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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Human rights activist tries to stop death by stoning for Iranian woman


(CNN) -- A veteran Iranian human rights activist has warned that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

Only an international campaign designed to pressure the regime in Tehran can save her life, according to Mina Ahadi, head of the International Committee Against Stoning and the Death Penalty.

"Legally it's all over," Ahadi said Sunday. "It's a done deal. Sakineh can be stoned at any minute."

"That is why we have decided to start a very broad, international public movement. Only that can help."

Ashtiani, 42, will be buried up to her chest, according to an Amnesty International report citing the Iranian penal code. The stones that will be hurled at her will be large enough to cause pain but not so large as to kill her immediately.

Ashtiani, who is from the northern city of Tabriz, was convicted of adultery in 2006.

She was forced to confess after being subjected to 99 lashes, human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei said Thursday in a telephone interview from Tehran.

She later retracted that confession and has denied wrongdoing. Her conviction was based not on evidence but on the determination of three out of five judges, Mostafaei said. She has asked forgiveness from the court but the judges refused to grant clemency.

Iran's supreme court upheld the conviction in 2007.
The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women
--Amnesty International

Mostafaei believes a language barrier prevented his client from fully comprehending court proceedings. Ashtiani is of Azerbaijani descent and speaks Turkish, not Farsi.

The circumstances of Ashtiani's case make it not an exception but the rule in Iran, according to Amnesty International, which tracks death penalty cases around the world.

"The majority of those sentenced to death by stoning are women, who suffer disproportionately from such punishment," the human rights group said in a 2008 report.

On Wednesday, Amnesty made a new call to the Iranian government to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences. The group has recorded 126 executions in Iran from the start of this year to June 6.

"The organization is also urging the authorities to review and repeal death penalty laws, to disclose full details of all death sentences and executions and to join the growing international trend towards abolition," the statement said.

Ahadi, who fled Iran in the early 1980s, told CNN that pressure from Amnesty and other organizations and individuals is likely the only way to save Ashtiani.

"Experience shows (that) ... when the pressure gets very high, the Islamic government starts to say something different," she said.

In Washington, the State Department has criticized the scheduled stoning, saying it raised serious concerns about human rights violations by the Iranian government.

"We have grave concerns that the punishment does not fit the alleged crime, " Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley said Thursday. "For a modern society such as Iran, we think this raises significant human rights concerns."

Calling Iran's judicial system "disproportionate" in its treatment of women, Crowley said, "From the United States' standpoint, we don't think putting women to death for adultery is an appropriate punishment."

Human rights activists have been pushing the Islamic government to abolish stoning, arguing that women are not treated equally before the law in Iran and are especially vulnerable in the judicial system. A woman's testimony is worth half that of a man, they say.

Article 74 of the Iranian penal code requires at least four witnesses -- four men or three men and two women -- for an adulterer to receive a stoning sentence, said Ahadi, of the International Committee Against Stoning. But there were no witnesses in Ashtiani's case. Often, said Ahadi, husbands turn wives in to get out of a marriage.

Mostafaei said he could not understand how such a savage method of death could exist in the year 2010 or how an innocent woman could be taken from her son and daughter, who have written to the court pleading for their mother's life.

The public won't be allowed to witness the stoning, Mostafaei said, for fear of condemnation of such a brutal method. He is hoping there won't be an execution.

Mostafaei, who himself did jail time in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in June 2009, said he realizes the risk of speaking out for Ashtiani, for fighting for human rights. But he doesn't let that deter him.

He last saw Ashtiani five months ago behind bars in Tabriz. Since then, he said, he has been searching for a way to save her from the stones.

CNN's Moni Basu, Ben Brumfield, Bobby Afshar, Gena Somra, Mitra Mobasherat and Elise Labott contributed to this report.

Law conference: Anwar pokes fun at AG' absence

The 4th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (MSLS) 2010

We were once ‘Malaysians’ by Tengku Razaleigh

Razaleigh Hamzah (Malaysiakini)
Jul 31, 10
2:36pm
The following keynote speech was given by Gua Musang parliamentarian and former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the 4th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (MSLS) today.
I have played some small role in the life of this nation, but having been on the wrong side of one or two political fights with the powers-that-be, I am not as close to the young people of this country as I would hope to be.
History and the 8 o’clock news are written by the victors. In recent years, the government’s monopoly of the media has been destroyed by the technology revolution.
You could say I was also a member of the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC). Well I was, except that I belonged to the predecessor of the UKEC, by more than 50 years, the Malayan Students Union of the UK and Eire. I led this organisation in 1958/59.
image I was then a student of Queen’s University at Belfast, as well as at Lincoln’s Inn. In a rather cooler climate than Kota Bharu’s, we campaigned for decolonisation. We demonstrated in Trafalgar Square and even in Paris. We made posters and participated in British elections.
Your invitation to participate in the MSLS was prefaced by an essay that calls for an intellectually informed activism. I congratulate you on this. The youth of today, you note, “will chart the future of Malaysia.” You say you “no longer want to be ignored and leave the future of our Malaysia at the hands of the current generation.” You “want to grab the bull by the horns… and have a say in where we go as a society and as a nation.”
I feel the same, actually. A lot of Malaysians feel the same. They are tired of being ignored and talked down to.
You are right. The present generation in power has let Malaysia down. But also you cite two things as testimony of the importance of youth and of student activism to this country, the election results of 2008 and “the prime minister’s acknowledgement of the role of youth in the development of the country.”
So perhaps you are a little way yet from thinking for yourselves. The first step in “grabbing the bull by the horns” is not to require the endorsement of the prime minister, or any minister, for your activism. Politicians are not your parents. They are your servants. You don’t need a government slogan coined by a foreign PR agency to wrap your project in. You just go ahead and do it.
At ease with himself
When I was a student, our newly independent country was already a leader in the post-colonial world. We were sought out as a leader in the Afro-Asian Conference that inaugurated the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77.
The Afro-Asian movement was led by such luminaries as Zhou En Lai, Nehru, Kwame Nkrumah and Soekarno. Malaysians were seen as moderate leaders capable of mediating between the more radical leaders and the West. We were known for our moderation, good sense and reliability.
We were a leader in the Islamic world, as ourselves and as we were, without our leaders having to put up false displays of piety. His memory has been scrubbed out quite systematically from our national consciousness, so you might not know this or much else about him, but it was Tunku Abdul Rahman who established our leadership in the Islamic world by coming up with the idea of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) and making it happen.
image Under his leadership, Malaysia led the way in taking up the anti-apartheid cause in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations, resulting in South Africa’s expulsion from these bodies.
Here was a man at ease with himself, made it a policy goal that Malaysia be “a happy country”. He loved sport and encouraged sporting achievement among Malaysians. He was owner of many a fine race horses. He called a press conference with his stewards when his horse won at the Melbourne Cup.
He had nothing to hide because his great integrity in service was clear to all. Now we have religious and moral hypocrites who cheat, lie and steal in office, who propagate an ideology that shackled the education system for all Malaysians, while they send their own kids to elite academies in the West.
Days when we were on top
Speaking of football – you’re too young to have experienced the Merdeka Cuphe 60s and 70s. Teams from across Asia would come to play in Kuala Lumpur: teams such as South Korea and Japan, whom we defeated routinely.
We were one of the better sides in Asia. We won the bronze medal at the Asian Games in 1974 and qualified for the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Today our FIFA ranking is 157 out of 203 countries.
That puts us in the lowest quartile, below Maldives (149), the smallest country in Asia, with just 400,000 people living about 1.5 metres above sea level who have to worry that their country may soon be swallowed up by climate change. Here in Asean we are behind Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, whom we used to dominate, and now only one spot above basketball-playing Philippines.
The captain of our illustrious 1970’s side was Soh Chin Aun, R Arumugam, Isa Bakar, Santokh Singh, James Wong and Mokhtar Dahari. They were heroes whose names rolled off the tongues of our schoolchildren as they copied them on the school field. It wasn’t about being the best in the world, but about being passionate and united and devoted to the game.
It was the same in badminton, except at one time we were the best in the world. I remember Wong Peng Soon, the first Asian to win the All-England Championship, and then just dominated it throughout the 1950. Back home every kid who played badminton in every little kampung wanted to call himself Wong Peng Soon.
There was no tinge of anybody identifying themselves exclusively as Chinese, Malays or Indian. Peng Soon was a Malayan hero. Just like each of our football heroes. Now we do not have an iota of that feeling. Where has it all gone?

