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Monday, August 2, 2010

Dr M: 1Malaysia slogan needs to be explained in detail

GEORGE TOWN: The 1Malaysia slogan must be explained in detail to the people of various races living in the country, to provide a holistic understanding of the concept, said former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"When I speak to the Chinese and Malays, they have differing views and cannot be united. I feel an in-depth explanation is needed," he told reporters here today when asked by delegates of the Malaysian Muslims Welfare Organisation (Perkim), to explain the confusion surrounding the people with regard to the 1Malaysia slogan.

"They (people) do not know which one is for the Chinese or which one is for the Malays. If you ask me to explain, how can I explain because it was not me who introduced the slogan," he said.

On former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik, who was charged in court with alleged corruption in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, Mahathir said nobody can escape the arms of the law.

"That is only an accusation; whether it is true or not will be the job of the relevant authorities to explain, because in a court of law, nobody is an exception.

"If (Ling) is not guilty, let his lawyers prove it," he said.

Ling, 67, was charged at the Putrajaya Sessions Court with cheating the government into agreeing for the purchase of land in Pulau Indah, Port Klang, for the “Mega Distribution Hub” known as PKFZ in 2002.

The charge said he (Ling) had misled the Cabinet into agreeing for the conditions over the land acquisition in Pulau Indah as agreed by Kuala Dimensi and the Port Klang Authority.

The alleged offence was committed by Ling at the 4th floor of the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said the government should consider the proposal to amend the law for rape because the existing law may be outdated.

"Times have changed. Pornography and pornographic pictures are easily available so, when some see such movies or pictures, they loose their sense of direction and cannot decide what is right or wrong," he said.

Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh has called for the death penalty to be introduced for the rape of children and urged that Section 376 of the Penal Code (rape) be amended to provide for the death penalty in such cases.

Under Section 376 (2) (e) of the current Penal Code, punishment for raping children below the age of 12, is jail of not more than 30 years and caning.

He added that the government can also take action by barring Internet sites that offer phonographic contents or materials.

Is it divide and rule or 1Malaysia? asks Yong

By Michael Kaung

SANDAKAN: The Federal government stands accused of practicing a divide and rule policy and as a result depriving Sabahans of the development and progress enjoyed by their counterparts elsewhere in Malaysia.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee said over the weekend that this divide and rule policy is prevalent even 47 years after the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

"Even today, we still have federal leaders saying that this month of August is the country's 53rd Merdeka Day celebrations.

"It is their mentality and mindset that Sabah and Sarawak just joined in the Federation of Malaya.

“We are treated as 'son' and the Federal government as the 'father', resulting in the unfair treatment from Kuala Lumpur," said Yong when opening the SAPP Tanjang Papat and Elopura service centres at Bandar Kim Fung here on Sunday.

He said Sabahans deserved better from the central government with more equitable distributions of opportunities and development projects but were instead getting a lot of chatter by the various parties of ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and pledges were not matched by action.

"The federal government had failed to honour the Malaysia Agreement signed on July 9, 1963, whereby we still have few Sabahans holding positions in federal departments and agencies."

"We have plenty of gas, petroleum, palm oil and other natural resources, but why are we still poor? Where were the promises pledged 47 years ago? We were promised that we would prosper like Malaya, but we have become the poorest state in the country," Yong pointed out.

He said the lop-sided relations between the state and federal governments had contributed to snowballing issues such as the presence of huge number of illegal immigrants and the shortage of power supply in the state.

Also accelerating is the rate of unemployment in the state, causing many Sabahans to look for jobs elsewhere and resulting in many of them being stranded and begging for food in Kuala Lumpur.

Yong said only a change of government would give the people of Sabah a second chance to make good on what had been promised.

He urged voters to help bring about this change during the forthcoming 13th general election.

State exco Halimah takes charge of Tamil school fund

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: Selangor state exco Dr Halimah Ali said that state government allocations to help raise Tamil school education will no more be managed by Xavier Jeyakumar but herself.

She said this after a meeting with parents of Tamil school students who were unhappy that the state government allocated RM1.6m to three NGOs to run the Tamil School Programmes.

The meeting was also attended by the three NGOs, Jeyakumar, the exco in charge of Indian affairs, Kelana Jaya MP Low Goh Burne and Kapar MP S Manickavasagam.

Halimah explained that Jeyakumar was given the mandate to manage the allocation because he had volunteered to do so although she was the exco in charge of education.

Whenever the allocation issue was raised at state exco meetings, Halimah said Jeyakumar said there were no complaints from the parents and or the NGOs.

"I'm here to tell you that I had never met with you, the Tamil school parents before," Halimah told the parents. "This is my first time and the time has come now for me to take charge."

She said that will raise this matter at the next state exco meeting and then call for another meeting with the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) chairmen.

Scuffle between rival factions

Halimah, the state exco for education, said if Tamil schools faced problems in getting access to the allocation, they can apply to the state government online.

She said the government has yet to decide if the RM1.6m allocation for the Tamil School Programmes will continue to be channeled to the three NGOs.

"We will discuss this at our next exco meeting," she said.

A slight scuffle broke out during the meeting last Saturday when rival factions traded barbs and criticised each other.

It started when MP Low asked representatives from the three NGOs the reason for not acknowledging the contributions of Pakatan Rakyat leaders in their souvenir programmes.

Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF) special adviser S Pasupathi, who attempted to answer the question, was interupted by Low.

Fracas brought under control

The situation become chaotic and supporters of the both sides began shouting and heckling at each other.

When Jeyakumar tried to intervene, he was told off by several angry parents. S Kumaravel, the Midlands Tamil School PTA chairman came to Jeyakumar's rescue and in the process pushed Low who was standing near the edge of stage.

S Murali, the president of Tamil Schools' Parent's Association of Selangor (TSPAS), then lunged at Kumaravel who had to fend off a group of PKR members who joined in the fracas.

The situation was brought under control by a group of parents. Low, Manickavasagam and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad were not happy with situation.

Order reigned when Halimah asked Jeyakumar and the three NGOs representatives to leave the hall with their supporters.

Almost every parent at the meeting urged the state government to freeze the RM1.6m annual allocation which is channelled to the three NGOs.

The state government allocates RM4m for Tamil schools annually. RM2.4m is given directly to Tamil schools while the remaining RM1.6m is given to the three NGOs to run the Tamil School Programmes.

Besides the Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF), the other two NGOs are the Tamil Foundation (TF) and Child Information Learning Development Centre (CHILD).

The issue of the RM1.6 m allocation came to a boil when Murali, the TSPAS chairman, accused the the three NGOs of mismanaging the funds.

Jeyakumar could not be contacted for comment. His aide said he will respond later.

'DPP, Saiful must clarify allegation'

(Malaysiakini) DPP Farah Azlina Latif and Sodomy II complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan "should submit separate affidavits" to clarify the allegation on their alleged affair.

In making this call, Anwar Ibrahim's lead counsel Karpal Singh said they are duty-bound to clarify the allegation which emerged on the Malaysia Today website.

"The prosecution's answer is neither an acknowledgement or denial. Based on this, we are certain there is an affair and it is up to them to deny (the allegation)," he said outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

He also said the entire prosecution team, led by solicitor general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, has been compromised or tainted because of the claim.

For this reason, he argued that the sodomy charge should be struck out.

Karpal said Farah is in violation of Section 8(1) of the Official Secrets Act and that Saiful is in violation of Section 8(2) of the same law. These provisions concern wrongful communication of secret documents.

Anwar is at the Kuala Lumpur court complex in Jalan Duta to lodge a police report over the matter.

Earlier today, his lawyers had submitted notice to strike out the charge in the Kuala Lumpur High Court. An affidavit from Anwar was submitted in support of this.

'Personal knowledge?'

Yusof, when asked to comment, shot the question back at Anwar and his lawyers.

"This is a bare allegation and there is no substance (to the claim). Do they have personal knowledge (about the alleged affair)?" he asked.

