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Saturday, July 10, 2010

MIC boss defends his 32-year leadership

While admitting that some of his decisions might not have gone down well with certain quarters, MIC president S Samy Vellu said he only did “what was right” for the community and the party.

“There were many instances whereby, my decisions were disliked, but I believe that as a leader, I had done what was right for the people.

“I had to do the right thing, and at the same time, get the things right for the community,” he told 3,000 MIC delegates and observers at the opening of the 64th MIC general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre today.

Samy Vellu, who will call it a day on or before Sept 30, next year, after almost 32 years helming the party, said his leadership era was “tough, testing and challenging”.

“There were social, structural changes that were taking place in the community, and predicaments in the education, economic, employment and religious sectors were constantly brought to us in the MIC leadership,” he said.

The MIC chief also lashed out at certain individuals for dividing the Indian community, resulting in the formation of many small political parties.

“Many of us are guilty of splitting the Indian community into various small, insignificant and fragmented groups which claim to champion for their narrow-based (minded) causes.

He said, on one side, there were non-governmental organisations which seemed to be championing educational issues, while on the other, there were Indian groups which claimed to represent the voice of the underprivileged.

There were also groups formed solely to gain political support, but were unable to sustain their presence as they did not have a clear road map for the Indian community, he noted.

“As much as many of us love to deny the truth, it is a matter of fact that despite all the challenges faced, the MIC persists to remain strong, relevant, vibrant, and is the one and the only voice of the Indian community,” said Samy Vellu.

Indian-based parties told to close ranks

The party president then invited all Indian-based political parties to close ranks and work closely with the MIC.

“Let's unite as a united Indian force as this is essential to see BN through the upcoming general election.

“No matter how distinct our opinions are, let us put our differences aside and let's harness our uniting factors such as the future of our children, as well as the community's well-being. Let us also unite to work together as one with the other communities that we must co-exist with, in this prosperous nation,” he said.

Samy Vellu said over the past three decades, the MIC had transformed the Indians from a backward community into a respected community in Malaysia.

“We have built the foundation for the Malaysian Indian children who now have an opportunity to study, compete and achieve supremacy in any field of preference,” he said.

The former works minister said over the past three decades, he had devoted his life for the community, party and government.

“I started as a humble member of the party and with the support of party members, I have been fortunate enough to have the privilege to be given, a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the party and the community,” he said.

He said, there was much to be desired in the party's state of affairs, 30 years ago, and it was then that he decided to embark on a journey of change and transformation for the Indian community to achieve what others had, and at the same time, take charge of their lives and future.

Samy Vellu said he was extremely grateful to the people who assisted him throughout his presidency.

“I am profoundly grateful for the support of so many Malaysians who somehow know that I care about them at great extent, that I care about their problems and their dreams. I am grateful to those who have stood by me in the party and in the Barisan Nasional, and rendered undivided moral support for me.

“May God guide us together, in order to charter the path of success for the people,' he concluded in his speech.

- Bernama

Scores dead in Pakistan bomb blasts

The attack in Mohmand follows fresh campaigns by security forces against Pakistani Taliban fighters

A suicide attack outside the office of a senior government official in Pakistan's northwest has killed up to 62 people and wounded at least 107 more, government and hospital officials say.
Rasool Khan, the region's assistant political agent, said two bombers struck on Friday after people had gathered around his office, in the Mohmand tribal area along the Afghanistan border.

The attack, which took place in a commercial neighbourhood, follows fresh campaigns by security forces against Pakistani Taliban fighters in recent weeks.

"There were two blasts. The first one was small but the second was a big one," Khan told the Reuters news agency.

An administration official, Mehraj Khan, had earlier described the incident as a suicide attack, but there were no details available on how the second blast happened.

Commercial area

Ikhram Mullah, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban in Mohmand, claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to a local TV station.

There was no independent verification of the casualties as Taliban fighters often dispute and reject the official figures.

Hospital officials said nearly 80 people were being treated for multiple wounds, while government officials put the number of wounded at about 40.

Among the wounded were several internally displaced people, who were collecting relief goods near the blast site.

Friday's blasts also damaged several cars and about 30 shops, witnesses said.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Islamabad, said the Mohmand bombing was a "suicide attack" but that there was "confusion as to whether the attacker was on a motor bike or travelling in a car".

"Rescue efforts are still going on," he said.

"They've brought in heavy machinery to try and dig underneath the rubble. They say there're more bodies still trapped underneath that rubble.

"The dead and the injured are being taken to ... hospital in the nearest big city of Peshawar as a standard operating procedure.

"An emergency has been declared. But this goes to show that this situation in the tribal areas is still very fluid, still very dangerous."

Pakistan launched two major offensives in the northwest last year against homegrown Taliban fighters who have killed hundreds of people in retaliatory attacks across Pakistan, mostly in the northwest but also in major cities.

Two suicide bombers killed at least 42 people in an attack on Pakistan's most important Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore last week.

Pushed out

The Pakistani Taliban, allies of the Afghan Taliban, has lost ground in army campaigns over the past year.

They were pushed out of the Swat valley, northwest of Islamabad, and in October the army began an offensive in the fighters' South Waziristan bastion on the Afghan border.

The offensive was extended to Orakzai in March as many of the fighters who fled the South Waziristan operation took refuge there and in Mohmand.

Hundreds of fighters have since been killed in air raids in the two regions.

Jet fighters killed about a dozen fighters in attacks in Orakzai on Friday, Pakistani security officials said.

'Gerakan a non-Malay version of Perkasa'

(Malaysiakini) Penang Pakatan Rakyat Youth wing, which is still sore at Gerakan for accusing Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of being biased against the non-Malays in his implementation of state policies, has likened the party to ultra-Malay group Perkasa.

NONEThe Youth members had earlier defended Lim at the Speakers Corner in Esplanade in Penang, where Gerakan first made the remarks.

Yesterday, about 30 gathered outside the Gerakan headquarters in Macalister Road to demand an apology from the BN component party.

They are miffed with Kedah Gerakan secretary Tang Hing Lye for complaining that Lim had treated the Malays better by allocating them more funds.

NONE“Gerakan seems to be playing with fire to whip up racial sentiments, by bringing up the issues of fund allocation for the various communities in Penang,” said Pakatan state secretary Ng Wei Aik (left) at a press conference outside the Gerakan premises.

“It shows that Gerakan is no longer a multi-racial party, but has become like (a non-Malay version of) Perkasa, who continues to question about allocations for the development of Islamic affairs in the state,” he said.

'Funding regardless of race'

Ng slammed the criticisms against Lim (below, centre in photo) as “baseless” saying state funds were allocated according to the needs of the poor community regardless of ethnicity, gender, religious and political affiliation.

NONE“Annually we allocate RM9.55 million for education which includes Chinese, Tamil and Muslim
schools,” he said.

“Gerakan's allegations that we merely allocate RM8 million for non-bumiputera is a political gimmick, and is not based on facts,” he added.