Capital flight troubling

I don’t think it’s mere nostalgia that makes us think there was a time when the sun shone more brightly upon Malaysia. I bring up sport because it has been a mirror of our more general performance as a nation.
When we were at ease with who we were and didn’t need slogans to do our best together, we did well. When race and money entered our game, we declined. The same applies to our political and economic life.
Soon after independence, we were already a highly successful developing country. We had begun the infrastructure building and diversification of our economy that would be the foundation for further growth. We carried out an import-substitution programme that stimulated local productive capacity.
From there, we started an infrastructure build-up that enabled a diversification of the economy leading to rapid industrialisation. We carried out effective programmes to raise rural income and help the landless with programmes such as Felda.
Our achievements in achieving growth with equity were recognised around the world. Our peer group in economic development were South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and we led the pack. I remember we used to send technical consultants to advise the South Koreans.
Bimage y the late 90s, however, we had fallen far behind this group and were competing with Thailand and Indonesia. Today, according to the latest World Investment Report, FDI into Malaysia is at a 20-year low.
We are entering the peer group of Cambodia, Burma and the Philippines as an investment destination. Thailand, despite a month-long siege of the capital, attracted more FDI than we did last year. Indonesia and Vietnam far outperform us, not as a statistical blip but consistently. Soon we shall have difficulty keeping up with the Philippines.
This, I believe, is called relegation. If we take into account FDI outflow, the picture is even more depressing. Last year, we received US$1.38 billion in investments but US$8.04 billion flowed out. We are the only country in Southeast Asia that has suffered net FDI outflow.
I am not against outward investment. It can be a good thing for the country. But an imbalance on this scale indicates capital flight, not mere investment overseas.

Time to wake up

Without a doubt, Malaysia is slipping. Billions have been looted from this country, and billions more are being siphoned out as our entire political structure crumbles. Yet we are gathered here in comfort, in a country that still seems to ‘work’ – most of the time. This is due less to good management than to the extraordinary wealth of this country.
You were born into a country of immense resources, both natural, cultural and social. We have been wearing down this advantage with mismanagement and corruption. With lies, tall tales and theft. We have a political class unwilling or unable to address the central issue of the day because they have grown fat and comfortable with a system built on lies and theft.
It is time to wake up. That waking up can begin here, right here, at this conference. Not tomorrow or the day after but today. So let me, as I have the honour of opening this conference, suggest the following:
1) Overcome the urge to have our hopes for the future endorsed by the prime minister. He will have retired, and I’ll be long gone, when your future arrives. The shape of your future is being determined now.
2) Resist the temptation to say “in line with” when we do something. Your projects, believe it or not, don’t have to be in line with any government campaign for them to be meaningful. You don’t need to polish anyone’s apple. Just get on with what you plan to do.
3) Do not put a lid on certain issues as ’sensitive’ just because someone said they are. Or it is against the ’social contract’. Or it is ‘politicisation’.
You don’t need to have your conversation delimited by the hyper-sensitive among us. Sensitivity is often a club people use to hit each other with. Reasoned discussion of contentious issues builds understanding and trust. Stress test your ideas.
4) 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.
5) Don’t let the politicians you have invited here talk down to you.

Don’t let them

Don’t let them tell you how bright and ‘exuberant’ you are, that you are the future of the nation, etc. If you close your eyes and flow with their flattery, you have safely joined the caravan, a caravan taking the nation down a sink hole.
If they tell you the future is in your hands, kindly request that they hand that future over first. Ask them how come the youngest member of our cabinet is 45? Our Merdeka cabinet had an average age below 30.
You’re not the first generation to be bright. Mine wasn’t too stupid. But you could be the first generation of students and young graduates in 50 years to push this nation through a major transformation. And it is a transformation we need desperately.
You will be told that much is expected of you, much has been given to you and so forth. This is all true. Actually much has also been stolen from you. Over the last twenty five years, much of the immense wealth generated by our productive people and our vast resources has been looted. This was supposed to have been your patrimony.
The uncomplicated sense of belonging fully, wholeheartedly, unreservedly, to this country, in all its diversity, that has been taken from you. Our sense of ourselves as Malaysians, a free and united people, has been replaced by a tale of racial strife and resentment that continues to haunt us. The thing is, this tale is false.

