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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear Najib Tun Razak

Today, I am not going to write an article. Dah letih menulis mah! Today, I am just going to publish the letter that Human Rights Watch wrote to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. I really do not need to add anything more as the letter is self-explanatory. So read on. And understand what it is that we are voting for in the general and by-elections.


THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Letter to Prime Minister Najib on Malaysia's Candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council

Dear Prime Minister Najib,

Human Rights Watch is writing in regard to Malaysia's candidacy for election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. In support of its candidature for the 2010-2013 term, the Malaysian government circulated a memorandum dated March 9, 2010, outlining its human rights record and its pledges and voluntary commitments. UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/60/251 states that members of the Human Rights Council shall "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights" and "fully cooperate with the Council." We believe that it is essential that countries which are members of the Human Rights Council adhere to these criteria. Therefore, Human Rights Watch asks for your commitment to make the following changes in Malaysia's laws, policies, and practices that affect the protection and promotion of human rights in the country.

Rescind reservations to human rights treaties

The Malaysian government has voluntarily committed to "strengthening capacities for implementation and enforcement for human rights conventions which Malaysia is party to, alongside reconsidering of instruments which it has yet to accede to."

Human Rights Watch is concerned by the extensive reservations Malaysia adopted when ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The reservations to CEDAW, articles 5(a), 7(b), 9(2), 16(1)(a), (c), (f), (g), and 16(2), undermine the government's commitment to women's rights and contribute to the failure to protect the rights of women to equal participation in affairs of state, and in marital and family relations. The CRC reservations, articles 1, 2, 7, 13, 14, 15, 28(1)(a) and 37, minimize protections offered to children in respect to discrimination, torture, arbitrary detention, and enjoyment of the core rights of free expression, thought, conscience, and religion, association and peaceful assembly, and due process. We urge Malaysia to promptly review and rescind all of these reservations. In addition, we urge that Malaysia ratify the two Optional Protocols to the CRC, which prohibit the sale of children and child prostitution and pornography, and the use of children in armed conflict.

Ratify additional human rights treaties

Human Rights Watch has long expressed concern that Malaysia, unlike most of the world's states, is not party to all of the core international human rights treaties. We urge Malaysia to ratify without delay the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and to bring domestic law into conformity with these conventions.

While Human Rights Watch commends Malaysia for ratifying a number of the core Conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), we urge quick ratification of ILO Convention No. 87 (Freedom of Association) and Convention No. 100 (Discrimination in Employment and Occupation). We also urge that Malaysia take immediate steps to reverse its denunciation of Convention No. 105 (Abolition of Forced Labor), one of only two current denunciations of a core convention by an ILO member state. We further recommend Malaysia support a binding convention on domestic work at the upcoming International Labor Conference in June 2010 in Geneva.

Expand cooperation with UN Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council

Malaysia's voluntary commitments and pledges include "deepening and widening our cooperation with and support for the work of various UN actors and mechanisms involved in the promotion and protection of human rights such as the ... Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council," which includes special rapporteurs, working groups, and independent experts. Human Rights Watch welcomes the recent decision of the Malaysian government to allow the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to visit in June 2010, and urges that planning for the visit be done in a participatory and transparent manner, involving all key stakeholders including representatives of Malaysian civil society long active on issues related to arbitrary detention.

However, we believe that the Malaysian government can and should do more. At present, there are eight outstanding requests from special rapporteurs whose mandates cover critical areas for human rights protection in Malaysia. Human Rights Watch urges that your government immediately extend invitations for visits to those on the "waiting list" and arrange to complete all eight visits by 2013. These would include visits by the special rapporteurs on (1) human rights defenders (requested 2002); (2) indigenous people (2005); (3) freedom of religion (2006); (4) migrants (2006); (5) human rights and counterterrorism (2005); (6) racism (2008) and (7) independence of judges and lawyers (2009) and (8) the independent expert on minority issues (2007, 2009).

In addition, as a matter of principle Malaysia should issue a standing invitation to visit to all UN special procedures mandate holders, including special rapporteurs, independent experts, and working groups.

Implement recommendations from the Malaysia Universal Periodic Review

The Malaysian government includes among its voluntary commitments and pledges that it will engage "continuously with all our partners and stakeholders to assess and monitor the implementation of recommendations" from the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. However, Human Rights Watch is concerned that contrary to its pledge, Malaysia has failed to adequately consider numerous recommendations made by Malaysian nongovernmental organizations and by other UN member states. We note that many of your government's objections were directed against civil and political rights protections. We urge you to reconsider Malaysia's stance, especially since the voluntary commitments and pledges acknowledge that "the Government is increasingly sensitive of the need to balance the traditional emphasis on ESC [economic, social and cultural] rights with civil and political rights."

Human Rights Watch supports this commitment, and in addition to the above recommendations, calls on the Malaysian government to take the following actions as soon as possible, and in all cases before its next UPR review in 2013.

Repeal laws providing for preventive detention

Human Rights Watch notes that when you became Malaysia's prime minister in April 2009, you pledged your "intention to uphold civil liberties" and expressed your "regard for the fundamental rights of the people of Malaysia." We call on you to turn these pledges into concrete action by ordering law enforcement officials to immediately cease use of all preventive detention laws, and by starting a time-bound process to repeal those laws. The Malaysian penal code and criminal justice system are fully capable of addressing situations of internal security, and should be allowed to do so without resorting to preventive detention, which results in long-term arbitrary detention without the right to a fair trial.

Human Rights Watch notes your government stepped back from tabling the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) for amendment by parliament in March 2010. We are concerned that amending the law is not an adequate remedy because the law's core premise runs contrary to international human rights standards. Rather, we urge your government to publicly push for immediate repeal of the ISA as recommended in 2003 by Suhakam, the national Human Rights Commission of Malaysia. The government should also repeal provisions allowing for preventive detention under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969, the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, and the Restricted Residency Act 1933. Those who are being held under these laws should immediately be charged with a cognizable offense in a court of law or released.

Amend or repeal laws restricting rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association

In line with your statement as prime minster that "We [Malaysia] need a media ... that is empowered to responsibly report what they see, without fear of consequence," we urge immediate repeal of the draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which requires annual licensing of publications and which has been used by the authorities to effectively penalize responsible media outlets raising sensitive issues and covering controversial stories not supported by the government.

We further urge your government to amend the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, which places restrictions on the media by prohibiting "content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person." Violations carry fines up to RM50,000 (US$15,620) and up to a year in prison. The law's vague and overbroad wording allows government officials wide ranging authority amounting to effective censorship of material running counter to government political views and objectives.

The government should also amend the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 to provide for freedom of expression for academics and students on campus, recognizing that free exchange of opinions is a core element of academic discourse and learning. In line with the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, the government should amend the Act "to guarantee recognition of the right of teachers and pupils to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and their right to participate in political activity."

The government should also amend the Sedition Act 1948, and narrow the overbroad definitions of "sedition" and "seditious tendency," which authorities too frequently use to censor expression or to jail peaceful political opponents and critics.

In line with Suhakam's recommendation, the Police Act 1960 should be amended to allow for peaceful assembly. License requirements for any gathering of three or more persons have long been used by law enforcement authorities to bar rallies professing messages the government would rather not be heard. Violent repression of peaceful rallies conducted without a permit has too often been the norm. Amendments should include revoking the unlimited power of a police district officer to refuse a license or to arbitrarily determine the conditions under which assemblies, meetings, or processions are licensed. Instead, amendments should provide for reasonable and negotiated conditions for assembly, and an appeal process that eliminates political grounds for withholding permission.

Human Rights Watch is seriously concerned with the Malaysian government's continued failure to amend labor law and regulation in order to ensure full freedom of association for workers. We note the decision of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) in case No. 2301, calling on the government to amend the Trade Unions Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967 so as to bring those acts into full compliance with the right to freedom of association. We urge the government to act on the ILO CFA's recommendations in the case cited and to make the necessary legislative amendments to the relevant acts.

Provide for refugee rights and establish status determination procedures

The government should immediately ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Human Rights Watch recognizes the government's enhanced cooperation with agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, but notes that such cooperation and contemplated plans to ease conditions for refugees and asylum seekers is not backed by enabling legislation.

Respect rights of migrant workers and improve conditions in immigration detention centers

Human Rights Watch urges Malaysia, as a major labor receiving country for migrant workers from Southeast and South Asia, to promptly ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. Such workers, who comprise close to 30 percent of the Malaysian work force and contribute significantly to the economic development of Malaysia, are entitled to the effective legal protection that ratification and concomitant change in domestic legislation will provide.

The government should significantly reform its foreign worker recruitment practices. Specifically, the government should move the entire responsibility for registration and regulation of migrant workers to the Ministry of Human Resources. We call on your government to immediately end "out-sourcing" arrangements operating under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs that unscrupulous agents and middlemen consistently use to cheat workers and violate their human and labor rights.

