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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mystery surrounds grants for Sibu churches

By Anil Netto,

Mystery surrounds the RM1.75 million in grants to four churches in Sibu – which could change the whole face of the controversy.

What prompted the federal government to award the grants to these churches during the campaign? (The churches had reportedly applied for the grants quite some time ago.) Did government officials actually meet the leaders of these churches during the campaign before deciding to award the grants? If there was such a meeting, was there an unsolicited government offer to award these grants during the campaign? Or more seriously, did the churches press for the funds to be granted?

This is what the churches in Sibu have to clarify. If they have already received the money, they need to inform the public whether they are now going to return this tainted money. If they have not yet received the money, they should let us know whether they are now going to reject it.

The same goes for the mission schools.

Can we now also get a commitment from all churches, mission schools and religious institutions that they will not accept funds once elections are imminent?

This is an excerpt from the report in the Malaysian Insider:

Sibu churches given federal cash ahead of vote
By Adib Zalkapli
May 16, 2010

SIBU, May 16 — Four Sibu Methodist churches were given special grants totalling RM1.75 million from the federal government yesterday in the final hours of the by-election campaign.

The award was presented by a representative from the deputy prime minister’s office, according to a report in today’s The Sunday Post.

The money for the church was on top of the RM15 million promised to local schools and a RM5 million pledge by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to alleviate flooding in Rajang Park if his candidate were to win in today’s election.

The Sunday Post report added that the money would be used for upgrading and extension works of church buildings in the city with a pre-dominantly Methodist population.

The four churches are the En Tao Methodist Church, Tien Tao Methodist Church, which received RM500,000, Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church (RM400,000) and Hwai Ang Tong Methodist Church (RM350,000).

Sibu SUPP publicity chief Daniel Ngieng told The Malaysian Insider the churches have applied for the special grants for quite some time.

“They applied from the government and the DPM agreed to it,” said Ngieng.

Ngieng said the four churches have about 5,000 active members.

Sibu: Details of postal voting irregularities revealed

The blogosphere is much more abuzz after Sibu then it was before :P :)
I wanted to backtrack again to re-highlight the many postal voting irregularities that might have been missed in all the excitement.
ps- always been a fan of YB Anthony Loke: great job!
Loke said the most serious discrepancy was that several codes (police or army personnel voter-groupings) saw returned ballots in excess of the number that were issued on May 12.
He identified Code 708 (police) where six ballots were distributed, and 24 returned. Code 429 (army) saw 160 ballots issued and 161 returned. For Code 43 (army), 47 were issued and 67 returned.
:| I think that’s pretty self explanatory. 213 ballots given out, 252 ballots returned. O.O
The second discrepancy, noted Loke, involved the 290 ballots that were issued to EC workers who applied to be postal voters because they were working on polling day.
Loke said that about 200 of such voters did not vote on the same day (May 12) and went home with their ballots, which he argued could then be “sold”.
“If taken out of the polling centres, ballots becomes a commodity to be sold. Now, no one will know who actually marked those ballots that were issued,” he said.
So, the EC apparently didn’t see a problem with issuing out ballots, LETTING PEOPLE TAKE THEM HOME, and then bring them back another day?!
The only question that remains is: how much did they sell for? :P
Loke added that there were also dubious individuals among the 200-odd voters who returned their ballots yesterday, some of whom refused to be identified by party scrutineers.
“One person looked more like a VCD seller than an EC worker (left). He had some young people with him. Our people tried to check their ICs but they all claim that they forgot to carry it with them,” he said.
The third discrepancy detected by DAP was that out of the 290 postal voters who were EC workers, two were not even in the electoral roll.
“When we demanded for their IC, they promptly left,” he said.
Hantu much? :P
All these incidents demonstrate only one thing: brazen shamelessness.
Will we allow the dirtiest EC in the world to run roughshod over our democratic rights? Or will we stand up and continue the fight that Bersih started? - Nathaniel Tan

Soi Lek says Chinese drawn to fair policies, not largesse

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — MCA President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said today that the Chinese community is no longer concerned with bread and butter but “intellectual” issues such as the fair implementation of policies.

His remarks come amid growing concern in Barisan Nasional (BN) over the loss of support for the ruling coalition from Chinese voters.

MCA, as the main Chinese party in BN, has come under severe pressure over its inability to regain support from the community who are now seen to be overwhelmingly backing Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) DAP and even PKR and the Islamist PAS.

Dr Chua pointed out that the implementation of government policies was a major factor affecting support for BN.

“Well today, I would to say that the Chinese in general are not just concerned with bread and butter issues or rice issues as they call it. The Chinese are more concerned with intellectual things for example fairness, accessibility to education, fair and equitable accessibility to education, scholarships, questions like promotion, judiciary, and crime,” he told reporters at MCA headquarters here today.

He cited as an example the weakness in implementing government policies and the lack of good governance.

The MCA president said that many Chinese businessmen feel government officers have too much discretionary power.

“But certain government officers still impose thirty percent Bumiputera quota on certain permits and licences. Although the prime minister has promised any further policy changes would not be top down but we still see that a lot are still top down.

“A classic example is this proposal to ban the import of second hand spare parts. I think there is a need to be more consultative in our approach especially when it comes to implementation and introducing new policies,” he said.

Barisan Nasional (BN) saw its first by-election loss in East Malaysia during Sunday’s polls in Sibu when SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew polled 18,447 votes against DAP Wong Ho Leng’s 18,845 votes.

The decline in Chinese support for the BN was mirrored in both the Sibu and previous Hulu Selangor by-elections.

In Hulu Selangor, only 28 per cent of the Chinese who voted had chosen BN while in Sibu, the DAP has claimed to have secured about 70 per cent of Chinese support.

Chinese votes for BN in both by-elections continued their decline from Election 2008 despite BN’s campaign of dispensing government largesse.

However Dr Chua was confident that BN was still relevant to the Chinese community and confident that government policies will reflect public interest.

“Of course MCA is still relevant. It is easy to say that it is not relevant. Today if we are not in the government, who are going to address all these issues.

“We just have to fine tune and we have confidence that under our prime minister, who is a good listener, that the policies of the government will slowly be reflective of the wishes of the rakyat including the Chinese community. We are still very hopeful and confident,” he said.

Court to sentence Bung Moktar, Zizie tomorrow - Malaysiakini

Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin and his second wife Zizie Izette Abdul Samad should only be fined for having committed unauthorised polygamy, their lawyer has submitted.

Seeking the lighter sentence in his mitigation statement, lawyer Amli Embong told the Gombak Timur Lower Syariah Court that both are first time offenders.

When given the option of a fine and jail sentence the court must consider a fine for first time offenders, and must state the grounds for any jail sentence, he said.

He added that the offence is not a criminal one but one related to family law, while the wide media coverage of the case has also been a form of punishment for th two.

NONEPublic prosecutor Zulsyarafain Yusof, in his opposing statement, argued that Bung Moktar and Zizie are high-profile individuals and that society has been following this case closely.

"What sort of message do we want to send to society?" he asked.

He added that there is also the reputation of the Syariah Court and law to maintain, whereby the law should not be perceived as a "second class" law.

The court will deliver its decision tomorrow morning.The offence carries a maximum fine of RM1,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months or both.
Couple unfazed
Leaving the court house, Bung Moktar waved to the protestors who were holding placards calling for his resignation.

NONE"See you tomorrow," he said with a grin, while his wife thanked them for coming.
The couple had pleaded guilty on April 20 to a charge of committing polygamy without the court's permission. The offence was committed at 12, Jalan TC2B/3 Cemerlang Heights, Taman Melati, Gombak at 8.50pm on Dec 16 last year.

Bung Moktar, 51, was charged under Section 124 of the Islamic Family Law Enactment (Selangor) No 2 Year 2003 which provides for a fine of not more than RM1,000 or a jail term of not more than six months or both.

Zizie, 31, was also charged under Section 40(2) of the same enactment for marrying Bung Moktar without the consent of the Registrar of Marriage, Divorce and Reconciliation at the same place, time and date.

In addition, the pair have acknowledged abetting one another in marrying without the court's consent.

Syarie judge Wan Mahyuddin Wan Muhammad had released them on oral bail of RM500 each with one guarantor each, pending mitigation and sentencing.
Also to be sentenced are Zizie's three brothers Ahmad Shahazmi Abdul Samad, 48, Samzy Fuzette Abdul Samad, 34, Shaheizy Sam Abdul Samad, 27, and two friends of the MP, Sahari Ahmad, 54, and Titing Putang, 56, who on Apr 20 plead guilty to abetment.

Ahmad Shahazmi was also charged with giving away Zizie in marriage to Bung Mokhtar without the consent of the marriage registrar.

