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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

PKR set to field Zaid Ibrahim in Hulu Selangor

By Free Malaysia Today Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR is expected to field its supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim for the upcoming Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election.

According to party insiders, PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim has acknowledged that the former law minister is the best candidate to retain the seat.


“Zaid is a recognisable face. Everyone knows him and he is quite popular with the non-Malays as well. Anwar is aware of this.

“Furthermore, Zaid is seen as a principled politician, since he was willing to resign as minister. People respect him for this,” said the insider.

In 2008, Zaid had objected to the authorities' decision to detain three individuals, an opposition leader, a popular blogger and a journalist, under the Internal Security Act.

When ordered to zip up and toe the line, the former Kota Baru MP tendered his resignation instead. The lawyer-turned-politician then quit Umno and joined PKR in the following year.

Meanwhile, the insider said Zaid's win in the by-election would also propel him to play a bigger role in the party and Pakatan Rakyat.

“Anwar interviewed several candidates, but has his mind fixed on Zaid. The party leadership would make the announcement later this week,” he added.

PKR is confident that the former minister would be able to rope in the support of all three races in the Malay-majority seat.

The constituency also has a sizeable number of Chinese and Indian voters, and is regarded as a test case to gauge public sentiment in view of the next general election.

Zaid: Let the party leadership decide

When contacted, Zaid declined to comment.

“I leave it to the party leadership to make an official announcement,” he said.

The Hulu Selangor seat fell vacant following the death of PKR's Zainal Abidin Ahmad two weeks ago. Nomination is on April 15 and election April 25.

In the 2008 general election, Zainal had edged Hulu Selangor's three-term MP and MIC deputy president G Palanivel by a mere 198 votes.

Barisan Nasional is expected to field Palanivel once again, although there are some objections from within Umno.


Certain Umno leaders feel that a Malay candidate would stand a better chance as opposed to someone from MIC, which is seen as having lost the support of the Indian community.

There is also speculation that disgruntled Umno factions would field an independent candidate.

Three others have since expressed their intention to contest as independents. Top on the list is influential local leader V Chandran.

The ex-Hulu Selangor MIC division chief, who was recently sacked from the party, was a former staunch ally of Palanivel.

The other two are Malaysian Indian Youth Council president A Rajaratnam and T Ananthan, a former Tamil Nesan employee who failed to win a Central Working Committee (CWC) position in the last MIC elections.

In a recent interview, both Chandran and Ananthan declared that they want to “teach (MIC president S) Samy Vellu a lesson”.

Almost 53 percent or 34,020 of the 64, 500 registered voters in Hulu Selangor are Malays, 26.3 percent or 16,964 Chinese and 19.3 per cent or 12,453 Indians.

In sympathy with Matthias Chang

Martin Jalleh (MJ) responds to a letter purportedly written by Matthias Chang (MC) before he chose to go to jail after being charged for contempt of court by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

MC: Message from Matthias Chang. To My Dearest Friends and Colleagues



MJ: Dear Matthias, I was shocked that you have been charged for contempt of court. You must in synergy with your former boss who was most contemptuous of the courts!



MC: I have fought against injustice throughout my life and as a practising lawyer



MJ: Perhaps it would be more accurate to say throughout your pre-political-secretary life? The rest of your life you have been faithfully fighting for your former Master, Mahathir.



MC: …upholding justice when there are abuses by the judiciary



MJ: Alas, these abuses began when your former boss sacked the judiciary in 1988 and it has never recovered since then.



MC: and the state machinery calls for sacrifices



MJ: You mean, when Dr M made the judiciary part of the State and it began sacrificing justice at the altar of political expediency?



MC: and I have never shirked from that call to duty.



MJ: Indeed you were the epitome and great exemplar of subservience, an errand boy whom the Master would one day turn into a public figure extraordinaire!



MC: On Thursday, I became a victim of injustice inflicted by an errant Judge in the High Court of Malaya.



MJ: You were warned of the growing existence of “errant” and “corrupt” judges but you insisted there was “no proof”. Anyone who linked the rot in the judiciary to your Master, was challenged to an open debate. I guess there is no need of such duels anymore.



MC: In this case, I was the litigant, the plaintiff suing the defendant…(letter continues)


MC: Most of you are aware of my opposition to the previous regime headed by the 5th Prime Minister. (Letter continues.)



MJ: Pak Lah opened the floodgates to further and new revelations by Salleh Abbas, Param Cumarasamy, Ian Chin, Syed Ahmad Idid, Jayanti Naidu

(the former secretary of Lingam) that drowned whatever remained of Dr M’s integrity and credibility when it came to the judiciary.



When Anwar released the V.K. Lingam video clip, you called him a “convicted criminal” whose “lies and allegations must be exposed”. Ironically, the Royal Commission of Inquiry “exposed” the authenticity of the tape and that tampering (fixing) in the appointment of judges did take place. It recommended that an appropriate course of action be taken against six individuals, Dr M being one of them! Your former boss was left licking his wounds! Fortunately, you being his personal boot licker was always there for him.



MC: I counter-claimed against that crony likewise for defamation against me and exposed his corruption in conjunction with the son-in-law of the then Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi. My defence against the RM 50 million claim was justification, the crony was corrupt to the rotten core. The case has been in limbo ever since.



MJ: Many cases and even police reports against BN leaders (especially during Dr M’s reign) were in limbo. Lame and laughable excuses were given. What a legacy your former Master left behind!



MC: Therefore, this case that came up for hearing is not as simple as it looks.

MJ: Many cases like the sacking of Salleh Abbas and two other judges and the jailing of Anwar Ibrahim were not as simple as they looked, though you trivialised them and mocked those who suffered from the injustice.

MC: There were forces ready to pounce and humiliate me at every turn.



MJ: Just like how Dr M used the judiciary, to harass and humiliate Anwar in the sodomy-turned-corruption and sodomy (I) cases? His legacy continues on in the latest sodomy case or circus.


MC: From the word go, my three Counsels were treated without due respect. My Counsel was denied the right to make an Opening Statement, a right which every litigant has.



MJ: At least you got your case heard. Some cases have been thrown out on the slightest and tenuous technicalities. Further, never go to court insisting on your rights. What you need is a “right” judge.



MC: I was called to testify immediately…(letter continues) the judge pounced on me and declared everyone before her court will be treated equally and I had no need to declare my past and or the need to "impress" her. She further said that "so what if I was previously the political secretary to the Prime Minister and a senior lawyer of over 30 years experience."



MJ: Since Dr M "took over" the judiciary, good reputation amongst judges has become almost extinct, so much so it is something the judges no longer look for in witnesses! As for respect and recognition that comes with years of service and experience, even in the judiciary the more senior and experienced judges are shunned, shoved and shelved. Only judges who are ready to bow, bend and do the bidding at the Master’s behest will be bountifully rewarded.



MC: My Counsel objected and told her that…(letter continues)


MC: The Judge resumed the hearing in Open Court, whereupon I addressed the Court and said: “(letter continues)....In my over 30 years of practice, no judge has ever abused me and or was rude to me. I intend to make a complaint to the Chief Justice and would now take leave and retire."

MJ: Don’t waste your time with the CJ, Matthias. He has been as silent as the grave even after the respected retired Justice NH Chan found certain judges in the appellate courts to be a “bunch of idiots”!



MC: (Letter continues)


MC: The Judge incited by that lawyer (for the defendant), directed the police officer in attendance to arrest me and place me in custody in the Lock-up at the basement of the Court Complex. The professionalism of the police officer was such that he did not handcuff me, but merely invited me to follow him…(letter continues)



MJ: Luckily they kept you at the basement and not on some top floor! Luckily you had such a professional officer and not the nation’s top cop who beat up Anwar to near death, and whose severe injuries were dismissed by a less-than-a-human-being as being “self-inflicted”.


MC: Point to note: in accordance with Malaysian law, I had not committed any crime at that stage to warrant any arrest, more so one instigated by a lawyer…

MJ: “Malaysian law”? What’s that? This country only knows of Umno’s law and rule by law or the PM's laws and his orders!

MC: (Letter continues) I immediately called my friend and fellow colleague, Mr. Zainur Zakaria…



MJ: Zainur would understand. He was found guilty of the contempt of court by the late Augustine Paul (AP) in a case related to the corruption trial of Anwar. The Federal Court described AP as one who "was behaving as though he was acting as counsel for the two prosecutors in the motion" and "should have been the last person to deal with the contempt issue".



In fact your former boss echoed the above, when he came to your defense in his blog: “One of the principles in law which is believed to ensure that justice is done is that disputes must be settled by a third party. No one (except Dr M?) should be the prosecutor, the judge and the executioner.”



Dr M ventured further: “In several recent cases an accused person has demanded that the judge recuse himself for being biased. Indeed we hear of an accused person demanding that the prosecutors be changed because of allegedly being bias. And in fact the persons concerned, who were only doing the work they had officially been tasked with, were not allowed to carry out their usual work.”



