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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Killing of politician triggers deadly violence in Karachi

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 43 people were killed and 72 others were injured as widespread violence broke out overnight following the killing of a provincial lawmaker in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi Tuesday, police said.

Syed Raza Haider, a leader of the MQM party, was shot Monday evening at a mosque where he was attending the funeral of a relative, according to Rafiq Gul, Karachi's deputy superintendent of police. The gunman also killed the politician's bodyguard.

Gul said the Haider's death triggered political and ethnic violence in the city, as mobs set fire to vehicles and gunfire erupted.

Gul said 48 vehicles, eight shops and several gas stations were set ablaze in the mayhem.

The MQM is part of the ruling coalition backing President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party.

DPM agrees with Dr M that people don’t understand 1 Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 3 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin agreed today with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysians have yet to understand the 1 Malaysia concept after the former prime minister said it had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir criticised the Najib administration’s 1 Malaysia slogan, claiming that the concept needed further “explanation” to prevent it from being interpreted differently by various races.

However, Muhyiddin defended the slogan and explained that public needed more time to fully understand 1 Malaysia.

“I agree with his (Dr Mahathir) opinion. We did not say that in a period of one year that everybody would understand the 1 Malaysia slogan launched by the prime minister but I am confident that many have understood. I believe that many have yet to fully understand the meaning of 1 Malaysia,” he told reporters after chairing a committee meeting on youth development at Perdana Putra here.

The deputy prime minister added that certain groups are purposely sabotaging the 1 Malaysia concept.

“There is however a tendency that the understanding is influenced by certain groups. Even though it has been explained by the prime minister that 1 Malaysia is based on the country’s constitution. Whatever the interpretation, it should not run far from the spirit of the constitution such as Bumiputera rights, Bahasa Malaysia, culture, religion and royalty.

“Since 1 Malaysia is dynamic and not static then certainly there will be certain groups that will try to interpret it according to their own interest. So steps must be taken by the government is to give explanation and programs to allow the public to better understand what is 1 Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks came after a recent public opinion poll by the Merdeka Center found that a majority of non-Bumiputeras in the country considered Najib’s 1 Malaysia slogan a mere political gimmick.

According to the poll, only 39 per cent of non-Bumiputeras accepted the 1 Malaysia concept despite the fact that it had been introduced for over a year.

Forty-six per cent out of 3,141 respondents interviewed felt that 1Malaysia was only a “tactic to win over non-Malay support”, while another 16 per cent had either refused to answer the poll questions or claimed to have no understanding of the concept whatsoever.

Respondents were undecided on whether Malaysia had become more united under the Najib Administration, with 48 per cent saying yes and 43 per cent claiming that the country was still disunited.

Najib has been under a lot of fire lately as even veteran Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have come out and openly mocked his 1 Malaysia campaign, in effect branding it a “hollow” cause.

Veteran Umno politician and one time finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said recently that the 1 Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.

Uniting the 'divided' race, or so it seems

By Zefry Dahalan

COMMENT The Umno-PAS unity talks issue is once again being played up by the mainstream media, especially the Malay dailies. So what is the euphoria about?

According to reports, the Malays are split along the lines of Umno, PAS and PKR, which was even acknowledged by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

If Umno's argument is taken into account that PAS should merge with it in order to have only one party representing the Malays, then a new party should be formed called Parti Melayu SeMalaysia.

True to the 1Malaysia concept, all Chinese parties should fall under one entity, called Parti Cina SeMalaysia, and similarly, there should also be a Parti India SeMalaysia as well as Parti Sabah SeMalaysia and Parti Sarawak SeMalaysia.

All the five component parties should come under the 1Malaysia Party coalition.

If this becomes a reality, then we can also scrap the need for elections and the coalition can push through any policy without objection, or check and balance.

The manner in which the unity talks are played up gives the impression that the Malays are the only people in the world who are disunited.
Apart from the full monarchy system in Brunei, can Umno name any other country in the world that just has one party?

Thais, Indonesians, Singaporeans, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese and Indians all have more than one party in their country. Even more developed countries like the US, Britain, France, Germany and Australia have more than one party.

So what is the fuss about? Is Umno telling us that by having more than one party, a particular race will be divided?

The fact is, people are smarter than what Umno thinks, and the Malays are no different. They can tell the difference between political affiliations and personal relationships with relatives, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

What about the fence-sitters?

The writer believes that out of the estimated 11.16 million registered voters, nearly half are not aligned to any political parties. So how can Umno come to the conclusion that the Malays are divided because of politics?

Should Umno and PAS merge, will it stop the social ills among the Malays? Will it stop corruption and pave the way for good governance?

Even if the merger takes place, what guarantee is there that the Malays will not be split on the political battlefield, given the countless infighting in Umno itself during party elections. Umno should put its house in order first.

And if Umno is sincere about Malay unity, then why is it ignoring the Malays in PKR, who make up 65% percent of the party. Why only PAS?

This proves that Umno's agenda is not Malay unity, but the party has an ulterior motive.

It is also surprising that no PAS leader has raised this issue, to ask Umno why it is not extending an olive branch to those in PKR as well.

Ex-state rep, aide dead: Cops probe 'murder-cum-suicide'

By Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

UPDATED SUNGAI BULOH: Did former Permatang state assemblyman Abdul Aziz Mohd Noh shoot his female aide before turning the gun on himself? Or was it the other way around?

The police are not discounting any possibilities.

When contacted, Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told FMT that the police are looking into all angles, including murder-cum-suicide.

However, he declined to elaborate, saying, “Let us investigate first.”

Presently, the police's forensics department is checking the Toyota Caldina for leads. Abdul Aziz, 64, and his aide, Siti Rohana Ismat, 43, were found dead in the vehicle.

The bodies are believed to have been taken to the Sungai Buloh hospital.

Meanwhile, Khalid also told reporters that there was no third person in the car when the incident happened.

He also confirmed that a pistol was seized from the vehicle.

According to the police, the car crashed by the roadside here at about 10 am.

The police personnel tasked to investigate the incident initially thought it was a usual road accident. But the pathologist, who arrived later, found gunshot wounds to the victims' heads.

Aziz, from Umno, served as a one-term assemblyman until 2008. He, however, did not contest in the last general election.

He also served as the former political secretary to Selangor menteri besar Abu Hassan Omar from 2004 to 2008. Siti Rohana, meanwhile, was the deputy Wanita chief of Tanjung Karang Umno division.

On brink of demolition, Bkt Jalil residents ready for battle

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Come tomorrow, bulldozers are expected to rumble into the Bukit Jalil estate to tear down the houses there. But the residents will not back down and are gearing up for battle.

In their words, some 41 families are prepared to take “all possible action” to thwart the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) from bringing their roofs down.

Even the possibility of facing the wrath of the police's baton-charging Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) will not deter them from the standing their ground.

The final eviction order to the residents, dated July 20, ends at midnight.

“We are ready for the worst case scenario,” a resident, who declined to be named, told FMT. “This is going to be Barisan Nasional's version of Kampung Buah Pala.”

“Obviously before demolishing the houses, they will bring in the FRU and we are prepared for that as well," he added.

It is learnt that opposition party leaders and NGO representatives have also vowed to fight alongside the residents to protect their houses.

However, the resident said they will not be bearing weapons, but will instead arm themselves with banners and posters.

"We will also bring in backhoes to block the demolition. This is our home. There is no way anyone is going to demolish our houses without an alternate solution to this problem," he added.

There are also plans to disconnect the power supply because they fear “a sudden power surge” which can raze their houses.

“We have seen this happen before. Mysterious fires at squatters. We do not want a similar incident here. We will disconnect power from tonight,” said the resident.

'We are not squatters'

On June 8, the residents received a letter from DBKL stating that the city council will postpone the demolition.