Yuosf (Left) said he would look into whether or not there is a need to reply to Anwar's affidavit.

Last week, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail had removed Farah from the prosecution team and Prosecution Division.

Saiful and Farah were conspicuous by their absence from today's proceedings, which saw the trial being postponed to Aug 9.

'Allah' issue: Repeal the ban, urges MCA

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today
KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA is urging the Home Ministry to repeal the ban on the use of "Allah" by Christians to undo the damage done by the controversy, which some non-Malay Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders claim was the reason for the declining Chinese and Indian support.

Loh Seng Kok, the deputy chairman of MCA publicity bureau, said today Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein should repeal the ban since he is aware that it has turned into a divisive national issue, which can become an Archilles heel against the BN.

"MCA therefore urges the minister to use all the authority vested in him to rescind the ban," Loh said in a statement today.

"By doing so, he will be respected as a BN leader who looks after rights and interests of all Malaysians, including protecting the constitutional rights of minorities.

"Moreover, by withdrawing the prohibition, he will be able to defuse the controversy which has already been politicised unnecessarily," Loh said.

Hishammuddin said yesterday the ban on the use of "Allah", which he blamed on his predecessor Syed Hamid Albar, will haunt his ministry "for a very long time", adding that it should not have been prohibited.

Syed Hamid had imposed the ban on The Herald, the newspaper for the Catholic church, forbidding it to use "Allah" in its publication two years ago.

The ban was backed by hardline Islamic scholars who claimed the use of the word outside an Islamic context would cause confusion to Muslims. It subsequently spiralled out of control and became fodder for both sides of the political divide, leaving the nation split over the matter.

'Different levels of maturity'

However, Hishammuddin insisted that the Catholic Church now fully understands the rationale behind the ban, saying that it "understood fully that there are different levels of maturity and understanding in our constituents".

MCA, however, felt that the time has come for the ministry to rescind the ban, given the backdrop of a BN struggling to regain non-Malay support.

It also echoed the point raised by the opposition that the word "Allah" has been traditionally used by other religions.

"MCA therefore reiterates its position on the 'Allah' issue: no confusion will arise when one’s spiritual conviction is strong, and that nobody can copyright 'Allah' or claim monopoly or (dispute) the historical fact that 'Allah' predates Islam," said Loh.

“We also urge the home ministry to allow the importation of the Al-Kitab and other religious materials... so long as the printed materials contain the words 'Christian publication' and carry an image of the 'cross'," Loh said.

On Dec 31, 2009, the Catholic Church won a landmark court ruling upholding its constitutional right to print the word “Allah” in its newspaper but a government application to stay the ruling has prolonged the case.

The Court of Appeal has yet to indicate when it will get the case going.

Twitter posting: I'm prepared to be sacked, says Teng

Twitter posting: I'm prepared to be sacked, says Teng

By Teoh El Sen - Free malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim today said he is prepared to be sacked over his controversial twitter posting on the dismissal of Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock.

He said he would not attend the DAP disciplinary committee hearing if he is hauled up in his capacity as speaker or chairman of the Selangor Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat).

However, Teng said he would appear if he was called in as a party member.

Teng is scheduled to appear before the committee on Aug 12 over his posting that said "OMG! Real culprit freed", said to be in reference to the sacking of Tee.

DAP disciplinary committee chairman Tan Kok Wai had said Teng’s tweet was “tantamount to questioning the credibility of the disciplinary committee, to mean that it has acted unfairly and unprofessionally by prosecuting the innocent”.

“This time the Selcat chairman will be summoned by the party discliplinary committee to clarify the matter,” Tan said.

In response, Teng said: "I cannot be attending as a speaker or Selcat chairman. I have a duty to uphold the dignity of the state legislative assembly... As a government servant, I cannot be answerable to any political party be it PKR, DAP or PAS."

"But I will attend if they call me as a party member," Teng said.

'Tan acted unprofessisonally'

Teng said Tan had acted "unprofessionally" when the latter asked him to attend as Selcat chairman.

"I do not know where Tan studied his law... Every decision should be open to criticism. We even questioned the Federal Court's decision in the Nizar vs Zambry case. So even this decision to sack Tee is open to appeal at the central executive committee level. Tee can also make a further appeal at party congress."

On the meaning of his "OMG" tweet, Teng, who is a DAP central executive committee member, said he will "reserve the explanation for his defence" when he is called to the disciplinary committee.

“I will be be punished if I openly talked about it in the media,” he added.

"I have the highest respect for the disciplinary committee. I cannot disclose this through the press. But I'm getting two more witnesses to back me up on the timing of the tweets," he said, without elaborating.

Teng, the Sungai Pinang state assemblyman, also questioned why Tan had informed him of the disciplinary committee's decision through the media and not directly to him.

On a subsequent posting in his twitter “Tweet in shiver, I think my days are numbered”, indicating the end of his political career, Teng said: "Don't you think this is serious? This is all over the news and if you get in trouble, naturally your days would be numbered."

Arrests galore at peaceful anti-ISA vigil

Sign Out Barricades greet anti-ISA vigils, at least 30 arrested

Barricades greet anti-ISA vigils, 36 arrested

Riot police have barred activists from holding candlelight vigils to commemorate the Internal Security Act's (ISA) 50th anniversary in eight places around the country, with 36 activists arrested.

anti-isa vigil in petaling jaya amcorp mallAt Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, Selangor - which saw the earliest vigil begin at 8pm - members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) began dispersing the 300-strong crowd just as the latter began singing Negaraku while marching from the mall, through the adjacent carpark and towards the field across the main road.
As they approached the field, they were confronted by a wall of LSF shields wielded by about 30 riot police, backed by another 50 uniformed police.
anti isa vigil pj 010810 06The officer in charge informed that their gathering was illegal and told them to disperse. When the activists refused, the LSF rushed into the group and pushed them back as police personnel from other sides began arresting the activists.
Police officers chasing the protestors out of the Dataran amid the activists' shouts of "Hidup, hidup! Hidup rakyat!”, as other personnel formed a line to block more protestors from entering the square.
At least five people were arrested immediately, including Abolish the ISA movement (GMI) chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan and PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin.
anti-isa vigil in petaling jaya amcorp mall 2The activists then retreated to the car park and enterd Amcorp Mall, as the LSF and other police formed a cordon in front of the mall entrance as they arrested those dressed in red - the 'official' colour for the vigil - and wearing 'Abolish ISA' badges.
Several activists were arrested as they tried to break out of the police cordon.
'Police acted violently'
anti ISA vigil 010810 siti kasimSiti Kasim (right) from the Bar Council said this was the first time she had seen the police acted with such violence and going to the extent of arresting people even as they enter the nearby Amcorp shopping mall.

"This is very bad. Very violent and unacceptable. We are shocked," she told reporters.
Human rights group Suaram's director Kua Kia Soong also expressed shock and condemned the violence by the police.

amcorp mall anti-isa vigil in petaling jaya"It's disgusting. This possibly could have been a peaceful vigil. What is the aim of the police (doing this)? It's going to make Malaysia more like a police state.

"Today is a very important day. Laws like the ISA only exist in very few countries nowadays. This law allows the authorities to detain people without trial. It's very shameful, and for the police to behave like this, makes Malaysia even more shameful.

anti isa vigil pj 010810 02"This is the first time I saw the police rushing and breaking the peace in shopping mall. This is very bad for business," said Kua.
Other than Ibrahim, Arutchelvan and Badrul Hisham, the other individuals arrested and brought to the Petaling Jaya district police station included Suresh Kumar, Mohd Fiqtriey, Naqiuddin Sahar, Albert Ang Yik Chuan, Yew Hun Ng, Ng Yap Hwa, Tsuing Han See, Enalini Elumalai, Mien Lor, Thilaga Sokiapillay, Kohila Y, Bawani K, Parames E, Sivaranjani, Lee Wei Ni, E Sarawanen, Xavier Sim Yoon Han, Aiman Siew Teck Meng, Sheikh Omar, Lim Jian Xin, Muhd Firdaus Khalid, Abdul Aziz Mohammad Ahmad and Rozan Azen Mat Rasip.
'No police permit'
By around 9:15pm, the police had stopped their dispersal and arrests.
As the police transport trucks rolled out of the area, those activists inside the trucks could be heard chanting 'Hidup, hidup!', 'Mansuh ISA!' and 'Polis ganas!'
arjunaidi mohamedAt a press conference held shortly after, Petaling Jaya police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed (left) said the organisers did not obtain a permit for tonight's gathering.
"No police permit was applied."

