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Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Inconvenient Truth About Islam From an Ex-Muslim Woman

Karpal suggests death penalty for child rapist

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP National Chairman Karpal Singh called on the government to amend Section 376 of the Penal Code to provide for the death penalty for child rapists.

Karpal said Saturday that, although he had been an advocate for the abolition of the death penalty, the almost daily occurrences of crimes against children, in particular, instances of rape against them, should prompt the government to act in the public interest and introduce bold and effective measures.

"This is to send a clear message to would-be offenders that the law will not tolerate the rape of innocent children anymore," he said in a statement here Saturday.

Karpal said the recent alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl while being driven from school in a school bus by the driver brought into sharp focus the dire necessity of reviewing the penalty for such offences.

He said the punishment for rape of a child under the age of 12 under Section 376(2)(e) of the Penal Code was a term of imprisonment which might extend to 30 years together with whipping. Undoubtedly, he said, the guilt of the accused must be proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

In cases where an accused was caught red-handed in the act, supported by the evidence of credible eye witnesses, there should be no difficulty in proving the case beyond reasonable doubt, he said.

"I am mindful of the danger of the execution of an innocent man. The execution of the death penalty is irreversible. The horror suffered by an innocent man condemned to death at the instance of the State is beyond imagination," he said.

However, he said the magnitude of the offence of rape of an innocent child in broad daylight, spotted by eye witnesses “must attract the need to amend the law.” - Bernama

Israel hits Gaza after rocket fire

A Palestinian journalist said Israel had been expected to 'retaliate' for the Ashkelon attack [Reuters]
Israel has launched air strikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, injuring eight Palestinians, Palestinian sources say.
Sami Zyara, a Palestinian journalist in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that at least two rockets launched late on Friday targeted a police training centre run by Hamas.
The Israeli military said its air force struck "a Hamas-linked terror activity site in the northern Gaza Strip, a weapons-manufacturing warehouse in the central Gaza Strip and a weapons-smuggling tunnel in the southern Gaza Strip" overnight.
"The attack is in response to the Grad rocket that was fired at Israel on Friday morning … which hit the city of Ashkelon, causing property damage," the military added.
No one was injured in the rocket attack, but windows of an apartment block were shattered and parked cars in a residential area of the city were damaged, ending over a year of calm for the Israeli city closest to Gaza about 10km away.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said "Israel takes the firing on Ashkelon very seriously".
A police spokesman said the rocket fired was a 122mm, Chinese-made Grad, with a heavier payload and greater range than the crude, homemade rockets armed Palestinian group were launching almost daily until Israel's three-week military offensive into Gaza 18 months ago.
Zyara confirmed that the Israeli strikes "came after rockets were fired at Ashkelon", adding that "none of the Palestinian groups declared responsibility for that attack".
The Israeli military says it holds Hamas, which governs the coastal Palestinian territory, "solely responsible for terror emanating from the Gaza Strip".
Hamas says it is trying to stop armed groups from firing at Israel, but smaller groups have continued to launch rockets.
There were fewer injuries in the Gaza strikes than there could have been, given the crowded area that was hit, because Palestinians expected that "Israel would retaliate" for the attack on Ashkelon, Zyara said.
Push for talks
Israeli media said the Israeli government had lodged a protest with the United Nations for the Ashkelon attack.
In a statement, UN Special Co-ordinator Robert Serry said "indiscriminate rocket fire against civilians is completely unacceptable and constitutes a terrorist attack".
No one was injured in the Ashkelon attack but windows were shattered [Reuters]
Hamas must not allow violence to undermine progress in talks between Israel and the Palestinians, he added.
Friday's violence coincided with diplomatic efforts to persuade Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, that he should advance from indirect negotiations to direct talks with Israel in pursuit of a Middle East peace pact – a course that Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza oppose.
Abbas, branded by Hamas as a pawn of the West, has been negotiating with Netanyahu indirectly for two months via a US mediator and is under pressure from Washington to upgrade to face to-face talks before the end of September.
On Thursday, Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo gave Abbas the green light to engage in direct peace talks with Israel when he feels the time is right.
Hamas rejected the decision, calling it a "political sin".
Friday's rocket attack and military strikes also come amid a demand from the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva that Israel lift its military blockade of Gaza – imposed since Hamas seized power there in June 2007 – and let an independent fact-finding mission investigate its raid on an aid flotilla on May 31 in which nine activists were killed by Israeli soldiers.
Israel has since eased restrictions on imports of food and consumer goods to Gaza but insists that the naval blockade must stay in place to help prevent shipment of weapons to hostile groups in the enclave.

Keluarga Hindu diugut & dinafikan kebebasan hak beragama dan penganiyaan oleh JAIM

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Date  :    31th July 2010
YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak Prime Minister of Malaysia, Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,             Fax: 03-88883444 62502 Putrajaya         E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my
Y.B Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Menteri Kementerian Dalam Negeri, Kementerian Dalam Negeri, 
Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D, 
Pusat Pentadbiran, 
Kerajaan Persekutuan,                        Fax: 03-2693 3131 
62546 Putrajaya              E-Mail: menteri@moha.gov.my
Y.B. SENATOR MEJAR JENERAL (B) DATO’ SERI JAMIL KHIR BIN BAHAROM Minister in The Prime Minister’s Department, 
Level 9, Block D7, Parcel D, 
Federal Government Administrative Centre,                                Fax: 03-8888 4952 
62519 PUTRAJAYA.        E-mail: menteri@islam.gov.my
YAB/Y.B, Per: Keluarga Hindu diugut & dinafikan kebebasan hak beragama dan penganiyaan oleh JAIM
Merujuk kepada perkara yang tersebut diatas kami membawa kepada perhatian pihak tuan berkenaan satu keluarga Hindu yang dipaksa memuluk agama Islam berikut:-


