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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kong: MCA crisis worsened by fresh polls push

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

Kong says he joined MCA to “make friends”. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — MCA deputy president hopeful, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, took a stab at his opponent, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, ahead of this Sunday’s polls, claiming that the current uncertainty in MCA was caused by “those who pushed for fresh elections.” While he agreed that the polls were necessary for the ailing party, Kong said the “Greater Unity Plan” was derailed because of pressure from this group.

Although he did not name Liow, it is common knowledge that it was the health minister who had pushed for fresh polls, in a bid to unseat incumbent party president, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

In an interview with The Malaysian Insider, Kong said the group that pushed for fresh polls had rejected the party’s “Greater Unity Plan”, which was introduced last year as an attempt to resolve the party crisis.

When asked who was to blame for starting the party crisis, Kong said: “I would say that it is the people who were pushing for this fresh election. And their never-ending way of not co-operating with the Greater Unity Plan of the party.

“Because of that, it actually sort of derailed the plan, which was for us to work together for a better MCA.”

Nevertheless, Kong later admitted the roots of the current crisis were much older, and the plan was actually introduced as a method of resolving it.

“Yes, of course, it all started from (former party deputy president Datuk Seri) Dr Chua’s (Soi Lek) sacking, that is true,” he said.

Chua was sacked from his deputy president’s post last year over his involvement in the sex CD scandal.

Meanwhile, Kong said he was banking on his anti-faction stance to garner support for himself in Sunday’s polls.

He claimed, however, that he was entering the fight for the deputy presidency on equal footing with Liow.

Although Kong, a former vice-president, has clearly shown his support for Dr Chua as the new party president, he still believes that it would be his impartiality and “non-controversial” ways that would earn him support.

“All along I have been seen as a person who is non-controversial and I do not make enemies with any of the factions. I never make negative remarks about MCA people and I always maintain that any problem in the party should be resolved internally, and not publicised and damaging the party’s image,” he said.

The housing and local government minister said that he was in MCA to “make friends.”

“I believe that, because of that, I can play a more effective role in uniting the party to move forward,” he said.

True enough, during the interview, Kong deftly side-stepped questions that might have led him to speak ill of MCA leaders, choosing instead to remain as neutral as possible.

He would not speak out against Tee Keat or former party president, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, both of whom will be facing Dr Chua the MCA’s top post.

Instead, Kong came to Tee Keat’s defence, saying that the leader had failed to unite the party due to strong internal pressure.

“Tee Keat actually tried to work very hard for the reform of the party. However, with all the internal pressure placed on him, we did not actually give him enough room to move and that was why his reform agenda did not go as smoothly as he wished,” he said.

Kong admitted that Ka Ting’s re-entry into the party had created a “new dimension”, but refused to say if he meant to imply a “faction” or a further split in the party.

“It complicates things a little, maybe. I would agree that his re-entry has created a new dimension to the web of the party,” he said.

Kong expressed hope that this Sunday’s polls would give MCA what it needed desperately — a team of leaders that was willing and able to work together, despite all the in-fighting.

He believes that the mistakes of the past should not be harped on, but focus should instead be given to revamping the party to face the coming general election.

“MCA has to be [an] inclusive party. It cannot be a winner-takes-all thing. If that’s the case, then it is not an inclusive party,” he said.

He said that, most importantly, the new team needed to clean up the party and focus on how to regain the confidence of the Chinese community.

“To do this, the party itself has to be united and intact. Following that, we need to address some of the issues that are close to the hearts of the Chinese community,” he said.

The issues, he said, were the economy, education, and the state of the country’s security situation.

“If we successfully address these issues, then I believe the Chinese community would support the government agenda better,” he said.

Hadi 'derailed' Anwar's Sept 16 plan

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang played an instrumental role in derailing Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's plan to take over the federal government on Sept 16, 2008.

This startling revelation comes from a pro-PAS blogger, popularly known as 'Tulang Besi', who wanted the PAS president to apologise to all opposition supporters.

According to Tulang Besi, who operates the 'Malaysia Waves' blog, Hadi was unhappy with the high number of non-Malay MPs from Barisan Nasional in the defection plan.

“When Anwar presented the 30 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Hadi realised that the number of non-Malays outnumbered that of the Malays,” he said.

Hadi, he added, was not satisfied with just Muslim MPs, but wanted Malay-Muslim representatives.

In view of this, Tulang Besi said the PAS leader disagreed with Anwar's proposal to form a Pakatan Rakyat government without a Malay-Muslim majority.

'Being Muslim alone is not enough'

Tulang Besi also published excerpts from an interview with Islamic website Ummahonline, where Hadi had stressed on the importance of having a Malay-Muslim majority, saying: “Being Muslim alone is not enough.”

The blogger critcised the PAS president for resorting to racial politics, despite his party championing the Islamic cause.

In order to placate Hadi, Tulang Besi said Anwar had offered the prime minister post to a 'Mr X' who would bring in more Malay-Muslim MPs.

“By then it was too late. Pak Lah (former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) had already announced that he would resign, so the 'mood' to defect (was no longer there) and BN had used other tactics (to prevent) defections during the time wasted (haggling over the Malay-Muslim issue).

“The PAS president conspired in ensuring that the Sept 16 takeover plan collapsed by giving shallow excuses,” he added.

Tulang Besi claimed that Hadi and the pro-Umno faction in PAS did not want Pakatan to form government.

Political observers pointed out that this revelation would further erode PAS' popularity among the non-Malays while Hadi would be seen as being no different than Umno leaders, who play the race card.

It would also lend a devastating blow to the 'PAS for all' slogan, they added.

PAS' spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has also consistently urged political parties not to operate along racial lines.

'Third-party meddling in police' motion shot down

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

FMT ALERT KUALA LUMPUR: An emergency motion on the alleged 'third party' intervention in the police force was shot down by Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Wan Junaidi Jaafar today.

The motion proposed by Dr Lo' Lo' Ghazali (PAS-Titiwangsa) was rejected by Wan Junaidi in chambers on the grounds that the issue was raised in the house two days ago during question time.

"I don't think it is necessary for the Dewan Rakyat to debate the motion as the matter was already raised on March 23 and the minister involved (Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein) had given his explanation," he said, when the PAS leader stood up to protest.

However, Lo' Lo' argued that MPs did not have sufficient time to discuss the matter then.

Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan had recently said that a third party was meddling in police affairs while Hishammuddin claimed to be in the dark about it.

The minister also denied that there is a rift between him and Musa.

You Jump, I Sue: Can voters sue traitors?

By NH Chan

For their willful betrayal of trust, is there a cause of action against the turncoats who jumped ship? The answer is yes. Considering the principle of estoppel in determining a cause of action for affected voters and the political parties on whose ticket the turncoats were elected as their representatives in Parliament and in the Perak Legislative Assembly, to sue these traitors.

The other day someone gave me a copy of Harakah of 8-11 March 2010 and in the English section I came across this piece written by P. Ramakrishnan, Aliran President:

The … 12 February 2010 … marked the first PKR resignation – the MP for Bayan Baru – and [that] sparked the dishonourable exit of two more traitors of the voters who supported the Pakatan Rakyat by electing these renegades. On 1 March 2010 the MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, and two days later on 3 March, the MP for Bagan Serai, Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri, announced their resignations respectively.

