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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Inter-racial loving gathering-May13, 2010

Death toll rises in Bangkok clashes - Al Jazeera

Red shirt protesters have been burning barricades in an effort to defend their protest camp [EPA]
Sporadic explosions have been heard in central Bangkok after a night of violence that saw the death toll in clashes between Thai security forces and anti-government red shirt protesters rise to 16.
The Thai capital has now been rocked by two days of running street battles as security forces battled to evict thousands of so-called red shirts from their protest camp in the centre of the city.
Early on Saturday, clashes were reported in the centre of the city as troops pushed ahead with efforts to set up a perimeter around the sprawling camp, in Bangkok's normally bustling Rajprasong business district.
Gunfire and explosions were heard throughout the night and reports said several grenades had exploded close to the red shirt camp.
With tensions rising, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has called on all sides to avoid violence and resolve the crisis through talks.
"He strongly encourages them to urgently return to dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and resolve matters peacefully," Ban's spokesman said in a written statement.

'Restoring order'
The clashes came as the Thai government vowed it would restore order "in the next few days", following two months of red shirt street protests that have paralysed key parts of Bangkok.
Troops fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds at defiant red shirt protesters who fought back with petrol bombs, stones and homemade rockets.
Some protesters set vehicles on fire and rolled burning tyres into checkpoints of troops.
Army spokesmen said security forces were concentrating their efforts on tackling a hardcore of armed "terrorists" they said had hidden themselves among the protesters.
Al Jazeera's Aela Callan, reporting from Bangkok, said there had been intense gunfire in the area around the red shirt camp on Friday night.
"It's very hard to say whether the gunfire is coming from the red shirts side as well as the soldiers," she said.
"The red shirts are showing no sign of leaving the area, despite the gun battles that have been going on."
Earlier, Sean Boonpracong, a red shirt spokesman, called on the army to end its operations against the protest camp saying the two sides were unmatched.
"We want the army to cease fire," he told Al Jazeera. "We really seriously want peace. We are really concerned at what is taking place."
Other red shirt leaders have said they believe the death toll from the violence is much higher than the 16 killed the government has reported.

'Grave infringement'
Meanwhile Thaksin Shinawatra, the exiled former prime minister who is closely linked to the red shirt protesters, accused the Thai government of a "grave infringement of human rights".
In a Twitter message from exile, Thaksin said the "very cruel and unusual government" will "end up as war criminals" in the International Court of Justice.
The government has vowed to restore order within "the next few days" [AFP]
Amid fierce clashes on Friday night, defiant red shirt leaders led followers in Buddhist prayers and called on volunteers to bring more tires to use as barricades around the camp.
"Death cannot stop us civilians from continuing our fight," Jatuporn Prompan, a protest leader, said.
The clashes first erupted late on Thursday after a suspended army general allied with the red shirt movement was left in a coma after being shot in the head.
Witnesses said the shooting was apparently carried out by a sniper, but it was not clear exactly who was behind the attack.
Panitan Wattanaygorn, the acting Thai government spokesman, told Al Jazeera that soldiers were not involved.
"Our operation is to secure the outer areas of the demonstrations. We will investigate as the red shirts have problems with their own leaders. Our officer was killed in a similar way in the last week," Panitan said.
But Phongthep Thepkanjana, a red shirt ally and former minister of justice, told Al Jazeera: "I don't think anybody can accept that because there was information that the government has snipers deployed close to the demonstration site. He was shot from a long distance."
Street rallies have been held since March 12 in an attempt to force the prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.
The red shirts say Abhisit's government is illegitimate because it came to power in a 2008 parliamentary vote following the controversial court-ordered dissolution of the previous pro-Thaksin government.
Abhisit on Thursday said he was shelving a previously announced plan to hold early elections in November after demonstrators refused to abandon their Bangkok protest camp.

Anwar: Pemimpin BN tolong 'towkay'

Sibu’s Foochows and the screech of the rat

By Stanley Koh
COMMENT Will Sibu’s Chinese join hands with their counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia and support the opposition coalition when they vote tomorrow?
The Chinese account for nearly 67% of Sibu’s 54,695 voters. Most of them belong to the Foochow and Hakka dialect groups, but the Foochows predominate in local economic and social life. It is therefore not surprising that the two main contenders in the by-election are both Foochows. SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew is fighting for BN and DAP’s Richard Wong Ho Leng for Pakatan.
Sarawak’s Foochows are well-known for their business acumen, said to be inherited from their forefathers who started settling in the area in the early 1900s, although some researchers say some Foochow groups had already arrived in the 11th century.
There is no doubt that their economic success is due to their industriousness and work ethics, but BN’s political patronage has played a large part in producing notably wealthy and influential Foochow leaders.
One example was the late Lau Hoi Chew, whose death occasioned tomorrow’s by-election. His family owns the KTS group of companies, which includes the world’s largest timber firm. The Laus also control two major newspapers — Oriental Daily and Borneo Post.
Other rich Foochows include Tiong Hiew King, who controls Sin Chew Jit Poh and Guang Ming Daily, and TK Wong of the WTK group of companies.
Will the Sibu by-election prove to be a turning point for BN or Pakatan?
If took five decades or 10 general elections for the Peninsular Chinese to wake up and tell BN they had had enough of its bad governance. Will Sibu’s Chinese do the same tomorrow?
It is perhaps presumptuous to remind the pragmatic Foochows that they should not sacrifice the interest of future generations for short-term gains. But it may be appropriate to caution them against thinking that they are different and separate from the Peninsular Chinese. They are under the rule of the same federal government, and Sibu is a parliamentary seat.
They have to decide whether the SUPP slogan — To Reform — is credible by taking BN’s track record into consideration, or whether the DAP's rallying cry —To Change (the government of the day) — is more inspiring.
Perhaps they should recall the story of the rat trap, which goes like this:
One day a rat peeped through a cracked wall and saw the farmer and his wife opening a package.
“There must be a lot of food in there,” he thought, but what came out of the package was a rat trap instead.
Shocked, the rat retreated and ran about the farm, warning the other animals about the trap. “There is a rat trap in the house,” he screamed.
The chicken clucked and said, “Excuse me! I can see it is a grave problem to you, but it is of no consequence to me. The trap doesn’t bother me. It is not my problem.”
The moral is...
All the other animals — the cow, the pig, the goat — ignored the rat’s warning. The cow, for example, was not bothered because it thought it was too big for the trap to be of any danger to it.
One night, a noise from the trap roused the farmer’s wife from her sleep. She went to investigate and was bitten by a snake caught in the trap. She fell ill.
The farmer decided to cook chicken soup for his sick wife, believing it would relieve her of her fever. And so, the chicken was slaughtered.
Many villagers visited the sick woman and the farmer had to kill the pig to feed them.
The farmer’s wife eventually died, and he had to slaughter the cow and the goat to feed the villagers at the funeral.
The moral of the story is that the next time you hear that someone has a problem, do not assume that it does not concern you.
If the Foochow and the Hakka Chinese think that the problems of the Peninsular Chinese do not concern them, they must think again — about the chicken, the pig, the cow and the goat.
The Chinese in Sarawak must continue to cherish the values and dignity of their forefathers and set these against the tyranny and corruption around them.
The Foochows should ask themselves why, after 47 years of Sarawak being part of Malaysia, BN is still begging for votes from the rural poor.
Developing Sibu or Sarawak is the duty of the BN state and federal governments and should not be a gift from Santa Claus, who comes around only when there is an election.
Stanley Koh is a Free Malaysia Today contributor.