Nama  Hindu Nama Islam yang dipaksa                                    No KP dan status yang dipaksa                                              
Rani (Ibu)                                           Jamilah Binti Kadir                       640425-10-7934  (Islam)
Muniandy a/l Munusamy (ayah) Mustapha Muniandy bin Abdullah K/P 5702390 (Islam)
580913-10-6023
Vijaya Letchumy a/p Muniandy
(anak)
Aishah Binti Mustapha Muninady 830321-10-5894 (Hindu) 
Ganesan a/l Muniandy
(anak)
Abdul Bin Mustapha Munindy 840917-10-6037 (Islam)
Nagendran a/l Muniandy
(anak)
Hamzah  Bin Mustapha Munindy 861101-43-5877 (Islam)
Chitradevi a/p Munindy Chitra Devi Binti Mustapa 940425-10-6354 (Islam)
Mereka sekeluarga ini adalah penganut ugama Hindu yang dianiyai oleh Jabatan Agama Islam Melaka (JAIM). Mereka mengamalkan ugama Hindu dan hidup sebagai orang Hindu. Selama 18 tahun yang lampau mereka telah berjuang supaya nama dan status agama Islam dalam Kad Pengenalan mereka ditukar.
Kronologi  Rani (Jamilah Binti Kadir) adalah anak perempuan kepada Aminah A/P Ahmadu & ayahnya Abdullah Kadir A/L Abdullah yang berasal dari Banting, Selangor.  16 hari selapas Jamilah dilahirkan, Ibunya telah menyerahkan Rani kepada jiran mereka bernama Kandasamy(Hindu) sebagai anak mereka.
Rani dibesarkan sebagai seorang Hindu dan pada umur 16 tahun Rani telah dikahwinkan dengan Munindy a/l Munusamy. Mereka berkahwin secara sah disisi ugama Hindu di Kuil Teluk Bunut Banting dengan adat istiadat Hindu. Mereka telah tidak mendaftarkan perkahwinan mereka.
Kehidupan keluarga mereka menjadi kucar-kacir setelah Rani mengandung dan beliau pergi ke hospital Seremban untuk pemeriksaan doktor pada tahun 1983. Pada masa tersebut jururawat hospital tersebut telah mendapati kad pegenalan Rani sebagai orang Islam. Pihak hospital telah melaporkan perkara ini kepada pihak polis. Pada malam itu pegawai daripada Jabatan Agama Islam Negeri Sembilan telah datang kerumah Rani dan beliau memeriksa Kad Pengenalan mereka lalu menahan suaminya Muniandy dan diugut jika beliau tidak memeluk ugama Islam beliau akan dipenjara untuk 6 tahun. Kerana tekanan, ugutan dan tidak mahu dipenjara 6 tahun Muniandy takut dan telah tunduk kepada kehendak Jabatan Agama Negeri Sembilan dan dia telah disunat pada hari yang sama.
Selepas daripada itu Jabatan JAINS telah membawa Rani dan Muniandy untuk berjumpa ibu kandung Rani. Ibu kandung Rani iaitu Aminah A/P Ahmadu telah megesahkan dan membenarkan anaknya Rani dibesarkan oleh keluarga angkat secara Hindu. Namun pihak JAINS enggan menerima alasan ibu Rani dan JAIM menikahkan mereka secara paksa.
Rani sekeluarga telah berpindah ke Melaka pada tahun 2000 dan telah pergi ke JAIM dan Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) (dengan membawa surat akuan bersumpah yang menyatakan bahawa beliau sedang mengamalkan agama Hindu) lebih-kurang 18 kali untuk tukar status agama mereka tetapi pihak berkenaan tidak peduli dengan kehendak mereka.
Ibu Rani, Aminah A/P Ahmadu telah menulis surat akuan (dilampirkan besama) kepada Ustaz Liew dari Masjid Al-Azim, Melaka:-
Walaupun Rani telah dinikahkan mengikut agama Islam, mereke masih mengamalkan upacara orang Hindu dan tidak pernah mengikut upacara dan adat resam orang Islam. Sejak lahir hingga sekarang anak saya masih meneruskan kehidupannya sebagai orang Hindu dan tidak pernah mengikut upacara ataupun adat resam orang Islam. Aminah memohon kepada JAIM supaya membenarkan Rani untuk terus mengamalkan agama Hindu.
Selepas surat akuan Aminah A/P Ahmadu bertarikh 10/03/2008 ini kepada JAIM,  Ustaz Liew dan rombongan telah meziarah kediaman Rani dan mengesahkan bahwa Rani dan sekeluarga mengamal agama Hindu. Dua minggu kemudian Ustaz Liew memanggil keluarga ini ke Masjid Al Azim dimana Rani, Vijaya Letcumi, Ganesan, Nagendran dan Chitra ditemuduga berasingan oleh pegawai JAIM.
Pegawai yang temuduga Rani cuba merasuahkannya dengan jawatan dalam kerajaan, bantuan kabajikan dll kalau mereka terus berstatus dalam Islam. Rani menolak dan menyatakan yang beliau tetap akan mengamalkan agama Hindu. Pegawai JAIM tersebut telah naik berang dan terus ugut Rani bahawa dia akan dipenjarakan kerana ini. Lalu Rani telah berkata “walaupun saya dipenjarakan, saya tetap akan berpegang kepada agama Hindu”. Selepas temuduga, pegawai JAIM mengesahkan Rani sekeluarga mengamalkan agama Hindu. Uztaz Liew memberitahu yang beliau akan memberi jawapan dalam dua (2) minggu namun selepas itu tiada jawapan. Selepas 2 minggu anak Rani bernama Ganesan telah pergi ke JAIM dan berjumpa dengan seorang pegawai bernama Nazri (012-7117098) Apabila ditanya Nazri dengan angkuh telah memberitahu Ganesan yang mereka tidak boleh buat apa-apa dan suruh dapatkan peguam membela mereka.
Minggu berikutnya Rani pergi ke JAIM dan berjumpa Ustaz Liew (017-2538968). Rani sekali lagi merayu namun Ustaz Liew hanya menyuruh mereka untuk terus amal agama Hindu dan hanya masa meninggal dunia pihak JAIM akan ambil dan kebumikan mayat mereka sebagai orang Islam. Adakah ini cara seorang Ustaz mencari penyelesai bagi keluarga Rani?
Kini Ganesan telahpun berkahwin dengan seorang wanita yang berugama Hindu dan isterinya sedang mengandung tetapi kad pegenalan Ganesan berstatus Islam. Rani memberitahu kami bahawa Ganesan sedang mengalami tekanan jiwa dan mahu membunuh diri olehkerana masalah paksaan memuluk kepada ugama Islam ini. Jika apa-apa berlaku pada keluarga Rani, pihak JAIM dan kerajaan Malaysia harus bertanggungjawab atas musihbah yang melanda mereka. Sehingga ke hari ini hanya Vijaya Letchumy seorang sahaja yang telah berjaya menukar status agama beliau dari Islam kepada Hindu.
Artikel 11 Perlembagaan menjamin kebebasan berugama. Setahu kami tidak ada paksaan dalam Islam. Kami ada pengetahuan mengenai hadis Nabi s.a.w. yang berbunyi “kepada kamu ugama kamu kepada aku ugama aku”.
Kami meminta kerjasama dan tindakan awal daripada pihak Yang Amat Berhormat / Y.B agar mendapat satu penyelesaian segera setelah 18 tahun penderitaan keluarga ini untuk meneruskan kehidupan mereka sebagai orang Hindu dan mengikut adat resam Hindu yang telah diamalkan selama ini.
Kerjasama daripada pihak tuan amatlah dihargai.
Sekian, Terima Kasih.
Yang benar,
S. Jayathas
(012 – 636 2287)
Ketua Penerangan Pusat,
HRP dan HINDRAF
c.c:  Tan Sri Mohd Sidek bin Haji Hassan          Ketua Setiausaha Negara                          Pejabat Ketua Setiausaha Negara
Aras 4, Blok Timur,                                                                               
Bangunan Perdana Putra                                            
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan          No Faks: 03-88883382 
62502 Putrajaya                     Email:  ksu@moha.gov.my
Dato’ Sri Mahmood bin Adam Ketua Setiausaha,  Kementerian Dalam Negera, Aras 12, Block D1, Kompleks D,    Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan 62540 Putrajaya                 No. Faks: 03-88891758
Dato’ Haji Wan Mohamad Bin Dato’ Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ketua Pengarah JAKIM Aras 9, Blok D7, Parcel D, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan    No. Faks: 03-88892033 W.P. Putrajaya                                                  E-mail : wan@islam.gov.my

Ku Li wants BN to be multi-racial party

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today called for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) be turned into a multi-racial party through direct membership.

The outspoken Umno veteran said that poeple must rid itself of racial politics if the country was serious in 1 Malaysia.

“So let us take 1 Malaysia seriously, and convert Barisan Nasional into a party open to all citizens. Let it be a multiracial party open to direct membership.

“PR will be forced to do the same or be left behind the times. Then we shall have the vehicles for a two party, non-race-based system,” the Gua Musang MP said during the 4th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here.

Tengku Razaleigh, affectionately known as Ku Li, pointed that racial politics has turned Malaysia into a sick country.

“It is time to realise the dream of Dato’ Onn and the spirit of the Alliance, of Tunku Abdul Rahman. That dream was one of unity and a single Malaysian people. They went as far as they could with it in their time. Instead of taking on the torch we have reversed course.

“The next step for us as a country is to move beyond the infancy of race-based parties to a non-racial party system. Our race-based party system is the key political reason why we are a sick country, declining before our own eyes, with money fleeing and people telling their children not to come home after their studies,” he said.

The Kelantan prince said that the Najib administration must implement policies reflective of 1 Malaysia.

