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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tharmendran also facing court martial

Sergeant N Tharmendran of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), who has been indicted in civil court over the theft of two jet engines belonging to RMAF, is also being court martialled for alleged dishonest misappropriation of public property and also faces an alternative charge of accepting stolen property.

The hearing was supposed to be continued today with three more witnesses to be called before the prosecution wrapped up its case, but had to be postponed after Tharmendran's counsel Rakhbir Singh notified the court through a letter that he was discharging himself as he was not getting further instructions from his client.

Tharmendran (top) was charged in military court with the offences in June 2007 and 11 witnesses had been called till May 2009. However, the trial was deferred to facilitate investigations into the missing jet engines, where he was a suspect.

In his court martial, the sergeant has been charged under Section 61(b) of the Armed Forces Act 1972 and section 88 of the same act, whereby he can be jailed up to two years, if convicted.

Missing printer cartridges

According to the charge sheet, Tharmendran, 42, is accused of dishonestly misappropriating eight HP Laser Jet print cartridges of various models which were public property while for the alternative charge, he is accused of accepting stolen property involving the same items.

Also charged along with him was RMAF Corporal Mohamad Zohari Aris. He was slapped similar charges.

The duo had pleaded not guilty to the offences, which were alleged to have been committed at RMAF's Subang air base near Kuala Lumpur at 1pm on Jan 13, 2006.

During today's proceedings, Tharmendran's previous defence counsel Maj HS Tiong had also told the court that he had gone to the Sungai Buloh prison (where Tharmendran is being remanded in connection with the jet engines theft case) on Tuesday (July 27) to meet the accused but was told that he (Tharmendran) was no longer interested in having him (Tiong) represent him.

It was the same for Mohamad Zohari with his counsel Mohd Fadzil Zainuddin also telling the court that his client was no longer interested in his services.

New defence counsel named

Tharmendran, who was present, then informed the court that he had appointed lawyer N Surendran as his new defence counsel.

However, he said Surendran was not able to be present in court today as the latter was not informed about today's hearing.

The court also postponed hearing of Mohamad Zohari's case as his new counsel G Ravichandran had another case at the Teluk Intan High Court.

The court panel headed by Major Zainal Abidin Abdul Aziz then warned the litigants that no more postponements would be allowed as the two trials had dragged on for too long.

The prosecution was handled by military prosecutors Capt Zaharuddin Che Zahari and Capt Ahmad Azam Soip.

On Jan 6 this year, Tharmendran had pleaded not guilty at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court to abetting Airman Mohamad Shukri with stealing two F5 jet engines at the Material Processing Shed MATRA 1, RMAF base, Sungai Besi on April 30, 2008.

A businessman, K Rajendran Prasad, 38, was charged with disposing off the engines at the Subang Industrial Park on April 30, 2008. He pleaded not guilty.

- Bernama

Sodomy II: Saiful, Farah may be called to the stand over affair

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

All eyes are on Monday's resumption of the Sodomy II trial, where defense lawyers acting for Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim are likely to ask the court to call on both DPP Farah Azlina Latif and complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan to take to the stand over allegations they had an affair - which could jeopardize the fairness of the trial.

“I believe the defense team is still weighing the best way to move forward. But an application to probe the extent of Saiful’s relationship with the DPP may be the first step,” PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah told Malaysia Chronicle.

“The Attorney-General cannot expect us and the world at large to take his word as good that she had no access to the Investigation Papers or any information that could help Saiful.”

Case also hinges on Saiful's credibility

Apart from possible unfair advantage, the sex scandal also casts a question mark on Saiful’s credibility as a key witness. This is an important point because the government's case against Anwar hinges on Saiful's testimony.

If the allegations are true, then Saiful would have cheated on his fiancee. Experts said such unreliability of character not only adds to the doubt already surrounding his testimony, but should render it void in the interests of justice and fair play to the person he has accused - Anwar.

"Saiful is accusing Anwar of having sodomized him. No one saw them - we only have Saiful’s word for it. And despite his having taken an oath in the mosque, Saiful has been found lying before. It is not the first time,” Siva said.

“So the question of morality cannot be evaded. There are serious questions about his character and his credibility as a witness especially with this latest affair. Before that, he denied meeting Prime Minister Najib Razak prior to lodging the police report against Anwar. Najib also denied meeting him, but when photos started to appear, both he and Saiful admitted to meeting in Putrajaya.”

Did Saiful cheat on his fiancee?

Both Saiful and Farah were already engaged to be married to respective partners. News has emerged that Farah broke off her engagement and allegations are rife it was because of Saiful.

Nonetheless, despite the possibility of gross misconduct, Anwar’s defense team led by Sankara Nair can expect to face tough resistance from both the court and the Najib administration.

In fact, many prominent civil society leaders, including lawmakers from United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, have already labeled the case a sham trial.Their criticism splashed all over cyberspace and the international press has shamed the country.

“The Najib administration will surely fight Anwar all the way. It is clear they want Anwar to lose. They want to lock him up and throw away the key,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“From day one, there was mala fide. They insisted on the trial even though there was no evidence of anal penetration, and till now, they are denying the defense access to key information in the case.”



Will there be justice for Anwar?

At a late press conference on Monday, AG Gani Patail had dropped Farah from the prosecution team but denied any conflict of interest.

“This can be very difficult for us, but any personal matter, if it can have any implication in whatever form on the department, will be handled very seriously," Gani said.

Nonetheless, his insistence that Farah was only tasked to take notes and did not have access to sensitive information has sparked concerns his chambers would try to cover up the matter and resist any calls for an inquiry.

Meanwhile, Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan has also called for an investigation and disciplinary action against Farah if she did have an affair.

"It is definitely is an ethical matter, as prosecutions are done in the interest of justice.You are there to put your case before the court in the interest of justice. As there is no client here, there should be no relationship between prosecutor and complainant," the Sun reported Ragunath as saying.

One nation, two systems

The Federal Court said Anwar’s attempt in getting the documents was an act "to fish for evidence", adding that Anwar can only have access to documents at the beginning of the trial if the documents are relevant to the prosecution’s case.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Defence in the murder trial of lorry attendant receives documents

(Bernama, 29 Jul 2010) -- The prosecution in the murder trial of lorry attendant M. Rajamorgan, who is accused of killing 18-month-old infant K. Haresvarra, today handed over the documents required by the defence counsel.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Alfred Agin said documents such as the chemistry and autopsy reports had been handed over when the case was mentioned at the High Court, here today.

Agin said High Court Senior Assistant Registrar, Mohd Fadhly Yaacob, later fixed Sept 1 as the date for re-mention of the case as the defence needed more time to scrutinize the documents before deciding whether they would make a representation on behalf of their client.

If the defence team, comprising Amer Hamzah Arshad and N. Surendran, wished to make a representation, they must do so on that date. Rajamorgan, 33, is charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

He is alleged to have killed Haresvarra between 9.40pm and 10.10pm on March 3 at the Vista Damansara Apartment children's playground at Jalan Kenanga, Kg Sungai Kayu Ara, Petaling Jaya.

The accused was first charged at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate's Court on March 15.

*************************************************

Anwar fails to get sodomy documents: Federal Court rules it's an act 'to fish for evidence'

(The Malay Mail, 29 Jan 2010) - The Federal Court today dismissed Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal to obtain key documents from the prosecution for his upcoming sodomy trial.

The ruling this morning was delivered by a three-judge panel, led by Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong. The other two were Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria and Justice Datuk Md Raus Sharif.

In delivering judgment, Abdull Hamid said the High Court had erred in its interpretation of Section 51 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), to which the High Court had allowed the defence access to key documents before the commencement of the sodomy trial.

The Federal Court said Anwar’s attempt in getting the documents was an act "to fish for evidence", adding that Anwar can only have access to documents at the beginning of the trial if the documents are relevant to the prosecution’s case.

Present in court today were Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, and defence counsel Karpal Singh, S.N. Nair and Datuk Param Cumaraswamy.

Karpal said he would seek a judicial review of the Federal Court decision on Feb 2, the same day the trial would commence.

Anwar, 62, was charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, on June 26, 2008.

On July 16, 2009, High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had granted Anwar’s application under Section 51 of the Criminal Procedure Code to compel the prosecution to supply him with key documents to enable him to prepare his defence.

The High Court had granted him copies of witness statements, CCTV recordings, police reports, medical and chemist notes, among others.

The court, however, did not grant him his request for DNA samples taken from Mohd Saiful.

On Nov 6, the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision, had overturned the High Court’s ruling in allowing the prosecution’s appeal and dismissed Anwar’s cross-appeal for DNA samples.

In his submissions last week, Karpal had sought to have the Federal Court restore the High Court’s order, saying that the appeals filed by both parties to the Court of Appeal had been incompetent.