Zaid opens fire on 'Wild West' Najib, sidekick

By FMT Team

KUALA LUMPUR: Following the showdown in Sibu, Pakatan Rakyat's troublehooter Zaid Ibrahim has opened fire on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, and his sidekick Muhyiddin Yassin.
Likening the prime minister to a gunslinging cowboy of the Wild West, he accused Najib of having no regard for the law.
In a hard-hitting posting on his blog, Zaid dismissed Najib and Muhyiddin as “leaders without morals who promote violent and corrupt leadership”.
“They used dirty tactics such as vote-buying and the media to tarnish the opposition's image during the Hulu Selangor by-election (last month).
“They thought that the same tactic could be used in Sibu, hence RM18 million was given to Chinese schools, RM1.7 million for churches and RM5 million for flood mitigation project,” he said.
“However, the people of Sibu have spoken against this,” he added, referring to DAP candidate Wong Ho Leng's unexpected victory in Sunday's by-election.
Zaid, a former law minister and PKR supreme council member, was the candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election. He was defeated by Barisan Nasional's P Kamalanathan.
Zaid later accused BN of using underhanded tactics, such as vote-buying, to secure a win. He also filed an election petition to challenge the results.
BN had denied the accusation.
'They are all the PM's men'
Continuing his salvo, Zaid said if elections in this country were held in a fair and free manner, then leaders like Najib and Muhyiddin would no longer hold office.
“They have no regard for the nation's laws and have no shame in abusing their authority eventhough Malaysians and the international community are watching them,” he added.
However, the PKR leader said it would be difficult to take action against the top two leaders, since they have total control over the state apparatuses.
“The Attorney-General, Chief Justice, Inspector-General of Police and the chief commissioner of the Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission are all the prime minister's men,” he said.
“They have forgotten their oath of office to serve the public, protect the sanctity of the nation's laws and execute their duties with courage and integrity.
“Now, they only serve the prime minister's interests,” he added.

We did not ignore complaints, say Liu and Gobind

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu has refuted claims that he knew about the sand-mining scandal as early as February this year.
Last week, Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong claimed that Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo had received complaints of corruption within Selangor-owned Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) and brought the matter up with Ronnie. According to him, both of them then chose to ignore the complaint.
However, Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad earlier told FMT that he understood that both Liu and Gobind had already conducted investigations into the report and declared it “baseless”.
Liu confirmed Dzulkefly's statement but clarified that the report he investigated had nothing to do with the current corruption allegations raised by Kapar MP S Manikavasagam.
“I know nothing about these allegations,” he said. “I don't even know what information Manikavsagam has. For all you know, he and I could have received completely different complaints.”
“I'm very surprised that he didn't cross-check the information with me beforehand and I'm very interested to know what he knows.”
Liu explained that the report he received earlier this year was made by “someone who failed to get a contract from KSSB”. He said that the details of the report were scanty and investigations didn't turn up any concrete evidence to support it.
“We can't take action if there is no evidence that collaborates with the complaint,” he said. “I suspect that this current allegation has been made by someone who has failed to receive a favour from KSSB. Having said that, I don't know if the complainant is the same group who approached me previously.”
Inconclusive evidence
Meanwhile, Gobind confirmed that the complainants approached him in late February and early March but said that they possessed inconclusive evidence.
However, he said he still took up the matter with Liu because there were areas worth looking into like tightening KSSB's operational management.
“I believe that inquiries were already being carried out even before the complaint reached Manikavasagam,” he told FMT in a phone interview today. “We received the complaint in March.”
“The Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections took place between then and now. Only two months have passed since and it's not fair to say that nothing has been done.”
Gobind also echoed Liu's uncertainty as to whether the complainants were the same people in Manikavasagam's report as the latter had not raised the issue with him either.
“This sort of investigation requires gathering of documentation which can be time-consuming,” he said. “No corruption case can be resolved within 72 hours.”
“I appreciate Manikavasagam's concern but it would have helped if he had spoken to Liu or myself beforehand.”
When asked about details of the earlier complaint, both Liu and Gobind declined to elaborate. The latter explained that it would not be fair to divulge information when investigations are still ongoing into the current report.
Gobind also chided Manikavasagam for his public handling of the issue, saying that discretion is necessary in investigations of this nature.
“Going public with such information could work to your disadvantage as you are tipping those involved and providing them an opportunity to destroy material evidence. If you want to bell the cat, you don't give it a heads-up first!”

Exco members protecting sand thieves, says Khir

By Muda Mohd Noor - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: Sand thieves in Selangor are operating under the protection of politicians holding office in the state administration, former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo said today.
He alleged that Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was aware of this but had chosen to ignore it to protect his political interest.
“The gang or syndicate has been flagrant in its activities because there are members of the executive council who are close to them,” he said.
“I have brought up the matter on several occasions in the state assembly,” he added.
Khir, who is opposition leader in the assembly, told FMT the illegal mining involved thousands of acres of land.
The issue was revived recently by PKR's Kapar MP, S Manikavasagam, who has since lodged a police report alleging corruption in the state-owned Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB), which has interest in sand mining.
The company has dismissed the allegation as untrue and said it would sue Manikavasagam for defamation.
Khir said the culprits had been stealing sand from state-owned mines in Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Langat and Sepang and that they had been doing it for about two years.
Public assets
Under his tenure as menteri besar, he said, the state prohibited the collection of sand from mining areas in order to preserve public assets.
“We caught a lot of sand thieves and charged them in court,” he said. “About 150 mechanical sand-diggers were seized.
“Nowadays, sand is being stolen every day and not a single lorry has been seized and no one has been charged.
“I suspect certain leaders from a certain party in Pakatan Rakyat are protecting the culprits.”
Khir also questioned the state’s decision to appoint a company to issue sand-mining licences, saying this was the job of the district land offices, the land and mines department and a state executive committee.
He added that Khalid should suspend KKSB chief executive officer Ramli Abdul Majid from his job so that he would not be able to conceal evidence.
He called on the menteri besar to allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the case, saying Selangor legislative watchdog Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat), which Khalid said would conduct an inquiry, had no power to prosecute.
He said the state was losing RM145 million a year because of the sand theft; it was making only RM5 million annually from sand mining instead of the RM150 million it projected.
He said he feared that Selangor would one day be an importer of sand if the illegal activities were allowed to continue.

Daring to dream to topple Taib & Co

By Roselind Jarrow - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT One day after nomination day, that is, on May 9, 2010, Pemanca Jengging told Baru Bian and other PKR leaders of a dream indicating that Pakatan-DAP candidate Richard Wong Ho Leng would win the Sibu by-election on May 16.
Jengging related what his wife had dreamt the previous night of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s pouch burst and coming out of it were worms. In her dream Taib died.
Among the Ibans, dreams play an important part in their life. In fact whatever they do, they are often guided by their dreams. During headhunting expeditions in the old days, leaders of the expeditions would ask if anyone had dreams. Such is the power of dreams.
When Jengging related the dreams, those present did not take it seriously. In fact they forgot about it, until Ho Leng won the by-election.
Yes, Ho Leng won with a slim majority of 398 votes. Who would have thought that he could have won despite the massive injection of financial allocations amounting to more than RM400 million and all the “goodies” and the monetary rewards if they voted for the BN candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew?
But Ho Leng’s victory is not his alone; it belongs to the Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat formed by DAP, PKR, PAS and SNAP just before the nomination day on May 8.
In previous elections, DAP made three attempts to wrest the seat from SUPP, which is considered as one of its strongholds. All this while, it suffered miserably. In this by-election, the combined forces of the four parties not only bore fruits, but also put great pressure on the Barisan Nasional.
While DAP concentrated on Chinese voters, PAS was assigned to the Malay kampungs. PKR on the hand was given the task to campaign in longhouses.
In the urban areas, DAP is known to have the support of the majority of Chinese voters and its task was to increase the level of support for the party. As for the Malay kampungs, Ho Leng lost more than 1,000 votes in the previous election. But this time the Pakatan managed to minimize the loss, when Ho Leng lost about 500 votes.
But the most difficult task was among the Ibans especially in the far-flung longhouses where the people only know about the existence of SUPP. They have never heard about the opposition as the opposition leaders have never set foot in those longhouses.
The Feng Shui factor
In this by-election, several top PKR leaders went to the longhouses explaining their policy and issues that affect their day to day life. Leaders like Anwar Ibrahim, Baru Bian and Daniel Tajem explained to them the aim of Pakatan Rakyat to form the next state government.
Talks of native customary rights land, their rights to have electricity and water supply have opened up their minds.
Although the response from the longhouse voters did not satisfy the opposition, some improvements have certainly been made. For example, in certain longhouses, DAP received one or two votes. But this time, DAP managed to get as much as 30 to 35 percent of the Iban votes. This is already an achievement.
Even in future elections, Pakatan cannot rely on the older voters as they have been too much “barisanised” through radio and television. But hope is there for the opposition as the younger and educated voters know the problems that affect their community.
The issue of NCR land, the lack of tar-sealed roads, basic amenities like electricity and water, clinic and even schools are examples of pure neglect.
Now coming back to the dream, what else can it portend? Will it bring down the government of Taib Mahmud? And will it lead to SUPP’s demise?
As Ibans believe in dreams, the Chinese, however, believe in Feng Shui. Two days before polling day, I wrote an article about Feng Shui in the Free Malaysia Today.
Those who believe in Feng Shui say that the number four in Chinese is “see” which means “death”. To SUPP supporters, they will say this by-election will signal the political “death” of Ho Leng.
But to Pakatan-DAP members, it means the political “death” of SUPP and Robert Lau Hui Yew as the number “4” is connected to SUPP’s fourth attempt to retain the seat.
The first part of dream has been fulfilled. The next we will wait and see.