If Dr M was referring to Anwar in the latest sodomy case, he got his facts wrong. The prosecutors were allowed to continue their “usual work” of ensuring that there would be penetrating evidence that Anwar goes to jail, and the judge refused to recuse himself from the judicial circus!



MC: (Letter continues)


MC: THIS SUMS UP WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED. The judicial system is rotten



MJ: You mean to say it took you so long to make such a conclusion!



MC: …but I had in the past tried to reform by working within the system



MJ: You can’t undo what your former Master did to the judiciary! Anwar and Zaid Ibrahim tried and failed! Strange we can’t recall any significant attempts of judicial reform on your part.



MC: and held back my open criticisms.



MJ: It appears you are suffering from the same self-inflicted selective amnesia of your former Master.



MC: I never expected to be a victim of the system.

MJ: The "system" which you worked for? Alas, our injustice can boomerang on us one day!



If this can happen to me, what more the poor and or unrepresented litigant.



MJ: You do not have to worry about them. They are quite familiar with the "system". You only have to make sure you do not futher contribute to the system!



MC: It seems that there have been many cases of abuse by this Judge but the Chief Justice did not take any action.



MJ: Pity though that the judge cannot defend herself. But I must say that she is a rather brave judge to take you on and send you to jail! Perhaps you have finally met your match!


MC: MY FAMILY IS 100% BEHIND ME ON THIS MATTER.



MJ: Thank God for your family support, for many feel you deserve to be in the pit which your former Master had dug a long time ago, with your faithful assistance of course. Foreign support for you has also increased though some Malaysians feel foreigners should not interfere with a local issue! Sounds familiar?



MC: (Letter continues)



MC: The public would be confused and may even think that I was indeed wrong in opposing the abuse. They may also be cowed in the future in any opposition to similar abuse.



MJ: The public has got used to fighting against a rotten judiciary for so long. We are in fact very concerned about you who have been very confused and cowed!



MC: I am therefore preparing myself to go to jail and hopefully, my incarceration would arouse the conscience of the people to stand up and fight against an injustice. An action that has been DELAYED FOR TOO LONG.

MJ: We do not need such “arousal” Matthias. The fight for a free and fearless judiciary began the day after your former boss sacked the judiciary and sullied its reputation irreparably. Further, your incarceration and fast would definitely not be able to exorcise the judiciary of the "devil incarnate" (a name given by former judge Ian Chin to Dr M) whose harm and havoc still haunts the judiciary!

MJ: There are also those who feel that your fast is just a farce to make you famous. Not to worry, there were those who said the same of the jailed Anwar when he sought treatment for his neck and back problems. Surely you were not one amongst them?

MC: I appeal to all of you for your understanding and support and I seek your assistance that my plight be given the widest publicity as possible.

MJ: You can be assured of the support of many Malaysians who have always taken a stand and spoken out for justice. The only way the reputation of the judiciary can be restored and the rot got rid of, is to rally the nation towards a radical change – a change in government! I appeal to you for your understanding and support towards such a goal!

Zul pressed me for money, says Kedah exco

ALOR STAR: Zulkifli Noordin is back in the spotlight, with a Kedah state councillor alleging that the maverick MP asked him for money in the name of a third party during the Altantuya Shaaribu murder trial in 2008.

Lim Soo Nee, the state assemblyman for Kulim, said Zulkifli sent him threatening messages asking for money on March 5 and 6 of that year.

He said the Kulim-Bandar Baru MP told him PAS needed the money for its campaign in the 2008 general election.

Lim described Zulkifli as someone who would twist facts to suit his convenience.

“He will go to any extreme to satisfy his needs, even to the point of using third parties,” he said.

“I’m exposing this now only because I can no longer sit and watch him dupe the rakyat. I am sure many are easily hoodwinked by him.”

Zulkifli was sacked from PKR last month and now serves as an independent MP. His recent speeches appear to be supportive of the Najib administration. In one of those speeches, he said he was offered a large sum of money to implicate Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor in the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya.

Lim said Zulkifli told him during the 2008 election campaign that he was in possession of sensitive evidence relating to Altantuya's murder.

At the time, Zulkifli was the lawyer for Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, one of the suspects in the murder. However, he subsequently withdrew as Azilah’s counsel.

Last March 24, Zulkifli resurrected the Altantuya saga in Parliament when he claimed that a third party had offered him payment in return for implicating Najib and his wife in the murder. He said the amount offered was enough to “shake one's faith”.

'Tell the truth or resign'

In the Altantuya case, Abdul Razak Baginda, an aide and close friend of Najib's, was charged with abetting Azilah and another special operations officer, Sirul Azhar.

Abdul Razak was subsequently acquitted, but the two policemen have been sentenced to death.

Describing Zulkifli's disclosure as a “confession” and a “betrayal of friend and party,” Lim said:

“Zulkifli sent me two text messages during the 12th general election asking for campaign money. He claimed a third party needed the funds.

“According to my SMS record, he said the PAS machinery needed RM21,000 for the campaign and that PAS would boycott the campaign if the request was not met.

“Zulkifli said I only needed to bear part of the cost, which was RM7,000.”

Because he did not immediately respond, he said, Zulkifli sent him a second message telling him he had angered PAS and urging him to give whatever he could.

“After Pakatan Rakyat won the election, I happened to meet the Kulim-Bandar Baru PAS chief, Yaakub Husin,” Lim said. “I mentioned the incident to him. He was shocked and denied asking for money for the campaign.

“Since then, I have been wondering what Zulkifli needed the money for because there was such urgency in his messages.”

He has challenged Zulkifli to tell the truth or at least resign in the name of truth.

“Better we have a by-election,” he said. “Then we’ll see if the Kulim-Bandar Baru constituents will support him.”

Jeffrey: Ku Li's disclosure links crash to oil deal

By Queville To - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMa), an ad-hoc apolitical NGO, said a re-visit of the 1976 crash which killed Sabah chief minister Donald Fuad Stephens would answer the question of whether the subsequent oil agreement between Sabah and the federal government was valid.

The NGO, which is dedicated to “reversing the re-colonialisation of Sabah and Sarawak since 1963”, said it was now imperative that the matter be re-investigated because the crash had occurred hours before Stephens was to have handed over Sabah's oil rights to the federal government.

There has long been a suspicion that there was no proper investigation of the June 6,1976 air crash which killed Stephens and half his Cabinet.

Until today there are also many conspiracy theories surrounding the causes of the crash.

Said CigMa chairman Dr Jeffrey Kitingan: “His (Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's) talk is enough for the authorities to re-open the probe into the air crash.”

Tengku Razaleigh, former Petronas chairman and finance minister, had during a talk, “Minyak Sabah Untuk Siapa" (Sabah’s Oil for Whom?) at the Hongkod Koisaan last Friday made new disclosures of the 1976 air crash.

In an immediate reaction, former chief minister and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee had on Sunday called for investigations to be re-opened based on Tengku Razaleigh’s disclosure.

Several inconsistencies

Yesterday, Jeffrey, after consulting with senior CigMa activists here last night, presented his analysis of the crash based on Tengku Razaleigh’s revelations.

He pointed out several inconsistencies, oversights, exclusion of evidence and errors in the earlier probe.

Jeffrey, who is also Sabah PKR vice-president, is convinced that the new investigation will show that the 1976 oil agreement entered between Petronas and the Sabah government is legally void.

He believes that there could be elements of “coercion” and “fraud” which would be exposed during a new investigation.

“An agreement is something that is valid and exists in law. It must demonstrate offer, acceptance, no revocation, capacity, intent, consideration, certainty, free consent -- that is, no coercion or fraud -- and it must not be illegal,” he said.

Noting that Tengku Razaleigh had stressed during his talk that “the oil agreement exists and is valid in law”, Jeffrey, however, said Tengku Razaleigh did not cite any evidence to support his contention besides referring to legislation on the matter.

An intriguing question that pops up after Tengku Razaleigh's talk is why Stephens did not sign the oil agreement in Labuan as scheduled.

Tengku Razaleigh insisted during his talk that Stephens planned to sign the oil agreement later that night in Kota Kinabalu.

Disturbing feature

Jeffrey said that confidence was merely based on the presence of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Yaakub who had earlier signed the oil agreement.

He inferred from this that Sabah was expected to “meekly follow the Sarawak example perhaps with a little persuasion from Rahman Yaakub who was already beholden to the federal government as a proxy”.

“Everyone knows that Rahman was being propped up by the federal government after the ouster of the independent-minded Sarawak National Party and Chief Minister Stephen Kalong Ningkan under an emergency decree.”

Numerous researchers point out that it is hard to believe that Stephen promised to sign the oil agreement later in the night in Kota Kinabalu, contending that if he had any intention to do so he would have done it in Labuan as scheduled.

Jeffrey, the younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, subscribes to the same theory.

