Share |

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Explosions at famous shrine in Pakistan kill dozens

'Orang Asli can no longer be taken for granted'

(Malaysiakini) The Orang Asli community is becoming more politically aware and can no longer be presumed to be blind supporters of BN, said Pahang PKR Orang Asal bureau vice-chairperson Bob Manolan.

NONEThis is owing to discontentment among the Orang Asli folks, particularly following the government's announcement that it would amend the Aboriginal People's Act (Act 134), said Bob.

"If you look at the present scenario, the Orang Asli are still (regarded as) the fixed deposit for BN. But the scenario has changed in a few places," he added.

He gave an example of the aboriginal community in Pahang, where PKR has set up the Orang Asli affairs bureau which serves to advocate political awareness among the communities.

Bob (above) explained that PKR had to step in because the NGOs representing the Orang Asli populace - estimated at about 150,000 nation-wide - are only geared towards specific issues such as education, land rights, welfare and unity.

NONETo date, the Orang Asli Organisation of Peninsular Malaysia (Poasm) is the largest body. Formed in 1976, its membership has swelled to 26,000 members.

Apart from that, the more affluent Orang Asli have also became members of the Orang Asli Graduates Associations (PSOA), and there is the Orang Asli Village Networks of Peninsular Malaysia (JKOASM) with chapters in Perak, Pahang, Selangor, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka.

Last resort

A grassroots PKR leader in Jerantut, Pahang, Yusri Ahon (below, right) pointed out that PKR branches have mushroomed in Orang Asli settlements.

NONE“Almost every month, there are new branches (being set up) because they know that the last resort to change policies or the law, is through politics.

"The Orang Asli community has come to this realisation, and has entered politics, to pressure the government. If they (aborigines) don't, the government will still be in their comfort zone," he added.

Bob said that on his part, he felt that the plans laid out for the Orang Asli by the government is not a good way to increase their livelihood.

He also scoffed at the 10th Malaysia Plan, which purports to aim at eradicating poverty among the Orang Asli by 2020.

He expressed fears that the Orang Asli would, on the contrary, will in the future suffer the worse, citing the commercial replanting programme on their land by federal smallholders and land agencies Risda and Felcra of rubber and oil palm crops.

"But the harvest was not for the Orang Asli but instead for the contractors, though JHEOA (claimed) that they are using the Orang Asli-owned land for the development of the Orang Asli community," Bob added.

kampung orang asli sungai tesong 120208 children"Before they acquired the land, JHEOA with Risda and Felcra pledged sweet promises (to the land owners). (They said,) 'After this you don't have to work. Just go to the bank and withdraw money every month."

"But after the (scheme) took place, their previous income of RM400 to RM500 per month was reduced to RM200. This happened in Bentong (Pahang)," he said.

He also said that disbursement of aid to the Orang Asli would not be enough to eradicate poverty, and claimed that there are leakages in channeling the funds.

Government noncommittal

"There is a certain amount of money allocated for the Orang Asli community each year, but looking at past trends, allocation alone is not enough when the money does not reach the Orang Asli community," said Bob.

Bob also said that the government should have shown their commitment in giving out land titles to the Orang Asli by measuring the land themselves.

But the aboriginal communities had to do it themselves to justify their ownership over the land.

This effort was initiated by JKOASM who trained the villagers to measure their own land.

This process is actively being undertaken in Perak, while Pahang has seen four Orang Asli villages properly measured using the Global Positioning System (GPS).

NONEThey were inspired to do this after witnessing the case of Sagong Tasi and six other plaintiffs, who won a 15-year legal battle against the federal government, the then BN-led Selangor government, Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) and contractor United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM).

Sagong and 26 other Temuan families in Selangor obtained RM6.5 million in compensation for their native customary land which was seized to build a highway to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Bob explained that the GPS technology could provide stronger proof of ownership of the Orang Asli land, even though evidence such as old artifacts should suffice.

Yet, Bob cautioned that as far as the Sagong Tasi case is concerned, the law sided with the aborigines only after the Pakatan Rakyat-led state government had withdrawn its appeal last year.

That is why the Orang Asli need a political association with a party that is more sympathetic to their struggle, he said.

Delhi opens huge new airport terminal

Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal 3 at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport is the largest in India
Made of glass and steel, the swanky new Terminal 3 at Delhi's international airport is surrounded by dust and debris.
India is out to impress the world with this mega-structure.
Completed in record time, this is what the country hopes to show-off to the world when visitors arrive for the Commonwealth games 2010 later this year.
It is all about the sheer size and scale, billed as one of the largest airports in the world.
Terminal 3 at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Building the airport has required thousands of workers It is certainly bigger than anything India has ever seen. The terminal building is larger than the new terminals of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore combined.
It has eight levels, with a built-up area of 5.5 million square feet and an apron area of 6.3 million sqare feet.
The common check-in concourse has 168 check-in counters and 98 immigration counters for international passengers.
The terminal also has 78 aero bridges and a 100-room transit hotel.
Prabhakar Rao is the head of airport development for Delhi international Airport, or Dial.
He hopes that Delhi will become a regional hub.
"Why should people go to Dubai or Changi as a regional hub, when Delhi is ready for them? I want to tell people come here and let us serve you instead," he says.
Passenger traffic rates in India are among the highest in the world and are expected to double over the next five years.
Invite to business As it is getting ready to open for business, the capacity of the airport has been increased to handle 60 million passengers per year and 75 aircrafts per hour.
The current airport handles less than half that number.
"We should not be building infrastructure for today's needs," says Mr Rao. "It should be built for the future.
"Given the projected traffic growth, the capacity of the terminal is optimum. When we build the capacity, we automatically invite the business.
Price worth paying Terminal 3 at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Trial runs have been held to test the airport's luggage handling system The swanky new facilities are miles ahead of the existing Delhi airport.
It is seen as a symbol of new India setting an example for public-private partnerships.
Building costs have exceeded $2.7bn, higher than the earlier projected cost of $2bn.
This has resulted in a funding shortfall, some of which will be paid for by charging travelers a higher airport user development fee.
Passengers are already paying a user fee, but now passengers and airlines may have to pay more to use the new airport.
Many budget carriers have expressed concerns about a potential increase in charges for landing, parking and navigation fees.
But some passengers, such as frequent traveller Samir Singh, who flies between Bangkok and Delhi at least three times a month, say they do not mind paying more.
A trader who travels with a lot of luggage, Mr Singh thinks the new airport will mean faster entry and exit and easier access to his baggage.
Housewife Paromitra Banerjee agrees.
She frequently travels with her two young children to London and France to meet her family.
"If there are better and cleaner facilities for passengers, I wouldn't mind paying. Right now, it's just not a children friendly airport. I hope there are going to be play areas, more eateries and shopping areas where one can buy emergency products if necessary."
Major contracts Delhi International Airport is a joint venture consortium led by GMR with a 54% stake.
Old terminal at the airport in Delhi Travelers say they are prepared to pay more for a better airport The Airports Authority of India has a 26% stake, Fraport holds 10% and Malaysia Airport owns the remaining 10% of the shares.
A multinational team of almost 30,000 workers have been involved in the construction of the building.
The scale of the project means it has presented huge business opportunities for a whole range of companies.
The terminal has been designed by London architects HOK International. Another UK based firm, Brintons, supplied the 170,000 sqare metres of carpet material. It is said to be one of the largest carpet orders in the world.
The duty-free outlets contract has gone to a joint venture company led by the Irish travel retailer Aer Rianta and its local partner Indian Duty Free Services.
Aer Rianta was involved in setting up one of the largest duty free operators in the world, the Dubai Duty Free, and also runs retail units in major airports in Europe, Eastern Europe and North America.
The 20,000 square metres of retail space will offer more than 1,000 brands - a mixture of Indian brands and international brands such as Versace, Mango, Swarovski and Marks and Spencer.
Proud development

