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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Insurgents killed, Taliban district chief captured in firefight

(CNN) -- International and Afghan security forces wounded and captured a Taliban district chief and killed a "large number" of insurgents in a four-hour firefight, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement Thursday.

The battle took place in a compound outside a village in the Baghran district of Afghanistan's Helmand province after insurgents opened fire on security forces with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, ISAF said.

No security force members or civilians were killed or wounded in the fighting, but a "large number of insurgents" died, ISAF said, without providing specific numbers.

"Dozens of automatic weapons, RPG launchers and rounds, a machine gun, grenades, and ammunition were discovered along with 20 pounds of wet opium" after the fighting, the statement said.

"This joint force operation dealt another significant blow to the Taliban network," said Col. William Maxwell, ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center director. "These joint efforts are key to further establishing peace in the region."

NATO-led forces have been waging an offensive against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Dubbed Operation Moshtarak, the offensive was launched in February by an international coalition of 15,000 troops including Afghans, Americans, Britons, Canadians, Danes and Estonians.

The Taliban had set up a shadow government in Helmand province's Marjah region, long a bastion of pro-Taliban sentiment.

It is a key area in Afghanistan's heroin trade and full of the opium used to fund the insurgency.

Windfall for BN MPs: A prelude to snap elections?

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs are predicting snap elections soon judging by the way the Najib administration is dishing out money to BN-held parliamentary constituencies.

Yesterday, online news portal Malaysian Insider revealed that an additional RM500,000 in allocations have been given to BN MPs in all constituencies held by the ruling coalition.

The money is being doled out by the governmentfor development purposes, said BN Backbenchers Club deputy chairman Bung Mokhtar Radin said.

He added that BN MPs usually receive RM1 million in allocations.

In response to this, Anthony Loke (DAP-Rasah) questioned the prime minister's motive and asked if it was prelude to snap elections being called.

"Is this a '1Malaysia' policy or is this indicative of a snap general election? Is the money being given out to constituencies to win voters' hearts and minds?" he asked.

He said he was disappointed with the 'unfair treatment' of opposition MPs with regards to the allocations, who he claimed do not have a say on it, compared to the BN MPs.

"The money (from the PM's Department) is parked at state development offices in the various states, and it is the officer who is responsible for allocating this money.

"Of course, BN MPs has 100 percent say on how the money is to be used but the opposition MPs have no say whatsoever in the matter," claimed Loke.

Umno division chiefs 'call the shots'

According to him, Umno division chiefs usually "call the shots" on the allocations in every Pakatan-led constituency.

"It is decided by Umno division chiefs. You should be fair to all MPs. The MPs are elected by the people. They are the ones should have the final say," added Loke.

Loke also said the state development office is not answerable to the state government as it is a unit under the Prime Minister's Department called the Internal Coordination Unit (ICU).

"But in Pakatan-led states, they changed it to another form of bureaucracy, they channel these funds to a federal development office. So everything is under the federal government.

"We have no say in how the money is being used. The Umno division chief can influence the state development officer on how the money is to be disbursed," he said.

In an immediate reaction, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said this was "normal practice".

When asked about the sudden increase in the allocations as reported, he replied: "We have money, that's why we gave out additional funds."

Windfall for BN MPs: A prelude to snap elections?

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs are predicting snap elections soon judging by the way the Najib administration is dishing out money to BN-held parliamentary constituencies.

Yesterday, online news portal Malaysian Insider revealed that an additional RM500,000 in allocations have been given to BN MPs in all constituencies held by the ruling coalition.

The money is being doled out by the governmentfor development purposes, said BN Backbenchers Club deputy chairman Bung Mokhtar Radin said.

He added that BN MPs usually receive RM1 million in allocations.

In response to this, Anthony Loke (DAP-Rasah) questioned the prime minister's motive and asked if it was prelude to snap elections being called.

"Is this a '1Malaysia' policy or is this indicative of a snap general election? Is the money being given out to constituencies to win voters' hearts and minds?" he asked.

He said he was disappointed with the 'unfair treatment' of opposition MPs with regards to the allocations, who he claimed do not have a say on it, compared to the BN MPs.

"The money (from the PM's Department) is parked at state development offices in the various states, and it is the officer who is responsible for allocating this money.

"Of course, BN MPs has 100 percent say on how the money is to be used but the opposition MPs have no say whatsoever in the matter," claimed Loke.

Umno division chiefs 'call the shots'

According to him, Umno division chiefs usually "call the shots" on the allocations in every Pakatan-led constituency.

"It is decided by Umno division chiefs. You should be fair to all MPs. The MPs are elected by the people. They are the ones should have the final say," added Loke.

Loke also said the state development office is not answerable to the state government as it is a unit under the Prime Minister's Department called the Internal Coordination Unit (ICU).

"But in Pakatan-led states, they changed it to another form of bureaucracy, they channel these funds to a federal development office. So everything is under the federal government.

"We have no say in how the money is being used. The Umno division chief can influence the state development officer on how the money is to be disbursed," he said.

In an immediate reaction, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said this was "normal practice".

When asked about the sudden increase in the allocations as reported, he replied: "We have money, that's why we gave out additional funds."

Deepak, Rosmah 'sponsor' my London trip, quips Bala

(Malaysiakini) Private investigator P Balasubramaniam said the money used to pay for his trip to London for the aborted meeting with Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) came from carpet businessman Deepak Jaikishan and the premier's wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Balasubramaniam's lawyer, Americk Singh Sidhu, said he had been instructed by his client to respond to independent Bayan Baru MP Zahrain Mohamed Hashim's press conference in Parliament yesterday.

Zahrain had yesterday demanded MACC to investigate the individual involved in sponsoring Balasubramaniam's flight and stay in London.

In a cheeky response, Americk said that Balasubramaniam fully supports Zahrain's suggestion.

“This is for the simple reason the money he is using to pay for his trip to London and his hotel accommodation there is derived from the funds he has received from Deepak at the behest of Rosmah, who ultimately and unwittingly is the sponsor,” said the lawyer in a statement.

As such, MACC should investigate the duo.

Bala went missing after retracting his first statutory declaration (SD) in July 2008.

Then he alleged the involvement of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's younger brother, Nazim, and Deepak in enticing him to retract the SD.

MACC's sudden reversal

Balasubramaniam's first SD states that it was Najib who had introduced Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu to his confidante and political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda.

Balasubramaniam, who was due to leave for London today from an undisclosed location, was to be interviewed by MACC on Monday to facilitate its investigations on Nazim and Deepak's role.

However, MACC deputy commissioner Mohd Sukri Abdull, in a dramatic about-turn, announced yesterday it would abort the trip but would instead send a set of questions to Balasubramaniam's lawyer for the answers to be replied in an affidavit.

Americk has since lambasted the MACC for its contradictory stand and for not being serious in conducting the interview.

In Felda, Pakatan looks for another Hindraf

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The government’s admission that Felda’s RM4 billion cash reserve has dwindled significantly has renewed Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) hope to win over the voters in settlements run by the Federal Land Development Authority.

PKR  Felda bureau chairman Suhaimi Said told The Malaysian Insider the party has been busy organising meetings with settlers and forming party branches, turning Felda settlements into a battlefront for the next general election.

“Felda settlers are slowly preparing for an uprising. They are rural Malays, they may not be able to talk like Hindraf supporters or protest like them, but look at our conventions, seminars for Felda settlers, the response has been encouraging,” said Suhaimi, referring to the Hindu Rights Action Force which was behind the country’s largest Indian protest in 2007.

“In the 1980s we used to get, at most, 50 people at Felda gatherings. Now it’s not unusual to get thousands of people,” said Suhaimi.

The Hindraf protest saw some 30,000 Indians marching in the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest against alleged discrimination.

The protest is said to have led to Barisan Nasional (BN) losing its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Felda currently administers about 480 settlements nationwide with 112,635 settlers.

The largely Malay settlers backed BN in the last general election, resulting in PR’s defeat in rural, Malay-majority constituencies where most Felda settlements are located.

PR has intensified its efforts to win the Felda votes since Election 2008 with various rallies and recruitment drive.

“They admitted the decline in cash reserve. How they spent money for unnecessary projects, for their new headquarters,” said Suhaimi, referring to Datuk Ahmad Maslan’s recent remarks on Felda’s cash reserve.

The deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had admitted Felda’s cash reserves plunged from RM4.08 billion in 2004 to RM1.35 billion in 2009.

He clarified that RM2 billion was spent for replanting crops, RM603 million for interest-free housing loans, RM253 million for Sabah poverty eradication efforts and RM662 million was used for the controversial new Felda headquarters.

“So we wonder what will happen in five years’ time. We ask the settlers what is Felda’s future if this is how they are managing the money,” said Suhaimi.

PKR and its publication Suara Keadilan are facing legal action over its report alleging that Felda was on the verge of bankruptcy.

“We do not want Felda to be bankrupt, we want Felda to prosper for settlers,” said Suhaimi, who has been campaigning actively especially in Pahang Felda settlements.

“If Felda continues to spend money like this for political projects and mistreat settlers, it won’t be long before settlers turn to Pakatan Rakyat,” said the lawyer, who has been working on Felda settlers’ rights since the 1980s.

Apart from the abuse of cash reserve, Suhaimi claimed that the land authority has deviated from its original objective to help landless Malays but is now treating settlers as a source of cheap labour.

Suhaimi, who was arrested under the ISA twice in the 1980s, alleged that Felda has made it compulsory for settlers to replant their crop through the body’s appointed contractor, a scheme which caused settlers to be in debt for the rest of their lives.

The PKR Felda bureau campaign however is not without competition.

The Umno-linked the Malaysian Felda Youth Council (MBFM) has been kept busy to counter the opposition campaign in Felda settlements.

“Yes they have become more aggressive, especially after Hulu Selangor when they lost in Felda settlements,” said MBFM president Annuar Manap, referring to the by-election where PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim lost badly in Malay-majority areas.

“They tried many ways, but we conduct our own information programme also,” said Annuar, who is an Umno Youth division chief in Johor.

“They are saying Felda is going to be bankrupt, but we told the settlers, if that is the case, we would have been chased out of our land. They understood our explanation,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Annuar said MBFM, which has about 100,000 members, has been very active in all 54 parliamentary constituencies where Felda settlements are located since the last general election.

“The support for BN remains strong. The opposition, the outsiders talk about money but they don’t know settlers are actually getting the money, that is why you don’t hear settlers complaining,” said Annuar.

“Felda gives RM40,000 interest-free loan for replanting, cash incentive of RM1,000 for settlers’ children who enrol in degree programmes and RM500 for diploma,” he said.

The government also said yesterday that some 1,500 children of Felda settlers have Ph.d qualifications, in an effort to show it has brought progress to those in the land scheme.

Azlan Zainal, who leads the opinion research firm Ilham Centre, believes that PR still has a long way to go before winning the Felda votes.

“Felda will remain under BN control. But Pakatan will make inroads. BN’s support will reduce a little bit because of the campaign,” said Azlan.

He added that PR’s embarrassing defeat in the Bagan Pinang, in Negri Sembilan, and Hulu Selangor by-elections has taught the opposition the importance of rural Malay votes.

“From what we have noticed, PAS or PKR can win if the information reaches the settlers,” said Azlan, who has conducted several surveys on Malay votes for the Islamic party.

“In places where they lost, it was because information did not reach the settlers and Umno is very strong,” he added.

KPI ensures justice is swift, but shoddy

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) was introduced for judges two years ago in order to clear backlog cases and create an efficient judicial system.

While the intention is lauded, critics, however, claimed that the KPI has taken a toll on the quality of judgments.

They reminded Chief Justice Zaki Azmi that the judiciary is unlike any other government department and the emphasis should be on quality, not quantity and speed.

Leading criminal lawyer K Kumaraendran said he agreed with Zaki that backlog cases require urgent addressing, but noted that justice cannot be hurried.

"Lately it appears that justice has been hurried, where counsels are not given enough time to address the courts," he told FMT.

“The litigant and his lawyer must feel that they had a full and proper hearing whether they win the case or not. Only then, will the public accept that the judiciary is functioning properly,” he said.

Kumaraendran said judicial officials, be it in the lower or higher courts, should not feel pressured by the KPI requirement.

Touching on the postponement of cases in relation to the KPI, senior lawyer M Athimulam said it is the judge's discretion to do so, but it must be done “reasonably, fairly, sensibly and courageously”.

"If lawyers or witnesses are sick, that is a good reason to postpone the case, but on many occasions, judges have insisted on going on with the trial. This is not what justice is all about," he added.

'Judges avoiding hearings'

Meanwhile, lawyer N Subramaniam said a Kuala Lumpur High Court judge took less than 30 minutes to read lengthy submissions from the defence and prosecution before convicting and sentencing a driving school instructer in a drug trafficking case.

He said in another civil matter involving an accident, the investigation officer could not attend due to a valid reason but the trial judge wanted the hearing to proceed.

The judge, he added, persuaded the defendant to settle for a quantum of RM40,000 although the latter would have had the opportunity to secure greater compensation in the event of a full trial.

"This clearly shows that judges are trying to avoid hearings and are more keen on closing files for their KPI," he said.

'This is not justice'

A senior deputy public prosecutor, who declined to be named, also voiced his concern over the matter.

He said there were instances where witnesses were not present in court with good reason but the judge refused to accept it and gave a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

"At the slightest opportunity, the judges do this despite other witnesses being present. These people are in court at the expense of the taxpayer. This is not justice,” he lamented.

Justice, he stressed, can only prevail when all parties involved are given sufficient time.

"In some cases, judges are instructing the DPPs and counsels in open court to shorten their submissions by emphasising more on the facts of the case rather than case laws," he added.

Commenting on the issue, Bar Council secretary George Varughese agreed that there should be some reasonable speed in the disposal of cases but cautioned against the deterioration of quality.

He said the Bar has been receiving complaints from its members that they are being pressured by some judges to settle cases.

"In the pretext of mediation, parties are being summoned into chambers by judges before being persuaded to settle their dispute. This is especially rampant in civil cases,” he added.

'This is not kacang putih business'

Meanwhile, a high court judge, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the KPI is not the answer in tackling the backlog of cases.

"KPI is just a guideline or reminder of pending cases, but numbers have never been our priority. Our priority is the people who are seeking justice. The moment the people lose their trust and confidence, that will be the end of us,” he warned.

However, a former judge disagreed that the KPI is the main factor affecting the quality of judgments and blamed the drastic increase in the number of cases handled by each judge.

“This not like any other 'kacang putih business', we are required to be seen as fair to all parties and not just bow to the requirement of the administration,” he said.

'Khalid making things possible for Indians'

By B Nantha Kumar
SHAH ALAM: Selangor Pakatan Rakyat leaders are content with Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s style of administration despite contradictory rumours.
Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manoharan said this when dismissing claims that several PKR Indian assemblymen and parliamentarians were involved in the purported recent attempts to topple Khalid.
“When you consider how the state Barisan Nasional government treated the Indians, Khalid has been doing his job.
“We must look at the situation in perspective. He took the post (as Selangor menteri besar) 24 months ago. He has made allocations for Tamil schools and temples.
"He has put in place an equal rights system for Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera and has created new opportunities with appointments in other agencies.
“It's something we never saw when BN ruled Selangor,” he said, adding that administrating Selangor is tougher than most other states because Umno was constantly scheming ways to undermine and oust Khalid.
Manoharan said Khalid had made sure that several Indian elected representatives were involved in the decision-making level in various state-linked agencies to ensure that the community was not overlooked.
Citing examples, he said DAP’s K Ganapathi Rao had been appointed a director in state-owned sand mining company Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) and Subang MP R Sivarasah was on the board of Kumpulan Peransang.
He said he himself was a director at the Selangor State Library.
'Indians grateful to menteri besar'
Manoharan said there were speculations that Khalid was also considering an Indian to assume PKR vice-president Mohamed Azmin Ali’s position as director of Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS).
Azmin had resigned from his post following the controversial appointment of Faekah Husin as Khalid's political secretary. Azmin was also linked to the “G-15’ group of parliamentarians who had allegedly tried to boot out Khalid as menteri besar because he had chosen to appoint Faekah.
Azmin has vehemently denied the allegation. Last Monday, Azmin assumed the role of Selangor PKR leader and has been left with the responsibility of consolidating PKR support among the grassroots.
Said Manoharan: “I heard Khalid is considering appointing an Indian to PKNS board to ensure Indians are not left out of the state’s continued growth.
"Such appointments never occurred when the state was ruled by Umno. It’s Khalid who is making equal opportunities possible.”
He said despite the hiccups and the slow delivery, “the fact remains that Pakatan’s style of administration was better than Umno in every aspect”.
Admitting to discontent among some Indian representatives, Manoharan said it was impossible to please everyone in any given situation.
“Yes, there are some PKR leaders who are not happy with his (Khalid's) leadership, but generally the whole Indian community supports him.
"He has done a lot of things for the Indians in a short period.”
"As state assemblyman, I'm always travelling to many places within Selangor and the general feeling is of gratitude to the menteri besar,” said Manoharan, adding that the Indian community too had matured tremendously since 2007 and were aware of the current political situation and their right to being treated fairly and equally.

