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Thursday, June 10, 2010

MPs clash in Senate Lounge - BN version

Aminulrasyid shooting case to be mentioned on June 22

The Shah Alam Sessions Court today fixed June 22 for mention of the case of a police corporal charged with causing the death of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah who died in a shooting incident in Section 11, Shah Alam two months ago.

Judge Latifah Mohd Tahar fixed the date for submission of documents and to set the trial date.

Selangor Prosecution Unit head Ruslan Abu Bakar and deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Mustaffa P Kunyalam appeared for the prosecution while Corporal Jenain Subi was represented by counsel M Athimulan and Salim Bashir.

Jenain, 48, is charged with causing the death of Aminulrasyid in Jalan Tarian 11/2, Section 11, between 1.10am and 2am on April 26.

azlanIf convicted under section 304 of the Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he faces a maximum 30 years jail and liability of whipping.

Present in court were Jenain's family members, Aminulrasyid's sister, Nor Azura, Azamuddin Omar, the teenager who was in the car driven by Aminulrasyid at the time of the incident.

Ruslan told the court that he was mentioning the case on behalf of the DPP from Putrajaya who was handling the case.

He asked for an early mention date of within two weeks.

- Bernama

Najib unveils his first, nation's 10th economic blueprint

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

UPDATED KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today unveiled the 10th Malaysian Plan (10MP) in Parliament. The plan is touted as the bellwether of change that could revive the country's ailing economy.

This is Najib's first economic framework and many of his neo-liberal policies expounded under his New Economic Model (NEM) is likely to be streamlined under the 10MP.

Slapped with the highest budget deficit in decades, at 7% of the GDP, the country's sixth premier is forced to bow to market demands even if it means risking alienating Malay voters, the country's majority race, who are unhappy with the NEM.

The 10MP will underline Najib's effort to continue his predecessors' endeavours to make Malaysia a developed nation by 2020.

To do this, the son of second premier Abdul Razak aims, to cut fiscal deficit to 2.8% of the GDP by 2015 through unpopular subsidy cuts and efforts to bolster the domestic market.

Innovation and productivity oriented economy, through augmented human capital development, will be one of the main thrusts of the new framework.

These objectives have been listed under the 10MP's 10-point strategy.

The 10MP also revealed measures to transform the nation into a high-income economy through a development expenditure allocation of RM230 billion for the next five years.

From the total, 55 percent was allocated for the economic sector, 30 percent for the social sector, 10 percent for security and 5 per cent for administration.

Najib said the 10MP plan was vital to continue the vision and objective of the nation and if vigorously and consistently implemented, would see Malaysia through the challenging times and enable the nation to be a high-income and developed nation by 2020.

Three more pillars have been erected to drive the plan through, namely with the introduction of the 1Malaysia concept of "People First, Performance Now"; Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and New Economic Model (NEM), he said.

Police thefts benchmarks nation’s security level

By Dr. Dzul
 
Dear Editor,

The minister’s revelation of the number of thefts involving police firearms and vehicles is most shocking. How can the very people who are commissioned to provide safety and security to the rakyat have also become victims of theft?

We have witnessed how even VVIPs have had their dwellings ransacked by buglers despite having round-the-clock vigilance. Never mind about the thousands of simple citizens who have lost their possessions and even life in some cases either within their securely fenced and chained homes or  on the busy streets.

We also know of how mysteriously the C4 explosives left tightly guarded police barracks to blow up a foreign national.

The local newspapers have responsibly highlighted the numerous accounts of reported crimes in the country that have left citizens and tourists poorer and sometimes maimed.

Citizens have also consistently written in the Letters columns of newspapers raising the alarm of the need for improved safety at tamans and on the streets.

All these stories have only been dismissed by relevant authorities and their key spokespersons saying, “our crime level is declining”, or “the public must learn to be more responsible”.

Today we know that not only are we unsafe within our barricaded homes – let alone the open streets, but even our guardians of crime have fallen victim to robberies and theft. And mind you, it involves firearms and police vehicles.

Time is up to stop all rhetoric. The onus is on the government to effectively address this endemic problem and not leave it to privatised security companies  and Rukun Tetanggas to do the job at the expense of the already financially burdened rakyat.

MPs should also raise this matter with greater passion and urgency and not just stick to politicising issues pertaining to their power-game interests.

Otherwise we are just on the edge of becoming Asia’s most unsafe destination.

J. D. Lovrenciear
Semenyih

J. D. Lovrenciear, APR, FIPR, jdlovrenciear@yahoo.com
H/P 012 2366017

Nik Aziz: Stop talks of Umno, we are with Pakatan

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA BAHRU: PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat wants an end to speculations about whether the party would be enticed to join the proposed 'national unity' government with rivals Umno.

He said PAS' future is with Pakatan Rakyat and it is vital to forge a deeper understanding and commitment to the alliance which comprises of PKR, DAP and the powerful Islamist party.

Delivering his keynote address at the annual joint opening of the PAS Youth, Muslimat and Ulama assemblies, Nik Aziz said the mood of the people is with the alliance now.

"I hope to see a progressive pace in place where the emphasis is on good governance so as to capture the minds of the people ahead of the roadmap to Putrajaya," he said.

The proposed national unity government was first mooted by Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh

Hamzah, weeks after the landmark 2008 general election.

He said a unity government was the solution to address the political stalemate in the country since the emergence of Pakatan as an alternative to the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Nik Aziz, however, said PAS must build on the present favourable sentiment and momentum in Pakatan to capture all seats it will be contesting in the next general election.

"We must become the voice of the Malay electorate. We can then form a good government based on the aspirations of the people," said the 79-year-old cleric.

Islam not exclusive to Malays

Touching on the elevation of the PAS non-Muslims supporters club into an assembly (Dewan) status last month, Nik Abdul Aziz said Islam does not solely belong to PAS.

"In the past, clerics failed to generate awareness about Islam to the non-Muslims, thus resulting in the religion being exclusive to the Malays only," he said.

"This must change and with a non-Muslim wing, PAS can empower them to spread the goodwill message of the party's struggle to their respective communities."

Nik Aziz also urged clerics to master other languages such as Mandarin and Tamil to reach out to the non-Muslims.

Later, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said the upcoming main 'muktamar' (assembly) will focus on the party consolidation.

Perhaps, this might be the last 'muktamar' before the general election as Mustafa boldly predicted that election will be called by March next year.

Therefore, the party must step up a gear in preparing for it, he said, adding that this 'muktamar' is a proper platform to kick-off earnest preparations

Will the real Malay entrepreneur please stand up… and walk

(TMI) KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Some months after it had formed the state government two years ago, a certain Pakatan Rakyat (PR) mentri besar was visited by a group of Malay businessmen and entrepreneurs who complained about not getting “special treatment.”

That is right. The “Reformasi-ists” who accused Barisan Nasional of cronyism in the March general elections were now asking one of their mentri besar for privileged access to state government contracts.

To be fair, a source familiar with the meeting said, the businessmen had competed in open tenders and had tried securing jobs based on their own merit.

But they found it tough. Most of these Pakatan entrepreneurs were small fry compared to the Umno-connected Malay contractors. The latter got big and experienced from the contracts they secured when Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.

So the Pakatan contractors were hoping to leverage on their alliance and the sweat and blood they put in over the years as activists. Some of them were veterans who had been gassed, beaten and jailed in the countless demonstrations since the 1998 “Reformasi” movement — the precursor of Pakatan.

Said the source: “The sentiment was we have sacrificed much for Pakatan... surely there must be some ‘reward’?”

The mentri besar, however, gently explained that the days of ”preferential treatment” for anyone, Pakatan or BN were over. Everyone would have to go through the same rigorous open tender application process.

The purpose of highlighting this episode is not to show that Pakatan and BN activists are the same. It is to show how entrenched the belief is among Malay entrepreneurs of all stripes that it is the business of the government to be involved in Malay businesses.

This is beyond “know-who” versus “know-how.” It is the Malay business subsidy mentality — the belief that the government, state and federal, must continue to prop up Malay business if the latter is to have any hope of making it in the 21st century.