Human Rights Watch urges your government to amend all relevant labor laws and regulations to ensure that domestic work is fully covered by those laws, and to conclude bilateral memorandums of understanding with countries sending migrant domestic workers so as to ensure effective labor rights protection, fair wages, safe working conditions, and guaranteed protection of basic human rights-such as freedom of association, movement, and expression.

While we recognize Malaysia's responsibility to secure its borders through immigration laws, we urge your government to de-criminalize illegal entry. The practice, rather than discouraging irregular migration, only succeeds in prolonging detention and increasing crowding in immigration detention centers (IDCs). The government's systematic use of corporal punishment against undocumented male migrants to penalize illegal entry should also be discontinued. Use of such punishment contravenes international human rights prohibitions against torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

Human Rights Watch also calls on your government to immediately take action to improve the living conditions for those held in IDCs. Reports from former detainees, supplemented by accounts from others acquainted with the centers, consistently cite pressing problems such as serious overcrowding, filthy conditions, bug and rodent infestation, inadequate sleeping arrangements, chronic food shortages, insufficient and unhygienic water for bathing and drinking, and woefully inadequate medical attention. Deaths from leptospirosis, a bacterial infection associated with water contaminated by animal urine, have surfaced in at least two IDCs.

Human Rights Watch believes that Malaysia's operation of its IDCs contravenes the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of all Persons under any Form of Detention, and accordingly, are inconsistent with Malaysia's voluntary commitments and pledges to Human Rights Council. We urge your government to commit the necessary resources to improve conditions in the IDCs to meet international standards.

Suhakam: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

Finally, Human Rights Watch notes your government's commitments regarding Suhakam. Human Rights Watch supports your pledge of "increasing support for the roles and functioning of Suhakam" including its ability to undertake "public inquiries into allegations of human rights infringements free from government interference." As part of that pledge, Human Rights Watch urges that your government ensure that selection of Suhakam commissioners is conducted in a participatory and transparent manner that involves civil society organizations and makes use of an open nomination process. We also call on parliament to set aside specific times on its schedule for open debate on each Suhakam report it receives.

Human Rights Watch commends Malaysia for its decision to stand for election to the UN Human Rights Council. We wish to request a meeting with you or your representatives to discuss how Malaysia may best implement its voluntary commitments and pledges to the Council and to fellow UN member states.

Sincerely,

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]-->

Brad Adams

Director, Asia Division

http://www.hrw.org/node/90069

'Gunfight' at MIC: Samy-Palani showdown

By M Kumaran

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC appears to be heading for another showdown, as tension brews between its veteran sheriff S Samy Vellu and his deputy G Palanivel.

Immediately after the Hulu Selangor by-election result was announced Sunday night, Palanivel told reporters that he is ready to take over the party reins.

The former deputy minister said he has been trained for this role, and will leave it to Samy Vellu to decide on the transition period.

Palanivel was responding to Samy Vellu's comments in an exclusive interview with FMT two days earlier.

To a question on Palanivel's future, Samy Vellu had said: “I told Palanivel, 'let this election (Hulu Selangor) be over. If you want to take over MIC the next day, I will resign and go... you take over the party, you take over everything.'”

According to party sources, Palanivel is sore with the 74-year-old president for “not going all the way” in pressuring the Barisan Nasional leadership to field him as the candidate for Hulu Selangor.

“On the surface, Palanivel claims that he was not upset by the decision, but inside, he is fuming. He is angry that his boss chose to compromise on his political future,” said the sources.

The former journalist was the four-term MP of Hulu Selangor prior to his defeat in the 2008 general election, which also witnessed Samy Vellu being swept away from his stronghold of Sungai Siput by the political tsunami.

The MIC deputy president, who once served as Samy Vellu's press secretary, was dropped in favour of a more junior party man, information chief P Kamalanathan.

During the interview with FMT, Samy Vellu had indicated that BN will lose the by-election if it fields Palanivel again.

Part of the compromise is that Palanivel will be made senator and be given a deputy minister post.

However, the sources said Palanivel wants a position with full minister status, similar to what was given to Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil after her defeat in the 2008 polls.

'Samy wants to finish him off'

Meanwhile, Samy Vellu is said to be seeing red with Palanivel's comment that he is ripe for the top role.

“Samy Vellu has told the MIC leaders close to him that Palanivel is not the best candidate to succeed him, and that he will destroy the party if he takes over,” said the sources.

In the past, Samy Vellu named Palanivel as his heir apparent, after backing him twice in the party elections to obliterate his arch nemesis and former number two, S Subramaniam.

“Now Samy Vellu is finding ways to finish Palanivel, and is even considering the possibility of holding fresh party elections in the next few months.

“He is also looking at ways to initiate disciplinary action against Palanivel on the ground of working against the interest of the party,” said the sources.

FMT learnt that Samy Vellu wants current vice-president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Saubramniam to take over the number two slot.

“Don't forget, caste politics is important in MIC, and both Samy Vellu and Dr Subra are of the same caste. He is a Samy Vellu man in every sense of the word,” said the sources.

FMT learnt that the BN leadership is also favourable to the idea of Subramaniam succeeding Samy Vellu as MIC president before the next general election.

“Dr Subra is a 'baggage-less' person. He is squeaky clean, and this will allow (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) to take MIC into the next election on a clean slate and win back Indian support.

“But Palanivel will not walk away from this fight. So be ready for fireworks,” warned the sources.

HULU SELANGOR WAS PAKATAN RAKYAT TO LOSE

Shahrir Samad

When it was announced that Pakatan Rakyat had cho­sen Datuk Zaid Ibrahim over Dr. Halili Rah­mat as its can­di­date for the Hulu Selan­gor by-election, my gut feel­ing was that DAP’s will had pre­vailed. It was a choice of artic­u­late­ness in Par­lia­ment rather than serv­ing the vot­ers of Hulu Selan­gor. The neu­ro­sur­geon, a local boy made good, was known only to the PKR grass­roots but was not up to mark for the more issue-oriented Lim Kit Siang and his col­leagues. Zaid fit­ted well with the DAP with his more worldly views. Dr. Halili would have been just another MP focused on serv­ing his con­stituents rather than the legislator-type pre­ferred by DAP.

DAP’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the Selan­gor state gov­ern­ment had effec­tively ser­viced the Chi­nese elec­torate in Hulu Selan­gor and as the elec­tion results showed even the cur­rent MCA state assem­bly­man was already dimin­ished in influ­ence in his own con­stituency. DAP was con­fi­dent that with the Chi­nese votes in hand, all Zaid had to do was deliver a good part of the Malay elec­torate. DAP did not how­ever count on two pos­si­bil­i­ties. One was that the PKR-led state gov­ern­ment had ignored to solve the local Malay issues, par­tic­u­larly that of the for­mer Felda set­tlers of Sg. Buaya, in the two years after the gen­eral elec­tions. Sec­ondly, DAP did not realise that by empha­sis­ing on Zaid’s role in Par­lia­ment, the chal­lenge was more directly aimed at Datuk Seri Najib’s lead­er­ship and would invite the Prime Minister’s own par­tic­i­pa­tion in the cam­paign. After all it was Zaid who openly asked the Yang DiPer­tuan Agong to block Najib’s assump­tion of premiership.

On the first mat­ter, Tan Sri Khaled Ibrahim was eager to show off his cor­po­rate skills and had done so in han­dling Talam’s debts with state-owned com­pa­nies. How­ever that caused the first sig­nif­i­cant res­ig­na­tion of a PKR national party offi­cial, that of its Trea­surer, Salle­hudin Hashim, who now seems to pre­side at every sub­se­quent res­ig­na­tion of PKR lead­ers. If Tan Sri Khaled were to apply his cor­po­rate skills to the less glam­ourous issue of the for­mer Felda set­tlers while the late PKR MP for Hulu Selan­gor was still alive, Pakatan Rakyat would have started with a size­able bank of grate­ful Malay vot­ers when the time came. How­ever, he would have appeared to be a parochial Malay politi­cian since he was only solv­ing a local Malay prob­lem rather than the big­ger state issue of a PLC’s debts to state com­pa­nies. My guess is that his DAP col­leagues in the state exco would cer­tainly have frowned on such parochial­ism, if not racism.

DAP and their part­ners in the Selan­gor state gov­ern­ment did not antic­i­pate the Prime Min­is­ter him­self to go down cam­paign­ing in Hulu Selan­gor. When he did, Lim Kit Siang was his usual deri­sive self in Par­lia­ment but he quickly realised the dan­ger since he was the first Pakatan leader to pub­licly cau­tion his part­ners of pos­si­ble defeat. In other words, while DAP was ini­tially gung-ho with Zaid as its pre­ferred choice, it was also quick to dis­tance itself from a now pos­si­ble defeat. DAP could do noth­ing to con­vince Malay vot­ers and yet could see that by BN stick­ing to its power-sharing con­cept in let­ting an MIC leader to be its can­di­date plus with Najib’s increas­ing influ­ence with Indian vot­ers, Zaid may not yet be cer­tain to win Hulu Selangor.

