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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Victims of severe abuse: children, Penans, migrants

I think both the Sun and the Star headlined today with an article on concerning migrants.
I am rather suspicious of the lip service the government often pays to this issue, which might explain why after years of abuse, these things still go on.
Well done to YB Gobind Singh and colleagues who have been consistently calling attention to these issues. Some highlights:
The report, compiled during a two-week visit by the UN working group, also covered the situation of undocumented migrants.
The working group said it recorded complaints that some detainees had been beaten up with weapons or tools or were punched, kicked or had dirty water thrown on them.
Some were held in small rooms without access to food, and were not informed of their right to consult a lawyer or to contact their family, it said.
As Malaysia has yet to ratify the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, refugees and asylum-seekers are also among those detained, convicted and jailed.
Amnesty International (AI) had, on June 17, said that Malaysia is a “dangerous” place for refugees who are often abused, arrested and “treated like criminals”.
There are nearly 90,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in the country, but AI estimates that the number of unregistered refugees lies at more than twice the official figure.
Gobind also leapt to the defense of young Danial, who was allegedly hit by a van driven by an auxilliary policeman who fled the scene. The policeman has not been arrested.
In other news of abuse, seven more Penan rape survivors come forward.
I doubt there’s anything I could write to lend any more weight to their stories :( -
J’s story
According to the PSG report, J is a 23-year-old Penan. As the only daughter in her family, sometimes she would be left alone at home while other family members went out hunting. According to J, many loggers would often visit her village, and sometimes they would be drunk and “create chaos”.
J was raped when she was 14 by a logger. The logger, in his 30s, had proposed marriage but she had refused him. One night he returned to J’s house and raped her. J did not tell her family about the rape because she was afraid the logger might kill her family.
He persisted in his proposals even after the alleged rape, telling her that “you have already slept with me, it’s better for you if you marry me.” Eventually she gave in to his demands for her to marry him, as she was worried for her family’s safety.
J says the logger abused her physically and psychologically. If she refused him sex, he would beat her, sometimes with a stick. When she fell pregnant in 2003, he sent her back to her village and then he disappeared.
J did not want to return to the camp to look for him because, she said, “I don’t know how to get there and I don’t want to see him again.” She is looking after her child, now seven. She feels the logger has ruined her life and does not want to re-marry, because she does not trust men.
She wants to focus her energy on her child. She hopes the child will go to school and then help protect the Penan community from exploitation by outsiders.
C’s story
C, now 24, was tricked into marrying a logger when she was 17. The logger told her he was single, and persuaded her to allow her village headman to conduct a ceremonial, unregistered, marriage.
The logger’s fellow workers later told C he was already married and had four children. He denied this, but disappeared later when C was three months pregnant.
C remains angry with the man because he cheated her. She married a Penan man in 2007, and has a two-year-old daughter with him. Her husband treats her well, though she remains worried about money to educate her children.
C says camp workers often come to her village in groups of three or four, looking to “main perempuan” (harass girls).
Under Section 375 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Code, procuring a sexual relationship under the pretense of promising to marry a person, when in fact the perpetrator is already married, falls under “misconception of fact” – a criminal offence of rape, even if consent is obtained.
A’s story
A was abducted, together with her sister, after two logging employees broke into their house in 2001. The sisters were forced into a vehicle and taken to a logging camp.
A was separated from her sister in the camp. She was beaten and raped almost daily for a week. Someone in authority at the camp discovered her plight and sent her back to her village. She was pregnant by then.
Currently, A’s elder sister has been caring for A’s child, since A gave birth. A is ill and cannot work. She has not seen the logger since escaping from the camp and has remained single. She considered making a police report but could not, because she simply did not know how, and did not have the money to travel to the police station.
The headman and villagers went to the camp following A’s escape home, but were unable to find A’s sister, or the loggers who had abducted them.
A’s sister, who had been taken to the logging camp together with her, is still missing. A is uncertain, but thinks her missing sister might still be in the camp.
E’s story
E was abducted on a motorcycle and raped by two men in a logging camp in 1996. Following her abduction and rape, her fellow villagers found her in the camp.
They took the two loggers to the village and locked them in a house there, but the foreman and a group of loggers came and broke the lock and freed the two captives.
Most of the villagers were angry, but they felt they could do nothing because the logging company was “too powerful” and the police would always take their side.
The other three cases all involved loggers – Iban, Chinese or Indonesian, from outside the survivors’ area.
The other survivors also recounted common features of violence, abduction, cheating, exploitation or abandonment once the Penan woman became pregnant.

UK govt refuses to extradite RPK?

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein may have indirectly revealed the refusal of the British government to extradite controversial fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK). The minister said relevant authorities from both nations have met on the matter but extradition "requires cooperation from both sides".

"And if the position and policy of the other nation does not allow the person to be taken back home for action, to face justice, what other choices do we have?" Hishammuddin told reporters at Parliament House here.

Hishammuddin was responding to Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's reprimand against the Malaysian police for alleged inaction against RPK.

The webmaster of Malaysia Today fled the country and legal persecution following his allegation that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and wife, Rosmah Mansor, are involved in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribuu.

Khairy said the entire nation is aware of his location when the blogger appeared publicly in London to speak at events organised by PKR.

"It's unfair to say that the authorities are not doing anything," retorted Hishammuddin, the Semborong MP.

"The Inspector-General of Police (Musa Hassan) has already replied to the questions posed by Khairy,” he said.

Malaysian and UK police have met

The Malaysian police have met with UK's metropolitan police while their intelligence agency has engaged Wisma Putra, said Hishammuddin, maintaining that if one party disagrees to an extradition, it cannot take place.

"So what do we do? Go into a third country and kidnap him or smuggle him out like a terrorist? Never, it is not our way," he said.

Asked if there was any extradition agreement between the two countries, he said he was unaware of it.

"I'm not sure actually. But I have checked with the UK authorities; we have been doing this for a long time and we were aware of all the matters stated yesterday and they have their own position; even with the matter of extradition, you need the cooperation of the party concerned.

"And this has been handled the best way we can. So the most important matter now is to focus on the allegations made by him," said Hishammuddin.

MACC's questions arrive in a London taxi

(Malaysiakini)The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) list of questions to private investigator P Balasubramaniam is now in his lawyer's possession in London.

balasubramaniam holiday villa 060710The MACC papers, which came in an envelope, were sent by taxi to Balasubramaniam's lawyer Americk Sidhu at his London hotel.

The questions were sent to Balasubramaniam via courier service after the MACC backpedalled on its pledge to send officers to London to record his statement, scheduled for yesterday.

"We can confirm we've received the questions and are studying them at the moment,” said Americk, who declined to elaborate.

azlanBalasubramaniam is now expected to reply in the form of an affidavit.
The MACC is investigating his claim that several personalities had coerced him into retracting a statutory declaration concerning the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The personalities allegedly include Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's younger brother Nazim and businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

After the incident, Balasubramaniam fled the country and continued to make more allegations against Najib, his wife Rosmah and even claimed that the premier's former aide Nasir Safar was at the scene when Altantuya was arrested by the police.