It's touch and go as rivals enter final lap

By Zainal Epi

SIBU: The warring parties in the Sibu parliamentary by-election went into fifth gear as they make their final pitch for votes.
Today is the last day for campaigning before the 54,600-odd voters cast their ballots tomorrow. Many analysts forecast that both rivals are neck and neck – in short, it is touch and go.
DAP's Wong Ho Leng is facing Barisan Nasional’s Robert Lau Hui Yew and independent Narawi Haron in the contest for the coveted seat.
The DAP is banking on Chinese votes while the ruling coalition is attempting to win over the Chinese electorate as it feels confident that it has the Malay and Bumiputera votes in its bag.
Chinese comprise 67% of the total votes, Malays 0.2% and the rest Bumiputera.
DAP with the help of PAS and PKR, its partners in the loose alliance called Pakatan Rakyat, had tried to raise national issues in the early stages of the campaign, but later switched tactics and started focusing on local matters.
The DAP concentrated its rockets on Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, crying foul for his alleged practice of nepotism and cronyism. It also played up on issues pertaining to land.
With 30% of the Chinese electorate loyal to the party, the DAP has been working hard to get the Bumiputera (mainly the Dayak and Iban) in the longhouses and young Chinese fence-sitters to come aboard.
A far-off dream
In the meantime, the BN, despite facing several setbacks, is inching towards the finishing line and is said to be leading by a small margin.
The party had brought in big guns like Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to woo the voters in the hope of chalking up a higher margin of victory than it had in the 2008 general election.
However, despite a slight increase in the headcount from the Chinese, the BN is losing its grip on the Malays by the day.
The majority of the Malays numbering about 4,000 are in Nangka, which is also the bastion of power of Parti Pesaka Bersatu (PBB), the backbone of the Sarawak BN.
The Malays in Nangka felt slighted when Najib made his touted walkabouts around Sibu town, shaking hands and dining with the Chinese residents.
The Nangka Malays are also angry with their state assemblyman Awang Bamee for not serving them well. Despite the assurance given by PBB’s top leadership that Awang would not contest the coming state election scheduled before end of the year, the Malay electorate is sceptical.
For BN, losing the Malay votes would mean trouble as its target of winning over the Chinese electorate seems to be a far-off dream. Words had it that BN has succeeded in getting about 38% of the Chinese votes, well below the 43% mark.
With Malay voters in Nangka rapidly slipping away, BN is indeed facing an uphill battle to retain Sibu.
As for the Bumiputera voters, the BN seems to be getting a big chunk of them despite the full-scale attack from the DAP. The 10,000-odd voters residing in the 92 longhouses seem to be backing the BN warhorse, although some are openly voicing support for the DAP.
The race is too close to call but if the turnout of voters is 65% and above, the BN is said to have a slight chance of standing as the winner on the podium of the port town of Sibu.

Will Sibu make history?

By Kim Quek
COMMENT Amidst the intense election campaigns of the Sibu parliamentary by-election, there is one way to help the beseeched electorate to make a sound decision. And that is by asking the following question:
Which political coalition – Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat – is more likely to fulfil the wishes of the Sibu people, if given the chance to run the federal and Sarawak state governments?
The simple reason for asking the question is that only the federal government has the power and resources and, to a lesser extent, the Sarawak government, to solve their problems and fulfil their
aspirations. And Sibu is now placed in the unique position to tip the political balance that may result in either one coalition assuming federal power come next general election, as will be explained later.
To begin, let us look at the problems people in Sibu are facing.
There are perennial floodings, lack of basic infrastructures for the rural areas, deprivation of customary land rights, problems of land lease renewal, abject poverty and prolonged economic malaise that have caused the mass exodus of youth from their homeland.
Can a member of parliament, whoever he is, solve these problems? No way, not even the state government. This is because many of these problems can only be overcome through changes of national policies and utilisation of large sums of money that only the federal government can provide.
Economy in bad shape
Take the sluggish economy. This is a national phenomenon. Sibu or even Sarawak cannot boom in a stagnant Malaysian economy, which has been in the doldrums for more than a decade.
The World Bank, in its recent economic report on Malaysia (dubbed “The Malaysian Economic Monitor”), described this phenomenon as “the middle-income trap” – unable to remain competitive as a low-cost producer, and yet incapable of moving up the economic ladder to a high-value economy, which is knowledge and innovation-based.
As rightly pointed out by the World Bank, this is due to the collapse of private investment (foreign and local) which has been hovering around 10% of GDP since the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis – a far cry from its pre-crisis height of 37%. This stands in contrast to our regional neighbours which have rebounded healthily in private investment rate, leaving Malaysia as the laggard.
Malaysia’s loss of competitiveness is rooted in politics – the inevitable consequence of an increasingly corrupt and authoritarian government.
The name of Malaysia has virtually disappeared from the radar screen of foreign investors, as none would be interested to invest in a country where the rule of law is openly and unabashedly flouted,
law-enforcing institutions reduced to political stooges, and the economy semi-paralysed by racist protectionism and cronyism.
Malaysia’s loss of grace with investors is most vividly illustrated in its massive capital flight – its 2008 foreign direct investment (FDI) outflow of US$14.1 billion exceeds its FDI inflow of US$8.1 billion by by a whopping 70%. Which other developing country in the world has such dubious distinction!?
Irresponsible squandering
Compounding this economic morass is the BN government’s atrocious financial management. Despite the country’s fabulous petroleum income – which now finances more than 40% of the
government’s annual recurring expenditure – the country has been running heavy budget deficits every year for the past 13 years.
Such recurring expenditure virtually exploded during Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s reign when it doubled within four years. And there is every indication that this trend will continue unabated despite promises to the contrary by Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak.
These hefty budget deficits are mainly caused by massive leakages through corrupt procurement practices and reckless spending for political expediency and personal gratifications, in addition to poor revenue collection from a lacklustre economy.
This huge income-expenditure gap is expected to widen in the days ahead as Petronas’ ability to foot the bill will decline in tandem with shrinking reserves and escalating costs.
With the federal treasury in such dire straights, the people of Sibu must take it with a bit of salt when BN leaders promise voluminous funds for infrastructure projects, including the flood-prevention scheme for Sibu, which will cost RM1 billion, according to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Sarawak impoverished by corruption
In fact, the masses of Sarawak should not be suffering in its present state of poverty and neglect if not for the gross mismanagement by one of the most corrupt state governments in the country.
Blessed with abundant gas and oil, and owners of one of the richest rainforests of the world, Sarawakians should have been enjoying a standard of living second to none. But instead, the state now ranks among the poorest in Malaysia, thanks to the seemingly never-ending rule of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Disparagingly known as “Peh Moh” (white hair), this autocrat has during his 29-year-rule been accused of massively misappropriating the state’s timber wealth to himself, his family, political associates and business cronies, to the point that the once richest natural asset of the state is now near depletion.
In addition, his family’s financial empire under CMS flagship, which extends its interests to every aspect of the state’s economy, has virtually monopolised business opportunities offered by public
spending through sweet-heart deals.
The cruellest cut of Taib’s corrupt rule is perhaps the marginalisation of the indigenous population spread over the far-flung interior of this vast territory. In addition to suffering the destruction of the
natural habitat upon which they depend for their livelihood (due to reckless logging), they have been forcibly removed from their ancestral land without proper compensation so as to make way for the big logging and plantation corporations favoured by the Taib-led government.
There is not the slightest doubt that Sarawakians would have been wealthier and the interior population living in more civilised conditions, if the state had not been subjected to such corrupt authoritarian rule, under which only the ruling elite and their cronies prosper.
Pakatan's new politics
In sharp contrast to the aged and decadent rule of BN was the refreshingly new politics of Pakatan Rakyat which was swept into power in five key states in the Peninsula in the 2008 general election.
Pakatan’s administration was marked by transparency and accountability as exemplified by its no-nonsense public procurement policy through open tenders. This new style of administration is attested to by none other than the Auditor General who, in his last annual report, has exceptionally commended the Pakatan-controlled states for their prudent financial management.
This again stands in contrast with the BN-controlled federal and state governments which have been
ritualistically chided in every annual AG report for umpteen years for widespread squandering, negligence and corruption over the spending of public funds.
That Pakatan's electoral success in the 2008 election was no fluke and its popularity has been growing is verified by the series of by-election victories won by Pakatan against overwhelming handicap of strongly pro-BN public institutions and completely one-sided mass media favouring BN.
The political tsunami swept in by the 2008 general election has demonstrated beyond doubt that the people in the Peninsula have woken up to the folly and deceit of the BN regime. In fact, if not for BN’s monopolistic hold on Sabah and Sarawak, Pakatan would have captured Putrajaya, considering the fact that many BN members of parliament would have supported the new politics of Pakatan in a delicately balanced Parliament.
Sibu accepting the challenge?
This is where Sibu can come in to play its historical role. A Pakatan win in a traditional BN fortress like Sibu would embolden the indigenous population to vote for change, as these impoverished people have been casting votes for BN in the past more out of fear than out of love.
Sibu could then trigger off a domino effect that would enable Pakatan to score significant electoral success in the imminent state election – enough to cause the tsunami to also hit Sabah, thereby precipitating a change of regime and the ushering in of a new era for the country, come next general election.
Will Sibuans rise to the occasion to be the maker of history for a new Malaysia?
Kim Quek is a political commentator and a PKR member.

