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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Open letter to pope urges end to celibacy

The women have urged the pope to revisit what they describe as a man-made law.

The women have urged the pope to revisit what they 
describe as a man-made law.
 
Rome, Italy (CNN) -- About a dozen Italian women have posted an open letter to the pope on the internet in which they claim to have had intimate relationships with priests and urge the church to abolish celibacy for Catholic clergy.

The letter was posted on an Italian online forum in March but was not picked up in the media until Global Post, an international news website, reported on it this week.

"The priest, like every human being, needs to live with his kindred, to experience feelings, to love and be loved, and also to conform deeply with another, something which he is hardly willing to do for fear of exposing himself to danger," the letter says.

The group calls celibacy a man-made law that needs revisiting and adapting to the times.

"We wonder if, like all man-made laws, at a certain time, in a certain historic time, it is not the case to discuss it again and change it or even, as we hope, completely abolish it."

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi had no comment on the matter Friday.

The letter was endorsed by about a dozen women, only three of whom signed their names. One of them is Stefania Salomone, 42, a single office manager who lives in Rome and said she had a close relationship with a priest for five years.

The relationship was not sexual but platonic, Salomone told CNN Friday. The two were in love, she said, but when the priest admitted his love, he ended their relationship.

Salomone said she was aware of the limits of the relationship when it began, but it was very painful to be "cast aside because of a sense of shame" felt by the priest.

She said she knows of about 40 women who were or are in special relationships with priests. Some are lovers, others "special friends," she said.

There are many more throughout Italy, Salomone said.

Of those 40, about a dozen of them endorsed the idea of the letter, and some even helped her write it, Salomone said. But only three were willing to have their names associated with it, she said.

Another one of the signatories to the letter is Antonella Carisio, who Salomone said had a sexual relationship with a Brazilian priest.

In another posting on the website on which the letter appears, Carisio talked about her affair with the priest, saying they spent a lot of time together and slept together at her house.

The women decided to write the letter after hearing the pope restate the church's position on celibacy in March, she said.

"We decided that it was (time) to make our reality known," Salomone told CNN. "We wanted to tell everybody that we exist and that we are no longer willing to always be silent about it."

The issue of priestly celibacy is not much debated in Italy, she said, but she said that's precisely the problem.

A priest is "just a man like everyone else. This is a good thing. And he should not be deprived of his right to a relationship."

Salomone said she has not heard from the Vatican about the letter and doesn't expect to. "I don't really care, to be honest. They are so preoccupied with other things at the moment. The important thing is to call attention to this problem."

GAS or not, Samy looks set to stay - Malaysiakini

comment Summary dismissal, by the very term, means that it is the first option, not the last as claimed by MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) secretary-general S Murugessan. He was complaining about the unilateral expulsion of four leaders in as many days by party president S Samy Vellu.

Let's draw an analogy from the battlefield, where a soldier cowardly retreats under enemy fire, rather than advance on the order to charge ahead. The officers bringing up the rear have the right to shoot the cowardly soldier on the spot. This is to re-assure the other soldiers and maintain morale. This is not a case for court-martial.

Another example: if an employee resorts to violence against a fellow-worker at the workplace, he can be virtually terminated on the spot - that is. summary dismissal - since the offence is so grave that it needs no further deliberation. There's no need to go through the process of a show cause letter and domestic inquiry before dismissal.

One may argue this point until the cows come home. But the main point to consider is whether a person is wanted any longer by the entity that dismissed him in the first place. Since this is an issue of goodwill, what we have is a fait accompli i.e. there's no return to the status quo for a person subject to summary dismissal.

Bringing the party and the presidency into public disrepute is so serious an offence that it warrants summary dismissal and nothing else. Why elect a person to the presidency then turn around to ask that person, seemingly for no rhyme or reason, to step down?

Former MIC Deputy Youth Chief V Mugilan, on that score, deserves to be sacked. He's not the first in the party under Samy to deserve such a fate, and he won't be the last either. He joins the 100,000 others who have been sacked by Samy over the last three decades and now make up the opposition ranks.

Why only now?

True, Seremban MIC strongman M Muthupalaniappan was also accused not so long ago of bringing the party and the presidency into disrepute, but lived to fight another day. His hide was saved by the fact that he has spent a good many years of his life with MIC. Mugilan doesn't have this track record. He should have realised that he can't just simply bite off more than what he can chew.

Are the other voices against Samy coming from those who slavishly endorsed him unopposed as MIC president, or are they from those who were vehemently against him? If the latter, they have really no credibility in the matter. Why didn't they kick up a fuss when he was returned unopposed as MIC president? The fact that they have a vested interest in the issue, like Samy's people, is beside the point.

Hence, the call by Gerakan Anti Samy (GAS) to Samy to immediately step down can only be seen as part of a self-serving agenda, perhaps instigated by external batu api (instigator) elements. Baling batu, sembunyi tangan (throw the stone and hide the hands).

For starters, the anti-Samy movement is led by a nobody, a small fry (i.e. Mugilan) who is currently basking in his 15 minutes of fame courtesy of the mainstream media.

Where are the other great heroes in MIC who think that they could have won the party presidency but were somehow thwarted in their ambitions by Samy? S Subramaniam, the former MIC deputy president for example, or the great Muthupalaniappan who had his candidacy for presidency disqualified after he faced expulsion.

Instead, Subramaniam has lamely offered to step down as Seputeh MIC Branch chairperson and retire from politics altogether if Samy would relinquish the MIC Presidency. He deliberately set a deadline of one week before his offer lapses. This shows that he's not serious in making such a hurried offer. Besides, where's the basis for comparison? One cannot equate the puny Seputeh Branch chair with the MIC presidency.

There hasn't been even a whisper from other great heroes of the party, if not the people, on whether Samy should step down. Perhaps they know in their conscience that it is not the right call under considering Samy has already set a timeline for his resignation.

Kollywood melodrama

It must be remembered that former prime minister Dr .Mahathir Mohamad took a long time, two years, to say goodbye. In hindsight, it was a patently poorly-staged melodrama inspired by Kollywood. He shed some crocodile tears, confessing that he had failed the Malays miserably, and wailing uncontrollably on national television declared that he was stepping down immediately. He “relented” almost within minutes after he was “persuaded” by other actors on the scene, all terrible, to take a longer time to say goodbye.

Had Samy enacted a similar Mahathirian drama, the same plot would have transpired. His supporters are as capable as the sycophants around Mahathir of making an impassioned plea in public and shedding more than their fair share of crocodile tears. Wouldn't they stand to lose in many ways, if their man went at an inconvenient time for them?

Samy was more honest than Mahathir and set a definite timeline to exit the MIC presidency.

We can of course say that there's no reason to really believe him this time: he has cried wolf once too often.

We have to only consider a previous public statement where he vowed that there would be no long goodbyes and that he sees a short exit.

Either he has had second thoughts, or sees the public statement as merely thinking out aloud. In any case, there was no reaction from MIC leaders and members to that particular statement. Samy could rightly be excused for thinking that they weren't too concerned if he left. That would have annoyed him no end and persuaded him to cancel his initial resolution pronto.

Samy has yet to exhaust all his options because his latest quit offer has not been presented before the party's Central Working Committee (CWC) for its endorsement. No one is thinking along these lines. The CWC is the right place to accept, reject or hasten Samy's departure. Instead, we have Mugilan's GAS making a spectacle of itself allegedly encouraged by certain elements in Umno. Although the latter has denied the claim, GAS certainly seems to be well-funded, and this in itself should raise more than a few eyebrows.

Samy here to stay

In the absence of the CWC debating his quit plan, Samy will be tempted to delay his departure until his term expires in May 2012.

Between now and May 2012, there's no telling whether MIC deputy president G Palanivel will last. Already, relations between Palanivel and Samy have cooled in the wake of the Hulu Selangor by-election.

Palanivel's hide may be saved if Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, as speculated, appoints him as a Deputy Minister. But this in itself is no solution since Human Resources Minister Subramaniam, although junior to Palanivel, is already a full cabinet minister. How will he explain this breach of protocol to his party supporters? Not that Najib cares about such “trivial” issues.

By the time May 2012 comes around, Samy can point out that it's almost the general election and that the party polls should be put on hold until it is over. He may mumble something about wresting back all the lost MIC seats before he goes out in a blaze of glory. Samy isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.

Sabah's paddy processing tradition is now history

There was a time when Sabahans processed the paddy that they planted into rice using traditional tools and celebrated in grand scale the harvest festival `Kaamatan' to appease the paddy spirit.

