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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'Help students, or we'll torch 1M'sia logo'

By Rahmah Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Party (HRP) has warned that it will torch a 1Malaysia logo if the government does not respond to its demand to help the Indian students who scored top marks in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination.

Last Saturday, the party issued a three-day ultimatum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's administration to help the students who have been denied entry into tertiary institutions despite numerous appeals.

HRP believes this is a case of racial discrimination.

Speaking to reporters at the party headquarters here today, HRP coordinatior W Sambulingam said the government has yet to respond.

He said they will wait until June 4 when the results will be announced regarding the students' application for government-loans and to be included in tertiary courses.

'Expect a large crowd'

"If there is still no feedback after June 4, we will challenge the government to prove that all those who obtained (university) places are better than these students.

"These students cannot afford to study in private instititutions, let alone foreign universities,” he added.

Sambulingam warned if there is no favourable response, they will stage a peaceful gathering outside the Parliament House on June 15 and submit a memorandum to Najib and Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin.

He said they will also torch a 1Malaysia logo to “expose the truth” that the prime minister is wasting taxpayers' money in promoting the all-inclusive concept.

Sambulingam believes that if a protest is held over this issue, it will draw a large crowd.

The HRP coordinator also took the government to task for “subsidising” the education expenses of foreign students here, but not qualified Malaysians.

“If they can sponsor foreign students, why can't they take care of their own children?" he asked.

Online petition launched

To apply further pressure on the government to help the students, Sambulingam said the party has also launched an online petition.

"We have launched the signature campaign to urge the government to grant scholarships and places in matriculation colleges and universities and also in the critical courses of the students' choice.

"We also urge the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the 'years of injustice' and to make proposals to implement a needs-based educational policy," he said.

If all fails, Sambulingam said HRP will drag the government to court.

He said a civil suit will be filed to compel the govenrment to grant scholarships, matriculation and public university places to all students who obtain 7As and above in their SPM.

"This is to stop all forms of di disrimination in the admission to public educational institutions," he said.

Gaza flotilla: Israel starts to free foreign activists - BBC

Activists arrive in Jordan, 2 June The activists arrived in Jordan after a 10-hour holdup at the border
Israel has begun releasing the first of hundreds of foreign activists seized on board an aid flotilla trying to break its blockade of Gaza.
More than 120 activists were bussed to Jordan, where a crowd of sympathisers greeted them. Hundreds more are due to be deported over the next two days.
At least nine pro-Palestinian activists died when Israeli commandos raided the six-ship convoy early on Monday.
Israel says its troops acted in self-defence, but campaigners deny this.
The incident has sparked widespread concern and led to calls for Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israel has maintained control of Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, as well as most of its land borders, since withdrawing troops and settlers from the territory in 2005.
According to the UN, Gaza receives about one-quarter of the supplies it used to receive in the years before the blockade was tightened in 2007.
Israel and Egypt sealed off the territory after militant group Hamas seized power there in 2007.
Deportations begin


  Mavi Marmara just before it left Istanbul on 22 May  
Q&A: Israeli raid on aid flotilla Israeli raid: What went wrong? Guide: Gaza under blockade Convoy raid sparks press fury In pictures: Aid flotilla raid protests
Some 124 pro-Palestinian activists arrived in Jordan via the Allenby crossing on Wednesday morning.
The activists came from mainly Muslim nations - most of them without diplomatic ties with Israel, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Pakistan.
They were greeted by a crowd of sympathisers, who cheered and chanted in celebration after a 10-hour wait on the Jordanian side of the border, says the BBC's Dale Gavlak at the border.
Another 50 Turkish activists have been released from prison, prior to being deported, Israeli officials said.
Hundreds of other activists - including 30 Britons and 10 more with dual British nationality - are still in Israeli jails, but Israel says it is aiming to complete deportations by Thursday.
Israel had seized more than 670 people with the ships. Around 50 activists were deported early on Tuesday, but had faced mounting calls to free those still be detained.
"All foreign nationals who were on board the fleet and were arrested will be deported from Tuesday night," the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's said in a statement on Tuesday.
Amid ongoing diplomatic concern at the incident, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the situation in Gaza "unsustainable".
She said on Tuesday that Washington would support an Israeli investigation of the raid but it must be "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent", as called for by the UN Security Council.
Hillary Clinton: "The situation is Gaza is unsustainable and unacceptable"
And President Barack Obama was reported to have called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express his condolences over the loss of life on the Turkish-registered lead vessel.
Mr Erdogan has described the assault as a "bloody massacre" and said must be punished. He said Israel should not test Turkey's patience.
Turkey, formerly a close ally of Israel, has been one of the states most vocal in its condemnation of the raid.
Diplomatic sources in Ankara have said at least four of those killed were Turkish.
Irish concern Meanwhile, another ship carrying aid has set sail for Gaza intending to challenge the Israeli blockade, organisers said.
Greta Berlin, of the Free Gaza Movement, said on Tuesday the MV Rachel Corrie would "be there within the week".
Five of those on board are Irish, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, prompting Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen to appeal for its safe arrival in Gaza.
"If any harm comes to any of our citizens it will have the most serious consequences," he told parliament on Tuesday.
He said Dublin had asked Israel to ensure the boat "complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza".
Eyewitness accounts of the raid from some of those activists released earlier cast doubt on Israel's version of events.
Israel said its soldiers were attacked with "knives, clubs and other weapons" when they landed on the Turkish passenger ship Mavi Marmara and had opened fire in self-defence.
German politician Norman Paech said he had only seen wooden sticks being brandished as troops abseiled on to the deck of the ship.
And Israeli Arab MP Haneen Zuabi told a press conference that troops began firing while still in the helicopters hovering over the ships.

The flotilla of six ships, including the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, was on its way from Cyprus to Gaza carrying supplies including cement, paper and water purification tablets.
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The six ships, carrying more than 100 tonnes of aid and 700 campaigners, had sailed from Cyprus in a bid to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Israel had warned organisers that the flotilla would not be allowed to arrive.
Following the Israeli raid, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to be opened.
The Rafah crossing has been closed since 2007, although special medical cases are occasionally allowed through.
The Egyptian state news agency said the latest opening was to allow humanitarian aid through. It is not clear how long it will be kept open.

Scorpene scandal: French police raid DCN - Malaysiakini

French financial police have searched the offices of naval arms manufacturer DCNS and industrial group Thales in connection with a probe into the sale of submarines to Malaysia, a judicial source said today.
Documents were seized in the operation, which was carried out last week, the source added.
Thales declined to comment on the matter.
military malaysia navy french built submarine scorpene classDCNS told AFP it "neither confirms nor denies this information."
"A judicial investigation is under way and we can make no comment."
The Paris prosecutor's office in March opened an investigation into the 2002 sale following a complaint lodged last year by the Malaysian human rights group Suaram.
The group alleges that Armaris, a subsidiary of Thales and the DCN, as the DCNS was formerly known, paid a commission of 114 million euros (140 million dollars) to the Malaysian company Perimekar, linked to people close to now Prime Minister Najib Razak.
'Illegal' commissions
Najib in 2002 was defence minister and was responsible for negotiating the contract.
Since 2000, the payment of commissions on contracts linked to foreign leaders amounts to corruption under French law.
The DCN in 2002 joined Thales and Spanish naval construction group Navantia in a contract to sell Malaysia three submarines for around one billion euros.
A spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister's office in late April insisted there was "no case" to answer.
He mantained that the deal had been free of graft and that Perimekar had not improperly benefited from it.


