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Friday, July 23, 2010

Tamil dailies in low-blow row

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

The war of words between two politically aligned Tamil dailies has taken an unpalatable twist, with lurid details, unsavoury language and name calling appearing on its pages.

The editors of Tamil Nesan, owned by MIC president S Samy Vellu's family, and Makkal Osai, linked to Samy Vellu's arch nemesis S Subramaniam, are on the warpath.

And their far from polite diatribe has led many readers to complain to FMT.

Leading the charge on the Tamil Nesan front is A Veerasamy, popularly known as Tamil Mani, while his opponent in Makkal Osai, is M Rajenthiram.

The row started with Tamil Mani accusing Subramaniam of not performing when he was a deputy minister and deputy president of MIC.

Makkal Osai retorted by delving into Tamil Mani's past, saying that he was once highly critical of Samy Vellu, but is now singing a different tune after pocketing a big sum.

Makkal Osai continued its tirade against Tamil Mani by highlighting his previous police case involving a checque fraud.

The attacks also zeroed in on Samy Vellu, his son Vell Paari and the latter's wife Shaila Nair.

A vexed Tamil Mani then started attacking the editors, general manager and reporters of Makkal Osai on a personal note, even to the point of dragging their sex lives into the fray.

Unflattering words such as “kabothi”, “sonagiri”, “sopulangi”, “theru poriki” and “kamaanthagan” have now become part of the two newspapers' vocabulary.

'Sexual tryst on the stairwell'

In yesterday's edition, Tamil Mani went to the extent of including a disclaimer at the end of his one-page article, where he said that Tamil Nesan would not be responsible if anyone hanged themselves in shame over the issues exposed.

In the same article, Tamil Mani had accused Rajenthiram of having a sexual tryst with a female reporter on the stairwell of the now defunct Tamil Osai newspaper office.

Also coming under attack was Subramaniam, whom Tamil Mani had accused of spending a night with a woman in a hotel room, paid for by the latter.

However, he alleged that Subramaniam later put in a claim for the hotel room bill from MIC's education arm, Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED).

Tamil Mani also threatened to expose sexually explicit photographs of a Makkal Osai sub-editor, who was named in the article.

Makkal Osai, on the other hand, is threatening legal action.

Meanwhile, an angry reader who called FMT this morning said both the dailies are an embarassment to the Indian community.

“My son is asking me the meaning of such words after reading the paper. A paper is supposed to provide constructive information not garbage like this just to serve their political interests,” he said.

The reader, who wished to remain anonymous, urged the newspapers to be more responsible and not to behave like children.

During the recent MIC annual general assembly, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had also taken a swipe at the Tamil dailies.

He said the dailies were being used to further the political mileage of certain leaders without realising that they were destroying their own community by dividing it.

“The newspapers should help in changing the mindset of the Indian community, uniting the community but this is not happening,” he had added in his opening speech.

Election petition: Decision on Kamalanathan's bid on Aug 5

KUALA LUMPUR: Come Aug 5, the Election Court here will decide on an application by Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan to strike out an election petition by Zaid Ibrahim who lost in the parliamentary election.

High Court Judge Azahar Mohamed, who sat as election judge, set the date after counsel for both parties wrapped up their four-day submissions today.

Zaid, who is now Federal Territory PKR chief, filed the petition on May 24, naming Kamalanathan, returning officer Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan and the Election Commission as respondents.

Zaid, who lost with a 1,725-vote majority in the election on April 25, wants the court to declare the results of the election as null and void, on the grounds of corrupt practice in the form of bribery and promises to the voters.

At the outset, Kamalanathan's counsel Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, in his reply to submissions by Zaid's counsel yesterday, said the PKR chief in his petition, had failed to plead the elements of promise and bargain which led the voters to change their mind in not voting for Zaid.

He also submitted more on the technicality and administrative point on how the petition was served and filed, which he said, was defective as it did not follow the mandatory requirement under the Election Offences Act 1958.

In replying to Firoz's submissions, Zaid's counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said the court should not focus on the several election petition cases which were struck off upon hearing the applications to strike them out.

Instead, he said, the court should set a policy in rejecting such applications and proceed to hear the evidence, by way of a full trial.

During the hearing, Firoz, in persuading the court to allow Kamalanathan's application, said that almost 90% of the election petitions had been struck off by the Election Court and the ruling was affirmed by the Federal Court, without the trial being heard.

- Bernama

Stop closing non-Muslim religious clubs in school

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Several religious bodies have come together to protest against the “directives” purportedly issued by the Education Ministry to dissolve non-Muslim religious socities in schools.

At a press conference organised by MCA at the party headquarters here, the groups alleged that school authorities have ordered the closure of many such societies.

And according to a former teacher, this has been going on for years.

Yap Kun Han, who described it as a “serious problem”, said: "In my 31 years of teaching experience, there have been quite a number of such cases."

"In 1998, I was told to close the Christian Fellowship in my school (Bukit Bintang Boys School in Petaling Jaya), but I did not," she said, adding that the directive was reversed several weeks later.

Yap also claimed that apart from the efforts to close down non-Muslim religious societies, there were also cases of teachers affiliated with these societies being transferred.

“This definitely happened during the 70s and the 80s,” she said, adding that many teachers during this period were transferred out of their schools “without any apparent reason”.

MCA central committee member Loh Seng Kok said these were not isolated cases and therefore urged the government not to approach them as such.

“We want the government to resolve this issue, and settle it once and for all,” he added.

Spiritual knowledge

Loh also confirmed that while the MCA presidential council had discussed the issue earlier this year, there was no response from the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) executive secretary Tan Kong Beng said the issue was brought to MCA's attention last year.

"After several rounds of inquiries, no action has been taken. The ministry's website says one thing, but then they (the school authorities) do another.

"When schools do not allow students to form these societies, the schools are curtailing the students' development. Through these (societies), students will gain more than just spiritual knowledge, but also learn management skills as well.”

Tan also said that some parents and teachers were afraid of coming out in the open over this issue because they feared reprisals.

“They (school authorities) have deliberately made life difficult for teachers. Some (of these societies) are so small. We are no threat to anyone, so why is there this fear? What is their agenda?”

“Some heads of schools do not deserve to be in charge.”

Loh said the Guidebook for the Management of School Co-Curriculum (issued by the Ministry of Education) encouraged student co-curriculum as it helped to develop not only their physical and intellectual, but also their spiritual abilities.

Also present at the press conference were representatives from various religious organizations including the National Evagelical Christian Fellowship and the Subang Jaya Buddhist Association.

1976 air crash: Ex-Sabah CMs in RM50m suit

By FMT Team

KOTA KINABALU: Two former Sabah chief ministers will square off in an RM50 million defamation suit over an air crash in which another chief minister Fuad Stephens was killed.

Harris Salleh, the chief minister from 1976 to 1985, has filed a suit against Yong Teck Lee the chief minister from 1996 to 1998, for allegedly insinuating that he was involved in the air crash tragedy.

Harris is claiming damages of not less than RM50 million from Yong, who is also the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) leader. Yong is named as first defendant and his party, second defendant.

He is also seeking an injunction to restrain Yong from printing and publishing further libellous statements in any form.

The writ of summons was filed through his lawyers Messrs Maringking & Co at the High Court here on Monday.

Harris said that the press statements by Yong calling for the reopening of the file on the tragedy that saw Stephens and several members of his cabinet killed on June 6, 1976, also rekindled speculation as to how the plane had crashed in Sembulan on its approach to the airport.