“Since he refused to sign the oil agreement in Labuan, it’s highly unlikely that he would have agreed to sign it in Kota Kinabalu just a few hours later,” he said.

He also believes that Stephens would never have assented to something that his predecessor and childhood friend, Mustapha Harun, had earlier rejected.

“These two, like many Sabah leaders, always consulted each other privately even as they clashed in public.”

He points out that this leads to a disturbing feature of the crash, widely known as the “Double Six Tragedy” -- whether the so-called signing ceremony facilitated the implementation of Plan B -- the air crash to wipe out almost the entire anti-oil agreement Sabah Cabinet in one fell swoop.

Describing the case of Sabah as a repeat of what transpired in Sarawak, Jeffrey claims that the ouster of Mustapha's Usno government was arranged after he refused to accept the words “in perpetuity” in the draft oil agreement.

'The Politics of Federalism – Syed Kechik in East Malaysia' book backs up this theory.

Unnamed person



Jeffrey pointed out that what is certain is that Tengku Razaleigh had already belted up in his seat in the ill-fated aircraft before he was asked to disembark by then Deputy Chief Minister Harris Salleh.

He noted that there appeared to be some confusion on whether Harris was also initially seated in the same aircraft or was not among the passengers.

“If he was not among the passengers, did he ask only Tengku Razaleigh or did he also invite Rahman and one other unnamed person to exit the aircraft?” asked Kitingan.

He said Tengku Razaleighi’s account last Friday appeared to suggest that it was he (Tengku Razaleigh) who invited Rahman and the third person in turn to follow him after being invited by Harris to disembark from the aircraft.

"What cannot be disputed is that Harris’s invitation to Tengku Razaleigh to disembark was a clear breach of protocol and courtesy as his boss, Stephens, was the host aboard the ill-fated aircraft, said Jeffrey.

The oil agreement was more important than a cattle-rearing project in Pulau Banggi, which is still the poorest place in Malaysia, he added.

There was no reason, for Harris and Tengku Razaleigh, to give priority to visiting the cattle-rearing project over the oil agreement unless it was already a done deal.

It is as if some people knew that there would be no signing ceremony in Kota Kinabalu, he said.

Sedekah and zakat, as I see it

It’s lunch time and you’re famished.

Out of the office, cross the overhead bridge to the other side of the road, for some truly original nasi kandar.

Half way across the bridge, though, you encounter a woman, without limbs, seated next to a begging bowl.

She looks you in the eye, but says nothing.

You reach into your wallet, get out a red note, and place it in the bowl.

Sedekah.

You’re half way through your nasi kandar and you can’t stop thinking of that woman seated on the bridge.

Then it hits you.

She has no limbs.

How will she eat?

You buy a bungkus of nasi kandar and a packet of susu bandung, head out to that woman, sit beside her and, not a word passing between the two of you, hand-feed her.

As you hold the straw to her lips so she might sip, silently, tears trickle.

Yours and hers.

Two souls, hitherto worlds apart, have connected.

Zakat.

Sedekah is to give of what you have.

Zakat is to give of yourself.

Inter-faith panel to resolve disputes? What about intra-faith disputes?

Malaysianinsider reports today that the “Cabinet has finally agreed to form an inter-faith panel to foster religious understanding and harmony disturbed in the past few months by bigots and the controversial “Allah” ruling”.

The same report has it that Najib “had earlier this year appointed Datuk Ilani Isahak to bring religious leaders to the table in an attempt to peacefully iron out conflicts” and that religious representatives “who have spoken to Ilani told The Malaysian Insider that she is very tactful and sympathetic to the non-Muslim communities on their problems which have been piling up over the years”.

Before I say anything else, let me first disclose that the new head of the Inter-Faith panel is my sister-in-law.

To those religious reps who have found her sympathetic to the non-Muslim communities, let me remind you that in some of the most pressing issues that your communities have faced, many Muslims have stood shoulder to shoulder with you in dealing with those issues.

Many who profess the religion of Islam have taken the frontline to defend the rights of many from your communities, both inside and outside the courts.

I need not name them.

You know who they are.

They fought for justice for those in your communities who were being oppressed because they believed that faith must be a matter solely between man and Maker.

Let me now remind you, the reps of the non-Muslim communities, who will now take your places on this Inter-Faith panel, that there are Malaysians who profess Islam who face difficulties and persecution in practising their faith as they understand it.

The Ahmadiahs.

The Shia.

Will this Inter-Faith panel address the concerns of these Muslims?

Let me ask you, the reps of the non-Muslim communities, who will now take your places on this Inter-Faith panel, if you will speak up on behalf of the former Muslims who merely want to live out the rest of their lives in peace?

Kamariah Ali?

Ayah Pin?

Or will you only look out for your own flock?

Perisik Israel Wujud Dalam PDRM

Dari Malaysiakini

Ketua pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar hari ini mendedahkan kewujudan perisik Israel dalam pasukan Polis Diraja Diraja Malaysia (PDRM).

Katanya, perkara berkenaan sebelum ini telah disahkan sendiri oleh cawangan khas Bukit Aman.

Bercakap ketika membahaskan bajet tambahan Kementerian Dalam Negeri di Dewan Rakyat hari ini, Datuk Seri Anwar turut mengemukakan beberapa dokumen bagi menyokong dakwaannya itu.

Beliau yang juga MP Permatang Pauh menamakan sebuah syarikat yang terbabit dan dikatakan berpengkalan di Israel.

Katanya lagi ini membuktikan maklumat negara telahpun dijual kepada ejen asing.

Katanya lagi ini juga menunjukkan sikap kerajaan yang bermuka-muka.

“Tak iktiraf israel tapi bersekongkol dengan rejim Zionis yang kejam,” katanya.

Najib adopting extraordinary construction methods – building his 1Malaysia house with roof first then pillars without floor as NEM Part 2 has been deferred further from 10th Malaysia Plan to third quarter of the year

1. Ballooning budget deficit – Parliament has been presented with two sets of supplementary estimates, the second supplementary estimates for 2009 totalling RM11.36 billion (i.e. RM8.98 billion for Operating and RM2.39 billion for Development), after the earlier first RM10 billion supplementary estimates and the first supplementary estimates for 2010 totalling RM12 billion for both operating and development.

We are debating the second supplementary estimates for 2009 Budget which will be followed by the debate on the first supplementary estimates fo 2010 Budget.

These two sets of supplementary estimates before the current meeting of Parliament are most surprising, as the country was told by the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak when presenting the 2010 budget on 23rd October 2009 that the fiscal budget of the Federal Government had reached a peak at 7.4% of GDP in 2009, and that the fiscal budget is expected to decline to 5.6% of GDP in 2010.

With these two sets of supplementary estimates, Malaysia’s budgeting has again gone awry with the budget deficit in 2009 shooting to as high as 7.9 per cent of GDP in 2009 and over 7% in 2010.

A full explanation for this fiscal indiscipline and even irresponsibility should be given, as this is proof of imprudent control of public expenditure amidst inefficient utilization of the nation’s financial resources.

For instance, RM32 million is allocated in the 2009 Development Supplementary Estimates for the purchases of aircrafts for the police, which apart from allowing the Inspector-General of Police and top police officers to work in style makes no contribution whatsoever in the campaign to fight crime to make the country safe to work and play by Malaysians, tourist and investors.

The RM34 million would be better spent in purchasing say some 68,000 bicycles or 6,800 Honda cubs for all the police stations in the country to increase police visibility with frequent police beats, which is the best and most effective way to combat combat crime to keep the people in the streets, public places and private homes free from crime and the fear of crime!

2. The greatest tragedy of the country’s development history is the marginalization of rural and urban groups denied equal treatment as full-fledged Malaysian citizens – not only in Sabah and Sarawak but also in Peninsular Malaysia. One such group are the people in Pekan Kaki Bukit and Pekan Sayor Kaki Bukit which I visited over the weekend, to hear their tale of marginalization where the close to 1,000 people in the two areas have been living in their homes, some for three and even four generations for some 70 – 80 years without land titles. The the MP for Padang Besar, Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid is the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and former Minister is four-term MP for the area since 1995. How could he allow such gross injustice totally against the spirit of 1Malaysia to continue unchecked for the 15 years he was the MP for the area?

3. Now we are told that all this will be addressed in the New Economic Model unveiled by the Prime Minister on 30th March to enable Malaysia to escape the middle-income trap for the past decade and transform Malaysia into a high-income advanced nation with inclusiveness and sustainability.

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak became Prime Minister last April, he announced that the government would introduce a new economic model for the country to ensure that Malaysia makes a quantum leap to escape the middle-income trap to become a high-income country through greater emphasis on innovation, creativity and competitiveness.

In May last year, the Second Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the new economic model would be announced in the second half of the year.

Time is clearly of the critical essence to launch a new economic model as Husni subsequently admitted in a very frank speech in December that the country had lost a decade in economic stagnation.