French prosecutors to interview PI Bala over submarine deal

By K Kabilan

KUALA LUMPUR: French prosecutors will be interviewing private investigator P Balasubramaniam in Paris next week as part of their ongoing investigation into claims of corruption over a US$1.1 billion submarine deal linked to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Balasubramaniam's lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu told FMT that he was informed by French lawyers of this latest development yesterday.

“Balasubramaniam will be travelling to Paris later next week to talk to the French prosecutors,” he said.

He added that it was an irony that the French prosecutors were ready to talk to Balasubramaniam but not the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers.

He was referrring to the MACC's decision yesterday not to send its officers to London to record statements from Balasubramaniam in the murder trial of Mongolian Altantuya Shariibuu.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Mohd Shukri Abdull had said Balasubramaniam would instead be asked to answer questions which would be submitted through his lawyer in the form of a sworn statement or affidavit, as advised by the Attorney-General.

Americk said he was disappointed with the MACC's decision not to fly out to London to meet Balasubramaniam as was previously agreed upon.

“I just find it interesting that the French don't seem to have a problem in taking Balasubramaniam's statement unlike our MACC and its legal advisers,” he said.

“We will, however, continue with our plan in London. We have arranged for a press conference on July 7 and that will proceed,” he added.

He also said that Balasubramaniam and his team of lawyers will be present at the Holiday Villas in Bayswater, London, at 10am on July 5 for the arrival of the three MACC officers who are supposed to interview Balasubramaniam as arranged and promised.

“Bala was available at all times and the MACC knew this. We have documents to prove we had informed them of our willingness to cooperate as far back as December last year. Why is everyone becoming so coy at the eleventh hour?

“It is nothing less than astounding to realise that an authority such as the MACC, which would have been expected to have done everything in its power to investigate the very serious allegations made against the prime minister, his wife and his brother, would now forfeit that opportunity on tenuous and exasperatingly flimsy grounds...

“They know full well that much preparation has gone into organising this interview and to then pull out at the very last moment is contrary to the false perceptions created by them up till now,” he said.

Controversial statutory declarations

Balasubramaniam created controversy on July 3, 2008, when he distributed a sworn deposition in connection with Altantuya’s murder.

His statement alleged links between Najib's close friend Abdul Razak Baginda and the deceased.

The next day, the private investigator retracted his statutory declaration and subsequently left the country with his family.

On Oct 27 last year, in the presence of three prominent lawyers, Balasubramian came out of hiding and reaffirmed that his first statutory declaration was true and that he was offered RM5 million to retract it.

In the no-holds-barred interview, he named businessmen Deepak -- who is said to be an associate of Rosmah Mansor, the prime minister's wife -- as the person who met him at a Rawang restaurant and made the cash offer.

He also claimed that Najib’s brother Nazim offered him RM5 million to retract the first statutory declaration, a charge which the prime minister has rubbished.

MACC had already recorded statements from Nazim and Deepak.

The French investigation, meanwhile, stemmed from a request of Malaysian human rights group which alleged that French shipbuilder DCN paid a commission of U$150 million (114 million euros) to a company called Perimekar in the sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia.

Perimekar is linked to Abdul Razak Baginda and he was later acquitted on charges of abetting the 2006 murder of his mistress Altantuya, who was a translator in the submarine deal.

Najib, defense minister when the deal was brokered, has defended the submarines' purchase and denied any involvement in Altantuya's murder.

'Lock up Ibrahim Ali under ISA'

By RK Anand-  Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali is the one who should be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for spewing out racist comments, said MIC leader S Vell Paari.

The MIC central working committee member told FMT that he is upset with Perkasa's call for Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong to be arrested under ISA.

Vell Paari warned Ibrahim, who is the Independent MP for Pasir Mas, not to threaten others to further his agenda.

“Does he think that ISA stands for Ibrahim's Security Act?” he asked.

“Wee has explained himself (over the scholarship issue), and if Ibrahim thinks Wee should be held under ISA, (the rest of us think) that it is Ibrahim who should be put under ISA,” he said.

“It is Ibrahim who labelled the Chinese as ungrateful and wanted them to be punished just because they exercised their right to vote for the opposition. Is this not a threat?” he added.

ISA for Nasir Safar as well

Vell Paari also suggested that Ibrahim could have Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's former aide Nasir Saafar as his ISA cellmate.

“He should be thrown under ISA together with Nasir who made racist remarks against the Chinese and Indians,” he said.

Nasir had ignited a firestorm of protest when he reportedly labelled the Indians as “immigrants” and referred to Chinese women as “prostitutes” during a seminar in Malacca last year.

He resigned on the same day and scores of police reports were subsequently filed against him.

On Tuesday, much to the chagrin of several quarters, de facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz said there would be no action against Nasir as there is no evidence to prove that he wanted to create racial ill-will.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim and Wee have been at loggerheads after the Perkasa boss accused the MCA Youth chief of challenging Malay rights.

Wee had asked if the government would scrap the exclusively bumiputera Mara scholarships since it planned to pull the plug on the Public Service Department ovserseas scholarships for non-Malay students.

The MCA leader later denied Ibrahim's charge, and criticised the Perkasa boss for “talking rubbish”.

'Beware of the train'

Commenting further, Vell Paari said when Perkasa raises certain thorny issues, Ibrahim claims that the organisation is defending the interests of the Malay community.

Similarly, he pointed out, Wee as a MCA leader had stood up for the Chinese community.

“So it's fine for Perkasa to do it but when MCA or MIC leaders do such things, we are accused of being racist and a threat to national security,” he said.

The attack on Wee also drew flak from Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who labelled Ibrahim as a “jaguh kampung” (village hero).

Ibrahim remained unfazed and took a swipe at Khairy, saying that the latter's rise in politics is due to the influence of his father-in-law, former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Perkasa boss also likened himself to a “bullfighter” who is prepared to take on anything which comes his way.

However, Vell Paari issued a dire warning to the self-styled matador.

“If Ibrahim keeps going this way, the bullfighter is not going to find a bull coming for him, but rather a train headed in his direction, which would run him down,” he said.

Hindus first, before becoming Muslim

Tunku Aziz (all pics below courtesy of Tunku Aziz)
Tunku Aziz (all pics below courtesy of Tunku Aziz)
BEFORE Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim became a politician, he was far better known as a Malaysian champion of transparency, integrity and good governance. Indeed, it was no coincidence that Tunku Aziz, together with like-minded individuals, founded Transparency International Malaysia (TI-Malaysia) in 1998. He was TI-Malaysia president until December 2004.
Even after setting up TI-Malaysia, the former Bank Negara advisor actively promoted ethics and good governance at both the regional and international level. This included work within the World Bank and the United Nations. It was in his capacity as special advisor to the UN secretary-general, a post he was appointed to in 2006, that he set up the UN Ethics Office.
He returned from New York on completion of this work in 2007, and in 2008 joined DAP, a party he had been monitoring for the past 20 years “without their knowledge”. He is currently DAP national vice-chairperson, and was appointed as the first DAP senator in July 2009.
In this 1 June 2010 interview with The Nut Graph at his Kuala Lumpur home, Tunku Aziz talks about his royal Hindu ancestry and what it was like living in the days before and after independence.
TNG: Where were you born, and what were your earliest childhood memories?
Tunku Aziz: I was born in Alor Star in 1934. My father was an officer in the Kedah state police. My earliest memories were of the parades that were held frequently, accompanied by the Kedah state police band. I suppose that was how I have come to love military music and brass bands.
We were literally surrounded by police families when I was born. Those days in Kedah, there were two avenues for young men — the Kedah civil service and the Kedah state police. My father’s elder brother opted for the civil service, and my father became a police officer.
There was a lot of freedom to play with friends of all races. There was no homework in the lower classes, and no big school bag to lug around. My childhood memories are filled with going swimming in the river at Gurun and Kulim without telling my mother. Things like that. [But] my mother always knew if I had been swimming because my red eyes gave me away.
Can you trace your ancestry?
My family history goes back several hundred years. We can trace our origins from the days of the Hindu kingdom. My ancestors were Hindu before they became Muslim. I descended from the line of Sultan Abdullah, who had two sons, Sultan Ahmad Shah and Tunku Yaakob, also known as Tunku Embong. He, being the younger, became the Raja Muda. In short, that is my family tree.
As I have indicated, the present Kedah ruler can trace his lineage back to the first Hindu king of Kedah. It is the country’s oldest royal line. My mother was a dayang from Brunei whose elder sister married my father’s elder bother — two brothers marrying two sisters.

