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Friday, May 21, 2010

Mugilan vows 'drastic' action to end Samy's reign

By RK Anand and G Vinod

KUALA LUMPUR: Sacked MIC Youth deputy chief V Mugilan has vowed to announce something “drastic” tomorrow which could potentially end party president S Samy Vellu's 30-year reign.

“There would be no more Samy Vellu next year,” he told FMT.

When pressed, Mugilan declined to elaborate on his announcement, beyond saying that it would be explosive.

“You media people would be very happy with what I am about to say. Be patient, wait for my press conference and I would reveal my plan,” he said.

Mugilan, who on Thursday called for Samy Vellu's resignation by year-end, is scheduled to hold a press conference at the Lotus restaurant in Petaling Jaya tomorrow morning.

The MIC Youth leader said his letter of expulsion was dropped in his house mailbox in Rawang around 11pm last night.

'Sacked for criticising Samy Vellu'

Mugilan stressed that he was sacked for criticising Samy Vellu, and not for sabotaging Barisan Nasional and MIC during the Hulu Selangor by-election as claimed by the president.

“I deny the allegation that I had worked against MIC and BN during the by-election. The letter (of) expulsion stated that I am being sacked for criticising Samy Vellu,” he said.

Mugilan sent a SMS to FMT on the contents of the letter, which, among others, quoted Samy Vellu as saying that “you had cast aspersions on my character and disparaged me”.

The president added: “You have contravened Article 14.2.1 of the (party) constitution and completely ignored the provisions of Article 58 (2), which provide that the president 'shall hold office for three years'.”

“You have thereby contravened the principles of the congress (MIC) and acted in a manner detrimental to the interests of the congress.”

Among Mugilan's qoutes which the president found offensive, was the Youth leader's description of Samy Vellu as the “biggest stumbling block” and that he was the reason why BN lost Indian votes in the last general election.

In the letter, Samy Vellu said that he had decided to expel Mugilan, after consulting deputy president G Palanivel, with immediate effect pursuant to Article 61.2 of the party constitution.

Mugilan, who has been given 14 days to appeal, said he would do so on Monday.

'Father, son and daughter-in-law'

Describing his sacking as unfair, the Youth leader said he had merely done what Samy Vellu did in the past, when the latter called on former president VT Sambanthan to step down.

“He can do it, but I cannot. Sambanthan was a successful politician, but our friend's projects were all failures like Maika Holdings, MIED (MIC's education arm) and the Aimst university,” he said.

Asked if the president had spoken to him, Mugilan replied: “He would not do that. He is not a professional politician, he makes emotional decisions. He is a real dictator, who expels people when they express their views.”

Mugilan then accused Samy Vellu of turning MIC into an entity that serves the interests of his family members.

“MIC is for the father (Samy Vellu), his son (Vell Paari) and his daughter-in-law (Puteri MIC deputy chief Shaila Nair),” he said.

Backed by the 'top guns'

Mugilan also claimed that he has the backing of top MIC leaders.

“I am not talking about branch or division chairmen. I am talking about high-level leaders, the top guns,” he said, adding that these leaders called him to express support.

“They told me that it is high time someone did this (to Samy Vellu),” he said.

Furthermore, Mugilan claimed that he received phone calls from “more than 1,000” branch chairmen who praised him for his courage to stand up against the president and encouraged him to continue the fight.

On whether he had received any threats, Mugilan said his adversaries know better than to do such things.

“They wouldn't dare threaten me. I am not scared,” he added.

'Don't bring Umno into this'

Despite speculation that Umno is backing him on this issue, Mugilan denied that he was acting upon the instruction of outsiders.

“I am an MIC man, not an Umno man. I am an elected MIC leader. There is no such thing, don't bring Umno into this matter,” added Mugilan, who is known to share close ties with certain Umno bigwigs.

Speculation is rife that Umno leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, are applying pressure on Samy Vellu to relinquish his post as soon as possible.

On Thursday, the 74-year-old MIC president said he would stick to his plan to step down “eight to nine months” before his presidential term expires in May 2012 and that he has informed Najib about it.

CWC member backs Mugilan

In a related development, MIC central working committee (CWC) nember G Kumar Aman has expressed support for Mugilan.

“Mugilan has always been a party man. He is one person who serves the public without craving for publicity,” he told FMT.

Kumar also believes that Mugilan should appeal against his sacking, and stressed that he is prepared to face the backlash for supporting him.

“Mugilan and I represent thousands of Indian youths in the country,” he said.

Kumar also said he was not surprised that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin wanted Mugilan to contest in Hulu Selangor, because he is a capable leader who has served the people well.

Mugilan was dropped in favour of MIC information chief P Kamalanathan after Samy Vellu opposed the former's candidacy.

Kamalanathan was seen as the “compromise” candidate after a tussle between MIC and Umno following the BN leadership's refusal to field former incumbent and MIC number two Palanivel.

Nuclear energy: Indepth study needed first, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The government needs to conduct an in-depth study on nuclear energy before making any decision, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said.

Najib said comments and a poll carried out on the use of alternative source of energy had received mixed reactions.

"The results of the poll that has been concluded, showed 59% of the respondents favouring solar energy while 23% said yes to nuclear power. Biomass energy and wind energy came in third and fourth.

"However, your comments on my blog tell a different story. At the time of writing, nuclear energy accounted for more than two-thirds of submissions, with those in favour and those against in equal numbers. Solar energy was the second most popular comment category, with biomass and wind again occupying third and fourth positions.

"All this suggests to me that feelings on which energy source is best are mixed overall, and confirms that we have further to go before implementing a decision on nuclear power.

"All options for electricity generation, from biomass to wind, will be explored. We will consult experts and we will consult the people, as there must be public engagement," said Najib in his blog today.

He added that a Malaysian Renewable Energy Bill was accordingly being drafted by the Ministry of Energy for tabling before Parliament this year and if we got it right, at least 52,000 jobs could be created and about RM70 billion worth of business generated by the renewable energy sector by 2020, according to experts.

"Our energy future is an important discussion, and I would like that you continue to share questions and concerns with Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin Fah Kui and I. With your help, I’m confident that we can build a cleaner, greener Malaysia," he said.

- Bernama

Socso claims hit snag due to 'untrained' doctors

By Zefry Dahalan

KUALA LUMPUR: Doctors sitting on the Social Security Organisation (Socso) panel are proving to be a stumbling block for workers applying for benefits, said Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan.

He said many applications have been rejected because the doctors failed to associate the illness of the employee with the latter's nature of work.

Arutchelvan blamed this on government doctors who do not have the “Occupational Health Diseases” training.

“Because of their medical report, Socso rejects the application and instructs the worker to undergo another round of check-up. This creates hassle for the affected employee; a second check-up incurs cost and is a waste of time,” he added.

Arutchelvan submitted a memorandum regarding this matter to the Socso headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Copies of the memorandum were also sent to Socso offices in Penang, Perak, Kelantan, Pahang, Johor and Negeri Sembilan.

Socso docs to undergo training starting Jan 1

Meanwhile, Arutchelvan also demanded that Socso increase the number of offices in every state as distance is a problem for those who are very sick and the disabled.

"Socso should open more offices and increase its staff to reduce the long wait. It should also be more efficient in processing the claims,” he said.

Sarawak has the highest number of Socso offices with seven, followed by Sabah, Perak and Johor five each); Kedah and Selangor (four each); Terengganu and Pahang (three each); Penang, Negeri Sembilan and Kelantan (two each); and Perlis, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Labuan with one each.

Speaking to FMT after meeting Socso's chief executive officer K Selvarajah, Arutchelvan said he was told that starting Jan 1, 2011, all Socso panel doctors will undergo the “Occupational Health Diseases” training.

To make it more accesible to the public, Selvarajah also informed Arutchelvan that Socso will declare every first Thursday of the month “Customer Sevice Day”.

Arutchelvan also urged Socso not to only liaise with trade unions but also with other concerned non-governmental groups.

"Trade unions only represent 7.5% of the whole employees in Malaysia. I appreciate Socso's efforts in working with the trade unions, but it would not be able to reach the majority of employees,” he said.

Sri Lanka rebounds after rebel defeat, but scars linger

A Sri Lankan farmer scatters seeds as he sows a paddy field in a Colombo suburb in early May.
A Sri Lankan farmer scatters seeds as he sows a paddy field in a Colombo suburb in early May.