Gerakan's statements at the Square last month (left) had irked a group of senior citizens present, who lambasted their party leader for alleging that Lim had discriminated against non-Malays.

Gerakan in response accused the DAP of mobilising the group to heckle the speakers, which DAP has since denied.

NONEMeanwhile, PAS representative Mohamed Farouk (left in photo) who was also present at the gathering yesterday, also urged Gerakan to apologise to Pakatan Rakyat and to 1.6 million Penangites for “misleading and hurting their sentiments”.

“Please do not become like Umno, who continues to whip up racial sentiments resulting in disunity and fights between the Malay (and the non-Malay) community,” he said.

“By doing this, Gerakan appears to be creating problems and inciting racial hatred between not only the different races, but (amongst) the Chinese community,” he added.

Inter-faith talks stillborn over name clash

Koh has been working to get the various
groups to return to the dialogue. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — As the Najib administration scrambles to revive inter-faith talks that began earlier this year, Malaysia’s multi-religious leaders are refusing to budge until the panel’s name is finalised.

The Cabinet’s Special Committee to Promote Inter-Religious Harmony and Understanding (SCPIRHU) slammed into a brick wall soon after its inaugural meet, after several Muslim groups and muftis baulked at the inclusion of the term “inter-religious”.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, and the Cabinet committee’s appointed co-ordinator, Datuk Ilani Isahak, have been working behind the scenes quietly persuading religious leaders to head back to the table.

No dates have been scheduled yet to continue the discussions but Ilani had disclosed earlier this week, in an interview with an English-language daily, her hope to restart talks this month.

The council of muftis had unanimously voted for a name change to the panel at a meeting on April 3, claiming the present name would cause confusion among Malaysian Muslims.

They proposed that the panel should be renamed the “Special Committee to Promote Inter-Racial Harmony and Understanding”.

The Muslim groups want the talks to come under Jamils’ purview. — file pic
They also wanted the panel — currently under the care of the National Unity and Integration Department (NUID) led by Koh — to be supervised by Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic religious affairs.

The Hindu Sangam indicated to The Malaysian Insider it had no issue with a name change, but could not agree to the muftis’ suggestion.

“The Hindu Sangam is always ready for talks. We’re willing to talk to anyone from any religion,” said its president, Mohan Shan.

“But before that, they must finalise the name to call the committee. If they want to call it ‘jawatankuasa kaum’ (race committee) then we’re not the right people; we’re religious,” he stressed, drawing a distinct line between the two concepts.

“We don’t know what we’re going to talk [about] and how we’re going to talk about sensitive issues if even the name is a problem,” Mohan pointed out.

His deputy, Dr Bala Tharmalingam, hinted that the uneasiness over the present name may be confined to only the Muslim community. The non-Muslims were, he noted, were baffled.

“I don’t know-lah. They have their own way of thinking. I don’t know what is stopping them… Maybe the Muslim groups feel the supremacy of Islam will be threatened,” he mused.

“Even if they’re supreme, they should co-operate towards religious peace and harmony anyway,” he added, explaining that the whole purpose of the Cabinet panel was to find amicable solutions to the growing number of inter-faith disputes confronting the public.

“If the name is the problem, then change the name. Maybe ‘Religious co-operation towards peace and harmony’ or something like that,” Dr Bala offered.

The Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president, Rev Thomas Phillip, has not had word from Ilani.

“Nothing so far. We’re just waiting for them to bring forward the terms of reference so we can have some kind of dialogue,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

The head of the Mar Thoma church was also unsure if the inter-faith talks would pick up again this month, as Ilani suggested.

“We don’t even know if there’s a change in name [of the panel]. They have to show us what they want and then we’ll have a meeting with our council,” he said.

The talks began after a spate of attacks on various houses of worships following the New Year’s Eve High Court ruling that Catholic weekly The Herald had the constitutional right to use the word “Allah” to describe the Christian God.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers have applied for a stay of execution pending an appeal to the Court of Appeal. No date has been set for the appeal process yet.

Mt Everest conquerors get Penang awards

Mohanadas and Magendran were part of a 1997 
expedition that scaled the world’s tallest peak.

GEORGETOWN, July 10 — N. Mohanadas and M. Magendran made Malaysians proud when they reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 23, 1997. Thirteen years later, both stand here today bearing state honours that carry the honorific “Datuk”.

The Penang state government conferred both with the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) at the Governor’s 72nd birthday ceremony here today.

When contacted, 48-year-old Mohanadas said an award after 13 years has given him the sense that the two were “remembered and valued”.

The avid mountaineer also said that when he was picked for the expedition, rewards and recognition were not a priority for him.

“When selected for the mission, there was an obligation to fulfil for my country and my community,” he said.

Both were part of the Telekom Malaysia Mount Everest Project 1997 that started out on March 1 that year, which braved unpredictable weather and freezing temperatures to conquer the 8,848m “Goddess Mother of the World”, as Everest is known in Tibetan.

“We did not do it for awards. We did it to inspire others and I think we have succeeded,” the father of three boys added.

Mohanadas, who is still an active climber, is leading a group from a corporate organisation on an expedition to climb the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu on Aug 31.

The Shell Malaysia employee said he keeps himself fit by running and participating in marathons.

Mohanadas explained that the Penang state government had also approached him and Magendran to discuss the possibility of exposing youths from Penang to the sport.

He said although they did not have a structured plan as yet, discussions have been held with Deputy Chief Minister Prof P. Ramasamy.

“Penang has world-class [athletes] like (Datuk) Nicole David and (Datuk) Lee Chong Wei. They want to produce more of these people but in different fields,” said Mohanadas, who is also the chairman of Malaysian Outward Bound Youth Association and vice president of Malaysian Mountaineering Organisation.

Some thoughts/Q regarding JPA scholarship policy

By Mary Mag,

Just wanted to share some of my thoughts/questions regarding the JPA scholarships policy.
I believe it is important to recognize and reward merit and tap young potential , so it is important to continue with ‘merit scholarships’.
But the government must clearly differentiate between ‘merit scholarships’ (that must be based solely on merit criteria) and others based on ethnic or socio-economic considerations.
At the moment, there is no clear demarcation and there is still a lack of transparency regarding many aspects. As taxpayers, we have the right to know all the information.
Regarding JPA overseas scholarships for SPM high achievers, the practice now is to send them to UiTM or slelected private colleges for ‘preparatory/foundation’ courses. A few questions arise:

