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Monday, May 31, 2010

Kapar MP reveals video of 'sand thieves'

by Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT ALERT KAPAR: Kapar MP S Manikavasagam today released a video recording of alleged illegal sand mining operations in Rasa, Hulu Selangor.

The footage was taken by former Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) contractor Zahar Rusuli.

It showed KSSB officials and Hulu Selangor Land Office officials present at the site.

A worker at the site admitted that almost 500 lorries had transported sand for two weeks between December and January without being issued dockets.

Manikavasagam has accused Selangor-owned sand mining company KSSB of corrupt practice.

The matter is coming up for hearing before the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability & Transparency (Selcat) later this week.

Jeffrey volunteers to quit PKR 'for Sabahans'

By Luke Rintod - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT EXCLUSIVE KOTA KINABALU: PKR vice-president Jeffery Kitingan is keeping his options open on his place in the opposition party.
"If it is in the best interest of Sabah and Sabahans" he would leave the party without hesitation, the maverick politician said in an interview with FMT over the weekend.
In a sign that he is in two minds about his situation, PKR's top man for Sabah and Sarawak, did not attend the PKR annual congress in Kota Baru, Kelantan, which ended yesterday.
Jeffrey, instead attended the state-level harvest festival celebrations at the Hongkod Koisaan (headquarters of the powerful Kadazandusun Cultural Association) in Penampang near here on Sunday.
The younger brother of Sabah deputy chief minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Jeffrey was seen mingling with thousands of Kadazandusuns, Muruts and members of other communities who attended the two-day celebration which ends today.
In the exclusive interview, Jeffrey made known that he preferred to be linked to a Sabah-based political party but, thus far, PKR is his best option.
The following are excerpts from the interview:
FMT: There is this talk you will be leaving PKR, what is your comment?
If it is the wish of the majority, I will volunteer (to leave PKR).
If it is the wish of the minority?
If not (majority) then there is nothing that can be done at the moment, but to stay in PKR, lie-low like in the just concluded Sibu by-election.
What is your assessment of the situation in East Malaysia, in particular Sabah's politics?
The idea is to empower the two states and not take over power from them like what is being perceived by the people right now about the BN … and PKR too. By empowering Sabah and Sarawak, we are empowering the nation. We are reducing the burden of the central leaders.
Are you saying that PKR and Umno have failed to empower the two states in managing their own affairs?
If I speak as a party man, I will be biased. I'm talking as observant independent leader and I think what we have is mostly in name only. For instance on power of immigration, in name, yes, Sabah has that power, but look who is running the immigration for Sabah?
Likewise on the Federal Development Fund for Sabah, the fund should be left to the state to utilise but what is happening is they (federal leaders and officers) are managing it for Sabah. This is not empowering. In other areas, similar things happen. In politics, in party politics.
There have been calls for you to register a new party in Sabah. They, the federal government that is, won't allow it to be registered.
If indeed one day you leave PKR, what will be your options?
We have to work with groups of people, not in an isolation. There must be a way … options. I can work with the immediate viability.
Timing of meeting slammed
In another development, a Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice-president Herbert Timbon Lagadan criticised the timing of the PKR congress which coincided with the harvest festival celebrations.
He said this was an affront to local leaders in Sabah and Sarawak as the party leaders should have realised that Kaamatan and Gawai celebrations would be on at the same time.
"This act of holding the annual congress during Kaamatan and Gawai celebrations speaks volumes of PKR leaders' hegemony towards the people in East Malaysia especially the Kadazandusuns and Dayaks," he told FMT.
PBS is led by Joseph Pairin, who has denied trying to influence his younger brother to rejoin PBS to ensure the Kitingan legacy.
The PBS chief is also the 'Huguan Siou' or the paramount leader of the Kadazandusun community, a position he has held since 1984.

Court to revisit 'sodomy' condo

KUALA LUMPUR:The High Court, which is hearing Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case, is set to revisit the Desa Damansara condominium here following a request by the defence team.
Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan has claimed that it was in this condiminium that the opposition leader had allegedly sodomised him.

The visit will take place as soon as the prosecution team manages to secure the keys to the condominium from the owner who is believed to be in Perak today. Lawyers believe the visit can taka place tomorrow.
Earlier, Saiful was grilled by Anwar's counsel Karpal Singh on his family background.
He told the court that his parents separated when he was in Standard One. He was also quizzed on his sister, who had allegedly followed a man to Thailand to get married.
Karpal also requested the prosecution to furnish a copy of the witnesses' list, saying the defence could not contact the owner of the condominium.
“We need the prosecution's assistance. I am certain that he (the owner) will be called (to take the stand,” he said.
Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, who is leading the prosecution team, said he only found out the application for the witnesses' list today.
Meanwhile, Anwar told the court that the owner was scared.
In a related development, the High Court quashed Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's application to set aside the judgment in default entered against him pertaining to a RM100 million defamation suit filed by Anwar.
Anwar, in his suit filed last year, had accused Khairy of uttering defamotary words with regards to his alleged sexual preferrence.
He claimed that the Umno Youth leader's statement gave the impression that Anwar was not a good Muslim and indulged in sexual deviancy.