Materials used

Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport
  • Building: 600,000 cubic metres of concrete, equivalent to 240 Olympic size swimming pools, and 200,000 tonnes of reinforced steel
  • Roof: 18,000 tonnes of structural steel
  • Floor: 110,000 sqare metres of granite imported from Bahrain
  • Windows: 95,000 square metres of glass wall curtain, equivalent to 13 football fields
  • Curtains: 100,000 square metres imported from China
  • Runway: material used sufficient to build a 70km long, eight-lane highway
A group of workers are busy walking around with hand-held thermometers to check the air conditioning levels in different corners of the terminal.
Dubai-based ETA Engineering has been working on the air conditioning and plumbing of the new integrated domestic and international passenger terminal.
R. K. Sahu is the senior project manager of the company in charge of the airport work.
He has been involved in numerous projects in the Middle East, but says this is the biggest infrastructure work in India that the company has been involved in.
"It's a fantastic project to be involved in," he says.
"Every engineer, supervisor and worker felt proud to be working on it.
Such projects also help stop the brain-drain from the country. Prior to this we just didn't have opportunities like this to showcase our talent and use the latest technology.
"With this, everything has changed and hopefully this will set the trend for future infrastructure projects in the country."
The country's largest telecom firm, Bharti Airtel, is providing the telephony and mobile services in the new terminal.
This includes public call booths for domestic and international calls, charging stations for laptops and mobile phones and service desks to buy local phone cards.
Experts have been brought in from Munich's international airport to help prepare the airport in the transfer from the old terminal to the new.
The team has been training staff from the airlines, ground handlers and government agency staff like CISF, Immigration, and Customs from the existing terminals to familiarise them with the operations in the new building.
Testing the terminal Sprawled around the arrival and departure areas are thousands of bags and old suitcases filled with old clothes and junk.
This is part of a mock baggage handling run, where the bags are piled onto trolleys, taken around the terminal, put on conveyor belts and examined through screening machines.
The fully automated baggage handling system is said to be able to handle 12,800 bags in an hour.
People have also been involved intrial runs in the new airport.
Some 15,000 volunteers pretending to be passengers and staff have been going through the terminal, testing every facility including the customs and immigration checks.
Final polish The airport has set new standards in the construction business in the country with importance being given to greener and more eco-friendly materials.
French company Saint-Gobain Gyproc has built the prefabricated walls and false ceilings around the terminal.
The marketing manager of the company, N. E. Subramanian, says the project has forced suppliers local vendors to raise the bar when it comes to the quality of their products.
"For all the companies involved, the work we have done in the terminal has become a showcase for our other clients."
The airport is now getting its final polish before the doors open for the first passengers.
The terminal will be opened for international operations from 14 July and for domestic operations from 31 July.
Building India's lifelines has suddenly picked up pace. Long ignored, infrastructure projects are now being seen as huge opportunities for attracting investment and creating jobs.
India has set a target of having 500 operational airports in the next decade.
And if this project is anything to go by, the country's infrastructure looks like it is finally ready to take off.

Putrajaya won’t revive crooked bridge, says Nazri

The crooked bridge will not be built. There have been no talks to revive the project
KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The Najib administration has no intentions of reviving the crooked bridge project proposed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed to replace the Johor Causeway, according to Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s department said the government will stick to the decision reached during Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

“The decision of the current government administration stands and follows the decision made by the previous administration, under Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“The crooked bridge will not be built. There have been no talks to revive the project,” Nazri told The Malaysian Insider.

He pointed out bluntly that the government “cannot simply react” to news reports on individuals pushing for its renewal, and stressed that agreements and requests from various parties still needed to be considered before the project could be revived.
Grab a Celcom Blue Bear(TM) and stand to walk away with RM10,000!

“We cannot simply react to reports on the news media. There has to be an official request from the Johor state government (for the revival of the bridge) and Singapore has to also first agree to this.

“The Singaporean government has not agreed to this. So it’s difficult on so many levels to go ahead with the project,” said the law minister.

“During his time, Dr Mahathir had wanted the bridge to be built to ease the congestion of the Causeway. But Singapore did not agree to it (even) back then,” explained the Padang Rengas MP.

The government’s decision comes amid calls by Dr Mahathir and the Sultan of Johor to revive the abandoned project.

The former prime minister has questioned Najib’s reluctance in continuing the project despite a request by the Sultan of Johor for Putrajaya for to revive the replacement for the Causeway that was built in 1923.

“The question that many have asked me, and I am convinced that this is also being asked by a majority of people, is why Datuk Seri Najib as the powerful prime minister is not willing to continue building this bridge?” asked Dr Mahathir in a posting on his popular blog two days’ ago.

“Is Najib tied in a deal with the fifth prime minister? What is the status of this deal?” he added, referring to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi who had cancelled the crooked bridge project.

The proposal to build a “crooked” bridge to replace the ageing Causeway, linking peninsular Malaysia to the island republic, was mooted by Dr Mahathir when he was the prime minister.

However, relations between the two countries were often chilly during his administration, causing Singapore to shoot down his idea which was eventually cancelled by his successor Abdullah.

Besides easing traffic congestion between Johor Baru and Singapore, the proposed bridge would also facilitate the free flow of water in the Tebrau Straits in addition to allowing ships heading to East Asia to bypass Singapore.


In response to the Sultan of Johor’s call for the bridge project to be revived, Najib had said that his
Najib (right) and Singapore PM Lee at their last meeting in KL on June 22. - Picture by Choo Choy May
administration would look into the matter but did not elaborate further.

Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed claimed that Dr Mahathir was nit-picking and that the real reason why he had brought the matter up was because he was “unhappy” with the latest agreements made between Malaysia and Singapore.

“Dr Mahathir is just not happy with the latest Singapore deal. What is the real value of the (crooked) bridge? On a cost basis it won’t make sense to revive the project,” Nur Jazlan told The Malaysian Insider.

The Umno man claimed that even if an alternative bridge were to be built, it would not solve the traffic congestion in the Johor causeway.

“There will still be traffic jams on peak hours at the Causeway, the crooked bridge won’t change that,” he said.

The Pulai MP said the government was already making adjustments to the Causeway to allow more cars and smalls boat, ferries to travel from Johor to Singapore.

“They are already digging a channel to connect the left side of the Causeway to the right side, this will allow cars, boats, ferries to utilise this channel,” said Nur Jazlan.

At Najib’s recent meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a month ago, both leaders had decided to reduce toll charges at the Second Link, one of two bridges linking Malaysia and Singapore, by 30 per cent starting next August 1.

Aside from the toll rate announcement, the two prime ministers had also agreed to move the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) station from Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) by July 1, 2011, as well as setting up a joint venture company called M-S Pte Ltd, to develop the land that is left behind.

However, the issue of the crooked bridge or third bridge was not discussed in their meeting.

Najib had mooted the idea of a third bridge linking the republic to Malaysia in June last year, which he said could enable the development of the eastern side of Johor and districts like Mersing and Desaru.

Anwar's US allies now turned foes?

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim may have done well to counter domestic allegations of his "softened" posturing against an Israeli attack on the "Gaza aid flotilla" but he now risks triggering enmity from his powerful allies in the US.

The shift of US opinion against Anwar is reflected in an article published by The New Ledger yesterday entitled "Anwar Ibrahim in bad decline" where the opposition leader was scathingly criticised for what has been described as his "anti-Semitic" sentiment.

"Renowned Malaysian 'democrat' and perennial prime ministerial aspirant Anwar Ibrahim has been on a sort of Washington, DC, apology tour in the past week.

"He’s got a lot to apologise for: having been a longtime darling of American policymakers of both parties — all eager to identify a moderate Muslim with whom we can do business — he’s embarrassed those friends and mentors with his recent descent into crass anti-Semitism," read the article.

While likening his offensive on "Zionism" to anti-semitism, the article claimed Anwar is playing the double agent -- conjuring and linking Israeli-Jewish conspiracies to the Najib administration for his political survival only to apologise to his US-Jewish allies later on.

It further stated that this was an act of desperation from the former deputy prime minister, now slapped with a second sodomy charge in 10 years, a charge he openly claimed was masterminded by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

"The proximate cause of Anwar Ibrahim’s invocation of anti-Semitic tropes is his own flagging political fortune. For the past decade, he’s been the heir apparent to the Malaysian prime ministerial office as leader of the opposition — and for that same period of time, he’s fallen short.

"He turned his rhetorical guns on the US, too. When Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met with President Barack Obama and agreed to US-Malaysian collaboration on Iran and Afghanistan, Anwar even took to the parliamentary floor to declare that this was evidence of Jewish influence on Malaysian policymaking," read the article.

Shun Anwar, let's make friends with Najib

The article in The New Ledger even went as far as calling US allies to shun Anwar and instead do business with his rival Najib whom the article contended is now more US-friendly than the former deputy premier.

"On a moral level, American policy doesn’t have to choose the lesser of two evils in Malaysia: our relations with that country, and its strategic role, are such that we are under no compulsion to affiliate ourselves with a known purveyor of anti-Semitism.

"On a pragmatic level, the fact is that the man whom Anwar seeks to replace, Prime Minister Najib Razak, is far more friendly to American policy goals than is Anwar himself."

“Now, the best argument for him is that he’s the least worst. He’s not even that, of course — but it’s still a remarkable fall. Anwar may wish to blame the Jews for it, but the sad truth is that he did it all to himself," concluded the article.

The article was published just a day after local Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia quoted a Washington Post article on Anwar's supposed "apologetic" trip to Washington.