  1. Why send them for these courses, at the expense of taxpayers money, when the top scorers can easily get fee waiver from most local colleges to do their A-levels/Austmat/Canadian pre-U courses? After the students complete the A-levels/Austmat/Canadian pre-U, the government can select the top-scorers and then only sent them to the best universities overseas. By then, some of them will already be offered scholarships from other countries/universities and the pool of qualified candidates will be smaller.
  2. Why not get the SPM top scorers to sit for the American SAT exams immediately and then sponsor those with high scores who are able to get into the top US universities?
  3. How much is being spent on these ‘preparatory/foundation’ courses and how are these colleges selected? Is there cronyism involved? I have heard that some of the these colleges do not have competent lecturers and the top students even point out the mistakes made by these lecturers!
  4. What are the criteria for selection of students for scholarships? Why are there still racial quotas if it is supposed to be on merit?
  5. If it is a ‘merit scholarship’ why do they still consider the income of the parents?
  6. Shouldn’t it be a separate category for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, irrespective of ethnicity?
  7. How do they check the accuracy of the income -related information given by the applicants?
  8. What are the assessment criteria during the interview of candidates? Why do they have to go through an interview? How do they assess students during group interviews, as being practiced now?
  9. Many students can score straight As for SPM because of all the tuition and coaching. That does not mean they are genuine top scholars who will do well in external exams.
  10. There is still a lot of suspicion and claims of double standards/cheating/rigging of SPM exam results, not necessarily during the marking, as it can also happen at the recording/keying in stage at the Ministry. If marks can be tampered with for the CLP exams, what guarantee is there that it doesn’t happen in the SPM/STPM exams?
  11. Why doesn’t the government publicize all the information regarding scholarships given out by PETRONAS, MARA, Bank Negara, Securities Commission, and all the GLCs? This is still taxpayers money, right?
Although JPA scholarships only affect a very small percentage of the population, it always gets a lot of political mileage.
I wish politicians will pay more attention to more basic issues that affect the larger population – e.g. the quality of primary and secondary education, wage levels, inflation rate, misuse of public funds, etc…

Is postal tariff hike justified?

Pos Malaysia has pushed through a hefty tariff hike from 1 July, but is such a sharp rise justified?
The standard mail (up to 20g) tariff shoots up from 30 sen to 60 sen while the rate for mail up to 50g soars from 40 sen to 70 sen.
More and more folks in urban areas now rely on email and social networking tools; so this move will hurt the rural folks and others without internet access the most. Snail mail accounts for 62 per cent of Pos Malaysia’s revenue.
As one outraged reader wrote to The Star:
The new tariff is absolutely ridi­culous as the quantum of increase is simply preposterous. Calculations show that the increase in tariff ranges from a low of 20% to a high of 100%. Of all the categories, six of them have increased by between 50% and 70%, while seven others have gone up by over 70%. In fact, three of them are up by 100%.
The thing is, does Pos Malaysia really need to raise its tariffs now?
For the year ended 31 December 2009, Pos Malaysia posted a profit before tax of RRM109 million up from a loss before tax of RM0.5 million the previous year.
Its profit from operating activities in 2009 was RM82 million (on the back of turnover of RM902 million), only slightly down from its operating profit of RM86 million the previous year (turnover RM922 million).
Its current assets exceeded current liabilities while its ‘cash and cash equivalents’ stood at RM318 million.
This doesn’t look like a company in desperate need of a sharp increase in tariffs. What do you think?
The substantial shareholders of Pos Malaysia as at 15 March 2010 are:
1. Khazanah Nasional Berhad 32.21%
2. Employees Provident Fund Board 9.59%
3. Permodalan Nasional Berhad 8.45%
4. Amanahraya Trustees Berhad Skim Amanah Saham Bumiputera 8.18%
5. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC and its subsidiaries 7.87% (Who does this belong to?)
Could the tariff hikes be a precursor to the government divesting or reducing its stake as suggested earlier? New reports had suggested that 11 parties are interested in bidding for Khazanah’s stake and local parties may tie up with foreign firms to bid.
If the government is divesting some of its stake to private interests, shouldn’t it maintain the previous tariff structure and ask those private interests to prove that it can run Pos Malaysia more efficiently?
Who is subsidising whom now?

Quran doesn't call for stoning, experts insist

(CNN) International outcry - and the pleas of a devoted son - seem to have saved an Iranian woman from being stoned to death for adultery.

But while Sakineh Mohammedie Ashitani has been granted a reprieve, she is not the only woman sentenced to be stoned for adultery in Iran. There have been at least six sentences carried out since 2006, says Ann Harrison, an Iran expert at Amnesty International in London.

Adultery is the only crime that carries such a penalty in Iranian law, she said.

Only a handful of countries have laws calling for stoning, and Iran is the only one that carries out executions that way, Amnesty International records suggest.

That is because Islam doesn't really want the punishment to be carried out, says Ziba Mir-Hosseini, an Iranian-born campaigner against the practice.

"Stoning is not a Quranic punishment, it is Islamic jurisprudence. It happened later," says Mir-Hosseini, an expert on Iranian family law at London's School of Oriental and African Studies. "The punishment for any kind of sexual relations (outside of marriage) in the Quran is 100 lashes," she says.

Stoning is based on sayings from the Prophet Mohammed, known collectively as the hadith, says Mohammed Ali Musawi, a research fellow at the Quilliam Foundation, which describes itself as an "anti-extremist think tank."

Under the letter of Islamic law, it's nearly impossible to prove adultery, he says.

"How you prove adultery or fornication is to have four male witnesses - or two women for every male equivalent - all of them known to be upright, with no questions about their moral character, who witnessed the actual act of intercourse between the male and the female," he says.

"Basically, in normal life, this is next to impossible, to have four people testify that in the same place, at the same time, they saw the act of penetration," he argues.

False testimony can itself be punished with whipping, he says, because "it is such a severe sin."

"As you can imagine, if people were following these laws as they are stated, there would be next to no stonings," he says.

Even if someone confesses to serious sexual impropriety, they should be sent away three times to reconsider their confessions, he says, and only punished if they have admitted it four times, he adds.

But Iranian law is different, Mir-Hosseini says.

"In the case of this woman and other cases, the standard is 'the judge's knowledge,'" she says - in other words, whether the judges believe adultery has been committed.

She sees stoning as a way of putting pressure on women, she says, particularly in provincial areas.

"So far there have been no sentences of stoning in Tehran, only in the provinces. It happens when the judge has a grudge against the woman," she argues, although she notes that only the Iranian Ministry of Justice has full records of how many stonings there have been, and where.

Men, too, can be stoned for adultery in Iran, she says.

The practice was banned under the secularizing Iranian shahs of the early 20th century, she says, then reinstated after the Islamic revolution of 1979.

"After the revolution, one of the first things the clerics wanted to do was put aside the 1920 secular legal code," which was based on French law, she explains.

"In 1982, the parliament called for Islamic punishments," she says. There was some resistance from senior clerics, but the founder of the revolution, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, intervened to get it passed.

Stoning remained law in the updated 1992 penal code, she says, but in the first draft of a 2007 revision, it wasn't there.

"After the intervention of (hard-line President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, it was restored," she says.

That new legal code has not yet been approved, she says.

It's not clear who will win the battle over the code working its way through the system now, she says, but it does include a potentially face-saving way to keep stoning on the books without having to carry it out.

"There is a provision that, in cases where stoning causes harm to Islam, it can be substituted with other punishments," she says.

