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Thursday, April 8, 2010

BN mulls young MIC leaders as Hulu Selangor candidate

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The MIC will contest the Hulu Selangor by-election but the choice of a possible Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate has now widened to include two young leaders apart from sole party pick Datuk G. Palanivel.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had only offered his deputy but BN is now said to be considering both party information chief P. Kamalanathan and MIC Youth deputy leader V. Mugilan, who is also Hulu Selangor MIC Youth chief.
Both their names came up when Samy Vellu met BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Tuesday to recommend the 61-year-old Palanivel to contest the seat.
Palanivel lost in Election 2008 by 198 votes although BN had swept all three states seats within the constituency. He had held the seat for four terms since 1990.
Samy Vellu (centre) with those selected to join his team, including Kamalanathan (right) and Palanivel (left) at last year's MIC AGM
Both Kamalanathan and Mugilan refused to comment on the speculation that they are being considered to represent BN in the seat that Selangor BN deputy chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar said is crucial to the coalition’s plans to recapture the state in the next general elections. Kamalanathan, 44, is the coordinator for the Putera MIC wing and is active in the Selayang MIC where he is a branch leader. The Selayang parliamentary constituency lies adjacent to Hulu Selangor.
He was appointed information chief after the last MIC general assembly in September as part of Samy Vellu’s moves to strengthen the party. The mass communications graduate is also a public relations manager for a government-linked-company.
Samy Vellu had said the party was targetting the young voters to support it in the April 25 by-election, leading party insiders to name Mugilan as an alternative to Palanivel as he is young at 35 and leads the Hulu Selangor MIC Youth wing.
Mugilan has denied he is interested in the seat once held by his mentor Palanivel but The Malaysian Insider understands the businesman was already seen as a potential candidate when incumbent PKR MP Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad fell ill last year.
Zainal Abidin, a former Selangor deputy mentri besar, died last month to trigger the by-election.
Mugilan refused to comment on the speculation when contacted by The Malaysian Insider last night, saying he was busy supervising the party machinery for the by-election.
“I have heard such rumours ... but I don’t want to comment on it,” said the MIC Youth deputy leader, who won the post last year.
Samy Vellu has refused to say whether he has submitted more names to the prime minister  but his family-owned newspaper Tamil Nesan has been campaigning for Palanivel and has accused party rebels of undermining the MIC No 2.
Speaking at a press conference after the end of the Selangor BN Convention yesterday, Najib said apart from national issues, candidate selection is an important issue in any by-election.
“Although in the by-election there are other national issues, but the candidate factor is one issue that we have to address,” he said.
However he refused to say when asked whether he has more than one name to be considered.
“We will announce when the time comes,” he replied, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will announce the name on April 15.
“The president of the component party can send their preference but the final decision will be made by the BN chairman,” Najib said when asked about the candidate selection.
He also said that the outcome of the Hulu Selangor by-election will determine the future of BN in the state.
Nomination day for the by-election in the parliamentary constituency the size of Malacca is April 17.
There are 64,500 voters in Hulu Selangor, with the Malays making up 52.7 per cent of the total with 34,020 voters while the Chinese constitute 26.3 per cent (16,964) , Indians 19.3 per cent (12,453) and other races at 1.7 per cent.

Najib takes two independents to the US

By G. Manimaran- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — In an unprecedented move, Datuk Seri Najib Razak (picture) is taking two independent MPs to the United States next week, while ordering fellow Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers to stay behind and ensure all government bills are approved in the current parliamentary sitting.

Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim and Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin — both former PKR lawmakers — will be in Washington as part of the Malaysia-United States Caucus to be launched by the prime minister next Wednesday.

Najib is taking no chances after the near-defeat of the Budget 2010 proposals last December in the Dewan Rakyat where BN holds a simple majority of 137 MPs over Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) 78 lawmakers.

“Some of us were initially on the Washington trip but Najib wants us to stay back and come to Parliament everyday,” a BN MP told The Malaysian Insider in Parliament last night.

A strong BN bench in Parliament yesterday saw them defeating a surprise PR motion to refer Pasir Salak MP Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman to the Rights and Privileges Committee after he claimed DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had sold state secrets to Singapore.

But BN used its superior numbers to refer Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar to the same committee for linking Umno to the government’s public relations consultancy APCO — which PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had linked to a former Israeli regime.

The highly-charged parliamentary sitting has forced BN to ensure that all its MPs, including veterans such as former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, turn up for crucial votes to approve all government bills and supplementary supply bills.

But Najib will still have two BN MPs — Information Minsiter Datuk Seri Rais Yatim and the country’s Malaysian ambassador to the US, Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis — with him in his short US trip. Rais is deputising for Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman who is indisposed.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar confirmed the short list of MPs joining Najib for the US trip, held just days after the prime minister completed his first year in office.

“We have no further information as we didn’t arrange the trip. But I know Datuk Seri Rais will join the two MPs Zulkifli Noordin and Datuk Zahrain,” he told The Malaysian Insider, adding Najib will launch the caucus on April 14.

The prime minister is also due to meet US President Barack Obama at the sidelines of a nuclear non-proliferation convention while in Washington.

Zulkifli, who was expelled from PKR last month, told The Malaysian Insider that he will be in the US to attend the launch of the caucus, which was restarted recently after Jamaluddin became the ambassador in Washington.

“I will be in Washington for about a week,” Zulkifli said.

But he took great pains to deny his trip was linked to Najib’s delegation which includes a number of businessman for investment purposes.

“I am going to Washington, the Prime Minister will be in New York. I am going earlier, it has no connection with the Prime Minister’s visit.... no ... no,” the maverick politician said.

Zulkifli said he was scheduled to attend the caucus meeting in February with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz but it clashed with another convention in South Korea.

Zahrain and Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong went with Nazri for the earlier trip.

Zulkifli also explained his membership in the caucus was decided by Parliament a while ago and had nothing to do with his former party or his current status as an independent MP.

Zahrain had earlier refused to confirm with The Malaysian Insider that he was going to the US again for the official launch of the caucus. “I don’t know, I have no information,” he said.

Nazri had said in February that the caucus had been in existence for the past decade but was not active due to lacklustre ties with the US.

“God willing, when the prime minister comes here in April, we can re- launch the Malaysia-US (Congressional) Caucus, which has been in existence for over 10 years. The fact that it has not moved speaks volumes of the state of our relations in the past,” he said in February.

Nazri said the caucus would serve as a platform to further strengthen ties between both countries and that through the caucus “we can plan programmes involving US Congress members and Malaysian Members of Parliament.”

Government says no plans for right to information

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The federal government has no plans to enact right to information legislation.

Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Communications Senator Heng Seai Kee said in Parliament that the 1 Malaysia concept is sufficient to ensure transparency.

She was replying to Klang MP Charles Santiago during Question Time.

“Up till now it has never been discussed by the ministry or government. However, the rights of people to get information are guaranteed. The execution of 1 Malaysia has given people room and access to obtain information as long as it does not go against the laws and acts that have been outlined.”

“Therefore the government has not considered enacting this Act or making this a focus point of government transformation,” said Heng.

Santiago then pointed out that there was good reason for the introduction of such an act and pointed out that that the NEM (New Economic Model) espoused by the government has recognised that more transparency is needed to combat rent-seeking, and corruption.

“If Selangor can do it, why can’t the federal government do so?” asked Santiago in reference to the state’s recent declassifying of documents.

Heng was not impressed and rejected the reasoning.

“There is no correlation between a country’s corruption index and rights to information…if we see neighbouring countries that have signed the Act, we can find that actually their corruption index is high, higher than Malaysia,” said the deputy minister.

This, in turn prompted Santiago to make a passing remark, saying that “she does not understand the right to information.”

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin then told the Klang MP to sit down, and said “you can’t have two bites of the same cake.”

“But the cake is very small,” Santiago retorted and laughed.

Hulu Selangor : The beginning of DN of BN

Poster at BN's Selangor Takeover Plan convention in Shah Alam yesterday. Photo courtesy of Mkini
The poster declares that ‘BN mampu berubah’.
When and how?
“BN and Umno will never change until they taste defeat” – Richard Yeoh of Research for Social Advancement, as reported in Malaysiakini.
Too right, you are, Richard.
Pak Lah came on to the scene, guns blazing, promising us heaven and earth and everything in between.
What did he give us?
The UMNO warlords got in the way, and all the other BN component party leaders did not have the requisite orbs to sit ole flip-flop down, give him a earful, together with an ultimatum that he start getting things right or he and UMNO could keep BN for themselves.
Except, perhaps, Yong Teck Lee’s SAPP.
Najib waltzed into office, with the weight of Mongolia, obscene Scorpene commissions and Fat Mama on his shoulders, singing his hollow “1Malaysia” mantra.
Did not Najib say that the BTN should be scrapped?
What happened?
The very next day, Muhyiddin  stuck two fingers up Najib’s nose and literally gave the BTN a clean bill of health.
Speaking of clean bills of health, did not Najib just confirm PERKASA as being  “ ‘not so extreme’ that it cannot be accommodated by the Umno-led government”?
The UMNO-led government has been so accomodative of PERKASA that they’ve been registered by the registrar of societies in double-quick time and, get this, they’ve been blessed with a Home Ministry permit to publish a monthly newsletter!
Not surprising, really, given that it was the same idiot of a Home Minister who sat with the cow-head protesters at a convened press conference and defended the latter’s actions.
If you ask me, Najib’s either in cahoots with Ibrahim – shit!shit!shit!-Ali and Kutty in giving life to low-life PERKASA or, the rise of PERKASA has left Najib in that same position Pak Lah found himself in.
Hemmed in by the UMNO warlords.
Whichever, it appears that, having no sympathetic shoulder to cry on here, poor Najib had to cross the causeway, lamenting to anyone who cared to listen how his head’s on a chopping block because of the reforms he is vigorously pursuing here.
Doesn’t he know that people have been blown to smithereens in pursuit of their dreams?
And now, they want to take Selangor back?
Starting with Hulu Selangor?
Will Noh Omar go to Hulu Selangor and tell the Chinese and Indians, “Be grateful for the citizenship we gave to your forefathers, you bloody ingrates. Vote BN”?
Will Noh Omar take photos of ex-Selangor MB Toyo’s palace to the Malays in Hulu Selangor and tell them, “InsyAllah, satu hari nanti, kamu pun mungkin memilikki mahligai sebegini. Buat masa ini, nah ambik kampit baja ini dan bersyukurlah kepada UMNO dan BN”?
Najib will have us believe that ‘BN mampu berubah’?
BN and Umno will never change until they taste defeat.
I’ve had enough of idiots looting my country, in the guise of governance.
I voted for a regime change on 8th March, 2008.
About half, or slightly more than half, of those who voted then, voted for change.
The other half were completely in the dark about how, for the last 35 years, BN has raped the nation.
That probably includes many of the good people of Hulu Selangor.
They need to know the evil that the robbing, racist, divide-and-rule BN has inflicted on our people for so long.
And they need to hear this from us, the rakyat.
How about it?
Any of you game to turun padang in Hulu Selangor and to make this by-election the beginning of  DN of BN?
If you’ve not done this before, it’ll be a whole new exhilarating experience.
And, at worst, we can look our children in the eyes and say, ‘We tried’.

Oh boy, the ‘is, too – is not Muslim’ circus is in town again! How, Inter-Faith Panel?

“It was near chaos at the Hindu crematorium at Jalan Templer near here when officers from the state Islamic Affairs Department accompanied by policemen turned up to claim the body of a 49-year-old man who had allegedly converted to Hinduism 20 years ago… Several religious officers turned up and claimed that the deceased was born Moideen Kutty Mohd Ali and should be buried according to Muslim rites.
The family of the deceased did not dispute this but then produced documents, including his identity card and marriage certificate, stating that he had converted in 1990…
However, they gave in to requests from the religious officers to delay the cremation so they could produce evidence that Raj Kumar was still a Muslim.
Several hours later, the officers did not show any proof…
An officer from the department, Mohamad Zulkarnain Abdullah, said that as far as they were concerned the deceased was still a Muslim.
He said the department would seek an order from the Syariah Court today to declare Raj Kumar a Muslim.” – read the report in full at Staronline.
Is history going to repeat itself?
Family of the deceased relents and defers cremation to enable religious authorities to verify faith of deceased.
Family thinking that authorities are verifying, religious authority runs to Syariah court and gets order declaring deceased a Muslim.
Family runs to civil court.
Civil court bows to order of Syariah Court.
Justice ala 1Malaysia.