With the late Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, circa 2000, in his capacity as TI-Malaysia president
What are the childhood stories you remember the most?

Probably the most important advice that my father gave to me went something like this. That it is no use driving a big, expensive car if people in the coffee shops are going to say, as you drive by, “Look at that [person] driving a big car. He [or she] is on the take.”
That made a strong impression on me, because this is where self worth comes into the picture. And if you have no self respect to begin with, you have no respect for other people. This is why I have always tried to resist any temptation to take a bribe, knowing full well that I would never be able to live with myself.
[My father] was a stickler for rules. I remember as an 11-year-old, [I] had my own [football] team that played matches in kampongs some four or five miles away. He would always remind me to ensure that when I cycled home in the evening, my bicycle had a light. Followed by, “If you are caught riding without a lamp, don’t claim that you are the son of the OCPD.” He was then the Alor Star OCPD!
How do you connect with these stories as a Malaysian?
I come from the state of Kedah, which was an independent country before it became a protected state of the British empire. The people of Kedah ran their own affairs and there was a sense of confidence. Unlike [Malay Malaysians] in the other parts, except for Johor, who were virtually under British control and domination. I think when you have confidence in your ability to deal with people, then you don’t worry too much about the ethnicity of the other person.
Having grown up with Chinese [Malaysian] and Indian [Malaysian] friends in particular, it never occurred to me that they were to be treated differently. They were just my friends.
In Kedah, although it was a Malay state, there was no discrimination, although the Kedah civil service and the officer ranks of the Kedah state police were open only to educated boys from “good Malay” families. I remember when I was growing up, the state treasurer was a highly respected Chinese [Malaysian]. I grew up used to people of all races living and working together.
I have always believed that we are one people, the strength of our country is derived from our diversity. And I have always maintained long before (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) that tolerance was not good enough. Because it suggests our making small concessions that people are prepared to make, grudgingly. Acceptance of our cultural differences, on the other hand, that is really the key to a united Malaysian nation.

Tunku Aziz with Kofi Anan in New York, 2006, when he was special advisor to UN secretary-general
What does it mean to you coming from a royal Malay family, to have become a politician for all?
I feel a sense of responsibility as a Malaysian. That although I am not close to the throne, I carry the family title, and that means a great deal to me. Not to let the family down, and I supposem to protect the good name of the bigger family of Kedah.
I do my best and I am conscious of the fact there is a long history behind us of providing leadership. For a long time, I have been concerned with polarisation which is very much in evidence. I feel that unless we change the way we look at the issues of culture and race, Malaysia will continue to be plagued by all kinds of problems which will really [distract us] from developing the country to its fullest potential.
For that reason, I made up my mind, against my better judgement, to be in politics. I have no regrets. I thought it was all very well and good to stand on the sidelines and comment on the country’s state of affairs. But if I wanted to help make a difference to national unity and development, then I had to be prepared to stand up and be counted.
I have always been opposed to race-based politics because when you focus on your own race, then you are consciously or unconsciously setting yourself apart. The attitude you adopt is not one of inclusiveness but exclusiveness. So I looked for a party that met my hopes and aspirations and found the DAP fitted the bill.
Tunku Aziz with his daughters at their home in 1983
Tunku Aziz with his daughters at their home in 1983
But you served, worked with, and admired many individuals who very much worked for the Malay race.
I can explain this. [Tun] Ismail Ali was my governor at the central bank. I was persuaded to join [Bank Negara] because I was inspired by his attitude towards his race. But more important, towards his nation as a whole.
He wanted the best for his race, but that wasn’t ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy. It was to make Malays self-sufficient, strive for the best, be less dependent on government support and subsidies. Most of all, he wanted something for all Malaysians, and that was equality of opportunity.
For example, when I was Bank Negara’s appointments committee head, both he and I felt that we should always go for the best talent. He recognised Malay [Malaysians] had not yet reached that level, but given the time and right opportunity, they would rise to the occasion.
I remember one year when I appointed 22 young economists who were Chinese [Malaysians]. One person said, “Tunku, do you know that there is this thing called the NEP?” I said I was well aware of that policy but if we wanted the best people to serve the bank then we would have to take the best candidates, irrespective of race, creed or colour.
And I asked him whether he understood Bank Negara’s principles and functions. He hesitated. I then told him its function was to give the best possible independent monetary and financial advice to the Malaysian government. What sort of advice would we be giving if we did not recruit the right people? If I had to scrape the bottom for advisors, then that advice would not amount to much.
What are your hopes for Malaysia?
After more than 50 years of Independence, we have come to the end of the line, as far as Umno-dominated policies are concerned. Those policies have been adopted and noted more for their divisiveness rather than cohesiveness, because most of these policies have elements of discrimination.
Obviously, we need a change and this can only come about if a new set of people with progressive ideas; people who are convinced the country’s future must be in the hands of all citizens. The policies which have failed us should be abandoned. I am hopeful that left to themselves, the people know what they need and what is good for them.
Tunku Aziz with his daughter Dr Tunku Zelena Aziz during her graduation in 1994 in England
Tunku Aziz with his daughter Dr Tunku Zelena Aziz during her graduation in 1994 in England
Our aspirations are similar in that we want a peaceful future, equal opportunities for our children and grandchildren. We must provide these opportunities. They need to feel that their country belongs to them, and that they can claim ownership without feeling marginalised, sidelined and discriminated against. Loyalty does not mean my country, right or wrong. It means I am prepared to work and make sacrifices because this is my country, my motherland.

Home- Made Gun Goes Off, Killing Orang Asli Owner

BERA, July 1 (Bernama) -- An Orang Asli was killed when a home-made gun he placed inside the basket of the motorcycle he was riding, went off during a wild boar hunting at a rubber plantation in Kampung Bukit Rok here Wednesday.

Bera OCPD DSP Ahmad Zahid Mohd Noor said the victim, Chai Musa, 40, and two friends went to the area at 4.30pm and later dispersed to track the animal, with the victim riding his motorcycle along a hilly trail.

"The victim's motorcycle might have skidded due to the slippery trail because it was raining heavily at that time. That was when the gun went off," he said when contacted.

Ahmad Zahid said the victim's friends who heard the blast rushed to the spot thinking that Chai had shot an animal.

They were shocked to find Chai lying beside his motorcycle, bloodied and writhing in pain, with gunshot wounds on his chest.

He succumbed to the injury shortly after, he said.

Police went to the scene and seized the gun and several bullets belonged to the victim.

MyConstitution Campaign: How The Constitution Affects Us

 Image Malay Mail This post is reproduced from here


RAKYAT GUIDES 1 — Part 2

THIS week, the second part of the Rakyat Guides 1 will discuss how the Federal Constitution of Malaysia affects us, along with some frequently asked questions.

How does the Constitution affect us?

Ten examples

1. In the 2008 general elections, you voted to elect your Member of Parliament and your State  legislative assemblymen. Article 119(1) of the Constitution says you are entitled to vote if (a) you are a citizen of Malaysia, (b) you have attained 21 years of age, and (c) you are registered in the electoral roll. You cannot vote if, for example, you are serving a prison sentence or have been detained as  a person of unsound mind.

2. You live in Penang and have decided to visit your relatives in Negri Sembilan. You can drive to Negri Sembilan on the North-South Expressway (passing through Kedah, Perak, Selangor and the Federal Territory) without a passport or any form of authorisation. Later, you decide to move to Kuala Lumpur and work there. You can do all these things because Article 9(2) of the Constitution says that in general, every citizen has the right to move freely throughout Malaysia and to reside in any part of it. However, there are certain exceptions in relation to Sabah and Sarawak.