Home alone, elsewhere

Jiegandran, now 18, was glad to see his mother (right). — Picture 
by Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider,

LINGGI, June 2 — Teenager Jiegandran Panir Selvam has been grounded. Not by his parents, but by the home ministry.
Arrested at 17, he was taken by the police and locked up for 60 days under the Emergency Ordinance before being banished. He was then brought to this sleepy hollow and left to fend for himself for the next two years.
“I am a labourer,” Jiegandran told The Malaysian Insider in a low voice.
In his first interview, the boy who should be getting ready to sit for the SPM examination this year but was expelled for being absent for three months from school, related his daily routine since being thrown out of his home state by the authorities.
The Selangor-born has been pulling 10-hour shifts at an oil palm estate for the last two months to earn RM15 a day.
The bulk of his wages go towards food. The rest of it is spent on paying for the calls home to his family on his prepaid cellphone. He no longer keeps in touch with his schoolmates.
He works daily, from 8am to 7pm, before returning to the company quarters he currently shares with two Indonesian workmates.
Jiegandran has to be in the house by 8pm and remain there until 6am the next day, under the strict terms of the banishment order.
He washes his clothes while they take care of dinner, which is usually ready by 9pm.
His kitchen skills are limited to making instant noodles and frying eggs, so he pays his housemates for his share of the evening meal. Breakfast and lunch are provided for by the “tauke” at the plantation.
“We eat rice, curry, vegetables. Sometimes fish,” the thin boy described.
“It’s OK,” he shrugged, but added, it was nothing like his mother’s cooking.
His eyes darted to his mother sitting across the table from him at a Malay food stall in what passes for Linggi town — two rows of double-storey shophouses huddled around a T-junction.
Sumathy Ramasamy, 44, who works as a cook in a university near Broga, looked away.
The mother of three last visited her middle child two weeks ago and promised him a slap-up meal to make up for missing his birthday, but failed to keep her word.
Jiegandran turned 18 on May 22.
His employer gave him an extra RM20 for the occasion and offered to buy him a birthday cake. Jiegandran declined.
All in, the working life is alright, the boy said. No one bullies him at the estate even though he is the youngest there.
But Jiegandran misses home.
“Life here is hard. I want to go home,” said the boy who — before this — had never before spent a night away from his family in Semenyih.
Jiegandran who has no history of causing trouble in school, let alone a criminal record, is challenging the home ministry’s harsh order, which is normally served on suspected terrorists and hardcore gangsters, in court.
But precedent may be against him.
Another 17-year-old boy from Pahang, who two years ago had been detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), had also taken the home ministry to court, but lost.
“I remember it because he was sent to Simpang Renggam the day before the general election,” Suaram co-ordinator, E. Nalini, told The Malaysian Insider.
The Pahang boy is now spending time in a prison in Machap, Kelantan.
The human rights watchdog has been championing the fight against detentions without trials.
Nalini is also not sure how many children under 18 have been detained and claimed the ministry has been very secretive over the statistics.

Kapar MP shows up and is turned away

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

SHAH ALAM: Kapar MP S Manikavasagam who was yesterday adamant that he would steer clear of a public inquiry into allegations of graft in Selangor's sand-mining industry, had a change of heart and turned up.
He was armed with evidence of his allegations which included documents, photographs, details of his witnesses and “incriminating” footage. He said he planned to hand them over to the Selangor State Legislative Assembly speaker and then leave without testifying.
However, he was informed via text message by a staff from the state assembly office to return tomorrow morning as there were already five witnesses lined up for the day.
Selangor executive councillor Yaakop Sapari was earlier called as the first witness by the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat).
When asked whether he would be testifying tomorrow, Manikavasagam maintained that he would not unless he is granted leave from the Dewan Rakyat by today.
“I am only going to hand over the documents to the speaker and leave,” he insisted when contacted by FMT. “As I mentioned yesterday, I cannot testify or I will be in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat.”
Manikavasagam had earlier cited parliamentary rules that prevented him from testifying at Selcat's hearing without permission from the Dewan Rakyat.
His lawyer, N Surendran, yesterday sent a letter to Selcat asking it to request for leave from Dewan Rakyat for Manikavasagam to attend the hearing.
“I will be sending a letter today to [Dewan Rakyat speaker] Pandikar (Amin Mulia ) seeking his views on this matter,” Manikavasagam added. “The letter will be accompanied by all the correspondences between my side and Selcat so he can understand my predicament. I want to testify so I'm hoping for a favourable response from him.”

Mugilan's Facebook 'hacked': MIC info chief files report

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC Youth information chief S Subramaniam has lodged a police report against Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) leader V Mugilan over the latter's allegation that his Facebook account was hacked.
In his report lodged with the Sentul police yesterday, Subramaniam accused Mugilan of attempting to tarnish the MIC leadership's image.
“Since GAS failed to live up to expectations, he is now trying to slander MIC president S Samy Vellu,” he said.
Mugilan had claimed that his Facebook account was hacked by those linked to Samy Vellu in relation to a posting which associated GAS with Umno.
The posting read: “Jangan takut Umno sentiasa bersama kita dan mereka berjanji akan bersama kita sehingga kita mencapai matlamat GAS. Saya amat terhutang budi kepada Umno yang bersama saya sekian Lama. Hidup Umno! Hidup GAS! Satu Malaysia!Terima kasih kepada semua.”
( Do not fear as Umno is with us and they have promised to be with us until we achieve our objective. I am grateful to Umno who has been with me for a long time. Long live Umno!Long Live BN! Long Live GAS! One Malaysia. Thank you all).
'Not easy to hack'
Meanwhile, Subramaniam also pointed out that it is not easy to hack a private Facebook account.
“I checked with the Multimedia and Communications Commission. They said it is not easy to hack a private Facebook page unless the hacker has the email address and password,” he said
In view of this, he urged Mugilan “not to seek cheap publicity” and warned him against linking Umno to GAS as it could strain the relationship between the Barisan Nasional component parties.
Mugilan, who was recently sacked as MIC Youth deputy chief, field a police report on Monday claiming that his Facebook account was hacked.

Anwar dares Najib to join anti-Israel protest

By FMT Staff
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat has challenged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to join a ‘round-table’ conference on Friday in Kampung Baru to support the protest against Israel’s attack on a six-vessel humanitarian convoy on international waters on Monday.
Pakatan will be holding the conference among all political parties on Friday at 11am in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.

“The conference aims to show public anger at Israel's act of cruelty,” said Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“And after Friday prayers, we will organise a  procession to the US Embassy where we will submit a memorandum objecting to Israel’s attack,” he added. He was speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting with Pakatan leaders on the issue last night.

Anwar added that based on the government’s stand (to oppose the attacks), it was vital that Najib went to the ground.

“I challenge Najib to join the procession. We want to know his stand. We want the prime minister, as leader of an Islamic nation, to be firm and openly condemn Israel’s inhumaneness.

“Najib must be with the people, irrespective of their political leanings, in showing his objections to this brutal act,” he said.

Anwar also reiterated earlier calls by PAS for Najib to convene an emergency parliamentary sitting by Friday or at the latest on Sunday to discuss the attack.

Cut ties with Egypt

On Monday Israeli navy attacked a Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza, killing 20 people and leaving many others injured.

The ship was part of  a six vessel flotilla ferrying 700 volunteers and 10,000 tonnes of medicines, food and construction material for 100,000 homeless Palestinians.

Relief operators were forced to take the sea route to Gaza after Egypt closed its Rafah borders, denying them entry by road.

Yesterday, PAS accused Israel and Egypt of murder, saying that it was Egypt’s fault that 20 volunteers on board the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, were killed and 30 others injured.

PAS had also urged the Malaysian government to cease all diplomatic and trade ties, official or otherwise, with Egypt.  

Meanwhile in a memorandum submitted to the US Embassy yesterday morning, PAS called on America to stop its military support to Israel. A similar memorandum was also submitted by PKR to the embassy yesterday.