She thinks it's no accident that people are being stoned these days, amid political unrest in Iran.

"It has become a political matter," she contends. "Whenever there is a dispute between traditionalists and reformers in the judiciary," stonings increase.

"Stoning is one of those issues that has really (been problematic) for the Islamic republic because it is not accepted by society, including the judiciary," she claims. But there continue to be stonings, she says, because "like anywhere else, you have hardliners. You have radicals."

Unity survey finds 2Malaysia

(Malaysiakini) The latest survey by independent pollster Merdeka Centre reveals what most Malaysians already know: that the different racial groups have diametrically opposing views on government policies.

NONEWhile an overwhelming majority of Malays back pro-bumiputera policies, most non-Malays are suspicious of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's (right) 1Malaysia concept.

In the survey, a total of 2,104 Malay and bumiputera respondents were asked to pick one of two questions close to their opinion:
  • Malays/bumiputeras need all the help they can get to move ahead, so programmes such as the NEP should be welcomed. (72 percent backed this statement).
  • Assistance such as the NEP doesn't help Malays/bumiputeras in the long run as it makes them dependent (21 percent)
On a similar note, the majority (59 percent) of Malay and bumiputera respondents said they believed that "as the original inhabitants of this country, Malays/bumiputeras should continue to be accorded with special rights and privileges".

However, 40 percent of respondents asked the same question backed the statement that "people should be treated and accorded the same rights in Malaysia, regardless of race and religion".

The questions on NEP were exclusively for Malay/bumiputera respondents, while the non-Malay/bumiputera respondents were asked a different set of questions on1Malaysia.

1Malaysia a hard sell for majority

azlanFor the non-bumiputera respondents, a clear majority said they were not convinced with Najib's 1Malaysia campaign, which seeks to bridge the racial gap and forge national unity.

Of the 1,036 non-bumiputeras polled, 46 percent were convinced that 1Malaysia was merely a "political agenda to win non-Malay votes".

Conversely, only 39 percent of the non-bumiputera respondents opined that 1Malaysia was a "sincere effort to unite all races in Malaysia".

A significant 16 percent of the respondents gave "don't know/no response" replies to this question.

The survey suggests that non-bumiputeras are yet to be convinced that the Umno-led BN is prepared to foster meaningful inter-ethnic ties, which at many times has been soured by Umno's own racial posturing.

It also suggests that Najib's New Economic Model (NEM) and 1Malaysia concept appear to be a hard sell for the country's diverse population.

The NEM and 1Malaysia are part of the Najib administration's four main thrusts for the nation, which, among others, seek to resolve long-standing problems such as economic imbalances and ethnic tensions.

azlanBut the survey finding indicates that Najib will hit a potential snag, such as in the case of the much touted NEM, which seeks to develop Malaysia into a high-income economy.

The NEM espouses gradual reduction in subsidies for essential goods and the gradual lifting of affirmative action policies developed under the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the 1970s, which critics argued have affected Malay and bumiputera competitiveness.

Corrupt leaders to blame

Malay and bumiputera respondents were also asked what they thought were the main threats to their political position, of which a whopping 70 percent blamed "corruption among its leaders".

Only 22 percent believe that the main threat was from "demands made by other races", while seven percent did not provide a direct answer.

In the same vein, Malay and bumiputera respondents were equally split when asked whether government programmes benefitted the "ordinary people" or the "rich and politically connected".

azlanThe responses for these two questions are likely to raise heckles at Malay rights group Perkasa, which repeatedly accuses the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, for conspiring against the Malays.

The survey also sought the opinion of respondents across the board on whether Malaysia was more united or divided today. Responses to this question were almost evenly split.

Interestingly, topping the list of factors that "divided the people" respondents cited were political instability (13 percent) and racial issues (nine percent).

Other reasons cited included ideological differences (five percent), inequality (five percent), the use of the term 'Allah' by Christians (five percent), religious differences (five percent) and discriminatory government policies (four percent).
azlan"The survey found marked differences between public attitudes in
Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak, for example, only 35 percent of Peninsular Malaysia respondents agreed that the government was spending public funds prudently while the figure for Sabah and Sarawak was 45 percent," said Merdeka Centre.
It also revealed that almost 60 percent of respondents (58 percent to be exact) said they were not interested in politics while 41 percent said they were.
Interestingly, more young people said they were turned off by politics (a whopping 72 percent from the 19-24 age group), while the older generation (52 percent of those above 50) said they were interested in politics.
The survey was conducted between January and April this year, involving a total of 3,141 respondents from both the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
Download survey slides here.

Time magazine apologises to Indian-Americans for racial article

The Times of India, July 09 2010

WASHINGTON: 'Time' magazine has apologised to Indian-Americans following the publication of a column by journalist Joel Stein which offended and outraged the large community, especially those in New Jersey.

"We sincerely regret that any of our readers were upset by Joel Stein's recent humour column 'My Own Private India.' It was in no way intended to cause offence," the Time magazine said after large number of Indian-Americans demanded an apology from the magazine and the columnist.

"I truly feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people," responded Stein, who in his column 'My Own Private India' gave his own impression of how his home town of Edison in New Jersey has changed over the years with the desi influx.

Nearly one in every five resident of this New Jersey city are Indian Americans; thus making it one of the few such cities in the United States.

"For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor," Stein wrote in the issue dated July 5.

"Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians 'dot heads'. One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to 'go home to India'," Stein wrote.

"Sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy," he wrote.

The article outraged many Indian-Americans. "...I always thought it was hilarious when I'd get the crap kicked out of me by kids like Stein who would yell 'go back to India, dothead!' I was always ROTFLMAO when people would assume that I wasn't American. He really captured the brilliant humour in that one too!" wrote Kal Penn, the popular Indian-American actor.

Indian-Americans also launched an online petition demanding Time and CNN to remove the article from their online edition.

"Such prestigious magazine like Time should not have allowed such an article to be published in the first place. We respectfully request Time magazine to remove the article from the web and have Mr. Joel Stein write an apology letter that shows some remorse," the petition said.

Regretting that his article hurt the feelings of so many Indian Americans, Stein wrote: "I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we'd be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue."