The police chief said further that the organisers had claimed to have been issued a permit from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)
"But MBPJ is not the authority authorised to issue such permits. They, with their legal knowledge, should know this very well."
He went on to defend the police action on the basis of the protestors' defiance of police orders to disperse.
"We asked them to disperse, but they refused and went into Amcorp Mall.
"When they came out, they scolded the police and challenged us, so we made the arrests," said Arjunaidi.
anti-isa vigil in petaling jaya amcorp mall 3He revealed that a total of 25 adults - six women and 19 men - were arrested for illegal assembly. Though there were children in the gathering, none was arrested, said Arjunaidi.
"There were kids involved in the demonstration. In fact, we were more than lenient with them. They only care about their purpose," he added.
Selangor CPO Khalid Abu Bakar later said that the police arrested 30 people in Petaling Jaya in total - eight women and 22 men.
It was only at 3am that those arrested were released - one by one - under police bail.
They were ordered to report back to Petaling Jaya district police headquarters on 16 August.
More arrested in Penang

In Ipoh, Perak, similarly, dozens of police officers had cordoned off the Dataran Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh and protesters were barred from entering the venue. About 200 people, nevertheless, participated in a 30-minute vigil which concluded without incident.
In Penang, the police had earlier today posted notices - signed by Georgetown OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng - around the Speaker's Square in Georgetown warning against any illegal gathering in the area.
Even before the vigil began at 9pm, two activists - Choo Choon Kai and Kris Khaira from PSM - were arrested.
penang isa vigil 010810 ocpd pcBy 8.50pm, Georgetown district police chief Gan Kong Meng asked the crowd - numbering around 100 as opposed to the 180 police personnel who had been mobilised - to "disperse in five minutes."
At the same time, about 10 persons suddenly appeared claiming to represent "those who support the ISA".
Two more activists - lawyer Darshan Singh and Ong Jing Cheng of Suaram - were subsequently taken by the police to Jelutong district police station.
All four activists were released a little after midnight under police bail after their statements were recorded. They have been directed to report back to the Jelutong police station on August 14 2010.
Lau Shu Shi of Suaram was also taken into custody after a warrant was served on her, but this was said to be over an earlier case. She has been ordered to appear in court on Monday.
In Kelantan, anti-ISA vigil coordinators Zaidi Musa and Hamidi Musa were held by the police after the anti-ISA event ended successfully.
Zaid and Hamidi were released under police bail at about 2.50am, and have been requested to report back to the Kota Bharu district police station the next day.
In a statement issued soon after the crackdown, Suaram said it "strongly condemns the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the federal constitution of Malaysia."

Sodomy trial: Application to remove prosecution next Monday

By Fazy Sahir and S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial was adjourned to next Monday to hear the defence lawyers' application to urge the prosecution team to step down following the alleged relationship between star witness and a deputy public prosecutor.

The application was made this morning by Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh before judge Zabidin Mohd Diah.

Karpal told the court that the alleged sexual relationship between Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and DPP Farah Azlina Latif had compromised the integrity of the prosecution team.

He said that Saiful could have been given access to confidential trial information, and that both he and Farah would have to state whether the claim was true.

"Because of this affair, the integrity of the entire prosecution of this trial has been compromised," he said.

"As a result of this affair there is a strong likelihood of Saiful being privy to statements recorded in the course of investigations including a statement from Anwar Ibrahim," he added.

Chief prosecutor: Bare allegations


The judge, due to hear the continued hearing of the trial today, allowed the application to be heard but granted the adjournment to Aug 9 after the prosecution team sought more time to file their affidavits to respond to the application.

The judge also allowed for another application filed by the defence for the sodomy charge to be dropped. However he ruled that this application can only be heard after the first application has been disposed.

"It cannot be denied that there was an allegation of an affair... therefore I am of the view it is better for me to hear the application of strike-out first," the judge said who also overruled the prosecution's bid to proceed with the trial today.

Earlier Karpal told the court that Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, who is leading the prosecution, should be held responsible for allowing the prosecution's credibility to be affected by this relationship.

Mohamed Yusof however described the affair claims as "bare allegations with no substance" but when asked by reporters whether he denied the involvement, he merely replied: "Do they (the defence) have personal knowledge?"

Anwar's affidavit and police report

The application to dismiss the prosecution team was supported by an affidavit by Anwar.

In his affidavit, Anwar said that the relationship between Saiful and Farah would mean that his accuser had access to all investigation papers before he took the stand as a witness.

“Farah was privy to these investigation papers and she was having an affair with Saiful...he would have similar access to these papers, including to all witness statements collected by the prosecution,” he said.

“It is patently clear that as a result of this relationship, Saiful had access to statements recorded from other witnesses and that he had knowledge of all briefings given by the prosecution team and their strategies in the case,” he added.

Anwar also said that Farah could have committed an Official Secrets Act offence by sharing these details with Saiful.

He said the prosecution team's integrity and impartiality were affected by this relationship between the DPP and the star witness.

Talking to reporters outside the court, Anwar said the revelation was more proof that he is the victim of a conspiracy to end his career.

"It just supports our contention right from the beginning that this is all a farce, a politically motivated trial, trumped-up charges," he told reporters.

"This is an additional fact or evidence to support our case, to show the prosecution is not and cannot be impartial."

Later, Anwar lodged a police report at the Jalan Duta Court Complex police station against Saiful and Farah for allegedly breaching the OSA.

DPP dropped

Last week , Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail announced 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. He however did not confirm or deny the relationship between the DPP and Saiful.

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 allowed the postponement after the defence team assured that the trial would resume on Aug 2 even without Karpal's presence. The trial was scheduled fron Aug 2 to Aug 30.

Saiful, who was an aide in Anwar's office, has accused the 62-year-old of sodomising him in 2008. If convicted, Anwar could face up to 20 years imprisonment.

Justice in Malaysia is still illusory

By Steve Oh - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT In another place where justice is beyond political interference, a case like Sodomy 1 would never have existed let alone a serial Sodomy 2. That Anwar Ibrahim is seen as a victim of political conspiracy can’t be denied when even certain foreign governments still keep a close eye on the court proceedings and openly express their reservations and concerns.

The latest scandal involving the key witness and protagonist in Sodomy 2 has resulted in the dismissal of the DPP engaged in the case. Romantic liaisons that develop in professional situations are known to happen but in the case of Sodomy 2 where the future of a high-profile defendant like Anwar is at stake, any hint of a professionally and ethically illicit affair has to be taken seriously.

If Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) had not blown the whistle, it is open to conjecture what might have happened. In fact, what has already happened should worry the public, especially the defendant. As for RPK perhaps it is time we take him more seriously, especially those who are responsible for upholding justice. It seems unfair to turn a patriot into a fugitive, especially one who is only trying to help his country become a better place.

The public has a right to know what happened in the DPP’s dismissal and the defence counsel is right in calling a mistrial. There is no need for the cloak-and-dagger stuff because justice thrives in the light of transparency. The truth never hurt a good cause and the innocent. The public has a right to know the truth.

There is high public interest in Sodomy 2. It is not only the defendant on trial but the whole country, in particular the judiciary. There have been some disturbing aspects in the case, such as the accuser seeing a police officer and the prime minister before making a police report. This lends the case to the criticism that it may be politically contaminated.

