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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

For rent in China: White people

Beijing, China (CNN) -- In China, white people can be rented.

For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

Some call it "White Guy Window Dressing." To others, it's known as the "White Guy in a Tie" events, "The Token White Guy Gig," or, simply, a "Face Job."

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections -- real or not -- to businesses abroad.

"Face, we say in China, is more important than life itself," said Zhang Haihua, author of "Think Like Chinese." "Because Western countries are so developed, people think they are more well off, so people think that if a company can hire foreigners, it must have a lot of money and have very important connections overseas. So when they really want to impress someone, they may roll out a foreigner."

Or rent one.

Last year, Jonathan Zatkin, an American actor who lives in Beijing, posed as the vice president of an Italian jewelry company that had, allegedly, been in a partnership with a Chinese jewelry chain for a decade.

When is being foreign a career advantage?

Zatkin was paid 2,000 yuan (about $300) to fly, along with a couple of Russian models, to a small city in the central province of Henan where he delivered a speech for the grand opening ceremony of a jewelry store there.

"I was up on stage with the mayor of the town, and I made a speech about how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years and how we were so proud of all of the work they had done for us in China," Zatkin said. "They put up a big bandstand and the whole town was there and some other local muckety-mucks."

The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.

Those who go for such gigs tend to be unemployed actors or models, part-time English teachers or other expats looking to earn a few extra bucks. Often they are jobs at a second- or third-tier city, where the presence of pale-faced foreigners is needed to impress local officials, secure a contract or simply to fulfill a claim of being international.

"Occasionally companies want a foreign face to go to meetings and conferences or to go to dinners and lunches and smile at the clients and shake people's hands," read an ad posted by a company called Rent A Laowai (Chinese for "foreigner") on the online classified site

It continued: "There are job opportunities for girls who are pretty and for men who can look good in a suit."

Click here for in-depth news on China

People like Brad Smith. When Smith -- the nom de plume of the Beijing-based American actor -- answered CNN's phone call on a recent morning, he was standing outside a meeting room at a Ramada Inn in Hangzhou, a city about 100 miles outside of Shanghai. Today's job: Pretend to be an architect from New York and give design plans for a new museum to local officials.

"They have not told me what my name is today. I think it is Lawrence or something," said Smith -- unlike some jobs, no fake business cards were given to hand out.

Earlier that morning he went over his script with his Chinese "business partners" at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. "It says, 'Good morning distinguished leaders. It is my privilege to participate in this program'," said Smith, who asked that his real name not be used for fear it could jeopardize future jobs.

If Smith is asked a question, he is told to pretend to answer as his "translator" pretends to understand.

Occasionally, these jobs can go awry. Smith said 18 months ago Beijing police showed up at his apartment after a financial company he worked at for a couple of months in Xi'an, a city in western China, allegedly swindled millions of yuan out of clients.

"That company said I was the guy in charge," he said. "I didn't even remember the company's name. After that, I decided I was never going to use my passport again with these fake companies. The small gigs are much less dangerous." Sometimes companies will hire Caucasians simply to sit in the office a few hours a day near the window where clients and customers can see them.

White women are also a hot commodity, sometimes to pose as phony foreign girlfriends, or, in the case of Vicky Mohieddeen, to pretend to be an oil tycoon.

Mohieddeen, who is Scottish, took a job in 2008 to attend what she describes as some sort of "oil drilling conference" in Shandong province for 300 yuan ($44). Several busloads of foreigners, with nationalities ranging from Pakistani to Nigerian, were trucked to the event, she said. They were greeted by brass bands and feted with a sumptuous dinner.

"I was like, 'Yeah, we have a lot of oil in Scotland.' I didn't know what to say. It was a bit nerve-racking. We were guests of honor of the vice mayor. We were put in a nice hotel. It was quite fancy."

For Mohieddeen, who had just arrived in Beijing at the time, the experience, albeit bizarre, was an introduction to a side of China most foreigners will never see.

"It is part of what China is all about, you know," Mohieddeen said. "There is quite an elaborate fantasy world going on here where if everyone buys into it, it does not matter if it is the truth. Those kinds of experiences give me a fuller understanding of the way the culture works."

Samy’s ‘missing Maika certs’ raise more questions

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Former MIC central working committee (CWC) member G Kumar Aamaan is curious to know how party president S Samy Vellu and his son Vell Paari could have lost their Maika share certificates.

“It is no paltry sum we are talking about. The lost shares certificates are worth RM1,015,000 and RM447,375 owned by Samy Vellu and Vell Paari respectively.

“Have they lodged a police report on the lost certificates? I am also surprised that Tamil Nesan is the only daily that carried the news,” he said.

On June 27, local Tamil daily, Tamil Nesan, highlighted a report saying that Maika founder, Samy Vellu and his son, who is Maika’s chief executive officer, lost their share certificates amounting to almost RM1.5 million.

Kumar also wants to know how many shares the duo actually held, given that they are valued at RM1.5 million.

“Samy Vellu had declared many times that he has nothing to do with Maika. Will he now come clean on how much stake he has in the troubled firm?”

Meanwhile, another former CWC member KP Samy said the newspaper’s report itself was very confusing.

Said KP Samy: “Why are they announcing this now when G-Team Resources has already acquired 51% stake in Maika?” (G-Team Resources is a specially set-up vehicle which has offered to purchase the stake belonging to Maika's 66,000 shareholders at RM100 million.)

On Vell Pari’s admission that he lost his certificates, he said “It’s a joke. He’s the CEO of Maika. It shows how capable Vell Pari is in reality.”

Karpal wants life for 'dead' Indian bureau

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: DAP national chairman Karpal Singh has given his support to the calls for the party to revive its once vibrant Indian affairs bureau.

The Bukit Gelugor MP said it was crucial to re-active the bureau at both the national and state levels as part of the party's preparation for the general election.

He said the bureau had been pivotal in developing and choosing the right Indian candidates for the party and drumming up the community's support for DAP.

Karpal told FMT that he would propose to the central executive committee during its next meeting to revive the bureau.

The veteran politician said DAP cannot ignore this issue since the party's Indian members and leaders were pushing for the bureau.

“We have to resolve it once and for all by reviving it. The bureau is important to safeguard the interests, rights and political standing of Indians in the party,” he stressed.

Indian elected reps blamed

Karpal was responding to recent calls by the party's Pahang deputy chief J Apalasamy and branch chiefs in Penang, K Gunabalan (Jalan Tembikai) and G Asoghan (Bagan Luar).

The grassroots leaders said the bureau was “dead and buried” after DAP registered its biggest electoral success in the last general election and blamed the party's elected Indian reps for this.

They claimed that the elected reps did not want to re-activate the bureau because they did not want a watchdog for their performance.

However, the three said the bureau was important in order to receive and accumulate grassroots feedbacks, and propose policies and action plans for the benefit of the Indian community.

Meanwhile, Karpal recalled that the bureau was formed during the time of the late P Patto to safeguard the interests of not only DAP's Indian members, but also the community's in general.

Over the years, he said the bureau represented the Indian community's interests in the opposition camp.

Now, he said, DAP did not only sit in the opposition parliamentary bench, but also helmed the Penang Pakatan Rakyat government and was part of the Selangor government.

“Thus it is imperative to re-active the bureau to represent Indian interests in the state governments as well,” he added.

