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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Group claims responsibility for bombing in Iran

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- An Iranian extremist group claimed responsibility Friday for a pair of suicide bombings Thursday that killed at least 27 people and wounded dozens more in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan.

The announcement was made on the official website of Jundallah, also known as the People's Resistance Movement of Iran.

"This operation is in response to the continuous crimes committed by the Iranian regime in Balochistan," the statement said. "These two men sacrificed their souls to humiliate the regime and have proved that our misery will only end with Jihad and by scandalizing the criminals."

The claim came as a high-ranking official of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps implicated "the U.S., Israel and some European countries" in the attack, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.

Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards Corps' political bureau, said terrorist groups under the auspices of the United States, Israel and some Western countries were involved, according to Fars.

The blasts occurred in front of Zahedan's Grand Mosque, and the second explosion followed within minutes, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi said the death toll from the bombings reached 27 on Friday, according to IRNA. He said 270 were injured and 11 were in critical condition.

"It is not yet possible to announce the exact number of those killed and injured in the incident," a police official said, according to IRNA. Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province, which borders Pakistan.

A lawmaker in Zahedan told IRNA that "the two explosions were the result of suicide bombings. First, someone in a woman's clothing tried to enter the Jam-e Mosque in Zahedan but was prevented from entering."

It was not immediately known whether that person was a man or a woman, said Hosseili Shariari, a Zahedan member of parliament.

Three or four people died in the first explosion, and while people were trying to help those victims, the second suicide bomber detonated his explosives, he told IRNA.

In London, England, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said Britain "strongly condemns" the attack and said he was "horrified" by it.

"In targeting a busy mosque, the bombers claimed the lives of peaceful worshippers and passers-by," he said.

In Washington on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks.

"The United States extends its sympathy to the families and loved ones of those injured and killed," she said in a statement. "We also call for the perpetrators of this horrific attack to be held accountable for their actions."

The Friday prayer leader of Tehran blamed the United States for the bombings.

"The crime that was committed in Zahedan showed the dirty hands of the United States that came through the sleeves of mercenaries," Hojjatoleslam Sedighi said. The cleric's first name was not reported.

Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, condemned the attack, saying it was "part of the arrogant campaign against the Islamic Republic of Iran, by some organizations and terrorist groups that have been raised by the hands of Western intelligence."

"Hezbollah is sure that Iran -- with its iron fist -- will overcome these criminal aggressions, as it should bring the murderous terrorist organizations to an end on one hand, and sever any American-Western attempt to use these criminals to achieve their arrogant objectives inside the Islamic Republic on the other," the group said Friday.

In October, in the same province, a suicide bomber blew himself up as participants headed to a conference between Shiite and Sunni Muslim groups in the city of Sarbaz.

At least 29 were killed in that bombing, including five senior officers of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Jundallah also claimed responsibility for that attack.

In the past, the predominantly Shiite central government in Tehran has accused Jundallah of fomenting unrest in the province. Iran has alleged that the United States and Saudi Arabia are funding the group. Jundallah says it is fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in the country.

Messy government finances due to lax controls, says Ku Li

Ku Li said a prime minister should not also hold the purse strings to the finance ministry. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The rising number of financial irregularities in the government and its companies and agencies was due to a lack of check-and-balance and a prime minister who is also finance minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said yesterday.

He told The Malaysian Insider that Datuk Seri Najib Razak should solely focus on executing his duties as prime minister and not also hold the finance portfolio, claiming that such an arrangement was unwise as it did not provide for proper checks-and-balances.

“The prime minister should not hold any portfolio... this is not a good arrangement, there is no check and balance,” said Razaleigh in an exclusive interview at his Kuala Lumpur residence.

The Kelantan prince popularly known as Ku Li also believed that many government agencies such as the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and firms like Sime Darby Berhad were currently facing a financial crisis because they were not under the purview of the Ministry of Finance.

The founding chairman of Petronas said that the Najib administration should revert from its current policies to those practised back when Razaleigh was finance minister.

“During my time (as finance minister), I controlled the money, all the contracts. In my time, all the generals briefed me with what they wanted to do with the money in the various ministries,” said Razaleigh, who had unsuccessfully challenged Najib for the Umno presidency.

According to the veteran politician, back during the Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad administration, the Ministry of Finance had control over the expenditure of all the other ministries in the government.

If a particular ministry wanted to hire a contractor for a project, they would have to first consult the finance ministry and the ministry would ensure that an open tender system was practised prior to approving the project.

“And anything that the Ministry of Finance decides has to go through Parliament. It was definitely more open (back then) because the minister had to report to Parliament, to the Cabinet.

“Now, every ministry can spend the money any way they want. There is no proper mechanism for check and balance,” explained Razaleigh.

The Gua Musang MP also claimed that when he was finance minister, the country was not “in debt.”

“At least you knew back then, we were not wasting public money,” he stressed.

In reference to the current controversy surrounding the alleged misappropriation of Felda’s funds, Razaleigh said this could have been avoided if government agencies like Felda came under the auspices of the finance ministry.

“In those days, the finance ministry keeps a tight lid on investments. The decision on investments was done by us... but now it’s done by various agencies.

“But now, Felda [comes] under the Ministry of Rural Development, which is under the prime minister, [so] the finance ministry has no say. The PM decides on what to do with Felda,” he said.

Razaleigh’s remarks come amid the National Association of Felda Settlers’ Children (Anak) recent demand for a Parliamentary probe in what it claims to be the misappropriation of funds by Felda.

Its president, Mazlan Aliman, said Anak will also approach Razaleigh to lead a parliamentary caucus on Felda.

“These people came to me and spoke to me recently, and they claim to have documents of abuse of funds... I will have to study the documents that they will pass me.

“You can ask me in ten days’ time whether I want to lead a caucus on this,” Razaleigh said

Hindraf calls for merit-based education

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The government should scrap its racist-based education system and replace it with one based on meritocracy, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) said today.

Hindraf London-based chairman P Waythamoorthy said it was time the Umno-led federal government overhauled the education system to keep pace with the global educational standards.

He said a meritocracy-based system was the only way forward for the country to attain excellence in education in the highly competitive world.