My own take on Zaid and Hulu Selan­gor is that it was for Pakatan to lose. PKR’s Khaled Ibrahim prob­a­bly felt so con­strained by his DAP col­leagues from using his knowl­edge and abil­ity to solve a long-standing local prob­lem because it was seen as a Malay and not a Malaysian prob­lem. He had to prove to his col­leagues that he was more Malaysian than Malay even though in the end Pakatan was the loser. I can­not under­stand this part since a prob­lem is a prob­lem and the fact that it was just the Malays that were affected by a cor­po­rate deal gone bad does not make the prob­lem any less Malaysian. Sec­ondly, ignor­ing the real need for con­stituency ser­vice, par­tic­u­larly when the incum­bent state assem­bly­men were all from BN, in choos­ing Zaid over Dr. Halili smacks of DAP’s arro­gance: a voice in Par­lia­ment was seen to be far bet­ter than that of sim­ple and straight­for­ward con­stituency ser­vice! Dr. Halili’s vic­tory would have been the bridge­head for fur­ther Pakatan’s gains in Hulu Selan­gor in the next gen­eral elections.

On that last note, I would be severely crit­i­cised by my own vot­ers if I was that arro­gant. Any­way, our Parliament’s loss was that we could not now enjoy the thoughts and per­cep­tions, no mat­ter how less artic­u­late, of a skilled neu­ro­sur­geon. The bright side is that we are spared of yet another lawyer-legislator on the other side of the House. Zaid can­not be faulted since he could not have known of the omis­sions of the Selan­gor state lead­er­ship when they pre­fer to see the big pic­ture and not of the oppor­tu­nity to solve the real prob­lems of real peo­ple, even though they are for­mer Felda settlers.

SHAHRIR ABDUL SAMAD
Johor Bahru
27th April 2010

Was Zaid sabotaged?

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR's defeat in the Hulu Selangor by-election has been the subject of much analysis and speculation from every possible angle.

Among others, the blame has been placed on Barisan Nasional for “buying votes”, which the ruling coalition has denied, and the character assassination of PKR candidate Zaid Ibrahim.

However, there is also another serious allegation making the rounds – internal sabotage.

Contacted by FMT, several party sources cofirmed this, calling it “the straw that broke the camel's back.”

“From day one, Zaid's presence in PKR has been an unsettling factor for some ambitious leaders in the party. These people feel threatened by him,” they said.

When the former law minister was officially announced as PKR's candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, the party insisted that it was an unanimous decision.

But sources told FMT otherwise.

“While no one objected to his candidacy, their acceptance was delivered with reluctance,” they said.

This corroborated observations made by political analysts that Zaid lacked internal support because he was Anwar Ibrahim's choice and not the party's.

Sources claimed that Zaid was forewarned not to rely on the PKR machinery for his campaign.

PKR officials, however, expressed outrage over these claims, arguing that they worked around-the-clock to ensure that the campaign ran smoothly.

Some even accused Zaid of “tripping himself.”

“He appointed his own team when he had the party machinery. The lack of cooperation between the two is to be blamed for any inconsistencies on the ground,” the officials told FMT.

But sources claimed that most of those who put in the real work were from Zaid's personal team of supporters from Kelantan.

No posters, no polling agents

According to them, posters and banners delivered before nomination day (April 17) were not put up because the “other teams” refused to budge until they received the financial allocation promised to them.

There were also reports of banners and posters having mysteriously vanished in the hands of these teams. About 15,000 posters and some 100 banners went to waste.

Sources also told FMT of a skirmish during the briefing session for polling agents held by PKR.

“The situation got so out of hand that a number of DAP volunteers walked out of the briefing.

“This resulted in the late arrival of Pakatan (Rakyat) polling agents at a number of polling stations on election day. Many only turned up after polling was in full swing,” they said.

Worse still, many polling stations in Hulu Bernam didn't even have a Pakatan polling agent while the ballots were being cast.

There are two ways of looking at this.

One is by attributing it to the incompetence in PKR which is unsurprising given its current turbulent state.

The other is to attribute it to sabotage by those whose status would be threatened by Zaid's potential position as a member of parliament.

Fingers point at Azmin

And sources have fingered PKR vice-president Azmin Ali and those close to him as possible suspects.

“Zaid's victory would change the leadership equation in PKR and put him on par with Azmin.

“Zaid is also reputed to represent the new leadership entering into PKR's fold. He would attract educated middle Malaysians, and this would also change the internal status quo,” they said.

Sources also singled out Azmin because of his influence over the PKR machinery within Selangor.

There is strong speculation that he could be responsible for the delay in putting up the banners and posters, and distribution of leaflets.

Another reason for this suspicion, sources said, is that Azmin has close ties with Yahya Saari, who was in charge of campaign logistics.

Despite numerous attempts, Azmin could not be reached for comments.

'Incompetent' MB

Also coming under attack was Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim for his alleged incompetence in deploying the state resources to ensure a win.

“He was never seen with the candidate, but chose to erect large billboards and put up posters promoting himself instead of Zaid,” said the sources.

Drawing a comparison with how former Umno menteris besar like Dr Mohd Khir Toyo used to spearhead election campaigns in the state, they said Khalid did not live up to expectations.

“There was no proper lodging or food provided for those who came from other states to campaign for Zaid; it was a clear example of top-to-bottom incompetence,” they said.

“In some cases, party leaders who held ceramah never mentioned the candidate's name or his credentials; they chose to praise themselves or others instead.

“This is not how you win an election,” stressed the sources.

Aminul was murdered, says family's lawyer

SHAH ALAM: Counsel for the family of Aminulrasyid Azman who was shot dead early Monday morning has classified the teenager's death as murder.

“We view this as a murder case…,” said N Surendran, the lawyer for Aminulrasyid’s family.

Aminul,15, was fatally shot by patrolling policemen after he was was believed to have reversed the car he was driving into the policemen to escape a roadblock in Section 11 Shah Alam.

The incident occurred some 100 metres away from Aminulrasyid’s house.

Speaking to reporters at Aminul’s home, Surendran said Aminul’s case was similar to that of Norizan Salleh, 30, who was shot five times by police last October and survived.It was reported that Norizan and three others were travelling in a car on Middle Ring Road II here when police forced the vehicle to a stop and opened fire.She had reportedly said she was also dragged out and kicked despite her cries for help. She suffered two broken ribs in addition to the gunshot wounds.

'Take sterner action'

A bullet lodged close to her heart was removed, but she has lost the use of her right hand.

Describing Aminulrasyid’s shooting case as heavy, Surendran said it was not enough for the police to issue a statement that they were investigating the matter.

“They (police) should take sterner action. We are appealing to them to act against the personnel involved.

“I also hope the police and the Home Minister do not show the same indifferent attitude they showed towards Norizan,” Surendran said.

He said his team was preparing its case on Aminulrasyid to be filed in court.

“We are now discussing and collating details of the incident,” said Surendran.

Meanwhile, police will record today the statement of a witness to the shooting incident.

The witness, who is said to have been with Aminulrasyid, will give his statement at the Selangor police headquarters in Section 9, Shah Alam.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said he will represent and accompany him.

Police killings: 'When will they stop?' - Malaysiakini

'When is this going to end? Malaysians have said it a hundred thousand times. All police killings must be subject to a public inquiry by an independent body.

Teen shooting: case to be brought to cabinet


Ramakrishnan Senkodan: Four armed police personnel can't defend themselves against a 15-year old? From shooting at men, then a lady, and now a kid. When are they going to shoot a six-year old in self-defence?

Ashwin Fernandez: When is this going to end? Malaysians have said it a hundred thousand times. All police killings must be subject to a public inquiry by an independent body. These killings must stop, and they must stop now.

We have lost faith in the police force. My heart goes out to the anguished parents. What a cruel act.

Sekigahara no tatakai:
We demand a thorough investigation into this rampant shooting by our police. We cannot allow this kind of incidents happen again and again. He is just a little boy.

Zainuddin Abdul Razak:
Sampai bila Polis Di Raja Malaysia (PDRM) akan bertindak sesuka hati? Bukan ini kali pertama kes sedemikian. Bila polis diberikan terlebih kuasa, ini lah jadinya..

Baiyuensheng:
A 15-year-old child? I am speechless. My condolences to the family. God bless his soul.


