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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mindef's justification is rubbish, says lawyer

(Malaysiakini)The lawyer for former airman N Tharmendran today brushed aside the Defence Ministry's justification for a group of military personnel who went looking for Tharmendran at his family's home in Seremban last month.


N Surendran, who is Tharmendran's lead counsel, said they are outraged that the ministry insists that the visit was normal procedure in seeking out military personnel who go absent without leave.


"It is not normal procedure for the armed forces to go to a civilian's house in search of a civilian. I don't understand how the air force insists he is still part of them," he said.


Surendran repeated that the air force is fully aware that Tharmendran's contract ended on May 28 this year, and he has stopped receiving his salary since June.


"To us it is very clear, the motive was to abduct him and shut him up after he made those allegations," he said, referring to Tharmendran's claims that he was tortured in connection with the theft of two RMAF jet engines.

Surendran (right) also denied that he had threatened the lead officer, sergeant Japar Sallen, of the group who went to Tharmendran's house last month, accusing the ministry of "interfering" with his duty in representing his client.


"I was doing my duty as a lawyer when I called the sergeant to tell him that my client is a civilian and there is no necessity for them to pick him up. In fact, I had a very amicable discussion with the sergeant," he said.


Tharmendran is scheduled to appear at the Shah Alam High Court tomorrow, in his bid to strike out his case on the grounds that it is an abuse of the court process and frivolous.


Tharmendran, along with company director K Rajandran Prasad, are jointly charged in connection with the theft of two jet engines in 2007.

New offer: Residents have 3 days to decide


G Vinod and B Nantha Kumar - Free malaysia Today

BUKIT JALIL: The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has deferred the demolition of houses in Ladang Bukit Jalil today, offering the 41 families involved a flat each for RM35,000.

The former estate workers have been given till Friday to decide, after which their present houses would be bulldozed.

A standoff was expected this morning after residents defied DBKL's order to vacate their houses.

However, DBKL gave the former estate workers an offer letter each to purchase units at a nearby flat for RM35,000, originally priced at RM80,000.

There was a commotion when a DBKL officer went up to the residents to talk to them, many of whom had camped there since last night.

“We only want to talk to a superior officer, not his henchmen,” K Balakrishnan, the estate's action force committee member, told the DBKL officer.

The officer, known only as Fairus, explained that DBKL had no plans to demolish their houses today and he was only there to negotiate.

He then left and returned a few minutes later with DBKL's deputy director-general Mohamad Amin Nordin.

However, Amin was heckled with chants like “Umno: 2Malaysia, Jangan Hina Masyarakat India and Selamatkan Ladang Bukit Jalil.”

'Many are illiterate'

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan told FMT that the time-frame given was not sufficient.

“Many of the people here are illiterate. How do you expect them to sign on something blindly. They need more time to consider this new offer.

“Another issue is how are they going to get bank loans. Some will not fulfil the requirements needed to be eligible for the housing loan. How is DBKL going to solve that problem?” he added.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan, who was also present, questioned DBKL's move to use the Emergency Ordinance to vacate the residents, when the ordinance is only used to evict squatters.

“These people are estate workers staying at a former estate housing scheme. DBKL should not group them under the squatter category. They should not have used the ordinance,” he said.

This view was shared by Ibrahim Mohamed, a former Bukit Jalil estate worker, who said that DBKL had no right to call them squatters as they were living on estate land.

“My father worked in this estate many years ago. I was born here 47 years ago and I even studied in the Tamil school here. Who is DBKL to call us squatters? ” he said.

'Swear in a mosque'

Ibrahim said initially when negotiating terms with DBKL on the eviction, the latter had only offered a compensation of RM6,000 without even hearing any details from them.

“They have been promising things for the past three years and that's the only thing they know, making empty promises,” he added.

He lambasted Amin for saying that the land would be cleared to build a new cemetery.

“Even those living do not have a place to stay but now they are offering this place for the dead,” he said, adding that estate existed even before DBKL came into existence.

“During general elections, even the Election Commission used the Tamil school here as a polling booth. So how come a government agency is using a squatter premise as a polling area?” he asked.

He then challenged the DBKL deputy director to swear in a mosque that they would actually build a cemetery there.

“I am a Muslim and so is he. I dare him to swear in a mosque,” he said, adding that there was more than what meets the eye.

Meanwhile, a source revealed that the residents planned to stay put, even after the deadline, until a decision was made on the new offer.

“This is an important decision. There are so many aspects that should be taken into account before we make a decision. Until then we are staying put. We are not moving.

“Even if they come back on Friday, we will still be here. They need to clarify all the questions we have. Until then, this standoff will continue,” he said.

In a related development, DBKL revealed that only 12 out of the 41 families were former estate workers and the rest were squatters.

Banggarma is a Muslim, declares High Court

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today ruled that a 28-year-old ‘Hindu’ mother of two is a Muslim.

In delivering his 40-minute oral judgment, Judicial Commissioner Yaakob Sam said S Banggarma should refer her case to the Syariah Court to resolve any disputes arising from her ‘conversion’ to Islam.

Yaakob said that documents produced by the four defendants were sufficient to prove that Banggarma was a Muslim.

“Based on the documents produced by the relevant authorities in the court, I'm satisfied that the plaintiff is a Muslim.

“So her case should be referred to the Syariah Court,” he said.

Outside the court room, Banggarma, whose Muslim name is Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah, instantly brushed aside the verdict as “unfair and unrealistic”.

‘I will fight till the end. I was born as a Hindu, lived as a Hindu and will die as a Hindu,” she told newsmen.

Banggarma’s lawyer Gooi Hsiao Leung said his client would file an appeal against Yaacob’s decision to the Court of Appeal in a week’s time.

“We will apply for the written judgment before filing the appeal,” he said.