3. You and your husband are  Malaysian citizens but you gave birth to your son in Indonesia. Under Article 14 of the Constitution, your son is automatically a Malaysian citizen because he was born to a
Malaysian father.

4. You live in Kuching, Sarawak. You think Kuching is the greatest city in Malaysia. You think it is the  nicest place to live in, has the friendliest people and the cleanest river in all of Malaysia. You think Kuching should be the Federal capital of Malaysia.

Unfortunately, the Constitution states that Kuala Lumpur is the Federal capital of Malaysia “until Parliament otherwise determines”. If you want Kuching to be the Federal capital of Malaysia, you will have to lobby Parliamentarians to make the change.

5. You are Buddhist, your neighbour is a Muslim, your best friend is Sikh and your colleague is Christian. Under Article 11 of the Constitution, each of you have the right to profess and practise your respective religion.

6. There are plans to build a new highway in your housing area and the government has served you  with a notice for compulsorily acquisition of your land. Article 13(1) of the Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of property “save in accordance with the law”. Therefore, the government can acquire your land but it must do so in accordance with the law. This includes giving you sufficient  notice and compensating you.

7. Pahang has just won the Malaysia Cup. To celebrate the victory, the Pahang government declares tomorrow a State holiday in Pahang.

You live in Perlis but are a big fan of the Pahang football team. You too want to be on holiday  tomorrow to celebrate. Unfortunately, you cannot force the Perlis government to declare tomorrow a holiday in Perlis because each State government has the right to declare its own State holidays (but you can pack up your belongings and move to live in Pahang! Please see paragraph 2).

8. You pay taxes every year. In order to use the money that you pay, the Federal government must prepare a Budget every year and present it to Parliament to explain how it is going to spend the money. Before the Federal government can use the money, Parliament must “pass” the Budget. If you are not happy with how the Federal government proposes to spend your tax monies in its Budget, you can go to your Member of Parliament and ask him or her to object or to propose an amendment to the Budget in Parliament.

9. You have been arrested by the police and brought to a police station. You tell the police that you want a lawyer to represent you.

The police must allow you access to your lawyer as Article 5(3) of the Constitution states that you have a right to legal representation.

10. You have the right to learn, speak and use other languages even though Article 152(1) of the Constitution says that Bahasa Malaysia is the official language of the country.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Constitution

1. Do I have to obey the Constitution?

Yes, everyone has to. That includes you, your Members of Parliament, judges, government officials, the police force, companies and associations.

In fact, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, Members of Parliament, judges and even the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong take oaths that they will obey the Constitution.

Even you take an oath to obey the Constitution every time you recite the Rukun Negara.

2 . What happens if someone does not obey the Constitution?

The Constitution generally grants powers, imposes obligations and defines roles. If a person or institution does not act within the power or role granted to them, it means that their acts are unconstitutional and void.

3. What happens if people disagree on what a particular provision in the Constitution means? Who decides?

The court has the power to determine all issues in respect of the interpretation of the Constitution. Once the Federal Court decides on what a particular provision means,  it is binding on everyone unless it is later overtaken by a subsequent Federal Court decision. Over time, the Federal Court’s interpretation of the Constitution may change to take into account changing circumstances.

4. Can the Constitution be amended?

Yes, it can. In fact, our Constitution has been amended several times. Article 159 of the Constitution says that in general, the Constitution may be amended if the Bill (that is, the proposal for the  amendment) is passed by not less than two-thirds of the members of the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara.

5. Parliament seems to have so much power to amend the Constitution. How can we ensure that the power is not abused?

Firstly, Members of Parliament are elected by Malaysian citizens like you and me. If a proposed amendment to the Constitution is not popular among Malaysians, then the Members of Parliament are unlikely to vote for it, otherwise they may not be elected again into Parliament at the next general election. If you are unhappy with any proposed amendment to the Constitution, you can go to your Member of Parliament or to any Member of Parliament and voice your concerns.

Secondly, all Members of Parliament take an oath that they shall “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution.

Some people argue that because of this oath, Members of Parliament should not amend the most important and necessary parts of the Constitution.

6. Where can I get a copy of the Constitution?

You can buy a copy at most major bookstores. A copy can also be found on our website:

www.perlembagaanku.com.

You can also learn more about the MyConstitution Campaign or follow it on:

http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/constitutional_law_committee/

http://www.facebook.com/MyConstitution

http://twitter.com/MyConsti

 http://www.youtube.com/user/PerlembagaanKu

Kerajaan digesa perkenal segera pendidikan seks

Berita Harian
oleh Sharifah Salwa Syed Akil, Adli Shahar, Faridzwan Abdul Ghafar dan Fadzmin Alias

Undang-undang bendung unsur pornografi perlu diperketat

KUALA LUMPUR: Kerajaan digesa memperkenalkan segera pendidikan seks secara formal di sekolah serta memperketatkan dan menguatkuasakan undang-undang bagi membendung capaian remaja terhadap unsur-unsur pornografi sebagai langkah membanteras salah laku seks dan pembuangan bayi yang makin berleluasa.

Pelbagai pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) dan aktivis masyarakat berpendapat tiada kompromi untuk membendung gejala itu, sebaliknya memperkenalkan pendidikan seks di sekolah, selain pemantapan institusi keluarga, agama serta menguatkuasakan sepenuhnya undang-undang.

Mereka berpendapat penemuan terbaru dua bayi lelaki di Rawang dan Seremban kelmarin membuktikan kerajaan tidak perlu bertangguh untuk menjadikan pendidikan seks sebagai antara subjek jika tidak mahu gejala ini berterusan dan merosakkan institusi kekeluargaan.

Kerajaan juga diminta mengenal pasti kaedah paling efektif menyampaikan mesej mengenai cara mengamalkan seks selamat, isu seks luar nikah, akhlak dan kesan kepada masyarakat serta penyakit berkaitan seks kepada pelajar, ibu bapa dan guru sebagai pengetahuan asas kepada golongan sasar.

Presiden Orphan Care, Datuk Adnan Mohd Tahir, berkata subjek itu perlu diperkenalkan segera kerana remaja mempunyai sifat ingin tahu dan berani mencuba berdasarkan apa yang mereka tahu melalui pembacaan, tontonan video dan laman web interaktif serta perbualan rakan sebaya.

“Kita harus memberitahu pentingnya mereka mengelakkan seks sebelum nikah tetapi jika tetap mahu melakukannya, mereka perlu diberitahu mengenai seks selamat serta tindakan yang perlu diambil jika mengandung,” katanya semalam.
Selain itu, katanya, satu cara membendung masalah pembuangan bayi adalah memperkenalkan undang-undang yang melindungi individu yang menghantar bayi mereka kepada pusat penempatan atau ‘baby hatch’ dan tempat lain seperti yang diamalkan di beberapa negara lain, termasuk Amerika Syarikat.

“Buat masa ini, individu yang meninggalkan bayi mereka tanpa dokumen di tempat selamat dianggap melakukan jenayah yang menyebabkan lebih ramai membuang saja anak mereka,” katanya.

Presiden Kesatuan Guru-Guru Melayu Malaysia Barat, Mohd Sobri Mohamad Arsad, berkata pendidikan seks boleh dilaksanakan melalui sesi kokurikulum kerana negara masih belum memiliki guru berkemahiran dalam bidang berkenaan, di samping tidak mahu memberi bebanan tambahan kepada guru.

“Kita tidak menolak jika kerajaan mahu melaksanakan subjek ini, tetapi biarlah dilaksanakan apabila kita mempunyai guru terlatih dalam bidang pendidikan seks dan pada masa yang sama, kita mahu mengelakkan pelajar dan ibu bapa mendapat menerima mesej salah mengenai pembelajaran ini.” katanya.

Presiden Gabungan pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), Jais Abdul Karim, mencadangkan kerajaan memperketatkan penguatkuasaan dan pemantauan lebih kerap di kafe siber dan kedai menjual alat telekomunikasi kerana kebanyakan bahan lucah mudah diperoleh di situ.

“Selain itu, kerajaan perlu menggubal undang-undang supaya remaja 18 tahun ke bawah tidak boleh keluar daripada kediaman selepas jam 12 malam.” katanya.

