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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Here’s my response, Zahrain

I wish to inform you that I am unfortunately not a PKR member, but I must confess, due to the unfolding of events over the past few days I have been seriously considering becoming one. Your inane comments have now prompted me to take the plunge. Thank you.

Americk Sidhu

Dear Mr. Zahrain,

First let’s try and get things in perspective.

You were elected as a Member of Parliament by a majority of voters in your constituency who agreed with and who supported the manifesto of the party whom you represented at that time. This means a majority of the voters in your constituency wanted the opposition to represent them. They did not want the Barisan Nasional to represent them.

This is as simply as I can put it. It is not really a very complicated matter to digest so please try and persevere.

Instead, you have betrayed the trust your supporters placed in you by abandoning all the principles you stood for and supporting the Barisan Nasional instead. You did this without first asking the majority of voters in your constituency permission to do so. The excuse that you are a BN friendly independent MP does not detract from the fact that you have abandoned the voters who elected you to represent them by disregarding their wishes and aspirations for a better nation and future.

Let me tell you what an honourable man would have done. An honourable man would have vacated his seat and requested the electorate in his constituency to decide whether they would still support him even though he had betrayed them.

This you did not do, so in my book you are a dishonourable man. You are now a Member of Parliament under false pretences. You shouldn’t really be there because a Member of Parliament should be someone with integrity and honour, besides being legitimately elected by a majority of voters in that constituency.

As a dishonourable member of Parliament under false pretences who has betrayed the electorate he represents, I do not feel you are in a position moral or otherwise, to sanctimoniously criticize the actions of your past fellow ‘brothers-in-arms’ at the same time hiding behind the unholy alliance you have created for yourself with, what most right thinking members of Malaysian society consider to be, the devil incarnate.

Furthermore, the comments you have made regarding the ‘trap’ set by PKR’s political games for the MACC borders on the ludicrous.

It is the MACC’s job to interview Mr. P. Balasubramaniam. No one had set a ‘trap’ for them. They are the Maha Gurus of entrapment, not us. They are the ones who said they wanted to interview Mr. P. Balasubramaniam. We, as Bala’s lawyers did everything we could to assist them. This had nothing to do with PKR. Just because the evidence Bala has may affect a leader of your newfound alliance does not mean it is an opposition-concocted story. It is a story begun by your new buddies, not Bala.

From your praise of the MACC pulling out of the London interview at the last moment, I can only derive from this an assumption that you are hell bent on collaborating with those who are intent on perverting the course of justice or obstructing it. I cannot see any other reason for the comment you have made.

You have then gone on to make some serious accusations directly affecting my integrity as a professional by blatantly implying that I have prepared a script for Bala to regurgitate to the investigative authorities. I hope you have concrete proof of these accusations because if you don’t you are going to look even more silly than you are at the moment.

You appear to know more about my political inclinations and my relationship with Anwar Ibrahim than I do. I am not sure where you have obtained your information from but I would suggest you look for an alternative source, as it is not very effective. I wish to inform you that I am unfortunately not a PKR member, but I must confess, due to the unfolding of events over the past few days I have been seriously considering becoming one. Your inane comments have now prompted me to take the plunge. Thank you.

You have to be a little demented to think that Zaid and Anwar ought to share the responsibility of persuading RPK and Bala to return to Malaysia to “face up to anyone” as established past precedence indicates that anyone regarded as an embarrassing pest to the powers that be should expect to have two bullets embedded in their respective heads and their mortal remains distributed amongst the belukar in some secondary jungle with the aid of military grade explosives.

RPK and Bala are not fools.

Finally, Zahrain, when you and your new found colleagues find time to extricate your heads from the sand in which they are firmly ensconced, you may realise that the average Malaysian is no longer a fool with a penchant to assimilate political garbage without question.

It is a shame you were not present at the launch of ‘Friends of Pakatan Rakyat’ in London last Sunday. It would have been an eye opener for you, as it was for me. I now realise that there are a significant number of Malaysians who have a shared desire to see all the wrongs of the past be put right and the most enlightening aspect of that launch was the support shown by Malaysians of all races and backgrounds. And this is the Malaysia everyone wants. Not the Malaysia you and your friends have slowly destroyed with your self-serving avarice.

GAS to invite Samy to gathering

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS)’s next gathering will include MIC president S Samy Vellu, that is if he accepts the movement’s invitation to address the crowd.

GAS member and former MIC central working committee member KP Samy in revealing the movement’s intentions today said: “This time I am going to extend an invitation to Samy Vellu.

“Let him come and address the crowd. We will be there to raise questions and he can rest be assured that we will not behave like the thugs he sent on July 4.”

Samy was alluding to the incident on July 4, when Samy Vellu allegedly sent “hooligans to disrupt” an Indian Unity gathering organised by GAS .

According to Samy, the “hooligans” were led by Selangor MIC information chief L Sivasubramaniam who alleged that the gathering aimed to discredit Samy Vellu and therefore had to be stopped.

“We repeatedly told them (Sivasubramaniam and team) that the gathering was peaceful and will not go on a character assassination spree but they refused to listen.

“So now we are going to give him an avenue to express his side of the story.

“If he declines, it will show Malaysia that he is nothing but a coward.” said Samy adding that there would also be no reason for SamyVellu to send “his hooligans” again.

Samy also lashed out at Siva Subramaniam for using foul words to disrupt the unity gathering in Klang.

“Samy Vellu had appointed him as Selangor MIC information chief. But is this how a leader behaves? “ he asked

Samy also drew attention to the fact that “SivaSubramaniam and his gang’s “misbehaviour” at the July 4 gathering was recorded by several media.

“I am sure Samy Vellu is aware of the wrongdoings of his people. A lot of media played the video where Siva and his gang were misbehaving in the event.

“SamyVellu should refer them to the disciplinary committee and reprimand them according to the party constitution,” he said adding that GAS will distribute a copy of the video of the July 4 incident to MIC central working committee members and the party's 3600 branch chairmen.

“Let them see the real character of the Selangor MIC information chief,” Samy said.

Jail and fine for three in Michael Soosai's case

KUALA LUMPUR: Three men, including a former hospital attendant, were sentenced to four years' jail and fined RM15,000 each by the Sessions Court here today for faking the death of wanted criminal Michael Soosai.

Judge Mohamad Sekeri Mamat handed down the sentence on former hospital attendant K Subramaniam, 33, scrap metal dealer V Sanjeev Kumar, 34, and J Kumaresan, 28, who were found guilty of falsifying the Kuala Lumpur Hospital mortuary records, Soosai's death certificate, and the burial permit.

They were sentenced to four years' jail each and fined RM5,000 on each count, in default a year's jail.

Mohamad Sekeri also sentenced them to another two years' jail each on the fourth charge of cheating Dr Wan Mohamed Zamri Wan Nawawi, 45, by inducing him to issue the death certificate for Soosai at the HKL mortuary between 11am and 3pm on Sept 12, 2003.

They were ordered to serve the jail sentence concurrently from today.

Reasonable doubts

However, Mohamad Sekeri allowed a stay of the jail sentence following a request by defence counsel Hasnal Rezua Merican pending an appeal to the High Court.

In his judgment, Mohamad Sekeri said the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubts at the end of the defence case.

He said the testimony by Kumaresan that he was contacted by a HKL hospital attendant was fictitious and that the testimony by Sanjeev that he was not at the hospital and did not see Dr Wan Mohamed Zamri was a mere denial.

Mohamed Sekeri also said that the court could not accept Subramaniam's testimony that the name "unknown Mohan" in the hospital mortuary record was changed to Michael Soosai as a correction.

In mitigation, Hasnal Rezua, who represented the three accused, said his clients had no previous record and that they were remorseful of what had happened.

Deputy public prosecutor Syed Faizal Syed Amir prosecuted.

- Bernama

PM escapes disciplinary panel again

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition MP today failed in his bid to refer Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to the Rights and Privileges Committee over the controversial “I help you, you help me” remark in the recently concluded Sibu by-election.

Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, in shooting down a motion brought by Chong Ching Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching), said the Standing Orders gave him no power to cite Najib for misleading the house because the alleged incident happened outside the Dewan Rakyat.

Cheng had said he had video evidence of Najib bribing voters in Sibu.

"I have listened carefully to your argument but I, although as a speaker, cannot widen my power,” Pandikar said.

“As an MP, you have privileges and immunity in the house but not outside. If you think the prime minister has gone against the law, then it is up to you to think about other actions to take against him."