Reclaim your history

The most precious thing you have been deprived of has been your history. Someone of my generation finds it hard to describe what must seem like a completely different country to you now.
Malaysia was not born in strife but in unity. Our independence was achieved through a demonstration of unity by the people in supporting a multiracial government led by Tunku Abdul Rahman.
That show of unity, demonstrated first through the municipal elections of 1952 and then through the Alliance’s landslide victory in the elections of 1955, showed that the people of Malaya were united in wanting their freedom. We surprised the British, who thought we could not do this.
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.
Hence while you are at this conference, let me argue, that as an absolute minimum, we should call for the repeal of unjust and much abused Acts of Parliament which are reversals of freedoms that we won at Merdeka.
I ask you in joining me in calling for the repeal of the ISA (Internal Security Act) and the OSA (Official Secrets Act). These draconian laws have been used, more often than not, as political tools rather than instruments of national security. They create a climate of fear.
I ask you to join me in calling for the repeal of the Printing and Publications Act, and above all, the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA). I don’t see how you can pursue your student activism with such freedom and support in the UK and Eire while forgetting that your brethren at home are deprived of their basic rights of association and expression by the UUCA. The UUCA has done immense harm in dumbing down our universities.
We must have freedom as guaranteed under our constitution. Freedom to assemble, associate, speak, write, move. This is basic. Even on matters of race and even on religious matters we should be able to speak freely, and we shall educate each other.

Make BN multiracial

It is time to realise the dream of Hussein Onn and the spirit of the Alliance and 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.
So let us try to take 1Malaysia seriously. Millions have been spent putting up billboards and adding the term to every conceivable thing. We even have ‘Cuti-cuti 1Malaysia’. Can’t take a normal holiday anymore. This is all fine.
image Now let us see if it means anything. Let us see the government of the day lead by example. 1Malaysia is empty because it is propagated by a government supported by a 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.
So let us take 1Malaysia seriously, and convert Barisan Nasional into a party open to all citizens. Let it be a multiracial party open to direct membership. Pakatan Rakyat 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.
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 Owners’ 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, for better or worse.

Second limb of Article 153(1) Federal Constitution prohibits UMNO segregating Indians from National mainstream development of Malaysia

Article_153
Article 153 (1) reads “It shall be the responsibility of the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities……………

Not many people would want to talk about this second limb of Article 153 given UMNO’s strong arm and bully tactics and coupled with their mob justice and above the law mindset in threatening violence and many times actually carrying them out to subdue and to make especially the poor Indian’s who are also politically powerless vulnerable and prime soft targets.

To make them subservient and kowtow to UMNO’s act of racism, religious extremism and supremacy.

UMNO succeeded for 53 long years. Until the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally!

The second limb of Article 153 (1) of the Federal Constitution is very very clear indeed. That UMNO has no business or right implementing acts of racism, religious extremism and supremacy against especially the poor Indians.

Of course the fact remains that UMNO takes the law into their own hands and using the might and weight of their 100,000 Malay-sian police force, army and their 1.2 million almost all Malay muslim civil servants to bulldoze the tiny minority poor Indian to the edge, as is outlined and evidenced on a day to day basis in this website www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com.

Otherwise the 100,000 usually docile, fearful of UMNO and subservient Indians would not have openly come and unprecedentedly come out to the streets of Kuala Lumpur for the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally.

See article below on the further discourse.

P. Uthayakumar

Dear friends,

Elections are around the corner. Fifty years after Merdeka, I think racial tension is getting worse. This article is quite long but please take the trouble to read as you will find out that there is no such thing as Malay special rights and privileges. Article 153 merely states ’special position of the Malays’.

When the Nazis came for the communists,

I remained silent;

I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,

I remained silent;

I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,

I did not speak out;

I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,

I remained silent;

I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me,

there was no one left to speak out ……

- Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

My conscience play tricks with me reading this poem of Martin Niemoller. Certainly Kim Quek would have no such problem. Here’s something I ducked out.

Our Federal Constitutions have been highjacked and skewed by the eggheads for obvious reasons!!! Read the following article. Be aware of your rights under article 153. Pass on to friends so they too can be enlighteneed.

Wish they (the Constitutions) can be taken to the International Court for interpretations!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Unveiling the truth of Malay ‘Special Rights’ …. – Kim Quek

The recurring issue of Malay ’special rights’ was again brought into focus when Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang moved to reprimand Higher Education Minister Shaffie Salleh in Parliament on Dec 1st for the latter’s recent racial utterances.

In the recently concluded UMNO annual assembly, Shaffie vowed to never admit any non-Malay students to the public funded Universiti Institute Teknologi Mara (UiTM), and he also undertook to ensure that in spite of the current meritocracy system of university intake, Malay students would always exceed 55%, which was the percentage stipulated under the previous quota system.

Proposing the motion, Kit Siang described these policy statements as shocking and extremist. He exerted that apart from damaging Malaysia ’s international reputation, they undermined national unity and integration and lowered competitiveness all round.

Opposing the motion, MP Ahmad Shabery Cheek (UMNO, Kemaman) accused Kit Siang of stirring up racial issues and challenging Malay ’special rights’, for which Ahmad quoted Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which prescribed these rights.

Kit Siang denied these accusations and asked the newly appointed Speaker Ramli Ngah Talib for a ruling as to whether the motion was deemed seditious. The Speaker remained silent. As expected, the motion was eventually rejected in view of ruling party BN’s overwhelming majority.

Forty seven years after Independence, racial issues continued to monopolise national politics, and championing Malay rights remains the single dominant ideology of the only ruling power that this independent nation has known, UMNO. Thousands of speeches have been made championing this Malay cause, using various terminologies such as Malay ’special rights’, Malay ’special privileges’ or simply Malay ‘rights’, often invoking the nation’s Constitution as the legal back-up. But, of the thousands of politicians who have used these terminologies, how many have read through the Constitution to find out what these ‘rights’ really are? Very few, perhaps!