Press conference on Wednesday

Despite MACC officers cancelling the scheduled interview, Balasubramaniam and his lawyers waited at the scheduled venue - Holiday Villa in Leinster Gardens.

balasubramaniam holiday villa 060710His lawyers include Americk and Manjit Singh Dhillon. They were accompanied by PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim and blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.

"We waited from 10am and left at 1pm," said Americk.

While waiting, the group enjoyed ice kacang at a Malaysian restaurant in the hotel. A brief interlude saw the arrival of the MACC package by taxi.

Balasubramaniam will hold a press conference at the same venue at 11am on Wednesday (7pm Malaysian time) where he is expected to make further revelations.

DANNY LIM is a freelance writer and photographer currently based in the UK.

Najib says economy may slow down

PUTRAJAYA, July 6 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak braced Malaysians today for the possibility that the economy could slow down in the second half of the year, in a development which would put his government’s economic growth targets at risk.

The prime minister said the (possible) slowdown was due to external factors.

“Therefore it is important for us to have a robust domestic demand to spur and balance the economy,” he told a Budget 2011 consultation at the Finance Ministry today.

Malaysia’s economy grew by an impressive 10.1 per cent in the first quarter of this year, marking two straight quarters of growth and three straight quarters of serious contraction last year.

The Najib government has been trying to introduce economic reforms and spending cuts but has been faced with stiff public opposition.

Najib has also been trying to lift Malaysia’s profile as a destination for foreign investment to help the country achieve an average GDP growth of at least 6 per cent per annum over the next five years.

Malaysia’s FDI rates have fallen faster than other regional players like Singapore and China, and at the same time capital outflows have dampened private domestic investments. Net portfolio and direct investment outflows had reached US$61 billion (RM197 billion) in 2008 and 2009 according to official data.

The government will allocate between RM90 billion and RM91 billion for expenditure in the first two years of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) Najib’s government has set among the key challenges of the 10MP the stimulation of the private sector investments to grow at 12.8 per cent annually or RM115 billion.

It was reported that the country may not be able to achieve the six per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target if the 12.8 per cent growth is not achieved within five years.

Najib said today that while the global economic environment had improved, there are downside risks to the recovery, including the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the slow recovery in the United States.

He said that despite the uncertainty in the external sector, the Malaysian economy remains resilient.

To sustain the growth momentum, he said the government will ensure the implementation and close monitoring of all measures outlined in the 10th Malaysia Plan.

He added the private sector will also be the main driver to achieving Malaysia’s targeted growth, while the government plays a facilitative role.

“We should work together as a team, in the spirit of 1 Malaysia, to boost the nation’s economy,” he said.

Life is all tents, shacks and perils

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today,

AMPANG: The 10x10 feet tents and spartan shacks in Kampung Berembang, next to the Gleneagles Hospital on busy Jalan Ampang, are anything but safe for the women and children in the village.
In fact, deaths as a result of accidents are a common occurrence here where a patch of green for the children to play on is non-existent.
This has been the fate of the villagers as they await the houses that the former Selangor Barisan Nasional regime promised them when it rudely evicted hundreds of families in 2006.
Said a former soldier, Norazlihan Ali, who lives in his 15x15ft shack: “The government and the developer must understand that it's been four years and we are still living without adequate facilities.
“This used to be a big kampung with more than 1,000 villagers but most have left after the forced eviction in 2006.
“It was frightening how they forced us out. Now there are only 30 families left.
“Some of them are living in 10x10ft tents provided by the BN government while waiting for their homes to be ready… it’s not safe.
“Our children play at the roadside because there is no playground and are constantly in danger. Deaths are common,” he said.
Housing scandal
Norazlihan said that all the 1,000 families were promised a house each by joint developers -- Permodalan Negri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and Perspektif Masa Sdn Bhd -- when they were evicted but they have heard that many of the units have been given away to outsiders.
“The BN government had at the time promised to give each family a house.
“But now I hear that 150 units have been sold to outsiders, people who were linked to former Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Rahman Ismail. How could this be when they already had insufficient units to be begin with?
“I hope the Selangor government will investigate this scandal,” he said.
Another resident, who preferred to be known as Pakcik Omar, said Perspektif Masa had promised to build a 21-floor apartment block with 628 units to accommodate the villagers.
But things are moving slow.
He blamed the delay in the construction of the low-cost housing project on “political play”.
He said the piling for the project had began during BN rule in Selangor but when Pakatan Rakyat wrested the state, all construction abruptly stopped.
Mass of bricks and cement
The project, which was scheduled to have been completed on Nov 30, 2008, is now an abandoned mass of bricks and cement.
He said that only 60% of the project had been completed.
“I must admit that the Selangor government has been very helpful to us. It has tried to mediate discussion between the developer and us.
‘Every time we tried to meet the developers, they keep giving us excuses but we can’t accept this anymore,” he said.
Omar said that he was quite sure finance was not an a reason for the delay.
“As far as I know, money is not the issue. But I am quite sure there are politics at play behind the scenes. For some reason, they want to keep delaying the project and make us suffer,” he said.
Omar said he had attempted to get an answer from the federal government but to no avail.
Some 95% of the population here are Malays.
Past reports indicate that PNSB had plans to build 10 luxury condominiums on the Kampung Berembam site.

A chorus of dissent against speed camera deal

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Consumers have joined in the chorus against the Transport Ministry's decision to award a multi-million-ringgit contract for the nationwide implementation of a speed camera system to catch traffic offenders to two "crony" companies.
The Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam Selangor (Cassa), Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), and Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) yesterday unanimously condemned the government's lack of transparency in the matter.
FMT last week reported that local company Tess Capital Sdn Bhd cried foul over the decision, claiming that it has been sidelined in the award of the RM700 million contract for the installation of the Automated Enforcement System (AES).
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. It is also understood that under the second phase of the AES, computer chips will be implanted in licence plates.
Sources had confirmed that the deal will be given to two companies -- Beta Tegap Sdn Bhd and Commercial Circle (M) Sdn Bhd -- whose AES uses foreign technology.
Tess Capital claimed that its AES, the product of its homegrown technology, was "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 to investigate what he claimed was the abuse of power and "manipulation" by the Road Transport Department (RTD) over the tender process in 2007.
Select committee
Tess Capital was established in 2004 and 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.
Cassa president Jacob George said the ministry must "nullify all prior decisions" that have been made based on the allegations of impropriety in the tender process that have surfaced.
Jacob urged the government to set up a select committee to investigate the matter, saying he would be keen to also serve in the panel.
"From the very first, this project has been handled in a cloak-and-dagger manner. There were no discussions with stakeholders, including consumer groups, or attempts at getting public opinion on the effectiveness of the AES," said Jacob.
He added that the ministry has "failed miserably" and this will be a very "sad" situation if allowed to continue.
"Now, questions are being asked as to whose interests have been served in this AES case. With the way things are done, the two companies are seen as 'cronies'. Definitely this is a 'cash cow' and somebody is going to walk away with a lot of money."
"If the award is given, then it will become a major scandal,” said Jacob.
Jacob said the ministry should review its decision and reopen dialogue as there are many issues such as the costs that are still not addressed.
"I am talking about looking at maintanence, and how the system may be challenged legally. There are so many major issues that I don't think were addressed when I was in a briefing a month ago by the RTD on AES,” he said.
“We are not talking about buying oranges. The authorities are talking about eradicating 300,000 accidents a year using the AES. This is rubbish. There are no statistics to prove it and we have also seen that statistics on accidents in countries using the system did not drop drastically either," said Jacob.
Classic example
On Tess Capital, Jacob said it was a "classic example" of how the federal government "outsource, use, and then dump" private companies which are given empty promises.
CPPS chairman Ramon Navaratnam said the government should stop signing the deal before it was too late.
"Save yourself the embarrassment," said Navaratnam, adding that a new tender should be called and the criteria for exercise spelled out in a transparent manner.
"Why was it that only two selected companies were selected? Such decisions affect the integrity of the system and goes against the grain of good governance. It also cast doubts on whether the government is serious about open tenders," said Navaratnam.
He added that it will cause the public to "lose confidence" in the government.
"How are we to encourage a culture of excellency if we do not have open tenders? How do we stop local investors and foreign investors from losing interest if they looked at such cases? This is the reason why our economy is not moving fast enough," he said.
Navaratnam added that if all things were equal, local companies should perhaps be given some 5% preferrential margin so to encourage their participation in such large projects.
"I don't mind as long as we are competent; looking at the way some of our companies are doing abroad, I think that there are many that are competent,” said Navaratnam.
Fomca communications director Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the government should be seeking feedback from consumers before embarking on such a project.
"The government should be transparent. But sadly, it implements projects first and only seek our input when the reaction is negative,” he said, adding that big projects like AES should be discussed in Parliament.