“Let us see the Government of the day lead by example. 1 Malaysia is empty because it is propagated by a Government that promotes the racially-based party system that is the chief cause of our inability to grow up in our race relations.

“Our inability to grow up in our race relations is the chief reason why investors, and we ourselves, no longer have confidence in our economy. The reasons why we are behind Maldives in football, and behind the Philippines in FDI, are linked,” Tengku Razaleigh said.

Tengku Razaleigh said that the public must not fear to question the political status quo.

“It’s not conservative or liberal to ask for an end to having politics, economic policy, education policy and everything and the kitchen sink determined by race. It’s called growing up,” he said.

He added that the country’s politics scenario has confined the public to a “racialised worldview.”

“Today we are no longer as united as we were then. We are also less free. I don’t think this is a coincidence. It takes free people to have the psychological strength to overcome the confines of a racialised worldview. It takes free people to overcome those politicians bent on hanging on to power gained by racialising every feature of our life including our football teams,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh said that both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are responsible to ensure the country progress from communalism and race politics.

“If Umno, MIC or MCA are afraid of losing supporters, let them get their members to join this new multiracial party. Pakatan Rakyat should do the same. Nobody need feel left out. Umno members can join en masse.

“The Hainanese Kopitiam Association can join whichever party they want, or both parties en masse if they like. We can maintain our cherished civil associations, however we choose to associate. But we drop all communalism when we compete for the ballot. When our candidates stand for Elections, let them ever after stand only as Malaysians, better or worse,” he said.

'Penang govt need to be more innovative'

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GOERGE TOWN: The current Pakatan Rakyat state government has not made much of a difference in its administration of Penang after two-and-a half years in power, said local political observers today.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lecturer Sivamurugan Pandian, election watchdog Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) coordinator BK Ong and Hindu Rights Action Force advisor N Ganesan think that the Penang government need to be more innovative and implement pro-active people-centric policies to change their perceptions.

They think Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's administration had been keen to implement only popular schemes, not permanent long term policies, to win over the people. Piece meal and quick fix solutions on pressing issues was simply not sufficient.

"The Pakatan government must come up with fresher, better policies to fulfil growing demands of people and show it is different from the BN," they said.

Revealing his mid-term review on the performance of Pakatan, associate professor Sivamurugan said the current government, with minor adjustments, had copied and continued the previous policies.

He said the open tender policy and the ceasing of temple demolitions may have made some difference but it has failed to execute policies to upgrade the living standards of the poor, especially Indians and Malays, like providing comfortable homes and, creating business and job opportunities for them.

He said the state government had also failed to implement a reliable, efficient and affordable public transport system, which would cut living cost of Penangites and the past and present situations on flooding, crime rates, cleanliness and hill slope developments have not improved much.

"If one were to notice, the state government had been fast in approving mega housing projects, which would not help those in lower income group, who are pre-dominantly Malays and Indians," said the USM deputy dean of School of Social Sciences.

He said although the Pakatan government remained more popular than BN, the popularity though had been more ethnic orientated.

"Pakatan government is popular among Chinese but not among the Malays and Indians, especially those in lower and middle income bracket," he said.

He warned that while Chinese support for Pakatan has remained steady, the Malay and Indian backing was surely shifting.

"Most of them are fence-sitters now,"he said, predicting a backlash from these voters against Pakatan in the next polls.

Honeymoon period will over
Echoing similar views, Ong argued that Pakatan remained popular generally due to people's abhorrence for Umno and BN.

"The main satisfaction among Penangites is that Umno does not dominate the state administration. Moreover, Pakatan is not linked yet with corruption of power," he said.

Thus, so long as the honeymoon period lasts, he said Pakatan could still blame everything on past BN rule or the current federal government for all the shortcomings in its governance.

He predicted that it would take several more years before the anti-Umno and anti-BN sentiments begin to dissipate.

"But over a longer term, people will want to see some concrete results from Pakatan. They will demand solutions to the economic stagnation, bad traffic situation and rampant corruption in civil service," said Ong, who is also the Malaysian Voters Union coordinator.

He, however, credited the Pakatan administration for tidying up the financial mess left over from the previous state government, government-link companies and local councils.

He also commended the state government's measures to cut down over-priced projects, implement open tender policies and encourage direct negotiation of tenders.

The effectiveness of open tender policies was far more limited than the public perception. "Majority of these tenders are governed by stringent federal rules and go to class F contractors, which some say are dominated almost 90 per cent by Umno division and branch leaders," he said.

He said the state government's financial measures can help cushion its short term financial needs. But for long term, he said Penang must use its international advantage to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and nurture home grown enterprises.

Despite the administration's frequent changes of economic advisers with international credentials, Ong lamented that no major leap had been made in FDIs or growth of innovative local enterprises in both manufacturing and services sectors.

If this continues, he cautioned that Penang's brain drain would escalate while the state's major revenue earners like manufacturing and tourism sectors would suffer.

He criticised the state's RM100 annual gift to each senior citizen over 60 as minuscule compared with the federal welfare cash of RM300 per month for a hard core poor family.

"The state government emphasised on the payment rather than its actual benefit to the recipients. What can a hardcore poor do with RM100 a year anyway?" asked Ong.

He also took a swipe at the action taken to flush out the homeless from the five-foot paths in George Town despite objections from NGOs, which have worked overtime to provide aid to the homeless.

"The state government is also dragging its feet in restoring the local government elections despite popular support and demand for it," said the social activist.

Piece-meal handouts

Ganesan meanwhile said both the past and present governments have only been representing the business community, not the working class.

He said allegations of corruption, lack of responsiveness and transparency were mounting despite the chief minister projecting a public image as an "anti-graft crusader.”

Despite claiming to be a multi racial governance, he said Lim's administration has not shown anything significant in terms of policies and action plans to close the political and socio-economic gap between different ethnic groups in the state.

He also said the DAP-led state government has yet to reveal any vision on Penang's future direction in political and socio-economic development.

He said currently the DAP development vision was no different than the previous Umno version, that is to execute policies to safeguard the developers' rights, interests and benefits.

“Lim has just wiped out the last remaining Indian 200-year-old traditional village Kampung Buah Pala,” he said.

“The state government would hand out a piece-meal gift, such as a land to a school, but would trumpet it as if the whole community had benefited.

“The only difference is Pakatan has been crude while BN was treacherous,” summed up the Hindraf advisor.

Ling’s woes a tremendous setback for MCA

By Stanley Koh - Free Malaysia Today
COMMENT The move to charge Dr Ling Liong Sik caught many of us completely by surprise, not because we think the former MCA president is too clean to be associated with corruption, but because we still believe that the police, the Attorney-General and the judiciary are all in Barisan Nasional’s pocket and would not act against a figure so intimately connected to the ruling coalition and so prominent in its history.

A pundit has described Ling’s prosecution in connection with the PKFZ scandal as the bursting of a bubble in a whirlpool of speculation involving high-profile politicians.

Certainly, the PKFZ corruption scandal will be in the public focus again, and it is likely to overshadow all other political bickering in the weeks to come, particularly when Ling’s case is mentioned in August.

Few will deny that the case will cast a long dark shadow over MCA, which is desperately trying to woo back the public support it has so badly lost in recent years.

There is even speculation that another important figure in MCA—a former cabinet minister—will be charged along with Ling.

Another former minister and MCA official who served under Ling expressed astonishment over the latest turn of events.

Choosing his words carefully as he spoke to FMT, he said the singling out of Ling was shocking because he could not have been alone in making decisions about PKFZ.

“Some party members knowledgeable about top government decision-making practice are sceptical because whatever decision made was collective, assisted by experts who act as advisers,” he said without elaborating.

Of course, views expressed within MCA are in great contrast to those in the public domain, where the call for truth, transparency and justice is getting louder by the day. Most of the public want to hear the bone crunch of dog devouring dog.