Harris contends that Yong's statement suggested that he (Harris) conspired with others to grab power through the assassination of Stephens.

Yong made the call (for reopening the file) after Umno veteran and former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah recounted how he left the ill-fated aircraft at the very last moment prior to take-off that saved his life.

Harris claims that Yong has sensationalised the Nomad aircraft crash as a political tool to maintain his and his party's political momentum in the run-up to the next state and general elections.

Yong’s comments were widely reported in the press and also published in the party's official website.

PAS, Umno reject new Malay party proposal

Ibrahim was told to form a new party if he wanted to. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — PAS and Umno have rejected the proposal by Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for the formation of a new party to pave the way for Malay unity.
Both parties described the proposal by the independent Pasir Mas MP as his “personal opinion.”
Mahfuz said there was no need to dissolve PAS or Umno. — file pic
However, leaders from the two largest Malay parties said that it was up to Ibrahim if he wanted to form a new party. “If he wants to turn Perkasa into a political party then it’s good. There is no need to dissolve PAS or Umno. Let there be three Malay parties — PAS, Umno and Perkasa — the people can decide which party they prefer,” said PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar.
Another PAS vice-president, Salahuddin Ayub, refused to comment on the matter.
“Let him say whatever he wants. I do not want to entertain him,” he said.
Meanwhile, Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan said Umno would not be dissolved.
“Umno has contributed a lot since independence. We will continue to work towards uniting the Malays and Muslims and it will certainly benefit everyone in this country,” Ahmad told The Malaysian Insider.
“We will focus on unity, but Umno and PAS will not be dissolved. What Ibrahim said was his personal opinion,” he added
Ahmad said Ibrahim’s call was his own opinion. — file pic
Ahmad also said it was up to Ibrahim to form a new party if he so desired, but he pointed out that new parties are very unlikely to survive. He added that Umno had never faced any major problems except for one or two divisions.
“There has been no problem in 189 divisions, only one or two are problematic. Umno is strong and will continue to be so,” he said.
Yesterday Ibrahim suggested for both parties to be dissolved in favour of a new Malay party to unite the community.
He said that with the formation of the new party, the question of whether PAS should join Barisan Nasional (BN) does not arise.
The issue of bringing PAS and Umno together was raised by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, who last weekend claimed that he had met with leaders from both parties to discuss the matter.
The government-appointed Islamic cleric also claimed that Datuk Seri Najib Razak has agreed to work with PAS in the interest Malay-Muslim unity and wanted the matter to proceed unconditionally.
His statement was, however, dismissed by PAS leaders who said that the Islamic party has never asked Harussani to act as mediator.

Khir and Noh in sandbox fight for Najib's love

By FMT Staff
SHAH ALAM: Like children competing for parental approval, the sand issue in Selangor has become a race to prove who has the greater influence between former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Noh Omar, the deputy chairman of the Selangor Umno liaison committee. The aim, according to PKR's Seri Muda assemblyman Suhaimi Shafiei, is to prove to Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is the better man to lead Umno's assault in the next general election.

"It’s an ongoing feud, a war of influence. The separate press conferences by the two on the sand issue proves that there is an ongoing war,” he said, adding that both parties have been trying hard to hide their differences ever since he exposed their enmity on Feb 20.

According to Suhaimi, proof of their clash was evident when Noh hired a helicopter to search for evidence on the sand issue in his efforts to blacklist Pakatan Rakyat and at the same time smear mud on Khir’s face.

He said Khir, on the other hand, is using other approaches to defuse Noh’s increasing influence in the state.

“Both are using the sand issue as a springboard to garner political influence and Najib’s attention. They each are racing to be champions on an issue which they themselves stirred-up,” he added.

'It was worse during Khir's time'

Shuhaimi said illegal sand mining was worse during Khir’s tenure, especially in Batang Berjuntai and Kuala Langat.

“Why is Noh focussing on these areas? My believe is that he wants to embarrass Khir because the latter had shown illegal mining in the Dengkil area, which is under (state assemblyman) Marsum Paing, a strong supporter of Noh.

“Batang Berjuntai is under (state assemblyman) Amiruddin Setro who is Khir’s right-hand man now,” he added.

Suhaimi also revealed that there was a third “play safe” force in Selangor, which is Kuang assemblyman Abdul Shukor Idrus and his supporters, who would only bet on the “winning horse.”

“They would follow whoever that feeds them. For the moment they are close to Noh Omar because he is a minister. Khir is only an assemblyman and his grip has weakened,” he said.

Yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim made a scathing remark about the Selangor police's silent indifference to sand thieving, despite the fact that a report complete with evidence had been forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and copied to the Selangor police chief.

Rosmah's Robert de Niro plan draws flak

By Luke Rintod - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: The proposal to get Hollywood icon Robert de Niro to fly in and see the so-called progress of Malaysia is nothing but a theatrical stunt, said a Sabah opposition leader.
PKR’s Daniel John Jambun said he was curious why the actor and film director had been chosen to speak for Malaysia to the world.

He was referring to the idea expounded by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Rosmah told the local media that she had met de Niro while in New York and had invited him to come to Malaysia.

According to her, people outside Malaysia have an information misconception about Malaysia, especially in New York, and this needed to be addressed.

Rosmah said de Niro, who had attended a function where Najib and she were present, “saw the other side of Malaysia.”

She quoted the movie star as saying, “You are very progressive, you are very engaging. I would like to come to your country.”

Rosmah said that she also told the people in New York that Malaysia was not destroying its forests.

According to her, New Yorkers also think that Malaysia was a breeding-ground for drugs, human trafficking and terrorists.

How much are we paying him?

However, John Jambun asked why were those behind the idea so confident that de Niro would only want to see the good side of Malaysia.

“Are they thinking of limiting de Niro to big cities like Kuala Lumpur and show him all the glitter of a metropolis?

“If they bring him to rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, I would be glad to show him the progress that we have here,” he said sarcastically.

The PKR leader said Rosmah should not be too confident that de Niro would be impressed by what he sees, hears and reads about Malaysia.

“I have my doubts that de Niro would be impressed and would tell the world that Malaysia is such a fantastic country imbued with all the goodness from good governance that respects human rights and practices freedom of speech and association and distributes its wealth fairly to its people.

“Unless of course, you pay him good money to be a public relations spokesman… that is another issue altogether. How much would we pay for this kind of stunt?” he asked.

Citing the international public relations firm Apco Worldwide, John Jambun said: "The people know that the ruling government is spending hundreds of millions on PR.”

Chua gets down to 'tilling' the land

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: Even as newly-minted Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Chua Tee Yong assumed his post on June 1, a slew of issues followed.
And though the 33-year-old son of MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek admitted that a lot of hard work is needed -- sometimes even at the expense of family time -- to tackle the problems under his ministry, he is unfazed.

In the first of a two-part interview with FMT, the first-term Labis MP answers at length on some recent issues in Cameron Highlands, the farmland that generates exports totalling RM505 million in vegetables, flowers and fruits for the country.

He also touched on pig farming and the livestock industry at large, maintaining a positive outlook despite the industry's "constant battle" with development.

On the Bertam Valley issue in Cameron Highlands, some 400 farmers had on June 29 used their vehicles to block a main road in a three-hour standoff with enforcement officers who were supposed to tear down their farms to make way for a road project.

Chua himself is now playing a supportive role in the MCA task force, which was formed after the standoff, to sort out the problem and come up with a more holistic approach to increasing vegetable cultivation and to resolving the land problems in Cameron Highlands.