Then there is the troubling refusal of the court to grant the defendant and his legal team access to crucial statements made by the accuser to the police. It seems to be a fundamental breach of Natural Justice 101 to deprive someone accused of a crime the right to know what he is being accused of and the alleged relevant circumstances. Even in Islam you need four witnesses.

...the ghost of political interference in the judiciary still haunts the corridors of justice that only a proper follow-through with the royal commission’s recommendations may exorcise.
Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done is a well-known maxim. And it is here that the incumbent administration is seen to falter. Its unwillingness to make the judiciary a highly respected and independent public institution by pursuing every avenue to reform it results in the decision of the country’s Chief Justice, Zaki Azmi, not to pursue the findings of the CJ Lingam video royal inquiry.

Whither justice?
Zaki's reasoning that the CJ Lingam scandal dealt with the past and he is more concerned about the future does leave many Malaysians in total bewilderment. Is this the new guiding principle of responding to the findings of the royal commissions? Should we close all the police stations because every reported crime is about the past? If everything that happened in the past should be forgotten, life will be so much more expedient, more than dropping the CJ Lingam scandal.

If judge-fixing has been found to be a problem, those who have allegedly contaminated the judiciary must not be allowed to go scot-free. Is that not why cruel dictators are still held to account for their crimes against humanity many, many years after their evil deeds? It is utter nonsense to introduce a “past principle” to close the CJ Lingam video scandal because the judiciary exists to deal with the past. Justice is about judging past deeds good or bad, and making a proper judgment. What sort of precedent is being set?

The role of a royal commission is to establish the truth and facilitate the bringing to account of those who are culpable and exonerating the innocent. We fail those in the commission who laboured to give us the truth by not building on their efforts. The country is often criticised for its disturbing practice of selective prosecution, of dropping cases that should be pursued and pursuing cases that should be dropped. The CJ Lingam video scandal is classic proof.

According to the Malaysiakini report, “The royal commission of inquiry set up to probe the scandal subsequently recommended that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and five others, including Lingam, be investigated under various laws for their covert role in the appointment of judges.”

In the public interest and for justice’s sake, if not the reputation of the judiciary itself, why can’t the proceedings of the royal commission be allowed to reach a natural and credible conclusion? Its abortion will only perpetuate the suspicions and allegations and undermine the judiciary’s integrity and credibility.

Yet we see Anwar relentlessly hounded in Sodomy 2, another classic proof of this disturbing practice of selective prosecution, usually motivated by politics.

Surely there has to be greater respect for a royal commission and the rule of law which demands that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. When you have certain people who seem above the law, then justice is like another Penan rape victim who is left to cry in silent anguish.

When there are lingering doubts as to the purity of the judiciary and the contamination evidenced by the CJ Lingam royal commission inquiry findings, it is utter nonsense to simply brush the commission’s recommendations aside.

In the extreme, in this case which has widespread public interest, the CJ’s decision can be construed as a contempt for justice, even a disrespect for the function of a royal commission, an affront to every justice-minded Malaysian and I hope the learned judge, who should be passionate about justice and set the pace, will change his mind.

Since 1988 and after a public government apology and financial compensation, the ghost of political interference in the judiciary still haunts the corridors of justice that only a proper follow-through with the royal commission’s recommendations may exorcise.

What happened in the past to the country’s top judge is sufficient grounds for further investigations. If justice has not been done to the past, how can anyone talk about the future? What future?


Malaysian-born activist and writer Steve Oh, now based in Perth, created the musical “Tiger King of the Golden Jungle” (http://www.tkotgj.com/).

'Ling can rest easy, PKFZ another Perwaja'

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik “can rest easy” knowing that he can counter the allegations that he deceived the Cabinet in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, according to PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim.
"When I read the accusation against Ling, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It’s probably the first time in the world that an ex-minister has been slammed with such an accusation. But in Malaysia, everything boleh," Zaid wrote in his blog.
Last Friday, Ling was charged in the Sessions Court under Sections 417 and 418 of the Penal Code in connection with the PKFZ scandal, which carries a jail term upon conviction.

According to the charge sheet, Ling had, in 2002, misled the Cabinet into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment basis for a 15-year period, at a 7.5% interest rate.

The cumulative interest paid would total RM720 million at the end of the repayment period. He was also slapped with an alternative charge, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for the same offence.
While the prosecution is out to prove that Ling did not inform the Cabinet that the price included interest of 7.5% every year for the 15-year monthly instalment based on deferred payment, Zaid is of the view that Ling has all the facts in place to defend himself.

"Truth is Ling knows exactly how to counter these accusations easily. That’s the reason why he looked relax and was caught smiling," he said, adding that what upsets him most is how the government is playing around with millions of ringgit of the rakyat’s money with this scandal.

Explain the exhorbitant figure

Speaking his mind, Zaid listed out several “easy” questions which he wants Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin to answer.

"My first question is: This project was approved under Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration in 2002 in the belief that it would rake in huge profits without the government’s support or expenditure. It would be self-financing. But the scenario existing today is that the project has become a burden to the people at costs reaching RM12 billion. How did the numbers reach RM12 billion? How did we get to this situation?

"Second: The Cabinet had initially asked to take over the 1,000 acres of land through the 1960 Land Acquisition Act at the cost of RM10.16psf. Was it right for the land then to be bought at RM25psf, far exceeding the open market price, including caveat and deposits?

"Third: The letters of support from Ling and former deputy MCA president Chan Kong Choy for the Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) contractors was issued without permission or approval of the finance ministry. The attorney-general himself did not overlook this fact.

"Why did the Cabinet offer a retrospective approval, and approve the cost and project expenses which have now ballooned to RM4.6 billion?
"And if all these discrepancies, legal violations and cost overruns were sanctioned and approval given, why is the actual cost of the land still not known?" asked Zaid.

Explaining further, he said it was not possible for the Cabinet not to be aware that the deferred payments would stretch to 15 years.

He said it was also irrational to believe that the “smart ministers” had not known that “deferred payments mean heavy interest”.

"It is not possible that the actual land price cannot be valued. (It is) even stranger that the report from the valuation department was not attached to the Cabinet paper on PKFZ.

"It is my opinion that Ling can sleep in peace and need not worry even though Chan was not accused. I think it will turn out to be just another Perwaja case," he said.

Sabah party urges Najib to throw 'unfit' Musa out

By Michael Kaung - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must intervene and take action against corrupt leaders within the Sabah government, said a Barisan Nasional coalition partner.
In an open attack on Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman, Liberal Democratic Party deputy chief Chin Su Phin said the current leaders were “unft to lead the state.”

His scathing attack on Musa's leadership’s underscores the severity of turmoil tearing through Sabah BN.

"It's sad to see that in Sabah BN, we have some extremists who are bent on destroying the good relations among partners in Sabah BN.

“These people are unfit to lead the people and the state," Chin said when opening the annual general meeting of the party's Tanjong Kapor division here over the weekend.

He pointed out that state BN leaders seemed to pay no heed to Najib’s call to BN coalition partners to stick together which was later re-emphasized by Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein during his recent visit to Kota Marudu.

Chin cited the recent case where eight local community leaders were sacked and replaced and three others appointed to positions which became vacant due to death of the incumbent leaders, all without the approval of the state representative who normally deals with such matters.

"There was hidden political agenda in the sacking of these community leaders," he said, adding that the state's Minister of Local Government and Housing Hajiji Noor admitted that the removal and appointment of community leaders should not have taken place.

"The said removal and appointment of community leaders was orchestrated by Kudat district chief Harun Bidin, who was appointed to the post in January 2008 by Musa just before the general election in 2008, replacing the previous district chief," said Chin.

District officer, or the CM, must go

He said LDP has a tape recording of Harun going against the BN in Tanjong Kapor which was won by LDP's Teo Chee Kang in the 2008 general election.

