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Friday, July 2, 2010

At least 41 dead in suicide bombings in Pakistan

Worshipers carry out a victim from the Data Durbar shrine
after it was hit by multiple suicide bomb attacks yesterday July 1 2010 — Reuters pic.

LAHORE, July 2 — Three suicide bombers struck a Sufi shrine in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore yesterday, killing at least 41 people and wounding more than 120, officials said, the second major attack in the city in a month.

Hundreds of devotees were visiting the marble shrine of the 11th-century Persian Sufi saint, Syed Ali Hajwairi, commonly known as Data Gunj Bakhsh, in the heart of the city when the attacks occurred.

Muslims in Pakistan visit shrines and mosques in large numbers on Thursday nights and Friday.

“Dead bodies are scattered all over the courtyard of the shrine,” Reuters photographer Mohsin Raza said from the scene. “There is blood everywhere. Two of the dead were my friends. It’s very horrifying,” he said in a choked voice.

One of the attackers blew himself up at the gate of the sprawling, marble shrine while two other attacks took place in the basement of the shrine where people were washing for prayers.

Sajjad Bhutta, a top city administrator, said at least 41 people were killed and 122 wounded.

Mian Rauf, a witness, said devotees were settling down inside the mausoleum and the courtyard for final prayers when the attacks happened.

“First there were three small blasts. People got panicky and started running. But within moments there were big explosions,” he said.

“It was all chaos. People were screaming for help and running here and there. It was all smoke. Nothing could be seen and only cries could be heard.”

Taliban militants generally abhor the Sufi strand of Islam and disapprove of visiting shrines, which is popular with many Pakistanis.

Militants linked to al Qaeda and Taliban have unleashed a wave of attacks across Pakistan in revenge for the military offensives in their bastions in the northwest of the country near the Afghan border.

While most of the reprisal militant attacks have taken place in the northwest, militants have stepped up attacks in the heartland of the country, mainly the central province of Punjab, in recent months. Lahore is the capital of Punjab.

Officials have blamed attacks in the province on the “Punjabi Taliban,” a term used for the militants drawn from Punjab who have joined ranks with Taliban in the northwest.

More than 80 people were killed in twin attacks on the mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect in May.

The shrine at Data Darbar is one of the most famous in Pakistan, attracting hundreds of devotees every night, with Thursdays being the most popular nights. The complex includes a mosque and a police station in the basement.

Farahnaz Ispahani, spokeswoman for President Asif Ali Zardari, condemned the attack: “This sickening poison of extremism will be driven out of our nation and we will not be cowed.”

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said the attack on the shrine showed that “terrorists have no consideration for any religion, faith and belief.” — Reuters

Court allows housewife to cite IGP for contempt

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today allowed a housewife to cite Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan for contempt after police rearrested her despite being freed by the court in May this year.

Justice Ghazali Cha granted the ex-parte application filed by Lim Mui Cheng, 42, of Muar, who is currently being detained at the Batu Gajah Rehabilitation Centre for alleged drug trafficking.

Her counsel N Sivananthan said the notice would be served on Musa today.

On May 25, Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak allowed her writ of habeas corpus application on the ground of irregularities in her detention and ordered for Lim to be produced in court on May 27 to be freed.

However, she was rearrested after she stepped out of the court.

Lim was arrested along with her husband, son and her son's girlfriend on suspicion of drug trafficking in a raid at a house in Taman Mawar in Muar on April 27.

The housewife was placed in custody at the Johor Jaya police station under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act while the others were freed within two days of the raid.

- Bernama

Bala dan peguam harap SPRM tukar pendirian

Meskipun Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) memutuskan tidak menghantar pegawainya ke London untuk mewawancara P Balasubramaniam, namun peguam dan penyiasat persendirian itu bertekad untuk berada di tempat yang ditentukan minggu depan.

Mereka masih lagi berharap SPRM yang seringkali mengubah pendirian akan menarik balik keputusan mereka pada Rabu lalu dan bertemu dengan mereka bagi merakamkan kenyataan Balasubramaniam.

Balasubramaniam dan peguamnya Amarjit Singh kini di London selepas bertolak dari satu lokasi yang dirahsiakan. Mereka akan bertemu dengan peguamnya yang lain - Manjeet Singh Dhillon sudah berada di sana sementara Americk Singh Sidhu berlepas ke sana semalam.

Americk menerusi sepucuk suratnya kepada SPRM berkata beliau, kecewa terhadap pembatalan wawancara itu yang telah dijadualkan pada Isnin dan Selasa ini dan suruhanjaya itu gagal memaklumkan kepada mereka secara rasmi.

"Kami telah menghabiskan banyak masa, tenaga dan perbelanjaan untuk membantu SPRM dalam mengaturkan temubual tersebut," katanya.

Rabu lalu, Timbalan Ketua Pesuruhjaya SPRM, Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull mengumumkan pembatalan tiga pegawainya ke London bagi merakamkan kenyataan Balasubramaniam.

Sebelum itu pengarah siasatan SPRM, Mustafar Ali telah memberikan jaminanya bahawa mereka bersetuju mewawancara penyiasat persendirian itu.

Reveal cost for lavish teachers' day bash, MB told

By Zefry Dahalan

SEREMBAN: Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohd Hasan has been challenged to reveal how much the state government had spent on an extravagant Teachers' Day dinner celebration.

Last Saturday's dinner, held at the Seremban Town Council field here, was attended by 16,000 teachers from all over the state.

Paroi state assemblyman Mohd Taufek Abdul Ghani said the bash did not make sense, especially when the Education Department had reduced expenditure nationwide due to a limited budget.

"I received many complaints from teachers that the Education Department slashed various types of allocations for schools, and the reason given was that the budget for this year is very limited.

"But then you spend thousands of ringgit for a one-off event like this where I don't see any holistic outcome, it is a waste (of funds),” he added.

How much for the pop singer?

Taufek said that he was not against giving teachers due recognition, but this could be done through other means such as career betterment courses and so forth.

"Having a big dinner and spending thousand of ringgit to errect giant tents, prepare food, and put up hundreds of buntings with Mohd Hasan's face all over Seremban town is a waste of public funds.

"Futhermore, teachers living and teaching in districts located far from Seremban had to fork out their own money for transport,” he added.

According to the opposition leader, there were many teachers who were reluctant to attend the dinner because of this but had “little choice”.