Chua told FMT that illegal farms have been a problem for many years and he did not expect an overnight solution. However, he said solutions could be to relocate or legalise the farms, but he added that both require the state's cooperation and assistance.

Also in Cameron Highlands, farmers recently appealed to the government to lift the 2007 ban on Bangladeshi workers and to extend foreign worker permits from the current five years to 10.

They said severe labour shortage, especially of Bangladeshi workers, had forced two of the four tea plantations to cease operations and has vegetable farmers fighting to stay afloat. Due to the shortage of foreign labourers, they claim prices of farm products have also almost doubled since April.

Chua told FMT that the government was already looking at extending the permits, but stressed that public interest and safety have to be considered because of complaints of crimes allegedly committed by Bangladeshis.

He sees his ministry as a government entity that is supposed to "provide services and funds to ensure that we have a certain level of production of food and livestock fisheries to sustain the demand and consumption of the country".

But Chua, a former chief financial officer in a subsidiary of a government-linked company, said: "Of course, this is ultimately what we hope for but to attain self-sufficiency is not easy.”

Excerpts of Chua's interview:

FMT: Let's talk about Cameron Highlands, can you comment on the Bertam Valley situation, has a solution been worked out?
Chua Tee Yong:
The presidential council has formed a task force led by Liow Tiong Lai (deputy MCA president and Health Minister) on this. Basically, Bertam Valley is about land matters and so this clearly requires the assistance of Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.

As for me, I would be playing a supporting role to the task force.

There is some reprieve in that there would not be any enforcement till harvesting is over. Right now, the vegetables are being harvested.

There are also other issues with regard to Cameron Highlands, especially the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama), the marketing arm of the ministry. On July 28, I will meet the farmers' association to discuss about the main issues. We have heard about the suggestions for the 3P programme (grading, packaging and labelling of agricultural products) and we will also look at how Fama is promoting our products overseas. Also, how to improve the pasar tani (farmers' market). These are issues that have not been really looked at right now.

What about the illegal farms?
There are many illegal farms (in Cameron Highlands), and we are trying (to seek solutions). There are only a selected few who have land title... some have freehold title. Of course, we cannot do this in a forceful way. We would also need to balance the requirements to ensure the price of vegetables stays consistent. As you know, the prices have been going up and down as they are not controlled items.

What is regrettable is that they (illegal farmers) have already ploughed the land. Before they cleared and planted, enforcement (officers) should have stepped in to prevent it. If that had happened, I believe there would have been less conflict.

The task force is trying to look at the matter in its totality. It is an issue that has been there for quite a long time; it was recently highlighted in the media... All this will require the cooperation of the state land office and Forestry Department to check on illegal land clearing, which is detrimental to the environment and the tourism industry.

Will an alternative piece of land be offered to them at this stage?

It would be very good if that is done, but we have to consider that the plants are growing well because of the temperature. For the sake of argument, if you give these farmers a plot of land in Kelantan, Terengganu or Perak where the temperature is different, then the production may be affected. Export of flowers from Cameron Highlands every year is worth RM300 million, and a lot of these go to Japan.

Then would you support legalising these farms?
Yes, we are trying to do that. Legalising some of them would also help; they are already there and the farmers are willing to invest... but because of uncertainty, they hesitate.

But in order to legalise them, we need the state to work with us; we can't just issue our own licences... You can see a similar example in Puchong and Sungai Besi; at one time the two places were flooded with vegetable farms, but because of development, they are no longer there.

However, I don't expect an overnight solution to this issue, which has been here for over 20 year.,

How about the shortage of foreign labour in Cameron Highlands highlighted in the media recently?

The problem with foreign workers is not just confined to Cameron Highlands.

To date, the whole agriculture industry employs about 163,000 foreign workers... (excluding workers in the oil palm and rubber estates). This constitutes 9% of the total number of foreign workers in the country... Ever since I've been appointed, I've conducted a few dialogue sessions with the farmers' association... we are aware of this issue (shortage of foreign workers); in fact, our officers have prepared a report on this, and we have brought it up to the minister. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs the Cabinet Committee Meeting on Foreign and Illegal Workers, will also look into the possibility of extending the stay of foreign workers. It is important to get a five-year extension because workers can develop their skills and acquire more experience, say, in the livestock industry. I am given to understand that foreign workers in the oil palm and rubber industry have had their stay extended.

What about Bangladeshi workers specifically?
Yes, if we are talking about cultivating tea, flowers and vegetables in Cameron Highlands, these workers are specifically requested.

They (Bangladeshis) seem to acclimatise well to the local weather but we also understand that they do pose social problems. That's why extending their stay must be balanced with other considerations in the interest of the public... because, ultimately, we cannot look at one party's requirements at the expense of the others.

Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority (Fama) deputy director-general (development) Sahbani Saimin said Cameron Highlands needs to move away from conventional farming methods and start adopting a "long-term solution" of high-tech farming practices to address the labour shortage in Cameron Highlands. Can this be done?

When we talk about farming and high-tech methods, there are some areas that still require manual labour, such as plucking the flowers. Moreover, high-tech farming requires investment... To move towards modern farming is not wrong; it's just that the push and pull factors are not there.

You've been doing a lot of work on pig farming; what are the problems we are facing and what are the possible solutions?

The situation for pig farming at this moment is that we are 95% to 96% self-sufficient. I don't like to confine myself to pig farming because as a whole, the livestock industry do face problems.

The problem is peculiar in that consumers want a supply of livestock for their food but at the same time they do not want the livestock industry to be sited anywhere near their housing area. As development progresses, certain livestock industries which had been around for 40 years or so are forced to move out. And it's not easy to find a place to relocate them.

With livestock also comes the problem of pollution... It creates a bad image for the industry although there are some players who are really good at their work.

We are trying to promote the production of beef, as we are only 30% to 30% self-sufficient and a lot of it is imported. As for chicken, we are 125% self-sufficient; we are exporting them, in fact.

The livestock industry needs to be managed properly to prevent pollution and for that, we also need self-regulation. We need to reduce public criticism of this industry.

What about the centralised pig farming area in Negri Sembilan? You previously said you will look into that, so what has happened?

From what I understand from the livestock association members, they had a meeting and are planning to move there next year.

The abattoir is ready for the pig farmers, but whether they are keen to go there is not something I can push. I can provide the water but I can't pull the cow to drink it.

Centralised pig farming in Negri Sembilan has been there since 1999. It was approved by the state government.

How about at the federal level?

Since I've been appointed, I have been looking at the matter at a federal level to see if there are any more issues. The main issue here is to ensure that farmers conform to guidelines.

Eventhough the Chinese or non-Bumiputera population is increasing, the pig population has been quite stagnant. The pig population is now about 1.4 million compared with 2.1 million before the Nipah virus attack.

PKR the soft underbelly in Pakatan

By Zainal Epi - Free Malaysia today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR could turn out to be the soft underbelly of Pakatan Rakyat and easily susceptible to Barisan Nasional attacks.
The BN is well aware of the weaknesses of the PKR in the Pakatan Rakyat alliance and feels confident that the Pakatan-led government can be ousted in the looming general election battle.

Pakatan's hold on Selangor is shaky and the party may beat a hasty retreat when the BN starts advancing on its post.

Given the troubles in PKR, the state may just fall to the invading forces.

PKR is beset by internal bickerings that originate from the rivalry between Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PKR supreme council member Azmi Ali.