Presiden Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM), Mohd Maliki Mohd Rapiee, berkata ibu bapa perlu bertanggungjawab memeriksa gajet milik anak mereka supaya tiada sebarang kandungan pornografi yang boleh menimbulkan kecenderungan untuk melakukan seks tanpa nikah.

“Orang ramai tidak boleh bergantung kepada agensi penguatkuasaan saja untuk melakukan pemeriksaan terhadap gajet yang jumlahnya banyak di negara ini.” katanya.

Sementara itu, Presiden Majlis Pemuafakatan Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru Nasional (PIBGN), Prof Madya Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan, berkata walaupun pendidikan seks di sekolah bukan jawapan kepada usaha membendung gejala seks rambang dan pembuangan bayi, fungsi institusi kekeluargaan terutama ibu bapa dan penerapan agama adalah cara terbaik mengatasinya.

Beliau berpendapat subjek itu sebagai pelengkap kepada ilmu pendidikan seks bersama ilmu agama yang sepatutnya diajar ibu bapa di rumah bagi memperkasa diri remaja daripada terbabit dan terjebak dalam salah laku seks.

“Pendidikan seks tanpa penerapan nilai agama akan mengundang kesan negatif kepada pelajar kerana mereka lebih cenderung mencubanya apabila diberi pendedahan secara teknikal dalam kelas,” katanya.

Speakers’ Square: Hecklers enter the fray

Another historic day for Penang, Sunday, 27 June 2010: That’s when hecklers first made their presence felt at the recently opened Penang Speakers’ Square.
Hecklers are of course a regular feature at London’s Speakers’ Corner, and now they have become part and parcel of Penang’s Speakers’ Square. It’s good practice for up-and-coming public speakers when they have to contend with a less than receptive crowd. And all part of the fun.
The Penang Speakers’ Square, open in the evenings on Wednesdays and Sundays, is fast turning into a local attraction and a must-see for visitors to Penang. Dozens turn up especially on Sundays to listen to the speakers – and now the hecklers.
This report from theSun:

Gerakan speakers heckled

Mon, 28 Jun 2010

A senior citizen waves the front page of a Chinese daily which featured a report on Gerakan losing Penang in the March 8 general elections, while Kedah Gerakan secretary Tang Hing Lye was giving his speech at Speakers’ Square in George Town.
GEORGE TOWN (June 28, 2010): The usually supportive spectators at the Speakers Square responded with shouting and cursing when a few members of Gerakan showed up to address them on Sunday. Senior citizens and other bystanders, who normally respond appreciatively when listening at the square, shouted phrases like “liar”, “keep quiet” and “go home” to the Gerakan speakers who reacted stoically while keeping their composure.This was believed to be the first time any speaker was seen heckled or jeered at since the Speakers Square opened in early May.
To their credit, Kedah Gerakan secretary Tang Hing Lye who spoke in Hokkien, and party member Rich Too, who spoke in Malay, completed their speeches in which they criticised the current Penang government. They were accompanied by several party members.
At one stage, while Tang was talking, an elderly man in the crowd held up an old Chinese daily with the front page story of Gerakan losing Penang in the March 8, 2008 general election.
Tang, however, went on undeterred as he was showered with a litany of angry expressions, mostly in Hokkien.
In his speech, Tang criticised Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for being biased and one-sided in his policies for the people of Penang.
According to him, Lim’s administration allocated RM25 million to the bumiputra welfare fund and only RM8 million to welfare fund for non-bumiputras.
He also challenged Lim to act on the Penang bridge toll that is reported to be increased from RM7 to RM9.40 by late 2013.
The crowd mellowed slightly when Too came forward to speak, but began booing again when the duo were leaving the venue.
Some hundred-odd people gathered at the square despite a slight drizzle. — theSun

Court victory a feather in cap for Uthaya

COMMENT The High Court award of RM1.4 million in negligence compensation to the widow of Mohd Anuar Sharip who died in police custody 11 years ago is a signal feather in the cap of the lawyer, P Uthayakumar, who first took up Anuar's cause.

NONEUthayakumar has been the leading advocate of those who have died in police custody in recent years.

Because the vast majority of the dead were Indian Malaysians, Uthayakumar's taking up cudgels on their behalf had a parochial tint.

His passionate advocacy of the Hindraf cause did not help to reduce that veneer.

But with his espousal of Anuar Sharip's cause and with its culmination in a court awarded quantum of compensation that's reasonable, the parochial veneer to Uthayakumar's advocacy no longer applies.

Yesterday judicial commissioner Lee Swee Seng, on appeal by Anuar's widow, delivered a judgment that raised the quantum of compensation from a dismal RM137,220 to a gratifying RM1.4 million.

A sentence from justice Lee's judgment rang with magisterial pith and moment:

“Let the message go forth from this place that any more deaths in police custody is too many. Everyone, whether a drug addict or a decent person, should be treated with dignity and respect.”

These terms, if referenced to a cause that was fought by lawyers allied to Pakatan Rakyat, would have been a major boost to the prestige of the coalition's struggle for reform of the Malaysian polity.
Yesterday's court award brightens the legal prospects for a measure of gratification for families of the custodial dead whose numbers have reached distressingly high levels in recent years.

This victory can now be reasonably credited to Uthayakumar's espousal of the suspiciously dead while in police custody.

Need to collaborate with Hindraf

The lightly known fact that Anuar Sharip was a PKR supporter lends added sheen to the bona fides of Uthayakumar, no fan of PKR's or for that matter, Pakatan Rakyat.

That and the outcome of Anuar's case make it more imperative than ever that Pakatan moves to collaborate with Hindraf in the run-up to the next general election, expected in the first half of next year.

Admittedly, the path towards that is fraught with immense difficulty, not least because of Uthayakumar who can be intractable.

Pakatan must prevent him from becoming the 'Ralph Nader of Malaysian politics'.

Nader is the consumer advocate and sometime presidential candidate whose blend of ego and self-righteousness made him a liability to progressive causes in US politics.

If Pakatan finds negotiations with Hindraf formidably difficult, then just leave the Uthayakumar-targeted Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency to him to contest and give DAP, the current holder of the ward, a seat that's nominally PKR's.

This isn't craven appeasement. It's political realism, more so after yesterday's court award to the family of Anuar Sharip.

Suara Perkasa: Detain Ka Siong under ISA

Report lodged on behalf of palace project workers

Study links bee decline to cell phones

London, England (CNN) -- A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world.

Bee populations dropped 17 percent in the UK last year, according to the British Bee Association, and nearly 30 percent in the United States says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Parasitic mites called varroa, agricultural pesticides and the effects of climate change have all been implicated in what has been dubbed "colony collapse disorder" (CCD).

But researchers in India believe cell phones could also be to blame for some of the losses.

In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day.

After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced.

It's not just the honey that will be lost if populations plummet further. Bees are estimated to pollinate 90 commercial crops worldwide. Their economic value in the UK is estimated to be $290 million per year and around $12 billion in the U.S.

Andrew Goldsworthy, a biologist from the UK's Imperial College, London, has studied the biological effects of electromagnetic fields. He thinks it's possible bees could be affected by cell phone radiation.

The reason, Goldsworthy says, could hinge on a pigment in bees called cryptochrome.

"Animals, including insects, use cryptochrome for navigation," Goldsworthy told CNN.

"They use it to sense the direction of the earth's magnetic field and their ability to do this is compromised by radiation from [cell] phones and their base stations. So basically bees do not find their way back to the hive."

Goldsworthy has written to the UK communications regulator OFCOM suggesting a change of phone frequencies would stop the bees being confused.

"It's possible to modify the signal coming from the [cell] phones and the base station in such a way that it doesn't produce the frequencies that disturb the cryptochrome molecules," Goldsworthy said.

"So they could do this without the signal losing its ability to transmit information."

But the UK's Mobile Operators Association -- which represents the UK's five mobile network operators -- told CNN: "Research scientists have already considered possible factors involved in CCD and have identified the areas for research into the causes of CCD which do not include exposure to radio waves."

Norman Carreck, Scientific director of the International Bee research Association at the UK's University of Sussex says it's still not clear how much radio waves affect bees.

"We know they are sensitive to magnetic fields. What we don't know is what use they actually make of them. And no one has yet demonstrated that honey bees use the earth's magnetic field when navigating," Carreck said.