This was Cheng’s second attempt to bring Najib to book for alleged corruption during the Sibu by-election. Last month, in tabling his motion, he said there was evidence of corruption in the reply the prime minister had given to a question about how much it would cost to fulfil promises made to Sibu voters.

The speaker then postponed his decision, saying he had to investigate the matter first.

In his written reply, Najib said the government had allocated RM37.7 million for Sibu, including RM5 million for a flood mitigation programme in Rejang Park.

It was in Rejang Park that Najib made his “I help you, you help me” offer, as shown in a video on YouTube. Najib said he would help the people of Sibu solve the flood problem if they voted for Barisan Nasional’s candidate Robert Lau instead of DAP’s Wong Ho Leng.

Today’s ruling was greeted by loud protests by opposition MPs. “Double standards,” they shouted.

Poor excuse

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Permatang Pauh) said the speaker had given a poor excuse for letting Najib off the hook.

Anwar reminded the house that evidence from outside was used in referring him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.

The committee is investigating Anwar over his allegation that Apco Worldwide, the government’s public relations consultant, was linked to Zionists and that 1Malaysia was inspired by 1Israel.

Said Anwar: "Apco produced a statement denying that it was involved in this matter outside the house and then they withdrew the letter when I revealed it in the house.

"Then another statement was released to help the prime minister.

“How could you modify this ruling? You should have just released me from the committee."

But Pandikar said the PKR leader had “missed the point" and then tried to explain his ruling in the following words:

"Your punishment was brought forward by a minister under Standing Orders 27-3. I have explained this at great length before. If the motion is made by a minister, that is a motion made by the government.

“Even I, as a speaker, my power could be put behind if there is a motion. You should understand. The motion has been agreed by the committee.

"All I am saying is that the opposition will have their say, and the government will have their say."

Debate on Rosmah rejected, MP resubmits motion

(Malaysiakini) The Parliament has rejected an emergency motion to debate allegations that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's wife financed private investigator P Balasubramaniam's stay and expenses in London.

Bakri DAP parliamentarian Er Teck Hwa's motion was denied under Standing Order 18(5) that states "not more than one motion can be brought at the adjournment of the meeting in a day".

The MP wanted the issue discussed, saying it had received extensive coverage from the international media and he believed the matter has affected the country's good standing and image.

Er's (right) motion was on Balasubramaniam's lawyer Americk Sidhu's statement, through the blog Malaysia Today on June 30, stating that all expenses to support the private investigator while in London were paid by carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan on Rosmah's directive.

Balasubramaniam, who went undercover, was one of the witnesses in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

He is currently wanted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to assist in its investigations into allegations that he was paid to retract his first statutory declaration.

The motion also urges the Parliament to debate allegations by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin in his article entitled 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell'.

The article alleges that Prime Minister Najib had a relationship with Altantuya and that the Mongolian had knowledge of dubious deals that led to her murder. Najib has denied any involvement.

Er resubmits motion today

Er had asked for the issues to be debated and to verify the claims in order to maintain the nation's integrity.

Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected the motion, saying Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Permatang Pauh parliamentarian Anwar Ibrahim would be giving the adjournment speech.

However, Er is not giving up on his effort to push the issue to be debated, and resubmitted his motion this morning.

"I resubmitted it early this morning and the officers told me that my motion is the first one for today," he said.

He hopes the issue will be debated next week because it concerns the premier's wife.

"The rumour has been spreading around on the Internet, so we need to protect our country and Rosmah's (above) reputation."
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MACC spooked over Altantunyagate, says lawyer

By Chen Yi Ling - Free Malaysian Today

LONDON: Pressure has built up on Malaysian authorities to reveal more than what has been the official version about the Altantunya murder, the circumstances surrounding it and the people involved.

At a much-awaited press conference here yesterday, one of private eye P Balasubramaniam’s lawyers added new life to a persistent rumour that the relevant public agencies are involved in a huge cover-up to keep Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s name out in any official reference to the murder.

Manjeet Singh Dhillon, a prominent lawyer, said the police or some other authority edited Najib’s name out of the statements that Bala made to the police during their investigation into the murder. This allegation has surfaced before on the Internet and in the opposition media, but never so starkly or at an event that has had so much advanced publicity.

“There has been a tremendous cover-up to save the possible perpetrators of this murder,” Manjeet said.

Yesterday’s press conference was in lieu of the one Bala and his lawyers had planned as an event that would follow the private eye’s interview with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The anti-graft body had agreed to meet Bala over his allegation that he was bribed and blackmailed by one of Najib’s brothers, Nazim, to leave Malaysia after making a statutory declaration contradicting an earlier one. In the earlier declaration, he alleged that Najib knew Altantuya personally. Bala has also said that Deepak Jaikishan, a businessman known to Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, abetted Nazim in the bribery and blackmail.

Change of government

The MACC subsequently cancelled the scheduled interview, saying the Attorney-General had advised against it because the statement to be recorded from Bala, being made abroad, could not be used in Malaysian courts. Instead, it sent a Bala a list of questions by courier.

Manjeet said the MACC had used “flimsy grounds” to cancel the interview. He charged that MACC officers were “apprehensive” about turning up in London because the investigation was becoming “dangerous to the people who hold the reins of power in Malaysia”.

Bala’s lawyers said he was willing and able to assist MACC in its investigation but that he feared returning to Malaysia.

The private eye also spoke during the press conference. He said he feared the authorities would detain him without trial under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in order to silence him. He now lives in South India. He said he would return only after a change of government.

Others at the press conference included Sarawak PKR adviser Michael Bong and former MCA leader and senator David Yeoh. The two were in London for the launch of an organisation called Friends of Pakatan Rakyat.

Yeoh said he was there to hear Bala speak in person.

Another of Bala’s lawyers, Americk Sidhu, said he used to be politically apathetic but became “disgusted and embarrassed” over the events surrounding Altantuya’s murder.

Manjeet, Americk and another lawyer, Amarjit Singh Sidhu, are working pro bono for Bala.

Bala and his legal team will head to Paris on Monday to help French prosecutors with their probe into possible corruption in Malaysia’s purchase of French submarines. That purchase was made through Perimekar, a company owned by Najib associate Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting in Altantuya’s murder but was subsequently acquitted.

'History lost us Batu Puteh'

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: Over two years have passed since Malaysia lost its duel with Singapore over sovereign right to Pulau Batu Puteh (PBP). While Singapore walked away with the coveted island, we had to be content with a maritime feature of lesser significance known as Middle Rocks.

The May 2008 verdict by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) split Malaysian opinion. One half believed that we were robbed of our national territory, while the other decreed that we had courted defeat.

The common ground between both sides was dismay. That emotion would have no doubt resurfaced with the recent publication of 'Pedra Branca: The Road to the World Court' (henceforth referred to as Pedra Branca).

The book's authors are none other than S Jayakumar and Tommy Koh, both of whom were personally involved in the case. The former is currently Singapore's Senior Minister in the Cabinet, while the latter is an international lawyer and Ambassador-at-Large for the Government of Singapore.

Their book not only offered an insight into behind-the-scenes proceedings of the case but also a disturbing account of Malaysia's conduct during the hearing.

The authors disclosed that Malaysia had employed tactics that “would not have been tolerated in any domestic court of law”. They listed these tactics as mis-translating a text, suppressing parts of quotations to support its arguments and using a misleading photograph of the island.

In an earlier interview with FMT, prominent lawyer Karpal Singh expressed his shock at these revelations and called them a “terrible embarrassment” for Malaysia.

While he voiced his faith in the accuracy and credibility of the two authors (one of whom was his lecturer and the other his senior in university), he also urged the Malaysian side to rebut or explain their comments.

That rebuttal has come in the form of a 30-page article penned by Malaysia's agent to the ICJ, Abdul Kadir Mohamad. Entitled 'The Case of Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge at the International Court of Justice', the article was published last year by Malaysia's Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations.

Kadir was also the former secretary-general of the Foreign Ministry and is currently the adviser on foreign affairs to the Prime Minister.

Singapore's arrogance sparked the dispute

Kadir began his narration by attributing the root of the dispute to “Singapore's arrogance in the conduct of its relations with Malaysia and the insensitivity towards the feelings of Malaysians”.

According to him, Malaysia had deliberately published the controversial 1979 map which showed PBP as part of Malaysian territory to reaffirm Malaysia's sovereignty over the island. It was that map which sparked the three decades of dispute.

The ICJ verdict saw ordinary Malaysians hurling brickbats at the Malaysian legal team for facing the ICJ without having a “sure-win” legal case. But Kadir stuck to his guns in responding to their criticism and reiterated that the government had made that decision (to go to the ICJ) after much deliberation, with full awareness of the risks involved.