However, he said the objective can never be achieved if the Umno-led federal government is not sincere and serious.

“The government should revamp the education system to focus on meritocracy regardless of ethnic and religious origins to enhance the country’s human capital,” he added.

He was commenting on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's announcement at last weekend MIC general assembly that Indian students who score 9A+ in the SPM would be given public scholarships to pursue tertiary education.

Waythamoorthy said Najib’s promise was nothing more than a gimmick to raise false hopes.

“Why only 9A+? What about plain 9As and 9A-?” he asked.

He said Najib was trying to assuage the feelings of the Indian community when he announced the scholarship award to Indian students with 9A+.

“Predictably, MIC members gave the premier a standing ovation without understanding the dynamics of Umno political manipulation.

“They failed to comprehend that the 9A+ move was detrimental to the Indian community and the country at large,” he told FMT.

Stop gloating

Last month, Waythamoorthy brought up to the United Nations the BN government’s perceived systematic discrimination of Indian students for over half a century.

He addressed the issue to Geneva-based Githu Muigai, the UN special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

He also sent a copy of his complaint to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Asia and Pacific regional bureau for education office) in Bangkok, seeking Unesco's intervention to end the perceived marginalisation of Malaysian Indians.

In May, he updated and provided evidence to the UN Human Rights Council on the continued discrimination and marginalisation of minority Malaysians, especially Indians, and natives from Sabah and Sarawak.

According to education director-general Alimuddin Mohd Dom, some 7,987 of the 465,853 students who took the SPM last year obtained all As in all their subjects.

This includes 214 with A+, of which 41 were private school and agency-sponsored students.

Of the 52,348 candidates who took STPM in 2009, only 15 got 5As in all subjects.

Waythamoorthy said Najib should stop gloating over the fact that about 2,304 places were given to Indian students in 2010 when there were nearly a million seats available in all public universities in the country.

He alleged that the government was pursuing a racist policy by making sure that more than 120,000 places available in Universiti Technology Mara (UiTM) were reserved exclusively for Malay Muslim candidates.

Waythamoorthy said even though seats were increasing in public universities, the ratio was rapidly diminishing for the Indian community.

“The seats given to Indian students did not even represent 0.2% of the Indian student population.

“Is the prime minister trying to tell us that Indian students are so stupid that they do not deserve a place in public universities?” he asked.

No way home for Nur

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT FEATURE Nur is from East Java. In 2003, she left home and arrived in Malaysia. She hoped to earn and save enough money to make the return trip and take care of her sick husband and two children. She has never seen her family since.

Nur looks much older than her claim to being in her 30s. Her story – and ordeal – is a common enough tale of exploited Indonesian maids and impersonal employers.

“I left because my family didn't have enough money to pay for my husband's medical bills... I left my children with my parents… I came to Malaysia on a domestic worker’s visa,” she said, adding that during her trip here, her agent had told her that she owed him RM1,600 in travelling costs, and that he would deduct four months of her salary in return.

Landing in Kuala Lumpur, Nur was packed off to work as a domestic servant for a Chinese family who lived in Rawang.

“My employers didn’t hit me or physically abuse me... but they did not allow me to have any contact with my family in Indonesia,” she said when met at Tenaganita, a women's shelter. It is also a non-governmental organisation that protects and promotes the rights of women, migrants and refugees.

Nur was also not allowed to return to Indonesia to see her loved ones. From 2003 to 2008, she stayed with her employers in their residence and was never paid at all.

“I asked them about my salary many times, but they never gave me anything during all those years.”

One day, after five years of working without pay, her employers handed Nur over to a new agent. They did away with her services without a word of thanks.

Nur left with a few bags containing her belongings, and three million rupiah from her employers.

The journey to nowhere

The new agent then took her to a house in Kepong where she was kept for a day without any food. He later put her in a taxi that took her to an empty house in an unknown location in Johor.

Here, she waited for another day. During this time, the same taxi came back with six more Indonesians.

All seven of them were then whisked off to a nearby shoreline where they were told to wait for the agent to arrive with a motorboat to take them to Indonesia.

However, at about 2pm the same day, the agent told them via mobile phone that they had to run and hide in the nearby jungle as the police were conducting an operation in the area.

“I was afraid, but I still ran into the jungle,” Nur said, recounting her harrowing experience.

She recalls climbing a tree for safety and seeing crocodiles wade in the mud below her.

They waited and some three hours later, they received another call from the agent telling them to stay put, and that he was going to bring them some food.

But neither food nor agent arrived.

From jungle to the beach

Six hours later, Nur received another call from the agent.

“He said he had arrived in his motorboat and was ready to take us to Indonesia. We ran from the jungle to the beach,” Nur told FMT.

“I was the last one to get into the boat. The agent shouted at me for being slow. But I was so weak. I didn't have any food to eat for the past two days, and the water was up to my chest.

“Then I was hit by a big wave, and I hit my head on something… I blacked out,” said Nur. “I lost all my money… all my documents, everything.”

When she regained consciousness several hours later, she found herself being cared for by two other men from the original group of seven.

They had jumped from the boat to save her, and told her that the agent had said, “Let her go. If I lose only one (Indonesian), then I won't lose any money.”

The two who saved her tried to persuade her to come with them, but Nur refused.

She chose to go to a friend's house in Rawang. They then gave her enough money to take a bus to Kuala Lumpur.

Upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur, she pleaded with a taxi driver to take her to Rawang. The latter agreed, but only if she would have sex with him. Nur refused.


Nur eventually found a friend who took her to Tenaganita, where she has since been staying. Although she has no job or any way of earning extra money, the shelter still cares for her.

Tenaganita has allowed her to speak to her children, who are now aged 10 and 12 via the telephone.

“I have spoken to my children... but I don’t know what has happened to my husband... I don't know if he's dead or alive… I don't know if I'll ever have a chance to go home,” said Nur, who is still unable to return to East Java because she has no documents.

Accompanied by Indonesian embassy officials, she has tried several times to secure copies of her documents from the Labour Department to prove that she isn't an illegal immigrant.