The belief is so strong that it will resist any attempt by any government, whether BN or Pakatan, to dismantle the web of patronage that sustains it. Even if such a system could cause more PKFZs, Mida buildings and collapsing stadiums.

The BN and Pakatan top leadership may want to sincerely stop patronage. For example, some Pakatan states have their CAT system (competency, accountability and transparency).

Later this morning, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is scheduled to announce the 10th Malaysia Plan, which will incorporate some of the New Economic Model’s aims of ending patronage and reducing affirmative action.

But what the leadership of both these coalitions will not admit is that many civil servants, businessmen and middle-ranking politicians in their own parties, do not see patronage as a problem.

READ MORE HERE.

Raid on Gaza aid ship: The Israeli version

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

SINGAPORE: The Embassy of Israel in Singapore has expressed deep regret over the lack of information that spurred Malaysia's outrage over Israel's raid of a Gaza Freedom Flotilla ship.

On May 30, Israeli soldiers raided the MV Mavi Marmara, one of six ships in the flotilla, which was on a humanitarian aid mission to Gaza. The ensuing clash between passengers and soldiers left nine activists dead. The 12 Malaysians on board, however, returned home unharmed.

Last week saw a spate of angry protests in Kuala Lumpur that included the burning of an Israeli flag and an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Malaysia has also called for Israel to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

The embassy's deputy chief of mission, Idit Abu, lamented the fact that much of the information surrounding the incident was omitted from the local and international media.

“There was footage of Israeli soldiers being attacked by the ship's passengers when they came on board,” she told FMT in a phone interview yesterday. “The soldiers didn't open fire until one of them was thrown overboard.”

“And not all the passengers were activists. One of them was a former US Marine who led the resistance. The Israeli naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip after numerous warnings from Israel.”

“However, only the demonstrators on board the Mavi Marmara attacked the naval personnel with live fire and light arms. Even a Malaysian policeman facing a mob armed with weapons would shoot in defence.”

“The press presented the incident from a very narrow perspective. The other side of the story took a long time to surface, even on CNN. And I don't think Al-Jazeera ever portrayed the other side.”

Idit pointed out that although another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, was intercepted none of the activists was injured, which clearly indicated that Israel has no interests in creating armed conflict.

Scanty knowledge and a complex history

According to Idit, lack of knowledge of the full scenario and of the conflict's history has led to the misconception of Israel among Malaysians.

“Asians in general are not well-acquainted with the history and complexity of this conflict because Asia is far removed from the Middle East,” she said. “For instance, many Malaysians don't know that Israel maintains an ongoing humanitarian corridor for the transfer of food and humanitarian supplies to Gaza six days a week. This corridor is used by international organisations including the United Nations and the Red Cross.”

“Furthermore, the crossing on Israel's side has always remained open. Until last week, the only crossing that was locked and closed was the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian side.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced on June 1 that it would lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip indefinitely.

Idit also said that many Malaysians are not aware of the intricacies of the relationship between the Hamas and Fatah factions.

“Hamas violently took over Gaza, killing many Fatah activists there,” she explained. “Malaysians don't realise that Hamas offers nothing but war to Palestine and that Fatah offers negotiations that could lead to a better situation. Malaysians also don't know about the previous attempts for peace there.”

“We are very sorry to see so much hatred generated among Malaysians over the flotilla incident,” she said. “This means that the extremists are getting more support. Now instead of supporting Fatah, the Malaysian public may switch their support to Hamas without being fully aware of the consequences of doing so.”

Survival urges Malaysia to uphold tribes’ rights

Survival’s director Stephen Corry has written to the Malaysian government, urging it to uphold the rights of the Penan and other tribes of Sarawak.

Malaysia’s Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said last month that the Malaysian federal and Sarawak state governments were, ‘in the process of finalising a mechanism on how to solve the issue of native customary rights land in the state,’ according to the government news agency Bernama. The minister made his statement during the run-up to a hotly contested by-election in the Sarawak town of Sibu.

The Sarawak government does not uphold indigenous peoples’ rights to their land, and allows logging and plantation companies to operate on it without the tribes’ consent. The Penan tribe rely heavily on the forests, and have repeatedly mounted blockades to keep the logging companies out.

In letters to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Stephen Corry wrote, ‘The Sarawak government’s failure to uphold the Penan’s rights to their land is in violation of the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The activities of logging and plantation companies have impoverished them, destroying their sources of food and clean water. We are also concerned that Penan and other indigenous people are threatened with displacement for the construction of the Murum dam and other hydroelectric dams across the state, again without their consent.

‘I urge you to ensure that the rights of the Penan and other indigenous peoples of Sarawak are respected, and that all logging, plantations and other developments on their land without their consent are halted.’

-Survival International-

Sex, honestly

by Deborah Loh | The Nut Graph
(Pic by Ingorrrr @ Flickr)
(Pic by Ingorrrr @ Flickr)
WAS it wrong for award-winning school teacher Alias Ismail to be so upfront about his sex life? When asked for the secret of his career success, he credited reading a book with his wife, having a good conversation, and then having sex before going to sleep. Every night, apparently.
Was it shameful for the 42-year-old Bahasa Malaysia teacher from Terengganu to openly talk about his enjoyment of sex within the context of what appears to be a healthy, legitimate and loving relationship?
The reactions to Alias’ revelation betray an archaic hypocrisy towards sex. Alias was both criticised and praised. Criticised because he offended the hypersensitive sensibilities of some people who fear that more illegitimate sex will now take place. A columnist in Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew Daily said Alias was being illogical and misleading by relating his teaching career to sexual enjoyment. The columnist suggested Alias see a psychologist to “get his indulgence fixed up”.
But the teacher was also praised because others recognised his honesty, even if a little off-topic, as testimony about the effort that goes into keeping a relationship and family happily intact.
And this, I think, is what the Alias’s story is all about. He wasn’t talking about sex for the sake of it, but about its importance to his 25-year marriage and about teaching his children the right circumstances for having sex. Alias’s openness and clear understanding about the role and right context for sex is a contrast to our waffling, never-ending public debate for and against teaching sex education in schools. Alias embodies some key points of what sex education ought to prepare young people for  – 1) the right time and context for sex, 2) faithfulness to one partner, and, if one doesn’t want monogamy, 3) safe sex.
Mixed messages
Underlying our collective hypocrisy towards sex is a false sense of shame perpetuated by the mixed messages we put out about sex. That it is taboo and disgraceful, when actually, sex is a major preoccupation of pop culture, media, religion and politics.
Beyonce in concert (Pic by Felipe Brand | Wiki commons)
Beyonce in concert (Pic by Felipe Brand | Wiki commons)
Pop culture: An oft-cited example is Beyonce. She’s not allowed to perform in Malaysia in person because of her revealing outfits, but there she is in all her curvaceous glory on our screens on TV music video channels. Or how about overt sexuality in some TV sitcoms, dramas and movies? Or both subliminal and direct messages in fashion and relationship advice dispensed in magazines catered to teenage girls, women and men, respectively?
Media: Alias’s story was apparently important enough to be on page three of The Star the first day it ran. Sure, the story was interesting, but it was more titillating and a curiosity than being newsworthy or of public interest. And on any given day, just check the “Most Read” section of some internet newspapers to see how sex-related the most popular stories are.
Religion: In Islam, sexual sins are publicly penalised in the name of protecting the religion or to return the “sinner” to the right path. Offenders are made “examples” of, supposedly to deter others from committing the same sin. In church circles, while there is no state interference, there is sometimes a skewered perception that sexual sins are the “worst” kind of sins. However, scriptural text also teaches that gossiping, lying, envy and injustice are just as sinful, too. The Catholic Church is currently going through one of its most testing periods of public credibility as its leaders grapple with the cover-up of sexual crimes committed by its clergy.
Politics: Just look at the second trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy. His accuser, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, was the joke on Twitter when he testified about how Anwar supposedly asked him for sex, and when he said he didn’t wash for two days to keep evidence of the alleged sodomy. Or what about Kinabatangan lawmaker Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin’s taking a second wife in violation of syariah law, and the mild reaction from fellow politicians?
What does all this show? That newsmakers are preoccupied with sex; the media that reports on them loves sexing up stories; and consumers are just as enthralled by sex-related stories.
Sex, shame and society
I believe there is a link between society’s prejudiced and voyeuristic attitude towards sex and the lack of sex education. I also believe in a link between this ignorance and prejudice with violent crimes against women and children, and what some call “moral decay” or “social ills”. And given our collective fixation on sex, it is an injustice to our young people and victims of sex crimes that we don’t come clean about our hypocrisy and advocate for sex education in schools.
It is an injustice to the teenage girls raped for an extended period by a serial rapist taxi driver because they were ashamed to report his abuse. It is an injustice to victims of incest when their families have a false sense of shame and disbelieve them or urge against lodging police reports.
(Pic by agastecheg / sxc.hu)
(Pic by agastecheg / sxc.hu)
We let ourselves be bombarded by sexual messages everyday but do little to teach our children and women that shame is not theirs if they are victims whose rights have been violated. We read with disgust about babies dumped in rubbish bins or toilets but avoid talking about sex with our teenagers. Some are against the new effort to set up a baby hatch where unprepared mothers can leave their newborns in a safe, clean and caring environment, and yet offer no solutions about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The teachers’ union has said teachers are ill-equipped to teach sex education, and concurs with the Education Ministry that it’s better to incorporate it into other subjects, as is currently the practice. But how effective is this, assuming it’s really happening? I for one, remember my Form One biology teacher telling my class to “go home and read yourself” the chapter on reproductive organs. If teachers have too many subjects plus curricular activities and administrative work to handle, the teaching of sex education can be conducted on a one-off or scheduled basis by reputable non-government organisations. It just takes some thought and the will to get it done.
Sex education should not just be about reproduction, but about what healthy and respectful relationships involve. Going further, this kind of education should not be limited to schools, but include adults as well.
So I think Cikgu Alias has hit on something right. He’s shown us sex in a healthy and happy context. If only we’d tell ourselves not to be so titillated by his story, and look at the values he’s promoting instead. We could have more honest relationships with our partners, a wholesome understanding of sex and gender, and a better society with less fear and stigma towards survivors of sexual crimes. Terima kasih, Cikgu.