Political observers opine that the feuding will not stop unless and until Khalid steps down to make way for Azmi.

PKR is seen as the weakest link in the unregistered alliance with DAP and PAS and the party has, since winning the state in the March 2008 general election, never enjoyed “peace”.

Apart from BN’s bid to destabilise and retake the state, the alliance is not working well as its “so-called marriage of convenience” is not built on solid foundation.

Factionalism in PKR

Trouble first started when a sex scandal involving one of PKR state assembly representatives Elizabeth Wong (Bukit Lanchang) hit the headlines, then came the controversial temple issue in Shah Alam, followed shortly by the defection of its Port Klang assemblyman Badrul Hisham, who became an Independent. And now the internal politicking between the two factions.

Khalid is trying hard to control the situation but this seems impossible, especially with the onslaught from Azmin, who is known to be the favourite of party adviser Anwar Ibrahim.

Azmin was supposed to be the menteri besar immediately after the state fell to Pakatan in the 2008 general election. But a last-minute change of mind by the leaders “catapulted” Khalid to the seat.

Factionalism has reared its ugly head in PKR and it has all to do with power and economic returns.

At present, Khalid has no powerbase to speak of, given that he is never a politician.

He was a corporate man who went into politics with the aim of righting the wrongs perpetrated by the previous administration. But suddenly he found himself in the middle of a “power struggle”, which is something he never wanted.

The internal politicking in Selangor PKR is fuelled by two factions – one group wants to promote good governance (separating politics from government business) and the other is keen on political involvement in state policies that would see its supporters benefiting economically.

Mounting pressure

Khalid is facing mounting pressure from Azmin’s supporters to step down as his policies do not seem to benefit party members. In Azmin's political calculation, it is important to give party supporters some economic benefits just so to keep their loyalty intact.

In any political party, the economic factor figures prominently as money is needed for elections – party as well as general elections. The money is needed not to buy votes but to fund campaign activities. Without money, the moral of the campaigners will be low.

Unlike PAS whose members do things to get Allah’s blessings, PKR members are interested in enhancing their economic standing. Just like Umno.

Thus, Khalid is caught between good governance and political patronage. At the same time, he may be wondering whether Azmin’s appointment as Selangor party chief is Anwar's subtle way of saying “his (Khalid's) days as menteri besar are numbered.”

Without a real powerbase or grassroots support, Khalid sees himself fighting the internal battle alone except for some support from non-Malay members and leaders in the state.

Non-Malay PKR leaders and members seem to back Khalid probably because they see an economic fallout if the party is split.

Selangor PKR is indeed in “deep trouble”, given the intense internal politicking. At this stage, Anwar’s involvement may not do any good in view of his sodomy trial.

PKR - born from the “reformasi” movement that wanted to see Anwar given justice after his expulsion from the government as deputy prime minister in 1997 -- is made up of Umno members and young graduates who were disappointed at the government in one way or another.

The scenario is bad for PKR, which is considered the weakest ally among the three parties. It may turn out to be an easy target for BN to move in and take control of Selangor the next time around.

Did The Star lie, Rocky? 2,571 detainees died in the past nine years?

Here’s a little appetiser, Rocky.
Check this Star report dated 24th March, 2009.
WCW, go ahead and delete it. We’ve all taken screenshots.

"I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY HATE US"

1. Americans seem incapable or more likely unable to accept the real reason why they are hated by Muslims.

2. After 9/11 Bush was reported to have said, "I don't know why they (the Muslims) hate us".

3. Later on answering his own question, Bush declared that "they hate our democracy. They hate our freedom".

4. Since then more and more reasons have been suggested as to why Muslim individuals are prepared to tie explosives to their bodies and blow themselves up in order to kill Americans.

5. Books have also been written about Islam and Muslims to explain their hatred of the Americans and the West. Much of the blame is placed on the teachings of Islam, in particular that which is concerned with jihad or holy war and martyrdom.

6. There have also been attempts to exonerate Islam and to attribute the violence against the West to the wrong interpretations of Islam by people with vested interest.

7. But the Americans almost invariably refuse to acknowledge that it was their seizure or their backing of the seizure of Palestinian land and their subsequent support of Israeli violence and oppression of the Palestinians which has caused the Muslims to hate the Americans. Each time the Palestinian tried to regain their land, the Americans would ensure that they fail by giving massive support for Israel. It is well-known that they provide financial support to sustain the state of Israel. Every time the Israelis set up settlements and build walls to break up Palestinian families, the US would back it. Israeli intransigence, Israel's disregard and breaches of international laws, disregard for normal human behaviour America would staunchly back Israel. To the Americans, Israel can do no wrong.

8. All these happened before the attack against the New York World Trade Centre. After that came the "shock and awe" invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq with the loss of life of hundreds of thousands of these people and the total destruction of their cities and countries.

9. Since the invasions the Americans have remained in occupation of these two countries, where American soldiers continue to kill civilians with impunity. Many innocent people have been detained and tortured. Muslim countries which are friendly towards the United States are not spared.

10. The so-called "war on terror" is clearly a war against Muslims. It is enough for a person to have a Muslim or a Muslim sounding name for him to be ill-treated and sometimes detained without trial for years.

11. Only Muslim countries have been attacked or are threatened to be attacked. Non-Muslim countries building nuclear weapons may be threatened but no real action would be taken.

12. So why do they, the Muslims, hate Americans? Is it because they hate democracy and freedom? Only the most stupid can suggest this. They hate Americans and Europeans generally because they aided and abetted in the seizure of Palestine, in the unquestioning support for Israel's oppression and brutalities, in Israel's settlements on Palestinian land, and all the other crimes committed by Israel.

13. They hate the Americans because without American support for Israel they, the Palestinians, could have regained their land. As it is they are not even allowed to call their land Palestine. They are just the Palestinian Authority.

14. When they are unable to withstand the oppression and the killing of their people and they hit back their action is not reported as retaliation against Israel's action. Instead when the Israelis hit with overwhelming force, killing hundreds and thousands as happened in Gaza, they were described as Israeli retaliation against the primitive Hamas rockets which did very little damage.

15. Americans should not kid themselves that they are hated for their democracy and freedom. They are not. They are not hated even for religious differences. They are hated because they join the Israelis in all their brutalities, in their illegal occupation of Palestinian land, in the protection they afford Israel intransigence against the rest of the world. And now of course in their terror attacks against the innocent peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq and other Muslim countries.

16. It is important that the Americans know and admit the true reasons for the hatred against them. It is important because until they do they will not be able to come up with any solution to the present costly war. This war can go on forever because future generations of Palestinians, of Muslims, will never forget the injustice inflicted on them by Americans.