BN fails in economy reforms, time for snap polls

By Charles Santiago - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT The twisted reality of Umno leaders has not changed. And neither has the government's penchant for turning propaganda into political reality waned.
This is evident in the recent statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala who said that Malaysia would be a bankrupt nation in another nine years if not for subsidy cuts.
This clearly indicates that the ruling Barisan Nasional government has lost all legitimacy to lead the country following its admission that its economic model has failed.
And in a radical contrast to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's rhetoric of putting the people first, subsidy cuts are the preferred choice to avoid bankruptcy.
There has not been a whimper about institutional changes to improve efficiency in government spending, reduce corruption, downscale wastage or promote a transparent and accountable government.
Discussions focusing on reducing military spending without jeopardising security, the streamlining of unnecessary projects and right-sizing of the civil service are also yet to happen.
Instead a feckless decision for subsidy cuts on controlled items like fuel, sugar, flour and cooking oil including an increase in toll prices have been proposed despite concerns that it would have an adverse impact on the poor and fixed income earners.
Idris has provided political legitimacy for the subsidy cuts. In an SMS poll conducted by the government, 61 percent of the 191,592 respondents supported the subsidy reduction while another 66 percent suggested that the subsidy phase-out should be implemented between three and five years.
The legitimacy of the SMS poll needs further scrutiny. This is because the online news portal, Malaysiakini, recorded 222 comments in a couple of hours on this issue. And it is important to note that about 97 per cent of the comments were highly critical of the government’s management of finances and economy.
These comments clearly show that a significant segment of the population is unhappy with the proposed subsidy cuts despite spin doctoring by the local media.
The mainstream media argued that the country has no choice but to bite the bullet for the sake of future generations. The print media ran stories of individuals and representatives of business supporting the measures as necessary while cautioning political consequences.
The business media reported that the proposed subsidy cuts for controlled items like sugar, flour and cooking oil would not burden the poor as it would be implemented in stages.
The business community and economists argued that the controlled goods are not major items in a household budget but cautioned on the knock-on effect on other items which could prompt prices to inflate.
They also say that the impact of these cuts could be managed as it does not lead to a major adjustment.
The consumer and trade unions welcomed the move but cautioned on the impact on the poor and workers with a fixed income.
In short, the media and corporations have cooperated with the government as a smart play for their career advancement.
Why aren’t the front-burner questions being asked?
The minister argued that high levels of debt (RM362 billion and growing) and unsustainable levels of subsidies (RM74 billion a year) have created a financial hole in the economic management of the country.
At present, the Malaysian economy is faced with an estimated fiscal deficit of RM47 billion. This suggests government’s total expenditures exceed the revenue that it generates, suggesting a living beyond your means scenario.
This has been the case since the last 12 years.
And if government debt continues to pile up at the current rate of 12 percent per year, in another nine years (2019) national debt will equal to GDP.
Thus, the solution offered to mitigate financial collapse of the nation is to eliminate subsidies.
Specifically, subsidies for petrol, cooking oil, flour, sugar, gas and electricity are to be phased out. Also, toll rates are to be increased together with an increase in health care, combined with cuts in tuition subsidy and text book loans for rich students.
In this scheme, the government would save RM103 billion in the next five years which will be used to pay off national debt. An important caveat to this effort is that subsidy cuts should be implemented immediately.
Put simply, these cuts would bail-out the economy from a debt crisis, financial collapse and bankruptcy.
But let's go through a checklist:
• What no commentator mentioned was that Barisan Nasional's 53 years of economic management has resulted in a failure. In 1960, 70’and 80’s Malaysia was an envy of the developing world. At present, we are competing with the likes of Vietnam.
• If Malaysia is truly considerd Malaysia Inc, and if a company is confronted with debt and loses together with the potential for bankruptcy in nine years, then stake holders will demand for a new management team to take over.
• The Malaysian economic model tinkering with neo-liberal free market has been a failure. Large scale transfer of public wealth to private hands has come to a naught.
• Malaysia was to attain a developed nation status in 2020 but might face bankruptcy instead.
• The computer simulations predicting marginal price increase is faulty. The government’s Subsidy Rationalisation Lab suggests that an increase of 15 percent in gas prices would result in one to four sen’s increase in the prices of roti canai, nasi lemak, teh tarik and mee goreng.
Back door deals
The government’s simulation model has not factored-in the nature and history of price increases in the country. Also, the simulators must have forgotten that prices of cooking oil, flour and sugar including fuel would be increasing at the same time.
It is important to note that the IMF and World Bank got it wrong in many countries. Failure stories in Indonesia, the Philippines, Africa and Russia call into question our continuing reliance on the Bretton Woods institutions approach to structural adjustment.
• Are pro-market analysts in the driver’s seat?
• What are the implications on the quality of life of working women and men with increases in prices from GST and subsidy cuts.
I am verbalising the questions that linger in the minds of most Malaysians who have lost confidence in a government which has carelessly dismissed efforts at institutional changes to promote transparency and good governance.
The government's back door deals and aversion to economic reforms has sapped the nation's ability to address serious issues in a durable manner.
It is asking the people, especially the poor, to sacrifice but at the same time continues to dish out contracts to the rich in a non-transparent manner suggesting that the political-business link is alive and kicking in the country. .
Its clumsy plans for subsidy slashes clearly reflect the government's lack of attempts at future reforms. Furthermore, shocking the population into submission with the view to accepting subsidy cuts will not be tolerated by a discerning population.
If the Chief Executive Officer of Sime Darby was asked to step down after it was discovered that there was an over run of RM 1.6 billion, the same principle should apply to the Barisan Nasional government.
As such, I call on the government to dissolve parliament and hold a snap election as it has failed the nation and its people.
Charles Santiago is DAP's MP for Klang.

Umno wiping us out, claim Orang Asli

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today
KOTA BARU: The Orang Asli community in the peninsula are fighting back. After more than 50 years of what they described as suppression, they are demanding that they be seen, heard and acknowledged.
Said Ramly Lugan, from the Pahang Orang Asli community: “We have been ignored. Umno doesn't want us to exist.
"In the peninsula, Umno says our population is 150,000. That was the figure 10 years ago. The records have shown no change. We are still 150,000.
"Our population has not even increased one percent. Don't you think it is strange?
"This is Umno's strategy. It is trying to say that the [population of the] Orang Asli is dropping. But this is untrue.
"Umno wants to wipe us out, it's ethnic cleansing," he told FMT on the sideline of the PKR's sixth national convention, which ended yesterday.
He said the community “doesn’t even exist in government forms”.
“Umno has been 'Islamising' our race. I do not blame our people for embracing Islam. But do not force or delude us.
“For example, in every government form, there is a category for Malay, Chinese and Indian. There is none for Orang Asli. They call us 'lain-lain'.
“If we convert to Islam, then we become Malay.
“The more Malays there are, the fewer our Orang Asli population. We feel all this is ethnic cleansing,” he said.
'Government stealing our land'
Lugan was part of a contingent of Orang Asli who were invited as delegates to the PKR convention here.
It was a historic moment for the Orang Asli as no political party in the past had invited them to participate in nation building.
The three-day convention was an eye-opener for this community which has benefited the least from the country’s rapid development.
“We have met many people here and heard many views. It was good for us,” Lugan said, adding that the community will be organising its first convention in June.
“We hope to gather 5,000 natives from all over Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak.
“The convention will be held in Pekan, Pahang. We chose Pekan because we want Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to hear our cry.
"We want him to know that we have lived like slaves and refugees for 50 years. We want out life and land back,” he said.
Lugan was referring to land being repossessed by the state and federal governments for logging projects and smallholdings.
“There is a lot of confusion here... Umno tells us the land we have been cultivating since our great grandfathers’ time is not ours.
“The party says it belong to the Jabatan Perhilitan [Department of Wildlife and National Park]. I don’t understand this.
“I want to ask the government: if it is willing to eliminate the forest for timber, why can’t it let us cultivate our plots?”Lugan described the government’s move of taking away their land as “stealing”.
“The government said Tanam Semula Kelompok (commercial replanting) project will help us, but I don’t know how,” he said.
“The Department of Orang Asli Affairs gives us only RM1,000 a year. How can we live on that meagre sum?
“The government steals our land, removes our forest, and leaves us with no house, water, road or electricity. We have nothing…we have no education.
“In Rompin, there is an Orang Asli village called Kampung Sampah because it is a waste disposal site,” added Lugan.
“The kampung people dig through the waste looking for scrap iron to sell. Because this is a waste disposal site, the land is not fertile for crops.
‘But then who cares… we don’t exist!”

Whose interest does the UUCA serve?