New Parliament in Putrajaya

Soalan: Sim Tong Him (Kota Melaka) meminta Perdana Menteri menyatakan adakah kedudukan project membaik pulih, menaik taraf, mengubahsuai dan bina baru bangunan Parlimen Malaysia dengan butir-butir kerja-kerja yang akan dilaksanakan, jumlah kos terlibat, tarikh kerja dimulakan dan bilakah projek ini akan dapat siap dibina keseluruhannya.
Jawapan: Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri (Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri)
Tuan Yang Di Pertua,
Terdapat cadangan untuk membina sebuah Kompleks Parlimen yang baru di dalam kawasan yang sedia ada. Pembinaan Kompleks Parlimen yang baru adalah bertujuan memenuhi keperluan Parlimen Malaysia di masa akan datang dengan mengambil kira aspek keselesaan, keperluan, kemuduhan dan pertambahan bilangan ahli Parlimen.
Kerja-kerja membaik pulih, menaik taraf dan mengubahsuai bangunan Parlimen sedia ada pula adalah bagi membaik pulih struktur bangunan dan mengganti sistem mekanikal dan elektrik yang telah uzur. Cadangan ini telah di bawa ke Mesyuarat Jemaah Menteri untuk pertimbangan. Baru-baru ini, Jemaah Menteri telah memutuskan agar bangunan Parlimen yang baru dibina di Putrajaya manakala bangunan Parlimen yang lama akan dibaik pulih dan dikekalkan sebagai bangunan warisan. Walaubagaimanapun, butiran lanjut mengenainya masih dalam peringkat kajian oleh JKR.

Sekian, terima kasih.
————————
Parliament may move to Putrajaya
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani | The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — The government is considering moving the Parliament to the Putrajaya administrative capital, a move which could cost up to RM800 million.
However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told reporters that the Cabinet had yet to discuss the relocation.
“It’s not decided yet. We will bring it to the Cabinet to be discussed,” he said.
He added that the Cabinet would also look into possibly demolishing the current Parliament building.
“We will look into every aspect. The Parliament is actually a heritage building so we would have to see if we could demolish it.
The minister said another option would be to refurbish the existing building, which would cost substantially less than a new construction.
“We would need the RM150 million for upgrading [works], like fixing the roof and the electricity supply.
“While for the construction of a new Parliament [building], we might need RM800 million. So we will consider on the best proposal,” Nazri said.

Highlights Of Najib's Speech When Tabling The 10th Malaysia Plan

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 (Bernama) -- Following are the highlights of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's speech when tabling the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday:

* Theme: Towards Economic Prosperity and Social Justice

* The 10MP (2011-2015) is critical for the continuation of the national agenda to realise Vision 2020 and become an advanced and high-income nation.

* 9MP (2006-2010): 4.2 per cent per annum expected in economic growth; gross national income per capita to reach RM26,420 (US$8,260) in 2010; inflation at 3.6 per cent in 2010; federal government fiscal deficit to to narrow to 5.3 per cent in 2010 compared with 7 per cent of GDP in 2009.

* Incidence of poverty reduced to 3.8 per cent in 2009 compared with 5.7 per cent in 2005. Hardcore poverty rate dropped from 1.2 per cent in 2005 to 0.7 per cent in 2009.

* Economic growth rate expected to record 6 per cent in 2010.

* 9MP (2006-2010): 4.2 per cent per annum expected in economic growth; gross national income per capita to reach RM26,420 (US$8,260) in 2010; inflation at 3.6 per cent in 2010; federal government fiscal deficit to to narrow to 5.3 per cent in 2010 compared with 7 per cent of GDP in 2009.

* Incidence of poverty reduced to 3.8 per cent in 2009 compared with 5.7 per cent in 2005. Hardcore poverty rate dropped from 1.2 per cent in 2005 to 0.7 per cent in 2009.

* Economic growth rate expected to record 6 per cent in 2010.

* 10MP: 10 main premises

First : Internally driven, externally aware

Second : Leveraging on our diversity internationally

Third : Transforming to a high-income nation through specialisation

Fourth : Unleashing productivity-led growth and innovation

Fifth : Nurturing, attracting and retaining top talent

Sixth : Ensuring equality of opportunities and safeguarding the vulnerable

Seventh : Concentrated growth, inclusive development

Eighth : Supporting effective and smart partnerships

Ninth : Valuing our environmental endowments

Tenth : Government as a competitive corporation

10MP-Five Strategic Thrusts

First: Designing government philosophy and approach to transform Malaysia using NKRA methodology

Second: Creating a conducive environment for unleashing economic growth

Third: Moving towards inclusive socio-economic development

Fourth: Developing and retaining a first-world talent base and

Fifth: Building an environment that enhances quality of life

*10MP allocation for non-physical infrastructure to be increased to 40 per cent compared with 21.8 per cent under the 9MP, focus to be given to skills development programmes, R&D activities and venture capital funding

*A world-class civil service college will be established to raise the competency of civil servants

* Focus on 12 national key economic areas of NKEAs to be announced in October

(i) Oil and gas

(ii) Palm oil and related products

(iii) Financial services

(iv) Wholesale and retail

(v) Tourism

(vi) Information and communication technology (ICT)

(vii) Education services

(viii) Electric and electronic

(ix) Business services

(x) Private healthcare

(xi) Agriculture

(xii) Greater Kuala Lumpur

* A special unit, the Economic Transformation Unit, will be established to plan and coordinate the implementation and development of the NKEAs.

* A Competition Commission and Appeal Tribunal will be established to ensure more orderly and effective implementation of the law.

* The government will continue to strive to place Malaysia among the top five most competitive countries in the world.

* A Facilitation Fund of RM20 billion will be provided to help the private sector to finance public-private partnership projects.

* Through the Facilitation Fund, the government expects to attract private sector investments worth at least RM200 billion. Among the projects that are being considered are land reclamation in Westport in Port Klang, Malaysia Truly Asia Centre in Kuala Lumpur and Senai High Technology Park in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor.

* A special unit under the Prime Minister's Department will be set up to set the direction and drive the National Innovation System and innovation policies and strategies.