A front for Islamic renaissance

Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa; background: the launch of the Islamic Renaissance Front on 12 Dec 2009
(Background pic courtesy of IRF)
DR Ahmad Farouk Musa, cardiothoracic surgeon and academic, is also founder and chairperson of the Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF). With the many Islamic groups already flooding the Malaysian landscape, do we need more Islamic organisations?
Ahmad Farouk tells The Nut Graph what sets IRF apart, in this exclusive interview on 5 Apr 2010 at the IRF office in Kuala Lumpur.
TNG: Tell us a little bit about IRF. When was it registered? What led to its formation?
Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa: IRF was registered in October 2007, under the Registrar of Companies. We managed to get a like-minded individual, Prof Tariq Ramadan, to launch IRF on 12 Dec 2009. The launch was followed by a talk on Muhammad Asad the following day. He is an important figure in the movement for reform (islah) and renewal (tajdid) in Islam, and his ideas remain relevant. His Message of the Quran is the most contemporary tafsir (commentary).
In fact, we are now trying to get permission from the Home Ministry to reprint this translation, complete with an index, because previous editions did not include an index. They have approved the Arabic text, but there is this requirement now where the translation needs to be checked by Jakim (Department of Islamic Development Malaysia). So we are still waiting for their approval.
You see, in Asad's translation, he tries to explain that the Quran is not time-bound but timeless. Therefore, it must suit different generations, and therefore it lays down certain universal principles. For example, the verses on usury (riba) — these were revealed later on. Thus, the advantage was that people were able to have a specific context for examples of usury during their time. The universal principle is that the wealthy should not inflict their power to disadvantage the poor. There are, however, different forms of this injustice that have happened throughout the ages.
So, just because we give Arabic terms to certain financial instruments, does that necessarily mean we have got rid of riba?
You were a founding member of the Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF). Why then did you move away and establish IRF?
There were issues in MPF. For example, there were stands on important issues that were taken without having thorough discussion among the membership. I felt that each and every member should have a right to voice their opinions before we took any public stand.
For example, there was the time that MPF decided to join with Pembela (Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam)'s position regarding the Lina Joy [conversion] issue — this was not properly discussed beforehand. Even after that, Pembela leaders have continued to speak: for example, the demands that they made on behalf of the coalition before the 2008 general election. This was done unilaterally — I'm not aware of any deeper consultation that happened [with the other coalition members]. And their demands have major implications for civil society.
For me, the question of freedom of expression and religion are very clear in the Quran. Surah Al Baqarah tells us there is no compulsion in religion. This applies whether someone wants to embrace or leave the faith. The freedom must be reciprocal.
And if we follow the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, he left those who left the faith in peace. He only acted against those who left the faith and then embarked on sedition and treason.
And you felt you could explore these issues better through IRF?
Yes, and I believe that IRF can contribute not only to civil society but can also reinvigorate intellectual dynamism in Muslim societies. We do not want to be bound by thoughts and traditions inherited from our [previous generations], or ideas embedded in the kitab kuning (traditional Islamic instructional commentaries, in Arabic).
For example, when people talk about the Islamic state in Malaysia now, they are referring to a text written by Al Mawardi a thousand years ago. Even the government's pamphlet on the Islamic state in Malaysia refers to Al Mawardi's Al Ahkam Al Sultaniyah. But what we're facing now [in Malaysia] is much more complex compared to what Al Mawardi faced in his time.
The Quran has actually been silent on the issue of the Islamic state. The Quran asks us to create a just society, in which the principles of Islam are upheld — to promote justice and ihsan (benevolence), and to oppose zulum (injustice).
On your aim to revitalise the intellectual dynamism of Muslims in Malaysia — what exactly are the areas you think need revitalising?
I think one of the main areas is the understanding of the Quran itself. Many people tend to understand it literally, and don't relate it to contemporary conditions. But it is a timeless text and cannot be read as if it were a codified seventh century text. If we only have a literal understanding of it, then many issues cannot be solved. For example, the verse on hijab (Muslim women's head covering). The aim of hijab is to promote modesty — it's not really about a strict form of hijab.
So the problem with many Muslims now is that we cannot differentiate between principles and models. When we talk about an Islamic state, we immediately look at the form that seventh century Medina took as an "Islamic state". But we do not ask ourselves what were the underlying principles in the governing of Medinan society.
There is a need for reform and renewal. So, in IRF, while we want to go back and study the central texts of Islam, we believe that these texts must be read appropriately.
How would you respond to those who say that you have no religious authority to do this?
We respect the knowledge of the ulama in preserving the knowledge of Islam, and understandings of the Quran, sunnah, tafsir, hadith, and other branches of Islamic knowledge. But then, the verses on hukum (laws) are just a small fraction of the Quran.
What relates to muamalat (relations among humans) is actually covered more than ibadat (relations between humans and Allah). And so the realm of muamalat is very wide. Therefore, we do not require the expertise of only textual ulama; we also require contextual ulama, be they engineers, or economists, or architects, or human rights activists.
How does IRF plan to contribute to [a society where every single citizen can voice his or her opinions to shape it]?
This is where IRF will stand out among other Muslim NGOs. We uphold freedom of expression. You cannot silence other people by lodging police reports [because they disagree with you]. You must allow differences of opinion. For example, on the syariah caning of the three Muslim women — what were they trying to achieve with that punishment?
If you look at the objective of Islamic laws, such as hudud, it's to prevent people from committing evil (munkar). That's why the verses on the implementation of these punishments were revealed later [during the Medinan period of Quranic revelation]. Because, before such laws are implemented, we must have a just society. The poor must be protected and not have any need to steal to feed themselves. If we cannot establish these pre-conditions, why should we establish the Islamic punishments [prematurely]?
Do you think, though, that there is now a polarisation of Muslim NGOs? For example, it looks as though Sisters in Islam and IRF are in one corner, and all the other Muslim NGOs in the opposite corner.
Looking at the current situation, I think this polarisation is still in the making. But we at IRF are trying to build bridges. We are trying to get other Islamic movements and organisations to understand our case.
And so we see the method used by some groups to label their opponents as "liberal" and so on as unproductive. That is really what will hasten the polarisation you talk about.
Have you been labelled "liberal" as a way of discrediting your work?
There have been voices within some of the Islamic groups that say we are "liberal", even though we are from an Islamist background. I think it's an attempt to dissuade people from joining us.
In your opinion, who, other than IRF, is an example of someone or a group that promotes civil dialogue and analysis from an Islamic perspective? Can you tell us why you say this?

Tariq Ramadan, left (Pic courtesy of IRF)
I think a vibrant equivalent of a modern Martin Luther for Muslims is Tariq Ramadan. He has done a lot to bridge the gap between the West and Muslims. He has done a lot to promote the reinterpretation of syariah and Islamic laws, most notably his call for a moratorium on the application of hudud laws.
Also, we in contemporary times seem to be forgetting great scholars such as Sheikh Muhammad Abduh. I'm not trying to magnify this, but the fact is, if you look at several contemporary Islamic movements such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (in South Asia), Muhammadiyah (in Indonesia), Ikhwanul Muslimin (in Egypt), and PAS, they were all inspired by Abduh's thought.
One of the main agendas of IRF is to make people understand the contributions of Abduh and (his student) Rashid Rida. Not just in looking back into the traditions of interpreting the Quran and sunnah (traditions of Muhammad), but also in fighting for current modern agendas, such as feminism.