PKFZ scandal: Former MCA boss Ling charged

UPDATED PUTRAJAYA: Former transport minister and MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik has been charged in connection with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The 67-year-old medical doctor-turned-politician arrived at the Kajang Sessions Court, located here, at 4.45pm and appeared calm when swarmed by press photographers.

Ling, clad in a striped shirt, was accompanied by his wife Ena and two sons.

He pleaded not guilty to two charges under Section 417 and 418 of the Penal Code for cheating. If found guilty, Ling could face a jail term.

Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin then set bail at RM1 million and mention was fixed for Sept 3.

Ling, who requested time to post bail, was released on a personal bond. He will pay the amount at the Sessions Court tomorrow.

Asked if he was confident in fighting the case, he replied, "In the Palace of Justice you must feel confident."

Earlier, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and three DPPs, including head of prosecution Tun Abdul Majid Hamzah, arrived at court around 4pm but declined to speak to the scores of journalists camping there since morning after getting wind that a VIP would be charged.

The other two DPPs were Manoj Kurup and Dzulkifli Ahmad.

Ling, a long-time cabinet minister, was also a close associate of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He was elected MP for the Mata Kuching constituency in 1974. He successfully defended his position in 1978 and 1982.

In 1986, he was elected as the MP for Labis and defended his seat in three subsequent general elections.

The sixth MCA president helmed the party for 17 years until his retirement in 2003.

In 1986, he was appointed transport minister. Prior to that, he had held the position of parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Local Government and Federal Territory, deputy information minister, deputy finance minister and deputy education minister.

Ling is the most high-profile figure to be hauled to court in recent years.

French couple held over 8 babies' bodies


Paris, France (CNN) -- French police are questioning a couple detained following the discovery of the bodies of eight newborn babies at two locations in northern France, the French Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Gendarmes found the remains in the village of Villers-au-Tertre, south of Lille, some in a home and others in the garden of another home. Authorities scheduled a news conference for Thursday at 2 p.m. local time (midday GMT).

The woman has been charged with voluntary manslaughter of minors under the age of 15. The man is charged with refusing to expose crimes and concealing bodies, prosecutors told CNN.

Agence-France Presse reported that the couple, both estimated to be in their mid-forties, would appear before prosecutors later Thursday. The woman is a nursing assistant while the man is a member of the local council, a neighbor told AFP.

"These are attractive, helpful, polite and courteous people, who did nothing to make you think them capable of anything abnormal," he said.

Another resident said the couple had two grown-up daughters and were grandparents, AFP said. The pair had lived in the village for at least 15 years, neighbors said.

Former mayor Daniel Collignon said Villers-au-Tertre was a quiet, rural community. "I'm still in shock," he told AFP.

Police with sniffer dogs searched the two homes after the new owners of one of them found the bones of two bodies in the garden. The house had previously belonged to the mother of the arrested woman, AFP said.

Six more bodies were then found at the couple's home in another part of the village, a local councilor told reporters.

'Cop helped thugs extort money from renovator'

By Teoh El Sen

KUALA LUMPUR: A police officer has been accused of siding with gangsters and extorting money from a part-time renovator. Baskaran Krishanan, 30, claimed that a sergeant at the Beranang police station had ignored his report on two men who had assaulted and extorted money from him.

Instead of arresting them, the sergeant allegedly made a deal with the duo and acted as a “broker" to further extort money from him.

Baskaran was even allegedly asked to tear his police report.

His plight was recounted to the media this morning as rights group Suaram and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) submitted a memorandum to Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan at the Bukit Aman police headquarters here on the matter.

PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said Baskaran's ordeal began when he was offered a job to renovate a cabinet in a house at Pangsapuri Bandar Tasik Kesuma two weeks ago by a man identified only as “Nathan".

"But after a few days when he finished the job except for a cabinet door that had to be specially ordered, Nathan became upset and said that he wanted the cabinet door as soon as possible.

"The following Friday, Nathan again asked for the door but Baskaran still could not produce it as the order had yet to arrive. That night, Baskaran was dragged out of his house by Nathan and two other men, one called 'Bob', and brought to a shop to discuss the problem," he said.

"They ordered beer and in the end asked Baskaran to pay the RM269 bill and an additional RM150 to compensate for the missing door.

"When Baskaran said he did not have any money, Bob got angry and punched Baskaran in the stomach and on the arms. Bob further threatened to injure his wife and son if he did not pay RM2,000 the next day," he added.

'Pay up or be arrested'

The next day, Arutchelvan said Baskaran lodged a police report at 10am with the Beranang police station and was told to return home.

"But two hours later, Nathan and Bob, who was armed with a parang, came to Baskaran's house when he was away and threatened his wife and one-year-old son. They also threatened to throw the child from the third floor," said the PSM leader.

At 3pm the same day, Baskaran received a phone call from the Beranang police station and was told to meet with the sergeant there.

Both Nathan and Bob were seen talking to the sergeant for 15 minutes before Baskaran was told to enter the room.

"He was told that the total amount he needs to pay was reduced to RM900 and the sergeant told him that he would have to pay RM250 a week to Nathan,” said Arutchelvan.

“When Baskaran said he did not have the amount, the sergeant said he did not care how he paid but it must be done at the police station next week or he would be arrested," he added.

Worried for his safety, Baskaran promised to do his best.

The sergeant subsequently asked Baskaran to tear the police report he made. Baskaran also allegedly saw Nathan passing some money to the police officer.

Arutchelvan said they wanted the case to be investigated by Bukit Aman as Baskaran was afraid of filing another report with the same police station.

"We also demand that the seargant be suspended as we believe he would interfere in the investigation and witness protection be given to Baskaran," added the PSM leader, who lodged a disciplinary report.

It was learnt that the discplinary department at Bukit Aman had assured that the matter would be investigated.

Baskaran, his wife and son were also present.

At press time, Kajang district police chief ACP Sakaruddin Che Mood was unavailable for comment.

Chinese voters want fairness, says PKR's Chua

By Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: Alleging that the Barisan Nasional-led government was similar to the rule of former Indonesian and the Philippine presidents Suharto and Ferdinand Marcos, former health minister and MCA vice-president Chua Jui Meng says the rakyat, especially the Malaysian Chinese, despised the unfair race-based policies implemented by the ruling government.

He said this was one of the main reasons why the Malaysian Chinese community almost entirely turned its back against the ruling BN at the historic 2008 general election.

The BN-led government had also failed to be democratic, respect human rights, ensure a sustainable economic climate, was unable to provide equal education opportunites for all races in the country, practises selective prosecution in weeding out corruption and, above all, failed to be fair in administering the nation.

"The main point is that they (the Malaysian Chinese community) wants justice and fairness from the government. They want the government to care for the people, especially the poor. For the Chinese, they will donate money and this is their culture.

"These donations are to assist the poor. This is what they (the Malaysian Chinese) want the government to do. Is this difficult for them (BN) to do after the country's independence some 50 years ago? The government has based itself on wrong policies," he told FMT in an interview.

A good majority of the Malaysian Chinese community had traditionally supported the ruling coalition until the 2008 general election. The historic polls revealed a massive decline in the Chinese and Indian support for the ruling coalition.

This resulted in the BN losing the state governments of Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah to add to Kelantan, which was already in the hands of the opposition. The BN also lost its long-guarded two-thirds majority in Parliament.

'Forever borrowing money'

Chua, who joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat late last year after being in the MCA for 35 years, likened the country's administration to that of former Indonesian and the Philippines presidents Suharto and Ferdinand Marcos.

"We are forever borrowing money. The situation now is worse than the rule of Suharto and Marcos. The Philippines does not have any oil revenue, but the economy during Marcos' rule was bad because he stole billions from the people.

"Here everyday we have an expose like Felda. If the case is brought to court, there will be a lot more revealed. The profits reaped by Felda is a lot more than that of Sime Darby or IOI Bhd but profits per hectare had declined. It's finished...we have just made the Malays (Felda settlers) poor for another year,” he said in the interview, which covered various issues, at a modest restaurant in Damansara.

Chua said the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala that the government would go bankrupt because of the decline in taxes collected from Petronas, Sime Darby and Felda also raises questions.

"This should not be the case for a country which produces oil like Malaysia. Look at the increasing coffers of Saudi Arabia, Brunei or Norway. What about us? Has our treasury recorded an increase?" he asked.

He said while China was moving fast economically with a 30% annual growth, Malaysia was still dragging its feet in catching up.

He said all the policies formulated by the government, including the Ninth Malaysia Plan, did not produce the desired results because there was no quality in the administration of the prime minister, deputy prime minister or the Cabinet as they only thought about their cronies and not the well-being of the country.