PKR's wardrobe malfunction and 'missing' MP

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA BARU: PKR has just concluded its sixth national congress, where its leaders, among others, spoke about their march towards seizing the administrative capital of Putrajaya and ushering change for the nation.
While most agree that change is fundamental to a nation's progress, there are those in PKR who feel that the party must first get its act together, starting with the dress code.
Delegates, particularly the men, were seen adorning the official uniform according to their own designs and colours, with FMT spotting at least 10 different styles.
Commenting on this, Penang delegate Zulfazdli Mohd Noordin urged the party leadership to standardise the uniform.
"If we cannot address a simple thing like the standardisation of the men's uniform, how are we going to tackle the bigger issues facing the rakyat?” asked the PKR Youth delegate from Bayan Baru.
Some of the “misfit uniforms” appeared totally irrelevant to PKR such as the one worn by the Kedah Youth delegates, where the blue and white colours made them look more like Barisan Nasional members.
The boys from Pahang, on the other hand, were clad in black and white, with the word “PKR” printed in small letters on the back, whereas delegates from the Titiwangsa division paraded about in red and brown stripes.
Kamarul goes to US
Meanwhile, a notable absentee at the three-day congress was Teluk Kemang MP and PKR supreme council member Kamarul Baharin Abbas.
FMT learnt that Kamarul is apparently in the United States attending to a personal matter regarding his children, who are studying there.
However, one Negri Sembilan delegate, who declined to be named, found the situation to be suspicious.
“How many times does he have to go to the US for this? He went there two months ago for the same reason,” he added
The suspicion is well founded since speculation has been rife that Kamarul is all set to join the PKR defectors' club and declare himself an independent MP. Kamarul, however, has denied this.
MB Khalid steals the show
Undoubtedly, the star of the event award must righfully go to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, who came under a steady stream of attacks.
Criticism centred on the percieved inefficiency of the Selangor government, specifically on matters that fall under the MB's portfolio.
Rawang state assemblywoman Gan Pei Nei, in representing the women's wing, said that apart from setting a Key Performance Index (KPI) to gauge the effectiveness of elected reps and local councillors, the state government must also act against state officers who fail to carry out their duties according to Pakatan Rakyat's policies.
"These officers must be replaced especially if they become a stumbling block to reformation,” she said.
Kuala Lumpur delegate Rozan Azen reminded Khalid that Selangor is the “role model” for Pakatan states due to its strategic location and strong financial position.
"Time is running out and Khalid must move fast. Many delegates have voiced their displeasure against the MB; I hope he will take the criticism in a positive manner,” he said.

All the PM’s (new) men

By G Krishnan

COMMENT Yesterday's Cabinet mini-reshuffle was yet another glimpse into Najib’s gradualist and cautious approach to rebuilding both the inner core of his administration as well as, more broadly, the Barisan Nasional itself.
It should not come as a surprise to most of us that whilst the last 24 months or so have been somewhat of a wild rollercoaster ride for Najib, underneath it all there has been a series of systematic efforts to rebuild and revitalise Barisan Nasional.
In many ways, by necessity this process has had to be gradualist and incremental in nature – and for the most part, there has been an explicit willingness on his part to go beyond mere cosmetic changes.
Given all the political baggage, internal feuds, and not to mention embarrassing loss of credibility of the MCA and MIC leadership over these recent months, Najib has had no choice but to deal with this new reality.
This new reality, one that I believe has been fully evident since Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s departure, is about overcoming the paradox of the old politics that defined much of Barisan Nasional.
To put it simply, Najib understands that if he is to succeed as prime minister and salvage Barisan Nasional for the foreseeable future, he cannot afford to surround himself only with the ‘yes Tuan’ types from the MIC and MCA. That, after all, has arguably become one of the distinct and defining traits of what had become so wrong about Barisan Nasional.
And Najib’s new tact, if we can call it that, is to try and walk a fine line between trying to convince public opinion (especially those voters who used to religiously support the MCA and MIC) that he understands their message and is committed to responding to their concerns, whilst having to be mindful of the pressure coming from the ultra-extremists within Umno.
One cannot ignore the fact that Najib has had to cautiously navigate through some treacherous waters as the leadership struggle in the MCA played out.
More recently, we saw the screws, both from within and outside of the MIC, tighten on Samy Vellu – another glaring thorn of the old politics.
Whether there was any truth around Vell Paari’s allegations that the brass within Umno was orchestrating Samy Vellu’s grip on the MIC, let’s just say Najib will not be shedding any tears when that day does arrive.
In comes the so-called reformers
Beyond wanting to understandably cultivate a new breed of faces and leaders within some of these Barisan Nasional parties, Najib has also been willing to bring in a new generation of non-Malay players into the various bodies of the executive branch to serve in strategic roles.
These individuals, often not highly visible in the public eye are also ones who have typically opted not to be associated with the old politics of the MCA and the MIC.
They have thus historically been individuals who have stayed away from becoming beholden and controlled by the party political apparatus of the MCA or MIC – and thus without the baggage of the old politics that comes with being party insiders or cronies.
Indeed, this new breed of individuals have typically distinguished themselves as being independent voices, and individuals willing to provide candid feedback and counsel to Najib and the government rather than indulge in the bum-licking and pandering that prevailed for far too long from those self-invested political operatives within MIC and MCA.
To some extent, of course Najib cannot simply abandon the party operatives in these Barisan component parties.
Hence, whilst the leadership struggles within these parties continue to fester, in due course control of these parties is bound to shift into the hands of more acceptable faces. And incidentally, some operatives within the MIC, for example, recognise this reality, and have been willing to risk political banishment by Samy – for the time being – by conveniently changing their tune and appearing to stand up to the grip of Samy and his ‘old politics.’
Thus, by jumping ship now, these party operatives are trying to repackaging themselves and lining themselves up to come back into the party as “reformers” for having stood up to the old politics of the MIC.
Genuine reforms
On the other hand, Najib is not putting his eggs only in the usual old Indian and Chinese political hierarchy within the inner-circle of these parties.
In some ways, he is by-passing these party operatives and increasingly turning to independent and constructive non-Malay professionals and corporate leaders to bring them into the fold of the executive’s machinery and as credible informed voices capable of helping Najib steer the reform and rebuilding programmes.
In line with this pattern, it is not surprising that we also hear about gestures by his representatives to court the leadership of the Human Rights Party or having had his representatives hold clandestine contacts with P Waymoorthy in London.
It is also consistent with his move to not appoint the usual non-Malay political suspects from the MCA or MIC to various consultative and advisory bodies; opting instead for fresh independent voices from outside the stale and discredited MIC and MCA.
All these developments, taken together, paint a picture that is undeniable and one that shows Najib tilting toward engagement with credible non-Malay voices.
Indeed these tentative signs suggest that Najib is willing to listen to credible non-Malay voices outside of the traditional party circles of the MIC and MCA who have been prone to only telling the prime minister what they think he wants to hear rather than what he should hear.
So whilst the most recent mini reshuffle of the Cabinet is interesting in itself, it is but another part to a wider process of reform underway within the executive branch – a reform marked by embracing new, more credible voices and a willingness to recognise the failures of the old politics.
These are the prime minister's new men, a chorus of new independent voices who are being included into advisory roles precisely because they're the 'yes Tuan' types still typical of the opportunistic cadre of the old and new guard within the MIC and MCA.
If Najib has it within him to be receptive to these independent professional and corporate leaders and constructive voices, he may just have a fighting chance – the Umno ultras notwithstanding - to make some genuine reforms happen.
G Krishnan is a freelance writer who routinely writes online columns about Malaysian affairs.

Samy Vellu, GAS and Quid pro quo

The masses were urged to convene at the Mines Convention Center on Sunday to register their contempt for Samy and accelerate his departure. But that show did not unfold as envisioned by the GAS organizers. Why?

I think the answer is simple. What GAS wants is only a change in the driver of the bus but essentially it would be the SAME bus. The Malaysian Indians want a new bus, a modern bus, a transparent bus, an efficient bus that can clearly transport them complete with all rights and privileges as rightfully entitled in modern Malaysia.
By SP Nathan

I refer to the media reports that Samy Vellu is prepared to retreat if something important (position) is given to him. The question is, why this quid pro quo request?

Is power such a strong aphrodisiac that one will not be able to continue life without it?

Or is there another reason?

Could it be that after all his usefulness to UMNO, he finds it hard to accept he is being ditched. It's akin to an end of a passionate love affair and the scorn of a ditched person. And as the norm, once the terms of divorce or split is agreed (including a high position), sanity prevails.

The quid pro quo request from Samy actually reveals the state of affairs of MIC, that MIC does not have the interests of the common Indian at heart. The fact that the head honcho is only looking at what he can carve out for himself from a “situation” clearly confirms what ails MIC, self interest. Does he really think he deserves this “pay off”?

Well, this “pay off” is not what really bothers me. What really bothers me is that in the realm of politics, there would always be situations, mostly between vested interest groups for some form of outcome. And whether Samy, when facing such situations in his entire reign in power, has done what is right for the Indians and accepting the quid pro quo solution like he is proposing now. The answer, I think, is quite obvious, given the dismal state Indians are in today. And this is what disturbs me.

So GAS wants Samy to go. The masses were urged to convene at the Mines Convention Center on Sunday to register their contempt for Samy and accelerate his departure. But that show did not unfold as envisioned by the GAS organizers. Why?