MP Watch: Who replied, who didn’t, and why

THE number of Members of Parliament (MPs) who fully participated in the MP Watch: Eye on Parliament project is just slightly more than those who did not, at 113 to 109. There are a total of 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs were the most participative, with 61 or 80.2% out of 76 MPs submitting full replies. The Barisan Nasional (BN) had 46, or 33.6% of its 137 MPs responding to the project.
Among the key BN parties, the lead party, Umno, had the lowest participation rate. Only 24 out of 78 MPs replied in full, a participation rate of only 30%. Of the MCA’s 14 MPs, nine or 60% of the total replied. For the MIC, all four of its MPs participated, and for Gerakan, one out of its two MPs responded.
In the PR alliance, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had the highest response rate, with 21 or 87.5% of its 24 MPs submitting full replies. A PKR MP said that soon after the MP Watch project was launched, PKR’s parliamentary research unit brought it to all party MPs’ attention. PKR MPs had prior knowledge about the project by the time they were individually contacted by The Nut Graph.
For PAS, 18 of its 23 MPs or 78% replied, and in the DAP, 22 of its 29 or 76% of its MPs did the same. Among the opposition party heads, only DAP chairperson Karpal Singh and PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim participated.
East Malaysian MPs
By region, West Malaysian MPs provided the majority of replies. Only 16 out of 56 East Malaysian MPs participated, comprising 14% of the 113 MPs who replied.
Of the 16, 12 were from Sabah, which has 25 MPs, and four were from Sarawak, which has 31 MPs.
The 12 from Sabah were Maximus Ongkili (BN-Kota Marudu), Abdul Rahman Dahlan (BN-Kota Belud), Hiew King Cheu (DAP-Kota Kinabalu), Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis), Siringan Gubat (BN-Ranau), Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom), Joseph Kurup (BN-Pensiangan), Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran) who is also Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, Liew Vui Keong (BN-Sandakan), Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan), Shafie Apdal (BN-Semporna), and Chua Soon Bui (SAPP-Tawau).
The four from Sarawak were Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (BN-Santubong) who is also Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, Fadillah Yusof (BN-Petra Jaya), Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong) and Joseph Salang Gandum (BN-Julau).
Cabinet members
By government position, only 18 of the 56 cabinet members who are elected MPs responded. The whole cabinet comprises 72 members, of which 30 are ministers and 42 are deputies.
Among ministers, of the 24 who are elected MPs, only a quarter replied. They were Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Maximus Ongkili, Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam, Foreign Affairs Minister Anifah Aman, and Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung.
Ong Tee Keat, the former transport minister, also gave a full reply while he was in cabinet, but he was subsequently removed on 1 June 2010 in a minor cabinet reshuffle.
Of 32 deputy ministers who are elected MPs, 12 replied. They were Chua Tee Yong (agriculture and agro-based industry), Joseph Kurup (natural resources and environment), Joseph Salang Gandum (information, communications and culture), Wee Ka Siong (education), Fadillah Yusof (science, technology and innovation), M Saravanan (federal territories and urban well-being), Saifuddin Abdullah (higher education), Hasan Malek (rural and regional development), Razali Ibrahim (youth and sports), and Liew Vui Keong, Ahmad Maslan and SK Devamany (prime minister’s department).
Attitudes towards MP Watch
There are some internal assumptions by The Nut Graph as to what factors may have influenced the response rate.
One reason could be the varying degree of awareness about The Nut Graph‘s presence and popularity as a news analyses and commentary website as compared with other breaking news sites.
Another reason is, perhaps, the inaccessibility of a large number of BN MPs from East Malaysia and from rural parts of the peninsula who are possibly less frequent internet users. This appears to have some correlation to the low response rate from BN MPs in East Malaysia, as the project questionnaire was sent to each MP via e-mail, either to his or her e-mail account or to an aide’s. Questions were also sent by fax in cases where MPs requested it or had trouble accessing the internet.
A third reason could be that MPs might have preferred to respond through a personal interview with someone they could put a face and a name to, rather than to compose their answers via fax, e-mail or over the phone. We discovered this in some cases in the course of collecting responses.
A fourth reason may be the different opinions MPs have about the value of such a project. MPs were not uniform in their appreciation of MP Watch. Among those who did not reply, one MP said his stand on such issues had already been frequently expressed through other channels like personal blogs, speeches or writings. At least two MPs who were BN component party members said their answers to certain questions might put them at odds with the BN whip.
Another said the topics asked were not priority issues for people as compared to development and economic issues. Another view was that rural constituents without internet access would not be able to read the MPs’ responses anyway.
Many also said they were busy and declined upfront to participate, or said they would attempt to reply but did not in the end.
Late replies
Each MP was given a two-week response deadline, and for those who missed it, a “No Reply” was published against their profile on The Nut Graph. However, the project allowed them to submit late replies, which were used to update their profiles. This was deemed the most feasible and transparent way to inform readers that an MP had been contacted but had not been able to respond within the allotted time. Setting a deadline was also a way to gauge the efficiency and accessibility of an MP’s office in handling queries on legislative issues.
Some MPs, including from the PR, were not pleased with this approach and were no longer keen to participate once they had been published as a “No Reply”.
Of the 113 MPs who originally did not reply, only 19 came back with full responses after their deadlines. They were Ab Aziz Ab Kadir (PKR-Ketereh), Abd Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak), Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PKR-Kuala Langat), Abu Bakar Taib (BN-Langkawi), Amran Abdul Ghani (PKR-Tanah Merah), SK Devamany (BN-Cameron Highlands), Fadillah Yusof (BN-Petra Jaya), N Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai), Hasan Malek (Kuala Pilah), John Fernandez (DAP-Seremban), Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), M Saravanan (BN-Tapah), Maximus Ongkili (BN-Kota Marudu), S Subramaniam (BN-Segamat), Siringan Gubat (BN-Ranau), R Sivarasa (PKR-Subang), Tan Ah Eng (BN-Gelang Patah), Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara), and Wan Abd Rahim Wan Abdullah (PAS-Kota Baru).
A few replied after being approached and reminded in person by The Nut Graph reporters in Parliament.
Sivarasa
Sivarasa
Others who replied late said they still felt it was important to do so because of the relevance of the questions, even if they had been too busy to meet their original deadline. Pakatan Rakyat MP Sivarasa said: “The questions were important and [the project] provided a forum for communicating to a particular audience.”
An aide to BN MP and Human Resources Minister Subramaniam said he preferred to reply in person, which he did through a personal interview, as he did not have the time to write his answers in an e-mail.
Another BN MP, Siringan Gubat, said he had intended to answer but cited time constraints in meeting the original deadline.
Net-savvy MPs
In terms of ease with online communication, it was found that MPs who used social media actively were also those who replied to MP Watch. Of the 113 MPs who replied, 31 were found on Twitter. But there were also MPs who were active Twitter users who did not participate.
MPs from Sabah and Sarawak were by far the least social media-savvy and were also the toughest to communicate with using the internet. Sabah MP Siringan Gubat said he did not use either Twitter or Facebook, but kept a blog. “However, I understand the importance of social media to let people know what is happening in my constituency … and to let them know what I am doing,” he said in a post-project phone interview.
Siringan Gubat
Siringan (Source: parlimen.gov.my)
MPs in rural constituencies were less likely to use social media tools given that, as Siringan also said, “many people [in my constituency] are [relatively] deprived when it comes to information technology. Though many now have handphones, radios and television, most still cannot afford Astro or computers … Many do not even have [reliable] electricity supply.”
In comparison, an urban MP like Subang’s Sivarasa said he used Twitter, Facebook, his blog and interviews or statements issued to online news portals as a means to communicate with the public.
Some MPs who kept blogs also posted their responses to MP Watch or wrote about it on their personal websites. The project, however, did not appear to get a wide reach on social media or blogs except for a few here.
In the traditional media, the only organisation to give media coverage to MP Watch was Astro Awani through a news report broadcast on 18 Feb 2010. The Nut Graph had not requested for publicity with the channel or any other media organisation.
Mandarin news portal Merdeka Review was also the only other news organisation that picked up on the project by analysing the BN and PR MPs’ responses to the Islamic/secular issue.
Points to ponder
The MPs’ response rate, some of their reasons for not replying, and the project’s reach through traditional and social media suggest a few things. For one, not enough MPs make the connection between the issues raised in the survey questions and their role as federal lawmakers.
Secondly, MPs appear more concerned with what their immediate constituency thinks about them than with how other citizens, like those in urban areas with internet access, view them as national leaders. The notion that MPs also make laws and represent the interests of a broader spectrum of Malaysians is not widespread.
Third, in this day and age of online technology, many MPs are still uncomfortable with using the medium as a communications channel.
And fourthly, the limited media reach on MP Watch suggests that not enough citizens caught on to the project to press their MPs for their positions on the issues of democracy that were raised.