It also stated that DBKL received orders from Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Deputy Minister M Saravanan that the next course of action will only be taken after a discussion between his ministry and the Human Resources Ministry.

Despite this, the residents were slapped with the final evacuation notice.

At a meeting with the residents yesterday, DBKL's deputy director (services) Amin Nordin Abdul Azai stood firm on the decision to evict the former Bukit Jalil estate workers, despite their appeal to postpone the deadline.

The residents were warned that demolition works can be carried out at any time after the deadline expires.

Contacted later, resident and Human Rights Party member K Balakrishnan said the contradictory letters from DBKL showed that the council is not willing to keep its word.

“Now, we have to move out by tomorrow. If we don't, it will not stop DBKL from demolishing our houses. But what about the promise made to us in the June 8 letter?” he asked.

"We are told that this land will be turned into a cemetary but we found out that the land has been sold to a prominent personality, who once served as a minister," he said.

Balakrishnan said that former estate workers should not be termed as squatters.

"We are not squatters. Squatters are illegal as they build houses on private or government land, but we were given houses built by a company with the full knowledge of the government,” he added.

Bukit Jalil is the last remaining estate in the capital. Parts of it were also taken over by the government for the Bukit Jalil sports complext project in 1998.

'Charge Kong if he misled cabinet as well'

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition leader wants Transport Minister Kong Chong Ha to be held accountable for instructing the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to repay bondholders. DAP MP Tony Pua said taxpayers may have to bear the RM1.4 billion in possible losses should PKA fail to reclaim the RM372 million paid to bondholders under Kong's instruction.

The repayment was made on July 30 despite the ongoing legal proceedings against turnkey contractor Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) which was sued for RM1.4 billion for, among others, excessive claims for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

"In the event where PKA is successful in its RM1.4 billion litigation and claims against KDSB... and PKA is unable to claim the necessary 'refunds' from the latter, it will result in a huge loss of RM1.4 billion to the government and the people, even without including any interest cost," said Pua, the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara.

Pua said PKA, on the advice of its lawyers, had already made known its position that it was against making any payments to the KDSB bondholders pending the disposal of the court case due to the fear that the amount would be irrecoverable from KDSB even if PKA won the case.

Cabinet deceived?

Kong had reportedly said that the ministry would honour the initial agreement which allegedly obliged PKA to fulfil a final payment of RM372 million, the second part of the RM723 million repayment due to bondholders this year.

Of the total, PKA paid RM222.58 million to Freezone Capital Bhd (FZCB) and the remaining RM150 million to the Special Port Vehicle (SPV).

Pua questioned if the decision to repay bondholders, despite opposition from Kong's predecessor, then transport minister Ong Tee Keat, was made by misleading the Cabinet.

"If the transport minister failed to brief the cabinet of the pertinent points with regards to the bond and the ongoing litigation against KDSB by PKA, and should PKA be unable to reclaim the RM1.4 billion fraudulently claimed by KDSB, (Kong) must be similarly charged in court like former transport minister, Dr Ling Liong Sik," he said.

Ling was charged last Friday for allegedly misleading the Cabinet on the land acquisition for the PKFZ project and is the first big name to be hauled to court over what had been described by the opposition as "the mother of all scandals".

Ling posted bail which was set at RM1 million. The case is set for mention in September

Ex-state assemblyman, aide shot dead

FMT ALERT SUNGAI BULOH: A former Selangor state assemblyman and his personal assistant were shot dead here today morning.

According to the police, the car that carried the victims crashed on a roadside here at about 10 am.

The police spokesperson told reporters that the personnel tasked to investigate the incident initially thought this was an usual road accident. But the pathologists who arrived later found the gun shots in the victims'' heads, added the spokesman.

The male victim Abdul Aziz Mohd Noh, 64, was a state assemblyman while the female victim, Siti Rohana, in her 20s, was Abdul Aziz''s personal aide.

Investigations have shown that the bullets were fired from the interior of the car.

While some of the police officers believed that Abdul Aziz committed suicide after shooting his personal aide, others were of the view that there could be a third person in the car who killed the duo.

Meanwhile, Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar later confirmed that there was no third person in the car when the incident took place.

Confirming also a pistol was seized from the car, Khalid also said that the police would identify the person who initiated the shot. Enditem

- Xinhua

Uproar at Perak assembly sitting - Malaysiakini

It took just 15 minutes for trouble to start in the Perak state assembly sitting this morning, as speaker R Ganesan ordered the confiscation of a camera brought into the chamber in defiance of 'new rules'.

This was despite an earlier assurance that there would be no disruption to the proceedings, as has happened previously.

At 10am, Ganesan started the proceedings by reading out the new rules imposed on state assemblypersons - the ban on recording devices includes the use of cameras and handphones in the House.

They are also required to 'respect' the speaker and conduct debate in a civil and ethical way, also ensuring that their points are relevant to the debate.

The Question session got off to a sedate start, with Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir replying Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) about the deficit in the state budget.

NONEGanesan then spotted Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Pantai Remis, standing in photo) using his camera, and ordered the sergeant-at-arms to confiscate it.

A short argument ensued with Pakatan Rakyat representatives pointedly referring to the speaker as “Datuk Ganesan” or "Chairperson", intentionally ignoring his title as part of a pre-arranged plan.

The matter was settled without the camera being confiscated, but Pakatan representatives then began heckling and interrupting Zambry.

BN representatives countered, and Ganesan was hard-pressed to keep order as barbs were exchanged across the floor.
NONEAs the spat continued, Zambry (right) accused Opposition Leader Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pasir Panjang) of "twisting the facts" in claiming that that the budget deficit would reach RM100 million if the Supplementary Supply Bill is passed.
The Bill, seeking an additional RM80 million, is due to be tabled during the sitting.
Ganesan offended
The situation calmed down briefly before Nga locked horns with Zambry, expressing consternation that "this is the first time that a state government is so proud of its deficit".
Underlining this, Nga claimed that Perak is currently among the poorest states and that it has the largest number of poor families, with 192,000 earning less than RM2,000.
When he addressed Ganesan as 'chairperson', the latter replied: "I'm the speaker. While you are in the House, please use (this title). If not, I will take action."
NONENga retorted that Ganesan (right) should wait for the court's verdict before claiming the title, referring to the legal wrangle over who should hold the post.
"Okay," said Ganesan, apparently acceding to the remark.
Zambry refuted Nga's claim, saying there are only 764 poor families in Perak and that it is not the poorest state.
He warned Nga not to manipulate the figures and stop making false claims in the media.

Sum Cheok Leng (DAP-Bercham) then asked how the state government is able to paint a rosy picture of the economy when a UN report states that Malaysia has experienced a drop of 81 percent in FDI.

NONEHis question was brushed aside by exco Hamidah Osman (left) who said the sitting is only interested in debating issues in the context of Perak.
Hamidah, who chairs the Industry, Investment, Entrepreneur Development, Tourism and Women's Affairs Committee, said Perak has received investments in excess of RM11 billion to date this year.
Zambry is now tabling the Supplementary Bill.
Quiet entry
Outside the building, about 20-30 police personnel have been standing by since early this morning.

Pakatan representatives met at the DAP headquarters nearby before walking quietly to the state secretariat building where the legislative assembly is located.

NONELed by Nizar, who smiled and waved at the police, the group posed for photographs.
They entered the chamber at 9.33am, while Zambry arrived at 9.55am.
Former DAP Malim Nawar assemblyperson Keshvinder Singh took his seat alongside other 'BN-friendly' Independents.
Some 50 journalists are restricted to another room with glass panels, from where they can only watch the proceedings via CCTV and hear what goes on via microphones.
However, they have to work in the dark because reflections off the glass wall forced photographers to request that the lights be turned off.

The CCTV visuals have since been turned off, with the audio-feed providing the only clue as to what is going on.