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- Though tourism is bouncing back in Sri Lanka and authorities are busy building roads and bridges in former war-torn areas, troops are still finding weapons in old battlefields and the nation remains under a state of emergency one year after a decades-long civil conflict ended.
The war, which pitted government forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) -- who were seeking an independent homeland in the country's north and east, ended last May. More than 65,000 people died in the strife.
Today, the once besieged northern capital of Jaffna is teeming with local tourists. Two key industries in that area -- farming and fishing -- are flourishing. Homes have changed overnight into hotels.
"We can move around in peace. We do not have to fear of bomb explosions anymore," said Niroshan Weerasekera, a 36-year-old textile vendor in the capital of Colombo.
But under the veneer of change, many things remain the same.
The mood of fear and caution, and the residue of the bloody separatist war lingers. The greater Colombo area is a virtual military city. Checkpoints and sandbag bunkers line the streets; soldiers or police commandos armed with assault rifles are everywhere. Busloads of passengers and motorists are stopped for checks daily.
A call to end the state of emergency came from the man who once wanted it most: retired General Sarath Fonseka, a parliamentarian who as the former Army commander led troops to victory over the Tamils.
"There is no need for a state of emergency now," Fonseka said at a recent press conference.
Yet some of the troops are now fighting a different war in Colombo -- driving bulldozers to demolish "unauthorized" homes and buildings. Police have driven out thousands of hawkers from city streets.
It is part of an ambitious plan by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to make Colombo one of Asia's best cities. His elder brother, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, placed the Urban Development Authority under the Ministry of Defense -- meaning that troops are now engaged in development activity.
But critics have questioned the government's claims of "normalcy" amid the ongoing large security presence.
"The benefits of 'normalcy' will reach people only when they do not face hassles in their day-to-day life. Hence, intelligence services should be improved and security kept at a minimum," said opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Military spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe said authorities were gradually scaling down security measures but it was "essential to maintain a troop presence to cope with any eventuality."
For Pres. Rajapaksa, his position is much improved after last year's rebel defeat.
He trounced Fonseka, his partner in military victory, at the presidential elections in January and his ruling United People's Freedom Alliance won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections in April. The party gained 144 seats in the 225-member assembly -- six shy of a two-thirds majority.
With the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in disarray over a leadership crisis, analysts believe Rajapaksa is set to win more than the required two-thirds vote for any constitutional changes. Proposed amendments include the deletion of a provision that limits a president to two terms. If this is removed, Rajapaksa could seek office again.
"Sustaining his current domestic popularity as the months roll by will be a task itself," said Sinha Ratnatunga, editor of the Sunday Times, Sri Lanka's widely read English weekly.
With 80 key institutions under his direct watch, Ratnatunga said, it could go either way for Rajapaksa.
"The war may be over but the government will now have to attend to the hardships of the people. Living costs are mounting as essential commodities go up in price. The pay rise (for state sector workers or employees) promised during polls' campaign has not been honored so far," said Mangala Samaraweera, a former foreign minister under Rajapaksa who is now an opposition member of parliament.
"The war can no longer be used as an excuse to force people into hardship," he said.
Sri Lanka's economy grew at 3.5 percent in 2009 amid "challenging domestic and external conditions," according to the Sri Lanka Central Bank. Inflation, the bank said, as measured by the year-on-year change in the Colombo Consumers Price Index (CCPI), declined to 4.8 percent by the end of 2009 after surging to 28.2 percent in June 2008, according to the most recent statistics available.
"Tourist arrivals have increased. However, these are based on last year's contracts. We have to see how the feeding markets will perform this year," said Kumar Mallimaratchchi, former president of the Tourist Hoteliers Association.
The International Monetary Fund bolstered the South Asian nation's economy by pledging US$2.6 billion in six different tranches. The first two came last year. However, a third has not been delivered after complaints that the government had not met some of its own budgetary targets.
A visiting IMF delegation is holding talks this week in Colombo. "Revised targets are sure to win them more money," said Feizal Samath, an economic analyst.
Yet, problems with the West remain. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans to appoint a panel of experts to advise him on accountability issues related to the military defeat of the rebels, including alleged "war crimes" by troops and rebels -- allegations both the government and the rebels deny.
Rajapaksa has declared he will appoint a commission on lessons learned and reconciliation. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed the move.
The commission "could play a valuable role in advancing accountability when they were appropriately constituted and enjoyed broad public support," she said.
In what is seen as a conciliatory move to the West, Rajapaksa ordered the release of Sri Lankan Tamil journalist J.S. Tissanayagam, who edited the North-Eastern monthly. He was handed a 20-year prison term last year under anti-terrorism laws after he was accused of conspiring to cause ethnic violence through his articles.
The U.S. and the European Union criticized Tissainayagam's sentence.
Because of concerns about Sri Lanka's rights record, the European Union announced that it was suspending preferential tariffs for a variety of Sri Lankan export items, mainly apparel -- one of the country's top money-makers. Sri Lanka called the move unfair.
With the Sri Lankan government's new initiatives in hand, an official delegation is now in Brussels for fresh talks.
"His (Rajapaksa) balancing act with India and China so far has paid rich dividends at home, but his view of the West as having 'evil intentions' needs to be re-assessed," Ratnatunga said.
For some, this week's anniversary is bittersweet. Many of the rebels are dead, while thousands of their fellow fighters are in custody awaiting trial. Yet others have fled the country.
Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan called upon Tamils to "mourn and hold silent prayers" for what he called "the day of catastrophe" -- the day the war ended.
A joint statement from the alliance's 14 parliamentarians read: "During the height of the war thousands of Tamil people were killed and thousands of others suffered heavy losses and were forced to flee their homes."

Teoh's inquest: Nazri gets off 'contempt' hook

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT ALERT SHAH ALAM: The Shah Alam Coroner's Court today dismissed an application filed by the family of late Teoh Beng Hock to cite Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz for contempt.
Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas ruled that Nazri was expressing his own opinion when he called Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand a liar.
“Of course, it is not acceptable for Nazri to call Dr Pornthip a liar but there is no evidence suggesting that the remarks made by him had any bad motive or ill intention to affect the courts judgement,” he added.
“He is entitled to his opinion... the court cannot enter into a public or political controversy,” he said.
Karpal, lawyer for Teoh's family, who could not make it to court due to a separate case at the Court of Appeal, was represented by Sangeet Kaur Deo.

Sangeet had earlier tried to delay proceedings for the hearing of the decision to allow time for Karpal to appear in court, but this was denied by the coroner.

Teoh's brother Meng Kee filed a notice to cite Nazri for contempt of court on April 14 for allegedly branding Pornthip a "liar" after she refused to attend the inquest, claiming that she was under pressure from her own government and the Malaysian authorities.

This was supported by affidavits filed by Karpal and Malaysiakini reporter Hazlan Zakaria, who said Nazri had uttered the words “She is a liar! She lied in the inquest” in a phone interview on April 11.

Union decries low wages in plantations

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian workers will continue to shun the plantation industry until it pays better wages, according to the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW).
“Few locals nowadays see it as lucrative to work in the plantation sector,” said the union’s executive secretary A Navamukundan, who accompanied newly elected Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan yesterday on a tour of plantations in the constituency.
According to NUPW figures, there are about 250,000 plantation workers in Peninsular Malaysia and 65% of them are foreigners.
Under their current agreements with NUPW, plantation owners have to ensure a minimum monthly wage of RM350 for every labourer. However, NUPW is seeking an increase from that amount and the case is currently with the Industrial Court.
“This RM350 per month is meant to act as a safety net; it is not a basic monthly wage,” Navamukundan said.
“For example, in the event that the yield of crops is low and bad weather prevents workers from earning their normal daily wages, the wages will be brought up to RM350 for the month.”
Many parties have argued that the figure is inhumanly low.
Minimum wage needed
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), the umbrella body for trade unions in Malaysia, has for some time been demanding a minimum RM900-per-month wage for all workers in the country.
Responding to claims that workers were seeking help from NGOs instead of NUPW because of the latter’s ineffectiveness, Navamukundan said: “Any man with a problem will seek any avenue to get himself heard. If he is a trade union member, he will go to the trade union.”
“We ourselves fought hard to be recognised by plantation companies.”
Last January, NUPW won a court case against Dynamic Plantations Bhd and IOI Corporation Bhd, both of which had refused to recognise it as the representative of their workers in wage negotiations.
Asked how Malaysians may be encouraged to work in the plantation sector, he said: “As long as employers pay the right wages, then more locals will join the industry.”