PM ‘Tabur’ RM50k Untuk Dapat Liputan Akhbar Amerika

Dari Malaysiakini
Oleh Steven Gan

Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak membayar sebuah firma perunding politik yang berpangkalan di Washington RM50,000 (US$15,000) untuk membantunya memastikan rencana pendapat pengarang yang ditulisnya, diterbitkan di akhbar-akhbar utama di Amerika Syarikat.

Dan sekiranya hasil tulisannya itu disiarkan, maka perdana menteri akan mengeluarkan bayaran tambahan RM50,000 sebagai habuan untuk ‘yuran kejayaan’ kepada perunding berkenaan.

Perkara ini didedahkan menerusi dokumen yang difailkan di bawah Akta Pendaftaran Agen Asing oleh firma Quinn Gillespie & Associates (QGA), sebuah badan perunding perhubungan awam dan pelobi yang terkemuka di Washington DC.

Menurut dokumen yang diperolehi oleh Malaysiakini, QGA diberi tugas oleh sebuah lagi firma perunding, Kumpulan The Laurus, bagi cuba menyakinkan akhbar utama di Amerika bagi menyiarkan artikel Najib.

Kumpulan The Laurus, sebuah firma perhubungan awam yang diragui dengan laman webnya yang masih dalam pembinaan – juga diberikan tanggungjawab mengendalikan perkhidmatan perhubungan awam ketika lawatan seminggu Najib ke Washington DC dan New York dari 10 hingga 16 April tahun ini.

Najib, yang diiringi oleh isterinya, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor berjumpa dengan Presiden Amerika, Barack Obama pada 12 April lalu di Washington.

Pasangan itu kemudiannya berlepas ke New York bagi upacara penyampaian Anugerah Keamanan dan Harmoni Antarabangsa 2010 kepada Rosmah. Majlis gilang gemilang dan jamuan gala itu turut dihadiri oleh bintang-bintang Hollywood.

‘Yuran tak dikembalikan’

Pada surat perjanjian bertarikh 14 April antara dua firma perunding itu – QGA dan Laurus – dinyatakan QGA ‘akan membekalkan perkhidmatan perhubungan awam dan media bagi pihak kerajaan Malaysia berhubung penyiaran rencana pendapat pengarang yang dihasilkan oleh perdana menteri Malaysia’.

Menurut perjanjian itu lagi, Laurus akan membayar QGA ‘yuran US$15,000 yang tidak boleh dikembalikan sepanjang tempoh bermula 14 April, 2010 dan berakhir pada 20 April 2010′.

‘Sekiranya QGA berjaya menempatkan rencana itu di penerbitan media utama, Laurus akan membayar QGA yuran kejayaan US$15,000. Yuran itu mesti dijelaskan dalam tempoh 30 hari selepas artikel berkenaan disiarkan’.

Perjanjian itu bagaimanapun tidak menyebut akhbar-akhbar utama yang mana tulisan pendapat Najib itu sepatutnya disiarkan.

Semakan dengan beberapa akhbar utama Amerika – Washington Post, New York Times dan Wall Street Journal – menunjukkan tiada rencana pendapat seumpama itu disiarkan.

Namun, Washington Times – sebuah akhbar yang dibiayai oleh pemimpin Gereja Unification, Sun Myung Moon – ada menerbitkan lampiran mengenai Malaysia, sehari sebelum Najib melawat ibu negara Amerika itu.

Yang menarik, pejabat kedua-dua Laurus dan QGA terletak di tingkat yang sama di sebuah bangunan di Connecticut Avenue. Washington, DC.

Kumpulan The Laurus juga dipercayai terbabit dengan iklan dua halaman kontroversial di New York Times yang mengucapkan tahniah kepada Rosmah kerana menerima anugerah keamanan tersebut.

Fear of abuse of FOI

The Star 


PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental organisation fears that Selangor’s Freedom of Information (FOI) is open to abuse in its present form.

“Some provisions put too much power in the hands of certain individuals,” said Gayathry Venkites­waran, who heads FOI taskforce of the Coalition for Good Gover­nance.

She added an application for information could be rejected purely at the discretion of the person in charge of the information.

The Centre for Independent Journalism director also said there was no other venue for recourse other than a three-member Board of Appeal.

The chairman of the board is not bound to the opinions of the other two members.

His decision is also final and can not be taken up in any court.

Gayathry suggested that a commission be formed in place of the Board of Appeal, with members selected in an open and transparent manner.

These were among the areas of concerns raised during a recent conference attended by representatives from the coalition and the Bar Council as well as several local councillors.

Gayathry suggested that concerns raised by the coalition be allowed with the select committee in charge of getting feedback on the matter before it was made a state law.

Thurs: Tharmendran, Fadiah, Hasmuzair, Samad

Had a full day yesterday, starting with the Ministry of Defence, where some people had gathered with Sgt. Tharmendran‘s father to submit a memorandum demanding he be protected.
YB Mike & Tharmendran's father
Some of the people who showed up: S Manickavasagam, M Manogaran, Zuraidah Kamaruddin, N Surendran, Latheefa Koya, Tian Chua

After an (always interesting) lunch with Tian about what really was going on about those jet engines (connections were drawn to our ‘wrong’ vote on Iran in the UN, the spare parts black market, etc etc), we headed to MACC KL, in support of Fadiah.

That’s Fadiah, Puspa, Mike, June (web AND twitter), and Andrew Khoo.

As you can see, Suren (like Fadiah) is everywhere.
What happened in the end: Fadiah refused to divulge any information until the MACC could provide a written guarantee for the safety of the migrant workers in question.
Their response? No such thing. I guess the welfare of the victims is not an important factor in their “investigations”.
On that note, must point out the diligent efforts of my own MP, Lim Lip Eng, to dispel nonsense accusations that there were in fact no children at the palace construction site. Reminds me how valuable my vote was :)
Showing photos taken during his visit to the site on June 21 and 24 with journalists, Lim (below, facing camera) said he had seen twoNONEinfants and a toddler aged around two years living there with their Indonesian parents who worked on site.
“But the workers told us that there are about 10 more babies of a few months age living there too,” he told a press conference at his service centre this morning.
Lim’s assistant – Khairuddin Karim (right) – who accompanied him on the site visit said the children lived in cramped conditions with several adults sharing a container cabin measuring about 48 square feet.
You go YB!
Last visit (before WAY too many hours at Dota :( ) was for the tahlil services at the PKR HQ for Hasmuzair and Samad:


The bizarre case of Sodomy 2



Farah Azlina Binti Latif, one of the Federal Counsels of the Trial Unit of the Attorney-General’s Chambers who is on the prosecution team in the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy 2 trial, is having an affair with Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
There was a joke I once told back in 1998, which went as follows:
Who wanted the Olympics to be held in his country, wanted to build the tallest tower and longest bridge, wanted to build a national car, almost bankrupted his country, quarrelled with the west, hated the Jews, coined the slogan ‘kita boleh’, and accused his number two of being a sodomite and sacked and jailed him?
Yes, that's right, Adolph Hitler. What did you think I was going to say?
Anwar Ibrahim went through Sodomy 1 back in 1998. Ten years on, in 2008, he faced Sodomy 2. But while Megat Junid Megat Ayub was the ‘team leader’ of Sodomy 1, for Sodomy 2 it is Shafee Abdullah, the lawyer notorious for fixing court cases a la Lingam.
In the article ‘Money, power and sex: what motivates man’ I wrote as follows:
Some people are puzzled as to why Shafee Abdullah would go to all that trouble to fix Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges. He is worth RM70 million, they argue, and certainly he does not need the money -- whatever amount it may be that they have put aside for the special Black Ops against Anwar. And he has enough women in his life so sex can’t be the motivator as well. Okay, so we can rule out money and sex. But what about power? What if he is slated to be the next Attorney-General and whether he gets the job or not depends on how successfully he can neutralise Anwar and remove him as a threat to Umno?
(Read more here)
In ‘Shafee Abdullah: sodomologist extraordinaire’ I said:
That is why Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) II Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof did not meet Saiful in the police station or at the police headquarters. The special police operations centre is not in the police station or at the police headquarters. It is in the meeting room of Umno lawyer Shafee Abdullah’s law firm. So it would be dangerous to meet Saiful in this law firm lest someone finds out. That is why Rodwan met Saiful in room 619 of the Concorde Hotel.
(Read more here)
In ‘The real dalang behind the Anwar sodomy allegation’ I wrote:
Firstly, Saiful met Najib before the so-called sodomy took place. No doubt, at first, Najib denied meeting him and then later admitted meeting him but explained that it was for purposes of career guidance and to help the young man obtain a scholarship. Later on, Najib confessed he met Saiful to discuss the sodomy allegation against Anwar. This flip-flopping and inconsistency -- denial and then confessing only when it appeared like he could no longer deny it -- makes Najib appear like he is lying and therefore is trying to cover up an evil deed.
Now, the day after Saiful met Najib, he met Rodwan in room 619 of the Kuala Lumpur Concorde. Najib did not know this of course. Prior to that meeting, Rodwan and Saiful spoke over the phone at least eight times. We can only assume that part of this conversation involved asking Saiful to go meet Najib and to make sure that everyone knows about it so that the conspiracy points to Najib. The fact that Saiful brought a friend along only reinforces this assumption, especially when this friend is aligned to Anwar Ibrahim.
(Read more here)

Saiful Bukhari and his fiancé, Janna Mohd Zaki
Okay, those are excerpts from the three articles. And the argument that I am putting forward is that the Sodomy 2 allegation, just like Sodomy 1, is a fabrication and part of a political conspiracy to neutralise Anwar.
But this is old news, you might say, you want to hear something new.
Okay, how about this then?
Farah Azlina Binti Latif, one of the Federal Counsels of the Trial Unit of the Attorney-General’s Chambers who is on the prosecution team in the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy 2 trial, is having an affair with Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Yes, that’s right, Farah Azlina is bonking Saiful Bukhari. Have you ever heard of any other case anywhere else in the world where one of the prosecutors in bonking the key witness in what can be considered the most important trial in Malaysian political history?
Just when you thought Sodomy 2 is a most bizarre case it gets even more bizarre. I suppose, to save face, they might now have to say that Farah Azlina, Saiful Bukhari and Anwar Ibrahim were all in it together and that they indulged in group sex or orgies.
Let’s see what happens from hereon. Will Farah Azlina still be retained in the prosecution team? Who she bonks is her business. But since Saiful Bukhari is the man who is going to testify against Anwar, then this would be conflict of interest of the first degree.

Saiful's alleged 'zina' with prosecutor makes judiciary a joke

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

The latest revelation by top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin that one of the Federal Counsel in the prosecuting team was having an affair with sodomy complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan only adds to the lack of credibility and integrity surrounding the trial against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“If true, it makes a laughing stock of our judiciary system and shows how little respect for form and ethics our prosecutors have,” PAS legal advisor Hanipa Maidin told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Technically, there is nothing illegal for the lady to have a sexual relationship with Saiful, but ethically, there is a serious conflict of interest. Just like a doctor having sex with his patient or a teacher with a student.”

Who she bonks is her business, but ...

Indeed, legal pundits were shocked by RPK’s bombshell. While none of them believed the incident would make the Attorney-General drop the case against Anwar, they reiterated that based on the glaring lack of evidence produced so far, the case should have already been dropped on that basis alone.

Anwar was accused of sodomizing Saiful just as he was about to contest the Permatang Pauh by-election, which was held in August 2008. He won by a landslide despite the attempts to smear his name. Anwar has accused Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor of having schemed and fabricated the case so as to derail his political comeback.

“It doesn’t require this new development for us all to know that something is not right about the whole case. It smells and everybody knows it. It is a clear cut example of political persecution,” Hanipa said.

On Thursday, RPK also questioned whether it was proper for the lady to remain on the prosecution team.

“Who she bonks is her business. But since Saiful Bukhari is the man who is going to testify against Anwar, then this would be conflict of interest of the first degree,” wrote RPK in his Malaysia Today blog.

“Have you ever heard of any other case anywhere else in the world where one of the prosecutors in bonking the key witness in what can be considered the most important trial in Malaysian political history?”

If true, it would be zina

Meanwhile, according to Malaysian Insider Solicitor-General 2 Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden said a decision whether to drop her or not would only be made on August 2, when the trial resumes. However, he took pains to point out that she was never really a part of his team.

“To begin with, she was not in my team. She is not a permanent member of the team… she was only brought in to help with taking notes, compiling data, evidence,” he said.

Mohd Yusof also suggested that Raja Petra was lying. “Can you trust Raja Petra in the first place? He’s always spreading rumors,” he said.

But Mohd Yusof may have been banking on both Saiful and the lady denying the accusations. Both are Muslims and adultery or zina is punishable under Syariah law.

RPK – one of the country’s most respected political writers - has seldom been wrong. His contacts are impeccable and in this particular instance, he named the lady - which he is unlikely to have done unless he was sure and had evidence to support his claims.

China slammed over Tibet unrest

Human Rights Watch said protesters were shot at and beaten with clubs [File: AFP]
Chinese security forces fired indiscriminately on Tibetan protesters in 2008, beat and kicked others until they lay motionless on the ground, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says.
The 73-page report, released on Thursday, says Chinese security forces tortured protesters and others during arrests and in detention by beating them and depriving them of food and sanitary conditions.
It points out that hundreds of Tibetans arrested in the crackdown remain unaccounted for.
The unrest, which began in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, was the toughest anti-government uprising that China has faced from Tibetans in nearly 50 years.
China says 22 people died in the riots, but overseas Tibet supporters say many more were killed in the crackdown.
Human Rights Watch said its researchers interviewed 203 Tibetan refugees and visitors outside China between March 2008 and April 2010.
The report features rare eyewitness accounts detailing excesses in the unrest.
Beaten motionless

Witnesses were quoted as saying that on March 14, 2008, security forces in Lhasa opened fire on protesters near the Barkhor Sqaure, the heart of the old city.
At several rallies, security forces also hit demonstrators with batons and rifle butts until they were no longer moving, the New York-based rights body says.
As protests spread across the Tibetan plateau, security forces shot at secondary school students headed to a demonstration and at monks and civilians marching toward government buildings.
"When the soldiers showed up later, they threw tear gas. A gas canister hit my leg and I couldn't walk any more"
Victim's testimony
The report cites a 24-year-old Tibetan woman who was near the Barkhor Square and said protesters roamed freely on March 14 until the afternoon, when troops showed up and opened fire.
"When the soldiers showed up later, they threw tear gas. A gas canister hit my leg and I couldn't walk any more," the report quoted the woman as saying.
"Then there was indiscriminate shooting and we saw two people shot dead in front of us."
A 33-year-old monk from a monastery west of Lhasa said he was beaten with clubs and sticks by guards at detention facilities where he was held, and beaten again, with sand-filled rubber tubes, when sentenced to a year in a labour camp.