I think the answer is simple. What GAS wants is only a change in the driver of the bus but essentially it would be the SAME bus. The Malaysian Indians want a new bus, a modern bus, a transparent bus, an efficient bus that can clearly transport them complete with all rights and privileges as rightfully entitled in modern Malaysia.

Further GAS offered not only the same bus but one that was truly outdated as it was not running on gas … no firm new plan was forwarded, other than slamming Samy.

Like how GAS needs a new bus, the MIC, to serve its constituency, the Malaysian Indians need a complete revamp, a totally new culture of doing things, a new mindset not just a new driver.

Which I think, given the current coterie of leaders is not possible. Why?

It is quite obvious from the GAS turnout and general attitude of Indians towards MIC that MIC does not matter anymore. The attitude of the leaders over the years and treatment of voters during the “buy elections” where the voters are deemed as commodities; waiting to be bought at the right price has made MIC one big ATM where even the voters are adapt at the “quid pro quo” approach. This, as every politician worth his salt knows, is not genuine support. The change promised post March 8 2008 has not descended upon MIC leaders. They are running not a political but a welfare organization and remain clueless over the difference. In short, they do not know what they stand for, only what they want. They are void of a political ideology.

MIC needs genuine political support to remain relevant in the still evolving Malaysian political landscape which is now being transformed into a modern “bus terminal”. The odd old buses still cranking around would soon be barred from this new terminal.

To garner genuine political support, MIC needs to make the members and non-members trust them. They should convince them they do not subscribe to the past “ quid pro quo” approaches. They should show they are not in for self serving purposes but to sincerely strive for the masses.

So how can the new political leaders position themselves as different? That they have a new bus and not just a new driver. Mere verbal discourses will not do.

For starters, enact a rule that the driver of the bus will be changed after a number of years. And next, the most important, ensure that the passengers of the bus are persons of high integrity, committed to the community causes and willing to be transparent in all matters.

By being transparent, I mean the passengers i.e. the new political leaders should be willing to publicly declare their assets and should continue to declare their assets as long as they hold public office. They should declare that they and their immediate family members shall not in any way benefit financially as a result of them holding office. And building this trust, I believe, is the roadmap towards regaining political support for MIC and this can only be a beginning.

If they can do that, then I think MIC can hope to get back the support of the common Malaysian Indian. Otherwise, MIC will continue to remain as it is now, IRRELEVANT.

Excuse me, Idris! Just who is addicted to subsidies?

By Aliran,

Certainly remove wasteful subsidies, Abang Benet tells Idris Jala. But please ensure that the poor and the marginalised continue receiving subsidies; after all, why penalise them for the excesses of Umno/BN?

So, it finally took an outsider to tell Umno and the BN that it is addicted to subsidies and that they are going to bleed the country dry within nine years if nothing drastic is done to stem our ballooning national debt.

Of course, coming from a Sarawak-born outsider – and a non-elected one at that – the statement by Idris Jala, the Prime Minister’s personal point-man in charge of the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), was made to sound as if it was the Malaysian people who were being admonished; the Malaysian people who were the culprits, who have “been living beyond our means”!

No doubt, this is Idris Jala’s political survival strategy since he – as an Umno/BN outsider - is quite incapable of pointing the finger at Umno/BN! Had he done so, his head would have been chopped off faster than a speeding bullet – metaphorically speaking, of course!

But since I don’t have to operate under the hypocritical constraints that are imposed upon Idris Jala by Umno/BN, I shall do Idris a small favour and reinterpret his recent statements by calling a spade a spade and finger Umno and BN politicians (and their greedy, blood-sucking corporate hanger-ons) as the real culprits who should heed Idris Jala’s message.

After all, who is responsible for enacting all the subsidies this country has seen except Umno and its parasite partners within the BN under the auspices of the NEP? And further, just who exactly has benefited most from all these subsidies and other economic abuses and excesses if not the Umnoputras and BN-putras of the land along with their greedy corporate cronies?

Certainly, the majority of Malays, Indians and other non-Muslim Bumiputeras (in Sabah and Sarawak) have not benefited as much.Truth be told, our efforts to reduce national income/wealth and expenditure inequalities have been moribund - and that too despite an economic redistribution policy platform (i.e. the NEP) of 40 years!

The UNDP’s 2009 Human Development Report website provides a comparative Gini Index table that measures income/wealth and expenditure inequality where 0 measures absolute equality and 100 absolute inequality.

Malaysia’s Gini is 37.9; ahead of the Philippines (44), Singapore and Thailand (42.5), Cambodia (40.7), Indonesia (39.4) but behind Vietnam (37.8) and Laos (32.6).

Malaysia’s economic achievements over the last 40 years have been impressive. But considering the amount of NEP resources we have expended and the huge financial leakages that we have incurred over the years to achieve these results (“Just think of submarines that cannot dive; IPPs with preferential tariffs; Bakun Dam and numerous bailouts for starters!”), our accomplishments in restructuring society have been mediocre.

Worse still, if Idris Jala is to be believed, such mediocre accomplishments in wealth restructuring have been achieved via an addiction to subsidies; the removal of which is going to cause Malaysians generally a lot of pain and more inequality of income/wealth and expenditure.

But will Umno/BN allow an outsider like Idris Jala to push through this programme to dismantle subsidies? After all, it is the Umno/BN “subsidy addicts” who are going to hurt the most since they are all so uncompetitive and all so used to leeching off our public resources via subsidies (like APs, educational scholarships), rentier patronage (e.g. contracts to cronies and family companies), and outright corruption.

Do we really believe that Umno/BN politicians along with the likes of Ibrahim Ali’s racist Perkasa goons and Malay Consultative Council buddies are going to embrace Idris Jala’s GTP and subsidy restructuring plan with love and affection?

Heck, is Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud even going to buy into Idris Jala’s rhetoric? God knows, Taib and his family have benefited most from the pillage of Sarawak’s resources via the NEP. And what about Sabah CM Musa Aman and his coterie of greedy hanger-ons? Why should they stop living it up just because Idris Jala said so and just because the country risks tipping into bankruptcy?

Since when has it been generally acknowledged that Umno/BN politicians have a moral conscience to do what is right for the country and its entire peoples?

Do Umno/BN cabinet ministers and politicians pay taxes? Ooops, I forgot, they all take home tax-free salaries and all sorts of perks and allowances. Not to mention the millions their cronies rake in via subsidies, rentier contracts and kickbacks.

Indeed, who really has been “living beyond our means”? Have ordinary Malaysians “been living beyond our means”? Have poor Chinese, rural Malay farmers and Indian plantation workers “been living beyond our means”? Have the Penans “been living beyond their means”?

Hence, even if Idris Jala does succeed in getting his subsidy restructuring plan through cabinet, should we Malaysians accept this “one-size fits-all” bitter pill? Pray, why should we when we dutifully pay our taxes every year but have never enjoyed the full benefits of any genuine public commitment to our common welfare and security?

So, Idris, a little bit of honesty please with regard to your GTP and subsidy restructuring rhetoric. Please direct it towards your own cabinet colleagues and the rest of Umno/BN. Unless they end their profligate lifestyles and cease plundering the public coffer, we, the rakyat, should not be asked to tighten our belts. In other words, if you are going ahead with this plan, please ensure that your GTP and subsidy restructuring programme reins in ALL the financial leakages, the economic excesses and the policy abuses of your Umno/BN pals even as we, the rakyat, are asked to tighten our belts.

After which, consider a little more targeting please in terms of your subsidy restructuring plans. Certainly remove wasteful subsidies. You are spot on to say that Malaysia cannot go on piling up our public debt to finance subsidies.

But please ensure that the poor and the most marginalised groups continue receiving subsidies since they need it most. After all, why penalise the poor and the most marginalised for the subsidy excesses of Umno/BN? Why penalise those who have been left out of the benefits of the NEP for the past 40 years?

Think back to your days as a student of Development Studies in USM. You are certainly aware of what I am talking about.

Abang Benet is a regular Aliran correspondent.

