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Thursday, July 15, 2010

India: ISI behind Mumbai attacks

India's foreign minister is in Pakistan to revive talks suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks [AFP]
A senior Indian official has accused Pakistani intelligence of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
G K Pillai, India's home secretary, said on Wednesday that the perpetrators of the attacks in which 166 people died were "clients and creations" of the Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] agency of the Pakistan army".
"They [ISI] were literally controlling and co-ordinating it from the beginning until the end," the Indian Express newspaper quoted Pillai as saying.
India has in the past blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group for the Mumbai attacks and alleged ISI involved, which Pakistan denies, but Pillai's comments were the most direct accusation India has made against the government agency.
Pillai said the evidence against the ISI emerged from the interrogation by Indian officials of David Headley, a US citizen, who pleaded guilty to working with Lashkar to plan the attacks.
The accusation comes on the eve of talks aimed at reviving a peace process between the two countries, which was broken off after the deadly assault.
Pakistan pressure
Prerna Suri, Al Jazeera's India correspondent, said that while it was not a new allegation, the timing of the statement was very significant.
"In his confessional statement, Headley named the ISI as being behind the co-ordination and logistical support of the Mumbai attacks," Suri said.
"New Delhi is sending a clear message to Pakistan that security will be the main concern during these talks.
"They [India] would like Pakistan to crack down on those groups, who they feel are operating against Indian interests, meaning LeT as well as individuals such as [its chief] Hafiz Muhammed Saeed, who many in India feel are being given patronage by various elements in Pakistan."
in depth

S M Krishna, India's foreign minister, said he would press Pakistan on the progress of its probe into the Mumbai attacks as he arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday for the meeting, saying he was looking forward to receiving feedback from the Pakistanis on India's "core concern of terrorism".
He said the issue was discussed during last month's visit of  P Chidambaram, India's home minister, to Pakistan and he would raise it again in talks with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister, on Thursday.
"We hope to discuss all issues of mutual interest and concerns that can contribute to restoring trust and building confidence in our bilateral relationship," Krishna said as he arrived in Islamabad.
"This is an important visit as it marks the new beginning of a journey in our effort to build a peaceful, friendly and co-operative relationship between our two countries."
Resuming dialogue between the countries is crucial not only for improving their ties but also the security outlook in Afghanistan where the two countries vie for influence.
India broke off a four-year-old peace process with Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks, saying reviving the dialogue would depend on action against Lashkar and Saeed, who India says masterminded the assault.
Pakistan has put seven people on trial for the Mumbai attacks but has maintained that India has not provided enough evidence to prosecute Saeed.
Pillai said Saaed's role in the Mumbai attacks was not "peripheral", but that "he knew everything".

French show interest in Razak Baginda during Bala interview


LONDON, July 15 — Despite being acquitted of the gruesome murder of Altantuya Shariibuu, Abdul Razak Baginda may yet be haunted by the saga centred around the RM7 billion purchase of Scorpene submarines from French company DCN.

Even though his former private investigator, P. Balasubramaniam, claimed Abdul Razak was innocent of the murder, French authorities are keen to examine the political analyst’s role.

Balasubramaniam (picture), who was hired by Abdul Razak in October 2006 when Shariibuu began harassing him for money, spent a substantial portion of a three-hour-long interview with French police detailing his former client’s involvement in the affair.

The interview, held on Monday in Paris, is part of investigations into alleged irregularities in the payment of RM570 million to Perimekar, a company owned by Abdul Razak, for what the Malaysian government calls “co-ordination and support services” in clinching the submarine deal.

In the course of the interview, two new names also surfaced — Malaysians identified as Major Rahim and Abdul Rahim bin Saad.

A statement released by Balasubramaniam after the interview said that the investigators wanted to know the identity of the two Malaysians, their background and involvement in the matter.

But the private eye did not detail what, if any, information on the two Rahims he divulged, or if he knew them at all.

Balasubramaniam had, however, talked about Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, the two police officers convicted of Shariibuu’s murder who were also part of then-Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s security detail and other people who were around when the Mongolian disappeared on the night of her death.

The former Special Branch officer spoke about “their link to Baginda and Razak Baginda’s relationship with our present PM” as well as other information relayed to him by Abdul Razak, an Oxford graduate said to be a confidante of Najib’s.

The interview also touched on Abdul Razak’s current whereabouts and Balasubramaniam detailed what he knew about payments that his client had made to Shariibuu, including the US$500,000 (RM1.6 million) demanded by her for her part in the successful submarine deal.

Balasubramaniam made his way to Paris after arriving in London for an interview with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the same matter but was then informed that the anti-graft body would merely be sending questions for him to answer.

His lawyers expressed disappointment at the last minute pullout, saying that a “golden opportunity was lost” in which they would have detailed a “conspiracy web that goes to the very highest level”.

Protesters blame state govt for rampant sand mining

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FMT ALERT SHAH ALAM: A group of volunteers from Skuad Komunikasi Selangor have gathered at the state secretariat here to "defend" their Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim from protesters who plan to gather over the sand mining scandal in the state.

“We don't know who these protesters are but we have received information that they will be holding a rally here today. So we decided to come and set up a defence wall to counter any unnecessary problems,” said state communications director Dr Badrul Amin Baharom.

He added that the state volunteers were undergoing training this morning in Ampang and were re-routed to Shah Alam after news about the protest came in.

About 60 of them stood outside the state secretariat, waiting for the protesters. They were also holding banners in support of Khalid.

“The Umno people are raising this sand mining issue now without any evidence. They are just angry that the state government has stopped their illegal activities.

“When we (Pakatan) took over the state, we discovered that there were about 26 illegal mines and we shut them down. These Umno people are unhappy as their income was affected,” he said.
Meanwhile PKR youth deputy chief Fariz Musa said those criticising the state government over the sand mining issue should direct queries to Mohd Khir Toyo, the former MB.

He said that in 2007 when Khir was the MB, the revenue from sand mining was RM2.9 million.

“In 2008 (when Pakatan took over), it was RM6.3 million. RM5.4 million (in 2009) and until June 2010, the state has made RM10.3 million.

"Why is it that when Pakatan took over we were able to get so much revenue?" he asked.
Khir meanwhile arrived at the state assembly sitting with a posse of supporters after ending his one-year suspension.
The protesters arrive
The protesters arrived at the state secretariat at about 11.20am. They were led by Ismail Kijo, the former Lembah Jaya elected rep and Ampang Umno division chief. Ismail submitted a memorandum to Khalid’s special officer Azman Abidin.

Ismail said that state agency in charge of sand mining, Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, and the state government have failed in curbing illegal sand mining activities in the state.

“The illegal mining is out of control now. It has destroyed the environment and can lead to a natural disaster in Selangor,” he said.

The protesters, numbering about 200, marched to the state secretariat with banners and chanted anti-Khalid slogans. They also broke a police barrier to enter the state secretariat compound.

The protesters were 'received' by the Selangor volunteers, who also reciprocated the chants and shouts by the protesters with their own.

All have right to vote

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today

FMT FOCUS KUALA LUMPUR: Democracy has taken firm roots in Malaysia ever since the country held its first general election in 1955. From that early days, the people were given the responsibility of choosing a government to lead the country. They had tasted democracy and the voting trend through the years had been peaceful.

But the 1969 race riots in the aftermath of a tumultuous election interrupted the smooth curve and democracy was reined in briefly. Then it returned and the ride had all along been smooth for the ruling party until the 2008 political tsunami.
In that historic polls, the Barisan Nasional won 51.4% of the popular vote while Pakatan Rakyat garnered 47.5%.

But the turnout for the 2008 polls was low. FMT carried out a study and found that the percentage of Malaysians who played a role in electing the current government was only a meagre 28.64% or 7.94 million of the total population (28.3 million).

Why the low turnout? One of the reasons was that 42.68% of the population is actually made up of people aged below 21 – which is the legal age to vote.

In Malaysia, a voter must be 21 years old on the “qualifying date”. This means he must be 21 on the day he registered as a voter and not on the date of the election.

Thus, it is hard to describe Malaysia as a democracy, given that the simple majority held by the government only makes up about one-fourth of the population.

The minimum voting age was introduced when the Federal Constitution was formulated in 1957 and has never been amended since.

Many parties, including politicians, academics and NGOs, have called for the voting age to be lowered.