Born in 1982, Banggarma resorted to the courts to declare that her forced conversion to Islam at the age of seven in 1989 was illegal. She sought a high court order for a full trial.

She named Perkim president Dr Mahathir Mohamed, Perkim officer-in-charge Raimi Abdullah, Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Council and the Penang City Kadi as defendants.

The defendants were represented by lawyer Mathias Chang, Zubaidah Tuan Muda, Abu Bakar Sidek and Mohd Ilmani Ahmad respectively.

Banggarma born a Hindu

Banggarma claimed that she was unwittingly converted by the state Islamic religious authorities while she was staying in a welfare home in Kepala Batas, Penang.

She claimed in her originating summons that the civil courts can adjudge her case since it was not a case of renunciation but one of declaring the process of conversion as null and void.

She has claimed she was converted at an age in which she could not have had the thinking capacity and competence to comprehend and undergo a religious conversion ceremony.

She said her parents could not have converted her to Islam, as alleged by the religious authorities, because her father originally put her in a Hindu orphanage centre in 1988.

Banggarma’s birth certificate revealed that she was born a Hindu on Aug 13, 1982 in Keratong, Pahang to plantation workers B Subramaniam and Latchumy Ramadu.

Gooi said his client was taken away from the orphanage by Raimi on Dec 27, 1989 and he put her under the care of Rumah Kanak-Kanak Taman Bakti in Kepala Batas.

Gooi, who was assisted by counsel K Kumaranathaviam, said Banggarma was then forcibly and unwittingly converted to Islam by Raimi the very next day.

He said Banggarma was converted without her parents’ consent which contravened Article 12.4 of the Federal Constitution.

Banggarma, who fled the welfare home at 16, discovered her ‘Muslim’ status when seeking to register her marriage to fisherman S Sockalingam in Tanjung Piandang, Perak in 2000.

The defendants produced a document issued by the Pahang Islamic Religious Affairs Council showing that both Banggarma's parents converted to Islam in 1983.

They also produced a statutory declaration purportedly made by Subramaniam the same year that he planned to convert all his children to Islam.

They said the documents proved that Banggarma was a ‘Muslim’ and as such, her case should be referred to the Syariah Court as stipulated under Article 121A of the Federal Constitution.

The court concurred. Due to her ‘conversion’, Banggarma could not register Sockalingam as the father of her two children - Kanagaraj, nine, and Hisyanthini, three, until today.

Video reveals chaos at Tamil school meet




PETALING JAYA: Pandemonium had erupted during a meeting in Shah Alam to discuss aid for Tamil schools, which led to a scuffle, resulting in one person being warded at the Assunta Hospital.

During last Saturday's meeting, M Kumaravel said he was attacked by several people linked to Tamil Schools' Parents Association of Selangor president S Murali.

Kumaravel, 47, chairs the Midlands Tamil School Parents and Teachers Association.

A video of the incident obtained by FMT showed Murali and several others locked in a heated dispute with several NGO leaders over the funds.

After several minutes of pushing and shoving, Murali is seen chasing Kumaravel around the hall, and the latter was pounced on by several individuals.

Also present at the meeting were Selangor excos Halimah Ali and Dr Xavier Jayakumar as well as PKR MPs Loh Gwo Burne and S Manikavasagam.

The meeting was held after the parents expressed their anger with the state government for allocating RM1.6 million to three NGOs to run the Tamil school programmes.

Halimah had said that state government allocations for Tamil schools will be managed by her and not by Jayakumar, who overseas Indian affairs, from now on.

Sabah PKR slams Hisham for protecting Cabinet's wealth

By Queville To
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah PKR has taken to task Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for dismissing a proposal to force ministers to publicly declare their assets.
Hishammuddin’s contention that it is enough for ministers to only inform the prime minister of their financial worth is outrageous, Sabah PKR treasurer Roland Chia Ming Shen said.

He said Hishammuddin's stand was defective because all elected representatives and those in executive powers owed their loyalty to the people and not the prime minister.

“It was the rakyat who voted them into power,” he said yesterday.

He also noted that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which mooted the proposal (to force ministers to declare their assets publicly), comes under the purview of Parliament.

“Thus the home minister must respect the doctrine of separation of powers of the three branches of government, namely Parliament, Judiciary and Executive and not try to sidestep what MACC has been appointed to do. Otherwise, MACC will lose its credibility in the eyes of the public,” he said.

Citing both Indonesia and the US, where their leaders declare their assets as part of their anti-graft drives, Chia said Malaysian ministers should have no qualms at declaring their assets to the public “if they have nothing to hide”.

He said those who choose or aspire to hold high position in public office have the obligation to be open to public scrutiny when they assume office.

“It's a choice they have to make. If they want to have privacy, then please don't hold high public office…

"What have they got to hide? MACC, please keep pushing the issue. It is fundamental to transparency and accountability.

“Today it will cost nothing if the declarations are published in the PM's Department website or any other government website,” he said.

Last week, MACC commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed said that he intended to push members of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's administration to declare their assets publicly, stressing such a move was “very, very important”.

Chia noted that currently, ministers disclose their assets to the prime minister annually but such declarations are kept secret.

Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi imposed the condition following the heavy losses the Barisan Nasional (BN) suffered in 2008 general election in a bid to appease a public that was increasingly sceptical of BN’s capacity to reform.

Ministers as well as deputy ministers are required to fill in asset declaration forms with the MACC predecessor, the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), with the intention of making the information available online for public scrutiny.

However, Abdullah backed down from this plan after facing stiff opposition from ministers on the grounds that it was an invasion of their privacy.

Hadi dismisses soothsayers, says Umno thrives on mercenaries

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS has dismissed speculation that it will suffer a setback in the 13th general election, in contrast to its phenomenal performance in 2008.

“I don’t believe in this theory or in the octopus’s predictions,” said its president Abdul Hadi Awang.