One death in Royal Military College (RMC) and Commandant is replaced. But hundreds of Indians die in police custody, zero OCPD gets replaced but most promoted for their “good job”!

 Url one
(See The Star 30/6/2010 headlines)

This is UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar
One death

UMNO says poor earning below RM 720 will get RM 400. But poor Indian lady given RM 235 per month for just a few months.

 Url umno says

The UMNO welfare department announced RM 400 of welfare help for all earning RM 720.00 and below (NST 29/3/09 at page 23).


RM 687 salary per month and below is the poverty line index (The Star 24/10/09 at page N6).


RM 3,000 is the poverty line, ie if you have three children and your household income is below RM 3,000 per month, says the UMNO federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik.


RM 478 salary per month and below is considered absolutely poor (NST 3/3/09).


But granting this poor widowed housewife Parameswary with three children a mere RM 235 and which from experience we know would be stopped in a  few months is not the solution.


The solution is granting her the 10 acre land ownership scheme as in Felda, Felcra, Risda, Mardi, Fama, Agropolition, 13 State Land development schemes, etc., as was given to 442,000 malay muslims (BH 25/2/2010 at page 4).


P. Uthayakumar
Umno says

Multi- Purpose RM 3 billion biggest project. Maika Holdings dumped by UMNO

 Url multi purpose
Multi Purpose Holdings (MPH) itself was bailed out by UMNO for RM 3 billion in 1980s. Maika won’t be bailed out by UMNO at RM 26 per share because the 66,459 shareholders who invested RM 106.21 million are the poor powerless and politically weak Indians. PKR, DAP, PAS, NGOs and the alternative media will not speak up for the Indians. We have to end up fighting our own battle.


HRP’s Project 15/38  and political empowerment strategy is the only way forward.


P. Uthayakumar
Multi Purpose

116 or 1.38% of Johor civil servants are Indians, down from 50% in 1969.

Url 116
The segregationist and elitist policy of the UMNO run governments have seen nearly the entire ranks of the civil service become monoracial. Indians are not hired, and even if they are they will have to be prepared to see those less qualified and experienced than them move up because of the Malay elitist policies in the civil service and GLC’s. 
(See The Star 20/6/10 at page N 18)
S. Jayathas

 116

PRESS STATEMENT BY P. BALASUBRAMANIAM'S LAWYER


I refer to the statement made by Independent MP Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim in the lobby of Parliament this evening and reported in the Star on line portal.

In this statement Datuk Zahrain has suggested that the "individual involved in sponsoring Bala in London" be investigated by the MACC.

I have instructions from my client to say that he fully supports the suggestion made by Datuk Zahrain for the simple reason the money he is using to pay for his trip to London and his hotel accomodation there is derived from the funds he has received from Deepak Jaikishan at the behest of Rosmah Mansor, who ultimately and unwittingly, is his sponsor.

Americk Sidhu
Counsel for P. Balasubramaniam

MACC no-show



The press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Actually, this was already anticipated. MACC had initially wanted to record private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s statement in the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. That would have been as good as asking Bala to go to Bukit Aman for his statement to be recorded.
Of course, Bala’s lawyers disagreed and insisted that the meeting be held in London, the Holiday Villa to be exact. After a certain period of silence, MACC finally came back and agreed to the Holiday Villa London but insisted that they book the meeting room.
That was no problem. After all, they would be paying for it and as long as it is in the Holiday Villa who cares which room it is.
The reason why MACC wanted to make the room arrangements is because they wanted the entire session to be confidential and covered by Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. This means Bala would not be allowed to reveal what transpired during his meeting with MACC. And they were also worried that if Bala’s lawyers arranged for the meeting room they may plant bugs to record his session with MACC.
What MACC failed to realise is that you no longer need to plant bugs in the meeting room. You can record whatever transpires from another building across the road or from a parked van outside the building. And you can zero in and pick up exactly what you want without too much interference from other goings-on.
Anyway, up to yesterday, MACC did not contact Holiday Villa about the booking of the meeting room. Bala’s lawyer then wrote to MACC telling them that since they have not made any booking then the booking will be done on their behalf. The lawyer also wrote to Holiday Villa to inform them that the meeting room is being booked on behalf of MACC and that MACC would be paying for it.
That was when MACC decided to announce that the session has been aborted.
MACC wanted to impose Malaysian laws under the Official Secrets Act and Anti-Corruption Act on Bala. But these laws can’t be enforced in the UK and in the UK you just can’t deny a person legal representation or stifle information, as there is a Freedom of Information Act.
What MACC wanted to do was to have a secret or confidential meeting with Bala without the presence of his lawyers and then go back to Malaysia and announce that they have taken Bala’s statement and have found nothing to incriminate Najib or his family in any criminal act. This would work only if no one else knows what Bala told MACC. But if the interview were to be made public or Bala’s lawyers were also in the meeting then this would not work.
MACC wanted three days with Bala -- 5th, 6th and 7th July. But Bala’s lawyers were going to give MACC only two days because on the third day, 7th July, they were going to hold a press conference to inform the world what MACC asked Bala and what Bala replied over those two days.
MACC wanted the interview embargoed and the last thing they need is for Bala and his three lawyers to hold a press conference on the third day and pass documents, evidence and tape recordings to the media.
MACC realised that a trap had been laid and they were walking right into it. They tried to determine the ‘rules of engagement’ but discovered that these rules will only apply in Malaysia and not in the UK.
The safest thing, therefore, would be to call off the session with Bala.
But the press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.
This is heads I win, tails you lose. Either way Bala and his lawyers are going to have the last word. And there is nothing MACC or the Malaysian government can do about it.
MACC walked into a trap and by withdrawing they walked into an even bigger trap.
In the meantime, just to recap, watch the videos below. These have previously been published and this, plus more, is what Bala will be confirming in the press conference of 7th July 2010.

SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXX0l1V_Ms4


SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZdiTk48400



SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tVzHDuyzyE

Kesian Zahrain; So Pathetic


Wakil Rakyat sepatutnya menimbulkan cadangan yang bernas mengenai dasar negara dan berani mengkritik keputusan Kerajaan . Itulah tugas dan tanggungjawab yang sepatutnya dipikul oleh saorang Yang Berhormat. Lebih lebih lagi kalau kita itu Wakil rakyat “Bebas” yang begitu di gemari oleh PM Najib Tun Razak. Kenalah jaga standard supaya orang tak mengatakan kita ini budak suruhan semata mata, dan tidak ada modal bernas untuk diketengahkan dalam Dewan.

Jadi saya hairan mengapa pertemuan saya dengan Raja Petra di Manchester tahun lalu menjadi isu kepada YB Bayan Baru ini. Dia sudah semacam menjadi wakil special Branch bangga dengan pendedahannya yang saya duduk di Hotel Britannia bersama dengan Raja Petra di Manchester tahun lalu. Dia kata MACC kena siasat petemuan ini. Inilah kerja Wakil Rakyat pro BN kita hari ini. Tak ada perkara lain nak ditimbulkan. Kalau dia tanya saya, saya akan beritahu lebih dari itu. Jumpa Raja Petra tidak salah wahai YB. YB pun boleh kerumahnya di Manchester.

Raja Petra dan isterinya Marina kawan saya . Saya tak tinggalkan kawan semata mata kawan ada dalam kesusahan. Jadi setiap kali saya ke London, saya jumpa mereka. Tahun lepas saya bawa Petra tengok bolasepak di Old Trattford; dia minat kepada Manchester United. Jadi saya belanjalah dia. Itulah sedikit hiburan baginya yang terpaksa meninggalkan tanah air kerana menuntut kebenaran. Perjuagan seperti Petra mungkin YB Bayan Baru kita itu tak mengerti atau faham.

Memang dia booking Hotel itu untuk saya, tapi tak benar dia tinggal disitu kerana rumah mereka hanya 15 min dari situ. Hotel yang saya menginap itu pun 3 star , tak lah saperti hotel Zahrain guna semasa ke Washington. Maklumlah saya bayar sendiri. Minggu depan saya akan ka London dan inshaaallah akan bertemu Marina dan Petra. Saya akan bekalkan butir lanjut jika YB Zahrain atau MACC mahu maklumat lain. Saya harap dapat juga bertemu Bala kalau MACC tidak mahu bertemu dengannya.

JAMBATAN


1. Di laporkan bahawa Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, Sultan Johor telah bertitah bahawa baginda suka untuk melihat jambatan menggantikan tambak Johor.