In fact, this was one of the many proposals Bersih, an NGO, recommended in its memorandum submitted to the Election Commission.

Comparisons between countries

Based on a FMT survey of 221 countries or regions where democratic elections take place, it was found that the voting age in seven countries is 16.

In six countries, including Indonesia and Sudan, it is 17 whereas as many as 188 countries opted for 18 as the legal age for voting.

Only 15 countries fixed the right to vote at 21. Malaysia is one of them.

In Asean, every country (except Malaysia and Singapore) set the voting age at 18 or younger and Thailand stands out by being the only country to make it compulsory for all citizens to vote.

In Malaysia, fixing the voting age at 21 has the undemocratic effect of shrinking the electorate as evidenced in the 2008 polls where only 28.64% of the total population cast their votes.

Earlier this year, Emeritus Professor at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, wrote in The Star that “this state of affairs draws our attention to the law relating to the right to vote in our political system. In a functioning democracy, the rules must permit as many mature citizens as possible to have the right to participate in the electoral exercise of choosing a new government”.

”Lowering the voting age will immediately expand the number of voters and improve the legitimacy of the government in power.”

“This will force political parties to look more seriously into issues that affect young people’s lives and to court young citizens for their votes. Of course, our education system will have to be improved to provide better political education,” Shad Saleem wrote.

Arguments against lowering the voting age

Shad Saleem stated that the main argument in favour of keeping the voting age at 21 or higher is that voters must have the maturity to assess the candidates and the national issues at stake.
“These arguments are hardly convincing. Malaysian data indicates that 69% of our population is urbanised, and 54% uses the Internet. Total adult literacy rate is 92%.”

“A 16-year-old can be tried in the courts as an adult. An 18-year-old may get married; may join the army; may start a company, invest in stocks and pay income tax,” he said.

The FMT survey revealed that almost everything is legal in Malaysia by the age of 18 except for voting.

In 2008, Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan rubbished the idea of lowering the voting age asking, “Why lower the voting age when millions of young voters over 21 have yet to register as voters?”

“The way forward should be to make voter registration compulsory at 21 instead,” he said.

A walk in history

Back in 1971, the “Age of Majority Act” was passed in Parliament, which set 18 as the age where individuals are no longer considered a minor.

The then DAP Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang, said in his winding-up speech at the Dewan Rakyat that if 18-year-olds were treated as mature people and be able to own property, enter into contractual obligations and rights, then there was a strong case to give them the right to vote as well.

“People ought to have the right to vote and to have a say about the way in which their lives are governed and in which the country is being run – at the age at which society expects them to assume adult social responsibilities,” he said.

“I mention this because the prime minister had said that Malaysia does not intend to reduce the voting age of voters because it is not being widely practised in other countries. The fact is more and more countries are doing so,” he added.

Lim's argument was and is still valid: 30 years later, as many as 188 countries have lowered their minimum voting age to 18 or less. It is about time Malaysia took the same road.

By lowering the voting age, more and more people will be enfranchised and can play a pivotal role in deciding who will become their elected leaders. Democracy can only work “when everyone participates...when everyone is voting”.

The 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, once said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

Buah Pala 2: More squatters face eviction

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today,

PENANG: Land-scarce Penang is now facing the prospects of forking out huge compensations to squatters in the aftermath of last year's Kampung Buah Pala controversy.

In fact, the quantum of compensation accorded to the squatters could be the highest in the country if one were to analyse the deal.

In 2009, 23 families fought tooth and nail against a developer, the Federal Court and the state government for almost six months, disobeying a legal writ for them to leave a 2.6ha plot.

The land, destined for a condominium project, housed a traditional Indian village where cattle are reared with limited farming activities.

Led by a Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) technician, the families, descendents of settlers from the now defunct 100-year-old Brown Estate, laid siege when a demolition crew decended on their village.

Several women squatters even threatened to immolate themselves during the tense encounter with the demolition crew, the developer and the police.

After intense negotiations, the squatters were promised that the developer would share the land parcel with them and also build a double-storey terrace house for each family.

The local market value for such homes, especially if one took into account the strategic middle-class location, was estimated to be RM200,000 to RM400,000.

Fourteen of the families took the deal while the remaining nine did not commit themselves as they were concerned over the grey areas in the legal documentation distributed to them.

Precedent set in Buah Pala

Today, five villages in Jelutong are facing a form of eviction, with two taking the battle to the courts.

It remains to be seen how the Tanjong Tokong villagers handle the issue of their own forced relocation.

In Butterworth, the Rumah Hijau longhouse squatters are also embroiled in a stand-off with another developer.

Both private sector developers and government-linked companies here are facing the prospect of dealing with their respective squatters, with the precedent set in Buah Pala looming in the background.

Several squatters in Jelutong and in Tanjong Tokong continue to stave off eviction notices, including court writs served on them by baliffs as their land are now owned by developers.

Penang DAP leaders have in private contended that Buah Pala has become a precedent in a state with a limited landbank and property prices said to be among the country's highest.

"It is a headache for us. Even if the remaining squatters do not get the terrace houses, they may end up demanding cash compensation equalivent to what the folk in Buah Pala got."

A DAP leader, who preferred not to be named, said besides dealing with legality issues, the squatters are holding a series of street protests, a trend unheard of before 2009.

Last weekend, about 50 families from Kampung Pokok Assam in Jelutong demonstrated, demanding that they be not evicted.

Serves Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng right! says Penang-based Parti Cinta Malaysia vice-president Huan Cheng Guan.

Politicians must walk the talk

The compensation with the Buah Pala squatters was made without considering long-term implications, Huan said.

Developers have to be fair when they evict the squatters, he said, adding that a tribunal needs to be set up to mediate the issue as Penang's growth is hindered by such disputes.

"In an age where foreign direct investments are dwindling and domestic consumption is valued as a tool to spark growth, the property market would suffer if the development costs end up as too pricey," said Huan.

M Sugumaran, the TNB technician who led the Kampung Buah Pala fight, said he is glad to note that squatters in Penang are using the Buah Pala episode as a precedent here.

"We may have lost. Our homes have gone but we have left a legacy on how developers address the issue of evictions.

"We are not anti-development, we want compensation which takes into account the rising costs of living," said Sugumaran.

He noted that the nine families who did not take the initial offer of a double-storey house, remained in limbo as nobody from the state government has bothered to look into their plight.

Sugumaran said last year's controversy serves to be a lesson to politicians to walk the talk.

"A promise was made that we need not move. We fought on that premises. Politicians need to be wary when they deal with squatters, not only in Penang but in the country," said Sugumaran.

Paul picks Pakatan over BN

By RK Anand - Free Malaysia Today

The Germans want him in the frying pan, the Spaniards love him and the rest of the world venerate him. But should the psychic Octopus find his way to the Straits of Malacca, he risks being detained under the Internal Security Act.
Paul, who resides in a fish tank in Germany, became a household name after the cephalopod oracle predicted eight successive World Cup match winners correctly.

Bolstered by his success in the sporting industry, the octopus decided to stick his tentacles into politics as well, predicting the outcome of the next general election in Malaysia.

Much to the chagrin of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and other Barisan Nasional leaders, Paul chose the box with the logos of PAS, PKR and DAP instead of BN's “dacing” (scales).

Putrajaya sources claimed that the special branch has been instructed to be on the lookout for Paul, with Najib purportedly telling Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan, “I want that sotong for lunch.”

On the other hand, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is said to be contemplating on inviting Paul to attend his ceramah when the next general election comes around.

Jokes aside (pardon the irony), Malaysians are having a laugh over an e-mail which is now being widely circulated.

The e-mail depicts a doctored image of a calm and composed-looking Paul confidently wrapping his tentacles around the clear plastic box bearing the logos of the Pakatan Rakyat parties.

The image first started circulating in Facebook.

Paul's credibility at stake

Soon after the doctored image started making the rounds, Paul's credibility fell under the spotlight and he is now accused of having a dodgy history.

However, sources cannot confirm if Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim and the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia are involved in this conspiracy.

Officially, Paul is listed as having been born in Weymouth (England) three years ago, after which he moved to a tank at the Sea Life centre in Oberhausen, Germany.

However, The Daily Mirror, had quoted Paul's trainer Verena Bartsch as claiming that she caught him off the Italian island of Elba in April.