Shooting of teen: Don't cover up, MP tells police


Bapak Toyol: The police are very good at cooking up sob stories and will never ever admit that they made a mistake. I have no trust in the police force now, especially the IGP and the Selangor police chief.

Chee Hoe Siew: How is it that I do not believe a single thing Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar says about the incident? In the first place, isn't it a little coincidental to have the whole event sound like a police documentary on car chases?

My disbelief just goes to show the lack of credibility the police have. Police brutality and inefficiency is well-known. For once, Khalid should just come clean and discipline his subordinates instead of shielding them.

Bernard Chen:
When will this brutality end? When PDRM under the protection of corrupt leaders are so emboldened that they can kill a boy. Today is 15 year-old Amirul, tomorrow it could be any one of our sons or brothers.

CPO Khalid says that they (the police officers) are now desk-bound - after they have taken the life of a 15-year-old. How many more of such cases will occur? Malaysians are being brutalised by their own protectors.

Manusia: Quoting the Human Rights Party, whenever the police kill and murder ordinary citizens, they have a standard script: 1) The suspects were behaving suspiciously, 2) police followed them; 3) they saw the police and sped off; 4) the police gave chase; 5) the suspects shot at the police;
6) police shot back in self-defence and the suspects were instantaneously killed in the encounter; 7) the suspects were previously involved in serious crimes and/or have convictions; 8) the police found weapons;
9) the victims are unable to defend themselves and thus neutralises public perception that the murder was committed in cold blood.

This was the story that the police told of the killing of the two brothers in Taiping recently. They will continue to kill as long as we accept it.

Tan Lee Chin: There's always a machete somewhere in a police shooting case. That's a stale story. Plant new weapons, lah. C4, maybe, or a keris, or grenade.

Roti John:
Two different versions of the same story. Knowing the antics of our boys in blue, I tend to believe the other version of it. Aminulrasyid was still young. Condolences to his family.

Habib RAK:
Silly allegations without any decency about parang in the car and driver trying to ram police personnel are all unsubstantiated claims and very typical of the police. My heartfelt condolences to the family of Aminulraysid.

1malaysia:
How come the investigation will be carried out by the same uniformed personnel that shot the boy to death?

Kumara:
The police can manipulate, but we cannot speculate. What a country.

Gandhi: If this killing happened in the UK, there would be public outcry and the chief police officer would have resigned. Life is valuable in these developed countries.

Justice seeker:
Some time back in Greece, there was a fatal shooting of a teenager. It led to huge protests which crippled the day-to-day functioning of the city.

Darrel Damian: Actually, I have some foul words I would like to say but the terms of use forbid it.

Genting Valley: The valley of shattered dreams

Contempt proceedings: AG intervenes at 11th hour

Stateless child: The misery that an Indian mother takes to her grave in One Malay-sia.

Darshini now fourteen years old was an orphan. Some ten years ago Darshini was adopted from a government welfare home who had attempted to convert her to Islam. Although both Darshini’s natural parents were born in Malay-sia the UMNO led Malaysian government has denied Darshini her Malaysian citizenship and a Malaysian Identity card with impunity. Her birth certificate has an endorsement that she is not a Malaysian citizen and in direct contravention of Article 14 of the Federal Constitution. (citizenship by operation of Law).
Darshini_(2) IMG_0029
Darshini’s adopted father Mr. Ponnudorai (59) and Mother Madam Kaliaswary since they had adopted Darshini ten years ago has gone to the UMNO National Registration Department (NRD) at least on 15 occasions but the NRD had repetedly denied Darshini her Malaysian citizenship and Identity Card.
Because of her stateless status Darshini was victimised by her school authorities who see her as a soft target. The school denied her entry into the school for the first three months of the year for supposedly “disciplinary” problems.
The family solicited HRP’s help.
Darshini-1 IMG_0034
After P.Uthayakumar had spoken to the UMNO Education Minister’s special officer for Teachers and students En. Shamsuri Jamil, the school was forced to take her back from the early March 2010 onwards. In April Darshini was again suspended for three days for some “disciplinary” reason Darshini denies.
Darshini’s mother became depressed when Darshini attempted to commit suicide and was hospitalised two weeks ago.
Darshini_page_1
Last Wednesday Darshini, and both her adoptive parents came to see Uthayakumar. He privately advised Darshini that there should be no more problems in school. Uthaykumar was told by Darshini that she had never received counseling by her counseling teacher. Uthaykumar later spoke to the acting headmistress Puan Sharifah and the afternoon supervisor Puan Rohani Mahfuz and said that he had accordingly advised Darshini and that Darshini’s parents would come to see her later in the day.
But upon meeting Puan Sharifah the parents were told to take their daughter to another school. Darshini’s father called Uthayakumar and when Uthaya spoke to Puan Sharifah, she informed him that the parents wanted to take Darshini out of the school. Uthayakumar asked to speak to Darshini’s father who denied this. Uthayakumar again spoke to Puan Sharifah and informed her that he would be writing to the Education Minister shortly asking for the transfer of both this Puan Sharifah and Puan Rohani Mahfuz to another school for continuously victimising Darshini.
Darshini’s mother could not bear the pain and the discrimination this UMNO led Malay-sian government was inflicting on Darshini and her family.
She was depressed and within three days of this event prematurely died at the K.L General Hospital.She passed away on the 24th of April 2010.
Darshinis__mum
Darshini’s father who had worked as a Security guard comes to see us this afternoon (27/4/2010) to relate this sad story. He could not hold back his tears.He says he can no longer afford to take care of Darshini and wants to send her back to a home. All his relatives are poor and cannot affird to take care of Darshini. His application for UMNOs’ Welfare help has been denied because he is not a malay muslim.
When Darshini is sent back to the home, she is highly likely to run away from this home and couls easliy fall into the clutches of vice as so many of them do.
The depressed Darshini’s father having lost his beloved wife and having given up Darshini’s stateless status may himself not live for long.
This true story is just the tip of the iceberg of the pain, suffering and misery of the  Indian poor in this prosperous country with the world’s tallest twin towers.. And the saga goes on.
Who takes responsibility for such tragedies in this country. The poor Indians are a dispossessed lot.  Does 1Malaysia mean anything in cases like this? No one really cares for the Indian poor. That is the ugly truth.
We urge  HRP & Hindraf members and all the readers out there to actively seek to find foster parents for Darshini. Contact, S.Jayathas at 012-6362287 for further details.
And please help by circulating this story.
P.Uthayakumar

Malaysian mums want dual citizenship, not just one for their kids

By Boo Su-Lyn

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Not all Malaysian mothers are keen on getting just the country's citizenship for their foreign-born child, dealing a blow to a recent move by the Home Ministry in this issue.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had announced early this month that his ministry will implement a new regulation enabling Malaysian women married to foreigners to get citizenship for their children born overseas.

The current regulation is citizenship is only for children born to Malaysian men anywhere in the world.

British-based Dr Yow Hong Yeen said that obtaining Malaysian citizenship for her son born four years ago in the UK, was not really an issue that arose for her as Malaysia does not allow dual citizenship.

“His father is British therefore he also needs his British heritage. Given that fact, and that we live here, I would not give up his British citizenship in order for him to become Malaysian,” said Dr Yow in an email interview recently.

“However, if he were allowed dual citizenship then I would definitely like him to be both, as part of his heritage,” added the 33-year-old Malaysian doctor specialising in geriatric medicine.

Malaysia does not allow citizens to hold dual citizenship. The UK, however, allows people to obtain British citizenship without requiring them to give up their present nationality.

Dr Yow censured the Home Ministry’s move to make administrative changes without changing the laws on citizenship, saying “As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a “look good” announcement.”

“Fact remains that the law is patriarchal and archaic (though even if it wasn't it still wouldn't make any difference as the fundamental problem is one of dual citizenship),” she added in the email.

“In this day and age of the UN and multiple other global political and economic alliances, I think Malaysia should seriously consider changing the law about dual citizenship... the country stands to gain a lot in terms of people mobility for the better (think about brain drain, retaining its relationships with people with some Malaysian heritage who may in the long run have something to contribute to the economic and cultural diversity growth of the country etc...),” explained Dr Yow.

Meenakshi Subramaniam, a 30-year-old knowledge transfer specialist at Cisco Systems in India, concurred with Dr Yow, saying that she would like dual citizenship for her daughter if the Malaysian and Indian governments permitted it.

Seeing that both governments currently prohibit dual citizenships, Meenakshi said that it was better for her daughter to be an Indian citizen due to the fact that her husband is Indian and they currently live in India.

“As my husband is an Indian and we are currently living in India, for all practical purposes it is better for my daughter to be an Indian citizen,” she told The Malaysian Insider in an email interview.

