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Monday, May 24, 2010

Come Again, GAS? Benefits the Community?

By Dinesweri Puspanadan

Explosive stuff exploded with a 'pop' sound few days ago. Press was hoping for a 'bomb' but it's okay because at least they have GAS(Gerakan Anti Samy Velu) now. So now is GAS, whats next? MIC President steps down? Whats the next agenda? Do you know what I mean?

Is GAS a struggle between the injustice and justice OR a dramatized event between MIC President and the sacked MIC Youth Deputy Chief? (You should know by right now)What ever it is, in what ways does this benefit the community?

If MIC President steps down and a 'veteran leader' takes over the leadership, can we see the desired changes in the community(sorry, in the party in the first place)? How much the Indian community has improved in 35 years?(I am not interested with particular people's 'improvement'). The 'overstayed' President strictly said that he will continue his 'contribution' to the community until September next year. He justified his decision by claiming that he needs 'shuffle' and conduct some 're-arrangements' in the party. How much can be done in this one year whereas nothing much were done in past 35 years?

Some grouses can be heard (even from party members) that the sacked Deputy Chief did not contribute to the growth of the community and was associated with some fights and etc. Leaders from MIC wings have been conducting Press Conference (not willing to specify.you should know)criticizing the man for his less contribution and his decisions. Why now? Why people did not admonish him on his less contribution to the community when he was in position?Is it because he was a YES MAN in the party? So does this suggest that you are in a 'safe zone' though you do not contribute much to the community until you open your mouth against the party rules and regulations,'constitution , or, protocol or..you name it. This man is sacked immediately when he pressured the president to step down. What does this incident suggest? (This incident reminds me about Tom Cruise's film 'Valkyrie' . Google it out to find the story line. Then you will understand what I mean)

I am already writing the forth paragraph and we still do not see how does the community benefit from all these 'dramas'. To our disappointment, many people without second thought are rising channeling their support blatantly not knowing what is next. When I attended a forum last month, happened to meet a vulnerable man. we had a short session. He told me ' you know Indians are very passionate and active. If you tell an Indian to remove the chair, without you completing the sentence he will remove the chair , to the other side, holding it and ask you where to put it'. It is the undeniable truth. This short though demonstrates about many Indians. When someone rise against something, we too rise together not knowing where is it heading to. At the end,we are the jackass .

Fight to the betterment of the community does not need political purpose.It ought to have genuine purpose. In GAS, a group of people who gave up on the MIC President take this chance to express their anger. Where as, another group of people pledge that they need the President's service despite the fact that in 35 years time, he did not manage to reduce that 1.9 percent of poverty among Indians and also 'contributed' to the decrease of Indians equity from 1.9% (2005) to 1.5 (2009). (Take note that a huge percentage is contributed by Anantha Krishnan)

While many are talking about staying loyal to party, I am talking about the decreased equity among Indians.

While many are bombarding each other with nasty and irrelevant comments, I am talking about where did the allocation for Indians disappear( bond or fund to uplift the indian community's equity will be given to the respective authority)and planning with my team mates to help the poor people(As we are not interested with elite people)

People are not interested with your 'on-off' events for publicity purpose

People are not interested with your agenda of attacking and picking up on people,

People are not interested with your 'wahai saudara' enthusiastic yet fake speech

People are not interested with your agenda to 'turun padang' only when needed.

People need genuine hearts to help them out. Are you one of them, TEPUK DADA TANYALAH SELERA

Son: Umno using 'political assassin' to kill dad

By RK Anand - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC central working committee (CWC) member S Vell Paari has accused Umno of using a "political assassin" to cause disruption in the component party.
Vell Paari, who is the son of MIC president S Samy Vellu, was responding to the "Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu" campaign, which is rumoured to have the blessings of Umno's top leaders.
[Today's other MIC development: Two more Samy critics axed]
The campaign was unveiled by sacked MIC Youth deputy chief V Mugilan on Saturday while the official launch has been slated for May 30.

Speaking to FMT, Vell Paari did not mince his words when he lashed out at Umno for setting a dangerous precedent.

"It is dangerous when outsiders get involved. Forget the fact that my father is the MIC president and just look at the issue from the perspective of democracy. He was democratically elected by the branch chairmen.

"So whenever there is a leader who does not see eye-to-eye with the powers that be, will they hire political assassins to bring him down?" he asked.

"When you are unhappy, you use people within the party to do things like this. It shakes the fundamentals of democracy, the Barisan Nasional spirit as well as the party members' decision on who is to be their leader," he added.

'Umno drives the BN bus'
Citing the 2008 general election, Vell Paari questioned if the Indian and Chinese communities voted against BN because of the leadership of MIC or MCA.

"It had nothing to do with the leadership of these two parties. It is the inequality we have today, that was the straw which broke the camel's back," he said.

"BN component parties are only passengers on a bus. The bus is driven by Umno," he added, indicating that it is Umno's actions and policies which were the root cause of the problem.

In the last general election, Vell Paari pointed out that among the major reasons that led to BN losing Indian votes were the demolition of temples, the revocation of licences for scrap metal dealers and the incarceration of Hindraf leaders.

"Did my father do all these? But now they are turning around and blaming him. The propaganda (by Umno) is designed in such a way so as to divert attention from the real issue," he said.

In view of this, he urged all MIC members and the Indian community to "open their eyes and see what is happening as a dangerous situation is taking shape".

If left unchecked, Vell Paari warned that in future, the leadership of component parties will be nothing more than an Umno "menu card", which states who should be president, deputy president and so forth.

"We might have differences within the Indian community, with the likes of IPF and Makkal Sakti but that is okay; we can sort it out among ourselves. But to groom a political assassin to intervene, this is very dangerous," he said, referring to Mugilan who is known to have close ties with Umno leaders.

'Subra - guilty by impression'
As for former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam's threat to take legal action against Vell Paari for linking him to the anti-Samy Vellu campaign, the CWC member said he is not perturbed by this.

"This is nothing new; he has sued me before and we have a case pending in court. But my contention is simple, why is it that whenever something like this happens, his supporters are always at the forefront?" he asked.

Saying that Subramaniam is "guilty by impression", Vell Paari likened the veteran politician's denial to a cow which claims no responsibility for the milk and blames the milkman instead.

"If I made a wrong assumption, then I am prepared to apologise. But he must explain why his supporters are there (backing the campaign)," he said.

However, Vell Paari urged Subramaniam to set aside his political differences with Samy Vellu and focus on the external threat.

"Both my father and him have contributed to the development of the party. Is he prepared to let outside forces break up MIC?

"You can pass opinions, but collaborating with outside forces to bring about disruption in the party is a dangerous thing. What your supporters do on the ground reflects on you," he said.

Confirmed: Palanivel will take over
Meanwhile, Vell Paari also dismissed speculation that current deputy president G Palanivel will not be taking over the reins when his father steps down next year.

"Let me tell you: the tranisition of power will be smooth and Palanivel is taking over. If my father steps down in September, Palanivel will become the acting president.
"He wanted to pass the post to Palanivel after the last general election, but MIC leaders had asked him to stay on and help rebuild the party," he said.

Vell Paari revealed that Samy Vellu had told top leaders such as vice-presidents Dr S Subramaniam and M Saravanan recently that "this is the date I am leaving and Palanivel is taking over".

The MIC president, he said, also conveyed the same message to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

"My father told the prime minister that he is stepping down in September or October next year and this will give Palanivel enough time to strengthen himself for the (MIC) presidential elections.

"During his meeting with DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin) in Parliament on April 14, my father made it clear that he was willing to quit immediately if that will persuade Umno to allow Palanivel to contest in Hulu Selangor.

"But they (Umno leaders) said 'No, this is not what we want from you'," he added.
Asked why Umno is now allegedly using the services of a political assassin to oust his father, Vell Paari replied: "To be honest, I am confused myself."

"Unless they are being fed with wrong information from certain people or perhaps it is the 'little Napoleons' and not the top leadership in Umno which is pushing for this," he said.

"But one thing is certain. In their haste to get rid of my father, they have only strengthened him further and this new development has caused much anger in MIC.

"I am getting tonnes of phone calls from MIC members and leaders asking me, 'Who are they to do this?'" he said.

Hulu S'gor polls: Zaid files election petition


By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

FULL REPORT PETALING JAYA: PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim today filed an election petition to declare the Hulu Selangor by-election results null and void because of widespread bribery.
His lawyer Malik Imtiaz said the petition was filed at the Shah Alam High Court under Section 32(a) and 32(c) of the Election Offences Act 1954 at 11am.

It was filed on the grounds that the BN candidate P Kamalanathan had “directly or indirectly” known about offers made by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak during the campaign.

Najib made those promises to allegedly entice Hulu Selangor voters to cast their ballots in favour of the ruling coalition.

The former law minister was defeated by BN's Kamalanathan with a majority of 1,725 votes in the April 25 parliamentary by-election.

Zaid said the by-election campaign was the "dirtiest” he had encountered and blamed his defeat on “vote buying”.

Zaid said at a press conference at his home in Tropicana Golf & Country Resort that the petition was filed to make political leaders accountable under the law.
Focusing on Najib's promises
Zaid's lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said: "We are focusing on Najib's promises, which includes, the RM3 million (to the SRKJ (C) Rasa) and the offers to Felda settlers inthe petition."

Najib also promised RM160,000 to former settlers of Sungai Buaya Felda scheme for every acre of land developed, and RM50,000 be given to the next-of-kin of those settlers upon their deaths. He also pledged RM300,000 to SRJK(C) Kalumpang upon BN's win.

The petition names Kamalanathan, the Election Commission and the returning officer, Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan as respondents.

Kamalanathan is expected to be represented by his personal lawyer, while the Attorney General is expected to represent the other two respondents, he added.

"While we appreciate that Najib is the prime minister of the country, he is also the Umno chairman and the Finance Minister. In what capacity did he make those statements is for the courts to decide," said Malik.

Malik said the petition would be more a matter of law than a matter of the facts and most of the Najib's speeches had been reported and videos are online.

"In our view, this is a very important case, it's an opportunity for the court to make a decision and say what exactly is termed 'free and fair' elections.

Zaid pledges to help the poor in Hulu Selangor
Another of Zaid's lawyer, Nazhar Azizan, said:"it is also an opportunity for the courts to define the ambit and purview of Section 32(a) and 32(c) so as to make clear what 'corrupt practices is, and what bribery is in so far as the Election offences act is concerned."

Other lawyers representing Zaid are Leong Sher-How, Gobind Singh Deo, Ang Hean Leng and Sreekant Pillay.

When asked on the status of his impending suit against the EC and Utusan Malaysia, Zaid said that would be announced in a couple of weeks.

"That is chapter two and three. Now we are still at chapter one. Those other suits will have a different team of lawyers," he said.

On another matter, in response to a reader's letter in FMT urging Zaid to look into the poverty situation in Hulu Selangor, he will do his best to help.

"I'm aware of the poverty problem in Hulu Selangor and am very honoured that people are coming to me directly for help.

"I will  have to go down to see what is the actual situation and find a way to help the poor," said Zaid.

He, however, pointed out that his powers were very limited as he holds no government or state posts currently.

"I'm only a private citizen but I will try to find a way to help," said Zaid, who again said he was touched by the people's confidence in him although they have a new MP in Kamalanathan.

Students mull rally, Suhakam vows probe

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: A student movement warns that it will consider mounting a massive protest if Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) punishes four of its students accused of campaigning during the Hulu Selangor by-election.
“We may consider holding this mass rally if we fail to get justice,” Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chairman Shazni Munir told reporters here.
Ealier, Shazni handed a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), urging it to investigate the matter.
Also present at the press conference were the four UKM students.
Shazni said they are also trying to get in touch with Higher Education Minister Khaled Noordin as the students were said to have been detained by the police upon his instruction.
“We also plan to seek an audience with UKM's chancellor, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, who is the ruler of Negeri Sembilan, to address this matter,” he said.
The four political science students -- Hilman Idham, Ismail Aminuddin, Azlin Shafina Adzha and Woon King Chai -- are facing a disciplinary hearing under Section 15(5) (a) of the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) 1971. The Act disallows students from expressing support and participating in politics.
Hilman is due to face the university tribunal on June 2 while the rest will be the next day.
Speaking to reporters, Hilman said he was in Hulu Selangor as an observer since it was related to his field of study.
“A medical student is sent for housemanship to learn the job and an engineering student is sent to sites to learn the trade. How come a political science student is not allowed to be on the field to observe how an election is run?” he asked.
Besides, Hilman said Article 119 of the Federal Constitution clearly states that anyone above the age of 21 is qualified to vote, which is a form of participation in politics.
“Therefore the UUCA is in direct contradiction of the Federal Constitution.” he added.
Hilman said the four are also disatisfied for not being able to bring lawyers to the disciplinary hearing.
“The university will be represented by its legal adviser in the hearing while we are only allowed to bring another student or any other UKM employee to represent us. How is this fair?”
“Plus, we have not received a copy of the student's rule of conduct form which will give us a clear understanding of how the tribunal will be conducted,” he added.
No news on new commissioners
Suhakam secretary Hashimah Nik Jaafar said the commission will look into the complaint.
“We will get in touch with the university officials to get to the bottom of this,” she added.
On another matter, Hashimah said she has yet to receive news from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on when Suhakam will get its new commissioners.
Asked how the commission plans to investigate cases without commiSsioners, she said her officers will do the work until the new team is appointed.
The human rights body has been commisioner-less since April 23, after the term of its previous commissioners expired.

RPK speaks out and loud in London

By Chen Yi Ling

LONDON: Some 400 people packed the lecture theatre at BPP Law School on an uncharacteristically brilliant Saturday, greeting popular blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin with applause and laughter as he delivered a speech on the politics of fear.
What struck me was that old truisms ring true in Malaysian politics. Fear paralyses, but that which does not kill you will only make you stronger. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And behind every strong man is a strong woman.
Marina Lee Abdullah, wife of Raja Petra, popularly known as RPK, has not only had to hold the fort for him the two times he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), she has herself also suffered for showing her opposition to the ruling regime.
During a peaceful candlelight vigil, while RPK was taking photographs, Marina was grabbed and packed off into a police van. For 24 hours, she was treated like a common criminal.
“We were with these mak ciks in the cell, and the other people in the lock-up were wondering what kind of trouble we could have got ourselves into,” she said.
That marked the moment when she no longer watched as a front-row spectator of Malaysian politics, but found herself involved directly.
“I wouldn’t change a thing if I could go back and do it all over again,” she said. This is despite having their home raided umpteen times, her children traumatised by the arrest and detention of their father, and having to leave Malaysia with just two hours to pack.
Earlier this year, her son Raja Azman, who was arrested for alleged theft, swallowed a razor blade and attempted to slit his wrists. Marina could not return for him. It was a huge sacrifice for a mother, she said.
Another strong woman has also stood tall for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, another victim of a regime that uses draconian laws to silence critics. During his years in prison, his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail never tired of fighting for his cause, leading a party and a movement that became a force to reckon with.
'Takut kena ISA'
Meanwhile, in his talk, RPK did a short one-man play of a conversation with a Malaysian robot paralysed by the fear of the ISA.
“Do you support the government?” “No.”
“What do you think of the government now?” “Terrible.” (Laughter from the audience.)
“So, are you going to vote for the opposition?” “No, takut kena ISA. (No, I’m afraid I’ll get arrested under the ISA.)” (More laughter.)
The ISA become the ultimate bogeyman that is going to come and get you. Fear paralyses. The last election, however, has emboldened the people. With the Internet, more people realise that they are not alone in their dissatisfaction.
RPK finds it absurd that Malaysia has been in a state of emergency all these years. For only a state of emergency could legitimise the ISA, which violates the constitutional rights of Malaysians by giving the state the power to detain a person indefinitely without trial.
Both Anwar and RPK have a sense of humour, a crucial element in retaining the strength of spirit, even under the most dehumanising of conditions. Neither man has given up on his cause. RPK will not shut up, even after doing time in a 10ft by 10ft concrete box, subject to relentless interrogation and the disorientation of being blindfolded and handcuffed whenever he left the cell. Anwar, too, is still fighting.
A member of the audience pointed out that while Anwar stays on in Malaysia to fight, RPK has left the scene.
RPK pointed out that he was a writer while Anwar was a leader of a political movement. Anwar has to lead from Malaysia, whereas RPK must be able to continue writing to be effective. He cannot continue to play his role if he returns home to indefinite detention.
Needed: Election monitors
Leaving Malaysia for Britain was Marina’s idea. “If they would even pretend to give him a fair trial, we would stay, and I will stand by him, even if he goes to Kamunting,” she said.
Anwar, in a talk he gave in London last March, called RPK “an asset to the nation”.
What surprised me is that not a question was raised about the murder of the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, during the question-and-answer session with RPK.
“I have written so much about this case that perhaps everyone feels like they have heard enough,” RPK said afterwards.
“It could also be that people have made up their minds that Najib (Tun Razak) and Rosmah (Mansor) are somehow linked to either the covering-up or the planning of Altantuya’s murder. There is just so much circumstantial evidence linked to them that has not been addressed or dealt with.”
It is a truism that absolute power corrupts absolutely. After so many years in power, the ruling party has reached such a height of corruption and arrogance that the prime minister did not even blush when he offered voters a bribe of RM5 million during the campaign for the recent by-election in Sibu.
“It’s our fault for not having challenged the government in power for over 53 years,” Marina said.
Only half the eligible 15 million voted in the last election, and the opposition only needed 300,000 more votes to take federal power.
During the question-and-answer session, a representative from Reporters without Borders asked how his organisation could help.
Said RPK: “One thing that we need very badly that we can’t seem to get is a foreign election watch. The United Nations, maybe, should send a team of observers to monitor and report on the electoral process.”

The Nano Diaries: 10,000 km road trip in India

Nano Diaries
Abhilasha -- the 'little car with big balls' that has already taken the author a crazy 10,000 kms across India.
200km from the outskirts of Mumbai, the effects of too much Red Bull on an empty stomach after 11 solid hours of driving began to kick in. At a neon-green garage, abandoned all but for a couple of attendants sitting expectantly by the pump on plastic chairs, I fell victim to the knock-on effects of excess caffeine and sugar. Tunnel vision, accelerated heart rate, difficulty breathing; I parked Abhilasha in the far corner of the plaza by the toilet block and sat with the A/C on full blast in my face as I struggled to breathe easy and calm the electric buzz in my arms and legs. Absolutely terrifying. Like a marathon runner just minutes from the finish line, or a mountaineer within a few metres of the summit, I was so close. But this final push was proving to be the end of me. 10pm and only another 3 or so hours to go, but I felt beaten. Around me was pitch black, a void of unknown nothing punctuated by the searing lights of driving insanity. Disoriented, panicked, knackered, I was ready to throw in the towel.
I had been driving all day, since Udaipur; a 750km journey that I was planning on doing over two days, but decided to take advice from the black devil somewhere around Vadadora and go for the whole thing in one shot. What the hell, I thought? It’s the last leg. Let’s make it glorious, triumphant! Let’s march in Mumbai for the final hurrah, our heads held high after a real challenge. After all, what’s the worst can happen?
Excerpted from 'Fear and loathing for the final push', The Nano Diaries

Abhilasha the Tata Nano, 'a little car with big balls'

While the boxy, no-frills frame of Tata's famed Rs 1-lakh Nano car (around $2,140) has been in the cynosure of the international press and auto enthusiasts, a little yellow car called Abhilasha ('A little car with big balls'), has been quietly familiarizing itself with the various nooks, crannies, potholes, little gullis and major highways in India -- the country she -- well, perhaps he -- was built for.

In February 2010, Mexico-based British journalist Vanessa Able, in a bid to distract the increasingly antsy ants in her pants, took to the road putting the Nano to the ultimate test -- a road trip around India. From Mumbai, around Kanyakumari, along the coast of the Bay of Bengal, into the heartland of Bihar, UP, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, and back through Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and back to Mumbai on May 12. With no plans and no itineraries -- just Google, Lonely Planet and intuition, and a mini Ganesha stuck to her dashboard to ward off unwanted obstacles. While the rest of the world totters to its feet in the first half of 2010, the 33-year-old travel journalist has already driven a crazy 10,000 kms across India in the cheapest car in the world.
The anti-hero of road trips -- the people's car made especially for in-city running and small distances with a maximum speed of 65kmph -- the Nano's thinly encased interiors do absolutely nothing to make you feel safe against the rouges India's highways are infamous for and the pockmarked highways with upturned trucks that are even scarier.
Because there was that element of impending doom built into the trip and because the Nano is a symbol of an issue fraught with controversy -- social, economic and environmental -- all these would make for more humorous writing at the end of the day when she put this celebrity car and herself through "the trial of a lifetime" as she describes it. And because, any half-wit journo knows jumping into the deep end of the pool sans a lifejacket is the only way to get a good story.

How to be stupid and brave

In their three month trip around India, Able and Abhilasha negotiated "batty city traffic, hours sitting in gridlocks, mountains, forests, plains."
"We have laughed, cried, honked our horn and sworn at negligent truckies; we have gotten lost, found the dead ends of motorways, been attacked (i.e. drooled on) by an elephant and on several occasions very nearly run out of petrol; we have seen farmers, road workers, naked guys, jetset tourists, soldiers, spiritual leaders and literally hundreds of pump attendants quizzical at the car’s secret front-mounted petrol cap; been sworn at, gestured at, stared at, gawped at, pointed at and smiled at," Able recounts.
Phew!
Turning India's coveted little new car into a hero-slash-almost celebrity wasn’t an easy task. Neither was, as she says, the task of emerging unscathed.

A journey beset with a myriad reactions from local people -- kindness, generosity, rudeness, inquisitiveness, encouragement and discouragement, had the omnipresent Indian curiosity as a constant thread. "The one thing I never came across in India was indifference. There were always stares and always engagement. Even if from a distance. Add a yellow Nano into the mix, and you’re a veritable travelling circus show." Vanessa’s favourite reaction was when one man looked her up and down and said, "If you crash in the Nano, you don't go to hospital, you go straight to heaven. You are very brave." She reckons when he said "brave" he really meant stupid but for someone whose itchy feet led her to be the first tourist in war-torn Iraq, edit magazines in Turkey and Mexico, or set off on a tour of the United States by Greyhound bus, Able is no stranger to both stupid and brave.
Back in England, Able has managed to collect about 3,000 pounds from her once skeptical family and friends, 75 per cent of which she plans to donate to Women's World Banking, a micro-finance organization for low-income women in developing countries.
While her horizon includes seeing more of India and fleshing out a book inspired by her road trip, for now, the online Nano Diaries serve as an adequate resting place for her journals. In the end, two disparate worlds of a British girl and India’s cheapest car become irrevocably tied together.
And as the rest of us scratch our heads over what the Nano will mean for us, the traffic boom, increased mobility, petrol prices -- sitting in its driver's seat Able learned Hindi via audio CD, met the Dalai Lama, made 3,000 bucks traversing one of the most complex countries in the world and arrived back to a cramped Mumbai parking spot three months later -- in one piece. The End. 
For more, see The Nano Diaries Facebook page and Tata Nano website.

Cracks do exist in Kedah Pakatan, says PKR exco

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

ALOR STAR: A PKR legislator made a startling revelation over the weekend that non-PAS elected reps are upset over the way things are being run in the Kedah administration.
State executive councillor and Kulim assemblyman Lim Soo Nee (photo) admitted that he and two other colleagues from PKR and another from DAP were frustrated that their contributions were not being valued and appreciated..
“There were many times that we felt our presence and participation in the state government was not given due consideration and respect.
“We were aggrieved by the ignorance and negligence of the state government,” Lim told a Pakatan rally in Kota Sarang Semut, about 15km from here, on Saturday night.
FMT reported last Tuesday that discontentment among non-PAS legislator was a reality in the Kedah administration.
The other unhappy PKR reps are Sidam’s Tan Joon Long @ Tan Chow Kang and Bukit Selambau’s S Manikumar, and all executive councillors in the PAS led-state government. DAP’s sole legislator is Kota Darul Aman’s Lee Guang Aik.
Saturday night's four-hour rally (photo, right) was held at the state PAS headquarters. It was a show of strength and solidarity that all was well within Pakatan.
In recent months, Menteri Besar Azizan Abdul Razak’s government has been rocked by rumours of defections and imminent collapse.
Lim, however, assured that despite the grievances, the four non-PAS representatives would not defect.
“I will not hop. I will continue my political struggle for the people by staying in PKR,” said to Lim to thunderous applause from a mammoth crowd.
Tan, Manikumar and Lee spoke at the rally and pledged loyalty to their respective parties and to the coalition, putting paid to rumours of defection, at least for the time being.
Lim nonetheless called on the PKR leadership and the Pakatan state government to conduct respective post-mortems on the exodus of representatives from Pakatan.
PKR rocked by defections
He said that Pakatan leaders should review their leadership style and also on whether the coalition’s common policy framework was working out.
“We should not always blame others for such defections. We must identify weaknesses and mistakes, and find ways to overcome them,” said Lim.
PKR has been rocked by defections since early last year.
In Kedah, two PKR representatives – Mohammad Radzhi Salleh (Lunas) and Tan Wei Shu (Bakar Arang) – quit to become independent assemblymen aligned to BN.
Others who quit were Perak assemblymen Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering) and Jamaluddin Mat Radzi (Behrang); Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham Abdullah; and MPs Zahrain Mohd Hashim (Bayan Baru), Tan Tee Beng (Nibong Tebal), Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri (Bagan Serai) and recently Wee Chee Keong (Wangsa Maju).
Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin also became an independent after he was sacked by PKR.
Apart from the elected representatives, former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim and former Penang deputy chief minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin also left the party.
DAP has one defector, Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong in Perak, while PAS has none.
Azizan (photo, centre), also the PAS state commissioner, said that grievances and problems do exist in any administration, and added that he would tackle them.
“Lim has been open with his speech. We will deliberate on the issue and work out solutions,” he told a post-rally press conference.
PKR state chief and Kuala Kedah MP Ahmad Kassim said the party would work with the state government to ensure a smooth running of the administration.

Forum formed to anchor Dayaks in Borneo

By Roselind Jarrow

PONTIANAK: The Dayak communities of Sabah and Sarawak will collaborate with their peers in West Kalimantan to set up the inaugural Borneo Forum, which aims to consolidate socio-economic ties within this extensive community.
Kadazandusun leader, Jeffrey Kitingan, said the move will see the beginning of many things.
“There will not only be greater cultural and social interactions but also economic and other interactions which will be helpful for the future,” he said.
Kitingan was speaking at a dinner hosted by Dewan Adat Dayak of West Kalimantan in Pontianak in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak festival and its 25th anniversary.
Kitingan led a 25-member delegation from Sabah and Sarawak to the celebrations. Among those in the delegation were Daniel Tajem and officials of the Sarawak Dayak National Union.
Apart from attending the opening of Gawai Dayak by the Governor of West Kalimantan Drs Cornelis on May 20, Kitingan and Tajem also attended discussions on the set-up of Borneo Forum with their counterparts.
The forum, scheduled to be launched in Kuching later this year, is seen as a vital link uniting the Dayaks of Borneo.
In an exclusive interview with the FMT, Kitingan, who is also the forum chairman, said their visit to Pontianak was significant.
“Now we are connected and we feel we belong to one people. We need to agree to work together,” he said.
“Our visit here, I think, is an important motivation. It will be the beginning of many things to come,” he added.
One culture
On calls by the leaders of Dewan Adat Dayak for one Borneo, one Dayak, one culture, Kitingan said: “I think we all agree on that. The meaning is more than that.
“The immediate focus is on unity through culture, because it cuts across boundaries. Our networking, friendship and the rest will develop from here,” he said.
Kitingan described the forum as important to create a Borneo-wide vehicle to map out what can be done immediately, in the long- or medium-term.
“I think a lot more interactions and communication can be developed, and for sure we can link up economically through business and many potential opportunities of cooperation.
“We have culture, environment, the economy and the indigenous rights.
“All these will automatically develop from here,” he said, adding that that the Dayaks of Borneo have a rich culture that can be marketed to the world.
“It is important that we market our culture together,” he said.

Reforms a must to retain global competitiveness

By Lim Teck Ghee
COMMENT The country’s leaders – business and political – should not get too carried away by the jump in the country’s competitiveness ranking according to the recent International Institute for Management Development 2010 World Competitiveness Yearbook report.
Without trying to take too much away from the positive reception being accorded to the New Economic Model unveiled by the government which has rekindled foreign investor interest in the country, a large part of the improved ranking is also due other factors.
These are the larger Asian region’s resilience to the economic turmoil that has engulfed the US and Europe, and the recent strong upsurge in the country’s exports.
Note especially that the countries that have fallen behind Malaysia are mainly European countries and Qatar, all of which are currently experiencing economic instability.
What this means is that our advance is not so much due to our improved competitiveness per se but other countries falling off in their competitiveness.
There are at least four key concerns that we need to pay attention to before we congratulate ourselves.
The most important is that there is little evidence of productivity increases in the major sectors during the past one year. If there is, perhaps the data and evidence can be shared by the government with a very skeptical public.
The second is whether this improved performance is sustainable or whether it is a flash in the pan – a one- or two-year phenomenon before we drop back.
Reduce the civil service
The third is that the improved ranking is based on the perception that the changes announced in the country’s economic policies in the way of liberalization, greater transparency, an emphasis on merit and need, a crackdown on corruption and cronyism, etc. can be quickly carried out, and in toto. This perception has to be assessed more realistically.
Finally, any lowering in the cost of doing business and raising productivity will depend on structural changes to the civil service, including bringing about a reduction in its present size.
Currently, we have a civil service that is at least twice the size of what is found in many high-income and developed nations on a comparative per capita basis.
Is there the political will to right size the civil service?
Astute marketing of reform policies can improve our image and ranking for a while.
If the political will of our leadership to carry out the correct set of economic reforms and increase the nation’s productivity is missing, then we will see Malaysia’s competitiveness ranking plummet downwards just as quickly.
Lim Teck Ghee is the director of Centre for Policy Initiatives. This artcile first appeared at CPI's website.

Sarawak teachers back licensing despite veto

By FMT Staff

KUCHING: The Teachers' Union Association for Sabah and Sarawak fully supports a proposal to license the 400,000 teachers in the country despite Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s outright rejection of the idea.
Union joint committee chairman William Ghani Bina said the idea was timely and would further enhance professionalism within the fraternity and contain criminal activities within the profession.
“We fully support the idea because it would turn teaching into a ‘real’ profession, raising its status to that of doctors, lawyers and engineers.
“We also agree with deputy education minister Puad Zarkashi that the move would help curb misbehaviour and prevent teachers with criminal activities from staying in the profession,” Ghani said.
He was commenting on a report in the Borneo Post of an incident in a school in Bungan, near Dalat, where a teacher had allegedly made sexual advances towards five of his pupils. The teacher had allegedly molested some of them.
“What happened is most regrettable. I would like to reiterate that this has nothing to do with the teaching profession. This was a personal issue and a question of lust.”
Puad had recently announced that the ministry was studying a proposal to license the teaching profession.
He said the nearly 400,000 teachers across the country may have to sit for an examination to obtain their licence.
NUTP against licensing
However, Muhyiddin had vetoed Puad’s announcement, saying it was not practical. Several other groups also objected to the proposal, including the National Union of Teaching Profession which said that licensing was costly and not suitable for the Malaysian education system.
Puad had said that the proposal would ensure professionalism in the teaching profession, and weed out bogus teachers or those involved in criminal activities from the profession.
‘It’s a good move. Currently, anybody can become a teacher. Licensing the teaching profession will give it more respectability,” Ghani said.
He said the union, however, rejected the enforcement and imposition of any further assessment tests on teachers.
He said the Diploma in Education was already a requirement for full-time teachers and was sufficient. He also urged for the reinstatement of matriculation classes in Sarawak.
“If we can have them (matriculation classes) in Kuching, it’ll be easier for the local people,” he said, adding that "not everybody can go to Form 6".

SIHRG Malaysia Speaker Event: Raja Petra Kamarudin (Video in 7 parts)

If the communalist coat fits…

By Haris Ibrahim,

Since Waythmoorthy went into exile, there have been several occasions that we have communicated by phone.

I have alluded to some of those conversations, and some of the matters discussed, in several posts in this blog.

On every occasion that I have disclosed matters discussed between Moorthy and I on this blog or anywhere else, for that matter, I have first sought and obtained his agreement to such disclosure as many believe, myself included, that to do otherwise would, firstly, be in bad taste and, more importantly, discourage total candour during private discussions such as those that have passed between Moorthy and I.

Last Saturday, I spoke at the BUM2010 forum at Subang Jaya on the panel that discussed the ‘Allah’ issue.

That wrapped up by about 1.45pm. You can read about that discussion on Malaysiakini HERE.

I dashed off for another talk at a church, after first checking to see what time Uthayakumar was speaking at the BUM2010 event as I planned to come back to Subang Jaya in the hope of having a private word with Uthayakumar.

The church talk ended after 5pm.

Got back to the BUM2010 venue around 5.45pm and, yes, Uthaya was there.

I approached Uthaya and we talked for a little under 10 minutes. We stopped as the next panel discussion, ’Bloggers Role in Bridging the Religious Divide’, where Uthaya would be speaking, was about to start.

Uthaya was the third and final speaker on that panel.

On at least two occasions, Uthaya alluded to our discussion. On one of those occasions, he alluded to my having said in the course of that discussion that he and his party were still pursuing a communalist course.

I will confirm now that at no time during our discussion did I consent to such a disclosure.

During the Q&A part of that discussion, after several others had spoken from the floor, I spoke to lend my support to the views proffered by blogger A Voice ( Salahuddin Hisham ) and to say that many bloggers are reluctant to carry news posted on the HRP website given the communalist slant of their reports.

The Malaysiakini report on that panel discussion can be read HERE.

At the time of writing up this post, the second Malaysiakini report alluded to above had received 66 comments.

I reproduce one of those comments below. I have highlighted the part which I want to emphasise in red.

Anticommunalist : Dear Jiminy Qrikert, I strongly believe Uthaya, Haris and most PR leaders are on the same side but everyone’s ego is only working towards UMNO’s favour. Why can’t all of them sit down and talk amicably. It will never happen. Nobody will give in hence UMNO wins. You can’t just give a blanket statement that PR has done good and Uthaya has done bad and vice-verse. Also unruly comments such as yours don’t help either.

Given that Uthaya did not see it as being unseemly for him to disclose what I had said in the course of our discussion, I trust he will not begrudge me the right to do the same.

Anticommunalist, it will please you to know that I had asked Uthaya to meet me so that we could have a healthy ‘no holds barred’ discussion to explore how HRP and the many civil society initiatives can come together and work for the betterment of the marginalised Malaysians.

Anticommunalist does not think that discussion will happen.

I’ve asked for that discussion.

The ball is now in Uthaya’s court.

Uthaya, it seemed to me, took exception to my having referred to HRP’s politics as being communalist.

So, too, has Anticommunalist in another comment of his/hers to the second Malaysiakini report alluded to above.

Have I been unfair in categorising HRP’s politics as being communalist in nature?

Dictionary.com explains ‘communalism’ to mean, amongst others, a “strong allegiance to one’s own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole” . A ‘communalist’ is explained to mean “one who is more interested in one’s own minority or ethnic group than in society as a whole” .

UMNO was established to look out for the interests of the Malay community. No pretence is made about this. Is not UMNO a communalist party?

Are not MCA and MIC, respectively set up to supposedly look after the interests of the Chinese and Indian communities, just as communalist as UMNO?

What of Hindraf and the Human Rights Party?

On 6th February, this year, Malaysiakini reported that Waythamoorthy had taken strong exception to Hindraf being categorised as racist and asserted that if any party was racist, it was UMNO.

“A racist is one who denies other people their place in the sun and their legitimate rights under the Federal Constitution. That’s Umno. That’s the truth whether some people like it or not. A person fighting for his place in the sun and his rights under the Federal Constitution – read Hindraf – cannot by any stretch of the imagination be labeled racist. That would be defamation.” , Moorthy is reported to have said.

Malaysiakini also reported that Moorthy candidly admitted that he only raised issues touching on Malaysians of Indian origin and saw nothing wrong with that.

“I am an Indian. I know only Indian issues and no one is taking up their cause…I know that other Malaysians are also being systematically marginalised as well by the system. It’s not my business to speak up for them.” , Moorthy is reported to have said.

Is this not a communalist stance?

In fairness to Moorthy, I must disclose that the last two paragraphs of that Malaysiakini report attributes to him the following words which might be construed as contradicting his statement just quoted above.

“We have been reaching out to other Malaysians in our own way although we are very busy pushing our own case worldwide. If I am a racist, surely I won’t lift even a finger to help others fight for their place in the sun.” .

On 19th July, last year, Uthaya formally announced the formation of and application to register HRP as a multiracial party.

Malaysiakini reported Uthaya speaking about his move to register HRP.

“Our main thrust is to be the focus group in putting the Indians in Malaysia back on the mainstream development of Malaysia after 52 years of having been left out,” , Malaysiakini reports Uthaya as saying.

The report went on to say that whilst ’the party’s struggle focuses on the upliftment of the Indian community, Uthayakumar however stressed that it would not shut its doors to the plight of other communities’.

This is a multi-racial party?

I think the ‘About Us’ section of the HRP website adequately answers the question.

In his comment quoted above, Anticommunalist opines that “Nobody will give in hence UMNO wins” .

In a post in this blog on 28th November, 2007, 3 days after the historic Hindraf rally, I wrote :

“Hindraf champions the cause of the downtrodden Indians.

My friends and I in the ‘One People, One Nation’ initiative desire the emancipation of all peoples of our nation, without discrimination, without exclusion, without exception.

It follows that the ‘One People, One Nation’ initiative encompasses and includes the legitimate interests of those whom Hindraf presently stand for.

I believe that the Hindraf leadership, too, wishes the best for all Malaysians…

…in substance, both Hindraf and the ‘One People, One Nation’ initiative desire the same thing.

We are, therefore, not opponents.

BN and its ‘divide and rule’ blueprint is our common enemy…

…The danger that we face now is that, if we pursue our respective strategies and methods independent of each other rather than working together on a common strategy, neither will get anywhere and the current status quo will remain.

In all humility, I say that if Hindraf is to take the cause that it now champions to its desired end, it must now change course.

I ask the Hindraf leadership to reflect upon this with an open heart.

My friends and I would welcome with open arms the Hindraf leadership to come together as one and secure justice and equality for all” .

I wish to have placed on record that since that posting, I have made efforts too numerous to recall to persuade the leadership of Hindraf to join the many civil society efforts to fight for “all peoples of our nation, without discrimination, without exclusion, without exception”.

I shall continue to try.

Enforcing the law equally

thenutgraph.com
EVER looked both ways while driving and asked your passengers, "See any police?" before making an illegal U-turn? Or snuck a call on your mobile phone without a hands-free kit while driving? Or driven past the traffic lights just as they turned red? If so, did you know you were breaking the law? And if you did, why did you do it anyway?
Funny how the law sometimes seems flexible, especially when there's a good chance you won't be punished for breaking it. Take the May 2010 Sibu by-election campaign for example. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak "made a deal" with Sibu voters to give them RM5 million in flood mitigation if they put Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Robert Lau Hui Yew in Parliament. Did Najib realise he was potentially breaking the law since the Election Offences Act says it's an offence to induce voters with cash promises? And if he did realise it, why did he do it anyway?
What is it about the Malaysian law enforcement system that lets its citizens regularly get away with offences, whether big or small, on a daily basis? And what happens when the chief executive, the prime minister himself or herself, flouts the rules?
Getting caught
Getting caught after breaking the law and being punished for it is a crucial factor in encouraging people to follow laws. If enough people in society regularly experience being punished for crimes, more people would be encouraged to obey the law even when the enforcers are not watching. Like Ivan Pavlov's dog which was conditioned to salivate at the tinkling of a bell, people tend to comply because they expect retribution for breaking the law, even when it's not immediately forthcoming.
For example, when driving in Australia on a recent trip, I found my eyes constantly glued to the speedometer. This was probably related to my firm belief that I would be fined if I drove even 5km per hour above the speed limit.
Our experience driving in Kuala Lumpur however is very different. We seem to have a heightened awareness of the law only under certain circumstances. During and just before festive seasons, perhaps, when road blocks are aplenty. Or when passing certain notorious junctions where police officers are known to hide behind trees or pillars, waiting to nab the unsuspecting rule-breaker. Or maybe at certain traffic lights where the red-light camera actually works and results in traffic summonses being posted to the house.
This is what happens when rules are not applied uniformly and equally to everyone. Drivers probably know that on an average day, getting caught for speeding in a residential area, for example, is relatively low. There are no comprehensive enforcement systems to track these offences. Even when summonses are issued, I know of people who deliberately leave them unpaid, in the hopes that their records will be lost in the administrative jungle of thousands of other unpaid summonses.
Rule of law
The problem of Najib's possible election offence is not just a by-election problem but one that is related to public confidence in the law enforcement system as a whole. We have become used to seeing crimes committed and the perpetrators unpunished. So although a big fuss has been made of Najib's by-election campaign in Sibu, many of us may not actually expect him to be charged for his "I help you, you help me" remarks.

The law should be equally applied and enforced, regardless of position
Such cynicism would be misplaced in a functioning democracy that upholds the rule of law. Under the rule of law, whether you are a pauper, preacher or the prime minister, the law should apply equally. And equal application essentially means equal enforcement of the law on all, regardless of position. A law is only meaningful to the extent that it is enforced.
Role of independent institutions
We need to start pressuring our democratic institutions to act independently and enforce laws equally across the board. An urban dweller for example, shouldn't be more at risk at being fined for speeding than someone in a small town or vice versa. Traffic enforcement should be as uniform as possible so that we don't only watch out for police officers and adapt our behaviour accordingly only when driving on certain stretches of the highway.  And the prime minister should be just as liable to being investigated as the opposition leader if offences have been committed.
This will require the proper functioning of several state organs. The police would have to conduct investigations efficiently and without bias. The attorney-general's chambers would have to decide independently which cases to prosecute on the basis of the strength of evidence and whether a prosecution is in the public interest. The courts would have to hear cases impartially and decide based on the evidence presented and the law. The courts also perform another important function — when laws are found to be unconstitutional and take away citizens' rights, a court can strike or read down these laws.
Only when these three organs function independently will there be a possibility of equal application of the law.
Law and certainty
When law enforcement breaks down, so does law abidance. What incentive is there for Malaysians to pay their income taxes faithfully, for example, if they knew that corrupt politicians could siphon their money away in dubious projects and get away with it?
Or what incentives would new political parties have to abide by the RM200,000 parliamentary campaign limit if they knew that their opponents could spend millions with impunity?
To go back to driving — imagine if you were at a cross-junction and you were the only one following the traffic lights while everyone else drove across willy-nilly. Wouldn't you be the only one stuck indefinitely at the junction?
Or if you're a land-owner awaiting local council approval for the construction of your house while everyone else happily bribes their way through. If you refrain, wouldn't you be the only one stuck without a home?

Najib (public domain | Wiki Commons)
As much as we may find it easier to break the law at times, the reality is this — laws help make things certain so that we can go about the daily business of actually living our lives.  Well-enforced laws are meant to avoid us constantly having to worry about our neighbour's illegally approved renovations or our fellow drivers' speeding tendencies. The rule of law also ultimately helps to weed out archaic laws as their unworkability and incongruity with the times would be demonstrated when they are enforced.
So the next time you run a red light and aren't caught, don't be so quick to rejoice. It's the same lack of enforcement that allows our leaders to break the law and get away with it.

We Remain Committed & United, We Can Make It & Change Malaysia






 

Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will meet next month to chart a strategy to remove Sarawak and Sabah as the Barisan Nasional’s “fixed deposit” states

The 308 political tsunami of the March 2008 general elections two years ago broke the myth of the invincibility of the Barisan Nasional as an unbeatable coalition, with the fall of Barisan Nasional in five states (although one was recovered by BN through illegal and unconstitutional means) and the removal of the hitherto unbroken BN two-thirds parliamentary majority.

The 516 Sibu Miracle, where the Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat made its debut and fielded the first PR candidate in Sarawak winning a seat which the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had described as a BN “fortress”, is a clear and unmistakable message of the deep-seated aspirations of Malaysians, including the people of Sarawak and Sabah, for change and the possibility of the 308 “political tsunami” being taken into its full flush nationally in the 13th General Elections.

Despite strenuous public denials by Barisan Nasional leaders, not only nationally but also in Sarawak and Sabah, there is no doubt that they are fully aware of the far-reaching implications of the Sibu by-election result – explaining the recent panicky reaction, both in statements and conduct, of top BN leaders in the two states.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council will meet next month to chart a strategy to remove Sarawak and Sabah as the Barisan Nasional’s “fixed deposit” states.

One important meaning of the Sibu by-election result is that Barisan Nasional cannot take Sarawak and Sabah for granted, which have rendered the next general elections a more level playing field in the contest for national power in Putrajaya between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional.

[Lim Kit Siang Speech (3) at the DAP Sibu Thanksgiving Dinner for Pakatan Rakyat Sibu by-election campaigners at Sungai Merah, Sibu on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 8pm]

MCA President In Perak BN Coordinating Committee

IPOH, May 24 (Bernama) -- MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is among three new faces from the party chosen to be in the Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) Coordinating Committee to prepare for the 13th general election.

Besides Dr Chua who is also the Perak MCA liaison chief, the other two are Perak MCA secretary Datuk Tan Chin Meng and party Youth deputy chief Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.

Perak BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the three new faces would further strengthen BN in facing the next general election.

"All those in the current committee have the experience at the national level and I believe their inclusion in the committee is most apt," he said after chairing the state BN meeting, here, Monday.

Zambry said another MCA representative in the Perak BN Coordinating Committee was Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

Najib should haul up and reprimand SUPP President George Chan for his “barbarians at the gate” speech which makes a total mockery of the Prime Minister’s year-old 1Malaysia Policy

I am shocked to read today’s Sunday Star whose Sarawak edition carried the screaming front-page headline “Miri target” and report:

Miri target
By Stephen then

MIRI: “Outsiders” who have infiltrated the state to stir up problems among the people are now targeting Miri, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr. George Chan.

He warned the people yesterday that these “outsiders” with ulterior motives were trying to destroy Sarawakian values by planting the seeds of hatred and anger among the people.

The president of the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) said the “outsiders” had already infiltrated the state and were trying to make inroads into Miri.

“These outsiders with their street culture have come to spoil the good nature of Sarawakians,” he said.

“They want to introduce their culture in Miri now. We Sarawakians are nice and peaceful people, but we are also very protective of our way of life. We will fight these ‘outsiders’ if we have to. I am warning them. Don’t make me angry.”

He did not name the “outsiders” or where they were from but he was obviously referring to the recent Sibu by-election in which Pakatan Rakyat was accused of using unsavoury tactics that led to the victory of Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng in a three-cornered fight.

Calling on Miri folk to join SUPP in keeping the “outsiders” out, Dr. Chan said SUPP would do all it could to ensure that the “outsiders” do not gain a foothold here.
“The people here must remain loyal to the government and trust the state’s leaders to bring great socio-economic progress,” he said at the earth-breaking ceremony for the Miri City Council’s new RM80mil building on the beachfront.

I am shocked and outraged by George Chan’s “barbarians at the gate” speech, reminding me of Gibbon’s great study, “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.
Who are these “outsiders” that George Chan was railing against? Was he referring to West and Sabahan Malaysians?

If so, isn’t he openly repudiating and denouncing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s signature policy theme of 1Malaysia, which states very clearly that its objective is to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first and his or her race, religion or region second?

Najib should haul up and reprimand George Chan for his “barbarians at the gate” speech which makes a total mockery of the Prime Minister’s year-old 1Malaysia Policy, as what George Chan espoused (we ignore for the moment the gross distortions of his speech) is completely antithetical and inimical to everything that 1Malaysia could mean or represent.

I have said that the biggest enemy of Najib’s 1Malaysia comes from within his own government and party and not from outside. I had earlier referred specifically to the enemies and detractors of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept from within Umno, but George Chan has shown that these enemies of 1Malaysia are not confined to Umno but are also to be found in the other Barisan Nasional component parties.

How can Najib convince Malaysians that his administration is serious about the 1Malaysia concept and campaign when its greatest critics and detractors are to be found in Umno and Barisan Nasional, like the SUPP President?

[Speech 2 at the DAP Sibu Thanksgiving Dinner for Pakatan Rakyat Sibu by-election campaigners at Sungai Merah, Sibu on Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 8pm]

Press Release: Federal Court’s decision in MACC case is disappointing

ImageThe Malaysian Bar is disappointed by the Federal Court’s ruling last week that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can continue to interrogate witnesses beyond office hours.  Its decision in the Tan Boon Wah case negates the fundamental liberties of witnesses and does not safeguard their interests.

The courts play a crucial role as the arbiter of disputes between individuals and the State, and functions as a check-and-balance mechanism.  However, the ruling, which gives the MACC too much leeway, bears testament that the courts have failed in that role. 

A law enforcement agency’s powers to interrogate both witnesses and accused persons cannot be unfettered.  Such powers must be subject to the rule of law and must uphold an individual’s fundamental liberties. 

Witnesses who aid law enforcement agencies in investigations should surely, at a minimum, be accorded the same protection and rights as accused persons, whose right to be allowed adequate rest is guaranteed by Rule 20 of the Lockup Rules 1953.  Witnesses would then be encouraged to be forthcoming in assisting with investigations, as they would have no reason to fear the interrogation process or dread being unduly detained for long and unreasonable hours.

The Malaysian Bar had earlier expressed its disappointment when the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s commendable ruling that the MACC can only undertake interrogation of witnesses from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm.  The High Court’s decision was a positive step forward in safeguarding human rights and improving the practices of law enforcement agencies. 

We welcome the MACC Chief Commissioner’s reported statement that MACC officers have been directed to conduct their investigations during office hours and that the officers have to provide justification for “taking evidence after office hours”. 

We reiterate our position that witnesses can be interrogated outside of office hours if the witnesses agree to do so, and attend the interview with their legal counsel.  Both the appellate courts’ decisions, however, permit the MACC to compel witnesses to appear and be questioned, including for long periods of time that stretch beyond office hours, with no option for them to decline. 
                
The Malaysian Bar urges the Government to take immediate steps to protect the rights of witnesses and to promote transparent and accountable investigations, which, in the long run, will enhance the credibility of the law enforcement agencies.

 
Ragunath Kesavan
President
Malaysian Bar

'Clashes' erupt near Kashmir border

Ties between India and Pakistan were strained after the deadly 2008 Mumbai attack [Reuters]
Pakistani and Indian forces are reported to have engaged in deadly clashes near the border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, with both armies trading blame for starting the fight.
Pakistan's army said one of its soldiers was killed in Sunday's clash with Indian forces across the so-called Line of Control (LoC), while India claimed one of its army troopers was injured in the incident, according to the German Press Agency (DPA).
The Pakistani soldier "embraced shahadat (martyrdom) due to unprovoked firing by Indians," across the Loc, which divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan, a statement from the army's public relations department said.
"Pakistan has lodged a strong protest with the Indians and demanded an immediate flag meeting," it said.
"However intermittent firing is continuing at Battal sector of Pakistan's Rawalakot district."
Conflicting reports
However, the Indian military said that Pakistan started the clash and that Pakistani troops also had fired rockets.
"Indian troops retaliated and a heavy exchange of gunfire was on," IANS, an Indian newswire, cited an army spokesperson as saying.
An Indian soldier was injured in the mortar fire by Pakistani troops, the spokesman said.
Both Pakistan and India control part of Kashmir region. But each side lays claim over the whole of the territory.
The rival south Asian nations have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947.
They signed a Kashmir ceasefire in late 2003 which has generally held except for occasional exchanges of fire.

Subra denies involvement in forming anti-Samy group

MIC deputy president S Subramaniam said he sympathised with sacked party Youth deputy chief V Mugilan but denied cooperating with him to form the Gerakan Anti Samy Vellu (GAS) or Anti-Samy Vellu Movement.
NONE"The accusation by newly appointed MIC Central Working Committee (CWC) member S Vell Paari, who is also Samy Vellu's son, that we had cooperated in forming GAS, as reported by a Tamil newspaper today, is malicious," he said.
Speaking to reporters after officiating at the Sri Subramaniar temple anniversary celebration in Serdang, near here, today, Subramaniam (left) said since being involved in politics, he had never "stabbed people in the back".
He said he was still discussing with his lawyer whether to sue Vell Paari for defamation.
Subramaniam, however, believed that Mugilan's setting up of GAS to pressure Samy Vellu to step down as party president would receive strong support from the party grassroots nationwide.
samy vellu cooperative interview 060709 07"Not only the MIC grassroot leaders want Samy Vellu to leave now, but former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had also advised him to step down two years ago," he said.
Subramaniam claimed that Samy Vellu had sacked about 100,000 party members since he became president 31 years ago.
"The sooner the transfer of power is made, the better it is for MIC as the Indian community has been waiting for a dynamic transformation under a new party leadership," he said.
- Bernama

Malaysiakini.com again publishes false news. Racist like MSM by blacking out critical Indian problems.

Way back in 2001 during their humble beginnings when all the mainstream print and electronic media including the three Tamil press blacked out the Kg Medan racial attacks specifically targeted at the Indian poor, only Malaysiakini.com dared and in fact carried the true newsreports that it was racial attacks and not racial clashes as had falsely been made out to be by Umno(the real but behind the scene perpetrators of this violence)But today Umno’s and the mainstream media’s(MSM)racism has spilled over even to Malaysiakini.com.

Malaysiakini.com has in fact gone one step forward by even publishing false news.

In their newsreport yesterday (22.5.10) Malaysiakini.com reported that there was a “fight” and that P.Uthayakumar had been referred to as an “extremist”. We had done our own video recording and inquiries but we did not capture this word “extremist” having been uttered.

The last time we were referred to as extremists was by the UMNO Utusan Malaysia and the other MSM just before and after the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally to lay the foundation and the eventual justification for the detention without trial under the ISA of the Hindraf lawyers.

Malaysiakini.com also reported that tempers flared as Helen Ang, the moderator had difficulty in controlling the session as there were verbal jostling for 15 minutes.

The fact was what was a boring session with the political rhetorics by the other two politician speakers had turned into a lively discourse when P.Uthayakumar had stated that the Bloggers hardly cover in their writings when the victims of UMNO’s atrocities were Indians and the critical Indian problems in Malaysia .And that their reporting should depart from being race based to being needs based and based on the gravity and severity of the atrocities. The latest and most obvious example was the shooting dead by the Malay-sian police of the two Taiping Indian brothers last month.Just because they were Indian victims they and hundreds of other such Indian victims plight was completely blacked out.But it was the obvious direct contrast in the cases of Teoh Beng Hock and Aminulrasyid’s brutal murder which had rightly caught headlines and extensive media coverage for weeks in a row and the as usual overwhelming championing by the supposedly multi- racial Opposition PKR,DAP,PAS party leaders,NGOs’,Indian elite,bloggers,Malaysian Civil Society, Malaysiakini.com etc.

But for pointing out and speaking up against this racism, we in turn repeatedly get accused of being racists initially only by UMNO as a means to divert attention away from the real racism but now also ably aped by PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOS’, Malaysiakini.com, Indian elite, Bloggers etc. And this brand and definition of racism only exists in Malaysia.

In the Western civil societies ,the majority communities take great pride in championing the causes of the minority communities. But in Umnos’ One Malay-sia and PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs’, Indian elite, bloggers and malaysiakini.com’s “multi racialism” the majority and the minority would almost always bend backwards to champion the majorities, gallery and populist causes.

The unprecedented moving of an emergency motion in Dewan Negara by Senator Ramakrishnan to debate the police shooting of Aminulrasyid is the latest case on point.Hundreds of Indians had previously suffered the same fate as Teoh Beng Hock and Aminilrasyid but there has never been such a precedent or any other serious championing or serious reporting by Arokiasamy, Ahmad or Ah Chong in Parliament or at any other forums or any other serious news reporting when the victim has and had been an Indian.(Kugan’s case may be the exception and even then to only a limited extent as it was then at the height of the Hindraf rally aftermath, some 5,000 almost all Indians had protested and Kugan’s brutal grievous injuries by some luck unusually passed the police net and was made public and somehow “caught fire”.