* Government financing for public venture capital companies will be in the form of equity and not loans.







* A Mudharabah Innovation Fund (MIF)with an allocation of RM500 million will be introduced to provide risk capital to government venture capital companies.







* A Business Growth Fund with an initial allocation of RM150 million will be set up to bridge the financing gap between the early stage of commercialisation and venture capital financing for high tech products.



* The bankruptcy laws will be simplified to support a risk-taking culture, eliminate the stigma of failure and allow high calibre and credible entrepreneurs who fail to become active again.

* High speed broadband project to cover major towns, priority economic growth areas and industrial areas, broadband coverage for suburban and rural areas broadband service for the rural population through wireless infrastructure offering a variety of affodable packages

*East Coast Expressway from Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu to be completed in the plan period at a total cost of RM3.7 billion and to be linked to the Kuantan Port which will be upgraded

*The electrified double track rail project from Gemas to Johor baharu, estimated to cost RM8 billion, will be implemented to complete the electrified double track rail project from Padang Besar in the north to Johor Baharu in the south

*A sewerage treatment plant using green technology to be constructed in Lembah Pantai, Kuala Lumpur, similar plants throughout the country to follow

Islamic Banking – Borrowing and Investing out of Haraam’s Way

By Maryanne Loughnan SC and Douglas Drummond

Between the 8th to 12th centuries the flowering of its faith and culture made Islam the leading 'civilizer' of this period. Islam was at the core of commercial, academic, intellectual and artistic advances. The vast trade routes which were dominated by Islam's adherents raised the need for innovative instruments, or in today's parlance, 'products' of finance. In this era, Muslim traders introduced to Europe concepts of finance originating in the Islamic states. These included negotiable instruments, the partnership, the body corporate and agency. From the 13th century onwards the west's uptake of these concepts and relationships underpinned and accelerated the great expeditionary and argosy fleets of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. In the context of the current global tensions there is no small irony in the assertion that Islam should be credited with the invention of capitalism.

In modern times Islamic finance has re-emerged as a major force in global credit flows. Islamic finance now gains its impetus from offering an alternative to the western banking model which does not conform to the precepts of Islamic law 'Sharia' as derived from the Qur'an by Islamic scholars. Conduct or things which comply with Sharia are 'halal' and conversely, 'haraam'.

Currently, over 20 percent of the world‟s population professes the Muslim faith. As Australia's Muslim population continues to grow, understanding and offering Islamic banking and financial services is crucial to the local industry. In July 2009, Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry, announced the Federal Government's commitment to overcoming regulatory framework hurdles with a view to enabling the formation of the country's first retail Islamic bank. He said “with over 340,00 Muslims in Australia, the offering of retail Islamic finance products contributes to fostering social inclusion, by enabling Australian Muslims to access products that may be more consistent with their principles and beliefs as well as widening the choice of products for non-Muslims” iii.

In attempting to develop a legal framework that will accommodate Islamic banking practices, government and business leaders also seek to draw investment from offshore Islamic institutions. The global market utilizing halal products is reportedly worth $US 1 trillion approximately and growing at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent per annumiv. As has been advocated by former Liberal Party leader and Global DC Chairman, Dr John Hewson, potential exists for Australia to emerge as an Islamic banking hub in the Asia Pacific regionv. Chris Bowen, the federal Minister for Financial Services, has made similar statements and cited Australia's proximity to Indonesia and Malaysia. “The majority of the world‟s Islamic population lives in Asia, and Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are trying to corner this market for themselves and I think Australia can play a role. Even if we only take a small percentage of the market it could generate a lot of wealth and a lot of jobs in Australia.”vi

This article explains the main features of Islamic banking practices and highlights some of the various statutory and conceptual hurdles that need to be addressed as Australia seeks to attract investment from Asia and the Middle Eastvii.

The main features of Islamic Banking

Islamic banking refers to the practice of investing money according to the tenets of Sharia. One of the most prominent and important features of Islamic banking is the Qur'anic prohibition on the receipt and payment of interest, referred to in Arabic as 'riba', which is considered exploitative.

“Those who charge riba are in the same position as those controlled by the devil‟s influence. This is because they claim that riba is the same as commerce. However, God permits commerce, and prohibits riba. Thus, whoever heeds this commandment from his Lord, and refrains from riba, he may keep his past earnings, and his judgment rests with God. As for those who persist in riba, they incur Hell, wherein they abide forever.” viii

As all the operations of Islamic financial institutions must be free from interest, the relationship between an Islamic bank and its client is based on participatory profit / loss sharing. A bank will provide its customers with funds on the basis that it shares a portion of both the rewards and risks assumed by the customer. Returns for the bank are therefore reliant upon the financial success of its customers rather than on payments calculated by reference to financial market interest rates. The notion that an investor is entitled to a return without putting money at risk is rejected in Sharia. It is only the combination of effort, capital and risk that justifies a return on investment.ix

The prohibition on riba is informed by the fundamental Qur'anic requirement that resources be used productively and in a socially beneficial manner. Financial resources must be used constructively in order to generate further wealth through appropriate investments. Islamic principles do not, however, recognise money as a commodity (like, for instance, oil and wheat) and do not believe that it has an inherent ability to rise in value.x

Islamic financial institutions will only provide capital for ventures that do not contravene Islamic law. Finance will not be made available for entities involved in the production and distribution of alcohol, gambling, weapons or pornography.

In line with the socio-economic foundation of Islamic financial practicexi, the concept of caveat emptor is not recognized without further qualificationxii. Similarly, some Islamic banks offer benevolent interest-free loans (in the form of a 'qard hasan') to members of the community facing financial hardship and in an emergency situation. Rather than receiving interest, it is believed that a lender who offers a qard hasan will reap the bounteous rewards of Allah.xiii

To ensure adherence to these underlying Islamic principles, most Islamic banks (and Islamic banking arms of western banks) are governed by a supervisory board of Muslim scholars that analyse the institution's methods and operations. If any violations are revealed, the Board will correct them and identify halal alternatives. Boards do differ in their appraisals of various banking products, facilities and practices.

In an organisational chart, the Sharia Board functions as an advisory wing beside the board of directors. The significance of the Sharia Board in auditing policies and practices will be stated in the bank's establishment contract. In some institutions, the Sharia Board has the authority to contradict decisions of the board of directors. In the United Arab Emirates, members of the Sharia Board are attached to the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs. In Iran, Pakistan and Sudan the overall banking system is Sharia compliant and, in those countries, the central bank contains a Supreme Sharia Board which controls all pertinent affairs.xiv

Islamic Banking instruments

As Islamic banks and instruments take their place in local development and form part of mainstream lending activities, a whole range of complex issues will arise which must be understood and addressed by all who participate in this practice area. Not least among these issues will be the perspective that Australian courts bring to bear on interpreting Islamic banking instruments.

A range of Sharia-compliant and commercially sustainable contracts has been developed by financial institutions engaged in Islamic finance. The most common contractual relationships are described in broad terms below.

Wadiah

An Islamic bank is permitted to hold deposit funds as the safe keeper of a customer's funds. As the bank is not permitted to pay riba a customer may receive, at the bank's discretion, a sum as 'hibah' or gift from the bank in appreciation of being permitted to use the customer's funds in its banking operations. A bank becomes attractive to depositors if it has a history as a regular distributor of profits as hiba.

Mudaraba


The 'mudaraba' contract engages two parties and, in a retail banking context, can be applied to fund business ventures. The arrangement operates on the basis that one party, the 'rabb al-mal' provides capital whilst the other, the 'mudarab' provides skill or labour. If the combined input generates a profit, it is shared between both parties. Any loss is borne solely by the capital provider. It is similar to a joint venture arrangement, the distinction being that a bank using customer investment funds provides capital. The mudaraba has widespread use in Middle East in the development of large scale infrastructure projects. On a lesser scale it is most commonly used for trade financing of inventory.

Mudaraba contracts form the basis for several Islamic investment funds. Pursuant to such an arrangement, customers subscribe to the fund by way of capital contributions and the bank, using its investment skill, invests in suitable ventures. The bank will deduct management fees and any realised profits will be distributed to customers in a proportion determined at the outset.xv

The mudaraba contract presents a significant risk management challenge to the rabb al-mal as losses are not recoverable from the mudarab unless negligence or breach of contract can be establishedxvi.