But all to no avail.

Nur told FMT that she has been made to pay RM100 to the Labour Department every month for a total of RM1,000. When asked what the costs are for, Nur said: “I don't know.”

Move to topple English-speaking Sivarasa

By B Nanthakumar - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR Indian representatives nationwide want Subang MP R Sivarasa replaced as party vice-president because “he is not fluent in Tamil”. Some 40 PKR members recently met party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at Parliament House to convey their request.

The members want Sivarasa replaced by Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan.

According to a source who was present at the meeting, Wan Azizah had promised to raise the issue with the top leadership.

The source said the 40 Indian leaders had collectively expressed their concerns about Sivarasa’s inability to handle grassroots issues because of his language handicap.

“We are not condemning Sivarasa. He has been very supportive of the Indian community. But his setback is that he is not fluent in Tamil and cannot orate in that language.

“I have seen a few people asking him for help but because of the language barrier, they cannot seem to convey their needs to him... and this is becoming a problem at the grassroots levels,” said the source.

Not approachable

Besides, many ordinary Indians were intimidated by the lawyer and were afraid to approach him.

"Sivarasa is from an upper class urban community. He cannot speak fluent Tamil and is not approachable to the rural population.

“While some find him intimidating, others are too timid to see him,” he said, adding that the party leadership must acknowledge the fact that every month “there are a few Indians at the grassroots level joining the party”.

He said it was vital that leaders representing the Indian community must be both educated and knowledgeable about the community’s needs and be proficient in the Tamil language.

"Bearing all this in mind, we believe Gobalakrishnan is the most suitable person to lead the Indians in PKR.

“He has vast knowledge of the internal problems plaguing the Indians and has the ability to bridge the gap for PKR.

“We believe the PKR central committee will see our point of view on this matter,” he said.

When contacted, Sivarasa said he will be issuing a statement on the matter soon.

Storm brewing beneath the surface

By Zainal Epi - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: On the surface, Umno is all calm and stable. But beneath the seeming tranquillity, discontent is simmering – and sending the jitters down the backbone of the Barisan Nasional. With the next general election looming, Umno top leaders are worried that internal bickering would take a heavy toll on the party and render it weak. This is politically fatal, especially when the opposition front is seen as growing in strength and confidence.

The wind of discord is already blowing hard across Umno divisions, with many chiefs bearing the brunt of the blows from dissatisfied members.

Division committee members, for one, are angry because their rice bowls are getting empty. This is understandable since they are mostly small-time contractors and businessmen. They feel that contracts are not coming their way anymore and they blame the top Umno leaders in the government for not giving them much help.

Then there are factions in the party which are still practising the old patronage system, whereby the division heads would favour a select few among the committee members and would recommend them to the government for contracts.

After securing the contracts, the members would pay the delegates to vote for and retain their patrons (division chiefs). This has been in practice since the mid-1960s.

Crying quietly

The “parachuting” of federal leaders to head state liaison committees to solve party problems is not much of a help either as the internal rivalries still continue to boil, away from the glare of the media.

Terengganu is the best example where the rivalry between former menteri besar Idris Jusoh and the current Menteri Besar Ahmad Said still persists despite claims by liaison chief Hishammuddin Hussein that everything is fine.

The feud is expected to erupt in the open when Idris’ supporters may not be picked as candidates to contest in the coming general election.

It is a normal practice in Umno that the menteri besar draws up the list of the recommended candidates. Hence, Ahmad may not want to take onboard Idris' men, thus worsening the rupture. Come polls day, Terengganu Umno may not be united at all.

In Kedah, several division heads are “crying quietly” because they claim that liaison chief Shafie Apdal is not doing much to help them tackle several pressing matters faced by the members.

They claimed that Shafie did not meet them often to listen to their woes and this does not augur well for Kedah Umno. If the frustration goes unchecked, there is genuine fear that Umno may not get back the PAS-ruled state.

Formidable challenge

Meanwhile in Selangor, Umno is in quite a bad shape mainly caused by the “intense rivalry” between supporters of former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and deputy liaison chief Noh Omar.

However, some division leaders said the situation could be controlled since Najib Tun Razak is the state's liaison chief.

“With Najib as the chief, members are a little shy in expressing their resentment openly,” said a division chief.

But the fear is that they may show their anger at the ballot box.

Umno may yet face another formidable challenge in the form of Perkasa. The powerful right-wing Malay group is attracting a lot of attention – and support – from Umno members who feel their party is no longer championing the cause of the Malays.

Some Umno members who are also in the Perkasa camp hope the Malay NGO will register itself as a political party so that Umno dissidents can have a new platform to fight for their rights.

Said a party member: “Most of us will not vote for PAS or PKR but if Perkasa becomes a political party, we may just cast our votes there.”

“At least, Perkasa still champions the Malay cause, which Umno seems to be abandoning,” he added.

It is a grim scenario. Top Umno leaders must come up with answers – and fast – if they do not want to see their party cast adrift and eventually sink in a storm of their own making.

World Simmers In Hottest Year So Far

A man dives from a seven meters platform at a swimming pool during a hot summer day in Hall in Tirol July 14, 2010. The world is enduring the hottest year on record, according to a U.S. national weather analysis, causing droughts worldwide and a concern for U.S. farmers counting on another bumper year. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler
By Alina Selyukh

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) - The world is enduring the hottest year on record, according to a U.S. national weather analysis, causing droughts worldwide and a concern for U.S. farmers counting on another bumper year.

For the first six months of the year, 2010 has been warmer than the first half of 1998, the previous record holder, by 0.03 degree Fahrenheit, said Jay Lawrimore, chief of climate analysis at the federal National Climatic Data Centre.


Period of a El Nino weather pattern is being blamed for the hot temperatures globally.

"We had an El Nino episode in the early part of the year that's now faded but that has contributed to the warmth not only in equatorial Pacific but also contributed to anomalously warm global temperatures as well," Lawrimore said.

Abnormally warm temperatures have been registered in large parts of Canada, Africa, tropical oceans and parts of the Middle East.

Northern Thailand is struggling through the worst drought in 20 years, while Israel is in the middle of the longest and most severe drought since 1920s. In Britain, this year has been the driest since 1929.