'Tunku's Malaysia Project a failure', forum concludes

By Luke Rintod - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysia Project envisaged by the former premier Tunku Abdul Rahman and Borneo leaders, Donald Stephens and Temenggong Jugah 47 years ago is a failure, according to a wide spectrum of the intelligentsia.
In a series of papers submitted at a one-day forum on the 'Formation of Malaysia Revisited and The Way Forward', presenters concluded that what had been conceived by the trio and what eventually transpired in the intervening years was similar to a pendulum swing.

All the five papers presented and deliberated at Saturday’s landmark forum to discuss the birth of the Federation of Malaysia and the effects on Sabah and Sarawak 40 years after noted how state rights had taken a backseat to political convenience.

Kanul Gindol, secretary-general of CigMa, said the forum managed to achieve an intellectual discussion of the pros and cons of the formation of Malaysia.

"It was lively (discussion) and managed to attract people from all walks of life including past and present public figures like Ayub Aman, an elder brother of Sabah Chief Minister, Amirkahar Tun Mustapha, PKR leaders like Christina Liew and Baru Bian, retired civil servants, academicians, lawyers, teachers, politicians, students and laymen," he said.

Kitingan, the younger brother of Sabah deputy Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan, in his paper highlighted facts and 'secrets', notably how the federal powers had subdued the state through many manoeuvres since 1963, and how Sabah leaders were duped into believing in whatever Peninsular Malaysian leaders pledged and promised them.

Using figures, he demonstrated how the Kadazandusuns, who were once the majority and dominant in North Borneo/Sabah were being disenfranchised.

He spoke about the emergence of a new group called Melayu in Sabah which today stands at more than 300,000 but was only 18,000 in 1970's.

Split Sabah into five state
The Harvard graduate also cited how Malayan subsequent leaders managed to tilt the equation of power to the peninsula ever since the inception of the federation in 1963.

"In 1963, we had a 50-50 equation in Parliament representation vis-a-vis the 11-states in Malaya and the group of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

"When Singapore left or was kicked-out of the federation in 1965, their 15 seats should have been distributed to Sabah and Sarawak but what happen was Malaya took seven seats and the remaining eight were distributed to the Borneo states.

"Then in 1972/73, 73 new Parliament constituencies were created, and all of them were in Malaya. From here on, Sabah and Sarawak lost its power to block any passing of laws in Parliament, so peninsular leaders can do whatever they want to the federation," he said.

Kitingan, a PKR vice president, in his paper proposed that Sabah be split into five states and Sarawak into seven and that Parliament representation in the Borneo states should be balanced with that in the peninsular.

He noted that the Cobbold Commission Report had forewarned that: "If the idea of Malaysia was a 'take over' of Sabah and Sarawak and the submersion of the individualities of Sabah/Sarawak, Malaysia would not be acceptable or successful."

Scepticism of sincerity

Veteran Malaysian leader and founding father of the Sarawak National Party or SNAP, James Wong, whose paper was presented by lawyer and the Sarawak PKR Head Baru Bian, said that selling the idea of Malaysia had not been easy.

He revealed the prevailing scepticism of sincerity during the period and these were typified by Temenggong Jugah when he said in Iban: "Anang Malaysia sebaka tebu, manis di pohon, tawal diujung" which literally means 'Malaysia should not be like the sugar cane, sweet at the head and getting less and less sweet towards the end'.

It was a conjecture that proved true as Sabah and Sarawak now sit at the bottom list of many progress indices in Malaysia, he said.

Wong pointed out that initially in the 1950s there was already an effort to federate North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei but North Borneo leaders then were reluctant because Sarawak had communist threats unlike North Borneo.

In the soon to follow Cobbold Commission Report, the merger concept of the Federation of Malaysia detailed that the central government would be strong and provide security but local aspirations and needs would also have to be recognised and safeguarded.

The report clearly states that: "It is a necessary condition that, from the outset, Malaysia should be regarded by all concerned, as an association of partners, combined in the common interest to create a new nation but retaining their own individualities," Wong pointed out.

Karim Ghani, who was instrumental in bringing in Umno to Sabah, in his paper reminded that Sabahans can no longer count on taking control of their state without the aid of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who reside there.

Shouts of tipu

However the discussion became more heated when Ayub Aman, the elder brother of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman claimed that all Malaysians were treated equally in response to John Brian of the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) who complained of marginalisation in opportunities.

The ageing former Culture, Youth and Sports Minister during Berjaya party era was visibly shocked and appeared to be in a daze after his remarks were met with boos and shouts of "tipu" and "no same treatment to Kadazandusuns and Dayaks".

Ayub also blamed complaints of rampant corruption in Sabah politics as the outcome of a corrupt rakyat.

SLA's S Venugopal also presented a paper detailing breaches in the political equation and merger partnership.

The one-day forum was jointly organised by two KK-based NGOs - the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF) and CigMa or Common Interest Group Malaysia.

Water, sand and Khir could cost Najib in Selangor

By FMT Staff

SHAH ALAM: Former Menteri Besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is turning into a liability and an embarrassment to the federal government now that the 'truth' about his dealings is available to the public.
Khir's questionable decisions when he was MB came to light after the Selangor government declassified several documents on water concessions.

Tomorrow's Cabinet meeting may well discuss Khir and his decisions on water concessions and the sand issues which have become a thorn in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s side.

According to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s political secretary Faekah Husin, the government’s lack of censure of Khir for his ‘ways’, especially in the water issue will be costly.

She said the federal government not only failed to assist Selangorians secure free water but also did not act against Khir who had given away water concessions to a crony company.

The water issue arose when Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) was allowed to raise water tariff without considering its effect on the people still grappling with the economic crisis.

She said the state BN government led by Khir had signed a water concession agreement with Syabas where the company was allowed to increase tariff every three years.

She said Khir’s agreement with Syabas allowed for the water concessionaire to raise tariff by 39% in year 2009, 25% in 2012 , 20% in 2015, 10% in 2018 and 5% in 2021.

“Khir should be embarrassed and ashamed of himself. How dare he talk about people first on any issue for that matter, be it water or sand.

“It’s because of his carelessness that Selangorians are unable to get the best water services and rates," she said in a statement.

Possible legal action against Syabas

As a result of Khir’s irresponsible actions, the Pakatan Rakyat government was now forced to face an arrogant concessionaire who is brazen enough to make excessive demands on the state government’s move to takeover management of Selangor’s water resources.

Despite these setbacks, Selangor is constantly engaging the views of various quarters in relation to administration and policies, including avenues for (water) discounts and incentives.

"What is important is that the state government wants to ensure that the people directly benefit from its policies. We are still searching for the best way to overcome the situation with water in the state," she said.

"The people have the right to know the real story behind the water crisis and how Khir must be stopped from a moral perspective from voicing his views on administrative matters.

"Khir was the main reasons why we decided to declassify all documentations, agreements and audit reports in relation to the water crisis. This is so that the public will know the truth.

She said the Federal government must take a serious view of this issue. She added the state government was undaunted by the RM1 billion court summon secured by Syabas, who had Putrajaya’s backing.

“We’re keeping our options open...we are open to initiating legal action against Syabas for failing to fulfil its concessionaire agreement. It has cost us (the state) no less than RM8 billion in losses," she said.

You are Chinese chauvinists, Khir tells MCA comrades

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT INTERVIEW SHAH ALAM: Selangor Umno opposition chief Dr Mohd Khir Toyo today claimed that some of his comrades from MCA are supporting the DAP and blasted them as "Chinese chauvinists".

The former menteri besar said this is evident when some MCA leaders praised the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government for the move to appoint a Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblyman as the chairman of the state's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Current Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim claimed the decision reflected his administration's check-and-balance initiative and is in line with the practices of developed democracy.