Jinxed leadership

The more superstitious among MCA watchers have become more convinced that the party’s leadership is jinxed. They see in Ling’s predicament a repeat of what happened to then-president Tan Koon Swan in 1986, when he was charged and imprisoned for criminal breach of trust over the Pan El saga.

Ling was a young physician when he got into active politics. He won the Mata Kuching parliamentary seat in 1974 and rose to replace Tan on the MCA throne 12 years later.

Some interpret the downfall of Tan and Ling as parallel defining moments that have more meaning than expressed in the cliché that history repeats itself.

“Even till today, many within the party still believe that the prosecution and imprisonment of former president Tan was politically motivated,” a Selangor leader said.

Could this be another case of political intrigue and a parable of extreme ruthlessness at play? This is what many party members are wondering, sometimes aloud, for hardly a week goes by nowadays when someone in MCA does not speak up against an unpopular political move attributed to either Umno or one of its perceived proxies.

Indeed, MCA, in trying to regain support, has lately been critical of more than the opposition. Some say the leadership has finally admitted that times have changed, with the electorate become wiser, and the party has begun listening closely to the ground.

The move against Ling, they say, could be designed to derail the party’s effort at rebuilding its image.

Many believe that the current MCA president, Dr Chua Soi Lek, is a close ally of Ling and that Ling, despite his retirement, has been dispensing advice to the leadership whenever his views are sought.

But it is early days yet, and we should not take our own speculations too seriously. Perhaps, in the ensuing days, it will become clearer why BN wants Ling to take a fall over the PKFZ scandal which, more than many other misdeeds, has deepened public contempt for the government.

Perhaps, the government will even explain its sudden move.

No stranger to trouble

Meanwhile, Ling and his family are quite alone in facing this terrible challenge. But Ling is no stranger to trouble. He faced many challenges during his 17-year political career, including being sacked from his party in 1984, although the membership was reinstated a year later.

He also faced two major efforts to topple him from the presidency. He was involved in colourful Mexican stand-offs with his deputies, Lee Kim Sai in the late 80s, and Lim Ah Lek in the 1990s.

“Dr Ling has a straightforward, patriotic honesty which has distinguished him from several of his past and current brothers-in-politics,” wrote a newspaper columnist in 2000.

In fact, Ling does have an impressive legacy of achievements at party leader. For example, he saved Wisma MCA amid serious financial woes and resolved the cooperative crisis soon after Tan Koon Swan’s premature retirement.

Between 1987 and 1988, Ling fought relentlessly to help about half a million depositors—most of whom were MCA members—get their ringgit-to-ringgit refunds following the collapse of 24 deposit-taking cooperatives, including MCA’s KSM.

He also initiated many fund-raising campaigns, including the invention of the MCA Life Membership roll, which survives to this day.

While his supporters praise him for putting sectarian or communal interest aside and concentrating on nation-building programmes, his adversaries accuse him of having been too deeply and too overtly loyal to his boss, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

But many have forgotten that in 1988, Ling took a six-week no-pay leave from his duties as transport minister to protest against the BN’s broken promises to his party over a proposed amendment of the Education Act, the establishment of Tunku Abdul Rahman College, the quit rent for Bukit Cina, the lopsided civil service, financial allocations to new villages, quotas in university intakes, aid to Chinese schools and several other issues.

“I am taking leave of absence from my position as a cabinet minister to reflect on the party’s position in the BN and to think about the post-1990 shaping of the country and the changing role cum responsibilities of the MCA to meet the new challenges,” Ling said in a press statement on Oct 1, 1988.

A string of achievements

Soon after he became party president in 1986, he told an interviewer: “I want to see Malaysia become a fair and just country for all. All issues will be viewed from this angle because the vast majority of people will reject Malaysia becoming a Malay, Chinese or Indian country.

“Every fibre in me is moderate in nature. There will be no extremism in party policies. We (MCA leadership) will strive to inject moderation into government policies. Our sole objective is to make Malaysia a fair and just society for all.”

After serving MCA for 17 years, Ling finally had to step down in May 23, 2003, under a cloud of controversy involving business dealings, compounded by a protracted tiff with his deputy Lim Ah Lek.

Deputy Lim also stepped down under a peace formula embraced mutually by factional leaders as a way to resolving the leadership feud, which top Umno leaders, acting as peacekeepers, closely monitored.

Ling led the MCA party through thick and thin during his long tenure, including the general elections of 1986, 1990, 1995 and 1999.

Perhaps he made his greatest achievement in 2001, when the Education Ministry gave him and his team the green light to establish University Tunku Abdul Rahman, named after the first Malaysian prime minister.

He has also recorded a string of other achievements on education, including the setting up of more than 100 resource centres under the umbrella of the Langkawi Project to promote educational excellence among poor children.

Developing education became his forte as early as in 1994, when he launched a massive fund-raising campaign to help the 60 independent Chinese secondary schools.

Despite all his merits, however, Ling made several big blunders in his career.

For example, his role in the dismantling of MCA’s assets, which Tan Koon Swan had painstakingly built up in the 1980s under Multi-Purpose Holdings, earned him many unforgiving enemies.

The Nanyang sale

Perhaps his greatest failed political gamble was his push in 2001 to purchase the Nanyang Siang Pau group of companies, which even today is being cursed by Malaysians yearning for press freedom.

Even in the last days of his political career, he continued to make controversial misjudgements, particularly on the leadership succession in MCA.

Many resented the favouritism he showed towards Ong Ka Ting, deliberately bypassing the democratic process to make him his successor. His critics must have felt some satisfaction when MCA, under Ong’s leadership, suffered a great setback in the 2008 general election.

Those who prefer to keep fond memories of Ling’s style of leadership will cherish the way a writer has summed up his character:

“After all, Dr Ling has proved he is a leader with a difference, some difference.

“His strongest point is that he is a balanced person. His background, temperament and attitude are conducive to breaking down racial barriers.”

And as he faces prosecution in court, it is well for Ling himself to remember the words that , according to him, summed up his philosophy: “Today is always better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.”

'No voter registration forms in Sarawak'

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: The chairman of PKR Sarawak Baru Bian has blasted the Election Commission for being “negligent and irresponsible” in not printing more forms to register voters in Sarawak.
“For the past two weeks, you cannot get forms anywhere in Sarawak from the Election Commission.

“This is negligent and irresponsible not to print enough forms to register voters,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

He said he had been told by two non-governmental organisations and others involved in the ongoing registration exercise that there are no more forms left in the state.

The Election Commission told them they are still waiting for the forms to be sent from Kuala Lumpur.

“Please print more forms as more and more people are politically conscious of their rights to register themselves as voters.

“Why should the Election Commission hinder them from registering as voters?” he asked.

DCM lying

On remarks made by deputy chief minister Alfred Jabu regarding native customary rights (NCR) land, Baru hoped that the government should carry out both the perimeter survey of communal native land as well as the individual properties and give them titles.

Jabu had said the procedures and system to survey and gazette NCR land had been in place for more than 30 years but it was the inability of the people to agree on the demarcation of their individual lots that had made it difficult.

Baru however accused Jabu of lying saying that the number of natives disputing the boundaries between one lot and another was very little.

“Individual disputes that his company handled are less than five or six percent. Even these disputes are not between natives, but with government, timber and plantation companies.

“More than 90 percent of the 200 cases before court are involving communal land belonging to a number of villages combined,” he said.

“How can Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and Jabu mislead the people?” he said, stressing the boundary quarrel between natives were almost non-existent.

Baru suggested that the government should begin with the cases in court in order to reduce court cases.

Early start in the school of politics

By Teoh El Sen  - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Some might say he was unwittingly thrust into politics by circumstances, but Chua Tee Yong, son of MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, would tell you that it was a road he chose himself -- even as a young boy of 12.