Hijacker MPs

PKR has become a platform of launch pad politics. It’s the political trampoline for virtual nobodies to come to some prominence as a result of being fielded as candidates. Even whistle-blowers get a ticket.

By P. Jayendran

When personal aspirations outweigh the interests of those who have appointed these MPs to do a job, it becomes a sordid affair. The one that’s been most plundered is the public. For the fact that those who voted in that MP only means that the public has accepted PKR and that the MP is PKR’s representative.

When MPs defect or abscond, then it’s tantamount to betraying the ones they represent. In the commercial sector, it’s equivalent to criminal breach of trust. If it involves a country, it would be treason. When they defect, they would have in reality hijacked the dignity and rights of those they were appointed to represent.

Democracy’s foundation is one person one vote. Even the PM’s personal vote is on par value. The MP too has one vote. So you see where “hijacking” comes in. Logically, if he is unfit to carry out his/her duties for whom he/she represents, then a replacement should rightfully come about. A by-election should have taken precedence as it’s the right of the people to choose a replacement. Otherwise, this would go against the very virtue of democracy which is the right to choose. How then could an MP be legitimate? Would the government that he is a party be implicated in arguments of legitimacy? The implications are more than just packing their bags and go. Going independent carry the same implications too!

On the other hand, the party affected by defections can vehemently claim that it’s not their fault. And that the party as well as the people have become victims to betrayal and hijacking. The party can howl and appeal for support and solidarity to right a wrong for their MP has absconded.

But who is to say the next candidate will not commit the same betrayal? Power and money goes hand in hand much the same way as power and dominance. It is easier to go astray when there are temptations of greater magnitude. After all, humans are inherently subjected to temptations of sorts no matter what religion they subscribe to. Therefore, not until and unless a law is passed to curtail this sardonic thievery of rights, risks would be overwhelmingly high. There’re flaws in our democracy but this cuts through the very marrow of democracy. The bane of democracy today is hijacking MPs!

The majority of Malaysians are simple-minded people and easy to govern. We do not like all these trouble, loudness, fighting, demonstrations etc. Just keep the flow of sugar constant, keep makan cheap and for the government to be opening up more chances to make money. The boys want to party Saturday nights and want less harassment. Religious officers should be given more desk duties and get involved in social programs rather than enforcement. Banning concerts is bizarre if not nonsensical. We are all concerned about the scourge of illegal immigration. We all want our kids to be properly educated, be respectful to elders and if possible, contribute to society.

In comparison, let’s look at our neighbours. The voter turnout in this Presidential election won by Aguino is very high. We have a thing or two to learn from them about taking our voting rights seriously. In Thailand, the Red Shirts have brought Thailand to a state of emergency in most provinces. Bangkok, its economic hub, has been badly compromised. In Indonesia, the government faces acute challenges because of the diversity of ethnicity combined with the complexities of an archipelago nation.

Malaysians want ASTRO, mobile phones and computers with Internet access. Every household should have these then no matter if we live in a hut somewhere, we would still have some semblance of sophistication. We want the electricity to do everyday things, cool clean water and decent roads to drive on. We realize that the government cannot just buy over all these from the existing entrepreneurs probably because these are part of their political foundation. But perhaps those commercial entities which hold these peoples’ interests should lower prices to a level more realistic for average families. Otherwise, we would be grabbed by the short and curly! When you take into consideration what a lot of families make, these basic modern things would have cost a whopping chunk of their salaries. People expect subsidies. They consider them as dividends from those they elect to power.

We are a multi-race nation and have been able to get along fine until politicians caused the May-13 racial riots. Still, during the darkish interlude and way after it, Malaysians were able to get on well with each other. Semua orang pun kawan! During pre-independence, we had the British to be made the bogeyman. Then there were the communists; then drugs; then corruption; and now race relations.

I am sure most Malaysians would be happy if the administration of the day would concentrate on making money so that we can all have a piece of the action - no matter if they are crumbs.

Iranian cleric: Promiscuous women cause quakes

(AP) BEIRUT — A senior Iranian cleric says women who wear revealing clothing and behave promiscuously are to blame for earthquakes.

Iran is one of the world's most earthquake-prone countries, and the cleric's unusual explanation for why the earth shakes follows a prediction by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate.

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

Women in the Islamic Republic are required by law to cover from head to toe, but many, especially the young, ignore some of the more strict codes and wear tight coats and scarves pulled back that show much of the hair.

"What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?" Sedighi asked during a prayer sermon Friday. "There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes."

Seismologists have warned for at least two decades that it is likely the sprawling capital will be struck by a catastrophic quake in the near future.

Some experts have even suggested Iran should move its capital to a less seismically active location. Tehran straddles scores of fault lines, including one more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) long, though it has not suffered a major quake since 1830.

In 2003, a powerful earthquake hit the southern city of Bam, killing 31,000 people — about a quarter of that city's population — and destroying its ancient mud-built citadel.

"A divine authority told me to tell the people to make a general repentance. Why? Because calamities threaten us," said Sedighi, Tehran's acting Friday prayer leader.

Referring to the violence that followed last June's disputed presidential election, he said, "The political earthquake that occurred was a reaction to some of the actions (that took place). And now, if a natural earthquake hits Tehran, no one will be able to confront such a calamity but God's power, only God's power. ... So let's not disappoint God."

The Iranian government and its security forces have been locked in a bloody battle with a large opposition movement that accuses Ahmadinejad of winning last year's vote by fraud.

Ahmadinejad made his quake prediction two weeks ago but said he could not give an exact date. He acknowledged that he could not order all of Tehran's 12 million people to evacuate. "But provisions have to be made. ... At least 5 million should leave Tehran so it is less crowded," the president said.

Minister of Welfare and Social Security Sadeq Mahsooli said prayers and pleas for forgiveness were the best "formulas to repel earthquakes."

"We cannot invent a system that prevents earthquakes, but God has created this system and that is to avoid sins, to pray, to seek forgiveness, pay alms and self-sacrifice," Mahsooli said.

Reporting on Sibu
detective examining something while holding magnifying glass
Investigating frontpage stories
after the Sibu by-election...
(© clarita |
THE day after Sibu fell to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in a closely-watched and fought by-election, what kind of frontpage stories greeted Malaysians in the press?
With some newspapers relegating the news of the week to a second lead and others completely ignoring it as a front page lead, what can Malaysians discern about media independence and fairness?
The message is clear, especially when one compares the way the press reported Barisan Nasional (BN)'s win in the Hulu Selangor by-election with its loss in Sibu.
Reading the news
Here's a pictorial guide to some newspapers' front pages the day after the 25 April Hulu Selangor and 16 May 2010 Sibu by-elections. We've also included our own totally impromptu rating on the newspapers' fairness in reporting the results. Readers are also invited to put their own ratings and contest ours, if they wish, in the comments section below.
 Berita Harian: Tawan vs menang 
berita harian frontpages side by side
Hulu Selangor: A victorious P Kamalanathan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin are featured prominently.
Sibu: Professor Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid being awarded the 2010 Academic Leadership Award at Universiti Malaysia Pahang is featured prominently. The Sibu results were relegated to the second lead story.
Fairness rating: D+

 Utusan Malaysia: Tumbang vs ??? 
Utusan frontpages comparison
Hulu Selangor: "PKR tumbang" screamed Utusan Malaysia's headline following BN's win in Hulu Selangor. This was followed up by four full-page reports and pictures on the by-election.
Sibu: "Hadiah Hari Guru" said Utusan's headline following PR's narrow but significant win in Sibu. The second lead was about Najib receiving an International Telecommunication Union award. The Sibu results were only reported on page four in a single article.
Fairness rating: F

 NST: Teachers Day 
Hulu Selangor: A beaming Kamalanathan, Najib and Muhyiddin surrounded by supporters featured prominently. The results occupied the entire front page.
 Sibu: A beaming Professor Ibrahim featured prominently, with the Sibu results made second lead. Apart from a candidate profile picture in the inside pages placed alongside BN's Robert Lau Hui Yew and independent candidate Narawi Haron, no other photographs were published of DAP's Wong Ho Leng.
Fairness rating: D+

 The Star: Picture perfect 
Hulu Selangor: Kamalanathan, Najib and Muhyiddin once again.
Sibu: Wong Ho Leng's only appearance on the front page of a traditional English and Malay language newspaper, although the caption focuses on Wong's defeated opponent instead of him. It reads: "Lau congratulating Wong on his victory." Nevertheless, The Star deserves some credit for even putting Wong's picture, although tiny in comparison to Kamalanathan's, on its front page.
Fairness rating: B-

Teachers vs election
As much as our teachers should be respected and revered, it is curious how annual teacher's day celebrations could take precedence over the Sibu by-election results. And with all due respect to Professor Ibrahim and his award, what was his picture doing on newspapers' front pages instead of DAP's Wong Ho Leng's?