Be that as it may we would continue with our struggle against racism by UMNO by commission and also racism by omission by PKR,DAP,PAS,NGOs’, Malaysiakini.com, Indian elite, Bloggers, the Malaysian civil society etc.

We can understand the Malaysiakini Sifu’s definition of “newsworthiness’ has now like the MSM departed to become what appeals to the majority 92% Malay, Chinese and Natives Malaysian population and/or what would appeal to the gallery and which almost always excludes atrocities against the Indians however serious the atrocities are against them.

Now that Malaysiakini.com has like the MSM decided to black out UMNO’s atrocities against the Indian victims, the least they could do is not to come in the way of our struggle by publishing false news like in this present case.

S.JAYATHAS

Information Chief

The Height of Racism in Malaysia – Educational Discrimination

The Height of Racism in Malaysia – Educational Discrimination!
Sangatha (1) It is so heart-wrenching to watch Sugentha Subramaniam’s interview  carried on Human Rights Party Malaysia website today. The tears swelling in her mum’s eyes and the pain of discrimination on her face was not unnoticed! Yes! It is that time around again, when we get to hear all the heart breaking stories of Indian students being denied scholarships and university places despite the fact that they are equally bright or far brighter than their Malay counterparts!
Year in year out, for the past twenty years or so, it is the same story! It is an annual phenomenon for the Indian students. Deserving Indian students are denied their rightful places in the local universities. Nevertheless, ironically, Malaysian public universities are offering thousands of places to foreign students from Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bosnia, Africa and many other Islamic countries. Many of these students are here on some Islamic scholarships, grants and fellowship awards offered by Malaysian government! Subsequently, there are many Muslim lecturers from around the world in the Malaysian public universities whose places were robbed off the Indians, pushed to the private educational institutions! Where do the Indian students stand in their own soil? What is MIC doing, what is PKR, DAP and PAS doing, GOD knows! I have no words to console Sugentha and many other such bright and imagedeserving Indian students whom have been denied their rightful places in the higher learning institutions in Malaysia.
Who will not be in tears and pain over such blatant educational discrimination in a country that has flourished in every direction possible, except racial equality! No study will be able to examine all the nuances of racial discrimination taking place in the Malaysian education system. Discrimination in education is so blatant on the Indians! From Tamil schools being denied lands to transform them into fully-aided government schools, to denial of university places for the bright Indian students, name it, all forms of educational discrimination is there for them!
Education is one of the many important civil rights issues affecting the Malaysian Indians today! Racial discrimination in education arises from actions of institutions or individual state actors, their attitudes and ideologies, or processes that systematically treat students from different racial/ethnic groups disparately or inequitably.
The effect is detrimental to the lives of the victims as one can imagine! Access to good education is the key to good jobs, quality housing, healthy life and political influence. Such discriminatory policies in education will limit or bock all opportunities for intellectual growth among Indians in all fields! The UMNO-led BN government has very systematically, and very deliberately, written and implemented educational policies to massacre the bright Indian community from flourishing, to subsequently end up as factory workers and private company clerks with yet another form of blatant discrimination to prosper and grow! They will be completely wiped out from the mainstream development in this country in no time soon!
Zafiris Tzannatos (2009) in his journal, “Reverse racial discrimination in higher education in Malaysia: Has it reduced the inequality and what cost to the poor?” reported that in the last twenty years, economic and social policy in Malaysia has been dominated by discrimination in favour of the Bumiputras and against the Chinese and the Indians. The preferential treatment of the Bumiputras is pursued in association with other objectives. In no other area of public policy has reverse discrimination been more acute than in higher education. His paper shows that past and present educational policies in Malaysia have resulted in allocation inefficiency. The prime beneficiaries of such policies have been better-off Bumiputras!
That’s right! The better-off Bumiputras, UMNO Bumiputras precisey!
By definition and purpose, education is the development of human capital towards meeting the individual and social needs of learners and their societies (Apple, Michael W., 2009). Sugentha and many other such bright Indian students with straight As could have well been the most precious human capitals for this country they call home! Alas! Higher education has now become limited to the fiscally advantage portion of the society, the better-off UMNOputras and financially sound Chinese, certainly not poverty stricken Indians! Hence, an Indian student like Sugentha can only dream of becoming a doctor!
The importance of education is clear to people from all over the world. And most certainly, the UMNOputras know the value of good education! Thus, they have hijacked most of the universities’ and other higher learning institutions’ places for mostly Malay-Muslims only! They know, if they allow too many Indians to graduate as doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, chemists, scientists, accountants, etc…..they will become too smart to control! It is better to keep them stupid in cow-shade like Tamil schools and block all opportunities for their further education, including derecognising the universities where they are furthering their (medical) studies and denials of loans for courses famous among Indian students!
Education is an essential human right and every child in the world is entitled to it, EXCEPT Indian children in Malaysia. UNICEF strongly believes that education, like all human rights, is universal and inalienable—everyone, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity or economic status, is entitled to it. It is critical to our development as individuals and as societies, and it helps pave the way to a successful and productive future. Education enhances lives. It ends generational cycles of poverty and disease and provides a foundation for sustainable development. A quality education better equips girls and boys with the knowledge and skills necessary to adopt healthy lifestyles, and take an active role in social, economic and political decision-making as they transition to adolescence and adulthood. In addition, a rights-based approach to education can address some of societies’ deeply rooted inequalities. These inequalities condemn millions of children, to a life without quality education – and, therefore, to a life of missed opportunities.
Indians in this country must wake-up! Wake-up to the reality that good education is not free for their children in this country anymore! They face a very powerful and pernicious discrimination in all areas of education. In Tamil schools, they struggle to get chairs and tables from their own pockets for their children to sit and study, as the UMNO government or MIC, DAP, PAS or PKR couldn’t care less! What more to say on the pathetic land for Tamil schools issue. In secondary, their children need to battle all sorts of racism, from being called ‘Keling / black’ to being slapped or head shaved for some petty offences! Then, if at all they didn’t drop out and pull through, higher education, especially, good courses like medicine, engineering, pharmacy, accounting, teaching, computer studies, English courses, etc. will be just a dream! They can only make it a reality if and only if, they have good bank-balance to finance their children’s education or some properties to sell or mortgage in the bank! Good education is not free for the Indian children, the most disadvantaged, excluded and vulnerable, in this country!
To realise the educational benefits, and to bring about essential structural changes that are necessary to achieve social justice and equal education for the Indian children, Indians must get together and make HRP’s Indian Political Empowerment Strategy a reality! There is no other political party or NGO or social movement that looks into the nuances and nitty-gritty of the educational discrimination on Indians in Malaysia and offers a solution to it as HRP/Hindraf do!
Yes, the ONE and ONLY solution to all these acute discriminations practised by the UMNO-led government is Indian Political Empowerment Strategy! Empower your own selves and elect Indian lawmakers on Indian majority votes and send them to parliament to fight for your rights, failing which, you can kick them off the next time around! Absolutely practical strategy and you, the vast majority Indians, whom the ‘masters’ ought to duly serve, will have the power in your hands, as per the Indian Political Empowerment Strategy! You vote for your own selves!
Education is our unalienable right and we do not need to beg the authorities to give it to us! Nor is it begging to demand our birth rights! Only some so called ‘elite group fools’ will question us on why we are begging the government to help us instead of us helping ourselves by tapping the financial resources readily available from the ‘rich Indians’ whom we have never heard of. Why are they not coming forward to help students like Seguntha? What are they waiting for? Where are they? Who are they?
The truth is UMNO or MIC or DAP, PKR or PAS politicians or any other rich Indians will never care two hoots about the poor and downtrodden Indians nor will they make any effort to amicably solve the critical Indian issues to compensate for the past and present injustices towards Indians!
We have to empower ourselves and pursue our happiness on our own! We do not want any more Seguntha stories! Let this be the last! It is only possible with the Indian Political Empowerment Strategy!
Thank you!
Iraiputtiran