In an e-mailed interview with FMT, Kadir explained: “Malaysia had two good reasons for taking the ICJ option. Firstly, we wanted to seek a peaceful solution via a third party in order to maintain peace and stability in the region.

“Secondly, we believed we had a sound case and at least a 50% probability of regaining control over Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge via the international legal process. We were confident of proving that Johor still owned the original title to all three maritime features.”

Kadir added that Singapore's “inflexible attitude” had erased the possibility of using any other peaceful means. By “inflexible attitude”, he referred to Singapore stationing gunboats around PBP and barring Johor fishermen from entering the area.

This account is in stark contrast to that of Pedra Branca by the authors who described how the Royal Malaysian Marine Police boats began making regular intrusions into PBP waters. They said that the vessels carried personnel armed with pistols and M-16 rifles.

When asked to clarify this account, Kadir tersely replied, “There was no question of any Malaysian intrusion into PBP waters because it was Malaysia’s position that those waters historically belonged to Malaysia.”

Nothing wrong with our tactics

Kadir was equally curt in responding to Singapore's disapproval of the tactics used during the hearing and dismissed any notion of foul play.

“As a sovereign country, Malaysia had the right to use any strategy or argument it considered useful to support its case so long as the actions did not contravene the rules and procedures of the court,” he stated. “And in this particular instance, Malaysia’s actions did not contravene any rule or procedure of the court.”

He also downplayed the misleading photograph of PBP which showed Bukit Pelali in Johor as looking over the island. Singapore successfully proved that the photograph was taken with a telephoto lens, which increased the height of the hill in the background by a factor of seven.

Jayakumar and Koh called this a “public relations disaster” for Malaysia and related that a member of the Malaysian delegation covered her face in embarrassment after this faux pas was unveiled.

Kadir, on the other hand, remained unperturbed. In explaining the photograph to FMT, he opted to quote from a statement made by Malaysia's counsel, Professor Marcelo G Kohen, instead of offering his own.

“Singapore’s Attorney General preferred to use his time to engage in photographic prestidigitation, accusing Malaysia of manipulation,” he quoted. “Everything is a matter of perspective. A photograph taken from a small craft and another taken from the bridge of a large petrol tanker, taken of the same place and pointing in the same direction, but consequently from different heights, do not provide the same view. I do not think it is worth dwelling on the question.”

Singapore's grand design foiled

Kadir, however, dealt Singapore a slap on the wrist for claiming that Malaysia had accused it of concealing a missing letter, which was a crucial supporting document in Malaysia's argument.

The 1844 letter was written by the governor of the Straits Settlements requesting permission from the Sultan and Temenggong of Johor to build the Horsburgh lighthouse on PBP.

“We did not make such an accusation,” Kadir clarified. “What I said was that Malaysia wasn't able to trace that particular letter of request and in 1994, we requested Singapore to furnish a copy of the governor’s letter if Singapore had such a copy in its possession.”

“Singapore did not respond to Malaysia’s request. If this letter exists today, it is likely that it is in Singapore’s archives in the file entitled 'Letters to Native Rulers'. Unfortunately, Malaysia does not have access to these archives.”

Kadir further stressed that the Malaysian team had done well in articulating Malaysia’s case in the best possible way. Given a second chance, he maintained that he would not have done anything differently.

“Malaysia didn't lose PBP because we had weaker arguments or insufficient evidence to support our case,” he said. “We lost because the court held the view that certain non-erasable facts of history -- particularly those events which took place between 1953 and 1980 -- had destroyed Malaysia’s sovereign position on the island, Johor’s original title notwithstanding.”

He also expressed a certain satisfaction in his article over the verdict which he said foiled Singapore's “grand design” of securing ownership of PBP, Middle Rocks and South Ledge to form a maritime domain in that area. He wrote:

“Malaysians may never want to look upon the decisions of the court as any form of consolation prize for Malaysia. But the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea would confirm that the court's decision to award sovereignty over Middle Rocks to Malaysia has given us an equal standing with Singapore in that part of the Singapore Straits near PBP.”

Najib an enemy of free speech, says PAS

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS has denounced recent attempts to intimidate the opposition media, saying they proved that the Najib administration was an enemy of free speech.

The party’s information chief Idris Ahmad said it had become evident that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had no respect for freedom of information. He cited recent attempts to gag PKR’s Suara Keadilan, PAS’s Harakah and DAP’s Roket.

“They have suspended Suara Keadilan, declared Harakah an illegal publication and are closely monitoring Roket,” he said.

Yesterday, officials from the Home Ministry went to the Angkatan Edaran factory to monitor the printing of Harakah.

They also searched the premises for copies of Era Keadilan, which they said was an illegal publication of PKR.

On July 2, the government suspended Suara Keadilan’s permit over a report critical of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), an organisation that is said to have become intimately connected to Najib.

Idris said the party organs were the only sources of alternative information to a large section of the public, especially members of the Pakatan coalition.

He accused the government of abusing public resources to further Barisan Nasional’s political agenda, such as in the recent demonstration outside the Suara Keadilan office.

Noting that the pro-BN mainstream media had been free of government intimidation, he challenged the Home Ministry to issue clear guidelines on what it considers news and what it considers threats to security and harmony.

He urged Putrajaya not to ignore the anger that some Malaysians felt over the communal slant of some pro-BN newspapers.

Updating Dr M on who runs the country

By Lim Teck Ghee
COMMENT Is it true that Umno has allowed the situation of Malay dominance to be so badly eroded that the community is facing a bleak and hopeless future?
The Ketuanan party is being overly modest if it refuses to take any credit for the Malays’ measurable success. In which case, we should all be content to attribute the advancement of Malays and Malaysia merely to takdir and the grace of Allah, and quite willing to discount human agency and Umno diligence.
But let’s see.

Bring back the civil service staff list


Until the early 1970s, the Malaysian government used to produce a federal civil service staff list annually that contained the details of key personnel heading the various ministries and departments of the federal authorities and agencies, and their positions in the service.

In most if not all states, there was also a similar staff list of officers serving in key management and administrative positions at the state and local levels.

This staff list served a number of purposes. It enabled the public and the people running the government at the highest level to keep track of which officer was in command of which agency as well as to get an overview of the total structure of government and its key personnel. It also enabled officials in service to keep in touch with their fellow officers, and to track each other’s career movement over time.

The staff list was a published document available at a small price to anyone. Although it was a practice that came to the country as a result of British colonial administration, it can be considered to be a good practice as it helped put names and details on an otherwise faceless, anonymous and often unaccountable bureaucracy, especially at its higher reaches.

That practice of a published and publicly accessible consolidated staff list was abandoned possibly because of the growth in the civil service and the increase in the number of senior positions which would make the publication a bulky one.

There may have been other reasons – possibly political. Perhaps the civil service leaders of that time and era such as Ramon Navaratnam can help explain the real reason.

With e-everything now…

Whatever the reason for discontinuing with the practice, the age of the Internet now provides the Malaysian government an opportunity to respond to calls for transparency and accountability of the civil service by producing an electronic list of its key personnel.

This e-list can be done cheaply, quickly and painlessly through an integration of the existing staff lists of all government agencies and ministries, and even extending to the GLCs and GLICs.

Such a measure is especially important to undertake because there has recently been concerns raised by the vocal former prime minister that Malays are being marginalised, and that the Chinese (and now, foreign immigrants) are taking over the country.

These concerns, echoed by Perkasa, and some of the mainstream Malay media, have confused many Malaysians, especially Malays, on what is the true situation today.

Besides responding to the communal hysteria being whipped up by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his supporters, the electronic senior staff list is useful in the pursuit of greater transparency and accountability in the civil service – a sector that is paid for by all taxpayers.

Moreover, disclosure of who are the key personnel in the local, state and federal levels of the civil service will provide us with a factual basis for gauging the truth or otherwise of the public statements on the so-called Malay loss of power – an allegation that is gaining momentum as the next general election draws nearer.

It is Mahathir who gives the ballpark figure that “30 percent” power is what Malays will be reduced to holding if they are disunited.

He injects more venom into the throbbing vein of Malay insecurity with his acid-laced claim that they will lose out on the good jobs. Adopting a physician’s bedside manner, he says in the most syrupy of tones: “Tak apa lah. Buruk sangatkah menjadi buruh kasar dan pemandu kereta?” (Never mind lah. Is it all that bad to be a hard labourer and driver?)

Mahathir’s chip on the shoulder the size of a Pontiac Catalina was already visible in the late 1950s when, with apparent deliberation, he chose to hire a Chinese man to drive him around Alor Setar in his gas-guzzling car.