He was said to have apologised to various US-Jewish leaders, including House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman, that he regretted using the term "Zionist aggression" to describe the attack on the aid-carrying flotilla that left nine people killed and scores injured.

Umno leaders were quick to exploit the issue, calling Anwar a two-faced "chameleon extraordinaire" who is willing to sacrifice his principle for political support.

And while the opposition leader insisted that it was a mere case of misinterpretation on the term "Zionism" and denied pandering to US pressure, the wounds have been inflicted and his allies and the US media appear to be turning their backs on him.

Nurul Izzah wants speed camera contract reviewed

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar today urged the Transport Ministry to review an "unfair" decision it made to award two companies a multi-million-ringgit contract for a nationwide implementation of a speed camera system to catch traffic offenders.

FMT yesterday reported that local company Tess Capital Sdn Bhd claimed that it has been sidelined in the award of the RM700 million contract for the Automated Enforcement System (AES). The deal went to the two companies whose AES is based on foreign technology.

The AES is made up of cameras installed at accident-prone areas and traffic light junctions. The devices can detect speeding vehicles and those who beat the red light.

Tess Capital claimed that its AES, the product of its homegrown technology, is equal, if not better, than its competitors.

Its executive director Soh Joon Hang said he has lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate what he claimed was the abuse of power and "manipulation" by Road Transport Department over the tender process in 2007.

Tess Capital was established in 2004 and later given an MSC (Multimedia Super Corridor) status a year later. Soh said his company was officially recognised as AES supplier by the New South Wales government after it had passed a stringent 18-month trial in 2008.

'Make dealings transparent'

Said Nurul Izzah: "I think Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha should seriously address this issue (awarding the contract) and find out how this could have taken place. This is wrong.”

She added that Tess Capital deserved to know why it was not chosen or least be treated fairly.

"It is hard enough to research and develop something locally with your own funds. If your own government doesn't support your initiative, it will eventually discourage other local companies

from developing their own technology," she said.

Nurul Izzah said it is widely known that the Transport Ministry has "always given priority” to certain companies, and urged for transparency in its dealings.

"One of the points in the 10th Malaysia Plan was to support innovation to spur economic growth. In the last stimulus package, the government allocated RM10 billion for the Working Capital Guarantee Scheme and invariably the funds will be given to government-tendered projects -- meaning crony companies. But only RM150 million was set aside for the creation of innovative high-tech companies. Why?"

"If we are really supporting innovation, the ones in need of backing are companies like Tess Capital. I am glad that Tess Capital is brave enough to lodge a report with the MACC,” she said.

“But now we must ensure that the MACC will investigate this matter properly. Is the tender process in accordance with international standards?"

Nurul Izzah also questioned whether the ministry had taken into account Tess Capital's MSC status.

"What's the use of awarding that status if it doesn't help our local companies win a tender? The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry has complained that many companies have not survived long; is this because of our government's attitude?"

Nurul Izzah said the Tess Capital case was only the tip of the iceberg, adding that the same problem also plagues all small and medium enterprises in the country.

"It (awarding contracts) is really skewed towards those 'special' companies,” she said.

MACC right not to go to London, says Megat Najmuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) made the right decision in not going to London to record a statement from private investigator P Balasubramaniam, MACC advisory committee member Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said here.

He said Balasubramaniam should instead come home and give the statement voluntarily to the authorities in relation to the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

"I am a bit sad. This whole thing has turned into a political game. It is ridiculous to go over there. The process will involve a lot of cost and a waste of taxpayers' money," he said after the MACC announced on Wednesday it had cancelled its plan to meet the private eye in London.

"Of course, we cannot force him to come back but it's better that he comes back and gives his evidence voluntarily. Don't play around anymore," he said.

Megat Najmuddin, who is also president of the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance, is confident that the government would provide Balasubramaniam with the necessary protection.

He also called on political parties to stop using the issue of enforcement agencies for their own gain.

"Law and order should not be compromised. Enforcement agencies need to stay away from this," he said.

Balasubramaniam created a controversy when he announced on July 3, 2008, that he would announce his sworn affidavit on the murder of Altantuya.

However, the next day, he withdrew the affidavit and issued a second one at a media conference before disappearing with his family.

Yesterday, MACC investigations director Mustafar Ali said the MACC had sent questions to Balasubramaniam's lawyer, Americk Singh Sidhu, through a courier.

He said Americk Singh had agreed to send the answers to the MACC as soon as possible.

"Balasubramaniam's lawyer, via an e-mail, on Thursday agreed to submit the questions to him and also agreed that the questions be sent through a courier," Mustafar said.

- Bernama

Anwar, Najib Vie for International Cred

(Asia Sentinel) ImageFacing challenges at home, Najib attempts to repair his overseas image to match the opposition leader's

Since becoming prime minister, Najib Tun Razak has faced serious challenges at home in trying to rebuild the image of his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition amidst the schisms and controversies that have afflicted the three main coalition parties. His task of strengthening and revitalising his coalition has been made much more precarious by the political pressure he has been subjected to by the Anwar Ibrahim-led opposition.
 
While trying to keep up his political momentum at home, Najib has been trying to also juggle the task of rebuilding his image on the international stage, especially vis-à-vis that of Anwar, who continues to enjoy the international image of both a moderate Muslim and an opposition figure who has been grievously wronged by two trials regarded overseas as trumped up in the attempt to drive him from politics or worse. And if recent events are any indication, as in the domestic controversies that have off-and-on gripped Najib’s government, Anwar is not likely to cede much ground on the international stage either.

Anwar’s international reputation and credibility, particularly in the West, were cemented during his days as finance minister much of the 1990s, which culminated in his falling-out with the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Back then he quickly came to embody the image – at least among those sympathetic to the so-called Washington consensus - of a moderate with a learned appreciation of the intricacies of maneuvering through an international financial crisis. 

Between his release from prison in 2004 and winning his current parliamentary seat, Anwar Ibrahim reaffirmed his ties and visibility abroad. Perhaps this was to be expected given he was forbidden by Malaysian law from immediately jumping back into the political fray and running for office. The period coincided with lecturing stints at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities in the US and Oxford University in the UK, not to mention that they took him to familiar locales (especially Washington, D.C.) and among some friendly circles.

It was also during this period that Najib’s star within Umno was on the ascendency. By the time the 2008 general election rolled around in March, then-prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was already mired in a serious internal political struggle within Umno and the political assault from Mahathir did not help Badawi’s attempts to move Umno and the country beyond the politically crippling grip of the former premier, who rarely passed up an opportunity to indulge in Washington-bashing; or for that matter, being his prickly self toward the West. To be sure, most of this sentiment was tailor-made for domestic political consumption.

As the handwriting on the wall for Abdullah Badawi became apparent following the Barisan’s meek performance in the 2008 general election, Najib, the prime minister-in-waiting, also found himself in the dubious position of being propped up by his political mentor and anti-Washington demagogue, Mahathir.

Already having been embroiled – and internationally tarnished – by allegations over the gruesome murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaaribuu in 2006 by two of his bodyguards and by allegations of corruption over the purchase of French submarines, Najib’s close political links to Mahathir may have helped consolidate his political stake within Umno, but it would be safe to say it hardly helped to make Najib a sweetheart in either Washington or other western capitals.

In an effort to improve his overseas image and to seek to blunt Anwar’s, Najib even before he took office had the government contract with the international public relations powerhouse Apco at a cost of RM28 million  That has backfired to some extent through Anwar’s and the opposition’s allegations that Apco also does work for the Israeli government.

It is against this backdrop that there was much hullaballoo made in the state-controlled media of Najib’s ‘Kodak moment’ during his meeting with President Barack Obama during the nuclear security summit in Washington, DC in April. While it symbolized Najib’s stepping out on his own on the international stage – and out of the shadow of his anti-western political mentor – it arguably enabled the prime minster to appear, after all, less a novice, at least vis-à-vis Anwar, especially in Washington.

Piggy-backing on this encounter with Obama, the prime minister’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, too was the beneficiary of some apparent international notoriety as she was honored with the International Peace and Harmony Award. Given some of the critical coverage that the prime minister’s wife had attracted in the alternative media, such international exposure for the couple  – at least on the home front – helped provide a favorable narrative internationally.

For his part Anwar, having become embroiled in another sodomy trial, has been diligent about helping to keep some of the international community’s attention on Najib’s government by stressing the issue of political persecution in Malaysia. This is evident in how his legal team has sought to portray the sodomy case.