Also, Arctic sea ice has melted to its thinnest state in June.

However, as cooler temperatures may set in later this year, it remains to be seen whether 2010 will overtake 2005 as the hottest year overall.

"This year the fact that the El Nino episode has ended and is likely to transition into La Nina, which has a cooling influence on the global average temperature, it's possible that we will not end up with the warmest year as a whole."


The record-warm weather globally hasn't translated into the same in the United States, where June was only eighth hottest to date.

"For the U.S., January to June, this is only slightly warmer than average," Lawrimore said.

What may tip the scale is the development of La Nina, possibly coming in July and August, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Although La Nina means cooling globally, the transition commonly brings hotter and drier weather to the farming belt of the U.S. Midwest region.

"It's going to be pretty warm across eastern Nebraska, Iowa, western portions of Missouri, mid to upper 90s (F)," said Donald Keeney, senior agriculture meteorologist with CROPCAST Ag Services.

The hot temperatures will especially hurt corn pollination, while dry weather will affect soy bean crops, Keeney said.

But meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Eric Luebehusen said the impact of La Nina is usually delayed for the United States, meaning good news for corn farmers.

"Most crops are already reproductive," he said, "so if you can last through the next few weeks, you will pass the really dangerous point where you may sustain yield losses due to heat."

Drought is developing in some parts of the Mid-Atlantic states, Lawrimore said, but for now it's moderate and contained in 8 percent of the country. For comparison, 15 percent of the contiguous United States was in drought last year at this time,

27 percent in 2008 and almost half in 2007.

Wanita Penan dirogol diminta lapor kepada PBB

Berita Harian 

MIRI: Masyarakat Penan di pedalaman Baram, utara Sarawak dinasihat merujuk kes rogol yang didakwa membabitkan wanita dari kaum itu kepada Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Telang Usan tanpa menghebahkannya kepada pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) bagi mengelak diputar belit.

Ketua Pemuda PBB Telang Usan, Dennis Ngau Jok, berkata wanita Penan perlu berani dan tampil dengan bukti kukuh bagi memudahkan tindakan undang-undang diambil terhadap individu yang didakwa melakukan jenayah itu.

“Kita mahu wanita Penan yang mendakwa menjadi mangsa rogol melaporkan perkara itu kepada PBB Telang Usan bagi memudahkan kita membantu pihak berkuasa menyelesaikan isu ini.

“Kita sedia membantu menyelesaikan masalah ini dengan segera,” katanya ketika dihubungi di sini, semalam.

Sejak akhir-akhir ini, isu kes rogol dan eksploitasi seks membabitkan wanita Penan di Baram, mencetuskan pelbagai reaksi parti politik dan NGO.

Dennis berkata, pihaknya kesal kerana kebanyakan aduan membabitkan kes rogol dan eksploitasi seks disalurkan adalah kepada NGO.

“Kebanyakan aduan dibuat kepada NGO di mana tiada penyelesaian diambil melainkan kenyataan yang hanya mengeruhkan lagi keadaan,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, Dennis meminta isu membabitkan wanita Penan diatasi secara profesional bagi mengelak dipolitikkan pihak tertentu yang mempunyai kepentingan peribadi.

World Cup gamblers arrested in Asia

Despite opposition, Malaysia recenty legalised betting but new rules came too late for the World Cup [AFP]
An international crackdown in four Asian countries targeting illegal football gambling during the World Cup resulted in more than 5,000 arrests and the seizure of $10m in cash, Interpol has said.
Interpol, the international policing organisation, said on Friday that officers raided 800 illegal gambling dens in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China, including the territories of Hong Kong and Macau.
The dens handled more than $115m in illegal World Cup bets.
"As well as having clear connections to organised crime gangs, illegal soccer gambling is also linked with corruption, money laundering and prostitution," Jean-Michel Louboutin, Interpol's executive director, said in a statement.
In addition to the cash, officers seized alleged criminal assets including cars, bank cards, computers and mobile phones.
The operation was coordinated from Interpol's headquarters in France and Louboutin praised the close cooperation of Asian police forces.
'Sweep of small players'
Joe Saumarez Smith, news editor of the website, told Al Jazeera that the arrests were insignificant compared to the size of the issue.
"Ten million dollars is really an accounting error" compared to the amounts of money changing hands.
"It looks like this has been a sweep-up of a lot of the small players."
The international operation dubbed SOGA III, which followed two smaller gambling raids, ran between June 11 and July 11, as millions around the world were glued to their television screens, following the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Sports betting remains illegal in much of Asia, unlike the most of Europe, even though it is apparently popular with the region's sports fans.
Smith says some of the people involved with sports betting are "shady characters" but others are "genuine book makers" who are forced under-ground because gambling is illegal.
As part of the operation, police raided a casino in Macau, a former Portugese colony in the south of China, which recently over-took Las Vegas to become the world's largest gambling market.
Malaysia legalised sports betting last month, angering conservative groups, but the new licenses were not ready in time for the World Cup and a police task force was assigned to lead a crackdown on gamblers in the country. 

Sec-gen: PAS sticking with Pakatan... at least until GE13

MP submits emergency motion on Penan rape

13 days to solve rare Malay muslim IC and BC problem. But 60 years for Indian poor. 450,000 Indians denied IC & BC & Stateless.