Mexican politician assassinated

Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports on the latestsuspected drug gang-related killing in Mexico
Felipe Calderon, the Mexican president, has blamed drug cartels for the assassination of a front-running candidate for governor in the border state of Tamaulipas.
Calderon said that the assassination on Monday of Rodolfo Torre in northern Mexico shows "organised crime is a permanent threat" and was "trying to interfere in the decisions of citizens and in election processes".
He called on Mexicans to "close ranks to confront it" after local television showed the bodies of Torre and four aides lying on a highway after they were ambushed on their way to a campaign event for the July 4 election.
All five were from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which holds power in Tamaulipas state.
Torre's killing is the highest-level political assassination in Mexico since the 1994 murders of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio in the border city of Tijuana, and prominent PRI party leader Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu in Mexico City.
Fernando Gomez Mont, the interior minister, condemned the attack as "absolutely reprehensible" and headed to Tamaulipas, across the US border from Texas, to offer his support.
Singer killed
The political killings come after a well-known Mexican singer was killed in a separate incident over the weekend.
Sergio Vega was killed by unknown assassins who intercepted his car in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa.
Authorities said that the gunmen riddled Vega's car on Sunday with more than 30 bullets near the city of Los Mochis.
Just hours earlier, Vega had given an interview to a Mexican entertainment website in which he said rumours he had been killed were wrong.
Vega was known for singing narcocorridos - songs telling stories about the lives of drug traffickers - and such singers are said to be at risk of being targeted by rival drug gangs.

Khir Toyo says ‘three captains’ will trip up Selangor PKR


KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Selangor Umno is taking comfort in the turmoil plaguing the PKR leadership and believes it will hasten the end of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) rule in the country’s wealthiest state.

State opposition chief Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo said PKR vice-president Azmin Ali’s promotion to Selangor party chief in place of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim will widen cracks instead of uniting the party.

“Selangor is now a ship with three captains and we know what will happen soon,” Dr Khir told The Malaysian Insider.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who incidentally also Selangor economic advisor, made the changes last weekend following a revolt against the Selangor mentri besar’s political leadership in the state.

“So we have Anwar for the economy, Azmin for politics and Khalid for administration, it’s the wrong move,” said the former Selangor mentri besar, who lost the state in Election 2008.

He said it was going to be awkward for Khalid because the mentri besar is usually the party’s state leader, a tradition started by Umno. All three PKR leaders he mentioned were from Umno.

But Dr Khir (picture) pointed out that Anwar had little choice but to make the concessions to Azmin, who he described as the federal Opposition leader’s “blue-eyed-boy”.

Azmin, who is Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman, is widely believe to behind the “push” by 15 PKR MPs who reportedly wanted Khalid removed. The party has denied there was such a move, blaming it on media spin.

But Dr Khir also said there was no way Anwar could remove Khalid as mentri besar even if he wanted to as that decision lies with the state assembly.

He maintained that Khalid leadership is being propped up by DAP which like PKR has 13 seats in the 56-seat state assembly. PAS has eight seats, PSM a single seat while Barsian Nasional (BN) has 21 seats.

Dr Khir expects the leadership tussle to continue despite the latest changes.

“It will be good for Umno if we know how to capitalise on it,” he said.

However, he admitted Selangor Umno is still weak after its historic losses in 2008.

“There is not enough strategic thinkers in Umno Selangor, so we will have to wait and see.”

Snap general elections are expected as early as next year and the battle for Selangor, which is Malaysia’s most developed state, is expected to be hard-fought.

However PR state backbenchers and MPs are welcoming Azmin’s appointment and played down any negative political impact of his appointment.

PKR’s M. Muthiah said it was a good move because there will be delegation of duties between the state administration under Khalid and party’s leadership under Azmin.

A major grouse against Khalid was his inability to both govern the state and manage the party’s affairs in Selangor ahead of the general elections

“It’s the right move because the party was somewhat neglected.” said the PKR Bukit Melawati Assemblyman.

A PAS assemblyman who declined to be name said the move would provides a balance between the social development of the state and the political development of PR.

“I hope Azmin’s appointment will complement Khalid leadership.”

He said PR backbenchers wanted a greater say in the development ofn their constituency but have been constrained by red tape.

“Maybe Khalid feared there would be corruption if we got involved but we are closer to the ground and we know the needs in our areas,” the PAS man said.

He said mechanism can always be developed to check corruption.

DAP’s Charles Santiago said there was nothing wrong with Azmin’s appointment so long as both he and Khalid can move forward.

“Both must reach an amicable agreement to work together.”

PAS’s Khalid Samad echoed Santiago’s sentiments.

“I personally believe it will be good for PR,” said the Shah Alam MP.

Can Ascot sue the government?

By Stephanie Sta Maria and G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: Aside from approving nods and finger-pointing, the government's retraction of a sports betting licence also sparked the question of whether it could face a lawsuit.

The question arose when Perak DAP vice-chairman A Sivanesan pointed out that Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd – the anticipated recipient of the licence – could possibly take legal action against the government for “failing to fulfil its end of the deal”.

So far there has been no clear indication of a written agreement or contract between Ascot and the government. All that was known is that the government had approved a licence but not yet issued it to Ascot.

At a luncheon with gaming analysts yesterday, tycoon Vincent Tan reportedly revealed a Finance Ministry letter dated Jan 13, 2010, that gave him conditional approval for the licence but didn't mention any formal contract.

However, Sivanesan claimed that even in the absence of a written agreement, Ascot could still sue the government based on common law.

“The extensive media reports indicate that there must have been a minimum level agreement between the two parties,” he said. “Besides (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department) Nazri Aziz, (Information, Communication and Culture Minister) Rais Yatim, as well as MCA and MIC wouldn't have supported the move without the existence of some form of an agreement.

“Vincent Tan also wouldn't have agreed to donate RM525 million in proceeds from his gambling revenue to charity, otherwise. But it's now up to him to decide whether he wants to drag the government to court as he is the only person who knows what truly transpired during negotiations.”

No grounds for lawsuit

Well-known lawyer Haris Ibrahim and law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi of Universiti Teknologi Mara, however, poured cold water on Sivanesan's claim.

Both agreed that a lawsuit would hinge upon two factors – the existence of a written contract and the conditions stipulated in that contract.

“What was the extent of the government's green light for issuing the licence?” asked Haris. “That is the six-million-dollar question. Is the contract held to certain conditions and what are those conditions? No one knows for sure.”

“Based on the limited knowledge that the public has of this transaction, I currently don't see any grounds for a lawsuit.” echoed Shad. “And I highly doubt that common law would hold water in this case.”

A legal adviser, who declined to be named, confirmed Shad's opinion.

“Common law was developed to protect the layman,” he explained. “Let's say an individual agrees to sell an item at a certain price to another individual but later backtracks to quote a high price. The aggrieved party can take the matter to court under common law.”

“However, if a multinational company conducts a business transaction based purely on a verbal agreement, common law will not stand because the judge will stipulate that a company should know better than to conduct business without a written contract.”

Pakatan 'delighted' to have foiled Vincent's plan

By G Vinod

PETALING JAYA: Vincent Tan 'crediting' Pakatan Rakyat leaders for his failed attempt to obtain a sports betting license for his Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd has brought smiles to their faces.

“We are delighted by his claim,” said PAS central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad. “We have just contributed positively to Malaysian society.”

On a more serious note, Dzulkefly said Vincent Tan should stop harping on the sports betting license as he was already earning a lot of money from his 4-D outlets.

He advised the tycoon to invest all the money he has made on ventures that will increase productivity and add real value to the nation's economy.

“He can channel his funds to the production or the services sector for starters,” said Dzulkefly. “I have seen many families being ruined due to gambling.”

“In fact one Chinese Malaysian in my constituency implored me to do whatever I can to ensure sports betting is not legalised as it will cause financial ruin to many,” he added.

Azmin: It's nothing personal

Meanwhile, PKR vice president Azmin Ali said that Pakatan leaders were only voicing out the people's views on the matter.

“Vincent Tan should not to take things personally,” he said. “Pakatan represents the conscience of the people, and the majority are opposed to the move to legalise sports betting.”

He also said legalising sports betting is not the way to help develop Malaysia into becoming a high income economy.

“Vincent should invest in the services sector in order to draw more foreign direct investments to the country,” said Azmin.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak cancelled his plan to award a sports betting license on June 25 after fierce resistance from Muslims and non-Muslims.