All of them suddenly seem to have grievances with their party and its policies. … These views do not reflect the views of their voters nor are they supported by those who voted for the PR at the last general election. Their selfish conduct has condemned them to doomsday for subverting parliamentary democracy. They will find no peace of mind after this terrible, willful betrayal of trust.

These riff-raffs have deserted the voters who elected them and betrayed the party that fielded them. Their individual action has betrayed thousands of voters in their constituencies and completely discarded their sentiments.

Aren’t they accountable to their constituents?

Zahrain has disappointed 27,618 voters; Tee Beng has frustrated 20,210 voters and Mohsin has let down 18,943 voters. In all, they have betrayed a total of 66,771 constituents whose support had put them in parliament and helped them to earn thousands of ringgits monthly.

These are the same unprincipled vile characters like the ones in Perak who jumped ship and perverted the democratic process and frustrated the popular will of the Perakians.
The man who accompanied each of these traitors when their resignations were announced was the former Secretary-General of PKR, Datuk Salehuddin Hashim. … he is seen as the hand engineering the betrayal of the voters and the party …

40 Reasons why the Sodomy Charge against Anwar is too Ridiculous to Believe

By Malaysian Spring

It seems a simple enough plan. Get a willing pro-Umno young man. Stick him in Anwar’s office and let him get close to Anwar. Then have him accuse Anwar of sodomy. The police, the judiciary and the government machinery will do the rest. This will put Anwar out of the political scene for good and he will never threaten Umno’s power again.

But something happened on the way to the courthouse. The public is not buying this story. Too many holes have appeared until the whole rickety structure of deceit has all but collapsed. No doubt there are a few clueless souls in Umno trying to maintain this ridiculous charade but they are flogging a dead horse. They only succeed in earning the contempt of the people.

Saiful made many mistakes before and after the alleged act by failing to conceal his movements and being an incredibly lousy actor. Perhaps he thought playing the victim isn’t important as the powerful players behind him will take care of everything. But there’s a limit to how much idiocy the public can take. A real victim of forced sodomy or male rape does not appear smiling and waving to the press in public as if he’s damn proud of it.

It all looks like a hastily conceived, bumbling, incompetent and ill-thought out plot. So here are 40 reasons why the sodomy charge against Anwar is too ridiculous to believe.

The Charge

1. The charge of consensual sodomy is structurally flawed as it does not a tally with Saiful’s public stance of forced sodomy for which he has already sworn on the Koran.

2. The government has absolutely no interest in prosecuting consenting gays so why the sudden interest in prosecuting Anwar for alleged consensual sodomy? How about all the gay activities going on under the nose of the authorities in the seedy streets of KL? Nobody has been prosecuted for consensual sodomy since independence except Anwar and his alleged partners in Sodomy I.

3. Why isn’t Saiful prosecuted as a consensual partner? Shouldn’t he be at least prosecuted for indecent behaviour against the order of nature for allegedly bending over out of his own free will?

Saiful’s behaviour

4. Claimed to be have been sodomized a total of eight (8) times. Why did he tolerate it for so long? To keep his RM1000 a month job? What can he possibly fear from an opposition leader who holds no influence in government?

5. Despite being a 24 year old big strapping youth, this lowlife claimed he was sodomized against his will by a 62 year old man with bad back. How ridiculous can you get?

6. Made a police report 2 days after the alleged incident. Was he waiting to see if he was pregnant?

7. Went to work as usual next day and was seen walking straight.

8. Attended a function at Anwar’s house in the evening with Anwar present and served coffee to the guests. Would a rape victim do that?

9. Sent a friendly quit e-mail to Anwar that he was resigning because he was lazy and incompetent. No mention that he couldn’t take the sodomy.

10. Show no sign of being victimized and traumatized. Smile and wave to press after he made his police report. Looks proud to be a victim of male rape.

11. Met and photographed with senior officers in DPM dept a few months before the alleged incident. Claimed to have gone there to apply scholarship but the DPM Dept is the wrong place to go for scholarship. Why all the lies?

12. Met Najib who was Deputy PM at his official residence 2 days before the alleged incident. Najib at first denied the meeting, later claimed Saiful wanted a scholarship? Is the Deputy PM so easy to access? Why would college dropout need scholarship?

13. In a final twist Najib said he advised Saiful who was traumatized to lodge a police report. But this was before the alleged act!

14. Met police office SAC Rodwan in Room 619 of Concorde Hotel Shah Alam 1 day before the alleged incident. Were they discussing scholarship?

15. Saiful’s god mother Mumtaz Jaafar is a close friend and ‘bag lady’ of Rosmah Mansor, Najib’s wife. It is widely believed that the plot was hatched by Rosmah and Najib.

16. Known to be a rabidly pro-BN while in college.

17. Went to Pusrawi hospital to get a medical examination and told the doctor that he had been sodomized by a plastic object. The doctor said he looked and behaved normally. Why didn’t he go straight to the police?

18. Went to mosque to swear that Anwar sodomized him against his will during the Permatang Pauh by-election so that BN can make political capital out of it.

19. Must be the most publicity hungry rape victim in the world, male or female, bar none!

Police & prosecution

20. Why are huge resources and manpower devoted to this case as if consensual sodomy is the most heinous crime in the country, worse than the murder of a Mongolian woman? How does an alleged consensual partner in sodomy suddenly become a victim for whom the whole apparatus of government must be marshalled to seek “justice?” Tie this with no. 2 and see if you can make any sense.

21. A copy of the police report was given to Anwar only after he had been questioned by police and after much pestering by his lawyers. Usually a suspect should be given a copy of the police report before taking his cautioned statement to prevent him unwittingly incriminating himself. Why was this procedure not followed? Did the police upset the procedure to design the charge and fabricate the police report to fit in with Anwar’s movements?

22. Why was Anwar unnecessarily held overnight in jail cell when he could have been released on the same day? The next morning he was asked a few perfuntionary questions and released. But it was revealed that his jail cell was carefully swept by forensic after his release. Were they looking for traces of his DNA?

23. Anwar was asked to give a blood sample during the medical examination but he refused. After that Umno leaders made public calls for him to give a sample. Why such a tussle to get Anwar’s blood sample with no safeguards whatsoever? In view of the fact that his blood sample had been planted on a mattress in sodomy I, why should Anwar make it so easy for them?

24. After Anwar refused to give his blood sample a new DNA Identification Bill was proposed in which the police are allowed to forcibly take blood sample from any suspect, custody of DNA samples will be managed by the police, the accuracy of DNA evidence cannot be challenged and the judge must consider DNA evidence to be conclusive. The Home Ministry wanted to rush this bill through parliament. Do you smell a rat here? Thankfully this DNA Identification Bill has not been passed into law yet after much opposition.

25. The prosecution fought tooth and nail to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to High Court without giving any creditable reason. If they have real evidence they could have convicted Anwar in any court under any judge so why the lengthy fight to transfer the case as if their whole case depends on who hears it?

26. The prosecution also fought all the way to the Federal Court to deny giving Anwar document necessary for his defence according to the Criminal Procedure Code, not even most basic list of witnesses. Why such unbecoming and sordid loser behaviour if they have a real case with real evidence?

27. In any sexual offence where penetration is a crucial factor no prosecutor will proceed without favourable medical evidence. In this case the prosecution decided to proceed with unfavourable medical evidence (see no.28 & 29). Were they depending on a compliant judge? (see no. 25)

Medical

28. A medical report by Dr. Mohamed Osman of Pusrawi Medical Centre, a Burmese expatriate doctor with 30 years experience certified that Saiful asshole had never been penetrated.