Beyond this, Anwar has continued to cultivate his international links. Just as the hoopla from Najib’s trip to the United States was winding down, Anwar was to feature at the Oslo Freedom Forum in late April. More recently, he renewed old and enduring ties with associates in the United States during a visit centered around a presentation on Islam and democracy in Southeast Asia delivered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C.

Anwar will continue to rely on his international reputation and image as a credible democrat – and a moderate, internationally renowned Muslim figure to sustain his domestic political ambitions. It is, incidentally, also in this light that we can interpret Anwar’s recent ‘regret’, as reported in a Washington Post article, for invoking the reference of ‘Zionist aggression’ in his characterization of the flotilla incident off the coast of Gaza. Surely, Anwar must have realized that he had stepped just a bit too far and can ill afford to compromise his credentials in the international community as a moderate.      

Just as Anwar sees the inherent value of his international goodwill both for himself and for the prospects for democratic reforms in Malaysia, Najib has also revealed his intentions by retreating from the anti-Washington rhetoric that was his political mentor’s signature and simultaneously repair his own international image, whilst hoping to lessen the overwhelming advantage and goodwill Anwar continues to enjoy in the West.

Turning MACC into a law unto itself

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

A certain member of Parliament heading an MACC committee has suggested that MACC should not only be given more money, as if the tens of millions of ringgit of government funds already dished out are still insufficient, but also the power to prosecute cases investigated by that organisation itself. A monstrous idea even if the MACC had a reputation for the highest professional integrity which, of course, it hasn’t. The fact of the matter is that this much touted independent corruption fighting outfit modelled on the Hong Kong ICAC continues to be regarded with a degree of disdain.

The MAC does not enjoy the cachet and the public trust and confidence of the Malaysian public. Only corrupt politicians and public servants have complete trust in the MACC, but, sadly, for all the wrong reasons. Someone somewhere has to have his head examined for even thinking of making the MACC a law unto itself. Has the YB concerned not heard of the need for a system of checks and balances or the vital necessity of avoiding a conflict of interest situation in the conduct of public affairs as a means of reducing corruption? The whole harebrained suggestion is akin to allowing the Attorney-General to double as a judge in a case he has decided as AG to prosecute! He may well relish the idea, but will justice be served in the process? Or perhaps we don’t care.

The MACC is apparently only good at bleating about insufficient funding. Many anti-corruption agencies in countries much larger and better endowed than Malaysia would drop on their knees to thank God the Almighty for a drop of what we apportion to the MACC to do the work expected of them, but sadly they have failed to deliver. It is really quite pointless defending them on the grounds that they are still new. The acronym MACC may be new, and we sometimes forget that this is the same old wine-turned vinegar presented in a new bottle. By continually saying that they need even more resources, they are publicly admitting, and Transparency International HQ in Berlin please note, that corruption in Malaysia has become endemic in the system and has assumed Sub-Saharan African proportions. By their own admission, they have failed to arrest the spiralling problem of corruption in this country.

If the corrupt are crawling thick on the ground, in their thousands, why is it that the MACC has been so singularly unsuccessful in pulling in the bigger species such as cabinet ministers, chief ministers, menteris besar and others of their ilk? By your failure, are you intimating that Malaysian public figures are men and women of probity, honour, integrity and totally incorruptible? The money you ask for will be there, but we want to see some results. Is that too much to ask of our MACC that is proudly trumpeted and proclaimed as being based on the Hong Kong anti-corruption model? You can adopt any model, but do not forget that external factors can only be as influential as your internal weaknesses will allow. To use a soccer analogy, do you think adopting the German soccer model will make the slightest bit of difference to the moribund Malaysian national soccer team?

The MACC will not earn its spurs unless and until it is placed under “an all-party” parliamentary committee, and not Najib who himself has many allegations of impropriety to contend with. I do not believe that the chief commissioner has the courage to investigate allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister, and other high officers of state under existing arrangements. Your claims to professional independence in the present circumstances are nothing if not spurious to say the least.

The MACC is its own worst enemy. It is run, and I have no doubt in my mind, by people who are totally unsophisticated in the art of damage control. Even with its reputation in tatters resulting from its questionable interrogation methods in the Teoh Beng Hock case, it is insistent that it will not allow a video camera into the room in which its officers will record a statement of a witness in London which they are going to conduct shortly. It will also not allow a lawyer to be present during the interview of the witness. I am totally lost for words to describe the obtuseness of our corruption fighters. How on earth do they expect us to take them seriously when they cannot appreciate the fact that their actions are under constant scrutiny, and we are watching for signs that they can be trusted? They have to earn our trust by their actions which have to be grounded firmly in public duty for the public good. In short, In God We Trust, in the MACC we don’t without first seeing the colour of their money. Our “independent” MACC has its work cut out for it.

Suara Perkasa hauled up over ISA call

The Malaysian Insider 
By G. Manimaran

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — The Home Ministry has asked Suara Perkasa to explain why its maiden issue published this week had called for the arrest of MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The Malaysian Insider understands the chief editor of the Malay right wing group Perkasa publication was asked to attend a meeting at the Home Ministry in Putrajaya at 5pm today. Another meeting has been scheduled for Monday, newspaper officials said.

"Actually two Home Minstry officers came to our office and took several first edition of the Suara Perkasa and asked the editor (Amirudin Mohamed) to see them at their office," the newspaper's chief editor Daud Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider.

"The meeting took place for an hour and after that, they asked me to see them next Monday, perhaps there are some matters they are not satisfied and want to see the chief editor," he added.

Earlier, Perkasa sources revealed the meeting with the authorities.

“Yes, the Home Ministry has called in the Suara Perkasa chief editor today, the meeting is going on now and it is with the secretary-general,” a Perkasa source told The Malaysian Insider.

Wee, who is also deputy education minister, has said he is considering suing the newspaper for its report. Perkasa had slammed Wee for apparently questioning Malay rights when he reportedly asked recently if the Mara scholarship programme for Bumiputera students would be scrapped together with the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships.

“Perkasa urges the Government to arrest Wee Ka Siong under the ISA (Internal Security Act),” said Perkasa deputy president Datuk Abdul Rahman Abu Bakar in the front-page article of the newspaper’s maiden issue.

The ministry, which has powers over all publications in the country, had earlier disclosed it will not renew the publishing permit for Suara Keadilan as it was dissatisfied with the PKR newspaper’s explanation for its last issue headlined “Felda Bankrupt”. Printing permits are issued annually but can be retracted by the ministry.

Felda, the federal land development authority, has threatened a RM200 million suit against the PKR paper, its publishers and printers, for the report which it had denied despite admitting that its cash reserves had dwindled from RM4 billion in 2004 to some RM1.35 billion last year.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders were outraged over the non-renewal of permit for Suara Keadilan and pointed out to possible double standards as Suara Perkasa could continue despite invoking the ISA.

But Daud added he had no problems about meeting the authorities which recently issued the printing permit to the Malay rights group.

"I have no issues to meet them if called. I came to this field with the awareness of the risks and challenges that have to be faced, so I have no problems," he said when asked what action the ministry might take against the newspaper.

"This is a normal thing, they want to monitor our publication … so they come here," he added.

Asked if the ministry action was linked to a statement by Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin seeking the authorities to investigate Suara Keadilan for publishing an inflammatory article, Daud said he would refrain from connecting today's action to anyone in particular.

Daud is expected to meet senior ministry officials at noon on Monday.

Independent Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali formed Perkasa in the aftermath of Election 2008 and has been fighting against what he said were attempts to erode Malay rights.

The newspaper is sold for RM 2 and is funded by Media Perkasa Sdn Bhd which has a paid-up capital of RM500,000.

Penans’ cry of desperation from Long Sebayang

I received the following alert from Long Sebayang in Limbang. The livelihood of Penan communities is being threatened by a politically well-connected timber company. It’s really the last stand for Along Sega, a much-respected local Penan leader.

View Larger Map
Report of 26 June 2010, Blockade in Long Sebayang.
Today, Penans from 10 communities are unified in Long Sebayang, two communities are settled Penans, eight are nomadic. The big chief Along Sega in charge of the 10 communities are present.

On the site, the Long Sebayang village is situated just around 4km from the camp of a timber company. Petronas, the natural gas and petrol company is also present; they are actually building the office and worker houses for a future gas pipe line going through the area. The Penans and Petronas share a good relationship here: the office and houses are built next to the village; Petronas apparently pays RM2,000 per month to rent the land of Penan. Petronas has also given the contract for the wood they need to build the camp to the Penans instead of the timber company and after three years, when their work here will be finished they will give all the buildings and materials, such as generators or chainsaws to the Penan community. All this means that for Petronas (which is owned by Malaysian government), the owners of the land are the Penans.