The newly appointed 33-year-old Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister told FMT that though he contested and won as an MP in the March 2008 general election, he was already involved in politics at a much younger age. You could say that it all started with his father.

"When I was in Standard Six, I was already following my father to dinners, dialogues and walkabouts in Batu Pahat. My interest in politics probably began here," said Chua, a former chief financial officer in a government-linked company.

The first-term Labis MP, who drew a lot of flak from many critics within and outside the party for his "quick rise", said he has been visiting the Labis constituency even before he became an MP there.

Chua added that his elder brother, Tee Joo, 35, was the one who was influenced by his father's previous profession as a doctor. Tee Joo is now a doctor.

"So if others are saying, I was 'not given a choice' in becoming a politician, it is not true," said Chua.

He said he is grateful that the then MCA president Ong Ka Ting had picked him to stand as the candidate in the 2008 general election.

"Ong decided to field me as a new blood in MCA. From there things took off... "

Constantly on the move

Chua contested in his father’s Labis parliamentary seat following the latter's resignation in the wake of the DVD sex scandal. He won with a 4,094-vote majority over DAP’s Teo Eng Ching.

Chua was appointed deputy minister on June 1, sparking allegations that it was his father who helped him secure the post. But Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had backed the appointment, saying that Chua was chosen based on merit and competence.

In a recent interview with FMT, Chua talked about his early days as a politician, his vision for the agriculture ministry and his future plans in MCA.

From the interview, Chua seemed comfortable making the transition from the private sector to government service. He said an accountant does not necessarily need to be in the Finance Ministry.

"In the private sector, you know who your target customers are and can easily deliver what they need. But in government service, you have to address a vast range of issues of different groups. I need to consider all these factors,” said the boyish-looking Chua.

Now that he is in politics full time and holding a government post, he is constantly on the move and learning the ropes.

"My father's way of doing things influenced me quite a bit. Like him, I move around quite a lot -- holding dialogues and doing walkabouts. I try to emulate Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak by going to the ground often," said Chua.

Hectic life

Chua divides his time equally in his Labis constituency among the Chinese who comprise 51%, Malays (30%), Indians (18%), and Orang Asli (0.9%).

Chua said people should not have the perception that he would only look at Chinese issues.

“I will not only look after the welfare of the Chinese but the others as well. There is also a significant number of Chinese farmers and fishermen in my constituency. So I have an edge here since I am also able to converse with them in Mandarin.”

Nowadays, Chua leads a hectic life – he not only have to study and tackle various issues that crop up in the ministry but also engage in dialogue sessions with farmers' associations and industry leaders.

Chua also thinks that MCA should shed its old mentality in this evolving political landscape.

"There are no safe seats anymore,” said this eager beaver, who represents a new crop of young MCA professionals.

While he is quite modest about his political future in MCA, he nevertheless has made heads turn in his rapid climb to political prominence.

He was recently appointed to monitor MCA’s formidable party assets valued at about RM2 billion. He was also appointed to the party’s presidential council in April and to the central committee in November last year during the tail end of the party’s power struggle.

"It has not been easy, especially since I now have less time for my family. But I want to thank my wife who has been supportive all the way," said Chua, a father of three children, aged between one and five.

Chua entered politics with a relatively clean record, but given the turbulent nature of MCA politics, it remains to be seen how far he can go.

Kit Siang tells MCA to be neutral in PKFZ scandal

Lim wants MCA to remember the 27 million Malaysia who have paid for the scandal.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 — Lim Kit Siang told political foes MCA to uphold the public’s interest while their ex-president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik faces trial for his alleged role in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

The DAP advisor said that MCA, as a component of the federal government, must show equal concern for the public.

“MCA leaders, including Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, lined up to give support to former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik after he was charged with cheating the Cabinet in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

“Without commenting on Ling’s case, Malaysians are entitled to expect that MCA Ministers and leaders should show at least equal concern for Justice for 27 million Malaysians who are victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal than Justice for Ling Liong Sik,” he said in a press statement.

On Thursday, Dr Ling was charged with cheating. The charges concern land evaluations under the penal code with the principle charge under section 418 with the alternative charge being 417.

Punishment for offences under section 417 carries a jail term of not more than five years and not more than seven years under section 418.

According to the penal code, section 418 concerns “Cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect” while section 417 concerns “Punishment for cheating.”

Lim questioned if MCA is sincere in tackling the PKFZ problem.

“What have the MCA national leadership, and in particular the four MCA Ministers, done to ensure justice for the 27 million Malaysians in connection with the PKFZ scandal?

“Did the MCA national leadership and the MCA Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha prioritise the interests of the 27 million Malaysians when he overrode the decision of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and directed it to pay its PKFZ bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) special purpose vehicle Free Zone Capital Bhd (FZCB)?” he said.

He also asked if the party agrees with Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat statement which contradicted with his successor, Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

“Does the MCA national leadership and the MCA Cabinet Ministerial bloc agree with former MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat that it is ‘a foolhardy move’ to ‘pay according to what has been decided much earlier, according to the schedule that was set a long time ago’, ignoring latest developments, new facts and ‘missing link’ in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services report,” he said.

Lim stressed that MCA must prove that Ong’s allegations are wrong by suspending of PKA payments to KDSB special purpose vehicles and ensure that the “big fishes” are hauled for corruption.

“The present MCA national leadership and the MCA Ministerial bloc must prove the former MCA President and Transport Minister wrong in his serious charge that they are party to sweeping the dirt under the carpet,” he said.

The government recently ordered the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to honour its final bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Freezone Capital Bhd (FZCB), despite the board’s ongoing suit against turnkey contractor Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB).

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

In making the decision, the Transport Ministry said, the government had taken all relevant factors 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, it said in a statement today.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha had said that the ministry would stick to the original schedule set before, which stipulates that the board had an obligation to fulfil a final payment of RM372 million, a second part of the RM723 million repayment due to bondholders this year.

Of the total, PKA is obliged to pay RM222.58 million to FZCB and the remaining RM150 million to Special Port Vehicle (SPVB) by July 31 this year.

It was reported that the PKA board had decided to hold back on its final payment to FZCB, one of the four special-purpose vehicles (SPVs) that was established by KDSB, the turnkey contractor for the troubled Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

KDSB is now facing a suit of RM1.4 billion by the PKA for, among other things, allegations that it had made bloated claims for work done on the project.

HIGH INCOME ECONOMY


1. The Government has announced the intention to make Malaysia a high income country. I assume this means people will receive high wages, salaries and profits.

2. But if wages and salaries are to be increased by the private sector, the cost of doing business would have to increase as well. To cover this increase, prices of products must be increased. This will mean that the consumers will have to pay higher prices for whatever they purchase. There would be, by definition, inflation.

3. The increase in prices of goods and services should cover the higher wages and salaries and the profit margins from the business. But this will not be all. The cost of transport, fuel and raw materials would all increase as these businesses will also experience increased overhead costs as they too will have to increase wages etc. So the increase in product prices must also cover these costs.

4. Generally the cost of living would increase as prices increase. The rise in income may not increase the purchasing power of the wage earners. Higher incomes would not mean anything then. We know of many countries where people get higher incomes in terms of currency units but are extremely poor.

5. If there is to be an increase in income, it must be carefully managed so that it would result in increases of purchasing power and not just more money.

6. This can happen because the added cost of doing business may trigger unreasonable increases of prices for raw materials, goods (products) or services. For example a 10% increase in wages and salaries should not result in an increase of 10% in the prices of goods and services. This is because wages and salaries do not constitute the total cost of production.

7. Their contribution to cost of production varies. This has to be determined by careful scrutiny of all the cost of production including material cost, power cost, transportation, advertisement and promotion costs etc. If it is found that wages and salaries at all levels make up 20% of the cost of production, then a 10% increase in wages should contribute only 2% to the cost.