“I am convinced that if we work hard and use the right strategy, we can win big in the next general election.”

There is something mercurial about PAS, as Malaysia’s election history shows. It has performed impressively in some elections, but often badly in elections held following the re-drawing of borders to benefit Barisan Nasional. For example, while it won only seven parliamentary seats in 2004, it grabbed 23 in the last election. It now also rules the states of Kelantan and Kedah.

Those impressed by patterns in the flow of history say the pendulum may well swing the other way in the coming general election.

However, this does not seem to worry the party president. He said the doom prophecies were in fact motivating members to identify weaknesses in the party and to focus on addressing them.

“Unlike Umno, we have real support, branches everywhere, people who have faith,” Hadi said at an informal discussion at the Harakah office last night
Umno, on the other hand, had become dependent on mercenaries, he added.

“Maybe my statement is harsh, but that’s the reality. It is no more about faith and ideology. Faith and ideology is not helping Umno win, but the government machinery is.”
Be patient

He said it had become obvious that Umno now had to pay soldiers-for-hire to ensure its continuity.

He was alluding to last weekend’s nationwide assault against activists lamenting 50 years of the Internal Security Act and a similar disruption of a gathering of disgruntled Felcra settlers. Although all the activists gatheried in peace, some activists suffered abuse from thugs suspected to be Umno members and some were arrested by riot police.

Hadi alleged that the police were under orders to harass Pakatan Rakyat and contain its programmes.

But he said he was sure that Umno could not indefinitely fool Malaysian society.

He called on PAS members and supporters to practice patience.

“We must work hard,” he said. “The history of elections, especially by-elections, in this country has shown that PAS will win in many areas where we are strong and where we maintain branches.”

He cited PAS’s performance in the Kuala Terengganu and Bukit Gantang by-elections as proof that success depended on hard work and the strength of the party’s network.

“As such, I urge PAS to rapidly multiply its branches all over the country,” he said. “Why did we win Kelantan and Kedah? Because we have many branches in these states.”

Demolition deferred, Bkt Jalil residents get new offer


By FMT Staff
FMT ALERT KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has made a new offer to the 41 families in Bukit Jalil, whose houses have been slated for demolition.
The residents have requested for time in order to consider the new offer, which allows them to purchase a RM80,000 house for RM35,000.
DBKL, which insists that the residents are squatters, has given them three days to decide. The demolition exercise has been postponed till then.

Yesterday, the residents vowed to put up a fight if the DBKL demolition team moved in, saying that even the presence of anti-riot police personnel will not deter them.

This morning, the residents brought in backhoes to block the road leading to the former estate to stop DBKL's bulldozers.

Some 300 people, including NGO and opposition party representatives, had gathered at the enterance of the former estate.

MORE TO FOLLOW

State PAC post: Khir and boys may fire blanks

By Rahmah Ghazali and Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

FMT INTERVIEW
SHAH ALAM: Selangor Barisan Nasional is now having a change of heart, saying it may take up the offer from the Pakatan Rakyat state government to head the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Despite having a differing stand previously, former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo told FMT in a recent interview that BN is open to the idea, but likened it to having been given a gun without bullets.

The state assembly, during its last sitting, appointed Mohd Shamsudin Lias (BN-Sungai Burong) to head PAC, but the latter and his BN colleagues had disapproved.

Describing it as “politically motivated”, Shamsudin said he rejected the appointment as he wanted to defend the integrity of BN assemblymen.

But now, Khir, who is the state opposition leader, is singing a different tune.

“We have two choices. One, Shamsudin can resign or he can try (out the post). But if he does not enjoy a good working relationship with other PAC members from the state government, then he should relinquish his post,” he said.

'BN man can be suspended'

BN is trapped between a rock and a hard place, since rejecting the appointment could be tatamount to contempt of the House.

“If we reject, the state assembly can take action against Shamsudin and he can be suspended for at least six months,” said Khir. “But forcing someone to take up the post is a funny thing.”

Khir, who was initially supportive of the appointment during a meeting with state speaker Teng Chang Khim, said he changed his mind when he was informed about the “real truth” behind it.

According to him, Teng did not disclose the full details, including the composition of the committee.

He was only made aware of the state assembly’s decision to appoint only two BN assemblymen as opposed to seven from the state government by a party colleague.

“I know that Teng said that I was supportive of it when he told me about the appointment. But he did not mention anything about the composition.

“So when I discussed the matter with my BN colleagues, they were totally against it, describing it as ‘high-risk’ politics,” he said, adding that he later brought this to Teng's attention.

“But he (Teng) said this is a Commonwealth practice. After I did my homework, I found out that only England practises this and even they have seven opposition reps and nine from the government in the committee and have an opposition rep as the chief,” he said.

'Power with no strength'

Meanwhile, Khir also criticised the state government for “acting funny” with regards to this matter.

“It is as if they are making fun of us. We (in BN) cannot even have the final say (as we don’t have the majority), and there is no check and balance.

“If they really want to give power to the chief, then they should give us the majority,” he said, likening the situation to “being given a gun without bullets”.

“They gave us power but not strength,” he added.

'Allah' row: Ibrahim calls MCA 'biadap'

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Firebrand Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali blasted MCA leaders as 'biadap' (rude) for calling the home ministry to rescind its ban on the usage of 'Allah' by Christians, saying the demand could jeopardise national security.

"I would consider the demand a rude one as it is disrespectful towards the country's Malay Muslims. It is kurang ajar (extremely rude)," he told FMT in an immediate reaction to the revived spat over the rights to 'Allah'.

On Monday, Loh Seng Kok, the deputy chairman of MCA publicity bureau, called on Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to repeal the ban since he is aware that it has turned into a divisive national issue, which can become BN's 'Archilles heel'.