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1Malaysia pageant vs fatwa

Map of Muslim-majority countries. Darker shades indicate higher percentage of Muslims
(Map source: Wiki commons)

DURING a press conference in 2003, then Perlis Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim tried to defend the state's decision to loosen conditions for polygamy. Perlis had decided that Muslim men did not need to seek their first wife's consent to marry another woman.
At the press conference, which Jacqueline Ann Surin covered, the Perlis mufti stressed that according to hukum syarak, men were allowed to be polygamous. He would not answer the question by a women's rights activist about whether such a move by the state was fair and just.
Nearly all of the Muslim journalists were silent. In fact, after the press conference, one woman journalist declared loudly that the women's rights activist had no business asking the question about justice and fairness. Presumably, hukum syarak could not be questioned.
When Surin asked her Muslim colleagues what hukum syarak meant, she was told not to worry if she didn't understand what it meant. "Even as Muslims, we sometimes don't understand," was the reply.
That was the moment Surin decided that if Muslim journalists were not going to step up to the plate to understand their religion, then it was critical for non-Muslim journalists to do so. This was especially when Islam was being used to determine public policy and life.
Furthermore, how did it come to be that Muslims in Malaysia believe that questioning the administration of Islam amounts to questioning, or even insulting, the religion?
Stark differences
This was clearly demonstrated during a Sisters in Islam workshop for the media in 2004, where only three journalists indicated that they were comfortable reporting on Islam. They were Surin, Shanon Shah (a Muslim), and another non-Muslim senior journalist from a traditional print publication. Many of the Muslim participants would have left the room if they could. One of them explained, "I cannot question my religion, because I answer to Allah, not my editor."
What is amply clear to us, having written about Islam in Malaysia, is that syariah laws and fatwa are products of human interpretation. They are not divine truth, as the Muslim authorities in this country would have us believe.

For example, if it were such a crime for Muslim women to participate in beauty pageants according to a fatwa gazetted as law in Selangor, how is it that Muslim women could participate in a 1Malaysia pageant in Putrajaya?
If it was so Islamic to cane Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno for having drunk alcohol, how is it that the Quran doesn't actually stipulate the penalty for alcohol consumption?
And if polygamy was such a God-given right to men as claimed by the likes of Shahidan and the then Perlis mufti, why have other Muslim countries banned or restricted it?
It follows that if human interpretation is involved, shouldn't such interpretation also be subject to human critique and criticism?
Here is what Egypt's highest official fatwa-making authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Ali Gomaa, concludes about a fatwa:
"[The] conclusion of a mufti is one of opinion and therefore always open to dispute. This follows a principle of Islamic law that whoever is in tribulation due to an issue in which there is a difference of opinion, they are allowed to follow whichever opinion takes them away from their tribulation."
Furthermore, Gomaa stresses that a fatwa is but "a non-binding legal opinion that serves to guide [Muslims] out of their difficulty".
How flabbergasting, then, that in Malaysia, a fatwa, once gazetted, carries the force of law. Indeed, that was how five Muslim women were arrested by religious authorities for participating in the Miss Malaysia Petite contest in 1997. They were subsequently charged and fined in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur under syariah laws. The incident created an uproar, and a memorandum was submitted to then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the need to reform syariah laws that undermined fundamental liberties.
Despite the memorandum and advocacy, however, little has changed. In fact, to question or disagree with a fatwa remains a crime under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act. But why the stark discrepancy between fatwa in Malaysia and Egypt?
Reclaiming the debate
What is clear is that there are differences in opinion and interpretations of Islam throughout the world, even among Islam's highest authorities. What needs to be constantly pointed out, therefore, is that it is a fallacy to talk about what "Islam" says, or what "Islam" preaches and forbids. "Islam" is not monolithic or homogeneous, whether in intellectual history, current practices, or political systems.
The truth is that people with different interests often speak for Islam. And so it is important to question exactly who is speaking for Islam when they say "Islam forbids this" or "Islam prohibits that".
Thus it bears asking, are the people who claim certain absolutes about Islam representatives of certain Islamist political parties? Or are they state-appointed Islamic functionaries? Are they even independent Islamic scholars and ulama?

Ali Gomaa (Public domain)
Furthermore, to extend Gomaa's logic, if public policies and laws are determined based on certain interpretations of Islam in Malaysia, why should there not be open public debate and deliberation on them?
Self-styled guardians of Islam will label these debates an insult to the religion. On the contrary, these debates could actually help identify and clarify the gaps between the ideals and actual practices of Islam, and will help name the various interest groups that use "Islam" for particular agendas.
Hence, shouldn't lay Muslims be able to participate in these discussions? Shouldn't non-Muslims be able to participate as well? Isn't it our collective responsibility in the interest of upholding the spirit of Islam?
Imagine how much embarrassment and misconception about Islam could have been avoided if Muslims were allowed to contest the fatwa on beauty pageants. We definitely would not have the contradictory situation we do today with regard to the 1Malaysia pageant and the previous Miss Malaysia Petite contest.
What is even more troubling is that Muslims are repeatedly told they cannot question even when the most atrocious decisions are made in the name of God. And when non-Muslims speak up in the interest of justice and compassion — the core ingredients of Islamic teaching — the mob is ever ready to lynch. No wonder then that most Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia feel disempowered to question the imposition of Islamic law and ill-informed fatwa as laws in Malaysia.
But if we remain silent, it only means that Islam will continue to be held hostage by those who claim to have the power alone to interpret it for others. No matter that their interpretation could appear illogical and unIslamic, even to other Islamic experts.

Apakah Kewajaran Latihan Lasak ala Komando Untuk Pegawai PTD?

Oleh Azmin Ali

Negara dikejutkan apabila seorang pelatih Pegawai Tadbir dan Diplomatik (PTD) meninggal dunia awal pagi semalam (31 Mei 2010) selepas tiba-tiba dilaporkan mengalami jangkitan paru-paru yang serius ketika menjalani latihan intensif yang lasak ala komando di kem latihan di Jugra, Banting.

Norhashimah Wahid, 30, ibu kepada seorang anak perempuan berusia 2 tahun, mula menjalani latihan pada bulan Mac 2010. Program Diploma Pengurusan Awam (DPA) merupakan syarat untuk pengesahan dalam perkhidmatan bagi skim PTD. Latihan dijalankan dalam tempoh 7 bulan yang antara lain meliputi latihan-latihan dalam kelas dan juga latihan luar (latihan kebombaan, kepolisan dan ketenteraan). Modul jati diri yang diwajibkan ke atas setiap peserta program adalah merupakan modul yang pertama kali diadakan dan difahamkan diselia oleh pegawai Paskau (Pasukan Khas Tentera Udara).

Walau bagaimanapun, hari ini, Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia menafikan laporan media kononnya latihan itu di bawah kendalian dan seliaan Pasukan Khas Udara TUDM. “Latihan itu bukan di bawah kelolaan kami atau mana-mana unit di bawah naungan TUDM, sebaliknya ianya dikelolakan sepenuhnya oleh agensi lain yang tidak mempunyai sebarang kaitan dengan TUDM,” kata satu kenyataan TUDM.

Saya sempat menziarahi keluarga Allahyarhamah Norhashimah di kediaman mereka di Taman Keramat. Kedatangan saya tepat jam 3.00 petang tadi bersama YB Nik Nazmi dan YB Nurul Izzah serta pimpinan KEADILAN Gombak disambut oleh suami Allahyarhamah Norhashimah, Saudara Ahmad Zulkhairi dan beberapa ahli keluarga mereka termasuk YB Dr. Nasir, ADUN Kota Damansara. Jelas suasana sedih dan pilu masih menyelubungi keluarga ini.

Allahyarhamah Norhashimah dihantar oleh suaminya ke INTAN dalam keadaan sihat walafiat untuk memulakan latihan modul ala komando pada 23 Mei 2010. Latihan ini dijangka berakhir selama seminggu di kem latihan di Jugra melibatkan aktiviti yang lasak yang dikhabarkan lebih berat daripada latihan ketenteraan biasa (bagi seorang awam seperti yang dilalui oleh pelatih dalam latihan ketenteraan).

Difahamkan Norhashimah mengalami demam panas pada keesokkan harinya dan hanya diberikan rawatan biasa. Masalah kesihatannya bertambah serious apabila Norhashimah mengalami muntah darah, muka pucat dan badannya menggigil. Namun, pengurusan program tidak memberikan perhatian dan meneruskan latihan lasak ini untuk Norhashimah. Keadaannya bertambah kritikal dan hanya dikejarkan ke Hospital Banting pada awal pagi 29 Mei 2010. Pada saat ini, keadaan Norhashimah sudah koma.