The timber company doesn’t agree and when the Penans have finished preparing some wood board they come with the bulldozers and allegedly steal the wood, making it impossible for the community to honour their contract with Petronas – the only income they have. The timber company says that as they have the titles for the land this wood is their property for the next 60 years (the duration of the licence).

The Long Sebayang community has settled here for four generations – a long time before the company arrived – and they used to live in the area as nomads ever since. According to the timber company, the nomads are always moving so they can’t have a property, but the reality is that the nomads move but on a defined territory so they know what is their land and what is not, and their territory is the one that the timber company and others are occuping today.

The blockade was set up after having mentioned in a letter to the government, the companies and the police that the communities wanted to have a meeting to talk about their land rights, to get them back, or at least to receive another area where they can be sure to preserve their traditional life-style. And if they have no meeting they will set up some blockades.

For now, more than two weeks later, they have received no news from the police, the government or the companies but a violent aggression on one Penan allegedly by a manager of the (timber comapny).

The communities don’t want to hear about monetary compensation from the companies or the government;… they need to create their own commercial activity. For this purpose, they have asked the timber company to use their bulldozer to create a fish pond but the timber company responded that the Penans don’t have the right to create it because the land doesn’t belong to them; the land belongs to the timber company and it owns the titles.

The situation in the area is getting worse: now there are around 10 blockades, 40 per cent of them from Penan, and 60 per cant are from Kelabit (against the gas pipe). In Long Sebayang the children are not sent to school any more: to reach school, they need to leave the village alone for one day and they are scared to come back and find it in ruins. They are used to this kind of behaviour from from the companies, which allegedly uses gangsters to scare them.

Access to medical care is also nearly impossible for them: the closest hospital is four hours away by four-wheel drive and the company allegedly refuses to give a lift to emergency cases when they go down to town. There was the case of a young Penan father, in a state of agony, totally uncounscious, and whimpering for each breath, whom we had to bring urgently to hospital after our visit to Long Sebayang. This happened certainly because of a ‘non alimentation’ that the people doing the blockade have to withstand. This man had eaten nearly nothing for the past two weeks and sometimes nothing at all for several days.

No NGO gave support to them with money or food, no local press covered what happened. If you go to the first village down the mountains out of the jungle, just three hours driving from Long Sebayang, the people don’t even know what is happening up there. Only some local people support them but it is not enough to feed every day the population of 10 villages united as one.

Today the Penans from this area are like kept as ‘otages’ in their own place, not having the right to create commercial activities, being spoiled off their land, and not being able to leave their village for just less than one day.

They are asking urgently for food support from NGOs as well as media and press support because they are determined to keep the blockades until they receive a good resolution of their land issue.

Ghana pay the penalty

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana covers his face in shock after he hits a penalty kick onto the crossbar

Ghana became the final African team to say goodbye to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, losing in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to Uruguay after a 1-1 quarter-final draw at Johannesburg's Soccer City. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved efforts from Stephen Appiah and Dominic Adiyiah, before Sebastian Abreu converted the decisive spot-kick for the South Americans, who reach the last four for the first time since 1970.

The Black Stars will have to be content with having become just the third side from the continent to make the quarter-final stage, although they could have won the match with the final kick of extra time. However, their top scorer, Asamoah Gyan, smashed a penalty-kick off the bar that would have tipped the scales to the Africans after Sulley Muntari and Diego Forlan scored either side of half-time.

Uruguay started the match on the front foot, looking dangerous from dead-ball situations and through the dynamic duo of Forlan and Luis Suarez up front. Suarez had the first real chance in the 11th minute when he beat a Ghanaian defender down the the left. He cut into the box but blasted his shot right at goalkeeper Richard Kingson.

Kingson was the hero for the west Africans twice in short succession. In the 18th minute, from Forlan's corner, he reacted quickly to keep out the ball after it deflected off John Mensah and was seemingly destined for the back of the net. Seven minutes later, he rescued another defender, this time Isaac Vorsah, who missed a tackle allowing Suarez in on goal. But the net-minder just got his fingertips to Suarez's effort to push it over acrobatically.

The Black Stars then settled into the match and only narrowly missed going ahead twice near the half-hour mark. From Ghana's first corner, Vorsah headed just wide of the post. A minute later, Gyan skimmed the other post after a strong run and cross from Kevin Prince Boateng. The Portsmouth midfielder almost opened the scoring himself in spectacular fashion in the 45th minute, but his overhead kick in front of goal spun off his foot. However, the west Africans got their breakthrough on the stroke of half-time as Muntari scored with a curling 35-yard shot that seemed to deceive the goalkeeper before finding the left-hand corner.

But if they ended the first period on a high, the Black Stars started the second on a low as Forlan's free-kick from near the left corner of the box fooled Kingson with its swerve in the 55th minute and bulged the net. The Atletico Madrid hit-man continued to play with confidence and in the 63rd minute he brought the ball down well on the left side of the box in a dangerous position. His cross beat Kingson, but Suarez, who had three goals coming into the match, could only volley into the side-netting at the far post.

As the match opened up and both teams searched for a winner, Suarez had another good opportunity in the 71st minute but from a tight angle on the left he could not beat Kingson, who punched over. Uruguay then threatened twice from Forlan free-kicks. First, he screamed in a shot that beat the keeper but went into the side-netting and next he found Suarez in the box, but the Ajax man's header was tipped over.

Ghana had the clearest opportunities in extra time. Gyan flashed an open header over the bar in the 110th minute, and five minutes later, defender Andres Scotti did just enough to scramble the ball away when it looked like the Ghanaian would score. Boateng almost won it minutes from time, but his header screamed agonisingly wide. And then at the death, from a free-kick into the box, Suarez blocked Appiah's shot on the line only to then stop Adiyiah's headed follow-up with his hand to set up Gyan's penalty miss.

With the gasps of a stunned Soccer City still ringing in the ears, Gyan bravely stepped up to immediately convert the first penalty in the shoot-out. Pereira missed his spot-kick for the Uruguayans, but two consecutive saves by Muslera set up Abreu to be the hero.

Dutch fightback buries Brazil

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02:  Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands scores his side's second

The Netherlands came from behind to break Brazilian hearts and take a huge step towards a third FIFA World Cup™ final appearance. Trailing at half-time to Robinho's early goal in Port Elizabeth, Bert van Marwijk's men drew level through Felipe Melo's own goal before Wesley Sneijder headed the winner with 22 minutes remaining. Brazil ended the game a man short after Felipe Melo's dismissal as, like in Germany four years ago, the South Americans, unbeaten since last October, saw their dream of a sixth world crown dismantled at the quarter-final stage.

For the Dutch, this was their fifth straight win at these finals and leaves them one victory short of a first Final appearance since they finished runners-up twice in the 1970s. They will travel to Tuesday's Cape Town semi-final against Uruguay or Ghana as favourites despite the suspensions of Gregory van der Wiel and Nigel de Jong. History will be on their side too, given the winners of their three previous FIFA World Cup meetings with Brazil marched on to the Final each time.

Yet it was not the Dutch, but Brazil who looked likely to prevail in the first 45 minutes. Robinho had already had one effort ruled offside when he broke the deadlock in the tenth minute. Advancing unchecked from inside his own half, Felipe Melo played a ball straight through the centre of the Dutch defence from the halfway line. Robinho, free of his marker Van der Wiel and played onside by Ooijer, was in the clear and he tucked a first-time finish beyond Maarten Stekelenburg.

The Dutch sought an immediate reply when Kuyt tested Julio Cesar with a low drive but Brazil were carrying the greater threat and, after 25 minutes, they came close to a second. From a half-cleared corner, Dani Alves, out on the right, drove in a low cross and Juan got there first only to shoot over from close range. Robinho then wriggled away from two orange shirts on the left, gave the ball to Luis Fabiano and his flick set up Kaka whose curling shot was bound for the top corner before Stekelenburg reached out his right arm to palm the ball away.

The teams' 1994 quarter-final, won by Brazil, produced five second-half goals and this game grew as a contest after the restart. Second-best in the first half, the Dutch drew level in the 53rd minute. Sneijder had already miscued an attempted volley when, following a short free-kick with Robben, the Inter midfielder swung in a cross from out on the right. Julio Cesar and Felipe Melo got in each other's way with the midfielder unwittingly flicking the ball on into the net.

Michel Bastos, booked before the break and under pressure from Robben, now made way for Gilberto Melo but Brazil's self-assurance was fading. Although Kaka guided a volley just past the post, the Dutch soon had their second goal. It came from the head of Sneijder who profited from slack marking in the six-yard box to nod home his third goal of the finals after Kuyt had flicked on Robben's corner. Brazil's prospects dimmed further with 17 minutes remaining with Felipe Melo’s red card for a stamp on Robben, now a constant nuisance to the South Americans. In a frantic finish it might have got even worse for Dunga's men but Sneijder scuffed his shot straight at Julio Cesar.

Taliban attacks Afghan aid office

The attack in Kunduz was described by the Taliban as a 'welcome' for the US forces commander  [AFP]
(Al Jazeera) At least five people have been killed in an attack by Taliban fighters on the office of a US aid contractor in northern Afghanistan.
Armed men stormed the offices of Development Alternatives Inc (DAI) in Kunduz province early on Friday morning.
The attackers battled with Afghan police for more than five hours before police could secure the building and retrieve the bodies of the victims.
The US embassy in Kabul said that a German security guard was killed during the attack. Four other people, including two Afghan security guards, also died.
At least 20 other people were wounded, according to Mohammad Omar, the Kunduz governor.
One attacker drove a car rigged with explosives and blew himself up outside the gates.
Omar said a second attacker struck inside the base.
"The first suicide attacker detonated at the entrance, and the second detonated inside the premises, killing one foreign national," he said.
Foreign workers inside the compound fled to the roof to escape the fighting.
Message to Petraeus
A spokesman for the Taliban told Al Jazeera that six men took part in the attack, describing it as a "welcome" for General David Petraeus, the new commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Petraeus arrived in Kabul on Friday.
Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from the Afghan capital, said the Taliban's message to Petraeus was that he should start planning the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country.
"But Petraeus is warning of tough fighting in the months to come," she said.
"Really his main test will be in Kandahar if that much-awaited [security] operation begins.
"It's the stronghold of the Taliban. Clearing that area and providing better services for the people there - that will be his test."
Reacting to Friday's attack in Kunduz, Captain Jane Campbell, a spokesman for Nato, said."This attack shows the insurgents' desire to prevent progress, and draws attention to their true goal of serving themselves rather than the people of Afghanistan."
DAI runs two aid programmes in Kunduz, according to the US Agency for International Development.
One programme provides grants for small businesses while the other works with farmers to improve agricultural technology.
The Taliban accused the company of providing intelligence and support to US troops.
Attacks on foreign aid workers are common in Afghanistan.
A 2009 report from the London-based Overseas Development Institute found that Afghanistan was one of the three most dangerous countries in the world for aid workers.

Akta Orang Asli dipinda tanpa perbincangan?

Video: Tears of Top Indian student denied Public University by UMNO led One Malay-sia government.

Indian unity meet to be 'silent' affair

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The “Indian Unity Gathering” slated for July 4 at a hall in Klang will literally be a quiet affair, revealed its coordinator KP Samy today.

Since the police have not issued a permit, he said participants will remain silent throughout the event, which will commence at 1.30pm and end at 5pm.

“I do not blame the police for this as I am aware they are under pressure from certain quarters,” he told a press conference here.

Samy also said the coordinators will hold a prayer session on that day at a temple in Klang to pray for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's good health and the well-being of all Indian Malaysians.

“Then we will march to Dewan Hamzah and we will remain silent in the hall till 5pm before dispersing,” he said, adding that the coordinators will also be fasting from morning.

“V Mugilan, G Kumar Aamaan, V Subramaniam (Barat Maniam) and M Karunanidhi will be joining me in the fast,” he said.

Police report lodged

Meanwhile, Samy also lashed out at MIC's plan to disrupt the gathering.

“I have clarified many times that it is a forum to discuss Indian woes and how to solve them. In fact, I even offered them an avenue to voice out their point of view during the gathering.

“MIC has a strength of one minister and three deputy ministers while we are just a group of five people. Why should they be afraid of us?” he said.

In a related matter, Selangor MIC information chief L Siva Subramaniam confirmed that a police report was filed today at the Klang police station against the gathering.

“We have also requested the Klang local council president Mislan Tugiu not to allow the gathering to take place as it does not have a police permit.” he said.

The gathering's coordinators are also part of the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu or GAS campaign to oust MIC president S Samy Vellu.

Judgment on Soosai's case on July 8

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court fixed July 8 to deliver the judgment in the case of a Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH) attendant and two others charged with forging the death certificate of wanted criminal Michael Soosai.

Judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat set the date after hearing submissions from the prosecution and defence at the end of defence's case.

The prosecution had called in 24 witnesses including S Pallipillamah, the only witness who had told the court that she saw Soosai alive in Madras, South India.

Pallipillamah of Puchong also lodged a police report alleging Soosai had link with her husband's murder in Madras.

The defence, beside calling all the three accused, had also called Soosai's wife S Kumari, 45, who informed the court that she identified her husband's body and then gave permission to her daughter's former fiance, J Kumaresan, to handle the cremation.

She had also told the court that she was informed that her husband's death was due to a heart problem and that she was present when her husband's body was cremated at a crematorium in Cheras.

HKL attendant K Subramaniam, 33, and another person who is still at large, were charged with cheating Dr Wan Mohamed Zamri Wan Nawawi, 45, to induce him to issue the death certificate for Soosai at the HKL mortuary between 11am and 3pm on Sept 12, 2003.

On the second, third and fourth charge, Subramaniam, and another person still at large, were charged with falsifying the hospital's mortuary records dated Sept 12, 2003, Soosai's death certificate and burial permit for the purpose of cheating.

Kumaresan and scrap metal trader V Sanjeev Kumar were charged with abetment in all the offences.

All accused were represented by counsel Naran Singh and Hasnal Rezua Merican while DPP Syed Faisal Syed Amir appeared for prosecution.

- Bernama

About balls and transvestites



Was it not Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who said that Malaysia is a country with first world infrastructure but third world mentality? Guess whom he was talking about.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I receive quite a few ‘hate mails’ from various pro-Umno Malays accusing me of ‘takde telor’ and of being ‘pondan’. If directly translated to English, that would literally mean ‘no balls’ and ‘transvestite’. They are referring, of course, to my so-called ‘cowardly act’ of not being brave enough to face the court and answer to my criminal charges.

Many of those who sent me these hate mails give me the impression that they are the unfortunate recipients of a Malay education. And that is why they have limited brain capacity. These types of people are not trained to think beyond the narrow education and outdated upbringing they were subjected to. It is actually quite entertaining to receive these hate mails from these Malays because it helps reinforce the suspicion I have that they are way inferior in mentality and that ten of them combined can never out-think me.

I mean: it feels great to know that you are smart and they are stupid, don’t you think so? And the current education system is just churning out more and more stupid Malaysians and the fact that many of them will no longer be sent overseas because the country no longer has any money for education with the palaces and white elephants that we have to build further assures me that I shall remain smarter than these poorly educated Malaysians.

What is the fixation that the Malays have with balls and transvestites anyway? Why must everything be measured in terms of balls and pondan? Why must every statement these Malays make be about the size of your balls, and whether you have any or not, and whether you are a woman trapped in a man’s body? All the hate mails I receive from these pro-Umno Malays appears to be about just those two things -- balls and pondan. Why can’t they send me e-mails about other things than just about telor and pondan?

I realise that the most popular TV shows are those featuring pondans. Malays roar with laughter and roll on the floor in stitches when they watch these TV shows of men dressed up as and acting like women. Somehow it really tickles them silly. And if you cruise the back lanes of Kuala Lumpur (or even Kota Bharu) you will find many Malay boys dressed up as girls waiting for Malay men to come pick them up.

Is this why these pro-Umno Malays always send me hate mails about balls and pondans? Is it because many Malays somehow have this fetish about boys dressed up as girls? It really makes me wonder. But I would not have given too much thought to it if not for the fact that all the hate mails I receive seems to be about telor and pondan. Surely it can’t be a coincidence that all these pro-Umno Malays send me hate mails about this same thing.

Another favourite phrase these pro-Umno Malays use is ‘cermin diri sendiri’, which translates to ‘look at yourself in the mirror’. They always tell me: cermin diri sendiri. This is a sort of superiority complex statement meaning you are not pious enough, religious enough, sincere enough, brave enough, educated enough, knowledgeable enough, and so on. In other words, since you are not, then they are. It is like saying “I am better, smarter, more knowledgeable, more educated, etc., than you”.

This one really tickles me pink. They start off by accusing me of having no telor and of being a pondan and then end by suggesting I look at myself in the mirror. But this is exactly a reflection of what they are.

They fear getting rid of the New Economic Policy and still hide behind Ketuanan Melayu because they have no balls and are too pondan to compete in the open market. They know they are failures and that they will fall flat on their faces without protection and crutches. So they will take out their little curved knives and scream, rant and rave and constantly threaten those who oppose the New Economic Policy with another ‘May 13’.