But Khir is not impressed. While chastising Khalid's decision as "insincere", the Sungai Panjang assemblyman had set his guns on certain MCA leaders whom he felt were betraying their own coalition by supporting their rival's policy.

The Selangor PAC comprises seven members, with five from Pakatan and two from BN. Khir said the latter could only play the role of "yes-men" despite the PAC being chaired by the BN.

"If you are put in that position, what can you do really? It's something funny. This decision (to appoint a BN rep as PAC head) is aimed at making a fool out of us. If you want check and balance, give us more numbers, give us the majority. Only then the chairman has power," he told FMT in an interview.

"This is why sometimes I see some of the Selangor MCA leaders are supporting the DAP because they are chauvinists," he added.

Khalid a DAP puppet?

The DAP has long been the target of attacks by Khir and his supporters who accused the predominantly Chinese party of racial politics. For Khir, elements in the MCA supporting the DAP are racists.

Khir has used the race card to tarnish the state government by claiming that Khalid is a puppet of the DAP, implying that the nation's richest state is under Chinese control.

"If MCA leaders support the DAP, they are chauvinists because the DAP is a chauvinist party. No one can deny that. In the party's constitution, the DAP makes no mention of the Malays, Islam or the Indians. Although the party was started by an Indian, it remains a Chinese chauvinist party," said Khir.

Khir has been at the forefront in leading the BN's assault against Khalid's government, often playing up Malay sentiments to galvanise support as the BN aims to recapture the nation's goldmine by the next general election.

BN's chances remain 50-50

Khir said BN's chances, despite having BN supremo and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself overseeing efforts to regain Selangor, remains "50-50" in the next general election.

He admitted that despite Umno's strong communal politicking, it still needs non-Malay support to turn its quest into reality.

"To win Selangor, you cannot depend on Malays only. Malays consist only of 50% to 60% in one or two parliamentary constituencies, the rest is below 50%. We still need the Indian and Chinese votes. Otherwise we cannot win," he said.

Despite the conspicuous racial politicking on Umno's side, Khir insisted that the non-Malay votes are returning and urged BN to "change its ways" to regain lost support through a more hands-on approach to politics.

"The Malays and Indians are returning to BN due to a few issues. The Chinese have refused to come back. But they will if BN changes its ways. We cannot be like before. We must go down to the ground more often. That's what our prime minister wants".

UDA boss: Malays must help themselves

By Muda Mohd Noor and Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malays must help themselves if they want to stay on top of the commercial game, said newly minted Bumiputera property conglomerate chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed.
Nur Jazlan, who is also the MP for Pulai, said UDA Holdings Bhd has done a lot to help increase Malay property ownership but the Malays had failed to fully capitalise on the assistance given by government linked-companies like UDA.

UDA or Urban Development Authority started as a government set up in 1971, and was tasked to oversee urban property developments, management and the leisure industry as well as to strengthen Malay property ownership. It was also responsible for the conservation of historic urban buildings.

The company was recently awarded the contract to preserve the historical Pudu Prison's arch after the building was controversially torn down following the government's refusal to recognise the colonial-era infrastructure as a "heritage" site.

UDA also owns several shopping complexes situated at commercially strategic locations within the city centre like the Bukit Bintang Plaza and Pertama Complex.

While Bukit Bintang Plaza had done fairly well to keep itself as a shopping haven, the latter, however, claimed Nur Jazlan, was struggling to catch up with the other more modern and attractive malls.

Complacent businessman
And the UDA chairman, who took over the reins on June 16, said this was caused by complacency among Malay businessmen who have become too comfortable with the charitable policies under the Bumiputera quota system.

"If a particular shopping mall is just for one race, than only once race will go there,” he said during an interview with FMT. “This is not good for business," he added, referring to Pertama Complex which houses 80 percent Malay businesses.

The Pulai MP, who is the son of the late information minister Mohamed Rahmat, said despite the strategic location, Pertama Complex was struggling to improve its charm.

"UDA wants to upgrade Pertama Complex but the tenants don't want to pay for the cost. They say if we renovate the complex, they will not pay for it.

“They still want to pay low rents. The profit made here does not justify the investments made by UDA," he lamented.

Nur Jazlan said the situation was different with Bukit Bintang Plaza where the tenants were 60 percent Malays and 40 percent Chinese. This attracts both Malays and non-Malays to the mall.

"The tenants here are willing to pay for any renovation because they know it's good for them. Like I said, this is because of the racial composition of the shopping complex," he said.

Previously, FMT quoted Nur Jazlan as stating that the Malays were not responding well to investments made by UDA and this had forced the outfit to depend on government contracts to survive.

He said efforts to cement Malay property ownership in urban areas in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Johor Baru were not materialising and UDA is now in a dilemma between balancing its accounts and realising its objective.

Child rapists: More than knee-jerk reaction needed

By Maria Chin Abdullah - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT I'm compelled to respond to Karpal Singh's suggestion for death penalty for child rapists. Ending death penalty has always been a call by DAP and it is distrubing to note that one of its top leaders has backtracked on a principle stand that he himself had admitted to have supported.

However, this is not my only concern. The fact that he felt that ending a sexual crime against a child can be solved through death penalty is a narrow knee-jerk reaction to a crime that demands for more long term solutions.

Time and again when serious sexual crimes are reported, there is a tendency to suggest 'a tooth for a tooth' solution. But will this really solve crimes? If it does, then how do we explain Malaysia's drug problems - death by hanging - but the numbers have not decreased or disappeared.

Obviously, heavier punishment has really not been proven to end crime and violence. So please, let's have a more comprehensive and measured approach towards ending sexual crimes. Between 2005-2007, a three-year reseach on sexual crime was conducted by the Women's Centre for Change Penang.

The findings of this study showed that '45 percent of court cases in a sample of 439 cases did not go to full trial, and of the contested cases that were heard in full, only four percent resulted in a conviction'.

So, even if we do use death penalty as a punishment, the hard reality is that very few rapists will be sent to the gallows, unless they are caught red handed as is the case of the bus driver raping the school girl in front of her friends. Is this the justice that we can best offer to the rape victims?
However, cases such as the bus driver, are cases that gets covered in the media - these are the reported cases. Research has shown that the vast majority of sex offenders are never reported, let alone tried and convicted.

Flawed, unsupportive system

We also forget that sexual crimes are not always committed by strangers but by persons whom the vicitms know and/or love - their fathers, uncles, persons in authority (e.g. teachers, religious instructors, police).

If there is a heavy penalty, such as death, victims will not want to report. Who would want to send their own fathers, uncles, brothers to be killed? Putting an end to sexual crime, therefore, goes beyond just heavy penalties.
I would rather see that the continued existence of sexual crimes is really due to a flawed and unsupportive system where negative perceptions are held by society, family and the implementators of the justice system.

There still exists poor collection of forensic evidences, lack of witnesses, 'cold cases' due to late reporting and/or, insensitve police personnel, lack of evidences, and the long waiting period for the court trial.

In the WCCP's research, it was found that 48 percent of the cases took over a year to complete their trial, and with 18 percent of the cases taking more than two years. These are some of the barriers that prevent justice from being carried out.

Rape victims are branded as 'spoilt', her fault as she enticed the rapist with her dressing, and other negative views have gravely added to unsupportive responses by family, friends and enforcement agencies towards rape victims.

Reforming the system

Such attitudes are grounded in the manner women and children are treated and perceived - weak, subordinate and dependants. Such attitudes must be transformed. The following are actions that the authorities take:

1. Ensuring effective collection of forensic evidences.

2. Developing gender sensitive support services for victims of sexual crimes. Having shelters, half-way houses, drop-in centres, may not be sufficient if the social workers or counsellors do not understand why sexual crimes happen.