Keluarga Norhashimah amat kesal kerana pengurusan program DPA dan juga INTAN tidak langsung menghubungi keluarganya untuk memaklumkan keadaan ini. Suami Norhashimah mendapat berita sedih ini daripada pihak hospital yang menghubungi beliau untuk mengesahkan suami kepada Norhashimah. Mengapa penganjur program ini mendiamkan diri? Apakah motifnya? Apakah ada sesuatu yang hendak disembunyikan?

Saya memetik laporan Berita Harian yang mengatakan abang ipar Norhashimah, Zulyusri Zainal Abidin, 33, berkata mangsa pernah mengadu tidak sihat dan dibawa ke klinik berhampiran untuk mendapatkan rawatan ketika menjalani latihan tetapi hanya disahkan demam biasa sebelum kembali ke kem terbabit.

“Norhashimah pernah memberitahu tenaga pengajar yang beliau mahu pulang ke rumah untuk berehat tetapi dimaklumkan, jika enggan meneruskan latihan, beliau perlu menjalani semula latihan berkenaan selepas dua tahun,” katanya ketika ditemui Berita Harian, di pekarangan bilik Unit Rawatan Rapi HTAR, di sini, semalam.

Berita Harian juga melaporkan Zulyusri berkata, walaupun masih dalam keadaan lemah, adik iparnya itu dikatakan dipaksa menjalani latihan sama selepas bersetuju meneruskannya. “Melihatkan keadaan Norhashimah yang lemah, beberapa rakannya mencadangkan beliau supaya berhenti atau mengambil cuti dan cadangan berkenaan dipersetujuinya. “Bagaimanapun, seorang tenaga pengajar datang ke tempat Norhashimah sebelum memaksanya kembali meneruskan latihan. Ketika Norhashimah mahu mengambil sehelai jaket untuk mengurangkan kesan demam, tenaga pengajar terbabit merampas jaket berkenaan dan menyuruhnya terjun ke dalam sebuah parit berlumpur,” katanya.

Zulyusri berkata, selepas beberapa hari, keadaan Norhashimah menjadi semakin lemah serta tercungap-cungap sebelum beberapa rakan pelatih membawanya menemui tenaga pengajar di situ supaya dihantar menjalani rawatan di Hospital Banting (HB).

“Norhashimah hanya ditempatkan di wad HB selama sehari dan pernah memohon pihak kem supaya memaklumkan keadaan dirinya kepada keluarga tetapi tidak diendahkan, sebaliknya tiba semula di kem itu, beliau diarah menjalani latihan walaupun masih lemah.

“Adik ipar saya kemudian jatuh pengsan selepas keadaannya bertambah teruk. Tenaga pengajar kemudian membawanya menjalani rawatan di HB sebelum dipindahkan ke HTAR. Beliau kemudian disahkan mengalami jangkitan paru-paru berair (pneumonia) yang menyebabkannya sukar bernafas,” katanya.

Setelah mendengar penerangan yang diberikan oleh ahli keluarga Norhashimah khususnya suami beliau, kami bertiga; Nurul Izzah, Nik Nazmi dan saya merasa terpanggil untuk melihat isu ini secara keseluruhannya.

1) Mengapa faktor kesihatan dan keselamatan Allahyarhamah Norhashimah diambil mudah oleh pihak urusetia latihan? Mengapa seseorang peserta latihan yang sakit dipaksa untuk meneruskan latihan?

2) Mengapa pihak INTAN tidak memaklumkan kepada suami dan keluarga Allahyarhamah dari mula beliau mengalami demam panas, muntah darah dan jatuh kritikal sehingga dimasukkan ke ICU? Apakah ada usaha untuk menyembunyikan kecuaian atau kecurangan di pihak penganjur latihan?

3) Apa relevannya latihan lasak ala komando untuk pengesahan perkhidmatan pegawai kerajaan yang hanya terlibat dalam aspek penggubalan dasar, pengurusan dan pentadbiran semata-mata?

4) Apakah SOP yang digunapakai oleh pengurusan latihan (INTAN) dalam mengendalikan latihan-latihan lasak seumpama ini? Dan siapakah yang mendapat kontrak untuk mengendalikan latihan dan program jati diri ini? Apakah syarikat kroni ini mempunyai tenaga pengajar yang bertauliah dan rekod pengurusan yang baik?

Kami menuntut dan mendesak kerajaan Persekutuan supaya bertanggungjawab untuk menjaga keselamatan dan kebajikan anggota-anggota pentadbiran awam dan juga pegawai-pegawai kerajaan yang memberikan khidmat dan sumbangan yang besar dalam perkhidmatan awam untuk membangunkan negara. Beberapa cadangan dikemukakan untuk segera dilaksanakan oleh kerajaan Persekutuan:

(i) Membentuk satu Jawatankuasa Penyiasat Bebas untuk menyiasat kejadian ini secara menyeluruh dan mendakwa mereka yang bertanggungjawab dalam insiden yang meragut nyawa seorang pegawai kerajaan yang komited dalam perkhidmatannya.

(ii) INTAN dan JPA seharusnya meneliti semula kesesuaian kurikulum yang melibatkan modul latihan ala komando untuk pegawai-pegawai kerajaan. Kurikulum dan modul yang sarat dengan pengisian kualiti pengurusan seiring dengan keperluan sesuatu perkhidmatan perlu diutamakan.

(iii) Modul latihan Kursus Diploma Pengurusan Awam perlu disemak semula dan dipantau oleh Ahli Lembaga yang berkenaan dan memastikan para pelatih dan pengendali program adalah kalangan yang terlatih dan bertauliah.

(iv) Sistem pengurusan kursus harus sesuai dengan keadaan semasa agar bersesuaian dengan kondisi pegawai/peserta dengan tidak menafikan hak kebajikan mereka.

(v) Kelayakan pegawai untuk menyelia sebarang bentuk latihan mestinya mereka yang mempunyai kelayakan dan kepakaran sejajar dengan prinsip “the best officer for the best training”. Ini menjadi amalan di mana-mana institusi latihan pegawai kerajaan seperti Civil Service College Singapura dan Harvard Kennedy School, USA.

Saya berdoa semoga keluarga Saudara Zulkhairi dicucuri oleh Allah SWT dengan kesabaran dan ketenangan yang mendalam serta redha terhadap takdir yang telah ditentukanNya. Saya turut berdoa semoaga Allahyarhamah Norhashimah Wahid dicucuri rahmat dan maghfirah (ampunan) oleh Allah SWT dan mendapat husnul khatimah iaitu akhir yang baik dan ditempatkan di dalam syurga yang penuh ni’mat.

Al Fatihah.


Najib Cabinet2 not only the most unrepresentative in nation’s history, but also very backward and inward-looking which does not inspire confidence that 1Malaysia and NEM are more than slogans

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Najib Cabinet2 is not only the most unrepresentative Cabinet in the nation’s history with the most number of unelected and unelectable Senators, but also very backward and inward-looking which does not inspire confidence that 1Malaysia and New Economic Model (NEM) are more than slogans.

The minor Cabinet reshuffle yesterday is the second blow in a week to Najib’s claims to reformist credentials – the first being the public humiliation and slap-in-the face the Prime Minister endured when he attended the congress of the Perkasa-led Malay Consultative Council on Saturday to be told of its rejection of NEM.

After the Prime Minister had talked so much about national political, economic, social and government transformation if Malaysia is not to miss the boat to escape the two-decade middle income trap and take the quantum leap to become a high-income advanced nation with inclusiveness and sustainability by 2020, one would have expected the Najib Cabinet2 to send out the message: “We are capable of change”!

But this is not the case. Instead of change and a breath of fresh air, Najib’s Cabinet2 is another game of musical chairs with old, tired and discredited political faces.

Instead of a trimmed-down Cabinet to get rid of Ministerial deadwood, the Cabinet has been expanded with the appointment of four new Senators so that they could be given deputy ministerial appointments.

By Najib’s sleight-of-hand, Barisan Nasional has expanded from a coalition of 14 parties to become a 14+ creature – with Senator Datuk T. Murugiah, retained as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in his capacity as President of PPP2!

The dropping of Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat from the Cabinet has not come as a surprise, making him the shortest-serving MCA Minister in MCA history, although not the short-serving MCA elected president – as former MCA President Tan Koon Swan resigned as MCA President in August 1986 after only nine months in office.

However, it must be conceded that Ong outshines all the four MCA Ministers in public credibility.

One example why Najib’s Cabinet2 is sending out all the wrong messages detracting from his claims as the Great Reformer is the elevation of Datuk Chor Chee Heung as Minister for Housing and Local Government.

What signal is Najib trying to communicate when he could appoint Chor as Minister although the latter was among the politicians implicated in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal for possible conflict-of-interest by the PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) audit report released last year?

Although the Alor Star MP, who was Port Klang Authority Chairman from 2007-2008, had denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he had accepted the post of chairman to do “national service”, Malaysians are entitled to ask why Chor’s disastrous tenure in his “national service” in the PKFZ scandal should not disqualify him from another tenure of “national service” as a full-fledged Minister!

As Chor was specifically implicated by the PwC audit report into the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal, has Chor’s appointment as full Minister been cleared by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)?

It is noteworthy that the new Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kang Cho Ha has nothing to say about the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal in the MCA newspaper, the Star, on his new appointment.

Is the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal now “dead and buried” as an issue in the Barisan Nasional Cabinet and government?

Anifah Departs For Jordan To Secure Release Of Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 (Bernama) -- Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman left for Jordan this morning to secure the release of 12 Malaysians who were among those seized by Israeli forces who stormed the "Mavi Marmara" ship that was part of the Gaza aid flotilla.

Anifah was accompanied by several Wisma Putra officials, an aide told Bernama.

Anifah said yesterday 12 Malaysians were on the ship that was raided on Monday and none were reported injured.

He said Wisma Putra was still determining the locations of all the Malaysians who were held by the Israelis and that the Mavi Marmara ship had been towed to the Haifa port.

Several countries like Jordan and Turkey had expressed willingness to help bring back the Malaysians.

Israel stopped the six-ship convoy and 700 activists were detained.

It said it would deport 682 of the activists from 35 countries, among them 11 Malaysians.

Cabinet: Rejects first, corruption now

By Nathaniel Tan,

I won’t pretend to have original comments, but in case any were missed, I felt a bit like compiling them.
It’s been noted that the PKFZ anti-corruption crusader, Ong Tee Keat has been dropped, while someone who was actually part of the PKFZ scandal, Chor Chee Heung, has been made a full minister.
High hopes for reform under Najib anyone?
Palanivel: not good enough for Hulu Selangor, apparently good enough for cabinet.
People first?
So many senatorships? I understand it’s for appointing professionals with some serious experience and expertise in their intended ministry – not career politicians with no actual skills, and no rakyat who wants them.
Performance now?
My fave might be the meteoric rise of Chua Tee Yong – not only does he already control billions, he is now a deputy minister.
Is it just me, or are we going back to the days of high-rolling, utterly brazen faced, daylight corruption?

BN Youth burn Israeli flag

MIED belong to the Indians

Chitirakala: Samy is not a leader

US kills al-Qaeda 'number three'

Al-Yazid was a longtime member of the organisation [AFP/Site Intelligence Group]
The US government has said that it killed Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian man described as al-Qaeda's "number three" official.
Al-Qaeda confirmed al-Yazid's death in a message posted on internet forums on Monday.
The message contains no details about his death, but US officials believe al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri, was killed in northwest Pakistan last month.
"We have strong reason to believe ... that al-Masri was killed recently in Pakistan's tribal areas," a US counter-terrorism official told the Reuters news agency.
Senior leader
Al-Yazid was a longtime member of al-Qaeda and was described by a US official as being the organisations "chief operating officer".
It was unclear exactly where or how al-Yazid was killed.
Sheikh Sa'id al-Masri
Born in Egypt in 1955. 
Al-Qaeda's third-in-command, behind Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.
Founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, one of the groups that merged to form al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan and Iran.
Served as a top propagandist for al-Qaeda and Taliban.
Former treasurer of al-Qaeda.
Pakistani news reports speculate that he was killed in a US drone strike, but US officials would not comment.
"And there's some controversy here, because nobody in Pakistan has confirmed where he was killed," Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Lahore, said.
The US government also alleged that he helped to funnel money to some of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.
Al-Yazid headed al-Qaeda's Afghanistan branch for several years, and reportedly ran many of the group's operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"He was also the organisation's prime conduit to bin Laden and Zawahiri," the US official said, referring to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The al-Qaeda message said that al-Yazid's wife, and several other family members, were killed along with him.
Al-Yazid was a former member of Egypt's Islamic Jihad organisation and spent time in prison after Anwar Sadat, the former Egyptian president, was assassinated in 1981.
His last public statement was issued on May 4, wherein he praised Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the two al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders killed in a raid in April.

12 M'sians in Freedom Flotilla safe

All 12 Malaysians onboard the Mavi Marmara ship, which came under attack by Israeli forces yesterday, are safe and efforts are now underway to bring them home, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said.

"We are bringing them back," he told a news conference at the KL International Airport today.

He said that several countries like Jordan and Turkey had expressed willingness to help bring back the Malaysians.

"The Philippines and Ireland, which have missions in Tel Aviv, are also ready to help in getting the Malaysians out of the area either by air or by road," he said.

He said that the Malaysian Embassy in Turkey had officially conveyed to the Turkish government a request for assistance to help bring back the Malaysians who were onboard the Mavi Marmara when Israeli forces stormed the ship yesterday morning.

The Mavi Marmara is one of the ships in the Gaza humanitarian flotilla.

None injured

Anifah also said that the official figure of Malaysians onboard the ship was 12 and not 11 as reported.

He said apart from the 11 names mentioned in media reports, another Malaysian in the group was a member of the Malaysian Islamic Organisation Consultative Council, Mustafa Mansur.

Anifah also confirmed that no Malaysians were injured in the incident.

He also said that Wisma Putra was still determining the locations of all the Malaysians who were being detained by the Israeli Defence Force.

He said that the Mavi Marmara ship had been towed to the Haifa port while five other ships in the peace flotilla were in the Israeli port city of Ashdod.

Constant contact

Anifah said Wisma Putra had set up a round-the-clock operations room to monitor the latest development on the incident.

"We will be in constant contact with our mission in Ankara as well as with countries which have diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv to get the latest information," he said.

The operations room can be contacted at 03-88874570.

Asked on the three ships sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO), Anifah, who had just returned from Singapore to attend the Asean-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers' meeting, said he was told that the mission would continue its voyage to Gaza.

He said that PGPO representatives had also requested that the Asean-GCC demand Israel to remove the blockade and clear the passage for the aid flotilla.

Speedy return

Meanwhile, Astro Awani vice-president and general manager Rozina Aziz said the news channel received the confirmation that the Malaysians, including their news crew, were safe and uninjured.

"We are very pleased to learn about this latest development involving our reporter-anchor Ashwad Ismail and cameraman Samsulkamal Abdul Latip," she said in a statement.

Efforts to contact the two since the attack at about 10.30am Malaysian time on Monday had been unsuccessful.

She said Astro Awani had been liasing closely with Wisma Putra and Lifeline4Gaza organisers to monitor the developments of the incident.

"Now that we know they are safe, we will work closely with Wisma Putra to ensure their safe and speedy return to Malaysia."

Rozina also said that they had been keeping in touch with immediate family members of Ashwad and Samsulkamal.

"They have been informed of this latest development."

- Bernama

Royal Commission of Enquiry on top Indian students denied JPA Scholarship, Matriculation & University Intake for 2010.

Date : 1st June 2010

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak

Perdana Menteri Malaysia,

Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax : 03-8888 3444

62502 Putrajaya. E-Mail:

Re: Royal Commission of Enquiry on top Indian students denied JPA Scholarship, Matriculation & University Intake for 2010.

Datuk Seri,

We wish to bring to your attention Article 12 of the Federal Constitution – rights in respect of education. 12(1) read, "without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race and descent of place of birth."

Year in year out for past 30 years, thousands of excelling Malaysian Indian students are denied JPA scholarships, Matriculation & University intake. Your goodself’s policy of we are one in a OneMalaysia, but brilliant Indian students are denied from becoming professional and reputable citizens who would take Malaysia into the international arena. In any part of the world scholarships are given by the government without fail but only in OneMalaysia is this discrimination against Indians going on and on.