Scholarships for top scorers

By Dr.Chris Anthony

Stretching to help fairly all who deserve

The government’s decision to spend RM1.24bil to award scholarships to 1,500 top SPM students may be laudable but spending such a hefty sum on a relatively small number of students to undertake their first degree programmes abroad is unwise. High performers must be rewarded appropriately but the money spent must be prudent to benefit as many as possible.

Why can’t our top scorers be sent to do their pre-university courses and basic degrees in local institutions? By sending the best to local universities, which cost much less, not only more students can be sponsored but at the same time also help improve the standards in our own local universities which is on the decline in recent years. How can we elevate our universities to the status of world renowned institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and many others, when we keep sending our best overseas? This would only boost the foreign universities at the expense of our own.

It must be borne in mind that high achieving students make up far less than 10% of students. The vast majority are average performers who should also be catered for adequately. There are also many who do badly or even fail their examinations and it is equally important to cater for the special needs of these category of students as well. Spending all we have on a few top students and neglecting the vast majority who obtain mediocre results will be detrimental to the nation. It will be this majority who are considered mediocre who will be form the bulk of the workforce in the future.

Selection of students for scholarships causes a lot of uproar every year. I admit there is no one ideal system that would satisfy all but whatever method is chosen must ensure that genuinely deserving students are not deprived of the opportunity to pursue their tertiary education. In this regards the selection process must be more transparent and open.

According to Deputy Prime Minister and Education MinisterTan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin the students for scholarships are selected under the excellent academic achievement category will be assessed according to academic performance (85%), co-curricular activities (10%) and Public Services Department interview (5%).This clearly indicates the over-emphasis on academic excellence over all others. Unfortunately important factors like financial affordability, extra-curricular excellence and the all important aptitude seem to carry little weight. Not all top scorers have the aptitude and not all with aptitude will be top scorers either.

Academic performance is of course a very important factor in selecting student for scholarship but it would be unfair to base the assessment on just a single public examination. It would be a better if it is based on continuous assessment throughout the year by the respective teachers who would know the students best.

In the past tremendous emphasis used to be placed on testimonials from teachers with regards to character, attitude, aptitude, behavior and academic performance of students. Students with excellent testimonials are given greater priority for scholarships and other awards. Students then strive very hard to excel in all areas, not just academic, so as to get a good testimonial on leaving school, knowing very well that only academic excellence with good testimonials from their teachers will take them far in their career and lives.

Unfortunately today testimonials are rarely sought as they have very limited value particularly for top scorers. All that matters is a string of A’s and nothing else. Students spend so much time and money to obtain those A’s often at the expense of all other equally useful activities that are essential to make one all rounder, being well equipped to handle the many problems they may encounter with maturity and wisdom.

It would a great injustice if a student from a humble background but with the right aptitude but with only above average results denied financial assistance thereby forcing him to abandon his career that he is passionate about. It would not only a setback for the individual but also a great disservice to the nation.

It is time for the government to seriously consider a fairer and more comprehensive method of awarding scholarships to our deserving students. These awards should be granted to all who are eligible based on overall merit without discrimination whatsoever in keeping with 1Malaysia policy. Unless we give every deserving Malaysian child the opportunity to pursue his ambitions and ideals, our nation will not be able to move forward in this highly competitive global world.

As responsible citizens the people too should dotheir part to ensure that as many Malaysians as possible will benefit from government aid to further their studies. With limited resources and a large number of deserving students, it would only be fair for those who can afford to be considerate to make way for the less fortunate who are genuinely in need of financial assistance without which they will have to forgo their dreams of a tertiary education for good.

1MALAYSIA: Najib’s Camelot?

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

If, by 1Malaysia, the Prime Minister is merely invoking the undoubted virtue of, and the equally vital necessity for all of us to strive to live in peace and harmony, then I believe he is more than a half a century wide of the mark. Living peacefully together, cheek by jowl is something we are rather good at, and frankly we do not politicians, particularly those from race-based parties to tutor us on this.

In the interest of self-preservation, we have been doing just that finding accommodation with our racially and culturally assorted neighbours.. And, so, it is not entirely surprising that the same Malaysians that Prime Minister Najib is so desperately anxious to unite should feel a little peeved, and confused especially when rumour has it that enormous sums of public money – dare I venture to mention slush funds, have been expended to mount a campaign that has all the appearance of a damp squid, with apologies to all the squids of this world.

Malaysians are fed up with being continually bombarded and harangued by Najib on his slogan the significance of which he is not sure about. To the millions of us preoccupied with making ends meet on a daily basis in Najib’s economic haven, 1Malaysia cannot be disguised as anything but what it is; a hellishly wasteful and hollow symbol by any reckoning. And, that is putting it as charitably as I can.

His latest attempt at giving substance to a brain dead concept was on Al Jazeera a few days ago. No rumpled suit for him, but the discomfiture was writ large all over his face when he failed to make sense of what he meant by 1Malaysia. His convoluted response was downright shifty Najib knew that his savoir-faire had just, when he needed it most, deserted him, leaving him looking like a very dishonest second hand car salesman.

He was mercifully let off the hook when the comely interviewer suddenly and gratuitously changed tack, describing him as hailing from “a political aristocracy.” He lapped it all up, and there was imperceptibly a trace of ill-disguised suppression of delight at the reference to his elitist pedigree. Najib, I am pleased to say is human after all, and is not averse like all of us to a little flattery.

Even an accomplished aristocrat-turned politician like Najib, on occasion, is not above being a trifle economical with the truth. A truthful and honest politician is a contradiction in terms. That said, he is not, in my book, a practised compulsive liar, and I put this down, in part, to good breeding. His one single act of Machiavellianism in the Perak affair has blotted his copy book, marked him out as an immoral, nasty piece of work. It will be a badge of infamy that will now be part of his excess baggage to lug around..

When Najib became prime minister a year ago, I said in a column I wrote then that I would impose on myself a year’s moratorium before commenting on his performance, in place of the time-honoured 100 days so beloved of political commentators. It would be churlish to deny him, on balance, his pass mark. He is known for his grand standing, the broad brush big picture artist, or perhaps more appropriate, the ultimate grand illusionist. Not for him the despairingly soul-destroying realities that dog this country in social, political and economic terms, such as the debilitating impact of the ever widening circle of grinding poverty among our rural and urban communities alike, particularly in Sabah and Sarawak. While it is not really fair to blame Najib for the ills of the world, he must address the issue of poverty holistically and comprehensively now, including confronting corruption in the executive mansions and suites in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Many of the problems associated with the plight of our fellow citizens in The Land of the Hornbills and The Land Below the Wind have been brought about without exception by a succession of callous and unbelievably corrupt chief ministers who have been robbing their people blind, in broad daylight.