3. Implementing offenders' programmes aim to prevent violence by changing the attitudes and behaviour through individual counselling, case management, and group programmes. Programmes may be court-mandated or voluntary. This means providing training to social welfare counsellors and/or police officers who will be able to conduct the offenders' programmes.

4. Monitoring and intensive supervision of those offenders who are at highest risk of re-offense. While this is limited to reported cases and is still a controversial issue but nevertheless it has to be discussed where a mechanism can be developed to track repeat offenders.

5. Government providing mandate for professional development for judicial and law enforcement personnel, and other professionals within the legal sector. Gender sensitising programmes need to be conducted on a yearly basis to include changes in personnel. This will help cahnge mindset towards a more positive and supportive attitude for victims of violence.

Changing attitudes
If the long term goal is to eradicate violence, then we as citizens need to be aware and to understand why violence occurs in the first place.

In Australia, under the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigeneous Affairs, they have emphasised on changing the attitudes and behaviours of individuals, emphasising the way people operate in relationships and families, the way they engage as communities, and how social structures and institutions are regulated and these were viewed as the most effective ways to combat violence.

The approach is nothing new and is being proposed by women's rights groups but actions have been ineffectual.

As a longer term action, teaching respectful relationships and sex education at schools, beginning from kindergardens will not only save lives but reduce, if not eliminate, sexual violence.

Presently, the piecemeal introduction of sex education at schools is not sufficient and will not end sexual violence.

At the end of the day, any attempts to end sexual violence must ask the question: will the action bring about prevention of future sexual crimes?

Supporting letters: Abuse or necessity?

“Sometimes, people come to your office and ask for recommendations. If you say no after they have come from 20 miles away, I think that will be bad for public relations and disastrous in politics.
“So let [the politicians and officials] sign, make the people very comfortable. To be human, you still have to provide that comfort.”
SELANGOR Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, in explaining the phenomenon of support letters by elected representatives and councillors. This was following the revelation by The Star on 27 July 2010 that a “rogue councillor” from the DAP had abused a state exco’s official letterhead to obtain contracts for cronies and family members.
Khalid said The Star report put him in an “embarrassing” situation because the issue had been exposed while the state was still investigating the matter. He stressed that the state awarded most contracts without referring to any support letter. However, he admitted it may not be possible to completely abolish the practice. Still, Khalid said his office had asked for an audit of all support letters that had been submitted for contract tenders.  (Source: Selangor to audit support letters, Free Malaysia Today, 28 July 2010)
“Recommendations made by politicians or influential people should not in any way influence the decisions of the government. We have come up with a comprehensive set of rules to check this because civil servants are often caught in a bind with requests or recommendations from politicians and influential people.”
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan, in a circular, urging all civil servants to report any request for “favours” by politicians in the awarding of government contracts. Such requests could entail communication such as “Sila timbangkan”, “Disokong dengan kuat” and “Saya tiada halangan”, in all forms.
Mohd Sidek stressed that civil servants should not “treat any recommendation letter from politicians as a directive”. (Source: Report politicians who seek favours, civil servants told, The Star, 26 July 2010)
“This case is clearly theft and a matter of public concern.”
Penang Umno liaison committee secretary Datuk Azhar Ibrahim, saying that Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock’s use of Pandamaran assemblyperson and state exco Ronnie Liu’s official letterhead had to be reported to the police. Azhar said the matter was no longer an internal DAP affair, and that the party had to act against Tee and could not “sweep the matter under the carpet”.
Penang MCA adviser Datuk Koay Kar Huah described the matter as a criminal breach of trust that should be investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency. Penang Gerakan vice-chairperson Teng Chang Yeow also took the opportunity to criticise the DAP, saying the affair demonstrated that the party had trouble controlling its members.
The DAP sacked Tee, who was on an imposed leave of absence, from the party on 1 Aug 2010, and is also expected to write to the Selangor government to request for him to be removed from the Klang council. The party said it was also investigating Liu over Tee’s allegations that Liu was fully aware of his use of the official letterheads. Liu has since lodged a police report about the matter. (Source: Khalid: State probe on rogue DAP councillor started 2 weeks ago, The Star, 27 July 2010)
“… saya ingin membangkitkan persoalan mengenai peranan ahli politik yang dipilih rakyat. Apa guna kita mengadakan pilihanraya untuk memilih wakil rakyat sekiranya perkara seperti menulis surat sokongan pun tidak dibenarkan? Jika seorang wakil rakyat gagal membuktikan kebolehan membantu dan membela rakyat, maka beliau akan diundi keluar, manakala kakitangan awam pula tidak dipilih. Oleh itu, janganlah kita terlalu cepat memandang serong peranan wakil rakyat dalam menyokong sesuatu permohonan kepada Kerajaan.”
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, explaining that politicians who wrote support letters were sometimes helping people whose applications, which had merit, were being thwarted by “little Napoleons” within the civil service. The Rembau Member of Parliament said politicians should be allowed to extend support letters when the civil service had failed the public. (Source: Sokongan Ahli Politik dalam Permohonan Kepada Kerajaan, Khairy Jamaluddin’s blog, 26 July 2010)
“Arahan [Ketua Setiausaha Negara] memberi gambaran seolah-olah surat sokongan ahli politik adalah suatu tindakan menyalah gunakan kuasa. Di sini Pemuda Umno membantah persepsi sesetengah pihak yang menganggap surat sokongan sebagai tindakan salah guna kuasa oleh ahli politik kerana seringkali wakil rakyat menyokong permohonan rakyat bukan atas pertalian politik tetapi semata-mata mahu membantu rakyat. Kes-kes ini bukan hanya melibatkan kontrak atau perolehan kerajaan tapi kebanyakkannya adalah permohonan untuk biasiswa, pemindahan tempat kerja, kebajikan dan perumahan.”
One of Umno Youth‘s resolutions at its 30 July 2010 meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The youth wing said while it believed the majority of civil servants were professional, there were a handful of “little Napoleons” who did not treat public requests fairly. The wing also called on Mohd Sidek to clarify his directive to all civil servants. (Source: Kenyataan Akhbar Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Malaysia, Khairy Jamaluddin’s blog, 30 July 2010)

Anwar Buat Laporan Polis, Teliti Undang-Undang Syariah

Dari TV Selangor
Oleh Zeanaaima Mohd Yusof

Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hari ini membuat laporan polis bagi menggesa polis menjalankan siasatan sama ada seorang daripada pasukan pendakwaan, Farah Azlina Latif menyalah guna kuasa yang menjejaskan perbicaraan kes.

Beliau bimbang, besar kemungkinan Saiful Bukhari Azlan menerima akses kepada maklumat sulit berkaitan perbicaraan kes konspirasi terhadapnya, meliputi keterangan saksi lain mahupun keterangan beliau sendiri.

Anwar membuat laporan polis terhadap Farah Azlina dan Mohd Saiful di bit polis Kompleks Mahkamah Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur sebaik sahaja perbicaraan ditangguh kira-kira jam 11 pagi.

Dalam laporan itu, Anwar menggesa polis menyegerakan siasatan terhadap Farah Azlina dan Mohd Saiful yang didakwa menyalahi Akta Rahsia Rasmi 1972.

“Saya buat laporan polis menegaskan isu yang sama dokumen keterangan saksi dan semua keterangan rahsia saya percaya telah disampaikan kepada Saiful. Ini mencemarkan kedudukan pendakwaan.

Sebab itu peguam kemuka permohonan untuk menggugurkan pertuduhan yang dianggap tidak ikut takrif kebebasan dan pendakwaan yang telus. Saya telah bagi keterangan pada polis supaya segerakan siasatan,” katanya.

Anwar, Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) juga sedang meneliti kemungkinan untuk mengheret Saiful mengikut akta undang- undang syariah lantaran hubungan sulit mereka.