Manikavasagam: I won't leave PKR - Malaysiakini

In the wake of the unspectacular resignation of Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, speculation has been rife that S Manikavasagam will be next on the exodus list.

The Kapar MP has however assured that he will be sticking by his party.

“I have no intention to leave PKR. No lah. I don't think so lah. I don't think it will happen,” he said to Malaysiakini today.

NONE“I will stay put and fight. I have to fight the issue from within the party,” he said, referring to the sand-mining allegations that he has spearheaded since early this month.

Manikavasagam (left) claims that top officials in the state-government-owned company Kuala Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) has been receiving bribes for sand mining contracts.

“Some say that it's best to thrash things out internally. To talk within the party. But I've been talking from within the party for the past few years.

“I raised the issues of the Klang bus terminal, Kampung Perepat, and then the sand-mining issue, all internally. Then what do I get? They just ask me to bring it up in Selcat. I don't trust Selcat and I certainly don't trust (Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim),” he said.

“Then this (KSSB executive director Ramli Abd Majed) tells me to resign. Well, he can go to hell,” charged Manikavasagam

His voice betrayed a tone of exasperation over the phone despite his repeated denials of plans to leave the party.

'Wee should not have resigned'

However, he expressed sadness over his compatriot Wee Choo Keong's decision to resign over the sand-mining issue.

“I don't know why he made this move. He shouldn't have (resigned). We both have to stay and fight this issue,” said Manikavasagam, who is also the PKR supreme council member and sits in the party's powerful political bureau.

When spoken to earlier, he also said that he was surprised by Wee's decision, and was not aware of it at all.

When asked if Wee's actions could be financially-motivated, Manikavasagam said he does not know, and refused to comment further.

Wee and Manikavasagam are known to be in the same clique in PKR, frequently fronting issues together.

hulu selangor by-election voting day 250410 khalid ibrahimWhile Manikavasagam's spat with Khalid (right) has been well-documented, his outright denial in leaving the party is a stark contrast to Wee, who had consistently sidestepped questions about rumours of his impending resignation.
But the Kapar MP has had his share of controversies.
Manikavasagam had quit his post as Selangor deputy liaison committee chairperson late 2008.

However, rumours were rife that he was on the verge of quitting the party back in September 2008 over the “lack of state government initiative” at the demolition of a 19-year-old Hindu temple in Ampang.

'Stop BN from gaining two-thirds in the House'

By Pushparani Thilaganathan - Free Malaysia Today

SIBU: Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has appealed to Sibu voters to help reinforce Pakatan Rakyat's strength in Parliament following the loss of yet another PKR MP.
Yesterday, PKR's Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong announced his resignation from the party, citing his frustration over the little Napoleons in the PKR. He has declared himself an independent.
Lim said with Wee’s departure, Barisan Nasional was now getting closer in its obsessive pursuit of the two-thirds majority.
“All BN needs is four more seats to get their desired two-third majority.
"I appeal to Sibu voters not to allow this. Give us another MP and help increase our representation in Parliament.
“We must not give them (BN) this seat... so please vote for a principled politician and not for commercial politics.
“Vote for DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng,” he told an enthusiastic 3,000-strong crowd in Rejang Park last night.
Wee became the latest PKR member to defect from the party although it has been speculated for months that he will be leaving.
During the height of the Hulu Selangor by-election campaign,neurosurgeon-cum division treasurer Halili Rahmat quit the party after he was not offered to contest in the seat.
Before that, Kedah assemblyman Tan Wei Shu resigned.
Last August, Lunas state assemblyman Mohammad Radzhi Salleh quit PKR to become an independent.
Kulim–Bandar Baharu parliamentarian Zulkifli Nordin has also become an independent after being sacked by the party for misconduct.
The Pakatan Rakyat coalition of PAS, DAP and PKR swept to power in five states in the historic 2008 general election.
But two years on, at least 11 PKR elected reps at federal and state levels have jumped ship, some declaring their independence , and others calling themselves "BN-friendly".
PAS and DAP, however, have remained stoic in the face of such adversity, pledging their full support to PKR and its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

I’m disappointed, so I’m leaving

We have thus far lost quite a number of MPs since the first defection. And each time someone leaves, surely there are lots of revelations about “secrets” and “weaknesses” within the coalition. Sure enough there are weaknesses. Don’t tell me BN is flawless because we know that's not true. Don’t tell me you (the resigned MPs) are flawless too.

By ViewAct

Now, a coalition consists of many members, not to mention many parties. Putting BN aside which UMNO dominates, controls and can overrule everything, most coalitions would strive to be fair and free. In BN, you can’t raise a question, display any sense of doubt, and disagree with anything. Even though you are really doubtful, or object to an idea, you need to appear as if you understand and agree to it. You even need to find excuses to psyche yourself into believing it. Now, this isn’t what we all want. It isn’t what you (the defected MPs) want either, do you? Or have you been too fed-up with not getting what you want in PR that you just don't care anymore. If that is the case, shouldn't you resign as MPs too, as what we want is not of your concern anymore? And now that we are disappointed, should we "leave" you too?

In PR, you are given the freedom to speak, to voice up and to disagree to anything. And that means there is also a high chance your ideas would be ignored, put aside or even rejected. Compared to not being able to speak, which do you prefer?

If you have been a human long enough, and if you have been in any structured organization long enough, you would have known that decision on accepting or rejecting an idea depends very much on majority support, on conditions like hard evidence, socio-economic impact, and how well you know the decision-maker, etc. And most of the time, a good relationship with the decision-maker does make a difference. Not to say that you are bribing someone but the person would know you well enough to know the weight of your raised concerns. Besides, a good leader will not just listen to a single person. Any allegation requires thorough review, investigation and discussion among leaders as well as related parties. It cannot happen overnight, or by merely a word said by someone.

Now, someone may have raised an issue. Is there evidence to support that claim? What is the impact of the allegation? Does the state government of the day recognize this? How about the Federal government, the Anti-corruption agency, the Police? You may say that as a State government, they should be able to do something. Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that they should start doing something. No because it still has to abide by the laws of the country, and proper procedures and channels. Bypassing that, you will eventually face the consequences yourself. I believe that is why Nizar did not work on other ways than going to the courts. I believe that is why the Police and the MACC are still referred to even though we all know how un-trustworthy they are.