“They were afraid that there might be repercussions if they did not show up,” said the PAS central committee member.

Taufek also questioned how much the state government had to fork out for popular local artiste Mawi, who staged a performance at the dinner.

The PAS leader also questioned the relevance between a pop singer and Teachers' Day.

'We achieved the target'

Meanwhile, the menteri besar's special officer Shukri Samsudin told FMT that the allegation of wastage was baseless.

He stressed that the state's teachers had contributed immensely towards the improvement of the education standard in Negri Sembilan.

Shukri said when Mohd Hasan was appointed menteri besar in 2004, he also held the education exco post and at that point, the overall performance of students in the UPSR, PMR and SPM examinations was not encouraging.

"Following this, he set a target for Negri Sembilan to be among the top five states for UPSR, PMR and SPM and we have achieved that. So it's only appropriate to have some kind of appreciation for the hard work put in by the teachers,” he added.

Malaysian woman wins landmark damages in custody death case

A Malaysian housewife has won more than 400,000 dollars in damages in an unprecedented court ruling over her husband's death in police custody, her lawyer said Thursday.

The High Court awarded the 1.4 million ringgit damages to Suzana Mohamad Aris, 43, on Wednesday over her husband's death in a police lock-up in 1999, nine days after he was detained on suspicion of being a drug addict.

Her lawyer P. Uthayakumar said it was the first time a Malaysian court had awarded damages over a death in custody.

The verdict came just two weeks after an UN investigations team found "virtually all" Malaysian detainees interviewed said they were subjected to torture to obtain confessions while in police custody.

"This case is significant and unprecedented as there were no previous case of death in police custody that has gone to a full trial and given a compensation by court," Suzana's lawyer P. Uthayakumar told AFP.

"This case is the first of its kind and it is a fair judgment as the judge took into consideration of the violation of fundamental human rights here, which is the right to life," he added.

According to the counsel, Suzana's husband, Anuar Sharip, was denied proper medical treatment and died from pneumonia and a lung infection.

"Let the message go forth from this place that any more deaths in police custody is one too many," judge Lee Swee Seng was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper, in handing down the verdict.

"The basic human right of a detainee to seek medical treatment should be immediately attended to. There should be no more loss of life in police custody as every life is precious," the judge added.

Local rights groups have long accused the police of being "trigger happy" and responsible for the unexplained deaths of detainees in custody, a claim that the government has consistently denied.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told parliament this week that a total of 147 detainees had died in custody from 2000 to 2009, while 279 suspects were shot dead by police.

Crying foul over contract for traffic speed cameras

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT EXCLUSIVE PETALING JAYA: A sophisticated speed camera to nab traffic offenders has snapped its first victim – the Ministry of Transport.
The ministry is about to award a contract for the nationwide implementation of the Automated Enforcemen System (AES) -- a state-of-the art device to catch offenders -- but a local company is crying foul.
Tess Capital Sdn Bhd, an E-road technology solutions company, claimed that the ministry is all set to announce the recipients of the contract -- Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and Commercial Circle (M) Sdn Bhd.
“We feel we have been sidelined,” said Tess Capital executive director Soh Joon Hang. He added that seven companies have bid for the contract and only the two are likely to get the nod.
He said he came to know about the impending outcome by sources close to the ministry.
Soh added that he had lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on March 25 this year, alleging abuse of power and "manipulation" by the Road Transport Department (RTD) in the tender evaluation exercise for the AES.
“MACC has not updated us on the progress of its investigation... the whole thing is shrouded in secrecy... until today we do not know what happened...” said Soh.
He said the trial demonstration was also questionable.
“One of our engineers from Australia working with us was present during the live demo in 2007 and based on his observation, the whole exercise was deemed 'selective and subjective'.”
“It seemed as though we were intentionally sidelined... the RTD had already made up its mind before the demo was held,” said Soh, adding that he was told Tess Capital scored the highest in accuracy during the trial run.
Home-grown technology
Soh said the seven companies, including Tess Capital, conducted the demonstration of their AES during the tender process in June 2007.
“Our AES is a home-grown technology whereas the AES of the other companies is based on foreign technology,” he said.
“Now, why is the ministry awarding the contract to these two companies? We feel we are equally qualified and capable of operating the system though our technology is home-bred,” he added.
The AES was mooted four years ago and the then transport minister Ong Kee Keat had said it was only last year that the ministry had ironed out some wrinkles in the system.
The system is widely used in some developed countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Basically, the AES comprises cameras installed at accident-prone areas and traffic light junctions.
The devices are able to detect speeding vehicles and those who beat the red light.
It is understood that the entire installation cost would come to about RM700 million.
Call for review
A disappointed Soh urged the government to review the tender process for the AES. “We are not accusing anyone of anything. We are just saying that we have developed our own technology and we feel we are equally good, if not better, than our competitors. So why not give us a chance? If you can award the contract to two companies, why not three?" asked Soh.
“The government should be proud of our achievement. It should support us. We could stimulate the local economy and generate more jobs in the small and medium enterprises. We can start with the home market and later export to other countries,” said Soh.
He added that other countries using the AES usually supported their local technology, citing Sagem (France), Redflex (Australia), Robot Visual Systems (Germany), Getso (the Netherlands) and Sensys (Sweden). These countries later exported their products.
Soh said Tess Capital was officially approved as AES supplier by the New South Wales government after it had passed a stringent 18-month trial in 2008.
Tess Capital was formed in 2004 and later given an MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor) status a year later.
RTD director-general Solah Mat Hassan reportedly said the new system would monitor the traffic conditions on the roads, including whether motorists were flouting traffic rules, speeding or beating the red light.
Solah said the AES would be categorised under three systems – portable, fixed and mobile.
However, Soh pointed out that there have been negative reports of the foreign AES technology, namely the German Robot GMBH and Australian Redflex, while Tess Capital was new and relatively free of complaints.
For example, in 2005 Cyprus reportedly complained that the Robot cameras were plagued with problems and planned to cancel its contract with Robot Visual Systems.
Even in the United States, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona, was forced to cancel some 1,964 summonses in 2005 after Redflex had accidentally made a software change which removed the date, time, and speed data from the summonses.
In 2006, Australia also complained that the AES installed in Adelaide encountered glitches with the Robot cameras, with 19 of them found to be faulty.
In the same year, The Daily Telegraph in Sydney reported that there were inaccuracies in the speed readings of the AES cameras supplied by its local company Redflex. Consequently, the government had to refund several millions to alleged traffic offenders.