“Peguam syariah, Kamar Ainiah sedang teliti,” kata beliau.

Penang open tender spree shows up Putrajaya

By Lee Wei Lian | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — The Penang government’s open tender spree in the past few months could put the federal government in a bad light as both strive to show the public that they stand for transparency and excellence.

While both have initiated efforts to make procurement more transparent to the public, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Penang government seems to have taken the lead with a stream of open tenders announcements for its big ticket items while the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government has appeared very slow off the mark.

Among landmark projects that were tendered out by the Penang state government include the multi-billion 100 acre Bayan Mutiara township project, the restoration of Fort Cornwallis, restoration of Crag Hotel, management of the Penang International Sports Arena and the Penang Hill facelift. Upcoming tenders include that for the Pulau Jerejak tourist development project.

In the case of the Bayan Mutiara project, the Penang government seems to have taken a leaf out of the Singapore playbook and has opened the tender to international bidders in an attempt to build an “iconic, prestigious and sustainable” development.

Singapore’s newest landmarks — the two world class integrated resorts (IR) at Sentosa Island and Marina Bay were built by international investors. A subsidiary of Malaysia’s own Genting Berhad had built the IR at Sentosa Island.

The federal government on the other hand has been slow to open up major projects to open tenders. The highly valuable 65 acre piece of government land in the prestigious Jalan Duta area was privatised last November to the Naza group without an open tender.

Other major parcels of land where open tenders have yet to be called for redevelopment include the 3,300 acre Malaysia Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh and the redevelopment of the 400 acre Sungai Besi Airport and the development of the 85 acre KL Financial District. Other valuable tracts of land where no open tenders have been called include 204 acres of government land in Jalan Cochrane and land at Jalan Peel and Jalan Lidcol.

The open tender debate in Malaysia is a politically charged one as it is widely acknowledged that many if not most government contracts and licenses go to companies controlled by persons close to the political leadership. As companies are not selected based on merit, completed projects and public services are often of poor quality despite high costs and subject to much public complaint.

Both governments also maintain public procurement portals but Penang had launched its portal first. The federal government portal — MyProcurement — also suffered the embarrassment of having glaring data entry errors discovered just a few days after being launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

While Najib has taken steps to tidy up procurement and the New Economic Model (NEM) framework mooted by his administration has also stressed the need for open tenders, the slow pace at which such reforms are taking place under his administration are leaving many wondering if anything has really changed.

The danger for the prime minister than is that the island state will prove to be much more serious in terms of public accountability and performance and his government will suffer in comparison.

While some expressed fears that the Penang open tender system would penalise Bumiputeras, Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng quashed such claims and revealed in January that 70 per cent of tenders from two state owned firms were won by Bumiputera contractors.

He said that Malay contractors had won 16 out of 23 tender awards, or 70 per cent, from the Penang Development Corporation(PDC) and 44 out of 66 or 67 per cent of contracts issued by the Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang(PBAPP) in open tenders since March 2008.

Najib has had to contend with continued demand for quotas set aside for Malay contractors after he said the NEM will free the economy and make it more competitive.

Malay rights group point out that the BN government has yet to meet the 30 per cent target for Malay equity with just nearly 20 per cent since the New Economic Policy (NEP) came to effect in 1970.

But detractors say the amount does not include equity by government units and companies investing on behalf of the Malays and Bumiputeras such as PNB and others.

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.

Bar: Register sex offenders

The New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has called for the registration of sex offenders to curb the rising number of child rape cases nationwide.

Its president, Ragunath Kesavan, suggested that the government follow the arrangement in the United Kingdom where every convicted sex offender was required to be placed on a registry which could be accessed by employers.

"This will ensure that no sex offender can be employed in places where children are present, such as schools and day-care centres," he said.

He also called for schools and schoolbus companies to ensure drivers and conductors had no criminal record.

"Schools should aggressively conduct checks on employees to filter those who may pose a danger to children."

He said registration would be an alternative solution in combating child rape which had prompted a call for the death sentence for those convicted of the crime.

Rape and other forms of sexual abuse of children are punishable under Sections 376 and 376 B of the Penal Code as well as the Child Act 2001.

Under the Penal Code, sex with a girl aged under 16 is an offence classified as statutory rape. If convicted, offenders could be imprisoned for up to 30 years, besides being caned.

The Child Act 2001 provides for the mandatory reporting of child abuse to the authorities.

Ragunath said capital punishment would not do much to deter offenders, saying that child rape was a worldwide problem.

"Sexual assault of children happens everywhere, regardless of whether the death penalty is imposed."

Ragunath said the council remained firm on its stance against corporal punishment as it was a breach of human rights.

Statistics from the police's sexual crimes and children investigation division revealed a 50 per cent rise in the number of sex offences over five consecutive years from 2005.

Last year, 2,048 rape cases involving girls aged 16 and below were reported compared with 925 cases in 2005.

Live – Perak State Assembly sitting

The Perak State Assembly is sitting today.

Pakistan summons British envoy after Cameron's remarks

slamic activists burn an effigy of British Prime Minister David Cameron during demonstrations in Karachi.
Islamabad, Pakistan(CNN) -- Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Britain's high commissioner for talks Monday, less than a week after British Prime Minister David Cameron criticized the country's handing of terrorism.

"We can confirm that the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Mr. Adam Thomson, is meeting this morning with Foreign Minister Qureshi at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," the British Foreign Office in London said Monday.

The outcome of the session was not immediately clear.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said he will proceed with a scheduled visit to the United Kingdom this week despite Cameron's remarks, a government official said.

"There is no reason to bark at each other. We have had good relations in the past and we want to progress our relations," Pakistan Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said Saturday.

Kaira's remarks to reporters in London, England, came after a Pakistani military official confirmed that the country's spy chief's planned visit to the U.K. had been canceled after Cameron told an audience in India that Pakistan shouldn't export terror.

"We want to see a strong and a stable and a democratic Pakistan," Cameron said in Bangalore, India on Wednesday, "But we cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able in any way to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world."

Kaira described Cameron's statement as a "misperception" that was "against the facts" and "not in good taste," but he said he expected the bilateral meetings between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and U.K. officials this week to be fruitful.

"The president of Pakistan will have dialogue and good discussion, and he will explain the facts to the new government over here," he said.

Some critics in Pakistan have called for the president to cancel his visit. One group of protesters burned an effigy of Cameron.

Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, planned to visit Britain in early August to discuss security cooperation between the two countries. But the trip was scuttled after Cameron's comments, according to a Pakistani military official, who asked not to be named because he was not supposed to talk to the media.

Kaira said Saturday that the trip had been postponed due to other commitments.

Cops quiz Liu, Tee over 'letterhead abuse'

HINDU FAMILY THREATENED WITH SIX YEARS JAIL AND FORCIBLY CIRCUMCISED.

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FREEDOM OF RELIGION MEANS ANY RELIGION
Rani born to a Muslim mother but since a sixteenth day old baby was adopted and brought up as a Hindu by a Hindu family. Rani practices Hinduism and wants to live and die as a Hindu . But the UMNO Jabatan Agama Islam stormed into her house and her husband Muniandy that very same night was forcibly circumcised. Muniandy was earlier threatened with a six year jail sentence if he did not convert to Islam. Now after thirty years later Rani’s daughter Vijiyaletchumi and Sasikala ( who is now 6 months pregnant ) are now suffering the very same predicament her mother Rani faced some thirty years ago because their identity cards carries a Muslim name although she practices Hinduism and has never practiced Islam.
Despite going up and down to the Islamic Religious Affairs Department on 30 occasions and over especially the last 18 years, the UMNO led racist and religious supremacist Malay-sian Government bullies, threatened and instills fear in them .
But the insult and stress is so severe on this family that Ganesan has even contemplated committing suicide.
Article 11 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
Freedom of religion means any religion
We like to quote Prophet Muhammad’s hadis “ To you your religion and to me my religion “ .
The Human Rights Party has today officially written a letter to Malay-sian Prime Minister Najib Razak , Home Minister, Minister In charge of Islam, Chief Secretary to the government, Secretary General to the Home Minister for justice to be done to this poor and politically powerless Hindu family and that their religious status be reverted or changed to Hinduism .
And all this publicity was revealed today 31/7/2010 at a Press Conference at the Human Rights Party, Headquarters in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
P.Latha
hindu temple
hindu temple 2

Minister says no to dropping ‘Allah’ appeal

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 – Minister for Islamic Affairs Senator Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom is adamant that the government should not rescind the ban on non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” despite public regret by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in direct charge of the Islamic Affairs Department (Jakim) stressed that the issue must be settled through the proper legal process.