None of these pro-Umno Malays who send me these hate mails accusing me of having no balls and of being pondan dare compete in the world. They insist that the Malays be given special rights and privileges and threaten the life of those who dare suggest that these rights and privileges be abolished. They foam at the mouth as they wave their little curved knives because they are scared stiff that their special rights and privileges are withdrawn and they would be seen for what they are: failures who can’t make it unless they receive protection and crutches.

And I am the one who is a pondan and who has no balls? And I am the one who needs to cermin my face? As I said, that is the problem with those unfortunate enough to have received a Grade C education.

Was it not Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who said that Malaysia is a country with first world infrastructure but third world mentality? Guess whom he was talking about.

Oh, and please keep sending me those hate mails about me having no telor and of being a pondan and so on. Yes, you know whom I am talking about. These hate mails make me feel good. It makes me feel superior when I read those no telor and pondan messages you send me because I am able to reassure myself that I am a cut above you.

I just love it when the pro-Umno Malays who need crutches and protection like the faggots that they are send me e-mails questioning the size of my balls and suggesting that I am a woman trapped in a man’s body. They certainly are candidates for a serious case of needing to cermin diri sendiri.

Malaysians brace for Bala thrilla in London next week

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

UPDATED As the clock ticks down to next week’s thriller-presser by private investigator P Balasubramaniam, there is widespread argument as to whether he and lawyers will really tell all they know about Prime Minister Najib Razak’s role in the Altantuya murder and the Scopenes graft scandal, or will they hold back some for a 'rainy day'.

“For the sake of their personal safety, it makes sense that they may wish to keep the some of the more incriminating evidence until they meet face-to-face with the Malaysian authorities. But even so, from what his lawyers have said, it looks like we can expect a real thriller," PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

From London to Paris

Tian was in London last month and also traveled to Paris with civil rights group SUARAM, where they met Parisian authorities probing Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene submarines from French defense firm DCNS. SUARAM had lodged a complaint with the French prosecutors earlier this year about possible corruption in the deal, which may have set back Malaysian taxpayers by at least 114 euros or RM570 million.

The Scorpenes deal and the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaaribuu are intertwined. Altantuya is believed to have been a go-between in negotiations between Malaysia and DCNS. Najib, who was then the defense minister sanctioning the deal, has been accused by Bala of having been lovers with the 28-year old Altantuya. According to the former police officer, she was killed to stop her from blowing the whistle on the deal, which also involves Najib's close friend Razak Baginda. Bala was hired by Baginda to stop Altantuya from blackmailing him.

Meanwhile, Bala’s lawyer Americk Sidhu has confirmed that Bala will carry on with a press conference on July 7 to debrief the Malaysian public and the world at large on the torrid sex, murder and corruption scandal. His client fled Malaysia in 2008 after making a statutory declaration (see below) that contained many startling and even lurid details of the murder. He also touched on the defense ministry's whopping 1.34 billion euros submarines purchase.

Bala re-emerged from hiding late last year, offering to help the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in their investigations. He also told of how he was offered a RM5 million bribe to leave the country and keep silent on the case by Najib’s brother Nazim Razak and Deepak Jaikishan, a friend of Rosmah's. After delaying for several months, the MACC finally agreed to meet Bala in London July 5 and 6. However, on Wednesday, the commission canceled the meeting, citing advice from the Attorney-General.

“Let me add that whatever advice the MACC may have received from the Attorney General’s Chambers is highly suspect and devoid of any legal basis, but instead smacks of a hastily assembled concoction of very weak excuses designed to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for those who are obviously in control,” Americk said in a statement issued in response to the MACC pullout.

What will Bala reveal this time

On Friday, the MACC told the press that it had sent by courier a list of questions for Bala to answer.

"We contacted his lawyer yesterday and we gave him options either to issue his own statement or to provide us with an affidavit. He agreed to respond to our questions and we have sent it via courier to him late this evening, since MACC is not sending a representative," MACC director of investigations Mustafar Ali said.

Meanwhile, Americk confirmed that Bala would present himself at the venue, the Holiday Villa in London, as scheduled and give a press conference on July 7, regardless of whether the MACC showed up. Bala has promised to make further revelations and all eyes and ears are now trained on what more he will expose.

“I would not wish to speculate too much. It’s just a few days more. But I think it is entirely possible he may give a more details about his meeting with Nazim and Deepak. I think Malaysians are also interested to know about Rosmah’s role in the whole affair,” PKR Youth Chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin told Malaysia Chronicle. Shamsul and his wing were the ones who had initiated the reports with the MACC, urging the corruption agency to investigate without fear or favor.

“It is also not impossible that he may clarify some of the details in his first statutory declaration. For example, the Proton car in front of Razak’s house - was it really Nasir Safar’s? How does he know? After that, he will also be going to Paris to be interviewed by the French authorities. The probe in Paris will centre on the submarines rather than the murder, but either way, Najib’s role will be dredged out whether the MACC goes to London or not.”

Related Stories:

On advice of AG, MACC chickens out of London meet
WILL A HIT SQUAD BE SENT TO GREET BALA IN LONDON NEXT WEEK?

STATUTORY DECLARATION

I, Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal a Malaysian Citizen of full age and residing at [deleted] do solemly and sincerely declare as follows :-

1. I have been a police officer with the Royal Malaysian Police Force having jointed as a constable in 1981 attached to the Police Field Force. I was then promoted to the rank of lance Corporal and finally resigned from the Police Force in 1998 when I was with the Special Branch.

2. I have been working as a free lance Private Investigator since I left the Police Force.

3. Sometime in June or July 2006, I was employed by Abdul Razak Baginda for a period of 10 days to look after him at his office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang between the hours of 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m each working day as apparently he was experiencing disturbances from a third party.

4. I resigned from this job after 2 ½ days as I was not receiving any proper instructions.

5. I was however re-employed by Abdul Razak Baginda on the 05-10-2006 as he had apparently received a harassing phone call from a Chinese man calling himself ASP Tan who had threatened him to pay his debts. I later found out this gentleman was in fact a private investigator called Ang who was employed by a Mongolian woman called Altantuya Shaaribuu.

6. Abdul Razak Baginda was concerned that a person by the name of Altantuya Shaaribuu, a Mongolian woman, was behind this threat and that she would be arriving in Malaysia very soon to try and contact him.

7. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that he was concerned by this as he had been advised that Altantuya Shaaribuu had been given some powers by a Mongolian ‘bomoh’ and that he could never look her in the face because of this.

8. When I enquired as to who this Mongolian woman was, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that she was a friend of his who had been introduced to him by a VIP and who asked him to look after her financially.

9. I advised him to lodge a police report concerning the threatening phone call he had received from the Chinese man known as ASP Tan but he refused to do so as he informed me there were some high profile people involved.

10. Abdul Razak Baginda further told me that Altantuya Shaaribuu was a great liar and good in convincing people. She was supposed to have been very demanding financially and that he had even financed a property for her in Mongolia.

11. Abdul Razak Baginda then let me listen to some voice messages on his handphone asking him to pay what was due otherwise he would be harmed and his daughter harassed.

12. I was therefore supposed to protect his daughter Rowena as well.

13. On the 09.10.2006 I received a phone call from Abdul Razak Baginda at about 9.30 a.m. informing me that Altantuya was in his office and he wanted me there immediately. As I was in the midst of a surveillance, I sent my assistant Suras to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office and I followed a little later. Suras managed to control the situation and had persuaded Altantuya and her two friends to leave the premises. However Altantuya left a note written on some Hotel Malaya note paper, in English, asking Abdul Razak Baginda to call her on her handphone (number given) and wrote down her room number as well.

14. Altantuya had introduced herself to Suras as ‘Aminah’ and had informed Suras she was there to see her boyfriend Abdul Razak Baginda.

15. These 3 Mongolian girls however returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang again, the next day at about 12.00 noon. They did not enter the building but again informed Suras that they wanted to meet Aminah’s boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda.

16. On the 11.10.2006, Aminah returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office on her own and gave me a note to pass to him, which I did. Abdul Razak Baginda showed me the note which basically asked him to call her urgently.

17. I suggested to Abdul Razak Baginda that perhaps it may be wise to arrange for Aminah to be arrested if she harassed him further, but he declined as he felt she would have to return to Mongolia as soon as her cash ran out.

18. In the meantime I had arranged for Suras to perform surveillance on Hotel Malaya to monitor the movements of these 3 Mongolian girls, but they recognized him. Apparently they become friends with Suras after that and he ended up spending a few nights in their hotel room.

19. When Abdul Razak Baginda discovered Suras was becoming close to Aminah he asked me to pull him out from Hotel Malaya.