Utusan distorted my words 'as usual', says Anwar

By FMT Staff
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed Utusan Malaysia's translation of a report in the US-based The Washington Post saying that the Malay mainstream media had "as usual distorted my words".
Anwar, who was invited to lecture at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre, said he was asked to explain why he had used the word “Zionist".
"I explained to them that my definition of Zionist was closely linked to acts of trespassing and Israel’s imperial policy.
"But they felt otherwise. Many Americans and Jews felt that it was an unfair translation because they felt that Zion was a country/government which was legitimate and fair.
“So I told them that if that was their understanding… then I did not feel the same way.
“I stood my ground and held the view that Zionists are tresspassers and colonisers. That was the statement that Utusan (Malaysia) has distorted.
“Utusan did not mention the fact that I said ‘the world had lost its patience with Israel’ . It also did not mention the more than RM70 milion paid to Apco Worldwide… so biasa la, we should understand," said the Permatang Pauh MP.
Anwar explained that he visited Washington on the invitation of the Woodrow Wilson International Center to deliver a lecture.
Anwar said it was a norm for the organisors to arrange a session with the editorial team and international media after the lecture session.
Anwar’s visit to Washington from June 23-26, was exposed by a leading Jewish columnist Jackson Diehl in his article in The Washington Post last Monday.
Commenting further on the report, Anwar accused Umno of using the Apco issue to attack him abroad.
"The problem is Umno is using Apco, which has known ties to Israel, to attack me abroad,” he told reporters at Parliament House yesterday evening.
Utusan Malaysia had front-paged the report about Anwar, who is said to have close ties with several eminent Jewish leaders.
The report alleged that Anwar had visited Washington to “clarify/cleanse” his ties with the group after his purportedly anti-Jews statement on the Apco issue recently.

'Petronas uses middlemen to sell crude oil'

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Former land and cooperatives deputy minister Tan Kee Kwong has alleged that state-owned oil firm Petronas was using middlemen to sell its crude oil.
In an open letter to the government, Tan, who is now with PKR, dubbed the middlemen as “option holders” and claimed that Petronas was forced to sell crude oil to them at “ridiculously low prices”.
He also alleged that in its contracts, Petronas had to sell a barrel of oil at a set price to these “option holders” even when price increases on the open market.
“Why does Petronas need to do this? Why can't it sell the crude oil on the open market?” he said, asking Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to reveal these “option holders”.
“You can imagine how much an option holder makes when the crude oil price increases,” he added.
Reveal, Najib challenged
Meanwhile, Tan also pointed out that the billion-dollar Petronas has never tabled its accounts in Parliament.
He cited his experience as a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in 2006, where PAC had requested the Finance Ministry to allow it to examine Petronas' accounts.
The committee, which comprises MPs from both sides of the divide, was told that Petronas did not come under the Finance Ministry portfolio, but rather the Prime Minister's Department.
“As a GLC (government-linked company), Petronas belongs to the citizens of Malaysia,” said Tan.
The former deputy minister also challenged Najib to open up Petronas' account books for public scrutiny.
"If the government does not dare reveal Petronas' accounts in Parliament, then they have plenty to hide," he said.
Tan added that a former Petronas employee had told him that if the PKR leader found out more about the background and purported political interference, “it would give me a heart attack”.

PI Bala's lawyers will wait for MACC officers

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyers for private investigator P. Balasubramaniam will wait for Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers to record their client's statement as planned earlier.
This was because the lawyers have yet to receive any official word from MACC on the cancellation.
Americk Sidhu, a member of Balasubramaniam's three-man legal team, said he will be flying to London from Perth today for the meeting, was scheduled for July 5 and 6.
"The person I have been in contact with at the MACC, Abdul Rahman Bachok, has not notified me over the cancellation.
"We have made prior arrangements to meet MACC officers and we will be at the Holiday Villa Hotel in London at 10am on Monday," he said in a telephone interview from Perth yesterday.

Sidhu said Balasubramaniam will arrive in London today from India.
Another of Balasubramaniam's counsel, Manjeet Singh Dhillon, is already in London.

"The lawyers have paid for their respective flights and hotel accommodation.

"They are not being sponsored by any party," Dhillon said.
"Our only intention is to assist the MACC and Bala in ensuring that justice is given consideration and that the perpetrators involved are brought to book," he added.

MACC Legal and Prosecution Division director Datuk Abdul Razak Musa had said that the decision not to record Balasubramaniam's statement was made after considering the case of Tan Sri Eric Chia where a statement taken from a witness abroad was not accepted as evidence in the corruption trial.

"In that case, the statement was dismissed because the witness who was in Japan refused to be present during trial here.

"But in our case, Balasubramanian is willing to testify here if he is given full protection," said Sidhu.

On Wednesday MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said that instead of going to London to question Balasubramaniam, they have instead given a list of questions to his lawyer in the form of a sworn statement or affidavit.

"Why does the MACC want a lawyer to do its job?

"Since when has it (MACC) asked a lawyer to record statements on its behalf?," asked Sidhu.

The Eagle has landed


Starting school at age five: Should we?