Our Constitution is printed in a small booklet that can be bought for about RM10 in the book shops. Buy one copy and read through to find out what it says about these ‘rights’. After all, these issues have been the hottest favourites of our politicians ever since our Independence. Aren’t you curious to find out?

If you have read through the Constitution to look for an answer to these Malay ‘rights’, perhaps the first thing that has struck you is that, familiar terminologies such as Malay ’special rights’, Malay ’special privileges’ or Malay ‘rights’ are no where to be found in the Constitution. Instead, we only find the term ‘the special position of the Malays’, which appears twice, in Clause (1) and Clause (2) of Article 153, which is titled ‘Reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc, for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak’.

(The natives of Sabah and Sarawak were only incorporated into the Constitution upon the formation of Malaysia in 1963, during which Sabah , Sarawak and Singapore were merged with Malaya to form Malaysia . In this article, the words ‘the natives of Sabah and Sarawak’ will not be repeated after the word ‘Malay’ when I quote from the Constitution, for abbreviation purpose).

MP Ahmad Shabery Cheek has of course correctly pinpointed Article 153 as that part of the Constitution upon which Malay ‘rights’ were founded. But has he read and understood the full meaning of Article 153?

Anyone who has read through Article 153 might be surprised to discover that the provisions favouring Malays are in fact quite moderate, and certainly no way as stretched out in intensity and scope as our politicians would want us to believe. Similarly, those provisions protecting the non-Malays as a counter-balance to the special position of the Malays under this Article are also surprisingly quite well conceived and fair. In fact, when read in conjunction with Article 8 (Equality) and Article 136 (Impartial treatment of Federal employees), Article 153 cannot be construed as having significantly violated the egalitarian principles of our Constitution, contrary to common perception.

Since the egalitarian nature of our Constitution is largely intact, in spite of the presence of Article 153, then why should it have acquired such an adverse reputation as the legal root of all kinds of racial inequalities in this country?

Answer: the fault is not with our Constitution, but with our politicians twisting, misinterpreting and abusing it.

It is perhaps high time we get to the bottom of Article 153.

Clause (1) of Article 153 states: ‘It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article’.

So, the first understanding that we must have on Article 153 is that it is meant to protect the interests of not only the Malays, but also those of the non-Malays.

Next, note the deliberate use of the words ’safeguard’ and ’special position’ (instead of ’special rights’ or ’special privileges’). The choice of these words must be understood in the historical context of the drafting of this Constitution half a century ago when Malays were economically and educationally backward in relation to other races. It was thought fit and proper then that there must be ’safeguards’ to protect the Malays from being swarmed over by other races. Hence, the creation of the ’special position’ of the Malays, which was obviously intended for defensive purpose: to protect for survival. The impeccable avoidance of using words like ‘rights’ and ‘privileges’, and the choice of the word ’safeguard’ were clearly calculated to reflect its defensive nature. Under that historical context, the provision of the special position of the Malays in the Constitution certainly could not be interpreted to mean the endowment of racial privileges to create a privileged class of citizenship.

Clause (2) says that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall safeguard the special position of the Malays by reserving positions ‘of such proportion as he may deem reasonable’ in a) the public service b) educational facilities and c) business licenses.

Clauses (3) & (6) say that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, for purpose of fulfilling Clause (2), give general directions to the relevant authorities, which shall then duly comply.

There is a separate clause covering the allocation of seats in tertiary education – Clause (8A). It says that where there are insufficient places for any particular course of study, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may give directions for the ‘reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.’

As for the protection of non-Malays against possible encroachment of their existing interests, there are several provisions under different clauses in this Article, prohibiting the deprivation of the existing facilities enjoyed by them, whether in public service, education or trading licenses. Of these protective clauses, Clauses (5) and (9) are particularly significant.

Clause (5) consists of one sentence, which reads: ‘This Article does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136′.

Article 136 also consists of one sentence, which reads: ‘All persons of whatever race in the same grade in the service of the Federation shall, subject to the terms and conditions of their employment, be treated impartially.’

Clause (9) consists of one sentence, which reads: ‘Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays.’

Reading Article 153 will not be complete without reading Article 89 (Equality). I will quote the more significant Clauses (1) and (2) of this Article in full, as follows:

Clause (1) states: ‘All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.’

Clause (2) states: ‘Except as expressly authorized by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.’

Reading through these Articles of the Constitution, we are able to draw the following conclusions:

1. The present clamour for Malay ’special rights’ as sacrosanct racial privileges of a privileged race, especially under the ideological ambit of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay the master race), is in conflict with the letters and spirit of the Constitution.

2. The special position of the Malays as prescribed under Article 153 of the Constitution is limited in scope to only the reservation of reasonable quotas in these 3 sectors: public services, educational places and business licenses. Hence, the present rampant racial discriminations practiced on almost every facet of our national life are mostly violations of the Constitution. Examples of these violations are:

a) Racial discrimination in the appointment and promotion of employees in publicly funded bodies, resulting in these becoming almost mono-raced bodies (particular so in their top strata). These bodies include: the civil service, police, army and various semi and quasi government agencies.

b) Barring of non-Malays from tenders and contracts controlled directly or indirectly by the government.

c) Imposition of compulsory price discounts and quotas in favour of Malays in housing projects.

d) Imposition of compulsory share quota for Malays in non-Malay companies.

e) Blanket barring of non-Malays to publicly funded academic institutions (that should include the Uitm, which is the subject of debate in Parliament referred to earlier in this article).

f) Completely lop-sided allocation of scholarships and seats of learning in clearly unreasonable proportions that reflect racial discriminations.

3) Our Constitution provides for only one class of citizenship and all citizens are equal before the law. The presence of Article 153 does not alter this fact, as it is meant only to protect the Malays from being ’squeezed’ by other races by allowing the reservation of reasonable quotas on certain sectors of national life. However, this Constitution has now been hijacked through decades of hegemony of political power by the ruling party to result in the virtual monopoly of the public sector by a single race. The ensuing racism, corruption and corrosion of integrity of our democratic institutions have brought serious retrogression to our nation-building process in terms of national unity, discipline, morality and competitiveness of our people.

4) At this critical juncture, when nations in this region and around the world are urgently restructuring and shaping up to cope with globalization, our nation stagnates in a cesspool that has been created through decades of misrule. Unless urgent reforms are carried out, beginning with the dismantling of the anachronistic racial superstructure, we are in for serious troubles in the days ahead.