Musharaka

Like a mudaraba contract, the 'musharaka' instrument is based on Islamic principles of participatory profit sharing. Musharaka, literally sharing, differs from a mudaraba in that both losses and profits are shared. It operates similarly to a partnership.A musharaka arrangement can be used to provide venture capital or project finance and the Islamic banking institution will, with its customer, usually create a special purpose vehicle. Although not all parties are required to participate in the management of the venture, each will hold an agreed percentage of the share capital. Profit will be divided in a proportion determined by the agreement. There is, of course, no guarantee that the venture will generate a profit and any loss must be assumed strictly in accordance with the ratio of capital contribution.

A form of residential property mortgage may also be entered into using a musharaka contract. The intending land owner and financial institution form a partnership and share the risk of the asset by holding the property as tenants in common. Equity in the property is shared in proportion to the funds that each has contributed to the transaction. The financial institution will rent out its share of the property to its partner at a rate determined by fair market value. In order to avoid hybridisation with a lending concept which is haraam, a second contract will then be entered into that attends to the final sale of the asset. The terms of this contract will set out the final purchase price in conjunction with a series of fixed instalments. As the intending land owner pays instalments to the bank, the proportionate share of the equity in the property is adjusted. xvii

Murabaha

A 'murabaha' contract is sometimes referred to as an Islamic mortgage. It is a cost plus arrangement in which a financial institution purchases an agreed property which it then resells to its customer. The uplifted resale price is paid in instalments. Sharia requires the financial institution to inform its customer of the cost that was incurred in acquiring the property.

The murabaha is used primarily in circumstances where a mortgage backed loan would be used in the acquisition of real property. It is similar to a contract of sale on terms, however, there is a significant distinction in that under a murabaha contract the purchaser is entitled to an immediate transfer of title, whereas under a terms contract, title is usually not conveyed until all instalments of the purchase price have been paid.

A murabaha contract, or 'tawarruq' is offered by some Islamic financiers for the purchase of commodities. At tawarruq does not have general acceptance amongst Islamic scholars as often it does not involve the transfer of title in the goodsxviii.

Ijara


An 'ijara' contract is equivalent to a conventional lease or hire-purchase arrangement and is also founded on a cost plus profit basis. The ijara provides the 'usufruct', or right to use and enjoy, in an asset to the customer. A bank will purchase an asset and lease it to its customer with an agreed profit element attached. In some instances, the financial institution may transfer ownership of the asset to the lessee upon completion of the contract. It is commonly used for the financing of personal property and business equipment. It may be used to acquire real property.

Rahn

Security for finance may be supported by the customer's ‘rahn' or pledge of tangible property. Ideally the security property is put in the possession of the bank. Some jurisdictions will permit satisfaction of this rule by certificates of title, invoices and insurance certificates to be deposited with the financier.

Sukuk


The offering of bonds by Islamic banks is particularly problematic as this instrument is traditionally considered a strong indicator of prevailing economic conditions hence the abiding concern with the 'bond rate'. The interest, or coupon, offered by reserve banks on bonds issued by them on behalf of governments is a marker which is readily understood by participants in finance markets. Like a bond, 'sukuk' may, depending on its terms, be traded on secondary markets but it differs from bonds which are essentially a promise to repay a debt. Sukuk, or financial certificates, is an investment in a transaction which is Sharia compliant and is therefore an investment in an asset. It may take the form of an interest in the business created by a musahraka contract - 'sukuk al musharaka'. It is appropriately used to fund construction costs. The structure involves the financier creating a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The funds required to complete the development are raised by the issuing of certificates by the non-financier party to investors . The non-financer party buys the SPV assets in instalments repayable as agreed under the musharaka contract. These payments are distributed to the holders of certificates as investment returns. The non-financier party is obliged to have paid all of its obligations under the musharaka upon the maturity of the sukuk.

Potential legal obstacles
The central focus of the Australian banking system is the receipt and payment of interest and commercial and regulatory frameworks have been developed to support this paradigm. The prohibition on riba therefore creates a series of unique challenges.

As government and business leaders encourage the formation of a domestic Islamic bank, our state and national regulatory systems may need adjustment to adequately protect depositors and mortgage holders. Similarly, if offshore institutions are invited to Australia, the taxation system should be modified to ensure Islamic products are treated on a par with the conventional western system. In July 2009 it was reported that the first financial services mission from the United Arab Emirates met with Treasury officials in Canberra to encourage reform.xix

The murabaha and musharaka contracts illustrate the existence of potential complications as Islamic banking practices are introduced to Australia. Both contracts involve a vendor transferring a capital item to an intermediary financial institution before it is passed on to an intending owner. This arrangement could therefore give rise to the imposition of two separate charges of stamp duty. This problem has, however, recently been rectified by legislative amendments in Victoria and murabaha and musharaka contracts will now be treated as a single transaction for duty purposes.xx The application of section 17 of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) also prevents the imposition of double duty in the event that a transaction has been effected by more than one instrument. Similar amendments are being considered by other Australian states wishing to accommodate Sharia-compliant home finance contracts.

In the Australian Property Law Journal, Mr John Barry advises that contracts such as murabaha and musharaka can be classified as terms contracts for the purposes of the Sale of Land Act 1962 (Vic). He suggests, however, that devout Muslims will not afford themselves the protection provided by this Act as a mortgage back would result in interest payments. To overcome this difficulty, lodging a caveat is recommended as it would appropriately protect the interests of Muslim mortgagees.xxi

Another area of legal difficulty lies in an Islamic bank's inability to charge default interest if a client fails to honour payments. Although it is possible to levy a fee for a missed payment, compound interest cannot be added. Ultimately, however, a bank is able to reclaim the property should payment in arrears reach a certain point.xxii

On a more systemic level, Islamic banking refers to its own set of regulatory issues relating to capital adequacy and accounting requirements. The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) is the international body responsible for promoting and enhancing the stability of the Islamic financial services industry. There are differences between the IFSB‟s prudential standards and the approaches put forward by the Basel II framework which has been adopted as the basis of the Australian regulatory regime. Should an Islamic financial institution submit an application for a banking licence to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (which implements the Basel II framework through its own prudential standards), the Authority will be required to ask whether the standards it enforces are compatible with the Islamic system.

The essential point of difference between the western and Islamic banking systems for the purpose of modelling prudential standards is assessing risk on debt capital versus equity capital. The standards applicable to western banks rely on the premise that, allowing for acceptable tolerances, there is certainty of a fixed rate of return on investment funds secured by a suitable ratio of debt to valued assets whereas Islamic banking poses a more problematic calculation of returns in a system of profit sharing from the utilisation of jointly owned assets. In recent history, until the advent of the Global Financial Crisis that emerged in mid-2007, there was a 'religious faith' in the reliability of the western banking model. This was sorely tested by the lack of transparency as to the nature and degree of risks assumed by the world's leading banks.

In any context, the success of a bank is critically dependent on first, its corporate governance and, secondly, the productivity and growth of the economies in which its loan funds are seeded. The challenge for Australian policy-makers is to adapt prudential standards which adequately safeguard investors in an Islamic banking model.

Conclusion

The regulatory framework hurdles that this article has addressed do not present as insurmountable obstacles. If the Federal government takes appropriate action to tackle these discrepancies, hundreds of thousands of Australian Muslims may have the option of becoming home owners without compromising their religious beliefs.

These inconsistencies should be addressed as a priority as a wave of Islamic financial activity is imminent. The Muslim Community Co-operative of Australia, with its base in Melbourne and over twenty years experience in providing Islamic financial services, has already announced its aspiration to become the nation's first retail Islamic bank. La Trobe University has recently begun offering a postgraduate Master of Islamic Banking and Finance and some of the country's largest banks are well positioned to operate Islamic retail banking windows.