The locals were highly innovative and had their own traditional set of tools like the pestle and mortar, and grinder to remove the paddy husk and even ploughs to turn over the soil and reaping knives to harvest the paddy.

Yet, modernisation has crept in and since 1980s these traditional tools have become the museum piece and only seen when the paddy processing is demonstrated to the visitors.

While the Kamaatan is celebrated in a grand scale every May, the younger generation may not be aware of the significance of the paddy planting and processing culture that was very much at the heart of the celebration.

This is due to the fact that the traditional routines in paddy planting and
processing have virtually disappeared, almost totally replaced by the modern technology.

A legacy that has changed

According to the Monsopiad Cultural Village's Operations Manager Awad Bajarai, though the younger generation has lost touch with their traditional ways, there are some who were willing to learn the art of paddy harvesting and processing it into rice like what has been done traditionally in the state.

"Many from the present generation are willing to try their hands in pounding and grinding the paddy, many of their parents have related to them how the paddy was planted and processed into rice in those days.

"The traditional planting and processing methods has diminished with the modernisation wave, and since 1980s many of the paddy processing tools became obsolete. Therefore, here we still retain these tools so that the younger generation can to view and appreciate them," he explained.

The Monsopiad Cultural Village located at Kampung Kuai Kandazon, Penampang is among the locations where the use of the traditional tools in processing the paddy into rice is demonstrated to visitors. It is part of the effort to preserve the rich heritage of Sabah's Bumiputera community.

The ways of the ancestors

Previously, locals would scoop the paddy from 'tangkob' - the container made of tree barks, bamboos or rotan - and put it into the 'tosung' (pestle) often made from wood and pounded using the wooden mortar to separate the husk from the grain.

"The `tangkob' is often big enough to store paddy needed for the whole family, with the paddy being harvested twice a year.

"Often the paddy is taken out from the `tangkob' and dried under the hot sun and in the evenings it is pounded using the tosung," explained Awad.

This was how the villagers processed paddy into rice until the 1980s when they started sending their rice to the factories and this saved them lots of trouble.

But technology is not the only factor that prompted the transition to modern processing method, as outsiders who settled down in Sabah also influenced how the paddy is processed.

Awad provided an example where the locals used the indigenous 'kohintung' contraption to clean the grains from the paddy dust, but the contraption became obsolete after the people of the western part of Sabah began using the antique human muscle powered machine known as the 'kikizapan', that was introduced by the Chinese.

"The rice is put into the kikizapan, made out of a wood compartment with a fan attached that is rotated by hand. It blows the dust leaving clean white rice grains behind.

"It was the first rice processor machine introduced here by the Chinese," he said.

Another of the Chinese tool that influenced the locals is the 'guguzungan', used to grind the rice into flour.

"In those days Sabahans only ate rice. When the community from China started settling here, they brought the machines to make rice based delicacies," he explained.

No longer relevant

Unfortunately today, these tools are no longer relevant and only serve as a reminder of the past.

Awad, in 1999, with the help of villagers attempted to revive the
traditional way of ploughing using the buffalo and traditional tools, but no one was impressed.

"Now tools like the tosung and guguzungan are no longer in use, they only appear for symbolic reasons during each Kaamatan. We are definitely not eating the rice from the 'tangkob' anymore, or the one that we pounded ourselves.

"The tradition is gone for good but to ensure the tools and the methods are not forgotten, that is why we have these demonstrations each time we celebrate the Kaamatan," he said.

The Kaamatan that is also known as the Tadau Kaamatan or "Magavau" in the Kadazan language is celebrated to appease the rice spirit, `Bambazon'.

The Kaamatan celebrations culminates on the 30th and 31st May annually. During the celebration, a line up of activities like "Unduk Ngadau" (beauty pagent)and the Kadazandusun culture is highlighted.

This year, the Yang Dipertua Negeri Ahmadshah Abdullah will close the
state level Kaamatan Festival on May 31.

- Bernama

General Samy: We are at war

By FMT Staff

SEREMBAN: MIC president S Samy Vellu, who is facing mounting pressure to relinquish his post, has described the crisis as a battle.
“We are at war,” he told the delegates attending the Negri Sembilan MIC annual general meeting in Seremban this morning.
Training his guns on rebel secretary-general S Murugesan, who was seated on the stage as well, Samy Vellu said: “When the general tells you to shoot, you shoot.”
The 74-year-old politician said that while he did not harbour any resentment towards Murugesan, the latter, however, had erred in not defending MIC.
Unable to contain his disappointment with the man he had appointed as secretary-general, Samy Vellu said: “I had expected him to protect MIC against those who are bent on destroying it.”
Samy Vellu also clarified that it was former MIC president S Manickavasagam, and not him, who had urged (another former president) VT Sambanthan to step down.
He was referring to Murugesan's statement yesterday criticising Samy Vellu for invoking his presidential powers to expel four party members.
Murugesan had said that he was forced to make a stand as he owed it to the party and delegates who voted him into the MIC central working committee.
Saying that the laws of karma were at work, Murugesan had claimed that Samy Vellu asked Sambanthan to step down and history was now repeating itself.
'I would step down earlier if...'
Meanwhile, Samy Vellu told the MIC delegates that he would step down earlier if he is given other responsibilities.
“I have already said that I will hand over (the leadership) to (deputy president G) Palanivel in September 2011. What more do they want?” he asked.
The MIC president did not specify what the other responsibilities were but there has been speculation that he might be appointed as the roving ambassador to South Asia.
Samy Vellu, who has been president for three decades, said he was not perturbed by the ongoing campaign to oust him.
Referring to the “Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu” (GAS) rally slated for tomorrow, he said: “They can gather 30,000 people and it will not affect MIC or me.”
GAS was initiated by former MIC Youth deputy chief V Mugilan after the president expelled him from the party last week.
In a related development, Murugesan defended his action to publicly voice his opinion on the sackings.
Responding to the criticism from MIC's three vice-presidents, he said: “I have noted their points and thank them for expressing their views. This is healthy democracy.”
“It is exactly for this right – for elected representatives to be able to voice their views without fear or favour – that I had stood up for,” he added in a statement.

Youth, Wanita wings the conscience of PKR

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA BARU: Both the Youth and Wanita wings of PKR have rose to become the conscience of the party based on the high octane debates and recommendations made by their delegates.
This is what the party is hoping for, so it can rebound after a string of defections among its elected representatives earlier this year including two, who had pave the way for Perak to be retaken by Barisan Nasional (BN) last year.
PKR Youth affable leader Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin got the motion going with a strong speech devoted towards strengthening the party and its alliance partners of PAS and DAP.
He spoke of the importance of implementing policies, promised and preached earlier, before people lose faith following the stigma attached due to the defections and outright slander, spread by its rivals.
"We cannot win elections based on slogans and promises only. We must implement our policies, especially in the four states governed by Pakatan," Shamsul Iskandar said.
He said the wing members must be exposed to training and appreciation of the party's struggle.
His views were echoed by PKR Wanita head Zuraida Kamaruddin, who is the Ampang MP.
The iron lady spoke of the importance for PKR to act now before its public perception is eroded after a the wave of attacks launched by BN.
Both were keynote speakers at the sixth PKR Youth and Wanita congress gathering on Friday, which was held here to motivate the party towards reclaiming its political momentum.
Kedah delegate Azman Nasrudin stole the show at the Youth meeting, with a stinging criticism of policies amid applause from the audience who nodded in a show of support.
He claimed that only 50% of the scheduled number of delegates were present at the wing's congress.
Heated mood
Organisers for the wing's gathering earlier claimed that there were 500 delegates and 300 observers invited.
Azman went on a tirade, claiming that no programmes were organised for the grassroots members since 2007.
"Our members are not exposed to the party's struggles. We can always talk and condemn Umno. We can do it anytime but let us focus on ourselves for now. We are fed up to hear about Umno. My ears hurt," Azman, who is from Sungai Petani, said when debating the Shamsul Iskandar's keynote address.
He also urged the top leaders, including the Youth wing committee members, to take heed of the party's indecisiveness.
Azman also urged the delegates who supported his stance to stand up and several did in the hall.
As the next speaker, Batu Tengah assemblyman Ong Chin Wen, who represented Penang, walked to the rostrum to debate, the delegates were in a heated mood, with some crying aloud "hentam lagi" (criticised more).
Ong said Azman's fiery speech was a tough act to follow.
Among notable presentators was Federal Territory delegate Syed Hamzah Syed Zainal who called for the party to tighten the screening of members to prevent the recurrence of elected leaders defecting.
Perak delegate Meor Ahmad Isharra Ishak urged PKR to not "sweep problems under the carpet", saying such tactics are not enough to woo voters.
Sabah delegate Pajudin Nordin urged PKR to expel members who have gone on to form a new political party in the state, called Parti Cinta Sabah.
Negri Sembilan delegate Zulrisyah Noor Kalam Mois Muhammad Zulkafli called on the party to accept ideas and criticism from the young.
At the sidelines, delegates discussed various strategies to cement the Pakatan alliance with some suggesting that Pakatan allow its members to join the other partners, such as PKR members joining PAS or DAP.
This would prevent the members from joining BN or becoming independents, they claimed.
They also spoke of rumours that some PKR elected representatives may not attend the congress as a sign of protest towards how they were treated.