In actual fact, the World Bank had recommended that Malaysia adopt a new economic model three years ago, stressing that industrial countries are already aiming for economic model 3.0, and with competition at economic model 1.0 intensifying, striving to achieve economic model 2.0 is not an option for Malaysia but a necessity.

The government has to explain why the World Bank’s advice that Malaysia migrate to a new economic model 2.0 was ignored for three years, losing more precious time for Malaysia to catch up in the international competitiveness race when the country had become a straggler as compared to other countries.

But there is more flip-flops and procrastination. The New Economic Model was not fully released on March 30, only Part I with Part 2 promised when the Tenth Malaysia Plan is presented in Parliament and launched in June this year.

Najib has described his 1Malaysia concept has the roof of the Malaysia he is building, the Government Transformation Programme and the NEM as the two pillars, while the Tenth Malaysia Plan the floor, the basis where all Malaysians will move forward.

But there has been further delays and procrastination as the short-lived promise of the publication of Part II of the NEM has now been further deferred from June to the quarter of the year, according to the National Economic Advisory Council Chairman Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz.

So when Parliament meets in June to approve the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the floor of the 1Malaysia house will not be ready – which undoubtedly is going to create problems apart from the extraordinary construction method Najib has adopted like building castles in the air – the roof first, then the pillars and without the floor!

Actually there is nothing much new in the NEM which is 10 years too late. This is because many of the things proposed in the NEM had actually been proposed at various times in the past decade.

Former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, for instance, in his speech to the Harvard Club in May 2005 said that Malaysia must rid of three addictions if it is to be a developed nation, namely cheap foreign labour, subsidies and rent-seeking.

But nothing has been done to resolve these “addictions” apart from making diagnosis of the ills of the Malaysian economy. In fact, we have many rent-seekers among Barisan Nasional MPs in this House!

In 2002, when launching the Knowledge-Based Economy Master plan also described as Strategic Initiative One of the 21st Century, the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir wrote in the foreword:

“Recognising the critical need for knowledge as input, Malaysia has embarked on the transformation from an input-driven growth strategy that had served her well in the past to one that is increasingly driven by knowledge in order to achieve sustainable high growth and development, The intention to migrate from a production based economy to a knowledge-based economy and the development of a Master Plan to chart the strategic direction towards the knowledge-based economy were first announced in Budget 2000. Prior to this, the Government has, however, adopted several initiatives aimed at developing Malaysia into a knowledge-based economy. Of significance was the establishment of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1996, providing world-class facilities to foster the development of high technology and innovations for both domestic and foreign companies and the implementation of several flagship applications, including the multi-purpose card, smart schools, telehealth, E-government and technopreneur development as well as the provision of tax incentives to promote an information technology-savvy society.

“The Knowledge-based Economy Master Plan marks yet another key initiative of the Government to further accelerate the development of the nation into a knowledge-based economy as well as in achieving the objectives of Vision 2020. The Master Plan provides a strategic framework outlining the changes to the fundamentals of the economy. It articulates a vision and mission besides prescribing seven critical areas with a total of 136 recommendations that need to be addressed in moving forward to the knowledge-based economy. It is noted that several recommendations of the Master Plan have already and continue to be addressed and implemented by the Government.”

Let us look at some of the 136 recommendations in seven critical areas made by the Knowledge-based Economy Master Plan to move Malaysia forward to an knowledged-based economy before 2010, viz:

*

Put in place, by 2005, the e-education enabling environment for the entire education system;
*

Prepare by 2002, all universities for professional assessment and rating;
*

Step up measures to recruit those with Ph.D. qualifications into universities and set a target that by 2010 all academicians in all public universities will have a Ph.D qualification.
*

Develop Malaysia as a centre of excellence in education and training.
*

Grant automatic work permits and right of abode to top-level foreign talents.
*

Grant right of abode to Asian/world class talents in all creative fields.
*

Develop management of human resources based on competency.
*

Attract some of the best brains into the public sector.
*

Improve English language capabilities.
*

Enhance access: Wire and electrify every nook and corner of Malaysia.
*

Enhance access: Provide PC and Internet access to all schools.

The Knowledge-Based Economy Master Plan a decade ago was a total failure and that is why the NEM today has to recycle many of the proposals made then.

In the past decade, with many reports and plans, Malaysia is not short of analysis and solutions to the ills of the Malaysian economy, but what is lacking is the political will to walk the talk and to implement them.

As a result, Malaysia is faced with a full-blown national-building and economic crisis after a lost decade of economic stagnation.

How serious is this crisis. Lets us refer to the New Economic Model (Ch. 2, p. 41) for a description of this Malaysian crisis:

1.

Economic stagnation – “What little life remains in Malaysia investment (since 1997) has come from state direction rather than private strength; in the decade after 1997, private investment as a fraction of GDP declined to less than one third of its pre-1997 peak.
2.

Structural weaknesses in Malaysia’s path of economic development – depleting resources; difficulty in doing businesses; sluggish bureaucracy no longer fit for purpose in a fast-moving world;
3.

A disastrous exodus of human capital has flowed from the perception that in Malaysia’s labour markets, rewards have historically not been commensurate with skills, achievements and merits. Perhaps half a million talented Malaysians now live and work outside the country – 50% of them educated up to tertiary level, all embodying valuable skills no longer available to contribute to economic development in the country. Since 2000, the number of expatriates working in Malaysia has declined 9% a year.
4.

Malaysia has reached a defining moment in its development path. It risks beings left behind or worse still, suffering a reversal in living standards unless it implements far-reaching and comprehensive reforms. Economic policies to date are no longer keeping Malaysia competitive enough, regionally and globally, to generate sufficient growth.

The NEAC ended Chapter 2 will the warning “We must act now before our position deteriorates any further” and devotes the final chapter, Ch. 7 on “The time for change is now – Malaysia deserves no less”.

But there is a total absence of urgency on the government’s part, which explains why the NEM report is not even presented in the House (we have only the Executive Summary) when there should be a full-debate,

This represent one of the three factors which NEAC has warned could cause the failure of NEM.

To quote the NEM (p. 110):

“Three factors may explain such failures. The first is insufficient buy-in by stakeholders affected by the required reform measures because they were not engaged at the policy formation stage.”

When there is no effort to “buy-in” the support of Parliament, by tabling the NEM and having a special debate on it, how could anyone expect that NEM would get larger national or civil society support.

(to be contd)

[Speech (Part 1) by DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor Lim Kit Siang on the 2009 Supplementary Estimates in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday April 6, 2010]

Don't Dispute The BN Candidate - Najib

PUTRAJAYA, April 6 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said every Barisan Nasional (BN) leader and member should refrain from questioning the candidate to be fielded to represent the party at the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary by-election on April 25.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister said they should accept whatever decision made by the party and cooperate in ensuring victory for the BN candidate.

"Regardless (who the candidate is), don't raise the matter concerning the candidate. Whoever is decided by the party as the candidate...heavy or light, we have to carry.

"You have to carry the candidate chosen by the party. Don't complain...criticise," he said when addressing guests at a luncheon for political secretaries at his office, here Tuesday.

Earlier, the MIC was reported to have asked for the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary seat to be retained by the party but there were talks that the grass roots wanted the candidate to be from Umno.

Nomination day for the by-election has been fixed for April 17 but polling day will be on April 25.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had said earlier that the BN candidate for the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary by-election was expected to be announced on April 15.

Najib said every BN member and leader must give their cooperation and work as a team to ensure victory for the party's candidate.

"We must be a collective team player. (Probably) today it is Umno, tomorrow MIC, the day after MCA, subsequently other parties in Sabah and Sarawak if there's a by-election. We don't know....," he said.

The Prime Minister said the Hulu Selangor Parliamentary by-election was most important to the BN to maintain the momentum of the people's support for the party now.

12 killed in West Virginia mine blast



(CNN) -- Twelve miners died Monday and more than a dozen were unaccounted for after an explosion erupted inside an underground mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia, the mine's parent company said.

Another 21 miners were injured in the blast at the Upper Big Branch Mine, according to Michael Mayhorn, emergency dispatcher for Boone County, which was called in to assist in the response.

The explosion apparently occurred during an afternoon shift change, witnesses and officials said.

At least 20 ambulances and three helicopters were dispatched from surrounding counties, and the state medical examiner was heading to the scene, Mayhorn said. At least one miner was evacuated by helicopter, according to Mayhorn.

Don Blankenship, the chief executive officer of Massey Energy Co., which oversees the mine, said in a statement that the company is "working diligently on rescue efforts."

"Our prayers go out to the families of the miners," he said. "We want to assure the families of all the miners we are taking every action possible to locate and rescue those still missing."

The explosion happened about 4:30 p.m. at Massey Energy's Performance Coal Co. mine in Whitesville, West Virginia, 30 miles south of Charleston, West Virginia, CNN affiliate WCHS reported.