In a society, and if you have been in politics long enough, your “rank” and “status” comes from how many people follow you, respect you, and listen to you. And in some cases, you may think you are doing the right thing, but it could be wrong for the other groups. Put yourself in their shoes and you will understand why. Take for example why people are still supporting BN-UMNO when so much negative aspects have been revealed. Why are some people so stubbornly protecting something they themselves know very well is wrong? One reason could be they are bound to what they are familiar with and cannot break away. Another reason could be that there is just too much personal gain that they feel reluctant to let go. In this case, they care more about their own greed than about public interest, about the future of the people, about the welfare of the people.

Does that mean we should give up and let them be as they want to continue to be “tangled” and “confined” within their own deluded tiny world? I’m sure your answer would be “NO”. Well, what was the reason that took you to become acquainted with politics? And more specifically to the “OPPOSITION” party? If wealth, social status, and power is what you look for, wouldn’t it be easier to get them from the ruling party?

Some may say that being opposition, you stand a greater chance of being fielded for election as they are lacking in able people. And upon achieving that, get wealth, social status and power from there by means of approving permits, tenders, etc.

Some other may say that upon getting elected, you can bargain for defection.

In short, it seems that defections are “bought”, and all revelations after that are excuses to justify that defection.

It may be true to some extent, but let us put that aside for now. Let us ASSUME that they are sincere in their claims that they are upset with the PR Coalition. The action of leaving the party but keeping your posts as an MP may indeed help you in the following way.

1) Serving as a boycott against the “Napoleons” as well as the leadership for ignoring your concerns and your voice.

2) Threatening the leadership, and trying to force them to start listening to you.

3) Raise concerns and awareness of the issues among other members and eventually catch the attention of the top leadership.

But let me share my point of view on the matter, based on basic corporate organizational observation.

1) An announcement to leave the party because your voice is not heard will not be viewed as an alarm. It is seen as a threat. And no one likes threats, especially if you do not have enough “points” to support your threats.

2) Begging you to stay will make it a bad trend, and more members will do the same, hoping to have their “wishes” fulfilled. This is not very healthy.

3) If you threaten to leave for the sake of trivial things, management will just think you are immature. And that makes you worthless to them.

In which case the organization will not make you stay. And probably would not take you back if one day you regret leaving. But this is politics. And in politics, there are no real enemies as much as there are no real friends. However, the people who voted you may hesitate to throw their votes for you again.

Some members raised alarms, and made strong statements before they were referred to the disciplinary board and eventually got sacked. This seems to be the proper way; but still, that depends on the issue raised, and relevance of supporting evidence. Some raised an issue and immediately followed this by threats of resigning. This actually gives an impression that they are seeking attention. And the resignation is an act of boycott. It is even more obvious when he resigns from the party but still insists on keeping all other posts.

Now, you may say that by keeping the posts, you are trying to serve the rakyat better by being independent from any party, being neutral and free from pressures from top leadership. However, may I ask the following questions?

1) If you cannot solve problems being a member of a “bigger power”, what makes you think you can as ONE person?

2) If you really want to be neutral, why then do you give support to a “power” that you know is corrupted?

3) If your voices are not heard in a party where you are given freedom to speak, what makes you think that it will be heard in a party that suppresses your freedom?

4) Similarly, if you think you can change something as an individual, why didn’t you initiate that change when you were part of a bigger power, where you have more support and influence over people below you (including the rakyat)?

5) You think that someone has done wrong. Can you say for sure that no one ever thought you did something wrong too?

6) What effort had you put in to address the issues that you are dissatisfied with while you were with the party? You have "seen" it, but did you do something before you called it a quits?

7) Put aside the issue you are dissatisfied with. Have you performed your responsibility as the MP of your area up to the satisfaction of the party, and especially the residents there?

Combined efforts will always carry you to greater heights. No one is an island, and no one single man can change the world by himself. You are in an organization that fights for justice and freedom. And the top leadership has vowed to keep it that way. Along the way, there would surely be many challenges as some members stray from the cause. The leader may be too busy with something else. As a member, and part of the leadership, is it not your responsibility to help maintain, lead and direct your teams to the right direction visioned by your top leader? Or at least the same vision you shared with him when you joined the party?

Before you raise your white flag, have you tried everything within your means, and everything that you can think of to overcome it? Well, you threatened to resign against one or a few points which you are not happy with, and jeopardized the welfare of the people who voted for you. All in all, have you thus far performed your responsibilities towards them? If you have not, aren’t you supposed to answer to that before you start complaining about other issues?

So, disappointed MPs, we are all watching. PR may not have had enough talents to be fielded during past elections and had to put a shaky-willed person like you in. But I’m sure many have urged them to start sourcing talents. A more important point to note is, we the common folks are disappointed with PR too sometimes, but have we given up? If we haven’t, why have you?

Thus far, I have personally made much comments on PR’s management or lack thereof. And I have seen many of them step up. Moreover, we supported the cause to fight for justice and freedom, not really for PR itself. PR is the force, the vehicle. A combined effort and determination of the people – leaders and the common folks alike, to carry the cause along. Your leaving it on the ground of being disappointed with “SOME people”, abandoning the “vehicle” to walk by yourself does not seem justified. Well, at least reveal evidence of the abuse of power, or information that could convince the people about your mistreatment before you walk off else it remains an allegation due to your PERSONAL PREFERENCE. And that affects our PERSONAL PREFERENCE towards you too, for if you are hasty and make drastic decisions, how should we place our trust in your hands?

TDM Again

I have always admired TDM as a master politician without equal. His most serious fault, I think, is his bulldog-like tenacity to get what he wants regardless of what he has to do to get it. But then again, most people would think this is a good point. I guess it is a matter of judgment and ethics.

By batsman

I was quite confused lately why TDM chose to bring up the issue of NEM at this point when there is absolutely no attention and no controversy surrounding it at this time. What TDM says normally has to be dissected with a powerful microscope.

However, after much thought and looking at recent events, the most likely scenario is as described below. I could be wrong. With TDM, one is never quite sure.

After the cancellation of the “Bangkit Melayu” event in KT, TDM’s message of going after extremist non-Malays did not sit very well with some very insecure non-Malays especially since the label of “extremist” is not exactly defined and just about anybody can fall into it. So the blame game began.

Perkasa blamed the MCA, but Perkasa is not exactly well-liked by the Chinese, so Perkasa condemning MCA is actually a way to help MCA regain some standing among the Chinese since Perkasa and MCA are roughly on the same side.

Similarly, TDM is not exactly a Chinese favourite after the “Bangkit Melayu” event, so condemning the NEM seems to be trying to help NTR’s project regain some standing among the Chinese. At one and the same time, it also seems to be scolding NTR as far as the Malay community is concerned. TDM has never been exactly gracious to his successors as UMNO President. I guess it would be silly to think that anyone is better than him. The question mark is – why at this time?

Given the by-elections in Sibu where the majority of the electorate is Chinese, helping NTR regain some standing among the Chinese (especially since Hulu Selangor proved the Chinese are pretty unhappy with the BN) would be the more relevant motive since TDM and NTR are also roughly on the same side.

On the other hand we cannot discount the fact that Sarawak Chinese are different from Malayan Chinese. Sibu folks might not want to have anything to do with West Malaysians and may prefer to concern themselves only with Sarawak cares and worries.

With this in mind, Sibu folks may be more concerned that the Federal government under UMNO as well as the Sarawak government under Taib may not be governing to the best interests of Sarawakians especially since 2 of Sarawak’s oil parcels worth billions has been given away by the Federal government without any consultation with the people of Sarawak to Brunei and timber resources of Sarawak are plundered mercilessly by their own state government without proportional benefit to ordinary citizens of Sarawak.