Govt to offer amnesty for illegals

By Dharmender Singh, The Star
The Government will soon offer amnesty again to hundreds of thousands of illegal foreign workers, with the chance to return home without facing action.
To control the entry of foreign workers, the levy will also be increased from next year based on their number in each sector and the workers' skills.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who announced this yesterday, said the integrated biometric identification system would have to be in place before the programme could be implemented.
He said foreigners who entered the country illegally or overstayed after their work permits expired would be offered amnesty once the Home Ministry updated the system.
“The biometric identification system is necessary to ensure that we record the entry of all visitors and workers into the country. It will include work to update and coordinate all hardware, software and data managed by different agencies and ministries.
“We will leave it to the Home Ministry, namely the Immigration Department, to implement it as soon as possible,” Muhyiddin told a news conference after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Illegal Workers meeting here yesterday.
The amnesty programme was among 50 recommendations made to the Cabinet committee by the Life Laboratory on Issues of Foreign and Illegal Foreign Workers on ways to resolve various related issues.

Presidential witch-hunt in MIC

By M Kumaran - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Barely days after announcing that he would step down "eight or nine months" before his terms ends in the first quarter of 2012, long-serving MIC supremo S Samy Vellu has once again wielded his "sacking" wand.

Yesterday, Samy Vellu, who has been president since 1979, sacked V Mugilan, the party deputy youth chief, for alledgedly working against the interest of the party, just 24-hours after the youth leader called on Samy Vellu to resign to ensure the survival of MIC.

Mugilan, the MIC chief claimed, had worked against the interest of MIC at the recently concluded Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election.

Prior to this, the 74-year-old leader sacked Petaling Jaya Selatan division head V Subramaniam, better known as Barat Maniam, after the latter criticised Samy Vellu over the awarding of senatorships, claiming that he was promised a senator post by Samy Vellu but was overlooked time and time again.

Subramaniam, a vocal critic of the MIC president, is planning to appeal against the expulsion verdict.

The boil in the party came about soon after Samy Vellu's "power transition" announcement with rumblings starting from the grassroots, that he should quit sooner and allow current deputy president G Palanivel to take the helm of the 630,000-member party.

While grassroots leaders have made their intentions known, the MIC top brass seems to be solidly behind the party's number one man.

Palanivel and the three elected vice-presidents (Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam, Federal Territory and Urban Well-being Deputy Minister M Saravanan and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's department SK Devamany) have all backed the MIC president's formula on the transition of power in the party.

'Taking care of their rice bowl'

Party leaders revealed that while all these leaders and many more MIC central working committee members had backed the president's plan, it was however not done in all sincerity.

"They were each asked to issue press statements to that effect (to back Samy Vellu) by his son Vell Paari. He called each and every one of them to tell them to support the father's statement.

"They know that if they do not follow the son's orders, then he would run to the father and report and then these leaders would have to face the wrath of the old man. All the statements supporting Samy Vellu is only published in Tamil papers," said an MIC CWC leader, who declined to be named.

He said the Tamil Nesan, a Tamil vernacular daily owned by the MIC president's family, was used to publish these statements, to show that Samy Vellu was still needed by MIC and the 1.8 million Indian Malaysian community.

“These leaders know that Umno is watching over them. They hold government positions and know very well that Umno wants Samy Vellu out. Now they are threading a dangerous path. They only use Tamil papers to issue statements supporting Samy Vellu.

"They do not want to be embrassed when they face their Umno counterparts. Using other media would certainly show that they are only showing support to Samy Vellu because they want to hold on to their posts. They are taking care of their own rice bowl," he added.

Is Dr Subra the next president?

Meanwhile, a political observer questioned Samy Vellu's decision to stay on further.

He said Samy Vellu could hand over the reigns of the party to Palanivel "anytime" as the deputy president himself had declared that he was ready to take over.

Palanivel had said this soon after the Hulu Selangor by-election results were announced in response to Samy Vellu's earlier statement in FMT that he was willing to hand over MIC "even tomorrow" to his deputy.

"He needs the time... he is just starting another political chess game. The man who would take over is not Palanivel, it would be Dr Subramaniam. Samy Vellu needs time for this. He would slowly start edging out Palanivel. The worst case scenario would be to sack Palanivel.

"Another point is that he is almost certain that Vell Paari would face the axe if Palanivel is to take over. But if it was Dr Subramaniam, then Paari is certain to land a position in the party.

"Samy Vellu also has to ensure that his son is kept in the higher circles of the party after he retires. But he has to remember that MIC belongs to its members and not his family. Paari must start surviving without Samy Vellu.

"He needs to have his own support base...not his father's (support). He must work towards this and then mount a challenge based on his support,” he said.

“Giving Vell Paari posts will not make him a good leader or politician, he must fight like the rest and gain the respect of the community in order to succeed in politics," said the observer.

He said handing over the party to a new leader only "eight to nine months" before party elections would not give the new leader enough time to prepare himself in case of any challenge from former deputy president S Subramaniam.

"Samy Vellu knows that too. Palanivel cannot take on Subramaniam without Samy Vellu's help. But it is not in the case of Dr Subramaniam. He can stand alone especially being a minister and all," said the observer.

Samy Vellu's announcement on the power transfer had raised various other questions as well. One of the most pertinent is that the MIC president has yet to name Palanivel as his successor.

Previously, former MIC vice-president KS Nijhar expressed confident that Palanivel would be the next to helm the party.

Sources close to Palanivel have also rubbished claims that ties between the top two leaders have soured, saying that the transition plan from number one to number two would be smooth.

Nazri escapes contempt motion

Azmil said Nazri was simply expressing “his own opinion.” — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The coroner’s court today rejected a motion to cite Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for contempt, for allegedly calling an expert witness in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest “a liar”.

Coroner Azmil Muntapa Abas, in making the decision, said the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department was merely expressing a personal view on the matter.

“[The] remark made by Nazri is his own opinion,” said Azmil. “There is no clear evidence to show that the remark made by Nazri was intended to interfere with inquest proceedings.”

Nazri had previously been reported to have called Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand “a liar,” after the latter had failed to attend the resumption of the inquest and reportedly cited political pressure as a reason.

The alleged remark moved Teoh’s sibling, Meng Kee, to file for Nazri to be cited for contempt.

Azmil said that while the law minister’s remark about Dr Pornthip was “not acceptable,” he nevertheless had a right to his own opinion. Azmil also compared Nazri’s statement to one made by lawyer Karpal Singh, who had called Nazri a “rabid minister.”

“[The] application is therefore rejected,” said Azmil.

The coroner said the inquest was not swayed by Nazri’s words and that the onus was on the court to decide whether to accept Dr Pornthip’s testimony.

“Dr Pornthip was called in as an expert witness. Her evidence is an expert opinion, evidence which the court will accept due to her specialised knowledge as an expert in forensic science.

“To say that she lied... is not acceptable. [But] everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Azmil added.

Karpal, who was representing Meng Kee, was not present today due to a separate case at the Court of Appeal.

A lawyer from Karpal’s law firm, Sangeet Kaur Deo, had wanted the court to stand down and postpone the reading of the decision, to allow time for the senior lawyer to appear in court, but this was denied.

“I’ll have to inform Mr Karpal about the decision. I tried calling him on his mobile number but he did not pick up,” said Sangeet.

Azmil took pains to carefully read out the grounds of judgment, pausing occasionally to refer to a stack of books on his desk, which included one titled “How to judge the judges.”

Political aide Teoh was found dead last July 16, after being questioned overnight by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over graft allegations.