The cause of the explosion was not immediately known, but methane gas has been blamed in several deadly mining accidents in recent years, including the 2006 explosion at the Sago mine, also in West Virginia, that killed 12 people. Five miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, were killed five months later in a methane gas explosion in Kentucky Darby Mine No. 1.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, however, said spring is an unusual time of year to see such explosions, which typically occur in winter as barometric pressure changes occur inside mines.

Manchin said he had spoken to Blankenship, who told him that the mine was equipped with rescue chambers, a safety measure put in place following several deadly accidents in 2006. The chambers are stocked with such supplies as first-aid kits and oxygen tanks in the event of an emergency.

"We're very hopeful that the miners who are missing were able to make it to those rescue chambers," said Manchin, who was on his way to the site.

Manchin also spoke to President Barack Obama, who offered his condolences and federal government assistance in the rescue effort.

Miners paced outside the mine shaft, trying to help emergency responders treating their injured colleagues, said Shawn Kline, a reporter for CNN affiliate WVVA.

"The look of worry is on just about everyone's faces," Kline said as dozens of fire trucks, ambulances and police cars streamed into and out of the site.

Eric Martin, who works the day shift at the mine, told WVVA that his father is one of the missing.

"It's like I got hit in the gut right there real hard (and) I just keep getting hit," he said.

At least one miner was evacuated by helicopter and two others by ambulance, officials said.

CAMC spokeswoman Elizabeth Pellegrin said the hospital received one person from the mine via a helicopter at 6 p.m. That patient is getting treatment in the hospital's intensive care unit, she said, declining to elaborate on the person's injuries.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, said in a statement Monday that he is "working with state and federal officials to get as much information as possible and ... doing all I can to help make sure all resources are made available for this rescue effort."

Massey Energy Co., based in Richmond, Virginia, has operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia. It is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, it said in a statement.

Three other deaths have happened in the Upper Big Branch Mine in the past 12 years, according to federal records.

In 1998, a man was killed when a beam he was constructing collapsed; in 2001, a worker died after a rock fell on him; and in 2003, an electrician who was repairing a shuttle car was found dead, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Monday's explosion is the latest in a string of problems for Massey Energy, which operates 44 underground and surface mines and controls 2.2 billion tons of coal reserves in West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Massey's Web site.
It's like I got hit in the gut right there real hard (and) I just keep getting hit.
--Eric Martin, miner

The company has been fined for several incidents, some fatal, at its facilities in recent years, including a 2006 fire that killed two miners in Aracoma Coal Company's Alma Mine No. 1. Aracoma is a division of Massey. The company pleaded guilty to 10 criminal charges in connection with the fire and was fined $2.5 million in 2009.

In 2000, a coal sludge impoundment owned by Massey Energy broke into an abandoned underground mine, oozing more than 300 million gallons of coal waste into tributaries in eastern Kentucky.

Also in 2000, a series of accidents at Massey facilities killed eight miners during the course of the year, according to Davitt McAteer, former director of the Mine Safety and Health Administration during the Clinton administration.

"Massey has had difficulty with their accident records and their numbers of citations and penalties that have been issued against them," McAteer said. "There is a problem here, and it's a problem that we hoped had gone away."

A post on the Massey Web site touts the company's 2009 safety record, saying it "marked the sixth consecutive year and the 17th year out of the past 20 years in which Massey's safety performance was stronger than the industry average."

The U.S. mining industry in 2009 saw its safest year in the history of American mining with 18 deaths. Prior to Monday's explosion, two deaths had been recorded for 2010.

Cabinet moots inter-faith panel to solve disputes

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The Cabinet has finally agreed to form an inter-faith panel to foster religious understanding and harmony disturbed in the past few months by bigots and the controversial “Allah” ruling.

The Malaysian Insider understands the Cabinet, under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had earlier this year appointed Datuk Ilani Isahak to bring religious leaders to the table in an attempt to peacefully iron out conflicts.

The idea for an inter-faith panel was first mooted in the early 1980s but was spiked following objections from Muslim groups such as the Islamic Development Department, better known by its Malay acronym Jakim.

According to sources, the objection was because an inter-faith council would place Islam, the nation’s official religion, on equal footing with the other religions.

Various attempts have been made to revive the idea over the years, but have come up against a wall, until now.

A former Kota Baru MP, Ilani who is now with the religious affairs division in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), was handpicked to head the inter-faith panel. She was a member of the National Unity Advisory Panel under the Abdullah administration.

Ilani declined to comment on the issues raised when first contacted by The Malaysian Insider but promised to do so later. She did not specify when.

Religious representatives who have spoken to Ilani told The Malaysian Insider that she is very tactful and sympathetic to the non-Muslim communities on their problems which have been piling up over the years.

Reverend Hermen Shastri, secretary-general of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) greeted the Najib administration’s latest overture with cautious optimism.

He noted that rise of inter-religious disputes pitting Muslims against the non-Muslims in the last few years over a number of issues, most notably burial rights and conversions.

One of the most bitter controversies is the case of kindergarten teacher, M. Indira Gandhi, a Hindu who is battling her Muslim-convert ex-husband, Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, for custody of their youngest daughter.

While a civil High Court in Perak had earlier this month awarded the mother custody of 22-month old Prasana, a Syariah high court had granted custody to the father.

The inter-faith panel first met last February 12 after a spate of street protests and attacks on houses of worship following the New Year’s Eve High Court ruling over the use of the word “Allah” showed the need for all religious groups to face the problem straight on.

Although the “Allah” issue is before the courts, some 28 religious leaders, including Muslim officials from Jakim and the Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim) were present at the first talk to discuss the disputes.

Suggestions were made then to split the main panel into several smaller committees to better manage the disputes, namely: religious conversion; places of worship; burials and cemeteries; proselytisation; and use of religious terminology.

Another idea mooted was to set up an action team comprising respected civic leaders who could immediately step in, in an emergency, to deal with conflicts on the ground.

Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Reverend Thomas Philips, said the inter-faith committee will be meeting again today for the Cabinet’s feedback on the various proposals made.

Review power, toll deals, wages for NEM

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider
Bahasa Malaysia Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The government must review power and toll concessions, and also introduce a minimum wage, if it wants Malaysia to be a high income nation under the New Economic Model (NEM), an economist said last night.

Bank Islam chief economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin urged the Najib administration to make an in-depth review of the toll concession and Independent Power Producers (IPP) contracts, saying both were direct burdens to the people.

“The consumers’ expenses have a big potential ... where it can be generated to contribute to the country’s growth,” he told an NEM forum organised by the Dewan Bahasa Pustaka (DBP) here.

The government last week unveiled the NEM to turn the country into a high-income nation and do away with subsidies and rent-seeking practises while ensuring affirmative action was needs-based.

But Azrul Azwar said there were direct methods to achieve the NEM aims.

“I propose that the government review concessions for the highways and IPPs so that the people won’t be burdened with regular hikes every two to three years,” he said, adding a minimum wage policy would also accelerate the NEM goals.

The economist said both his suggestions would go towards reaching the NEM target of raising the per capita income from US$7,000 (RM22,628) to US$15,000 by 2020.

Statistics show that some 80 per cent of the workforce has only SPM-level certificate which limits income potential and Azrul Azwar said any hikes would adversely impact workers.

“When there is a price hike, workers will feel the rise in cost of living and will be careful in spending money,” he pointed out.

But the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) chief executive officer Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin said she could only agree to a minimum wage policy if the employers are given the mandate to sack workers who fail to meet productivity targets.

Mahani also said not all developed countries subscribe to a minimum wage.

“There are countries who do not follow the minimum wage system, including Singapore,” she said, adding there should be a salary hike mechanism agreeable to the government, employers and workers.

“For me, a minimum wage is possible with conditions,” said Mahani, reiterating the need for productivity targets and the employers’ right to dismiss workers who do not meet such targets.

Demands for the government to have minimum wage policies and review the concessions have cropped up over the years since it embarked on a privatisation programme in the 1980s particularly for tolled road projects where rates are adjusted annually and hikes implemented every three years.

In cases where there are no toll rate hikes, the government will have to compensate the toll concessionaires directly.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said last month that the first phase of a toll road rate restructuring programme has been completed and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) is in talks with the toll concessionaires and other quarters over the matter.

Nor Mohamed said the government was looking for the best mechanism to ensure the restructuring exercise will not impact on the low-income groups.

State power utility Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) last year proposed the government to review the power production agreement with the IPPs to ensure it benefits the people.

TNB president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh had said that any savings from a renegotiation of rates with the IPPs would lead to lower tariff rates for the consumers.

NEM: whose child?

Is the New Economic Model a private venture that will eventually evaporate into thin air?

By Liew Chin Tong (MP Bkt Bendera)

That seems to be the case in view of the parliamentary reply by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop to my question late evening on Thursday 1st April 2010.

I asked Tan Sri Nor while he replied questions raised by MPs during the debate of the Motion of Thank to the Royal Address why wasn’t the New Economic Model and the Report by the National Economic Advisory Council be tabled in Parliament.