Academics fear for the future of Islam

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's Wesak Day message for Malaysians centred around religious tolerance, and the Buddhist teaching of following the middle path and avoiding extremism.
His message came hot on the heels of a recent panel discussion on Islam, which had both Muslims and non-Muslims shifting uneasily over the misrepresentation of Islam in Malaysia.
Oganised by Sisters In Islam (SIS), the discussion followed a screening of the documentary “Mencari Kartika” (In Search of Kartika) by new filmmaker Norhayati Kaprawi.
The documentary was inspired by a Merdeka Centre survey which revealed that many Malaysian Muslims supported the caning of Kartika Dewi Shukarnor.
Kartika was sentenced to caning after being found guilty of consuming alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam. Her sentence was later commuted to three weeks of community service, but her case had attracted criticism from local and international quarters.
According to Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi of the Mara University of Technology, the “Talibanisation” of the Malay society is currently taking place. He warned that this is cause for great concern.
“Talibanisation means too much emphasis on symbols – wearing the hijab, growing a beard and discrimination against women – than substance,” he said. “In certain instances, Malaysia has crossed over into extremism, which is very disturbing. But our leaders don't seem to recognise this.”
“The Muslims who supported the caning of Kartika somehow find an appeal in violence, vengeance and watching other people suffering. They think this is part of Islam but it isn't. These are the fringe aspects of Islam that have become mainstream. And Kartika has become a symbol that has led to a call for the revival of the hudud law.”
Wayward perception
Professor Norani Othman, a sociologist at Universiti Kenagsaaan Malaysia and a founding member of SIS, places the blame for this wayward perception of Islam squarely on Malaysia's education system.
She didn't mince her words when she said the intellectual culture of Malaysian Muslims has suffered a great dumbing down and they have failed to bring themselves into the 21st century.
“When (prime minister) Najib (Tun Razak) was Education Minister, I appealed to him to review the education format of religious schools,” she recalled. “The students were learning by memorising and critical thinking was not encouraged. I told him that he needed to appoint a committee of experts and scholars to provide feedback on how to improve our education system but he didn't grasp the importance of this.”
“Indonesia set up such a committee because education wasn't part of the state. The Suharto regime may have been an authoritarian one but it still laid off Islam and, to some extent, Islamic education. So the intellectuals invited the late Islamic scholar Fazlur Rahman for a conference.”
“Only then did they begin to implement modernisation and a reformation of their religious education. This is why Indonesia has far more thriving and intelligent debates on the implementation of Islamic law.”
Both professors also noted with dismay the reluctance of the “right-thinking people” to speak up against the “extremists”. Calling it a tragedy of the country and the Malaysian Muslims' social, religious and moral life, Shad warned that continuing to keep silent would give more power to the “lunatic fringes”.
He pointed out that the agenda of Islam is currently being dictated by this group who force others into silence for fear of being confronted with tough questions. In his opinion, the Malay society has adopted the feudalistic mindset of blindly following the leader. Norani fully agreed.
“Under the federal constitution, we are all citizens of Malaysia,” said Norani. “If we allow the state too much freedom to politicise Islam, then we are encouraging the 'Talibanisation' of Islamic laws to cow people into silence.”
“It's time we all stood up and stop saying that it has nothing to do with us. We shouldn't be afaid to speak up against Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS), Majlis Agam Islam Selangor (MAIS) and Perkasa because they are terrorising us into silence.”
Marina Mahathir, who was also present at the discussion, voiced anxiety over the future of Islam in Malaysia.
“I believe in an Islam that upholds justice and equality and everything that is good,” she said. “But today both conservative Muslims and non-Muslims view it as a religion that punishes people and oppresses women. I fear that the true Islam will one day be completely wiped out from Malaysia.”

Sabah’s poor to get poorer with subsidy cuts

By Queville To - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PKR deputy chief Christina Liew urged the government to first stop the massive wastage of public funds before talking about cutting back on subsidies.
“The government says this (cutting down on subsidies) is the only way to save the country from becoming bankrupt.
“The government should curb corruption and wastage which is so rampant and blatant as reported annually by the Auditor-General.
"Don’t pass the burden to the rakyat. The coffers will be empty soon due to mismanagement,” she said yesterday.
Liew said that the government coffers will continue to haemorrhage due to lack of prudent spending, transparency and accountability.
She was responding to the warning by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala on Thursday that Malaysia would be bankrupt by 2019 if it does not cut subsidies and rein in borrowing.
He said that Malaysia's debt would rise to 100% of GDP by 2019 from the current 54% if it did not cut subsidies.
However, Liew said that while Idris may be right in his argument, the government must remember that removing the subsidies will hit the poor in Sabah the hardest as they are living below the poverty line.
She also criticised the proposed cash rebates to lessen the burden consumers are bound to feel with the removal of subsidies.
She said the cash rebate is negligible, given the increased costs of fuel and staples.
“I urge government to give special consideration to the hardcore poor, especially in Sabah; otherwise they won’t be able to afford even a loaf of bread soon as the costs of flour, transport, cooking oil, and electricity to make the bread soar.”