8. Similarly the increases in the other costs i.e. power, material, transport etc may increase by a much smaller percentage according to their percentage contribution to the cost. Assuming that together they contribute 50% of the cost, but the increase in their prices is 5%, i.e. 5% of 50% = 2½ %, the total increase in cost inclusive of wages and salaries should be 4½ %, or say 5%.

9. Thus the increase in wages by 10% will not increase overall cost by 10% but will only increase by 5%, after including increases of other costs.

10. The margin of profit varies. For wholesale and fast moving items the margin can be as low as 2%, while for some slow-moving luxury goods the margin may be as high as 300%. Assuming that the cost of production increases by 5% for a 10% increase in wages and salaries, there can be justification for only a 5% - 6% increase in price of products and service for those with low profit margins. For high profit margins there should be no increase in price at all.

11. The wage earners with a 10% increase in income should therefore have a 5% increase in purchasing power only; not 10%. In other words their increase in income would make them only slightly richer. Still with increase in purchasing power they would be able to contribute more to businesses. Eventually the Government would earn more by way of taxes to pay for the increases in wages and salaries in the Government service. Generally economic activity would be enhanced and there would be growth as the salary bill in Malaysia runs into hundreds of billions every year.

12. The above are some of the ways for preventing unfair cost increases when wages and salaries are raised. But there are also many other ways of reducing costs so that the cost of goods and services to the consumer is not increased much as a result of increasing incomes.

13. In manufacturing, a careful study of cost can result in ideas on cost cutting. The Japanese "Just In Time" manufacturing process is a good example. In this system the parts and components are produced just in time for them to go into the assembly of the final products. This eliminates the cost of storage and holding costs.

14. Automation and robotics are costly but they can work 24 hours a day and would reduce the cost of the three shifts of work by workers in one day. In ship-building, whole sections of the ship can be produced separately and then assembled. A lot of time can be saved this way. And time means money.

15. The classic case of reducing cost was invented by Henry Ford - namely mass production on assembly lines. Economies of scale can also contribute to lowering costs. We see the progress in retailing goods. The single specialised shops have given way to the supermarkets. Now the supermarkets are being replaced by the giant wholesale hypermarkets. These help increase volume and lower purchasing costs. Self-service also help to reduce costs in restaurants and supermarkets.

16. Various electronic devices can help in reducing costs. Because of additional capital needed for these devices, they contribute much when the volume is big.

17. Incomes can also be increased by better education and training. It is said that the Korean worker is three times more productive than the Malaysian worker. This is not just due to education and training but more because of work ethics. Obviously when a worker is more productive he should be paid higher wages.

18. Most manufacturing activities add higher value to basic material. Generally exporting raw material gives less return than exporting manufactured products. But other costs have to be taken into consideration.

19. The Malaysian strategy on industrialisation is also not conducive to reducing costs. Japan and Korea acquire foreign technologies and set up their own companies to produce their own products.

20. Malaysia adopted a different strategy. To create jobs for a large number of the unemployed, foreign investors were invited to set up labour intensive industries. Naturally wages were very low. Increased profits for the foreign owned industries did not necessarily result in increased income for Malaysian workers.

21. Over the years Malaysians had acquired the skills in manufacturing and the capital to invest. Today there are a lot of successful Malaysian companies. Should the Government help these Malaysian industries to grow they can become world class players. This means better income for the Malaysian entrepreneurs and better wages for the Malaysian workers.

22. We must not follow the route taken by the developed countries of the West to achieve high income. In the days when technology was exclusive to the European countries and North America increases in wages were largely due to the demands of the workers. To cover the increased cost of production prices were raised quite indiscriminately. This was sustainable when the Europeans were the only producer of manufactured goods.

23. But then the countries of East Asia, began to produce almost all the products of the West at lower cost. The workers of the West continued to demand for continuous increases in their wages. Very soon the high prices for their products caused them to lose the market.

24. Malaysia must never take this route in order to achieve high incomes. Instead it should study the other ways of increasing incomes which will not lead to inflation and loss of purchasing power.

MCA Ministers and leaders should show at least equal concern for “Justice for 27 million Malaysians who are victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal” than “Justice for Ling Liong Sik”

MCA leaders, including Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung, lined up to give support to former MCA President and Transport Minister, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik after he was charged with cheating the Cabinet in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

Without commenting on Ling’s case, Malaysians are entitled to expect that MCA Ministers and leaders should show at least equal concern for “Justice for 27 million Malaysians who are victims of the RM12.5 billion PKFZ scandal” than “Justice for Ling Liong Sik”.

What have the MCA national leadership, and in particular the four MCA Ministers, done to ensure justice for the 27 million Malaysians in connection with the PKFZ scandal?

Did the MCA national leadership and the MCA Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha prioritise the interests of the 27 million Malaysians when he overrode the decision of the Port Klang Authority (PKA) and directed it to pay its PKFZ bond obligation of RM222.58 million to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) special purpose vehicle Free Zone Capital Bhd (FZCB)?

Does the MCA national leadership and the MCA Cabinet Ministerial bloc agree with former MCA President and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat that it is “a foolhardy move” to “pay according to what has been decided much earlier, according to the schedule that was set a long time ago”, ignoring latest developments, new facts and “missing link” in the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services report, viz:

• Letters revealing that KDSB had given undertaking or guarantees that it would cover any shortfall in repayments towards the bonds should PKA fails to do so;

• The dubious legal status of “Letters of Support” given by two former MCA Tranport Ministers, Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy; and

• At least RM1.4 billion in disputed claims for all principal agreements between KDSB and PKA, of which more than RM2 billion payable as scheduled until 2017.

The present MCA national leadership and the MCA Ministerial bloc must prove the former MCA President and Transport Minister wrong in his serious charge that they are party to “sweeping the dirt under the carpet” by being in the very forefront to ensure:

• No stone is left unturned in the full public accounting of the PKFZ scandal, from the controversial PKA purchase of PKFZ land; ballooning of PKFZ costs from RM1.1 billion to RM4.6 billion and snowballing into a RM12.5 billion scandal; and the four illegal “Letters of Support” by two former MCA Transport Ministers.

• Putting utmost pressure for everyone who had a role in the PKFZ scandal, however “big the fish”, should be hauled to court to face corruption, abuses of power and criminal breach of trust charges.

• The suspension of PKA payments to KDSB special purpose vehicles in connection with the RM4.6 billion bonds.

Seize Opportunity To Succeed, Najib Tells Young Malaysians

KUALA LUMPUR, July 31 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today urged young Malaysians to seize the opportunity provided by the government to excel in their studies and fulfil their dreams.

He said the government had implemented numerous initiatives, with several more in the pipeline, to give them the chance to realise their goals and dreams.

The initiatives included the provision of Public Service Department scholarships for those who scored well in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, he said.

"It was decided that -- irrespective of whether you are Malay, Chinese, Indian, or from any other ethnic group -- all students will qualify for scholarships if you obtain 9A+ or more.

"This is a government that will listen to the needs on the ground, and I am certain you agree that this merit-based opportunity indicates that my colleagues and I are very serious about bringing forth a transformation in line with the 1Malaysia concept," Najib said in his blog at www.1malaysia.com.my.

Najib said however that meritocratic principles must be applied along with principles of social justice, and that students with fewer socio-economic opportunities who score lower than 9A+ would also be given support for further studies.

"For example, a student living in poor conditions in a clearly disadvantaged area might not achieve a 9A+ result, but is still capable of producing an excellent result, despite the handicap.

"For this display of great perseverance against challenging circumstances, you can see that the student deserves to be supported to pursue a higher education. Hence, in recent months, I have witnessed several grants awarded to students living in Tumpat, Long Banga, Kanowit, Brickfields and in Putrajaya, to name but a few," he added.

There were also other initiatives in the pipeline, which Najib said he would personally look into.