“I caught him with my bare hands. He was only a few weeks old,” she had said, casting serious doubts on the oracle's age.

If Paul is indeed only a few months old, he is therefore not the same octopus that predicted the Euro 2008 results.

The shocking revelation led Italian newspaper La Repubblica to make a humorous claim that Paul's real name is actually “Paolo”.

Seizing the opportunity for a political jibe, Italy's opposition MP Andrea Sarubbi quipped: “I have just read the shocking news that the famous predicting octopus Paul is not English but in fact from Italy.”

“I have written to the director of the German Sea Life centre and asked that he be repatriated as soon as possible because never has our country ever needed someone to make clear and decisive judgments such as now.”

And the Umno Melayus are still foaming at their mouths

Don’t get mad; get even. That’s what Lee Iacocca’s wife told him when he got sacked from the Ford Motor Company, the top US automobile company. And, to get even, he took over the almost bankrupt Chrysler Corporation and made that company the top US automobile company, dislodging Ford. So who says I am mad (angry)? I am getting even (revenge). And they say revenge is a dish best served cold -- if you Umno Melayus know what that means.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

(Bernama) -- Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and Americk Sidhu, the counsel for private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, could have felt threatened by his revelation that they had condemned and threatened him in a blogsite.

He said the two in their statements in Malaysia Wednesday recently, had called him a dishonourable man after he had handed over the proof on the sponsor of the their expenses in London.

"If they are right and have done nothing wrong, why should they get so angry? Why attack me, say all kinds of things about me? I was just furnishing the information which I received for investigation to be carried out.”

"The truth always hurts," he told reporters at the parliament lobby Wednesday.

Recently, Zahrain handed over the documents to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz which link Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to the sponsoring of the fugitive Raja Petra and Balasubramaniam's expenses in London.

Zahrain, a former PKR member, also challenged the two to return to Malaysia to be investigated if they were really innocent.


(Malaysia Instinct) - The question: Has the police done its best to arrest blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin who is free in London?

This was asked by Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak himself had instructed the police to arrest Raja Petra.

Khairy also questioned why the police seemed to be a step behind investigating Raja Petra as well as the ones behind him.

MP Rembau had also added that Raja Petra could not be arrested in London due to the lack of power in a foreign land. He had suggested that the police cooperate with Scotland Yard to detain the fugitive blogger.

To the writer, Bukit Aman has its own strategy to execute the arrest of Petra. And if indeed there is one, it surely cannot be made public to Khairy. After all, one cannot be all that sure if indeed the people who fund RPK are from the opposition! For all we know, Khairy could have been providing a 'smokescreen' for himself!

To arrest Raja Petra is easy and he could be detained anytime but the strategy to charge him is more important, unless he will be arrested under the ISA.

As the party that will be charging Raja Petra in court, the Attorney-General Chambers needs more than solid evidence that requires detailed investigations.

It is just a waste of both time and money, should Raja Petra be acquitted in court.

We have heard that the Attorney-General might return its investigation papers to the police for it to be improved if they are not satisfied with it.

For the record, Raja Petra was charged with slander and sedition but was let off the hook after the failure of execution of the arrest warrant on the fugitive. RPK had skipped police bail and has been on the lam since.

He was charged with slandering Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor while Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was the Deputy Prime Minister along with her accompanied officer at that time Lt Kol Norhayati Hassan and husband Lt Kol Abdul Aziz Buyong.

The slander was in the form of a sworn testimony made under oath at Jalan Duta Courts Complex in Kuala Lumpur at 10.25am on June 18, 2008.

The slander is connected with his article 'Let's send the Altantuya murderers to hell' which was downloaded from his blog.

Unta Belang is frustrated with Khairy's comment about the issue as the police need a detailed and complete plan in order not to mess the repatriation should they be successful in the execution of the warrant of arrest.

Khairy should be rational as his statement might render the police officers imbecile as there was a severe lack of judgement on his part.

Politicians should not interfere with police duties.

Khairy should instead focus on making Pemuda relevant again and leave the police to handle matters of the law.

There is no reason for the Inspector-General of Police to slowdown investigations on Raja Petra.

The time and place of his impending arrest will happen!

“They think I don’t know Malay”

Azlan (all pics courtesy of Azlan)
Mohd Azlan Iskandar (all pics courtesy of Mohd Azlan Iskandar)

By Gan Pei Ling | The Nut Graph
BORN on 1 June 1982, Mohd Azlan Iskandar started playing squash when he was eight. He turned professional in 2001 and has won 11 professional titles since then.
The Asian champion is currently ranked 18th in the world. His highest ranking was 11th, in September 2008. The national number one is also setting up his own squash academy soon.
Azlan shared his experience growing up as a Malaysian and a Malaysian athlete with The Nut Graph in an exclusive interview on 15 June 2010 in Petaling Jaya.
TNG: Where are you from?
Mohd Azlan: I was born in Kuching, Sarawak.
Can you trace your ancestry?
My dad was born in Scotland, my grandmother is Scottish and Celtic, and my granddad is Norwegian and also a Viking.
On my mum’s side, my grandfather is half-Indian and half-Malay, and my grandma is Hokkien. So I have a very mixed lineage.
How was growing up like?
Azlan with his mother, in Kuching
Azlan with his mother, in Kuching
To be honest, it was a sheltered life in the beginning, I was in a private school till about Form One, and then I moved to Kuala Lumpur for squash. My two sisters were already studying in Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar in Negeri Sembilan then. I think I was supposed to go to Royal Military College but I opted for squash instead.
I was one of the 15 squash players selected, and the youngest player as well, to join the Jaya 98 Programme (also known as the Commonwealth Games 1998 Athletes Preparation Programme) sponsored by the National Sports Council (NSC).
It was tough because I moved here when I was 13, on my own. During the first two years, I stayed in an apartment with three other players in Subang Jaya. We had to cook for ourselves and do our own laundry. It was a culture shock for me, and on top of that, my parents were separated at the same time, so I didn’t feel comfortable going back to Kuching. But I would still feel really excited and happy when my mum came to visit me.
I studied in Sekolah Menengah Subang Jaya for two years, and then moved to Bukit Jalil Sports School. Looking back, I think I didn’t really have any school friends. I don’t remember hanging out with them much after school hours because I had to head straight to the training centre. I was so committed to the sport that for me, going to school was just something I had to do, it wasn’t to make friends or socialise. I already knew I wanted to be a professional squash player back then, so I guess my mind set changed.
Azlan at Sukma 2002
Azlan at Sukma 2002 with ex-national squash player, Timothy Arnold (left)
I was able to train twice a day after I moved to Bukit Jalil, but I’m not sure how many top athletes are there anymore. I think there has been a slight drop in the standard of athletes studying there.
I moved to England to train when I was 17. (Ong) Beng Hee and I, our budget was limited, so all the money went into squash. I still train there for six months a year now, but when I was 17 till about 24, I spent around 10 months training there.
When did you become aware of race?
Growing up in a private school in Kuching, (if) kid A and kid B were not the same, it didn’t make a difference. I only sensed the difference when I moved to Kuala Lumpur and was put into a government school. There were different cliques in school, and different races would hang out on their own. I was kind of singled out, but I didn’t really care because I was blinded by the love affair with the game.
Did you struggle with your identity as a Malaysian when growing up?
Not at all, I play squash for the country; everything I do is to make Malaysia proud. Sometimes people take you for granted because you’ve been playing for so long, but I guess people also expect me to do well for the same reason. It’s not as easy as people think to stay on top all the time in squash.
Azlan competing in the Hong Kong Squash Open, 2009
Is there any aspect of your identity that you struggle with?
No, except for the fact that I don’t look Malaysian. It’s quite frustrating sometimes, when I’m being served by locals, they speak Malay behind my back. They think I’m a white person and that I don’t know Malay, but I can speak the language fluently.
Describe the kind of Malaysia you would want to see in future.
Dressing up as Spiderman
A young Azlan dressing up as Spiderman
Many Malaysians still treat sports as just a hobby. I think more could definitely be done to help people realise that you can make a career out of it. It’s been my career for the past 15 years.

I hope the country can produce more world champions in future, with better athlete identification programmes, facilities, and the right funds being channelled into producing quality athletes, and for our athletes to be managed properly.