The Report by the NEAC was first made public at the Invest Malaysia Conference on last Tuesday 30th March 2010 at Shangri-la Hotel after the speech by the Prime Minister to the Conference. It was made available online subsequently.

However, up until this very moment, it has not been tabled in Parliament.

The NEM is touted by government propaganda as the most important policy initiative since the implementation of the New Economic Policy forty years ago.

It is only fair that it is debated in the parliament as it is the highest forum of the country supposedly representing all Malaysians.

To my surprise, Tan Sri Nor replied that

“Model Ekonomi Baru …adalah sebuah dokumen yang disediakan bukan oleh kerajaan, oleh NEAC dan diserahkan kepada kerajaan. Jadi, tidak ada locus standi untuk kerajaan membentangkan laporan itu ke dalam Dewan…”

“Laporan itu bukan satu laporan kerajaan, bukan seperti Rancangan Malaysia Kesepuluh yang kita bawa ke Parlimen. Ini bukan laporan kerajaan.”

I am confused, as many Malaysians would.

The Malaysian public has been bombarded with news and comments relating to the New Economic Model for at least the past two weeks.

Suddenly, we were told that it is merely a view of private advisors not endorsed by the Government. Something is very wrong here that the Government must address immediately.

Liew Chin Tong

Rais: Allegations against mainstream media baseless

(NST) PUTRAJAYA: The opposition and media channels they back, including some websites and blogs, have been pushing for the mainstream media to be sidelined only because their lies had not been entertained.

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said allegations that the mainstream media tended to spin its articles to suit the government's agenda were baseless, as truths reported often did not augur well for their own agenda.

"If a mainstream media does not publish or broadcast their point of view in full, it does not mean that democracy is crumbling.

"The opposition now has its own newspapers and blogs and you can see they don't even have one good thing to say about the government of the day.

"They even ridicule something as novel as 1Malaysia," he said when asked to comment about an email circulated widely over the Internet calling for a one-day boycott of the mainstream media yesterday.

The chain email, which appealed for support, claimed that there would be "greater things to come" in the boycotting process.

Universiti Teknologi Mara Faculty of Communications and Media Studies' Professor Dr Mokhtar Muhammad said mainstream newspapers in the country still played the crucial role of nation-building via its thorough coverage of the government's agenda and policies that served the interests of the people.

'To say that the mainstream media which joined forces with the nation in the struggle to attain independence is irrelevant today is unacceptable, as they remain the mainstay public reference for information.

"They are one of the main and reliable channels where the people could learn of what and how the ruling government is charting ways for the country to move forward and so on.

"Mainstream newspapers play a role of more than disseminating news. They help readers to gain knowledge, including good language."

He said repeated attempts by the anti-mainstream media propagandists to label the mainstream media biased could also backfire as the public would in turn see that the alternative media was on its own, serving their masters in its reporting.

Mokhtar also said the society could not distance itself from the mainstream media as even those disinterested in political reportage would still seek newspapers for other types of news that they believed were reliable.

Ampun Tuanku, Patik mohon bersembah…

In the recent linking of 1Malaysia with 1Israel and the bashing of MPs all around in Parliament over this issue, I am truly sad to see that valuable time, money (you know, they get paid to JUST be in the house) and resources are wasted over unnecessary conflicts.

By avancc

I don’t give a damn if our 1Malaysia concept is borrowed from 1Israel. If it works well for us, what’s wrong with borrowing ideas? But the main issue here is not about copying ideas. It’s about putting IMPORTANT NATIONAL INFORMATION INTO THE HANDS of foreign powers who may manipulate it at wish as and when it could be utilized. In simpler terms, OUR LEADER COULD BE SELLING OUR COUNTRY TO A FOREIGN POWER! NOW WHO IS BEING DERHAKA?

It hurts me more seeing that we do not “sell” our national secrets to them. We PAID them to TAKE our secrets! And it’s OUR money these people are using to pay them with. Talking about betrayal, talking about business, talking about profits; this is totally beyond understanding. Why would anyone with a straight mind pay someone else to break into one’s own house? Unless of course he has some bigger plots behind the scene – like making an immense insurance claim. And what is the likeliness of him continuing to do so when it has been revealed that he hired the man to break into his house?

I still cannot understand the reason the company is hired. Up until now, they have not denied taking the services. Yet, they do not enlighten us on what the foreign company does for them. So our leaders are hiding truths from us. If not for Malaysia Today, we wouldn’t even know, no matter how long we waited, even up to our graves. Putting that aside, what bothers me more now is:- Do we really need to pay so much of our money to profit foreigners (who could even manipulate us in return) to play with our secrets? Does Malaysia’s political, social and economic situation justify the need to hire them? If we need people to re-make our country’s image, to rebuild our reputation, why not just do the straightforward thing?

1) Do what you preach – really improve your performance, and prove that you really are serious in the changes (this is the more direct, and straightforward method. And it is the most effective).
2) Hire local people of caliber to handle each task, and not based on rank, or relationship. Just look at our education sector. For so many years, what improvements has it promised? Look at the government offices, what services are shown? Look at the power supply in Johor, or the Telco services we are having. And just recently, look at the arson events. What did the home minister do? With such people being promoted to be in charge, you will still fail even if you hired the best consultants in the world. SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU NEVER HEEDED SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD ADVICE AND DO THE VERY OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE PEOPLE NEED. So your performance can be cosmeticized, but it will still remain an illusion. The moment people wake up from that illusion, you are doomed.
3) If you cannot find local people of such capabilities, SEND THEM TO BE TRAINED. AND ENSURE THEY RETURN WITH WHAT THEY SHOULD KNOW by setting up rules, and tests and tasks to assess them. THEN ONLY CAN YOU CALL THAT “PERFORMANCE NOW”. I’m sure the courses would not cost as much as the prices you are now paying for foreign PR services.

As the MPs and relevant people still refuse to take action, or even respond to the issue, I am hoping that our Royal Rulers would read this. Your minister is giving away your country, and paying them at the same time. Are you going to just sit there and wait for your (as well as our) country to fall apart?

Ampun Tuanku, beribu-ribu ampun, sembah patik harap diampun. Tuanku, hati patik tergores melihat situasi Negara Tuanku. Adalah harapan patik untuk berjasa, and menyumbang tenaga kepada Negara. Namun dalam situasi begini, patik sekalian tidak akan dapat berbuat apa-apa kalau Tuanku juga tidak bersuara, kalau tuanku tidak menghalang rahsia Negara kita jatuh ke tangan kuasa asing. Hati patik hampa kalau Negara kita semakin mengundur. Bagai digores pisau sakitnya, Tuanku. Ampun Tuanku.

Suspicion and anxiety greet Adenan's comeback

By FMT Staff

KUCHING: Adenan Satem has returned to the Sarawak Cabinet after an absence of six years, and not everyone is happy.

The controversial politician assumed his new duties last Friday following a state cabinet reshuffle announced last March 25.

He is now Special Advisor to the Chief Minister, holding the status of a state minister. He is also in charge of information and broadcasting. That is a powerful position indeed, and is cause for concern and uneasiness not only to ambitious politicians, but also to the Ibans, whom he has insulted more than once.

Adenan, who is the state assemblyman for Tanjong Datu, was once tipped to replace Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, but fell out of favour with the latter in 2006 and spent the next four years in cold storage.

Before that falling out with Taib, he was a rising star and his detractors sarcastically called him the Raja Muda of PBB.

Many are asking why he is coming back. Does Taib really need an adviser? Or is he being groomed once again to take over the leadership of the party? What is so special about Adenan?

Only Taib knows the answers.

The one thing that is certain is that his comeback has caused uneasiness among supporters of Abang Johari Tun Openg, Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang and Awang Tengah Ali Hassan. The former two are deputy presidents in PBB. Awang Tengah is senior vice-president.

The supporters of these three have been going around in the past few months talking openly about the possibility of one of them replacing Taib, who looks frail and unhealthy after an operation.

As Taib has not named his successor, any of the three would be eligible to take over should any thing happen to the chief minister.

Thus the sudden re-appearance of Adenan is not only going to add to the number of contenders, but is likely to cause anxiety to them and their supporters.

A cut above

Compared to the three, Adenan is noted for his shrewdness and has all the experience and qualities that put him a cut above. He has had held various portfolios in the state administration, including Land Development (1987-1992) and Social Development (1992-1998).

In 2004, he left the state cabinet and joined the federal cabinet as Natural Resources and Environment Minister. He resigned in 2006, hoping to replace Taib, but Taib refused to step down even though he had already promised Adenan he would do so. And this led to the fallout between them.

As for the Ibans, they are worried about Adenan making a comeback because he was at the centre of the notorious Balai Ringin land dispute when he was Assistant Minister of Land and later Minister of Land Development between 1987 and 1992.