He said during the campaign period, Harun openly asked voters to support and vote for an opposition candidate.

Harun had also allegedly said that if BN candidate Teo was elected as Tanjong Kapor assemblyman, he would still go against him.

After the general election, LDP reported Harun to Musa and asked for disciplinary action to be taken against him for instigating voters to vote against the BN.

"But no action has been taken until today. And now again, Musa did not take any action against Harun for going against the BN spirit in the removal and appointment of community leaders.

"As a capable leader, Musa should not be protecting Harun. If Musa keeps on protecting such leaders, he is unfit to be the state BN chairman.

"LDP's stand against Harun remains firm. We want Harun to be removed as Kudat district Chief," Chin said.

Chin's increasingly blunt attacks on Sabah government led by Musa comes after Umno leaders around the state began demanding that they be given priority over LDP in the next general election.

Are the corrupt nervous yet?

AUG 2 — The charging of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in court on Thursday must have sent shockwaves throughout the country. He is the first Tun to have ever been charged in Malaysia’s history. He is, at the same time, a prominent member of the establishment who is well liked.

It is unfortunate that Tun Ling’s reputation is now damaged, regardless of the outcome of the trial, but the message from the establishment is clear: No one is above the law.

The second message is that major events like this can happen even when the prime minister is out of town. I suspect that the PM, even if he knew about Tun Ling’s imminent charge, would prefer that the law takes its course and would want justice to be seen to be done without his interference.

As this involves a former Cabinet colleague, the PM must be in two minds: That of loyalty to a friend and the duty that his office demands. I am sure he will be pondering this on his vacation.

Others who are involved in corruption must also be extremely nervous because if Tun Ling can be charged, no one can believe they are immune from the same fate.

In the spirit of 1 Malaysia maybe they too may have to fill the quota of those being charged. Malay, Chinese, Indian, a native of Sabah or Sarawak; who is next, I wonder?

The guilty ones will also be wondering the same and quivering in fear, no doubt. Perhaps the next time the PM decides to take a holiday, you may see a mass exodus of those with guilty consciences, who will also leave the country at the same time.

Even Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) Tony Pua, who sits on Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, must have been surprised with Tun Ling being charged. I am sure even he felt that Tun Ling was to some extent immune from this and did not press the issue in the PKFZ inquiry.

He went for some lesser mortals where he thought he was more likely to succeed. In a sense, the action taken by the authorities, shows that there are no more sacred cows in the war against corruption.

There are those who say that this is all a charade and that there are many more who should be brought to book. That is a valid point but if we start seeing a few more “whales” of Tun Ling’s stature being charged (especially if they come from Umno and the other Barisan Nasional component parties), many will start to believe that there is a sincere attempt to clean up this time.

Even MACC chief Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed is making the right kind of statements in asking the Cabinet to declare their assets publicly.

PR, too, is taking corruption seriously with DAP sacking its Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock over allegations of corruption.

Both the BN and Pakatan know that corruption will be a major issue in the general election due in the next few years. However, as BN is the government, the people will be looking more towards the current administration’s success in battling corruption.

If the administration’s efforts are half-hearted, it may do more harm than good in the political sense, as I am sure there will be an internal backlash against the PM from within the BN.

This is an all-or-nothing fight — the PM is very much riding the proverbial tiger. He either wins the fight against corruption or it will be the issue that brings him down.

Although the current public sentiment is to see high-profile figures in handcuffs and marched off to prison, we must not forget that we live by the rule of law. A person is innocent until proven guilty. This rule does not only apply to the common man but the elite, too.

Tun Ling is no less innocent than any other person being charged in court. It is up to the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If they fail then they should be taken to task as would be the case in any other country where it involves such a high profile personality.

A serious clean-up will certainly cut across the races. The PM may not have envisaged such prosecutions in his 1 Malaysia vision, but if the clean-up is to be taken seriously, that is exactly what needs to happen. There are no NEP type considerations here. If there is enough evidence of corruption on anyone, regardless of race or religion, they should be charged.

Knowing that the politicians and the civil service now have to bow to the public on corruption, my question to those involved in corruption is this: Are you scared now?

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

Tiada Maruah (Lack of Integrity) At The Very Top

Top civil servants and political leaders are seen as representing the best of not just their organizations but also of Malays. Consequently, their shortcomings are viewed less as personal failures but more of our community. When they behave tiada maruah, collectively Malays are also seen as such. That is what makes me angry.

By M. Bakri Musa

Last week I wrote, “So we have two disturbing displays of less than exemplary behaviors if not outright lack of professionalism at the highest levels of our civil service. One is the Chief Secretary not hearing both sides to the Lim Eng Guan and Nik Ali squabble before rendering judgment, and the other, the Solicitor General failing to recognize a breach of professional ethics.”

I penned that piece too soon. For a few days later we have yet a third example from another top civil servant, this time Attorney General (AG) Gani Patail. Responding to the allegation of improper behavior by one of his prosecutors in the Sodomy II trial, Gani Patail simply reassigned her.

Living ten thousand miles away I have little to do with the Malaysian civil service. My daily life is thus not affected by these tiada maruah (lack of integrity) folks at the top. The organization however, is essentially Malay; likewise the political establishment. These top civil servants and political leaders are thus seen as representing the best of not just their organizations but also of Malays. Consequently, their shortcomings are viewed less as personal failures but more of our community. When they behave tiada maruah, collectively Malays are also seen as such. That is what makes me angry.

Essence of the Exposé

The AG justified his action “to remove any negative public perception of the prosecuting team.” He did not address the substance of the allegation; he managed only the perception and ignored the reality.

Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) first made the explosive allegation in Malaysia Today (malaysia-today.net). In a headline-blaring column titled, “The Bizarre Case of Sodomy 2,” RPK in his trademark style named the specific prosecutor, and rightly characterized the indiscretion as “a conflict of interest of the first degree.”

The allegation appeared at the end of a long article, and seemed more as an afterthought. You have to read his entire piece to get to the stunning revelation. Those who gave up earlier would miss it. It was as if RPK was challenging his readers to be thorough and not be content with only the headlines and few introductory paragraphs.

There was also a teasing coyness to the exposé; it was uncharacteristically brief. Beyond the mention of the name, there were no other details. It was as if RPK was laying a trap. Throw a teaser out, and then see those bastards falling all over themselves condemning him.

This time however, there was silence. There were no hysterical accusations or righteous condemnations that RPK was purveying “half-truths,” or as one novice politician would put it, “only 40 percent facts and the rest made up.”

My gut feeling is that RPK reveals way less than 40 percent of what he knows or has information on this evolving scandal. I had hoped that those UMNO jackasses would have resorted to their usual mouth-frothing denunciations of RPK. Then I could see him salivating like a lion that had successfully lured its prey to a trap where it could be pounced upon mercilessly.

Alas, no one walked into the trap. So we have to be patient with RPK or hope that someone would aggravate him enough for him to reveal the sordid details, perhaps titillating snippets of the videotape of the amorous illicit encounter!

The Larger Issue

It took less than a week for Gani Patail to respond to RPK’s revelation; unusually ‘efficient.’ This promptness, while laudatory, did not excuse his avoiding the heart of the matter – the truth to the allegation. For if the allegation were other than the “only 40 percent facts,” then the AG would have perpetrated a grave injustice on the young lawyer. Far from reassigning her, she should have been publicly exonerated, her integrity openly defended.

At the very least she should have been accorded due process. Even an accused murderer deserves that! The AG should be the last person to have to be reminded of this elementary legal tenet. Here we have the obscenity of the AG having a press conference first, with the poor prosecutor learning of her fate not from the media. Simple decency demanded that the AG should have met with the alleged wayward lawyer first, to get her side of the story and then to inform her of his decision.

If the allegation were true, then the AG has more than a serious disciplinary problem. There are the legal issues with respect to the Sodomy 2 trial. Additionally, the alleged act was also criminal per the Sharia.