Prahsanna, ever since her childhood days she grew up with an ambition to become a doctor. Parents, teachers and the community leaders motivated her to pursue medicine and shine in her academic qualifications. She took up the challenge. She worked hard day and night and proved she is capable of achieving her ambition of becoming a doctor by scoring 11As. However her dreams were shattered when her applications to enter Matriculation, Local Universities and JPA scholarship were turndown without any reasons. And when she approached the Putra Jaya officials she was told to drop her ambitions! How would a sober person justify this! Her father is a retiree and her mother is a housewife. Who would help this young achiever’s dream come true if not the government?

Malay Muslim students from Pair Salak MRSM who scored 7 Ds and 8 Es managed to secure a place in Matriculations, whereas Menaka who scored 8As from the same college is rejected. She is now like a beggar knocking every government agencies’ door to get mercy. Is this the OneMalaysia concepts Prime Minister Najib is advocating?

About 7,600 students were identified as “Excellent Students” or “ Pelajar Cemerlang" upon SPM the results being announced this year. There are about 50,000 Matriculation seats available. Surely all 7,600 students should secure places in matriculation first!

These cases are only the tip of iceberg. We are receiving calls from all over the country and we estimate there are about 300 such disappointed high achievers. Most of them are waiting to see if their appeal will be answered favoring them on the 4th June 2010.

Human Rights Party demands your goodself to set up Royal Commission of Inquiry under Article 93 of the Federal Constitution:-

93) Inquiries, surveys and statistics.

(1) The Federal Government may conduct such inquiries by Commission, authorize such surveys and collect and publish such statistic.

Article 93 read together with the Commission of Enquiry Act, 1950 (Act 119) – An Act to make provision for the holding of commissions of enquiry.

Act 119(2) Issue of Commissions.

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, where it appears to him to be expedient so to do, issue a Commission appointing one of more Commissioners and authorizing the Commission to enquire into:-

(a) The conduct of any federal officer:

(b) The conduct or management of any department of the public service of the Federation:

(c) The conduct or management of any public institutions

(d) Any other matter in which an enquiry would, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, be for the public welfare

We look forward to a Royal Commission to be established with in a week as it is a matter of urgency. We look forward to your reply on this critical issue.

Yours sincerely,



Human Rights Party (HRP)

Information Chief

PKR leader did not highlight plight of Indian

By B Nantha Kumar(Refer www.freemalaysia 1/6/2010)

KOTA BARU: The sixth national PKR congress, which ended yesterday, did not go down well with many unhappy grassroots Indian representatives.

They feel that while the congress had highlighted Malay and Bumiputera issues, it had failed to “provide space” and insight into the plight of the Indians.

Alor Gajah’s G Rajandran said after three days of debate, he was disappointed with the outcome of the convention.

“Yes, I am disappointed. No space was given to the Indian community. No one raised the problems faced by the Indian community.

“I thought the congress would be a suitable place for PKR Indian or other leaders to raise issues faced by our community and suggestions made to solve them,” he told FMT on the sideline of the convention.

Rajendran said too much attention was given to the party’s aim to capture Putrajaya.

“To get to Putrajaya, we will need to resolve the problems plaguing the various communities, including the Indians.

“PKR needs to win the Indians back. The Indians are disappointed with the party,” he said. He was alluding to the major role played by the Indians in Pakatan Rakyat’s historic victories in the 2008 general election.

‘Recapture the Indian hearts’

Describing himself as a diehard PKR supporter, Rajendran said while Putrajaya can remain the ultimate goal, it is important to find solutions to the perennial problems gripping the Indian community in at least the Pakatan-led states — Selangor, Kedah and Penang.

Former Bukit Selambu state assembly V Arumugam also felt that the convention should have at least addressed the reasons behind the swing in Indian support towards the Barisan Nasional in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election.

“In Hulu Selangor, they voted for BN not because of the money. They were protesting against PKR for failing to keep its promises.

“That’s the reality PKR must accept… Pakatan is slow and dismissive of the Indian issue, which is a dangerous attitude to take in peninsular states,” he said.

According to Arumugam, before the 2008 political tsunami, PKR leaders were often seen on the ground engaging the Indian community.

“But after winning their seats, the PKR leaders had no time for them.

“Two years have gone by. We are not asking for miracles but some concerted efforts must be made to draw up strategies to win their support in the next general election.

“We must recapture the Indian hearts,” he said.

Hungry Indian poor children eating sand: UMNO’s New Straits Times and the Star damage control false news reporting! Felda like land scheme for poor Indians denied.

As expected and maybe having monitored our website postings yesterday attacking the UMNO One Malay-sia Prime Minister Najib Razak for socially engineering the Indian poor to this pathetic state, the New Straits sub headlines “ Mum : They ate soil to spite me” (NST 1/6/10 at page 11).
Also aiding and abetting this UMNO regime is The Star 1/6/10 at page N8. “It tasted like chocolate, says girl who ate stones’’.
These two newsreports as usual have been slanted to divert attention away from UMNO’s racism, religious extremist and supremacist policies that has retained the Indian poor as poor or made them poorer by excluding them from the national mainstream development of Malaysia. The Indians in Malaysia are prepared to work hard but have been denied the equal opportunities and the equal upward mobility opportunities.hungry
This hungry Indian poor children eating sand case is a leading example and is only the tip of the iceberg of the Indian poor’s misery, pain and suffering in prosperous Malay-sia, the country with the world’s tallest twin towers.
The New Straits Times and the other mainstream media including the three Tamil newspapers on many occasions, their primary objective is to pin the blame on the Indian community themselves and divert attention away from UMNO’s racist, discriminatory and supremacist policies that is designed to keep the Indians in the poor and lower income bracket.
Copy of hungry 1In the very same NST’s aforesaid newsreport these children’s father Inderian (43) was reported to be earning a mere RM 400 as an (unskilled) odd job worker to feed his wife, six children and a niece. At least half his salary of RM 200 would go for his rentals. How is this man going to feed his wife, niece and his six children with his balance salary of a RM 200 per month?
Had this family been a poor Malay, Orang Asli, Iban, kadazan they would have their traditional villages and/or ancestral land as a social safety net, where can plant something or pluck something. They would not have to pay rentals to start off with. And the sky would be the limit for them to open up land for agriculture, poultry or animal farming.
But because they are Indians this option is excluded to them which is readily and freely available to the poor orang Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan and Iban.
Thus our oft repeated point that the poor Indians are poorer than the poor Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan and Iban.
Being born as a Indian poor does not qualify them to the 442,000 land plots in Felda, Felcra, Risda, fama, Mardi, Agropolition agricultural land distribution programmes, and the parallel eleven state government ten acre land ownership schemes. Why is this so?
hungry. This level of racism and supremacist policies does not happen in any other part of the world except in Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia. And this has gone unchallenged and in fact condoned by the pin drop silence of PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs’ Bloggers, even Indian journalists and the Indian elite.
Malaysia Nanban, 1/6/10 at page 1 correctly reported poverty to be the root cause of this family’s misery. Also in Tamil Nesan on 1/6/10 at page 14.
How come the UMNO racist JKKK and the Welfare Department refused to identify this poor Indian family as a needy recipient? How come the RM 48 million welfare assistance allocation in the 2010 national budget did not reach this family? And hundreds of thousands of other poor Indian families? How come the RM 850 million in the 2010 national budget as social safety net for the poor disabled and senior citizens does not reach these kind of poor? Are there any others poorer than this in this country? How come the RM 159 million for pre-school children and the RM 2 billion in the form of aid for schoolchildren especially those under the poor students project is denied to this and hundreds of thousands of poor Indian school children.
Copy of hungry 2Whereas the urban poor in UMNO Prime Minister and Finance Minister’s 2010 national budget include those with monthly income of below RM 3,000 (All in NST 24/10/09 at page 29).
But this Indian family and thousands of other Indian families suffering similar predicaments are sidelined by the UMNO led Malay-sian government’s 1,016,799 racist religious extremist and supremacist mostly civil service Biro Tatanegara graduates (See UM Buliten 21/6/09 at page 19).
Thus the unresolved Indian dilemma by commission by UMNO and by omission by PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs’, Bloggers, Indian journalists and the Indian elite in general by omission.
P. Uthayakumar

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