29. A separate medical report by 3 specialists at Hospital KL also confirmed that Saiful is an anal virgin.

30. The prosecution claimed that they have DNA sample extracted from Saiful’s rectum which incriminate Anwar but experts say that this environment is very hostile to semen and prone to contamination. It is unlikely that any usable DNA can be found after 2 days.

31. The prosecution refused to give Anwar a DNA sample for independent verification so any claim of positive identification is just the word of the government chemist against his.

32. The prosecution cannot prove that the DNA sample in question was actually extracted from Saiful’s rectum although they claim it.

33. The possibility exists that any DNA sample may have been spiked with Anwar’s DNA collected covertly. (see no. 22 and 23)

Anwar’s Personal Life

34. Anwar is 63 year old grandfather with 6 children and a loving wife. Would a homosexual person father 6 children and have a close relationship with his wife?

35. If Anwar’s sexual inclination is true then where are the other partners? Why has nobody come out of the woodwork to claim a relationship with him? Anwar’s associates who were convicted of sodomy with him all repudiated their confessions as extracted under torture the moment they were released.

36. Anwar had just led the opposition to stunning gains at the Mach 2008 polls and was plotting to take over the Federal government by engineering defections. Why would Anwar risk everything for this college dropout? If indeed his lust is so great, ther must be many others so where are the other partners?

Testimony during trial

37. Claimed Anwar was his idol but his college mates say he hated Anwar’s guts.

38. Claimed he was shocked and disgusted by Anwar’s indecent proposal by still took a shower and prepared himself. So was it consensual or was it against his will as he has sworn in a mosque?

39. The prosecution produced a tube of KY jelly. Did Saiful come prepared with KY jelly? If it belonged to Anwar wouldn’t it be taken back by Anwar?

40. Claimed did not pass motion for 2 days in order to hold the vital evidence in his rectum. How heroic. Wouldn’t it be easier to just go to the police immediately? Didn’t he wash the KY jelly from his asshole?

More is coming. We haven’t come to the cross-examination of Saiful yet!

Malaysian PM's double standards on justice

By The Asia File

The Economist's full transcript of its interview with Najib Razak, the prime minister of Malaysia, is worth a read for those interested in the ongoing turbulence in Malaysia.

His comments about Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader who is currently on trial on sodomy charges, were particularly revealing.

Najib says that, despite foreign criticism, Anwar's trial is "not a political trial to begin with", that it is "a private matter for Anwar" who "just happens to be the leader of the opposition".

However, he warns that Anwar "will try to politicise it".

Najib then goes on to compare Anwar's predicament to that of Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, saying that Anwar's alleged homosexual fling with a 23-year-old aide would be considered "politically untenable" in the West, not just in Malaysia.

Then, he accuses Anwar of failing in his duty of care to his employee by sexually harassing him. This despite the fact that Anwar strenuously denies the allegations against him and that the trial is currently in progress.

Who is politicising the trial here?

Even though he has just made detailed allegations about Anwar's conduct, Najib has the temerity to claim that "if we are seen to be manipulating the trial, and he doesn't get a fair trial, I'm sure the people will react against us".

If this public presumption of Anwar's guilt, coming from the prime minister no less, is not prejudicial to the trial, then what is?

Meanwhile, when it comes to the legal difficulties faced by one of Najib's main advisers, who was cleared of involvement in the murder of a Mongolian translator, Najib emphasizes the importance of not interfering in the justice system:

"If you want to sentence anyone, it has to be on the basis of beyond reasonable doubt. As long as you can introduce reasonable doubt nobody can be found guilty in our system."

It's a shame Najib didn't pick up on that other commonly accepted legal concept: innocent until proven guilty.

Democracy or Gangsterism?

Imagine yourself walking along a dark alley with your girlfriend (maybe taking a shortcut to the car). Suddenly you are surrounded by a dozen menacing looking men wielding knives. You are about to be whacked by a dictatorship of the majority.

By batsman

This is my take on democracy. I suggest we need not be so ambitious as to think about grand things like philosophy, government, freedom, etc., yet.

Let us start from basics. Let us look at ordinary daily life examples. Imagine yourself walking along a dark alley with your girlfriend (maybe taking a shortcut to the car). Suddenly you are surrounded by a dozen menacing looking men wielding knives. You are about to be whacked by a dictatorship of the majority.

Most gangsters cannot get beyond this idea of democracy. They have the numbers; therefore they have the right to do whatever they like to you.

Unfortunately in Malaysia a few gangsters are cunning enough to go into politics. There is no future in petty crime or even in violent robbery, but there is a great future in politics. Part of the reason is that most Malaysians do not want to get mixed up with politics, so these cunning gangsters have a clear road to Putrajaya.

The problem is they bring their gangster attitudes to the supreme sovereign power of the land – Parliament. Their behaviour in this august body is proof enough that Malaysian politics is dominated by gangsters.

From the legislature, their influence seeps into the executive. As gangsters in the executive, they now have the power to ride roughshod over everybody. They appoint people of the same feathers into every conceivable nook and cranny of influence in the ministries, police, judiciary, MACC, SPM, NGOs, GLCs etc.

All the while they claim they have the democratic power given to them by the rakyat to do as they please. I ask you - is this democracy or gangsterism – actually just a dictatorship of the majority?

In a real democracy the most important principles are respect and sportsmanship. Unfortunately these are not material things, so to materialistic Malaysians, they do not seem as important. Things such as ethics, integrity and honour are just human passions and not as important as material things to materialistic Malaysians, so we all miss the point and never get to understand what real democracy is. Corruption, abuse of power and dirty tricks are something which can be conveniently ignored.

All the while, we think we are great and shout grand slogans such as Malaysia Boleh. We think we are world class, but in reality we are just vulgar materialists who are unable to understand the most important and purest things about humanity such as dignity, respect and decency. We actually place ourselves as vulgar low class humans. The real world class people are sniggering, amused by our egoistic antics, our self-deception and self-destruction. We have only ourselves to blame.

Selagi ada hayat, saya lawan untuk kembali balik demokrasi – Tunku Abdul Rahman

By Haris Ibrahim

Dr M is referred to as the Father of Modern Malaysia.

You can take that to mean that he is credited for the state our nation is in.

Some 7 years into Dr M’s reign as PM, in 1988, Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, shed some light on Dr M’s role in Tunku relinquishing the office of PM following the race riots of May, 1969, and the state of things in the country then, under Dr M.

What touched me most was the vow of this man, then aged 85 and plagued with illnesses, to continue to fight to restore democracy to this land.

And for those of you who do not know, he did, to his last breath, taking the pain of seeing the nation begin its plunge into the abyss it is now in, to his grave.


Malaysia’s Shame, FT.com editorial

Published March 24, 2010 Malaysia presents itself as a modern, successful and democratic nation. Many western leaders have hailed the country as an example of moderate, tolerant Islam – at ease with itself and with the non-Muslim world. Malaysia does indeed have much to be proud of. But the trial of Anwar Ibrahim, which is due to restart this week, is a massive blot on the country’s reputation for tolerance and political pluralism.