 (© | Flickr)
AS an editor, I've sometimes had to remind journalists who merely copy and paste from a press release that they are paid to think, question, and make sense of the issues they are writing about. A journalist's role is not to be a stenographer. It's to be a public intellectual that interrogates the information in hand and helps connect the dots for readers.
I've been reminded about the roles individuals and institutions play in society because of the potential disciplinary action that Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) is about to mete out on four undergraduates. The students' offence? They allegedly campaigned in the Hulu Selangor by-election.
Here then is a question I'd like to ask our government and UKM. I'd also like the same question asked of any other university that thinks it is right that UKM is doing what it is doing as provided for under the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA). What role are universities meant to play? And by extension, what roles do our government and local university administrations expect university students and the university itself to play?
Centres of learning
I doubt that anyone would disagree that a university is a centre of learning. Historically, universities, which began in Europe, were communities of teachers and scholars. In a nutshell, the role of a university is to promote learning. And learning best occurs when thinking, querying and the testing of ideas takes place.
As pedantic as that sounds, I believe Malaysians need to revisit the question of what role universities are meant to play in light of the UKM issue. After all, UKM is not the first nor will it be the last Malaysian university which will invoke the UUCA in reining in students from the brink of thinking and participating in public and political life.

Aren't religions equal in Malaysia?
The People Speak! | Flickr)
Indeed, when I was an undergraduate in Universiti Malaya 20 years ago, we experienced the same oppressive controls over thinking made possible by restrictive and ill-formed laws such as the UUCA. I remember how as orientation week helpers, a group of Christian seniors approached the student affairs department in 1991. We wanted to request for Christian freshies to have time off to attend church during the week-long orientation. After all, Muslim undergraduates were allowed time to pray five times a day. The department head's response? "Who put you up to this? It must be external agents instigating you."
I can't remember if we were more flabbergasted or insulted. To be certain, that wasn't the only instance that students in my graduating year experienced pressure from the university authorities to conform, follow the rules, and not question. In another instance, a faculty mate faced tremendous challenges when trying to get approval for a human rights exhibition on campus.
And so, nothing much has changed in the past 20 years. At least not in terms of the authorities' ideas about how a university should be run and how they will, or rather will not, cultivate critical centres of learning.
What was the crime?
The main entrance into UKM's campus (source: Wiki Commons)
After all, how was it a crime or even offensive that the four final-year political science students from UKM were interested enough to go to the ground to understand the country's politics and political process? How is it offensive for undergraduates, no matter their faith, to legitimately ask for time to pray during a university-organised week-long orientation programme? How is it wrong for students to be aware of violations and to want to raise consciousness about human rights among the student body?
It can only be offensive and criminal if university administrators don't believe that university students should be thinking, enquiring and acting in tandem with their conscience as citizens.
To be certain, it's not just university administrators such as UKM's vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin whose positions need to be interrogated. Ultimately, the people most responsible for this state of affairs in universities are those in government who refuse to review and dismantle the UUCA. To have a sense of how anti-democratic and anti-thinking the UUCA is, consider this: If found guilty, the four students can either be expelled or suspended for exercising their democratic right to associate and express.
Who's speaking up?
It is for that reason that both Pakatan Rakyat and MCA leaders have called on UKM to desist from taking any action. These parties, including Gerakan, have also called on the government to either review or completely dismantle the UUCA because they understand how detrimental the law is in encouraging young citizens to think and exercise their rights in a democracy.

Mohamed Khaled Nordin
Conversely, it was the Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, from Umno, who warned university students that the UUCA would be used against them if they were in Hulu Selangor during the by-election campaign.
What I find really curious is this. How does the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government expect the nation to embark on creativity and innovation if university students are not allowed to think, engage and explore beyond their classrooms? How does the government expect the nation to achieve Vision 2020's goal of being a fully developed country in 10 years if university students are not allowed to mature in their thinking and perspectives? How can we even imagine that Malaysia will experience a brain gain, instead of the current brain drain, if universities cannot and will not create spaces for learning, independent thought and enquiry?

Brain drain (© Nick Choo) 

I think it's timely to ask our Umno-led government what role they think universities are meant to play in the nation's interest if not to cultivate thinking, learning, experimentation and questioning.
From the evidence, it is clear that the UUCA prevents universities in Malaysia from playing that role. Indeed, the UUCA was clearly formulated in the early 1970s by the same BN government as a way to curb student organisations that were vocal in holding government and power accountable.
How then can the UUCA be in the nation's interest? And how can any government, politician, political party or university administrator, who supports the UUCA and its use, be acting in the nation's interest? Indeed, it is obvious just who is sabotaging Malaysia's potential and abilities to become a developed, mature and competitive nation.

Re: Idris Jala: M’sia must cut subsidies, debt by 2019 or risk bankruptcy

by Sara Wak

Dear YB Idris Jala and Koh Tsu Koon,

For the last many years, the BN Govt has been handing big ang pows to the rich Malays who are given APs, and it has been said by the BN Govt that this practice will go on until 2013 0r even 2014!

Why can’t the Govt control the issue of APs to people who want to import cars? The govt can collect RM30,000 to RM40,000 on each important cars. Why must the BN Govt decides to pass the right to collect these payments to only a handful of rich Malays?

How many APs are issued to these rich Malays a year ? Like what Rafidah did when she was minister , in giving APs and shares to her relatives?

The Malaysian Economy has deteriorated so much for the last decade because of all these handouts to the UMNO cronies. Malaysia was ahead of Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, and look at it now, it is even behind countries like Thailand, Vietnam and others in Asia !

I am sure that both you intelligent Ministers know too well why it is like that .

The Malays are treated just like the Aborigines who have been given handouts by the Australian Govt and look at them now, what state are they in ? They never improve, and actually falling more behind.

If the 2 of you are serious about improving Malaysian economy, get rid of Corruption, Nepotism and Cronyism!

Look at Sarawak in the last 25 years, what happened?

Sarawak was the richest state with plenty of Timber, oil and gas, and may I ask how much reserves/deposits the state government have?

Not only does it not have any money in its state coffers, it owes many banks billions of RM!

Why? Do you know?

Is this why Sarawak joined Malaysia ? So that the people can continue to become poor so that a few people at the top MISMANAGED the state and pocket the state’s money into their own, those of the their families and cronies ? Only a handful of Sarawakians benefit from what they have been doing ?

They are supposed to be servants of the people, but they become the masters of the people!

If both of you have any conscience, act now for the people. Do not pay lip service only and make the BN elite richer!

Feel your hearts, and use your heads please. Look at what majority of the plight of the Malaysians, instead of just serving the elite few.

We all know why Gerakan was defeated so badly in the 2008 elections and even Dr Koh lost his seat. Well, he managed to get into the Government by virtue of being appointed a Senator !
Has he not learned what he and his party was voted out after so many years in power ? I do not need to tell him at all.

Yet, what is he doing for the people now? Do you think Gerakan will be able to get their seats back from PR? If this continue, I think Gerakan and many Chinese BN parties will die a natural death !

During the Sibu by-election, Wong Soon Koh of SUPP publicly stated that hundreds of thousands of Malaysians migrated overseas because of the Opposition’s policies. I just wish he can go and talk to those who actually migrated, including the Malays, and see what they say, and do not just dream about it, or just lie to the people who may not be very knowledgeable or uneducated ! I feel Very sad and disgusted indeed that we have this sort of people as ministers !

How much has Sarawak invested in 1st Silicon and Borneo paper & Pulp projects and how much has the state profited or lost in them? How much did Sarawak borrowed and how much still remain unpaid?
How much loan interest has the state paid so far since those projects started and how much more is it expected to pay in the future?

Do you know? The people of Sarawak definitely do not know ! Is this what we call transparent Govt. Do all the monies that the State Govt has paid and continue to pay belong to just the CM and his ministers or do they belong to the people? If they belong to the people, why is it that the Sarawak people do not the info relating to how much has been spent and how much more will be spent?

If this is the type of politicians and ministers we have, Malaysia is doomed to fall and fall hard!

I just hope that the Chinese, the Natives of various states and even the poor Malays will wake up and see what they can do in the next elections. They should vote only for the people who can be their servants and not their masters.

If the 2 of you continue to pay lip service to UMNO instead of working of the good of Malaysians, I suggest that it is better for both of you to retire instead of doing more harm to Malaysians by supporting BN!

Good Luck to the 2 of you ! And thank you if you care to have read what I have written as a simple Malaysian who has no political connections at all, just like Dato Seri Idris Jala who does not belong to any political party.

High Cost Of Expanding 'Rice Bowls' May Lead To Rice Imports

CHANGLUN, May 31 (Bernama) -- Malaysia may continue to import rice if the cost of expanding the 'Rice Bowl' areas in the country is higher than the cost of importing the commodity.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum said currently, the country was importing 30 per cent of the rice needs and the government was studying from the various aspects whether imports would be continued or otherwise.

"We are studying whether to produce 100 per cent of our rice consumption or to continue importing 30 per cent of the national consumption," he told reporters after closing the Kedah Regional Development Authority (KEDA) Meeting the Clients Day programme at Napoh, here Sunday.

At the moment, he said, emphasis would be given to efforts at upgrading the areas under the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) to produce better quality padi.

"Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, the ministry is allocating RM140 million to upgrade the areas under MADA. It includes giving compensation to residents because the rivers and canals in the MADA area are located on their land," he said.

Meanwhile, Johari, who is also the member of parliament for Kubang Pasu, said KEDA would build a 'Rest and Service Area' (RSA) at Keda Napoh to enable visitors to the area to rest as there was no rest area there currently.

The project, costing about RM5 million, would be implemented in June and expected to be ready next year, he added.

Samy: It’s Wesak, not WeSack day

By Nathaniel Tan,

Sec-Gen S. Murugesan latest to bite the dust.
For my money, Samy won’t last more than a few months perhaps. He’s already hinting at ‘other official duties’, which sounds like an Ambassadorship and so on.
His son Vell Paari in the end had to tuck his tail between his legs and be subservient to Master Umno, as expected – apologising for accusing them of being behind GAS.
If you ask me, there’s no way Umno is not involved in this at some level.
Anyway, just a short post for now – couldn’t resist the title, inspired by a @JuneWow tweet, who has perhaps capitalised on the best image for GAS imaginable :)

Gas Rally

Anwar dares Umno to call him a liar

Zulkifeli new army chief. Another Lt Col K.Thanabalasingam can never becoming Navy Chief.


Zulkifeli new army chief. Another Lt Col K.Thanabalasingam can never becoming Navy Chief.
(See NST 21/5/10 at page 14) Collin Powell a black was the U.S army chief and then Chief of Staff.
Barack Husein Obama a black (muslim) can even become the President of the USA.
But in UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Malaysia an Indian cannot even become a Post Master of a headmaster of even a national primary school.
Why the omission to speak up on these level of racism by even the so called multi-racial PKR, DAP, PAS, Malaysiakini, NGOs, bloggers and the Indian elite?
Zulkifeli new army chief

Gas failed to explode

Mugilan claims sabotage but insists GAS is a success

Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) leader V. Mugilan claimed its washout gathering today was the result of sabotage by the MIC president — Picture by Yow Hong Chieh
KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) leader V. Mugilan claimed its washout gathering today was the result of sabotage by the MIC president that they want to oust.

“If it’s not because of sabotage, we would have 20,000 people here today,” said the sacked MIC Youth deputy chief before some 4,000 strong supporters at the Mines Convention Centre here.

The gathering was held to put pressure on Datuk Seri Samy Vellu to step down earlier than his September 2011 deadline. GAS blame the loss of Indian support towards MIC on Samy, who has been president for 31 years.

While insisting that the gathering was still a success, Mugilan alleged one of its leader had been abducted and that Samy Vellu had spent close to RM5 million to prevent MIC members from attending.

“One of our leaders has been abducted. He went missing, I don’t know what had happened to him,” he said.

Organisers of today’s gathering also blamed the poor turnout on the eleventh hour venue change.

Today’s protest was to have been held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) but was switched to the Mines after the PWTC management cancelled the original booking, causing confusion among potential protesters, said Mugilan.

“Imagine if we had held this gathering at PWTC. Mampus! (Samy Vellu is finished!),” he said to a thunderous applause.

The former MIC leader, however, said GAS has persevered albeit the “death threats” and “intimidation” which he said was a sign and the dawn of a movement that will not rest until Samy Vellu is ousted.

“Samy is a liability to Barisan Nasional and the government. His son, Vel Paari, blamed Umno for the lost of support among the Indians towards BN but I tell him, it’s not them, it’s Samy Vellu,” said Mugilan in his speech.

Umno, the lynchpin in BN, is often used by Mugilan as campaign fodder against Samy Vellu. This has led to accusations that GAS is bankrolled by the Malay party.

Its leaders denied but it is an open secret that many of Umno’s top leaders believe Samy Vellu is a liability to the ruling coalition and want him out of MIC.

This was reflected at the recent Hulu Selangor by-election where Samy Vellu was told to stay away from campaigning trails despite having an MIC candidate contesting.

Mugilan repeatedly echoed Umno’s denial in his speech. He even swore on a Hindu holy book, Thirukkural, that he is not working for Umno or any other parties.

“I am fighting for the Indians, for you, for the truth,” said the young leader while pointing to the crowd.

As expected, the gathering became a Samy Vellu-bashing session with several former MIC leaders taking turns to take the stomp and launch vitriols against the MIC president.

Datuk VL Kandan, the younger brother of former MIC president Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam whom Samy Vellu took over from, said the latter was no longer wanted by not just the Indians, but Malaysians in general.

“The Malays, Chinese and Indians all want to see him go. Everyone wants to see him go except his son and his people in the party’s central working committee (CWC)”.