"If we allow BN to enslave the people, we will continue to be left behind. Don't talk about South Korea or China; we would be even worse than the economies of Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand," said Chua, who holds the record for being the longest-serving health minister, from 1990 to 2004.

Opposition's vision

He said the mindset of the Chinese has changed and that the community was looking forward to a brighter better future for the generations to come.

"Their mindset has changed as they have seen the light. The Chinese voters read news from the Internet for more information. They do not want to be fooled by the BN again," he said.

On the opposition coalition made up of PAS, DAP and PKR, Chua, who was stripped of his "Datuk Seri" title by the Johor Sultan more than a month ago, said the best approach would be to explain the opposition's vision to the nation.

"When we take over the government, we would make Malaysia the most democratic nation in the world. We would respect human rights. No more cases like Anwar (Ibrahim) who was jailed for six years because justice was denied.

"With this democracy, we would empower the people, strengthen the economy and boost the confidence of the world in our country. Believe me, if this happens we would be better and far richer than Singapore.

"After 53 years of BN rule, Singapore is 500% richer than us. This is because Singapore does not tolerate corruption. BN, on the other hand, likes corruption. We want to take care of the poor regardless of whether they are Malays, Indians, or Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak."

Pakistan mourns jet crash dead

The plane disintegrated as it crashed into a remote hillside outside Islamabad [AFP]
Pakistan has declared a day of mourning for the 152 people killed in the country's worst ever aviation disaster.
The government has said all possible causes of the crash will be investigated although officials have given no indication that they suspect some kind of attack may have been to blame.
On Thursday, investigators were expected to continue their hunt for the crashed jet's so-called black box flight recorders, which they hope will give clues as to what caused the disaster.
Airblue flight ED202 came down in bad weather on Wednesday morning in the Maragalla Hills, on its final approach to land at Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto airport.
Officials suggested the flight had been diverted due to bad weather, but it was unclear why the jet was flying so low and close to the hills, which are well away from the normal route for aircraft arriving from Karachi.
The plane, an Airbus 321, had been on a domestic flight from the southern city of Karachi.
Such was the force of the crash that the plane was said to have virtually disintegrated with few of the bodies of the victims recovered intact.
Rescue workers said few bodies found at the scene were intact [AFP]
Health officials said DNA tests would be the only way to identify many of the remains.
Rescue worker Arshad Javed told the AFP news agency of horrifying scenes at the crash site.
"All we could see were charred hands or feet. I collected two heads, two legs and two hands in a bag.
"We shouted if anyone was there alive, but heard no voice," he said.
In a statement, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, "expressed grief and sorrow over the tragic incident" and offered prayers for passengers who were killed.
"The federal cabinet declared one day national mourning because of this tragic incident. The prime minister called off the cabinet meeting until next week in the wake of this tragic incident," Gilani's office said in the statement.
Qamar Zaman Kaira, the information minister, announced compensation of $5,800 for families of the victims.
Pakistan-based Airblue started operations in 2004 and is flying to many cities in Pakistan as well as five destinations in the Middle East and the UK.
European aircraft-maker Airbus said the single-aisle plane was a relatively young 10 years old, adding that it would offer its full assistance to Pakistani investigators.

'Brotherly proof of premier nepotism'

BY FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's younger brother Nazir has proven that nepotism was still rife in Putrajaya, according to PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar.
Taking a swipe at Nazir's “miscalculated” comments on the plunge in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), he said: “I must congratulate him for being the new spokesman for Najib’s Cabinet.”

“Nazir’s statement is a reminder to Malaysians that nepotism is still rife in Putrajaya,” he added.

Mahfuz claimed that the CIMB group chief's comments was a clear reminder to Malaysians that the culture of nepotism as practiced in the administrations of former premiers Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, was still alive.

“During the Mahathir and Abdullah eras we had their children’s involvement. Perhaps we can describe the current administration as an administration by siblings,” he said.

Describing the Barisan Nasional leadership as mirroring “ostriches who buried their heads”, Mahfuz said it was only time “before the people kicked them out.”

However, Mahfuz did credit Nazir for indicating that the government was painfully aware of the drop in FDI.

“Considering there are no more comments from any of the Cabinet members or for that matter from Najib, at least Nazir’ statement shows that the Najib administration is admitting to the drop.

“It is now clear that the figures are not contorted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Uuctad). They (the government) are not giving out any more ridiculous reasons to justify the plunge in FDI,” he said.

Earlier this week, Bernama reported Nazir as saying that the FDI plunge was not necessarily negative.

The top banker had reportedly said that it was “not necessarily a bad thing” to have lower net investment flow for the country as what was important was the quality of investments.

Nazir had instead urged that the 2009 plunge in Malaysia’s FDI be studied carefully before jumping to conclusions.

'The fact is Malaysia is unappealing'
PAS' Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, however, felt otherwise, saying that it did not negate the fact that Malaysia was no more a choice with the investors.

“While I understand his (Nazir's) meaning of ‘quality investment’ and ‘timing’, his comment, however, is not able to dispute the fact that Malaysia is no longer the investment hub under the radar of investors both foreign and local," he said.

He suggested that Nazir's "misplaced" comments could just be a defence of his brother, Najib.

Dzulkefly said the UN figures were clear and self explanatory.

Lack of interest among foreign investors had contributed to a decline in FDI from US$2.56 billion in 2004 and US$1.09 billion (2005), to a net negative US$0.02 billion (2006), negative US$2.7 billion (2007) and negative US$7.67 billion in 2008.

This is further compounded by the fact that Malaysia’s outflow of funds was also extremely high.

Dzulkefly said this imbalance would have major consequences to the economy.

“First, it will affect the growth. Due to insufficient funds to generate economic activities and investments in various sectors such as manufacturing and services industry, the 6% targeted growth cannot not be achieved.

“When global demand drops, the situation will get worse as it will affect the export factor in our GDP,” he said on the sidelines of the recent Selangor Budget 2011 Dialogue.

He warned that Malaysia cannot afford to spend anymore as it is currently burdened with high budget deficits amounting to some 52 percent of its GDP.

NCR land campaign fodder for Dayaks

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today,

KUCHING: It took 47 years for the government to decide to survey native customary rights (NCR) land, issue titles and return the land to the rightful owners. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak allocated RM20 million to carry out the survey works.
Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud should have made the announcement instead of Najib as land matters come under the purview of the state. So, why did Najib make the announcement? And why did Taib refuse all this while to survey NCR land?

Najib made the decision last week after visiting Long Banga, Baram, an interior seldom visited even by Sarawak state ministers. He must have heard about the Dayaks’ grouses after he took over as prime minister last year. To learn more about their problems, he sent his Sarawakian minister Idris Jala to seek the truth. And based on Jala’s reports, Najib announced the decision.

It not only caught state government leaders by surprise, it also embarrassed them. But Najib does not seem to care; his federal government’s survival depends on solving the problem. To continue to occupy Putrajaya, he must win over the Dayak-majority parliamentary constituencies. There are 23 Dayak majority and Dayak-mixed constituencies.

The decision puts great pressure on the state government to survey the NCR land. It must show support and react immediately.Thus, the state government issued a press statement not only to concur with the prime minister’s announcement but also to say that Taib’s government has approved a new NCR land initiative.

“The initiative has been approved by the government in order to come up with a faster approach to provide security to NCR land and enhance the economic well-being of landowners,” Taib said in a statement.

“NCR land is an issue that is close to the hearts of our people. As such, this joint initiative between the state and the federal governments is to help the people create value to their idle land while at the same time addressing their concerns about the long-term security of their NCR land,” he added.

Up till that point, the state government not only ignored the cries of the Dayaks for their NCR land to be surveyed and given titles, but it also went ahead and grabbed the land and leased them to family members and crony plantation companies.

The government legitimised its actions by amending the Sarawak Land Code several times, and each time it made it very difficult for the natives to claim their customary rights over their ancestral land.

And the most devastating amendment to the Land Code was made in May 2000, especially to Section 5. Section 5 (a) (2) (i) was amended by substituting the word “acquired” wherever it appears in the subsection with the word “created”.

On the surface of it, the amendment looks innocent. But if you analyse it carefully, it is very destructive to the NCR landowners. Prior to the amendment, NCR land can be passed from one generation to the next -- from father to son and his children’s children, and so on. The land that has been acquired by any other means by the family always belongs to the family and its generation.

NCR land could be acquired through the following methods:
  • felling virgin jungle and occupying the cleared land;
  • planting land with fruit trees; and occupying it;
  • using the land for a burial ground or shrines;
  • using land of any class for right of way; and/or
  • using any other lawful means.
Delaying tactics
Emphasis is on the word “acquired” which was substituted with the word “created”. This can result in the termination of customary rights over such land, as only the “creator” shall have such rights over the land. And after his death, the land shall be reverted to the government if the descendents are unable to provide proof for such a claim. Such a land will be known as “state land”.