"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 told reporters on Sunday that the 'Allah' ban may be his ministry's darkest episode and that it may 'haunt' it for a 'very long time'.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin warned MCA leaders against calling for the repeal of the ban, reminding the second biggest
BN component party that it must accept the decision of the government and should not start another debate on the word 'Allah'.

Muhyiddin then scrutinised MCA's stance on the matter, questioning why it was agreeing with the views shared by their rivals, the DAP.

Don't play with fire, warns Ibrahim

Ibrahim backed Muhyiddin and accused MCA of political prostitution. He said MCA leaders were quick to exploit the issue for political mileage and warned them against raising the issue.

"MCA just wants political mileage. They shouldn't play with fire because this issue is very sensitive to Muslims. Although Christians in other Islamic nations like Indonesia use Allah, the situation is different here," he said.

Ibrahim's sentiment is shared by other conservtive Islamic scholars who argued that using the word 'Allah' outside the Islamic context would create confusion and anger among the nation's majority Malay who are by default, Muslims.

Loh, however, said no religion can claim exclusivity over the term, as the word 'Allah' has been traditionally used by other religions.

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.
MCA president: Just raising a concern
On a related development, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek clarified that his party does not share the same stand with DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims.

He said that MCA held a dialogue with the Christian Federation of Malaysia last week and that the NGO felt that there was a need for the issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

He explained that MCA was only voicing out the wish of the NGO since the issue has not been resolved when it was brought up last year.

"We are not making the same stand with DAP. We only want to the BN government to resolve the issue as soon as possible so that it will not be further exploited by the opposition," he added in a statement.

Who benefits from bumiputera discounts?

By Tarani Palani | The Nut Graph
“Jadi adalah wajar diskaun kepada bumiputera untuk pemilikan hartanah ini tidak dikekalkan kerana ia melibatkan nilai yang tinggi…Maknanya, bumiputera perlu berdikari dalam soal pemilikan hartanah berkenaan.”
PETALING Jaya Utara Member of Parliament (MP) Tony Pua suggesting to the Selangor government to remove the 7% bumiputera discount for residential and commercial property above RM500,000.  Pua, who is also economic adviser to the DAP secretary-general, argued that those who could afford such high-end properties did not need to be supported by affirmative action. He added that the discount could lead to profiteering where bumiputera who enjoyed such discounts could then sell the property at a much higher price. (Source: Mansuhkan diskaun hartanah bumiputera, Utusan Malaysia, 26 July 2010)
“If we are suggesting that such discount should continue, are we suggesting that rich Malays like Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar, Tan Sri Rozali Ismail or Dato’ Seri Nazir Tun Razak, who earn six-figure or seven-figure monthly income, also qualify for the seven percent discount whenever they buy any residential property above RM500,000 or commercial property above RM2 million, even though they [can] afford to pay the market price?”
Kampung Tunku assemblyperson and DAP member Lau Weng San agreeing with Pua’s suggestion. Lau argued that the bumiputera discount policy was to encourage house ownership as most “under-privileged Bumiputeras live in rented property”. However, he said, high-income bumiputera were “financially sound” and able to compete in the open market. (Source: 7% Bumiputera discount for high-end property should go, Lau Weng San’s blog, 30 July 2010)
“I’m asking YB Tony Pua not to play with fire…Don’t even light a match.”
Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan warning Pua. He said Pua’s proposal totally disregarded the sensitivity of Malay Malaysians and the bumiputera who comprised two thirds of the population.
Maslan argued that the current bumiputera ownership of shop houses and business premises in urban areas was only 14%, and doing away with the discount would worsen the situation. He declared that Pua’s suggestion was one among DAP’s long list of suggestions made to question Malay and bumiputera privileges. (Source: Ahmad Maslan to Tony Pua: Don’t play with fire, Bernama as quoted in Malaysiakini, 1 Aug 2010)
“I concede that it may not remain forever but at the moment, it (abolition of the discount) is not appropriate yet.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak clarifying that although Pua’s proposal fell under state jurisdiction, the federal government itself had no plans to review the bumiputera discount.  He also warned DAP against placing pressure on Malay Malaysians and bumiputera as this could lead to anger and dissatisfaction. (Source: Government Does Not Want Other Graduate Officers To Be Involved In Politics — Najib, Bernama, 28 July 2010)
“Tetapi hakikatnya, sekiranya kita melihat kepada pegangan hartanah Bumiputera di setiap peringkat, angkanya jauh ketinggalan berbanding kaum lain. Statistik pada tahun 2007 menunjukkan peratus pemilikan bangunan oleh Bumiputera cuma 15.7 peratus. Bagi hartanah komersial pula, Bumiputera hanya memiliki sekitar 29.2 peratus untuk kompleks perniagaan dan serendah 3.5 peratus untuk premis perindustrian. Statistik ini menggambarkan suatu ketidakseimbangan yang terlalu ketara.”
Rembau MP and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin arguing that although Pua’s suggestion made theoretical sense, when compared to the overall figures, Malay Malaysian and bumiputera ownership still lagged behind the other races. He added that abolishing the discount would widen the inter-racial economic gap.
Khairy said removing the discount would also deny bumiputera the opportunity to own property in strategic locations. He added that a moratorium could be imposed on the reselling of such property to prevent profiteering. (Source: Isu ‘ Diskaun Bumiputera’, Khairy Jamaluddin’s blog, 29 July 2010)
“If the Government has no intention to reform its affirmative action policies as it stands today, then the Prime Minister and UMNO leaders should stop the hypocrisy and pretense that the Government is going to implement a ‘New Economic Model’ which will be based on ‘market-friendly’ or ‘merit-based programmes’. It’ll only prove to investors that the Government is ‘all talk, no action’ and that the Barisan Nasional is completely incapable of change, much less the transformation that is required to take us to a developed nation status by 2020.”
Pua questioning the government’s sincerity in implementing the New Economic Model (NEM). He said Najib was backtracking from implementing the NEM’s “affirmative action approach” that was based on needs, not race. Pua said it was a contradiction to award affirmative action discounts to “wealthy individuals who could afford properties in the range of millions of ringgit”. (Source: Where’s NEM’s “Market-Friendly” Affirmative Action Programme?, Tony Pua’s blog, 3 Aug 2010)

Malaysia’s Opposition on Trial

Anwar Ibrahim could be headed to prison again on trumped up charges. We urge the U.S. government to speak out on his behalf.
By AL GORE AND PAUL WOLFOWITZ | Wall Street Journal

We come from opposite sides of the political spectrum and disagree about a great many things. However, one issue that brings us together is the case of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia who is now leader of the political opposition in that country.