Gani Patail cannot abrogate his responsibility. It is not enough for him to simply declare, “… [A]ny personal matter, if it can have any implication in whatever form on the department, will be handled very seriously.” He also has to demonstrate it.

If the allegation has substance, then the AG must remind himself that if she is not disciplined now, she would continue winding her up the civil service. She could one day be a judge or even the AG.

I am not concerned here with the career trajectory of a young lawyer. Nor am I particularly perturbed at the ineptness of some of our high level officials. I have seen enough similar examples elsewhere to be able to put that in perspective. The Peter Principle is after all universal.

I am however concerned with the pattern of tiada maruah leadership in the civil service and other essentially Malay entities. The recent scandal at Sime Darby reflects the pervasiveness of this blight. Again this being Malaysia, the racial element is never far from the public radar. One only has to read the bigoted comments on the Internet and elsewhere to be painfully reminded of this.

These tiada maruah Malays only feed this ugly stereotype. Of all people I would have expected them to be conscious of this, and thus make every effort to ensure that their behaviors would help tear down this unfair image.

I am not in the least comforted by the fact the Indian civil service is even more bloated and lumbering, or that the folks in Beijing are hideously more corrupt (note the recent scandal of tainted baby formulas) and disrespectful of basic human rights (witness their all too frequent summary executions). We are talking about Malaysia here, with our own rules, norms and expectations.

The other communities too have their own peculiar blights. The scandals with MAIKA and Port Klang Free Zone Project are obscene reminders of that. To me that is neither an excuse nor a consolation.

I feel for those honest, competent and diligent public servants who are Malays. They give all they have for the nation but their good work is being overshadowed by these yahoos at the top. How did the likes of Gani Patail reach the top? Likewise, I keep wondering how such unimaginative, frankly corrupt, and not terribly competent people get to lead us. More importantly, why did we let them? The answers elude me.

We can only change the negative image of our community by changing the reality. Vote these corrupt and incompetent bastards out! Voting them in again would only encourage them. Indeed this is exactly what has been happening. By repeatedly voting them in for the past 50 years, we are implicitly condoning if not encouraging their wayward ways.

Once we have capable political leaders, they will take care of the Napoleons in the public service, the little as well as the big ones. In the meantime we must do everything we can to shame them. This essay is an exercise in that. Come the election, we can punish them.

Those who love our community and champion its cause, including the Ketuanan Melayu folks, would do well to enlist in this urgent and critical mission of ridding our community of these tiada maruah leaders and civil servants. Unless we destroy the blight now, it will be the undoing of our society. This is where we should focus. We must not be distracted by such imagined enemies as the pendatangs (immigrants), capitalism, or globalization. The enemy is us, specifically our leaders.

Not talking about sex: At whose expense?

By Gan Pei Ling | The Nut Graph


SOME government officials have recently come up with “creative” ways to solve the problems of teenage pregnancy and baby dumping in Malaysia. To curb teenage pregnancies, the Education Ministry said it was encouraging students to submit written pledges that they would not engage in premarital sex. To solve the problem of baby dumping, Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam announced that the state planned to set up a special school for pregnant teens.
Shahrizat
Shahrizat
These suggestions may seem well-intentioned for some. But they are actually problematic. So what if students submit a written pledge? Youths who are curious about sex and want to experiment would do it before marriage anyway. And as Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has pointed out, the girls who are placed in Malacca’s “special school” will likely be stigmatised, creating other problems for them.
Instead of offering piecemeal solutions, what we really need is to get to the root of the problem of teenage pregnancies. Plus, it’s unfair to expect the government alone to be responsible for the problem.
Empowering, instead of preventing
What really is the root of the problem? Is it really that teenagers are having sex outside of marriage and should be stopped? Or that teenagers who find themselves in such situations don’t know how to protect themselves because they haven’t been taught?
If anything, the “chastity” pledge demonstrates the Education Ministry’s attempt to impose a narrow moralistic view about sex on young people. Such attempts have failed in other countries, including in the US. And even if some of us believe that young people should not have sex before marriage, we should not withhold important information about safe sex and contraception from them. Doing so would amount to a gross disservice to our youth.
Indeed, we cannot compel anyone – youths or adults – to strictly adhere to moral codes, in their private lives, that have been set by others. And if we continue to tell youths they shouldn’t engage in premarital sex in the same way that they should say “no” to smoking or drugs, we are actually telling them that premarital sex is something that is as ruinous, and shameful to boot.
But will these prevention methods really work? From the rate of teenage pregnancies and baby dumping that has been reported of late, clearly a better strategy is needed.
(Pic by Morrhigan / sxc.hu)
(Pic by Morrhigan / sxc.hu)
Our youth need accurate information on contraception and birth control so that they can protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections – including HIV/AIDS – and unwanted pregnancies, before or during marriage. Wouldn’t providing youths with information, instead of moralistic prohibitions, be more empowering in helping young people make responsible decisions about their bodies and relationships?
For example, many continue to subscribe to myths such as girls or women can’t get pregnant during their period or if the guy pulls out before he ejaculates. Such falsehoods can only be dispelled if parents or teachers create safe spaces for discussion for young people, instead of treating sex as something that is immoral and shameful.
As it is, without responsible adults to discuss these issues with, many young people turn to pornography out of curiosity. But many do not know how to view pornography critically and lack the skills and maturity to negotiate sexual relationships.
Hence, it is actually irresponsible for parents or teachers to avoid talking about sex and sexuality simply because they are “uncomfortable” with the subject. If parents and teachers don’t provide a place where young people can go to, where do we expect our youths to find out about responsible relationships?
Conflicting messages
Young people are often confused by the conflicting messages about sex and sexuality from the media or society. For example, the teenage characters in Gossip Girl have sex. We tell them “that’s the West” and premarital sex is not compatible with “Asian values”. But stories of couples having sex before marriage are shown in Korean, Japanese and Hong Kong dramas, too.
Young people hear politicians declare that scantily dressed women arouse men’s sexual desire and cause men to sexually harass or rape women. Yet the government continues to allow the advertising industry to objectify women’s bodies in ads.
Young people in Malaysia see gay couples in healthy, loving relationships in The L Word and Brothers and Sisters, yet sodomy is a crime, and pengkid are outlawed, and the media either ignore or demonise people of different sexualities.
A 2008 fatwa ruled that tomboys, or pengkid, were forbidden in Islam
How are young people supposed to make sense of all these conflicting messages without guidance from their parents, teachers or other adults?
Parents
One of the reasons many parents and teachers feel “embarrassed” talking about such subjects is because even they themselves may not know much about sex and sexuality. But isn’t it high time our parents and teachers, especially those teaching subjects related to sex, buck up and adopt a more open attitude towards sex and sexuality so that they can be responsible adults?
“In countries like the Netherlands, where many families regard it as an important responsibility to talk openly with children about sex and sexuality, this contributes to greater cultural openness about sex and sexuality and improved sexual health among young people,” according to HIV/AIDS charity Avert.
The organisation also says there is evidence that positive parent-child communication about sexual matters can lead to greater condom use among young men and a lower rate of teenage conception among young women. Avert further suggests that parents can view sex education as an ongoing conversation about values, attitudes and issues with their children.
Embarrassment or discomfort to talk about sex and sexuality is a lame excuse, especially if that may cause your child or student to get infected, or become a teenage parent.

Anwar Lawyers Want Malaysian Opposition Leader’s Case Dropped Over Affair

From Bloomberg
By Ranjeetha Pakiam

Lawyers for Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim asked for the sodomy charges against him to be dropped following accusations last week that a member of the prosecution team had an affair with the main witness in the case.

“The integrity of the entire prosecution is compromised,” Defense lawyer Karpal Singh told judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah. Singh said that as a result of the alleged affair, Saiful would have had access or been aware of papers from the investigation and he called for the entire team to resign.