Sarawak PKR slams media gag as act of 'guilty man'

By Roselind Jarrow - Free Malaysia Today
KUCHING: Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian has described the latest directive from the Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s office to local newspapers not to cover opposition-organised press conferences or publish its statements as a reaction of 'a guilty man.'
“To-date the chief minister has not denied the reports regarding properties worth billions of ringgit allegedly owned by him and his family.
“So why is he so paranoid?” Bian asked, pointing out that “that’s the reaction of a guilty man”.
“In the ICT age, there are alternatives for news so his directive makes him sound more like a fool.
“Nevertheless, truth is like a ball, when pressed under water, you can’t hold it down too long. Eventually it will pop up elsewhere,” added Bian.
Bian was asked to comment on the directive issued by the CM’s office to all print media organisation in the state.
The directive was conveyed on July 1 to owners and editors of newspapers through the state information department.
The directive came in the wake of a number of reports lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) urging it to investigate Taib’s properties.

UMNO/BN are you delusional? What is the fuss about RPK?

rpk


How does RPK affect the UMNO-led government that has been doing the same shit in exaggerating the truth since Dr Mahathir came into the picture?

By R.Shan (Human Being)

So if RPK is ready to support a cause that can highlight the grievances of the nation and its malfeances, what is the big deal, UMNO/BN?

Sure, at times, the opposition and some larger than life characters exaggerate the truth and reality on the ground but how does this affect the UMNO-led government that has been doing the same shit since Dr Mahathir came into the picture to suppress the growth of the nation?

The public had no problem with other Malay or non Malay leaders who were predecessors of the kuncu-kuncu of Dr Mahathir for a true Malaysian nation. Today, it is not a true Malaysian nation but one that is embedded with cronyism, nepotism and corruption as long the ruling class can maintain their hegemony over the masses irrespective whether it is a Malay, Chinese, Indian or a lain-lain. It is no more for the needy but one that is only what serves them to hold on to power over the masses.

Look at the statement of Mukhriz – only 40% what RPK says is the truth. Is he a fool or does he have a sudden urge for political importance? Let it be even 10% truth, but along the way it is some truth; and it is then for the public to gauge and decide how much truth is there looking at the affairs of the nation as masses go through this day in and day out not because what some politically inclined personality dictates it through their main media.

Then look at KJ’s statement, another lalang. What is convenient but not one of substance nor for the interest of either the people or the truth for the people.

Then the icing in the cake, Bukit Aman CID chief Bakri Zinin. The police have a warrant of arrest on him issued by the court, so we have the power to arrest him anytime and anywhere, he said when contacted by Bernama. What, Bakri? You have been banging balls all this time? RPK has been away for almost a year and yet you can arrest him anytime and anywhere?
What are you waiting for?

Bad enough, the politicians are playing their games. Now we have government agents stating something as senile as this? Can you blame RPK running everyone in circles to show how inept the present government can be?

I think politicians from both equations should pay some attention and not treat individual Malaysians as fools any longer. RPK may have provided the platform for us to comment and write to voice our frustrations but what good is it when it ends at that. We, the public need to participate in activities that hold truth to the affairs of the day. Not one that will provide popular gossip in our kedai kopi.

RPK has given us enough ammunition, and so has HINDRAF, so we can continue to forge ahead to save Malaysia from all these hapless politicians who see nothing beyond how they can stay in power and be in control of the destiny of the people.

Unthinking respect and obeisance for authority is the greatest enemy of truth as that is what all politicians thrive on to serve their own needs.