By Deborah Loh | The Nut Graph


PETALING JAYA, 2 July 2010: If the government wants children to start school at five instead of six, it must first review the existing curriculum for pre-school and Standard One, experts said.
Less emphasis
Curriculum for younger students should have less emphasis on academic performance
“There ought to be some reviewing of the curriculum so that there’s less emphasis on academic performance at such an early stage,” said Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng, who is Malaysia’s representative on the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children.
“At Standard One, it is more important to have all-round, physical and emotional development. This must be balanced with the academic aspects like knowing alphabets and numbers, counting and reading,” said the former Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner in a phone interview.
Chiam was responding to the government’s intention to lower the entry age for schooling by one year, as proposed in the 10th Malaysia Plan chapter on “Developing and retaining a first-world talent base”.
The proposed change is likely to involve one million children, according to the Education Ministry. It is to be implemented by the end of the Plan period, which runs from 2010 to 2015, as part of skilled human capital development.
The plan mentions the expansion of early childhood education programmes and a drive to increase the number of children enrolling in pre-school as preparation for a lower schooling age. It does not mention whether the Standard One curriculum will need to be adjusted.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng said having the right pre-school curriculum was the key to ensuring smooth entry into Standard One at an earlier age.
What about nutrition?
How about nutrition?
“It’s not just knowing alphabets and numbers. The children need to be emotionally prepared as well,” she said in a phone interview. Year One teachers may still have to adapt their teaching for pupils based on individual levels, Lok added.
She said that schools and the ministry must also be aware of the non-academic aspects that must be considered with younger children in school. “Dietary needs for children that young must be met so the quality of canteen food must be improved. School security must also be extra vigilant with more young children around.”
Pre-school access more important
Apart from curriculum review, Lok said what was more important was whether all children entering Standard One have access to pre-school.
Students
Accessibility for pre-school education should be increased with the lowering of schooling age
Lok said many families could not afford pre-school. Government statistics in the Plan said pre-school enrolment currently stood at 67% for children aged 4+ to 5+. The goal is to increase this to 87% by 2012 and 92% by 2015 through the Permata programme which will be placed under the Education Ministry after the necessary laws are amended.
Lok and Chiam said making pre-school education more accessible was the right move in tandem with lowering the schooling age. This is already the practice in several developed and developing countries, they noted.
More options
Lok said starting school earlier was also beneficial in the long-run as students could enter the workforce sooner. She added that should students perform poorly in Form Five, they would also still have time to either re-sit the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or pursue other options like vocational school or diploma courses.
So
Students can enter the workforce sooner
“Allowing children to start and go through the education process earlier leaves them some time left at the end to repair any academic shortfalls. If they leave the school system later, they may feel the pressure to start working without the chance to get better qualifications,” Lok said.
Chiam said she expected the lower schooling age to be made compulsory under the Education Act, which would have to be amended. Primary education is compulsory under the Act, which stipulates in Section 29 that a child must be six when he or she starts primary school.
Lok added that parents should not be given the option to choose when their child starts school. “There must be standardisation, or implementation will get messed up. There’s only a difference of about half a year if children were to start school at five plus.”
One million children
Education Ministry director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Md Dom said implementation would involve about one million children in a single cohort. He told The Nut Graph that the ministry had not yet decided whether to launch the lower schooling age all at once or to roll it out in stages.
“We are looking at the logistics in terms of school infrastructure and teaching [personnel],” he said

Education, Skills And Land Important For Orang Asli

By Luqman Nul Hakim Mazlan

SEREMBAN, July 2 (Bernama) -- In the efforts to transform and improve the standard of living of the Orang Asli community represented by 18 sub groups, education, skills and land ownership are seen vital for their development.

According to Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Association President Majid Suhut, this is because through education and skills the Orang Asli community can compete with the rest and through land ownership they can earn an income.

He was of the opinion that to upgrade the lives of the Orang Asli whose number is estimated at 141,000, the government has to focus its efforts in providing land and education especially for the younger generation under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

ORANG ASLI EDUCATION AND PROBLEMS

The Orang Asli still fare poorly in education with the number of undergraduates and school students is not reflective of their population figure.

Members of the community blame on the lack of financial resources that seriously impede education for the community though they receive numerous aid.

Though the education infrastructure can be considered satisfactory, the welfare of the Orang Asli children still needs attention. Even today it is a known fact many Orang Asli children go to school on an empty stomach.

Though there is the Supplementary Food Scheme in schools, outside school the Orang Asli children don't have the menu like what their other counterparts are enjoying.

TEACH THEM TO FISH, NOT JUST GIVE THEM THE FISH

Majid appreciated the government's recent gesture of providing scholarships to six Orang Asli students to study overseas and this augurs well for the community.

"So far, the Orang Asli students lacked the opportunity to study overseas though some of them were qualified and among the reasons for this is the lack of a dedicated organisation like Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) to assist us".

At the same time Majid wanted the government, NGO (Non-governmental Organisations) and other agencies to equip the community with skills instead of just providing monetary assistance.

Too much monetary assistance will make the Orang Asli dependent on the assistance and discourage them from working hard to earn a living.

"If the government provides training on skills like tailoring and making bead ornaments, this will help them to increase their income and reduce their dependence on monthly monetary assistance.

"What I see now is that a small number of them have become dependent on assistance, tough we still want the financial assistance it should come along with the appropriate skills training," he added.

LAND ALLOCATION THROUGH 10MP

Majid noted that the community is highly appreciative of the government's renewed effort to help the Orang Asli in every sphere under 10MP especially in land ownership and he stated this would be very helpful for the community.

According to Majid, many Orang Asli have no legal ownership over the land that they are on as they reside in jungles and river banks.

However, the land ownership proposal under the 10MP remains vague and the Orang Asli community is eagerly waiting for the details.

Majid hoped that the government would not limit the land allocation to 2.6 hectares only (6 acres) for any particular family especially for those working on land area bigger than this.

"We suggest that the land area to be allocated should be equal with the area the family has been working on, yet if we are allocated a new piece of land we are also ready to accept it," he said.

He said the demarcation of the Orang Asli land is often decided by the their leader, the 'Tok Batin', and not by the community members.

"The Orang Asli mark their land from trees to trees and the others cannot stake claim, and they have to deal with the Tok Batin over any arising matters over the land.

There could be problems in providing land ownership for the Orang Asli because many of them own many pieces of land or the land that they are on now belongs to the state government.

Apart from that, land ownership should also be given to the elderly and those who have families.

Majid is of the view there should be no problem in fulfilling the Orang Asli's aspirations.

FELDA STYLE PROGRAMMES

Majid opined that if the government is to help the Orang Asli community by providing land under the 10MP, programmes based along the lines of Felda land schemes are suitable.

According to him, the Orang Asli need secure income to help alleviate the financial burden due to the high cost of living though most members of the community live in the interiors.

"Previously the Orang Asli depended on jungle resources but it is no longer the case because the forest resources like animals and fishes have depleted.

"So they have to switch to new economic resources, and when we mention of the new economic resources the Orang Asli can work on the land provided by the government," he said.

MORE OPPORTUNITIES

Meanwhile, Majid wants the government to provide more opportunities for the Orang Asli in the public sector especially in managing Orang Asli affairs.

"We want to see the children from all the Orang Asli sub-groups playing a role in managing their own community.

"Therefore, we want the government to help us on this and there are already some members of the community who are qualified to hold positions," he said.

Bukan Islam jangan pertikai status negara - Mufti

Utusan Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR 1 Julai - Mufti Perak, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria menegaskan orang bukan Islam tidak seharusnya mempertikaikan status Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara Islam tanpa memahami sejarah serta Perlembagaan negara.