Tan's views blaming Pakatan leaders for his failure to secure the license was carried in an online news portal yesterday.

Faekah's all set to work Selangor MB's agenda

By Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today,

EXCLUSIVE KLANG: Controversial appointee, Faekah Husin, is unfazed by the daunting tasks that lie ahead in her newly anointed position as the political secretary of Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.
With 16 years of legal practice on her back and 12 years of flagging reformasi while in PKR, she’s convinced that she is well placed for the job irrespective of what others think.
Touching on her controversial appointment, Faekah said: “I don’t think my appointment was objected to by the 15 parliamentarians.
“In fact, the first person I spoke to about my appointment was party president Dr Wan Azizah (Wan Ismail). Then I informed senator (deputy president) Syed Husin Ali and Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani.
“I was straight with Abdullah and I told him I had informed all the PKR divisions. Where was the objections... I think it’s just another political strategy to rattle PKR.”
Unfazed by the swirls of views tailing her appointment, Faezah said she was prepared to be Khalid’s political spine and pillar in Selangor, ensuring that his principal agenda, to “help and defend Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor” is achieved.
For Faekah, 45, who has been PKR Kuala Langat’s women chief since 1999, nothing is impossible.
Understanding the party’s struggle and Khalid’s needs placed her in the ideal position to succeed Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad who has been appointed PKR’s chief of communications.
“I have been given two years to help Khalid. His agenda is now my agenda, which is to tell the people that a good administration needs efficiency,” she told FMT when met at her home after taking her oath of office yesterday.
She said it was, as such, imperative that every state executive councillor and supporting officers realise the policies that will eventually be implemented.
“Without them (officers), the policies which Khalid wants to implement will not succeed. These officers are crucial to the success of Khalid’s policies,” said the lawyer from Klang.
Faekah, who set up her law firm Faekah & Choung, some 16 years ago, said Khalid had previously struggled with his agenda.
“I know he is in a difficult position. His policies are not carried by the main stream media.
“So we now must take the changes he’s done to the ground and explain to the people so that they continue to support us.
“The kampung folk are suffering, goods and oil prices have gone up.
“How are we going to convince them? We will try and try and try by doing the best for the rakyat and then hopefully they will understand the situation and our efforts,” she said.
When asked what would be her first step now that she Khalid’s political secretary, Faekah said : “I need to first get a written portfolio regarding my scope of work, because the work is extensive.”
Changing the face of reformasi
Faekah, who is the 10th child in her family, was introduced to politics by her late father Husin Abdul Mokhti. He died at the age of 76 when she was 26 years old.
He father was a lifetime supporter of PAS and his involvement had opened her mind to the world of politics.
Her passion for politics led to her involvement as an activist of PKR’s reformasi agenda in 1999.
Twelve years on, she is now taking the reformasi agenda a step further to help Khalid secure Selangor as a Pakatan stronghold.
“Reformasi may be one of my agendas in my new job. We will have to see how it can be resurrected but Selangor is already supporting the reformasi struggle and this is in line with my agenda.
“When Khalid offered me the job, I saw the second phase of our struggle taking shape.
“It meant that all that we had struggled for until now must be transformed into an agenda of action. It is now time to implement the policies that Khalid sets out,” said Faekah, who was the PKR Selangor’s secretary in 2005 when Khalid was at the helm.
Pakatan offers new-age politics
Being the first woman political secretary is not an an important issue or achievement for Faekah.
What is important to her is that Khalid’s mission is accomplished.
She spoke with awe at the administration of Pakatan coalition which she claimed exceeded all political expectations.
“Being the first woman political secretary is not a big issue. If people see it as a positive step, so be it. But what is important is the new politics that we bring.
“The younger generation are fascinated by the politics exhorted by Pakatan which cuts across race, gender and religious beliefs.
“This is what I find both awesome and fascinating,” she said.
She said this Pakatan philosophy was imbibed by Khalid when he appointed government officers.
“There was no question of whether you were from Umno, PAS, DAP or PKR when receiving aid or appointment. This is what Khalid’s administration is all about,” she said.

Rethink going nuclear

By Hilary Chiew - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT So Malaysia is planning for a nuclear power plant as an alternative source of energy, given that the country’s oil and gas supplies are expected to dry up soon.

Advocators for the country’s first nuclear reactor capable of powering houses and businesses by 2025 are saying that it is necessary, safe and good for the climate.

Worldwide, proponents for a nuclear renaissance has seized on the climate change scourge to push their agenda further. But their carbon-neutral argument has since long been debunked.

However, that hasn’t stopped this misinformation from being propagated here. Their counterparts in Malaysia argued like-wise.

Since the government’s announcement in May of its plan to go nuke, opponents of nuclear energy had put forward their arguments convincingly. Safety has been their paramount concern, and rightly so given the deadly impacts on health and environment in the event of accidents.

Responses from the government have been less than reassuring, especially when Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin has from the onset declared “no point engaging (with stakeholders)” and that the government would only discuss with local communities of the to-be-selected site.

Nevertheless, he paradoxically said “there must be a sincere debate on energy security”.

I totally agree with the minister. And I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt that he has yet to familiarise himself with the Renewable Energy Policy that his ministry has drafted and is expected to turn into a law.

In fact, the ensuing public outcry highlighted by both mainstream and alternative media has also got Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to “rethink” public consultation on this matter as shown on his 1Malaysia blog.

As consumers of energy and Malaysian growing awareness on environment viz-a-viz climate change, it is only appropriate that the government engage the public in a meaningful manner.

RE-al commitment

Malaysia has already recognised renewable energy (RE) as a potential source to diversify its energy mix since the Eight Malaysia Plan. The same vision was repeated in the following five-year development blueprint, albeit, scaled down.

Policy on renewables remains on paper with little attention given to serious research and development, hence the excuse that RE is expensive and unreliable. How often have we heard that solar energy is still in its infancy and not economically viable?

In 2006, in a joint report with Greenpeace, the European Photovoltaic Industry Association concluded that PV technology has advanced by leaps and bounds thanks to competition and serious investment that take the cue from strong political framework in countries like Germany. As a result, solar power has become a serious contender in the electricity market -- able to provide low-cost, clean, carbon emission-free energy. It predicted that two billion households worldwide could be powered by solar energy by 2025.

Ironically, some of those PV panels are coming from the two world-class PV production plants in Malaysia.

So, when Malaysia derives electricity for the first time from a nuclear reactor, the rest of the world, including developing countries like China, are already embracing a cleaner and sustainable energy source.

Solar energy is the true renewable unlike nuclear which, although it does not emit carbon dioxide, leaves behind a toxic legacy and not to mention that uranium, the feedstock for nuclear reactor, is a finite raw material.

Policy incoherence

But do we really need the energy from nuclear as we are actually enjoying a surplus according to figures provided by Chin himself? He said current electricity consumption is 14,000 megawatt (MW) but we have an installed capacity of 23,000 MW. That gives Malaysia an extremely comfortable margin as the government’s target is only 20%.

How about the energy that is expected to be generated from renewable sources that are already in the government’s plan?

In the run-up to the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen last year, Malaysia boldly announced its 40% emission intensity reduction, which means that it will strive to reduce carbon emission for every unit of gross domestic production. Subsequently, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has drawn up its plan to achieve that goal through energy efficiency and taking into account the pending RE programmes.

There will be incentives for industries to beef up their energy efficiencies, households to participate in the feed-in tariff system (where buildings installed with PV panels capture and convert the solar energy and relay the electricity to the grid) as well as a waste segregation scheme to prevent the built-up of methane in the landfills.

(Methane is a potent greenhouse gas arising from decomposition of organic materials such as kitchen waste that made up more than 50% of a typical household waste stream that currently find its way to the landfills.)

Up until now, Malaysia seems to be moving in the right paths in realising the prime minister’s vision of transforming Malaysia into a global green revolution leader.