20. On the 14.10.2006, Aminah turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights when I was not there. Abdul Razak Baginda called me on my handphone to inform me of this so I rushed back to his house. As I arrived, I noticed Aminah outside the front gates shouting “Razak, bastard, come out from the house”. I tried to calm her down but couldn’t so I called the police who arrived in 2 patrol cars. I explained the situation to the police, who took her away to the Brickfields police station.

21. I followed the patrol cars to Brickfields police station in a taxi. I called Abdul Razak Baginda and his lawyer Dirren to lodge a police report but they refused.

22. When I was at the Brickfields police station, Aminah’s own Private Investigator, one Mr. Ang arrived and we had a discussion. I was told to deliver a demand to Abdul Razak Baginda for USD$500,000.00 and 3 tickets to Mongolia, apparently as commission owed to Aminah from a deal in Paris.

23. As Aminah had calmed down at this stage, a policewoman at the Brickfields police station advised me to leave and settle the matter amicably.

24. I duly informed Abdul Razak Baginda of the demands Aminah had made and told him I was disappointed that no one wanted to back me up in lodging a police report. We had a long discussion about the situation when I expressed a desire to pull out of this assignment.

25. During this discussion and in an attempt to persuade me to continue my employment with him, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that :-

25.1 He had been introduced to Aminah by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.

25.2 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak informed Abdul Razak Baginda that he had a sexual relationship with Aminah and that [deleted by nat out of respect to the family of the deceased].

25.3 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted Abdul Razak Baginda to look after Aminah as he did not want her to harass him since he was now the Deputy Prime Minister.

25.4 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had all been together at a dinner in Paris.

25.5 Aminah wanted money from him as she felt she was entitled to a USD$500,000.00 commission on a submarine deal she assisted with in Paris.

26. On the 19.10.2006, I arrived at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights to begin my night duty. I had parked my car outside as usual. I saw a yellow proton perdana taxi pass by with 3 ladies inside, one of whom was Aminah. The taxi did a U-turn and stopped in front of the house where these ladies rolled down the window and wished me ‘Happy Deepavali’. The taxi then left.

27. About 20 minutes later the taxi returned with only Aminah in it. She got out of the taxi and walked towards me and started talking to me. I sent an SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda informing him “Aminah was here”. I received an SMS from Razak instructing me “To delay her until my man comes”.

28. Whist I was talking to Aminah, she informed me of the following :-

28.1 That she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Singapore with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

28.2 That she had also met Abdul Razak Baginda and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a dinner in Paris.

28.3 That she was promised a sum of USD$500,000.00 as commission for assisting in a Submarine deal in Paris.

28.4 That Abdul Razak Baginda had bought her a house in Mongolia but her brother had refinanced it and she needed money to redeem it.

28.5 That her mother was ill and she needed money to pay for her treatment.

6. That Abdul Razak Baginda had married her in Korea as her mother is Korean whilst her father was a Mongolian/Chinese mix.

28.7 That if I wouldn’t allow her to see Abdul Razak Baginda, would I be able to arrange for her to see Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

29. After talking to Aminah for about 15 minutes, a red proton aeroback arrived with a woman and two men. I now know the woman to be Lance Corporal Rohaniza and the men, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar. They were all in plain clothes. Azilah walked towards me while the other two stayed in the car.

30. Azilah asked me whether the woman was Aminah and I said ‘Yes’. He then walked off and made a few calls on his handphone. After 10 minutes another vehicle, a blue proton saga, driven by a Malay man, passed by slowly. The driver’s window had been wound down and the driver was looking at us.

31. Azilah then informed me they would be taking Aminah away. I informed Aminah they were arresting her. The other two persons then got out of the red proton and exchanged seats so that Lance Corporal Rohaniza and Aminah were in the back while the two men were in the front. They drove off and that is the last I ever saw of Aminah.

32. Abdul Razak Baginda was not at home when all this occurred.

33. After the 19.10.2006, I continued to work for Abdul Razak Baginda at his house in Damansara Heights from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m. the next morning, as he had been receiving threatening text messages from a woman called ‘Amy’ who was apparently ‘Aminah’s’ cousin in Mongolia.

34. On the night of the 20.10.2006, both of Aminah’s girl friends turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house enquiring where Aminah was. I informed them she had been arrested the night before.

35. A couple of nights later, these two Mongolian girls, Mr. Ang and another Mongolian girl called ‘Amy’ turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house looking for Aminah as they appeared to be convinced she was being held in the house.

36. A commotion began so I called the police who arrived shortly thereafter in a patrol car. Another patrol car arrived a short while later in which was the investigating officer from the Dang Wangi Police Station who was in charge of the missing persons report lodged by one of the Mongolians girls, I believe was Amy.

37. I called Abdul Razak Baginda who was at home to inform him of the events taking place at his front gate. He then called DSP Musa Safri and called me back informing me that Musa Safri would be calling handphone and I was to pass the phone to the Inspector from Dang Wangi Police Station.

38. I then received a call on my handphone from Musa Safri and duly handed the phone to the Dang Wangi Inspector. The conversation lasted 3 – 4 minutes after which he told the girls to disperse and to go to see him the next day.

39. On or about the 24.10.2006, Abdul Razak Baginda instructed me to accompany him to the Brickfields police station as he had been advised to lodge a police report about the harassment he was receiving from these Mongolian girls.

40. Before this, Amy had sent me an SMS informing me she was going to Thailand to lodge a report with the Mongolian consulate there regarding Aminah’s disappearance. Apparently she had sent the same SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda. This is why he told me he had been advised to lodge a police report.

41. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that DPS Musa Safri had introduced him to one DSP Idris, the head of the Criminal division, Brickfields police station, and that Idris had referred him to ASP Tonny.

42. When Abdul Razak Baginda had lodged his police report at Brickfields police station, in front of ASP Tonny, he was asked to make a statement but he refused as he said he was leaving for overseas. He did however promise to prepare a statement and hand ASP Tonny a thumb drive. I know that this was not done as ASP Tonny told me.

43. However ASP Tonny asked me the next day to provide my statement instead and so I did.

44. I stopped working for Abdul Razak Baginda on the 26.10.2006 as this was the day he left for Hong Kong on his own.

45. In mid November 2006, I received a phone call from ASP Tonny from the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah asking me to see him regarding Aminah’s case. When I arrived there I was immediately arrested under S.506 of the Penal Code for Criminal intimidation.

46. I was then placed in the lock up and remanded for 5 days. On the third day I was released on police bail.

47. At the end of November 2006, the D9 department of the IPK sent a detective to my house to escort me to the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah. When I arrived, I was told I was being arrested under S.302 of the Penal Code for murder. I was put in the lock up and remanded for 7 days.

48. I was transported to Bukit Aman where I was interrogated and questioned about an SMS I had received from Abdul Razak Baginda on the 19.10.2006 which read “delay her until my man arrives”. They had apparently retrieved this message from Abdul Razak Baginda’s handphone.

49. They then proceeded to record my statement from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. everyday for 7 consecutive days. I told them all I knew including everything Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had told me about their relationships with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but when I came to sign my statement, these details had been left out.

50. I have given evidence in the trial of Azilah, Sirul and Abdul Razak Baginda at the Shah Alam High Court. The prosecutor did not ask me any questions in respect of Aminah’s relationship with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or of the phone call I received from DSP Musa Safri, whom I believe was the ADC for Datuk Seri Najib Razak and/or his wife.

51. On the day Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested, I was with him at his lawyers office at 6.30 a.m. Abdul Razak Baginda informed us that he had sent Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak an SMS the evening before as he refused to believe he was to be arrested, but had not received a response.

52. Shortly thereafter, at about 7.30 a.m., Abdul Razak Baginda received an SMS from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and showed, this message to both myself and his lawyer. This message read as follows :- “ I am seeing IGP at 11.00 a.m. today …… matter will be solved … be cool”.

53. I have been made to understand that Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested the same morning at his office in the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang.

54. The purpose of this Statutory declaration is to :-

54.1 State my disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.

54.2 Bring to the notice of the relevant authorities the strong possibility that there are individuals other than the 3 accused who must have played a role in the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.

54.3 Persuade the relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the Court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions case.

54.4 Emphasize the fact that having been a member of the Royal Malaysian Police Force for 17 years I am absolutely certain no police officer would shoot someone in the head and blow up their body without receiving specific instructions from their superiors first.

54.5. Express my concern that should the defence not be called in the said murder trial, the accused, Azilah and Sirul will not have to swear on oath and testify as to the instructions they received and from whom they were given.

55. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.

SUBCRIBED and solemnly )

declared by the abovenamed )

Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal ]

this day of 2008 )

Before me,

………………………………….

Commissioner for Oath

Kuala Lumpur