url 13 days
When we focus on some 450,000 Indian poor denied their rightful Identity Cards and Birth Certificates, the supposedly multi-racial Malaysian civil society accuse us of being racist, extremist, communalist and UMNO and their Malay-sian Attorney General Gani Patail has even gone to the extent of accusing us of being terrorists with links to LTTE.
This latest case of the rare Malay muslim children being granted their Identity Cards and Birth Certificates within six days (Malay Mail headlines 15/7/10). When there is a will by UMNO there is a way. The Malay (real Malay) Mail highlighted this family on their headlines and that did the trick. But this very same Malay Mail has zero records of similarly highlighting when the victim were Indians. Most all the mainstream and the supposed alternative media similarly practice the UMNO racism, ie., they do not see the Indian victims, only the Malay victims.
For these Malay muslim children UMNO in fact bends backwards when no less than the Director General (DG) of the National Registration Department (NRD) Dato Alwi Abdullah saw to it that these poor Malay muslim children were issued their Identity Cards and Birth Certificates within thirteen days.
And this NRD DG bends backwards even though he has nothing to do with schools to make sure that these three Malay muslim children who have never been to school gets special arrangements to go to school. As per the Malay Mail newsreport, “However Alwi said the two brothers and their sister would not be attend classes with other children of their own age – due to their illiteracy. All of them will be placed under special programme instead. The school has not been identified yet under this programme, these three children will get the most basic of education first.”
“From there, we will see how they progress and they will be placed in classes according to their capabilities. Unfortunately, at the moment none of them can even qualify for Standard One”.
We are happy for this Malay muslim family but why can’t the same standards apply also to the 450,000 similarly affected poor Indian children?
Jacob Pakianthan who is 60 but is still denied his Identity Card and Birth Certificates. (See story reported here earlier).
An estimated 150,000 poor Indian children like Rohana, Saiful and Zamri (MM 15/7/10 page 5) are still denied their rightful birth certificates even though they are up to even the sixth generation Malaysian born. But because they are the ethnic minority Indians, they are denied their rightful birth right. UMNO has complete disregard for Article 14 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees citizenship by operation of law for every child born in Malaysia when either one of their parents are Malaysian citizen or a permanent resident. Similarly an estimated 450,000 Indian poor adults have been denied their Identity Cards. All 450,000 of these poor Indians remain stateless.
But the 1,016,799 UMNO trained Biro Tatanegara racist and supremacist “graduates’, on the smallest technicality like insisting on the presence of the real father of a teenage girl delivering a baby or the baby’s birth not being registered within the 21 days period almost all (because of poverty and poverty related problems) as is required by the National Registration Department rules.
But UMNO will never tamper justice with mercy for the poor Indians. The Malay Mail the mainstream and the alternative media will never similarly give coverage when the victims are the poor Indians. Similarly even the top PKR, DAP, PAS leaders, their 76 “multi-racial MPs’ including the 11 Indian Opposition MP mandores, Indian elite, NGOs, Bar Council, Malaysian civil society, et al will all pretend that they did not see these injustices to the Indian poor. But when we focus on this most severe cases of human rights violations they pounce on Hindraf and HRP accusing them of being racist, ethnocentric, etc. Malay-sia is the only country where when you cry racism you in turn get accused of being a racist.
This extent of racism and supremacy does not happen in any other part of the world. Today One Malay-sia remains the one and only One Apartheid Malaysia regime in the would, the last being in South Africa which ended some 21 years ago.
P. Uthayakumar
 13 days 1  13 days 313 days 2

Enjin jet: Dipaksa mengaku, didera dalam tahanan

(Harakahdaily) - Anggota Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM), Sarjan N Tharmendran yang menerima pertuduhan bersubahat mencuri dua enjin pesawat F5 milik TUDM Januri lalu hari ini tampil mendedahkan penderaan yang dilakukan terhadapnya sepanjang berada dalam tahanan.
Tharmendran, 42, yang hadir bersama peguamnya, N Surendran di Parlimen hari ini mendakwa dia telah mengalami penderaan fizikal yang teruk dan dipaksa untuk mengaku bersalah dalam kes kecurian enjin tersebut.
Tharmendran memberitahu, seorang ketua pegawai penyiasat berpangkat mejar telah diarahkan untuk menyelesaikan kes itu dan dibenarkan menggunakan apa cara sekalipun bagi memaksa dia mengaku bersalah.
"Sepanjang tempoh tahanan saya bermula 2 Julai 2009, selama 60 hari saya ditahan, mereka tidak memberitahu keluarga di mana saya ditahan. Saya dipaksa mengaku bahawa saya bersalah mencuri enjin tersebut.
"Sepanjang tempoh siasatan, ketua pegawai penyiasat dipanggil penglima tentera udara untuk menyelesaikan kes ini dengan secepat mungkin dan boleh menggunakan apa cara sahaja asalkan dapat selesaikan kes ini," katanya pada sidang media di lobi Parlimen hari ini.
Ceritanya juga, dia didera oleh pegawai berkenaan dan tidak tidur selama tiga minggu di dalam bilik yang kecil dan secara berterusan dipaksa mengaku bersalah.
Dia dipakaikan topi keledar dan kepalanya dipukul menggunakan kayu kriket dan kayu golf sehingga topi keledar yang dipakai mengalami keretakan.
Sepanjang dalam tahanan itu juga, beliau turut mendengar tahanan lain didera dengan teruk sehingga tangisan dan jeritan mereka dapat didengarinya.
"Semasa saya disoal siasat, terdapat tiga hingga empat orang yang disoal siasat. Mereka turut didera dan saya dapat mendengar tangisan mereka merayu agar tidak dipukul. Namun saya tidak pasti sama ada mereka mahu tampil membuat pendedahan seperti yang saya lakukan ini," katanya.
Tharmendran turut menyatakan rasa tidak puas hati terhadap TUDM yang langsung tidak mengambil tahu mengenai apa yang berlaku terhadapnya sepanjang tempoh tahanan namun selepas dia dibebaskan, dia dipanggil untuk bertugas kembali.
Tempoh perkhidmatan Tharmendran sepatutnya berakhir pada 28 Mei tahun ini.
"Selama enam bulan saya ditahan di penjara Sungai Buloh, mereka tidak pernah tanya apa berlaku pada saya.
“Tapi bila saya keluar dengan peguam saya, baru mereka datang suruh saya bertugas. Saya rasa ini sangat tidak adil," katanya.
Semalam, Ahli Parlimen Kapar, S. Manickavasagam menghantar usul penderaan dalam tahanan untuk dibahaskan di Dewan Rakyat namun ianya ditolak speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia atas alasan ianya dalam siasatan polis dan tidak perlu disegerakan.
Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gantang, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin dalam sidang media yang sama mahu Suruhanjaya Diraja ditubuhkan bagi menyiasat kes kecurian enjin jet yang menjejaskan imej pertahanan negara.
"Kita mahukan satu siasatan menyeluruh, jawatankuasa atau Suruhanjaya Diraja ditubuhkan untuk mengkaji apa sebenar yang berlaku dalam kes kecurian ini. Rakyat nak tahu bagaimana enjin yang penting itu boleh hilang. Kita sedia maklum bahawa ada peraturan sebelum semua barang melibatkan ketenteraaan dikeluarkan. Inikan pula enjin jet.
"Kami ahli Parlimen mahu menunjukkan bahawa kehilangan dua enjin merupakan satu maruah yang besar yang menjadi satu bahan ketawa seluruh dunia hari ini. Kes ini berlaku pada 2007 dan mencerminkan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib kerana beliau adalah menteri pertahanan ketika itu. Kami mendapat berita bahawa bukan dua enjin ini sahaja yang lesap, banyak lagi alat-alat lain yang mahal harganya hilang dalam simpanan," katanya.
Tegasnya, Tharmendran telah dikambinghitamkan oleh pihak tertentu bagi menyelesaikan kes itu daripada terus didedahkan kepada umum.
"Kita lihat sarjan Tharmendran ini seolah-olah dijadikan kambing hitam untuk menyelesaikan perkara ini," tegasnya.
Ahli Parlimen Batu, Tian Chua pula berkata, keselamatan Tharmendran masih belum terjamin kerana TUDM masih mendakwa dia sebagai kakitangan mereka.
"Kes ini sangat memalukan negara sebab kita usulkan perkara ini. Keselamatan sarjan Tharmendran belum terjamin kerana pihak tentera masih mendakwa bahawa dia seorang dalam perkhidmatan jadi bila-bila masa boleh gunakan paksaan untuk tangkap dia.
"Kes ini seolah-olah ada konspirasi untuk tidak mahu siasat dan dedahkan realiti sebenar sebab sudah menjadi tumpuan masyarakat," katanya.
Tharmendran didakwa bersubahat dengan Laskar Udara Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop, untuk melakukan kecurian dua enjin pesawat F5 jenis J85-21 itu di Bangunan Material Processing Shed MATRA 1, Pangkalan Udara TUDM Sungai Besi.
Bagi kesalahan itu dia boleh didakwa mengikut Seksyen 380 Kanun Keseksaan yang dibaca bersama Seksyen 109 kanun yang sama, yang membawa hukuman penjara sehingga 10 tahun dan denda jika sabit kesalahan.
Minggu lepas, Tharmendran dibebaskan dengan jaminan sementara menunggu perbicaraan.
Jaminan terhadap Tharmendran sebanyak RM50,000 bagi kesalahan bersubahat mencuri dua enjin pesawat F-5E milik TUDM dijelaskan oleh bapanya, N. Nagarajan selaku penjamin.