Nicholas Bequelin, Asia researcher for the group, said: "Over the past two years, security forces acted in a way that is completely disproportionate to the actual threat to public order.

"The Chinese government could do something about it. This is not about their sovereignty in Tibet, this is about how their security forces behave."

Angry China
The unrest started with several days of anti-government protests by Buddhist monks in Lhasa, before spreading to communities across China's west. Tibetans attacked Chinese-owned shops and homes.
China has Beijing has sought to quash accounts of rights abuses,  flooding the region with troops and has put Tibetans under tighter scrutiny, reduced the flow of international tourists and allowed in only a few foreign reporters under government escort.
The Chinese government also criticised the the Human Rights Watch report, accusing it of being bias.
Qin Gang, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement that the events in Lhasa were "serious, violent criminal incidents that caused great loss to the lives and property of the local people".

He said the authorities enforced the law in a legal, civilised way and that ethnic customs and human dignity were respected.

Bid to seek guarantee of Tharmendran's safety

HRP seeks UN help for top Indian students

Private eye Bala's reply handed to MACC

Penjaja projek Little India dakwa ditindas

HRP seeks UN help for top Indian students (Malaysiakini)

Gavaskar Brian Raj and Richard Loo ( Photos by HRP) ,IMG_1696
The Human Rights Party (HRP) has appealed to the United Nations to intervene in the Malaysian government’s denial of scholarships and study loans for top Indian students, as well as places for them in university and matriculation courses.
In a memorandum addressed to the UN, HRP called on the body to despatch a fact-finding mission to investigate the matter, which the party described as "akin to apartheid".
HRP information chief S Jayathas described the memorandum to the UN as the "last resort", following the party’s unsuccessful attempts to seek intervention from the prime IMG_1673 minister and the King.
"We have no other avenue as we have exhausted all political and legal options," Jayathas (right) said.
He also said that many people have promised the HRP help on this issue, but he described them to be the cakap tak serupa bikin type.
United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) representative Hans Olsen received the memorandum on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Kamal Malhotra, who was predisposed.
HRP Memo to UN "I will take it (the memorandum) to Kamal and he will decide what we (the UN) can do," Olsen said.
Among others, Jayathas had previously submitted memoranda to the prime minister as well as to the Yang diPertuan Agong, and has also made 31 police reports against the federal government.
Riot police present
He was accompanied by HRP adviser Pathmarajah Nagalingam, central working committee member Jeevindra Kumar Krishnan and six party members.
Around 20 riot police personnel were gathered outside the UN headquarters, but no untoward incident was reported.
The HRP has been championing the cause of an estimated 2,237 high achieving but financially constrained Indian students in the country who have been denied opportunities for tertiary education.
The party tried to submit a memorandum to the King at his palace recently, in which it sought the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry to address the issue.
In the memorandum, HRP also called for a UN official to head the selection committee for the allocation of Public Service Department scholarships as well as matriculation and university placements for the next five years.
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Form new party if Malay unity bid fails, says Perkasa

SHAH ALAM, July 22 — Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali has recommended that politicians form a new Malay party as a last resort if all efforts to bring PAS and Umno together do not succeed.
The independent Pasir Mas MP said the new party could adopt a combination of the two parties’ objectives.

“I know this is provocative, but a constitution for a new Malay party that combines the objectives of PAS and Umno can be drawn up by a steering committee,” said Ibrahim, who has been a member of several Malay parties.

“This is a face saving mechanism so the question of whether PAS should join Barisan or not does not arise. Dissolve Umno, dissolve PAS and everybody joins the new party,” he told reporters after chairing Perkasa supreme council meeting here.

The firebrand politician said a steering committee comprising retired senior civil servants, religious scholars and respected committee leaders should take the initiative to form the new party.

Ibrahim said for a start, the committee should work towards bringing PAS and Umno to the negotiation table for the sake of Malay unity.

“Malaysia stability depends on the Malay-Muslim unity. Without a united Malay community, there will be no unity among all Malaysians,” he said.

On whether Perkasa would want to play the role as mediator between the two Malay parties, Ibrahim said he hoped that respected individuals would take the initiative.

“It is up to anyone to play the role. If possible Perkasa does not want to play an active role, but of course we want to see the unity,” said Ibrahim.

He added that both parties should at least have common stand on certain issues affecting the Malay community and Islam.

“They should at least be united on Malay issues, but they may remain separate politically,” said Ibrahim claiming that DAP and MCA have been able to work together on Chinese issues with independent groups representing the community.

“Of course it is better if they can be fully united,” he added.

The issue of bringing PAS and Umno together was raised by Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria last weekend who claimed that he has met with leaders from both parties to discuss the matter.

The government-appointed Islamic cleric also claimed today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak has agreed to work with PAS in the interest Malay-Muslim unity and wanted the matter to proceed unconditionally.

His statement was, however, dismissed by PAS vice-presidents, Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub who said that the Islamic party has never asked Harussani to act as mediator.

Bala submits affidavit to MACC

PUTRAJAYA: P Balasubramaniam, a key witness in the murder trial of Mongolian Altantuya Shariibuu, submitted his affidavit to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today.

The affidavit was sent to MACC officers by his lawyers, Americk Sidhu, Manjeet Singh Dhillon and Amarjit Sidhu.

The MACC had early this month submitted questions which needed to be answered and to get him to reply in the form of a sworn affidavit as provided for under Section 30(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2010.

This followed the MACC's decision not to send its officers to London to record a statement from the private investigator.

On the meeting with MACC officers, Americk described it as pleasant.

"They (MACC officers) seemed quite keen to ensure that the investigation will be completed as soon as possible," he told reporters after handing over the affidavit at the MACC office here.

He said Bala took about three days to complete the questionnaire which consisted of 52 questions, in the presence of his lawyers in London.

"I was the one who typed it out," Americk said.

"All (questions) were answered and in fact we added a lot more information that they (MACC) did not ask for. Hopefully, with the additional information, the investigation can be closed."

He said the additional information related to a payment made to Bala.

"I think this is what they have not received before. Other information have been available for a long time, anyway."

'Bala wants to come home'

Asked whether the MACC would call Bala back, Americk said: "I don’t think so. The investigation is almost completed now.

"Maybe there'll be a few questions the MACC wishes to ask Bala after it has read the answers and I can put them to Bala easily. No problem."

Americk reminded that the answered questions were not intended to be used in court but to help the MACC with the investigation.

"If the matter goes to court, of course Bala would have to come to testify himself."

Asked whether the answers given by Bala could be made public, Americk said: "The answers are probably not a secret, but I see no reason to divulge the answers at the moment. I think it is best to let the MACC conclude the investigation."

To another question, the lawyer said Bala wished to return to Malaysia.

"He has no problem... no hesitation if his safety is guaranteed."

- Bernama