Menurutnya, tindakan itu akan menyebabkan pihak luar serta orang bukan Islam lain menganggap Malaysia sebuah negara sekular.

''Malaysia ialah negara Islam. Perlembagaan tidak mengatakan Malaysia adalah negara sekular.

"Orang bukan Islam wajib memahami perkara ini terlebih dahulu sebelum memberikan ulasan tanpa memahami latar belakang penubuhan negara ini," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini semalam.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas kenyataan terbaru Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh dalam kenyataannya kepada satu portal berita bahawa DAP tidak akan menerima konsep negara Islam seperti yang dibawa oleh Pas jika berjaya memerintah kelak.

Menurut Harussani, semua rakyat perlu memahami perjanjian asal ketika awal kemerdekaan supaya tiada pihak cuba mengambil kesempatan daripada isu itu.

"Sekarang ini ramai yang sudah lupa tentang perjanjian yang dibuat oleh nenek moyang kita tentang hak keistimewaan Melayu dan Islam di tanah air ini.

"Semua kaum di Malaysia perlu tahu tentang budaya serta agama kita (Islam) dan bukannya sekadar lahir di sini tapi tidak mahu mempelajari budaya setempat," katanya.

Menurutnya, untuk meningkatkan pemahaman budaya setempat antara langkah yang boleh diambil ialah mewajibkan semua kaum di Malaysia boleh berbahasa Melayu dan mengetahui hal ehwal budaya Melayu.

Mufti Pahang, Datuk Abdul Rahman Osman turut tidak bersetuju dengan pandangan Pengerusi DAP yang menganggap Malaysia ialah negara sekular.

Menurutnya, sekular ialah satu konsep yang mengasingkan antara agama dengan kehidupan dan Islam tidak pernah menganjurkan perkara sedemikian.

Tegasnya, dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan telah termaktub Islam sebagai agama rasmi negara, maka sebarang usaha untuk menafikan perkara itu amat mendukacitakan hati umat agama itu.

"Sebagai umat Islam yang taat, isu sekular memang tidak boleh diterima langsung dan boleh menyentuh sensitiviti umat secara tidak langsung," katanya.

Jelasnya, jika ada pihak berterusan mempersoalkan isu sensitif itu, maka tindakan tegas perlu diambil terhadap mereka.

"Setiap orang yang memberi pandangan yang bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan negara perlu dikenakan hukuman supaya mereka tidak terus mengungkit isu sama pada masa akan datang," tegasnya.

Idris: We poor, save3. Nazri: We rich, SPEND3! (read: steal3!)

Nazri says RM 500,000 more for BN to spend in constituencies this year:
According to him the reason for the jump in parliamentary allocation is because there are extra funds in government coffers.
“It’s because we have extra money, so we give the allocation. The government is not in the business of keeping money. The government’s business is in spending money.”
Extra money?
Wasn’t this other guy going on about how we need to cut subsidies because the government is going bankrupt ala Greece?
I think bank accounts are fairly straightforward – they are either red or black.
I’m getting the feeling Idris Jala is closer to the truth (in assessing the situation, if not the causes), but his statements set the Umno cronies and contractors alarm bell’s ringing, which is why we are now seeing a completely different picture being painted.
Sometimes I think this government’s business is not in spending money, but in stealing it :P

Deadly blasts hit Lahore shrine

At least 18 people have been killed and more than 70 injured after suicide attacks in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

Police have confirmed that at least two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a Sufi shrine in the centre of the city, and officials say the cause of a third blast is still being investigated.

Sajjad Bhutta, a senior government official in Lahore, said thousands of people were visiting Data Darbar shrine, where the famous Sufi saint Syed Ali Hajwairi is buried, at the time of the attack.

"One attack took place at the gate of the shrine and two were in the basement," Bhutta said.

The attackers struck in the evening when the shrine was at its busiest because of the cooler weather, prompting concerned relatives to rush to the scene in search of their loved ones.

Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan, has suffered from a string of attacks against its minority communities in recent months. More than 80 people were killed in twin attacks on the mosques of the minority Ahmadi sect in May.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from the capital Islamabad said that the blasts fitted the pattern of previous attacks that have targeted religious sites at busy times.

"This happened at a shrine for a Sufi saint. This is a very popular tourist attraction and at this time of night it would have been packed," he said.

"This is yet another blow for the city of Lahore. These bombings are further proof that there is only so much you can do to protect yourself. If someone is determined to blow themselves up, they will do it."

Doctors said they were expecting the death toll to rise, as the city's main hospital declared a state of emergency.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, but previous bombings in Lahore have been blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, who disagree with minority interpretations of Islam, including Sufism.

Perkasa tabloid comes under Umno Youth pressure

'Khairy the hound dog'

PM mum over cost of bringing Rosmah to NY

HRP succeeded in stopping Sinthamani Indian orphanage from being demolished by UMNO DBKL.


P6300056On 30/6/2010 at about 8.30a.m about 20 over Hindraf and Human Rights Party Malaysia members went to the rescue of Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram orphanage situated in Jinjang Utara , Kuala Lumpur. There were also about five plain clothes special branch police personnel who were present. This Ashram provides shelter for orphanage children, children from broken families , children from poor families , old folks and single mothers for the past 9 years under the management of Mr.Praveendran (26 ). Instead of encouraging and recognizing his efforts he was indeed penalized
P6300060by a Notice by the K.L. City Hall (DBKL) summoning him to evacuate this Ashram by 29th June otherwise face demolishment on 30/6/10 as this
home sits on government land.
As we were there, about 45 innocent children were getting ready for probably their last breakfast under the roofs of this Ashram without any clue where their next dawn will begin with. All of them were in school uniform but did not attend school in case anything bad happens to their only shelter.
Besides a few police patrol car personnell, the DBKL demolishment unit did not show up. We had anticipated this as the matter was brought to the attention of the Prime Minister Federal Territories Minister, the Welfare Minister and also the public by the Human Rights Party Malaysia website and email groups as well as the Tamil dailies. Knowing that the Hindraf and HRP members will be there to face them, the DBKL might have postponed their evil plan to demolish this Ashram.
We had invited the Press and media to cover this intended demolishment.
P6300035 The 1st boy found by Mr. Praveen was by the side of a rubbish bin. He is now studying Medicine in Russia. If not for noble and kind attention he received from this home he might be counting his days behind bars for having been involved in some kind of criminal activities or so or might have become a police shot to death victim.
About 10 of the children have been maliciously denied their birth certificates by UMNO. Being the 6th or 7th generation in this country they will have to survive in this land without identity documents ie BC and IC. They will have no access to education or employment. They will never be able to buy house, car, get married or to perform anything legal in Malaysia. Stateless in their own country that they were born.
Hindraf and HRP will stand by them as long as is require till justice is served.