BN divided on Islamic state issue

Translation by Gan Pei Ling | The Nut Graph
FORMER prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, when he was still deputy premier, have all proclaimed Malaysia to be an Islamic state. Despite that, most Umno parliamentarians have avoided answering the question, “Do you think Malaysia should be a secular or an Islamic state? Why?”
MCA Members of Parliament (MPs), however, have unequivocally stated that Malaysia is a secular country.
These were some of the observations by Chinese-language news portal Merdeka Review when it analysed Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs’ responses to the MP Watch: Eye on the Parliament project. The Nut Graph project – likely the first of its kind – asks all 222 MPs what their stand is on six key democratic issues.
Among the BN MPs who did not respond was Abdullah Badawi, who has been an MP since 1978. Others who did not reply include Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Kemaman), Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman Yusop (Masjid Tanah), Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Bera), Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (Lumut), and former minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (Tanjung Malim).
When this Merdeka Review analysis was conducted, 109 MPs had responded to the six questions posed in MP Watch. Another 92 had not replied, while the remaining 21 had yet to be contacted. As of 1 July 2010, 58 out of 76 Pakatan Rakyat MPs had replied to MP Watch, while only 46 out of 137 BN reps had done so.
Below is The Nut Graph’s translation of Merdeka Review’s analysis, written by journalist Tan Pek Wan, with some modification. The analysis was published on 14 June 2010.
Umno
Khairy Jamaluddin
Khairy Jamaluddin
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau), Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan), Public Accounts Committee chairperson Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid (Padang Besar), and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna) did not reply to the question directly.
Khairy said there were Islamic and secular elements within the country’s institutions. “For instance, we practise parallel judicial systems. For non-Muslims, syariah laws generally have little impact on their actions, and they can live by, if you like, ‘secular’ or civil laws. But the same cannot be said for Muslims,” he said.
He added that Islam was constitutionally recognised as the state’s official religion, and that state funds were channelled towards Islam’s development through, for example, the construction of mosques.
“Now, clearly this would not happen if there was complete separation between state and religion. I don’t believe non-Muslims have a quarrel with this fact. Rather, it is Malaysia’s perceived Islamisation that has reignited the debate about whether our country is Islamic or secular,” Khairy said.
Bung Moktar argued that it was unnecessary to declare whether Malaysia was Islamic or secular as the BN had been administering the country in its own way. “There is no point. Of course Islam is the official religion, but we are not an Islamic state,” he said.
Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan (Pontian) did not express his personal opinion. Instead, he noted that previous prime ministers had described Malaysia as an Islamic state; hence, he would not contradict them.
Besut MP Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin, who is also the religious adviser to the prime minister, said Malaysia was an Islamic country, but there were different approaches in implementing an Islamic state. “Malaysia is an Islamic country according to the understanding of the Federal Constitution, and the practice that Malay rulers and the prime minister are Muslims,” he said.
Abdullah Md Zin added that there were different interpretations of an Islamic state: “Some approaches are too extreme, some a little loose, liberal, some are ‘moderate’.”
He said Malaysia adopted the “middle path”: “[N]ot rigid or strict, not extremist yet not too liberal.”
Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
Perkasa pro-tem president and BN-friendly independent MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali (Pasir Mas) said: “It would be good if Malaysia were to become a full-fledged Islamic state, where all citizens understand the benefits of an Islamic state, including non-Muslims.”
However, he admitted that the time was not ripe yet, and at present, Islam was the federation’s official religion while secular elements were accepted where appropriate.
MCA
Former MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting (Kulai), current MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s son Chua Tee Yong (Labis), Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (Alor Gajah), MIC treasurer Datuk SK Devamany (Cameron Highlands), and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah president Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (Pensiangan) all considered Malaysia a secular state.
“It is a secular state as was the understanding among [the] founding [leaders] of our country,” said Ong.
Ong’s brief reply was more straightforward than when he was still in office. In April 2008, Kelantan regent Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra said in a keynote speech in a forum that “Malaysia is an Islamic country, not secular.”
Ong’s response then was: “In the early years of independence, our founding leaders inserted the essence of secular law into the Federal Constitution. Hence, the secular nature of the constitution must continue in order to protect the interests of all people.”
MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (Ayer Hitam) said in MP Watch that “we are a secular state with a Muslim majority.”
Tee Yong said that although Malaysia’s official religion was Islam, Article 11 of the constitution guaranteed the rights of other races to profess and practise their religion. “We have a significant population of non-Muslims — around 40%; thus, Malaysia should be a secular state,” he said.
Liow Tiong Lai
Liow Tiong Lai
MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (Bentong) argued that there was a clear difference between Malaysia and other Islamic states as Malaysia practised a dual court system. The health minister said many people have attempted to label Malaysia as “secular” or “Islamic” for purely political reasons.
“Malaysia’s religious status has never fitted into a concrete definition and there is no reason for us to be forced into one,” he added.
Najib Razak
Najib, who is also Pekan MP, did not respond to The Nut Graph. His deadline was on 14 June 2010. However, on 17 July three years ago, when he was still deputy prime minister, he declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state.
Najib was reported as saying then that “we have never been a secular state. Secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles in the way we govern the country. But we have never abdicated from those principles. Malaysia has always been driven by, and adhere to, the fundamentals of Islam.”
Najib’s statement was disputed by the MCA, the Bar Council, and other civil society groups. Subsequently the Internal Security Ministry, on 19 July 2007, banned all traditional media from publishing any news on the “sensitive” topic.

Peguam Negara kaji Kanun Keseksaan

Utusan Malaysia 


KUALA LUMPUR 5 Julai - Jabatan Peguam Negara masih mengkaji Seksyen 309A dan 309B, Kanun Keseksaan berkaitan kesalahan membunuh dan membuang bayi sebelum sebarang cadangan pindaan ke atasnya dibuat.

Menteri Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil berkata, ini memandangkan pihak tersebut perlu memperhalusi semua perkara sebelum sebarang keputusan diambil.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, akta yang ada sekarang tidak hanya mensabitkan wanita dengan kesalahan dan hukuman malah lelaki atau bapa yang menjadi punca bayi dibunuh atau dibuang itu turut disiasat dan disabitkan kesalahan.

"Kementerian juga meminta polis menjalankan siasatan ke atas lelaki atau bapa yang terlibat supaya dihadapkan ke pengadilan," katanya pada sidang akhbar selepas merasmikan Kempen Promise Me anjuran The Truly Loving Company (TLC) di Bangsar Shopping Centre di sini hari ini.

Beliau mengulas desakan Perwakilan Wanita UMNO Bahagian Kelana Jaya semalam yang mahu kerajaan menyemak semula peruntukan Seksyen 309A dan 309B kanun itu kerana ia hanya mensabitkan kesalahan membunuh dan membuang bayi ke atas wanita.

Shahrizat dalam ucapannya menyambut baik usaha TLC dalam membantu kerajaan untuk membantu golongan yang tidak bernasib baik.

Activist: Iranian mother of two to be stoned to death


(CNN) -- An Iranian human rights activist warns Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

Only an international campaign designed to pressure the regime in Tehran can save her life, according to Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty.

"Legally it's all over," Ahadi said Sunday. "It's a done deal. Sakineh can be stoned at any minute."

"That is why we have decided to start a very broad, international public movement. Only that can help."

Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

Ashtiani, who is from the northern city of Tabriz, was convicted of adultery in 2006.

She was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran.

She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency.

Iran's supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.
The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women
--Amnesty International

Mostafaei believes a language barrier prevented his client from fully comprehending court proceedings. Ashtiani is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.

The circumstances of Ashtiani's case make it not an exception but the rule in Iran, according to Amnesty International, which tracks death penalty cases around the world.

"The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women, who suffer disproportionately from such punishment," the human rights group said in a 2008 report.

On Wednesday, Amnesty made a new call to the Iranian government to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences. The group has recorded 126 executions in Iran from the start of this year to June 6.

"The organization is also urging the authorities to review and repeal death penalty laws, to disclose full details of all death sentences and executions and to join the growing international trend towards abolition," the statement said.

Ahadi, who fled Iran in the early 1980s, told CNN that pressure from Amnesty and other organizations and individuals is likely the only way to save Ashtiani.

"Experience shows (that) ... when the pressure gets very high, the Islamic government starts to say something different," she said.

In Washington, the State Department has criticized the scheduled stoning, saying it raised serious concerns about human rights violations by the Iranian government.

"We have grave concerns that the punishment does not fit the alleged crime, " Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said Thursday. "For a modern society such as Iran, we think this raises significant human rights concerns."

Calling Iran's judicial system "disproportionate" in its treatment of women, Crowley said, "From the United States' standpoint, we don't think putting women to death for adultery is an appropriate punishment."

Human rights activists have been pushing the Islamic government to abolish stoning, arguing that women are not treated equally before the law in Iran and are especially vulnerable in the judicial system. A woman's testimony is worth half that of a man, they say.