Several lots of Iban-owned land at Balai Ringin were given to new owners who ostentatiously went to collect their titles in expensive cars.

In the Supply Bill 1989 debates in the state legislature, Adenan used such expressions as agitators, trouble-makers, land plunderers, pseudo-champions and racists to describe the Ibans.

Following violent protests by land owners, the government had to return the land to their original owners. But the damage to the government’s image had been done.

As if labelling the Ibans with unsavoury names was not enough, Adenan also poked fun at their ritual chanting whenever he addressed a gathering by starting his address with “Oha, oha, oha.”

He might have been innocent of the religious implications, because such expressions are used only when Ibans start their sampi (prayer) or bebilau (miring ceremony).

Adenan stopped the mocking in his addresses only after he was told by an Iban PBB leader that the expression was used by the Iban lemambang (bards) to call on their gods to come down and eat the offerings, probably out of fear. When gods come down and find no offerings, they will get angry; so they will turn on the caller and eat him up.

Adenan paid the price for his blunders when the Ibans in PBB turned against him in his contest for the post of PBB deputy president against Abang Johari in 1998.

Courting the Ibans

By now Adenan must have learnt a lesson or two. Without Iban support, he may not be able to become the president of PBB, and even less likely to be an effective chief minister.

He knows their support is crucial.

Nevertheless, the Ibans are still worried over Adenan’s appointment, for it may worsen the already knotty tussle between the state government and the Native Customary Rights land owners.

“The Ibans cannot forget,” says a political observer.

Nurul Izzah slams Rosmah's 'insincere' offer

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today
KUALA LUMPUR: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has issued a challenge to first lady Rosmah Mansor to build a Pusat Permata Negara (PERMATA) centre in Hulu Selangor even if PKR wins the by-election.

Rosmah, who is Permata policy executive committee chairman, said that a PERMATA centre had been planned for the district to provide opportunities for rural children to receive a good education.
She also claimed that the plans have been temporarily derailed following difficulties in acquiring land and securing a suitable premise.

Utusan Malaysia, however, reported that Rosmah only planned to set up the centre if BN won the Hulu Selangor seat. This has led to Nurul Izzah slamming the plan as 'insincere' and 'a clear sham'.
“Benefits aside, the mere fact that it's tied to BN's win smacks of political meddling,” she told FMT.
“Its disgraceful when politics seeps into early childhood education. I challenge the first lady to put words into action instead of strategically mentioning this plan just weeks before the by-election.”

“PERMATA has been allocated RM20 million to provide early education facilities and aid to all districts. It shouldn't be manipulated as a means to political victory,” she said.

Rosmah had also said that the other options under consideration include using the Jabatan Kemajuan Masyaratkat (KEMAS) premise as a centre.

Nurul Izzah pointed out that this would be the obvious solution because the KEMAS premise had been recently upgraded
.
“The first lady has cited unavailability of land as an impediment to setting up the centre when it already has a ready premise.

“The main issue here is securing a location not building a new one. I urge the government to put the children's welfare ahead of its political or personal gains,” Nurul Izzah said.

Harapan - Haris Ibrahim

Is that KJ unabashedly displaying SABM’s “Semua anak kita, ngapa harus beza?’ T-shirt?

What gives?
Click the image to find out

Perception vs fact in the judiciary

"FOR any decision, the losing party will say it's unfair, the winning party will say it's fair," says Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi. He says as people tend to root for the underdog, decisions favouring the government tend to be viewed as a result of government bias.
In the second and final part of an exclusive interview on 26 March 2010, the chief justice shares his views on the Judicial Appointments Commission, the courts' role in upholding human rights, and what he intends to achieve in his 17 more months in office.
TNG: Do you feel the setting up of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) went far enough in improving the appointments process of judges?
It's not for me to say. The decision to establish the JAC was the government's decision. They consulted the judiciary, we gave our views and they made this decision.
So you would not like to comment on whether there should be a representative from the Bar Council, or whether the process should be more independent?

No, I don't want to comment on that. The government passes the law, we implement it. If the government wants our opinion, we give it.
Has it been working well, and has it improved the judicial appointment process?
I think so. As I said in my address at the opening of the legal year 2010, I feel the responsibility on my shoulders as chief justice regarding the appointment of judges is lighter. They passed the JAC Bill before I became chief justice.
Formerly, appointments were between the chief justice and the prime minister. Now, I act on the JAC's advice. So my work becomes much easier.
Even with the JAC, we're not always sure whether our recommendations to the prime minister are right or wrong. Only time will tell whether we have selected the right people.
Are you able to comment on whether most of your recommendations have been taken up?
The JAC has rejected a few of my recommendations. I cannot go into the details. Do not assume that the JAC members are easy to deal with. They have their own views.
Even assuming the [four serving judges] are unanimous in our recommendations, convincing the other four independent members — Tan Sri LC Vohrah, Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad, Datuk Seri Ainum Mohd Saaid and Tan Sri Steve Shim — is not easy. They ask a lot of questions. They want to know the nominees' background, how many judgements they have written, how many unwritten, the quality of the judgement, all sorts of things. We also provide samples of judgements for them to read.
But one thing they don't go into is whether the judge has decided for or against the government. That, they don't ask.
How about recommendations to the prime minister?
So far, there has been no issue with the prime minister.
Do you think the courts have stepped back from their previous stance on issues of human rights, especially in relation to freedom of religion and assembly?
It would be better to ask the academicians. I shouldn't comment on this. As a [sitting] chief justice, I cannot. If a case comes before us, the facts might be different, and we might decide differently [from what I state here]. But the public might perceive that I have [been inconsistent].
Are you able to comment on whether the courts have a role in upholding fundamental liberties?
Yes, no doubt, it's been going on for many years. During the war, the Emergency, with ISA (Internal Security Act) detentions, people still bring habeas corpus applications to court. Why? How I view it is because they still have confidence in the court. Not many applications succeed, but I released two [detainees] a few months ago. I found that their detention was unlawful.
So the courts should be the last bastion where people come for their rights to be protected?

Yes, it must be. Last week, someone challenged the Datuk Bandar's decision. The Datuk Bandar argued that we cannot [review] his decision. We said, no, they're wrong. So we dismissed the Datuk Bandar's appeal. If the Datuk Bandar is wrong, he's wrong, there's nothing we can do.
But the perception of bias is still there. Not only in Malaysia, but all over the world. People always want to fight for the underdog. If the underdog wins, people say the court is fair. If the court decides against the underdog, it's wrong. But the law is the law, whether there is a beggar or multi-millionaire before us, the law is applied equally. The only difference is perhaps a multi-millionaire might be given a higher fine, so they feel the pinch. That's about it; otherwise it's the same.
You have about one and a half years left before you retire. What would you like to see done during this time?
One is to clear the backlog. It's improving, but it's still there. It'll take another one or two years to clear. Even then, the lawyers complain. They say, "Justice hurried is justice buried." But now, as I said, they're quite happy with it. Clients are happy because their cases are proceeding.

Marshall (Wiki commons)
The second thing is, the little perception of bias that is still left. It would be good to get rid of that perception. (Singapore's former chief minister) David Marshall once said in the 1970s, "I do not know of a single judge or magistrate in Malaysia and Singapore who is corrupt." When you read that, you feel very proud. If we can go back to that status, and I feel confident we can, that would be good. Not free from financial corruption, but also free from political influence.
I must stress, if at all, it is only perception. I would deny there is any bias in favour of the government or in favour of the party in power. The losing party will continue to accuse. But I ask the lawyers, read the cases, analyse them. Ask the academicians who can give their honest view, without any interest one way or the other.
If you don't know the law, if you are not a lawyer, you can say a lot. I bet 90% of the people who comment on blogs are not lawyers.
Is it only lawyers who can comment on the judiciary?
The lawyers are the ones who can analyse whether the judges' reasoning is reasonable or not.
It's very difficult for anyone to say whether a decision is right or wrong. Because for any decision, the losing party will say it's unfair, the winning party will say it's fair.
But shouldn't people have a right to comment?
Of course you can comment. But if someone who doesn't know the law makes a comment, [what if] another person comes along and reads it and assumes it's the truth?
I've stopped reading blogs because I think it's full of rubbish. But there was one blog I read, [there were one or two statements made], but the third statement was a total error. Completely false. After that, the fourth comment onwards started commenting on that untrue statement.
By the time you get to the tenth statement, it says, "Zaki is a very bad guy." I can't remember what the exact issue was. My point is, people pick up things and they write whatever they like, without any basis, whether maliciously or innocently because of ignorance. The next person goes, "Oh ya..." and then it continues from there.
New South Wales
Spigelman (Public domain)
Chief Justice (James) Spigelman said in 2006: "Most of us can only truly serve the public interest by maintaining a level of toughness in the face of those rages and enthusiasm. That is not to suggest that what we do is above criticism and cannot profit from public debate. It is just that so much of what passes for debate is ill informed, formulaic and unhelpful." I think this statement truly reflects my views on bloggers who comment on cases without knowing the background.
But is there room for reasoned comment?