Fifty years down the road, the country must once more exorcise his May 13 phantoms lest he derails Malaysia and sends us crashing again.

So let’s look at some empirical data of who is in control.

People really running the country

Public perception is that Malays dominate the police and armed forces. This idea is indeed correct and the police and military high command is indeed truly thoroughly controlled by Malays.

In a later article, we will be taking a look at another popular perception that public universities are dominated by Malays. Meanwhile, what is the perception of the outside world as to which race is the face of 1Malaysia?

From the list compiled by CPI, we also see that the ambassadors in plum postings like London, Paris and Berlin are Malays, and most notably Jamaludin Jarjis in Washington DC. Two Chinese were posted to Cuba and Kazakstan respectively, and Indians dispatched to Lebanon and Nepal. Nobody wants the Zimbabwe job.

A quick glance at the 103 names including high commissioners, consuls and one or two temporary heads of missions as sourced from the Wisma Putra website reveals a scant sprinkling of Chinese and Indian officials in an otherwise 85 percent Malay-dominated list.

Even the Malaysian ambassador in Beijing and the consuls-general in Shanghai and Kunming are Malay. Needless to say, almost if not all the overseas support staff in the diplomatic corps are Malay too.

On closer examination, among the non-Muslim names – Blanche Olbery, the Malaysian high commissioner in Papua New Guinea, is the wife of a former deputy minister M Kayveas, whereas the high commissioner in Pretoria, Kennedy Jawan (a Sarawak Iban) seems to be working harder than his Muslim-Bumiputera counterparts as he is also concurrently overseeing five other African countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique and Swaziland.

A lot more work needs to be done in analysing the staff list and other key data related to the ethnic, regional and gender composition of the civil service; and the implications for 1Malaysia.

Hopefully, the many hundreds of academicians and researchers in the field of public administration and political science can be persuaded to undertake this important work. It requires only simple empirical research on the civil service to answer the burning question of who runs the country.

Where have the ‘nons’ gone?

Slightly more complex research will be required to explain why there are so few non-Malays at the top rungs of the civil service, and likely even the middle rungs.

Is it because non-Malay civil servants are so incapable or that they are genetically engineered only to be successful in the private sector?

Is it because they lack the spirit of self-sacrifice and idealism to serve the country? Is it because of the way in which the intake operates?

Is there a “kulit-fication” ceiling that holds non-Malays back in the way that a glass ceiling has traditionally held back women in the higher management ranks in many countries?

Is subservience to Malay dominance the price that more generations of non-Malay youth have to pay should they wish to join the service?

It should not be too difficult for the Cabinet to make accessible a tiny portion of the huge pot of R&D funds contained in the 10th Malaysia Plan to help finance the research to answer the questions posed above.


Lim Teck Ghee is the director of Centre for Policy Initiatives. A fuller version of this article, complete with the lists, first appeared at CPI website.

MCA sitting on slippery wall

By Stanley Koh - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT Politics is not an exact science. Nineteenth-century Prussian-German statesman Otto von Bismarck, who made this observation, should have added that life is often at odds with our expectations and political parties are not exempt from this uncertainty.

When MCA slipped quietly into a brainstorming session last month, it essentially focused its political radar on the objective of how to regain support in the next general election.

The three-day political retreat was supervised by Dr Chua Soi Lek, the party’s president — or cheerleader, as his detractors like to call him.

Critics say the general mood of the brainstorming was grim, which was to be expected of a party in turmoil and desperately fighting for its survival.

It was a time to look hard at the impact of the hard fall of the 308 electoral tsunami, which made a Humpty Dumpty of MCA, knocking it off the wall.

Humpty Dumpty was the nickname of an unusually large cannon mounted on a protective wall of St Mary-at-the-Walls Church in Colchester, England. During the English civil war (1642-1649) between the Parliamentarians and the Royalists, Colchester came under temporary control of the Royalists, and they mounted the cannon to protect the stronghold.

Attempting to take back control of Colchester, the parliamentary forces succeeded in damaging the wall underneath Humpty Dumpty, causing the cannon to fall to the ground.

The Royalists failed to raise Humpty Dumpty onto another part of the wall despite help from all the King’s horses and all the King’s men. Colchester fell to the Parliamentarians after a siege lasting 11 weeks.

Will MCA suffer the same fate as Humpty Dumpty at the next general election?

Still reeling from the impact and after-effects of 22 years of Mahathirism, the national electorate is placed at risk of a neurosis.

Mad and sad nation

Voters see MCA as having depleted its goodwill. An awakening electorate now realises that the party has throughout its history fully supported the Internal Security Act, the Sedition Act, the ban on political rallies, the Printing Presses and Publication Act, the Official Secrets Act and other authoritarian measures aimed at surveillance and control of the citizenry and political opponents.

More and more Malaysians are seeing themselves as belonging to a bad, mad and sad nation governed by politicians who, working in a monkey cage, have perfected a type of pseudo democracy as an art and science.

An increasingly sceptical electorate cannot expect any reform to come from MCA. The history of its leadership is a story of repeated failures. In 1986, for example, Dr Ling Liong Sik as party president delivered a strong message that the MCA and the Chinese community should not be the favourite whipping boys of Malay (actually Umno) politicians aspiring to climb the political ladder or trying to divert attention from their own weaknesses. Of course, nothing changed or has changed.

At the recent brainstorming session, Chua raised the same issue. “No more Chinese or MCA bashing,” he said and warned that the party would respond openly if the bashing happened again.

Recent events and speeches are a gross reminder of the 2006 Umno AGM, when several delegates made fiery speeches perceived to be seditious. Despite opposition leader Lim Kit Siang’s call to the Attorney-General to charge those making seditious remarks, Najib Tun Razak, who was then Umno deputy president, tried to justify the offensive remarks with the excuse that “some delegates had gone overboard because they were inexperienced”.

Complaints about lopsided recruitment into the civil and uniformed services, which have been raised numerous times since at least 1986, remain unresolved. But MCA is calling for directorships in government-linked companies to be shared among all races and for the party to be treated with respect and as an equal within the Barisan Nasional.

Flashback to 1986

Given recent political developments, it is doubtful that the MCA leadership can effectively contain the greater assertion or rumblings for the preservation of Malay political dominance. The situation is reminiscent of 1986, when Ling spoke of “the Malays in Umno becoming more ultra in their thinking and approach to preserve their hard-won gains”.

He continued: “To accommodate non-Malay demands, according to this school of thought, would be a sign of weakness and a concession to the non-Malays, who may not in the final analysis support Umno and the BN at the next general election.”

Ling added that this argument would go on to suggest that there should even be stronger Malay bias in all facts of Malaysian life in order to institutionalise Malay dominance.

At last month’s retreat, Chua’s leadership failed to deal with the very fundamental democratic principle that the BN leadership spearheaded by Umno should transform itself by embracing positive values and ethics in governance.

MCA, as expected, has failed to call for a gradual democratisation of the bureaucratic-authoritarian system and governance in Malaysia.

Mahathirism continues to prevail, so strong is its legacy of suppressing democratic space within the political order and destroying the independence of the executive, judiciary and legislature.

The recent MCA brainstorming dealt only superficially with important issues, merely calling, for example, for efforts to “improve the image” of the MACC and the police force.

It is a public perception that the BN government’s credibility is already paper thin and MCA has been of no help.

The current situation indeed is looking more and more like 1986, with its crisis of democracy, crisis of identity, crisis of confidence and crisis of legitimacy.

It was in 1986 that the opposition has cried, “Enough is enough” and called on voters to deny the BN a two-third majority. Malaysians slept for 22 years and woke up only in 2008.

Barking without biting

MCA has failed in its role as an “equal” partner. It is equal only in that he has a part in the rubber stamping of draconian laws. It has failed to provide checks and balances.

In a 1990 brainstorming session, MCA played down the possibility of a two-coalition parliament.

“The reality of Malaysian politics is that unless the two-coalition system is accepted by the Malays, it would be suicidal for the Chinese community to continue to dream of the ideal two-party system as practised in the advanced Western countries,” said a working paper in the brainstorming.

“The Chinese community has been led up the garden path by the DAP, and the result is the continued erosion of the Chinese political strength, in particular in Pulau Pinang, where the Gerakan Chief Minister now exists at the mercy of Umno.

“In the US, the two-party system has not resulted in any political advancements for the minorities — the blacks and the Asians.”