So with this in mind, it is quite difficult to fathom what goes on in TDM’s mind. What do you guys think?

Sibu - another referendum
najib eyeing sarawak, which is going eeek!
DATUK Seri Najib Razak called the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election a referendum on his premiership. The justification was rather obvious as it was formerly a Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold with an ethnic composition mirroring Peninsula Malaysia's. The campaign was largely fought by Umno, even though the BN's candidate was from MIC.
Sibu has also been a BN stronghold where the late Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew won with a comfortable margin of 3,235 votes or 9% of the total valid votes in 2008. And in the center of the ongoing campaign is not the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew, but Najib.
From a larger perspective, the Sibu by-election is actually an unpronounced referendum, not so much on Najib's premiership but more subtly on Umno's entry into Sarawak.
Sarawak is almost a different country compared to West Malaysia. Ethno-religious relations are much more harmonious and multiculturalism is truly celebrated.

The "Allah" issue does not seriously bother many Sarawakians
You have halal food sold at one end of Sibu's pasar malam and roasted pork at the other end, with canned beers sold in between. The only other place I know personally where pork is not an issue for Muslims is Tumpat, Kelantan where pigs reared by Thai Malaysians roam freely in Malay Malaysian kampungs.
That's why many Sarawakians are not seriously bothered by the "Allah" row. For them, this is pure monkey's business staged by West Malaysian politicians. Yes, many East Malaysians do look down on West Malaysians when it comes to social relations and civility.
Even Najib admits that Sarawak is the embodiment of his 1Malaysia campaign. To digress, doesn't that mean we have 2Malaysias — one where 1Malaysia is already actualised while in the other, 1Malaysia remains but a goal?
Taib as Sarawak's defender
What makes Sarawak different from the rest of Malaysia? One simple explanation is the absence of Umno.
In fact, many Sarawakians have a love-hate relationship with Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, because of Umno.
They probably hate him for the corruption, cronyism and nepotism that have left the state's vast natural wealth in the hands of the few while the majority are trapped in poverty. But they also believe that had it not been for Taib and PBB, Umno would have entered Sarawak and eroded if not destroyed the pleasant and easy-going Sarawakian lifestyle.
For the state's business class, Taib also protects state resources from their West Malaysian competitors.
In a sense, Taib is the protector of Sarawak's socio-economic interests from Umno and other West Malaysians for different groups of Sarawakians. His hegemony is built on more than just patronage, repressive state power and media control.
Taib as Umno's representative

James Brooke, first White Rajah of Sarawak
(public domain | Wiki Commons)
Taib's success is that Umno is happy with an indirect rule of Sarawak through him, a bit like former British control via Sarawak's White Rajahs.
From the birth of Malaysia, Umno leaders have distrusted East Malaysia's Christian natives who — not coincidentally — tended to defend the rights of their states more staunchly compared to their Muslim cousins.
Just look at Sarawak's Tan Sri Stephen Kalong Ningkan, who was removed unceremoniously as chief minister in a Perak-coup style defection ending in federal-imposed emergency rule. Sabah's Donald Stephens was sidelined in favour of Tun Mustapha Harun and was reinstated only after Mustapha fell out of favour with Kuala Lumpur and Stephens converted to Islam and became Tun Fuad Stephens.
Umno's handpicked Muslim rulers in Sabah and Sarawak and their governance models, however, turned out to be very different in both states.
In Sabah, Mustapha and his successor Datuk Harris Salleh embarked on aggressive Islamisation to increase the number of Muslims vis-à-vis other ethnic groups.
This eventually resulted in Christian Kadazandusun revolts, which eventually gave birth to Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS). PBS and some NGOs later accused the federal government of engineering mass influxes and naturalisation of Indonesian and Filipino Muslims since Mustapha's time to dilute the non-Muslim population and strengthen Kuala Lumpur-preferred Muslim control.
After a few years of marginalisation in the BN, PBS eventually left the ruling coalition in the 1990 elections just after the nomination day. The defection led to Umno's eventual entry into Sabah to take on PBS directly.
Mustapha's United Sabah National Organisation was absorbed and transformed into Sabah Umno with Mustapha as state chief, hence ending Umno's option of indirect rule by Sabah Muslim natives.
In Sarawak, Umno's indirect rule has been entrusted to Melanau Muslim Sarawakians since 1970. Chief Minister Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'kub was succeeded by his nephew Taib in 1981.
Yet, neither Rahman nor Taib embarked on Islamisation to strengthen their control. Sarawak remains the only Malaysian state without a state religion.

Nested controls within Sarawak BN
The Melanau Sarawakian dominance is established more subtly through nested controls. First, Melanau Sarawakian elites dominate Malay Sarawakians within the larger umbrella of "Muslim natives". Secondly, Muslim natives dominate their Dayak junior partners within PBB. Thirdly, PBB dominates SUPP and two Dayak-based parties, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party within Sarawak BN. In turn, Sarawak BN dominates the entire state.
Exactly because of the Melanau Sarawakian elites' subtleness and sophistication, Sarawak has not experienced political turmoil and regime change as Sabah did. Dayak and Malay Sarawakians have tried to alter Sarawak's political balance but have failed thus far.
The successful dominance gives Taib tremendous bargaining power vis-à-vis Umno, which in turn allows him to secure autonomy for Sarawak which legitimises his rule.
Post-Taib arrangement
But Taib's game will not last forever. Ruling Sarawak for 29 years, he will have to go one day.
There is no guarantee that his successor can maintain the nested control like he has. While Dayak Sarawakians are fragmented, Malay Sarawakians may rise to challenge Melanau Sarawakians in the succession war. Urban Chinese Sarawakians are also increasingly alienated by corruption and abuse of power.

Taib Mahmud
The post-Taib uncertainty is too much a risk for Umno to bear. More than ever, BN's survival at the federal level now needs Sarawak's 31 parliamentary seats (with BN currently controlling 30) as the coalition's "fixed deposits". So, the Muslim indirect rule model must end in Sarawak as it did in Sabah.
Also, Umno politicians have immense incentives to directly control Sarawak. Ideologically, it's the "last frontier" for the Malay nationalist party. It would be an achievement of "1Malaysia under Umno". Organisationally, whoever controls the future Sarawak Umno will have 14% of the enlarged Umno divisions in hand.
The challenge is: Umno has long been subtly portrayed by Sarawak BN as a remote threat to the state. Sarawakians have thus far been convinced that they can and should vote for BN because, ironically, that's the way to keep Umno off Sarawak's shores.
So, how could one prepare Sarawakians for Umno's direct rule there, as in Sabah?
One way might be to capitalise on the popularity of Najib the premier so that voters may accept Najib first and Umno later.
What would be a better place to test the waters than in Sibu, an urban seat with two-thirds Chinese Malaysian voters? The thing is, one out of four or one of out five Chinese Malaysians in West Malaysia have been rejecting Umno in most of the post-March 2008 by-elections, notwithstanding Najib's goodwill gestures. But all Najib needs to claim victory in Sibu is perhaps 35% to 40% of Chinese Malaysian support.
And if this is coupled by big victories in the native precincts, Najib can claim to be the BN's vote-puller in Sarawak. The dissidents in PBB and other Sarawak BN parties can then start calling for a merger of Umno and PBB for more effective representation of Sarawakian interests in Kuala Lumpur.
Would that not make Umno's entry into Sarawak — the unannounced referendum question — perfectly natural?

Sarawak : Poverty Midst of Plenty

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

Although I have in my travels seen abject poverty in such diverse places as Addis Ababa, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam, Kolkata, Mumbai and Manila, I must confess to a feeling of utter revulsion and anger when confronted by stark deprivation in our supposedly well-governed and prosperous Malaysia.