Mr. Anwar has been charged under very dubious circumstances with sodomy, a criminal offense under Malaysian law. If convicted, he faces a possible 20-year sentence—effectively life in prison for a man of 63. His trial, scheduled to resume next week, threatens not just Mr. Anwar but all those in Malaysia who have struggled for a freer and more democratic nation. It is also important for the rest of the world, because it casts a troubling shadow over the future of a nation that should be a model for other Muslim countries.?

Our views of Anwar Ibrahim have been formed completely independently of each other. We do not always agree with his views on foreign policy, but we do agree that as a political leader, statesman and intellectual, Mr. Anwar possesses qualities that encourage hope for the future. These qualities include lucidity and openness to debate and engagement; commitment to principles of accountability and good governance; and a serious concern for the future of his country and the world—not to mention his extraordinary courage in standing up for what he believes. We are convinced that he is committed to the values of pluralism, tolerance and freedom that are needed for Malaysia to flourish.

In the end, what matters is not our opinion of Mr. Anwar’s character, but the opinion of his fellow countrymen. Malaysians should decide for themselves, through an open electoral process, who they wish to lead them. They should not be deprived of that opportunity by an abuse of judicial power.

This is the second time that Mr. Anwar has been subjected to a politically?motivated trial on similar charges. The first time was in 1998, when as deputy prime minister and finance minister he dared to mount a challenge to then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. Mr. Anwar was jailed, beaten severely, and condemned to years of solitary confinement after a trial that was a travesty of justice. That is not just our conclusion. It is the conclusion of the International Commission of Jurists, the International Bar Association, and a number of international human-rights organizations. It was also the conclusion of Malaysia’s highest court, which overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004, after Mr. Mahathir was no longer prime minister.

Mr. Anwar now leads the coalition of Malaysia’s three opposition parties, which won more than a third of the seats in the parliamentary elections of March 2008. This was the best showing that the opposition had ever managed against the governing coalition led by the United Malays National Organization, the party that has ruled the country for the past 53 years.

Three months after the election, Mr. Anwar threatened to call for a vote of no confidence in Parliament and take over the government. He was then arrested and charged again with sodomy. Like the charges 10 years earlier, the timing of these new charges carries the strong odor of political manipulation. And, if anything, the case against Mr. Anwar this time is even less credible and the violations of due process are even more egregious.

While Anwar Ibrahim is on trial before the state, the state is on trial before its people and the world. If he were to be convicted, the whole of Malaysia’s political life and its standing in the world would be damaged. And for what gain? The timing of the trial has led many observers to the conclusion that the objective is to stem the ruling party’s loss of popular support. Public opinion polls indicate that the great majority of Malaysians see the charges against Mr. Anwar as politically motivated. In any event, as Mr. Anwar himself would be the first to say, his imprisonment would not extinguish his cause. On the contrary, the movement he began a decade ago will continue to spread.

This is a pivotal moment in Malaysia’s history with consequences that are also meaningful on a global scale. With a population of nearly 30 million, Malaysia is not a small country. But it is also significant as an example of a Muslim-majority country making its way in the world. It has been able, over the first half-century of its independence, to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve economic growth while sustaining a degree of harmony among its religiously and ethnically diverse population.

In recent years, however, the country has been sliding backwards, with increasing exploitation of religious and ethnic differences for political purposes. The trial and conviction of Mr. Anwar would intensify these problems by destroying the confidence of millions of Malaysians in the possibility of justice under the law.

We urge our own government to make clear the importance the U.S. attaches to the role of the law in sustaining a political process in which justice and freedom are natural allies. We know from experience that sensitive issues of this kind are often best pursued quietly, government to government. But time is running out. A moment of truth is approaching.

Two days ago, a judge postponed Mr. Anwar’s trial in order to deal with charges of an improper relationship between a female prosecutor and Mr. Anwar’s accuser. This is an opportunity. Malaysia’s system of governance has the capacity to do the right thing—not only for Anwar Ibrahim, but for the millions of Malaysian citizens who look to him as a spokesman for their aspirations. We urge those in the Malaysian government who will decide this matter to act with wisdom.

Mr. Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States. Mr. Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.

Thai Women Detained In Raid On Massage Parlour

SEREMBAN, Aug 4 (Bernama) -- Police detained 9 Thai woman for working illegally here, in a raid for on a massage parlour at Taman Cattleya, Senawang Tuesday night.

Chief Inspector Raidah Abidin of the secret societies, gambling and anti-vice division said a 25 year year-old Malaysian was also detained in the raid at 9.30pm.

Seven Malaysian men aged 26-50 years were found with the Thai woman aged 29-53 years. Police also seized RM2,035 and two bottles of massage oil.

"The masage parlour charged RM37 per hour for the service. The raid followed a public tip-off and police intelligence," she told reporters here today.

Raidah said the Thai women were detained under Section 56 (1) (d) of Immigration Act.