Bigotry: Democracy’s nemesis

Press freedom protest on Wednesday
By G Krishnan
COMMENT Joshua Wong’s resignation recently as ntv7’s producer of Editor’s Time is a vivid reminder of how the bizarre and twisted logic of bigots in this country tends to trump journalism and free speech.
Frankly, I was not exactly disgusted by the fact that Wong apparently experienced political interference on matters about his television programme. That, after all, is to be expected, given our long legacy of government-controlled media.
Should any of us really be surprised by any revelation of Umno-related manipulation or interference with the press? You’d really have to be living on planet Mars all this while if you’re actually shocked by what happened to Wong.
The fact is, censorship in the mainstream media is the norm; I’d be shocked if there was no censorship occurring in the mainstream media and if journalists in these media actually had professional autonomy and independence.
So, while I was not surprised by what happened to Wong, the real issue in such cases is the bizarre and twisted logic used to invoke control on journalists and free speech in general.
Remember the controversy over the Bar Council’s forum on religious conversion in 2008? There we had a mob of some 300 protesters outside the Bar Council threatening to storm into the forum in order to disrupt a perfectly legal and peaceful gathering to discuss, in a civilised manner, a perfectly appropriate issue affecting our lives.
And what was the authorities’ response?
Well, so as the aroused mob of protesters are not “provoked,” into doing anything violent and illegal, the police actually convinced the participants of the legal forum to disband! Yes, it was not the mob that was asked to disband from its illegal protest or for intimidating participants at a perfectly legal gathering; instead it was the lawyers who were forced to abandon the forum, censored, and denied their right to partake in the forum.
On that day, bigotry prevailed. Worst yet, free speech was choked because some were offended by a mere forum to discuss what was a most relevant and pertinent topic.
Cow-head incident
Fast forward to the cow-head incident in Shah Alam. Remember the home minister’s public response and comments in that instance? In case you don’t recall or missed his comments, the jest of it was that let’s not blame the cow head protesters; we need to understand that their actions were provoked by unreasonable challenges to Malay supremacy!
The message we got – again - was let’s not question and correct the bigots from their gross ignorance, arrogance, foolishness and overt, provocative intimidation of others. Rather, we should censor ourselves so that bigots don’t get aroused to chop-off cow heads and parade them in public as a way of threatening others.
Again, bigotry prevailed. Just as in the Bar Council’s forum incident, free speech was choked; we were admonished not to address “sensitive matters” because bigots might get aroused and do foolish things like chop off animals’ heads.
And more recently we have the Wong episode. Apparently, the story goes that someone had sent an SMS, which was forwarded to ntv7 via one or more politically well-connected persons, that “rants with racial undertones, suggesting that Chinese people are “becoming rude” and that “the Malays should go to war.”
So here again is an example of how a bigoted person’s insecurities and paranoia becomes the excuse for censoring free speech.
Watch out!
We’re again told to “watch out,” so to speak, because some racists are getting upset, therefore, we should not exercise our free speech.
So you see, the dilemma is not that there is repeated censorship of individuals or of journalists. The striking pattern seems to be that the bigots become the ones who rule the roost – and drive the agenda.
Rather than taking those bigots and straightening them out (after all, we have really good government re-education and propaganda camps for brainwashing people), the government coddles these bigots by giving their voice credibility and legitimacy, while it chokes off legal forums, journalists such as Wong, and just plain regular people for fear that we don’t want the bigots to get aroused!
What wonderful logic, isn't it, for undercutting democracy.

Signs from Sibu
WHAT is the biggest significance of the Sibu by-election outcome?  I now believe it is not that Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won its first seat since the recent establishment of its Sarawak chapter or that Barisan Nasional (BN) remains five seats away from retaining its parliamentary two-thirds majority.
Najib glaring at Sarawak on map, Sarawak saying 'HAH!'
It is the outright rejection of clientelism in the face of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's infamous and indecent "you help me, I help you" proposal. Among other things, he offered Rejang Park residents RM5 million to mitigate floods in return for them supporting BN candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew in the by-election.
The outcome?  A drop in support for the BN by nine percentage points, and an increase in DAP's margin by some 400 votes in the Chinese Malaysian-majority polling district.
Earlier, Najib had pledged RM18 million for 67 Chinese-language secondary and primary schools in Sibu and asked Chinese educationists to reciprocate favourably. Now, overall, in Sibu, Chinese Malaysian support for the BN is estimated to have dropped from 38% to 31%.
No one knows if the BN would have done better if they had not made those conditional offers. But many voters were probably angered by such cheapskate campaigning offers which made the prime minister sound more like a traffic police officer asking for bribes.
It is telling that Rejang Park — incidentally where DAP also held rallies almost every night — has registered the highest rise in support for DAP of all the polling districts in the Sibu parliamentary constituency.
Ungrateful Chinese Malaysians
This is not the first time that a by-election has backfired on the BN. Less than a month ago, Najib made another conditional offer of RM3 million to the Rasa community for an 81-year-old dilapidated Chinese-language primary school in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election.
The outcome? The Rasa polling district gave PR a support level of 82%, the highest for PR in the entire constituency. After a two-day delay, Najib eventually presented the cheque as BN did win the seat after all.
About a year ago, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin gave RM1 million to a Chinese-language school in Simpang during the Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election.

Does the BN understand the Chinese Malaysian voters?
What did the BN get? Again, lower Chinese Malaysian support for the BN to the extent that Muhyiddin complained about Chinese Malaysians being ungrateful.
What did the Chinese Malaysian voters want in all these cases? This is an old question that probably started being asked as early as 1990 when 70% of Chinese Malaysian voters supported the opposition coalitions led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Umno's Chinese Malaysian dilemma?
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad implies that the recurrent phenomenon is Umno's Chinese Malaysian dilemma.
According to Mahathir, "In trying to win over Chinese [Malaysians] with allocations and abolishing New Economic Policy (NEP) provisions, the BN will lose Malay [Malaysian] support as indeed it did in 2008."

"On the other hand, no matter how the government tries to satisfy Chinese [Malaysian] demands, Chinese [Malaysians] have clearly rejected the BN," he said.
Now, I doubt that many Malay Malaysians would punish the BN if they could be assured that all poor Malay Malaysians will be taken care of alongside the poor of other races. Similarly, I doubt that Malay Malaysians would revolt if all competitive Malay Malaysians, alongside competitive non-Malay Malaysians, enjoyed adequate support to thrive in international and domestic competition.

Mahathir (© Amrfum | Wiki Commons)
Mahathir got it wrong in thinking the majority of Malay Malaysians who deserted the BN in 2008 did so in protest to keep the NEP. The fact is a significant number of Malay Malaysians supported Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PAS and DAP for a fairer deal for all.
Only uncompetitive Malay Malaysians wanting to continue enjoying protection stand to lose, should bumiputeraism be done away with and replaced by "market-friendly affirmative action" or some sort of pro-competition "welfare state".
In other words, if Umno has a problem transforming itself beyond its 1Malaysia campaign, the problem does not lie with the majority of Malay Malaysians, as Mahathir implied in the first part of his theory. Of course, Mahathir would have organisations such as Perkasa and Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat rallying behind him, a bit like Mao Zedong's Red Guards but in a different historical context.
I would agree, however, with the second part of Mahathir's Umno's Chinese Malaysian dilemma theory — Umno has no idea of how to win back Chinese Malaysian voters.
The majority of Chinese Malaysian voters will not enter into any short-term deal with Umno until Umno truly understands who they are now. They are neither grateful for Umno's offers nor are they afraid of Umno's threats.
More dilemmas
What's wrong with Chinese Malaysians? For starters, they are citizens now, no longer clientele of some modern feudal patrons. 

Chinese Malaysian voters know that the government
should serve the people
Neither the carrot nor the stick works for them now. For they know the carrot belongs to the nation and the stick cannot be effectively used against them without hurting Umno first. They know that the people are the boss, and governments their servants.
What needs to be stressed here is that the problem is not "Chinese" in character. The "declientelisation" process has happened to most urban Malaysians now. For example, most urban Malay Malaysians no longer buy into the notion that they need ketuanan Melayu to protect them.
Ten out of 11 parliamentary constituencies in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and 10 out of 13 state capital parliamentary constituencies, including Kota Baru, Kuala Terengganu and Shah Alam, are represented by the opposition. Could this have happened without the support of Malay Malaysian voters?
After all, wasn't the NEP meant to help Malay Malaysians become urbanised? And so, why would Malay Malaysians abandon Umno after being urbanised? Is it that "Melayu mudah lupa" or "Melayu sudah sedar"?
To label it Umno's Chinese Malaysia dilemma would therefore be inaccurate — it is really an urban Dilemma. Umno could still refuse to transform itself and find a life beyond patronage politics. But in that case, it should be prepared to shrink into a rural party that reigns only where "instant noodle" projects and handouts can still buy votes because there is no wi-fi coverage to spread democratic values.
Yet, to be even more precise, this staunch ungratefulness and irresponsiveness to Umno is not even limited to urban areas. How much has Umno put in to buy Kelantanese voters over throughout the years? Why haven't they reciprocated?
And so, how would one ultimately explain Umno's disappearing clientele? One could attribute it to either the voters' own dignity or democracy. In either case, the citizens don't thank Umno for what they rightly deserve. Rather, they shun Umno for withholding their rights.
In Sibu, unfortunately, many rural voters are still trapped in clientelism because of poverty. But how long can the internal colonisation made possible by Umno's indirect rule via Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud last?