Mr Anwar is a vital figure in the Malaysian opposition. The coalition of opposition forces he leads represents the most potent challenge to the ruling National Front coalition in many years. But Mr Anwar, a married man with six children, is on trial for sodomy. He has already served six years in solitary confinement on charges of sodomy and abuse of power – although the sodomy charges were later over-turned by the courts, leading to Mr Anwar’s release in 2004. If he is convicted this time, he could face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The first thing to say is that – even allowing for cultural and religious sensitivities – Malaysia should be embarrassed that it is threatening to send a man to prison for consensual sex with another adult. But there are also considerable doubts about the case against Mr Anwar. The evidence against him is thin and the political context is very clear.

The government of Najib Razak sees Mr Anwar as a threat and has been trying to wreck his political career, using a variety of tactics. Aside from the criminal charges that have been brought against the opposition leader, Mr Anwar has been crudely smeared as a tool of “Jewish” interests. Asked once whether Mr Anwar would make a good prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, replied: “He would make a good prime minister of Israel.” A modern state should be ashamed of exploiting racism and homophobia to head off a legitimate political challenge.

But it is not just the Malaysian government that deserves to be chastised. Malaysia is an important market and an influential voice in the Islamic world. As a result, western governments that claim to place human rights at the centre of their foreign policy have been very circumspect in their comments on the Anwar trial. Respect for the courts, for national sovereignty and for cultural difference are all worthy ideas. But sometimes, it is important to speak clearly. The trial of Anwar Ibrahim is a disgrace and an embarrassment to Malaysia.

WHAT YOU KNOW OR WHO YOU KNOW


1. We hear a lot about how in Malaysia it is who you know rather than what you know that wins you contracts from the Government.

2. I must admit there is some truth in this. One has to know the background of the bidder before deciding to give the award. If awards are made entirely on the basis of the offer, mistakes can be made also. This is because the bidder can get professionals and others to make "cannot be refused" offer which in the end would prove impossible to carry out.

3. It is true that those tasked with evaluating bids would tend to favour known performers rather than totally unknown strangers. The more they know about the bidders the more would their decisions be influenced. It is indeed "whom" you know and not "what" you know.

4. Decision-makers cannot avoid being lobbied directly or indirectly. In any case no matter who succeeds, there will be unhappiness on the part of the others who fail. And of course the accusation would be made that they fail because they did not know the right people. However if they have a chance to pull strings and influence decision makers they would not hesitate to do so. That they don't like it when others get does not mean they won't like it if they get. As for the critical observers, given the opportunity they would do it too. That is why contracts given by a previous Government would be nullified by an opposition Government so the contractors they know would benefit.

5. People should know that in the private sector "whom you know" is even more decisive than in the Government sector. If we look at the private construction industry which is bigger than in the Government sector, if you don't know the right people you will not get a contract not even a small supply contract. To succeed in the private sector you must not only know what but most certainly you must know whom.

6.I have been asked by foreign gentlemen why is this so common in Malaysia and other developing countries. Isn't this wrong? Shouldn't the best bid win? Whom you know should not influence decisions.

7. Today I am amused by a news report about Ex-Labour Ministers in the United Kingdom being suspended because they offered lobbying service for cash. They can offer this because they know whom to lobby. "Byers, a former Transport Minister, boasted to the undercover journalist he had made a secret deal with Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis over the termination of a rail franchise contract." Everyone denied of course.

8. But in America, the greatest democracy in the history of mankind, Congressional and Senate lobbyists actually set up lobbying firms. Most of the firms' owners had been holding high positions in the previous Governments and they know the staff and the members of the current Government well.

9. They openly offer lobbying service for a fee. If you don't have the money, that is too bad. The moneyed ones can actually cause motions to be put before the congress which could be passed. In fact Government policies in America have been shaped by the rich in Wall Street. I will not say more.

10. Seems like those who take the moral high ground and criticise influence peddling in Malaysia and other developing countries should have a good look at themselves. Pots should not sneer at the blackness of the kettle.

Who is Najib Razak?

thenutgraph.com

najib saying trust me
(pic courtesy of theSun)

IN just a week, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have been prime minister of Malaysia for exactly a year. Twelve months down the line and all I really want to ask him is, "Will the real Najib please stand up?"

After all, we know that the sixth premier of Malaysia is intelligent and competent. Definitely not clueless. And so, when Najib-speak doesn't quite match up to what's really happening on the ground, one really has to wonder. Is Najib-speak for real? Is Najib for real? And if there are discernible discrepancies between the projected Najib and the real Najib, what exactly is Najib all about?

Shocking untruth

As a journalist of more than 15 years, the straw that broke the camel's back for me came last week. At a press award ceremony on 19 March 2010, Najib took the opportunity to declare that it was grossly unfair to state that Malaysia lacked press freedom.


Those working in the Malaysian media should know better...

Now, those of us who work in the media, even in the government-owned or Barisan Nasional-linked media, know that if Najib were Pinocchio, he would have needed corrective plastic surgery the minute he said that.

The fact is, there have been ample instances where it was clear that the government, under the previous and the current administration, curbs press freedom. One just needs to read The Nut Graph's compilation of these instances to know that Najib's nose would have grown long indeed at that award ceremony.

But more startling than the disconnect between what's been happening and Najib's declaration is this: It's been barely a month since both The Star and China Press were both issued show-cause letters under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA). Now, surely, Najib, who has been in government for half his life, is aware of the PPPA. And surely, he knows that under the PPPA, the home minister can suspend or shut down a newspaper's operations with no legal recourse. And that was why those show-cause letters to The Star and China Press were so troubling.


Marina Mahathir
(pic by Tara Sosrowardoyo)

Indeed, it isn't surprising that columnist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir was spiked by The Star, and one hears even columnist Zainah Anwar's column has been held back pending word about the paper's publishing permit.

For certain, self-censorship is one strategy that the media the world over uses in order to survive governments that would restrict an independent and free press. And so the fact that the No.1 English daily in the country has to resort to self-censorship in order to ensure its survivability just reeks of media control by the government.

And so I wonder, did Najib not know about these recent incidents? Was he badly advised by his aides? Did he forget? What can we surmise from his bold declaration that Malaysia enjoys press freedom and responsibility that the world's media can learn from?

Here is what I think: Either our prime minister was clueless or he wasn't. And if he wasn't, and I'm wont to think that this prime minister is sharper than some others we've had, then Najib was being disingenuous. Or he was lying. Either way, it would be hard to trust a person who was being either.

Keeping company


Hishammuddin Hussein (pic courtesy of theSun)
But apart from Najib's big, bold statement about the state of Malaysia's media, how else do we measure what this prime minister is all about a year into his administration?They say that we can tell a person's character from the company she or he keeps. By the same token, we can tell what a prime minister is all about by who she or he appoints and keeps in the cabinet.

And unfortunately for Najib, the company he keeps in cabinet is less than inspiring.

Najib's home minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, is not only incompetent but also sanctions violence through his actions and inactions. Indeed, Hishammuddin also defended the caning of three Muslim women under syariah law for "illicit sex" just six months after Najib decried the use of syariah caning in the case of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.


"#yorais" is still being used on Twitter to make fun of
the information minister
The prime minister also has an information minister who is so out of sync with the times that he is the butt of merciless jokes on the net.