If you think this is a good write-up and make some probable sense,

pls. pass it on ….so that others may know what’s been talked about .. TQ..

Cops waiting for official request to track down Sikh militants

KUALA LUMPUR: The police are waiting for an official request from their Punjab counterpart to track down four suspected Sikh militants said to be hiding in Malaysia.

Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan said it was waiting for word from New Delhi and would cooperate with Indian authorities to address the militancy problem.

"They (Punjab police ) should make an official request so that action can be taken according to the law. The type of action will depend on the situation and offences committed. We have to follow international law," he told Bernama when contacted today.

Musa said police would not compromise and take stern action based on the law to check militancy as it could harm national security.

He was commenting on a statement by Patiala police chief Senior Supt Ranbir Singh Khatra from New Delhi that Punjab police would use diplomatic channels to get cooperation of the Malaysian government to track down the suspects.

Based on intellIgence inputs, three of the suspected Sikh militants, Harminder Singh,45, Daljit Singh and Harpreet Singh, both in their 20s, all of whom are from Punjab state are believed to be hiding in Malaysia.

There are no details of the fourth suspect.

Punjab police claimed that Khalistan Liberation Force, a violent Sikh separatist group, had set up base outside Kuala Lumpur and that four of its mmebers are hiding in the country.

Sodomy II trial: 'Saiful-DPP affair' tops agenda

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: The prosecution and defence teams are expected to lock horns over the star witness when Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial resumes tomorrow.

The defence wants Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan to be recalled to the stand to answer the allegation of his sexual relationship with deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif.

FMT learnt that the defence team had written to Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof last week asking that Saiful be called in again. However, there has been no response.

A source said if the court agreed to recall Saiful, then Farah would also be summoned to be identified by the former.

When approached for confirmation, lead counsel Karpal Singh declined to reveal the details, saying it would not be proper to disclose the defence's strategy at this stage.

However, he stressed that the Saiful-Farah episode had tarnished the prosecution's integrity.

"In fact for Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail to come up with a statement on this issue shows something,” he said.

In an unprecedented move, Gani issued a press statement on Tuesday confirming that Farah had been dropped from the prosecution team and the prosecution division of the A-G's Chambers.

He also downplayed her role in the prosecution team, saying that it was confined to taking down notes of the proceedings and that she had no access to the investigation papers.

Doc to be grilled as well

Meanwhile, Karpal confirmed that he would be in court tomorrow although he had yet to fully recover from a lung infection.

Initially, the trial was set to resume on July 19 but was postponed after Karpal went on a two-week medical leave where he was hospitalised at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).

Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah allowed the postponement after the defence team assured that the trial would resume on Aug 2 even without Karpal's presence. The trial is scheduled fron Aug 2 to Aug 30.

In another development, the defence team is also expected to grill Kuala Lumpur Hospital general surgeon Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim over his testimony regarding the chemist's report on samples taken from Saiful's anus which showed that penetration took place.

Razali, the second prosecution witness after Saiful, had told the court that the clinical report done by him and two other doctors on July 13, 2008, stated that there were no conclusive findings of penetration because it was prepared without the sample analysis from the Chemistry Department.

However, an exhibit tendered in court clearly stated that the chemist's report was received by Razali and the other doctors on July 11, 2008.

The report stated:

* No detectable alcohol and other common drugs in the blood sample from the patient

* Presence of semen on swabs B5, B7, B8 and B9 (samples taken by Razali)

* No foreign source DNA from swabs taken

* A mixture of male DNA types from swab B5

* Male DNA types from two individuals from swabs B7, B8 and B9.

The anal examination on Saiful revealed that there were no scars or fissures on the external area of the anus or any sign of recent injuries.
During his testimony on June 3, Razali, who was shown the chemist's report for the first time, told the court that based on his clinical findings and the report before him, he could confirm that there was penetration.
He also told the court that sodomy could occur without causing any injuries.

Don't play with 'bumi fire', Umno warns Pua

JOHOR BARU: An Umno leader has slammed DAP's Tony Pua for questioning the discounts given to Bumiputeras in terms of property ownership, and warned him “not to play with fire”.

Ahmad Maslan, Umno's information chief, also believes that the latest episode was part of DAP' long list of issues to challenge the special position of the Malays and Bumiputera.

Pua had recently suggested that discounts be abolished for commercial and luxurious properties in Selangor.

However, Ahmad Maslan said the percentage of shop-houses and business premises owned by the Malays in townships was still low, only 14%.

Abolishing the discounts, he added, would only worsen the situation.

“I call on Pua not to play with fire, don't strike a match with this suggestion. Pua should think before he speaks,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Ahmad Maslan said the Petaling Jaya Utara MP made the suggestion without considering the sensitivities of the Malays and Bumiputera.

'DAP's racist policy'

Although making up 67% of the population, the deputy minister said the imbalance was also apparent in the ownership of houses, because only a 30% quota was allocated for them in housing estates.

“(This imbalance) is not healthy for the future of the country if residential areas have more than 70% non-Bumiputeras while the Malays live in small houses in the outskirts of town,” he added.

In view of this, he said, the Bumiputera discount policy provided a small advantage for them to own houses and business premises.

Ahmad Maslan said DAP and Pua should understand the federal constitution, especially the part which touched on the special privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras and the social contract.

“Pua's statement which is based on the sentiments of profit and DAP's racist policy has angered the Malays. We want all Malaysians to live in peace,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Umno leader also called on the Malays and Bumiputeras to give prominence to education in order to progress and ensure that they would be able to compete with the other races.

Bar Council chief: Inviting Anwar 'right thing' to do

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan believes that it was right to invite Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to the 15th Malaysian Law Conference closing ceremony despite this resulting in the loss of sponsors.

In his address, the lawyer recounted how difficult it was to make the decision. There were “heated arguments and discussion” on this.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions we had to make... It was a tough decision but we had to make the right decision, whether it was going to be (singer) Ning Baizura or (comedian) Jit Murat for tonight’s gala dinner,” he said in jest, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Apart from Anwar, the council also invited Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail. Both did not turn up.

Najib could not attend as he is currently overseas but Gani did not provide a reason for his absence, fuelling speculation that the two could have boycotted the event because of Anwar.