Article 74 of the Iranian penal code requires at least four witnesses -- four men or three men and two women -- for an adulterer to receive a stoning sentence, said Ahadi, of the International Committee Against Stoning. But there were no witnesses in Ashtiani's case. Often, said Ahadi, husbands turn wives in to get out of a marriage.

Mostafaei said he could not understand how such a savage method of death could exist in the year 2010 or how an innocent woman could be taken from her son and daughter, who have written to the court pleading for their mother's life.

The public won't be allowed to witness the stoning, Mostafaei said, for fear of condemnation of such a brutal method. He is hoping there won't be an execution.

Mostafaei, who himself did jail time in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009, said he realizes the risk of speaking out for Ashtiani, for fighting for human rights. But he doesn't let that deter him.

He last saw Ashtiani five months ago behind bars in Tabriz. Since then, he said, he has been searching for a way to save her from the stones.

Muhyiddin is getting defensive

'Why no action over abuse of detainees?'

Samy Vellu's attack dogs 2

BN not quite ready for snap polls, say analysts

KUALA LUMPUR, July 5 — Umno’s fighting talk in recent days in pushing its party faithful to prepare for snap polls has been dismissed by political analysts as posturing or a political feint by the ruling party.

While agreeing that an early general election, not due until 2013, is on the table, they believe the Umno-led ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is not yet ready.

“I feel Umno is just trying to keep its members from being complacent,” said Ibrahim Suffian, who heads the Merdeka Center for Independent Research.

During the Pekan Umno divisional delegates meeting yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged members to work as a team ahead of the next elections.

At a separate function, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein went further by calling for BN to prepare to face the general election.

Ibrahim said Umno leaders were only preparing the ground for when elections are eventually called.

“They are building excitement, so members unite and start doing what is right,” said Ibrahim.

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

The government last week decided against issuing a gambling licence to quell mounting public anger. 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 per cent in 2009.

The PM also recently increased the constituency allocation for BN MPs from RM1 million to RM1.5 million, in a move which also fuelled speculation of snap polls.

Analysts say the recent posturing by BN was also to keep Pakatan Rakyat (PR) on edge but Ibrahim said he doubted Najib’s administration was ready to face the electorate.

This is because BN component parties, including the MCA and MIC, continue to be plagued by problems and infighting.

“They are not prepared and BN needs to get their house in order before going to the polls,” said Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

He said the Sarawak state elections, due next year, will happen before any snap national elections.

“I think the state polls will be held by year’s end, while the GE will be held in 2012.”

He pointed out that Najib needed time for his reforms to be felt on the ground.

These include the 10th Malaysia Plan, the Key Performance Index for ministers and the National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).

“It’s going to take another year and half before people feel the effects of these programmes.”

Wong Chin Huat also said that BN was in no position to hold elections now, even with Najib’s recent high popularity rating.

The political scientist from Monash University Sunway campus said the results of the recent by-elections are clear indicators.

BN managed to wrest the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat from PKR in April only to lose the Sibu seat the following month.

However, James Chin believes Najib will call for fresh polls sooner than later.

He said Najib, who took over from former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahamd Badawi in April last year, needs to secure his own mandate.

“Najib needs this to push through his reforms,” said Chin.

He added that there was nothing to hold Najib back, and expects polls to be held anytime after August.

Saya belanja Petra dan Bala makan ais kacang - Zaid


(Harakah Daily) - Datuk Zaid Ibrahim mengesahkan beliau akan bertemu dengan bekas pengawal pribadi rakan Perdana Menteri, Abdul Razak Baginda iaitu P Bala Subramaniam untuk makan dan minum bersama beliau selepas polis dan SPRM enggan bertemu beliau.

Dalam tulisan terbarunya dari Kota London, Zaid berkata, oleh kerana polis dan SPRM enggan dan takut bertemu Raja Petra dan Bala, beliau dan rakannya akan bertemu mereka berdua dan belanja mereka makan ais kacang.

Zaid dipercayai mengulas pelbagai tuduhan termasuk membiayai kedua-duanya (Petra dan Bala) yang kini dikatakan pelarian ekoran diburu polis.

Dalam hal ini, Zaid mendakwa, polis bukan memburu kedua-duanya.

"Mula-mula, kita dengar PM Najib kata beliau penuh yakin polis akan menangkap Raja Petra; tapi dah 12 bulan polis tak buat apa-apa. Dan betul lah saperti kata Khairy, Raja Petra selalu ada di khalayak ramai, di London dan Manchester. Kalau saya dan ratusan rakyat Malaysia tahu dan dah pun bertemu dengan Raja Petra, takkan Polis tak tahu. Mustahil," tulis Zaid dalam blognya.

Menurut Zaid, Bala ada di London. Minggu depan, dia akan ka Paris untuk bertemu dengan pihak penyiasatan Perancis.

"Tapi Polis Malaysia tak berminat bertemu dengn kedua-dua manusia ini. Persoalannya mengapa?" tanya Zaid dalam tulisannya.

Menurut Zaid, yang dihebohkan oleh Menteri Hishammuddin, MP Zahrain dan Utusan Malaysia ialah apa hubungan beliau dengan Raja Petra.

"Soalan yang patut ditanya: mengapa tidak ada tindakan terhadap Raja Petra kalau dia ada membuat kesilapan? Beritahulah kepada rakyat apa dia kesalahan itu. Ada waran yang dikeluarkan untuk menangkapnya? Setahu saya, tidak ada. Jadi kalau Raja Petra tidak membuat apa-apa kesalahan, mengapa pula saya tak boleh tengok bolasepak dengannya?" katanya.

Sebenarnya, bagi Zaid, PM Najib takut kapada kedua-dua manusia ini. Lalu berlakonlah mereka, kononnya Raja Petra dilaporkan berada di Brisbane, Australia dan di mana saja.

"Mereka sebenarnya tahu dimana Raja Petra dan di mana Bala. Malah Polis telah pun bertemu Bala di Bangkok, tetapi setakat ini, membisu sahaja. Inilah yang rakyat mahu tahu, mengapa tidak ada siasatan terbuka terhadap kedua-dua mereka ini," katanya.

Tulis Zaid, "PM Najib berkata kita tidak boleh percaya kepada Raja Petra; tetapi kita juga tak boleh percaya buta tuli kepada PM Najib."

"Jadi buatlah satu penyiasatan yang bebas dan terbuka, dan beri jaminan kepada kedua-dua mereka tentang keselamatan diri dan keluarga mereka, dan jaminan mereka tidak akan ditahan dibawah ISA.

"Saya percaya mereka akan pulang ke Malaysia untuk mempertahankan kenyataan mereka yang dibuat tempoh hari," tulisnya lagi.

Menurutnya, jika mereka berdua benar-benar kaki penipu dan memalukan pemimpin negara, maka hukumlah mereka.

"Itu cara pemimpin yang reformis dan baik, bukan berlakon menggunakan Polis dan akhbar menimbulkan buruk sangka setiap hari terhadap orang lain," katanya.

"Saya terpaksa berhenti disini. Nak ke Holiday Villa London dalam masa sejam lagi nak bertemu Bala. Bukan apa. Kerana Polis dan MACC tak mahu dan takut bertemu Bala dan Petra, saya dan kawan kawan akan belanja mereka ais kacang," kata Zaid mengakhiri tulisannya.