The one appearance of Wong Ho Leng,
receiving congratulations from BN's
Robert Lau
From a newsworthiness perspective, it is clear that the story of the day was the PR's victory over the BN in Sarawak, especially following the PR's loss in Hulu Selangor. Indeed, it was the topic people were tweeting and talking about all weekend. Teacher's Day, while important, clearly wasn't the hot news of the day.
This then raises the question of how newsworthiness is measured in newsrooms. For certain, there is no such thing as objectivity or neutrality since editors, journalists and even media companies carry with them their own personal biases and value systems.
But not being neutral doesn't mean a journalist or media outfit cannot be fair, accurate and accountable especially when writing the news. The traditional media clearly were not in its coverage of the Sibu by-election, and that only reinforces certain things.
One, ownership by BN parties or BN-friendly parties was likely part of the decision-making process of what was front-page news the morning after Sibu. This only goes to show how important it is for political parties or politicians not to own the media.
Two, how can the traditional media expect to retain its credibility if it was so clearly lopsided in its reporting of two recently-concluded by-elections? Barring any major environmental disaster of tsunami-like proportions, would any credible newspaper in the world have omitted to mention the closely-fought Sibu by-election on its front page on 17 May 2010?
If Utusan Malaysia were to be honest, it would ask itself, how does relegating the big news of the day to the inside pages demonstrate that they will and can report fairly, whatever their political preferences? And if its readers cannot trust the paper to report fairly, how will the paper survive with other new media players competing for readers' attention?
As it is, Utusan's coverage of the Sibu by-election, in contrast to the way it reported on Hulu Selangor, clearly demonstrates its lack of professionalism. Perchance, this situation has been brought about because the paper is owned by a political party — Umno — which has much at stake in the current political scenario? How else would one explain why Utusan's newsroom thought that it was more important for the public to be educated on gifts for teachers instead of the by-election results?
Handling bias
It is unrealistic to expect any news room to ignore its political leanings. The UK's The Guardian for example is known for being partial to the Labour party. Guardian columnist Lucy Mangan's piece entitled "101 reasons to love our Tory government" and "How to learn to live with Tories" for example, clearly reveals her political leanings.
The Daily Telegraph on the other hand, has, perhaps unkindly, been branded by some as The Daily Torygraph because of its partiality to the Conservative party.

Screencap of Guardian's front page,
6 May 2010

Political preferences aside, when writing the news, these newspapers did not resort to underhanded tactics of denying front-page space to any political party during campaigning for the recent British general elections. In fact, on 6 May 2010, the day of Britain's general election, Guardian readers would have been greeted with a picture of Conservative leader David Cameron (right) on the front page of their morning paper. Interestingly, The Times, which is politically aligned to the Conservatives, had Labour party leader and then Prime Minister Gordon Brown on its front page on 6 May, albeit in a rather unflattering cartoon.
To put it simply, news is news, no matter who your editor may vote for or who owns your paper. And a rookie journalist would be able to tell you that "Goodies for teachers" is not more newsworthy than "Ho Leng wins Sibu with 398-vote majority".

Gun-use proposals not ready

The New Straits Times 
by Kristina George

PUTRAJAYA: The special committee looking into the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah said it was still too early for them to submit their suggestions on the use of firearms under the Inspector-General’s Standing Orders (IGSO).

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, who heads the panel, said yesterday there were still many issues that the panel must deliberate.

He said despite Corporal Jenain Subi being charged in the court with Aminulrasyid’s death, the panel still had to continually monitor and ensure the force was taking adequate measures against its officers involved in the shooting.

“There is a lot more for us to do and we have yet to decide on our suggestions on the standard operating procedures for discharging firearms.

“We are not sure how long it is going to take for us to list out the conclusive report on our findings and suggestions.” Abu Seman said the panel had already submitted the preliminary report on the issue to the cabinet on Wednesday but declined to reveal its contents.

“So far we are pleased with the investigation off icer’s weekly reports to us but there are still some inconsistencies that we need to sort out.

“We have already highlighted this to the police and asked them to further investigate as we do not want the public to think there is any form of a cover-up,” he said after meeting with the panel members at the ministry here yesterday.

Abu Seman said the police were currently doing a gunpowder test to dispute contradicting reports made by Aminulrasyid’s friend Azamuddin Omar, 15, who escaped the shooting.

Azamuddin, at a recent news conference, had said police had fired several shots at their car and kept shooting until the car hit a wall.

He had also said the police had then kicked him in the head when he crawled out of the car to surrender himself.

Karpal: 'Najib violated election law'

Anwar to answer for Apco remarks on June 8

Panel: Cops must explain two versions of teen shooting

New Public Land Transport Commission CEO is Mohamad Kamal. Why not Ramasamy?

MOTO NAJIB1 This Commission will see the absorption of government agencies like the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board and Department of Railways into one commission. (The Star 17/5/2010 at page N 4).
But UMNO keeps a Malay muslim as the No. 1 and CEO to continue the deserving and needy Indians from being granted the due licences and permits for lorries, taxis, Express buses, tourist vans airport limousines etc.
This is UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia.
P. Uthayakumar
New Public

Indian Squatters and a poverty a serious problem as UMNO has denied and continues to deny the land.

IMG_5594 See The Star 15/5/2010 at page N 53).
While the Malays in Kampong Baru and thousands of villages and the Chinese in hundreds of Chinese New Villages have even become millionaires when the squatter and TOL land they had been occupying were granted freehold land titles even some 40 to 50 years ago.
But for the poor Indians they were denied the land they had been occupying for up to 53 years but are similarly not granted state government land.
Why? Why this level of racism meted out by UMNO against the Indians?
P. Uthayakumar
Indian squattres

Indian poor poorer that Sabah and Sarawak natives and orang asli. 6,000 hectres Sarawak natives land. No land social safety net for Indians.

najib n muhyiddin 6,000 hecters @ about 10 acres of land each for 2,500 natives from 19 long houses in the out skirts of Sibu alone. What more in the rest of Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia. The orang asli in Perak were granted 10 acres of land each within one month of DAP, PKR and PAS coming to power in Perak.
19,900 orang asli will be given 50,563.51 hectres of land for agriculture and to build homes (NST 5/12/09 page 2).
20,000 orang asli families to get agriculture land. More than two thirds of orang asli families will be given agriculture land up to 2.4 hectres planted with rubber or palm oil. Under the orang asli land policy each head of the family will get between 0.8 and 2.4 hectres on a permanent grant. A total of 20,000 families will also be given 450 sq meters to 0.1 hectre each for housing. The agriculture land is to be situated near their settlements will be non transferable for 15 years. After that only to another orang asli. This land cannot be leased, pawned, mortgaged or relinquished says the Rural and Regional development minister Tan Sri Muhd Taib the land will be cultivated by government agencies, private companies and co-operatives before it is handed over to the orang asli it takes 5 to 7 years for rubber and palm oil to nature before they could move in. Agreed at Cabinet meeting two weeks ago. Total land area – 49,000 hectres. To date the Ministry through the orang asli welfare department, government agencies like Risda and Felcra have planted some 24,000 hectres of rubber and plam oil. Of this 10,700 hectres have matured benefitting about 10,000 orang asli families adding to their income by RM 400.00 to RM 600.00 a month. More than 27,800 orang asli families are living in 870 orang asli settlements in the country (NST 19/11/08 page 8).
Even the economically powerful Chinese have 200 over Chinese New Villages running into hundreds and thousands of acres nationwide.
But the Indians have almost zero villages in Malaysia. The odd Kg. Indian, Kg. Bengali, Kg. Muthiah are all of squatter status as they were never granted land titles like the 5,000 Malay squatters turned landowners of 151.57 hectres in (MM 13/5/10 page 7). Kg. Baru turn millionaires with this their land today.
The fact remains that the Indians in real terms are poorer than even the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the orang asli.
But then again this is UMNOs’ One Malay-sia and PKR, DAP and PAS multi – racialism!
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
Indian poor poorer 1
Indian poor poorer 2