---------------------------------

i This article was published in Law Society Journal (Law Society of NSW) 48(4) May 2010: 62-66

ii Maryanne Loughnan SC is a member of the Victorian Bar, and Chair of the Banking & Finance Section of the Commercial Bar Association of Victoria. Douglas Drummond is a Law Graduate and has worked in the financial services industry.

iii Quotation located in: Muslim Community Co-operative Australia Ltd. 2009. MCCA reaffirms objective to become Australia‟s first Islamic retail bank [Online]
Available at:
http://www.mcca.com.au/UserFiles/File/MCCA%20Media%20Release%20-%20July%202009.pdf

iv Jimenez, K., 2009. Religious co-operative an ethical alternative, The Australian, [internet] 9 Sep. Available at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/wealth/religious-co-operative-an-ethical-alternative/story-e6frgad6-1225769688913
[Accessed 4 February 2010].

v Bell, A., 2009. Islamic banking tipped in 5 years, The Canberra Times,[internet] 7 Jul. Available at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/world/world/general/islamic-banking-tipped-in-5-years/1560811.aspx
[Accessed 4 February 2010].

vi Quotation located in: Hudson, P., 2009. Push for Islamic financial rescue, Sydney Morning Herald, [internet] 8 Jun.
Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/push-for-islamic-financial-rescue-20090607-bzv6.html
[Accessed 4 February 2010].

vii The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) has issued a key publication addressed to the Financial Services Sector on the topic of Islamic Finance available at: http://www.austrade.gov.au/Home/Financial-Services/default.aspx

viii Qu'ran 2:275

ix Saeed, A. Akbarzadeh, S., 2001. Muslim communities in Australia. University of New South Wales: University of New South Wales Press Ltd p.192

x O'Hare, C. Holmes, J. An introduction to Islamic banking and finance. The Middle East & North Africa Business Guide 2001/2002.

xi Muslim Community Co-operative of Australia CEO, Nasser, is quoted in Saeed, A. Akbarzadeh, S., 2001. Muslim communities in Australia. University of New South Wales: University of New South Wales Press Ltd at p 200: “The basic difference is that, in Islam, finance and resources are there to serve people, not the other way around. That comes from our holy Book (Qur‟an); God has created everything for you, to serve you. The materialistic approach is that if I am going to benefit materially, it can be at your expense; in Islam, that is not acceptable. This ensures social justice. This is the basic difference. The focus is on serving people, uplifting the standard of people, which is good in all spheres of life. The conventional system is providing a service for people but the service that is offered is focusing only on one side of life and that side is financial. It does not concern itself with social justice. Although there may be ethics involved, it relates only to the financial aspect. That, I think, is the basic difference.”

xii Guiding Principle 5 on conduct of business for institutions offering Islamic financial services, Islamic Financial Services Board http://www.ifsb.org/standard/ifsb9.pdf

xiii Qu'ran 2:245 – “Who would grant Allah a good loan (Qard Hasan). “He will repay him many times over”. It is Allah Who enriches and makes poor, and to Him you shall return”.

xiv Farah, A., 2009. An introduction to Islamic Banking and Finance. Ajman: Ajman Chamber of Commerce and Industry p. 88

xv O'Hare, C. Holmes, J. An introduction to Islamic banking and finance. The Middle East & North Africa Business Guide 2001/2002.

xvi For a commentary regarding the matters that an Islamic Bank might consider when providing mudaraba finance see paper by Mousa Z, Executive Manger, Domestic Investment & Marketing, Quatar Islamic Bank at http://www.financeinislam.com/article/1_35/1/415 [Accessed 24 March 2010].

xvii Barry, J., 2007. Islamic property financing. Australian Property Law Journal, 15 APLJ 66.

xviii See report 1 Feb. 2008 at: http://www.arabianbusiness.com/509187-misused-murabaha-hurts-industry [Accessed 24 March 2010].

xix 2009. UAE Islamic finance mission visits Australia, Emirates Finance News, [internet] 15 Jul.
Available at: http://www.emiratesfn.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=285616
[Accessed 4 February 2010].

xx Sections 57A – 57F of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic), as inserted by the State Taxation Acts (Amendment) Act 2004

xxi Barry, J., 2007. Islamic property financing. Australian Property Law Journal, 15 APLJ 66.

xxii Kadlec, K., 2009. A new way of lending in Australia, Your Mortgage, No. 93 p. 61

DG confirms change at orang asli hospital

The Sun by Alyaa Alhadjri

KUALA LUMPUR (June 9, 2010): Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) director-general Datuk Sani Mistam has confirmed that there have been changes to the top management of the orang asli hospital in Gombak.

In response to theSun's report yesterday, Sani in a statement said that the hospital's director Dr Akmal Dahaman has accepted an offer from the Health Ministry to undergo a four-year Federal Training Award (Rehabilitation Treatment) at University Malaya from this month onwards.

"Therefore, he was not 'replaced' as mentioned in the report, but he left because he is furthering his studies," Sani said.

"During the duration of his course, Dr Akmal will be stationed at Seremban's Hospital Tuanku Jaafar, as well as at Universiti Malaya," he said.

Sani added that Akmal's successor to fill the now vacant post of hospital-director will be chosen by the Health Ministry "in due time".

Akmal, who had served for eight years as a medical-officer at the hospital, was promoted to the position of hospital director in March this year, taking over from Dr Saaiah Abdullah.

Sani also reiterated that the placement and positioning of a medical officer with JHEOA is up to the Health Ministry and as such, any placements, transfers or intake is "the absolute prerogative of the Health Ministry and not of JHEOA."

He added that the hospital's former medical-officer Dr Selvaa Vathany Pillai's transfer to Kedah in March was due to her promotion from medical officer grade U41 to grade U44.

On the show-cause letter issued to Selvaa, Sani said that Selvaa was issued the letter because she had gone against Regulation 19(1) of the Civil Servant Regulations 1993 when she went public with her allegations against the hospital.

"The regulation prohibits Selvaa as a public servant from making a verbal or written statement without prior written approval from the Health Minister," he said.

"She was also required to reply to the letter within a specified period of time, but at this point, she has not yet done so."

It was previously reported that Selvaa in December last year had written a report detailing alleged mismanagement of the hospital and its impact on the orang asli healthcare.

She then went public with her allegations during a press conference held at the Bar Council on Feb 11. -- theSun

'MB abused govt agencies for son's wedding bash'

By Zefry Dahalan
SEREMBAN: An opposition leader has accused Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohd Hasan of abusing government agencies for his son's extravagant wedding reception.
Speaking at a press conference here, PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin claimed that Public Works Department's staff and vehicles were sighted at the venue of the reception a few days before last Sunday's event.
Badrul said he received a letter from a staff complaining about being instructed to carry out work at the venue, a private residence located in Kampung Tanjung in Rantau.
“Based on the complaint, government agencies such as JKR (works department) and TNB were involved in the preparation.
“Road resurfacing was done, water pipes were changed, bridges were built, grass was cut while the TNB staff were put on standby to ensure there are no electrical problems,” he added.
Some 20,000 people had reportedly attended the reception, which also saw large canopies being errected in an empty lot next to the house.
Can taxpayers do the same?
Meanwhile, Badrul said he will submit an official letter of complaint to the menteri besar to demand an explanation.
If the allegation is true, the PKR leader said, Mohd Hasan must reveal the total cost involved in using the state agencies and who had paid for this.
Anticipating that the MB might claim that he had borne the full cost, Badrul said Mohd Hasan must furnish proof.
However, Badrul said the most pertinent question is, “Can the MB direct a government agency to work at a wedding reception, and can taxpayers do the same for their children's wedding?”
He added that the MB must explain why the repair works were carried out just ahead of his son's wedding reception.
"If he say it's due to the needs of the public and the whole thing was just a coincidence, then what about the other places in the state which are in dire need of new roads, water pipes and bridges?” he asked.
The Rembau PKR division chief also lambasted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for not pouncing on the matter.
“If this happened in Pakatan Rakyat states, where the MB uses a government agency for his children's wedding, the MACC will fly in like a 'super hero' to investigate,” he said.
from : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/politics/barisan-nasional/6605-mb-abused-govt-agencies-for-sons-wedding-bash

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Hindraf: Police most corrupt organisation in Malaysia

(Malaysiakini) The Malaysian police comes under severe bashing in the Hindraf Human Rights Report 2009 that was presented to the United Nations in Geneva last week.