No show by MACC so Bala's date ends up as an ABC session



P Balasubramaniam, his three lawyers - Manjeet Singh Dillion, Americk Sidhu and Amarjit Sidhu - together with Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, waited from 10.00am to 1.00pm for the MACC officers. They never showed up so the session ended up as an air batu campur (ABC) and teh tarik session instead.

Judicial creativity: What are the limits?

By Ding Jo-Ann | The Nut Graph


IT’S a running joke in the legal fraternity that lawyers cannot count. The recent confusion surrounding Batu member of Parliament (MP) Tian Chua’s possible disqualification however, suggests that judges might also have similar issues.
Chua was fined RM2,000 by High Court judge Datuk Ghazali Cha for biting a police officer. Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution however states that an MP is disqualified if he or she is convicted of an offence and is fined not less than RM2,000.
At face value, this seems straightforward enough. By most calculations, 2,000 is not less than 2,000. So, Chua runs foul of the provision and is disqualified, right?
Tian Chua
Tian Chua
Wrong, said the judge. His written judgment, delivered after lawyers had pointed out Chua’s disqualification cited an earlier precedent to say that “not less than RM2,000” actually means “more than RM2,000”. Ghazali said Chua would only be disqualified if he had been fined RM2,001 and above.
This raises the question of how creative judges can be when dispensing judgments. If the constitution’s drafters had stated that MPs who were fined “at least RM2,000” would be disqualified, would it still have been open for the judge to say that that meant RM2,001? Can judges make statutes mean whatever they want? And is it in the public interest for judges to be given broad leeway in their interpretation of the law?
Make, execute, interpret
Democratic ideals hold that judges should not make law when sitting in judgment. Parliament makes laws, the executive implements the law and in the event of a dispute, the courts arbitrate by interpreting the law.
In practice however, the lines are often blurred. The law cannot cater for every possible scenario that could occur and is sometimes deliberately general. It is also sometimes not as clearly drafted as it could be. Hence, the necessity or opportunity, at times, for judges to exercise a little creativity.
Judicial creativity

Pic of Nizar and Zambry claiming to be Perak MB
Nizar (left) and Zambry
Take the Perak menteri besar tussle, for example. The Perak constitution states that if a menteri besar loses the majority’s confidence in the state assembly, he or she “shall resign”. However, the Perak constitution says nothing about what happens if a menteri besar refuses to resign.
In declaring Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir the rightful menteri besar, the Federal Court fixed that loophole by declaring that Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s seat was deemed vacant when he refused to resign. The Federal Court said it needed to take a purposive approach to give effect to the intent of the Perak constitution.
Whether or not the Federal Court was taking liberties with the Perak constitution is still open to debate. A different political scenario would have emerged if the Federal Court had agreed with the High Court judge who ruled in favour of Nizar. Justice Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim said the court would be going too far it if fixed the lacuna in the Perak constitution by deeming the menteri besar’s seat vacant. Such a lacuna, the judge said, should be dealt with by way of a constitutional amendment that could be debated in Parliament.
Advocating in court
Another example of judicial creativity was the Federal Court’s decision to uphold Universiti Malaya academic Dr Badariah Sahamid’s appointment as a judicial commissioner. The Bar Council had objected to her appointment, saying Badariah had never practised law, even though she had been called to the Bar. The Bar Council cited Article 123 of the Federal Constitution which states that a qualified appointee must have been an “advocate of the courts” for 10 years preceding his [or her] appointment.
A majority of the Federal Court said the fact that Badariah had been admitted to the Bar for ten years preceding her appointment was sufficient. It did not matter that she had not held a practising certificate and had never practiced in court. Justice Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman said she could be considered to be practising law in a wider sense as she had been involved in teaching law students in university.
Two Federal Court judges however dissented. They said a more reasonable interpretation was that the appointee actually had to practice law. They said the rationale for the ten years requirement must be to ensure the appointee gained enough experience at the Bar, otherwise the requirement would serve no purpose whatsoever. Although they acknowledged academics such as Badariah may well be suitable as judges, they said the current law did not permit it. They said changing the law was a matter of policy for the government to decide.
Public interest
Sculptures titled Love and Labor: The Unbroken Law  (left) and The Burden of Life: The Broken Law (© Carptrash | Wiki Commons)
Sculptures titled Love and Labor: The Unbroken Law (left) and The Burden of Life: The Broken Law (© Carptrash | Wiki Commons)
So which side was right in the above cases? Was it more just for judges to use some creativity in their interpretation of the law or more just to adhere strictly to the letter of the law?
There can be no hard and fast rules. But the following three principles should at least be adhered to if judges are tempted to get creative with the law.
  • Public interest not political interest

The courts are meant to be the last bastion against government abuses. In a democracy, the courts function as a check and balance to Parliament as well as to the executive.
The courts would therefore fail to fulfil one of its most important functions if it were to exercise judicial creativity in favour of political interests.
  • Generous interpretation for fundamental liberties

Sivarasa
Sivarasa
In Sivarasa Rasiah v Bar Council of Malaysia, the Federal Court ruled that when dealing with fundamental liberties guaranteed in the constitution, courts should adopt a generous interpretation. Any laws that purport to limit citizens’ fundamental liberties must by extension, be read restrictively. And any such laws that rendered the exercise of fundamental rights ineffective or illusory can be struck down as unconstitutional.
  • Constitutional principles not personal beliefs

Judges are still human and they will have their own personal beliefs, religion and morality. This however must never take precedence over constitutional principles and judges should refrain from trying to import their personal morality into judgments.
Since the Lord President’s removal in 1988, the Malaysian judiciary has never quite recovered from the perception that it is open to political manipulation. It will take many good and bold judgments, such as the recent award of compensation to an Internal Security Act detainee, to convince the public that the judiciary has regained its independence. Until then, Ghazali Cha’s apparent miscalculation will be viewed with suspicion by a public that has learnt to be wary of any judicial creativity.

Polis Dah Jadi Ketua Cawangan Umno

Dari Harakah Daily

Pihak polis sudah menjadi seperti ketua cawangan Umno apabila pantas menyiasat isu tajaan terhadap Raja Petra Kamaruddin berbanding pendedahan penyelewengan dan salah guna kuasa dalam kerajaan, kata Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Ketua Umum PKR itu berkata, pihak berkuasa sepatutnya menyiasat terlebih dahulu dakwaan penyelewengan dan salah guna kuasa dalam kerajaan seperti yang didedahkan Pakatan Rakyat berbanding isu tajaan tersebut.

“Respons polis banyak terhadap kenyataan politik. Pasal politik dia cepat, dia dah jadi macam ketua cawangan Umno,” katanya ketika ditemui di Parlimen hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian sebagai mengulas dakwaan pemimpin Umno bahawa pengendali laman web Malaysia Today itu ke United Kingdom atas tajaan PKR.

Ianya ekoran penyiaran gambar Raja Petra bersama Pengerusi Majlis Pimpinan PKR Wilayah Persekutuan, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

“Raja Petra jawab, dia sedang cari dana untuk Pakatan rakyat.