S.Jayathas

SCENARIOS - Early election for Malaysia?


Most likely. A strong win in an early election would give Najib, who took office in April last year, the political mandate to break through resistance to reform from sections of the Malay majority who fear their rights are under threat.

Razak Ahmad Reuters

Malaysia's reluctance to upset its majority Malay population has led to reversal of government decisions and reform pullbacks that are fuelling talk Prime Minister Najib Razak may be readying for a snap election.

The government last week decided against issuing a gambling licence to quell mounting public anger in the mainly Muslim country. This followed postponements on a Goods and Services Tax in February and a scheduled fuel price hike in May.

Analysts say Najib's wariness of upsetting the country's critical voting bloc signals possible early polls that are not due until 2013, but which he could call as soon as next year amid a recovering in the economy, which shrank 1.7 percent in 2009.

"The stars really need to be aligned, but as soon as Najib feels he has delivered on at least some of his promises and the economy remains decent, he will call for elections," said political analyst Ong Kian Ming from UCSI university in Kuala Lumpur.

Following are scenarios on possible election timelines:

EARLY POLLS NEXT YEAR

Most likely. A strong win in an early election would give Najib, who took office in April last year, the political mandate to break through resistance to reform from sections of the Malay majority who fear their rights are under threat.

Najib has pledged pro-market economic reforms to lure lagging foreign investment and turn around his ailing coalition.

He has tried to woo alienated ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who abandoned the ruling coalition in the last national election in 2008, leading to its unprecedented losses, but there are few signs that he can win them back by next year.

His National Front coalition would thus need to rely on support largely from Malays, who make up 55 percent of the country's 28 million population and are favoured under a four-decades old race-based economic policy that critics say hurts foreign investment and fosters corruption.

This will mean that reforms enacted in the run-up to the polls will be selective and politically expedient, analysts say.

NAJIB HOLDS BACK, POLLS IN 2012 OR 2013

Less likely, though the ideal option for Najib. Holding back would give him time to rebuild minority support and implement reforms such as the GST, fuel subsidy cuts and further market liberalisation while managing any potential backlash.

The economic reform measures, if enacted in full, would create a positive market impact, said Macquarie Research in a report.

"Private investment would be boosted by deregulation, government-linked company margins would rise with efficiency, consumption rises with income, and the ringgit would appreciate," said the report.

Delaying polls could bring greater political and economic pay-offs but also carries greater potential risk for Najib.

Waiting could give the opposition more time to consolidate its own support base and result in Najib failing to regain the ruling coalition's once iron-clad two-thirds majority in parliament that it lost in the 2008 polls.

Such an outcome would leave Najib's vulnerable to challenge from within his party, increasing political instability.

ANWAR EFFECT

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is currently on trial for sodomy, and the reaction of his supporters in the event of a conviction in the case that is set to conclude at the end of August would have to be factored into the timing of an election.

Anwar says the case against him is a political conspiracy, while the government insists he will get a fair trial. It is hard to predict the depth of anger that a conviction would trigger.

Having Anwar out of the picture may jeopardise the opposition's momentum, but it could also galvanise the opposition further and lead to a repeat of demonstrations that shook the capital after his sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.

Any marked increase in political tensions could see polls being delayed and cause a negative market reaction, with more foreign money pulled from stocks, bonds and the ringgit.

However, with limited foreign portfolio investment still in the country, the impact will be muted.

JUDI


1. Saya gembira kerana majority orang Melayu sepakat untuk menolak judi bagi orang yang bukan Islam. Samada mereka dari parti lawan atau parti Kerajaan, mereka bersetuju judi itu haram bagi bukan Islam juga.

2. Mereka juga sepakat mengutuk keganasan dan ketidak berperikemanusiaan Israel terhadap Gaza dan Palestine.

3. Malangnya, berkenaan dengan kepentingan masa depan Melayu mereka tidak sepakat.

4. Bagi mereka pada zaman akan datang majoriti Melayu tak mungkin dikurangkan. Kita sekarang 60%. Kita akan terus 60 peratus selama-lamanya. Mungkin peratusan akan naik.

5. Tetapi masa depan macam-macam boleh jadi. Hanya yang diperlukan ialah membuka pintu imigresen untuk peratusan berubah. Di zaman British iaitu sebelum 1930 peratusan Melayu kurang daripada kaum lain. Tidak ada jaminan yang Kerajaan Malaysia yang akan datang mengekalkan dasar imigresen selama-lamanya. Melihat gelagat pemimpin Melayu yang begitu sekali gila untuk jadi Perdana Menteri sehingga sanggup buat dan janji apa sahaja, melihat betapa mudahnya pemimpin jenis perasuah mendapat kemenangan, melihat akan betapa murahnya membeli undi, apakah tidak mungkin pintu imigresen dibuka oleh pemimpin yang mendapat tempat kerana rasuah.

6. Jika Melayu sudah berdaya saing apabila banjir ini berlaku tidak mengapa. Tetapi saya khuatir majoriti mereka yang belum berdayasaing akan jadi buruh kasar dan pemandu kereta.

7. Tak apa lah. Buruk sangatkah menjadi buruh kasar dan pemandu kereta?

Flirting With Zealotry In Malaysia

Ini merupakan rencana asal dari The Washington Post yang kemudiannya digunakan Utusan Malaysia untuk menuduh kunjungan Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim ke Amerika Syarikat sebagai memujuk pihak Yahudi. Namun Utusan Malaysia gagal mengungkapkan perkara mustahak yang terkandung dalam artikel tersebut, iaitu, Dato’ Seri Anwar tuntas mengkritik bahawa Kerajaan Israel bertindak melampau

From Washington Post
By Jackson Diehl
Monday, June 28, 2010; A15

Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Malaysia’s political opposition, has become known over the past decade as one of the foremost advocates of liberal democracy in Muslim countries. His many friends in Washington include prominent members of the neoconservative movement — such as Paul Wolfowitz, the former World Bank president and U.S. ambassador to Indonesia — as well as such Democratic grandees as Al Gore.