HRP Selangor Operations Center opening – another step in our journey of a thousand miles

K P Samy: MIC National Youth Chief is a Cheat

The Traveler, Monday, 

Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) Central Working Committee member K P Samy has accused his fellow party member Mohan Thangarasu of cheating the Indian community and MIC  at press conference he held yesterday, according to Makkal Osai report.
K P Samy apparently questioned how RM 3.5 million was channeled to Suria Setia Capital Sdn Bhd from Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED)

makkal osai

“Why target Chitrakala, only, in the MIED scandal? Mohan who is involved in this must be investigated too” said K P Samy.
However, Mohan has simply denied any wrong doing without giving any specifics and failed to answer K P Samy’s specific charges, according to Malaysiakini’s report.
As of now, Mohan T has hijacked a total of 7.5 million to his companies’, 4 million to Silver Line and 3.5 million to Suria Setia Capital, from MIED.
Yet, Samy Vellu has recommended this cheat for the Senator post.



KP Samy challenges Mohan again on MIED fund, May 16 2010

/* */
By G Vinod
KUALA LUMPUR: MIC central working committee member KP Samy today challenged MIC Youth chief T Mohan to come clean on his role in regards to MIED's fund being allegedly transferred to a company jointly owned by him and MIED's former CEO P Chitrakala Vasu.
“Mohan called me childish for raising this matter at the CWC meeting last week and challenged me to take up the matter to court
“Now I am here providing all the evidence to back my allegations,” said Samy in a press conference today.
Last week Samy claimed that Mohan labelled him as being 'childish' for questioning how RM3.5 million of MIED fund was channeled to Suria Setia Capital Berhad, a company jointly owned by the youth chief and Chitrakala at the CWC meeting.
“Mohan said he was not aware of the fund transfer. I disagreed with this answer. RM3.5 million is no paltry sum and I am confident the bank would have queried him on the transaction.”
“As responsible party member Mohan should have informed the MIC leadership of the fund transfer as it belongs to the public,” added Samy.
He further claimed that Chitrakala and her husband Vasu became directors of Suria Setia after the fund was transferred from MIED.
“The money was transferred on Aug 12, 2008 and on Aug 14, 2008 both husband and wife became directors of the company,” he said.
“So my question is what was the deal between Mohan and Chitrakala and what happened to the money?”
He said the issue must be clarified soon as it will tarnish the party's image among its members and the community.
“The ball is in Mohan's court now. I challenge him to take this matter to court. I believe Chitrakala and he have deceived the party leadership on this matter,” he said.
“I have more to reveal but I shall wait for his response on this matter,” he added.
Chitrakala meanwhile was recently charged with three counts of cheating MIED to the tune of RM4 million. The case will be mentioned on June 14.


I did not take RM3.5 mil from MIED'
author_photo("K Pragalath")
K Pragalath
May 17, 10

MIC Youth leader, T Mohan today dismissed claims that he received RM3.5 million from MIC's education arm, Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED) to his company, Suria Setia Capital Berhad.

Mohan said it is an attempt to discredit him from obtaining a post as senator.
He added that if he was guilty he would quit his party position.

"I'm prepared to resign and make a public apology if I am guilty. Would KP Samy do the same?" Mohan (right) countered in a press statement issued today.

He was commenting on the allegations of him taking the money and appointing MIED's former chief executive officer, P Chithirakala as the director in his company after the money was transferred two years ago.

A source within top MIC leadership said that Mohan has been tipped to be as a senatorial candidate following a vacancy in March after P Loga Chitra's term ended.

Mohan also mentioned that the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had cleared him off any wrongdoing.

Yesterday, the party's central working committee member KP Samy claimed that Mohan had cheated MIC and the Indian community of RM3.5 million in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

"I dare him to sue me in court over this matter. He claimed that he was not aware of the transfer. How can he be not aware when the banks definitely knew about it?" said Samy.

NONEDuring the press conference Samy (left) substantiated his claims with photocopied documents from the Companies Commission and remittance application form from a local bank.

Documents indicate that a total of RM3.5 million was transferred from MIED's account to Suria Setia Capital Berhad, of which Mohan is the director, on 12 August 2008.

The Companies' Commission document indicated that Chithirakala and her husband, K Vasu were also made directors of Suria Setia two days after the amount was transferred.

During the party's CWC meeting on Thursday, Samy had a heated argument with Mohan over this matter.

Mohan chided him as 'childish' as he claimed to have explained the issue to the party leadership.

Sand issue blown out of proportion, says Kapar MP

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

KAPAR: PKR's Kapar MP S Manikavasagam has expressed dismay that the sand-mining issue in Selangor has been blown out of proportion and that his original intention in raising the issue has been distorted.

Manikavasagam, who received his third death threat and had his and his wife's car splashed with red paint yesterday, reiterated that his police report last Wednesday was based on “allegations” and not “accusations”.

“All I pushed for was an investigation into the complaints that I received,” he said when contacted by FMT.
“I never once accused Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) of corruption. My agenda is to rid the state government of corruption as stated in our manifesto. Not to bring it down.”

However, Manikavasagam observed that it was interesting how the recent red-paint attack occurred as soon as KSSB's 48-hour deadline for him to retract his police report was up.

SSB threatened him with a defamation suit last week if he didn't retract his report and resign from his position as MP, but Manikavasagam said that he has yet to hear from the company.

He repeated his refusal to entertain either of KSSB's demands, saying that he is prepared to fight KSSB in court if that's what it wants.

Manikavasagam also expressed disappointment over Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's response to the paint-splashing incident.

In a post on his blog today, the Kapar MP quoted Khalid as saying, “I told YB Manikavasagam that when you accuse somebody, they too will retaliate, and you will have to face the consequences.”

Manikavasagam said that his statement could almost mean “I am happy that someone has taken revenge against you, while your life and your family's doesn't matter to the ruling state government”.

“Attacking me is one thing,” he said. “Attacking my family in my home is another altogether. My children were too traumatised to even go to school today. But the police are going all out to nab those responsible and I will be installing a CCTV in my home by today.”

'I was given a deadline, too'

Manikavasagam's decision to go public with these allegations have incurred the wrath of his fellow MPs with many of them saying he should have handled it internally.
They have also criticised him for issuing a 72-hour deadline to Khalid which they say is tantamount to a threat. But Manikavasagam said he had a deadline to meet, too.

“By the time the complainants approached me, they had already met with DAP and PAS leaders who reportedly ignored them,” he explained. “They gave me 72 hours to take action before they took their complaint to Umno. I had to act fast.”

“I tried to meet with Khalid that very day but he was unable to see me. I waited another 24 hours before issuing the 72-hour deadline. It wasn't a threat but an indication of the seriousness of the situation. Can you imagine if the documents had fallen into Umno hands?”

However, Manikavasagam said that his biggest mistake turned out to be trusting Khalid and handing over the documents.

“KSSB is state-owned, so of course he is able to control the way in which investigations are conducted,” he said. “Furthermore, the contents of these documents found its way into the hands of others including KSSB.”
Khalid today denied these claims.

Manikavasagam also confirmed that the complainants who met him were the same ones who had approached Selangor state executive councillor Ronnie Liu and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo in late February and early March.

Liu and Gobind said that they had received similar complaints but expressed uncertainty over whether the information and the group were the same.

Will not quit PKR

On another note, Manikavasagam said that he regretted how certain quarters were using the sand- mining issue as a platform to defect from the party.

While he declined to mention names, it was obvious that he was referring to Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong who resigned last Friday.

“My stand is firm,” he said. “I am here to fight corruption and I will never resign from the party based on issues like this.”

“The beauty of Pakatan is that we are able to question our leaders. This is sacrilegious in BN, MCA or MIC. It is a practice that should be encouraged, not condemned.”