How about letting rate-payers of Subang Jaya have a say in the appointment of their local councillors?

By Haris Ibrahim,

Local council elections were abolished so long ago that nobody is absolutely certain of the rationale for the same.

Seems the third vote was suspended in the 60′ s, the reasons then advanced being the konfrontasi with Indonesia and corruption amongst councillors.

Please do not ask me to explain why or how konfrontasi might then have been seen as a prudent enough reason to deny citizens their third vote.

The second reason, if true, is a joke. I am not going to waste your or my time labouring the point.

When the three Pakatan Rakyat parties formally endorsed the People’s Declaration just before the last GE, they knew full well that they were pledging to us to re-introduce local government elections.

Unless Ronnie Liu, Dr. Siti Maria and Chegubard were doing ‘Lu tolong gua, gua tolong lu’ ala Jibby on us.

I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and take it that they were being sincere.

For now, at least.

Post the 12th GE, we heard from several of the Pakatan Rakyat YBs that, for now, re-introducing local council elections might have to be put on the backburner as it would require federal legislation to undo the abolition of local council elections.

To counter this, I understand that several civil society proposals have been submitted to Pakatan Rakyat, which, whilst not coming anywhere close to local council elections, would enable the state governments to be guided by rate-payers preferences in the appointment of local councillors.

In other words, the appointment of local councillors would allow for a participatory process, by which rate-payers could communicate their preference from a pool of candidates previously nominated by the same rate-payers and, the state government could then proceed to appoint councillors from nominees who received the most number of ‘votes’.

And this would not require the BN federal government having to first pass any legislation.

Pakatan Rakyat would be able to deliver one of its pre-12th GE pledges to us.

In December, last year, at the press conference following the Pakatan Rakyat Convention in Shah Alam, Anwar had assured those present that they were serious about re-introducing local council elections and that they would be setting up some sort of committee or working group to look into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of this effort.

I had asked if civil society would be included in this committee or working group.

Anwar said we would.

Civil society now awaits the announcement of the formation of this committee or working group and an invitation to have respresentatives serve on the same.

Why Subang Jaya?

Well, the participatory proposal as outlined above envisages that this whole process take places in cyberspace.

This would necessitate that every, or nearly all, rate-payers, have access and do access the internet.

Subang Jaya probably comes closest to fitting the bill.

This is how it might work.

First step.

The state government sends out notices to all rate-payers to notify them of this effort and the state government’s dedicated e-mail addresses to facilitate the same, and request rate-payers to notify the state government of their e-mail address to which further communications in relation to this effort may be directed. The notice will further state that for those who do not wish to exercise their choice by e-mail, or who do not forward an e-mail address for this purpose, they will continue to be notified of the same by written notice and they may attend at the state government office to exercise their ‘vote’.

Second step.

State government invites rate-payers to nominate candidates for selection. A time-frame is set.

Third step.

State government checks on nominees to ensure none suffer any legal disqualification ( eg, bankrupt ).

Fourth step.

Full particulars sent out to rate-payers who are now to e-mail their ‘vote’ back to the state government.

Fifth step.

Independent scrutineers total up the ‘votes’ and announce the winners.

Too many flaws in the scheme?

I never said that this had been tweaked to perfection.

I understand that new councillors are due to be appointed in June or July this year. This round of appointments might be too close to try out something like this.

The Selangor state government could be persuaded to try this out for Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya if enough rate-payers drop them a note at to say you want to have a say in the appointment of your local councillors.

If you are minded to send an e-mail to the state government, please send a copy to so that I can collate and keep track of the numbers who have written the state government.

Your call, Subang Jayans.

As Malaysia Prosecutes an Opposition Leader, The U.S. is Silent

From Washington Post

ATRIAL that could determine whether one of Asia’s fast-developing countries evolves into a democracy has been making lurid headlines this month around the region. Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader in Malaysia and one of the foremost advocates of political freedom in the Muslim world, stands accused of consensual homosexual sodomy, which in his country is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. That Mr. Anwar would be prosecuted on this charge is itself a human rights violation. But the testimony in the case is also revealing a blatant abuse of power by a man the Obama administration has been courting: Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Mr. Anwar, a 62-year-old married father of six, heads an opposition coalition that for the past two years has been chipping away at the quasi-authoritarian regime that has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957. He has a chance of defeating Mr. Najib in the next general election — and transforming the country. So it’s been more than a little suspicious to see the testimony of his chief accuser, a 25-year-old man who claims that he had sex with Mr. Anwar in June 2008. Two days before the alleged encounter, the man said, he met with Mr. Najib; the next day he phoned the national police chief. Before filing his complaint, he consulted with a close friend of Mr. Najib’s wife. When the accuser finally stepped forward, two days after the supposed sex, doctors could find no evidence of sodomy.

Mr. Anwar has been in this situation before. In 1998, when his reformist ideas challenged then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, he was prosecuted on sodomy charges and imprisoned for six years — until a court ruled that the testimony against him had been coerced. Since then he has become a leading advocate of democratic reform as an antidote to Islamic extremism. The success of his multi-ethnic coalition could decisively push Malaysia into the democratic camp with neighboring Indonesia at a time when China’s authoritarian system threatens to become a regional model.

In short, Mr. Anwar is a natural ally of the United States — which is why it is odd that the Obama administration has all but ignored his case. While the previous sodomy conviction was condemned by senior Clinton administration officials, including Vice President Al Gore, the State Department has said nothing publicly about this trial. Nor did the White House mention it when President Obama met with Mr. Najib in Washington last month — an event hailed by Kuala Lumpur’s pro-government press as a U.S. endorsement. In fact, the administration seems to find Mr. Najib useful; he’s been helpful on issues such as nuclear proliferation, Iran and Afghanistan. But failing to protest his ugly persecution of Mr. Anwar is both shameful and shortsighted.

Najib should present a preliminary White Paper to the June 7 Parliament on the RM1-2billion Sime Darby cost overruns which have already led to the fall of its group chief executive Ahmad Zubir

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Rahman should present a preliminary White Paper to the June 7 Parliament on the RM1-2 billion Sime Darby cost overruns which have already led to the fall of its group chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir and growing calls led by former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for the whole Board of Directors including Chairman Tun Musa Hitam to resign.

This is because the Malaysian people and taxpayers are the final shareholders of Sime Darby, hitherto the biggest and most successful government-linked company (GLC).

I welcome the announcement by Musa yesterday that the ongoing internal probe by Sime Darby Bhd to find out how it made staggering losses has now been expanded to cover all its six business divisions.

The probe was previously confined to the conglomerate’s energy and utilities division and is now expanded to its five other business units, viz: plantations, property, healthcare, automotive and industrial divisions.

Mahathir is right to ask why only the CEO is made responsible, when he (Mahathir) was told of the cost overruns and delays from the four energy and utilities projects, including the Bakun dam project, three year ago.

There is also the question of the actual cost overruns from the four energy and utilities projects – with reports giving a total loss of RM1.8 billion.

It is not good enough for Musa to evade the issue and say that he will “stick to the figure” of RM964 million as given in the May 13th Sime Darby statement, if all the facts showing that the total cost overruns from the energy and utilities units have ballooned to RM1.8 billion.

Musa owes the Malaysian public the latest updates on the Sime Darby losses or he is falling short of the high standards of accountability and good governance which he had always set for himself and the country.

I will ask for a meeting with Musa on the colossal losses suffered by Sime Darby under his chairmanship.