And then there's the minister in charge of religion whose idea of dialogue over the "Allah" issue is that non-Muslim groups must back down even as Najib goes on his merry way to promote 1Malaysia. Not only that, minister Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom is actually an advisor to the Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth (Mamy). Mamy is the group which is seeking a court order to prevent Sisters in Islam (SIS) from using "Islam" in its name and identity, as if the word was copyrighted and belonged to only a select group of Muslims. As one Twitterer remarked, why not just ban SIS from using the word "sisters" since none of its members are actually sisters.

And then of course, there is Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who reportedly ordered for school elections to be banned.

My question is, what is Najib doing with these ministers? For all intents and purposes, they seem to be undermining his leadership and his stated vision for the nation. And if that were the case, which CEO would stand by and let his or her lieutenants undermine his or her leadership?

Unless, of course, the plan is for Najib to come out smelling like roses while his ministers continue to do the divisive and oppressive work that Malaysians have been subjected to under Umno's dominant rule. Perhaps a game of good cop vs bad cop?

ministers saying trust us
(pic of Hishammudin Hussein and Najib Razak courtesy of theSun)

Except that with the contradictions becoming more and more evident in Najib's administration, I wonder just how our prime minister is going to continue managing the illusion that he really is the good cop.

Farce and fiasco of 24-hr resignation of Titi Tinggi Assemblyman exposes total breakdown of authority of MCA leadership

By Lim Kit Siang

The farce and fiasco of the 24-hour resignation of the MCA Perlis Assemblyman for Titi Tinggi, Yip Sun Onn, exposes the total breakdown of authority of the MCA leadership.

There was none from anyone of the Three Kingdom camps of the MCA leadership who could reach and influence Yip, which had to be done by the Umno leaders, involving not only the Perlis Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr. Md Isa Sabu, the Perlis Speaker Datuk Yazid Mat but also the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

No wonder Yazid as the Speaker made the most eloquent remark last evening to the Malaysian Insider reporter “I am very tired. I think what I said is enough. The seat is not vacant” when refusing to further comment on Yip’s case apart from confirming that he had received an SMS from Yip informing him of his retraction.

Poor Yazid and the Perlis UMNO Mentri Besar, who appeared to bear the fullest brunt on the pressures arising from Yip’s letter of resignation – when it should be the MCA leaders but who appeared to be completely impotent in the matter.

It would appear that Umno is even more frightened than MCA to have a by-election in Titi Tinggi.

What a way to mark Najib’s first full year as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

The Perlis Speaker may have his political duties to perform but this does not mean he is right in allowing Yip to retract his resignation – through SMS and not even through a letter!

If a Pakatan Rakyat MP or State Assembly representative is to sent in his or her resignation to the Speaker who is from the Barisan Nasional, would he or she be allowed to retract the resignation?

The answer is quite obvious.

The Speaker must rise above the fray of party politics. Yazid told Malaysiakini yesterday that Yip had “repented from his action” and gave the assurance that “Barisan Nasional did not entice him to stay put as a state assemblyperson with any kind of offers or promises”.

How does the Speaker know for sure one way or another if he stays scrupulously above the fray of party politics in the Perlis State Assembly?

The Titi Tinggi resignation farce is another setback for the doctrine of separation of powers and the cause of institutional integrity.

The Speaker’s role, upon receipt of letter of resignation is to determine if that letter were freely made, and not forged or made under coercion that would otherwise render it void.

Once that is determined Speaker’s role is that of a messenger, to notify that to Election Commission (EC) whose duty it is, under present rules, to determine if a “casual vacancy” for which a by election has to be called within 60 days.

It is no business of a Speaker to be involved in the political “fun and games” of dissuading an Assemblyman to retract his resignation – whether monetary or material inducements or otherwise.

Amnesty: Migrant workers still being exploited

The Star
PETALING JAYA: Migrant workers here are still being exploited and abused, according to the latest report by Amnesty International.

The report stated that these workers were lured here with high salaries but continued to be “tricked” by their employers.

The 100-page report titled “Trapped - The Exploitation of Migrant Workers in Malaysia” stated that there was no truth to the job offers in terms of the pay and the type of work.

The report, released by Amnesty here yesterday, documents widespread abuses against migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Myanmar.

“We found that the workers faced common problems of unpaid wages, poor working conditions, long working hours, lack of off days over a long period of time and lack of medical care,” said report author and Amnesty policy director Michael Bochenek at the launch.

BN’s hypocritical flip-flop split personality

By Nathaniel Tan,

In Perlis, we have on-again, off-again.

In Khairy we have a “radical centrist” :P an impassioned centrist I imagine possible, but a radical centrist is a wannabe. Or as my friend once unkindly, if amusingly, said of agnostics, a hermaphrodite (her judgment, not mine :)

We shall see how Najib and gang reconcile ethnic ideology in his NEM etc. I suspect we will see more similar falling between chairs.

ps- have you filled in your caption yet? hehe

P. Waytha Moorthy’s Sedition at Court of Appeal. Vindictive UMNOs’ AG directs DPP to do Double Jeopardy. Independent Sessions Judge in Jeopardy.

P. Waytha Moorthy’s Sedition at Court of Appeal. Vindictive UMNOs’ AG directs DPP to do Double Jeopardy. Independent Sessious Judge in Jeopardy.

P. Uthayakumar and his lawyer Manoharan Malayalam were in Court at 8.30 a.m.

At about 10.55 p.m this case was called up. Mr Manoharan Malayalam introduced the other lawyers R. Kengatharan and Gobind Singh Deo who also represented V. Ganabathirao the third accused. Court of Appeal Judge Suriyadi Halim Omar asked why P. Uthayakumar and V. Ganabatirau were in the dock and then remarked that “if they are comfortable in the dock then it is all right”.

Manoharan Malayalam submitted that the appeal papers were not in order as he himself was detained under the ISA on 13/12/2007 when the Notice of Appeal was filed in Court.

Presumably under the vindictive and malicious UMNO Attorney General and the Attorney General’s chambers instructions, Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPP) Hanafiah and Farizul did not want to state their non objections to P. Waytha Moorty and the others appeal. Had the DPP not objected, the appeal would have been allowed and in particular this Second Sedition charge against P. Uthayakumar would come to an end. But it is plain and obvious that this UMNOs’ Attorney General intends Double Jeopardy (punishment twice for the same offence) and in fact Triple Jeopardy in the case of P. Uthayakumar by having served 514 days under the ISA and two more Sedition charges pending and hanging over his head. After all P. Uthayakumar in particular had already served his 514 days (about 1 1/2 years) jail sentence without charge or conviction under the ISA among others also for this Sedition charge (arising from Klang Court and the other from the K.L Court).

This matter was adjourned to 10/5/2010 for Hearing to have the papers in order.

In the interim our thoughts and sympathies lie with Puan Noraida, the former Sessions Court Judge in Klang in 2007 who had heard and merely acted as an Independent Judge who had dismissed the charges against this trio for being groundless further to Section 173(g) of the Criminal Procedure Code. But she was in turn almost immediately thereafter removed from the bench in what we see as retaliation for her non kow-towing to the UMNO ruling elite. She was then prosecuted for an unknown and unheard of criminal offence. UMNOs’ Independence of the Judiciary?

Malay muslim school; tables not according to specifications, whereas Tamil schools – no chairs and tables

Malay muslim school; tables not according to specifications whereas Tamil schools some have no chairs and tables, e.g the Kalaimagal Tamil schools and in most of the 523 Tamil schools in Malaysia.