He added that the savings achieved from the recent subsidy rationalisation exercise would also be channelled towards providing more education opportunities.

"To my younger readers: embrace this golden opportunity to succeed. This is a clear manifesto that we are here to help you. We want you to do well," he said.

Najib said: "We have listened to your needs and to the requests left by your parents in this blog and have laid down a clear path for you to excel academically. I urge you to take this chance by the scruff of the neck to fulfil your dreams."

Najib also called on parents and teachers "to guide and encourage our young to focus on realising their aspirations through hard work."

"Remind them that they will be rewarded for their high grades, and never allow them to waver. Their education begins from home," he said.

Bloated PM’s Department?

By Anil Netto,


Is this incredible or what? The White House employs 1,888 staff, but Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department has 43,554 employees.
There is also a similar disparity in their respective budgets. The White House’s budget is US$394 million for 2011.
Have a look at the White House website here.
Compare that with the PM’s Dept budget of RM4 billion or is that RM12 billion?
The vast difference is partly down to the whole array of departments, agencies, and what-have-you under the Prime Minister’s Department.
Have a look at the organisation chart for the PM’ Department on its official website here.
You will see a whole list of set-ups under the PM’s office, ranging from Felda (in the news lately), Suhakam (so much for its independence), the National Audit Department (independent?), Biro Tatanegara(!), Elections Commission (independent?), anti-corruption commission (independent?), the Maritime Enforcement Agency, EPU…
Shouldn’t some of these be independent of the PM’s Department and answerable to Parliament instead?
Why this centralisation of power?
Thanks to masterwordsmith’s blog for some of this info.

Gender paradox

By Anil Netto,

Girls and women are excelling in secondary and tertiary education; yet formal women’s participation in public life and major decision-making remains lower. Why is that?
This is a piece I wrote for IPS:
It is a paradox, all right. Women make up more than half of those who take part in protests and other activities organised by her political party on issues affecting low-income workers, says Rani Rasiah of the Socialist Party of Malaysia.
But when it comes to holding official positions at the party’s local branches, more than half of the officials happen to be men, she observes.
“Maybe the womenfolk feel they have responsibilities at home and are unable to attend regular party meetings and the demands that come with them,” reasons the party’s deputy secretary general.
”There is also a certain degree of control at home about women going out at night or leaving the household to attend regular meetings,” she continues. ”Maybe the women themselves lack self esteem and self-confidence to play a leadership role.”
Full article in IPS here.

Police filmed dragging women and babies during protest



London, England (CNN) -- A video has emerged showing French police evicting African immigrants with babies and children during a housing protest in a Paris suburb.

Police arrived in the north-east Parisian suburb of La Courneuve last Wednesday and asked a group of about 60 mostly women and children to move, said Michael Hajdenberg, a journalist with the French media organization Mediapart.

The group had been living in the street since being evicted from their council homes on July 8 to make way for a new housing project, he said.

When the group failed to respond to the request, Hajdenberg said police officers forcibly removed them.

Authorities had offered to accommodate them for a short period in hotels, but Hajdenberg said the immigrants wanted more of a long-term guarantee of places to live.

The video shows police dragging away women with babies and young children. In one scene a woman with a baby wrapped to her back is dragged along the pavement while screaming and shouting.

Another scene shows what appears to be a pregnant woman lying on her back on the street. Police can also be seen carrying women away while children and babies are screaming.
Because the experience was so traumatic they have ended up accepting the offer to go into the hotel

The incident lasted about 30 minutes said Hajdenberg, who added that "there were no serious injuries, mostly cuts and scrapes."

The immigrants are mostly from the Ivory Coast, said Michael Hoare, a spokesman for the campaign group Right to Housing.

"Most of them have been in France for between 3 to 10 years. Some of them have papers, some of them don't. They have submitted demands to be legalized," Hoare told CNN.

Hoare said that on the day of the incident, 21 July, police had evicted journalists from the vicinity but that a member of DAL, a French rights group, had managed to film the scenes.

The arrested protesters were released later the same day and have since accepted short-term hotel accommodation, Hoare said.

"Because the experience was so traumatic they have ended up accepting the offer to go into the hotel and there are meetings going on about their future," he said.

Commissioner Christian Lambert from the Police Commissioner's office of the town Bobigny said in a written statement: "An eviction is never a[n] simple procedure when there is resistance involved on behalf of those being evicted."

Regarding the scene in which a mother is dragged with her child on her back, the statement read: "The officers were not able to dislodge her by pulling on her arms because her arms were linked with people on both sides. Therefore they moved her by pulling on her legs. Within a meter or so the baby is dislodged and become apparent to another officer who immediately picks it up."

The statement added: "The situation of the evicted squatters is currently being examined to see if they can be re-housed depending on different criteria."

Conservative vs activist judges - what shall it be?

(Malaysiakini) The 15th Malaysia Law Conference had a glimpse of the differences between a conservative and activist judge. Conservative judges believe in practicing judicial restraint, leaving out their personal feelings and opinions on the law and deferring to constitutional and legal interpretations already existing.
NONEActivist judges would go much further to use their powers to shape social policy, for example with regard to civil rights, protection of individual rights, political unfairness, and public morality.
Following today's session, Chief Justice Zaki Azmi (left) will fall into the conservative camp as opposed to someone like recently retired Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram who is seen as an 'activist' or progressive judge.
Both were present albeit at different sessions of the conference today. Zaki said the 'activist' viewpoint carried its own dangers taking as an example Lord Denning who he said may be popular and good and necessary in some instances, but not in others.
"Such a judge can overly expand or narrow down set legal principles based on his personal ideals. Is that right? To me it is a dangerous trend to follow.
"Should judges even at the apex court sitting three, five, seven or nine change the law perhaps against the wishes of the voters by interpreting a legislation in a manner not intended by the legislators?" he asked.
Zaki said judges therefore have to be particularly cautious in being too eager to follow precedents in common law countries.
NONEThe Malaysian constitution, he said, in his view was a relatively young constitution and those responsible for drafting it had the benefit of many principles and guidelines set by earlier laws or constitutions.
Zaki also noted that most Malaysian judges played the conservative role of being interpreters of the law rather than legislators.
"A very small number express their personal views in their judgments but these are usually frowned upon by their colleagues. Some of these judgments are corrected on appeal."
Zaki, however, noted that if there are no reforms by way of judicial activism, the development of the law would be left in the hands of legislators or members of Parliament.
Sri Ram: Knock on judiciary's door
In another session, Sri Ram, along with law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and former High Court judge Syed Ahmad Idid Syed Ahmad talked on the topic of `Interpreting a Written Constitution' with saw a lighter discussion.
The former Federal Court judge, who is the only judge to rise straight from private practise to the Court of Appeal and deemed vocal at times, was asked by one of the delegates as to how she should continue fighting for women's rights in terms of the different retirement ages based on labour laws.
NONESri Ram (left) replied that she should persevere and continue knocking on the judiciary's door.
However, the senior retired judge noted that young lawyers must put forth good and valid arguments to support their cases.
Sri Ram, who delivered much-publicised judgments like the Metramac affair where his remarks on former finance minister Daim Zainuddin that 'he ran his ministry like a coffee shop' were expunged by the apex court, reminded participants that the courts were the ultimate bastion against executive incursions upon freedoms and fundamental rights.
"It is their sworn constitutional duty to keep a constant vigil against any form of erosion of fundamental rights. When the courts fail in this duty, even the most carefully crafted constitution cannot provide security to the ordinary citizens," he said.
Sri Ram was the longest serving Court of Appeal judge until he was elevated to the Federal Court late last year. He only managed to serve at the apex court for several months before he retired early this year.