Lately, Anwar has been getting attention for something else: strident rhetoric about Israel and alleged “Zionist influence” in Malaysia. He recently joined a demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur where an Israeli flag was burned. He’s made dark insinuations about the “Jewish-controlled” Washington public relations firm Apco Worldwide, which is working for Malaysia’s quasi-authoritarian government.

Therein lies a story of the Obama era — about a beleaguered democrat fighting for political and personal survival with little help from Washington; about the growing global climate of hostility toward Israel; and about the increasing willingness of U.S. friends in places such as Turkey and Malaysia to exploit it.

First, a little about Anwar: While serving as deputy prime minister under Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s, he began pushing for reforms — only to be arrested, tried and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of homosexual sodomy. Freed after six years, he built a multiethnic democratic opposition movement that shocked the ruling party with its gains in recent elections. It now appears to have a chance at winning the next parliamentary campaign, which would allow Malaysia to join Indonesia and Turkey as full-fledged majority-Muslim democracies.

Not surprisingly, Anwar is being prosecuted again. Once again the charge is consensual sodomy, which to Malaysia’s discredit remains a crime punishable by whipping and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Anwar, who is 63 and married with children, denies the charge, and the evidence once again is highly suspect. His 25-year-old accuser has confessed to meeting Prime Minister Najib Razak and talking by phone with the national police chief in the days before the alleged sexual encounter.

Nevertheless the trial is not going well. If it ends in another conviction, Anwar’s political career and his opposition coalition could be destroyed, and his life could be at risk: His health is not great. Yet the opposition leader is not getting the kind of support from the United States as during his first prosecution, when then-Vice President Gore spoke up for him. Obama said nothing in public about Anwar when he granted Najib a prized bilateral meeting in Washington in April.

After a “senior officials dialogue” between the two governments this month, the State Department conceded that the ongoing trial again had not been raised, “because this issue was recently discussed at length.” When it comes to human rights, the Obama administration apparently does not wish to be repetitive.

Anwar meanwhile found his own way to fight back. Hammered for years by government propaganda describing him as an Israeli agent and a Wolfowitz-loving American lackey, he tried to turn the tables, alleging that Apco was manipulating the government to support Israeli and U.S. interests. He also said that Israeli agents had infiltrated Malaysia’s security forces and were “directly involved in the running of the government.”

Najib describes Israel as “world gangsters.” But he quickly turned Anwar’s words against him; Apco has been peddling the anti-Israel statements around Washington.

Anwar is like Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom he regards as a friend and fellow traveler. Both know better than to indulge in such stuff. Both have recently begun to do it anyway — after a year in which the Obama administration has frequently displayed irritation with Israel. “If you say we are growing impatient with Israel, that is true,” Anwar told me. “If you say I am not too guarded or careful in what I say sometimes, that is also true.”

Anwar, who was in Washington for a couple of days last week, spent a lot of time offering explanations to old friends, not to mention House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and a Jewish leader or two. He said he regretted using terms such as “Zionist aggression,” which are common coin for demagogues like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Why do I need to use it if it causes so much misunderstanding?” he said. “I need to be more careful.”

Many of the Malaysian’s friends are inclined to give him a break. “What Anwar did was wrong, but considering that he’s literally fighting for his life — physically as well as politically — against a government that attacks him as being ‘a puppet of the Jews,’ one should cut him some slack,” Wolfowitz told me.

But Anwar’s story can also be read as a warning. His transition from pro-American democrat to anti-Israeli zealot is sobering — and it is on the verge of becoming a trend.

The Myth of Thai Homogeneity

Image
It isn't as tranquil as it looks
(Asia Sentinel) Ethnic and other disparities in Thai society come to the fore with disastrous results


At a recent Singapore seminar on the Thai political crisis, a Thai participant voiced his dislike of the term “Bangkok elites.” The participant, a male in his mid-30s, argued that the repeated use of such terms would only further divide Thai society. The perception of existing social classifications, he said, was at the root of Thailand’s protracted conflict.  

Just when everyone in the room seemed to agree, he went on to say that he himself, as a businessman, had been in regular contact with the rich and powerful in Bangkok through business activity, and that he felt that they were not acting as if they were parts of the Bangkok elite. They were just like us, he said. The businessman, speaking with an American accent, also claimed that Thailand is a very homogenous country, that all Thais profess Buddhism and love their king.

Was he in fact a closet Bangkok elite pretending to detest political classification? More crucially, is Thailand really a homogeneous country as he claimed?

In fact, the three-year-old political crisis has exposed the reality that, contrary to widespread perceptions among the elites, Thailand is not a homogeneous nation in terms of race, religion and ethnicity. Recently, the discourse has been further challenged by the emergence of widely diverging political views that have seriously threatened the conventional way of looking at politics.

The prominent history professor Charnvit Kasetsiri recently launched a campaign to change the name of the country from Thailand back to Siam. Charnvit argues that the name better reflects the country’s ethnic diversity. To him, “Thailand” was intended to be exclusionary from the start, referring to a distinct people, supposedly derived from the Tai of China.   

In 1939, the military government of Field Marshal Phibun Songkram changed the country’s name, saying that “Thailand” was more suitable because it represented the country’s majority ethnic group and was popular with the people. The name change clearly had a political agenda. As always, the name of a historic site, city or even country can become intensely contentious in the event it is used to discredit the previous regime and to legitimize the new incumbents in power.

Siam became Thailand merely because Phibun wanted to validate his despotic regime. He was seeking to distance himself from the previous rule by the absolute monarchy.

“Thailand” also conveyed a message that the Thai races for the first time were integrated under military rule. It was politically significant because it delineated the connection between the elites’ political legitimacy and Thai nationalism. History was then rewritten to backdate the name, which was to be used as the name for all past kingdoms regardless of reality. Therefore the name has long been perceived as containing a racist-nationalist tone.

Today, Professor Charnvit’s supporters argue that politically and ethnically, the name Siam is correct. That is because despite the perception of homogeneity there is great ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity among the people, ranging from the Thai, Malays, Lao, Mon, Khmer, Chinese, Arabs, Hmong, Farang (Caucasians) and many more—a total of more than 50 ethnicities and languages. The reasons cited by the Phibun government concerning the ethnic majority were thus not true and are contradicted by the historical evidence.  