Malaysia-born Meenakshi, who has studied and grown up in India for most of her life, said, “I will opt for Malaysian citizenship for my daughter and for my next child if it is easy for my husband to get a PR and we are able to live in Malaysia without the hassle of worrying about his visa...I have been told (getting a PR) is not easy in Malaysia.”

However, Marina Abdul Manan, who is currently residing in Malaysia, paints a different picture of the citizenship issue.

The 48-year-old personal assistant had been living in Pakistan for 17 years from 1983 to 2000. After marrying a Pakistani man in 1985, she specially returned to Malaysia one year later to give birth so that her child would get Malaysian citizenship.

“When I was pregnant, I decided I should come back to Malaysia and deliver my child in Malaysia. Then he can get Malaysian citizenship. That way I won’t lose my kid,” said Marina in a phone interview recently.

“I’ve seen my friends lose their kids because they can’t bring their kids back to Malaysia,” Marina clarified. “I don’t want to leave my child with a man who’s a foreigner.”

When asked how she viewed the recent Home Minister’s move in allowing Malaysian mothers to get Malaysian citizenship for their children born overseas, Marina was full of approval.

“I think it’s a good thing that the minister is looking into this matter. It’ll help a lot of women who stay abroad,” she said.

In response to that fact that the Home Ministry had no plans to amend existing laws and that the move was solely an administrative change, Marina said that it did not matter.

Article 14(1)(b) and (c) in the Federal Constitution state that citizenship can be conferred to children born overseas only if their fathers are Malaysian.

“They don’t have to change the law,” commented Marina. “They (Malaysian mothers) can still have the right of having their kid as Malaysian. I think it’s fair in that way.”

However, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Tenaganita and Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) have slammed the Home Ministry’s decision to avoid amending the sexist clause in the Federal Constitution.

“As a long-time commitment to equality, the law has to be amended,” stressed Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez. “Today he (Hishammuddin) can say that. Tomorrow, another minister, and he can say something else.”

“We want something that rights are guaranteed, and that’s what is fundamental,” Irene told The Malaysian Insider in a phone interview.

WAO executive director Ivy Josiah concurred with Irene and asserted the ultimate need to amend the Federal Constitution.

“This is not the answer to ensuring equality as guaranteed in Article 8 (of the Federal Constitution). So within the Constitution there are contradictions.”

Article 8 of the Federal Constitution prohibits gender discrimination.

“There should be a guarantee in the law. Citizenship is an inherent right of every mother or every father to confer citizenship to their child,” Ivy said in a phone interview recently.

"We do not want to leave it to discretion.”

Patty Cham, a 27-year-old Malaysian IT professional who is currently residing in Australia with her Australian husband, agreed with Ivy.

“Without changing the Malaysia (sic) laws, the next home ministers could just flip this decision and it’s no guarantee what they are saying will come to pass,” she said in an email interview.

“I do not have much faith in the process when it’s going to be administrative work only...if you ask 10 officers in the government department on how to go about registering, you’ll get 10 different answers or somewhat wrong answers,” she concluded.

Shirley Philips (not her real name), a 52-year-old Malaysian training consultant who is struggling to pay exorbitant international fees for her eldest son of British nationality, was full of cynicism for the Home Minister’s announcement.

“To me, it’s a lie,” she told The Malaysian Insider today. “They can’t even consider my children who have been staying here (Malaysia) for eight years for PR, what more grant children overseas citizenship!”

Shirley scoffed at the various steps that Malaysian mothers need to take to obtain Malaysian citizenship for their children born overseas.

Hishammuddin had announced that both parents need to appear in person before the consulate officer at Malaysian embassies or high commissions to make the application. Forms must be submitted within a year of the child’s birth.

Once approved, applicants must present themselves and the child in person at the National Registration Department in Putrajaya to apply for a citizenship certificate and MyKad.

“Are you saying Malaysian high commissions overseas are worthless?” she said. “We’ve to come all the way in (sic) KL to process a card. How ludicrous is that?”

Shirley, who has stayed in the UK since 1976, decided to return to Malaysia in 2002 with her British husband and three UK-born children. After a hellish year of moving back and forth Singapore and Malaysia at least three times just to renew her husband’s three-month visit pass, Shirley finally managed to obtain an employment visa for her husband when they set up a training and consulting company in 2003.

When asked to comment on the Home Minister’s offer to allow Malaysian mothers to get Malaysian citizenship for their children born overseas, Shirley countered, “Are you going to give me dual citizenship?”

“I don’t want to forgo their (my children) British nationality because it’s their birthright.”

Despite the fact that her three children have resided in Malaysia for eight years and undergone Malaysian education, the immigration department informed Shirley that her children’s student visas was not a basis for PR application. They would either have to get a work visa, an employment visa for five years, or marry a local.

While a Malaysian student only needs to pay a few hundred ringgit for college application fees, Shirley has to fork out between RM3,000 to RM4,000 for international application fees as her children are considered foreigners.

“Is my Malaysian citizenship worthless?” Shirley lamented. “Why do they treat me like an illegal...and like my husband and children are immigrants?”

“I feel I’m being punished for marrying a foreigner,” concluded Shirley.

Was Zaid sabotaged?

By Stephanie Sta Maria
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR's defeat in the Hulu Selangor by-election has been the subject of much analysis and speculation from every possible angle.
Among others, the blame has been placed on Barisan Nasional for “buying votes”, which the ruling coalition has denied, and the character assassination of PKR candidate Zaid Ibrahim.
However, there is also another serious allegation making the rounds – internal sabotage.

Contacted by FMT, several party sources cofirmed this, calling it “the straw that broke the camel's back.”

“From day one, Zaid's presence in PKR has been an unsettling factor for some ambitious leaders in the party. These people feel threatened by him,” they said.

When the former law minister was officially announced as PKR's candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election, the party insisted that it was an unanimous decision.

But sources told FMT otherwise.

“While no one objected to his candidacy, their acceptance was delivered  with reluctance,” they said.

This corroborated observations made by political analysts that Zaid lacked internal support because he was Anwar Ibrahim's choice and not the party's.

Sources claimed that Zaid was forewarned not to rely on the PKR machinery for his campaign.

PKR officials, however, expressed outrage over these claims, arguing that they worked around-the-clock to ensure that the campaign ran smoothly.

Some even accused Zaid of  “tripping himself.”

“He appointed his own team when he had the party machinery. The lack of cooperation between the two is to be blamed for any inconsistencies on the ground,” the officials told FMT.

But sources claimed that most of those who put in the real work were from Zaid's personal team of supporters from Kelantan.

No posters, no polling agents
According to them, posters and banners delivered before nomination day (April 17) were not put up because the “other teams” refused to budge until they received the financial allocation promised to them.

There were also reports of banners and posters having mysteriously vanished in the hands of these teams. About 15,000 posters and some 100 banners went to waste.

Sources also told FMT of a skirmish during the briefing session for polling agents held by PKR.

“The situation got so out of hand that a number of DAP volunteers walked out of the briefing.

“This resulted in the late arrival of Pakatan (Rakyat) polling agents at a number of polling stations on election day. Many only turned up after polling was in full swing,” they said.

Worse still, many polling stations in Hulu Bernam didn't even have a Pakatan polling agent while the ballots were being cast.

There are two ways of looking at this.

One is by attributing it to the incompetence in PKR which is unsurprising given its current turbulent state.

The other is to attribute it to sabotage by those whose status would be threatened by Zaid's potential position as a member of parliament.

Fingers point at Azmin
And sources have fingered PKR vice-president Azmin Ali and those close to him as possible suspects.

“Zaid's victory would change the leadership equation in PKR and put him on par with Azmin.

“Zaid is also reputed to represent the new leadership entering into PKR's fold. He would attract educated middle Malaysians, and this would also change the internal status quo,” they said.

Sources also singled out Azmin because of his influence over the PKR machinery within Selangor.

There is strong speculation that he could be responsible for the delay in putting up the banners and posters, and distribution of leaflets.

Another reason for this suspicion, sources said, is that Azmin has close ties with Yahya Saari, who was in charge of campaign logistics.

Despite numerous attempts, Azmin could not be reached for comments.

'Incompetent' MB
Also coming under attack was Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim for his alleged incompetence  in deploying the state resources to ensure a win.

“He was never seen with the candidate, but chose to erect large billboards and put up posters promoting himself instead of Zaid,” said the sources.

Drawing a comparison with how former Umno menteris besar like Dr Mohd Khir Toyo used to spearhead election campaigns in the state, they said Khalid did not live up to expectations.
“There was no proper lodging or food provided for those who came from other states to campaign for Zaid; it was a clear example of top-to-bottom incompetence,” they said.
“In some cases, party leaders who held ceramah never mentioned the candidate's name or his credentials; they chose to praise themselves or others instead.
“This is not how you win an election,” stressed the sources.