Parties to argue over fatwa jurisdiction

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has ordered parties to argue if a civil court has jurisdiction to decide on an application by a company to invalidate a ruling issued by the Federal Territories mufti that its training programme was in conflict with Islamic teaching.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh set Aug 10 for the parties to submit their arguments.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the company’s lawyers Abu Bakar Jais and Helmi Hamzah said the judge has asked the parties to serve the papers over the issue.

“Only if the court is satisfied that it has jurisdiction, it will hear the merits of the case,” Helmi added.

Senior Federal Counsel Natra Idris acted for the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The company – ESQ Leadership Center Sdn Bhd – provides human capital training and was founded by Indonesian Dr Ary Ginanjar Agustian.

Federal Territories (FT) mufti Datuk Wan Zahidi Wan Teh had issued a fatwa against ESQ on June 17 because its training contradicts Islamic teachings. The training was said to emphasise “conscience” as the main source to determine the good and bad aspects of an action. The fatwa was published in the Government Gazette on June 17.

ESQ Leadership filed an application for judicial review on July 26, naming the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council and FT mufti as respondents.

In the leave application, ESQ Leadership is challenging the procedure applied by the mufti in issuing the fatwa and whether the publication was done in accordance with Section 31, 33 and 34 of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.

ESQ stated that Section 31 and 33 provides, among others, that the council has to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on all matters related to the Islamic religion. Section 34 states that the mufti has to get an order from the King first before the fatwa is issued.

Debate over whether child rapists should be hanged

The New Straits Times
by Maizatul Ranai and Rozanna Latiff
KUALA LUMPUR: The suggestion that convicted child rapists be sent to the gallows has sparked an active debate as yet another case of sexual abuse of a child emerged yesterday.

There was mixed response from both sides of the political divide on the suggestion, with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil saying that capital punishment alone was not sufficient deterrent for child rapists.

While she supported the death penalty for child rapists, she said it was more important to focus on the social and moral environment which produced such criminals.

“We need to refine our community values and prepare measures to protect the vulnerable in society, especially children.” Shahrizat said a thorough study was required to ascertain the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent. She said the issue was complicated by the fact that the majority of child rape cases were committed by family members, fathers, uncles and brothers.

“In such cases, victims might discouraged from reporting instances violence, particularly if they know they be responsible for the death of member.” She said the imposition of the penalty might even worsen the situation as a rapist might be more inclined to kill his victim.

Shahrizat said an alternative would be a lengthy jail sentence for child rapists.

Sarawak Women and Family Council chairman Datin Fatimah Abdullah said the death penalty would be a powerful deterrent against “heinous crimes”. But she echoed Shahrizat’s sentiments in saying more should be done to counter the problem.

“The death penalty will not make up for the intense trauma suffered by rape victims,” said Fatimah, who is also minister in the Chief Minister’s Office.

The maximum jail sentence for rape under the Penal Code was extended from 20 to 30 years in 2007.

The call for capital punishment was made by DAP chairman Karpal Singh who called for an amendment to Section 376 of the Penal Code on rape to include the death penalty as the mandatory sentence for child rapists.

Ironically, two of his detractors on the issue were from his own party.

Bukit Mertajam DAP member of parliament Chong Eng said the death penalty would not change the situation as rape was difficult to prove while Beruas DAP MP Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said the death penalty should be reserved for the most violent crimes.

Chong Eng cited a study by the Penang-based non-governmental organisation, Women’s Centre for Change, which revealed that only four per cent of reported rape cases were successfully prosecuted with the rest dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The Wanita DAP chief said prevention was the key to the issue of child rape, adding that parents and school authorities should discuss matters relating to sex openly with children.

“Many children are unaware of what kinds of behaviour or touching of body parts are inappropriate, leading to many cases being underreported.”

She said there was a need to speed up court processes as lengthy prosecutions discouraged many victims from speaking up about their ordeal.

“These cases should be prioritised as they involve children, who may not be emotionally developed enough to handle long trials,” she said, adding that child victims of rape should be provided counselling.

Ngeh said the death penalty should only be meted out if the rapist was also guilty of committing extreme violence.

The Perak DAP chairman said child rapists should also receive psychiatric treatment to control their psychological and physical urges.

“Uncontrollable sexual urges or sex addiction can be reversed through treatment.”

Troops die in Israel-Lebanon clash


The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon says it has dispatched troops to the area [AFP]
Share(Al Jazeera) At least three Lebanese and one Israeli soldier have been killed during an exchange of rocket and gunfire along the border between the two countries.
A journalist was also killed, and four more Lebanese soldiers wounded by Israeli shelling on Tuesday. The Israeli army did not say how the Israeli soldier was killed.
"The Israelis fired four rockets that fell near a Lebanese army position in the village of Adaisseh and the Lebanese army fired back," a Lebanese security official in the area said.
Lebanese news sources reported that the journalist killed was Assaf Abou Rahhal, from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.
Lebanese witnesses said that Israeli shells are continuing to hit Adaisseh village.
The clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers reportedly attempted to uproot trees on the Lebanese side of the border.
'Maximum restraint'
A spokesman for Unifil, the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, confirmed the fighting and urged both sides to use "maximum restraint".