No doubt you can claim the land, provided you can prove that your great-great forefathers created the rights over the land. The onus is therefore on the claimants. And very few people can prove it. They can depend only on “tuai rumah” (longhouse headman) or penghulus to be their witnesses. But the headmen and penghulus have been warned by the government not to simply endorse such land as NCR land or else they will be in trouble – their appointment can be terminated or they can even go to jail.

Bringing the case to court will incur large sums of money. Putting a deposit as required by the court will cost RM10,000, and what about the legal fees? Even if you have the money, it will take time for the court to make a decision; assuming you win in the High Court, the state government can appeal to the Court of Appeal.

Again assuming you win, the state makes another appeal to the Federal Court. The case of Madeli Salleh gives us the best example. All in all, it takes from 10 to 20 years for the case to be settled. This is the government’s strategy – delaying tactics.

All these are a great disadvantage to the Dayaks when the NCR land is not titled. Any time the government wants their land, it is difficult for them to fight back, especially when Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Sarawak's second minister of resource planning and management, announced the government’s policy on land on June 16, 2005. He said “all lands not surveyed or any land not issued a land title, including lands under NCR, are government lands”.

As a result of this policy, the government has acquired practically all the good lands from Limbang to Baram, Bintulu, Miri, Sibu, Kapit, Betong, and Simanggang, and from Samarahan to Kuching Divisions. And all these lands totalling1,268,888.161 hectares have been approved or earmarked for plantation estates, according to the 2005 third-quarter reports of the Land and Survey Department.

The bulk of these lands are NCR land which are to be planted with oil palm, rubber, banana and sago. The majority of all these go to Taib’s family members and cronies.

According to the “Laporan Statistik Suku Ketiga Tahun 2005 Bagi Tanah Ladang” prepared by the Land and Survey Department in Kuching, Taib’s brother-in-law Robert Ganid has been given 16,000ha in Sungai Ensengai, Samarahan Division. It was approved in May 2004. The company’s name is Lambang Sinar Mas Sdn Bhd.

Narodeen Majais, assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s department, had his application for 16,486ha approved between March 1996 and February 1998. The application was made under a number of companies such as Pelita Nirwana Muhibbah (4,555ha at Tg Midin, Serian), Gedong Plantation (3,770ha at Btg Karang, Serian), Hydroflow Sdn Bhd (2,775ha between Btg Sadong and Sungai Simunjan and Gedong) and Indranika Jaya Sdn Bhd (1,906ha at Tg Embang, Simunjan).

Syed Abu Bakar Almohdzar’s companies -- Melur Gemilang Sdn Bhd and Kumpulan Kris Jati Sdn Bhd -- were given a provisional lease to develop 23,744ha between Sungai Simunjan Kanan and Btg Sadong.

Deputy Minister Alfred Jabu’s family members and cronies also received a provisional lease to plant oil palm. Utahol Sdn Bhd, a company owned by Jabu’s son, Gerald Rentap, was given approval to plant 6,900ha in Ulu Medamit, Limbang.

Jabu’s nephew, Robert Lawson Chuat, had been given a provisional lease to plant 3,665ha with oil palm at Batu Api, Betong and 1581.8ha at Tg Bijat, Simanggang. His company is Durafarm Sdn Bhd.

Henry Jantun, closely associated with Jabu, has also been granted a lease to plant oil palm in 2,873ha between Btg Lupar and Btg Layar, Betong, and 2,127ha at Tg Bijat, Simnaggang, under the name of Everherald Sdn Bhd. On top of that, his company had also been given 2,000ha between Betong and Simanggang for integrated farming.

The government also approved provisional leases to big companies like Bintulu Lumber Development Sdn Bhd, Sarawak Oil Palm Bhd, Tabung Haji, Saremas, KTS, Green Ace Resources, RH Plantation, Samling Plantation, and Shin Yang Oil Palm Sdn Bhd, to name a few.

There are also government-linked companies like Pelita (Land Custody Development Authority), Sarawak Land Development Board and Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority that have been given provisional leases to develop the land for the planting of oil palm.

Legal wrangles
Almost all of these companies have problems with the natives whose NCR lands are within the areas given to them. Besides mounting blockades, the natives are also suing them and the government. For now, there are 203 cases still pending in the High Court.

Who is actually to be blamed for the blunder? Surely it is the government because it has misled the companies into believing that the lands are state lands. Naturally these companies come in and pay their land premium; then they start to clear the land off trees, shrubs and thick bushes. In the process, they also destroy the natives’ rubber trees, fruit trees, and cash crops. Certainly the natives are furious.

Lodging reports with the police are useless because the police cannot take action. These companies are armed with provisional leases and claim to have the right to fell trees or fruit trees in the stated area. Although the natives claim that the lands belong to them, they are put at a disadvantage as they have no land titles to prove that the lands are theirs.

So confrontation begins between the companies and the natives. As land is their life, the natives will not bow to any pressure. Instead, they will resort to setting up blockades because the authorities have failed to help them.

In the meantime, they seek the services of legal firms with a view to stopping (these companies from encroaching their lands) and claiming damages. When some companies from Peninsular Malaysia know that there are such things as NCR land, they abandon the project and leave. But for those who think they have the right, they stay on and find themselves in court. So far the natives have won all the 20 cases that have been settled in the High Court. Many of these companies have spent a colossal amount of money paying lawyers, court costs, and compensations.

The courts have made it clear that NCR land should include “pulau galau” (communal forest), “pemakai menua” (territorial domain), “temuda” (farming land) and “tembawai” (old sites of longhouses).

“This decision was confirmed by the Federal Court when it decided the case of Madeli bin Salleh vs the state government in 2007, which was based on the Nor Anak Nyawai case in 2001,” said Baru Bian, a prominent NCR land lawyer.

“This is the land that they must survey and give titles to,” said Baru, who is the chairman of Sarawak PKR, pointing out that the state government has a different definition of customary right lands.

“What I want to hear loud and clear now from the chief minister is he will make an undertaking to the people of Sarawak to survey all NCR land. This is what we want to hear from the state government.

“There should be no political rhetoric. The Dayaks are rebelling,” he said, urging the government to allocate more money as RM20 million is insufficient to carry out survey works.

But there are questions that beg answers: Why did the government suddenly decide to survey all NCR land? Is it a political gimmick to win the hearts and minds of the rural people before the state election?

James Masing, State Land Development Minister, who knows the general thinking of the public, says that the announcement made by Najib is not a political gimmick. It is real, he said.

The BN government knows that the coming election is crucial and it considers the rural areas as its “fixed deposit”. Thus, it is no wonder that it made the promise to survey all NCR land. In the urban constituencies, it has more or less been confirmed that BN is in big trouble.

The natives have already made up their minds, especially those who have suffered so much over the last 10 years. And following rampant abuses of their NCR land, the landowners have realised the gravity of their problems and are united in their stand.

They have banded and formed the NCR Land Owners Association. This association works closely with Suhakam, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association and other NGOs. Together they are prepared to highlight their problems at international forums, including the United Nations.

And the opposition Pakatan Rakyat is certain to use the NCR land issue as its main topic in the rural areas in the coming state election. It has promised landowners that in the event of an opposition victory, NCR land will be returned to the owners.

This is what worries Najib.

Robert de Niro as our trade envoy?

By Azmin Ali - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT It came as no surprise that the government blamed the global financial crisis as the reason why our foreign direction investment (FDI) has plunged by a shocking 81 percent last year.
Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed reportedly said that the government acknowledged the “dampening” of FDI inflow into Malaysia, but said it reflects a larger trend where the world FDI flows in 2009 fell by 37 percent.

There is a huge gap between 81 percent and 37 percent, if our government knows how to do the maths.

The figures in the World Investment Report 2010 by UNTCAD, a United Nations think-tank, which showed Malaysia’s FDI dropped to USD 1.38 billion last year, from USD 7.32 billion in 2008, is both ironic and telling.

Malaysia is now ranked sixth among the Southeast Asian nations on FDI inflow, losing out to our neighbours like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and even the Philippines.

The report has not only confirmed that we have lost much of the shine to our neighbours, but it also reveals a grim picture for us to restore investors’ confidence and present ourself as a competitive nation.

Since Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak took power last year, he has launched a series of ‘feel-good’ policies like the New Economic Model and the 10th Malaysia Plan, which were hyped up as people- and investors-friendly policy.

The truth remains that we’re still struggling to combat our ballooning budget deficit, which the government aims to narrow to 5.3 percent this year, despite that analysts are doubtful whether that is attainable after the government pumped in RM67 billion last year for the two largely ineffective stimulus packages.