But the PAS M.P. and Selangor Exco Member Dato Dr. Hassan Ali who highlighted this matter where the school chairs and tables are uneven and not user friendly and all the supposedly multi racial 82 M.Ps’ and 200 over ‘multi-racial’ ADUNs’ of PKR, DAP and PAS, especially their revered “Indian mandore MPs’ and 14 ADUN, would not raise even the very serious issue of no chairs and tables for Tamil schools! UMNOs’ One Malaysia and multi-racial PKR, DAP, and PAS!

When a Pas MP raises issues on malay school, that is okay, but when an Indian raises tamil school issues that is not okay but racism.

This is Malaysian Prime Minister Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malaysia.

P.Uthayakumar

KTM records statement on alleged assault

Mardi gives 136 poor Malay muslim settlers land titles but poor and landless Indians excluded

Mardi gave 136 Malay muslim settlers land titles. The market price of the land is RM 250,000 per acre but it was sold to the poor Malays at RM 22,500 per acre. ( NST 6/3/2010 at page 15 )

The was almost zero such schemes for the poor and landless Indians including even the pre-existing Indian plantation workers that were displaced, from Mardi, Fama, Felda, Risda, Agropolitan ten acre land ownership schemes.

P.Uthayakumar

MIC mandores wayang kulit “solution in sight for Kg Railway Indians”

(Malay Mail 8/3/2010 at page 2)

Nothing else needs to be said

Admin

PKR Selangor Indian Exco mandore’s four Hindu crematoriums to be built political rhetoric ala MIC

This MIC style PKR Selangor Indian Exco mandore in this latest show time announces for four Hindu crematoriums to be built in Ijok, Sepang, Subang Jaya, and Rawang.

(The Star 4/3/2010 at page N43 and MN 4/3/2010 at page N43)

It would be a start if it was true and done. But to us this is mere Tamil newspaper politics, with no time frame given, and nothing given in writing on the Selangor state government letterhead.

UMNO using their MIC mandores did this kosong political rhetoric for 50 long years. And now PKR’s Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is using his Indian EXCO mandore to do the same old UMNO trick. Why are we surprised? After all Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim was immersed in UMNO for 18 long years, and last being the number 2 in UMNO itself. So this UMNOs’ mandore politics should not be suprising.

Admin

No more Indian school headmasters, estimated 99% are malay muslims

Even in the 1960’ the headmasters at the Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Inggeris (NTPES) Tumpat during my time had Mr.Raghavan and subsequently Mr.Harbajan Singh as headmasters.

At our secondary national school we had Mr. Cheah Thang Tuy as our headmaster we had scores of other Indian teachers; Mr.Bani, Mr.Nathan, Mr. Maniam, Ms Kaur, etc. What more non Malay headmasters in the West Coast states and the missionary schools.

But today Indian and other non malay headmasters have dwindled to an estimated 0.1%. This is ethnic cleansing from schools.

All under UMNOs’ racist religious extremist and supremacist policies.

Refer Sinar 24/2/2010 at page 532.

P.Uthayakumar

PKR selangor Exco mandore’s Ampang Tamil school wayang kulit in Tamil papers

This PKR Selangor Exco mandore plays to the gallery.

Admin

'I was asked to link 'First Couple' to Altantuya murder'

Sivarasa: IGP Musa lied about law degree

Yip retracts resignation, says Perlis Speaker

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — The Perlis Speaker claimed this evening that Titi Tinggi assemblyman Yip Sun Onn, who caused an uproar yesterday when he quit his state seat, has withdrawn his resignation letter

Speaker Yazid Mat confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that he had received an SMS from Yip (right) in the early evening, informing him of his retraction.

“He is still the state assemblyman for Titi Tinggi. You do not have to worry about that,” he said when contacted.

Yazid said that in the text message, Yip had said that he had thought things through thoroughly and had decided to withdraw his resignation.

“His seat is not vacant,” said Yazid.

He, however, admitted that Yip had not sent him a formal letter of withdrawal, raising doubts over the legality of Yip’s chosen mode of communication.

When asked to explain this, Yazid refused further comment and said the decision was final.

“I am very tired. I think what I said is enough. The seat is not vacant,” he repeated.

Meanwhile, Yip continued to remain silent amid the entire furore he had caused.

The MCA man has been unreachable ever since news of his resignation spread yesterday.

The 52-year-old Padang Besar MCA chairman dropped a bombshell yesterday, when he submitted his resignation letter to Yazid, citing unhappiness with his party’s leadership as his reason for leaving.

Since then however, Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Md Isa Sabu and MCA leaders have been trying to coax Yip out of his drastic decision.

They have also refused to acknowledge that Yip had indeed resigned and claimed that the latter just needed to calm down.

Their move has drawn flak from certain quarters, like DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and even the Padang Besar Umno division members, who have accused Yip of showing disrespect to the state leadership.

The division members’ opinions, which was in blatant conflict with the mentri besar’s, is that Yip had threatened the state leadership and should not be persuaded to return to the state assembly.

Despite this, Yazid has refused to submit Yip’s resignation letter to the Election Commission (EC) and the commission has, in turn, confirmed today that it had not received the letter.

Should the resignation be accepted, the EC would have to call for a by-election within 60 days, Malaysia’s 10th since Election 2008.

Lim, in the meantime, has claimed that Yip’s withdrawal of the letter would only cast doubt on the validity of his status as an assemblyman.

He said that such a move would be questionable in court and insisted that the Speaker’s rightful duty was to submit the letter to the EC and not coax Yip out of his resignation.

In Hong Kong earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also joined in the fray to deny that Yip’s resignation had been effective, saying that he had received confirmation from his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, on the matter.

Yip is believed to have resigned over his removal from the state Cabinet during its annual reshuffle process last week.

During Friday’s swearing-in ceremony, Yip’s portfolio was taken over by Dr Por Choo Chor, the assemblyman for Indera Kayangan.

Umno division defies Najib, MB over Yip resignation

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Umno’s Padang Besar division said today Titi Tinggi assemblyman Yip Sun Onn should not be persuaded to retract his resignation, in remarks which appear designed to put Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Md Isa Sabu’ in a tight spot.

Since his appointment as MB two years ago, Md Isa has been facing mounting discontent from among his party’s divisions in Perlis, particularly those aligned with predecessor Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

Division chief Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, who is understood to be aligned with Shahidan, said the Umno machinery was ready for a by-election.

“We cannot bow to such an irresponsible act. Who is he to threaten the state leadership? We want him to leave and we are prepared to face another by-election,” said Zahidi.

He said that the division committee had met last night and it was of the opinion that Yip had shown disrespect to the state leadership.

Titi Tinggi is one of five seats situated within the Padang Besar federal constituency, and one of two allocated for MCA to contest under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner.

Zahidi clarified that his demand for Yip not to retract his resignation was not because the Umno wanted to contest the seat.

“According to the quota, the seat belongs to MCA. We just do not want ungrateful MCA leaders,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“But MCA must take action against him. If not, in the next election MCA should not contest the seat. Seventy per cent of the voters here are Malays so there should not be any problem for us,” said Zahidi.

When it was pointed out that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Md Isa were in favour of Yip withdrawing his resignation, Zahidi said the Umno division knew what was best for the constituency.

“The national leaders and MB must listen to the division. We are the ones who will be doing the work during election,” said Zahidi.