"Unifil peacekeepers are in the area and are trying to ascertain the circumstances of the incident and any possible casualties," said Neeraj Singh. "Our immediate priority at this time is to restore calm in the area."
The United Nations Security Council held a brief meeting about the skirmish on Tuesday afternoon. It concluded without any official statement; Alain Le Roy, the head of UN peacekeeping operations, said the UN was still investigating.
Saad Hariri, the Lebanese prime minister, called the raid a "violation of Lebanese sovereignty and demands".
He called in a statement for "the United Nations and the international community bear their responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its aggression."
Michel Sleiman, the Lebanese president, issued his own statement denouncing the clash as a violation of UN resolution 1701. That resolution ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, and called for both Israel and Lebanon to respect the Blue Line, the UN-administered border between the two countries.
Sleiman also called on the Lebanese army to "confront any Israeli aggression, whatever the sacrifices".
"This is a very significant development," said Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Beirut. "For the first time in years, clashes are taking place between Israel and the Lebanese army, not Hezbollah."
Roots of conflict
General Gadi Eisenkot, the head of Israel's northern command, predicted the clashes were  a "one-time event". Eisenkot also said two Israeli soldiers were wounded in the fighting.
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister, said Israel "holds the Lebanese government responsible" for the incident, and asked the Israeli envoy to the UN to file a complaint.
The fighting reportedly started when a group of Israeli army soldiers went close to the border to uproot some trees near the villages of Adaisseh and Kuferkilla.
Israeli security sources said that Israeli army engineers came under fire from Lebanese soldiers while working along the frontier and the troops shot back.

Israel said its army engineers came under fire from Lebanese soldiers and shot back [AFP]
In a statement, the Israeli military said its soldiers came under fire while they were "on routine activity in Israeli territory in an area that lies between the blue line [the internationally recognised border between Israel and Lebanon] and the security fence, thus within Israeli territory".
Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Jerusalem, said "the overall picture that seems to be emerging from Israeli television reports is that the whole incident seems to have started over some misunderstanding".
"There was some kind of Israeli incursion perceived ... to have crossed over into Lebanese territory" which precipitated the exchange of fire, Rowland said.
Israeli TV has reported that Hezbollah was not involved in the skirmish.

Estate residents unhappy with DBKL eviction plans

Excessive Police Action

Letter to PM: SOS Cabinet Order to stop DBKL Demolishment Order dated 20/7/2010 demolishing and ethnically cleansing the last in K.L Bukit Jalil Indian plantation community homes their hindu temple, Tamil school and hindu cemetary.

clip_image002
No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241
Fax : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com E-mail: info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com
Your Reference :
In Reply :
Date : 3rd August 2010
YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444
62502 Putrajaya E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my

Y. B. Senator Dato Raja Nong Chik bin
Dato Raja Zainal Abidin
Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing,
Aras 4, Blok B2,
Menara PJH, Presint 2,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,                Fax: 03-88891411
62100 Putrajaya.                                           Email: datoraja@kwp.gov.my

Y. Bhg Dato Ahmad Faud bin Ismail
Mayor of Kuala Lumpur                                  
Tingkat 27, Menara DBKL                
Jalan Raja Laut Fax : 03-26919664
50350 Kuala Lumpur Email : datukbandar@dbkl.gov.my

YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim Menteri Besar Selangor,
Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor,
Tingkat 21, Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin, Abdul Aziz Shah,
Fax : 03-5519 0032 40503 Shah Alam, Selangor. E-Mail : khalid@selangor.gov.my

YAB,Y.B/YBhg,
SOS Cabinet Order to stop DBKL Demolishment Order dated 20/7/2010 demolishing the last in K.L Bukit Jalil Indian plantation community homes their hindu temple, Tamil school and hindu cemetary.
We refer to the above matter and to the unlawful demolishment order by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall dated 8/6/2010.
The plantation workers of the Bukit Jalil estate and their ancestors have worked, lived and died in this estate since 200 years ago when neither the Kuala Lumpur City Hall nor Malaysia was in existence.
But today the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Malaysian Government’s Minister of the Federal Territories and Community Wellbeing, which is very remotely practicing community wellbeing in this case but both of which has unilaterally and unlawfully declared these fourty-one (41) remaining poor Indian plantation workers as “squatters” and therefore their homes, hindu temple, Tamil school and hindu cemetery are to be systematically demolished. (“ethnically cleansed”) beginning 3/8/2010 onwards vide the DBKL notice dated 20/7/2010.
Some 442,000 poor Malay muslims have been granted land in ten acre land ownership schemes in Felda, Felcra, Risda, Fama, Mardi, Agropolitan etc (See BH 25/2/2010 at page 4).
On the same note we are sure at least some good deed besides wiping out this last ethnic minority Indian plantation community their hindu temple, hindu cemetery and Tamil school in Kuala Lumpur and to be summarily executed with impunity especially in the Malay-sian Prime Minister’s One Malay-sia.
We hereby urge your goodselves to especially at tomorrow’s Cabinet Meeting (4/8/10) Order DBKL stop their intended demolishment on 4/8/10 and thereafter resolve this matter amicably as they have nowhere else to go and would be forced to rebuild their homes in situ if indeed their homes are forcibly demolished tomorrow, after they having peacefully resisting the demolishment of their said homes on 4/8/2010.
We also urge Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, the Member for Parliament of Bandar Tun Razak which also includes this Bukit Jalil estate to :-
1) move an emergency motion in Parliament tomorrow to stop this unlawful intended demolishment on 4/8/10.
2) Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in your goodselves capacity also as the Menteri Besar of Selangor with 100% powers of all land in Selangor to grant these plantation workers an alternative settlement in Selangor which Selangor border is merely a stones throw away from this Bukit Jalil estate where their homes, hindu temple, hindu cemetery and Tamil school could be relocated in what is to be the more pro people Selangor state federal government and alternative and/or federal government in waiting.
The people of this Bukit Jalil estate have their case as per their statement dated 1/8/10 titled “The nightmare and mental torture forced by the authority”, their letters to the Federal Territories and Wellbeing Minister dated 24/6/2010 and 23/7/2010, DBKL Demolishment Notice dated 20/7/10 and their demands titled “Houses Compensation, outstanding salaries and outstanding EPF claims from the Authority”. (Copies enclosed herewith for your goodselves easy reference).
We seek your goodselves kind indulgence in this matter.
Kindly revert to us accordingly.
Thank You.
Yours Faithfully,
_______________
P.Uthayakumar
(Secretary General) pro-tem

CC:-
En. Rolan bin Hj. Abd. Rahman
Pengarah                                                    
(Jabatan Keselamatan & Pengutakuasaan)
Jalan Tun Razak                                 Fax : 03-40218260        
50400 Kuala Lumpur E-Mail : jkp@dbkl.gov.my

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MCA backs down from ‘Allah’ stand

KUALA LUMPUR, August 3 – The MCA attempted today to distance itself from the DAP although both parties had called on the government to lift the ban on the use of “Allah” by non-Muslims.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) component party’s backtrack on their stand came after Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin questioned them earlier today for sharing the same platform as DAP.