More importantly, the campaign supporters also believe that the country’s name change could help to abate the conflict in the south, which has been partly plagued by ethnic clashes between the Thai Buddhist state and the minority Muslims. For the Thai participants to assert that all Thais have their faith in Buddhism clearly reflects the elitist mentality of attempting to manipulate the nation’s religious space.

Similarly within the political space, the notion of Thailand as a homogeneous country is also highly troublesome. Thailand has changed drastically over the years. New factors have emerged and new players have entered the political scene. They have begun to exert their influence in the political process and have refused to remain passive. During much of Thailand’s economic boom over the past two decades, these new players, mostly residing in the poor provinces, watched wealth pass them by and go to the hands of the Bangkok urbanites. What they craved was political inclusion and a fair share of the country’s economic prosperity. But what they got were soap operas and official messages that stressed homogeneous thinking and unity.

One of the causes of the persistent conflict originates in the unbending outlook of the traditional elites, who continue to forbid dissenting voices. They have instead further sanctified the traditional belief of social and political homogeneity while seeking to rebuke those outside their network through a variety of stratagems. The dissenters were forced to comply with the orders of the ruling elite and sacrifice their political conviction for the sake of peace, order and conformity.

Yet a homogeneous Thailand does not benefit them politically. On the contrary, it strengthens the already firm grip on power of the ruling elite. This grip is likely to tighten further as the country approaches the inevitable period of royal transition. Hence, appeals for the maintenance of political, social and political homogeneity are growing louder. At the same time, the punishment against those who question the country’s homogeneity is getting more severe. Room for compromise is apparently shrinking.

Some express their anxiety about the apparent different political viewpoints. They ask, “What will hold Thailand together without the much-revered monarch who has been seen as a unifying force for the country?” But the question only opens the door for the traditional elite to exploit the status quo as a justification to get rid of any dissenting viewpoints.

There is nothing wrong with a society that comprises many different peoples from various backgrounds and with different political opinions. However, the crisis has persisted fundamentally because the traditional elites have continued to promote homogeneity at the expense of respecting political, racial and religious diversities.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. This is his personal view.

Hi Sabahans in Klang Valley – Lets meet in PJ on Sunday 2 pm

The meeting of Sabahans in the Klang Valley will be held this Sunday (July 4, 2010) at 2 pm at the Petaling Jaya Community Library Hall (next to Assunta Hospital, Petaling Jaya) (see map) to discuss the problems and needs, grievances and frustrations of Sabahans particularly those stranded in the Klang Valley.

The idea of a meeting of Sabahans in Klang Valley is the upshot of recent visits by DAP MPs/SAs to various parts of Sabah in the past months including Kota Belud, Tuaran, Keningau, Tambunan, Sepanggar, Donggongon and Kampong Inobong in Penampang, Tawau, Merotai, Kalabakan, Pitas and Kota Marudu.

Wherever DAP MPs/SAs Hiew King Cheu (Kota Kinabalu), Teo Nie Ching (Serdang), Lim Lip Eng (Segambut), Jimmy Wong (DAP Sabah state Assemblymen for Sri Tanjong) and I went in Sabah, there was concern about the plight of Sabahans stranded in the Klang Valley, particularly following media reports early this year of homeless Sabahans who had to scavenge for food from garbage bins outside restaurants in the Klang Valley.

Sabahans back home were shocked that Sabah youths, who had gone to the national capital to seek greener pastures, were roaming the streets and relying on food served by NGOs and on leftovers in dustbins for an additional meal.

Sabahans back home were shocked that Sabah youths, who had gone to the national capital to seek greener pastures, were roaming the streets and relying on food served by NGOs and on leftovers in dustbins for an additional meal.

Sunday’s meeting of Sabahans in Klang Valley will seek to get first-hand information about the neglect of socio-economic rights and development as well as the frustrations of the people of Sabah.

The July 4 meeting of Sabahans in the Klang Valley however will also have a broader scope and agenda – to cover the whole spectrum of frustrations of Sabahans.

The New Economic Model with the main goal of transforming Malaysia into a high-income advanced nation with inclusiveness and sustainability aims to achieve a per capita GNP of US$17,700 (RM57,348) by 2020.

However, under the Sabah Development Economic Corridor Blueprint 2008-2025, the projected GDP per capita for Sabah in 2020 is only RM11,571 – which is more than five times less than the targeted per capita GNP for Malaysia under the NEM.

Coming on top of the scandal of the degradation and deterioration of Sabah from the richest state to the poorest state in the past five decades, it is most shocking and even outrageous that there is a five-fold difference in the targetted per capita income of Sabahans as compared to Malaysians in ten years’ time in 2020.

In Parliament recently, I had urged the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to address five “present and urgent issues” to give meaning to the slogans of 1Malaysia and “inclusive growth” and end the marginalization of ordinary Sabahans who had been left out of national development and progress since the formation of Malaysia some five decades ago.

These five priority issues are:

1. Satisfactory resolution to the long-standing problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, causing the Sabah population to multiply from some 400,000 during the formation of Malaysia in 1963 to over three million today. During his visit to Sabah last September, the Prime Minister had promised resolution of the illegal immigrant problem and this seems to have been completely forgotten.

2. Eradication of poverty in Sabah. Barisan Nasional had promised to eradicate poverty in 2000 but it is now 2010 and Sabah has the highest poverty rate in the country.

3. Massive development of basic infrastructure in Sabah to provide roads, piped water, electricity and broadband to Sabahans.

4. Raising the 5% oil royalty payment to Sabah government to 20%.

5. Re-opening of the inquiry into the “66” air-crash in Kota Kinabalu on June 6, 1976 which killed Sabah Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens and State Ministers, Datuk Salleh Sulong, Datuk Peter Mojuntin and Chong Thien Vun to address the many questions and doubts of Sabahans about the true cause of the Double Six tragedy 34 years ago.

These are among the issues which deserve revisiting at the meeting of Sabahans in the Klang Valley in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, July 4 2010, which is convened by DAP MP for Kota Kinabalu, Hiew King Cheu, assisted and co-ordinated by DAP MPs Teo Nie Ching (Serdang) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut). Contacts and enquiries can also be made through the following:

• 03-79578022 / dap@dapmalaysia.org;

• 088-254987 /sabahdap@hotmail.com

Leaders from Pakatan Rakyat, including PKR President Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Ismail as well as representatives from DAP and PAS will attend the meeting of Sabahans in the Klang Valley.