With surplus energy, a renewable energy policy that will contribute significantly to the nation’s energy supplies in the near future coupled with enormous potential for growth; and conceivable reduction of energy consumption in public, private, commercial and industrial buildings – one needs to ask if there is room for a nuclear power plant.

Perverse incentive

It’s good to know that the government is finally coming to grips with market pricing to reflect the actual costs of fossil fuel in the 10th Malaysia Plan that was launched recently. As we all know, oil and gas are heavily subsidised by the public coffer.

While criticisms had been levelled at the general public who resist any hike in petroleum or diesel prices (in the absence of an efficient public transport system), what is less talked about is the huge chunk of taxpayers’ money channelled to subsidise natural gas used by the many independent power producers (IPPs).

The power generated by these IPPs is contributing to the surplus energy and they are reaping huge profits from the lop-sided power purchase agreement at the expense of Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), the country’s main power distributor.

(An Energy Commission’s analysis in 2006 showed that the power sector was paying RM6.40 per MBTU [million British Thermal Unit] when the market price was RM26.43.)

Perhaps if TNB can cut its losses from paying exorbitant power (which it doesn’t need anyway) generated by the IPPs, it can fund serious research in solar, wind and biogas. And the government can divert the subsidies for IPPs to instead incentivise the installation of PV panels on individual rooftops.

After all, if a temperate country like Germany can be the first country to launch a successful feed-in tariff system, there is no reason why Malaysia can’t do it.

Press Statement by LDP Deputy President Datuk Chin Su Phin
"Sabah BN is not being led with justice and we in the LDP have been tolerating this unfairness for too long now"

KOTA KINABALU: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) deputy president Datuk Chin Su Phin fully supports party secretary-general Datuk Teo Chee Kang's recent call for the removal of OKK Hj Harun Bidin as Kudat district chief.

He said Hj Harun had breached his position because the latter has no power or jurisdiction in sacking the eight Ketua Kampungs and Native Chief Representatives (WKAN) in Tanjung Kapor constituency.

Hj Harun, who was appointed by the Chief Minister to the post before the last general election in January 2008, "is in Kota Kinabalu most of the time and rarely goes back to Kudat," Chin contended yesterday.

During the 2008 general election, Chin said Hj Harun called all the Ketua Kampungs in Tanjung Kapur to support and vote for an independent candidate.

"His (Hj Harun) action is detrimental to the Barisan Nasional (BN). He is a 'traitor' to the BN."

Chin added that LDP had reported Hj Harun to Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman and the then Prime Minister in 2008 but no action has been taken against him until today.

"We have the evidence and will disclose them when the right time comes. The BN leadership should not protect such a person," he cautioned in a statement.

Chin also refuted the reasons given by Hj Harun in sacking the eight Ketua Kampungs and WKAN.

"From what I was told, Hj Harun had forced the Ketua Kampungs amd WKAN to do something that was against the BN's principle but they refused, so he terminated their services in revenge."

"But he is merely a district chief with no power to sack or appoint, so like what YB Teo has stated, someone big was behind all this," Chin contended. However, he was informed that Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Hj Noor was not involved.

Chin said LDP supported Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman's call for the BN leaders to cooperate with each other and stated that "it is not LDP's intention to attack other BN component parties."

He lamented however that at times even the BN leadership did not do what they preached.

"There are evidence certain people are bent on destroying LDP. What really dissapointed us is that everytime we bring the matter with the BN leadership, the answer given to us is 'we will look into it' and we're fed up with this," said Chin.

He also backed Teo's demand for the sacking of Hj Harun as the Kudat district chief with immediate effect.

"Sabah BN is not being led with justice and we in the LDP have been tolerating this unfairness for too long now," said Chin, urging the Prime Minister to make changes in Sabah BN leadership to ensure BN's victory in the next general election.

A game of musical chairs at the PKR retreat

By Haris Ibrahim,

Some bright spark at the recently-concluded PKR retreat scored brownie points with he who, for now, calls the shots.

Came up with a solution to the problem in Selangor between Khalid and Azmin, a problem which, according to he who, for now, calls the shots, is a mere figment of the imagination of the BN-friendly media.

That must include Malaysiakini who reported that on the eve of that retreat, 17 out of 22 PKR Selangor division chiefs descended at Khalid’s residence to show their support in light of this media-contrived plot to oust Khalid from the office of MB.

The quick fix to this non-existent problem : musical chairs!

You all know how this game is played, right?

When the music finally stopped and the dust from the scramble for seats had finally settled, Khalid was left standing.

Don’t be surprised if next you attend at the Selangor state secretariat building in Shah Alam, you find the MB working out of the guard house!

The govt’s selective listening

By Gan Pei Ling | The Nut Graph
“The issuance of a licence to legalise sports betting is no longer an issue as a decision has been made. We always listen to the people’s wishes and put their interests above all.”
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, declaring after an Umno supreme council meeting that the government would not legalise sports betting. The issue had aroused much controversy even within the Barisan Nasional. The MCA and MIC backed the motion to legalise sports betting, but Umno Youth spoke out against it. (Source: The govt will not legalise sports betting, says PM, The Star, 27 June 2009)
“[The royal commission’s investigation] will be on the (MACC’s) procedures relating to its investigation, not the investigation on Teoh’s death and the normal investigations conducted by the MACC.”
Najib, in explaining that a royal commission of inquiry would not be investigating Teoh Beng Hock’s July 2009 death while in custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Instead, only an inquest – seen as being hamstrung – was ordered into Teoh’s death.
This was despite pleas from Teoh’s family, civil society, the MCA and MIC to set up an independent royal commission of inquiry to probe Teoh’s death. Najib said the royal commission of inquiry would only be set up after the inquest into Teoh’s untimely death was completed. (Source: Inquest into Teoh’s death, Royal Commission on MACC’s treatment (Updated with Q&A), The Star, 22 July 2009)
“People are saying that no woman has been caned before and that Kartika should not be caned.
“Today I am announcing that we have already done it. There is no hidden agenda, we are merely executing our responsibility.”
(Courtesy of theSun)
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in announcing that the state, under syariah law, had caned three women for “illicit sex”. Hishammuddin only made the announcement nine days after the caning of the three, in an apparent attempt to lend credibility to the punishment that had been sentenced on Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno.
The Kuantan Syariah High Court had sentenced Kartika, a Muslim, to six cane strokes in 2009 for consuming alcohol. Women’s groups and the Bar Council decried the sentence, and whipping in general, as cruel, inhuman and degrading.
The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality appealed to Najib to take immediate steps to address the issue of whipping as a punishment, especially since research showed that it was not an effective deterrent, even to violent or sexual crimes. These appeals did not stop the government from whipping the three Muslim women.
The Sultan of Pahang, however, later reduced Kartika’s sentence to three weeks’ community service. (Source: 3 women caned for having illicit sex, The Star, 18 Feb 2010)
(Courtesy of theSun)
Repeated calls to the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil about the findings of a special task force report into the rape of Penan women and girls were met with silence. This was even though women’s and indigenous groups kept calling on the government to release the findings so that the Penan could be protected from further sexual violence.
The task force report was only made public nearly a year later, after continuous pressure including from The Nut Graph. (Source: Shahrizat keeps mum on Penan report, The Nut Graph, 19 May 2009)
“The [Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)] contravenes principles found in the Federal Constitution and existing laws.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, explaining the reason the government refused to set up the IPCMC even though human rights groups and the Bar Council have continuously called for its implementation to curb police abuses.
The de facto law minister also said the police would be oppressed if it were the only enforcement agency monitored by the IPCMC. The government replaced the IPCMC Bill with the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission Bill, which covers 21 enforcement agencies.
However, lawyer and The Nut Graph columnist Andrew Khoo pointed out that the Federal Constitution actually separates the police force from other enforcement agencies, and also allows for the setting up of a police force commission. Meanwhile, reports of deaths in police custody and police shootings continue to mount. (Source: Nazri: IPCMC would have been “unconstitutional”, The Nut Graph, 30 June 2009)

MAS To Capture Untapped Traffic From Middle East's Secondary Points

SUBANG, June 29 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Airlines Bhd is eyeing RM26 million in revenue per annum, which is 60 per cent of the traffic to Kuala Lumpur and beyond, from various secondary Middle Eastern points by entering into a code sharing agreement with Oman Air.