Sibu voted for integrity, dignity, truth

By Pushparani Thilaganathan
ANALYSIS SIBU: After a nerve-racking night, Sibu woke up this morning to etch a new pathway to the future without Barisan Nasional’s political patronage, which for so long had benefited some but had been a bane to others.
Sibu chose timeless virtues over money in yesterday’s by-election, which was occasioned by the death on April 9 of BN’s Robert Lau Hoi Chew.
DAP’s Wong Ho Leng beat BN’s Robert Lau Hui Yew, the former MP’s nephew.
In an immediate reaction to his razor-thin loss, Lau said: “Sibu will lose out a lot now. The state BN will lose the confidence of the federal government.”
Sibu is an inland town, located at the confluence of the Rajang and Igan rivers. The population is predominantly Chinese, but there are sizeable numbers of Malay-Melanaus and Dayaks (Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus).
Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said: “The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” As such, “he who rejects change is an architect of decay.”
The Chinese believe in continuity, both in this world and the next. And change is integral to continuity.
This belief, bolstered by the sense of pride that swelled through the thousands of Chinese as they listened to inspiring speeches by DAP stalwarts in a string of ceramahs, was what powered the change in Sibu.
According to Lau, BN secured only 30 percent of the Chinese votes, defying government intelligence, which sources said had estimated a 42 percent leaning towards the ruling party even as late as Saturday morning.
Perhaps it had to do with Pakatan’s last Super Saturday ceramah, which featured on stage 60 MPs from all three Pakatan Rakyat parties, including wheelchair-bound Karpal Singh. It was a dramatic show of opposition force — and pride — not seen in Sibu before in the recallable past. The sense of pride was so great and contagious that no observer would have failed to notice it spreading among the audience.
On Friday night, at a ceramah in Rejang park, a PKR insider told FMT: “You cannot intimidate the Chinese here. They are excited at meeting such a steady stream of DAP leaders. They are seeing the effect of their collective might. It has put LGE (Lim Guan Eng) on an equal footing with the Malay ministers and even Chief Minister Taib (Mahmud).
“It is a very powerful feeling. They are conscious of their collective strength now, especially after 2008.
“They like what they see — the erudition and humility displayed in Guan Eng, Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Anwar Ibrahim. It’s all so strong and credible.
“It’s not about money anymore. It's now integrity, which BN is very short on.”
And to Saturday’s 15,000 people who crowded the open car park in front of Paramount Hotel here, it did not matter that BN had labelled PAS an “extremist Muslim group out to Islamise and stifle every walking Malaysian.”
Said a local car dealer who declined to be named: “If Guan Eng and Kit Siang say they are okay with PAS, than we accept it. They know better than us.”
Referring to the state government’s offer of the “lowest land premiums” in the country and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s promise of millions of ringgit to the community, he said: “These are our rights. The government cannot buy my loyalty or my faith.”
With the Malay-Melanaus, it is mainly about “maruah,” a word often translated as “dignity,” but which is sometimes better rendered as “face,” as in “losing face.”
When Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and PAS leaders bandied about with the word, it seemed to hold little value for the folk of Nangka, one of three state seats within the Sibu parliamentary constituency, the other two being Bawang Assan and Pelawan.
Until late Saturday, BN was confident of winning 65 percent of the Malay-Melanau votes.
Then, overnight, “maruah” took on a new meaning. Najib, who had promised a late night drop-in at Kampung Hilir, broke his word and flew back to Kuala Lumpur without an apology.
It was a double faux pas because, when he left, it was just after he had heaped praise on the Chinese community in two speeches—at Rejang Park and at Dataran Sibu Gateway. And this was after he had dished out millions to the Chinese.
It seemed as if BN was taking the Malay-Melanaus and the Dayaks for granted. Its long-standing boast about their being its “fixed deposit” now sounded hollow.
The non-Chinese felt that the prime minister had simply dismissed them as unimportant.
The sense of betrayal, coupled with their unhappiness with Nangka assemblyman Awang Bemen, gave PAS campaigners a blessed window of opportunity. They played on the humiliation felt by the women and children who had waited for four hours to shake hands with Najib. No prime minister has ever visited the 80-year-old Kampung Hilir.
The disappointment must have seethed through the night. When they voted on Sunday, the folk of Kampung Hilir was virtually saying, Kita ada maruah, or “We have our dignity.”
In a squalid longhouse in the Ma’aw logging district of the Bawang Assan constituency lives 48-year-old Mawang Bubu with his wife and four children, one of whom is severely disabled.
Mawang holds two jobs, as does his wife, so that there would be enough food on the table.
He did not cast his vote for a simple reason: “I’m fed-up. They ignore us always.”
An office boy named Jugah, an Iban from Bawan Assan, said he voted for DAP to teach BN a lesson.
“They have been giving us money little by little,” he said. “But we wanted to teach them a lesson.” He said his friends had done the same.
A few days earlier, an Iban farmer turned cabbie, Randi from Kanowit, spewed his anger at Najib’s announcement of RM18 million for 67 Chinese schools.
He said: “Eighteen million for Chinese schools? They don’t need it. One hundred and ten Iban longhouses have no water, no electricity.”
These are bitter truths, and anyone who was listening to the voices on the ground would have heard plenty of similar complaints.
BN’s choice of Lau as a candidate was hardly a sweetener. The Dayaks call Lau’s father the “man who grabbed our lands.”
Said PKR's Baru Bian, a top Sarawak lawyer who has been dealing with Native Customary Rights (NCR) land issues: “The Ibans were puzzled as to why the government wanted them to vote for Lau. They couldn’t understand why the government wanted them to vote for the man whose father took their land.”
Bian was in a Pakatan delegation that visited longhouses in Penusu and Rasa on the final day of campaigning.
Statistics don’t lie, or so say the statisticians. But statistics are not equal to facts. Neither do politicians always tell us the facts. And woe to those who believe everything politicians say.
Some years ago, a Tok Batin of the Jah Hut tribe in Pahang told a group of reporters: “Open up your ears. You can hear the earth breathe and the jungle sing.”
The FMT team that covered the Sibu campaign chose to stay at ground level, and there they heard many truths. They heard the earth breathe.

Dr M's 'May 13' letter: Will history repeat itself?

By FMT staff

UPDATED KUALA LUMPUR: Popular blogger Tulang Besi has reproduced Dr Mahathir Mohamad's scathing letter to first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman penned in the aftermath of the May 13, 1969 racial riots.
The letter, which was widely distributed back then, had led to Mahathir's expulsion from Umno.
Tulang Besi, who operates the Malaysia Waves blog, pointed out that the letter clearly blamed Tunku for the bloodletting.

“So I am perplexed as to why (Malay pressure group) Perkasa is blaming the Chinese,” he said.

Tulang Besi's posting comes in the wake of a Malay unity rally, slated for May 13, being postponed following instructions from the top.

It is learnt that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's administration had pulled the plug following strong objections from both sides of the political divide.

Sources claimed that the premier was worried that the event would provide fodder to the opposition to sway Chinese votes in the Sibu by-election, which saw the parliamentary constituency fall to DAP last night.

Barisan Nasional is said to be shell-shocked by its defeat in Sibu, which is incidentally a Chinese-majority seat.

The rally, themed “Melayu Bangkit” (Rise Malays), was supposed to be officiated by Mahathir, and its postponement is said to have irked the former premier and groups like Perkasa.

He told reporters later that the tragedy should not be forgotten, as it is an important history lesson to prevent such an incident from recurring.

Mahathir's advise to Najib
Following the April 25 Hulu Selangor by-election, which saw more than 80% of Chinese voters backing the opposition candidate, Mahathir had issued a stern warning to Najib.

The former premier told his protege that the Malays feel that Umno is now unable to protect them from the attacks launched by “extremist” Chinese groups.

He suggested that Najib forget about wooing the Chinese, who would never vote for BN, and focus on keeping Malay support instead.

Since assuming the reins of leadership in April last year, Najib has been causing discomfort among the more ultra-Malays with his all-inclusive policies. Talk is rife that a mutiny is brewing in Umno.

Najib's New Economic Model has also caused alarm among Malay groups, who fear that a more meritocratic approach would lead to them losing out to other races, especially the Chinese.

Observers also highlighted the “differences” which cropped up during the Malay entrepreneurs convention over the weekend, where Najib stressed on merit, and urged Malay businessmen to buck up.
The audience, noted the observers, was far from enthusiatic.

His deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, on the other hand, was greeted by fervent chants of “Hidup Melayu” (Long Live the Malays) from certain quarters when he took to the podium.

Mahathir, who also spoke at the convention, took a swipe at Najib's Economic Model, underscoring the importance of striking balanced economic development between the races.

Dismissing critics' claim that the previous New Economic Policy was a stumbling block to the nation's progress, the former premier called for Najib's model to be re-looked.

Will Dr M pen another letter?
These developments have left observers wondering if a realignment of forces is taking shape in Umno, and if Mahathir is on the verge of penning another letter similar to the one he had sent to Tunku.

In his letter to Tunku, Mahathir had said: “You have told me yourself that you had prevented riots by stopping the death sentence on 11 subversive Chinese. But it is this action of yours which led to the riots and resulted in scores of deaths since May 13.”

“You have always compromised, giving in to the Chinese's demands. The core of this compromise was revoking the abovementioned death sentence. This caused great anger among the Malays.