He further alleged that Yip had damaged BN’s unity in Padang Besar by interfering in local Umno affairs.

“It is because of him we may face problems here. He complains about not getting [an] exco position but here, he interfered with appointment of members of village security and development committees where he sidelined many Umno branch chiefs,” said Zahidi.

Yip resigned yesterday, just days after he was removed from the state executive council and replaced with Indera Kayangan assemblyman, Dr Por Choo Chor.

Perlis Assembly Speaker Yazid Mat had said that he would not forward Yip’s resignation letter to the Election Commission (EC) in an attempt to persuade him to retract his resignation.

Earlier today, Najib reportedly said that he had received confirmation from his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, that Yip would continue to serve as state assemblyman.

Yip won the seat in Election 2008 with a majority of 1,814 votes in a three-cornered fight against PKR’s Keria Senawi and independent, Mohammad Razi Mustaffa.

Former Perlis Umno information chief, Datuk Hashim Suboh, said today that the MCA man’s move to quit proved that Md Isa had failed to provide leadership in the state.

“Yip’s resignation confirms our early analysis that Datuk Md Isa’s leadership has not been accepted by the people,” said Hashim who heads Mantap, an organisation that aims to unseat Md Isa.

Md Isa was appointed mentri besar despite an apparent decision by Barisan Nasional’s (BN) national leadership to let Shahidan continue to head the state government.

But Shahidan, who had been the mentri besar since 1995, was said to have lost the confidence of the majority of the state assemblymen.

Md Isa was appointed to the post with the support of nine of the 15 state assemblymen.

Zul Noordin claims told to link PM, wife to Altantuya

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider

Orders were given to link Najib and Rosmah (right) to the Altantuya trial, an MP claimed today. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR. March 24 — Former PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin dropped a bombshell in Parliament today, alleging that he had been directed to implicate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

During his inaugural speech as an Independent MP, he told the House that he was one of the lawyers involved in the murder case, and that he withdrew from it because there was a “third force” behind the scenes.

Initially, he was a lawyer for Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, one of the three accused.

“I was asked to implicate the prime minister and [his] wife in the murder case. I was asked to get their sworn statements and I was asked to make a sworn statement,” the Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP told the Dewan Rakyat.

“The reward that was offered could definitely shake one’s faith, so I withdrew from acting on the case because there is a third force acting on the case,” he said.

He went on to accuse a key witnesses in the Mongolian model’s murder case, private investigator Balasubramaniam Perumal, of being an “opportunist” whose testimony should not be accepted without an investigation.

“I was one of the lawyers involved in the Altantuya case. Bala is only an opportunist taking advantage... a devil in disguise,” claimed the former PKR member.

He asserted that Najib had acted correctly by disavowing any involvement with the murder and its victim.

“The PM has sworn he was not involved in the murder. Take it in good faith as it is how it should be done in Islam.”

The Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP then warned that if he were to reveal more details, it would make Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim’s revelation in Parliament unimpressive.

“If I were to say any more, Bayan Baru’s explosive claims would be like a silent fart.”

Outside Parliament, Zulkifli did his best not commit to further claims, stating that the Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee did not give him extra time for him to continue.

When asked what he was offered to implicate the PM and his wife, Zulkifli sidestepped by saying: “I cannot say these things outside of Parliament, you should ask me inside Parliament.”

“The offer came in many forms, not necessarily money,” he said.

He hinted that he had been directed to do similar deeds in the past, and that since becoming an Independent he had gone and apologised personally to whomever he had slandered in the past.

“I will meet the PM, that is, if he wants to see me; I am small fry,” said Zulkifli.

Zulkifli also neither confirmed nor denied if the directive to taint Najib and Rosmah came from his previous party.

“I am not saying that it is PKR. PKR is a party that fights for a cause for reform. It is the little pharaohs within the party who have their own agendas and are running the party.”

He said that he would bring up the matter again if he is given a chance to do so in the coming parliamentary proceedings.

RM1b in laptops for poor students

Najib (centre) launches the HSBB initiative at Dataran Merdeka March 24, 2010. — Bernama pic

By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — RM1 billion will be taken from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Universal Service Provision fund, to buy notebook computers for disadvantaged students as part of the National Broadband Initiative (NBI).

The allocation was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the launching of the NBI this evening.

The NBI aims to boost broadband penetration in the country to 50 per cent by the end of this year, from about 32 per cent at the end of last year.

“I am confident the 50 per cent target will be achieved,” said Najib.

Telekom Malaysia, which launched its high speed broadband service UniFi tonight, will also lower netbook and broadband packages from RM50 to RM38, with a further reduction to RM20 for under-served areas that qualify for the USP fund.

The other NBI programmes announced tonight include:

  • 246 Community Broadband Centres nationwide, which will be named 1 Jalur Lebar. These would provide broadband services to 650,000 households, involving a total expenditure of RM60million.
  • 138 Rakyat Internet Centres at Information premises nationwide to provide broadband access to 400,000 users.
  • E-Kiosks at community centres and sub-district offices in 1,105 sub-districts nationwide, involving a total expenditure of RM40 million.
  • Development of Public Cellular Coverage, with a total of 873 communication towers to be built, of which 278 will be in Sabah and 257 in Sarawak.

The new towers will boost the coverage of cellular services by over 100 per cent by end of 2010 and increase the use of portable broadband services or wireless broadband services.

Parliament, where laws are made

Do you know that if you indulge in oral sex you can go to jail for ten years? That is the law. Oral sex is a crime and punishable by a long jail sentence. However, if they implement this law then 80% of Malaysians will go to jail, maybe more. Anal sex too is the same, even if you do it with your own wife.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Since last week the Malaysian Parliament has been ‘hot’. Many ‘newly-independent’ Members of Parliament have taken centre stage to whack their opponents on the ‘other side’. The fact that they are supposed to be ‘independents’ and yet they whack the opposition means they consider the opposition as the ‘other side’. How would this then make them independents? Zulkifli Noordin, in fact, defended Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, which gives an impression that he is now ‘Najib’s man’.

Now, when Malaysia Today says it is independent that may be almost close to the truth (I said ‘almost’ because Malaysia Today too takes a stand; so that does not quite make us totally independent). Even Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim are not spared.

The pieces I wrote saying that Anwar is better off in jail since he is not addressing the problems of his party and that of the opposition while Khalid should resign as MB and hand over his post to Azmin Ali really hurt the feelings of these two personalities. But, hey, this is a no holds barred column. And that is the nature of the beast, no holds barred.

This current session of Parliament has been reduced to a mud-slinging match where everyone tries to outdo each other in how much shit they can dredge up. It has become so downright personal. It is about how bad a scumbag and slime-ball the ‘other side’ really is.

Exposes, revelations, shit stirring and mud slinging is the work of Malaysia Today. That not is the work of Parliament. Parliament should be above this gutter politics. Leave that to Malaysia Today. We live in the gutter.

Since Parliament has infringed into Malaysia Today’s turf by embarking on exposes and revelations about the indiscretions, wrongdoings, violations, etc., of politicians, Malaysia Today is going to infringe on the work of Parliament. Let Parliament take over the work of Malaysia Today. Malaysia Today will then take over the work of Parliament.

There are 222 Members of the Malaysian Parliament. And Parliament is where laws or Acts are enacted. Parliamentarians are voted into office by their constituents. So they represent their constituents. Most times, however, the Parliamentarians are not too concerned with what their constituents want. They are more concerned with their own personal needs. That is why Parliament has been reduced to an arena where you make personal attacks on those from the other side of the political divide.