Penan Support Group: Govt denials “appalling”

By Penan Support Group | The Nut Graph

THE Penan Support Group (PSG) is appalled that Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie has refuted the findings in the PSG’s mission report uncovering more cases of rape and sexual exploitation among the Penan. Heng cited minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s “fact-finding mission” on 13 July to the Baram region and the lack of police reports as proof.
We find this denial and misinformation problematic for several reasons. First, the minister’s visit was not a “fact-finding mission” to investigate the allegations of new rape cases, but to merely “have a feel of the place”, to quote a report in The Star.
Second, the minister did not meet any of the members from the Penan communities cited in the PSG report. She spent only one hour on her walkabout of Batu Bungan, an accessible village near the prime tourist spot of Mulu National Park. This is nowhere near any of the three remote villages the PSG mission members visited during their investigation.
The deputy minister’s denial joins a chorus of similarly outrageous statements made by various officials since the PSG report was released. These include Sarawak Land Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing, who threatened rape victims with arrest if they refused to cooperate.
The reasons for the lack of police reports in this matter are thoroughly documented in the PSG report. Not least of these reasons is the Penan’s deep mistrust of state authorities due to years of poor response to grievances related to land rights, poverty, and access to basic services.
Penan woman with her child
Penan mother with her adopted child (Pic courtesy of Sofiyah Israa)
We reiterate that it is precisely these denials that prompted the PSG fact-finding mission to document and investigate the wider context to the sexual abuse and exploitation of Penan women and children. To fixate on individual perpetrators and criminal investigations alone will not stop the sexual violence from recurring if the systematic exploitation of the Penan persists.
Development policies which have allowed the encroachment of indigenous peoples’ lands and destroyed their livelihoods and culture have led to dependency, impoverishment and the disempowerment of many Penan. This is the wider context of the sexual violence and exploitation being raised. In areas where the state has given logging concessions to logging companies, the power wielded by these companies over the indigenous peoples in these areas is immense.
For instance, many Penan children are dependent on logging companies for transport to school because the state has failed to provide schools closer to these communities or adequate transportation to the nearest schools. This makes the children even more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Until the state takes serious steps to reassess its development policies and ensure the people’s rights, welfare and protection, this type of violence will continue.
Considering these facts, we urge the prime minister, when he visits the Baram region next week, to visit communities working with both the state and independent groups such as the PSG to receive a holistic picture. We recognise that visits to the Sarawak interior takes weeks to prepare, and hence are concerned that time constraints will limit the opportunities for engagement with as many people as possible.
Penan Support Group

FOI: Bermula Dari Laci Yang Kosong

Dari Malaysiakini
Oleh Jimadie Shah Othman

Semuanya bermula apabila Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih Selangor pada Mac 2008 apabila mereka hanya ditinggalkan laci-laci yang kosong, tanpa sehelai kertas pun.

“Kami tidak tahu hendak mula daripada mana. Kami tidak tahu apa yang telah berlaku. Ia ambil masa 3 bulan untuk (kerajaan negeri) pulih.”

Demikian cerita exco perlancongan Selangor Elizabeth Wong – yang mencadangkan diperkenalkan Enakmen Kebebasan Maklumat (FOI) – tentang kepentingan maklumat kepada kerajaan dan orang ramai.