Najib has not really tackled the issue of how to make the bumiputeras more competitive, race-based affirmative action policy remains while corruption and leakages in government delivery system are rampant.

Recent private visit
It is the ordinary Joes that are the ones who suffered the most with the ’5-in-1′ price hikes recently while tens of millions were spent to hire a public relations firm to boost up the PM’s image.

During this time, his wife enjoys a good time with her guest like Hollywood star Robert de Niro who she said would help to clear “misconception” about Malaysia among foreigners (though the latter says he was on a private visit, we have no clue whether the rakyat’s money is involved to treat him nasi lemak and roti canai).

Compared to our neighbours, we did not see such a drastic decline in FDI in Thailand which has suffered its worst political violence in decades in the recent months.

The Bank of Thailand has raised its economic growth forecast recently and expect the country to grow a strong 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.

Singapore, meanwhile, is set to become the world’s fastest-growing economy this year after the government said it will expand between 13 and 15 percent.

And Malaysia? Our economy is officially forecasted to grow 5.5 percent this year though Najib himself would love to see a 6 percent expansion.

Perhaps he require some help from his wife’s guest, Robert de Niro to achieve this.

Jho Low reveals the business behind the parties

Pictures of parties together with socialite Paris Hilton had brought Low quickly into the limelight. — Reuters pic


KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — The young Malaysian who has been making headlines around the globe for his partying ways has revealed he started managing millions at the age of 20 and now handles a US$1 billion (RM3.2 billion) fund.

Low Taek Jho told The Star in an exclusive interview published today that he took a semester off from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 to start an investment fund called The Wynton Group with US$25 million from his family and nine other investors made up of schoolmates from the Middle East.

“We started out with mainly portfolio investments around the world. Subsequently, we decided to move from just buying and selling public shares to private equity.

“As of today, Wynton’s investments stands at in excess of US$1 billion. When I started the company when I was still in university, I had a SOHO, home-office type concept. Subsequently, it was formalised and we had offices in Malaysia, Singapore and headquarters in the British Virgin Islands,” the Penang-born told The Star.

The Arabic-speaking Low added that the group is now relocating its headquarters to Abu Dhabi.

“I have a lot of close friends and good contacts in Abu Dhabi. In particular, I am very good friends with His Excellency Yousef Al Otaiba, who is formerly the director of international relations at the Crown Prince’s court and he is currently the ambassador for UAE to [the] US and Mexico. Yousef is the son of Dr Mana Al Otaiba who is the first oil minister for the UAE.

“I think the great thing between Abu Dhabi and Malaysia is that they have really committed a lot to Malaysia and I think it is not only what we can see from the press on the G-to-G (government-to-government) level but even at the private business levels. There is a lot of trust from them with respect to local Malaysian companies operating in Abu Dhabi especially in the construction sector,” said the third son of Penang businessman Datuk Larry Low.

But Low Taek Jho remains on the board of UBG Berhad as group adviser and non-independent, non-executive director since 2008. He is also group adviser to several international corporations involved in global private equity, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), buyouts, government-to-government offset structured investments, and financing.

He also pointed out that his businesses are run without using a website or social networking sites like Twitter.

“No, that’s definitely not mine,” he said when asked whether he owned the website www.taek-jho-low.com.

“I don’t have a Twitter account and I do not have a website either. But I notice that many websites and blog sites have my name on it. But they’re not mine,” Low added.

In the interview with The Star, Low revealed his personal background, where education and sports played the central role.

“I was a state swimmer. I swam the backstroke for my primary Union school,” he said when the discussion turned to him being described as chubby by the international media. He weighs 88kg and stand 170cm tall.

Low said he remained a swimmer until arriving in the US in 2000, where he began eating huge portions like an American. He had earlier described having an ordinary childhood in Penang until he was 16 years old when his parents sent him to study in Harrow School, which boasts of having educated seven British prime ministers.

Low said he cherished his years in Penang but readily admitted “that in terms of maturing into a business person” was from the time he was at Harrow till the Wharton School of Business.

Known more for being in the company of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and comedian Jamie Foxx, the 28-year-old said his business came from being “at the right time and meeting the right people coupled with a trusting relationship”.

“There were a few key relationships which I started to develop there. Harrow had lots of children of prominent European, Asian and Middle Eastern families. That’s when I met the former King of Jordan’s son, among others.

“That time was a very important time for me. That’s when I felt that I built the core foundation of contacts for the future. That’s quite important, because that’s when you know them as friends and you build the trust level for the future as opposed to meeting someone during the course of your business life,” he said.

Low went to Wharton immediately after Harrow where he expanded his network of friends and relationships between 2000 and 2005, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics, majoring in Finance.

“Throughout the course of 1998 to 2005, it turned out to be a key development period. I believe in hard work and persistence,” he said.

Low noted that he wrote “a couple of articles for the Wharton journal. Some recommendations turned out well, some were terrible.”

"Wharton educates you to look at a diverse portfolio. At the end of the day, it is about managing risk adjusted returns through diversification,” he said.

He also spoke passionately about business for Malaysians in the Middle East.

“I see a lot of opportunities for Malaysians, especially in the Middle East, just purely because there is so much liquidity and capital and vice versa from Middle East to Malaysia, which is where my interest is.

“Ultimately, I am Malaysian. I am one who does not forget my country or my state. And I think there is a lot we can do for Malaysia. But first, you must build the trust of your investors and then you need to deliver what you promised to investors,” Low said.

Don’t pay Kuala Dimensi, govt urged

By FMT Staff

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also Finance Minister, has been urged to immediately bar the Transport Ministry from paying off Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd's (KDSB) debts.
PJ Utara MP Tony Pua said the government was under no obligation to pay the company’s debts if contracted works for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) was incomplete and not done to specifications.

“It makes absolutely no sense for the government to insist on making the payment when the government itself agrees that work has not been carried out.

“The only possible reason for Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha to insist on making the payment, while overriding the decision of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) board of directors who had received the appropriate legal advice, is to protect KDSB and ensure that it does not get into financial troubles with the bondholders,” said Pua, who is also DAP’s national publicity secretary.

Pua was commenting on a statement by the Transport Ministry yesterday.

The ministry had said that PKA would have to make the payment to special purpose vehicles as set out in the payment schedule.

It said “the government had taken all relevant factors into consideration, including the government’s commitment to bondholders, and PKA’s obligations under the agreements signed... PKA had also given an undertaking to make payment to the special purpose vehicles.”

“The ministry’s reason for wanting to make the full payment due amounting to RM372 million as at Jiuly 31, 2010, is completely unacceptable given the fact that PKA is currently disputing the amount of work done by the PKFZ project contractor, KDSB,” Pua said.

He said PKA had also claimed that work on the project was incomplete and not to specifications.

As such, he said there was no legal obligation on the part of PKA or the government to make any payment to any party until these disputes are resolved, especially since the PKA has already filed a suit in the High Court to contest up to RM1.4 billion worth of works.

Undertakings

Explaining the details of the contract, Pua said that as part of the bond agreement's security arrangements, KDSB had issued two letters of undertaking.

The first letter is for the construction, development and completion of the project on a turnkey basis. The second one is to cover any shortfall in the amount payable by PKA vis-a-vis payment obligations under the bond after taking into account the credit balance in the escrow account.

He said KDSB had also granted a “power of attorney to bondholders as security to ensure that the development works are completed as per the terms and conditions of the agreement.

“The bondholders can, however, only invoke and exercise this right if KDSB has defaulted under the agreements.

“The two letters and power of attorney basically means that if the government fails to make payment for the project to the bondholders due to incomplete works, the bondholders will then demand from KDSB any shortfall in the amount payable by PKA,” he said in a statement this morning.

Pua said legal action could also be initiated against KDSB for failing to complete the project and for the bondholders to take over the development works of the project.

“These actions will obviously mean substantial losses for KDSB, a company owned by Barisan Nasional (BN) backbencher's chairman, Tiong King Sing.

“Hence to avoid this, Kong has chosen to instruct PKA to make the payments which are 'due' despite the on-going dispute and litigation, to ensure that one of the biggest beneficiaries of BN patronage projects remains an on-going concern.

“What is perhaps most disappointing is the fact that this decision comes at a time when the government has preached prudence in expenditure and has urged the people to accept substantially reduced subsidies.

“Yet when it comes to one of its own (government-linked companies) like Syabas or KDSB, the BN government will not hesitate to extend hundreds of millions of ringgit to assist these them,” he said.

Pua suggested that the Finance Ministry should request that in the event any payments is made, it should be channelled into a special trust or escrow account manned by independent auditors until the government's litigation with KDSB has been resolved in the courts.