“We are currently waiting for the court to decide on its position because we don’t know want many public perceptions which will make it hard for us to make a proper evaluation and consistent in our explanation. So we are waiting for the court to settle the issue,” Jamil Khir (pic) told reporters after attending meet-the-people session at Muadz Bin Jabal Mosque in Setiawanga here.

Yesterday, Hishammuddin said his predecessor should not have banned the word “Allah” from being used by the Catholic Church and added that the decision 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,” Hishammuddin said during the Fourth Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit.

Earlier MCA released a statement urging Hishammuddin to use his authority to quash the ban and said that Barisan Nasional (BN) must stop the ruling from further polarising the public.

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.

The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to end the long-drawn out court dispute and said that dropping the appeal would “demonstrate the government’s seriousness and commitment to resolve the issue through inter-religious dialogue.”

The Catholic Church had taken the home minister to court early last year, challenging the ban slapped on its weekly newspaper, The Herald, after the ministry threatened to revoke its annual publishing permit.

In a landmark judgment last New Year’s Eve, High Court judge, Datuk Lau Bee Lan ruled the Catholic Church has the constitutional right to use the word and that it was not exclusive to the religion of Islam, as the ministry had claimed.

But the home ministry filed an appeal against the High Court decision in February and won a stay, preventing the Church from using the word until the case is dealt with in the Court of Appeal.

However Jamil refused to comment on Hishammuddin’s statement and confirmed that he will be meeting with his Cabinet colleague to discuss on the matter.

“I have to look at the statement because there might be meaning which we need to discuss with Datuk Seri Hishammuddin,” he added.

Saiful insists ‘truth will prevail’

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 – Star witness in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan insisted today that the “truth will prevail’, in an apparent response to accusations of him being romantically linked with deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif.

The sodomy trial today was postponed to August 9 next week after Anwar’s defence team submitted an application demanding that the sodomy charge against the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader be dropped, in light of the affair allegations.

In a posting on micro-blogging site Twitter earlier today, Saiful (pic) said that he would not “overreact” and remain steadfast and patient throughout the course of the sodomy trial, which started earlier this year.

“Smg segala kebatilan akn dilenyapkan oleh Yang Hak. Akan trs berdoa, istiqamah & sabar. Tdk sesekali akn melatah & menyerah kalah.Slm #Sabar.

“(The truth will eliminate all evil/lies. I will keep on praying and remain steadfast, patient. I will not overreact or give up. Salam),” said Saiful.

Anwar wants the sodomy charge against him dropped following Malaysia Today news portal editor Raja Petra Kamarudin’s recent allegations that Saiful was having an affair with Farah.

Earlier today in court, Anwar’s lead counsel, Karpal Singh, informed Judge Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah that an application had been filed this morning, claiming that the prosecution team led by Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden has been compromised as a result of the alleged affair.

“There have been offences committed under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

“As a result of the affair, [the] integrity of prosecution has been compromised,” said Karpal.

Anwar’s contention is that since Saiful was allegedly having an affair with Farah, he would be privy to important trial documents as Farah was part of the prosecution team till last Monday, when Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail announced that she had been dropped following the affair claims.

However, Abdul Gani and the prosecution team in Anwar’s sodomy trial have yet to respond to Raja Petra’s allegations.

Anwar had also lodged a police report against Saiful and Farah today, claiming that they had “breached Section 8(1) and Section 8(2) of the Official Secrets Act 1972.”

Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR de facto leader, is charged with sodomising Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara here between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The former deputy prime minister has denied the charge, describing it as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction. The trial is taking place 18 months after Anwar was charged in court in August 2008.

Anwar was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences.

He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.

He had earlier led the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.

HRW: Malaysia has 'excellent' human trafficking system

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file-pix
By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has delivered its harshest criticism of Malaysia's human rights record to date by describing Malaysia's process of employing migrant workers as an “excellent system of human trafficking”.


The HRW noted that under the current system, companies are not responsible for sending unwanted migrant workers back to their countries of origin.

The desperation of these workers to pay off the hefty debts they have incurred during the employment period, entraps them in a system of debt bondage. And debt bondage, according to the HRW, is human trafficking.

This latest criticism follows Tenaganita's pronouncement that Malaysia is among the leading countries in the estimated US$13 billion (RM41.2 billion) a year global black market involving human trafficking.

Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the HRW Asia division, pinned the root of the problem on the recruitment agencies that act as middlemen.

“You couldn't have devised a worse system if you tried,” he said. “Not only is it (recruitment system) rife with corruption and human rights abuses, it also outsources the responsibility of hiring the migrant workers to shadowy employers and prevents the establishment of any systematic regulation.”

Robertson also dismissed the Home Ministry's promise to review the system of using recruitment companies to hire migrant workers as “not credible at all”.

“Most of these companies are fly-by-night operators,” he said. “The ministry must study what incentives the system encourages and from there introduce a systemic reform of bringing migrant workers into the country.”

“The fact is that Malaysia cannot run its economy without migrant workers. They have been integrated into the production, manufacturing, agricultural and family lives of thousands of Malaysians. To continue treating them so shoddily is also extremely short-sighted.”

This criticism is likely to call attention to Malaysia's recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) barely three months ago.

Malaysia's inclusion in the council drew condemnation from various international quarters but had the backing of others like HRW, which viewed it as an opportunity to push Malaysia to clean up its poor human rights record.

Robertson, who was in Kuala Lumpur last week to speak on human trafficking at the 15th Malaysian Law Conference, also spoke to FMT on Malaysia's seat on the HRC and the role of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

FMT: Do you think Malaysia takes its seat on the UNHRC seriously?
Robertson: It's hard to tell. My sense of Malaysia's motivation is that it wants to be seen as a progressive modern nation that understands the interest and demands of the international community. But there almost seems to be a double game here. The face that Malaysia projects to the international community is very different from what it projects to Malaysians.

Even Malaysia's election campaign was very interesting. All the nominees must draw up a set of pledges of what they will do if they are elected to the council. In Thailand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a big party where its minister and prime minister handed out pamphlets detailing Thailand's pledges to the guests.

In Malaysia there was nothing. In fact, local human rights organisations weren't even sure whether Malaysia was really running. And they weren't able to get a copy of the pledges that Malaysia was making to other countries. HRW had to go to another mission at the United Nations in order to get a copy of the pledges. It was almost like a stealth campaign.

So time will tell. HRW is glad Malaysia is on the council but it's not a free ride. Malaysia needs to show some serious intent and if it doesn't within a year or two from now, then it will have some explaining to do.

What is Malaysia most serious human rights violation?
The most egregious continuing violation is preventive detention and I'm not just talking about the Internal Security Act (ISA) but also the Emergency Ordinance Act (EOA) and the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA).

It is very disturbing when someone who is arrested on a criminal charge is released by the court but only to be re-arrested as soon as he walks out. It's almost like a double jeopardy violation. The fact that the court and the law enforcers use two separate laws is of significant concern.