The mating of politics and business

By Stanley Koh - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT “It’s an incestuous relationship,” Lim Kit Siang said in expressing his disgust over the intercourse between political and business bodies.
He made that remark in 1990, when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister and Umno president.
It was during Mahathir’s tenure that Umno transformed itself into a huge and powerful corporate player, with interests spanning the entire economy. Hence, when Transparency International quotes him as saying “politics is money”, many hear an admission of guilt although his tone during the interview was that of a complainer.
Critics say many of the problems the nation faces today are traceable to the time when Mahathir was in power. It was then, they allege, that the causes and catalysts were put into play.
By 1990, it had become common knowledge that Umno, the lynchpin of the Barisan Nasional coalition, exercised proprietorship through individual shareholders and directors in well over 100 companies. Umno nominees reportedly held shares worth about RM4 billion in total.
With hindsight, Malaysians are getting a clearer picture. The New Economic Policy was the springboard that launched the Umno elite into big business. That quantum leap could have been made only by ignoring conflict-of-interest situations and allegations of favouritism, corruption and exploitation of government-owned agencies.
The politicisation of the economy fuelled political patronage and Umno came to be seen as an avenue for wealth expansion.
Particularly during the 1980s and 1990s, many Malaysians wondered aloud whether the numerous Umno-controlled businesses were being run for the enrichment of the party or for the benefit of all shareholders.
Umno’s investment arm, Fleet Holdings, emerged in the 1980s. In 1991, the control of Fleet was passed over to Renong Bhd, a public-listed company with interests in the media, construction and financial sectors.
Privatisation came in as an economic weapon, politically linked and with easy access to capital provided by government-controlled banks. Trust agencies and institutions allegedly protecting Bumiputera interests grew in number.
Nothing has changed
In a 1990 edition, the Far Eastern Economic Review commented: “The concentration of so many sensitive assets in the hands of so few people, let alone those so closely associated with the leading partner in government, leaves the party open to charges of conflicts of interest.”
In a well-written 1989 publication, “Political Parties in Business: A Case Study”, Edmund Gomez wrote: “With political power in the hands of Umno, government licences, contracts, finances and other concessions could easily be awarded in the party’s interest or to individuals aligned to it.
“The government apparatus could thus be used to secure income, not just for the party, but also for personal interests, which establishes a base for accumulation of corporate wealth by the ruling elite.”
Rent-seeking, political patronage, profit-seeking individuals and powerful elites are by-products of a system that spurns meritocracy and healthy competition and corrupts a fair and level playing field in the landscape of business and commerce.
Nothing has changed. The money machines are still around, churning out funds for political purposes. And other BN component parties have their ATMs, too. However, Umno continues to dominate with political power concentrated in its hands. Government licences, contracts, financing and other business-facilitating instruments are still awarded in the party’s interest or to individuals aligned to it.
Mahathir made an understatement when he said Umno had to raise money from members of the public, resulting in rent-seeking behaviour.
More truths can be found in what he did not say in the Transparency International interview.
He is on record as saying that he wanted to create Malay millionaires. To support that determination, his regime introduced laws and implemented policies that in effect were well suited to Umno’s economic interests and ended up creating monopolies. It disregarded the potential repercussions, including the risk of breeding greedy profit-seeking groups.
Is it therefore surprising that Umno and money politics go together in the eyes of the public?
And yet the former prime minister laments the corruption prevalent in the party that he led for more than 20 years.
During his tenure, Malaysia’s stock market virtually became a war chest for BN, a source of cash for election campaigns and other political activities.
While opposition parties struggle to raise election funds, Umno and its BN partners have no limits on their expenditure.
In many general elections, such as the one in 1990, wrote the Far Eastern Economic Review, “Everyone in the rural kampung knows that politics is now money business.”
One observer said: “It used to be a coffee and a curry puff. Now a vote costs RM15 to RM20.”
Flimsy excuses
Economist KS Jomo in 1990 estimated that Umno had spent an average RM2 million per parliamentary constituency. “Other estimates put the (ruling) coalition’s campaign chest as high as RM1.5 billion,” he added.
Today, 20 years later, as witnessed in the recent Hulu Selangor and Sibu parliamentary by-elections, BN continues to spend staggering amounts — with no questions asked by the toothless Election Commission.
Should political parties be involved in business? Is it against national interest?
Politicians choosing to ignore ethics in the interest of practicality and selfishness will always try to justify their attitude by saying that politics needs money. But the crux of the matter is not about politics needing money; it is about the buying and selling of politicians and other forms of money politics. This undermines and corrupts democratic institutions.
It does not make sense that some politicians distinguish their personal views from their official views.
Said one politician: “My personal opinion is that political parties should not get involved in business but from the official point of view, a political party needs funds to run activities. Nothing is free.”
Such flimsy excuses are no longer acceptable in our changing political landscape, where more and more are demanding ethics in governance, associating it with accountability, transparency and integrity.
When powerful institutions are manipulated by influential ruling elites under the pretext of helping others but yet filling their own or their cronies’ coffers to the brim, it is corruption which is detrimental to national interest.
It is also an inescapable fact that as the degree of government control over economic resources increased, so did the abuse of power of those in control of the government.
Over the decades, this has allowed the ruling clique to tighten its power grip and abuse the system— both at the personal and party levels.
The burden to transform the nation has thus fallen heavily upon the shoulders of civil society and NGOs. Without a doubt, Malaysian voters must decide through the ballot box whether the politicisation of the economy should continue, knowing that the nation has seen spectacular business and financial failures that can only be blamed on nepotism and cronyism.
Should political parties continue to exploit and abuse power for one group at the expense of another?
Should political patronage continue to be the holy mantra in government policies involving businesses and industries?
What about political control of the press and other strategic levers of the media industry?
Yet, the larger question for us to ask is: “Can or will the ruling Barisan Nasional government be willing to reform its political financing?”
Well, all of us can vote on this single issue through the ballot box.
Stankey Koh, a former head of research at MCA, is a Free Malaysia Today contributor.

Vote BN for bankruptcy, warns Pakatan

Malaysian Insider
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani


KOTA BARU, May 29 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders used dire forecasts of a gloomy future if there are no subsidy cuts to warn that voting for Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general election would lead the country to bankruptcy.

A government minister this week had predicted Malaysia could be bankrupt by 2019 if it does not begin to cut subsidies for petrol, electricity, food and other staples, which cost RM74 billion last year. But the Najib administration is waiting for public feedback before deciding on actual cuts.

DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said it was not subsidies but BN’s corruption and abuse of power that has led the country to current financial crisis.

“I cannot imagine if DAP, PKR or PAS had made the announcement that country will be bankrupt by 2019. If we did, Umno would have labelled us as anti-nationalist and traitors. We probably would have been locked up in ISA and given free food.

“Remember Vision 2020? We were supposed to become a developed nation by 2020 but unfortunately one year before 2020, we are already bankrupt,” he told a crowd last night in Tanah Merah, a two-hour drive from the Kelantan state capital.

Lim was one of many PR leaders in the state speaking at ceramahs ahead of the PKR convention this weekend.

Thousands of people had slowly filled the football field in Tanah Merah to hear the PR leaders, with supporters of all ages coming with families and straw mats sitting in between the two goal posts across the field.

Surrounding the field were stalls bustling with people buying goods, from traditional medicine to perfume. There were also children zigzagging through the crowd selling peanuts and refreshments.

The bustling night bazaar proved to be an ironic backdrop to arguments that the country’s economy is broken and needs reforms.

Lim declared that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model (NEM) is an admission that the country has been in an economic stagnation for the past 10 years.

“Yes, we do believe that we must gradually reduce the country’s subsidies but how can we be certain that the proposed formula will solve the problem because these are only the symptoms. The core problem is the years of corruption practised by the Barsian Nasional government.

“Therefore, the first step is not to abolish subsidies but abolish all forms of corruption!” he said.

The government also announced that slashing subsidies for petrol, diesel, gas, electricity, sugar and flour, among other staples, would save the government RM103 billion over the next five years.

Lim also dared Najib to a “dollar to dollar” challenge.

“I challenge the prime minister and BN government that the country can save RM103 billion if the government abolishes all forms of corruption and misuse of powers. This is because a study has shown that the country has been losing RM10 billion to RM28 billion every year through corruption. So does Najib have the political will?” asked Lim.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Umno’s misuse of state funds has forced the government to legalise gambling.

“Back then, they said that they cannot legalise gambling because it was against but today they are legalising because Umno has no money. Their excuse is that they need to legalise betting to help curb illegal gambling. Something must be wrong with their heads.

“The world today is upside down, we have a Muslim government that wants to legalise betting but we have Chinese who are against it. They don’t understand that the poor people will suffer. This is why we are against Barisan Nasional. They have no principles,” he said.

Anwar also ridiculed Najib, saying that his political foe is misleading the public.

“Now they want to take back our subsidies because the country is heading towards bankruptcy. The prime minister had earlier announced that the economy was making a strong recovery but now our country is near bankrupt?

“They should fight against corruption but not take away the subsidies. They only know how to take. They take away land and seize oil away from Kelantan. They are just thieves,” he said.

He said the government must remove commissions and not subsidies.

“Every year the country loses RM20 billion from what? From commissions made from building houses, stadiums and buying submarines. Whose money is this? That is our money! We should eliminate commissions and not subsidies because subsidies affect the poor and not the rich,” he said.

PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat condemned the government for sanctioning betting because it was against Islam.

“They say that they want to legalise betting so they can monitor gambling. How you can expect a man to supervise another man? It is like asking a cow to supervise another cow. Who can control man? Only Allah,” said the Kelantan mentri besar.

Gunmen Attack Mosques Kill At Least 70 in Pakistan


A policeman advancing towards a firefight at an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore's Garhi Shahu neighborhood takes cover after an explosion as police attacked gunmen, May 28, 2010. REUTERS/Mani Rana
By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 29 (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked worshippers from a minority Muslim sect in two mosques of the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Friday, taking hostages and killing at least 70 people, officials said.

The gunmen opened fire shortly after Friday prayers and threw grenades at two Ahmadi mosques in residential neighbourhoods in Pakistan's cultural capital.

Sajjad Bhutta, deputy commissioner of Lahore, said at least 70 people had been killed in the twin attacks in Garhi Shahu and Model Town. A total of 78 were injured.

The death toll at Garhi Shahu was higher, Bhutta said, because three attackers blew themselves up with suicide vests packed with explosives when police tried to enter the building.

Police are still searching the area as two attackers were still at large.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the incidents would generate greater resolve to combat extremism.

"It's a reminder to the nation that Pakistan will achieve its destiny only after we get rid of the worst type of extremism and fundamentalism," he told a news conference. "The entire nation will fight this evil."

He said one attacker had been arrested. Police in Model Town confirmed one gunmen had been arrested and another killed.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on the Pakistani Taliban.

"It's too early to say who is behind these attacks," said a Lahore-based security official. "But my guess is that like most other attacks, there would be some link to the Taliban or their associated militants."

Punjab's Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, said the arrested attacker was a teenage Pashtun, an ethnic group making up the majority in parts of western Pakistan and Afghanistan. This, he said, indicated a link to the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan and strongly hinted at a Taliban link.

The attacks were precise.

In Model Town in the early afternoon, three gunmen rode up on motorcycles, Sanaullah said. Two of them wore suicide vests.

"They first threw hand grenades towards the gathering and then opened fire," he said. "To keep police away from the building they hurled some hand grenades outside, which damaged vehicles and wounded some policemen."

One attacker was killed in the attack, and another critically wounded, Sanaullah said.

"The prayer leader was giving a sermon when we heard firing and blasts. Everybody stood up and then two gunmen barged into the mosque and sprayed bullets," Fateh Sharif, a 19-year-old student, told Reuters from Model Town.

"They had long beards. They were carrying rucksacks."

Bhutta said a suicide vest laden with explosives was recovered from the Model Town mosque, where some attackers escaped. One fired at a television van before the area was made safe.

"He was young, clean-shaven. He sprayed bullets at our van while fleeing the scene," Rabia Mehmood, a reporter for Express Television, told Reuters.

ATTACKS LAUNCHED AFTER PRAYERS

Witnesses said the assaults were launched shortly after prayers.

"I saw some gunmen run towards the Ahmadis' place of worship and then I heard blasts and gunfire," Mohammad Nawaz, a resident, told Reuters.

Stock market investors shrugged off the latest violence.

"Initially we saw some selling after the attack but investors started accumulating shares at lower levels," said Asad Iqbal, chief executive at Faysal Asset Management Ltd adding that there was foreign buying which boosted local confidence.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) benchmark 100-share index was up 0.75 percent at 9,511.75 points at 4:05 p.m. (1105 GMT).

Friday's attack was the worst in Lahore since March 12, when twin suicide blasts killed 45 people, and the most deadly in Pakistan since Dec. 31, 2009, when a suicide car bomb driven by a Taliban militant killed more than 100 civilians at a volleyball game in the tribal areas.

Ahmadis are a minority Muslim sect founded in the late 19th century. They hold unorthodox beliefs among Muslims, including that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixion and died in Kashmir. Some also believe that prophets have come after Mohammad, the founder of Islam, but that he retains his primacy.

Pakistan is the only Muslim state to have declared Ahmadis non-Muslims. Its 4 million-odd members have seen their religious rights in overwhelmingly Muslim Pakistan curtailed by law.

Pakistan, a key U.S. ally in the fight against militancy, is often the scene of sectarian violence, with militants from Sunni Muslim groups attacking Shi'ite Muslim and Christian communities.

Separately, security forces battled Taliban militants in the Orakzai region near the Afghan border in the northwest and about 40 militants were killed and 30 wounded in attacks by government aircraft in three places, a paramilitary force officer said.

There was no independent confirmation of the toll. Militants often dispute government accounts.

Government forces have stepped up attacks in Orakzai in recent weeks after winding up offensives in several other areas.

Remove subsidies gradually

The Star
PETALING JAYA: The withdrawal of subsidies for sensitive items that affect the lower-income group should be done over a longer period, said Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.

The Centre for Public Policy Studies at Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) head said although he welcomed the move, five years was too short to soften the blow.

“Subsidies for sensitive items like sugar, flour and cooking oil should be withdrawn over as longer a period as possible,” he said yesterday.

On Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala proposed the withdrawal of subsidies for eight areas over five years.

Idris, who is also Performance Management and Delivery Unit chief executive officer, said the Government would be able to save RM103bil by withdrawing those subsidies.

Navaratnam said the management of subsidy withdrawals should be done in tandem with other aspects of the nation’s economic management. “We have to consider the mismanagement and wastage of public funds to ensure efficiency and productivity in government delivery.”

He also said it would be unfair to do this without compensating the people with better transport, housing, healthcare and education facilities.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported Transport Workers Union secretary-general Datuk Zainal Rampak as saying that doing away with subsidies on items such as flour and cooking oil would burden the low-income group.

He also called for a better deployment of subsidies for certain items and not abolish them altogether.

Fomca adviser Prof Datuk Hamdan Adnan said the Government should put in place a strong justification before cutting the subsidies so as not to burden the low-income group.

“The Government should not hastily implement subsidy reduction,” he said, adding that the Government should also monitor any increase in prices arising from the move.

The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association supported the subsidy reduction, with executive secretary Datuk Paduka Nadzim Johan saying it could spur productivity and overcome reliance on subsidies.

FTAs are dead - but US, EU won't rest in peace

By Anil Netto,

Both the United States and its trade rival, the European Union (EU), have been forced to modify their strategy in South-east Asia in pursuit of their ‘free trade’ and ‘liberalisation’ agenda.

The Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is effectively dead; negotiations had gone nowhere after eight rounds of talks. The Malaysian side was afraid of opening up access to government procurement contracts mainly awarded to bumiputera firms. The Americans, under the Obama administration, were worried that free trade would result in an influx of cheap goods into their country while American jobs are lost to low-wage countries.

We should be saying “rest in peace” to the FTA – but unfortunately, there’s no rest for the greedy. Enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as the US modifies its ‘free trade’ strategy. The US is now involved in negotiations with Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Vietnam, Chile, Singapore and Peru under the TPP banner. The Americans want the TPP to grow into a regional FTA covering the 21 Apec countries. The first round of TPP talks was held in March in Australia.

Malaysia, through its ministry of international trade and industry (Miti), is interested in “exploring” the TPP but the same concerns remain: it would involve prising opening the services sector and government procurement.

Similiarly, the Asean-EU FTA is all but dead. The EU shelved FTA talks with Asean after it found that conditions were “not conducive”.

But like the US, the EU has not been idle as they eye the huge South-east Asian market. Desperate to pursue its ‘free trade” agenda and prise open the Asean market, the EU is now negotiating bilateral FTAs with individual Asean nations. (The same old divide-and-rule strategy of the colonials.) Negotiations for a Malaysia-EU FTA began in March with a second round scheduled for June.

The Malaysian government should tread very cautiously and realise the full implications of what it is getting the country into with all these so-called ‘free trade’ talks. An analogy would be the English Premier League: the playing field may be “level” and the same rules apply to all. But it is the clubs with the most money that dominate the league year in and year out and seize the greatest prizes (and draw in the most television revenue) while the poorer clubs lose their best young players and coaches.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian public is kept in the dark about what’s going on. Why aren’t the implications of these trade talks regularly highlighted and debated in the media? What would they mean for small- and medium-scale businesses in Malaysia? What would they mean for farmers and workers? Is this part of a larger scheme to extend the neo-liberal agenda that favours Big Business throughout the Asean region?

We are kept in the dark.

15,000 for Sunday rally says Mugilan

MIC sec-gen joins chorus of discontent

Siapa Taek Jho Low? AMK mahu dia disiasat

Kapar MP's 'witnesses' barred from Selcat hearings - Malaysiakini

Kapar MP S Manikavasagam will have to inform the "witnesses" that he intends to bring to the Selcat hearings, to stay home.

The fiery first-term lawmaker told Malaysiakini that he received a letter from the state assembly secretary that only he, and he alone can attend the hearing until told otherwise.

"I had requested Selcat's permission, to bring in my witnesses to testify. They were the ones who initially complained to me.

"But the secretary said they cannot come. I'm very disappointed," he said.

He added that he has no idea why Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim, who is also the speaker of the Selangor legislative assembly, made the decision.

He said that the hearing would be "difficult" without the witnesses' testimonies.

According to a correspondence by the state assembly secretary, additional witnesses will have to send in written statements to the committee first before the decision on whether or not they should be allowed to attend could be made.

Previous reports said that Manikavasagam had said that the complainants were contractors and staff of the implicated company itself.

Manikavasagam, also popularly known as Mike, will be facing the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency over his claims of a sand scandal at a public hearing on June 2.

He had previously claimed that there was corruption involved in the state government owned sand and minerals mining company Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd.

Lawyer barred from representing him

He also revealed that his lawyer, N Surendran, is also not allowed to represent him at the hearings.

"Apparently they have changed the laws, maybe because of the (former MB Khir Toyo) fiasco," said Manikavasagam.

Khir, in the Selcat hearings back in March last year over his RM1.6 million overseas trips, which included a tour of Disneyland, he had refused to attend the hearings and sent his lawyer to represent him instead.

When contacted, Surendran also said that the amendment to the state legislative assembly standing orders were gazetted in July 6, 2009.

"The amendment is to bar lawyers from representing people called up by any select committee under the state assembly, and in this case, it includes Selcat.

"This means that the lawyers can only hold watching briefs. But they cannot talk or anything," he said.

"This business of stopping lawyers, is unparliamentary in any Commonwealth countries. This amendment is clearly aimed at depriving those hauled up by the committee, of legal access and advise," he said.

He added that he will be writing to the Bar Council to take up the matter, he is now unsure if he will be following Manikavasagam to the hearings.

"If I go, it means we are legitimizing this oppressive amendment. But its no use me being there anyway," he said.

All 9As’ and above in SPM should as of right be given JPJ Scholarships University or Matriculation places. No to UMNO race based higher education policy

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NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245 Website:www.humanrightspartymalaysia.comEmail:Info@humanrightspartymalaysia
Your Reference :
In Reply :
Date : 28/5/2010
YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444 62502 Putrajaya E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my Y.B Dato Seri Mohd Khaled Bin Nordin Minister of Higher Education Malaysia, Aras 7, Block E3, Complex E, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax : 03-8889 1952 62505 Putrajaya. E-Mail : minister@mohe.gov.my
RE: All 9As’ and above in SPM should as of right be given JPJ Scholarships University or Matriculation places. No to UMNO race based higher education policy.
In 2008 the UMNO led Malay-sian government declared that all students securing 9As’ in the SPM in the 2007 exams would automatically get government JPJ scholarships to pursue their higher and tertiary education. But when many especially poor Indian students complained that they did not get the government JPJ Scholarships they were all given scholarships to study at local private Universities as usual as a temporary measure.
However in 2009 the racist UMNO goal post was moved again by UMNO declaring that for students securing 9As’ there is no guarantee of JPJ Scholarships etc. This was when UMNO discovered that many poor especially Indian students started highlighting their plight in the open. The reports we have thus far received for this year (2010) is that hundreds of especially Indian students from the poor and lower income group who have scored 9As’ and above but have been denied their rightful JPA, Scholarships, Matriculation and University placing. But many of their Malay muslim friends who scored even four As’ have either received their JPA Scholarships, Matriculation or University places with great ease. Even Thai students with a mere 7As’ are being reconsidered by MARA in collaboration with UPU. (UM 27/5/10 at page 9). Even (malay muslim students with 1A was reported to have received JPA scholarships (refer to report below). Sugentha Subramaniam the only Indian girl in MRSM Terendak out of 197 (0.5%) students who had scored 10As’ for SPM was denied a place in any of the 40,000 places in the nine Matriculation Colleges (UM 2/11/08 at page 4) University places or JPJ Scholarship.
Another Indian Science stream student who scored 11 A’s is forced to take up an Information Technology at University. We have received scores of complains that Indian student are denied places in critical courses like Medicines, Engineering, Famarsi, Bio-Technology, Accountancy, Business Administration etc.
Why this level of direct discrimination when Article 12 of the Federal Constitution prohibits discrimination in educational institutions which are funded by the government? But for the Indian students they are supposed to appeal to JPA, UPU and the Matriculation colleges through the assigned one Devamany an MIC Deputy Minister Mandore who would as usual do his wayang kulit illusion of securing these higher education places but at the end of the day succeed in probably one out of the hundreds of students and he would publicise it and make it look like the rest of the hundreds also made it after this mandore MIC party intervention. This MIC mandore party will now be targeted by the top Indian students, their family and friends while the real culprit UMNO gets away scott free. This is the mandorist and tuan arrangements between UMNO and MIC and now very conveniently and comfortably beginning to be adopted by PKR, DAP and PAS. We hereby call upon your goodself as the Prime Minister to grant all students especially the poor and underprivileged Indian students securing 9As’ and above to as of right be granted JPA scholarships, Matriculation and University places from this year (2010) onwards and an end to race based meritocracy and racist higher educational policy to prove your goodself’s One Malaysia as opposed to One Malay-sia. Kindly revert to us accordingly. Thank You. Your Faithfully, P.Uthayakumar (pro tem) cc: Y.Bhg.Tan Sri Dr. Zulkurnain bin Haji Awang Ketua Setiausaha, Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, Aras 8, Blok E8, Kompleks Kerajaan Parcel E, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan Fax: 03- 88885124 62604 Putrajaya Email: zulkarnain@mohe.gov.my








Statelessness – Three generations of a poor and marginalized Indian family have been denied statehood,for the only reason that the grandmother did not want to convert to Islam



Many in the cyberspace accuse HRP and Hindraf of sectarianism, of communlaism or racism. Is representing  uniquely Indian problem like these sectarianism, communalism or racism?
That apart, the Malaysian UMNO government needs to accept that it has made serious mistakes in the past through the ethnocentrism of their Ketuanan Melayu philosophy and make due amends to the many spurious outcomes of their policies, if this country is ever to make any claims to greatness as the nationalists are wont to,
A department needs to be set up to address this chronic and serious problem. We understand ( there are no statistics clearly available, as the UMNO government does not want this problem to be estimated with any accuracy). The department needs to be adequately resourced with funding and competent manpower to carry out not only corrective action but rehabilitative actions. This problem must not continue to be projected as a narrow  ethnic problem. This is a national problem and must be addressed squarely  The UMNO government must pick up adequate courage  (yes it requires courage)to take the necessary actions to correct this problem and set the clock back on the problem.
HRP demands that UMNO government sets in motion all that is required to address this problem effectively without further delay. The UMNO government has known of this problem for far too long.
N. Ganesan

Hindraf a factor in the 2008 general elections!



Hindraf a factor in the 2008 general elections!(NST 21/5/2010 at page 8).

SJK (T) TAPAH dinafikan bangunan tambahan oleh Kerajaan UMNO.

SJK (T) TAPAH dinafikan bangunan tambahan oleh Kerajaan UMNO.
Tapah, 21 Mei – Penangguhan pembinaan bangunan tambahan Sekolah Tapah amat mengecewakan. Bilangan pelajar di sekolah ini semakin meningkat disebabkan lokasinya yang terletak di pusat bandar. Sekiranya pembinaan bangunan masih dilengahkan lagi maka para ibu bapa akan mula menghantar anak-anak mereka ke sekolah kebangsaan yang terletak berhampiran kerana kekurangan bilik darjah di sekolah Tamil tersebut.  Papan pemberitahuan tentang pembinaan bangunan tambahan yang dipasang sebelum pilihan raya umum 2008 tanpa adanya tarikh permulaan dan tempoh projek pembinaan sudah melangkah tahun kedua namun kerajaan negeri masih tidak mengambil sebarang tindakan untuk menjalankan projek tersebut melahirkan kesangsian bahawa projek itu hanyalah semata-mata untuk mengkaburi mata masyarakat India di kawasan Tapah bagi memancing undi mereka.
Komen HRP: Daripada jumlah sebanyak RM191.5 bilion yang telah diperuntukkan dalam bajet 2010, RM30 bilion telah diagihkan untuk pembinaan 80 buah sekolah baru, 1,100 bangunan tambahan dan 347 projek pemindahan sekolah             (school replacement projects). Namun usaha untuk membina bangunan tambahan bagi sekolah ini masih dilengahkan lagi sehingga ke hari ini. Hal ini jelas menunjukkan bahawa sekolah-sekolah Tamil masih ke hari ini dinafikan bantuan oleh kerajaan. Gagasan 1 Malay-sia? Rakyat Didahulukan …?


PKR Selangor Indian MP mandore’s kosong politics to poor Indians in two weeks.