Police brutality, corruption and abuse of power

By Dr. Gédéon
I am an Australian Citizen and used to live in Malaysia on a MM2H visa. In 2007, I was assaulted. I then went to the police station to make a report and instead of taking my report, the police ARRESTED AND IMPRISONED ME FOR 12HOURS.
They also punched me hard in the stomach and pointed TWO GUNS at my head!!!! I then appointed Datuk Karpal Singh who found out that the boss of the guy who assaulted me had called the police station to ask them to detain me when I go to make the report! In January this year, Sukaham started investigating this matter and wrote FIVE times to the police so far but the police have not responded to any letter!
I have also sent FIVE letters to the Minister for Tourism, NINE letters to the Police Inspector, EIGHT emails to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EIGHT emails to the MInistry of Home Affairs, SIX emails to the Political Secretary of His Majesty King of Malaysia BUT NO ONE HAS RESPONDED OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED MY COMPLAINT AGAINST THE POLICE!!!!
Please note that I am not in Malaysia anymore nor do I intend to go back there! 
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Apart from several breaches by the police of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the various Malaysian constitutional Acts, the following barbarous acts occurred but were not mentioned in the reports because of the trauma Dr Gédéon suffered from at the time of his arrest when two guns were pointed at his head by the police officers who think they are above the law!
1 ) He was handcuffed (both hands) at Damansara Perdana Police Station and suffered from loss of sensation to his right wrist for 5 months after the incident;
2 ) A gun was pointed at his head by two plain-clothed police officers at Damansara Perdana Police station, who slapped him on both cheeks and punched him in the stomach;
3 ) No officer he saw at Damansara Perdana or Damansara Mutiara stations, including Officer Nik ,Corporal Vellou and officer Saiful (159863) would give him the name of the two police officers who pointed a gun at his head and who punched him in the stomach;
4 ) No police officer he saw at Damansara Perdana or Damansara Mutiara including Officer Nik, Corporal Vellou and officer Saiful (159863) would give him the name of the person who assaulted him despite the fact that they knew very well the identity of the assaulter but they were trying to protect him because they were ordered to do so by MK Land!
5 ) He was denied a telephone call to a legal practitioner;
6 ) He was denied a telephone call to his Embassies to inform them of his arrest;
7 ) He was denied a glass of water and for the next 11 hours he was dehydrating as no water was provided to him to the point where he passed out from pain and dehydration;
8 ) Before being thrown in a tiny (less than 10 sqm), crowded and filthy cell with a least 10 criminals, he was asked to take his shirt off which he refused to do and as result the police officer verbally abused him and pointed his gun at him "This is my country [...] You are only a fucking [sic] foreigner in here. You do what I tell you to do."
9 ) His life was in danger after being placed in a cell with a number of criminals;
10 ) He repeatedly asked why he was thrown in jail but the officer never answered his question. (About a month or two after that, he finally became aware of the reason for his arrest: Disturbance of the Peace! A fabrication of lies by MK Land and the corrupt police force);
11 ) He was chained up (shackled) to 2 criminals and transported to another police station where he was finally released after more than 12 hours;
12 ) Minutes before Dr Gédéon was tricked to go to the back of the police station on 11 August 2007, one MK Land staff Fatimah Wahab who was treated like a Queen at the station, was making a report against him. A police officer approached Dr Gédéon and asked him for his passport details. It was only after he gave his passport’s details that he realised the officer’s
intentions were to get this information to that woman. Dr Gédéon has lived all his life in countries where privacy is protected by law and sharing sensitive information is a very serious offence. Also, under International and Australian Laws, passport details are to be provided only to immigration officials only or police. The police have misused their power;
13 ) Before being transported to Damansara Mutiara police station, he was taken back to the waiting area at the Damansara Perdana police station handcuffed and the police officer raised Dr Gédéon’s hands in the direction of one MK Land staff Fatimah Wahab (who was still making a report against Dr Gédéon while the police was treating her like the Prime Minister), to humiliate Dr Gédéon and to show Fatimah that Dr Gédéon was handcuffed;
14 ) Dr Gédéon made repeated requests to the police officers to give him the name of the person who assaulted him but the police refused to give him his details despite the fact that they knew who he was and his full name! Bias and favouritism are very obvious in this context;
15 )The person who assaulted both Dr Gédéon and the female resident, Irene, was never punished or reprimanded by police because the police was ordered by MK Land to protect him! In fact, Dr Gédéon’s Malaysian friends in Malaysia have asked him not to put their name as witnesses or supporters in any complaint he makes because [we] fear retaliation from the police because we know you [sic]. Dr Gédéon believes them as they are Malaysians and are more aware of Malaysia’s life.
Indeed, Irene, has sent him an email two weeks ago informing him that she fears for her life and does not wish to be a witness in court should he take action against the police. She also informed him that she had an anonymous call asking her about the whereabouts of Dr Gédéon.The caller threatened that she will not "see the light if you support him or say anything against MK Land or the police" [sic]
16 ) Dr Gédéon left Malaysia in August 2008 for the following reasons:
a - The assault on him and the police events, which occurred two weeks after his fall, have aggravated his condition and he is now permanently disabled;
b - He had also received a number of anonymous death threats and the police took no action;
c - He did not feel safe anymore in Malaysia and he feared he would be murdered if he stayed there as MK Land threatened to murder him;
17 ) Following the permanent psychological disability caused by the Police and the permanent physical disability due to his fall, Dr Gédéon had been unable to work since 2008 and as a result he could not make his monthly mortgage repayments to Citibank for the apartment he had purchased in 2007 in Damansara Perdana.
Citibank repossessed the apartment in November 2009 and sold it at a price well below the market price. Furthermore, he had 80% interest in a small business in KL where he was employing 11 Malaysian citizens and contributing to the economy of Malaysia. He lost the business as well and had to terminate all his 11 Malaysian employees;
18 ) Dr Gédéon is now psychologically scarred for life and suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and requiring permanent medical attention for both his physical and psychological condition but due to the injury caused by MK Land's negligence, he does not have the financial means anymore to afford the substantial medical treatment needed!;
19 ) Dr Gédéon had sent a complaint to Inspector General of the Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan in July 2009, and resent the letter FIVE times but received no reply from him;
20 ) Dr Gédéon has also written to the Tourism Minister in April 2008, and resent the complaint in December, March, and October 2009, but unfortunately, never received a reply;
21 ) In addition, the police have breached the following articles 3,5,7, 9 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as Malaysia’s different Acts.
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 11. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial […]
Last but not least, Dr Gédéon does not intend to ever go back to Malaysia as he fears for his life due to several death threats he had received.

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Bucking traditions of inequality

By Deborah Loh | The Nuts Graph
(All pics below courtesy of Chong Eng)
(All pics below courtesy of Chong Eng)
BUKIT Mertajam Member of Parliament Chong Eng bucked some traditions in her younger days. Coming from a Chinese new village, she was the first girl in her family who managed to persuade her father to let her continue secondary school. Her interracial marriage later on was also considered uncommon, given her background.
Born in 1957 in Kerayong New Village, Pahang, Chong Eng learnt about gender inequality at a young age by observing how women in the village often did more work than men. Later, she would discover ethnic and language inequality as a student.
She joined the DAP in 1990, first as a staff to help with the general election that year, and subsequently as a member. Now head of the Wanita DAP, Chong Eng met The Nut Graph in Parliament on 14 July 2010 to trace how her growing up has shaped her politics.
TNG: Can you trace your ancestry?
Chong Eng: My parents were born here, but my grandparents came from China. My mother, when she was about seven years old, was left behind in Malaya together with her elder sister. Their parents went back to China because their father was sick. They took along their sons and a younger daughter. My mother and her sister were sold as tong yan shi – girls who were sold to be married later to the sons of other families. It was common at the time, and my mother’s parents needed the money to return to China.
Chong Eng, standing far left, with her family
Chong Eng, standing far left, with her family
So my mother grew up in my father’s family. She was expected to do all the house chores and she never went to school. My father went to school for only two to three years. They were poor and it was during the Japanese occupation. My father and mother got married when she was about 18 years old.
My parents worked as rubber tappers. At one time, my father ran a coffee shop. I also seem to remember him not working for a period of time. It was mainly my mother making a living for the family.
On my father’s side, I never saw his parents. For one, he didn’t know where his father was while growing up. And his mother passed away quite young. So I didn’t know my grandparents on either side. However, we now know where the graves of my father’s parents are, and we visit them.
Where did you spend your childhood, and what was it like?
I was born and grew up in the Kerayong New Village, in Temerloh, Pahang. Now it is in Bera. There [were] ten children in our family. An elder brother, followed by six girls and three younger brothers. I am the fourth child.
Our family was poor and even the children had to work. My two elder sisters tapped rubber for RM3 a day when they were in Standard Five and Standard Six. They didn’t go to secondary school because at that time, you had to pay RM7.50 every month per student. If they went to secondary school, it’s not just the school fees, but loss of income for our family.
I told my mother that I wanted to go to secondary school. At that time, my role models were women teachers. I told my mother, women don’t have to tap rubber only, they can also be teachers. My mother said this was a decision my father had to make. Surprisingly, my father said okay.
So that’s how I got to go to Form One. In remove class and Form One, I still had to get up at 4am to tap rubber before going to school. I earned RM3 a day. My mother would only give me 20 sen to go to school. That was enough to buy a few kuih.
After me, my younger brothers and sisters could go to secondary school as long as they passed Standard Six. It was easier for them as the economy had improved, too.
What stories did your parents tell you, or what lessons from your childhood do you remember until today?
As a student
As a student
Not so much stories that my parents told, but I think my life is very much influenced by my mother. My mother never went to school, but she could do a lot of things. She could count and calculate money because she not only tapped rubber but sold it. She was also very prudent. Today, she would be called a “green consumer”. She reused, recycled and repaired old and broken things. She also avoided problems with people or quarrelling with them.
Did you get your sense of women’s rights from your mother?
No, I got my sense of women’s rights when my sisters didn’t get to go to secondary school, but my elder brother did. From there I realise there was inequality. Girls did not have the same opportunity to further their studies.
Also, being in a rural community where everybody went to work in the morning, I saw that after work, the men were the ones relaxing in the coffee shop. Only the women had to continue working. We picked firewood, fed the pigs, cooked for the family. The girls had to do all the chores. We girls took turns to wash shoes, including all our brothers’ shoes. We washed everybody’s clothes and the dishes. But not the men and boys.
How have these childhood experiences shaped your identity as a Malaysian and a woman?
If you ask me what my identity is, I will say I am a Malaysian Chinese woman.
As a woman, even though I’ve had the chance to go to university, I still see that society is male-dominated. Men make all the decisions, and the rules of the game are also male-formulated. And I think women today do not feel the difference and inequality between men and women. It has become mainstream – that the rules are made by men, and women just assimilate themselves into it. They are not conscious that there is a gender gap.
People say, “What’s the difference, women are allowed to do a lot of things, so what?” I think it’s only when you reach a certain level that you feel the inequality and the difficulty. People don’t see that the glass ceilings in society are due to gender inequality. They say, “As long as the law doesn’t discriminate, what’s the problem?” They say, “You can contest [in elections] as long as you are good.” But they do not see the gender barriers.
So what challenges do you face as a woman politician?
There are very few women politicians. In Parliament, only 23 out of 222 Members of Parliament are women. Women are really a minority at this level of decision-making.
As a young party worker
As a young party worker
In politics, the focus is often about the economy, Gross Domestic Product growth, and physical development. But nobody talks about social or human development. And such development will continue to be marginalised because there are already very few women leaders to begin with. On top of that, some women leaders will only talk about mainstream political issues. Because that’s how you get attention and support to move upwards. “Softer” issues do not get as much attention. The mainstream view is wary or resistant to what you are trying to lobby.
I see this as the biggest challenge: how to make those in the mainstream, the decision-makers, see that women should be considered. Because women are half the population, they take care of children, the senior citizens and the disabled. Women do a lot of work but are not influential. They cannot influence policy or the national budget, because the budget factors in race and geographical considerations, but not gender.
That’s why progress on women’s issues is slow. The United Nations has the [Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women], which a lot of countries have signed but until now have not implemented it because it is not the most urgent thing for them. Malaysia has also signed it. For politicians [in Malaysia], as long as something does not negatively influence your support or voter base, if it doesn’t bring harm and doesn’t oblige you to fulfill it, you just sign lah, because even if you don’t [fulfill it] you will still get elected.
What about your identity as a [Chinese] Malaysian?
With DAP stalwarts Lim Kit Siang, Dr Chen Man Hin and Karpal Singh
With DAP stalwarts Lim Kit Siang, Dr Chen Man Hin and Karpal Singh
I first saw racial inequality after I finished Form Five. I was a science student and got okay results , which entitled me to enter Form Six, except for the fact that I did not get a credit in Bahasa Malaysia. I come from a Chinese-education background so Mandarin is my first and best language. I did Form Six in TAR College instead.
I had also wanted to be a teacher in a Chinese-language school. But because I didn’t have a credit for Bahasa, I couldn’t go to a teacher training college. So it was the first time I felt unfairness and inequality in language. I wanted to teach Mandarin in a Chinese primary school, why couldn’t I, even though my Bahasa was not that good? I felt that making it compulsory for students to get a credit in Bahasa marginalised students like me.
After TAR College, I went to university and saw that people with much worse results were getting into good courses. People with 2.0 as their aggregate were sent overseas to get their Masters and to come back and teach. I felt it was really unfair.
In university, the medium was Bahasa. And again, I felt that our language policy did not take into account students’ ability or what might be the best language for them to learn in. Our education and language policy is politically motivated rather than being focused on human development.
You married an Indian Malaysian. Did you face any challenges in your relationship coming from different backgrounds?
We met at a university sports meet. His family is more open because his brothers have married Australians and New Zealanders. But my family, being from a Chinese new village, had never known Indian [Malaysians] as neighbours. To my parents, Indians are JKR (Public Works Department) workers. My parents worried and didn’t understand why I wanted to marry an Indian when there were so many Chinese [around]. It was my elder brother who managed to persuade them.
With husband K Gunabalan
With husband K Gunabalan
What kind of Malaysia do you hope for in the future?
A Malaysian Malaysia! That’s why I joined the DAP. I feel it is the party that can give equality to all. Not just racial equality but also gender equality, because without gender equality there won’t be social equality.

Former Kedah JPAM Director Sent To Jail For Corruption

ALOR SETAR, July 29 (Bernama) -- The Alor Setar Sessions Court today sentenced former Kedah Civil Defence Department (JPAM) director Mohamad Abdullah to three years jail and fined him RM11,200 or six months jail, after finding him guilty of corruption.

Mohamad, 49, who faced a second charge was also handed two years jail and fined RM10,000 or four months jail by Sessions court judge Nor Sharidah Awang.

Both sentences were to start from the day of sentencing.

In the first charge, Mohamad was accused of issuing a document on Feb 16, 2005 which contained false information, to an administrative assistant of the state JPAM.

In the document, he (Mohamad) had claimed that Mohd Roshid Hussain, 32, a food caterer had catered food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for 70 Giat Mara JPAM Sungai Tiang unit members from March 17 to 20, 2005.

He was also charged for a similar offence, claiming Mohd Roshid had catered food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for 80 Giat Mara JPAM Sungai Tiang unit members from May 19 to 21, 2005.

On both occasions, the caterer, Mohd Roshid did cater food as claimed by Mohamad while the documents were meant to deceive the recipient said the charge.

In the same court, Mohd Roshid who was charged with abetting Mohamad, was also sentenced to two years jail from the date of the sentence and fined RM11,200 or six months jail for the first offence and 18 months jail and RM10,000 or four months jail for the second offence.

Both were charged with committing the offences at the JPAM office situated on the 6th Floor of Wisma Persekutuan here between June 26 and July 28, 2005. 2005.

Prosecution was led by deputy public prosecutor from the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) Janariah Abdul Mutalib.

Allegations against DPP are serious ethical concerns

The Sun 
by Tan Yi Liang

PETALING JAYA (July 28, 2010): The allegations against Deputy Public Prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif are serious enough to warrant disciplinary action and should be investigated.

Speaking to theSun in a phone interview today, Malaysian Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said actions such as being romantically linked to a key witness in a prosecution are "ethical matters".

"It is definitely is an ethical matter, as prosecutions are done in the interest of justice. You are there to put your case before the court in the interest of justice. As there is no client here, there should be no relationship between prosecutor and complainant," he said.

Farah, who has been dropped from the prosecution team in the sodomy trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was allegedly romantically involved with the complainant in the trial, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

"Even in a private solicitor-client relationship, it is unethical as the issue of objectivity would be questioned. Will the solicitor be fair to the client. It is even more onerous in the case of a prosecutor," added Ragunath.

He said he supported her removal from the team and an investigation to determine whether the prosecution has been compromised and whether she had access to any information that would compromise the prosecution of the accused.

He added that a lawyer could be disbarred for such a relationship, but cautioned that certain factors have to be considered.

"Many factors have to be considered such as the extent of the relationship and the time it occurred- was it before, during or after the time the lawyer was handling the case.

The test when it comes to punishment is whether it affected his or her objectivity in handling the case," said Ragunath.

Anwar's counsel Sankara Nair accused Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail of skirting the issue when he announced that Farah had been dropped from the prosecution team and the division.