How erroneous was the projected MCA vision in 1990, supposedly a part of the brainstorming process. In fact, DAP had warned in 1986 about inequality in the distribution of political power in the 1984 delineation of electoral constituencies. The opposition party characterised it as the abandonment of the one-man-one-vote principle.

MCA as a major partner in BN did not heed the warning. Barking without biting will not make the tiger lose its stripes. MCA should learn this lesson, or it may well become Humpty Dumpty in the next general election.

Saving our wildlife

Sideways by Deborah Loh | The Nut Graph
(Tiger by vierdrie / sxc.hu; crosshairs public domain)
(Tiger by vierdrie / sxc.hu; crosshairs public domain)
FED up with humans and their politics, I write today about animals. Unlike our politics, which goes in circles based on tit-for-tat rhetoric and racial fear-mongering, there has been real progress in wildlife conservation. Soon we will have a new law that some wildlife protection groups say is the best they’ve seen in a long time for Malaysia, a major player in illegal animal trade.
The current law, the Protection of Wildlife Act 1972, has been as effective in deterring wildlife hunting and trade as a stuffed toy tiger. It is outdated with its loopholes and too-lenient sentences.
Parliament is scheduled to vote on the Wildlife Conservation Bill 2010 before the current sitting ends on 15 July 2010. It will replace the 1972 Act and has been a long time in the making. What is worth noting about this new law?
More deterrents
Some key thrusts in the Bill are:
  • higher fines across the board, with the maximum fine of RM15,000 under the 1972 Act being raised to RM500,000;
  • mandatory jail terms for a wider variety of offences;
  • a broader definition of snares used to trap animals;
  • distinguishing the derivatives of animals as an illegal item;
  • mandatory permits from the Wildlife Department to open zoos or animal displays; and,
  • presumption of offence and laying the burden of proof on the suspect.
In the new Bill, the maximum RM500,000 fine will apply to the hunting of totally protected species like the tiger, clouded leopard, serow, gaur and Sumatran rhinoceros. Jail will also be mandatory for up to five years, compared with the current law which provides for a fine and/or imprisonment. That’s how poacher Ang Chun Tan in Tumpat, Kelantan was able to walk away after paying a paltry RM7,000 for possessing the carcass of a tiger in 2005. What is that, compared to the RM180,000 a tiger is worth on the black market?
Other animals that will enjoy better protection include commonly traded ones like pangolins, and certain birds including the hornbill. So will young species and females on the totally protected list.
Mandatory jail has also been extended to include the offence of laying snares to trap wildlife. The penalty involves up to two years in prison, plus a fine of between RM50,000 and RM100,000.
Pangolin (Public domain | Wiki commons)
Pangolin (Public domain | Wiki commons)
Mere possession of a just one snare will also be punishable by a maximum fine of RM100,000. Under the current law, you have to be caught with 25 snares or more in order to face mandatory jail.
Wider scope
The new Bill makes “derivates” of totally protected species illegal, whereas the current Act only covers recognisable animal parts. It means enforcement officers will be able to act against traditional medicine sellers who carry products containing such derivatives. They can be fined a maximum of RM20,000, or jailed up to one year, or both.
The new Bill also places the burden of proof on a suspect. If you are caught trying to use a decoy to bait an animal, or for merely possessing a snare, it’s assumed that you’re trying to hunt wildlife. If any animal part or derivative is found on your premises, it’s assumed that these items are in your possession.
Zoos, animal exhibitions and circuses will also be covered by the new law. Currently, operation permits for these businesses are issued by the local council. But in the new law, they must be licensed by the Wildlife Department in order to set up operations, or risk a maximum RM70,000 fine and/or a maximum three-year jail term. These operations are also required to get additional permits if they use totally protected wildlife. The penalty for not adhering to these requirements is a maximum fine of RM100,000, or jail.
Links with other crimes
It has been a long road for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who pushed to get the above provisions included in the new Bill. NGOs submitted their proposals for the Bill twice to the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, first in 2005 and again in 2008.
For certain, the new law is not a perfect law. But it’s far tighter than the current 1976 Act. It at least makes wildlife crimes “as bad” as other criminal offences, with stiffer fines and mandatory jail sentences. Wildlife activists have often lamented that the lenient penalties in the current law did not inspire judges to mete out the maximum sentence.
Hopefully, the new Bill will impress upon the courts the severity of wildlife crimes. Not just judges, but the public too must realise that the lucrative illegal wildlife trade is a key source of funding for other organised crime. The Asean Wildlfe Enforcement Network has noted links between wildlife, drug and human trafficking. In some instances, the sex trade upgrades its services by offering bear and tiger derivatives as aphrodisiacs. Overall, the black market value of wildlife trafficking was estimated to be US$40 million in 2009.
This bear was fortunately released from captivity (Source: neavs.org)
This bear was fortunately rescued and released from captivity (Source: neavs.org)
There are other big-picture consequences when wildlife is depleted. The unbalancing of biological ecosystems can disrupt food and water supply. The movement of exotic wildlife can spread previously unknown disease from animals to humans.
But the best laws will amount to little if enforcement is weak. With their scarce personnel, the Wildlife Department is not only up against vast tracts of forest where hunters can hide, but against syndicates using M16 guns and guerilla-like tactics to avoid detection.
With violent trends in the wildlife trade becoming more serious, and its links with other black market crimes more apparent, it’s clear that the scope of wildlife protection goes beyond one ministry. How is the movement of such firearms regulated, and what is the role of the national security forces? How do we prevent People’s Volunteer Corp (Rela) members – who are issued with guns – from mishandling human-wildlife conflict? How do we curb their involvement in poaching?
Clearly, amending our laws to make it more stringent is a step in the right direction. But it will require much more from consumers and the government if we are going to successfully protect our wildlife heritage – and Malaysia’s reputation.

Usul Menangguhkan Mesyuarat Di Bawah Peraturan Mesyuarat 18

7hb Julai 2010
YB Tan Sri Datuk Pandikar Amin Bin Haji Mulia
Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat
Bangunan Parlimen
50680 Kuala Lumpur
Tan Sri Yang di-Pertua,
PERKARA: USUL MENANGGUHKAN MESYUARAT DI BAWAH PERATURAN MESYUARAT 18
Merujuk kepada Peraturan Mesyuarat 18(1) dan (2), dengan ini saya ingin mengusulkan supaya mesyuarat ini ditangguhkan untuk membincangkan perkara tertentu, berkepentingan ramai dan perlu disegerakan.
Saya, Anwar Bin Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh) mohon mencadangkan:
“Bahawa Dewan Rakyat membincangkan laporan semasa prestasi kewangan dan operasi PETRONAS berikutan penurunan perolehan sebanyak 18.1% kepada RM216.4 bilion dan penurunan keuntungan sebanyak 23.2% kepada RM40.3 bilion yang mempunyai kesan yang besar kepada negara.”
Yang Di-Pertua,
Pada 1 Julai 2010 PETRONAS mengumumkan laporan prestasi kewangan dan operasinya bagi tahun kewangan berakhir 31 Mac 2010. Laporan tersebut menunjukkan penurunan perolehan dan keuntungan yang mempunyai kesan kepada kedudukan kewangan negara.
PETRONAS merupakan penyumbang terbesar kepada sumber pendapatan kerajaan. Namun, akibat daripada kegagalan Kerajaan Persekutuan Barisan Nasional bagi menjana ekonomi, saban tahun PETRONAS dibebankan dengan tanggungjawab menanggung perbelanjaan boros kerajaan.
Disebalik janji kerajaan untuk mengambil langkah mengurangkan kebergantungan kepada hasil PETRONAS untuk membiayai perbelanjaan negara, kerajaan menuntut bayaran dividen dikekalkan pada RM30 bilion. Akibatnya, PETRONAS terpaksa membayar sejumlah RM70.9 bilion bagi tahun berakhir 31 Disember 2009, sedangkan keuntungannya bagi tempoh setahun berakhir 31 Mac 2010 hanyalah RM40.3 bilion. Ini meneruskan pola pembayaran yang terlampau tinggi yang dikenakan kepada PETRONAS, sehinggakan ia terpaksa memulangkan 85.6% dari keuntungannya bagi tahun berakhir 31 Mac 2010 sebagai bayaran kepada kerajaan. Ini mempunyai kesan buruk kepada ekonomi negara dan kedudukan PETRONAS.
Pengumuman kepimpinan baru PETRONAS bahawa strategi pelaburannya akan ditukar untuk menumpukan perhatian kepada pelaburan huluan dalam negara menimbulkan banyak tanda tanya. Perkiraan mendadak untuk mengalihkan perbelanjaan kapital dan kos operasi PETRONAS ke dalam negara untuk membangunkan rezab-rezab marginal dilihat sebagai percubaan untuk merompak dana PETRONAS melalui cara baru.
Kaedah menekan PETRONAS membayar dividen yang terlampau tinggi sudah tidak memadai untuk menanggung ketamakan pihak yang berkepentingan, maka PETRONAS dipaksa mengubah strateginya agar lebih banyak projek dalam negara dilaksanakan yang memungkinkan campur tangan politik.
Mutakhir ini, ada tanda-tanda cubaan untuk menyelewengkan sumber kewangan PETRONAS. Jika selama ini rakyat terpaksa menanggung beban subsidi gas kepada penjana bebas (IPP) yang hanya menguntungkan temolok kroni sahaja, kini ada langkauan baru untuk merompak PETRONAS dengan lebih tersusun. Campur tangan dan cubaaan penyelewengan ini perlu diawasi dan ditentangi dengan sehebatnya.
Atas perkara yang tertentu ini yang melibatkan kepentingan rakyat umum yang perlu disegerakan, saya mohon usul ini dibincangkan.
.
Sekian.
Yang benar,
ANWAR BIN IBRAHIM
KETUA PEMBANGKANG DEWAN RAKYAT
AHLI PARLIMEN PERMATANG PAUH