Sehubungan itu, tambahnya, ketika merampas Selangor daripada tangan BN bagi kali pertama dua tahun lalu, mereka telah bersungguh-sungguh berusaha bagi menunaikan janji yang dimuatkan dalam manifesto mereka.

Ini kerana, jelas Elizabeth, perkara itu telah dibincangkan sejak 2006 lagi dan dipersetujui sendiri oleh Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yang pada masa itu belum menjadi menteri besar.

“Beliau (Khalid) tanya ada salinan (cadangan enakmen) dan mahukannya satu. Beliau beritahu, kalau ada peluang laksanakan, ini perkara pertama kita perlu buat bila ambil alih Selangor nanti.

“Empat atau lima draf dibuat. Apa yang kita lihat ini sudah yang keenam. Kita ambil masa untuk susun ayat elok-elok sampailah penasihat undang-undang puas hati,” kata Elizabeth yang juga bekas aktivis NGO hak asasi manusia Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Anwar Ibrahim and the Bush Neocons

Image(Asia Sentinel) A Washington, DC NGO bares some awkward questions for Malaysia's opposition leader

A 42-page report by a Washington, DC-based whistle-blower organization is proving a major embarrassment for Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim by alleging that the Foundation for the Future, which Anwar headed for a time in the middle of the last decade, was actually established and funded by the US Department of State at the behest of Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of then-Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Bush administration's neoconservatives.

The Government Accountability Project report, titled The Foundation for the Future: What FOIA Documents Reveal, and released July 8, is based on hundreds of documents delivered to the organization under the US Freedom of Information Act. It says the Foundation for the Future was established and operated in a "highly irregular manner" by Bush administration officials and employees including Shaha Riza, the girlfriend of Paul Wolfowitz, who was forced to leave the World Bank after it became known that he had promoted Riza to triple the World Bank's salary guidelines. The full report can be found here.

Ostensibly, matching money to fund the Foundation for the Future was supposed to come from 11 countries led by Qatar at US$10 million, and Bahrain, with another US$2 million. Jordan was to put up another US$1 million, Turkey US$500,000 and the rest was to be scattered among several European Union countries including Denmark, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands and the European Union itself. But neither Qatar nor Bahrain ever came through. Of the US$22.26 million pledged, only about US$6.4 million ever materialized. The rest apparently was made up from US State Department funds.

Anwar has previously disavowed any US funding of the organization, established in 2005 as "an essential front on the global war on terror" and part of President George Bush's "freedom agenda" to promote democracy and reform in the Middle East and Africa. Anwar served as chairman and acting president of the organization's board in the period when he was out of politics following his incarceration on corruption and sexual perversion charges.

The Government Accountability Project report lends considerable ammunition to Anwar's opponents in the United Malays National Organization, who have long charged that Anwar was connected to the US Central Intelligence Agency, although neither the CIA nor the US government as a whole has ever exhibited any particular desire to bring down the Malaysian government, and in fact considers Malaysia, as a moderate Muslim democracy, to be one of its staunchest allies in the region.

In particular, UMNO Youth Chief Kairy Jamaluddin called attention to Anwar's statements disavowing US funding of the foundation and demanded that Anwar explain himself. He accused Anwar of misleading the US government in a memorandum of understanding saying the foundation had agreed to get other countries to commit funds to match those the US government was providing.

"For me, it is a serious matter that the opposition leader has tried to mislead the US government to get grants for a foundation that he was chairman of," Khairy told the Malaysian newspaper The Star.

An Anwar associate said the opposition leader would decline to comment, adding that there was little to be gained by saying anything about the matter. Nonetheless, he characterized Anwar's role as blameless.

"There is nothing wrong going on," he said. "This is part of the campaign to get Wolfowitz out of the World Bank and to do so they threw Anwar under the bus."

The report characterizes the Foundation for the Future as part of a vast and tragic misconception among the Bush administration neoconservatives, particularly Wolfowitz, that a slight push – the elimination of Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein from power – would result in a dramatic change in the Middle East. That of course has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 US soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and a realignment in the Middle East that nobody in the west wanted – the growing power of Iran in the region and particularly in Iran's influence over the Iraqi government itself.

But the Foundation from the start appears to have been a mess, according to the report. It apparently was the brainchild of Shaha Riza, who was seconded from the World Bank by Wolfowitz to run it. As has been widely reported, Riza's salary increases during external service far exceeded those allowed under World Bank regulations, Wolfowitz allegedly instructed the Department of Human Resources to pay her three times the allowable increase for her grade and circumstances, so that she ended up making more money that Condoleezza Rice, her nominal superior, by about US$7,000, according to the report.

The foundation's first president, an Iraqi named Bakhtiar Amin, who had served in the new interim government set up following the invasion, quit after a short time on the job because "he was not up to the task." It appeared that the entire foundation pretty much consisted of Shaha Riza. There was no chief financial officer or chief operations officer.

The Washington Post reported at the time that "Though Shaha Riza, who has been romantically linked to Wolfowitz, is not listed as part of the staff on the organization's Web site, she is the only person working in the group's offices. ‘It is basically just her running this thing,' said Tamara Cofman Wittes, research fellow at the Brookings Institution Saban Center for Middle East Policy, who closely tracks democracy programs in the region. She said the board members had no experience in grant-making and thus had ‘started from zero,' with no bylaws or grant-making guidelines."

When Anwar was ultimately selected as board chairman, according to the report, it appeared that it was more because Anwar was a friend of Wolfowitz's rather than for any other reason. "Anwar Ibrahim…was not from the region, and the tactics used to position him as the chair were not transparent," the report continued.

Ultimately, the report says, less than half of the $60 million in initial funding for the Foundation (as envisioned by Elizabeth Cheney) ever materialized, and the major proportion of funding came from the United States, in violation of the spirit of the legislation creating the institution. The "great multilateral effort…devolved into a unilateral US initiative supported only by Jordan and a smattering of European nations. And the organization that was promoted as a "model" and "beacon of inspiration for the democratic development of the societies in which it operates" represented little more than a nest of sinecures for those people closest to the Vice President: his daughter Liz, Wolfowitz's girlfriend Shaha Riza and Wolfowitz's favored friend from Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim."