By-elections as an emerging industry

By S Navalan - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT The crowds are gone, the traffic is flowing smoothly again, the madness is over. And things should be returning to normal in Hulu Selangor. But are they?
With Barisan Nasional winning last Sunday’s by-election on bold promises of financial rewards and business opportunities, life can never be the same again. If those promises are kept, the folk of Hulu Selangor — many of them desperately poor — can expect a windfall to the tune of millions and millions of ringgit.
Indeed, BN’s victory could be the best thing that has ever happened to this semi-urban, ethnically mixed district that has sometimes been described as a Malaysia in miniature. If BN really delivers, every one of its residents stands to prosper.
There will, for instance, finally be a new highway to link Hulu Selangor to the North-South Expressway. The highway will be worth RM85 million and should silence complaints that we have been hearing for decades about the poor road system. It remains to be seen who will win this hefty contract and other contracts not so hefty but still not too shabby.
Even the dead, it seems, will benefit from BN’s victory. The government will spend RM90,000 to upgrade a graveyard near Ulu Yam.
Children too have reason to rejoice, even though they were too young to vote last Sunday. A school in Kuala Kubu Baru and another in Bukit Beruntung were each promised RM3 million in assistance. And in case there was any doubt about BN’s multiracial credentials, the Sin Ko Chinese School can expect a RM1.5 million present for its 100th anniversary.
Free tuition
BN obviously wanted to make everyone happy by dishing out money, even to those who apparently did not need it. A school in Lompang — one of the best looking and best equipped in the area —received RM300,000 for renovation.
Are you a village kid needing help with your studies? Worry no more. BN will set up an education centre worth RM200,000 in Kampung Permata and provide teachers who will give you tuition for free.
What’s that again? You do social work and could do with a little extra cash? No problem; BN is a caring party and money is no problem when it comes to worthy causes. A Chinese-based social service association will get RM25,000, and this is on top of RM460,000 to be set aside for NGOs operating in Hulu Selangor.
Let us not forget the new houses that will spring up. BN, apparently appalled at the sight of the hovels that are home to the poor folk of Kampung Menang Hulu Adnan and Kampung Suharto, promised to build new houses for them — 200 for the former and 250 for the latter. The cost will be RM26 million and RM32 million respectively.
And the problem with floods will be a thing of the past. BN will broaden the Batang Kali river in Kampung Sentosa for RM2 million.
Public facilities in Sungai Buaya will also improve this year and that exercise will cost RM5 million.
On top of that, a total of RM5 million was handed out as compensation for those who were forced out of their land several years ago.
Major facelift
Kuala Kubu Baru is set for a major facelift: RM6 million for a new farming facility centre, RM600,000 for renovations to the town hospital, RM350,000 for a new kidney centre, and RM870,000 for the upgrading of public facilities in 13 kampungs in the area.
And a whopping RM21 million will be spent on maintenance work for the rundown Bukit Sentosa township.
All these millions do not include the ang pows given out to those voters who stayed true to BN on election day.
We are indeed looking at a true 21st century-style township worthy of Vision 2020.
It has taken the death of an MP, the threat of a Pakatan Rakyat win and a 53-year wait for the people of Hulu Selangor to finally find good reason to celebrate — if BN’s promises are kept. (BN held this parliamentary seat during most of those five decades.)
A 60-year-old pensioner in Kampung Batu in Jalan Ipoh remarked that there should be a by-election every week in Malaysia so that the people can really see improvements in their lives.
“This is just great,” he said. “It is just amazing what the people of  Hulu Selangor are going to receive from the government.”
Will every parliamentary constituency get the same royal treatment? We will know during the campaign for the next general election, which pundits say may be called as early as next year.

French Legal Team in Malaysia to Probe Sub Deal

Image
DCNS: Stormy sailing ahead
Massive corruption suspected in billion-dollar deal tied to Prime Minister Najib

Joseph Breham, a member of a French legal team that filed complaints in a Paris court in connection with a potentially explosive scandal over the billion-dollar purchase of French submarines by Malaysia is due to land in Kuala Lumpur today (April 28) to seek further information on the case and to speak with their clients, the Malaysia human rights organization Suaram.

As Asia Sentinel has reported at length, the deal was engineered by then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak, now Malaysia's Prime Minister, in 2002 and resulted in a massive €114 million (US$151.1 million at current exchange rates) commission for one of Najib's closest associates, Abdul Razak Baginda.  The purchase price included two Scorpene-class diesel submarines built by Armaris, a subsidiary of the French defense giant DCN (formerly Direction des Constructions Navales) and the lease of a third retired submarine manufactured by a joint venture between DCN and Spanish company Agosta.


Breham, one of the three lawyers who filed the case with Parisian prosecutors on behalf of Suaram, told Asia Sentinel the French court has opened a preliminary investigation into the matter and that he would be advising his clients on the next steps.  Breham said he will also hold a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today to give some details to local reporters. Breham, Renaud Semerdjian and William Bourdon, the lead lawyer, filed the request to investigate bribery and kickback allegations against DCN first in December and filed additional documents in February.


The case has been making headlines  in Malaysia - although few in the mainstream media, which are owned by the country's leading political parties -- since the gruesome October 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian translator and spurned lover of Razak Baginda who had accompanied him to France on some of the transactions over the submarines. Altantuya was shot in the head and her body was blown up with military explosives in a patch of jungle outside of Kuala Lumpur.  Two of Najib's bodyguards, who were directed to intercede with her by Musa Safri, Najib's chief of staff, have been convicted of the killing. Neither Najib nor Musa has ever been questioned by law enforcement officials about the case.

Although records showed Najib was in France at the same time as Altantuya and Razak Baginda, he has repeatedly sworn to Allah that he had never known the beauteous Mongolian. One report filed by a private detective hired by Razak Baginda said she had been Najib's lover first. After she was killed, authorities discovered a letter she had written saying she was blackmailing Razak Altantuya for US$500,000, although she did not say why.

In addition to the cost of the submarines and the whopping "commission" fee, it has now emerged that under the terms of the original contract, the vessels were basically bare of armaments and detection devices.  The Malaysian military must pay an additional €130 million to equip them. 

"You mean we bought bare metal?" wrote one incredulous and anonymous military official in an email to Asia Sentinel.

The charges go well beyond the Malaysian purchase.  Judges in the Paris Prosecution Office have been probing a wide range of corruption charges involving similar submarine sales and the possibility of bribery and kickbacks to top officials in France, Pakistan and other countries. The Malaysian piece of the puzzle was added in two filings, on Dec. 4, 2009 and Feb. 23 this year.

French politicians seem to have a knack for backhanders. On October 26, in a trial that centered on illegal arms sales to Angola, Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the late president Francois Mitterand, was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a €375,000 fine for receiving embezzled funds. The court ruled that he had accepted millions of euros in "consultant fees" on the arms deals between 1993 and 1998. In the dock with him were 42 people accused of selling weapons to Angola in defiance of a UN arms embargo, or of taking payments from the arms dealers and using their influence to facilitate the sales.

The trial, it was said, shined a light into a murky world of secret payments made in cash and discreet deals linking Parisian high society with one of Africa's longest-running wars. But it hasn't shined a light on what happened elsewhere with contracts concluded by the representatives of France, and particularly by DCN.

For instance, 11 French engineers employed by DCN, which peddled subs to Pakistan, were blown up in a bus bombing in 2002 which was first thought to have been perpetrated by Islamic militants. The 11 were in Karachi to work on three Agosta 90 B submarines that the Pakistani military had bought in 1994, with payment to be spread over a decade. According to Reuters, commissions were promised to middlemen including Pakistani and Saudi Arabian nationals. Agosta is a subsidiary of DCN. It is believed that Pakistani military officials blew up the bus in retaliation for the cancellation of the payments.

In the Taiwan case, the French company Thales, formerly Thompson-CSF sold six DCN-built La Fayette-class 'stealth' frigates to Taiwan in 1992 for US$2.8 billion. At least six people connected with the case have died under suspicious circumstances including a Taiwanese naval captain named Yin Ching-feng, who was believed to have been killed because he planned to go to the authorities about fraud connected with the case. His nephew, who was also pursuing the case, a Thomson employee in Taiwan and a French intelligence agent were also among the dead. It gradually emerged that some $600 million in commissions had been paid into various Swiss accounts set up by Andrew Wang Chuan-pu, the Taiwan agent for Thomson-CSF. In October 2008 a French judge finally ruled that no one could be prosecuted because of lack of evidence.

The Malaysian allegations revolve around the €114 million payment to a Malaysia-based company called Perimekar for support services surrounding the sale of the submarines. Perimekar was wholly owned by another company, KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, which in turn was controlled by Najib's best friend, Razak Baginda, whose wife Mazalinda, a lawyer and former magistrate, was the principal shareholder, according to the French lawyers.