Right now a lot of athletes are giving up because there are no perks and incentives to stay in the game. Our next generation of squash players are being paid RM400 a month to be full-time athletes. They are living with the bare minimum, and are only surviving because the government subsidises their food and accommodation. If anything, I would like to see a change in this area first.

Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #23

by Bakri Musa

Chapter 4: Modern Model States

The Asian Miracle – South Korea

In the 1950’s, the Filipino government was sending community development officers to the Republic of Korea (ROK) to help the Koreans recover from the devastations of war. Today, the two Asian nations could not be more different in the quality of life of their people.

The Economist noted that in 1964 Zambia had a per capita GDP twice that of South Korea, but by 1999 the Korean figures had rocketed to over 27 times that of Zambia’s. South Korea is now among the top twelve trading nations. Its upward trajectory was briefly interrupted by the Asian economic crisis of 1997, but it is now back on track.

No one would have predicted back in the 1950’s that this Asian nation would be a model of success that it is today. Indeed the first half of the last century had not been kind to South Korea. Yet it succeeded, and did so by flouting every conceivable rule of modern developmental economics. It unabashedly adopted central planning, complete with Soviet-style Five Year Plans and with the state assuming a dominant role in business and the economy generally. The state directed major investment decisions and allocated scant resources, including credit. It was not shy in strategically intervening in the economy when it deemed necessary. South Korea’s strategy had been labeled “guided capitalism.”

Politically, for most of the last half of the 20th century, it was ruled by a series of strong and autocratic military leaders. Indeed Korea’s economic development began with its military dictators.

Korea’s military rulers, through discipline, hard work, and commitment to trade, transformed the nation. The generals treated the country like an army at war, with strict regimentation, top down command, and single-minded pursuit. They brooked no insubordination or opposition. The whole nation was conscripted into a war mode to develop the country. This war mentality, partly egged on by the very real communist threat from the north, pervaded every sphere of South Korean thinking and action. Every opposition and obstacle had to be crushed; every resource of the state had to be focused to this overriding goal of economic development.

South Korea’s remarkable economic achievements were not however, accompanied by a comparable social and political development. Nonetheless with it joining the ranks of the developed nations and with the increasing affluence of its citizens, democratic reforms and increased freedom and liberties for her citizens must necessarily ensue. Besides, there is no value or joy in having democratic freedom while the citizens are starving. Look at the Philippines and Haiti. What a mess!

The luxury of choosing one’s leader is just that – a luxury. It is more relevant that the leader, whether anointed, elected, or one who simply grabbed power, be competent and dedicated. As long as a leader is capable, it matters not how he achieved power. The only advantage of representative democracy is that when you are stuck with a bad leader you may have a chance to get rid of him peacefully at the next election, assuming of course that it would be free and fair. The disadvantage is that you cannot blame anyone else for choosing that leader.

Whatever may be said of the South Korean generals, no one would dispute that they were indeed competent economic managers and pursued progressive economic policies. They may not have been enlightened in the views of modern libertarians, but they had achieved their primary goal: to make sure that their people were not starving. Having accomplished that, the South Koreans could now look forward to loftier goals, like greater prosperity and increased freedom.

For a significant part of the 20th Century Korea was a Japanese colony. Japan annexed the country and did all it could to annihilate the Korean culture and identity by absorbing or more correctly, subjugating the Koreans. The teaching of Korean language for example, was prohibited and Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names. The Korean economy was entirely controlled by the Japanese. Had it not been for Japan’s defeat in World War II, the Koreans would more probably be by now a lost minority ethnic entity in a greater Japan.

The Japanese defeat gave the Koreans their independence. Unfortunately the nation was immediately trapped in the emerging Cold War, with the Americans and the Allies on one hand, and the Chinese and Russians on the other. The Korean War was settled with the present boundary between North and South arbitrarily set along the 38th parallel.

The Korean War and its aftermath took hundreds of thousands of lives and brought untold misery to millions more, borne primarily by the Koreans themselves.

Right from the start South Korea was at a distinct disadvantage compared to North Korea. Most of the industries were in the north, including vital chemical plants to produce fertilizer. Even electricity came from the hydroelectric generators in the north. The railroad in the south too was dependent on coal imported from the north. To compound the challenges, most of the industries had been owned and operated by the Japanese. And with their exodus following World War II, these factories were essentially abandoned.

At the same time South Korea was inundated with refugees from the north and the emigration of Koreans from Japan. Between 1945 and ’46 its population swelled by a whopping 21 percent!

Korea, or at least that part south of the 38th parallel, “elected” Syngman Rhee as its first president in 1948. This Princeton-educated man proved that one can get an Ivy League education and yet remain very much provincial, absorbing none of the refined aspects of American culture. He turned out to be a run-of-the-mill dictator, ostensibly cloaked in the niceties of democracy. Rhee epitomized many Third World leaders, past and present. They may have graduated from top Western universities, but apart from the parchment papers they collected they have learned nothing about what makes the West great. They must have not ventured much beyond the lecture halls and libraries of those august institutions during their student days. They were content being academic “muggers.”

Rhee did learn something about America: how to play on her vulnerabilities and obsessions with its own version of freedom and democracy. He milked America to the maximum such that for most of his tenure, the main if not the only contributor to Korea’s budget was American foreign aid. And the main source of income for Koreans was the spending money of the well-paid American GIs and foreign aid workers stationed in Korea.

Rhee’s corruption and manipulation of the Korean constitution and institutions continued while his nation was spiraling down the abyss. The ending was predictable. In the end he was forced into exile to a comfortable life in Hawaii in 1960, leaving his country in a total mess.

The military, the only disciplined organization left, staged a coup led by General Park Chung Hee in 1961. Park treated the country as a strict sergeant major would an ill-disciplined bunch of peasant youths. He was banking that after such a rigorous training, the youngsters would be so pleased with their new spit and polished look that they would forget the ordeal they went through and be forever grateful to the drill officer. Park was fully aware that he did not have political legitimacy but was counting that with economic success he would win the hearts of his people. Reaching the heart via the stomach, a time-proven strategy!

Park’s first five-year economic plan emphasized industrialization, especially for exports, with heavy state involvement and direction. Despite the well-known natural antipathy the Koreans had for the Japanese, Park, having spent his youth in Japan, did not hesitate in learning from his former colonial master. His strategy was not only to emulate the Japanese but also to better them. Industrial workers were cowered and strikes banned, with the single-minded purpose of beating the Japanese at the industrialization game. Exports were encouraged through various subsidies, tax incentives, preferential access to capital, and generous depletion allowances. Savings were similarly encouraged.

The Koreans were indeed diligent students, copying the Japanese in every way, including producing their own version of the Japanese keirutsu (conglomerates) – the chaebol.

Park was a tough taskmaster but he certainly had vision. He excoriated his people for their poverty and primitive ways and exhorted them to change their ways so that they would be resilient so as not be colonized again. To Park, Korean farmers were a lazy bunch, given to drinking and gambling. (Park’s remarks reminded me of Mahathir’s frequent outbursts on the indolent ways of Malays.) Using nationalistic appeals together with bold economic planning, Park embarked South Korea on an ambitious path of economic development. He built the spanking new Seoul-Pusan expressway not only because it was a much needed infrastructure but also to showcase Korean engineering talent and construction capabilities. He also encouraged and supported South Korean construction companies to secure lucrative contracts abroad, especially in the Middle East.
In contrast to earlier industrialization policies based on import substitution, Park strived for exports. He set and repeatedly raised his targets, all along exhorting his people. He made a giant leap forward with his ambitious Heavy and Chemical Industries (HCI) Plan, again geared primarily for exports.

Nor did Park neglect the countryside. In 1971 he launched a massive rural development scheme, Saemaul Udong (New Village Movement), aimed at improving living standards and income for the villagers. Park also had a more noble but nebulous goal of promoting “spiritual enlightenment.” His rural development plan began in a highly dramatic and very physical way. He ordered the traditional thatched roof of farmers’ dwellings be replaced with modern corrugated metals, and later, concrete tiles. Between 1972-79, nearly two and a half million rural homes sported this new roof. Never mind that these modern materials provided no insulation against the bitter winter cold or searing summer heat. They looked modern compared to the thatched roofs, and that was what Park was trying to achieve. Additionally he ordered village streets and housing facades be straightened. He wanted no untidiness and messiness. Park’s style was more into military barracks: cheap, clean, purposeful, and spartan. He brought a very visible physical change to the countryside.

Rural development did not end with the cosmetic improvement of farmers’ homes. Park brought in electricity, massively subsidized, so peasants could install radios and televisions that would bring them into contact with the modern world. Roads, bridges, and irrigation channels were built, all to modernize the countryside. And with that physical transformation, he hoped to bring about comparable social and pyschological changes in his people.

Like everything else associated with the military mindset, in the end these rural development programs degenerated into means of social control of the population – Park’s “spiritual enlightenment.”

German And Swiss Media In Frenzy Over Malaysia's "Imam Muda"

By Manik Mehta

FRANKFURT, July 15 (Bernama) -- The media in Germany and Switzerland have been widely reporting about a Malaysian reality television show called "Imam Muda" (Young Imam).

While in many Western countries, a television talent show is organised to select a star, Malaysia is hiring the next "star imam" through a talent search show, as many German and Swiss dailies have been reporting.

Details of the "Imam Muda" show have been widely reported by a number of dailies - from the Tagesspiegel, Merkur Online through,, Sueddeutsche Zeitung to the Swiss daily Tagesanzeiger - and have kept the readers engrossed, as comments from readers to the news report suggest.

The "Imam Muda" talent show reported about eight young men who appeared on Malaysian television at prime time, attired in suits and the traditional caps.

Switzerland's "Tagesanzeiger", for example, describes the candidates as "superstars" on Malaysian television and reports that they seem to have become heart throbs of many young girls.

Unlike in other reality shows, where participants usually sing or dance, the candidates in the "Imam Muda" show recite verses from the Quran, have the necessary training in washing dead bodies for Islamic burial, and pledge to protect young Malaysians from sex and drugs.

The talent show casts young Islamic clerics, the paper goes on.

The weekly talent show is headed by Hasan Mahmud, a former imam himself. He is creating a pool of exemplary young imams and using their help to combat the "social and moral decadence".

The candidates, aged between 18 and 27, are selected according to personality criteria and their knowledge of religion. As in "American Idol" and other talent shows, candidates are phased out each week after they failed to qualify.

Many viewers and readers were surprised to know that for the duration of the show, the candidates are isolated and kept in the sleeping hall of a mosque - without any mobile phones, Internet, television and other modern gadgets - so that they "think for themselves" and do not have to rely on any outside help or prompting."

The winner of the contest can expect a pilgrimage to Mecca, financial assistance in pursuing studies at the Islamic university of Medina, and employment in a mosque," says a commentator in the German daily Tagesspiegel which is published from Berlin.

The German daily contends that all the casting participants can be sure of having the "admiration of young female admirers and potential mothers-in-law".

"For Muslims, the ideal sons-in-law are aspiring imams because they are educated and well-versed in Islam," the daily quoted Iselan Bazar of the cable channel Astro Oasis which airs the religious talent search.

Motion on Penan women rejected

The New Straits Times 

AN opposition motion calling for the setting up of a royal commission to look into allegations of sexual abuse of Penan women in Sarawak was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

"I am very disappointed that the motion has been rejected. The speaker's response was that the issue is not a matter of urgency.

"It is a very serious issue and the women are being victimised, hence the importance of a royal commission," Zuraida Kamaruddin (Parti Keadilan Rakyat-Ampang), who tabled the motion, said at the Parliament lobby.

She said such a commission was important in view of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's visit to the Penan community in Ulu Baram in Miri division next week.

She questioned the effectiveness of the task force established in 2008 by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to examine the allegations as no action had been taken.

Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) said there should be a proper inquiry into the issue.

"This is easily the most important motion tabled at the session on the exploitation of Penan women, yet the speaker decided to reject it on the grounds that there is a task force dealing with it."

Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Sibu) said he was certain the allegations were true.

He said the Sarawak government had asked for proof.

"But it is not easy to provide proof on rape cases, hence the royal commission is essential to determine whether any, and to what extent, sexual exploitation had taken place in central Baram."

Last week, the Penan Support Group submitted a report to Parliament containing the testimony of an additional seven Penan women who claimed they had been raped or molested.

Bala and the larger French probe into DCN

Officers of the National Financial Investigation Division (DNIF) of France are responsible for probing into the conditions of sale of submarines to Malaysia, especially a related 114 million euro payment, a French website has revealed.
The DNIF is a divison of the Central Directorate of Judicial Police (DCPJ) based in Nanterre near Paris. This was the site where Bala was questioned on Monday.
The DCPJ is the national authority of the criminal division of the French police tasked with leading and coordinating the action of law enforcement forces (Police Nationale and Gendarmerie Nationale) against organised crime (either criminal or financial activities). In carrying out its investigations, the DCPJ works with other institutions such as the Customs and Revenue Service, according to Wikipedia.
The implications of the DCN investigation are serious: the bribery of foreign public officials is punishable in France since June 2000 with ten years’ imprisonment and a 150,000-euro fine, said the Liberation website.
Leaders of the weapons consortium are already covered by two financial investigations. Since February 2008, investigative judges Francoise Desset and Jean-Christophe Hullin have been looking into “bribery and corruption” involving DCN deals. Earlier this year, a preliminary investigation was opened into an attack in Karachi linked to the sale of Agosta submarines to Pakistan in 1994, reported Liberation.
Meanwhile, several officials have already been placed under investigation in the wider DCN affair involving deals with other countries, noted the respected French media group Le Monde with AFP on 29 June.
Jean-Marie Boivin, the representative of the Luxembourg company Eurolux, and whose name is cited in the case of the attack in Karachi in 2002, was placed under investigation Monday, June 28 by the judges Francoise Desset and Jean-Christophe Hullin in another investigation of the former Department of Naval Construction (DCN) for espionage and corruption….
Jean-Marie Boivin had already been summoned by the magistrates on June 16 but he did not attend the meeting. He was finally indicted on Monday.
Three people have been indicted in this case: Claude Thevenet, consultant and former member of the management of the Territorial Surveillance (DST cons-espionage), Gerard Philippe Menayas, a former executive of DCN, and Jean Peter Dentel, a tax auditor for the national division of tax investigations.
The name of Jean-Marie Boivin appears in the investigation into the attack in Karachi (Pakistan) in 2002. Commissions paid on the sale of submarines to Pakistan in 1994 were handled by a company called Heine, whose representative Mr. Boivin was created with the support of Nicolas Sarkozy when he was budget minister in 1994.
Fifteen people, including eleven employees of DCN working on the construction of submarines, died in the attack in May 2002: French antiterrorist judges suspect that it was in retaliation for the arrest of payment of these commissions to the Pakistani army.

Comprehensive report on rape of Penan women

Just wanted to highlight this very detailed and professionally done report on the rape of Penan women in Sarawak.
Word on the street is that Taib will run again in Sarawak. I can’t imagine the continued horrors the indigenous of East Malaysia will continue to suffer under BN rule.

A sperm bank only for beautiful people?

There are dozens of dating websites currently active in cyber space, but there is only one that only allows beautiful people to join.

Called,, it’s the website where people need to apply to become members and where members can vote on the looks of new applicants.

So far, some 5.8 million people have been already been rejected.

The company raised eyebrows last year when it allowed members to vote people off the site who gained too much weight over the holidays, but its newest development may put that to shame.

The site is considering plans to become a sperm bank for fertility clinics around the world.

“Since going global in 2009, we’ve been receiving numerous requests from fertility clinics around the world looking secure our members donations,” managing director of Greg Hodge said.

"If you're in the unfortunate position as a couple unable to conceive a child you're going to want to secure every advantage for that child and like it or not, attractiveness is an advantage in our day and age."

Hodge said his company doesn’t make any money off the fertility forum, but it is a way to attract new members.

Angela, who is one of the site’s 650,000 members, defended joining the site and paying an annual fee of $480 to be listed.

“I think being attractive as you grow older helps you so much in the long run with jobs, with life in general and I think it actually is helpful,” Angela said.

We want to know what you think.

Are designer babies the way of the future? If you were choosing the characteristics of your child, would you want attractiveness to be one of them? Do you agree with the website's plans to become a sperm bank for beautiful people?

Please leave your comments below and be sure to include where you're writing from.

PR parliament

UN complaint on no kindergardens in Malaysian’s 523 Tamil schools, higher education & Indian poverty.

New Scan-20100714101139-00001
NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Date: 14/07/2010
Ban Ki-moon Secretary General of U.N,
United Nations Secretariat, First Avenue and East 42nd street,
United Nations, New York, USA. Fax No:1-212-963-2155
Human Rights Council,
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
8–14, avenue de la Paix Fax: +41 (0)22 917 90 11
CH–1211 Geneva 10 – Switzerland E-mail:
Mr.Hans Olsen United Nations, Children’s Fund, (Unicef) UNICEF House, 3 United Nations,
New York, NY 10017, Fax No (212) 326-7037 USA. Email:
Dear Sirs,
Re: 1) Rights of ethnic minority Indian children denied kindergarten in 523 Tamil schools and in higher education violated. Three children separated from their mother by government of Malaysia.
We refer to the above matter and respectfully wish to lodge a formal complaint.
We read in the Malaysian New Straits Times on 4/7/2010 at page 10 that Malaysia will withdraw three of it’s reservations on the Rights of the Child on 6/7/10.
We therefore urge the United Nations to investigate:-
1) Why all 523 ethnic minority Tamil (Indian) schools in Malaysia are being denied full financial aid by the government of Malaysia. Kindly refer to our official letter to Unicef & UN Sec Gen dated 18/6/2010. HRP Letter and appointment to Unicef & UN Sec Gen on Tamil school in cow shed like conditions.
2) More than 90% of these ethnic minority Tamil school pupils are denied kindergartens and pre school facilities by the government of Malaysia when the national average is almost to the direct contrary ie at is 87% attending pre schools. (The Star 15/3/10 at page N46). See our website posting dated 16/3/2010). Poverty keeps 90% of Tamil school children out of kindergartens
3) An estimated 2,237 top and high achieving ethnic minority O Levels Indian students have been denied government JPA, Mara, Petronas, GLC, 13 state Yayasan, Bank Negara, Khazanah etc Scholarships, University and Matriculation places. (Kindly refer to our letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia dated 23/6/2010). Letter to P.M: 56 TOP SPM Indian students up to 13 As’ denied Scholarships, Matriculation and University Places.
4) A poor, powerless and politically voiceless ethnic minority Indian mother had been separated from her three children by the Welfare Minister. The three children ate pebbles because of hunger which we have not heard even happening in famine stricken Somalia. (Kindly refer to our letter to the Prime Minister and the Welfare Minister dated 3/7/10). Three Sand and pebble eating poor and hungry Indian children in Kedah “Imprisoned”.
Kindly constitute an investigation, take the appropriate action and fund a project to help alleviate this state of children’s affairs in Malaysia and revert to us at your earliest convenience.
Thank You.
Your Faithfully,
P.Uthayakumar Secretary General (pro tem)
CC : Mr. Vernor Munoz Villalobos Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education Office or the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson United Nations Office at Geneva 8-14 Ave de la Paix 1211 Fax +41 22 917 90 06 Geneva 10 Switzerland E-mail:
Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty (ICHRP)
Rue Ferdinand-Hodler 17
CH-1207 Geneva Fax: +41 (0) 22 775 33 03
Switzerland Email:
Mr. Olivier De Schutter Special Rapporteur on the right to food Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights United Nations Office at Geneva 8-14, avenue de la Paix 1211 Geneva10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9006
Ms. Gay McDougall
Independent Expert on minority issues
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9006
Mr. Githu Muigai
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10 Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Switzerland Email:

Pakistan bans Indian film with Bin Laden lookalike

Pakistani pop singer Ali Zafar attends a press conference for Indian Bollywood film ‘Tere Bin Laden’ in Mumbai on June 21, 2010. – AFP pic
ISLAMABAD, July 14 – Pakistani censors have banned an Indian comedy film featuring a lookalike of al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, the film’s distributor said today. The ban had been anticipated on grounds that Islamist extremists could use it as a pretext for attacks.
“They have banned it in Pakistan,” Nadeem Mandviwall said. “We have moved an appeal against the board decision but there’s little chance we will get relief.”
Mandviwall had earlier said censors had found no fault with the film itself.
“It’s because they think somebody might do something. They’re not saying there’s something wrong in the film or the picture is against Osama bin Laden or maligning him,” he said.
Walwater Media’s production, “Tere Bin Laden” (“Without You, Bin Laden”), revolves around a television journalist whose sole ambition is to gain residency in the United States.
The journalist, played by Pakistani pop star Ali Zafar, films a video with the lookalike, which quickly goes viral online, and attempts to migrate to the United States.
“Our full board have watched the movie and the majority has decided it’s not suitable for exhibition,” Masood Elahi, vice chairman of the Censor Board of Pakistan (CBP), said before the ban was imposed. He gave no reasons for the ban.
The 57-member board is made up of members from the media and public representatives and religious clerics.
Mandviwali said a ban would prompt a variety of interest groups to seek similar bars on any film they found objectionable.
Plans had called for the movie, had it escaped a ban, to be shown with the amended title “Tere Bin,” (“Without You”), because of sensitivity surrounding the name of the al Qaeda chief.
Militants linked to al Qaeda are trying to topple the civilian democratic government in conservative, Muslim Pakistan and enforce harsh Taliban-style rule. They have killed thousands in bomb and suicide attacks on minorities, markets, mosques, security forces and western targets.
Al Qaeda and Taliban militants have taken refuge in Pakistan’s border regions after US-led forces ousted the radical Taliban regime in Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. –Reuters

PKR grassroots call for Xavier's resignation

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: Unhappy PKR grassroot leaders in Selangor have called for the resignation of state executive councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar.

They alleged that Jeyakumar had failed to assist the community beyond the typical and routine MIC-style allocation for temples and schools.

“He (Jeyakumar) is the sole Indian exco and should be creating and finding job opportunities for Indians in the state government and local councils and resolving our welfare issues.

“Instead he is thinking like an MIC man and still stuck on temples and schools,” said one PKR leader from Puchong.

"While temples and schools were important, the bigger and more impacting reality was rising unemployment among Indian youths and the community’s social wellbeing.

"We have lived in Malaysia for more than two centuries. The BN has been a cruel government and has never helped us to solve temples and schools problem.

“But we were still capable of building temples and schools by using our own money. Now it's time for Selangor to focus on the community’s welfare,” he added.

Serving the interests of few

The disgruntled leader went on to say that despite its two years in power in Selangor, the Pakatan administration had made no significant changes involving the Indian community.

"Just look around Selangor. There are hundreds of Indian estates and villages and a majority of the population here live in a deprived state.

"The situation had not changed a single bit,” he said, adding that it was almost impossible to meet with Jeyakumar as he's constantly 'protected' by his lieutenants, including his daughter-cum PA Sangeetha.

“As a PKR member I'm ashamed to say that it's not easy to meet Xavier Jayakumar. Every time we wish to meet him, there will be some people who are close to him who will prevent us.

“He spends more time serving the interest of few people than keeping the promises he made during the general election,” he said.

Meanwhile, it is understood that a memorandum, detailing the grassroots discontentment with Jeyakumar, has been sent to PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The memorandum blamed PKR’s failure in Hulu Selangor to Jeyakumar’s inaction in dealing with perennial issues facing the Indian community. It called for Jeyakumar’s resignation.

Pakatan to halt party publications for a week

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: All Pakatan Rakyat component parties will halt publication of their respective newsletters until next week, pending a meeting with the Home Ministry. Pakatan leaders say their next course of action will depend on the outcome of their talks with Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

The decision was announced by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim after a Pakatan presidential council meeting today.

Anwar, the Permatang Pauh MP, said although the opposition bloc condemns the ministry's refusal to renew the permits of all three party organs — Suara Keadilan (PKR), Harakah (PAS) and The Rocket (DAP) — it will respect procedural requirements to rectify the problem.

"We hope we can hasten the meeting with the minister and that he gives due consideration and space (for us to explain) so that the government does not appear to be autocratic," he told a press conference in his office at Parliament House.

Suara Keadilan and the other organs have been at loggerheads with the Home Ministry recently, prompting accusations that there is a government crackdown on dissent.

"It is obvious that the content of the newsletters is effective (in its assault on the government)," said Anwar.

Hishammuddin evasive

Suara Keadilan was suspended over an article claiming that the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) had gone bankrupt. The ministry claimed that the report was false.

Both Harakah and The Rocket were given show-cause letters after the two continued with their publications despite their expired permits.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said it is Hishammuddin's top priority to dispel the presumption that the refusal to renew the permits is a form of a clampdown on dissent.

But, like Anwar, Lim said they will meet all procedural requirements by responding to the show-cause letters to resolve the conflict.

Meanwhile, PKR information chief Latheefa Koya claimed that PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution and chief strategist Chua Tian Chang had earlier met with Hishammuddin in Parliament.

"But he was evasive, so let's see how we can try and have a meeting with him sometime next week," she said.

Interview of Mr. Balasubramanian a/l Perumal By French Police/French Lawyer

The French investigator appeared to be very familiar with the events in Malaysia relating to the Altantunya murder. The interview however centered on the scorpene submarine deal and the alleged commission paid in connection with that.
Police Interview
Date of interview: 12.7.2010
Time of interview: 2 pm. Interview took 3 hours.
Place of interview: Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciare DNIF, Nanterre, Paris
Interviewed by Mr. M. Ryckewaert assisted by English interpreter and another lady officer. Interview conducted in French through English interpreter.
Observation: The French investigator appeared to be very familiar with the events in Malaysia relating to the Altantunya murder. The interview however centered on the scorpene submarine deal and the alleged commission paid in connection with that.
The following were the areas covered in the interview.
1.            My background [including date and place of birth] and my occupation ranging from time I was with Malaysian police to time when I became a private investigator in 1998.
2.            The validity of my PI license.
3.            The whole story as to how I was recruited to do a job for Razak Baginda and my interview before the job done by Mr. Dhirren Norendra, a lawyer practicing in Kuala Lumpur. I was questioned about the scope of my assignment, the target and objectives of my assignment.
4.            The background to the Altantunya murder. I briefed them of the events 4eading up to and after the murder and also told them to read my first SD and the Singapore interview. Also the identity of the two police officers convicted of the murder, who they worked for as well as the identity of the various other people identified as being about when Altantunya disappeared and their link to Baginda and/or the PM.
5 .            Razak  Baginda’s relationship with our present PM, the information and events narrated to me by Baginda including the sms sent by the PM to Baginda at the point of his arrest for the murder of  Altantunya.
6.            The Malaysian company, Perimekar, its ownership, and link to Baginda and his wife. Also nature of business undertaken by Perimeker. I told them of the presence of army equipment in Baginda’s office. Information concerning Razak Baginda and his present whereabouts.
7.            Financial payments by Razak Baginda to Altantuya including the three US$5K payments by Baginda to Altantunya including a penalty of US$1K because late banking in. Also the purchase by Razak Baginda of an apartment in Mongolia for Altantunya. Also the background to US$500K payment demanded by Altantunya, its background, how it arose, its link to the Scorpene submarine deal, Altanunya’s involvement in the negotiations and admission and confirmation by Baginda that he should have paid Altantunya the money.
8.            How Rosmah Mansor teamed up with Deepak to exile me from Malaysia, the
threats to my family after I signed the first SD as well as the involvement of the PM’s brother in the events that led to the 2nd SD and my being smuggled out of Malaysia and asked to stay away till Najib became PM.
9.            I was asked to retrace the events in Rawang coffee house where Deepak, Dinesh  and ASP Suresh were present.
10.            The length and time I have in exile.
11.            Details concerning Altantunya’s cousin. Ammy, who had knowledge of the Paris
dinner where the PM and Razak Baginda were present with Altantunya.
12.            The identity of French individuals involved in the Scorpene deal.
13.            My knowledge of any payments by the French to Perimekar and information given to me by Altantunya that her US$500K was because of the successful deal concerning the Scorpene submarine transaction.
14.            The identity, background and involvement of two Malaysians identified as Major Rahim and Abdul Rahim bin Saad.
15.            Altantuya’s family background.
16.            My links with Suaram, if any.
17.            The need for justice to be served for the Altantunya murder and the truth to be told concerning the Scorpene deal.
I signed the statement that the French officer recorded.
Meeting with the French Lawyer
I also met with Mr. Joseph Breham, a French lawyer acting for Suaram, on 13.7.2010 at 10 a.m. at his office at Cabinet Bourdon-Voituriez-Burget, 156 Rue e Rivoli, Paris.

Polis Perancis sebut Najib-Rosmah ketika soal Bala

Chen Shaua Fui,, Merdeka Review 
"Najib" dan "Rosmah Mansor" antara nama yang disebut oleh polis Perancis, dalam masa lebih daripada tiga jam ketika mengambil keterangan daripada penyiasat persendirian, Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal.  Malah, nama-nama seperti Abdul Razak Baginda, Deepak Dinesh, ASP Suresh dan beberapa nama baru yang belum dikenalpasti turut disebut sepanjang proses ini, menurut sumber maklumat.
Balasubramaniam  ialah saksi penting dalam perbicaraan kes pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, tiba di Direction Centrale de la Police (DNIF), Nanterre Prefecture pada pada jam 2.30 petang (waktu Perancis) Isnin lalu, ditemani peguamnya, Manjeet Singh Dhillon.
Menurut sumber maklumat, polis Perancis sendiri mengungkit nama Perdana Menteri Najib Razak (gambar kiri, kanan) dan isteri beliau, Rosmah Mansor (gambar kiri, kiri) ketika mengambil keterangan Balasubramaniam.  Malah, nama tertuduh ketiga dalam perbicaraan kes pembunuhan Altantuya Shaariibuu, Abdul Razak Baginda; dan Deepak Dinesh (peniaga permaidani yang dituduh mengatur perjalanan Bala ketika melarikan diri) juga disebut sepanjang keterangan Bala diambil.
Dalam satu laporan eksklusif MerdekaReview pada 10 Julai 2010, Balasubramaniam (gambar kanan) yang melarikan diri ke London telah menerima panggilan rasmi daripada polis Perancis untuk memberi keterangan berhubung kes pengambilan komisen dalam urus-niaga pembelian kapal selam oleh Malaysia daripada Perancis.
Selain itu, sumber maklumat juga memberitahu MerdekaReview, Balasubramaniam telah bertemu dengan peguam SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia) di Perancis, Joseph Breham untuk dua jam, semalam.  Beliau kini sedang merangka satu kenyataan untuk diedarkan pada hari esok, kata sumber maklumat itu.

PM, Rosmah, Baginda, Deepak mentioned in Bala's French probe

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

FINAL UPDATE WITH MALAYSIA-TODAY INTERVIEW INCLUDED Malaysian private investigator P Balasubramaniam spent three hours huddled with the French police on Monday and during the long question-and-answer session, the names Najib, Rosmah, Baginda, ASP Suresh, Deepak and Dinesh cropped up several times.

“There were also some new names that Bala mentioned. I am not sure if he will reveal those when he issues a statement to the press. But because of the huge public interest, most likely his lawyers will issue the statement later tonight or tomorrow,” a source close to the investigation told Malaysia Chronicle.

The names mentioned refer to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor, their friend Razak Baginda, police officer ASP Suresh, businessman Deepak Jaikishan and his brother Dinesh.

The Malaysian leader has been accused of taking a kickback worth 114 million euros or RM570 million from French defense giant DCNS over the purchase of two Scorpene submarines he sanctioned when he was defense minister in 2002.

Najib has denied the allegations but he did benefit a company controlled by Baginda with a co-ordination and support services contract worth RM570 million.

ASP Suresh is a police officer whom Bala has known for a long time, while Deepak is a friend of Rosmah’s. When he emerged after more than a year in hiding in late 2009, Bala had said ASP Suresh and Deepak were the ones who introduced him to Najib’s brother Nazim Razak.

The meeting took place hours after Bala had made a sensational statutory declaration that incriminated Najib, Rosmah, Baginda in the submarines deal as well as in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was trying to blackmail Baginda for her US$500,000 share of commission.

“The French police wanted to know what happened to Bala after he disappeared. They wanted to know why he ran off and who asked him to leave Malaysia. They wanted to see documentary proof of the payments he said he received from Deepak,” said the source.

RM5 million to leave Malaysia

Indeed, Bala had revealed in November 2009 that Nazim had met him at a Volkswagon showroom in The Curve shopping mall in Selangor state on July 3, 2008. Nazim’s pregnant wife was also present, he had recounted.

According to Bala, Nazim offered him RM5 million to reverse his statutory declaration, leave Malaysia immediately and to keep silent on the case. Bala also said Rosmah was very pleased that he had agreed to retract the statutory declaration and wanted to have breakfast with him.

So far, Bala says he has received RM750,000 and has also kept several bank-in slips showing transfers of around RM50,000 each time.

A former Special Branch detective, Bala's life has been turned upside down by the Altantuya murder and Scropene graft case. Last week, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission swerved at the 11th hour from recording his statement even though they had agreed to do so at a London venue, where Bala had promised to do his best to help in investigations.

Despite the MACC's suspicious behavior, Bala proceeded to Paris, where he was interviewed by the French police at the Direction Centrale de la Police in Nanterre Prefecture. The French authorities are probing possible corruption by DCNS and certain of their own politicians. Naval arms-maker DCNS has a notorious record of bribing its way into huge deals.

Malaysian civil rights group SUARAM also gave impetus to the French probe when it lodged a complaint in Paris on behalf of Malaysian taxpayers earlier this year. SUARAM director Cynthia Gabriel has said they were forced into action after Najib refused to initiate any probe into the widespread allegations of corruption.

The Nazim factor

So far, the two submarines have set back national coffers by RM6.7 billion and although Najib insists the RM570 million contract he granted to Baginda was not a form of commission, Baginda's firm - Perimekar - has no previous record of any knowledge of submarines technology.

Intertwined into the submarines acquisition is the gruesome murder of the beautiful 28-year old Altantuya, who was shot in the head and her body blown up with C4 explosives to prevent identification. Two former bodyguards of Najib's and Rosmah's have been sentenced to hang for the murder but speculation remains rife that there were masterminds involved and they are still at large.

But it was the latest revelation of the involvement of Nazim, Najib's younger architect brother, that forced the Malaysian authorities into a fresh show of action after submerging the case following Bala's 'disappearance'.

Challenged in Parliament to take action, the MACC vowed to get to the bottom of the complex case and sought an interview with Bala. But the commission - which falls under the direct purview of the Prime Minister - startled the nation and other foreign observers when it backed off at the last minute.

"It really speaks badly about law and order in Malaysia. If the national anti-graft commission can withdraw from such an important and high-profile case, surely they must have received instructions from the highest authority, and sadly, all the indicators point to Najib himself," Tian told Malaysia Chronicle.

Malaysia Chronicle appends below Part 5 of an interview Bala gave to Malaysia Today in November 2009:

PI Bala Part 5: ” I was told Rosmah was happy with my retraction”

In the fifth and final part of the mystery interview with private eye P Balasubramaniam published in Malaysia Today, he tells that prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor was “very happy” with him for retracting his first statutory declaration which implicated her and Najib Razak in Altantuya’s murder.

He added that Rosmah had wanted to have breakfast with him. Balasubramaniam, a central figure in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, also revealed that he had met Najib’s younger brother Nazim the night before signing the second declaration which exonerated Najib and Rosmah.

He added that he was only paid RM750,000 of the promised RM5 million for the retraction.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

How long had you known ASP Suresh before this incident?

I have known him for about 10 years. I met him when he was a senior investigation officer at the IPK Kuala Lumpur. I was a private investigator then.

ASP Suresh used to ask me to assist him in obtaining fast traces and details on mobile phones as I had contacts in the phone companies and was able to get the information required faster than the police who had to go through official channels.

At one stage, I was working for ASP Suresh as a bouncer at his pub in Jalan Imbi. He had been suspended from his duties as a police officer sometime in 2006 as he was being investigated for corruption by the ACA.

Had you met Deepak before this incident?

No. But I had done some PI work for his brother Dinesh in the past. I knew Deepak was Dinesh’s brother.

You have said that you met a Malay VIP Datuk outside the Volkswagen showroom at The Curve on the night of July 3rd 2008. Who was this gentleman?

He was Datuk Nazim Razak, the younger brother of Najib. He was there with his pregnant wife. Although I did not speak to her, I recognised her as being a TV personality. I think she was the host on the ‘Nona’ programme. Deepak was the one who brought them there to meet me. That is why ASP Suresh did not want us to meet in a place where there would have been a CCTV camera.

When you were in the Hilton Hotel at KL Sentral with Deepak, Dinesh and ASP Suresh and after you had signed the second statutory declaration, was there anything said to you which you consider to be significant?

Yes, there were two things which Deepak told me. He informed me that Rosmah was very happy with me for retracting my first statutory declaration and wanted to have breakfast with me.

When I enquired from Deepak how long I was expected to leave the country for, he informed me it would be until Najib became the next prime minister and that I could return after that.

When did you contact your lawyer Americk Sidhu?

I called him in the middle of July 2009. I was still in India then. I wanted to arrange a meeting with him to inform him what had happened to me and to apologize for all the trouble I had caused. Americk was in the UK when I called him so we arranged to meet in Kuala Lumpur when he returned at the beginning of August.

Did you meet him?

Yes. We met in early August. At the meeting were two other senior lawyers whom Americk had arranged to be present. I told them everything that had happened to me from the time I left Americk’s office in the evening of the July 3, 2008.

Did you realise that this meeting had been secretly videoed?

I did not realise I was being filmed. I was, however, subsequently informed that a recording had been made and this video is safekeeping. I understand this was done to protect me in the event something untoward happened to me again.

How did you manage to survive financially all the time you were away?

Deepak arranged intermittent payments to be made to me. Some payments were made to my wife directly into her account with the EON Bank in KL.

Other payments were made to ASP Suresh who then arranged payment to me directly or through a friend of mine in Malaysia. I have copies of some of the cheques issued by Deepak Jaikishan and from his company, Carpet Raya Sdn Bhd.

I also have copies of my wife’s bank statements showing the deposits which were made. I also have copies of my HSBC account in Chennai.

How much money did you receive from Deepak from the time you left Malaysia in July 2008 till now?

All together, approximately RM750,000.

Do you have any money left?

Yes, I have invested approximately RM250,000 for my future as I am not sure what will happen to me. I also spent some money on renovations to my house in Rawang as my wife and youngest child were there. These renovations were in respect of the security of my home only.

The rest of the money was spent on renting accommodation in Chennai, paying for my children’s schooling and for daily expenses.

Didn’t Deepak promise you RM5 million?

The negotiations were all conducted by ASP Suresh at the Bak Kut Teh stall in Rawang on the night of the July 3, 2008. I was not involved in these negotiations as I was not concerned about money but the safety of my family.

I have subsequently come to realise that ASP Suresh had a vested interest in all this as I know he has received about the same amount of money from Deepak as I have. His job was to keep me under control. This is why he is annoyed with me for not following his instructions because his income from Deepak would be affected.

Why did you wait so long before revealing all this?

When I was at the Hilton Hotel at KL Sentral, I had asked Deepak how long I would have to stay out of the country. He told me it would have to be until Najib became the prime minister. I could not return to Malaysia before February 2009 as one Kumar had my passport in his possession in India for five months.

I only got my passport back after I complained to Deepak when he visited me in India with ASP Suresh. Deepak called his brother Rajesh to find out what had happened to my passport and within two days Kumar asked me to pick it up from him. I was at this time in India illegally as my visa had expired on September 5, 2008.

In order to get my visa extended I had to seek assistance from my wife’s uncle who is a state exco member in Tamil Nadu who managed to get it extended for one year. Only after this was I able to travel back to Malaysia.

What happened when you arrived back in Malaysia in February 2009?

When I landed in KL, I called Dinesh to inform him I was back in Malaysia. I was summoned to Deepak’s office in Sungai Besi at 11.45 pm the same night and was told in no uncertain terms to leave the country immediately, but I stayed a little longer as I wanted to be with my children and my wife. They didn’t know I had not left immediately.

Why did you come back to Malaysia in April 2009?

Just to see my wife and children. This time I did not tell anyone I was back and so I was not harassed.

Why have you now decided to reveal everything?

Because I want to stop all harassments and so that I can return to my normal life.

Were the contents of your first statutory declaration true?


Were you forced to sign the first statutory declaration under duress?

Absolutely not.

Were you forced to sign the second statutory declaration under duress?

Yes, because I was fearful for the safety of my family and I did not read the contents of the second statutory declaration before I was asked to sign it.