"This partnership expands and strengthens our hub and spoke network. We will be able to capture untapped traffic from secondary points in Middle East through Muscat on our network," said MAS Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Tengku Datuk Azmil Zahruddin.

He said many passengers were currently travelling to Kuala Lumpur and beyond via other Middle Eastern points.

"The main aim of the code sharing is to enhance revenue," said Tengku Azmil.

The code sharing agreement signed today takes immediate effect and would enable MAS passengers to enjoy non-stop flights from Kuala Lumpur to Muscat and connect seamlessly to Amman and Kuwait City.

The partnership also provides passengers with more flight options to Dubai and Beirut, he said at the partnership signing ceremony here Tuesday.

Also present was Oman Air Chief Executive Officer Peter Hill.

Oman Air passengers who currently enjoy direct flights to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok will now be connected to six new destinations in Malaysia and Asia, namely, Langkawi, Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuching, Singapore and Hong Kong.

It will be expanded to others points eventually.

"Oman Air is relatively a small airline company with big dreams. We believe the partnership will pave the way not only to some South East Asia countries but also the Pacific region (as we) currently fly only to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur in the region," said Hill.

This partnership would also pave the way for closer co-operation between the two airlines on a range of other joint initiatives, including collaboration on frequent flyer programmes, ground handling, customer support, cargo and airport lounge access, said Tengku Azmil.

He said the tie-up with Oman Air has its own value proposition and commercial standard point as MAS also has a code sharing agreement with other Middle Eastern airlines.

MAS currently offers 17 weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and the region, namely Dubai (seven times), Jeddah (four times), Beirut (three times) and Istanbul (three times).

It also operates seasonal flights between Kuwait and Kuala Lumpur in line with summer demand from Middle East to Malaysia and beyond.

Oman Air offers four weekly flights between Muscat and Kuala Lumpur.

With this partnership, its customers will enjoy many weekly flight options to Langkawi (35 times), Kota Kinabalu (62 times), Penang (63 times), Kuching (49 times), Singapore (49 times) and Hong Kong (14 times).

Hill noted that the traffic from Oman to Kuala Lumpur was good and growing fast.

Abolish ISA protest in Trafalgar Square

The Abolish ISA Movement (UK) held another demonstration outside the Tourism Malaysia office on Saturday, 26 June 2010.

Click on icon on bottom right of frame to toggle to full-screen mode – Photos by Danny Lim

Brazil inflict more misery on Chile

Luis Fabiano of Brazil (R) celebrates scoring the second goal with teammate Kaka

Brazil completed a hat-trick of victories over Chile at the FIFA World Cup™ by beating their South American rivals Chile 3-0 to set up a potentially thrilling quarter-final meeting with the Netherlands.

Dunga's side took control of the Round of 16 contest with two goals in quick succession in the last ten minutes of the first half through Juan and Luis Fabiano. Robinho added the third to inflict further punishment on the Chileans who may have ended a 48-year wait for a FIFA World Cup win in South Africa but evidently have not worked out how to better their old nemesis.

Brazil defeated Chile in the 1962 semi-finals and at this same stage of the 1998 tournament in France, scoring four goals in each game. They also beat La Roja home and away in qualifying for South Africa and even in the goalless opening 33 minutes at Ellis Park, there was scant evidence of a different outcome. Although Chile, playing in all white, had a larger share of possession in the opening quarter-hour, Brazil carried the greater goal threat from the off.

Luis Fabiano had an early sniff of goal when breaking down the inside-right channel in the fifth minute but dragged his shot past the far post. Four minutes later Gilberto Silva drew a full-length stop from Chile custodian Claudio Bravo with a 25-yard strike and from the ensuing corner, Kaka – back from suspension – had a sight of goal but fired wide. There was another nervous moment in the Chilean penalty box when Lucio took a dramatic tumble under Pablo Contreras's challenge and it came as no surprise when Brazil made the breakthrough in the 34th minute as Juan rose high to bury a header high past Bravo from Maicon's flag-kick.

Four minutes later Dunga's men had their second as Luis Fabiano got on to the end of a slick counterattack to hit his third goal of the finals. Robinho surged down the left and slipped the ball infield to Kaka, who split Chile's central defence with a first-time pass to put Luis Fabiano in the clear. With Chileans appealing in vain for offside, the Sevilla marksman rounded Bravo and slotted home. Chile produced only one or two promising moments in the final third in the opening 45 minutes. And when Humberto Suazo, making his second start of the finals, had a sight of goal, he failed to trouble Julio Cesar with his shot from the edge of the box – their only effort on target before the break.

Marcelo Bielsa's side had begun the match showing four changes from the defeat by Spain, three enforced by the suspensions of Marco Estrada Gary Medel and Waldo Ponce. And they began the second half with two more changes as Bielsa sent on Rodrigo Tello and Jorge Valvidia in place of Contreras and Mark Gonzalez. But though they tried to increase the pressure on Brazil's back line, their own defence was breached again just before the hour. Ramires strode forward from midfield, leaving two white shirts in his wake, and played in Robinho to curl a shot past the left hand of Bravo. It was Robinho's eighth goal in six matches against Chile and he came close to adding another with a low shot that Bravo tipped behind.

At the other end some of Chile's approach play was slick and they began belatedly to create chances. Valvidia flicked up the ball on the edge of the box and lifted a shot narrowly over the crossbar. With 15 minutes remaining Suazo then produced a smart turn to escape the shackles of Lucio but his shot was comfortably dealt with by Julio Cesar. He got even closer with a sliced effort that looped on to the top of the crossbar but it was not to be. Brazil march on.

Returning Robben helps sink Slovakia

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 28: Team mates celebrate with Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he scor

Slovakia's fairy-tale run came to an end at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium on Monday, with Arjen Robben returning to the starting line-up and helping fire the organised Oranje into the quarter-finals with the first goal in a 2-1 win. As the only debutants at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ head for home with their heads held high, the Dutch – who have never before won their first four matches at the finals – can now start preparing for a last-16 test against either Brazil or Chile in Port Elizabeth on Friday.

Vladimir Weiss's Slovakia were not overawed by their fancied opponents in the early going. Erik Jendrisek fired over the bar from a decent position after only two minutes, though if that was an intended warning shot, the Dutch – with nine points from their three games so far – are not a team that rattle easily. Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder both had good chances to score subsequently before Robben, in his first start at these finals, made his mark on the match. Chasing a long ball up from midfield, the Bayern Munich winger outpaced Radoslav Zabavnik up the wide-right channel, cut inside and fired low inside the near post, beating goalkeeper Jan Mucha who might have done better. It was only the second first-half goal scored by the Netherlands in South Africa.

Arsenal ace Van Persie had the next chances as the break approached. He surprised the Slovakia defence in the 41st minute but, after cutting in from the left, could only muster a tame toe-poke at Mucha. With just seconds to go before half-time, he then stole in behind the backline but failed to control Mark van Bommel's low cross, that was whipped in through the six-yard box. Robben was in the mood again when the second period got underway. After Van Persie dragged the Slovakia defence out of position, the ball fell kindly for the former Chelsea man, who wriggled inside the area only for his sizzling low shot to be thwarted by Mucha's fingertips. The goalkeeper was called into action again from the resulting corner, bravely blocking a Joris Mathijsen effort from close range.