The pockets of rural poverty in the Malay heartlands of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu are islands of prosperity compared to the scene that churned my stomach and assailed my sense of guilt and outrage when I first ventured into the Iban long houses on the majestic Rejang.

It is not enough that we have robbed them of their ancestral lands and impoverished them in the process, but we also felt constrained to strip them naked of any residual personal dignity that they might still have by introducing policies that have succeeded in reducing them to the fringes of mainstream economic life. The Orang Asli tribes and the Orang Hulu, the Malays from the interior, have a great deal in common with their Dayak friends. For all we care, they are Malaysia’s forgotten people, but not quite. Whenever an election is underway, be it a by-election or a general election, they find themselves the centre of attention, in great demand by the rich and powerful, all claiming to love and care for them.

Before the day is out, they are the proud possessors of a handful of crisp 50 ringgit notes. Four or five hundred ringgit is a princely sum to them, a king’s ransom, no less, in exchange for their votes. If some of them have become cunning, manipulative supplicants and sacrificed their values for a fistful of ringgit, remember it is we who have corrupted them.

Years of exposure to extreme poverty and unbridled exploitation have rendered many of these once proud and noble people, nature’s gentlemen, inured and insensitive to their own traditional values and value systems. They are reduced to living from hand to mouth, on handouts, from day to day. What a tragedy to befall a people whose only sin is to trust those sworn to protect their native rights. They are bewildered to find themselves dispossessed, as their land is taken away without as much as “by your leave” for commercial exploitation by the towkay friends of the powerful.

Talking to many of them, the Ibans, I mean, I believe the only way we can restore their pride and dignity is by providing opportunities for regular employment. We are dealing with an ancient people with a distinctive culture. Even those among them whose lives have taken on an urban aspect continue to cling strenuously to their traditional practices. We who are strong have a duty to help the weak by not foisting on the Ibans and others our culture of corruption and other despicable practices.

Some years ago, an Indonesian anti-corruption activist friend of mine visited our country during the 11th general elections, as part of a privately funded election observer mission. His group spent a great deal of time in Sarawak and Sabah and told me that he was shocked by the scale of vote buying. I was greatly embarrassed by his revelation because at an anti-corruption conference in The Hague at which I was invited to speak and he was a participant some two months earlier, I had said that while vote buying was rampant in party elections, the practice was unknown in general and state elections. I was unbelievably naïve to believe the Barisan Nasional government propaganda. The scale of vote-buying must have been so massive as to shock my Indonesian anti-corruption fighter, used as he was to living and working in a corruption-infested nation. It is not that easy to shock an Indonesian over a corruption issue. But unlike Malaysia, Indonesia is on the mend as far as fighting corruption is concerned. In Malaysia, on the contrary, it is in indecently robust health.

Malaysia is blessed with rich natural resources and poverty as we have seen in Sabah, Sarawak, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Terengganu can only be explained in terms of governance grounded on corruption and political excesses. When we look at the personal wealth accumulated by Chief Minister Taib of Sarawak at one extremity and the Ibans at the other, one begins to wonder what the future holds for Malaysia. I am not at all sanguine.

The thieving and plundering by those in power must stop because, as history tells us, it is only a matter of time before the forbearance of the long suffering poor takes on an ugly aspect, with consequences too dreadful to contemplate. The Government of Malaysia and the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak in particular can alleviate poverty by governing in the sole interest of the people. Najib’s people first is under close public scrutiny.

Mahkamah Syariah setaraf Mahkamah Sivil

Utusan Malaysia 

PUTRAJAYA 14 Mei - Mahkamah Syariah akan terus dinaik taraf bagi memartabatkan undang-undang Islam dalam negara agar setaraf dengan mahkamah sivil.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom berkata, antara langkah yang akan dipakai untuk memartabatkan institusi tersebut adalah dengan mengesyorkan penubuhan Majlis Rayuan Syariah, Mahkamah Tengah Syariah dan menaik taraf kedudukan Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah.

Selain itu, katanya, cadangan menubuhkan Perwujudan Perjawatan Berpusat, Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah Negeri serta menaik taraf hakim-hakim mahkamah syariah adalah antara pendekatan terbaru untuk memartabatkan institusi tersebut.

"Cadangan-cadangan dalam kertas kerja ini adalah sesuai dengan keperluan keadaan sekarang yang begitu mendesak kerana ada kes-kes yang memerlukan rayuan terhadap mahkamah yang lebih tinggi.

"Cadangan penubuhan juga amat wajar dan bertepatan dengan situasi sekarang, buat masa ini kita hanya ada tiga tingkat mahkamah syariah kita iaitu Mahkamah Rendah Syariah, Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah, Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian pada sidang akhbar selepas merasmikan Persidangan Penyelarasan Undang-undang Syarak dan Sivil Ke-20 di Pusat Konvensyen Antarabangsa Putrajaya (PICC) di sini hari ini.

Hadir sama Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim), Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz dan Peguam Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

Objektif utama persidangan adalah untuk membincang, membahas dan mendapatkan pandangan mengenai undang-undang atau kaedah-kaedah yang berkaitan dengan hal ehwal Islam serta isu-isu penting yang berbangkit.

Jamil Khir berkata, bersempena dengan persidangan tersebut, Peguam Negara dijemput untuk memberi penerangan mengenai konsep menaik taraf Mahkamah Syariah.

Beliau berkata, konsep baru Mahkamah Syariah yang dicadangkan itu akan dipersembahkan kepada Majlis Raja-Raja untuk diberi kelulusan.

"Sekiranya Majlis Raja-Raja memperkenankan cadangan itu, Mahkamah Syariah akan memasuki suatu lembaran baru dalam sejarah penubuhannya di mana tarafnya hampir sama dengan mahkamah sivil," katanya.

Beliau memberitahu peningkatan martabat Mahkamah Syariah memang diperlukan seiring dengan perkembangan industri perbankan Islam dalam konteks ekonomi dan halal yang kini sedang berkembang.

Mengenai isu halal, beliau berkata, pindaan terhadap Akta Perihal Dagangan (APD) 1972 melalui kerjasama dengan Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri, Koperasi dan Kepenggunaan (KPDNKK) akan dibuat untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian terhadap isu yang cukup sensitif itu.

"Pindaan tersebut akan dibentangkan pada sesi Persidangan Parlimen pada Jun depan.

"Apabila diluluskan nanti, segala permasalahan yang timbul berkaitan dengan soal halal seperti masalah pengisytiharan sendiri halal oleh pihak yang tidak berkuasa akan dapat diselesaikan," katanya.

After the tsunami

Haris Ibrahim hosts a Komas documentary on Malaysia after the political tsunami of 2008.

Selepas Tsunami (After the Tsunami) from Pusat KOMAS on Vimeo.

IGP makes playground bully threats again, gives cops a bad name

On one hand, credit to the where credit is due regarding the un-OSA-ing of the IGSO.
Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan said he had no problem if the Inspector-General Standing Order (IGSO) on the use of firearms was to be made public.
“Everything can be read, no problem.”
Good and well.
Would have been even better if he hadn’t continued on with his usual little boy antics:
In this regard, he said, the public could no longer blame the police on the use of firearms against those who violated the law.
“When you know how we do our job based on the IGSO, you can expect what will happen if you do not adhere to the law,” he said.
The first sentence is technically incorrect. Speeding is a violation of the law. Should we expect to get shot then?
The second sentence is even more stupid and inane.
What kind of “Tan Sri” “IGP” is this? Making playground bully threats like this, he might as well use language like:
“If you mf*ckers don’t mf*cking behave, we gonna cap yer mf*cking asses!”