“Polis patut siasat dana negara yang sudah hilang banyak akibat rasuah dan penyalahgunaan kuasa,” katanya lagi.

Sebelum ini, Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz mendakwa kerajaan mempunyai bukti Raja Petra dibiayai PKR.

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib semalam pula memberitahu menyerahkan perkara tersebut kepada pihak berkuasa untuk disiasat.

The Threat to the Andamans’ Jawara Tribe

ImageAn Indian parliamentarian wants to "civilize" people who so far aren't interested



Is the life of a primitive child on an isolated island in the Andaman Sea, in the words of the
British philosopher Thomas Hobbes, likely to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short? Or is it
idyllic and peaceful?

Bishnu Pada Ray, an Indian member of parliament representing the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, is proposing that children aged six to 12 of the Jawara tribe, perhaps some of the most
isolated people on the planet, be taken away from their parents to be “kept in a normal school
atmosphere, trained in personal hygiene, use of clothing and basic reading and writing skills” for
six months, then returned to the tribe to civilize the rest of them.

That has stirred outrage among representatives of indigenous peoples across the world, who
say it “echoes the much-criticized policy of the ‘Stolen Generation’ in Australia, and similar
policies in North America.” Michael Cachagee, executive director of the National Residential
School Survivors’ Society in Canada, said in a press release by Survival International that his
organization “cannot comprehend or fathom that any nation in today’s world would consider
interning any of their citizens, especially children, in a ‘residential school’, given the horrific
history associated with these types of schools in Canada and other parts of the world.’

The islands are a series of specks with the Andaman Sea on one side and the Bay of Bengal
on the other. Only 38 of the 550-odd islands are inhabited. They are thought to have been
populated by some of the first human migrations out of Africa. The Jarawa were totally isolated
until about 1998, when some tribespeople began to emerge from the forest to visit towns and
settlements created by several hundred thousand ethnic Indians, who now vastly outnumber
the tribes, encroaching on their land. The Jawara have resisted civilization, famously shooting
at helicopters with bows and arrows during the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Although nearly
6,000 people died in the tsunami, most of the aboriginals survived because oral traditions passed
down from generations ago warned them to run for high ground from large waves that follow
large earthquakes.

The Indian government adopted a policy of isolation for the aboriginals, requiring permits
to contact them. But what Ray called “friendly interaction” is resulting in “inculcation of
undesirable knowledge and habits as well as injection of race impurity.” Therefore, Ray said,
the isolation policy has failed and “if the current policy and treatment continues, it will not take
much time for the total annihilation of the Jarawa entity.”

A road was built in the 1970s by the Indian government through the primary area the Jarawa
inhabit, bringing settlers, poachers and loggers as well as diseases to which they have no
immunity. They have become kind of inhabitants of a zoo, with tour operators driving through
the reserve every day in the hope of spotting members of the tribe, according to Survival
International, which is leading a campaign to keep the tribe in isolation.

On the other side is Ray, who said in a press statement that the Jawara are “dark skinned, short
structured men and women akin to their African cousins. They live in the forests of the South
and Middle Andaman islands in mysterious isolation, stuck in time somewhere in between the
stone and iron age.”

He proposes “quick and drastic steps…to bring the Jarawa up to the basic mainstream
characteristics,” pointing to children of two tribes in the Indian state of Jharkhand who were
removed from the tribes and “exposed to eating habits of simple mainstream people and modern
amenities such as television and motor vehicles.”

After six months, Ray said, the children were returned to their tribes. Within a month, they were
observed to have lost some of their clothing and mainstream habits, but the tribes themselves had acquired some characteristics such as personal hygiene and use of clothes. The children were
removed again and schooled over a longer period.

“Over time, trainers were able to infiltrate into the main pockets of tribes and inculcate skills of
personal hygiene, wearing of clothes and their maintenance, partaking of cooked food and basic
agricultural and horticultural activities. The final result was training the entire population into a
village identical with any other (similar) village in Jharkhand.”

Ray argues that the population must be given some advantages to ensure their survival against
the adverse effects of unregulated contacts with the mainstream.

Unfortunately, at the same time the MP is advocating that restrictions on development in
the Jarawa reserve be lifted, which would bring considerably more contact to a people who,
according to Survival International, could survive on their own if contact were to be stopped.
He is asking that a national highway and railway be built, passing through two Jawara tribal
reserves.

'These scandalous proposals are contemptuous both of indigenous peoples' rights and
the UN's standards for their protection,” said Stephen Cory, the director of Survival
International. “Attempts to force the Jarawa to abandon their way of life will simply destroy
them.’

“With all sympathies for the Jarawa, one finds it not very logical to halt development of facilities
and amenities for 400,000 people to provide resource domain to merely 300 individuals in a
primitive stage of development. Even otherwise, the current policy of isolating Jarawa adopted
by the A&N Administration does not seem to be doing any benefit to the Jarawas,” Ray said. “It
is high time that realization dawns on the policy makers to adopt the correct policy for the
survival of Jarawa tribals and not go for the fashionable option.”

That is nonsense, Survival International said in a 59-page report on indigenous people around
there world titled “Progress Can Kill.” After the government resettled another tribe, the Onge
of Little Andaman Island in 1976, “the Onge have become dependent on nutritionally poor
government rations, with a drastic impact on child health. Between 1978 and 1985, the infant
mortality rate doubled, with the most common cause of child deaths being from diarrhea,
dysentery and malnutrition. The Onge population fell from 670 in 1900, to 169 in 1961, to 76 in
1991. ‘This “resettlement” has set in motion the biological, social and cultural death
of the Onge.

By contrast, the report said, the Jarawa have maintained their independence and have suffered
less from disease and loss of land. “They are mostly still nomadic and self sufficient, but they are
at increasing risk from poachers and settlers.”

Sarawak Chieftain's US Properties

Image(Asia Sentinel)The FBI is at home in a Taib office building in Seattle We reprint the second report by the Sarawak Project, an NGO based in the East Malaysian state, which has done an exhaustive study of the property holdings controlled by Abdul Taib Mahmud, who as long-serving chief minister controls an enormous empire of natural resources that for decades has allegedly gone to serve his family’s interests rather than the state’s. In the wake of an opposition victory in the town of Sibu in May, Taib for the first time faces the real possibility he could be defeated in the state election which must be held before the end of 2011.

When you have dozens of properties and as many companies to manage them it is always a good trick to stick to similar names.  Sarawak Report can reveal that there is a US arm to the Taib family’s North American property empire.

In Ottawa, Canada the family’s interests are managed by Sakto Corporation, but in the US they are managed by Sakti International Corporation. Sakti International Corporation comprises properties totalling an estimated value of US$80 million according to their own company documents.  Each property is held under a separate company, usually named after the property’s street address, again in order to aid recognition.  For example, W.A. Boylston manages 1117 Boylston St, Seattle (shown right).

However, one of these companies is not so named. Wallyson’s Incorporated, based in Seattle, operates what is known as the Abraham Lincoln Building. The Abraham Lincoln Building houses an FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) facility and to enter requires maximum security clearance.