My Own Private India

The Time, July 05

Illustration by John Ueland for TIME
Statement Appended: July 2, 2010
I am very much in favor of immigration everywhere in the U.S. except Edison, N.J. The mostly white suburban town I left when I graduated from high school in 1989 — the town that was called Menlo Park when Thomas Alva Edison set up shop there and was later renamed in his honor — has become home to one of the biggest Indian communities in the U.S., as familiar to people in India as how to instruct stupid Americans to reboot their Internet routers.
My town is totally unfamiliar to me. The Pizza Hut where my busboy friends stole pies for our drunken parties is now an Indian sweets shop with a completely inappropriate roof. The A&P I shoplifted from is now an Indian grocery. The multiplex where we snuck into R-rated movies now shows only Bollywood films and serves samosas. The Italian restaurant that my friends stole cash from as waiters is now Moghul, one of the most famous Indian restaurants in the country. There is an entire generation of white children in Edison who have nowhere to learn crime. (See pictures of Thomas Edison's Menlo Park.)
I never knew how a bunch of people half a world away chose a random town in New Jersey to populate. Were they from some Indian state that got made fun of by all the other Indian states and didn't want to give up that feeling? Are the malls in India that bad? Did we accidentally keep numbering our parkway exits all the way to Mumbai?
I called James W. Hughes, policy-school dean at Rutgers University, who explained that Lyndon Johnson's 1965 immigration law raised immigration caps for non-European countries. LBJ apparently had some weird relationship with Asians in which he liked both inviting them over and going over to Asia to kill them.
After the law passed, when I was a kid, a few engineers and doctors from Gujarat moved to Edison because of its proximity to AT&T, good schools and reasonably priced, if slightly deteriorating, post–WW II housing. For a while, we assumed all Indians were geniuses. Then, in the 1980s, the doctors and engineers brought over their merchant cousins, and we were no longer so sure about the genius thing. In the 1990s, the not-as-brilliant merchants brought their even-less-bright cousins, and we started to understand why India is so damn poor.
Eventually, there were enough Indians in Edison to change the culture. At which point my townsfolk started calling the new Edisonians "dot heads." One kid I knew in high school drove down an Indian-dense street yelling for its residents to "go home to India." In retrospect, I question just how good our schools were if "dot heads" was the best racist insult we could come up with for a group of people whose gods have multiple arms and an elephant nose. (See TIME's special report "The Making of America: Thomas Edison.")
Unlike some of my friends in the 1980s, I liked a lot of things about the way my town changed: far better restaurants, friends dorky enough to play Dungeons & Dragons with me, restaurant owners who didn't card us because all white people look old. But sometime after I left, the town became a maze of charmless Indian strip malls and housing developments. Whenever I go back, I feel what people in Arizona talk about: a sense of loss and anomie and disbelief that anyone can eat food that spicy.
To figure out why it bothered me so much, I talked to a friend of mine from high school, Jun Choi, who just finished a term as mayor of Edison. Choi said that part of what I don't like about the new Edison is the reduction of wealth, which probably would have been worse without the arrival of so many Indians, many of whom, fittingly for a town called Edison, are inventors and engineers. And no place is immune to change. In the 11 years I lived in Manhattan's Chelsea district, that area transformed from a place with gangs and hookers to a place with gays and transvestite hookers to a place with artists and no hookers to a place with rich families and, I'm guessing, mistresses who live a lot like hookers. As Choi pointed out, I was a participant in at least one of those changes. We left it at that.
Unlike previous waves of immigrants, who couldn't fly home or Skype with relatives, Edison's first Indian generation didn't quickly assimilate (and give their kids Western names). But if you look at the current Facebook photos of students at my old high school, J.P. Stevens, which would be very creepy of you, you'll see that, while the population seems at least half Indian, a lot of them look like the Italian Guidos I grew up with in the 1980s: gold chains, gelled hair, unbuttoned shirts. In fact, they are called Guindians. Their assimilation is so wonderfully American that if the Statue of Liberty could shed a tear, she would. Because of the amount of cologne they wear.

TIME responds: We sincerely regret that any of our readers were upset by this humor column of Joel Stein's. It was in no way intended to cause offense.
Joel Stein responds: I truly feel stomach-sick that I hurt so many people. I was trying to explain how, as someone who believes that immigration has enriched American life and my hometown in particular, I was shocked that I could feel a tiny bit uncomfortable with my changing town when I went to visit it. If we could understand that reaction, we'd be better equipped to debate people on the other side of the immigration issue.

No request made yet to extradite RPK

Raja Petra is now living in Britain.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Whitehall has yet to receive any application from Putrajaya to extradite fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin although the Malaysian government has hinted that the United Kingdom has refused to co-operate over the issue.

Malaysian government officials familiar with the extradition process said the Home Ministry has been unable to make the application because his alleged offence is not a crime in the UK.

“No official request has been made to bring back Raja Petra,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur has refused to comment specifically on Raja Petra’s case but issued a statement on Wednesday about the extradition request procedure.

“An extradition request from one Commonwealth country to another is governed by the London Scheme for Extradition within the Commonwealth. This contains a Dual Criminality Rule,” said the High Commission statement.

“A person sought will only be extradited for an extradition offence. For the purpose of this scheme, an extradition offence is an offence however described which is punishable in the requesting and requested country by imprisonment for two years or a greater penalty,” it added.

Questions on Malaysia’s ability to bring back Raja Petra were first raised by PKR supreme council member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who claimed that Putrajaya was unable to state what offence the Malaysia Today news portal editor had committed.

Earlier this week, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein indirectly suggested that the British government has not agreed to extradite Raja Petra.

Under the British Extradition Act 2003, the requesting state has to submit an extradition request to the secretary of state who would issue a certificate for a hearing before a judge.

Apart from making sure that the person’s alleged conduct has to be a crime in both countries, the judge must also be satisfied that the extradition would not lead to violation of human rights under the British Human Rights Act 1998.

Raja Petra, who was facing a criminal defamation trial, was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal in November last year by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court after the police failed to serve a warrant of arrest.

He was believed to have fled the country in May last year after he was charged with defaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the prime minister.

The member of the Selangor royal house had allegedly published an article linking the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu to Rosmah.

Expensive race to higher education

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today

SPECIAL FOCUS KUALA LUMPUR: Higher education is a passport to a better life, but unfortunately many Malaysian students do not enjoy easy access to it. More often than not, it is a goal they seek but cannot attain. It has seemingly become a privilege and not a right.

If given a chance, many would want to enter and graduate from top-notch universities in the US and UK. But the reality is that the route to these prestigious institutions is out of reach and many are left stranded at home.

What future do they have in Malaysia? Access to higher education to local public institutions of higher education is limited. A quota system introduced under the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 and spiralling fees in private institutions have not helped matters.

There are currently 20 public universities and 627 higher education institutions (IPT), with Universiti Malaya being the oldest university in the country.

According to PJ Utara MP, Tony Pua, this was more than double in proportion to the population when compared to Singapore.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), the government does not intend to establish any more new public universities, while the private sector will not be prevented from setting up private institutions of higher learning.

FMT takes an indepth look at the trend emerging in Malaysia’s higher education system.

From one nightmare to another

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: More than a year has passed since the civil war in Sri Lanka ended, but the future of some 4,000 Tamils who landed on Malaysian shores continue to hang in the balance. Most of them are not prepared to return home.

Although being granted refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), they are still being subjected to harassment by the authorities.

Dilon Sakkariyas, 22, who graduated in graphic designing from a uiversity in Singapore two and half years ago, told FMT that he does not want to go home.

"I have been hearing some improvement in terms of security, but I am mentally not prepared to return since my former school has been blacklisted by the government as being sympathetic to the LTTE's (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) struggle and being a hub for recruitment,” he said.