Chaos, violence grips Thai capital

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- The bitter standoff between government troops and Red Shirt protesters in downtown Bangkok worsened Friday, the day after the wounding of a key protest leader aggravated the already deep tensions permeating the Thai capital.

Hospital officials reported seven people died in confrontations Friday in Bangkok, an urban fortress under siege and beset by gunfire, tear gas and stone-throwing. That followed the death of one person Thursday.

The unrest boiled over after Thai authorities set a new deadline to seal off the Bangkok intersection where protesters have gathered by the thousands for the past month. In addition to the deaths, 101 were hurt Friday and eight were wounded Thursday, emergency officials said.

A government official said Thai forces were slowly getting control of the downtown area, with video footage showing soldiers shooting rounds toward the area with protesters. Among those wounded on Friday was a journalist from a French television station who was shot in the leg.

The government said it was forced to take action after demonstrators disregarded an ultimatum by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to vacate the intersection by Wednesday.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, the acting government spokesman, said on Friday security forces who have been the objects of attacks have no choice but to respond.

He told reporters that forces have been dutifully following the rules of engagement, which allows them to use live ammunition to protect themselves and their comrades. He assured Bangkok residents and foreigners there that the forces have no intention of harming anyone.

The government, he said, is "very confident" it will be able to "stabilize the situation" and get it "under control very soon." Also, he said the prime minister is looking forward to working with others in hammering out reforms.

The United Front for Democracy, the formal name of the Red Shirt opposition, has been demanding that Abhisit dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call new elections. The Red Shirts support former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless military coup.

Tensions ramped up when Maj. Gen. Khattiya Sawasdipol -- a renegade general better known as Seh Daeng, which means Red Commander -- was shot and wounded by a sniper's bullet on Thursday, an action that left him in critical condition.

Seh Daeng was shot in the head while being interviewed by journalists in makeshift barricades set up by protesters. Thomas Fuller of The New York Times told CNN that the opposition leader was looking at him and answering questions when "the bullet hit him in the forehead, from what I could tell."

Reporter: Bullet 'felt like it grazed my head'

"It looks like the bullet came over my head and struck him. I don't have any way of confirming this beyond what I remember from the scene, but it felt like it grazed my head," he said.

Fuller, who said bamboo pikes and rubber tire barricades have been formed as a makeshift encampment by the protesters, said the opposition figure was facing out of the barricades and into Bangkok's business district of tall office buildings.

"He was standing in the same location for a while when I was talking to him but he was moving around, he was gesticulating," Fuller said. "He wasn't standing still, he was bobbing his head."

iReport: Are you there? Send your images, video

Seh Daeng did not appear to be armed or have bodyguards, but was dressed in camouflage jacket and a floppy hat, Fuller said.

Seh Daeng is a controversial public figure, even within the protest movement, Fuller said. Some Thai opposition leaders see him as an impediment to a peaceful resolution to the political stalemate that has gripped Thai politics, the reporter said.

"He's a renegade in sort of all senses," Fuller said. "He's a renegade from the army, a hardliner within the protest movement. He told me today he thought they (other opposition leaders) were being cowardly and he wanted to carry on."

Polis halang himpunan bantah judi dan konsert Pitbull

Is Hindraf racist?

By DP Vijandran - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT It is sad that Hindraf is now being castigated as racists by some quarters. It is easy to underestimate now the new thrust verve that was given to Malaysian Indians in this country by the Hindraf movement.
The two brothers P Uthaya Kumar and Waytha Moorthy and the other leaders of the movement courageously and steadfastly espoused the plight of Malaysian Indians. They made huge personal sacrifices and the Indian community gratefully accepted them.

Once hailed as heroes they are now being labeled as racists. It is a fascinating turn of events. Is this charge of being racist well-founded or is it just political labeling to discredit the movement ?

What is a racist? The dictionary definition is:
  1. a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
  2. racial prejudice or discrimination
Neither of these definitions can apply to Hindraf. They have never claimed that the Indians are a superior race. Further they are committed to removing racial prejudice and/or discrimination against the Indians. They have never said that any race should be discriminated against.

So why this label.

Is it because they steadfastly have concentrated on improving the lot of the Indians? That could be so if they argued that only the Indians in this country should be helped. That is far from the truth. Though they have argued the Indian case they have also said that all races which face poverty and deprivation should be helped. They are seeking a fair balance.

However they concentrate on the Indians for two reasons.

State of citizenship
Firstly they know the Indian problem well, being themselves Indians who have struggled to come up in life bereft of public help or aid. Secondly it is a fact acknowledged by all parties in the political spectrum that the Indians do need public help the most.

Hindraf has brought to the Indians a collective consciousness that they have not been given a fair deal.
But this is not racist. Is it racist for Muyiddin to say that he is Malay first and Malaysian second? Is this not the reality of our society. We are Malaysians in a macro sense.

But at the micro level we operate separately. We are separated into different educational streams. We pray and worship differently. We wear different clothes and eat different food. We speak our own mother tongue at home. The majority of us mingle within our own races.

The term Malaysian refers at present to a state of citizenship. In does not as yet signify a oneness. As we move forward whether towards “1Malaysia or “Malaysian Malaysia” , we will hopefully identify more and more common traits, needs, values and wants that will blend us into an unique whole. But until the advent of that Utopia we have to accept and live with the current reality of different races at different stages of development with differing severity of problems to be redressed.

This then is the reason  the Indians generally have embraced Hindraf so warmly. Non-Indians are not rushing to take up the Indian cause apart from some well-placed articles decrying the plight of the Indians. Hindraf rose to fill the niche.

Perhaps the word racist is used to criticize some averments in some documents that were published in the early days of Hindraf. The problem is that these documents used the English language. It must be accepted that in our country, words are used in English with varying degrees of understanding and intent. It is an affliction that affects many writers of English in this country.

Words and phrases are used and misused by the framers of public speeches and documents and understood or misunderstood by others.

But should we be seizing on an inappropriately used word or phrase in Hindraf statements or documents and harp on it or should we look at the broad spectrum of the ideas and essential thrust of these documents.

Analysed properly and allowing for the use of  grandiloquent or over-zealous words, the Hindraf documents by and large attempt to highlight the dire plight of the Indians.

Until a time comes when other races give due and fair priority to the problems of the Indians, Hindraf will be a much honoured and needed force amongst the Indians. Hindraf in turn, in order to meet the expectations it has raised has to concentrate on pressing for solutions to the problems of Malaysian Indians. This is the core area of their enterprise and so far they have done a sterling job.

A splintered movement

There is an attempt to now downplay the influence of Hindraf on the basis that it is now a splintered movement with divergent groups.

They point to a recent by-election where three factions which were formerly together in Hindraf took three different positions. One backed the Barisan Nasional and one backed Pakatan Rakyat. The third asked that the Indians boycott the elections. Sad indeed.

But let us not confuse the essential concept of Hindraf with its physical components.

The term “Hindraf” does not merely refer to a motley collection of organizations that now appear to be split. The larger and more important reference is to the spirit and concept that has now the brand name of “Hindraf”. It is an idea whose time has come. It will not go away because it is labeled “racist”.

It is difficult to keep several Indian organizations together. This has been the traditional bane of Malaysian Indians. Given the crop of leaders now in the field it may not be immediately possible to forge such unity. However this does not mean that the Indians are disunited pushovers. Hindraf has brought to the Indians a collective consciousness that they have not been given a fair deal. That consciousness is a silent force and a powerful one. That force is now being courted by all and sundry.

The future of the Indians will now rest on how well they marshal and focus that force in the advancement of their just rights as loyal citizens of this country. It would be a tragedy if in this attempt they are decried as racist by those who have an imperfect understanding of their cause and struggle.