Another leader, influential MIC figure and former CWC member Datuk V. Govindaraju, a mentor to Samy Vellu, said he had lied and done many “sinful things” for his political apprentice.

“I feel sorry. I apologise to the Indian community as a whole... and [to] the nation,” he said.

Govindaraju was expelled from the party in 2007 for asking Samy Vellu to step down.

KP Samy, another former CWC member sacked by the MIC president alongside Mugilan, also joined in the chorus and accused Samy Vellu of being the cause of the Indian community’s downfall.

Mugilan in concluding his speech said he will launch a petition campaign to get 500,000 signatures against his former boss.

At the same time he urged BN’s top leadership to help the Indian party rid it off Samy Vellu.

“Which one do you want. The Indian community or Samy Vellu?” he asked.

Anwar promises to restructure PKR

By B Nantha Kumar and Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA BHARU: Anwar Ibrahim has promised to make changes to the leadership at all levels to consolidate PKR's strength in the party's march forward.
The PKR supremo said the reshuffle will be carried out in the immediate future in response to the issues raised by delegates during the party's sixth national congress which ended this evening.
"The restructuring will be done immediately. It will bring together the experience of the seniors and the vibrancy of the young.

"The changes in leadership will be done across the board from the top to bottom. People who don't work should leave the party," he said.

Anwar also addressed the requests made by PKR's Youth wing.

"I noticed that PKR Youth and the Women's wing were highly visible in the congress this time. We will include both these groups in the central leadership line-up," he said in his speech.

Expressing satisfaction with the maturity and quality of the debates, he said: "I have been watching the congress since 2004, the issues raised and the level of maturity among the delegates and in the debates is good."

"I want all the leaders sitting here on stage to go down to the ground and visit every division and meet our members," he added.

Anwar also touched on several motions raised by the Youth and Women's wing delegates.

Criticisms accepted with an open mind
On Selangor, the opposition leader said the leadership accepted the suggestions and criticisms against Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim with an open mind.

He said many changes have been carried out in the last two years in Selangor under Pakatan Rakyat's administration.

"Under BN (Barisan Nasional), the state was destroyed because the menteri besar's gluttony deprived the rakyat of their wealth.  

"When we took over we promised the people a clean government, free of corruption and abuse. Khalid has managed to achieve this," he said.

Anwar also said that he had noted the comments about the slowness in approving public projects in the state.

"I take note of the motion and will discuss this with the MB. I will ask him to expedite the approval of projects with the condition that it meets regulations," he said.

Eradicate subsidies for the rich
On the issue of subsidies, Anwar said: "From the beginning we have been saying that the deficit situation was becoming dangerous."

"What is normal is one or two years in deficit but when it enters five years, the 'orange effect' begins and seven years, it is the 'red effect' and we have had 12 consecutive years of this... the national economy has been destroyed under Umno-BN because of its leaders greed… 

"We are proposing three steps to repair the national economy – revoke subsidies issued to the rich, combat corruption and be thrifty – only after this should we ask the rakyat to sacrifice," he added.

GAS fails to explode, but organisers call it a blast

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

FULL REPORT Seri Kembangan: Although the turnout fell short of the 15,000 target, the organisers of the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) campaign, however, believe it was a success.
The campaign's central figure V Mugilan said they managed to muster a crowd of more than 3,000 despite the alleged underhand tactics used by MIC president S Samy Vellu.

He claimed that the veteran politician spent about RM5 million to thwart the campaign.

"GAS has succeeded. Although many of our supporters were held up, this programme has been successful in pressuring Samy Vellu to step down,” he said.
Describing Samy Vellu as a liability, Mugilan said GAS will give him one week to relinquish his post.

The sacked former MIC Youth deputy chief also alleged that one of the campaign's leaders had gone missing, suggesting that he could have been "kidnapped".

Mugilan told FMT that he would need to look for the unnammed leader, who he said was tasked with the important job of bringing 5,000 people from the northern states, before lodging a police report.

"Buses from Kedah, Perak, Penang and Johor were stopped from coming here. People were waiting around for buses that did not come.

“They have used every possible tactic to stop this. But we are happy that we suceeded despite the odds," he said, adding that one person “was even bribed RM20,000.”

He claimed that if the rally was held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) as planned, the crowd would have been bigger.

Lunch, money and tour?
His detractors however claimed that many of those who attended the event were paid RM50, given lunch and promised a tour of Kuala Lumpur.

A more startling allegation was that a sizeable number of Indian nationals were also present but this could not be verified.

Mugilan also plans to launch a signature drive for all MIC members to prove that the majority of them want Samy Vellu out.

Among the notable figures at the event were sacked Central Working Committee (CWC) members KP Samy and G Kumar Amman, PJ Selatan division chief V. Subramaniam or Barat Maniam, MIC veteran G Govindarajoo and former MIED chief executive officer P Chitirakala.

Sandal incident causes a stir
During the event, which kicked off at 2.45pm, an elderly man caused a stir when he attached his sandal to a broomstick and started hitting a photograph of Samy Vellu.

WP Velugopal, 62, said that he did so because "Samy Vellu was a corrupt leader".

"He cheated the government, he is a fake," thundered the senior citizen, who claimed that he was shortchanged by the president and has the evidence to prove it.

Mugilan later distanced himself from the incident, saying that it was the act of a frustrated individual and this was not part of the Indian culture.

Meanwhile, Govindarajoo, in his speech, urged Samy Vellu to step down and apologised to the Indian community for bringing the latter into politics.

"MIC has gone down the drain because of one fool," he added.

On the other hand, Chitirakala vowed to do all in her power to oust Samy Vellu, saying that she was the victim while he was the villian.

'Secret document' inked by Dr M
Earlier, V L Kanthan, the brother of former party president V Manickavasagam told the crowd that Manickavasagam never pressured previous party president VT Sambanthan to step down as alleged by Samy Vellu.

He said it was Samy Vellu, who was then the Youth chief, who launched a campaign to kick Sambanthan out, and now history is repeating itself.

Speaking to reporters after his speech, Barat Maniam showed the media a "secret document" that he  claimed was signed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad affirming that MIED was set up for the Indian community and that Samy Vellu had no right to "steal" it.

Rebel MIC sec-gen fired

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president S Samy Vellu has fired S Murugesan as the party's secretary-general with immediate effect.

He has been replaced with Negeri Sembilan MIC chief T Rajagobalu.

Murugesan, who was appointed by the president, had irked Samy Vellu after he openly criticised the latter for using his presidential powers to sack four party members.

In an immediate response, Murugesan told FMT that it is the president's prerogative to appoint and sack the secretary-general.

"I stood up for what I believed in, I stood up for the party and its members.
"I was ready to face the consequences and this (his removal) is the consequence," he said.

“I would also like to thank the president for allowing me to contest for the Subang parliamentary seat (in the 2008 general election) and to serve the party as secretary-general.

“I still stand by what I said,” he added.

'I will continue to serve the party'

Murugesan also said that his removal from the post would not discourage him from serving MIC in his capacity as a Central Working Committee (CWC) member.

“I would also like to congratulate Rajagobalu on his appointment and wish him all the best,” he added.

Yesterday, Samy Vellu said  Murugesan should have defended the party in a time of crisis.
Murugesan had disagreed with the president's decision to axe former MIC Youth deputy chief V Mugilan, CWC members KP Samy and G Kumar Amman and Petaling Jaya division chairman V Subramaniam.
The former secretary-general had stressed on the importance of tolerating dissent, saying that invoking the presidential powers to sack a member should be the last and not first option.
Meanwhile, Samy Vellu has appointed state assemblyman V Mogan as the new Negeri Sembilan MIC chief and A Ganesan as his deputy.

Zaid to PKR: Don't fall for Umno's 'racial' trap

By Fazy Sahir  - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA BHARU: Pakatan Rakyat troubleshooter Zaid Ibrahim today warned PKR not to be trapped by Umno’s racial politics.
He said PKR was not a race-based enity and unlike Umno their struggle was far from racial.
“We represent everyone. Don’t be trapped by Umno's propaganda,” he said during the roundup session of the sixth national PKR convention here today.

The PKR supreme council member was commenting on PKR Youth's motion to have a special congress to discuss issues affecting the Malay race.

“I welcome the suggestion but don’t get trapped into questions involving race. We are not a race based party. We represent all races.” he said.

Between the rich and poor
According to him, the principle issue now was not Malay politics but the struggle for global economy. 

“As such I hope PKR will defend its core struggle for all Malaysians. The problem is not Malay politics but the politics involving rich people and ordinary folk… this is the real politics,” he said.

“If you want to hold a congress like that, then we also need a congresses for Felda, Orang Asli, Iban and the poor in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

“Don’t follow the Umno model of following the food line… they love to eat… and don’t bother with the rest,” he said tongue-in-cheek.

I am a certified subject of the Sultan of Selangor

I am the eleventh generation from the Yamtuan Muda Riau of the Johor-Riau Empire that also ruled over Selangor. And the crest and certificate below proves that I was a subject of the Sultan of Selangor before Selangor joined the other states to form the Federation of Malaya in 1957.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Government should revoke the citizenship of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, Cheras Umno division chairman Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee said. He said the Government should revoke his citizenship as Raja Petra was no longer keen on staying here. Furthermore, his activities could affect peace in Malaysia, he said.

“Citizens who are not patriotic should not be given a place here. Raja Petra should be given appropriate punishment for what he has done,” he wrote in his blog

Earlier reports indicated that Raja Petra is now in Britain.

Syed Ali also urged the Government to carry out investigations on corporate figures and private sectors financing Raja Petra. “If the Government fails to do so, it might give an impression that there are insiders who are in cahoots with Raja Petra. It is strange that the Government is slow in taking action against Raja Petra.” – The Star


The Cheras Umno division chairman, Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee, has asked the government to revoke my citizenship. The Alhabshi family is originally from Ethiopia (Habsha in Arabic). So that makes him African and not Malay.

Now, maybe Syed Ali wants to know where my family came from.

Well, here goes. This is my family tree starting from the Yamtuan Muda Riau who was father to the First Sultan of Selangor.

1. Daeng Cellak ibni Daeng Rilaga, Yamtuan Muda Riau

2. His Highness Sultan Salehuddin Shah ibni al-Marhum Daeng Cellak (1st Sultan of Selangor)

3. His Highness Sultan Ibrahim Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Salehuddin Shah (2nd Sultan of Selagor)

4. His Highness Sultan Muhammed Shah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ibrahim Shah (3rd Sultan of Selangor)

5. His Highness Sultan Sir Abdul Samad Shah ibni Raja Abdullah ibni al-Marhum Sultan Ibrahim Shah (4th Sultan of Selangor)

6. His Highness Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah ibni Raja Muda Musa ibni al-Marhum Sultan Sir Abdul Samad Shah (5th Sultan of Selangor)

7. Tengku Badariah binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah

8. Raja Sir Tun Uda Al Haj Bin Raja Muhammad married Tengku Badariah Binti al-Marhum Sultan Ala'eddin Suleiman Shah

9. Raja Kamarudin Bin Raja Sir Tun Uda Al Haj (1 Jul 1925 - 4 Aug 1971) married Barbara Mabel Parnell @ Bariah Kamarudin (11 Feb 1933 - 5 Nov 1980)

10. Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin (27 Sep 1950)

So there you are. I am the eleventh generation from the Yamtuan Muda Riau of the Johor-Riau Empire that also ruled over Selangor. And the crest and certificate below proves that I was a subject of the Sultan of Selangor before Selangor joined the other states to form the Federation of Malaya in 1957.

According to the Federation Agreement that resulted in Selangor joining the Federation of Malaya, the government can’t revoke my citizenship. The Sultan of Selangor can, however, revoke my status as a subject of the Ruler of Selangor and if His Highness so wishes can also banish or exile me from the state of Selangor. Umno, however, can’t do a damn thing.

The crest above (our family crest) was given to my late father together with the certificate below by the late Sultan of Selangor and Second Agong of Malaysia.

Revoke my citizenship: is that a promise?

Raja Petra Kamarudin
The Government should revoke the citizenship of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin, Cheras Umno division chairman Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee said.
The Star
He said the Government should revoke his citizenship as Raja Petra was no longer keen on staying here.
Furthermore, his activities could affect peace in Malaysia, he said.
“Citizens who are not patriotic should not be given a place here. Raja Petra should be given appropriate punishment for what he has done,” he wrote in his blog
Earlier reports indicated that Raja Petra is now in Britain.
Syed Ali also urged the Govern­ment to carry out investigations on corporate figures and private sectors financing Raja Petra.
“If the Government fails to do so, it might give an impression that there are insiders who are in cahoots with Raja Petra. It is strange that the Government is slow in taking action against Raja Petra.”


The monthly Anti-ISA watch in London: A counter move to Malaysia’s image-polishing abroad

Tunku Abdul Rahman defined the purpose of the act as to “be used solely against the communists…My Cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent”.
By UK chapter of the Abolish ISA Movement
In recent months the Malaysian government has clearly been on an international campaign to spruce up its image abroad. London has been a focal point in the government’s glossy marketing strategy.
In January this year, Malaysian Ministers congregated in London to launch Malaysian Kitchen - a year long programme aimed at putting Malaysian food on the international map. Top celebrity chefs Rick Stein, Gordon Ramsay and Atul Kochar were roped in as Malaysian Kitchen official ambassadors.
In June, Malaysian Kitchen is due to make an appearance at the annual Taste of London food festival in Regent’s Park. In May this year, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen officiated at Malaysia’s maiden exhibition at the Chelsea Flower Show. Award winning garden designers James Wong and David Cubero were charged with creating a Malaysian tropical oasis and sourced over 50 tropical species from Sarawak, Pahang, Malacca and Johor.

photos taken by Danny Lim
This month, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was featured in an article in the Monocle - a global briefing covering international affairs, business, culture and design. The article featured the PM’s ‘comfortable’ but ‘not luxuriant’ official travel fleet that included 4 aeroplanes and 4 helicopters, one of them a customised 737 Boeing Business Jet.
Why the Malaysian PM  needs a fleet of 8 aircraft remains a mystery. A few weeks ago, the New York Times carried a two page coloured spread, ‘welcoming the First Lady of Malaysia, Her Excellency Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah Mansor’ to New York. In a similar fashion, the tired 1970’s looking Malaysian Tourism Office in Trafalgar Square has in the last month undergone an overhaul and makeover, soon to open its spanking new doors to the hum of ‘Malaysia, Truly Asia’.
In what might be seen as a further boon to the Malaysian government, Malaysia was successful a fortnight ago in its re-election bid to the United Nations Human Rights Council, alongside fellow human-rights champions Libya and Angola. All seems bright and cheery in Boleh-land.

However, whilst Malaysian Ministers are busy polishing Malaysia's image abroad, hobnobbing in London with celebrity chefs, getting into the Monocle and promoting Malaysia as a utopian paradise holiday destination, a group of London based Malaysians have in a counter move started a UK chapter of the Abolish ISA Movement (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA).
Inspired by Anti ISA demonstrations organised by GMI in Malaysia in August 2009 that drew a crowd of 40,000 concerned citizens onto the streets and the Bersih Clean and Free election campaign rally in November 2007 that drew over 60,000 people, AIM-UK has started a monthly anti-ISA watch outside the Malaysian Tourism Office in Trafalgar Square on the last Saturday of each month. This watch is aimed at reminding the Malaysian government that the world is watching, and that the global community has not forgotten their straight-jacket and muzzle heavy tactics.
The world has not forgotten that Malaysia Truly Asia Paradise and Gastronomical Heaven Extraordinaire has an ugly side when it comes to its track record on human rights and dealing with political dissent. The message to the Malaysian Government and Malaysian High Commission in the UK is simple – ‘If the Malaysian government cares about its international image, it must also care about its human rights record. If it wants the anti-ISA watch to stop having a negative impact on its international image – it must take definitive, affirmative action to clean up its human rights record by repealing the ISA, and it must do so now.’

The second anti-ISA watch this Saturday attracted Malaysians from all walks of life. Human rights activists, students, ex-ISA detainees, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, artists, Malaysians who had lived in London for 30 years, and some who were just passing through.
They brought banners and posters that read slogans such as ‘Stop detention without trial!’, ‘Malaysia- Stop Human Rights Abuses!’ and ‘ISA- a violation of human rights and civil liberties.’ They picketed with energy and enthusiasm on a busy corner of Trafalgar Square where tens of thousands of people pass each day.
Over 150 passers-by stopped to take information leaflets on the ISA, most of them curious to find out why the Malaysian tourism office was garnering so much attention. Many were shocked to learn of the flip side to Malaysia’s image spinners and the murky depths that often lie below Malaysia’s perceived turquoise clear waters.
The demonstrators were stopped by police once – but only for the police to enquire that all was running well and that they couldn’t provide the demonstrators with any assistance. Inspiring young artists and activists brought a new dimension to the demonstration by reciting ISA-inspired poetry and songs.

We need to remind ourselves and our fellow citizens that this year the Malaysian Internal Security Act celebrates its 50th birthday. And we need to remind the Malaysian government that since its inception, the ISA has been used with impunity as the government’s weapon of choice against more than 10,000 opposition politicians, human rights activists, journalists, bloggers and ordinary civilians. We need to remember that Malaysia’s founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, defined the purpose of the act as to “be used solely against the communists…My Cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silence lawful dissent”.
Subsequently, Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia’s third Prime Minister and late father of Malaysian’s current Home Minister, Hishammudin Hussein Onn, stated that the act should only be used with a view to curbing communist activity, and not to repress “lawful political opposition and democratic citizen activity”.
It’s now 2010? Where are the communist bogeymen?
Ironically, in 1966, whilst still a political backbencher, Tun Mahathir Mohammad spoke out against the Internal Security (Amendment) Bill 1966 stating that “no one in his right senses like[s] the ISA. It is in fact a negation of all the principles of democracy.” Strange how back then he made perfect sense.

Hishammudin Rais, human rights activist, ex-ISA detainee, comedian and playwright once said that: “The ISA is like a guillotine that is constantly hanging over the heads of the citizens of Malaysia.” The sobering fact is that this guillotine does not discriminate - anyone at anytime can be on the sharp end for saying or thinking anything considered to be against the status quo. As the ‘anti-ISA watchers’ drifted off into the afternoon drizzle, the haunting lyrics of one of protest songs lingered behind them –
‘When they came for the workers,
I never said a word,
I’m not a worker, so I pretend I never heard
When they came for the Squatters, I was not there
I’m not a squatter, so why should I care?

*Oh I didn’t speak up, I didn’t speak up
No one heard my voice,
Cos’ I didn’t speak up
But when they came for me,
No one heard my call,
There was no one left,
Who could speak for me at all

When they came for the Demonstrators, I never said a word
I’m not a Demonstrator, so I pretend I never heard
When they came for the Refugees, I was not there
I’m not a Refugee, so why should I care?

*Oh I didn’t speak up, I didn’t speak up
No one heard my voice,
Cos’ I didn’t speak up
But when they came for me,
No one heard my call,
There was no one left,
Who could speak for me at all’

The Abolish-ISA Movement UK will continue to show solidarity with those who have been subject to the terrors of the ISA and with our fellow citizens campaigning tirelessly against the ISA in Malaysia till the Malaysian government takes the wise decision of repealing the ISA, in order that its citizens may no longer live in fear and Malaysia’s image remain untarnished in the eyes of the international community. Our next watch is on Saturday the 26th of June 2010, outside the Malaysian Tourism Office in Trafalgar Square, London between 12.00- 1.15pm. We look forward to seeing you there.