Suddenly, Slovakia – who shifted into a more attacking 4-4-2 for the second half – came to life in the 67th minute. Marek Hamsik pushed the ball out wide for Dutch-based striker Miroslav Stoch, but his shot was tipped over for a corner. Robert Vittek was then guilty of missing a glorious chance only seconds later. Collecting the ball in acres of space and with bags of time, he shot directly into the palms of Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg to groans from the section of the crowd not dressed in orange.

The Dutch continued to push forward in search of another goal and with six minutes to go, and the withdrawn Robben now on the bench, Dirk Kuyt chased down a long ball and crossed low for Sneijder. The Inter Milan man made no mistake with the goal at his mercy and calmly bulged the back of the net. Even though Vittek managed a consolation goal for the Slovaks in the dying seconds of stoppage time – netting from the penalty spot after Stekelenburg had brought him down – it was too late to signal a change of fortune. The Dutch now march on to meet either Brazil or Chile, who contest their Round of 16 contest at Johannesburg's Ellis Park later in the evening.

Anwar denies PKR plot to topple Khalid

Khairy rescues Wee Ka Siong from Ibrahim Ali

Anwar fails in bid for statements

Kuala Lumpur Mayor “did not authorize” Setapak Hindu temple demolishment. Idols of Hindu deities thrown and scattered to the ground.


See The Starmetro 28/06/2010 at page M 14.
Who then in the DBKL and in police uniforms who demolished this 50 year old Hindu temple at PPR Sungai Bunus, Setapak on 24/06/2010.
IMG_1229 As the Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik had made a ministerial statement in Parliament in 2008 that no more Hindu temples would be demolished. As there is a breach of the same, this Minister should resign according to our British Parliamentary democracy traditions. Failing which the Opposition PKR, DAP and PAS should call for his resignation by way of a motion in Parliament or file on emergency motion in Parliament to debate the same.
But this will not happen in One Malay-sia as even the Opposition PKR, DAP and PAS including their 11 Indian mondore MP’s would not do so as they fear losing the Malay muslim votes.
And thus the spate of hindu temple demolishment in Malaysia with impunity We have statistics of even up to rate of one hindu temple being demolished. In every week one Hindu temple is maliciously and ruthlessly demolished in Malaysia (Tamil Nesan 30th Oct 2008, page 3. In the Selangor State Legislative Assembly it was officially revealed by Executive Council Mamber Dr. Xavier Jayakumar that between 2004 and 2007, 96 Hindu temple were demolished in Selangor (at an average of one Hindu temple in every 10 days- Tamil Nesan 30th Oct 2008, page 3). Based on this figures we estimate that one Hindu temple is being demolished in every week nationwide in Malaysia. (New Scan-20100624152931-00001 Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2008) presented by: Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy, Barrister at Law (Lincoln’c Inn) Chairman HINDRAF, Malaysia at The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and Pravasi Bharathiya Divas International Conference at Chennai, India. 7th – 9th January 2009 with the next in line being slated is the Sintamany hindu temple and their orphannage in Jinjang Utara on 30/06/2010.
Welcome to UMNO’s One Malay-sia and PKR, DAP and PAS “multi racialism”.
P. Uthayakumar


PM letter: Top polytechnic and STPM Indian students denied scholarships and university places. Only 0.33% Indian students allowed in 86,000 Polytechnic places. 0.02% finally make it to university.

NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar,
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

Your Reference :

In Reply :

Date : 28th June 2010

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak

Prime Minister of Malaysia

Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,

62502 Putrajaya. By fax no: 03-8888 3444 E-Mail:

YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim,

Menteri Besar Selangor,

Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor,

Tingkat 21,

Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin,

Abdul Aziz Shah, By fax No: 03-5519 0032

40503 Shah Alam, Selangor. E-Mail :

Re: Top polytechnic and STPM Indian students denied scholarships and university places. Only 0.33% Indian students allowed in 86,000 Polytechnic places. 0.02% finally make it to university.

This morning Uhmamaheswary Teruvengedam (No KP: 861025565142) and Kuganesh Kuppusamy (No KP: 880325086489) of Polytechnic Port Dickson walked into our office. Their friend Dineshwari Palayappan (No KP: 881130055548) could not make it as she has been hospitalized for suspected dengue fever. Top student Uhmamaheswary had scored 3.45 CGPA points in her diploma course at Polytechnic Port Dickson. Her mother is a single parent and has four other siblings to feed by working as an unskilled factory worker earning RM 800 per month. Her mother was herself denied skills training or higher education by UMNO during her student days. And now this UMNO segregation is hitting her daughter and intended to also hit all her future generation. Her mother cannot afford to send her overseas or to a private university.

The above is only the tip of the iceberg in higher education. In almost every expect of life, by the very same racist, religious extremist and supremacist policy UMNO discriminates and marginalises the Indian. PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs simply watch silently this ‘blood letting’.

The weak among the Indians simply give up life and attempt suicide. The suicide rate among the Indians is 600% above the rate among the Malay community.

Compliments to the UMNO led One Malay-sian government with two education systems. Welcome to Malay-sia the world’s most racist and supremacist country in the world.

Malaysia remains the world’s last remaining apartheid regime, the last was South Africa which ended it’s apartheid system some 21 years ago in 1989.

Umhamaheswary could not control her tears when relating her family poverty and hardships and how hard her mother has to work to put them to school. There goes Umha’s ambition of graduating to become an accountant. What is wrong in dreaming to become an Accountant Mr. Prime Minister?

Umha’s coursemate Kuganesh a/l Kuppusamy scored 2.79 CGPA and was also rejected a place in all the 20 public universities in Malaysia. So was his other course mate Dineswary Palanyappan and thousands of deserving Diploma and STPM students. For any Malay Muslim student 2.00 CGPA points would be sufficient to qualify them into any university. But not for these sixth generation Malaysian born Indian students with even 3.45 CGPA. This is just the tip of the iceberg of top and high achieving Indian STPM and Diploma students being denied a place in local public Universities and given scholarships and PTPTN loans. (Copies of their rejection letters is enclosed herewith).

Kuganesh tells us that it is because of this (racist and supremacist UMNO) policies that Indian youths are going astray and getting involved in crime and gangsterism etc.

Kuganesh asks is it wrong to dream of becoming an Accountant.

Both Kuganesh and Umha tell us that out of the 15 Indian students at Polytechnic Port Dickson out of the total 4,500 students ( a mere 0.33%) only a mere one or 0.02% finally made it to the public university.

For the Malay Muslim and other native students the sky is the limit for them as up to 99% of the 86,000 places in the 27 public Polytechnic and an estimated 95% of the 847,000 places (NST 7/8/08, page 16) in the 20 public universities are for Malay muslims. This is on top of the 200,000 places in UITM which is exclusively for the Malay Muslims (UM 22/ 11/2009 at page 25).

Save an except for some poor Chinese students, the rest or an estimated 99% are exclusively for only Malay Muslims. The Malaysian Chinese who control 70% of the Malaysian economy may not need these Polytechnic and University places as many can afford to go to private universities locally and overseas. The poor Chinese have the cash rich Chinese Guilds and Associations to help them.

For the Malay muslims and the natives the sky is the limit in terms of education for them. The rich Indians (a mere 1%) also sent their children overseas or local private Universities. This segregates and excludes only the Indian poor from the nation higher education policy of One Malay-sia with two education policies.

So who speaks for these poor Indian students? PKR? DAP? PAS? Indian elite? NGOs? MIC? PKR, DAP and PAS Indian mandores? UMNO’s print and electronic media?

All odds are stacked up against these poor Indian students.

The writing on the wall is very very clear indeed for the Malaysian Indians – if you are the very top brains (top 1%) or your parents are rich, have their EPF savings or other savings or can sell their land or house, then UMNO wishes you all the best to study at local private universities or overseas.

But if you are form an average, low income earning, poor or hardcore poor Indian, you are doomed!