DP Vijandran is a lawyer and a former MIC secretary-general.

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth! – My response to Kenny Gan’s Article in MToday recently- Hindraf: Arrogance from Delusions. By Iraiputtiran

The Statements in red are clipped out from Kenny Gan’s article  – so the truth can be laid out for all to see and to see what a contortionist this Kenny Gan is.

1. Micro-analysis of the results shows that the actual swing of Indians to BN was marginal and could be explained by the rampant vote buying. 

The difference of 3.4 % vote swing in the rural Indian settling from 53.2 % to 56.5% to BN in Hulu Selangor in 2008 and 2010 respectively may be marginal, but why has PR lost 57% of the Indian votes two years after coming into power? Rampant vote buying by BN? Hello, which planet are you from? Since when has BN not bought votes? 

By comparison, the Indians there who allegedly voted BN for some cheap saris and money were nobler than many PR lawmakers who breached the trust of the voters by prostituting themselves for millions from BN, one Hee even causing the whole PR state government in Perak to collapse!
Continue losing other by-elections and blame it on BN’s vote buying, PR’s failed politics will be justified! Hey, ask yourself, what have you done to win the Indian votes, two years into power in the state! Stop being a cry baby and blaming others! 

In politics, the party that makes the best impression wins! Your PR coalition is pathetically poor in making impressions! In 2008, Indians in the country, en bloc voted for PR, resisting the goodies from BN, ONLY and ONLY because of HINDRAF! So, what are you ranting and raving here about HRP/ Hindraf? 

2. In the first place, how much influence does Hindraf and its political offshoot HRP still have among Indians? There is evidence that its influence has waned tremendously as they are unable to muster any meaningful crowd size for any event these days…

Check those many videos on the HRP website featuring HRP’s various campaigns. I have never attended any of those campaigns personally, but whose staunch supporter am I, you think? We all see what we want to see, don’t we? 

3. The reason for their declining support is clear. The original movement has split into a few factions which have gone separate ways such that the original spirit has been diluted. 

There was only one Hindraf leader, Waythamoorthy. There is only one Hindraf. The rest are the temporary creations of the enemies to confuse the people and clear attempts to defeat Hindraf. Only those who do not want to see this will keep on parroting like you. You are harping on a tale gone stale!

Tell me, Kenny Gan, talking for a coalition like PR, that has lost nine law makers including 4 MPs and with rumors of more to defect, that PR’s nemesis UMNO had nothing to do with all of these defections and it was all PR’s making. As you are making the case out to be with Hindraf. Don’t use one argument for Paul and then self -righteously another for Peter.

4. Both Hindraf and HRP have also lost touch with the grassroot Indians. While poor Indians are concerned with bread and butter issues the Ponnusamy brothers are still championing emotive We do not know what contacts you have with the grassroots Indians, for you to say that HRP/Hindraf has lost touch with them. What is your source of information other than the MSM or your mandore friends.

Who are the grassroot Indians that you talk about? Not the ones coming to the HRP offices with all sorts of issues, anything from IC-less, BC-less, ailments, police atrocities, acute poverty, legal issues, temple issues, Tamil school issues, house/village demolishment issues, police brutality, etc….on a daily basis? How many such Indians have come to you at your PR offices and told you that HRP has lost touch with them. 

Bread and butter issues? What Indian bread and butter issues are PR leaders dealing with that you accuse Hindraf/HRP of having forgotten. Is housing and land not bread and butter issues.
Then you say Tamil schools, temples and cemeteries are emotive issues? Education is emotive issue? That is what your Chief Mandores Ramasamy keeps saying, Tamil schools are emotive issue? Very self serving arguments, because he cannot do a diddle about these real issues. And he and you know that. Call them emotive issues and take them off your back.

So, by your logic, the Agama schools and the Chinese schools are also emotive issues? Why then PKR, DAP and PAS state government allocated 1,000ha (about 2,500 acres) of land to nine Chinese schools in Perak? 

Hear me, Gan! Hear me loud! You are the only ‘educated man’ in this whole wide world that sees education and schools as emotive issues. Have you ever read the UN Convention? The convention on The Rights of the Child protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services. The convention also rules that the States parties to the Convention are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child. Education is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. And you, Kenny Gan, call that an emotive issue played by HRP/Hindraf! I am lost for words to express my disbelief! 

5.  HRP should test its strength by fielding its strongest candidate in a by-election with sizable number of Indian voters. 

HRP/Hindraf will, come the 13th GE! And a third force will emerge to put both PR and BN on track. And in return, can I ask the PR supreme leader whom you are serving so obediently and duly through your write-ups, or your DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang or Lim Guan Eng or even Hadi Awang to stand in Buntong or any other constituencies targeted in HRP/Hindraf’s 15/38 project? 

6. Asking land for Tamil schools is both arrogance and lacking common sense!

Aiyoyoo, thamby, whose common sense, hah? Yours and that of your half-baked PR policy makerskah? To me and many other Indians that makes a lot of sense! Asking land for Tamil school is arrogance and lack common sense! Nevertheless, giving 2,500 acres of land to Chinese schools is applaudable, commendable? Is this the best you can debate, are you the best writer the PR coalition can find to propagate their policies? If so, then, PR has serious problems! 

7. HRP is still clinging on to the foolish delusion that it can be a third force to play kingmaker between BN and PR. This is irrational as there is no way it can win any seat in Malaysia based on the Indian vote alone.

Go on deluding yourself. If the Lib-Dems can do it in the UK with less than 10% of the seats, it just shows open minded people what is possible. Of course, for dummies like you, nothing other than what you think, will be possible.

8. As for HRP, the so-called ‘Human Rights Party’ it is best to rename itself “Hindu Rights Party” so as not to mislead Malaysians.

So, what should DAP call itself. DAP should call itself the Chinese Action Party. I am just extending your logic, so as not to mislead Malaysians.

9. Where is its voice in the human rights violation of Teoh Beng Hock, Norizan Salleh and Aminulrasyid? 

Sigh! Go to HRP website and read all the related articleslah! Human Rights Party signed the Memorandum of Protest to the IGP condemning the police shooting of Norizan! And also please do read many other articles that give HRP/Hindraf’s condolences to the deceased families while questioning PR’s selective reaction of only showing uproar when Chinese and Malays are the victims. Uthayakumar represented  Mohd Anuar bin Sharip another unheralded death in custody case and won it in the courts. Another was of Ho Kwai See, a coconut seller. Go get your facts straight before opening your mouth friend.

Your PR leaders are no match in fighting for Human rights like Uthaya, the human rights lawyer of 18 years of standing. He fights for the downtrodden Indians even upon many arrests by the police in the last 18 years! Anyway, where is PR’s voice in the hundreds of the Indian youths’ deaths in police custody and shootouts? 

Why was there deafening silence in PR on the deaths of two Indian youth in Taiping, the five suspects in Klang, P.Gunasekaran who died on the same day as Teoh Beng Hock, Kampung Medan ethnic cleansing any hundreds more? Why wasn’t there a single motion tabled in parliament to debate the shoot-to-kill policy that has taken the lives of hundreds of Indian youths as for Aminulrasyid? 


You are the biggest hypocrite, Kenny Gan! Being silent on BN’s racism is also racism, passive racism! Mind you!

Before I pen off, Kenny Gan – the Indians have really little reason to support PR, as Anwar in his recent visit to London,  said PKR could not be expected to solve Indian socio-economic problems because other communities too have socio-economic problems, what reasoning PR has. I cannot solve your problem because others have it too. Instead of saying, thank you for raising the problem, let us work on solving it. Keep on giving silly excuses like this and HRP/Hindraf shall meet PR leaders in the Parliament after the 13th GE! 

They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth! – Plato
Thank you!