Meanwhile, Ragunath said the decision to invite Anwar was unanimous. “There is great pleasure in doing the right thing, and we did it,” he added.

'A mark of conviction'

In his speech, titled “Taking Justice Seriously”, Anwar commended the Bar Council for inviting him despite the repercussions.

“Perhaps that was an understatement,” he laughed. “Really, I should say that words cannot convey my profound appreciation for the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ that your organisation had to suffer by inviting me.

“I see it as a mark of conviction and fortitude that you have stood your ground in the face of adversity.

“Therefore, I mean it in the truest sense, when I say that I am greatly honoured to be here to give my humble address to such a distinguished audience,” he added.

The conference had concluded 37 sessions addressing various laws in the country.

No politics please, says businessman Dr M


KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who launched the fourth anniversary of a Japanese-style bakery and bistro partly owned by him, has refused to entertain questions on politics.

"No political questions this time, please... otherwise, the opposition will not come to my place. Now, I am a businessman... not a politician," he said in jest.

Mahathir was speaking to reporters at the bakery, The Loaf's, fourth outlet at the IOI Boulevard outlet in Puchong here today.

However, the businessman responded to a question on the economy, saying that unlike before, Malaysia cannot expect much foreign direct investment (FDI) as currently, many countries and foreign businessmen do not have the funds to invest in foreign countries.

He said, at the same time, they also wanted to invest in their own countries due to the high level of unemployment there.

"So, we cannot expect much foreign direct investment today," he added when asked to comment on the World Investment Report 2010 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

According to the report, the FDI inflow to Malaysia had dropped 81% from RM23.47 billion (US$7.381 billion) in 2008, to RM4.43 billion (US$1.381 billion) last year.

Fifth outlet in Bangsar

Earlier in his speech, Mahathir, who is also chairman of The Loaf, said the company intended to franchise the business at the right time.

He said the company had received many requests, including from overseas such as Indonesia and Singapore

However, those to be given the opportunity must have the work culture associated with The Loaf, he added.

The Loaf, which is based on a fusion of Japanese, Malaysian and European recipes with signature products, including freshly-baked pastries and savouries such as croissants, rustique, fig tarts, baguette Levain and mutton curry, was first opened in Langkawi in 2006.

"They must have the dedication (and) the passion to produce bread of high quality to keep up The Loaf's name," said Mahathir, according to Bernama.

The former premier also revealed that The Loaf planned to open its fifth outlet in Bangsar, by the end of the year.
Currently, its outlets are at the Telaga Habour Park, Langkawi, the Pavillion Kuala Lumpur, Empire Shopping Gallery Subang Jaya and IOI Boulevard Puchong.

At today's event, Mahathir, accompanied by his wife Dr Hasmah Mohd Ali, also launched The Loaf's “Just For U” birthday cake series that would be available in the market from Sept 1, and also unveiled The Loaf's new logo which reflect its new direction and growth.

Hear! Hear!


Tun Razak then explained that there are about 800 Communist Terrorists operating in the Pahang jungles and along the Malaysian-Thai border. The ISA is needed to combat Communist Terrorism, said Tun Razak. Tun Razak also promised Parliament that the ISA would be used only to combat Communist Terrorism and for no other purpose.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Judges should interpret law as legislature intended, says CJ Zaki

Judiciary officials should interpret the law as intended by the legislature, said Chief Justice Tun Zaki Tun Azmi.

He said that before going to Parliament, all Bills were scrutinised at length by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and officers of the relevant ministries.

There were 292 representatives in Parliament, with 222 members in the Dewan Rakyat and 70 in the Dewan Negara, he added.

“If the words are obviously clear and the intention, reflected in those words, who are we, the courts, to give a different interpretation?” he asked when delivering a talk, themed ‘Judicial Activism: Is It Activism or Plain Interpretation?’ during the plenary session of the 15th Malaysian Law Conference 2010 here Friday.

According to the Wikipedia, the term, judicial activism is used to describe judicial rulings suspected of being based on personal or political considerations, rather than on existing law.

Over 450 local and foreign delegates attended the three-day conference themed ‘Malaysia: Extending Frontiers, Widening Horizons’, which began Thursday.

Zaki said activist judges were looked up to by some lawyers, academicians and law students because in their view, the reasoning of these judges was perceived as a development of the law.

Citing as an example, Lord Denning, who was popularly known for controversial decisions, he said the English judge’s decision might be good and necessary in some instances.

However, the chief justice said, in his opinion, it could be a dangerous weapon in the hands of a “too activist judge”.

“Such a judge could overly expand or narrow down a set of legal principles based on his own personal ideals. He may not agree with the principles set by Parliament and find ways and means of going against those principles.

“Is that right? To me, it is rather a dangerous trend to follow,” he said.

Zaki said, should judges — even at the apex court sitting in three, five, seven, or nine on the bench — change the law, it would perhaps, go against the wishes of the voters by interpreting a legislation not intended by the legislators.

He said that in the Commonwealth, the number of so-called activist judges was extremely small, as most of the judges would rather play the part of being an interpreter of the legislations by the legislators.

“There are a very small number (of judges) who expressed their personal views in their judgments but these are usually frowned upon by their colleagues.

“Some of these judgments are corrected on appeals,” he noted. — Bernama

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

I am no lawyer, so should I comment on what the Chief Justice of Malaysia said? After all, he is the top dog of the Malaysian judiciary. So who am I to comment when I do not even have basic legal training?

Well, I always say: you need brains to be a lawyer, but you do not need to be a lawyer to have brains. So allow me to comment based on the brains that God gave me rather than based on whatever legal training I may have had -- or in this case have not had.

I will start with the comment in the opening paragraph by Bernama: ‘Judiciary officials should interpret the law as intended by the legislature’. Let us just mull over that one and debate the merits of that statement.

What the Chief Justice said is absolutely true. What was intended by the legislature -- in our case this would be the Malaysian Parliament -- when they introduced those laws? This must certainly be the crux of the whole matter when the judges sit to decide a case.

There are two things that must be considered. One would be the letter to the law -- how the law has been worded. Next would be the spirit of the law -- what was intended by Parliament. What the Chief Justice meant was that the spirit of the law must also be taken into consideration, not just the letter of the law.