Let us see whether Najib the Prime Minister has the stomach for a grand putsch against the architects of Grand Corruption who have raped and impoverished this potentially rich competitive nation. Najib must naturally lead by example, not always easy, in this and as in other matters of critical importance to the future of his 1Malaysia, already in danger of joining the ranks of the mythical Camelot.

I am not opposed to the idea of 1Malaysia simply to be bloody minded, but it has to be a Malaysia that is fit for all Malaysians. We cannot expect people to swallow some vague promise of a bright future for all while in the same breath he declares that the NEP will forever remain a sacred cow. How on earth can he hope to reconcile special treatment for the Bumiputeras for eternity and equal opportunity for all Malaysians? I do not expect UMNO to see any contradiction in this formula for a happy country. I think the NEP as cobbled together after the 1968 race riots was a brilliant attempt to redress the economic wrongs of the past. Unfortunately, the overarching objective of alleviating poverty across the board irrespective of race was deliberately ignored in order to make way for the corrupt and the greedy to gorge themselves off the same grubby trough. Therein lies the critical challenge for Najib.

APCO = the new Altantuya 2: Who does APCO work for?

By Nathaniel Tan,

The APCO war escalates. Anwar to be censured on the 22nd (a move that can result in his suspension from Parliament), YB Karpal is the first 10-day casualty, while YB Mahfuz Omar the second casualty to meet a similar fate as Anwar.

All Mahfuz did was chant “Umno APCO” – demonstrating not only the clear bias of our Speakers once again, but the absolute paranoia of Umno – berani kerana betul, takut kerana salah: they know they’re in hot soup with this APCO issue.

I have also read with great interest this Bukit Aman expose, which we shall follow with interest.

What is Najib’s/BN’s only defense so far? That 1Malaysia is not related to 1Israel.

To be honest, I don’t myself know how much 1Malaysia has to do with 1Israel.

However, let’s not miss the forest for the trees. 1Malaysia/Israel aside, there’s more to be concerned about, regarding APCO. Last time, I wrote about the Shin Bet connection, today: APCO’s shocking client list – a list Najib is now joining.

The most prominent cases include former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha, most famed for being held responsible for executing activist Ken Saro Wiwa and others like him who tried to defend their native lands from pollution and exploitation resulting from unbridled oil exploration.

Abacha is also estimated to have siphoned off some RM 10 billion via corruption during his reign, putting him as the 4th most corrupt leader in the world.

Sounds like someone who’d need a public relations firm, no? Sounds like APCO fit the bill perfectly.

Does this mean Najib needs APCO for similar reasons?

Who else is on this ‘esteemed’ client list?

We have Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat and member of ultra right wing chauvinist (sound familiar) party, the BJP.

Modi is infamous for failing to prevent severe Muslim-Hindu clashes that claimed the lives of thousands. It is said he turned a blind eye to the violence in some tacit approval of the murderous cycle of revenge between the majority Hindu and Muslim minority.

The US cited him for violations of international religious freedoms and subsequently denied him a visa to the US.

Guess who Modi thereafter hired to ‘repair’ his damaged image?

Does this mean Najib is also requiring some serious image repair?

We aren’t done with dictators yet. Check out Nursultan Nazarbayev – a man who altered the constitution of Kazakhstan so that he (and only him) was exempt from a provision limiting the number of terms an individual could serve as President.

(This means that legally he – Nazarbayev and Nazarbayev alone – could serve as President for life, but no one else).

Kazakhstan is rife with repressions that sound familiar to us: curtails of political freedoms, restrictions the press, and even assassinations.

APCO does considerable work in America as well, where they shamelessly serve the interests of tobacco companies (trying to argue that: oh no, smoking isn’t reaaaallly bad for your health :P and other large corporations. They have lead a campaign called Tort Reform, which seeks to weaken laws that protect average citizens against giant corporations.

These are the company in which our PM now finds himself. If I were him, I’d be more than a little ashamed.

I think this is serious cause for us to ask ourselves: why is our government paying RM 23 million to a company that is clearly more than cosy with the Zionists they claim to hate? A company that is involved up its neck with dictators and political scum that no one with the slightest semblance of integrity would want to be associated with?

I posit that this constant obsession with only one small facet of the case: whether APCO = 1Israel = 1Malaysia, is undeniable proof that all the other accusations about APCO and its involvement with our government are true.

I am not particularly interested in who came up with the 1Malaysia idea – it is after all, anything but original.

The important questions are: who APCO really is, whose interests they represent, and what hiring them (by virtue of the clientele APCO typically serves) reveals about the integrity of our government.

Jawablah, YAB Najib!!

India quietly buries Mumbai gunmen

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel was one of several targets of the nine 
gunmen in November 2008.

New Delhi, India (CNN) -- The nine attackers killed in the 2008 Mumbai siege have been buried, more than a year after the deadly strike on India's financial capital, authorities have disclosed.

"The burial took place some time in January (this year)," said P.K. Jain, principal home secretary in Maharastra state, home to Mumbai.

He did not give the date or the exact location of what he described Tuesday as a secret funeral.

More than 160 people were killed in Mumbai in November, 2008, as 10 men attacked buildings including the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and Oberoi-Trident hotels, the city's historic Victoria Terminus train station, and the Jewish cultural center, Chabad House.

The assault lasted three days.

Indian forces killed nine suspects. Their bodies were embalmed and kept in a hospital morgue as some local Muslim groups refused them a burial in their graveyards, saying the attackers were not true followers of Islam.

The only surviving suspect, Pakistani Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was formally charged with a range of counts, including murder, attempted murder and waging a war against India.

The court that has tried him along with two other Indian suspects is expected to deliver its verdict next month.

India blamed the attacks on the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based terror group allied with al Qaeda.

Authorities said Kasab was trained by the organization, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 after an attack on India's parliament. The group denied responsibility.

The Mumbai attacks derailed a fragile process between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan for about 15 months.

Top diplomats from the two South Asian rivals met in February this year in a fresh bid to resume their dialogue.