His parents, who are still in Sri Lanka, have also asked him not to return.

"Although I was never involved with the LTTE, I am still afraid since many of my friends are unaccounted for after returning," said Dilon, who is staying in Bandar Sunway and working illegally.

He hopes to pursue his studies and resettle in a third country.

K Bavani, 41, who has a 14-year-old daughter, also cannot see herself returning to Sri Lanka. Her husband, and her 15-year-old son, are in London.

"I'm just focused on bringing up my daughter and I am thankful to UNHCR and the NGOs for arranging evening clases for the refugees' children,” she said, adding that she has been working as a cleaner for the past two years.

Several youths, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed that life as a refugee in Malaysia is hard because the authorities pay little or no heed to their plight.

They said that police and other enforcement personnel constantly harass them.

"The officers refused to listen to our pleas, and tell us off that the UNHCR cards do not carry any weight. They only let us go after we give them some money," claimed one of them.

Temporary employment

Executive director of Malaysia Tamil Forum (MTF) N Siva Subramaniam said the organisation will discuss with the government to allow these refugees to work on a temporary basis.

"This can probably be done in sectors where there are labour shortages such as restaurants, plantations or other menial work," he said.

Explaining more about MTF, Siva said it is helping those who want to return to their homeland as well as carrying out relief work in some of the areas badly affected by the war.

"We just provide humanitarian assistance. We don't have any political agenda,” he added.

On the complaints that there are NGOs and individuals taking advantage of these refugees, Siva said he cannot understand how some people can do such things.

"I'm aware of these groups who promise all kind of assistance including resettlement in countries like Australia, Canada and Europe,” he said, adding that MTF and others are educating the refugees that only UNHCR can resettle them.

"With LTTE still being listed as a terrorist group, UNHCR is facing a difficult time in resettling them,” he added.

Meanwhile, MTF's president Dr N Iyngkaran said that MTF serves as a one-stop centre for some 4,000 Sri Lankan refugees in the Klang Valley.

Look beyond race and creed

DAP MP Gobind Singh Deo urged all Malaysians, regardless of colour and creed, to help alleviate the suffering of these displaced people.

“We should be more proactive in our approach in easing the burden of these people in whatever way possible. We should make space for them since many of them are women and children," he said.

Another politician who has been at the forefront of this issue is Penang Deputy Chief Minister Prof P Ramasamy, who vowed to continue raising the matter during Parliament sittings.

He said most of the refugees do not want to return due to fear of persecution.

"What we want from the Malaysian government is closer cooperation with UNHCR so that they (the refugees) can be interviewed and issued with the necessary documents until they can be resettled.

"It's a humanitarian issue, whether they are Sri lankan or from somewhere else. They fled their homeland because of war," he added, urging the government not to have double standards.

Documents for sale

On the eforcement side, an immigration department officer, who declined to be named, said they have the power to detain suspected illegal immigrants.

However, she added that those with valid UNHCR cards will be released after the document is verified.

"As for those without valid documents, we will seek the assistance of UNHCR... the attorney-general's office has also instructed us not to prosecute those with UNHCR cards,” she said.

The officer also revealed that some of the Sri Lankan refugees obtained travel documents with the help of syndicates.

“They are even willing to pay as high as US$15,000 to US$20,000 to get these documents such as identity cards and birth certificates belonging to poor locals. The photos are changed,” she said.

Responding to the allegation of harassment, the officer said the victims must come forward to make a report in order for action to be taken against the errant personnel.

A senior police officer told FMT that those with UNHCR cards are usually detained for the purpose of having their documents verified.

He admitted that there reports of harrassment, but investigations have shown that in certain cases those involved were “bogus policemen”.

Foreign workers in Sabah: No answers to queries

By Dominic Legeh - Free Malaysia Today

TAWAU: The immigration office in Sabah has been urged to reveal the practices it adopts in dealing with foreign workers seeking to enter the state.

The ever-busy Sri Tanjung Assemblyman Jimmy Wong (DAP) said he would meet with Tawau immigration chief to discuss issues regarding immigration.

He said the biggest problem in the immigration office now is that the registration process for foreign workers takes up an excessive amount of time.

"How long does it take to get a foreign worker pass, a housemaid pass, an entry pass or any other document?" he asked.

The Sri Tanjung assemblyman has been on a quest to shed some light on the currently labyrinthine list of procedures and time-consuming practices that surround the process.

"How many pending application are there in the immigration office? Is the immigration office on time in processing any of the application submitted?"

He said no one knows the answers to these questions.

Saving costs

Many would-be employers in Tawau, he said, currently do not know what documents they must have when hiring foreign workers and the relevant documents the workers themselves should possess.

The situation becomes even more chaotic when foreign workers with valid documentation and who are employed are detained due to some inadvertent oversight.

Wong said some employers did not know what were the proper procedures or process of validating foreign workers if they are detained.

He said the immigration office needs to hasten this validating process to avoid additional cost to the employer due to work stoppage.

Wong said that temporary detention centres spend RM30 per person per day, so by ensuring the swift dispatch of cases the government would be saving money.

He called for procedures to ensure that the police and other enforcement agencies do not detain foreign workers, including those whose work passes are pending.

"There is an understanding with the Indonesian Consul that these foreign workers should not be detained as they did apply for legal documentation, but the documentation was still being processed," Wong said.

On the increasing number of illegal immigrants in Tawau, Wong wants to know what steps the immigration office has taken to reduce the number.

He claimed to have received several complaints about foreign women coming to Tawau to work in the vice trade. This, he said, had inevitably led to crime and other social problems.

Wong also cautioned the immigration office to ensure there is no abuse of power by those tasked with regulating such matters.

Sekarang faham, tak?

Hey, no need to investigate the lawyers. The lawyers are not paying for private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s expenses here in London. I am, together with Deepak Jaikishan who has given Bala RM750,000 thus far.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Abu Hamza wins appeal against extradition to US

London Evening Standard

Radical cleric Abu Hamza today won a reprieve from European Court judges because a long jail term may breach his human rights.

Hook-handed Hamza is being held in top security Belmarsh prison after being convicted of inciting murder and racial hatred. The US is seeking his extradition on terrorism charges.

But today Strasbourg judges at the European Court of Human Rights halted the extradition of both Hamza and British detainee Babar Ahmad.

The court said the possible length of the US jail terms they faced — life without parole in a “supermax” prison — raised concerns about breaches of the European human rights code on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment.

They gave the Government until 2 September to submit observations. Hamza, 51, was jailed on 11 charges at the Old Bailey in February 2006. Extradition of the Egyptian-born preacher was approved by then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in February 2008.

He faces charges in the US of funding terrorism, organising a terrorist training camp in Oregon and conspiring to take westerners hostage in Yemen. His lawyers say the evidence was gathered through torture and fear he would suffer the same. Hamza was imam of the Finsbury Park mosque until he was dismissed in 2003.