Of course. Read the academicians' articles. They criticise judgements all the time. There were certain issues. We all thought the law is already quite established. Then a lawyer comes along and says that law is wrong, we should consider it in different ways. And we are ready to listen to the reasons; maybe he [or she] is right.

From PERKASA to pekasam?

by Azly Rahman

I am following with interest the development of the collaboration between non-governmental organisations and political parties. I try to analyse the role of local NGOs and international NGOs viz-a-viz the parties they augment or even sabotage.

In a free country such as Malaysia, we will see more of the interplay between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic forces as they deal with angelic or demonic political groups.

It is not easy to read this as we members of the public are always presented with perceptions in this endless game of invented realities. I wish Malaysians are by now well-equipped with the skills of critical media analysis and in political economics to engage in intelligent discussions on the politics of the day.

How would one read the media hype over Perkasa? How might one read Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s patronage of this interesting group? How about the pledge by the retired and aged Umno leader to uphold the struggle on the rights of the Malays? How do these go with the neverending story of the present regime to hold on to power as the 13th general elections greet us?

The image of Perkasa and its members brandishing the keris must have terrified Malaysians again – as if there is no repentance, remorse, and shame in the way the Malays conduct their war on perception. I feel that these constructed set of Malays are merely an embodiment of a crude image of an insignificant and diminutive group, disengaged from the larger group of Malays that are now global, cosmopolitan, and multicultural in its outlook.

The image of Perkasa is akin to a propped up image of Hang Tuah made of marshmallow.

At a time when 1Malaysia seems to be desperately promising the gradual phasing out of all race-based political parties, a return to multicultural Malaysian Malaysia, and a close monitoring of hate-groups and fascist-leaning NGOs, Perkasa seems to be an organisation which need not have to be born.

At a time when the people of Malaysia are more aware of the decades of race-based divisive politics that has made the concept of tolerance and unity daunting, Perkasa might be perceived as a fermentation of the concept of ketuanan Melayu. In other words, it is a pekasam, as the Malays themselves would call it – a ferment that is offensive in smell to those who loves good things in life, and a great and addictive delicacy for those who love fermented food.

Perkasa a tool

In an age wherein NGOs are fashionable creations to carry out whatever that political parties cannot achieve and NGOs can help do with good funding, Perkasa is a perkakas or an instrument/tool of parties that are pushing the ketuanan Melayu agenda desperately – to what conclusion we are yet to see. As many NGOS can be created – 10s. 100s, 1000s, etc. – the more the louder – although not necessarily making the argument for racial superiority more intelligent.

In an age wherein Malays are now questioning everything – themselves, truth, religion, government, media, and even their “Malayness” – NGOs like Perkasa are an easy target for the philosophical reflection of Malayness.

These days Malays are asking: who is Perkasa and will it be an embarrassment to the image of the progressive and thinking Malays? How much will it cost to create a Perkasa ? would be another question, Malays in general might ask.

As a keen observer of Malaysian culture, I am interested in seeing the process of fermentation and fragmentation of the Malaysian mind as a consequence of the interplay between technology, culture, and politics.

The level of consciousness of Malaysians in the early 1970s is different than now, 40 years later. It is not easy to incite violence based on truncated race-based arguments on who owns this or that and how many percent of the economic pie should that be. Today, it is the classes of this or that race that determine the nature and structure of poverty and wealth.

It is the mainstream media controlled by the ruling parties that are still primitive in analysing the causes of the wealth of Malaysians. It is the controlling interests behind the production of perception that are still creating conditions of poor visibility in telling Malaysians what actually is the nature of stratified society they are in.

“The centre cannot hold/things fall apart,” as the poet William Butler Yeats once wrote – verses that can aptly describe what is happening in Malaysian politics as we witness the age of uncertainty dawning upon us. But maybe in the case of Perkasa we are seeing it fermenting after all, into a pekasam wherein the image of Hang Tuah, the immoral historical-obedient fool in the court of Malacca, is slowly becoming uglier as in the portrait of Dorian Gray, slowly melting as in a propped up marshmallowed-mannequin in all its uselessness of the semiotics of ketuanan Melayu – an assertion of idiotic pride and an anti-thesis to Umno’s own 1Malaysia, a slogan that is desperately in need of blind followers.

May this nation be spared of hate groups.

Pendatang

Apco: PAS gesa Majlis Raja-Raja campurtangan

Najib left out Indians in 44 areas

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Pro-Barisan Nasional diehard supporters among Malaysian Indians showered lavish praises over the past few days on Najib Tun Razak’s one-year rule as the country’s sixth prime minister.

Some claimed that the Malaysian Indians were happy with the Najib administration and predicted that the community would flock back to BN after deserting the coalition virtually en bloc in the last general election.

It would not be an overstatement to dismiss such claims as a frivolous hope of desperation rather than a viewpoint of ground reality, if Human Rights Party (HRP) assessment of Najib’s rule is anything to go by.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar slammed the Najib administration for excluding Malaysian Indians from 44 areas of national mainstream development.

Uthayakumar said Najib's propagation of the “IMalaysia” concept was contradictory to the Umno-dominated Putrajaya administration’s racist, religious extremist and supremacist national policies, which continue to omit the Indian community on a day-to-day basis.

“Najib’s first 14 days as prime minister was reflective of his one-year rule,” he added.

Uthayakumar said when he first took office, Najib attempted to placate the anger of the two-million strong minority Indians in the country by releasing Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) lawyers.

However, since then, he said Najib’s government had only carried out pro-Malay Muslim action plans, leaving out the much-maligned Indians, majority of whom needed the government’s assistance to compete with others on equal footing.

'Most racist country'

Uthayakumar said Malay-Muslim absolute poverty rate was reduced from 50% in 1957 to 1.8% in 2008 through the New Economic Policy.

But after 53 years, he alleged that about 90% of Indians remain impoverished.

As an example, he said the government allotted RM1 billion for TV digital broadcast, but did not set aside a single sen to drag out Indians from poverty.

He added that the federal government had spent billions over the years to upgrade the education standards of Malay-Muslims, including millions spent to buy seats in world-class universities in Cambridge and Oxford.

“But Tamil schools remained deprived of government funds,” he said.

Uthayakumar alleged that 1,000 foreign Muslim medical officers were hired to work in the country, but Malaysian Indians with medical degrees from India, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Indonesia were not recognised.

He pointed out that Indians are deprived of job opportunities and career growth in the public sector.

Unlike Malay-Muslims, he said Indians were denied equity and operational licences to own and manage foreign-owned hypermarkets, petrol stations, fast-food franchise outlets, the lucrative highway R&R stalls and EON sales outlets and service centres.

He said Indians were not issued scrap metal, car wash, taxi, heavy lorry, bus and limousine permits.

“If the government had been fair, the Indian crime rate would reduce by 90%,” said Uthayakumar, an outspoken advocate of working class Indian rights in the country.

He said about half a million foreigners, mostly from Muslim countries, were employed in various sectors, depriving Indians of skilled job opportunities.

He said Malaysian Indians, including many newborns, were denied birth certificates and identity cards, leaving them to rot stateless.

Citing many cases, he said the community was being continuously denied of government welfare aid, business soft loans, agro-land, technology training, education funds, religious rights, housing and many more.

“Najib’s Malaysia is today the most racist country in the world after apartheid ended in South Africa some 20 years ago in 1990,” said Uthayakumar in an email today.

UMNO’s affirmative action stays under NEM, but Indian poor still excluded

url umno affirmative

UMNO’s affirmative action stays under NEM, but Indian poor still excluded

The New Straits Times on 5/4/2010 headlines reported affirmative action stays. But policy will be more merit-based, says Prime Minister.

But the Utusan Malaysia headlines on 5/4/25010 reads “ Dasar afirmatif kekal. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak memberi jaminan kerajaan tidak akan menghapuskan polisi tindakan afirmatif (yang membantu bumiputera) tetapi melaksanakannya dengan adil dan telus.”

Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the government will not do away with its affirmative action policy but will carry it out in a fairer and more transparent manner to improve the lives of Malaysians in the bottom 40 per cent of the population..

We have read such headlines many times before but it has never been put to practice. We estimate 70% of the Malaysian Indians are either in the hardcore poor or poor category.

This would effectively mean that 70% of the Malaysian Indians would be in this bottom 40% that Najib had announced.

Najib, as the very first step in furtherance of his transparency pledge should admit all the 817 Tamil school pupils who had scored all 7As’ in UPSR a place the elite Maktab Rendah Sains Mara and fully residential schools which has 12,440 places. Why not 817 places for these poor Tamil school pupils who have in any event excelled academically anyway with 7As? whereas Malay students only take a maximum of five subjects.

Then and only then will Najib be taken seriously to implement all the other critical Indian problems.

P. Uthayakumar