In your opinion, is Suhakam relevant?
Yes. I've had a very good meeting with the new Suhakam commissioners and I'm impressed by their openness. I'd say that they are cautiously optimistic.

But for things to really change the Malaysian government needs to start viewing Suhakam as a valued partner. Suhakam can bring a lot to the table if it is respected and given a proper chance. There are many different human rights issues where the government doesn't have the expertise and it should look to Suhakam for help. And Suhakam should also be strong and consistent in its position.

How would you rate human rights in Malaysia?


I've long learnt that rating countries vis-a-vis each other just gets you into trouble so I will not give a rating. I will say, however, that the problem with Malaysia is that there's always a promise of something better but there's very little follow-up.

The governance is so opaque that it's very difficult to see and understand what is going on. I go back to the stark contrast between appearance and reality. Malaysian ministers talk differently in Washington from what they do at home.

The government should have more faith in the people. It must understand that they are not radicals but people who want to be heard, participate in governance and be involved in decision-making. The government must trust its people more and one way of doing it is to respect their human rights.

London joins Malaysia in Protest Against 50 years of Internal Security Act Oppression


From London, we send a message to all our fellow Malaysian citizens that the world is watching and we will continue to  stand up and speak out with you. Enough is enough. Fifty years of fear and oppression under the Internal Security Act MUST come to an end. And we will not fall silent till those in the corridors of power take heed and listen.
By Rian James
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA UK held a peaceful but emotionally charged demonstration outside the Malaysian tourism office in Trafalgar Square today. About 40 supporters gathered here in London between 12-2pm GMT to show solidarity with hundreds across Malaysia who tried to hold candle-light vigils across the country simultaneously, marking the 50th anniversary since the enactment of the Internal Security Act.
Despite a host of promises made by the Malaysian government to enable it to be re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council in June this year, and the recent recommendations of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the ISA should be repealed, peaceful anti-ISA protesters were forcefully arrested by Malaysian police in Petaling Jaya and Penang today. Arrests were made on Anti-ISA movement president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Saharin and Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan as well as 22 others who were amongst hundreds who bravely attended candlelight vigils throughout Malaysia to have their voices counted against the ISA.
Conversely the gathering in Trafalgar Square, the fourth of its kind this year, went without a hitch as full cooperation was provided by Westminster Police, permitting Malaysians abroad the right to peaceful protest as set out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights. 
‘Shame on you Malaysian Government’, ‘Shame on you Najib’, ‘Down with the ISA’, ’Malaysia-stop abusing human rights’ and ‘Yes to tourism, no to torture’ were among the chants heard by hundreds of British citizens and tourists visiting the capital today as the 2 hour long protest gained momentum. 
The chanting paused briefly to give way to some artistic expression which began with a poem penned and read by George Wielgus, a British artist and poet, who took to the megaphone to recite ‘Please Don’t Arrest Me Under the ISA’, parts of which read:
This is a poem

About the poem

I cannot read out

The words I cannot say

The things I cannot think, or feel

The person I cannot be

Even though this poem is not about Malaysia
Tell the hakim

Tell the jury

Tel my lawyers

Tell the people when I disappear

When I am detained

When I am revoked

When witnesses testify I sodomized them

Or drugs are found in my house

Or a bullet in my head

That it should not be so

Because this is not a poem about Malaysia
Jay Sharma then recited a poem written by Cecil Rajendra entitled ‘The Animal and Insect Act’, a satirical jab at the Malaysian government in wanting to exact absolute security over the state by passing various laws and prohibitions that resulted in the northward and southward migration of the jungle’s inhabitants- resulting finally in an eerie silence and emptiness, a state of total security.
The crowd gathering to listen to the ISA inspired poetry also watched a short skit put on by Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA members which symbolically depicted the oppression the Malaysian government has systematically inflicted upon the press, journalists, bloggers, protesters, playwrights, civil rights activist and opposition politicians over the last 50 years in its desperate attempts to curtail freedom of expression, thought and movement. The skit culminated in a reminder of the sort of fear and abuse that can often be perpetrated by the use of the ISA as ‘special branch officers’ made a swoop on a ‘detainee’ played by Hiu Woong-Sin, who was clad in an ISA detainee uniform, prisoner number, handcuffs and a black eye- reminiscent of the abuse suffered by Anwar Ibrahim following his arrest under the ISA in 1998. As he was thrown to the ground, a stunned audience fell silent as the narrator concluded with a call for all Malaysian citizens to stand together in solidarity against the ISA:

Today we are here to remember those who have been detained under the ISA.

Each detainee has a story to tell.

Each was someone’s brother, sister, mother, father, husband, or wife.

We’ve seen the devastating effects of 50 years of ISA oppression and tyranny.

Malaysia, we unite with you in our struggle for justice and freedom to ensure that our children do not suffer 50 more years under the ISA. 



A final poem entitled the ‘A-Z of Censor(shit)’ by Nurul Mooza was uncanny in its observations :
This is Democracy under duress Democracy drugged via 
Enforcement and entrapment, no ethos here just egos
*click clack* they say, do you prefer family or Freedom? 
The Cheek says this is no Guantanamo Bay, what a Shabery sham
This is a hegemonic state, just ask the Home Security inmates; 
Behave yourself or you’ll be gone and never come back
Into the Internal Security Act, better make sure you're on track

Justice is jailed in the judge’s chambers. 
Judiciary system seems too jolly to scream
CORRECT CORRECT CORRECT
The kings won’t bail you in Kamunting, 
You’re on your own: screw you, check mate.
That’s what you get for Learning the truth. 
Don’t question our leaders, just deal with it

Maybe you should ‘change your mode’, modify your mouth
Make sure it doesn’t go off, cause if money matters more 
Then mind your lips and as you were Monday to Friday
Kneel and serve before the state, but not the Nation
Oppressive operation: that’s the modus

The demonstration ended with a one minute silence amidst lit candles as a mark of respect and remembrance for all ISA detainees, past and present, and their families and friends whose lives have been irrevocably affected by the ISA.

From London, we send a message to all our fellow Malaysian citizens that the world is watching and we will continue to  stand up and speak out with you. Enough is enough. Fifty years of fear and oppression under the Internal Security Act MUST come to an end. And we will not fall silent till those in the corridors of power take heed and listen.

The real 1Malaysia

The police doth protest too much

CANDLELIGHT vigils on the night of 1 Aug 2010 to protest against 50 years of the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite state detention without trial, were marred with arrests and heavy police presence.
In Petaling Jaya, around 200 protesters gathered for the vigil in Dataran Timur opposite Amcorp Mall from 8pm onwards. However, the police, numbering between 80 and 100, were intent on dispersing the peaceful gathering, citing the lack of a police permit. This led to an hour-long confrontation, and pandemonium, between the protesters and the police as the gathering moved from Amcorp Mall to Dataran Timur back to the mall.
By the end of the protest, 36 arrests were made. Twitter reports from the ground said police targeted those who carried candles or wore anti-ISA badges, or who wore red, the colour of the anti-ISA protest. Police also threatened to arrest those who chanted “Hidup, rakyat” outside the police station. Police eventually began releasing the arrested, on police bail, from 3am onwards.
Similar arrests were also made in Penang and Kelantan.
The heavy-handed police action against peaceful demonstrators has drawn flak from several quarters. According to the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0, to date, 10,662 people have been arrested under the ISA over the past 44 years. Suaram said 16 individuals were currently detained under the ISA, among whom 14 were detained after the government announced its review of the colonial era legislation.
Apart from the ISA, the state is also empowered to detain people without trial under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA). Suaram said as of February 2010, 819 individuals were detained without trial under the EO, while 412 were incarcerated under the DDA.
Hence, a total of more than 1,200 individuals are detained without trial in Malaysia.