In the complaints filed in Paris, the issue revolves around what, if anything, Razak Baginda's Perimekar company did to deserve €114 million. Zainal Abidin, the deputy defense minister at the time of the sale, told parliament that Perimekar had received the amount - 11 percent of the sale price of the submarines - for "coordination and support services." The Paris filing alleges that there were neither support nor services.

Perimekar was registered in 2001, a few months before the signing of the contracts for the sale, the Paris complaint states. The company, it said flatly, "did not have the financial resources to complete the contract." A review of the accounts in 2001 and 2002, the complaint said, "makes it an obvious fact that this corporation had absolutely no capacity, or legal means or financial ability and/or expertise to support such a contract." 

"None of the directors and shareholders of Perimekar have the slightest experience in the construction, maintenance or submarine logistics," the complaint adds. "Under the terms of the contract, €114 million were related to the different stages of construction of the submarines." The apparent consideration, supposedly on the part of Perimekar, "would be per diem and Malaysian crews and accommodation costs during their training. There is therefore no link between billing steps and stages of completion of the consideration." 

Zaid to take EC, BN, Utusan to court


By Rahmah Ghazali
UPDATED PETALING JAYA: PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim will take legal action against the Election Commission over the Hulu Selangor by-election.
Seaking at a press conference at his residence here this morning, the prominent lawyer-turned-politician accused the EC of violating its constitutional duty.
He alleged that the commission had allowed intimidation, false information as well as unfair and illegal electoral practices by the Barisan Nasional machinery during the campaign.

Zaid also said he will file an election petition against the “blatant bribery” by BN workers and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

“The conduct of the prime minister was shameless and without precedent. More importantly, it is illegal. We have witnessess who are willing to come forward,” he said.

An election petition needs to be filed within 28 days of the election result.

Utusan on the hit list as well
Meanwhile, the former law minister, who founded the country's biggest law firm, is also training his legal guns on Umno-owned Malay daily, Utusan Malaysia, for calling him a “kaki botol” (alcoholic).

“I was never an alcoholic. Whatever (alcohol) I consumed was no more than what (former premier Dr) Mahathir Mohamad and other Umno leaders had consumed,” he said.

Zaid reiterated that EC should not have allowed such a “malicious” campaign.

From the word go on nomination day (April 17), Umno leaders, including Mahathir, zeroed in on Zaid's “un-Islamic traits”, accusing him of being an alcoholic and gambler.

Umno had hoped that an attack based on religion would sway the Malays, who form the majority of the electorate.

Zaid had admitted to drinking in the past, but said he has since repented.

In Sunday's by-election, Zaid was defeated by BN's P Kamalanathan by a majority of more than 1,700 votes.

When alcohol trumps polygamy

thenutgraph.com
LET'S assume that in a democracy, the purpose of journalism is to provide the public with accurate and reliable information to function as individuals and members of society. By this definition, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia should then be an accurate and reliable provider of public interest information to Malay-speaking readers across the nation.
During the period of the recently concluded Hulu Selangor by-election, one could conclude that Malay-speaking Malaysians were preoccupied with morality. Or to be more specific, they were concerned with Parti Keadilan Rakyat candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim's "Islamic morals". On 19 April 2010, the paper front-paged some bloggers' threats to "prove" that Zaid was an "alcoholic". On 21 April, the paper again front-paged Zaid's admission that he not only drank, but also owned a racehorse.


Headlines of Utusan Malaysia on 19 and 21 April respectively
Throughout the week, Utusan's inside pages were filled with commentaries and news articles discrediting Zaid in this manner. In fact, on 23 April, the paper even highlighted several bloggers' criticisms of Zaid. This included Dr Siddiq Azani, who asked why the Islamic authorities had not arrested and punished Zaid for consuming alcohol.
It is thus curious that the paper buried on page 16 its 21 April report on Umno's Kinabatangan Member of Parliament Datuk Bung Moktar Radin's self-confessed illegal polygamous marriage. After all, isn't this also a serious breach of "Islamic morals" — by a federal legislator from the ruling coalition, no less?

The news report on 21 April
Political calculation only?
The lack of proportionality in this coverage on politicians' "morality" could have been the result of a simple political calculation. Hulu Selangor was a high-stakes parliamentary by-election. It is therefore unsurprising that an Umno-owned newspaper would train its sights on a senior politician who was not only sacked from the party, but was now a rival candidate.
But it is also highly likely that Utusan's political calculation was embedded in the larger public discourse on what constitutes "morality", and by extension "public interest". What Bung Moktar and actress Zizie Izette did was certainly illegal according to Selangor's Islamic Family Law Enactment. But it appears, from Utusan's coverage, that Bung Moktar and Zizie were just being naughty, whereas Zaid's personal history was downright scandalous and punishable.
After all, the news report on Bung Moktar and Zizie, a popular actor, closed with this paragraph: "Before leaving the [syariah] court grounds separately, Zizie Izette was asked a naughty question, which was whether she had a 'bun in the oven' already ... she merely responded by smiling."
Utusan's numerous news reports on Zaid did not close with reporters asking him naughtily whether he preferred Australian or French wine, or whether his racehorse was really a thoroughbred.

(Pic by winterdove / sxc.hu)
Evolution of Muslim societies
It seems then that Utusan's Islamic moral compass points the opposite way from that of other Islamic experts, scholars and legislators. Prominent Islamic scholars and ulama have argued that while drinking alcohol is a personal sin in Islam, it should not be punishable as a crime against the state. These scholars include New York-based imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Melbourne-based academic Prof Abdullah Saeed, and Kuala Lumpur-based Islamic jurisprudence expert Prof Mohammad Hashim Kamali.
On the other hand, illegal polygamy is being treated more seriously under the law in several Muslim-majority countries. Article 40 of Morocco's extensively reformed Islamic family law says, "Polygamy is forbidden when there is the risk of inequity between the wives." In fact, a wife can add in her marriage contract that her husband shall not engage in polygamy. If the husband violates the contract, the wife can apply for divorce.
In Tunisia, any man who contracts a polygamous marriage can be jailed for a year. A woman who knowingly enters a polygamous marriage is also liable to the same punishment. These countries limit polygamy based on an interpretation of the Quran — verses 3 and 129 in Surah An-Nisa — that the fear of injustice between co-wives is prevalent in almost all cases of polygamy.
And so, in some parts of the Muslim world, the pattern is that the abuse of polygamy is increasingly viewed as damaging to women's rights and the public good. Private matters, such as alcohol consumption, are increasingly viewed as personal sins only between the believer and God, and should not be punishable by the state.
Malaysia, though, seems to be immune to this evolution in Islamic thought and practice. The idea of "morality", as defined by media outlets such as Utusan Malaysia, is very much tied to personal conformity or non-conformity to religious tenets. And these personal sins are deemed to be public interest issues because, well, the public appears to be very interested in Muslims' private lives.
Before and after: Whiskey bottle superimposed onto a Nut Graph photo of Zaid,
as featured on an anti-PKR blog
The larger environment
And so, Utusan's coverage obscures the difference between Zaid's "offence" and the offence committed by Bung Moktar and Zizie. Apart from being a personal sin in Islam, Zaid's drinking did not harm any other human being. If he did cause or potentially cause harm — such as by driving under the influence — then he should be held accountable for harming or potentially harming others. If he did not harm anyone else, then as a Muslim, Zaid's only reckoning should be with his God.
Illegal polygamous marriages, however, are not merely a "private" and "personal" matter. There are lives that can be ruined or traumatised when a husband takes a second, or third, or fourth wife. Will the other co-wives be accorded the same security, respect and dignity in the marriage? Will the children be spared emotional harm, financial negligence and public humiliation? Can the existing wives opt for a just and fair divorce if they do not agree to the polygamous marriage? These are real issues that could affect vast numbers of people.
But the larger environment in Malaysia does not seem to encourage this sort of discussion. Perhaps the larger environment in Malaysia is best captured by a story run by Mingguan Malaysia on 25 April, Pelajar maut tergelincir ketika elak diserbu JAIS.
A male student tried to escape in fear and accidentally fell to his death when Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) officers snooped on him and his girlfriend at 1:40am on 24 April. Jais has since denied that its officers were involved in the raid. But the repercussions are there — Malaysian Muslims themselves are increasingly terrified of the intensifying moral policing here.

(Pic by vierdrie / sxc.hu)
And yet, it is Zaid's drinking and gambling that made the front pages of Utusan Malaysia during the week of 19 to 25 April. Perhaps the newspaper's editors believed that this really was the most important piece of information the public needed in order to function effectively as individuals and as a society. No matter — what a shame that a personal sin was deemed to be more problematic for the ummah than a transgression that clearly impacts on Muslim women and children.