Indian Student Gives Birth On Aircraft, Attempting To Abandon

NEW DELHI, July 8 (Bernama) -- An Indian medical student gave birth to a baby on board an aircraft from Belarus to India and then tried to abandon it, reported China's Xinhua news agency quoting the local daily The Times of India on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Amandeep Mann, a resident of Hoshiarpur in Punjab delivered the baby on board Turkmenistan Airlines' flight to the northern Indian city of Amritsar Tuesday.

Mann is studying medicine at Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

She was caught by police on being alerted by the airline's staff that she tried to escape after abandoning the newborn in the aircraft's washroom.

Both mother and child have been admitted in a private hospital. Mann's marital status is not clear, the report said.

Najib Wants CECA With India Signed In November

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants the Comprehensive Economic Agreement (CECA) between Malaysia and India to be signed in November.

He said the talks, which have been going on for five rounds, needed to be completed before the official visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Malaysia in November.

"I want to propose a more pragmatic approach in discussions. We need to focus on what is doable and what can be achievable.

"The negotiations should not be a zero sum game but rather it should lead to a win-win situation for both sides," he said in a speech at the Malaysia-India Seminar here Thursday.

Besides CECA, both governments were also working on a Framework for Strategic Partnership to boost bilateral relations to a higher level, said the Malaysian prime minister.

"This is an overarching agreement to oversee bilateral relations on various fronts, including economic, security and people-to-people engagements," he added.

Suhakam reps to get help to enter palace site

The Sun 


BACHOK: The Works Ministry is willing to assist Suhakam (Human Rights Commission) representatives to enter the construction site of the new Istana Negara at Jalan Duta.

Minister Datuk Shaziman Mansor said he would get the assistance of the department provided Suhakam made an official request.

“Although the site is under the jurisdiction of the contractor, the department can still help Suhakam gain entry into the site,” Shaziman told reporters after launching the Bachok Umno division meeting here on Tuesday night.

The minister was commenting on an Internet portal alleging that representatives from Suhakam, including its commissioner James Nayagam, were prevented from entering the site to investigate claims that some workers had yet to receive their salaries for the past three months.

The portal added that the representatives were prevented from entering by security personnel, adding that Suhakam had officially requested from the respective contractors to visit the site but had yet to get a reply.

The Star recently front-paged the plight of many foreign workers hired to build the RM800mil Istana Negara who claimed they were not paid three months’ wages by some project sub-contractors.

Commenting on the allegations that the project contractor had hired foreign workers without valid permits, Shaziman said it was difficult to determine whether the sub-contractors had hired illegal workers, as the Works Department only signed an agreement with the main contractor.

He added that based on a preliminary report from the Construction Industry Deve­lopment Board (CIDB), the workers on the Istana Negara site had received their salaries on time.

Girl lodges report against ex-police officer for molest

By Dominic Legeh - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: A former senior police officer who is a “Datuk” is under investigation for allegedly molesting a 20-year-old at an entertainment outlet in Luyang two years ago.

The victim, who was a teenager at the time, is from the interior part of Sabah.

Her police report lodged against the officer, last Friday, has brought the alleged sexual assault into the open.

The victim, now 20, who was working in the local entertainment industry at the time, says she is still traumatised by the assault that happened during a birthday party held at the outlet.

“The incident took place some time back, but after a long and painful reflection I decided to come out and make the police report,” she told a press conference at Wong Kwok Restaurant in Bundusan, Penampang, yesterday.

“I remained silent about what happened because I was ashamed of it. I now realise that the crime outweighs the shame of bringing this out into the open,” she said, explaining why it took her so long to lodge a report.

She said that for a long time she had been living in fear of the datuk because he is “somebody” in society and was fond of telling everyone he was a senior police officer.

She said she did not know who the datuk was prior to the incident.

She said the incident took placed on the night of Dec 11, 2008, when she accompanied her brother-in-law to the birthday celebration of his boss.

There were about 100 people at the party, she said.

Name card

At around 11pm, she claimed the datuk, who was a guest, then forced his way towards where she was with her friends and grabbed her by hugging her and at the same time squeezing her breasts with both his hands.

She said he also tried to forcefully kiss her on the lips. “I pushed him with all my strength but he was too strong for me,” she said.

She said one of her friends who was near her at that time managed to push the datuk from her.

She said after that the datuk approached her again and gave her his name card, besides telling her he was a datuk. She looked at it and then threw it away.

She thought it was over but 10 minutes later, the datuk again forced his way towards her and her friend tried to obstruct him but was pushed aside. The datuk again grabbed her and at the same time caressed her buttocks.

“He was acting like an animal and he treated me as such. He demeaned me and violated my honour and dignity,” she said.

“I did not go to the police to complain for a long time partly because I was advised that the police look after their own and that the datuk would be allowed to behave as he pleases without fear of being prosecuted,” she said.

She said she will leave it to the police to investigate and take action, adding she had many witnesses who saw how the datuk humiliated her in public.

Former top anti-terror cop: London should fear more terror attacks

London, England (CNN) -- On the fifth anniversary of the devastating London bombings, Britain's most senior anti-terror policeman at the time has said that the risk of a repeat attack by extremists is "as high as it has ever been."

The British capital was plunged into chaos on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers targeted three subway trains and a bus during the morning rush hour, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds more.

Two weeks later a copycat attack on the city's transport network failed after the bombs misfired causing no casualties. The failed suicide attackers were eventually captured and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the attacks gathered at a memorial in London's Hyde Park on Wednesday to mark the anniversary. A wreath from Prime Minister David Cameron was laid at the site, bearing the message: "In memory of the victims of terrorism in London on 7 July 2005. They will never be forgotten."

But former policeman Andy Hayman, who was responsible for counter-terrorism in the UK until 2007, says the risk of a similar attack in London remains high.

"That's the reality of it", he told CNN. "Five years down the line we've had other attempted attacks, we've put some people in prison for them, and we're not making the inroads we hoped for with the Muslim community to understand why people are being radicalized.

"So you tell me why we shouldn't be fearful? I think we should be."

John Reid, then Home Secretary, said the four July 7 bombers -- three British males of Pakistani descent and a Jamaican-born man -- were young "radicalized" Muslims whose motivation was "fierce antagonism to perceived injustices by the West against Muslims" and a desire to become martyrs.

It later emerged that two of the bombers, including ringleader Mohammed Sidique Khan, were trailed by security services for a year before the attacks, according to a report released last year by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

Entitled "Could 7/7 have been prevented?" the report said that domestic intelligence service MI5 considered Sidique Khan a "small time fraudster" and "minor criminal" and did not link him to potential attacks within the UK at that time.

Hayman's warning comes despite a £140 million ($212 million) strategy set up in 2007 by the British government to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremists.
becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremists.
"So you tell me why we 
shouldn't be fearful? 
I think we should be.
--Andy Hayman
"Prevent" involves gathering information about potential offenders at a local level, with cooperation between regional police forces, local authorities, schools, mosques and other community groups.

According to West Yorkshire Police, which polices the region of northern England where the July 7 bombers came from, the intelligence helps to identify young people deemed to be at risk of radicalization. Potential offenders are then given one-to-one "mentoring" sessions to steer them away from extremism.

"We cannot arrest our way out of terrorism," the force's assistant chief constable John Parkinson told the regional Yorkshire Post newspaper.