Desperately seeking Peter. The Methodist church is in need of your ‘rock-like’ foundation

By Haris Ibrahim,

My friend, Goh Keat Peng , in his post entitled ‘We don’t take such money’, proffered his reasons on why he thought the 4 Methodist churches in Sibu that had received a total of RM1.75 million from the government on the eve of polling day of the just recently concluded Sibu by-election ought to return those funds to the giver.
Let me say from the outset that I share Goh’s thoughts that the money ought to be returned.
At the time of writing up this post, there were 66 comments to Goh’s post.
Discounting Goh’s rejoinders to some of the commentators as well as some comments that were neither here nor there, for every 5 comments to Goh’s post, 4 were inclined to Goh’s point of view, or were at least of the view that the money should not be retained by the churches but be used for non-church public purposes that cut across race and religion. Most of these commentators appear to be Christian.
Yet the leaders of the 4 churches in question, as reported by Malaysiakini, have flatly refused to return the money.
Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church chairperson Robert Kwang reasons that the money is ‘absolutely clean because it is sourced from taxpayers’ and a ‘special opportunity given by God for which the church should be grateful’.
How does that saying go? About using God’s name?
Reverend Yong Hua Sing of the En Tao Methodist Church reasoned thus : “It has no relation to the by-election, other than the timing. This is not the first time that we have received grants from the government. It’s not wrong, because it is also our money, as tax-paying citizens.” .
What’s that phrase that lawyers use? Circumstantial evidence pointing to an irresistable inference?
Pastor Tai of the Hwai An Tong Methodist Church contended that the church had gone through the  proper procedures in applying for the grant.
“We made the application weeks prior to the campaign period, submitted all documents and underwent several interviews to support our application… But they chose to give us the money during the by-election campaign. We cannot tell them, ‘No, give it to us later’“, she said, adding that the grant was given without any strings attached.
I have a point of clarification for Pastor Tai.
The recent by-election arose because of the death of YB Robert Lau on 9th April, 2010, just short of 6 weeks before polling day on 16th May last.
On 16th April, whilst campaigning in the Hulu Selangor by-elections were well underway, the Elections Commission set the nomination day for the Sibu by-elections on 8th May and polling day on 16th May. Nominations were to take place about 3 weeks from the date of the EC announcement and polling a week later.
Pastor Tai says that the application for the grant was made to the government “weeks prior to the campaign       period, that is, the period between 8th May and 15th May.
How many weeks prior to the campaign period?
Before or after YB Robert Lau passed on?
Before or after the EC announcement on 16th April?
When did the church receive word that the application had been approved? Was this in writing?
When was the last time that the Hwai An Tong Methodist Church had an application to the federal government for funds of such proportion approved in a matter of some weeks from the date of application?
Is she aware of the number of years that lapsed before Parti Sosialis Malaysia finally secured registration? Is she aware that the Makkal Sakti Party got registered within two weeks of application? Is she aware of the general public perception of the reasons for that speedy registration?
I think I’ve made my point here.
This whole business of ‘keep the money or not?’ has obviously got the big boys in the Methodist church at national level shifting uneasily in their seats.
Chairman of the Council of Presidents Bishop Hwa Yung, in a letter to members of the Methodist church, first announces that the Council of Presidents had discussed this matter on 25th May, but there would be further deliberations on this matter at a forthcoming meeting of the General Conference Executive Council. Meanwhile, no more comments, please, so that the matter does not get blown out of proportion.
Chris Ooi, commenting on Goh’s post on 28th May at 9.44am, says that Bishop Hwa’s letter “is a very troubling letter indeed. He was trying to desensitize the whole issue with his spin. Please read the entire letter for context” .
I’ve read the entire letter and I’ll just draw your attention to the part that got my attention.
“The Christian church is concerned about morality and politics. Nonetheless, it cannot take sides in party politics for various reasons, including the fact that there are Christians on both sides of the political divide.
Furthermore, the church must also guard against being perceived as being used as a tool by political parties, whether those in government or those in opposition. In light of the above, rejecting the grants given by the government in this instance is not necessarily the solution, because it could be misinterpreted as a rejection of the government in favour of the opposition” .
Bishop Hwa speaks of guarding against the church being perceived as a tool by political parties.
Chopin and blling, respectively commenting on Goh’s post on 28th May at 2.51am and on 27th May at 6.13am, have alluded to the four churches taking out advertisements in local newspapers before polling day to thank BN for the monies.
Chopin asked : “If this was true, on such timing (i.e. by-election campaigning period), would you still say this is just an ordinary funding and not a political one, and not a bribe?” .
Bishop Hwa must answer whether the unsuspecting Methodist Christian voters in Sibu who had no access to alternative news sources other than the local newspapers that ran those ads, might perceive the same as a show of support for BN by those churches.
Does Bishop Hwa not think that the reception by the churches of the monies in the circumstances of a keenly fought political contest, might be perceived and construed by many a voter, Christian or otherwise, that it is perfectly kosher to accept monies from one party to that contest?
One final point on this matter of perception.
Whilst not a Christian myself, I have nevertheless spent much time in the study of the Holy Bible and draw much inspiration from the same.
Jesus, if my memory serves me well, was swift to admonish the wrongs, particularly of those in authority, and had only harsh words for the hypocrites.
Jesus, as I recall, never allowed concerns of perception to blind him or silence him from condemning a wrong.
But then, what do I know?

Di Mahkamah Jalan Duta,31 May 2010,Isnin

Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan berada di Mahkamah Jalan Duta esok,Isnin,31 May 2010 bagi mendepani sambungan kes Fitnah ke-2.

Berikut adalah butirannya:

Tarikh: 31 May 2010
Masa: 9.00 Pagi
Tempat: Mahkamah Tinggi Jalan Duta

Pejabat Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Is Najib backing off from support for NEM to become an even bigger Flip-Flop PM than Abdullah?

By Lim Kit Siang,

The meek and timid response of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the ferocious and incendiary rejection of the New Economic Model by the Perkasa-led Malay Consultative Council raises the question whether Najib is backing off from the NEM to become an even bigger Flip-Flop PM than his predecessor Tun Abdullah.

Najib’s statement that the NEM is not the Government’s “final stand” but merely the “trial balloons” of a group of experts making suggestions from the global market’s perspective is a greater commentary on Najib’s leadership qualities than on the NEM proposals.

The NEM was launched by Najib two months ago with great fanfare as a defining moment in the nation’s development path, to take the quantum leap from the nation’s decade-long economic stagnation and escape from the two-decade middle-income trap to become a developed high-income country – but it appears that it may end up more as a defining moment in the grave failings of the year-old Najib premiership.

Right from the very beginning, the NEM courageouslty admitted that Vision 2020 is not possible without economic, social and government transformation – and the NEM was presented as one of the four key pillars to unleash Malaysia’s growth potential, drive change, propel Malaysia to become a high income advanced nation with inclusiveness and sustainability and achieve Vision 2020.

NEM warned that almost all economies of East Asia are poised to achieve high economic growth in this decade but Malaysia runs the imminent risk of a downward spiral and faces the painful possibility of stagnation.

It admitted that the implementation of the NEP, which “has reduced poverty and substantially addressed inter-ethnic economic imbalances”, has engendered rent-seeking, patronage, opague government procurement and “pervasive corruption”.

It warned: “We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving.The human capital situation in Malaysia is reaching a critical stage.”

The NEM delivered the dire warning: “We must act now before our position deteriorates any further”.

But the biggest challenge for the NEM is whether there are “political will and leadership to break the log-jam of resistance by vested interest groups and preparing the rakyat to support deep-seated changes in policy directions”.

Will Najib fail in the first NEM test of political will and leadership as predicted by the NEM itself?