Now, this is where two things come into play. One is your command of the English language. Second is your knowledge of the history of that particular law.

On point number one you may think that this is very simple. After all, we have all gone to school and we speak English better than a Londoner. Maybe so, but that may not be quite true when you read the English used in laws. As the Malays would say: pusing-pusing (twist and turning).

For example, when you are detained, say, under the Internal Security Act, the arresting officer would say, “You are being detained under the Internal Security Act because we believe you are a threat to national security.”

That sounds very reasonable and ‘good English’ to boot. But then you are being detained because someone, somewhere -- in this case the person who signed the Detention Order -- believes you are a threat to national security.

Now, the person who signed your Detention Order believes you are a threat to national security. So they detain you. But on what basis is this belief? Are not beliefs very personal? I mean there are those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (while many others do not believe so) and there are those who believe that Muhammad and not Jesus was the last Prophet (while many others do not believe so).

So can we accept the belief of that person as grounds to detain someone without trial?

It should be: ‘we have reason to believe you are a threat to national security’, or, better still, ‘we have reasonable grounds to believe you a threat to national security’. Not ‘we believe you are a threat to national security’.

Exchanging the word ‘believe’ with ‘reason to believe’ or ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ changes the entire scenario. In the first scenario it is your personal opinion or perception, so no evidence is required. In the second scenario you need a reason, so evidence must be offered. In the third scenario, even if you have a reason, there must be grounds, so it is more difficult to detain someone unless you have tangible and very damaging evidence -- which means the person about to be detained might as well be charged in court since the evidence is overwhelming.

It is crucial, therefore, that the lawmakers (Members of Parliament) have a good command of English and understand what the omission or addition of one word can do. Believe, reason to believe, and reasonable grounds to believe, mean three different things and can determine whether someone can unfairly and unjustly lose his/her freedom on the whim of one person.

So the letter of the law is very important. How the law is worded can make a difference between justice and the absence of justice.

Now, on the matter of the spirit of the law, let us use the Internal Security Act as the example -- since today (1st August) is the 50th Anniversary of this draconian law.

If the ISA is based purely on the letter of the law, then as long as the person who signs the Detention Order is satisfied (believes) that you are a threat to national security that is reason enough to detain you. They do not need any grounds or reasonable grounds to detain you. A simple belief is good enough.

But if the spirit of the law also applies, then they need to go back to why that law was introduced. And in the case of the ISA they need to read the Hansard records of the Parliament debate of April 1960 -- what the Parliamentarians said, debated, agreed upon, promised, etc., 50 years ago.

When the ISA was tabled in Parliament, a debate ensued and both sides of the political aisle argued the matter. Tun Razak Hussein, the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, was the man who introduced the bill and D.R. Seenivasagam, the PPP President and Opposition Leader in Parliament, stood up to question the logic of and reason for such a law.

Tun Razak then explained that there are about 800 Communist Terrorists operating in the Pahang jungles and along the Malaysian-Thai border. The ISA is needed to combat Communist Terrorism, said Tun Razak. Tun Razak also promised Parliament that the ISA would be used only to combat Communist Terrorism and for no other purpose.

That was the spirit of the law.

Well, there is no longer any Communist Terrorism in Malaysia. The Communist Party of Malaya has in fact signed a Peace Treaty with Malaysia back on 2nd December 1989. Furthermore, on 31st July 1960, the government formally declared that the Emergency was over.

Based on the spirit of the law, is the ISA, therefore, still ‘legal’? Yes, it is legal from the point of view that Parliament never abrogated the ISA. But since the ISA was specific to Communist Terrorism, this would make the ISA an ‘illegal’ law if used for any other purpose other than against Communist Terrorists.

That was what was discussed and agreed upon by Parliament. No doubt the wording of the ISA (the letter of the law) does not say ‘SPECIFIC ONLY TO COMBAT COMMUNIST TERRORISM’. But the spirit of the law does -- even though the law is ‘silent’ on this issue. And since it is ‘silent’ then the courts have to not just look at the letter of the law but also delve into the spirit of the law by looking at the Hansard records to see what was in the mind of Parliament when it introduced the ISA into law.

There are those in the legal fraternity who would disagree with me. They say it is not the duty of the court to worry about the spirit of the law but just what the letter of the law says. These are lazy lawyers and judges. And they are also ignorant of the history of Malaysia’s laws. That is why they talk that way.

In 2001, my wife filed a writ of habeas corpus as soon as I was detained under the ISA. The argument my lawyers raised in court was whether the ISA should have been used against me considering the law is specific to combat Communist Terrorism and I am not terrorist, Communist or otherwise.

I won my case.

In 2008, my wife again filed a writ of habeas corpus when they detained me a second time. The argument that my lawyers raised in court this time was that the ISA is meant to be used against ‘a body of persons’ -- meaning a group of people -- and I am one man, a Blogger, and not a body of persons.

I won again.

But in these two incidences my lawyers raised the issue of the spirit of the law and the courts agreed with their argument. So I got off on both counts.

It is time that the legal profession do as what the Chief Justice said: Judiciary officials should interpret the law as intended by the legislature. And if they do that then the ISA can no longer be used because the spirit behind the ISA (what was intended by Parliament) no longer exists.

But then we are talking about Malaysia and not England, so I doubt we can expect that from the Malaysian judges. And that is why I am waiting for them to apply to extradite me in a British court so that I can teach them a thing or two about how the law should be applied. However, they are too chicken to come here to fight me. And that is a shame because I had planned to make them look like fools.

Kit Siang: ‘Renewed’ and ‘committed’ to fight ISA

By Melissa Chi | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — For Lim Kit Siang, a veteran politician popularly known for his no-holds-barred rhetoric, the one most painful experience from his detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was having his freedom capped.

The DAP adviser’s only freedom had come in tiny doses and during those difficult days and his only comfort came from being allowed to wear his own clothes and to take short jogs around the secured compound to keep himself active.

When relating his story recently, Lim told The Malaysian Insider that it was really during his 35-month confinement under the ISA that he truly started to value his freedom.

“Freedom is the most precious thing, it is not tangible, something only when you lose, you’ll cherish it,” said Lim, who was detained on two separate occasions in 1969 and 1987.

He noted that it was the provision in the law that allowed for detention without trial that truly hampered a person’s freedom.