NONEThe ad hoc human rights movement, led by London-based P Waythamoorthy (right), labels the police as the most corrupt organisation in Malaysia. It attributes this state of affairs to allegations that the powers-that-be expect the force to do its unlawful bidding, in return for looking the other way on police corruption.

This cosy “I help you, you help me” relationship, according to the report, finds expression in police brutality and impunity which is tolerated by the government.

Hindraf cites a US State Department Report which alleges that the Malaysian government has no independent body to investigate deaths under police custody or during civilians encounters.

“Other problems include police abuse of detainees, overcrowded prisons, use of the Emergency Ordinance (to escape prosecution) and other statutes to arrest and detain persons without charge or trial,” states the Hindraf Report with reference to the US report. “Persistent questions remain about the impartiality and independence of the judiciary.”

The report, in highlighting facets of what it calls a 'de facto police state' points out that violence against women remains a national problem. Malaysia, it says, is a destination and transit point for trafficking in women and girls for prostitution and domestic servitude.

It blasts the government for failure to establish an independent commission to investigate complaints against the police. Such complaints include abuses perpetrated against foreign workers, illegal immigrants and refugees.

'Police disregard the law'

The police act with total disregard for the rule of law, it claims, and continue to pursue “a government-approved” policy of zero tolerance, especially towards Indians who are arrested and detained on suspicion of a crime, or killed during what is called “encounters”.

a kugan police assaulted indian youth pj ipd report 060309 g sandaran“The average Indian detainee who is suspected of a criminal offence cannot expect any justice from the already-compromised judiciary,” the report alleges. “The judiciary works hand in glove with the economic elite and Umno, which rules the country.”

The report says Indians make up 90 percent of victims of police killings, despite constituting slightly below 8 percent of the Malaysian population. It adds, “Ninety-nine percent of cases involving police custody deaths of ethnic Indians have not been investigated to date. No police officer has been brought to account for those murders.”

The report cites a New Straits Times article on Nov 11, 2009 that revealed 1,535 ethnic Indian detainees died or were killed while in police custody between 2003 and 2007 alone. The report is replete with incidents, complete with names, dates and places. Most of these incidents have been documented from both mainstream and alternative media reports.
It attributes the crime levels amongst the Indian community to its dire poverty. The report estimates 70 percent of the roughly two million Indians in the country as living below the poverty line, compared with the national average of 2.8 percent. It blames the New Economic Policy (NEP) poverty-eradication target - which claims to be regardless of race - for being skewed entirely in favour of the Malay community since 1970.

“The NEP degenerated into an exclusive race-based system where all the resources of the country (state) were garnered and channelled by Umno to the leaders and members of the party and trickling down to their Malay constituency,” runs the report. “This administration mirrors the South African apartheid system. The government's own reports indicate that they are aware of the Indian problem but they have chosen to do nothing to redress the situation.”

The report noted that while NEP produced a sea change in the social attributes of the Malay community, unfortunately, “it has at the same time shut out the Indian community completely from the process of development, although the stated objective is poverty eradication among all races”.

'Form of apartheid'

It suggests that the exclusion of the Indians from the NEP's myriad poverty eradication programmes stems from the various implementation agencies focusing exclusively on the Malay agenda.

As proof, the report points out that except for token representation in Felda, ten other major federal government agencies exclude the Indians altogether.

These include the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra), Rubber Industry Smallholder Development Authority (Risda), Majlis Amanah Rakyat Malaysia (Mara), Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama), South Kelantan Development Authority (Kesedar), South East Pahang Development Agency (Dara), Kedah Development Authority (Keda), Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda), South East Johore Development Authority (Kejora) and Terengganu Regional Development Agency (Ketengah).

Other opportunities denied the Indians include federal and state government procurements and exclusion from the country's 'licence Raj', the report highlights.

indian malaysia povertyThe Indian underclass, according to Hindraf surveys, comprise those still living in the estates as well as those who have transmigrated to the urban shanty towns. Among these, it says 150, 000 to 200, 000 children are stateless while a further 200,000 Indians are not citizens. This completes the Indian poverty picture in Malaysia.

One of the results is that 60 percent of the 330,000 Indians in the 15 to 34-years-old age group are involved in criminal activities, says the report, citing the human resources minister's announcement in Parliament not so long ago.

“The only known current policy towards the social problem (of crime) is the alarming increase in police killings,” alleges the report. “The acute Indian problems require multi-faceted intervention to address the issue, but have a low priority with the government which lacks the political will.”

The Hindraf Report goes on to criticise the federal government's quota system in public university education, particularly in critical disciplines like medicine, law and engineering, among others. The result has been a further erosion of the Indian stake in the country, especially in sectors where they are known to shine and dominate.
The Hindraf Report does not focus exclusively on the Indian community, and makes limited references to other marginalised Malaysians like the East Malaysians.

Apparently, Hindraf's political wing the Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRPM) gave foreign missions in Kuala Lumpur a preview of the report on March 26.

UMNO denies Indian student JPA scholarships, Matriculation & University seats.

Request to stop export of racial discrimination against ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia into Indian soil.