However counter-terror projects such as Prevent could be at risk after Hayman's successor as Scotland Yard's anti-terror chief, John Yates, warned of impending budget cuts by Britain's new coalition.

According to the UK's Guardian newspaper, Yates told a private gathering of UK police chiefs "eyewatering" cuts of £150 million ($227 million) to the anti-terror budget would endanger the public.

But Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude hit out at Yates' "alarmist" comments. "I'd like to avoid public servants doing this kind of shroud-waving in public," he told the BBC.

"It's going to be pretty important for people who are managing big public services like police forces to focus on cutting out unnecessary costs, driving down costs, being as efficient as they possibly can before they even begin to contemplate talking about alarming the public in this kind of way."

But for one young British Muslim woman, who was herself radicalized after joining extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir at college, seeing the July 7 attacks for herself on television proved to be the high watermark for her radical beliefs.

"I think it was a wake-up call," Hadiya Masieh told CNN. "I was heavily pregnant with my third child when I was in the waiting room of the hospital watching the screen. I just felt like hiding. I wanted to distance myself from those people who created that atrocity."

She and her husband, who also belonged to Hizb ut Tahrir, now work to foster better relations between faiths. In her latest project she helped set up a screening of a movie she hopes will break down barriers. The film, "Arranged," depicts a blossoming friendship between a Muslim woman and an orthodox Jewish woman.

"At the end of the day, if we have an understanding of each other I think this will eradicate any feelings of animosity and hatred."

PI Bala claims Razak Baginda is innocent

Private investigator P Balasubramaniam now claims that defence analyst Abdul Razak Baginda was innocent in the gruesome murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Balasubramaniam came to this conclusion because he was still employed by Abdul Razak until Oct 26, 2006 to keep Altantuya away from him even.

Altantuya went missing on Oct 19, 2006.

"He has nothing to do with this case... this guy is innocent as far as I'm concerned,” Balasubramaniam told a press conference in London today.

Abdul Razak was acquitted of abetting two police personnel - Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar - in the murder of Altantuya on Oct 31, 2008. The two have been sentenced to death for the crime.

Abdul Razak was formerly the confidante to then deputy premier and defence minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Balasubramaniam's claims today is likely to put to rest swirling rumours that Abdul Razak was freed due to his strong political connections.
Bala to meet French authorities
The press conference today, which began at 11am (7pm Malaysia time), was initially planned as a platform to discuss issues raised by during a scheduled interview of Balasubramaniam by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Although the interview was suddenly cancelled by the MACC, Balasubramaniam and his lawyers pressed on with the conference to state his role before and after Altantuya's disappearance.
Balasubramaniam also revealed that he would be meeting French authorities on July 12, who would be quizzing him on graft claims in Malaysia's procurement of two Scorpene submarines from a France's DCN.
Last month, French authorities began probing DCN over alleged commissions paid in several arms deal, which is illegal under French laws.

As predicted yesterday UMNO Court of Appeal dismisses P. Waytha Moorthy’s appeal. Second Sedition trial against P. Uthayakumar now on track.

uk AND MANO.JPG This Morning proceedings against the Hindraf lawyers commenced at 11.50 before Court of Appeal Judges Dato Hasan bin Lah, Ahmad bin Maarop and Sulaimaln bin Dand. The vindictive UMNO Attorney General Gani Patail’s Deputy Public Prosecutors(DPP) were Mlohamad Hanafiah and Mohd Farizul Hassan. P. Uthayakumar and P. Waytha Moorthy were represented by lawyers Manoharan Malayalam and R. Kengatharan.
After about half an hour of sbmissions by both parties UMNO Judge Hasan Lah turned down P. Uthayakumar and P. Waytha Moorthy’s appeal despite there being a delay of only 11 days in the filing of the Record of Appeal. That too despite the lawyer in conduct Mr. Manoharan Malayalam explaining that the 11 days delay was because he himself (and his client P. Uthayakumar) was at that time detained without trial under the Internal Security Act for 514 days at Kemunting Prison @ Malaysian’s Guantanamo Bay.
The other ground of dismissal was that section 3 of the Courts Judicature Act did not permit appeals to the Court of Appeal.
The three UMNO Court of Appeal Judges therefore dismissed P. Uthayakumar and P. Waytha Moorthy’s appeal.
The DPP informed Manahoran Malayalam that he would be writing to the Klang Sessions Court for the Sedition Case to be reinstated after it was way back on 26/11/2007 dismissed as being groundless by the then Sessions Court Judge Zunaidah binti Mohd Idris.
For this “pro people power Hindraf” decision Zunaidah paid very dearly. She was immediately removed as Sessions Court Judge and transferred to the Attorney General’s Chambers under “cold storage” until a few weeks later she was prosecuted for some unheard of “criminal offence”. We now hear that Zunaidah was “forced” to plead guilty and removed as a Judge for good lost all her pensions and entitlements etc just because she had dispensed justice to the Hindraf lawyers without fear or fewer.
Justice must not only be done but must manifestly and undoubtly be seen to be done.
Especially in One Malay-sia
Lawyer Manoharan told the Press later that an appeal would be filed to the Federal Court as a part of the Hindraf struggle.
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

Samy Vellu's attack dogs



Not quite curtain call yet for Samy Vellu


Samy (left) with his trusted lieutenant, MIC vice-president Datuk Dr S.Subramaniam. - Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Will the MIC's 64th annual general assembly over the weekend become the final curtain for MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu?

The Barisan Nasional (BN) certainly hopes so but MIC insiders say it might not be.

Under attack from all sides, the 75-year-old Samy Vellu is clinging on to a presidency or rather the empire he built around the post for over 30 years.

“It is not just a post. It is the centre and core of his kingdom,” said a MIC CWC member on condition of anonymity.

“He is afraid to give up his nest. He is worried that all the enemies he had gathered over the past three decades would fall on him,” the leader said.

As usual the Indian party's general assembly will start with a grand dinner on Friday night followed by Samy Vellu’s address to the 3,000 delegates next morning.

The address will be keenly watched for an announcement of his retirement.

Not only delegates but BN leaders want an announcement of a firm date of departure, a commitment to hand over to a successor and leave.

Samy Vellu has only said he will leave “around” September next year but he can change his mind as easily as changing his shirt, said one MIC division leader.

In a departure from the norm, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is hoping Samy Vellu steps down in July so that the party’s transformation can start, will declare the assembly open in the afternoon on Saturday.

It is not going to be a happy event for Najib, hobnobbing with Samy Vellu on the stage, considering the strained circumstances.

With the GAS movement pressuring him to leave now and party branch and division leaders giving him the thumbs down by boycotting his functions and the government giving him the cold shoulder at every turn, Samy Vellu is holed up with a coterie of sycophants propping him up, MIC insiders said.
They are eyeing posts and positions in the next party and general elections.
Chaos at the anti-Samy gathering last weeked when the president's supporters stormed the Klang event.

While Samy Vellu’s say in choosing the candidates for the 13th general election is getting weaker by the day, he still has the clout to decide the winners in party elections.

In another major blow for Samy Vellu, his former confidant S. Vigneswaran, the former MIC Youth chief, has filed suit against the party president on behalf of the Maju Institute of Education Development (MIED), the party's education arm, for alleged misappropriation.

The derivative action, a first in Malaysia, is by Vigneswaran, a MIED member, against its chairman and MIED trustees to protect the interest of MIED.

The sum includes special and general damages.

Among the defendants are Tan Sri M. Mahalingam, Datuk Dr T. Marimuthu, Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar, Tan Sri Dr K. Ampikaipakan, Tan Sri K. Kumaran, Datuk G. Palanivel and Tan Sri G. Vadiveloo.

Last month the High Court granted leave to Vigneswaran to initiate a suit against MIED trustees.

Last week Samy Vellu announced, when opening the Youth and Wanita wings' AGMs, that he was invincible and that nobody could destroy him.

“They will be destroyed first before they can destroy the MIC or me,” he had said.

Despite the brave talk, Samy Vellu is more vulnerable now than ever in his political career.

One of the questions supporters of the GAS always ask is why the government does not “move” against him.

The question is widely asked in the Indian community and with increasing exasperation.

His problem now is to ensure that his son Vell Paari succeeds him to protect his legacy. Samy Vellu had all the time in the world to promote his son and solidify his position but he thought the sun would never set on his empire.

“He needs time to at least put his son as vice-president,” said a party insider adding Vell Paari is only an appointed CWC member.