U.S. Spells Out How It Will Combat World Hunger

Ranbir, twenty-six-months, who weighs 5 kg and suffers from severe malnutrition, waits for food at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre of Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh April 7, 2010. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause/Files
WASHINGTON, May 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. global anti-hunger strategy will focus on a small number of countries where collaborative projects can expand local food production and reduce chronic hunger, the Obama administration said on Thursday.

Rajiv Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, outlined the administration's strategy, called Feed the Future Guide, at a daylong conference. It described how to match international donations and expertise with local efforts.

At the G8 summit last year, nations pledged $20 billion to combat chronic hunger around the world. One billion people suffer from food shortages. The figure climbed when food prices soared in 2008.

Key to success, said Shah, was for national leaders to develop hunger-fighting initiatives, based on proven techniques, that have local support. A month ago, the United States said it would focus on hunger in 20 nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

"We are supporting this country-led approach because we know it can unlock the potential of all our development partners to make sustainable, systemic advances towards a food-secure future," said Shah.

Investments in agricultural productivity, along with local market development and new research will result in more food and lower prices, said the administration.

The 20 focus countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, Tajikistan in Asia; and Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and, Nicaragua in Latin America.

Oxfam America, an international development group, said Congress should approve a White House request for $1.6 billion to support the initiative and pass legislation to double U.S. spending for agricultural development in food-short regions.
© REUTERS 2010

Penjelasan isu YBK

Kecoh di Selangor kononya kerajaan Rakyat Selangor telah menzalimi anak yatim dan miskin. Isu ini timbul kerana kononya kerana Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dituduh cuba merampas tanah milik Yayasan Basmi Kemiskinan.

Namun itu hanya mainan media pro Umno. Apa sebenarnya terjadi ? Kerajaan Selangor telah mengeluarkan Kertas Putih bagi menjelaskan perkara dan kedudukan sebenar.

semua dijemput mengetahui kebenaran disebalik isu ini dengan klik pada tajuk dibawah ;

Does corruption cause poverty? - Anil Netto

We often hear politicians accusing each other of corruption. Those accusations may be genuine, but sometimes they paper over deeper structural problems in the economy which are less sensational but which may have an even greater impact on the poor.

First, let me say that most Malaysians correctly recognise that the billions of ringgit lost through corruption and wastage and rent-seeking could have been used to provide more budget allocations to assist the poor.
But do corruption and wastage alone result in poverty?

It is so easy to talk of good governance alone. What about the impact of privatisation and neo-liberal policies, which favour Big Capital at the expense of the poor? Why don’t more politicians talk about replacing neo-liberal policies with pro-people policies? Why were the Red Shirts really protesting in Thailand?

Economist Walden Bello provides food for thought. He argues that in Thailand and elsewhere, clean-cut technocrats (through their anti-people policies in favour of Big Capital) have probably been responsible for greater poverty than the most corrupt politicians. “The corruption-causes-poverty discourse is no doubt popular with elites and international financial institutions because it serves as a smokescreen for the structural causes of poverty, and stagnation and wrong policy choices of the more transparent technocrats.”

In other words, you can be a clean-cut, corruption-free leader, but your policies could be aimed mainly at helping Big Business – often at the expense of the poor. (Think regressive taxation or lower taxes for the rich and corporations followed by cuts in social spending and the introduction of GST to compensate for the lower tax revenue, and the privatisation of essential services to large corporations). You are a servant of Big Capital rather than the people.

“Bad economic policies create and entrench poverty,” says Bello. “Unless and until we reverse the policies of structural adjustment, trade liberalisation, and conservative macroeconomic management, we will not escape the poverty trap.”
See Bello’s full article here.

Najib on Perkasa/MCA: It’s… a lot of reasons… cannot just… this… okay… never mind lah

You *gotta* love Najib’s take on Ibrahim Ali vs MCA. Political eloquence at its very best :|
Similarly, Najib also refused to be drawn into the war of words between MCA leaders and Malay-rights group Perkasa.
It’s… a lot of reasons… cannot just… this… okay… never mind lah,”
You want a Pulitzer for that one big boy? :)

Bangkok aftermath: 'Not the Thailand we know anymore'

Bangkok's Ratchaprasong area. The smoldering building in the background on the right is the Central World mall.
Bangkok's Ratchaprasong area. The smoldering building in the background on the right is the Central World mall.

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Some Bangkok residents ventured out on Thursday to shop and take stock of the damage done to their city one day after the government evicted thousands of anti-government protesters from a downtown district, triggering fires, riots and intense street battles.
Some shoppers at the Emporium mall -- which was not set on fire like the popular Central World mall -- drank lattes, got their hair styled or perused books. But one sign reminded them that the venue would close at 6 p.m. to leave enough time for patrons to get home ahead of a second night of a citywide curfew.
"I feel very upset. I can't believe this happened in Thailand. Killing is not acceptable in Buddhism," said Siripattra Sitisak, a 30-year-old hotelier. "I'm nervous about attacks from underground organizations that might bomb other buildings or set fire to them."
iReport: Are you there? Send your images, video
Another mall patron, Bogna Szukalska, a 25-year-old from Poland, who has lived in Bangkok for four years, said Wednesday's events showed the "face of Thailand is changing."
"When I first came here as a tourist it was to have a relaxed and good time in a safe country. It was rare to see any aggression between Thais or against foreigners," she said. "Now, I'm just very shocked. I and two of my other friends are thinking of leaving the country. It's not the Thailand we know anymore."
On Wednesday, the army surged into Lumpini Park, the area where anti-government protesters, known as the "Red Shirts," had amassed in the thousands over the last few months. After hours of intense street battles, seven Red Shirt leaders were taken into custody. Red Shirt leaders called off the protest, but it seemed as though many did not heed the call.
Smaller riots erupted throughout the city. A dozen buildings -- including a bank, a police station, a local television station and Central World, the country's biggest shopping mall -- were set ablaze. In all, 34 buildings were torched, a government spokesman said.
At least 44 people have been killed in clashes in the last several weeks, and nearly 400 people were injured, government officials said.
What are the protests about?
Government officials extended a dawn-to-dusk curfew until Sunday in the hopes that their crackdown on protesters would hold.
Bangkok residents: 'This is a mini-civil war'
In another part of Bangkok, Rujira Jeawskun, a 22-year-old international coordinator for a travel firm, said she went out Thursday in her neighborhood to buy groceries.
"There are people going out to live their lives, too, but it's not that busy or so crowded like the normal Bangkok," she said, noting that the main topics among her neighbors were the Red Shirts and the Central World Mall fire. "I have to say that I'm no Red Shirt, I'm not Yellow Shirt (opposed to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra). I'm not with any shirts. But I just feel so sad. How can people who are asking for democracy burn our country like that?"
Back at the Emporium. Jakaphom Boonyai, a salesman there, said he felt better since the government was more in control.
"As for the next few days, I'm 50-50 -- I won't be surprised if some violence will still break out. I'm watching the latest news updates as much as I can to know what's going on out there."
Jeawskun said she was not optimistic that residents would come back together any time soon.
"I think putting the city back together, mentally, will be long. ...Our feeling is not the same anymore. Can we trust others since on the news we saw Thai people who did hurtful things to Thailand?" she said. "Maybe rebuilding the city might be quick, but the understanding between Thai people might take a long time."