His Excellency Mr.Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India,                                                                                            
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi,                                                                                                     9/6/2010                                                                                                                                                   India- 110011.                                                              
By Fax No: 911123019545
Dear Sirs,
Re: Request to stop export of racial discrimination against ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia into Indian soil.
We refer to the above matter and to the news report in a local daily the Berita Harian on the 4th of June 2010 ( page 11- copy enclosed) about the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between University Kuala Lumpur Royal College of Medicine Perak (UniKL RCMP) and Vinayaka Missions University (VMU) Salem, India. Through this collaborative arrangement, hundreds of Malay Muslim only, fully sponsored Malaysian government students will complete their last two years of studies in VMU, Tamil Nadu. Such Malaysian government sponsorships completely exclude the poor but deserving fifth and sixth generation   Malaysian born Indian students here in Malaysia. We consider this to be an offensive arrangement coming as it does in spite of the numerous representations we have made to both the Government of Malaysia as well as to the government of India on the issue of serious violation of Minority and Human Rights in Malaysia.
A similar arrangement also exists between Yayasan Melaka, Cisco Group of Companies and Manipal University in Manipal, India. Hundreds of Malay Muslim fully Government sponsored students are sent to India to do courses in Medicine.
We have also been told that in exchange for recognition of the degrees conferred by the M.S.Ramaiah Instititute of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, India, by the Government of Malaysia, M.S.Ramaiah Instititute of Health Sciences in turn is “compelled” to take in scores if not hundreds of Malay Muslim fully Malaysian government sponsored students into their Medical degree programs.
All of these relate to the policy of the Malaysian Government of channeling the entire national resource to the Malay Muslim sector of the population while totally denying citizens of ethnic Indian origin any access to these resources. Now in these arrangements between Malaysian Government linked companies and Indian Educational institutions the racially slanted policies of the Malaysian Government are being exported to the shores of India. With due respect, we have to say that what is happening through these colllaborations in the Education sector is nothing short of just that – racism being exported to India against People of Indian Origin in Malaysia. Surely the Government of India cannot support such a purpose.
We believe India does not condone racism of this kind or of any kind. Our humble request here is that India should insist that merit be the sole criterion for the selection of candidates for entrances into such collaborative arrangements with Indian educational Institutions as a pre-condition for approving such collaborations. This will keep such racist policies in check from reaching Indian shores.
It is not late to effect such a requirement for this MOU with Vinayaka Missions University. The same should be applied to the Manipal University and the M.S.Ramaiah Institute of Health Sciences. Evidence requirements need to be established to show that applications for such Medical seats have been processed on the basis of merit and not on race.
Profit cannot be the sole criteria in such international educational arrangements, though we accept it will be a primary factor. Historical, social and moral considerations should play an equally important role, in the establishment of such mutually beneficial relationships, lest it means Governments around the world only support profits of corporations at the expense of a general welfare of its peoples on both sides of the boundary.
We had earlier reported to the Government of India that only one overseas Government Public Services Department Scholarship was awarded to do Medicine and another one more medical seat in 2004 in the University of Malaya for the entire 2 million Indians in the country, vide our “Malaysian Indian Minority & Human rights violations annual report 2008  (in page vi). Remawathy, the sixth best student in Malaysia who had scored 13A1s in SPM (O Level) was denied a government Public Services Department (PSD) scholarship simply because she was of Indian origin.
The latest and prime example is the case of Indian origin M/s Deborah Anne d/o John Philip a high achieving and in fact a top Malaysian student scoring 13As’ (certificates enclosed herewith) who has been denied a government PSD scholarship, Government linked company scholarship or private sector scholarship or a place in the preferred Pre-University Matriculation Colleges or a place in the local Universities to do Pre-University courses leading up to a degree in Medicine.  Ms Deborah Anne’s case is just the tip of the iceberg of the estimated 2,237 of other Malaysian Indian top and high achieving Indian students who have not and will not be given any form of Government scholarship or admitted into this VMU UniKL Yayasan Melaka, Cisco Group, RCMP program or the Matriculation Colleges or public Universities locally or overseas
We humbly request the Government of India to take a position on these racist policies of Malaysia not only because it affects People of Indian Origin, but also because it seriously violates Universal principles of Human Rights.
In addition to this we request the Government of India to consider our suggestions for the development of People of Indian Origin who had migrated several generations ago from India because of severe socio-economic compulsions and who now continue to require development but because of the history and the immediate circumstances as in Malaysia may be denied these opportunities:
I excerpt the suggestions from our request in the Malaysian Indian Minority & Human rights violations annual report 2009 presented at the Pravasi Bharathiya Divas Conference, New Delhi from 7th to 9th 2010 (in page 47 ) and a copy of which was served on your good office on 11/1/2010, we:-
4)    “Stop all medical seats offered by the government of India to the government of Malaysia on a government to government basis with immediate effect and the same to be granted directly to the Malaysian Indian students and to be handled directly by the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia”.
5)    To set up a special University and offer full scholarship to all Malaysian Indian students denied the opportunities to pursue higher education in Malaysia especially in the fields of Medicine, Information Technology, Aeronautical Engineering, Automobile Engineering, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Bio Technology.
In 2007, there were 847,485 students (New Straits Times 7/8/2008 page 16) studying at the 20 government public Universities nationwide at an annual government expenditure of RM 2.6 Billion and disbursing 12,000 government scholarships ie 10,500 scholarships in local Universities and 1,500 scholarships for overseas Universities. In fact Unesco’s statistics for the year 2009 placed Malaysia at number 11 out of 137 nations that had a huge budget for education. (NST 5/6/2010 at page 16). Our estimate is a mere 0.1% of this expenditure and/or University places will accrue to Indian Malaysian students.
Former Malay-sian Prime Minister Dr.Mahathir decided to restrict the number of students studying medicine in various universities in Russia after a visit in 2003. Most of the Malaysians there were from Indian families, many of whom had scraped the bottom of the barrel to put their children through a medical education.
There just were not enough places for them in Malaysian public universities because of the Governments discriminatory practices. India, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Indonesia provided more affordable alternatives. But the Government decided to reduce opportunities in those alternatives to Indian students. Several of the Universities were derecognized by the Malaysian Government from 2006 onwards despite there being a shortage of doctors in Malaysia by 100% (NST, 28.05.08).
The Malaysian Government instituted a new scheme of “No Objections Certificates” to be issued by the Ministry of Education in the name of maintaining education standards before students can go abroad for studies (NST 9/3/09 page 16) This is to further hamper Indian students from pursuing their studies overseas funded entirely by themselves in the face of lack of opportunities locally, in the name of maintaining educational standards. At the same time The Government of Malaysia throws out such merit based consideration when it comes to the awards of Government bursaries and places in Public Universities to the Malay-Muslim sector of the population, as explained above.
The government is recruiting doctors from (mostly  Muslim countries) overseas. But thousands of Malaysian Indian medical doctors who qualified from India, Indonesia, Ukraine, Russia, Romania have had their degrees derecognized to systematically curtail the number of  Malaysian Indian doctors in Malaysia. On the contrary because of the lower standards of Medical schools in the local Universities, the European Union has with effect from 1990 derecognized even University Malaya’s the oldest Malaysian University Medical degree (NST 19/3/09 page 12) (see Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009 at page 14 presented at Pravasi Bharathiya Divas International Conference Vigyan Bhawan New Delhi ).
Article 8 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution provides for Equality before the Law and Article 12 of the same provides for no discrimination in the admission of students into Public Educational Institutions which receives government financial assistance. (We understand this is the parallel of Articles 8 and 12 of the Indian constitution).
But in Malaysia, educational opportunities offered by the Government are entirely  race and religion based and not needs based at all. For example 100% of the 200,000 places in Malaysia’s largest University, University Institute Teknologi Malaysia (UiTM) are entirely only for Malay Muslim students and even the poor Malaysian Indians however deserving are excluded completely from this University UiTM for the only reason that they are ethnic minority Indians. The irony is even 10% of students from foreign Islamic countries are taken into UiTM .  (Utusan Malaysia 1/1/2009). This is also in the said Malaysian Indian Minority & Human rights violations annual report 2009 (in page 47).
The Government of Malaysia obviously does not abide by the Federal Constitution let alone the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention against Discrimination for Education initiated and adopted by the General Conference at the 11th session in Paris Dec 14, 1960.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts the principle of non-discrimination and proclaims that every person has the right to education. The Malaysian Government violates these Universal Principles with impunity. We request the Government of India to take cognizance of this serious violations and as a responsible and senior member of the world community, to take a positive position on this and to raise in the appropriate undertakings.
On 26/3/2010 we had released our “ Human  Rights Violations Against the ethnic Minority Malaysian Indian. HRP briefing for foreign diplomatic missions in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 26/3/2010)”. Invitations were sent out and a total of 13 foreign and diplomatic missions mostly from the West had attended. We regret to note here that no representative of the Indian High Commission was present.
Be that as it may we enclose herewith a copy of the said Human Rights Report 2009 dated 26/3/2010.
We hereby request your goodself to arrange an appointment with  High Commissioner for India in Kuala Lumpur to discuss this and other matters raised in our 2008 and 2009 Annual Minorities and Human Rights Report. (copy enclosed herewith).
For further and better particulars of day to day acts of racism against the ethnic minority Malaysian born Indians kindly access our website www.humarightspartymalaysia.com.
Thank You.
Yours Faithfully,
_____________
P.Uthayakumar                                                                                                      
Secretary General (pro tem)
cc:     The Hon. Mr.Shri S.M.Krishna                                                                           
Minister of External Affairs                                                                      
Room no169, South Block,                                 
By fax: 911123013254  New Delhi- 110011                                                      
Email: eam@mea.gov.in
The Hon. Mr. Sri Lal Krishna Advani                                                                
30 Prithvi Raj Road,                                                                                                         
New Delhi-110003,                                                
By fax: 01123017419        India.                                                                  
Email: advanilk@sansad.nic.in
Madam Susma Swaraj                                                                               
Opposition Leader,India                                                                                     
8, Safdarjung Lane,                                                                                    
New Delhi –110011                               
Email:sushmaswaraj@hotmail.com
Shri M.Karunanidhi                                                                                  
Chief  Minister of Tamilnadu                                                                         
Chief Minister’s office                                              
By fax: 044-25671441    
Secretariat, Chennai 600009                                   
Email: cmcell@tn.gov.in
His Excellency Vijay Gokhale                                                                                                      
High Commission of India                                                                                                  
No2, Jalan Duta, Off Jalan Duta,                               
By fax: 03-20933507                                                                                   
50480 Kuala Lumpur                                      
Email: highcomm@po.jaring.my
Mr.Vijay Jolly                                                                          
International Cell Head,                                                                                     
Head BJP,                                                                                         
Khasra No. 322, Neb Sarai,                                                                   
Near Ignou,                                                                                                     
New Delhi- 68                                            
Email: ewec@del3.vsnl.net.in
Mr.Rajesh Gogna                                                                              
Advocate                                                                                                 
8, Todermal Lane, Bengali Market,                                                            
Mandi House,                                                              
By fax: 011-23752935    New Delhi-110001                                                   
Email: mail@gogna.co.in