2. Demikian juga dititah oleh Al-Marhum Sultan Iskandar bahawa baginda hendak tambak Johor diganti dengan jambatan.

3. Saya tidak pernah dengar rakyat Johor kecuali seorang yang bersetuju kekalkan tambak dan kesesakan lalulintas di Johor Bahru kerananya. Demikian juga saya tidak dengar bantahan oleh rakyat Malaysia terhadap projek jambatan mengganti tambak Johor ini.

4. Terdapat juga surat daripada Perdana Menteri Singapura yang dahulu - Goh Chok Tong yang disiarkan oleh Kerajaan Singapura dalam buku "Water Talks - If Only It Could" bahawa beliau tidak membantah pembinaan jambatan di perairan Malaysia jika itu dikehendaki oleh Kerajaan Malaysia.

5. Yang menolak pembinaan jambatan ini hanyalah Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang ke-5 yang mendakwa rakyat Johor tidak mahu jambatan ini walaupun 3 hari sebelum kenyataan ini dibuat Timbalan Perdana Menteri ketika itu, iaitu Perdana Menteri ketika ini, telah mengesahkan bahawa Jambatan berkenaan tetap akan dibina.

6. Soal yang ditanya oleh ramai kepada saya, dan saya yakin yang tertanya-tanya oleh majoriti rakyat ialah kenapakah Dato Seri Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri yang penuh berkuasa tidak sanggup meneruskan pembinaan jambatan ini? Apakah beliau terikat janji dengan PM ke-5? Apakah status janji ini?

7. Dengan itu banyaklah tuduhan-tuduhan di buat yang mungkin akan memedihkan telinga pihak yang berkenaan.

8. Walaupun pemimpin UMNO Johor telah ikrar mereka akan terus sokong BN tetapi di kalangan pengundi berbilang kaum ramai yang kurang percaya akan kewibawaan Kerajaan dan belum membuat keputusan berkenaan siapa pilihan mereka. Dan NGO-NGO Melayu di seluruh negara juga berpendirian yang sama.

9. Saya tulis berkenaan jambatan untuk ganti tambak Johor kerana saya percaya rakyat ingin tahu dan berhak diberitahu.

Isu Empat ADUN Keadilan Selangor Letak Jawatan

Kenyataan Media
30 Jun 2010

Saya dengan ini melahirkan rasa terkilan kerana nama saya telah disenaraikan sebagai salah seorang daripada empat ADUN KEADILAN Selangor yang akan mengosongkan kerusi, kononnya kerana membantah kepimpinan YAB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim sebagai Menteri Besar.

Selain saya YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (Seri Setia), YB Amirudin Shari (Batu Caves), dan YB Shuhaimi Hj Shafiei (Sri Muda) juga turut dikaitkan dengan isu ini.

Saya ingin menafikan sekeras-kerasnya dakwaan tersebut. Pandangan ini turut dikongsi tiga rakan YB saya yang turut dikaitkan dengan isu ini. Penyebaran berita palsu ini menggambarkan begitu terdesaknya pihak musuh yang cuba menimbulkan kekacauan dan keraguan dalam kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat.

Saya meyokong penuh kepimpinan YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim sebagai Menteri Besar Negeri Selangor. Beliau merupakan seorang yang banyak berjasa kepada negeri Selangor dari segi ekonomi, pembangunan dan kebajikan rakyat negeri Selangor.
Peralihan Majlis Pimpinan Negeri Selangor merupakan satu langkah yang baik bagi membolehkan Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim memberi tumpuan yang penuh kepada pentadbiran negeri.

Saya ingin melafazkan taat setia dan tidak akan mengkhianati perjuangan rakyat yang saya dokong. Saya minta seluruh pendokong perjuangan rakyat supaya tidak mempercayai berita palsu ini.

Y.B. Puan Haniza bt. Mohamed Talha
ADUN Taman Medan Negeri Selangor

Mongolian Translator's Murder Case Still Alive

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All that's left of Altantuya
(Asia Sentinel) Mongolian government says it will fund a civil suit against Malaysia and Altantuya's onetime lover


The Mongolian government has agreed to put up RM60,000 (US$18,525) to fund a civil suit in Kuala Lumpur on behalf of the family of translator Altantuya Shaariibuu against the Malaysian government and the murdered woman's onetime lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, a former close friend of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Two of Najib's former bodyguards were convicted of the gruesome 2006 murder.

Although details are sketchy, remittance order issues were submitted to the Mongolian Cabinet during June meetings, a source in Ulan Bataar told Asia Sentinel. Some of the remittance orders were classified as secret, the source said. The case has strained relations between Malaysia and Mongolia, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying earlier that the government was carefully observing the trial of the two convicted murderers and had sent four letters through official channels asking that the case be prosecuted free of political influence.

Altantuya's death is at the center of a much larger scandal stemming from the billion-dollar purchase by the Malaysian government of two French submarines and the lease of a third in a deal engineered by Najib when he was defense minister. The purchase was routed through a company owned by Abdul Razak Baginda in a transaction that netted the company €114 million in “commission.”

French lawyers are investigating the case over allegations that large sums were kicked back to top French politicians. For two years, Parisian prosecutors have been investigating other allegations involving senior French political figures up to former French President Francois Mitterrand and the sales of submarines and other weaponry to governments all over the world. French news reports have said the prosecutors have backed away from some of the most serious charges out of concern for the political fallout.

As Asia Sentinel reported on April 16, the allegations relate to one of France's biggest defense conglomerates, the state-owned shipbuilder DCN, which merged with the French electronics company Thales in 2005 to become a dominant force in the European defense industry. DCN's subsidiary Armaris is the manufacturer of Scorpene-class diesel submarines sold to India, Pakistan and Malaysia among other countries. All of the contracts, according to lawyers acting for Suaram, a Malaysian human rights NGO, are said to be suspect. In April, Joseph Breham, one of the lawyers, flew to Kuala Lumpur to interview witnesses in the case. Altantuya told witnesses at her trial that she had been involved as a translator in the submarine matter and that she had been promised US$500,000 for her role.

After a marathon trial involving 75 witnesses, a court in the Malaysian suburb of Shah Alam exonerated Razak Baginda of involvement in her murder without his having to put on a defense. He almost immediately left the country for England. The two convicted bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, were members of an elite Malaysian police unit that normally exists to protect diplomats. Although one of the two told investigators they had been offered RM100,000 to kill the woman, the court did not attempt to find out who had offered them the money. Najib has repeatedly denied knowing her although a complex web of circumstantial evidence ties the two together. He has threatened to sue anyone who attempts to link him or his wife, Rosmah Mansour, to the case.

P Balasubramaniam, a private investigator and retired policeman hired by Abdul Razak to keep the jilted Altantuya away from him, filed a statutory declaration in a Kuala Lumpur court in 2007 alleging that Najib not only knew the murdered woman but was formerly her lover and introduced her to Abdul Razak to get rid of her because it would be unseemly to have a mistress when, as expected, he took over as prime minister. Balasubramaniam was intimidated into recanting his statement and promptly disappeared. He resurfaced to reiterate the charges and is scheduled to give a press conference on July 7 at 11 am in the Holiday Villa in London to give further details. Altantuya's father, Setev Shaariibuu, a university professor, has made it a longtime crusade to attempt to find out what really happened to his daughter. At one point he attempted to meet Najib at Malaysia's parliament building but was rebuffed. He is seeking RM100 million from the Malaysian government and Razak Baginda in the civil suit. However, he later told reporters he didn't have the money for the security bond, saying his efforts to get help from the Mongolian government had failed.

Karpal Singh, a Democratic Action Party leader and lawyer representing the Shaariibuu family, told the news portal Malaysian Insider that the RM60,000 had been transferred to his firm's account on Monday and that it would be deposited with the Shah Alam High Court, where the trial of the two bodyguards had taken place, on June 30. He had earlier said he would help Shaariibuu get the money from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition if necessary.

According to Malaysian Insider, the government and Abdul Razak said Shaariibuu should bear the cost of the civil suit. The court initially fixed the security bond at RM1.25 million, but lowered it to RM30,00 per party in March after Shaariibuu protested. Shaariibuu, the story said, is also required to pay Abdul Razak and the federal government a further sum of RM5,000 each for the cost of the court application.