Many youths get drawn into the world of crime. They are rebelling against the system, against the discrimination and marginalisation. It is their way of getting back at Malaysian society. They end up using their ‘untapped intelligence’ in crime and 95% of the Malay-sians shot dead by the police are the Indians. 60% of the Malaysian occupants in prisons are Indians when they form only 8% of the population ie about 70%, disproportionately over represented in prisons.

We hereby urge your goodselves to wipe out the tears of these poor Indian students and grant them their due places in the public universities. We estimate 2,271 Indian top achievers have been denied places in matriculation, universities as well as JPA loans this year alone!



Secretary General (pro tem)

Vincent Tan blames bookies, Pakatan for anti-betting drive

(The Malaysian Insider) He also told gaming industry analysts that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was to blame for the Najib administration’s backtracking, and alleged that illegal bookmakers had spent between RM100 million and RM300 million to smear his attempt to introduce above-board football betting.

Illegal bookmaking activities in Malaysia are estimated to be worth up to RM20 billion a year.

Tan (picture) said this at a luncheon with about 40 gaming analysts, where he was also said to have shown them a Finance Ministry letter dated Jan 13, 2010 that gave him conditional approval for the licence.

However, sources who saw the letter said the conditions made no mention of the government having to first gauge public support and that they had essentially been fulfilled.

A Berjaya Corp press statement released earlier today said the company was extremely disappointed at the government’s decision not to re-issue the licence “despite having granted its approval for the re-issuance of the same” — a phrase which was underlined for emphasis.

Berjaya Corp reported that the government had last month re-issued the licence to Tan-owned Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd after the original licence was cancelled by the previous Abdullah administration.

The gaming, property and hospitality group had told Bursa Malaysia in a May 12 filing that it intended to acquire Tan’s 70 per cent stake in Ascot for RM525 million. The tycoon’s son — Datuk Robin Tan Yeong Ching — would have retained control of his 30 per cent stake.

Tan had first obtained the licence in 1987 but had “asked the government to take it back” when the venture was unsuccessful while retaining the right to get the licence back.

His most recent attempt to revive long-suffering Ascot — which posted a loss of RM4.6 million at the end of 2008 — ran into a concerted hail of criticism from opposition parties who managed to turn the issue into a national talking point on the back of apparent anti-gambling sentiment.

Tan-controlled Berjaya Corp had planned to offer football betting services through the telephone and at selected Toto outlets nationwide.

It is understood that the tycoon had spent a considerable sum in preparation for the start of play in European football leagues this August.

The licence itself is said to be worth RM10 million, an amount which was refunded to Tan following the government’s capitulation to public opinion on Friday.

Sources said Tan had used the money to obtain a bank guarantee worth the same amount as a first-right-of-refusal claim, and suggest that he is biding his time until conditions are more agreeable before attempting to launch the football betting service again.

It was also revealed during the get-together with analysts today that after Ascot’s licence was withdrawn in 1990, RM8 million in licence fees was refunded to the company by the Finance Ministry and that it was also given compensation of RM10.9 million for sports betting equipment by the Totalisator Board.

Tan’s meeting with gaming analysts from both buy and sell sides this afternoon is seen as a move to repair his company’s image after Berjaya Corp shares were battered today at the start of trading.

Trade was resumed at 10am after a one-hour suspension on trading following Berjaya Corp’s announcement that it was calling off plans to acquire Ascot.

As at 4pm Berjaya Corp’s share price was down 14 sen from its opening price to RM1.22.

Najib's ex-aide Nasir Safar goes scot-free

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today defended an inflammatory speech that his former aide Nasir Safar made last February, in which he called Indians beggars and Chinese women whores.

“He was not referring to the local Chinese and Indians,” he told Parliament in a written reply to Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong).

Najib also said the government had decided against prosecuting Nasir despite scores of police reports alleging that he had committed sedition.

He suggested that Nasir’s apology and resignation from his position as special aide to the prime minister were punishment enough for the indiscretion that prompted a large section of his audience to walk out.

Not long after the incident, fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin dragged Nasir into further controversy by alleging that he was one of the last persons to see Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibu alive.

Few people had heard of Nasir until last Feb 2, when a large number of participants walked out of a closed-door seminar in Malacca while he was speaking.

They alleged that he had insulted Malaysian Chinese and Indians in a talk that was supposed to promote Najib’s national integration project, billed as 1Malaysia.

They told reporters that he had said Chinese women came to Malaysia to “sell their bodies” and had described Indian immigrants as beggars.

Investigated for sedition

The incident became a major news item on the Internet and the Prime Minister’s office promptly announced that Nasir had quit his position.

Several of those who walked out of the session lodged police reports, and Malacca police subsequently announced that they had investigated the incident under the Sedition Act and submitted a report to the Attorney-General.

In his written statement in Parliament today, Najib said it would be difficult to prove that Nasir’s outburst was seditious.

“Besides,” he added, “the suspect apologised openly” on Feb 4.

“He said he had no intention to make such seditious [statements] or insult other races in the country.”

Furthermore, he said, Nasir was referring only to foreigners who had migrated to Malaysia in search of work.

No plot to oust MB, says Anwar

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has finally settled the issue of some PKR MPs who allegedly teamed up to oust Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, saying that there was never such a plot.
Speaking to reporters in Parliament today, the PKR de facto leader claimed that he had never heard of the MPs – said to number about 15 - making such a demand as reported in the media recently.

“I have met the MPs many times. I have also gone through (the media reports) but seriously, there was no discussion at all among the MPs to make such a demand (remove the menteri besar),” he said.

According to him, he would have known if such a plot existed. But he said that the matter was never raised.

“I was never aware of it. As far as I’m concerned, any demand to oust the menteri besar has to go through me as I have a little influence in the party.

“But this was never the issue. The only issue brought up was how the Selangor government could implement effective programmes for the people,” he said.

PKR came under the glare of publicity last week when vice-president and Anwar’s protégé Azmin Ali tendered his resignation as a board member of the Selangor State Corporation Development (PKNS), which is helmed by Khalid.

It was rumoured that Azmin acted to express his displeasure over the way Khalid is running the state. Many members have also claimed that the menteri besar did not consult party leaders when it came to policy decision-making.

Another rumour soon surfaced claiming that the 15 PKR MPs have teamed up with Azmin to plot the downfall of Khalid. But Azmin has denied it.

Khalid needs to 'share the burden'

Anwar also rubbished claims that Khalid was replaced following criticism that the menteri besar has been unable to woo grassroots support despite having led the state for more than two years.

According to him, it was Khalid who asked for the change because he has a lot of work to do to meet the expectations of the people.

“He said his burden is heavy as he has to take care of both the state and party in Selangor. He was afraid he could not fulfil the expectations of the people.

“That was why he asked that his party position be given to someone else,” said Anwar.

Anwar, who initially disagreed with Khalid's request, said he finally accepted it when Khalid repeatedly informed him that he could not be expected to do both jobs.

“He needs to share the burden and he needs someone to tackle the political programmes.

“I think he is keen on making sure he runs the state,” he said.

Anwar also said PKR does not emulate Umno-style administration.

“It used to be like Umno where the menteri besar usually heads the party in the state, but not necessarily now,” he said.

MACC officers may face arrest in London

So there you have it. The MACC officers, PI Bala, and Bala’s three lawyers will all be in London next week. But instead of Bala’s statement being recorded will we see the MACC officers being marched off to jail instead?


Raja Petra Kamarudin
MACC is due to record Private Investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s statement on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th July 2010. The venue is the Holiday Villa in London. According to Berita Harian and The Star, the event has already been confirmed and Bala and his three lawyers are scheduled to be in London during that period.

The latest, however, is that MACC has written to Bala’s lawyers to inform them that the lawyers will not be allowed to be present when Bala’s statement is recorded. The lawyers are adamant that they be present and will not back down on the issue. If MACC also does not back down then assume that the entire session is going to be aborted.