Najib says it's MIC but leaves Palanivel in limbo

MCA: No surprises in Chua's line-up

Karpal booted out as Apco row escalates

SOS ethnic minority Malaysian Indians – letter to President Obama on PM Najib’s visit to Washigton.

obama clip_image002
NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

His Excellency Mr. Barrack Obama
President of the United States of America 
The White House                                                                           
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW                                                       
Washigton DC 20500
United States of America

Dear Mr. President,
Re : SOS ethnic minority Malaysian Indians.
You have been an inspiration to all the world. You have become the President of the most powerful country in the world against significant odds with your message of change for a system of governance based on the needs of the common people. This message is something the world over needs very badly.
It was in 1965 that the United States of America granted to its citizens impartial and universal suffrage, through the passage of the National Voting Rights Act 1965. At this time Malaysia was already 8 years independent and with a democratic system based on universal suffrage, surprisingly ahead of the United States of America in this fundamental area.
In the ensuing 45 years, the United States of America has gone from that position to an extremely forward position where a first generation son of an immigrant and a member of a minority ethnic community can become its President and Chief Executive. That is tremendous social and political progress, for any nation, in any period of history. And you Sir, have contributed to that with your eloquence and clarity on your message of change.
However the situation here in Malaysia has not shown anywhere near that progress. Au contraire, the situation has regressed steeply from the sound position of universal suffrage and Equal Rights in 1965 to one where several fundamental rights enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution has steadily eroded for the minority communities in particular for the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians who suffer the worst forums of state sponsored violations of human rights but who unfortunately receive the least attention at home and in the international fronts. These ethnic minority Indians have no or very little political or economic power unlike the other minority Chinese community who control the economy and have some political power. That has caused a fractured society in Malaysia – into an ethnocentric Malaysia. This is directly the handiwork of the ruling UMNO party – the leading and also the same majority community political party over the last 52 years.
The following fundamental rights have been violated :
1) Equal rights as citizens as enshrined in Article 8 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution has been replaced with a two tiered rights system – one for the majority Malay-Muslim Native (Bumiputra) community and another for the minority non-Malay, non-Muslim, non native (Bumiputra) communities. This has been facilitated by the distorted interpretation of Article 153 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution.
The non-Malay, non Muslim communities continue to be classified by the UMNO led Malaysian government theoreticians as immigrant communities, even though we have been domiciled in Malaysia for 5 or 6 generations or maybe even more. The result today is an institutionalised ethocentric two tiered socio-political system.
2) Resulting from the above two tiered system, especially the minority Indians populace of the country which number about 8% of the total population has been denied equal opportunities in social development, in land redistribution, in distribution of the country’s wealth in education – from primary level all the way to the tertiary level , in job opportunities in the entire Government apparatus and in all the front end of the socio-economic development efforts of the Government and also in the private sector, to name just a few of the areas of discrimination.
Another associated erosion of rights is in cases where there is a crossover between Islam, the religion of the majority community, and one of the other religions of the minorities, as in cases of forced religious conversions, marriages, divorces, inheritance rights, choice and freedom of religion, statehood, to name the major areas. In many cases the rulings of the Sharia court has been applied in violation of the provisions of the Federal Constitution. The minority non-Muslims are guaranteed that the Federal Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. The Sharia court has steadily encroached upon this right of the minority non-Muslims supported by the state apparatus, resulting in non Muslim citizens being deprived of what the Fedral Constitution has guaranteed.
3) In area of practice of Religion, the Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees freedom to the practice of religion in Article 11. However in practice we experience a steady erosion of this right. Places of worship of the Hindus and Christians have been destroyed and /or desecrated. Most of these demolitions are state supported. Specifically in the last 5 years in excess of 200 Hindu places of worship is estimated to have been demolished. This is in direct violation of the provisions for equal rights in the practice of religion. There are other associated impediments the minorities of the country face in the practice of their respective religions and associated traditional practices.
4) In the area of citizenship, there are a significant number of Indian minority citizens who have been denied their due right as citizens of this country in direct violation of especially Article 14 the Federal Constitution. It is estimated that there could be anywhere up to 150,000 stateless children and another 300,000 such stateless adults even fifth and sixth generation Malaysian born Indians. This is directly an outcome of the operation of the ethnocentric political system of Malaysia through its state apparatus.
There are many more areas of violations of our Fundamental rights in the ethnocentric system that has developed in Malaysia more particularly as per our “Human Rights Violations Against the Ethnic Minority Malaysian Indians. HRP Briefing for foreign and diplomatic missions in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia on 26/3/2010. For your information Sir, on this occasion the United States Ambassador to our country had sent two of their representatives, whose attendance we greatly appreciated.
In the interest of brevity, I shall not delve into them all. I think my point is abundantly made here, that the rights of minorities in particular of the Malaysian Indians in various respects has been and continues to be reduced in Malaysia in direct violation of the guarantees in the Malaysian Federal Constitution.
There is a significant need for the application of modern modes of thinking into the area of governance in our country, so we can turn this rather bleak and retrogressive position around. Significant political will has to be created for the introduction of such modern modes of thought, as inertia is great in all these areas. We seek your help Mr. President in this respect.
We understand our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak will be visiting you shortly. We request you Sir, to raise these significant issues of the violation of fundamental rights of minority communities in Malaysia in particular the ethnic minority Malaysian Indians to help us gain some leverage. We are sure that with your reference to these matters on the basis of their fundamental nature, you will be able to contribute to change here in Malaysia. We look forward to the same.
Thank you Mr.President.
Yours faithfully,
Secretary general (pro tem)
c.c His Excellency Mr. James R. Keith
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy Of The United States Of America
376, Jalan Tun Razak, By Fax : 03-21422207
50400 Kuala Lumpur E-mail:

112,635 Felda settlers, 67.3% granted land, but 0.1% Indian plantation workers granted Felda opportunities

FELDA logoWhy were 99.9% of the pre-existing Indian plantation workers denied these ten acre land ownership schemes? After all they were the ones displaced from agriculture as estates were converted into housing and industrial areas whereas Malays were never displaced at all.
Just because they were the poor Indians?
Even now, despite having been 53 years behind time it is better late than never. An estimated 70% of the Indians in Malaysia are in the poor and hardcore poor category.
Most of them are prepared to work hard and ready to take up these land ownership opportunities in Felda, Felcra, Risda, Fama, Mardi Agropolition and the such land schemes by the 13 state governments including the three P.R. states of Kedah, Penang and Selangor (see The Star 26/3/2010 at page N 16).
Both UMNO/BN and also PKR DAP & PAS/PR won’t bother because the victims are merely the Indians. The Indian political empowernment strategy is the only way forward.
P. Uthayakumar

UMNO and MIC mandore’s chair and tables donation for tamil kindergarten. But RM 30 billion National Budget for schools