The report ends up by questioning whether the US State Department's representation that Qatar would stump up US$10 million was deliberately perpetrated to circumvent requirements in US law regarding contributions to a Middle East Foundation, whether US law was violated by Shaha Riza's secondment to the State Department, whether future support for the Foundation is even appropriate, and whether the state Department abused freedom of information law by inappropriately classifying documents in an effort to hide them from whistle-blowers.

Subsidy Rationalisation A Bold Step For The Future - Najib

KUANTAN, July 16 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Friday the government's subsidy rationalisation programme announced Thursday is a bold move to put the country's economy on a strong footing.

He said the move was a forward-looking decision which would bring about impact to the country's economic growth and the people's well-being.

"As a responsible government, we should be brave in coming up with decisions which will put the country's economy on a strong footing in the future.

"If we are only thinking of short-term effects all the time, then we are not a responsible government, because such a government will bring the country to the path of uncertainties," he said when opening the National Cooperatives Day here Friday.

Najib said the subsidy rationalisation was based on the principles of minimising the burden to the people.

He said the people in the country were still paying a much lower price for petrol, diesel, liquefied natural gas (LPG) and sugar compared to those in the neighbouring countries.

"For instance, in Malaysia, sugar is sold at RM1.90 per kg, but in Thailand the commodity is sold at the equivalent of RM2.60 per kg, in Indonesia at RM3.68 per kg and in the Philippines at RM3.46 per kg," he said.

Najib also said that the subsidy had to be readjusted because it had not benefited the target group.

He said two-third of the fuel subsidy were enjoyed by the high-and-middle income group while only one-third were enjoyed by the needy.

"For the LPG, 70 per cent of users are those involved in business and only 30 per cent are household users," he said.

For the rationalisation of sugar subsidy, he said, it could help tackle diabetes which showed an alarming trend in the country, with 1.4 million sufferers.

At the event, Najib also launched the 2011-2020 National Cooperative Policy which will chart the development of the country's cooperative movement as the third engine of growth.

He said that to assist the cooperatives sector, the government had allocated an additional fund of RM100 million through the Malaysian Cooperatives Commission this year.

The commission had previously set aside RM387 million under its revolving fund, he said.

"I'm told that the commission had given out loans totalling RM668 million so far," he said.

Photos & Article on Teoh Beng Hock & other victims

Some pictures from this morning’s gathering, and my article at TMI on the same topic.

A few more pics here.
While the country is preoccupied with the subsidy cuts today, I thought however it would be a good day to remember.
To remember Teoh Beng Hock — who was cut down in the prime of his life; just like Kugan, Aminulrasyid and (literally) countless others.
To remember the hundreds and thousands of people, Malaysian and foreign, who continue to be detained without trial in inhumane conditions throughout the country.
To remember the families that suffer the loss of a loved one, temporary or permanent; to remember why these injustices continue to flourish like a cancer in the land we call ours.
Last week, I attended a reading of the play Anike, which was adopted by Wong Phui Nam from Sophocoles’ Antigone.
The play speaks of a young lady, who defies an unjust ruler’s decree that her brutally murdered brother’s body not be given a proper burial. For her trouble, she is buried alive by the king in a cave with scorpions and snakes.
The play opens with Anike and her sister Yasmin mourning the loss of their brother, who was cut down and mutilated in the marketplace and then left to hang from a tree.
The pain of this loss and the denial of a proper burial drive Anike to a pained insanity.
Teoh’s family speaking to the media today. – Picture by Choo Choy May
I was all the more moved by the reading as by way of even more painful irony, the very young actress who read Anike’s part that night had herself a brother who is currently detained without trial under the Dangerous Drugs Act.
This young man, an actor himself, was rearrested the minute he left the courtroom that dismissed the charges against and freed him.
These cases are altogether too common, enabled by laws which give police the power to arrest Malaysians entirely without evidence. This in turn gives rise to a system wherein the police often no longer see the need to collect evidence at all. Why bother when you can detain any number of individuals even without any evidence?
The Dangerous Drugs Act and the Emergency Ordinance are the “lesser known” ISAs, but hundreds upon hundreds of ordinary, everyday Malaysians fall victim to them, and rot away in detention centers like Simpang Renggam. Malaysians who are then denied the most basic hallmark of civilisation – the right to a fair trial.
I can only imagine the pain this young lady had to endure, as no end was in sight for her brother – there is no telling how long the detention period may last, and this alone may be the greatest psychological torture imaginable.
Someone who didn’t have to entirely imagine the pain this young actress was going through was the other young actress playing Yasmin (Anike’s sister), who happened to be my own sister. When I was detained, she and so many others to whom I remain eternally grateful, held vigil outside the police lock up where I was held.
Another sister who will be having a mournful weekend is of course Teoh Beng Hock’s, Teoh Lee Lan. Her nephew, Beng Hock’s son, will never know what it is like to have a full sibling at all.
On the same day Beng Hock died, another man was also found dead in detention. Around the time of my detention, a welder by the name of Tung Ket Ming was beaten severely by the police. These are not coincidences – they are an indication of the frequency at which these things happen, right under our noses.
These are only the few cases we know. It is devastating to think how many more nameless victims there are. Deaths in detention, torture in detention, indefinite detention without trial. Abuses in prisons, abuses in the lock up, abuses in undocumented migrant detention centers. All this are sadly commonplace in our very own backyard.
Echoing some photographs by Bernice Chauly that I wrote about with similar concerns, Anike says of her dead brother, hanging from that tree:
“His nakedness is our nakedness, his shame, our shame, as much as if we ourselves were made to hang mutilated and naked by his side.
What Sirat (the killer) has done is an outrage directed not only against us.
He might as well, at Tuanku’s word, have gone out to disturb the bones of our nenek moyang in their graves.”
The sentiment rings through, as all that is happening around us is an affront to all that we hold sacred – an insult to every moral fibre in our being.
Today, at various events, we remember the dead; and we remember the living whose lives are being cruelly taken away a day at a time.
Tomorrow, and every other day thereafter, let us pick up our torches, and demand justice for both the living and the dead.