“The Chinese consider you and the Alliance government cowardly and weak and could be pushed around. This is why the Chinese are no longer afraid to reject the Alliance and the Malays also do not favour it.

“This is why the Chinese and Indians behaved rudely (membuat kurang ajar) towards the Malays...”
Unpublished evidence
Meanwhile in a related development, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali responded to Tulang Besi by stating that he has evidence to support claims that it was the Chinese who sparked the May 13 tragedy.

"It was all caused by the procession on May 9 where they first shouted dirty words at the Malays. These was all recorded,” he told FMT today.

"I have the evidence of these in an unpublished book that is in my possession. I have also spoken to many ex-army, ex-policemen and residents of Kuala Lumpur from that time," said Ibrahim, who declined to name the author of the said book.

Sibu result an eye-opener for BN, says Soi Lek

By Clara Choo, The Malaysian Insider
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek has called on the government to take heed of the Sibu by-election result which he described as an “eye-opener” for the Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said the government could no longer hide from the fact that there were issues plaguing the Chinese community that can no longer be swept under the carpet.
“The result of the recently concluded Sibu by-election is an eye opener for the BN to take stock of its weaknesses and to review its approach towards issues, policies and other matters close to the people’s hearts.
“BN must take heed of the by-election result and analyse its implications,” he said in a statement here this evening.
Dr Chua advised the government to listen to the grievances of Chinese voters in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia and ask itself whether the issues confronting the community had been addressed with urgency.
He also said that the MCA, which is a Chinese-based party like SUPP, needed to reform itself in order to remain relevant.
BN saw its first by-election loss in East Malaysia during yesterday’s polls in Sibu when SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew polled 18,447 votes against DAP Wong Ho Leng’s 18,845 votes.
DAP’s victory margin was a narrow 398 votes.
Independent Narawi Haron polled 232 votes.
When contacted, MCA secretary-general Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said one of the reasons behind BN’s loss was the DAP’s fervent use of controversial issues like the Allah and Al-Kitab rows.
“They used a lot of tactics that actually worked to instigate the people, pushing them to vote against the BN and making them angry,” he said.

PAS to launch wing for non-Muslim supporters

(Bernama) - PAS will launch a wing for its 20,000 non-Muslim supporters on Sunday, May 23.
The party's vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said on Monday it was to accommodate the increasing number of non-Muslim supporters who are Chinese, Siamese, Orang Asli and other bumiputera.

He said the wing had its own rules and that its formation, which was recognised by PAS headquarters, was aimed at putting in more non-Muslim candidates in elections.

"Non-Muslims can contest on PAS tickets as this has been done before," he told reporters.

Gabungan Pemimpin Tak Bermoral

By Zaid Ibrahim,

Perdana Menteri kita ini macam cowboy di zaman Wild Wild West. Siri TV tahun 1960-an ini selalunya menunjukkan watak orang yang tak pedulikan undang-undang. Hukum yang dipakainya ialah pistolnya. Dia sanggup melakukan apa saja kerana orang takut kepadanya; sebab dia digelar “a fast draw”. Bila semua orang dalam ketakutan maka dia lah hero ditempat itu.

PM kita pun sama macam hero kaki tembak orang tanpa peduli undang-undang. Dia rasa dia sudah berjaya setelah “menang” di Hulu Selangor dengan membeli undi, menggunakan media massa termasuk Utusan dan stesen TV untuk memburukkan dan memfitnah lawan dan menyalahgunakan semua agensi penguatkuasa kerajaan tanpa segan silu. Maka dia ingat dia boleh kitar semula taktik itu di Sibu. Dengan itu PM kita pun bertandang ke Sibu dengan gaya dan taktik yang sama. Dia tawarkan RM18 juta kepada sekolah-sekolah cina, RM1.7 juta untuk geeja-gereja Kristian dan RM5 juta untuk mitigasi banjir. Wang tunai yang tidak kehabisan pula bercurah-curah di rumah panjang di Sibu.

PM Najib dan orang nombor duanya Muhyiddin sebenarnya jenis pemimpin yang tak ada moral kepimpinan. Tidak layak menjadi pemimpin; tidak boleh dijadikan teladan. Mereka pandai memburukkan peribadi saya tetapi merekalah sebenarnya “promoter” kepimpinan yang rasuah dan ganas. Bangga dengan penyalahgunaan kuasa yang dipamerkan. Bangga bila membelakangkan undang-undang dengan sawenang-wenangnya. Mereka tak sedikit pun rasa malu dan segan. Tak segan kepada rakyat sendiri dan tak malu kepada kacamata dunia tentang tindakan mereka. Merekalah sebenarnya orang yang takut dengan rakyat. Mereka tahu kalau rakyat dibenarkan memilih dengan bebas dan pilihanraya diadakan dengan cara yang lazim diadakan di negara lain secara demokrasi tulen, mereka akan kehilangan kuasa. Itu pun, rakyat tetap berani bersuara. Suara rakyat masih hidup di Sibu. Saya yakin suara ini akan bertambah kuat di dengar di merata pelusuk negara kita.

Memang tak mudah undang-undang yang adil nak dilaksanakan di Malaysia. Ini adalah kerana di negara kita, Peguam Negara, Ketua Hakim Negara, Ketua Polis Negara dan Pengerusi Suruhanjaya dan Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia adalah orang-orang PM. Mereka sudah lupa bahawa semasa mereka mengangkat sumpah menerima jawatan masing-masing, sumpah keramat mereka adalah untuk menjaga kepentingan rakyat, mendaulatkan undang-undang negara dan menjalankan tugas dengan berani dan penuh integriti. Tapi sekarang ini mereka hanya menjaga kepentingan PM semata-mata.

Walaupun sukar, InsyaAllah, suatu hari nanti kita rakyat Malaysia akan berjaya mengembalikan maruah dan harga diri rakyat dan negara yang kita cintai. Bila tiba hari keramat itu, kita sudah tentu tidak memerlukan elit Melayu seperti ini lagi kerana sudah terbukti mereka hanyalah pagar yang makan padi. Golongan ini hanyalah gabungan pemimpin yang tak bermoral.

Eh, Jibby, Moo-Moo’s out to get your job, lah!

By Haris Ibrahim,

Who’s running the lilting BN ship at Putrajaya?
Malaysiakini reports today that Najib, who had made a pledge of a RM5 million allocation for flood mitigation projects in Rejang Park if the BN candidate won, today said,  “We will see first, because we have not made any decision on that”.
Muhyiddin, on the other hand, has said that the government would fulfil all of its Sibu by-election promises.
“Whatever we announced will be fulfilled. We will continue with our commitments”, Muhyiddin is reported to have said.
Moo-Moo trying to force Jibby’s hand?
To what end?
Mahathir’s DNA on this?

Don’t be stupid, lah, Pak Seman. The rakyat already know why there are two versions of the shooting

By Haris Ibrahim,

Malaysiakini reports today that the Home Ministry’s special panel monitoring investigations into the shooting of Aminulrasyid wants police to investigate the two conflicting versions of the circumstances in which Aminulrasyid came to be fatally shot.

The police version : Aminul was shot as he reversed the vehicle in the direction of the approaching police officers.

Azamuddin’s version : police shot Aminul as he was driving and before the vehicle crashed.

It is this inconsistency, according to Malaysiakini, that the panel wants police to further investigate.

Don’t these bozos know that we got to the bottom of this inconsistency a long time ago?

It’s about doing what is right, and being prepared to pay the price.

By Haris Ibrahim,

Folklore is replete with tales of epic battles that have been fought between warring camps.

Few, though, inspire like that between young David and the giant Goliath.

Some accounts have it that rather than have two armies clash leaving a bloody battlefield, both warring camps decided that each would offer a warrior who would battle to the very end, thereby resolving the dispute with the minimum of casualty.

Goliath, famed for his brute strength, stepped forward, ready to do battle for his side.

Seeing Goliath, no one from the other camp came forward.

David, still a youth, slight in build but blessed with the heart of a lion, stepped forward to do battle with Goliath.

History has it that with one slingshot, self-belief and a firm conviction that he was on a path that pleased God, David took aim, let fly, and brought the giant Goliath down.

Last night, like David, the good people of Sibu brought the evil giant, BN, to its knees.

I take nothing away from Pakatan Rakyat and its effective election machinery when I say that the results of the latest by-election are a resounding victory for the people of Sibu to reject a corrupt regime and to vote for change.

Many who followed the drama taking place in the counting centre last night on the internet were left with a sense that the EC was working to deny the people of Sibu their choice of representative. Kudos to DAP for their vigilance and steely resolve to not allow this travesty.