Url umno mandores 
For the 2010 national budget RM 30 billion had been allocated including for pre schools (NST, The Star headlines 24/10/09)
Furher there is an additional specific RM 48 million for pre schools (our eight page letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak on the 2010 Budget dated 27  for which we never received a reply refers).
But this billions and millions does not reach the poor Indians. Why? Instead UMNO gives some peanuts, cari makan, and in return gets their MIC mandores to dish out dog bones to the Indians, in this case chairs and tables for a Tamil Kindergarten. This is an insult to civil society!
On the other hand UMNO allocates billions and fully finances the thousands of Tadika, Tabika, Permata Kindergartens, etc – all to benefit largely one race.
All these happens despite Malaysia having ratified the UN childrens Rights Convention (NST 1/12/09 at page 10). It is a shame that this level of discrimination has to happen in Malaysia.
Even the 78 PKR, DAP and PAS supposedly multi-racial MPs’ would not bother championing this very fundamental right just because the child is not a Malay, Chinese or native child but merely an Indian child whose community has no or little political or economic clout.
Our way forward is the Indian political empowerment strategy – the way forward.

Karunai Nithi@ Compassionate Justice
Umno MIC

UMNO-MIC Wayang Kulit that Hindu temples are given land, but without land titles issued

Url UMNO Mic
And like the DAP Penang DCM II mandore and his Chief Minister Towkay last week (Malaysiakini 1/4/10) a similar Bumi Pooja first stone laying ceremony for a Tamil School) was held with fanfare.

The similarity is that the land title to the said temple and school was never made public in both cases! Therein lies the ‘wayang kulit’ complete with dikir barat’.

The MIC, DAP, PKR and PAS mandores are creating this illusionary wayang kulit through especially the three Tamil newspapers.

The UMNO government through the Wilayah Minister has made a ministerial statement in Parliament in 2009 that no more Hindu temples would be demolished in K.L. But even two weeks ago a temple was demolished in K.L. The 78 PKR, DAP and PAS MPs’ and their leaders would not bother raising this in Parliament as it merely involves the politically ‘disempowered’ Indians.

Karunai Nithi@ Compassionate Justice
Umno mic wayang kulit

Hulu Selangor PKR Indian Exco & MP mandore’s wayang kulit peanuts cash but no land for all Hindu temples in Selangor

Url hulu
Kapar Bala Thandayathupani Hindu temple granted RM 40,000
Klang Taman Sentosa Raja Rajeswari granted RM 50,000
Dictionaries given to UPSR students

(MO 5/4/10 at pages 8 and 9)

These PKR Indian mandores divert from the original issue, ie., their “Tuan” refusing to grant land for all Hindu temples in Selangor all in one go, despite having been in power in Selangor for over two years now. There seems to be no policy and criteria on state alienation of land.

These PKR mandores are powerless to do so but instead are made use of by Anwar Ibrahim and the PKR tuans to cheat the Indians by promising and/or throwing them some peanuts cash.

As we had predicted more and more of these wayang kulit will emerge as the Hulu Selangor by elections come closer. We are amazed at how quickly they have learnt this trick from their MIC mandores!

Karunai Nithi@ Compassionate Justice
Hulu selangor 1
Hilu selangor 2

Hindrafs’ 16th point Demand – Minimum wage of RM 1,000 and now revised to RM 1,500 per month to be made law?

Hrp logo
Hindrafs’ 16th point Demand (dated 12/7/10) – Minimum wage of RM 1,000 and now revised to RM 1,500 per month to be made law?

UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak has assured Malaysians that he would focus on those earning less than RM1,500 per month and that the per capita income of an average Malaysian is RM 1,916 per month (RM 23,000 per year) (UM 6/4/2010 at page 11).

He further states that the “New Economic Model (NEM) is for all Malaysians (The Star 7th April 2010). The Berita Harian on 7/4/2010 at page 16 in their analytical newsreport stated that the minimum wage would increase productivity.

We are about 100 years behind time when compared to Australia and New Zealand which had implemented the minimum wage in the 1900s. The minimum wages exists in almost 90% of the countries in the world. Even in a third world country like Sri Lanka this minimum wage has already been implemented.

However Berita Harian had reported that in line with the NEM the government through the manpower Ministry is drafting out a National Minimum Wage Policy and the strategy for it’s realization. But no time frame has been targeted.

Even going by Hindraf’s 16th point in it’s 18 Point Demands to the then Prime Minister Badawi on 12/7/2007 at Putrajaya, we had demanded for a minimum wage of RM 1,000 per month.

It is almost coming to three years now but it is regretted that this matter is still on the drafting stage. This only reflects and displays a lack of political will on the part of the Prime Minister, as well as vision on the part of the previous Badawi administration, vis a vis his aforesaid political statements, but something that was keenly observed and demanded by Hindraf.

It would make that difference if and only if the Prime Minister has the political will and makes a commitment of capping the minimum wage to at least RM 1,500 which is also our revised minimum wage proposal within sixty days from the date hereof.

P. Uthayakumar
Hindraf 1
Hindraf 2
Hindraf 3
Hindraf 4

Query on Maika provokes punchy reply

freemalaysiatoday, Apr 07 2010
By Rahmah Ghazali
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president S Samy Vellu stood and watched as his bodyguards assaulted a Maika shareholder for asking a question, the alleged victim claimed today.
Management consultant S Nadarajah said he did not expect such a violent reply to an innocent question about current developments in the MIC investment arm, which has long been mired in controversy.

makkal osai

The incident allegedly happened three days ago at a social function in Taman Bukit Teratai, Rawang.
Nadarajah, 51, said Samy Vellu’s bodyguards pounced on him as soon as he finished asking his question.
"Samy Vellu's thugs — six of them — punched, kicked and pinched me, leaving bruises on my body," he said.
"A recently retired senator joined in and also punched me. And a photographer named Sunder from Tamil Nesan pinched me.”
He said Samy Vellu "just looked on and kept quiet, as if encouraging what his bodyguards were doing to me. He didn't stop his men".
Nadarajah has lodged a report with Petaling Jaya police about the alleged assault.
Maika Holdings was launched in 1983. It raised some RM110 million from Malaysian Indians, who were promised returns many times their initial investment. However, Maika shares, which were sold at RM1 in 1986, are now worth well below half that amount following a number of questionable investments.
Nadarajah said Maika had not conducted any annual general meeting in the past three years.
"We don't know what is happening to our investment,” he said.
“The government is not taking any action against Maika Holdings and its board of directors. I urge that something be done to revive the investment arm of the Indians so we can participate in economic activities.”


APCO row brings House down

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — Parliament was forced to temporarily adjourn proceedings this evening when Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers began chanting “Umno APCO”, after the Speaker disciplined one of their colleagues for linking a bill being debated to the public relations firm.

Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar (picture), who is from PAS, had attempted to rile up Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs during bloc voting for the Supplementary Supply Bill, by starting the “Umno APCO” chant.

“For loyalty of King and country, we must reject the Bill by APCO. APCO! APCO! APCO!” Mahfuz said.

His PR colleagues then followed suit with chants of “Umno APCO.”

APCO Worldwide, the public relations consultancy engaged by the Najib administration, has been the target of attacks on the government by the opposition who claimed that the company had also advised the Israeli government.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee and faces suspension for bringing up the allegation that APCO had Israeli links.

Earlier today, DAP’s Karpal Singh was also ejected from Parliament in a separate row over APCO.

Anwar will now be joined by Mahfuz, who will also be referred to the same panel for possible disciplinary action.

Amid the racket of noise created by opposition MPs the vote on the Bill was completed.

But after the counting was over, Umno’s Kuala Krau MP Datuk Ismail Said stood up and interjected.

“Pokok Sena has wrongly accused Umno of being APCO. I want Pokok Sena to retract his statement based on standing order 36 (12),” he said.
Teluk Intan MP M. Manogaran and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad also took jabs at Umno during the commotion.

“The winner is APCO,” said Manogaran.

“Who is this APCO representative?” Khalid added referring to Ismail.

Ismail stressed that action must be taken against Mahfuz.

“Pokok Sena has repeatedly said that Umno is APCO. There is bad intention in his accusation and he has misled Parliament,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar agreed to Ismail’s motion and called for voice voting.

When the motion was overwhelmingly approved by the majority BN MPs, PR lawmakers stood up and continued their tirade against the deputy Speaker.

“Umno is using APCO so what is the problem?” DAP’s Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching asked.

Wan Junaidi explained that Mahfuz was referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee under Standing Order 26 (1) (P) which allows a motion against any member to be tabled immediately without prior notice as it refers to the rights and privileges of the House.

Khalid shot back and pointed out that Ismail had used a different standing order previously.

Wan Junaidi replied that Ismail had used the wrong standing order and the standing order was adjusted.

PR lawmakers then reacted angrily to the reason given and said that the Speaker did not have the right to do so.

“APCO is not something bad. Umno paid RM28 million to APCO. APCO is not a bad word, what is there to be ashamed of? They are proud because they are APCO. They pay! They pay!” Khalid interrupted.

“We cannot behave in a civilised manner. If he is not wrong then the special committee will not punish him. I believe the chairman of the committee will have the common understanding that we can accept,” Wan Junaidi replied.

However, PR MPs still refused to listen to Wan Junaidi and he was forced to adjourn proceedings for 15 minutes.

When proceedings resumed, PR MPs continued to argue with the deputy Speaker.

“If you are not satisfied then you can leave. I cannot control your childish attitudes,” said Wan Junaidi.

The deputy Speaker’s comment enraged PR lawmakers further.

Wan Junaidi replied that he would not change his position but asked PR MPs to submit a motion on Standing Order 43.

The standing order allows any members to approve a private motion to dispute the Speaker’s rulings.

After 45 minutes of heated debate, Wan Junaidi decided to adjourn the proceeding until tomorrow because he felt the opposition MPs were trying to ridicule him.

Wan Junaidi told reporters later that he was forced to adjourn proceedings.

“That is the Parliament’s decision. I don’t have the authority to reverse what the house has already agreed (on Mahfuz being referred to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee). When the members become unruly and we cannot control it then Parliament is already paralysed. So I had no choice because it will continue to be like that. So the best course of action is adjourning the house,” he said.

Palanivel 'dropped', BN may opt for local MIC leader

By M Kumaran - Free Malaysia Today
UPDATED WITH NAJIB's COMMENTS KUALA LUMPUR: In a startling development, sources claimed that MIC deputy president G Palanivel has been dropped from the list of Barisan Nasional's candidates for the Hulu Selangor by-election.
Palanivel, the three-term MP for the seat prior to his defeat in the 2008 general election, was MIC's choice to contest for the parliamentary constituency following the death of PKR's Zainal Abidin Ahmad.

According to party sources, Hulu Selangor MIC division Youth chief V Mugilan is expected to be named as the BN candidate by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on April 15.

The sources claimed that Palanivel was dropped by the BN leadership after Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak consulted Umno and MCA leaders over the past week.

"Najib met MCA ministers and deputy minsisters last week. Apart from the recently concluded MCA elections, they also spoke about the Hulu Selangor by-election. MCA leaders wanted the candidate changed.

"On Sunday, he (Najib) met about 100 Umno branch leaders, who also said the same thing. They don't mind an MIC candidate, but not Palanivel," he added.

State reps also want Mugilan

It was also revealed that two out of the three state assemblymen in the Hulu Selangor constituency had allegedly met Najib's "people", telling them to advise their boss not to nominate Palanivel.

FMT learnt that the two Umno assemblymen Mohamed Idris Abu Bakar (Hulu Bernam) and Mohd Isa Abu Kassim (Batang Kali) are close to Mugilan and feel more comfortable working with him instead of Palanivel.

If this proves to be true, observers said the move would be a "slap in the face" for MIC president S Samy Vellu, who is seen to be increasingly marginalised by the Najib administration.

The latest development comes at the heels of rumours that Najib's office had instructed the MIC president not to be present during a ceramah by the prime minister in Hulu Selangor over the weekend.

Nomination for the Hulu Selangor seat has been fixed for April 17, whereas the by-election will be held on April 25.

Palanivel could not be reached for comment.
PM will decide on candidate

In a related development, Najib today confirmed that the candidate would be from MIC, but stressed that he would personally decide on who to field in his capacity as BN chairman.

He also urged the component parties to provide their full support to the BN candidate.

"Place your trust and confidence in me. I will talk to all parties, including the MIC president, to determine the best candidate," he told delegates attending the Selangor BN convention in Shah Alam.

This by-election is crucial for Najib as he is the Selangor Umno chief, and a defeat under his watch would not bode well for his "takeover Selangor" plan.

With less than 20 days to go for the by-election and in stark contrast to Najib's call for unity among the component parties, Selangor Umno deputy chief Noh Omar ticked off delegates with his speech.

Quoting past MCA and MIC presidents, the agriculture and agro-based industry minister had suggested that the Chinese and Indians must be grateful for being granted citizenship.

This, and the fact that the BN convention saw the singing of the Umno anthem first and component party leaders being made to sit among the crowd while Umno leaders sat on the stage, prompted the Kapar MCA division to stage a walk-out.