Aminul's family claims police cover-up

Inquest to hear application for video link on June 11

Race based New Straits Times editorial. No to Indian slaves and Indian estate workers earning RM 33.00 a month

Indonesian maids’ minimum salary of RM 450.00 per month is near slavery (Editorial New Straits Times 20/5/2010 at page 16). But the real and more slaves are ignored because they are the soft target Malaysian Indians. These Indian slaves somehow does not make it into the New Straits Times.
Although the country has progressed after 53 years of independence, some families in plantations in the Hulu Selangor area earn only about  RM 200 a month. N. Subramaniam, a father of four, has been working in estates for over 30 years but only took home RM 33 after deductions to his April salary. He said his family was able to survive as his wife, a factory worker, earns about RM 600 monthly but she has to work six days a week from 7am to 7pm.
Plantation supervisor K. Sinniah, 53, said life was hard in the estates and some workers pawn their valuables for money. Others turn to loan sharks during emergencies (The UMNO led Malay-sian government had announced that all those earning below RM 720 per month will receive RM 400 per month from the Welfare Department  (NST 29/3/09 at page 23). But somehow this RM 400 of welfare help does not reach 99% of the poor underprivileged and needy Indians. Why? The real slavery story has never got into The New Straits Times Editorials (See real story below).
To  zoom in why this poor N. Subramaniam did not receive the RM 400 per month of welfare help. Why? Because he is Indian and not Malay muslim? And that they do not happen to be Malay muslim Indonesian maids ably backed up by no less than their President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who was in K.L yesterday to champion this cause!
And why the deafening silence on this discrimination and neglect by PKR, DAP, PAS, Malaysiakini, NGOs, Bloggers, and the Indian elite?
Who are guilty by omission while UMNO is guilty of commission.
P. Uthayakumar
1. Sg Sinarut estate segamat slaves ten families do not have proper salary, EPF, and Socso says Human Resources Minister who had met them at a Job fair in Segamat.                                                                                                                   (TN 20/07/08 front page)
2. Sg Sinarut estate Segamat bonded laborers have to work from 6.00a.m to 10.00pm. They are paid RM 250.00 per month. They have been sold to a contractor. If they don’t go to work even if they are ill they will be put in a jail in a house and beaten up. One family run away to Malacca and had bought refuge at a Pastor’s church and then referred to the Human Resources Minister who in turn wants police action.(TN 22/07/08 Page4).
3. Borned labourer family in Sg Sinarut Segamat. Husband Paramasivam (44) wife Mageswari (32) and 7 children Puvaneswary(12), Muneswaran(11), Jegatheswaran(10), Vickneswaran(8), Ganesan(7), Nitpa(5). Grandmother Muniamah(50) of Bandar Putra Segamat last saw her daughter Mageswari one year ago. The grandmother was taking care of Muneswaran, Jegatheswaran and Puvaneswari.Muniamal went to Sg Sinarut to look for her daughter but she was told that they have been sold to a Sub contractors and her son in law came to take away the three children from the grandmother for the school holidays. Her son in law did not come down from the van that they had come in and put his head down.Muneswaran and Jegatheswaran who were in standard 4 and 5 had gone with their father.But Puvaneswary had refused to go. When Muniamal called the sub contractor the had refused to say where they were and also refused to allow her to speak to the daughter. The two grandson now were forced to stop school and made to work to scoop latex from the latex cup.Muniamal’s son Jeganathan(33) saw Mageswari in a Chinese shop in a plantation in a remote part of Bahau. But the contractor wouldn’t let him speak to mageswari,(his sister). (TN 27/07/08 Page9).
4. Mageswari runs away from being a slave leaving behind her husband and two sons aged 10 and 11 years old. Mageswari and her husband were working at Batu Anam Sg. Sinarut estate when they were sold for RM4,500.00 to another contractor from Bahau. They had to work in Jempol, stayed in a rotten house with no electricity and water. They had to use a Kerosene lamp. They had to get up at 4.00a.m to go to work in the jungle. They have to work for 3 days and nights in a row. There sleep overnight in the jungle. There are 30 others in their position.
5. One lady (psychiatric patient) and two men got caught trying to escape. They were tied up and tortured by the contractor’s people. They were stripped naked and beaten up with sticks and also their bare hands. They were tied up for three days. Mageswari begged for the lady to be released when she could no longer take what she was seeing. People who try and away and don’t work well will be beaten up. They work round the clock and are given RM100.00 in every two months. They have worked for two full years and the contractor says that there are still debts to pay. Her two sons aged 10 and 11 had to step school one year ago to become general workers in the estate. After finishing work in Jempol, they were brought back to Bahau and have to work in the Kuala Pilah rubber estates. She is the only lady among the men. Mageswary tricked her slave master that she had a dream that her daughter had come of age. The slave masters wife was sent along with her to her mother’s house and never went back. She had lodged a police report.      (TN 14/09/08 Page 9).

UMNOs’ RM 48 million welfare funds does not reach poor Indians

Instead of enjoying their childhood like other children, two siblings have to limit their activities due to their medical conditions. Six-year-old M. Praveena and M. Yugendran have been confined indoors since birth.
How come UMNOs’ RM 48 Million in Welfare funds in the 2010 national budget does not reach the Indian poor.
Are the 1,016,799 UMNO’s racist Biro Tata Negara “graduates” are preventing these funds from reaching the Indian poor?
Basic welfare to the people is the duty of the government of the day. But why are the Indian poor forced to “bail” out another Indian poor? (Starmetro 19/5/10 at page M9)
P. Uthayakumar

UMNO Perak denies land to poor Crawford Indian estate residents

S. Ramu’s grandfather had cleared the dense forest and build their house fifty years ago (The Star 19/5/10 at page N43). These 10 Indian families live on the land and are involved in agriculture, farming and fish rearing.
But the Perak UMNO government has denied these 10 Indian families the land.
Even the previous DAP, PAS and PKR state government that had ruled Perak for over one year had similarly refused to grant land to these poor and landless Indians when they had the chance!
Almost all Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban villages and settlements have been issued land titles. Even all the 200 over Chinese New Villages have been issued land titles. But almost zero Indian villages and settlements have been issued land titles. BN & PR intend for the soft target Indians only temporary and not permanent solutions.
Is there any difference between UMNO/BN and the DAP, PKR, PAS/PR rule?
Will it make a difference when P.R goes to Putrajaya?
Malaysian Indian Political Empowerment Strategy -   The Way Forward (By P.Uthayakumar).
S. Jayathas

President Susilo speaks for poor Indon workers. Who speaks for poor Indian workers? PKR? DAP? UMNO?

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono has demanded a minimum wage of RM 800 for Indonesian maids. Currently the average wage for a new maid is RM 450 (The Sun headlines 19/5/2010), Maid deal soon (The Star headlines 19/5/10) and Memorandum signed between Prime Minister Najib Razak and President Susilo (NST 19/5/10 at page 6).
Even the millions of foreign funded Tenaganita speaks for the Bangladeshi, Nepalis and all other foreign workers.
Who then speaks for the poor Indian workers who earn as low as RM 13.00 (RM 260 per month) as daily rated workers? PKR? DAP? PAS? UMNO?
And neither will this RM 13.00 per day be highlighted in The Star, Sun and New Straits Times, let alone the headlines as herein below attached!
P. Uthayakumar

UMNO’s housing for poor Malays. What about housing for poor Indians?

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The Sun 10/5/10 page 6 ).


Chitrakala: MACC Followed SOP To Prevent Chithirakala From Leaving Country

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) followed standard operating procedure (SOP) in accordance with the law when stopping former Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) chief executive officer P. Chithirakala from leaving the country.

Chithirakala, 39, who was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on May 11, with three counts of cheating involving RM4 million, was stopped from boarding a flight to India Wednesday.

In a statement Thursday MACC said on May 13, the MACC had received information that Chithirakala was planning to escape to India to avoid charges brought against her.

"Acting on information received on May 18, MACC filed an affidavit to the court, requesting Chithirakala to surrender her passport or travel documents and Chithirakala had also filed an affidavit in reply," said MACC in the statement.

MACC added that though Chithirakala was aware that the case was coming up for hearing on May 25, she had decided to leave the country.

The MACC felt Chithirakala should have waited for the court to decide whether she could leave the country or not.

On Wednesday, (May 19), Chithirakala who was ready to board a Malaysian Airlines flight to India at 6.50pm, was stopped by the immigration Department.

Chithirakala, who was released on RM30,000 bail when she was earlier charged in court, had claimed that a politician was behind the predicament she was facing.