How many of the 222 Members of the Malaysian Parliament meet their constituents before each session of Parliament? This should have been done in early March for this current session of Parliament. Do they conduct regular meet-the-voters sessions or dialogue sessions with the people who voted them into office to get the voters’ views and opinions on what they would like to see raised in Parliament?

Ex-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysia is a country with first-world infrastructure but third-world mentality. Well, maybe not quite first-world infrastructure but certainly third-world mentality. When you watch the Malaysian Members of Parliament in action you can certainly see that even they have a third-world mentality.

How can the Malaysian Parliament transform itself into a first-world institution when you have third-world Members of Parliament? It is like putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum. I would not consider even 20% of the 222 Members of Parliament as being worthy of their office. And it is even worse when you look at the more than 500 State Assemblypersons. I would not employ some of them to drive my car or tend to my garden let alone represent me in the State Assembly. Takde standard langsung.

Almost two weeks have been wasted and so far nothing good has come out of the current session of Parliament. Is this how we are going to continue until the end of this Parliament session?

I remember back in 1999 when the then opposition coalition, Barisan Alternatif, set up a Shadow Cabinet. Committees were also set up to assist each ‘Cabinet Minister’ from the opposition. I was in some of those committees. We did research and prepared papers for the opposition Members of Parliament so that they could indulge in quality debates in Parliament.

In 2004, when the opposition was almost wiped out in the general election, this practice was not continued. Nevertheless, in 2004, I was engaged by a few Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament to help them do research and to prepare questions and identify issues for them to raise in Parliament.

In 1999 we did this free of charge for the opposition. In fact, we spent our own money to fund the activities. So in that sense it may have been free for the opposition but it certainly cost us quite a bit of money. In 2004, when a few Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament who had heard of our work approached me, I agreed to do it for them -- not because I support Barisan Nasional but because I wanted the peoples’ voice to be heard. And since the opposition is not able to do this then I work with anyone else who can, Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament included.

The Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament told me that the 1999-2004 session of Parliament was hell for them. The opposition Members of Parliament gave them a hard time. They were so well prepared and raised some very good issues in Parliament. After the 2004 general election things toned down a lot and it was plain sailing for Barisan Nasional.

Since 2008 I no longer do research or prepare papers for the Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament. Most of them have been kicked out of Parliament anyway because of the 80 seats that the opposition won. I thought, with 80 seats in Parliament, surely the opposition is well poised to handle matters on their own. It appears, however, this is not so.

Parliament is where laws are made or reviewed. Parliament makes the laws by which we have to live under. Old laws need to be reviewed as to whether they should be repealed or amended and new laws to address new developments need to be introduced. Is this being done? Are our 222 Parliamentarians even concerned about this?

I do not intend to write a book so it would be impossible for me to cover all the issues. I shall just offer some examples to demonstrate what I am talking about. But this is far from the entire ‘shopping list’. There are just so many issues, which I can’t cover in a short article.

Let’s first talk about the Internal Security Act (ISA). This was a law introduced in 1960 after much debate. The Deputy Prime Minister cum Home Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, introduced the Bill in Parliament and the Opposition Leader, D.R. Seenivasagam, stood up to question the rationale of a draconian detention without trial law.

Tun Razak explained that there are about 800 Communist Terrorists operating in the Pahang jungles and along the Malaysian-Thai border. The ISA is to address the Communist Insurgency and for no other purpose. And with that assurance even the opposition supported the introduction of the ISA.

Well, the Emergency is now over and the Communist Party of Malaya signed a Peace Treaty with the government in 1979. So there is no more Emergency or Insurgency. But the ISA is still in force. And it is no longer used against Communist Terrorists but against political dissidents and alleged ‘Islamic ‘ terrorists.

Why aren’t the 222 Parliamentarians debating this?

The ISA states that it is supposed to be used against ‘a body of persons’, which means an organised group, not against individuals. And the ISA is meant ‘to combat the Communist Insurgency’. In the first place, is the ISA even legal? Does the ISA breach the Constitution, which says one cannot be detained without first being told of his/her crime, without being allowed access to a lawyer, without being brought before a court of law to be charged, and so on?

So the ISA is clearly being abused. In fact, it may even be unconstitutional. Read the Parliament Hansard of 1960. This is all on record. Is the ISA now a law to cover non-Communist activities as well? In that case this needs to be debated in Parliament and the government needs to clarify this. As it stands now, the ISA is illegally being used against those who should not be detained under the ISA (non-Communist Terrorists). But the 222 Members of Parliament are not concerned one bit.

What about the Petroleum Development Act (PDA)? This law was introduced in 1974. But is this law legal (the same question with regards to the ISA)? Does Parliament have a right to take control of the states’ natural resources? When the states agreed to join the Federation it was agreed that natural resources are state matters and do come under the control of the federal government.

The ISA and PDA are not the only laws that Parliament passed, although legal from the point of ‘majority vote’, which may not quite be legal according to the Constitution.

Okay, the legal eagles would argue that since Parliament passed those laws then they are legal. There are provisions in the Constitution that allow Parliament to pass ‘illegal’ laws’ during an Emergency. And Emergency has been declared in Malaysia. And Emergency has not been undeclared up to now. So, under the Emergency, laws that violate the Constitution can be passed.

Agreed. And that is why we have the Police Act where they can prevent gatherings of more than four people. And this law is being used against the opposition to the fullest. So it is not illegal for the police to arrest those who assemble in a crowd of more than four people in spite of the fact that the Constitution allows freedom of peaceful assembly.

In short, because we declared an Emergency in Malaysia 50 years or so ago, Parliament can ignore what the Constitution says and can pass laws that sidestep the Constitution.

That may have been the proper course of action 50 years ago. 50 years ago there were bombings and shootings and people were dying. And the culprits were the Communist Terrorists and, later, the Indonesians during the 1962 Konfrontasi. But with the end of the Emergency and Konfrontasi, why is Malaysia still applying emergency laws? And why are the 222 Members of Parliament not debating this?

Enough examples. Let me stop here before this piece gets too long. Suffice to say much needs to be debated and corrected in the event a correction is in order. But the 222 Members of Parliament are not doing this. Instead, they use Parliament as a personal battlefield.

I can easily draw up a list of 100 issues, starting with the ISA, PDA, declaration of the Malayan Emergency, and so on, that parliament needs to address. We have inherited many laws, which at the time the laws were introduced were suitable, but may not be so today.

Do you know that if you indulge in oral sex you can go to jail for ten years? That is the law. Oral sex is a crime and punishable by a long jail sentence. However, if they implement this law then 80% of Malaysians will go to jail, maybe more. Anal sex too is the same, even if you do it with your own wife. Do these laws need to be reviewed? Do they need to be repealed? Are they still applicable, even for Muslims?

Hey, the days when you can have sex with your wife only after obtaining the consent of the English king under the ‘Fornication Under Consent of the King’ law (F.U.C.K. for short) are long gone. This is the new age. And the oral and anal sex laws have also gone the way of those other archaic laws. Malaysia too has many laws that are archaic. They may have been appropriate 50 years ago. They may not be so today. And Parliament must address this. But the 222 Members of Parliament are too busy doing other things and do not have time to look into this.