Open Tweet to Cabinet on police killing of 15 year old Aminul Rasyid

By Lim Kit Siang,

OPEN TWEET TO CABINET Suspend all police invlvd in police killing of 15yr Aminul ShahAlam Order public inquiry 2assuage public anger/outrage
04/28/2010 08:21 AM

Will visit Aminulrasyid’s aggrieved mother ShahAlam w Penang Chief Minister when we return from Sibu 2express sympathy support solidarity
04/28/2010 08:36 AM

#Aminulrasyid Let Msian Twitterjaya raise firestorm protest anger @ police killing 15yr teen n demand no more indiscriminate police shooting
04/28/2010 09:09 AM

Malaysian "Dash" Thrilled To Meet Obama At Entrepreneur Summit

By Salmy Hashim

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysian entrepreneur Dhakshinamoorthy "Dash" Balakrishnan, who started his financial consulting firm at the age of 26 18 years ago, is thrilled to be here to network with other entrepreneurs from majority-Muslim nations, but more excited to have a "souvenir picture" with President Barack Obama who was rushing off for another meeting.

The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, a promise by the President in his Cairo speech to engage Muslim communities worldwide, was well-received here by more than 200 entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority nations.

Four Malaysians were selected -- Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Salleh, Chairman of Proton Holdings Berhad, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, Founder and CEO of AirAsia Berhad, K. Kabilan, Editor of Free Malaysia Today, and Dash.

Only Dash and Kabilan turned up for the two-day event which closed here Tuesday.

Dash, who founded Warisan Global, which specialises in giving financial advice for new entrepreneurs, told Bernama he planned to connect with women groups, rural communities and the government to create an enterprising culture in Malaysia.

"We motivate, strategise, conceptualise, execute and push Malaysian entrepreneurs to be globally competitive with help from MDeC (Multimedia Development Corporation) and Cradle, Malaysian government agencies.

"My dream is to launch an online media to connect our entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs globally so that they can learn from each other and help each other to become successful," he said.

One of the panelists at the summit, Founder of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus, from Bangladesh, told Bernama that the bank which continued to give micro loans to individually-owned businesses without collateral stood strong with a 99 per cent payment rate while bigger banks collapsed during the credit crunch.

Malaysia was the first country to adopt the Grameen Bank idea by creating Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia to help small businesses run by women, he said.

Today, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has eight million borrowers, 97 per cent of the borrowers are women, and it lends US$100 million a month to borrowers without requiring collateral, while the payment rate is 98 per cent.

"Most important, the bank is owned by borrowers," he said.

New York-based Grameen America is more than two years old and lends an average of US$1,500 each to 3,000 immigrant women with skills but who have lost their jobs.

There are other similar banks in Omaha, Nebraska, and more will be opened in Washington and San Francisco.

To expand on the Summit, the State Department's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) has forged partnerships with Business for Diplomatic Action and Entrepreneurs Organisation to expand exchange programmes and pursue new opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Under the new ECA programme, 25 entrepreneurs from countries with significant Muslim population will be brought to the US a year over the next four years for educational seminars, mentorship and first-hand experience in the business place with American entrepreneurs.

The ECA will also work with the private sector to send 100 American entrepreneurs abroad over the next four years.

'Get out of my balai': OCPD to Bar Council president

Malaysia Kini
By Andrew Khoo

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Suhakam declares lawyers' arrest unlawful, cops rapped.

Your above report on the decision of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission's panel of inquiry into the arrest and detention of the five lawyers from the Kuala Lumpur Legal Aid Centre at the Brickfields police station on May 7 mentions that 'the police had acted in a way that was mala fide' but does not elaborate. Allow me to provide an expanded account for the benefit of your readers, and then to make some observations.

The panel actually came to certain conclusions with respect to the testimony of the two senior police officers in question. The panel said:

- 'DSP Jude Pereira and OCPD Wan Bari were totally hazy with their testimony pertaining to their interaction with the five lawyers or for that matter with other lawyers including the chairperson of the Bar who arrived subsequent to the arrest of the five lawyers. We find the evidence of DSP Jude Pereira totally unsatisfactory. DSP Jude Pereira either consciously was not telling the truth or suffered from a serious bout of loss of memory. DSP Jude Pereira initially denied interacting with any lawyers until he was confronted with direct evidence and documentary evidence in the form of the video footage';

- 'We are baffled with [OCPD ACP Wan Abdul Bari's] claim that he has never met the chairperson of the Bar or Mr Puravalen or any other senior lawyers representing the Bar who were allowed into the compound of the police station after the arrest of the five lawyers. Ragunath Kesavan in no uncertain terms testified that he pleaded to meet up with the arrestees but he was unceremoniously told off and instructed to get out of the police station by the OCPD. [His exact words were: 'Get out of my balai.'] OCPD Wan Bari was only able to say that he cannot remember such incidents happening implying that such incidents never happen';

- 'the police in their submission has attempted to argue that since all these arrestees (the 14 and five lawyers) were allowed to keep their handphones to communicate, there was actually no denial of communication and consultation with the counsel of their choice. We find this argument not appealing at all because it totally demolishes all the reasons provided by DSP Jude in all the five s.28A [of the Criminal Procedure Code] forms for refusal of access to counsel…This is in fact a powerful piece of evidence to show mala fide and improper motives on the part of the police to deny access to counsel';

- 'We find the other reasoning provided in the Form 28A in relation to safety of other persons to be completely without merit whatsoever and totally illogical. DSP Jude did not tell us whose safety he was worried about. As we had earlier pointed out that provision is totally inept to this mundane situation';

- 'We are even prepared to accept that the 14 may have been difficult in allowing the processing of their particulars to be undertaken but this is a far cry from claims that they were unruly to the extent that their behaviour brought about a situation of a possible siege of Brickfields police station.

There was even a claim that others from outside could pose danger when acting in concert with the 14 to cause a public order problem. Apparently, according to DSP Jude, the armory too could have been put in danger. We find no evidence of this magnitude. The police in Brickfields were well in control of the situation';

- 'The police having exaggerated the situation of the 14 arrestees then made the claim that the drama relating to the 14 was a continuous activity or transaction to the event leading to the arrest of the five LAC lawyers. We find this claim absurd….'

The panel thus highlighted serious misgivings as to the credibility and integrity of ACP Wan Abdul Bari and DSP Jude Pereira. As can be seen, the panel made strong conclusions as to the veracity of their testimony.

The conduct and testimony of the two senior police officers constitute grave violations of the Polis Di Raja Malaysia's (PDRM) disciplinary regulations as set out in the Police Regulations, 1952 [L.N. 636/1952]. In particular, a police officer who:

* without reasonable cause makes any unlawful or unnecessary arrest (Regulation 23);

* knowingly makes or signs any false or misleading statement in any official record, register, book or other document (Regulation 45); or

* prevaricates or lies at any official enquiry (Regulation 52),

This is being guilty of a disciplinary offence. These violations must not be allowed to go unpunished.

Regrettably, the panel did not see fit to make any recommendations that disciplinary proceedings be commenced against these two senior police officers. When asked why, the chairperson said that the panel was aware that a civil suit might be filed against PDRM. With respect, whether or not there is to be a civil suit should not concern the panel. The panel's terms of reference included making recommendations as to corrective action. In not recommending disciplinary proceedings, the panel fell short of its terms of reference.

In any event, this is not the first time that Suhakam has dealt with the issue of the abuse of Section 28A of the CPC. In its 2008 annual report, Suhakam had already made the recommendation 'that the police should ensure strict adherence to the statutory right of persons arrested to consult a lawyer in accordance with Section 28A of the (CPC). The said section requires the police to inform a person of the reason for his arrest and to inform him of his right to contact his lawyer and family.'

The events of May 7, 2009 raise questions whether, more than one year after the release of Suhakam's 2008 annual report, the recommendations of Suhakam have actually been considered and implemented both by the government and PDRM. The actions of the two senior police officers in question clearly show that the PDRM are still lacking in adequate knowledge and training of the proper application of Section 28A of the CPC

In addition, the breach of the constitutional rights of another by someone in a position of authority such as a police officer, and the blatant abuse of the law, both of which have occurred here, are very much as dangerous in how it affects our country as crime and corruption. Such practices must be rigorously and systematically rooted out.

It is high time that the government and PDRM institute better human rights training for members of the police force. The government and PDRM must now initiate disciplinary proceedings against these two senior police officers in question, and to make public the findings and decision of the disciplinary proceedings.

Anything less would mean that both the government and PDRM are neither sincere nor serious about upholding law and order and respect for the constitutional rights of citizens, about the issue of discipline in the police force, or of putting an end to 'little Napoleons' and the culture of impunity surrounding law enforcement agencies (but particularly the PDRM) in our country.

The writer acted as counsel for the Malaysian Bar in the hearing by the above Suhakam panel of inquiry.