Hindu family practicing Hinduism forced to convert to Islam by Jabatan Agama Islam (Islamic Religious Department)

freedom religion 


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No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241
Fax : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com E-mail: info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com
Your Reply :
In Reply :
HRP Media Event 31/07/2010 (Saturday)
RE: 1. Hindu family practicing Hinduism forced to convert to Islam by Jabatan Agama Islam
(Islamic Religious Department)
2. National Registration Department unlawfully refuse to change and register name and status of this family to Hindus.
Date : 31/072010 (Saturday)
Time : 11.30 a.m
Venue : As above
Note : The family members would be present.
Thank you.
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Affirmative action uncertainty affecting FDI, says Nazir

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Wrangling over affirmative action in the proposed New Economic Model (NEM) is causing uncertainty among investors, said top banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

The CIMB Bank chief executive officer said that there was a lot of debate over what sort of affirmative action should be in the NEM, notably involving vocal Malay rights group Perkasa, and the government needed to decide quickly for the sake of giving investors a sense of direction.

“Dealing with the new version of NEP is sensitive and there is all sorts of speculation but this period needs to be cut short,” Nazir told a law conference here today, referring to the New Economic Policy (NEP).

“My worry is that it is taking too long. Let’s just decide what affirmative action will remain.”

Nazir, whose brother is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, added that Malaysia could be losing out in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) due to the uncertainty.

“If I come this year I may need a Bumi partner but next year I may not, so wait lah,” he said by way of illustration.

The Najib administration has been trying to lift Malaysia’s profile as a destination for foreign investment to help the country achieve an average GDP growth of at least 6 per cent per annum over the next five years in an effort to become a high income nation.

The country’s FDI rates have fallen faster than other regional players like Singapore and China, and at the same time capital outflows have dampened private domestic investments. Net portfolio and direct investment outflows had reached US$61 billion (RM197 billion) in 2008 and 2009 according to official data.

More recently the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2010 said that FDI inflows to Malaysia dropped 81 per cent to RM4.4 billion last year from RM23 billion in 2008.

Nazir was guest speaker at the 15th Malaysia Law Conference organised by the Bar Council.

Nazir last month repeated his call for a review of the NEP adding that the policy has been unfair to the majority of Malays. He said the time has come for the government to protect the interest of the majority of the Malays and not just selected few.

“I have met a Malay professional overseas who refused to return to Malaysia because he is of the view that successful Malays are not welcomed in the country. This is because the Malays’ success is always linked to NEP,” said Nazir in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia published on June 20.

“In fact some of them refused to return thinking that the NEP is not for them but only to selected Malay groups, so they are better off working overseas,” he said when asked if the new generation of Malays are more open to reviewing the policy.

However, Nazir said certain aspect of the NEP such as scholarships allocation should be retained.

“Those who have been trying to stop efforts to review the NEP are those who are benefiting from the NEP. That was why some contractors were not happy with open tender but they never ask if they get the job, what would happen to other Malay contractors. Why refuse to compete?” said Nazir to a question on the opposition to a review of the NEP.

He said that the policy, introduced during the premiership of his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1971 has deviated from its original objective.

Govt urged to act immediately on Penan issues

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today,

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has been urged to revoke immediately licenses and leases involving the Penan's native customary land if it was serious in helping the community and the indigenous people.
The Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas) also urged the Sarawak government to recognise the rights of the Penan and indigenous people of Sarawak.
“If the government is sincere in helping the Penans and has nothing to hide, it should immediately revoke licenses and leases which overlap with NCR lands.
“And they should immediately stop the issuing of logging licences, licences to plant forests and provisional leases over the native customary lands (NCR) and territories of the indigenous people, “ said Brimas executive director Mark Bujang.
Bujang was responding to Land Development Minister James Masing’s statement in London on Tuesday that the government was ready to engage non-governmental organisations (NGOS) with regards to issues affecting the Penan community.
Whilst lauding Masing’s statement, he however said that the government must survey and recognise the Penan territories.
“Masing's comment is seen as a positive development, taking into account that all these years, NGOs working on social and environmental issues have been ridiculed and labelled as anti-development, anti-establishment and negative by certain ministers and civil servants.
“We believe the government should survey and grant recognition of the Penans’ native customary rights land and territories as what Prime Minister Najib (Razak) had announced recently,” Bujang said.
He added the exercise should also cover other areas occupied by the indigenous people of Sarawak.
Land for Penan
Bujang also called on Masing to disclose the exact location where 300 Penans were purportedly given land by the state government to hunt.
“We are still in the dark over this matter,” he said.
On the Penan rape victims, he also called on the state government to look into their plights and immediately order a police investigation.
“We do not wish to see the state government dragging its feet on this matter and blaming the NGOs for not being cooperative.
“The police should not close these cases even if at this moment there is lack of evidence to charge the perpetrators.
“As a first engagement, we would like the state government to call for a dialogue with the social and environmental NGOs and discuss further issues affecting the indigenous people and the environment in Sarawak,” he said.
Masing had, on the sidelines of the inaugural Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum , told newsmen that the state government was always ready to engage with NGOs to discuss issues affecting the Penans.
“We have nothing to hide and what we are doing now is for the good of the community. We have never run away from the NGOs,” he said.

Abolish ISA candlelight vigils in 8 states



The Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) and rights group Suaram aim to hold simultaneous candlelight vigils against the abhorred law in eight states around the country on Sunday.
The protest will be held as an effort to pressure Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to repeal the Internal Security Act.

Aug 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the draconian act, which was introduced by first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman's administration in 1960.

The candlelight vigils will be held at the following venues and times:

  • Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya at 8pm
  • Speaker's Square, Penang (9pm)
  • Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh (8pm)
  • Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani (8pm)
  • Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab, Kota Bharu (8pm)
  • Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, Sibu (8pm)
  • Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Kuching (8pm)
  • Front Entrance of 1 Borneo Hypermall, Kota Kinabalu (1pm)
On Monday, GMI chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh announced that the coalition of NGOs would distribute around 100,000 leaflets on the draconian law on the same day.

GMI also plans to erect billboards and put up banners on the ISA in Selangor, he added.

Syed Ibrahim called on the government to abolish all existing detention-without-trial laws such as the ISA, Emergency Ordinance 1969, Restricted Residence Act 1933 and Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 with immediate effect.

Suaram's 2009 Human Rights Report - released on July 21 - said Najib's first year in office marked further deterioration in the state of human rights in the nation.

In his maiden speech as prime minister, Najib had said his administration would not use the ISA arbitrarily and would give importance to the principles of human rights and civil liberties.

The government is planning to table amendments to the ISA in the areas of length of detention, rights and treatment of detainees and their families, the power of the home minister, the use of ISA for political reasons and detention without trial.

Did Liong Sik cheat the Cabinet or did the Cabinet cheat Malaysians?


Former Transport Minister and MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has denied that he conned the Cabinet about what transpired in the PKFZ matter. The crux of the whole matter is was the Cabinet in the know and did the Cabinet endorse whatever was going on or was Liong Sik acting alone without the Cabinet’s knowledge? Let the Cabinet Papers tell the story.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Dr Ling denies cheating Govt over PKFZ scandal
Former Transport Minister and MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has become the highest-ranking person yet to be charged with cheating the Government over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and he pleaded not guilty.
The party stalwart — the fifth person to be charged over the PKFZ saga — is out on a RM1mil bail after appearing at the Sessions Court here yesterday.
Accompanied by his wife Toh Puan Ena Ling and sons Hee Leong and Hee Keat, Dr Ling later told reporters that he had faith in the country’s judicial system.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said he was shocked by the charge, but expressed confidence that Dr Ling would get a fair trial. -- The Star
THE CHARGE: That you, between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, at Level 4 of the Prime Minister’s Office in Bangunan Perdana Putra, cheated the Govern­ment by deceiving the Cabinet into approving a land purchase in Pulau Indah....
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AND WHAT THE CABINET PAPERS REVEAL