Samy Vellu will only leave next year once Vell Paari’s position is confirmed in the party, the source said. “Samy hopes to stay until at least up to September 2011.

The Penans suffer in silence

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today,


ULU BARAM: The indigenous people known as Penans who inhabit this remote area in Sarawak have been subjected to sexual abuse by foreign labour (notably loggers), assault, abduction, forced marriages, domestic violence and on-going harassment.
The Penans are part of the Orang Ulu, consisting of Kenyah, Kayan, Kelabit and several smaller groups who together make up 5.9% of the state’s population. These people live in rural and forested areas, relying on subsistence agriculture, small-scale farming, fishing, and hunting-gathering for food.
The situation relating to the Penan, especially the women, is seen by many as the trickling effects from the effort made by the state government to pursue a development strategy predicated on economic growth concomitant with urbanisation and industrialisation over the years.
As part of their “development” path, the exploitation of forest resources has been high on the state's agenda since at least the mid-1980s. This has first been through logging, but later included land conversion to oil-palm plantations and other large projects, including hydro-electric and tourist development initiatives.
This exploitation has carried critical and severe impact on the lives and culture of indigenous communities like the Penan, with the forests and land on which their culture and livelihoods have depended for generations being concessioned to private companies and destroyed.
What does logging actually have to do with sexual violence?
To put into perspective, these logging activities carried out require labour. These labourers were outsiders, men from different ethnic backgrounds not local to the area.
During their spare time, they stroll out from their logging camps into the villages occupied by the Penan, and as such, lure the women into their clutches, many have no choice but to succumb.
Uneducated and poor, the Penan have no authority to go to except for their chieftain in the village. Logging camp authorities are reported to be generally indifferent to the situation facing the women.
They do not hold their workers accountable when women are brought to the camp or when women were violated on camp premises and in fact, protected their workers in several cases.
In almost all the allegations of sexual violence, there were reports of overt threats, intimidation and/or the use of criminal force and assault and in most cases, the women were deserted when they became pregnant.
This served not only to silence the reporting of the incidents, but further perpetuated the women’s vulnerability to abuse.
New report released
Yesterday, the Penan Support Group (PSG), made up of 36 NGOs, released a report titled “A Wider Context of Sexual Exploitation of Penan Women and Girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak” at a function attended by some 50 opposition MPs, NGO representatives, the Malaysian Bar and embassies at Parliament House.
The report reveals the testimony of seven more Penan women who claimed that they were raped or sexually abused.
In September 2009, a report of the National Task Force, set up by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, confirmed that sexual violence and exploitation of Penan women was happening.
The report was submitted to the Cabinet in January 2009 but the ministers sat on it until public pressure led to its publication in September.
Four agencies promised that they would send investigation teams to the area. These were the Sarawak police, the Sarawak Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
This had followed an earlier September 2008 report by the Switzerland-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which itself echoed other reports dating back several years, asking state authorities to investigate similar possible sexual violence and exploitation experienced by Penan communities.
Reports of sexual violence and exploitation of Penan women have been made to the police and other authorities over many years. They include several reports made by the Penan themselves and Suhakam had also notified the Sarawak authorities in 2000 of the need to investigate incidences of sexual violence and exploitation in Ulu Baram.
Despite this, actions to bring the perpetrators to justice and to initiate appropriate actions to protect Penan women from further sexual violence and exploitation continue to disappoint.
Initial promises of an investigation by Suhakam itself also ran out of steam.
In Suhakam’s 2008 Annual Report, the commission claimed that its investigations had to be rescheduled “due to adverse weather conditions,” and noted “a possibility that members of the community would be reluctant to divulge information in view of the massive publicity the cases have generated.”
NGOs also noted their concerns about “the pace of police investigations”, “police allegations (of non-cooperation from NGOs)” and “the lack of a political climate that can restore the trust of the sexual abuse victims in the Malaysian legal system” as hindrance factors to addressing the situation.
Key figures downplay reports
At the same time, key figures in the Sarawak state government have attempted to downplay the reports.
In an article published by the New Straits Times in 2008, Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, who was also chairman of the steering committee on Penan Affairs, said that it would be a waste of time to investigate the issue.
“I have not heard of such complaints from Penan communal leaders during my many visits to Ulu Baram,” he said.
In the same article, Daud Abdul Rahman, Assistant Minister in the Chief Ministers Office, said: “The reports of the sexual abuse of the Penan are not true.”
Sarawak Minister for Land Development, James Masing, when interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, said “They change their stories, when they feel like it. That’s why I say the Penan are very good storytellers.”
The Sarawak police attempted to blame the NGOs for lack of cooperation. They alleged that the NGOs advocating the Penan cause provided “zero cooperation”.
The reason behind the logging
The state government has long been adamant that indigenous people need to be brought into the mainstream of development, and that this mainstream does not need to be adjusted to be sensitive to gender, and that their development strategy is the most apt.
This strategy is epitomised by the allocation of RM13.44 billion under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (2006-2010) for Sarawak’s development programmes, designed to lead to high growth, employment opportunities and the reduction of poverty.
Critics however refute the claim that Sarawak's forestry is sustainable by pointing out that the issuing of logging licences and general management of the timber trade are enmeshed in political patronage and nepotism.
The close relationship between timber companies and the ruling political elite - “timber politics” - has long been acknowledged and many have argued that this has meant that the political will to monitor and enforce the law, to ensure sustainable and legal forestry practices, is fatally compromised.
A 1987 New Straits Times article showed how Sarawak’s Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud froze 25 logging licences of his rivals covering an estimated area of 1.25 million hectares valued between RM9 billion and RM25 billion. The accusations and counter-accusations made it clear that logging licences were used as political favours.
In granting logging or other concessions, the state merely needs to gazette the land in question and provide a 60-day period of objection to those who would be affected.
Whether the affected communities are aware of this seems immaterial. The fact is that the people who are affected often find out about the state’s actions only when the logging companies show up at their doorstep.
By giving lucrative logging concessions to companies without clear, enforceable guidelines designed to ensure the protection and security of communities like the Penan, the government has left such communities completely vulnerable to encroachment, land loss, and the undermining of autonomy and self-sufficiency.
A major consequence of this is a loss of individual and communal confidence, at a time when there is an increasing “invasion” of Penan land and settlements by outsiders.

Cops working hard to bring Raja Petra back


(New Straits Times) - Police yesterday dismissed allegations that they were not doing anything to bring back fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin from London.

Federal Criminal Investigations Department chief Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said it was not easy to extradite a fugitive.

"We are, however, working on it. We have to follow procedures. Something that is wrong under our law may not be so in another country. There are obstacles in this case."

While the extradition is being sorted out, police will question people.

Bakri said these included politicians, the editor of a mainstream newspaper and journalists.

"We want to gather more information on the blogger, who is in London, from these people.

"We can call them up for questioning as we have an arrest warrant for the blogger."

One of the politicians to be questioned is former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who is now the Federal Territory PKR chief.

Raja Petra, 59, who is more popularly known as RPK, has two warrants of arrest for him after failing to attend court for his sedition trial in April and May last year.

He was charged with defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

RPK was reportedly last seen at the launch of the Friends of Pakatan Rakyat event in London last Sunday, where he gave a speech.

Pakatan leaders such as Zaid, Dr Tan Seng Giaw, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Dr Hatta Ramli were also seen at the event. Pictures of Raja Petra in London with Zaid and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam are circulating on the Internet.

Bakri said Interpol had also put up a red flag on RPK, denying claims that police were not doing anything to extradite him.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hi-shammuddin Hussein said it was unfair for people to question police's handling of Raja Petra's case.

Bernama quoted Hishammuddin as saying that Malaysian police had met with their counterparts in the United Kingdom over this issue.

"The local intelligence agencies have been in touch with their UK counterparts. The Foreign Affairs Ministry held diplomatic exchanges with the UK side.

"However, in a matter like this, it requires cooperation from both sides," he said at Parliament lobby.

He was responding to Barisan Nasional Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who had questioned the seriousness of the police in tracking down and bringing back Raja Petra to Malaysia.

Hishammuddin said each country had its own stand on such matters and that Malaysia had to respect the stand taken by the country concerned, and, as such, consider other choices in resolving the case.

"Even in an extradition, you need the cooperation of that country concerned. This is being handled the best way we can.

"Go there and kidnap him, smuggle him out like in a terrorist operation? That's not Malaysia's style. The accusations made against the police are unfair."

He said what was important was to pay close attention to what Raja Petra was doing and counter his lies.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim asked the government to show proof of claims made by his former private secretary, Anuar Shaari, that the party was financing Raja Petra's stay in London.