This is the North West Regional Headquarters for the FBI, America’s domestic security and counter-terrorism service. The Seattle branch lists among its particular responsibilities countering terrorism threats from Far East Asia.  This building is owned by the Taib family.

Sakti’s other main US office block, 260 California Street, San Francisco, also rents space to an impressive list of clients including Citibank.  It shows once again the Taib family’s ability to ingratiate with the establishment in host countries for their foreign investments.
Taib company history in the USA

Also like Sakto, Sakti is currently managed by Sean Murray, husband of Jamilah Taib, who is the daughter of Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak (salary RM20,000 per month).  Sean Murray was re-named Hisham Murray when he converted to the Muslim faith on his marriage to Jamilah, but never uses this name in his business or social capacities outside of Sarawak.

However recent court documents deposited with the San Francisco Superior Court show that the company has always belonged to the Taib family.  Sakti makes several key acknowledgements in its deposition to the court.  The company admits that Sakti was incorporated in California in 1987 and that it was initially managed by Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.  The documents state “The Defendants [Sakti International Corporation] admit that beginning September 10, 1987, Sakti’s designated Chief Executive Officer, Secretary and Chief Financial Officer was Mahmud Taib”.
Previous revelations in Sarawak Report have proved that Mahmud Taib, the eldest son of the Chief Minister, was also an original Director of Sakto in Canada, formed in 1983, along with his sister Jamilah and their uncle Onn Mahmud, the Chief Minister’s brother.

Court Admissions
The Sakti court deposition goes on to admit that Mahmud Taib, who is now a Director of CMS Sarawak, was later succeeded by his younger brother Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib as “sole officer and director of Sakti.” Sarawak Report has documents to show that he was also the sole officer of Wallyson’s.

When Sakti was incorporated in 1987 Mahmud Taib was 27 years old and his brother Rahman Taib was just 20.  However, the youthful brothers were supported in their roles by the involvement of other close family members.  Two of the Chief Minister’s brothers (Mahmud Taib’s uncles) joined him as the original directors of the company.  The deposition by Sakti says “[The] Defendants admit that the original members of Sakti’s Board of Directors were Onn Mahmud, Arip Mahmud and Mahmud Taib”.

Shareholders
Equally significantly Sakti admits that the shareholders of Sakti are all the Chief Minister’s own children or his brothers.  The document deposited by Sakti International Corporation states ”the original shareholders of the company were Mahmud Taib, Onn Mahmud, Jamilah Taib, Arip Mahmud, and Rahman.”  It goes on to confirm that “Mahmud Taib, Onn Mahmud, Jamilah Taib, Arip Mahmud and Rahaman are still shareholders of Sakti Holdings” (the company into which the shares have been moved).

Sarawak Report can therefore verify that Sakti in the US, like Sakto in Canada, was set up and originally managed exclusively by the Taib family, which provided the original US shareholder investments.  The involvement of Sean Murray, the current manager of Sakto and Sakti, began only after his marriage to Jamilah Taib and in fact he succeeded Rahman Taib as the Manager of Sakti only in 2006.

Sarawak Report therefore invites Murray to declare whether he currently holds any shareholdings in the companies he directs, or if he is merely an employee of his wife’s family.

Sarawak Report also invites the Taib family to explain how between 1983 and 1987 they were able to invest millions of dollars in the setting up of two property companies in Canada and the US whose combined portfolios are now worth at at least US$200 million. Of the original shareholders, Jamilah, Rahman and Mahmud (the children of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud) were in their early 20s and at college at that time, while the other two shareholders, Arip and Onn, are the Chief Minister’s brothers.  If the money was all coming from the two uncles, who are purported to be businessmen, then their generosity in including the Chief Minister’s children rather than their own in these shareholdings is surprising.

Time for some answers
Sarawak Report believes that the people of Sarawak deserve an immediate explanation of these facts from Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud.  The chief minister should instantly reveal whether he holds or once held a stake in these companies in North America and if any of the money invested was provided by him.   If Taib Mahmud is the beneficial owner of any of the shares in these companies the Sarawak taxpayer is entitled to know he obtained them.  Malaysia’s law enforcers should be enquiring on their behalf.

The FBI should also be willing to issue a statement enlightening the public about the ownership of the building they occupy. As joint defendants in the California court case Wallyson’s and Sakti International admitted that the owner of Wallyson’s Incoporated is a company called Rodinmass, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands.  It is inconceivable that the FBI did not check who the owners of Rodinmass were, given the sensitivity of this building.  As the sole officer of Wallyson’s was Rahman Taib, Sarawak Report contends that the owners and shareholders of Rodinmass are, like with Sakti International, the Taib family. Our information is that Laila Taib was the majority shareholder of Rodinmass.

Taib’s wife, brothers and children are all linked to these North American companies.  It is for Taib to now demonstrate that somehow he is not also linked as a beneficial owner of these lucrative properties.

Cahya Mata Sarawak: Apples of the eye

By Anil Netto, 
 
These are the substantial shareholders of Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd, according to the firm’s 2009 Annual Report.
The analysis as at 22 March 2010:
Substantial Shareholders as per Register of Substantial Shareholders, excluding nominee companies
Name of Substantial Shareholders – Direct – Indirect – % of Issued
(Daughter) 1. Datin Hanifah Hajar Taib (Direct) 705,000 (Indirect) 44,925,102  – 13.85%
(Son-in-law) 2. Datuk Syed Ahmad Alwee Alsree – (Indirect) 45,630,102  13.85%
(Family concern) 3. Majaharta Sdn. Bhd. (Direct) 44,925,102 – 13.64%
(Daughter) 4. Jamilah Hamidah Taib (Indirect) 44,925,102 1 – 13.64%
(Late wife) 5. Lejla Taib (Direct) 37,000,000 – 11.23%
(Son) 6. YB Dato Sri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib (Direct) 29,465,085 – 8.94%
(Son) 7. Dato Sri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib (Direct) 29,400,085 – 8.92%
8. Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (Direct) 26,965,360 – 8.19%
The closing price on 5 July was RM2.30 per share. You do the maths to find out how much the Taib Mahmud family is worth in CMS shares alone.
The CMS group made a profit before tax of RM124 million on the back of turnover of RM875 million for 2009.
Its total equity attributable to equity holders of the firm is RM1.3 billion as at 31 December 2009. It had cash and bank balances totalling RM438 million.
From a single product manufacturer of cement beginning in 1974, it has evolved into a group of over 40 companies involved in cement manufacturing, construction materials, trading, construction, road maintenance, property development and financial services.

Fed Court decision ‘suddenly’ goes newest Umno recruit’s way

Can’t write much presently, but – TMI:
The Federal Court today granted leave to Islamic clerics Fathul Bari Mat Jahya and Nik Amirul Faiz Yusof to challenge the Negri Sembilan Islamic authorities and state laws that require permits for teaching Islam.
Where have I heard that name? Ah yes, further down the article:
Fathul joined Umno late last month with a group of clerics belonging to the same school of thought.
Ah.
Is it join Umno, get one free Federal Court approval day perhaps? :P