Junior deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif was dropped from the team after allegations that she was romantically linked to Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar’s accuser, surfaced on a news website, the New Straits Times reported on July 28, citing Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.

A letter dated July 26 to Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden asking him to deny or confirm the allegations is still unanswered, said Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair.

Anwar is currently being tried for sodomy after the 24- year-old former male aide filed a complaint with police in June 2008. Sodomy, defined as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in Malaysia, even if the act is between two consenting men.

He has denounced the charge as a “malicious accusation” that was trumped up” by political opponents. At the start of the trial, Anwar said he planned to subpoena Prime Minister Najib Razak to testify in the trial, accusing the premier and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, of conspiring to frame him.

“The trial serves to distract Anwar and the opposition from what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of the Merdeka Center, an independent research institute near Kuala Lumpur. But “it also undercuts Najib’s credibility as being a reformist. The majority feels that it’s a political trial” so it lacks credibility, he said.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was widely tipped to be the next leader of the country, faced similar allegations in 1998 when he fell out with then-premier Mahathir Mohamad. He was sentenced to nine years in jail for sodomy and a separate corruption charge. He was released from prison in 2004 after the conviction was overturned.

Barred from politics until April 2008, Anwar won a seat in his former constituency in Permatang Pauh in August that year.

The trial, which began on Feb 3 after a series of delays following the defense team’s efforts to get certain documents, was put on hold again as Anwar’s lawyers made another attempt to see the prosecution’s medical evidence.

Racial Politics Future Of Malaysian Politics, Says Ibrahim Ali

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- Race-based politics will remain the bedrock of Malaysian politics as long as Malaysia is known as a state-nation not a nation-state, said Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

He said Malaysia being a country with plural ethnicity unlike Japan, Korea or Germany, still needed its politics to be structured according to racial grouping.

"For example, Umno still has the role to represent the majority of Malays, MCA the majority of Chinese and MIC the same for Indians," he said at the 4th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit 2010 forum entitled "The Malaysian Political Mindset: Will Politics of Ideology Trump That of Race?", here Sunday.

"For as long as Malaysia is still a state-nation with transformation and evolution requiring decades to come, the politics of ideology may find it difficult to trump this arrangement," he said at the forum, which included two other panellists, Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin and PAS Member of Parliament for Shah Alam, Khalid Samad.

Khairy said that although the politics of ideology should replace racial politics, the reality was far different from what Malaysians wished it to be.

"While many of us here want to have politics of ideology, the majority of Malaysians do not think so. The mind-share is there but it is not enough," he said.

The two-day summit which opened yesterday and carrying the theme "Our Malaysia, Charting the Way Forward", was organised by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC).

Some 350 Malaysian tertiary students and graduates from local and foreign universities participated in the summit.

Hishammuddin says regrets ‘Allah’ ban

The Malaysian Insider 
by Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said today that his predecessor should not have banned the word “Allah” from being used by the Catholic Church.

The decision, he added, will continue to haunt his ministry “for a very long time.”

“In this ministry, it is a zero-sum game.  We are [now] in an uncharted landscape which will haunt us for a very long time.

“We should have let the sleeping dogs lie. It was triggered by those that believed that the word ‘Allah’ should not be used in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said during the Fourth Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here.

Former home minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar had imposed the word ban on the Church’s newspaper, The Herald, two years ago.

Syed Hamid had temporary allowed the conditional use of the word “Allah”, only to rescind the government gazette later.

He had then cited fears that the use of word outside an Islamic context would cause confusion to Muslims.

Today, Hishammudin stressed that the Church appreciated the circumstances surrounding the ban.

“Church leaders understood fully that there are different levels of maturity and understanding in our constituents. The issue required wisdom and a decision but it is not as easy as you think.

“When you become a minister then you would find that it is difficult in finding a balance between the majority and minority,” he said.

The Catholic Church has since won a court ruling upholding its constitutional right to print the word “Allah” in its newspaper on December 31, 2009 but a government application to stay the ruling has dragged the case out longer.

The Court of Appeal has yet to indicate when it will move the case along. Several retired jurists said it cannot take very long, while one lawyer said it could take up to two years before the first hearing.

“We are looking at it and there is a court case and we are waiting for the outcome. There is [a] difference between acceptance and customs that have been used in the past in Sabah and Sarawak. The reaction from Muslims in the peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak will not be the same,” Hishammuddin said.

Supporters of the Church have argued that Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians in Sabah and Sarawak have used the word “Allah” for generations and it has become part of their cultural norms.

Abolish ISA vigil: From Esplanade to Jelutong

1140: Activist Lau Shu Shi is still waiting in court with her lawyer. The other four arrested last night in Penang and released on police bail – Jing Cheng, Kris Khaira, Darshan Singh and Chon Kai – will have to go to the police station on 14 August to find out if charges will be pressed.
0200: An impromptu anti-ISA vigil was held last night outside the Jelutong Police Station in Penang for a good half an hour after the one planned at the Speakers Square was disrupted.
Earlier, a group of pro-ISA rowdies infiltrated the crowd attending the planned vigil at the Esplanade leading to some scuffling and shoving.
But it was those at the vigil who were arrested: Suaram Penang coordinator Jing Cheng and Pekerja Tanjung activist Kris Khaira, along with lawyer Darshan Singh, were taken in a truck to the Jelutong Police Station.
Despite repeated warnings to disperse, the crowd at the Esplanade stood their ground, until the cops finally felt that there had been one too many press conferences and stepped in to show they meant business. By then many had already dispersed while others had gone to Jelutong to lend support to those arrested.
It was indeed ironic that the three were arrested at Speakers’ Square which is supposed to uphold freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. What happened last night defiled that hallowed spot.
About 30 activists and friends of those arrested, with a large contingent of media in tow, then turned up outside the Jelutong Police Station by 10.00pm. They held out a banner bearing the words “Mansuhkan ISA!” and chanted the same words. Many passing motorists honked in support.
After half an hour later, police patience wore thin and they came out from the station to give the activists five minutes to disperse. That prompted one of them to sing “We shall overcome”! A policeman behind her tried to blow out her candle, while another plainclothes cop stomped on a candle at the edge of the road.
The activists and friends then dispersed to nearby coffee shops.
Meanwhile, lawyers Lim Kah Cheng (an MPPP councillor) and Agatha Foo worked hard to get the three out of the station. Kah Cheng secured a promise from a senior police officer that the three would be released on police bail by midnight. (As an aside, it was interesting to see women lawyers in the forefront last night negotiating with police in both Penang and PJ.)
Someone joked that the three would definitely be released as there were three lawyers and a priest inside the station!
Just around midnight, as the those arrested were about to be released, uniformed police entered the coffee shop where Lau Shu Shi, the former Suaram Penang coordinator who is now with Awam, was seated with friends and activists. A policewoman escorted her to the Jelutong Police Station.
She was served with a warrant of arrest in connection with a May 2008 offence under Section 19 of the Police Act. Shortly after, she was released but will have to appear in court at 8.30am today.
The police even took away Jing Cheng’s ISA T-shirt (as evidence?!) and he emerged from the police station with a jacket borrowed from a friend.
Meanwhile, activist B K Ong reports on his encounter with the pro-ISA group:
I arrived at the vigil scheduled for 9.00pm some half an hour early. I noticed police blocking the entrances to the Esplanade. I walked towards the Esplanade field where there were already some scattered crowds. Before I could say `hello’ to a few familiar faces the crowd started retreating from the sea side, dogged by a few uniform police. When the crowd was pushed out of the field, the police stopped. So the crowd was milling around the edge of the field, just inside the walkway besides the main road. Then a group of fierce-looking and foul-mouthed people in their thirties or forties marched towards the scattered crowd. They don’t look like the anti-ISA civil society type. I could not resist taking a photo of them. That make them focus in my direction.
I pretended to sit down on a concrete fencing at the edge of the field, adjusting my camera. Some of the folks above spoke in Bahasa Malaysia and instigated each other to do something about me. Then one of them embolden himself and came to sit next to me. He pretended to speak into his hand phone but pushed his elbow till it touched my face. He was muttering `Mau cari pasal? Mau cari pasal?‘ He must have been trying to pick a fight with me as instigated by a few other voices from that fierce-looking crowd. I stood up and moved into the walkway slowly, avoiding the eye contact which could be interpreted as a sign of agreement to engage with him in the only way he wanted. Then the guy next to me declared his victory by laughing with his friends. They make even more instigation e.g. to pull off my beard.
Before the guy could come closer to me a police personnel marched in to shout at the folks above to ask them to disperse. The police only asked them not to force the police to make arrests – which was in strong contrast to the police’s preemptive arrests of three organisers of the peaceful anti-ISA candle light vigil earlier.
The group quickly crossed the road and assembled defiantly at a corner outside a building of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Ibrahim Ali vs KJ vs Khalid Samad