Maybe this is what they want. They don’t really want to take Bala’s statement because they are worried about what he is going to say. Bala is also going to bring all sorts of documents, which include evidence of the money he was paid to change his Statutory Declaration and come out with the SD2 to reverse what he said in SD1.

I have spoken to a group of British lawyers about this and they are planning to be at the Holiday Villa on the morning of Monday 5th July to challenge MACC on point of law.

MACC can’t quote Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Act or Official Secrets Act and impose these laws on British soil, the British lawyers told me. In Britain, every person, even a witness, has the right to legal representation. It is against British law for MACC to forbid Bala’s lawyers from being present while his statement is being recorded.

Anyway, Bala is giving his statement voluntarily. There is no summons or warrant issued against him. Bala is not compelled to give his statement if he does not wish to and there is nothing MACC can do. “So why play hard ball?” asked the British lawyers.

Furthermore, Britain has the Freedom of Information Act. So MACC can’t use Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act to challenge Britain’s Freedom of Information Act, added the British lawyers.

If MACC wants to conduct an illegal operation in London then we shall have to bring this matter to the attention of the British police and get the MACC officers arrested and charged, the British lawyers said.
This is Britain and not Malaysia, which practices the law of the jungle, added the lawyers. The MACC officers can’t disregard the law and push it’s weight around in Britain like they do in Malaysia. They will find themselves in trouble with the law if they try that.

So there you have it. The MACC officers, PI Bala, and Bala’s three lawyers will all be in London next week. But instead of Bala’s statement being recorded will we see the MACC officers being marched off to jail instead?

I think I will hang around the Holiday Villa with my camera next Monday just to witness the fun. And I am sure many Special Branch officers from Bukit Aman will also be there with their cameras to take shots of me as well. By the way, I will be the person wearing a French cap, American jeans, Polo shirt, holding a Japanese camera, and with a Cuban cigar in my mouth.

Now that is what I call globalisation.

Privatising rubbish collection: Who benefits?

By KW Mak | The Nut Graph
(© bucklava | Flickr)
(© bucklava | Flickr)
THE federal government wants to privatise rubbish removal services under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) and have local councils focus purely on enforcement. Technically, the federal government cannot legally force a local government to enter into a privatisation contract. A contract’s signatories would have to be representatives from the government entering the contract itself.
However, one way to compel privatisation of a service would be through Section 165 of the Local Government Act. This section states that the state authority, also known as the state exco, may transfer a local authority’s function to the state’s chief minister or menteri besar. This can be done if the state deems that such a function would be in the public’s interest. However, such a transfer can only be done by a gazetted order. The order must also be presented to the state’s legislative assembly and will continue to be in force unless the state assembly annuls it.
This means that the only way to take away a local council’s power from performing its functions — one of which is rubbish removal — is through the state government’s direct and publicly announced (via gazette) intervention.
Making the impossible possible
Of course, politicians make a habit of making the impossible legally possible, with all the right packaging attached to it.
Back in 2007, Parliament passed the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act. This essentially allows the federal government to privatise rubbish removal services with the option to bill the house owner, the occupier, the local authority, or any other person to whom the services are provided.
Simplified diagram of what could happen (picture of woman thinking © Klearchos Kapoutsis | Flickr)
Simplified diagram of what could happen (picture of woman thinking © Klearchos Kapoutsis | Flickr)
Since a house owner already pays assessment tax to the local council, and since it is the local council’s function to provide rubbish removal services, it is most likely that the federal government would bill the local council for the services.
Now, there is a clause at the introduction of the Act that states that the law would only come into affect when the minister in charge of solid waste management (presently under the Housing and Local Government Ministry) publishes the order in a gazette.
I suspect the only reason this law wasn’t implemented straightaway was due to the logistical nightmare of taking over rubbish removal services from all local councils. However, we must also realise that the federal government has had three years to put in place the necessary framework to carry out the privatisation exercise.
So, now that we have an inkling of how the federal government may be implementing the privatisation of rubbish removal services, let’s look at the practicality of the privatised system.
The contractor providing the rubbish removal services signs their contract with the federal government. The local council, however, is tasked with paying the contractor whereas ratepayers are the consumers of the service.
Residents will never see this layer of bureaucracy nor will they care if their complaints to the local council are misdirected since the service providers are not answerable to the local council.
Additionally, the local council will probably be required to pay a lump sum figure without being able to deduct payment for services not rendered, since the contract is between the federal government and the contractor.
Of course, the local council could just as easily request for a license to be issued to it to continue having the rights to manage its own rubbish removal services.
Except that Section 70 of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act allows for the federal government to take over the entire operations of a license holder if it deems it necessary.
That, of course, is another matter entirely and totally unrelated to the issue of the federal government’s intention of privatising rubbish removal services under the 10MP. Or is it?

Court orders water documents revealed

(Malaysiakini) The federal government has seven days to disclose the contents of the audit report and water concession agreement entered between it, the Selangor government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas).

This follows a landmark ruling at the High Court today allowing the documents – which were classified by the government as being under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) – to be made public.

The decision was made by judicial commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail, who ruled the government’s refusal to disclose the reports did not consider the expectation of members of the public who are adversely affected by the decision.

“The respondents’ decision to allow the privatisation of water service and arbitrary increase tariff, and at the same time invoking the OSA, is disproportionate to the aims of the Act.

“It is also counter to the principles of good governance, accountability, transparency, and (that) the interests of rakyat should come first,” she said in her judgment.

Hadhariah ruled that since the government has failed to fulfill those principles, the court is compelled to do so.

Hadhariah made the ruling in the judicial review case brought by Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud (right) and 13 others against the Energy, Water, and Telecommunications Ministry, the Selangor government and the federal government.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer Ang Hean Leng, said this is a landmark judgment as it recognises the right of the public to have documents revealed out of public interest.
Syed Shahir and the other plaintiffs, which include Klang MP Charles Santiago and parents acting on behalf of their two children not of legal age, filed the application in January 2007.

They wanted the disclosure of the Concession Agreement dated Dec 15, 2004, between the federal and Selangor governments and Syabas.

They also sought the audit report justifying an increase of 15 per cent in the water tariff.

The plaintiffs also sought:

• a declaration that the applicants and general public have access to the audit report and agreement;

• alternatively, a declaration that those documents are public documents and are not official secrets documents;

• an order of certiorari to quash the decision by the respondents in denying access to such documents; and

• a mandamus order to compel the minister to disclose the contents of such documents.

JC not persuaded

Hadhariah in her 19 page-judgment also said she was not convinced such disclosure would be detrimental to national security or public interests.

“In fact, I was of the opinion that the truth is the contrary,” she ruled.

Hadhariah also said there must be a reasonable explanation why a document must be classified as “rahsia” (secret).

She also said she agreed with the applicants’ contention that the fact that the audit report was presented to the cabinet was not sufficient to justify protection under the OSA.

“It also cannot be in the spirit of OSA, to extend protection in cases where the government believes there will be public discussion and criticisms against the government’s action,” said the judicial commissioner.

Hadhariah said having read the audit report herself, she concluded it contains information relevant to the concession agreement, in particular the issue of raising the water tariff.

Saying that she could foresee public discussion and criticism against the government, the concession agreement and audit report should have been released in tandem as the report made certain comments and reference to provisions and concessions in the agreement.

“The disclosure will serve the public interests in keeping the public informed of the working of the government, as well as promote discussion on public affairs,” she said.

“In this era of transparency, accountability, and priority is given to the needs of the rakyat… it is only fair for such documents to be made public. I am of the view the court should lean in favour of the aggrieved party in matters involving public interest,” said Hadhariah.

She also said the concession agreement should be a public document as it was executed with public interest in mind and therefore it is in the public interest also that it should be disclosed.

“What could possibly go wrong if what the public wants to know is whether the deal was a win-win situation or a one sided agreement benefiting one party only?
“Until and unless the agreement is disclosed to the public, it would cause anxiety to the public wanting to know such matters that affect their basic needs.”