PKR Selangor Indian MP mandore’s kosong politics to poor Indians in two weeks.
Based on our previous monitoring this is not going to happen. (See MO 27/5/2010 at page 9).
This and all Indian Exco DCM II MP and Adun mandores do not have powers even in PKR, DAP or PAS. But Malay and Chinese Exco Members in PR have powers.
The proof is the latest and today’s example is Selangor Exco member Elizabeth Wong granting land and gazetting 25 orang asli villages all in one go. Bravo! This is the way forward.
But not the aforesaid wayang kulit or the almost daily wayang kulit in the three Tamil press by the PKR, DAP and PAS DCM II, Exco, MP, ADUN, Councillor and the height of mandorism by even using the JKKK (Indian Ketua Kampung) to do the wayang kulit illusion of solving the Indian problems.
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice


UMNO instructs grassroots JKKK to sidestep critical Indian problems at the ground

UMNO instructs grassroots JKKK to sidestep critical Indian problems at the ground
We seldom hear of a critical Malay muslim problem unlike the basic necessity critical Indian problems beginning from the womb, ie, being denied Birth Certificates, Identity Cards, cannot afford to even attend kindergartens, denied welfare help and denied Socso benefits, denied piped water and electricity to Tamil schools for 50 years, denied piped water to Indian poor homes for 30 years, denied university and matriculation colleges scholarships, PTPTN loans, denied civil service jobs, senior positions in the private sector, destruction of Hindu temples, Tamil schools, and to tomb, ie, desecration of Hindu cemeteries (See SH 11/5/10 page S 13.
But UMNO has instructed this JKKK to only attend to Malay muslim problems and to side step the critical Indian problems. Instead UMNO franchises and outsources to the powerless MIC mandores this JKKK role. And now ably, ably aped by the PKR, DAP and PAS Indian mandores.
Why should this be the case in One Malay-sia? In over the last 53, MIC was made and rendered ineffective. UMNO meant this MIC mandore role this way and now ably aped by Pakatan.
Thus the critical Indian problems remains unresolved or in many cases have got worse.
P. Uthayakumar

Mugilan Challenges Samy Vellu To Sack MIC Members Who Attend Gas Gathering

PETALING JAYA, May 28 (Bernama) -- Former MIC Youth deputy chief V. Mugilan who was sacked by MIC President Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, has challenged the party supremo to sack MIC members who attend the Gerakan Anti Samy Vellu (GAS) gathering on Sunday.

Mugilan said he was ready to assist the MIC President in identifying MIC members who attended the meeting since 80 per cent would be MIC members.

"Bring the officers from party headquarters. Bring the registration list, we can check one by one with their Mykad or ICs.

"I am confident that 80 per cent of those attending the gathering would be MIC members. So, I challenge Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to sack all members who attend the gathering," he told reporters when announcing a new venue for the GAS gathering here Friday.

The GAS meeting that was initially scheduled to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Sunday (2pm), has been shifted to The Mines Convention Centre in Seri Kembangan on the same day, after the PWTC management decided to cancel the booking.

Mugilan, organiser of the GAS movement said, following the switch in venue, the gathering was expected to draw about 15,000 supporters, well beyond the initial target of 10,000.

"I urge all CWC members to join me in calling Samy Vellu to resign. In 2012 I am confident the delegates would not vote for CWC members who keep quiet," he said.

Asked if the movement had adequate resources to thwart any interruption during the meeting, Mugilan said he was confident that police would be able to restore order because a permit has been issued for the meeting.

Speaking of MIC secretary-general S. Murugesan statement on the action by Samy Vellu to sack four CWC members, Mugilan said his criticism would add strength to the movement's cause.

"Murugesan and I are good friends. He is a fighter too. But I have my way, he has his. Murugesan made the statement on his own accord," he said.

Buried infant case: Sister remanded with teen sibling

The two suspects being taken out of court today. - Bernama pic
SHAH ALAM, May 28 — A teenage student and her 24-year-old sister were remanded for four days by the magistrate's court here today to facilitate investigations into concealment of birth. The offence is under Section 328 of the Penal Code.
The 17-year-old student was detained by the police yesterday for allegedly burying her new-born baby boy near the Padang Jawa Komuter station last Monday.
Shah Alam police chief Assistant Commissioner Noor Azam Jamaluddin said police were in the midst of tracking down her boyfriend to shed light on the case. — Bernama

BN, PR say subsidy cuts political suicide for Najib


KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Lawmakers from both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have agreed that an immediate implementation of any subsidy cuts would spell political suicide for the Najib administration with the next general elections within the next 34 months.
They believe that subsidy cuts will likely be implemented in stages, and that a full-fledged slashing would only be exercised in the future, or at least after the next general election. The last general election was in March 2008 where BN lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala had disclosed proposed cuts that can save the government up to RM103 billion in the next five years but most critics say Datuk Seri Najib Razak must weed out corruption and leakages within his administration.
“With the elections coming soon, I don’t see the government cutting subsidies anytime soon. They are not going to implement it immediately,” said Selangor opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr. Mohamed Khir Toyo.
Khir told The Malaysian Insider that the the government will not risk angering the public by cutting off all subsidies.
“The word ‘cutting’ is in itself a negative connotation...The government is doing their best to get feedback from the public.”
The Umno man argued that instead of cutting subsidies the BN government should find alternative ways to “increase the country’s income”.
“For instance, education is important, (the government) must study carefully. They need to see implications of restructuring subsidy, not everyone will like this. The subsidies must go to target groups.
“Take fuel for instance. The government can cut off subsidies for RON97, but subsidise RON95,” said Khir.
Former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Shahrir Abdul Samad echoed his Umno colleague’s points, and said that any implementation has to be in stages to be “political acceptable”.
“Even if it were to be implemented before the next general elections, it would be done in stages, It will be quite selective to be politically acceptable. I don’t think it will be implemented in total yet, there will be amendments,” he told The Malaysian Insider in a telephone interview.
The Johor Baru MP claimed that any immediate implementation would have no “redeeming feature” that would make it acceptable to Malaysians.
“If you were to implement it now, there will be no redeeming feature. It will still need some fine-tuning. That is why the government is still open on the issue. I don’t think the government will do it.”
He said that what was lacking right now was a comprehensive database to determine target groups who needed financial assistance.
“We must have a comprehensive database in order to determine targeted groups. There has to be a proper database which takes into consideration people’s  income tax levels, KWSP (Employees’ Provident Fund), Welfare department and JPJ (Road Transport Department).
“As far as I know, we do not have a database which is compiled on income levels, that is comprehensive,” said Shahrir.
He stressed that slashing of subsidies would need to be done in many levels of restructuring, citing for example how the public transport system would need to be restructured so that the hardcore poor would be able to benefit from it.
The Umno MP agreed that wastage of money was also a reason why the country’s debts were at an all-time high, but claimed that the cost of subsidies were higher than wastage by the government.
“The RM28 billion figure, it was not announced in the Auditor-General’s report. While I do not deny that there is wastage of projects, the RM28 billion figure is not true. That figure was first reported in The Star newspaper some time ago,” he said.
Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that ultimately it was up to Malaysians to decide on whether they were ready for subsidy cuts, as it was merely on a proposal stage.
“It is up to the people to decide. The lab was done in order to get feedback. If they are acceptable to slashing of subsidies, then the government will go ahead . If they are not agreeable, then the government won’t go ahead with it,” said Nur Jazlan.
Meanwhile, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have agreed with their BN rivals that full-fledged subsidy cuts will not be executed anytime soon.
“Politically, I think it is suicidal for them,” PAS treasurer Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli told The Malaysian Insider today.
“If they do it (cut subsidies) in a hasty manner and in an amount that will not be tolerated by the people...people will be angry,” Dr Hatta added.
DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua agreed, saying that BN’s slim win of the Hulu Selangor by-election and their failure to retain the Sibu seat would likely stop the federal government from going all out in slashing subsidies.
“Because they only won marginally in Selangor and they lost Sibu, I think they may not cut as extensively as they would have liked,” said the first-term Petaling Jaya Utara MP
“I think there is no question that the vote bank of Barisan Nasional will be severely affected,” he answered when asked how subsidy cuts would affect public sentiment.
On whether BN would implement the drastic move before the next general elections are called, which may be held as early as next year, Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said that Najib would not risk going against public opinion.
“I don’t think he will dare go against (the) rakyat’s opinion...especially after Sibu,” said Dzulkefly.
“What they are doing now is public consultation to get feedback. Based on that, they will make their decision,” he added.
Najib had said that it is the public who will ultimately decides if expensive government subsidies should be cut after Idris revealed government proposals to cut subsidies for fuel, electricity and food or risk bankruptcy in the next nine years.
Idris, the CEO of Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), had said that 61 per cent out of nearly 200,000 Malaysians in the think tank’s SMS poll favoured subsidy reductions and supported the government implementing it within the next three to five years.
However, Pua disputed the validity of the results, pointing out that Pemandu’s poll question was a loaded one.
“That question is loaded –not properly contextualised,” he said.
“It is like asking the question should the government cut subsidies first or corruption first,” he added. “It is not reflective of what people are thinking.”
Pemandu’s poll text message had said that subsidising various consumer goods resulted in an annual expenditure of RM 74 billion. The poll then asked whether the respondent agrees subsidies reductions.
Areas which have been identified include fuel, food and infrastructure as well as tolls.