"He didn't confirm...I think the AG is skirting the issue as he has yet to reply to me formally. By taking this action, he is only fueling suspicions with regards to this matter," he said.

He had sent a letter to Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden on Monday to seek a confirmation of the information which first appeared on the Malaysia Today blog.

When asked if Anwar's defence team would move for a mistrial, Sankara declined to comment, but said it was an option.

"Under the law, Saiful cannot be given any advantage, and he should be treated like any other witness, because it is the public prosecutor who is prosecuting Anwar. He cannot access any information he is not allowed to have," he said. -- theSun

Open Letter: Robert De Niro, Will you star in my Rosmelda biopic?

This letter was not selected for publication, and I must say I’m a little disappointed – worked quite hard at it, and was really a delight to write :P :) In the off chance you enjoy it, do help spread – mebbe it’ll even reach the man’s eyes himself :P
Dear Mr. De Niro,
I have a proposal for you good sir.
But first: how exciting to hear that you may have quietly slipped into Malaysia for a visit under an assumed identity this last weekend!
We are told you made this visit at the behest of our self-proclaimed First Lady, Her Excellency Datin Seri Paduka Rosmah Mansor.
She tells us you met in New York, and quotes you as telling her that “You are very progressive, you are very engaging. I would like to come to your country.”
I confess, I can’t possibly imagine you using such language, and have a hard time believing you would say such things given first, your intelligence, and second, the available facts regarding the person in question and our country’s rather abominable record of civil and political rights.
But let’s leave all that boring, serious stuff aside; I can’t help but be excited that you’ve been here, and your visit has emboldened me to ask – would you like to star in a movie I’m planning?
I know it’s a long shot, but I’ve read about your willingness to engage in social and political issues, and perhaps you have a newfound interest in Southeast Asia that you might care to indulge.
The heart of my story is a meditation on ambition. I want to explore what motivates people (in politics in particular) to chase the things they do, how they evolve once they get them, and the lengths they will go to preserve what they’ve obtained.
At the center of this tale is a husband and wife, rising to political power in a fictional Southeast Asian nation. The story begins as the husband finally ascends to the highest political office in the land. We then trace the ‘adventures’ this couple goes through as a result of this ascension.
Inspiration for these two lead characters are taken from various personae within the region throughout history.
I imagine the husband to be a lacklustre, it not entirely witless, timid man, who has finally managed to occupy the number one seat through a combination of patience, a refusal to stick his neck out, and incessant fuedalistic patronage. With little appetite for blood, his weapon of choice is money (and lots of it) and his primary weakness is the fairer sex.
This however, is hardly reflected in his choice of mate. A second marriage for both, this union is clearly one of political alliance, rather than any form of attraction or affection.
He is the son of a former premier, and she sees him as the perfect raw material to be moulded under her manipulative care. Here, I am thinking of the dynamic between Lady Macbeth and her husband in the early part of the play.
As you may be aware, politicians in my neck of the woods are world famous for kleptocracy of unimaginable scale – we’re up there with the worst of African despots. Why, only recently we read of some USD 55 billion mysteriously disappearing over time in shady defence contracts (the husband’s previous ministry is Defence, of course).
I think this will be an important part of the movie – we must explore these shady deals, the wheeling and dealing in dimly lit hotel lounges; the suitcases of cash; the beautiful women in elegant red dresses.
All this runs rampant because a great culture of secrecy exists in this fictional nation, where information is controlled meticulously and jealously – not at all unlike the Britain protrayed in “Brazil” (although far less bureaucratic; we don’t want to be sued by the Singapore government), where all call out for a Harry Tuttle.
So, our husband and wife have done deal after deal, skimmed more than a little of uncountable tops, and have finally arrived at their goal.
Slowly, both husband and wife start to cut loose. The latter starts daydreaming the recognition that comes from rubbing shoulders with the most glamorous glitterati of the world. We’re not talking about faded movie stars or socialites, we’re talking Al Pacino, Oprah, Kanye West and the like.
Perhaps the couple will have a wayward son, who goes on champagne buying sprees around the globe with controversial Hollywood starlets.
Meanwhile, our husband starts cavourting with wilder and wilder women – one encounter ending in pregnancy and a rather belligerent young mistress going around threatening to expose everything.
The wife of course is not having any of this – there’s no way she would allow some young tart to destroy all that they’ve worked for.
In a manner that I must stress is not at all in any way, shape or form inspired by true events, the wife then proceeds to arrange for the mistress to be killed, and her body detonated in some far off jungle (death is not enough after all, all traces of the pregnancy must be destroyed).
The fallout is serious, but the couple’s tight grip on the media eventually allows them to get their personal bodyguards charged and convicted for the crime (even though those poor fellows had no discernible motive whatsoever), while the only potential witness to the murder is hauled in for questioning by the authorities only to be found having mysteriously fallen to his death from the fourteenth floor of the building in which he was being interrogated.
(No one is charged – the death is passed off as suicide, notwithstanding the fact that the poor fellow was due to get married the following week.)
Anyhow, enough about poor fellows.
So husband and wife are now facing pesky writers on the internet who keep stirring shit and calling attention to issues like these deaths, shady acuqisitions of jet fighters that don’t fly, and missing submarine engines, along with a huge scam involving some free zone port.
To battle all this bad press, the couple decides to call in the big guns to repair their image. Having been in politics so long by now, their belief is that all they need to control and change is public perception, rather than anything genuine.
They go for the best money can buy, which in this case is a Washington-based lobbying and public relations firm called OCPA, globally renowned for doing the dirty work of image revamps for dictators, despots and tyrants the world over.
I was wondering if you might be interested in playing a wheeler-dealer from OCPA? After all, the rise to prominence, influence and power of such firms in America is something I imagine you’re familiar with, and I think it would be interesting to explore their growing role in third world politics.
I think the perfect reference point for such a character, if you don’t mind reprising a role somewhat, is spin doctor Conrad Brean from “Wag the Dog”. In fact, I must credit the idea behind that movie as a major influence.
Back to the story. Our couple pays OCPA a huge ton of money, and before long there’s a new, feel good OneNation campaign that sweeps the country, our husband starts appearing in major Western newspapers, meets Obama, and so on.
Our wife meanwhile, really starts to party it up, with her new OCPA friends being perfectly trained to cater to all her celebrity fantasies. Lavish parties are arranged for, and all the who’s who who may have never heard of our little Southeast Asian nation before are suddenly honoured guests at dinners to fete the awarding of an off-the-shelf award created by an OCPA-like organisation to our thrilled wife.
Perhaps you can even play yourself at such an event? It’d be amazing if we can get Kanye to emcee.
I can’t hide much longer though – I think I must reveal one of my major inspirations for this character. There is obviously, after all, the wife of a Southeast Asian leader who fits the bill quite closely.
A lady famed for extravagance and indulgent, “image-boosting” events; a thirst for celebrity hobnobbing that belies at best insecurity, and at worst, shameless pandering; seen by her subjects the same way Marie Antoinette was seen by the French public; a woman with a promiscuous husband whose mistress she wanted to kill; and of course, most of all, the real power behind the throne.
Yes, I’m talking about Imelda Marcos.
Yes, the lady who wrote the book where squandering millions meant for the poor on fluff is concerned. In fact, I confess that this movie is driven by the same questions posed in an article by Lance Morrow, in Time Magazine, back in 1986, when the Marcos empire finally began to unravel (as these things inevitably do) – an attempt to understand the nature of truly excessive high-brow, debauchery.
Imelda apparently had a very close friendship with George Hamilton. Perhaps you might consider playing the role of such a ‘celebrity sidekick’ as well. Most people wouldn’t associate the great Robert De Niro with that kind of flamboyance, but I think your brilliant performance in “Stardust” has put to rest any doubts as to your versatility.
We can’t reference her directly of course, but perhaps we can give her a similar sounding name. Rosmelda perhaps? As for Ferdinand, somehow the name Ferdinajib comes to mind, but that probably just sounds too ridiculous.
In any case, if you know of anyone, even if mere recent acquaintances, who might be right for the part, I’m more than happy to take recommendations. In keeping with a sense of realism and for practical purposes, I think we can forego any requirement that the actress look like a former beauty queen.
How does the movie end? I’m toying with the idea of a people power revolution that toppled the real Imelda Marcos, but ironically, I’m not entirely sure how true to life that would be. Not yet, anyway.
Perhaps something more poignant? I confess, “The Mission” is one of my favourite movies – one perhaps that contains subtle hope amidst persistent hopelessness. Perhaps an ending along those lines might hit home a little better; although, I’m not sure whether our characters will go through the same journey of redemption yours did.
In any case, once again Mr. De Niro, a belated welcome to our shores. I’ll look forward to your favourable reply!