Computer expert Ahmad, 36, has been held in jail without trial since August 2004 on a US extradition warrant. He is accused of running US-registered websites from his home, conspiracy to support the Taliban and Chechen Mujahideen and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.

Ahmad was arrested at his Tooting home in December 2003 on suspicions that he was connected to al Qaeda. By the time he reached the police station he had 73 injuries and was released without charge six days later. British nationals Haroon Rashid Aswat and Seyla Talha Ahsan have also been granted more time before US extradition.


Okay, have you read the above? And now do you understand what I have been saying all this while? It is not so easy to extradite someone from the UK, even if that person is a confirmed terrorist and a danger to society and a threat to national security. And I am but a cute, innocent Blogger who is no danger to anyone save those corrupted leaders and politicians and those who walk in the corridors of power who abuse their power and authority.

So, do you think you can extradite me from the UK? Well, why not try?

The trouble is, these Umno types think that they are above the law and that they can impose their will on anyone they so wish regardless of the law. As I said in my ‘coming out’ speech last month: come and get me here in the UK. Here in the UK we have a level playing field. You can’t keep moving the goalposts halfway through the game like you do in Malaysia.

Now that they can’t get me they are trying to intimidate and frighten my friends. They hope that by frightening those who still keep in touch with me they can isolate me. And in the event I depend on these people for my financial support I can now be squeezed.

They are also trying to intimidate the lawyers. They want the Inland Revenue Department to investigate the lawyers to see where their money comes from and whether they have declared this income and paid taxes on it. Maybe they think that since the only way the US government could nail Al Capone was through tax evasion then they might as well try this on the lawyers and see what happens.

Hey, no need to investigate the lawyers. The lawyers are not paying for private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s expenses here in London. I am, together with Deepak Jaikishan who has given Bala RM750,000 thus far.

In fact, I paid for Bala’s expenses in cash and in front of not only all the lawyers but with a few other witnesses present as well. I just wanted it on record that Raja Petra Kamarudin is paying for Bala’s trip to London and Paris -- so no need to harass anyone else.

Anyway, even if other people are paying Bala and/or me money, so what? That is not a crime. Even if they meet me (and/or Bala) here in London, that is also not a crime. What’s that I hear? I am a fugitive Blogger?

Hello, when was I ever convicted of any crime? There are not even any charges hanging over my head. I have already been discharged not amounting to an acquittal lah, brader!

The police said that the court has issued two warrants of arrest against me. For what crime? What are the charges? They also said they have asked Interpol to look for me. A manhunt has been launched, they say. Is that so?

Well, I spoke to Interpol and they said: no such thing. And if you need to confirm this then go here:

A check with Scotland Yard revealed the same thing. So what manhunt? What arrest warrant? What fugitive Blogger are they talking about? So why is it wrong, therefore, for anyone to meet me here in the UK? And what is wrong even if they give me money?

By the way, Bukit Aman hacked my e-mail and downloaded all my correspondences and is using that to ‘nail’ me. Is that not a crime? The so-called documents, which MP Zahrain Hashim said he has given the authorities, are actually details of my e-mail that they broke into. They then doctored the e-mail to ‘prove’ that some people are giving me money.

Firstly, hacking my e-mail is a crime. Secondly, doctoring my e-mail to fabricate evidence against me is a crime. So who is the criminal here? Me, or Zahrain and his handlers in Bukit Aman?

And what is Zahrain doing playing footsies with Bukit Aman anyway? They gave him the contents of my e-mail, which have been doctored. Then he hands the documents back to the police as if he somehow came across them by accident and is now giving them to the police as evidence.

Main wayang. Kerja budak sekolah.

Sure, print out my e-mail. Use that as ‘evidence’ against me. Then explain how you managed to hack my e-mail to procure this so-called ‘evidence’. Remember what happened to President Nixon and the Watergate break-in team? Flash my e-mail contents and let us see Googlegate explode. I will file an official complaint with Google that the Malaysian government hacked my e-mail and has openly admitted doing so.

Come on Zahrain. Make my day. Reveal all those documents that you have -- the doctored contents of my e-mail. I am also waiting to hit you below the belt on some of your personal stuff here in the UK. Oh, and yes, I am monitoring your movements here in the UK as well. And I have a little surprise waiting for you.

People who live in glasshouses should not throw stones, my friend. Remember Kevin Morais, the MACC prosecutor who is trying to fix up lawyer Rosli Dahlan? And remember we tracked him all the way to his gay lover’s home here in the UK? By the way, Kevin is the ‘woman’ in this relationship.

So no one is safe, my friend. You too have a lot of shit. And we too have tracked your shit, all the way to your son taking flying lessons here in the UK.

Oh, by the way, who is financing you for your son's flying lessons? These lessons are not cheap, you know. And we know you can’t afford to pay for them unless you are corrupted and are taking bribes.

So you see, jangan cuba korek rahsia tentang mana orang lain dapat duit. Once we start to korek where you are getting your money from, and how you can afford to pay for your very expensive lifestyle, then you pulak susah nanti.

Khairy Jamaluddin wants to declare war on me as well? Well, then bring it on, brader. You want to reveal a crime -- then let us reveal a crime. Do you want to know what real crimes are? Real crimes are selling nuclear components to rogue states like Libya.

One more word from Khairy and the shit is going to hit the fan. I will publish here in Malaysia Today the evidence of his family’s involvement in terrorist activities. These will be Home Ministry documents marked RAHSIA. Then let us see who gets extradited. The US would probably be filing extradition papers against the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi family rather than Malaysia filling extradition papers against RPK.

Nak lawan, mari kita lawan. Lawan tetap lawan. Lawan sampai tumbang. Berani tak? Baruah!

Khairy wants police to investigate PKR

(The Malay Mail) - Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin wants the police to take seriously the allegations of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) funding blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin's stay in London.

Noting the allegations made by Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, who had claimed to have documents to prove his former party is sponsoring Raja Petra, Khairy said: "Let's be very clear. RPK (Raja Petra) is not a political exile who has sought asylum. RPK is a fugitive.

"Anyone harbouring or supporting a fugitive must also be investigated. If indeed PKR is sponsoring or supporting a fugitive, it is wrong."

Since Zahrain claims to have evidence of PKR's involvement, Khairy said the police must not turn a blind eye. "The police have said they're looking into the matter, so I hope they take the claims seriously."

Earlier this week, Khairy rapped the police for not taking action against Raja Petra, despite the fact the blogger was openly seen in London and had made public appearances.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said the police had taken the needed action for the case, including meeting up with the UK Metropolitan Police.

Then, on Wednesday, Zahrain dropped a bombshell when he claimed to have evidence of PKR sponsoring Raja Petra's stay in London. Zahrain said the evidence — a number of documents — had been given to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz via email.

He added this proof will be revealed "at the right time".

Meanwhile, PKR leaders appear to be unperturbed by Zahrain's claims. PKR strategic director Tian Chua said there was no harm if it was discovered PKR had sponsored Raja Petra.