TUDM deal: PM urged to reveal 'mystery man'

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA BARU: PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mat Akin has challenged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to disclose details of the mystery man who has been linked to his son and wife Rosmah Mansor in the controversial Sungai Besi air base (TUDM) land deal.
Speaking to reporters after the morning session of the youth wing Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) congress, he said speculations were rife that the man, Joh Low, had secured a RM500 million contract for the development of TUDM in Sungai Besi.
“We have been told that he (Low) had secured a RM500 million contract for the TUDM deal. This is a serious allegation. We want the PM to clarify this,“ he said.
Shamsul said Low’s lifestyle in the US was also a matter of concern.
He said last year the New York Post had reported that a Malaysian known as Joh Low had “spent US$50,000 in one night in New York”.
‘We are wondering how a 20-something person could come into so much wealth,” he said.
Earlier, in his speech, Shamsul urged the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate Low’s flamboyant lifestyle.
“We want the MACC to find out where he got his wealth. We also want to know how he linked up with our political bigwigs,” he said.
Last night at the official opening of the congress, Shamsul said he would be making an "explosive revelation" of the TUDM deal, which was linked to an "associate" of Rosmah.
Without disclosing the name of the associate, Shamsul said the free-spending mystery man was a wealthy 28-year-old Chinese with ties to Hollywood.
Shamsul said the young businessman had been spotted on the Hollywood social scene with Megan Fox, star of blockbuster movie, Transformers.
Promising to reveal more at today’s congress, he said: “Tomorrow (today), I will reveal things about a particular personality, a graduate of an overseas university.”
The sixth PKR national congress begins today. The three-day congress began with the joint official launch of the Youth and Women’s wings congress by deputy PKR president Syed Husin Ali at the Kelantan Trade Centre here.
The congress proper, for both wings, is currently under way.
In their addresses last night, both Shamsul and women chief, Zuraida Kamaruddin, touched on the defections of party members and the need to consolidate and prepare for the general election.
Syed Husin stressed the need for the party to possess credible candidates with a pronounced sense of value.
He said the process of creating a group of leaders with calibre involved training and grassroots work.
Syed Husin said while PKR was successfully increasing its supporter base, what was now essential was the quality of membership.
“We need members who are disciplined, politically aware and committed to the party’s struggle.
“We need members who understand and uphold the points of this struggle, and not lose their compass (bearing) when they find themselves alone,” he said.
‘Utusan Malaysia not welcome’
Meanwhile, Bernama reported today that that Utusan Malaysia is "not welcome" at the congress.
It quoted Syed Husin as saying that PKR would not chase the reporters from the Malay daily out of the congress hall.
"We won't stop them. They are not invited but we won't chase them away," Syed Husin told reporters when asked about a text message received by several media representatives here informing that Utusan Malaysia reporters were not allowed to cover the congress.

Rasuah Politik Disebalik “Wakil Bebas Mesra BN ”

Selama ini acapkali kita mendakwa wakil-wakil rakyat Pakatan Rakyat yang “melompat” dan bersekongkol dengan Umno-BN di atas nama ‘wakil bebas mesra BN’ diberikan ganjaran wang dan kontrak. Selama itulah mereka belum memberikan sebarang penafian tegas,sebaliknya berdolak dalih mengalih pandangan massa.

Kini kita telah memperoleh keterangan kukuh bahawa ahli Parlimen ditawar RM 2 juta dan ada juga yang mendapat kontrak Kerajaan berjuta ringgit nilainya.

Kami masih menunggu reaksi mereka sebelum mendedahkan maklumat kepada umum. Yang pasti,keterangan tersebut jelas menggemparkan dan akan membuktikan rasuah politik pimpinan Umno dan agen mereka.

Maklumat tersebut akan didedahkan kepada umum dalam tempoh terdekat inshaAllah.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Malaysia's Anwar in Stress, Under Fire

Image(Asia Sentinel) Defections, disorganization dog Malaysia's opposition party

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, under the stress of a long-running trial accusing him of sexual perversion, is under increasing strain as the point man for his Parti Keadilan Rakyat, or People's Justice Party as he continues to be harried politically as well.

"Some analysts would point out that Anwar has to get PKR's house in order," a think-tank analyst in Kuala Lumpur told Asia Sentinel. "There is growing frustration within Anwar's coalition and his own party." In particular, PKR has lost five members of parliament and five statehouse members to defections in the two years since the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition stunned the Barisan Nasional, or ruling national coalition by breaking its two-thirds hold on parliament. By contrast, Parti Islam se-Malaysia and the Democratic Action Party have only lost one each.

With a number of PKR state assemblymen now wavering and clearly considering defecting, it is possible that the opposition coalition could lose the states of Selangor and Kedah, which they won in the 2008 election. The state of Perak has already been reclaimed by the Barisan although critics say it was through skullduggery rather than legitimate political action.

"Because it is Anwar's party, Keadilan was supposed to be the anchor, but it has been weak from the very start," said a source in Kuala Lumpur. Parti Keadilan is largely made up of young, urban professional ethnic Malays.

"The problem is that Keadilan, like Anwar himself, are mostly ex-members of (the United Malays National Organization) and a lot of them are in there for a quick buck – like Umno itself, I guess. Anwar is bogged down with his legal sodomy case-but more importantly, there is a loss of confidence in his leadership."

What should have given a wakeup call to both Anwar and his colleagues in the opposition Democratic Action Party, which is largely ethnic Chinese, was an announcement earlier this week that Parti Islam se-Malaysia the fundamentalist Islamic party with its roots in the rural northeast, will take in non-Muslim members and even allow them to stand as PAS electoral candidates.

As Asia Sentinel first reported last November, it is PAS that is capitalizing on the situation, rather than the Barisan Nasional, or ruling national coalition. Despite defections, the opposition coalition has won eight of 11 by-elections since the March 2008 general election. The latest was in Sarawak on May 16 when, despite three visits by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and a cornucopia of educational goodies, voters again turned away from the Barisan, an indication that the Barisan and particularly UMNO continues to suffer from perceptions of corruption and political favoritism to cronies.

PAS's latest move, announced last week, was to allow members of its Supporters Club to become full members of the Islamic party, with the right to attend annual meetings as delegates. The Supporters Club has some 20,000 members, almost all of them Chinese, who have turned away from the Barisan Nasional. According to the think tank source in Kuala Lumpur, PAS may have more Chinese voters than the DAP

The Chinese, says the source, -- an ethnic Chinese as well -- are comfortable with PAS despite the Islamic party's emphasis on fundamentalist Islam because, unlike the Barisan and particularly UMNO, PAS has no designs on the Chinese business community's ownership of the economic sinews of the country. The country's New Economic Policy, in place for four decades, has been designed to transfer as much as 30 percent of the economic activity of the country to ethnic Malays.

"The proof is that we recognize supporters as our official party wing," PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang told his party's newspaper Harakah Daily. The Islamic party has already placed a non-Muslim in a Terengganu constituency to contest as a PAS candidate.

"Whether this is for real or a political gambit, it is hard to say," the analyst said. "But it does suggest PAS is going after the Chinese vote."

That isn't to say there won't be tension. There are plenty of Islamic firebrands in PAS who detest Chinese dietary freedom – to eat pork and drink beer, for instance -- and lack of discretion in dress for women. There have been attempts by PAS to limit beer sales in some communities. Nonetheless, the source said, PAS may have even wider resonance among voters than the Chinese-oriented Democratic Action Party, another leg of the opposition coalition.

In the meantime, Anwar and Parti Keadilan have come under constant criticism for the quality of the candidates they have fielded and for disorganization and political infighting in the party itself. Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, among others, have urged Anwar to look into the weaknesses in his party that have caused the defections. Anwar has repeatedly spoken of the need to find better candidates.

Anwar has been under a cloud since June of 2008, when a then-24-year-old former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, filed charges accusing the 62-year-old opposition leader of forcible sodomy. Sodomy in Malaysia is punishable by caning and up to 20 years in prison. The charges have since been reduced from forcible rape to consensual sex, which is still illegal under Malaysian law. The trial has droned on in a Kuala Lumpur courtroom for months, with Anwar's lawyers seeking delay after delay that has frustrated his followers, a growing number of whom say the trial so far appears to have been conducted on its merits rather than the previous sodomy charges brought against him in 1998 that put him behind bars for six years.