Khalid Samad vs Ibrahim Ali vs KJ

KJ vs Ibrahim Ali vs Khalid Samad

Brazil's president offers asylum to imprisoned Iranian woman

CNN) -- Brazil's president has offered asylum to an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning, state-run media reported Saturday.

President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva was quoted by Brazil's official state news agency EBC as saying "I want to make an appeal to my friend Ahmadinejad ... and to the government of Iran to allow Brazil to take in the woman."

Brazil recently participated in talks with Iran aimed at restarting negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.

In May, Brazil helped broker a deal with Iran that would provide Tehran with enriched uranium for medical research.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery in 2006 and was originally sentenced to death by stoning. Iranian authorities say the sentence has been put on hold, but there have been no reports as to whether a new sentence has been imposed.

The 43-year-old mother of two is reportedly still being held held in Tabriz prison.

Iran's judiciary could reinstate her sentence of death by stoning, execute her by another means, or possibly even grant her a reprieve, according to human rights groups.

Ashtiani's attorney, Mohammad Mostafaei, told CNN earlier this month that his client confessed to the crime after being subjected to 99 lashes. He said she later recanted the confession and denied any wrongdoing.

Mostafaei has gone into hiding since last weekend after being interrogated by Iranian authorities, human rights groups say. Advocates and Mostafaei say his wife and brother-in-law are being held by Iranian authorities.

A letter believed to be written by Mostafaei was posted on the Internet on Saturday, calling for the release of his relatives. The lawyer says he has cooperated with interrogators, and says his wife and brother-in-law are victims of of "hostage taking."

Mostafaei said he and his family are innocent of any wrongdoing.

The Guardian newspaper previously reported that Mostafaei's wife was arrested when they were unable to find him.

Barricades greet anti-ISA vigils, at least 30 arrested

(Malaysiakini) Riot police have barred activists from holding candlelight vigils to commemorate the Internal Security Act's 50th anniversary in eight places around the country.

anti ISA vigil 010810 petaling jaya 2At Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, Selangor - which saw the earliest vigil begin at 8pm - members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) began dispersing the 300-strong crowd just as the latter began signing Negaraku.
Police officers were also seen chasing some protestors out of the Dataran amid the activists' shouts of "Hidup, hidup! Hidup rakyat!”, as other personnel formed a line to block more protestors from entering the square.
At least five people were arrested immediately, including Abolish the ISA movement (GMI) chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan and PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin.
anti ISA vigil 010810 siti kasimSiti Kasim (right) from the Bar Council said this was the first time she had seen the police acted with such violence and going to the extent of arresting people even as they enter the nearby Amcorp shopping mall.

"This is very bad. Very violent and unacceptable. We are shocked," she told reporters.
Human rights group Suaram's director Kua Kia Soong also expressed shock and condemned the violence by the police.

"It's disgusting. This possibly could have been a peaceful vigil. What is the aim of the police (doing this)? It's going to make Malaysia more like a police state.

"Today is a very important day. Laws like the ISA only exist in very few countries nowadays. This law allows the authorities to detain people without trial. It's very shameful, and for the police to behave like this, makes Malaysia even more shameful.

"This is the first time I saw the police rushing and breaking the peace in shopping mall. This is very bad for business," said Kua.
Other than Ibrahim, Arutchelvan and Badrul Hisham, the other individuals arrested and brought to the Petaling Jaya district police station included Suresh Kumar, Mohd Fiqtriey, Naqiuddin Sahar, Albert Ang Yik Chuan, Yew Hun Ng, Ng Yap Hwa, Tsuing Han See, Enalini Elumalai, Mien Lor, Thilaga Sokiapillay, Kohila Y, Bawani K, Parames E, Sivaranjani, Lee Wei Ni, E Sarawanen, Xavier Sim Yoon Han and Aiman Siew Teck Meng.
By around 9:15pm, the police had stopped their dispersal and arrests.
arjunaidi mohamedAt a press conference held shortly after, Petaling Jaya police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed (left) said the organisers did not obtain a permit for tonight's gathering.
"No police permit was applied."

The police chief said further that the organisers had claimed to have been issued a permit from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)
"But MBPJ is not the authority authorised to issue such permits. They, with their legal knowledge, should know this very well."
He went on to defend the police action on the basis of the protestors' defiance of police orders to disperse.
""We asked them to disperse, but they refused and went into Amcorp Mall.
"When they came out, they scolded the police and challenged us, so we made the arrests," said Arjunaidi.
He revealed that a total of 25 adults - six women and 19 men - were arrested for illegal assembly. Though there were children in the gathering, none was arrested, said Arjunaidi.
"There were kids involved in the demonstration. In fact, we were more than lenient with them. They only care about their purpose," he added.
Selangor CPO Khalid Abu Bakar later said that the police arrested 30 people in Petaling Jaya in total - eight women and 22 men.

In Ipoh, Perak, similarly, dozens of police officers had cordoned off the Dataran Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh and protesters were barred from entering the venue. About 200 people, nevertheless, participated in a 30-minute vigil which concluded without incident.
In Penang, the police had earlier today posted notices - signed by Georgetown OCPD Asst Comm Gan Kong Meng - around the Speaker's Square in Georgetown warning against any illegal gathering in the area.
Even before the vigil began at 9pm, two activists - Choo Choon Kai and Kris Khaira from PSM - were arrested.
By 8.50pm, Georgetown district police chief Gan Kong Meng asked the crowd - numbering around 100 as opposed to the 180 police personnel who had been mobilised - to "disperse in five minutes."
At the same time, about 10 persons suddenly appeared claiming to represent "those who support the ISA".
Two more activists - lawyer Darshan Singh and Ong Jing Cheng of Suaram - were subsequently taken by the police to Jelutong district police station.
All four activists were released a little after midnight after their statements were recorded.
Lau Shu Shi of Suaram was also taken into custody after a warrant was served on her, but this was said to be over an earlier case.
Earlier, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said although this was a sad day as the ISA had been existance for 50 years, he hoped it would remind the people about the importance of freedom.
“In Malaysia, there is freedom of speech, but no freedom after speech,” he said.

The DAP leader also said Penang has tried to broaden the space for freedom of speech by having the Speakers' Square at the Esplanade, which is a tourist spot.

“It is very successful. So far, no untoward incident has happened. It shows that Malaysians can exercise freedom of speech and able to reject extremism,” he told a press conference after launching a DAP fundraising event in the morning.

He said he was not making these comments as a former ISA detainee, but as an 'an activist for freedom and democracy'.

“The ISA is anti-freedom, and together with other laws like the Official Secrets Act, Sedition and Publication and Printing Presses Act, it should be abolished,” he said.
In Kelantan, anti-ISA vigil coordinators Zaidi Musa and Hamidi Musa were held by the police after the anti-ISA event ended successfully.
In a statement issued soon after the crackdown, Suaram said it "strongly condemns the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia."