to.

He hoped that delegates will decide with the party’s interests in mind and based on the candidates’ abilities, instead of factions and alliances.

“I have mentioned in my statement that unity, harmony and stability of the party are of utmost importance; so as long as we have the same direction we can work together.

“I am a team player. I prioritise the party’s stability, harmony and unity. It’s not a slogan but a commitment to my party.

“I am ready to work together with the new MCA leadership to reinforce the party’s position so we can confidently face the general election,” Liow said.

However, he declined to say whether he would be ready to work with Tee Keat if the latter were to retain the top post. “I do not want to comment. All these are wait-and-see questions,” he said.

Liow also declined to comment on his contender only saying that Kong had the right to contest in the polls.

Kong, who resigned from his vice-presidency in February, won the highest number of votes in the last party elections.

To date, only Liow and Kong have announced their intentions to gun for the No 2 position ahead of nomination day March 22.

“It is important for MCA to restore its integrity as quickly as possible. Come March 28, MCA will fully recover its integrity,” Liow said, to applause by his supporters.

Also present at Liow’s press conference were MCA Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong, Wanita MCA chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun and former CC member Datuk Chor Chee Heung.

Chor, who is deputy finance minister, on March 15 announced his bid for one of the four MCA vice-president posts after he was sacked from the CC in November, 2009.

Liow was briefly MCA deputy president last year before the Registrar of Societies reinstated Chua to the position following the party’s inconclusive Oct 10 EGM.

A total of 31 positions are up for grabs in MCA’s CC polls, including 25 CC members.

Khairy calls the public to assess Anwar’s credibility

(Bernama) - The public have been urged to assess Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s credibility following a revelation of the opposition’s aborted Sept 16 plan by Member of Parliament for Bayan Baru Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said Zahrain made the revelation from his experience in the opposition and not under the direction of by Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Zahrain was disappointed with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and the PKR adviser and opposition leader. Let’s wait for the debate on the royal address,” he told reporters after playing for national Umno Youth in a football friendly with Subang Umno Youth to mark the close of the Subang League and the Subang Juara Rakyat here today.

On the upcoming MCA elections on March 28, he hopes the MCA would bury the hatchet after the elections, and members will accept the new line-up and close ranks.

Rais wants Anwar probed for alleged takeover attempt

(Bernama) - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be probed by the Dewan Rakyat’s Rights and Privileges Committee over the alleged takeover attempt of the federal government by the opposition in 2008, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said only the Dewan Rakyat could determine whether there was any truth to the matter and that this could be done by getting Anwar to answer to the committee.

“The Dewan Rakyat must act on this and get the committee to commence a probe so that the facts can be known,” he told reporters after opening a youth programme in Felda Pasoh 2 here.

Last week, independent Bayan Baru member of parliament Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim had told the Dewan Rakyat that the Opposition had intended to take over the federal government on Sept 16, 2008 and that Anwar had used the names of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Chief of Defence Forces in connection with the bid.

He had also alleged that a number MPs had contemplated joining the Opposition to make the take over possible.

Are the police shooting to kill?

thenutgraph.com


Norizan Salleh (file pic)

POLICE-shooting victim Norizan Salleh never imagined she would ever be shot at. She describes how she felt lying on a highway near Gombak on 30 Oct 2009 after being shot five times by the police while on her way home: "I kept asking myself, 'Betul ke, saya kena tembak? Is this what it feels like?'

"I felt my body and saw blood on my hands. My breath was becoming shallower and my hands were very cold. I wondered, 'Is this how it feels like to die?'" Norizan tells The Nut Graph.

Norizan isn't the only person to have been shot by the police in 2009. In August, two men were gunned down when they reportedly charged at the police with machetes after committing armed robbery in Shah Alam. Then on 8 Nov, police shot dead five men in Klang, also alleged armed robbers. Just a week later, police fatally shot a man who had reportedly run amok with a dagger in Guar Sanji, Perlis.

While we would certainly like to see less armed robbers and criminals on the streets, does it have to involve the police shooting suspects dead? Are there alternative means of apprehending these suspects alive? And who is policing the police to ensure that they are not indiscriminately using their weapons, thereby causing unnecessary deaths in the process?

Numbers game


Charles Santiago (file pic)
According to Klang MP Charles Santiago, media reports show there were 39 deaths from police shootings in 2009. A Suaram press statement says in 2008, there were 44 such deaths. On average, that's more than three deaths a month. And that's not taking into account unreported shootings and deaths in police custody.

Yes, the police must surely have a right to defend themselves and those whom they protect from suspected criminals when life is being threatened. But why is the death rate from police shootings so high in Malaysia? Consider this. In countries like the United Kingdom, with more than twice our population, there was only one fatal shooting by the police in 2006. In some years, there were none at all.

Unanswered questions

Suaram coordinator Lucas Yap says that the killing of individuals by unlawful police shootings is a common occurrence in Malaysia, although the precise number is difficult to ascertain.

"The circumstances of police shootings in Malaysia indicate that the police do not try to apprehend suspects alive but shoot with the intention to kill," Yap tells The Nut Graph in an e-mail interview. "In virtually all cases of shooting deaths, the police claim that the suspects were armed and dangerous, that the suspects shot first, and that return fire was necessary."

"Of course, police say they shoot in self-defence...But there are instances where it is difficult to justify their actions. Shooting is something that should be avoided," Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam tells The Nut Graph in a phone interview.

Senior lawyer and former Bar Council president Raja Aziz Addruse says that proper justification must be given for the taking of a life. "Just to say, 'Because they were shooting at me,' is insufficient," he says. "In many of these cases, there's always a gun found in the car. It's just too coincidental. Very often, all the people allegedly involved are killed."


Siva Subramaniam
"Police must justify how they use their firearms," Raja Aziz says. "It doesn't mean that in all these cases, they have to shoot to kill."

Yap says that even if the claims of armed suspects are true, the police could consider other means of neutralising suspects, such as by using stun guns, tranquiliser shots or tear gas that are not lethal. "In the limited circumstances where shootings are warranted by law, suspects could be shot in the legs or arms and captured alive," Yap adds.

"Whatever it is, a shoot-to-kill policy is against human rights," says Siva. "The right to life is one of the basic rights which we should have to ensure."

Accountability

Yap says that if suspects are shot dead by police, inquests must be held within a month to determine whether the police made any efforts to apprehend suspects alive. In the long run, a coroner's court should be set up to investigate all deaths involving the police.

"Where killings are found to be avoidable, the police must be held accountable for their action," Yap says.

Raja Aziz also cites the need for an independent tribunal to look into police shootings. "In other countries, an independent inquiry would be held to find out what happened," he says. "For example, in the UK, an inquiry was held in the case of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes." The inquiry eventually found the Met police force guilty of endangering public safety, and it was penalised for shooting de Menezes dead.

Raja Aziz says the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) is inadequate to monitor the police, as its jurisdiction is too general. "With the rampant abuses that have been perpetuated by the police, there should be a proper, separate commission," he says. "Also, police officers have much greater powers than those in other agencies such as the MACC, immigration or customs."

Written guidelines

lucas yap
Lucas Yap (pic courtesy of Lucas Yap)
So what aspects would a tribunal scrutinise in a police shooting?

Yap cites the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials as a guide.

"Intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life," states Article 9 of the basic principles. The article states that discharging firearms is meant as a last resort, when less extreme means of protecting lives have proven insufficient.

Article 10 goes on to state that in using firearms, "officials shall identify themselves as such and give a clear warning on their intent to use firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed." This must be adhered to unless to do so "unduly places the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a risk of death or serious harm to other persons..."

Malaysia's written guidelines for the police on the use of firearms is supposedly a "restricted" document which the public cannot access.

"So far, we have not managed to get a copy of the written procedures," says Siva. "This will be brought up during our meeting with the police." Attempts by The Nut Graph to get a copy from the Home Minister also went unanswered.

Political will

Raja Aziz says unless the government has the political will to deal with these issues regarding the police, nothing will change.


Hishammuddin Hussein (file pic)
He recalls writing an article on a spate of deaths by police shootings in the late 1990s. "...[then Prime Minister Tun Dr] Mahathir Mohamad openly criticised me saying, 'Wait until someone holds a gun to his head.' If this is the attitude of the prime minister of the time and the government, nothing is going to be done."

Recently, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reportedly said that police would be responsible for their actions, including shooting criminals in self-defence.

But with no inquest or inquiry in sight for the numerous deaths by police shootings, one has to wonder, just what does that mean?

Religion and Pluralism in a Divided World

Public lecture by Anwar Ibrahim at the London School of Economics, March 18, 2010

Let me begin with a cryptic line from T.S. Eliot’s “Burnt Norton”:

Go, go, go, said the bird: Human kind cannot bear very much reality.

But I say bear it we must for indeed, it is a stark reality of our world that certain religious groups hold that only certain fundamental doctrines may lead to salvation. This exclusivist outlook unfortunately cuts across the board as between religions as well as within the denominations. In Christendom, we have seen the schisms and consequent upheavals arising from this sense of exclusivity. Within Islam, Sunni, Shiite and Sufi denominations have had a chequered history and continue to present the world with a scenario of violence and bloodshed. The backlash against Muslim migration to Europe has become more acrid in the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7 with right wing politcal parties benefitting from the new bout of xenophobia and fearmongering. France’s ban on the burqa has elicited heated emotion on both sides, but many Muslims scratched our heads in disbelief when Switzerland outlawed minarets.

Back in the 13th century, the mystical poet Jelaluddin al-Rumi wrote in the Masnavi:

The lamps are different but the Light is the same, it comes from Beyond; If thou keep looking at the lamp, thou art lost; for thence arises the appearance of number and plurality.

Those verses couldn’t be more relevant for us today. Despite rancorous debates linking religion to conflict and discrimination, it remains a fact that at a personal level religious experience boils down to certain universal concepts. Where does man come from? What is his purpose? What happens when he dies? The spiritual path subscribes us to a universal quest for truth and the pursuit of justice and virtue. We rejoice in beauty, both within ourselves and in what surrounds us. We long for knowledge, peace and security amid the mysteries and uncertainties of the universe. In our disjointed world filled with ugliness, violence and injustice, religion gives all of mankind an opportunity to realize values which unify humanity, despite the great diversity of climes and cultures.

Dante – one of the great poets of the Christian tradition – had much to say about this issue. Surrounded by civil strife that tore asunder the landscape of his 14th century Italian countryside, Dante was well acquainted with factionalism and the struggles for power between the Lords Temporal and the Lords Spiritual. Seeing the damage inflicted by the attempts to overcome these divisions he perceived a solution that was not merely political in nature. Writing in Monarchia he said that the ultimate aims in life are twofold – happiness in this worldly life as well as happiness in the eternal life basking in the vision of God. The attainment of these two goals would come with great difficulty:

“only when the waves of seductive greed are calmed and the human race rests free in the tranquillity of peace.”

Dante’s vision of universal peace could be achieved only when the nations of the world unite in an undivided planetary polity. This was surely a utopian dream but being European it is worth noting that his dream was not of an imperial Europe. Nor did he envision the Church expanding beyond its walls. The ruling authority in this utopian landscape would be the faculty of human reason, linking Dante’s vision directly to the philosophical outlook of Muslim luminaries including al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd.

Of course such a new world order never materialized. On the contrary if there is an enduring legacy of Enlightenment thought on the political geography of the world it is the dissection of empires and dynasties into individual, competing nation states rather than a greater unification.

Much blood was spilled to create and then protect these boundaries. Despite attempts by some to purify their lands, the boundaries drawn around the nation-state have been blurred by the advent of modern transportation and communication. Today’s world is perhaps more diverse and integrated than was the case in the golden age of Muslim Spain, where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in peaceful harmonious coexistence. And yet we can hardly say that the overwhemling result of this new connectivity is peace and harmony.

Today, freedom of religion without which there can be no religious pluralism, is an entrenched constitutional liberty in the established democracies. As such, favouring one religion over another or granting it a position at the expense of others may be considered as being against the spirit of religious pluralism. Yet this still happens even in certain established democracies in Europe while in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia this ambivalence has been virtually taken for granted until recently.

This is why the discourse on religious pluralism must deal with the fundamental question of freedom of religion and by association the freedom of conscience. The question arises as to whether it is the diversity of religions which makes the divided world more divided or the denial of religious freedom that causes it.

I believe I’m not alone in saying that for religious pluralism to flourish in a divided world, it is morally unacceptable to say to people of other faiths:

We believe in our God and we believe we are right; you believe in your God, but what you believe in is wrong.

If the Qur’anic proclamation that there is no compulsion in religion is to mean anything then it must surely be that imposition of one’s faith unto others is not Islamic. But to say this is not to deny the reality of religious diversity for the Qur’an also tells us clearly:

“O people! Behold, we have created you from a male and a female and have made you into nations and tribes to that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.”

The Guru Granth Sahib tells us that he who sees that all spiritual paths lead to the One shall be freed but he who utters falsehood shall descend into hellfire and burn. The blessed and the sanctified are those who remain absorbed in Truth.

Whatever the religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism and many others, I believe that the higher truths which go beyond mere practice and ritual all converge on the singular truth: and that is from God we were sent forth and unto God shall we return.

Yet certain leaders of the major world religions continue to make exclusivist claims to the eternal truths rather than accepting the commonality that binds us. If we accept that there can be unity in diversity, religious pluralism can therefore be a unifying force, not a cause of division. That is the way to take us away from darkness into light, from war to peace and from hatred and evil to love and kindness.

As for Muslims, there continues to be the problem of those who reject the value of free speech, free press, democracy, and freedom of conscience. They see the culture of religious pluralism as part of a grand conspiracy by ‘others’ particularly Christians to proselytize and convert Muslims. Pluralism is also a ploy of smuggling Western-style democracy through the back door.

But this is actually an aberration when it comes to the application of Muslim jurispriudence. Outside certain concerns of public policy there is no religious obligation upon Muslims to impose the laws and values of Muslims on the entire society. The Ottoman millet system is but one example of a system crafted by a Muslim state which was grounded in the principle of respect the recognized the rights of non-Muslims to follow freely the dictates of their religion. It was recognised that this was essential to maintain harmony in a pluralistic environment of an expanding empire. Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyah, an eight century Hanbali legal scholar offers us a more vivid case. In the case of the Zoroastrian practice of self-marriage whereby men are encouraged to marry their mothers, this is an act deemed morally repugnant from the Muslim perspective. When asked whether the Muslim state should recognise such unions, however, al-Jawziyah affirmed the rights of the Zoroastrians provided their cases not be presented in a Muslim court and that the said practices are deemed permissible within their own legal tradition. So, he said, the Muslim state has no business to interfere.

It is unfortunate that some of the wisdom of Islam’s classical scholarship are forgotten. Ideological rigidity remains the stumbling block to progress and reform. Muslims must break free from the old practices of cliché-mongering and name calling, move beyond tribal or parochial concerns. A rediscovery of the religion’s inherent grasp of pluralism is very much in need.

The Qur’an declares: Say He is Allah, the One, Allah, the eternally besought of all. One of the greatest medieval Torah scholars, Maimonides, also known by the Arabic moniker Ab? ?Imr?n M?s? bin ?Ubaidall?h Maim?n al-Qur?ub?, in expounding the unity of God in Judaism said: God is one and there is no other oneness like His. With reference to the phrase “hallowed be thy name” from the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9), the late Swami Prabhavananda wrote that God’s name can be viewed as a mantra, the repetition of which both confers spiritual power and purifies the aspirant’s heart and mind. By means of this practice, God’s “name is experienced as living and conscious, as one with God—and illumination is attained.”

Historically, Muslims viewed the Qur’an as addressing the intellect as well as the spirit. It set out the order in the universe, the principles and certitudes within it, and demanded a thorough examination of them so that we can be certain of the validity of its claims and message. This pursuit would inevitably lead to the realization of the eternal principles of the Divine Unity which in turn springs forth from the Divine Laws. But the Shari’ah was never cast in stone and evolves continuously through this dynamic process. In order to maintain a middle ground, the essential ingredients of an Islamic methodology must then be conceived in a holistic perspective which will be universal and eternal in appeal.

It is said that pluralism in a divided world serves only to cement the schisms leading to the tired and tiring refrain of the ‘clash of civilizations’ akin to the beating of ‘an antique drum’. This seems to be the metaphor that appeals to the imagination of historians and political scientists. The upshot is a clash of visions of history, perceptions, and images which in turn brings about differing and often opposing interpretations, not just of history, but world views. Nevertheless, as Eliot says:

History may be servitude, History may be freedom

We should therefore disabuse ourselves of this notion of the clash between civilizations and refocus our attention on the clash that has been brewing within the umma. We see a more dangerous and portentous clash as one that is intra-civilizational – between the old and the new, the weak and the strong, the moderates and the fundamentalists and between the modernists and the traditionalists.

If we look at history as servitude, we could gloss over the historical perspective and consign it to the realm of academia on the ground that we are already in the 21st century.

Turkey and Indonesia are clearly blazing the trail of democracy for other Muslim nations to follow. The impending accession of Turkey into the European Union is also a clear statement of the level of liberal democracy attained though unfortunately the obstacles thrown in the way by some member countries is very telling of the state of Islamophobia. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia has already reached the finishing line while her Muslim neighbors are still stuck at the starting block. So history is indeed freedom if indeed we are prepared to learn its lessons.

Today, jihad has been invoked by certain quarters to legitimize acts of violence in varied forms and guises, blurring the line between jihad and terrorism. Thanks to the Obama administration, we have seen some palpable change from the Bush policy of selective ambivalence in the war on terror, supporting autocrats in the Muslim world on the one hand, and championing the cause of freedom and democracy on the other. Although after more than a year since the administration took office we have yet to see substantive changes in the substance of American foreign policy with the Muslim world.

Within Islam, freedom is considered one of the higher objectives of the divine law in as much as the very same elements in a constitutional democracy become moral imperatives in Islam – freedom of conscience, freedom to speak out against tyranny, a call for reform and the right to property.

In closing permit me once again to draw on my perpetual reserve in Eliot’s Four Quartets:

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.