SUPP’s Robert Lau, the losing BN candidate, upon official confirmation that dsepite all the attempts to buy the people of Sibu with money and all sorts of promises, DAP’s Wong Ho Leng had won the right to represent Sibuans in parliament by a majority of 398, lamented, “I’m sad, because Sibu is going to lose out on a lot of things”.

Robert Lau, and many in BN, have still not understood that Malaysians are now prepared to forego the promise of short-term gains and privileges and opt instead to lend further force to the wind of change that continues to sweep through our nation.

BN cannot comprehend that there are decent people who will do the right thing, and will bear the consequences for the same.

We can be sure, though, that in the coming days, weeks, and months, we will again witness the ugly side of UMNO and its servants amongst the bloggers, NGOs and the media striving to portray the results of the Sibu by-election as a contest between the Malays and the Chinese for political dominance.

Those most vulnerable to this insiduous hate campaign by UMNO and its newly established radical wing, Persatuan Kaum Anti-Sistem Allah, or better known as PERKASA, as always, are the Malays whose only source of news and information are the mainstream Malay newspapers and UMNO-owned or controlled TV and radio stations.

A Malaysiakini report headlined the Sibu by-election results as the political tsunami of 8th March, 2008 having finally reached East Malaysia.

If that depiction accurately explains the by-election result, it is suggestive that between the last general election and this most recent by-election, sufficient information to thwart the lies and misinformation of the mainsream media, was conveyed to sufficient numbers of voters.

We will have to await a more comprehensive analysis of the election results to obtain a clearer picture whether BN lost in Sibu to a majority of informed voters.

As we await that analysis, though, we have our work cut out for us to neutralise the hate campaign that UMNO will now surely try to take to the Malays, particularly in the rural heartlands.

In this regard, it is regrettable that the Pakatan Rakyat state governments have not moved to take advantage of section 25(5) of the Printing Press & Publications Act, which allows state governments to publish their own newspapers without need for a Home Ministry permit, by doing just that. Wong Chin Huat has presented to one or more of the PR state governments a working paper for such a newspaper but to-date, none have shown a willingness to undertake this effort that would go a long way to help fight the lies of the mainstream media.

It would seem that until that happens, the task of taking information to the less informed rakyat falls on each of us who want to see the change in regime that this country so desperately needs.

Give thought to how we can get information out to the less informed.

Be creative.

And be brave.

We must each do our part, and do what each of us can, and we must not be daunted by thoughts of the cost to each of us.

The change that we desire to see in our country cannot be attained without sacrifice.

The civil society-driven DN of BN : Kuburkan BN initiative was soft launched during the Hulu Selangor by-election.

As UMNO pushes forth its message of hate, this civil society initiative will be taken nationwide in our endeavour to tell the rakyat the truth about how, over the years, BN, its leaders and their cronies have plundered the wealth of our nation and have reduced the institutions established under the constitution to protect the rakyat into nothing more than tools to subjugate the people.

And we will tell the rakyat that change can only come if, at the 13th General Elections, we collectively bury BN.
Posted by Haris Ibrahim


1. I used to sail in the Mediterranean sea and visited the islands there. They were all very bare. There were a few trees growing in between bare rocks.

2. Coming back I appreciated our green islands more. And the greenest of them all (to me at least) is Langkawi.

3. But I am afraid it is getting less and less green now.

4. We like to blame the developers for cutting down the tree. And I think they should be blamed. But in Langkawi we see people, mostly locals I think, who quietly burn down the undergrowth and sometimes the trees as well, so they can plant bananas and other fruit trees. They do this on the hillsides normally.

5. As a result when it rains, muddy water which used to be trapped and the flow slowed by the bushes now come down in torrents.

6. If the hillsides continue to be cleared, there will be landslides soon.

7. A Langkawi that is not green won't be much of an attraction, I think.

8. My blog seems to have some effect. The straightening and widening of the north south highway, as well as the cutting of trees have now stopped. All praise be to Allah. Thank you JKR.

9. I had lunch on the rocks at Tanjung Sanctuary. This is an old hotel but the new owner has completely refurbished. No trees were cutand you pass through a real forest to reach the chalets and the restaurant.

10. I was there when the hotel was started almost 20 years ago. This was my second visit and the ambience is fantastic. Very restful.

11. O Langkawi - may it always be green. In my years as Prime Minister nothing gave me so much pleasure as developing Langkawi. It still gives me the same pleasure.

Malaysia's Ruling Coalition Loses a Sarawak Race

Taib: Next in Line?
(Asia Sentinel)Chinese voters refuse blandishments of school and development money, go for the opposition

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia campaign, designed to bring the country's three main ethnic groups back together and abate racial tension, suffered a setback Sunday when Chinese voters in the Sarawak town of Sibu deserted the national ruling coalition to narrowly elect a candidate to Parliament from the opposition Democratic Action Party.

Najib had made two trips to the town of Sibu, some 50 km up the Rajang River from the coast, and offered a cornucopia of goodies including RM18 million in financial assistance to 65 Chinese schools in what was called the most intensive campaign in the district's history as the Barisan sought to win back the seat, which would have given the ruling coalition. That included RM10 million for Chinese primary schools, RM5 million for Chinese independent secondary schools and RM3 million for Christian missionary schools. Government workers repaved roads in an attempt to woo voters.

Najib promoted his 1Malaysia slogan as being "the only spirit and philosophy that can hold this country together." He added that, "There is no reason why Muslims and Christians cannot work together under the spirit of 1Malaysia." One blogger, however, wrote that Najib should just have abandoned the Chinese voters in Sibu and spent the education and development funds on poor rural voters, who are mostly other ethnic groups.

Indeed, on Monday Najib was asked about a controversial bid he made for Sibu voters, saying he would deliver RM5 million in flood mitigation money for the city, which is perennially subjected to floods from the river, if they would vote for the Barisan candidate, Robert Lau. That kicked off an uproar in the district, with the opposition charging Najib with attempting to "blackmail" voters with the offer and asking the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate,

On Monday, asked by a flock of reporters if he would refuse to deliver the flood control funds, he answered: "We'll have to see first because we haven't made a decision on that."

In the end Sunday, despite the efforts by Najib and a host of other major Barisan leaders, the voters picked DAP chairman Richard Wong Ho Leng by 398 votes over the Sarawak United People's Party's Robert Lau, family is linked to timber, oil palm plantations, printing and newspapers of the KTS group. The National Front has now lost eight of 11 by-elections since national polls in March of 2008 cost the coalition its two-thirds majority in the parliament for the first time since the country became independent.

Both parties in Sibu are predominantly Chinese. Well-to-do Chinese voters, however, appear to have abandoned the SUPP en masse. The SUPP appears to have done relatively well in rural, poor areas and among other ethnic groups. The constituency has 54,695 voters, of which 66 percent are predominantly Foochow settlers. The other groups are Malay/Melanau (17 percent), Ibans (15 percent) with the remainder from the Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Indian communities. Turnout was relatively low, with only 69.32 percent of the voters turning up at the polls.

The Barisan Nasional had been expected to win the seat, which would have brought the coalition closer to reclaiming its two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat, or national parliament. But, combined with a narrower-than-expected win on April 28 in a northeastern Selangor by-election, which split along racial lines with Malay votes going to the Barisan candidate and the Chinese largely abandoning him, the two elections appear to mean Najib is having problems not only healing racial divisions in the country but pulling voters back into the ethnic parties that make up components of the Barisan. It takes 148 votes and the Barisan now 136 but the allegiance of several undecided members against 77 for the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition.

The DAP was said to have made major headway in Sibu by giving widespread publicity to a controversy unleashed in Kuala Lumpur last year when the government banned the use of the word "Allah" by the Catholic Christian Herald to represent God. Despite a threat by Sarawak police to charge them with sedition, DAP campaign workers used the affair to devastating effect, SUPP leaders claimed.

SUPP President George Chan Hong Nam told reporters that the issue, plus claims by the opposition that Bibles had been burned in peninsular Malaysia, played a major role the DAP win.

"The tide turned against us because the Opposition used such controversial and sensitive issues," Chan was quoted as saying in the Kuala Lumpur-based daily The Star, "We (the SUPP) were not prepared to answer such allegations because we never encountered such religious problems in the state. We were overwhelmed by the issues they brought up."

Despite Chan's assertion that the DAP was bringing race into the election, the SUPP itself attempted to use religion as an issue accused the DAP of condoning the formation of an Islamic state with Parti Islam se-Malaysia, and termed them "strange bedfellows" with opposing ideologies.

One of the big questions is what the loss means for the long-serving Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who has been accused for decades of looting the state's plentiful timber and other resources. The DAP has set its sights on Taib in the next state general election, which must be held in Sarawak in 2011. Thus the Sibu race has been regarded as a barometer for the state race.