“It could really put a strain on a person’s belief and conviction. It is also extremely tough on the families. I would say that for most detainees, their families would go through great trauma,” the Ipoh Timur MP said.

Lim explained that the families had to adjust to the fact that they can only see the detainee once a week for such a short amount of time.

“For some, it is even harder for they would have to travel quite a distance just to spend a half hour with their loved one,” he said.

During his first detention in 1969, Lim’s family was living in Batu Pahat, Johor, which is about 32 miles from the Muar Detention Centre.

“Also, we are often kept in the dark. Most of the detained would not be informed of their release date and would only look forward to the 24th month of their detention to know if they would be released of have their terms extended,” he said.

He noted that in both cases of his detention, he was only informed of his release on the very day itself.

“Of course, I did not believe it (at first). I was a shocking, but pleasant experience,” the veteran politician said.

In 1969, Lim was detained under the ISA for 17 months for making “insensitive statements” and creating “disharmony to the state”.

He was sent to the Muar Detention Centre, which does not exist anymore.

Ten years later, he was convicted of five charges under Official Secrets Act (OSA) for exposing an inappropriate arms deal between the government and a Swiss company. He was again a victim of the ISA during the infamous Operasi Lalang in 1987 for “inciting racism” and was held without trial for 18 months at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak.

His two-time detention did nothing to dampen Lim’s fighting spirit however and instead, the 69-year-old said it had made him more resilient to fighting for a “better Malaysia”.

He said that his experiences had not wavered in his conviction, but rather reaffirmed his stance toward abolishing the preventive laws.

“In my case, I felt more renewed and committed [to fight for a] better Malaysia and not to allow all these undemocratic and repressive measure,” he said.

“It is pernicious, undemocratic and also opens to all sorts of abuses and should be abolished,” Lim said of the Act.

Lim’s sentiments were echoed by local as well as international human rights groups and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

He said there are talks about the amendments and the promise to table it at the Parliament but he said it had yet to happen.

The government had announced its plans to table amendments to six preventive laws including the ISA 1960, Emergency Ordinance (EO) Act 1969 and the Police Act 1967 this year, and has promised that the tweaks would better protect human rights and prevent abuse of power.

The proposed amendments have been approved by the Attorney-General’s Chambers for presentation to the Cabinet soon.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop had said that the amendments to the laws would involve five primary aspects including ministerial powers, the shortening of detention periods, police powers, rights and treatment of detainees and the abolition of several sections in the ISA.

Abu Seman, however, confirmed that these laws would only be amended and not abolished.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had said that the changes to the ISA would include the right to hold peaceful assemblies.

The most recent incident in relation to that was on August 1, 2009 when 589 people were arrested on the day of the rally, including 44 children and 40 women. Out of the total, 498 people were released on the same day and 91 were held at the Bukit Jalil Police Station, according to Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)’s memorandum to Suhakam.

On April 3, 2009, the day Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office as Prime Minister, he announced the removal of bans on two opposition newspapers, Suara Keadilan and Harakah, run by PKR and PAS respectively, and the release of 13 people held under the ISA.

He pledged to conduct a comprehensive review of the much-criticized law which allows for indefinite detention without trial. These promises had garnered support locally and abroad, and earned him goodwill.

Lim, however, reiterated that the ISA should be abolished. He pointed out that since the government had been holding on to the excuse of terrorism, there should be a specific terrorism act, and do away with such an “open-ended” act such as ISA.

“It had stunted the democratic growth… creating a culture of fear,” he said of the ISA, since its inception 50 years ago.

Lim said a greater public pressure from all sectors of society would add pressure to the government to abolish the act.

“Those in power at present should take seriously of such charges,” he said.

Decision To Sack Premature, Says Tee

SHAH ALAM, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock has described as premature, the DAP disciplinary committee decision to sack him from the party yesterday.

He said, it was inappropriate for DAP to "punish" him at this stage as the Selangor Government was still investigating allegations against him (Tee) over the misuse of a state exco member's letterhead to secure contracts for his family and cronies.

"The DAP disciplinary committee has jumped the gun in making such a premature decision. The party should have waited for the outcome of the state investigation into the allegations.

"People must understand that the allegations involve the local council and the investigations are under the purview of the state audit department...it is a state administration matter and not under the DAP," he told Bernama when contacted Sunday.

In its expulsion letter addressed to Tee, the disciplinary committee said it had studied the documents it received and verified that there was basis for the allegations.

On Tuesday, an English daily reported that a municipal councillor had allegedly used Selangor Local Government, Study and Research Committee chairman Ronnie Liu's official letterhead and seal to produce his own letters of recommendation to get Klang Municipal Council (MPK) contracts for his cronies and family members.

Although the newspaper did not mention the identity of the councillor, it described him as a DAP veteran in his 50s, who had contested twice for a state seat in previous general elections and was a member of the MPK tender board.

Tee, however, denied that he was the man in question, but was later asked to go on leave by Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, pending investigation into the case.

The DAP veteran also felt that there was a "hidden hand" behind the decision to sack him.

"I believe there is a hidden hand in the sacking, especially with the upcoming party elections. It might be some people want me out of their path," he said, adding that he had yet to decide on whether to appeal against his sacking.

Meanwhile, a group of supporters who claimed loyalty to Tee, staged a 30-minute demonstration outside the Pandamaran DAP office in Klang to protest his sacking from the party.

They also held banners which described the expulsion as unfair.

ISA: It’s 50 years to the day.....

Today marks 50 years of the ISA’s existence. That’s fifty dark years.
It’s time for the ISA to go.
In 1960, D R Seenivasagam accurately predicted what would happen when the ISA bill was tabled.
Rising to debate the Internal Security Bill on 22 June 1960, D R Seenivasagam called it “a vicious and repulsive document, a document which is repulsive to all those who believe in democracy”. He found it “difficult to believe any citizen of this country could have drafted this Bill if he has the interests of his fellow citizens at heart”.
“This Security Bill not only attempts to deal with terrorism, but it also attempts to deal with any citizen who dares to open his mouth,” he added, and charged that the Government’s motive in promulgating it was “intimidation, political intimidation, not only of political organisations, but of the people of this country”.
Check out the full article by Tan Pek Leng on the Aliran website here.
Mansuhkan ISA sekarang!