"If there is something illegal and sinister about RPK being in London and his sponsors are up to no good, then the authorities should waste no time and act.

"Maybe when the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) were supposed to fly to London to interview Bala (private investigator P. Balasubramaniam), the police should also have taken the opportunity to tag along. The fact is they don't dare to do so," said the Batu MP.

"Even so, let's say RPK says he doesn't have money to pay for his rent and a 'friend' offers to pay for him, there is nothing wrong in that!"

Tian Chua said the more important issue which needed to be established was if RPK was guilty of any crime.

"Prove there is basis to charge RPK for sedition and whether what RPK claimed on his blog is true or false."

Tian Chua even took a sarcastic jab at Zahrain, claiming the latter, who quit PKR earlier this year to become an independent MP, was raising this issue for his own political mileage.

"Maybe Zahrain felt he needed to be in the limelight. In any case, I respect his 'hard work'."

Then, reiterating the party's allegations that Zahrain and other now-independent elected representatives had been offered huge sums to quit PKR, Tian Chua added: "Maybe he needed to prove his money's worth."

PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin also said Zahrain was merely seeking cheap publicity. "We have been hearing about all these claims of having proof or evidence implicating RPK and such. But, until now, nothing has come out."

The Ampang MP said: "If you indeed have proof, then be a gentleman, come out and show them. It is not important who sponsors RPK. So what? It's not like the government's money us being used."

Raja Petra, 59, fled the country after two arrest warrants were issued against him for failing to attend court for his sedition trial in April and May last year. He resurfaced last month in London.

Malay Malaysians under siege? Utusan Malaysia reports

By Ding Jo-Ann | The Nut Graph
“Hakikatnya dalam negara demokrasi, kita tahu kita yang paling ramai tetapi malangnya kita berpecah maka kuasa majoriti mudah terlepas dan golongan lain mengambil kesempatan.”

Mukhriz Mahathir
International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, advising Umno members to be bolder in demanding for Malay rights. He added that they should not feel defensive about defending Malay rights because Umno belonged to Malay Malaysians and was acknowledged as the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s backbone. (Source: Ahli Umno jangan rasa bersalah pertahankan hak Melayu, Utusan Malaysia, 5 July 2010)

“Kampung-kampung Melayu [di Pulau Pinang] mungkin akhirnya akan menjadi ‘jeruk’ seperti ‘pala dan asam’. Apakah Kampung Makam juga akan dimakamkan satu hari nanti? Jika ini berlaku, ia adalah satu episod yang amat menyedihkan bagi orang Melayu.”
“Kepada siapa Melayu Pulau Pinang yang merupakan minoriti mahu mengadu nasib? Dengan minoriti yang berpecah kepada Melayu UMNO, Melayu Gerakan, Melayu Pas, Melayu PKR dan Melayu DAP, apakah terbela nasib mereka?”
Utusan Malaysia editor Mohd Hassan Mohd Noor in his column Selak. Hassan was lamenting the Kampung Jalan Pokok Asam demolition by a developer in Penang. (Source: Melayu Tanjong jangan dijadikan jeruk ‘pala dan asam’, Utusan Malaysia, 5 July 2010)
“Bagaimana pula sekiranya kaum lain tiba-tiba menjadi majoriti pengundi? Ini boleh berlaku sekiranya jumlah kelahiran meningkat. Mereka sentiasa bersatu dan seandainya wakil mereka yang menang pada setiap kerusi yang dipertandingkan, maka di mana pula kita? Adakah Perlembagaan dapat menolong kita? Adakah Perlambagaan ini tidak dapat ditukar? Tidak mustahil mereka akan memenuhi Parlimen kita. Ketika itu, siapa yang akan mempertahankan hak kita?”
“Ingatlah proses pelupusan kuasa dan hak bangsa Melayu sedang berlaku dan akan terus berlaku. Kuasa dan hak kita tidak semakin bertambah.”

Letter to editor by reader “Warisan” published in Utusan Malaysia, warning against Malay Malaysians’ loss of political power. (Source: Tidak mustahil Melayu akan hilang kuasa, Utusan Malaysia, 5 July 2010)

“Saya menghormati [Datuk Ibrahim Ali] sebagai orang yang berpengalaman luas dalam arena politik tanah air. Polemik yang berpanjangan dan tidak menguntungkan boleh mengeruhkan suasana serta tidak sepatutnya berterusan.”

Umno Youth deputy chief Datuk Razali Ibrahim calling for an end to the disagreements between BN leaders and Perkasa. He said he would take Ibrahim’s statements as motivation in championing the Malay Malaysian and bumiputera agenda. (Source: Pemuda Umno mahu pertikaian dihentikan, Utusan Malaysia, 5 July 2010)

Introduce 1Malaysia pledge on occasion of 53rd National Day for all participants, schools, universities, 1.2 million civil servants, Ministers, MPs and all Malaysians to be “Malaysian first and race, region, geographical region or socio-economic group second”

By Lim Kit Siang,

Minister for Information Communication and Culture Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim announced yesterday that the 53rd National Day theme from August 1 to September 16 is “1Malaysia Transforming the Nation”.

At present the 1Malaysia logo has flooded the country but it does not add one iota to the nation-building process.

Adding one sentence “1Malaysia Transforming the Nation” to the ubiquitous 1Malaysia logo also does not make any meaningful contribution to the nation-building process.

If the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is serious about the 1Malaysia policy – with the officially-stated objective to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first and race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic group second, the government must go beyond slogan, logo and other publicity stunts.

As a first step, it should introduce a 1Malaysia pledge on the occasion of the 53rd National Day celebrations from August 1 to September 16 for all participants to pledge to become “Malaysian first and race, religion, region or group second”.

This 1Malaysia pledge to be “Malaysian first and race, religion, region or group second” should be officially endorsed by the Cabinet and Parliament, and should be extended to the schools, universities both public and private, as well to 1.2 million civil servants.

If Ministers, MPs and civil servants are not prepared to set an example of striving to be “Malaysian first and race, religion, region or group second”, and if the schools and universities do not actively promote this 1Malaysia pledge, then the 1Malaysia mantra has not much meaning beyond the slogan, logo and publicity stunt stages.

This is a test as to whether the National Day theme of “1Malaysia Transforming the Nation” is going to be a meaningful or meaningless exercise.

PKR's Badrul Hisham Reported Detained By Police

SEREMBAN, July 9 (Bernama) -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shahrin was reported to have been detained by police while attending a function at the party's liaison office in Jalan Rahang here Friday night.

Negeri Sembilan PKR secretary Sabaruddin Mohd Yassin told Bernama, Badrul Hisham, more popularly known as Chegubard, was reported to have been called out of the meeting he was attending at 9.30pm by about 10 police officers and taken away for questioning over certain matters.

He said he was not sure what it was about but police released Badrul Hisham later in the night.

Attempts to contact Badrul Hisham and Negeri Sembilan police chief Datuk Othman Salleh regarding the matter were unsuccessful.