MACC says Chithirakala needs court nod to leave country

May 20, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said today that former Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) chief executive officer P. Chithirakala must wait for the High Court to decide whether to withhold her passport before attempting to leave the country.
In a statement to explain its act of stopping Chithirakala from flying to India yesterday, the agency said the Kuala Lumpur High Court would only decide next Tuesday whether to allow its application to impound her passport pending the re-mention of her cheating case on June 14.
“The MACC is of the opinion that Chithirakala (picture) needs to wait for the court’s decision on whether she can leave the country or not.
“This is just a common procedure of investigation and accepted laws,” it said in the statement from its corporate communication division.
The agency explained that it had filed an affidavit with the court on May 18 to compel Chithirakala to surrender her passport and her travel documents.
“We received information from the public on May 13 informing us that she would abscond to India to avoid her case,” the agency said.
It added that Chithirakala subsequently filed an affidavit in response and the court had fixed next Tuesday to hear the application.
“Although she was aware of the hearing date, she still insisted on leaving for India,” said the agency.
Chithirakala was charged on May 11 with three counts of cheating under section 420 of the Penal Code involving a total of RM4 million.
She was accused of cheating former MIC treasurer-general Tan Sri M. Mahalingam by deceiving him into signing a cheque for RM1 million on the pretext that it was for a loan payment to one Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Manaf on Jan 9. She was subsequently charged with a similar offence allegedly committed on Jan 30.
On the third charge, Chithirakala was accused of deceiving Mahalingam again, this time for a RM2 million cheque, allegedly for a company called Wira Jernih Sdn Bhd.
On the day she was charged, Chithirakala’s lawyer Saseedharan Menon had informed the court of her plans to travel to India and the judge had purportedly asked the deputy public prosecutor if MACC had any intention to withhold her passport.
The MACC had then said it did not plan to do so but went ahead to file its affidavit two days ago.
At the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday, Chithirakala was reportedly stopped from boarding her 6.50pm flight to India by an immigration deputy assistant director who told her she was not allowed to leave the country.
She told reporters later that she had planned to return to Malaysia before her hearing date next Tuesday.

Couple jump to their death after poisoning son

The Star,

KUALA LUMPUR: A couple fed rat poison to their two-year-old son before jumping to their deaths off the 29th floor of their luxury condominium in Brickfields, here.

The couple, aged 34 and 29, whose sprawled bodies were discovered by a security guard on the ground floor of the condominium around 7.30am Thursday, were both Indian nationals.

The body of the child was found in the master bedroom of the family's 14th floor residence. A bottle of panadol, some rat poison and a bloodied knife were found near him.

Police believe the boy's father, a financial consultant in a private firm, had tried to commit suicide by using the knife to slit his wrist but deicided to jump instead.

The family was reported to be in the country for less than two months.

City CID chief SAC II Datuk Ku Chin Wah, who confirmed the incident, said initial investigations placed the time of death between midnight and 4am Thursday.
Police had yet to ascertain the reason for their suicide, he added.

Samy Vellu flexes muscles, expels Mugilan

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu today flexed his muscles in the faces of those forcing him into an early retirement by summarily expelling Youth leader V. Mugilan from the party.

The embattled president had apparently sidestepped the party’s disciplinary committee to punish Mugilan (picture) and instead chose to exercise his presidential powers by directly expelling the MIC Youth deputy chief.

The Malaysian Insider received confirmation from a senior party leader this evening that an expulsion letter, issued personally by Samy Vellu himself, was now en route to Mugilan.

“The president has chosen not to use the avenue of referring Mugilan to the committee.

“He has the powers to do so, as the party president,” said the source.

Upon receiving his expulsion letter, Mugilan can choose to appeal the sentence with the party’s central working committee (CWC) or accept the president’s decision.

The CWC in turn can convene a meeting to discuss the appeal but the president and his deputy Datuk G. Palanivel would not be allowed to be present in the meeting.

Mugilan was slammed by Samy Vellu for calling him to resign by year-end ahead of his exit plan to leave eight or nine months before his term expires in May 2012.

Samy Vellu had insisted on sticking to his exit plan and had accused Mugilan of breaching disciplinary regulations when he acted against the party’s interests in the Hulu Selangor by-election.

He also said he would refer the Youth leader to the party’s disciplinary committee for further action.

Samy Vellu’s decision today to avoid the lengthier process of using the disciplinary board to punish Mugilan serves as a warning to other detractors in the party not to proceed with their campaign to remove him.

The Malaysian Insider was however unable to reach MIC secretary-general S. Murugessan to confirm if the expulsion letter had already been issued.

It is understood however that both the MIC Youth and Wanita wings that met this morning had demanded for the president to expel Mugilan for his act of speaking out against the president and working against the party in the Hulu Selangor by-election.

When contacted, Mugilan said if he was indeed expelled it would prove his accusation that Samy Vellu was a dictator.

“It is Samy Vellu who needs to be expelled, not me,” Mugilan said, adding that the president had overstayed his welcome.

“I am being expelled because I dare to speak up. MIC has no future if Samy Vellu stays on,” he said.

Mugilan also promised to continue his campaign to force Samy Vellu to retire by Dec 31 this year.

“Samy Vellu has nothing to his presidency... but scandals,” he said.

He challenged Samy Vellu to a debate on current issues and on the reasons why the latter should retire immediately on May 23 at the MIC headquarters here.

“If he is truly brave, he should accept my challenge... let the people judge. Let him say before the public what are his achievements, if any,” Mugilan said.

Exiled blogger RPK to give public talk in London

By K Kabilan - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: Exiled popular blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin will be making his first public appearance this Saturday to give a talk in London on his alleged persecution in Malaysia.
In the talk to be organised by the Solicitors International Human Rights Group (SIHRG), Raja Petra will be giving an account of his personal experience in campaigning for greater transparency and accountability in Malaysian politics.
FMT spoke to Raja Petra on his first public appearance since he left Malaysia last year and asked him on his decision to come out in the open.
“They (SIHRG) picked me and asked me whether I would be prepared to give a public talk and I agreed,” he told FMT in an email interview.
He quickly added that it was not as though he was hiding from the public ever since he left Malaysia.
“I was always in the open. I walked the streets and attended functions and met many people, Malaysians as well as non-Malaysians. Umno people, ex-ministers included, even came to my house for dinner,” he said, adding that he had been meeting more Barisan Nasional people now than when he was in Malaysia.
He also said one such visitor even asked his permission to give his (Raja Petra's) phone number to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Is ISA still relevant?
On the talk itself, Raja Petra said he will be talking about the Internal Security Act and his personal experiences during two detentions in 2001 and 2008.
“My message will be about whether the ISA is still relevant and how it has been abused,” he said.
“What is the ISA all about -- an anti-terrorism law? -- or is it merely a law to stifle dissent and curtail freedom of expression? This is the focus of my talk on May 22.
“People ask me: do I wish to see the ISA repealed and if so, how would Malaysia combat terrorism? Am I not being irresponsible or idealistic?
“My reply is: we have to decide whether we are prepared to accept the concept of ‘the ends justify the means’.
“We can keep a draconian law like the ISA to serve a higher purpose, which is national security. But if we open the floodgates of ‘the ends justify the means’ then how far can we allow this to go? Are we not using one evil to fight another evil?” he asked.
He added that although the ISA is legal law passed by Parliament, “legal does not always make it moral”.
No immediate plans
When asked if he would be seen in more public talks after this, Raja Petra said that he will consider it if he was approached to do so.
“But I will not be embarking on a roadshow as such,” he added.
Asked on his future plans, he said he had none.
“I have no plans to speak of. I will just continue doing what I have been doing for more than 30 years since the 1970s and over the last 12 years since reformasi in 1998.
“And that is to write and speak on matters of social justice and fundamental human rights,” he said.
He also openly admitted enjoying Malaysian cuisine in the UK.
“Do you know how many Malaysians (Malays, Chinese, as well as Indians) own restaurants here in the UK (not only in London but in the other cities as well)?
“I have been to almost all these restaurants and have met all the owners. I even signed the visitors’ book and many other Malaysians who signed the book after me have seen my name and one even took a photograph of that page and put it in his blog,” he said.
Iconic figure
SIHRG, in an open invitation for the talk, labelled Raja Petra as an iconic figure in the Malaysian blogosphere.
“No other blogger has been so systematically targeted for speaking out and fighting for greater democratic space, justice and a more inclusive society in Malaysia,” the group said.
It also noted that Raja Petra has also been charged with sedition and criminal defamation for allegedly implying that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved in the murder of a Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
“Today, Raja Petra remains in exile, unconvinced that he will be afforded due process and justice in defending himself against these charges and in responding to the appeal regarding his ISA detention,” added SIHRG.
The talk will be held at the BPP Law School lecture theatre in Holborn, London, from 1pm to 3pm. Following the talk, Raja Petra will be signing copies of his latest book “The Silent Roar, A decade of change”.
FMT will be publishing an exclusive interview with Raja Petra Kamarudin next week.