“MCA does not share the same stand with DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims,” said party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek (pic) today in a statement.

Dr Chua added that MCA was merely echoing the wishes of non-governmental organisation Christian Federation of Malaysia after a dialogue with them during the party’s presidential council last week.

“MCA is only voicing out the wish of the NGO since the issue has not been resolved when it was brought up last year,” said Dr Chua.

MCA had urged Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein yesterday to use his authority to rescind the ban on the non-Muslims’ use of the word “Allah” after the latter expressed regret over his predecessor’s decision to do so.

Last week, Hishammuddin said his predecessor in the Home Ministry 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”.

However, MCA’s call earned a stern warning from Muhyiddin today who told them to accept the government’s decision and to avoid triggering another debate on the word “Allah”.

“Component parties must accept so there would not be a debate that will set off another situation which is already calm. I am not sure why DAP and MCA have the same stand in this matter. We know this issue became a heated debate which led to an unhealthy environment,” said Muhyiddin today.

The BN deputy chairman also said that the word “Allah” is an old issue and that the government will stand by its decision.

Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Senator Gan Ping Sieu however rebutted Muhyiddin’s claim and said that the word “Allah” only became an issue when the government decided to ban the word.

“We are not making the same stand with DAP," said Dr Chua.

“We only want to the Barisan Nasional Government to resolve the issue as soon as possible so that it will not be further exploited by the opposition,” he added.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang had also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to end the long-drawn out court dispute between the government and the Catholic Church.

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

Syed Hamid had temporarily 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 confuse Muslims.

The Catholic Church has since 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 Catholic Church from using the word until the case is dealt with in the Court of Appeal.

Ex-MB Nizar suspended for defying BN speaker

IPOH: Pasir Panjang assemblyman and former Perak menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin was suspended for one day from the Perak state assembly today for defying the speaker R Ganesan's order to discontinue debating.
This prompted all 27 Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen to stage a walk out.

Mohammad Nizar was suspended until the state assembly session ended for the day at 3.30pm when he remained adamant after speaking for 15 minutes on a motion about logging tabled by Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir.

Despite his appeal to continue speaking was rejected by Ganesan, Mohammad Nizar refused to budge as Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib (BN-Slim) took the floor.

All 32 BN assemblymen supported a motion tabled by Ramly Zahari (BN-Manong) that the speaker had the power to suspend an assemblyman for one day under Regulation 44 (5) of the Standing Order.

Earlier, Mohammad Daud Mohd Yusof (BN-Selama) urged the speaker to remove Mohammad Nizar from the state assembly under Regulation 44 (2) of the Standing Order for causing a disturbance.

At the outset of the debate, the speaker warned Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Pantai Remis) against snapping pictures in the hall with his mobile phone.

The opposition assemblymen trotted into the hall at 9.40am while BN and Independent assemblymen followed suit five minutes later before the debate started at 10am.

- Bernama

Tudung or not, MACC Should Stop Wasting Taxpayers’ Money

TAKING JUSTICE SERIOUSLY : Tudung or not, MACC Should Stop Wasting Taxpayers’ Money

by Din Merican
On Saturday July 30, Anwar Ibrahim mesmerized the audience at the 15th Malaysian Law Conference with his closing speech – “ Taking Justice Seriously”.  Anwar  mentioned the persecution of  Malaysia’s most celebrated blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, more famously known as  RPK. He compared RPK’s flight  to England to that of Emile Zola who did the same almost a century earlier. Both men had reckoned that it would be foolish to submit to an utterly corrupt and unjust system.
To Anwar’s credit, he did not breathe a word about his own continuing trial in Sodomy II that was about to take place on Monday August 2. To Anwar’s credit, he spoke about all other persecutions except his own. To Anwar’s credit, he is standing his ground to seek his vindication in the courts of law in Malaysia. He is taking justice seriously.
The Tudung Affair: A Sub-Plot in Sodomy 2 Trial
So on August 2, the road to the Jalan Duta Court Complex became choked with traffic again. The main lobby of the court house was crowded again.  Security was tight.The Police screened everyone from free access to the corridors of justice. And all that because Anwar Ibrahim was in court again. However , Anwar’s case did not proceed. It did not proceed because of the scandal involving DPP Farah Azlina Latif and Saiful Bukhari.
DPP Farah Azlina Latiff
Looking at DPP Farah who wears the tudung, one would expect she would have a certain aversion to a man who publicly claimed to have been sodomised. Well, obviously this woman DPP is not very discerning. On the other hand, Saiful,  a strong young man in his late 20s, who says he was overpowered by a 60+ old man to the point of being sodomised , obviously could not  restrain his own manly urge, such that even a tudung clad DPP of Farah Azlina’s appearance could tempt him. It is as if there is divine intervention to show the cracks in the prosecution’s case.
Dato Ramli Yusuff back in court
While all this drama was taking place, in another court room of the same Jalan Duta Court Complex, the trial of Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, former Director Commercial Crime Investigations Division, was quietly taking place. What? Another trial?
Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, former Director Commercial Crime Investigations Division
Hadn’t  Dato’ Ramli already been acquitted? Didn’t  Judge Supang Lian of Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court  acquit him without even calling for his defence? Isn’t this the same Judge who found IGP Musa Hassan to be “an incredible witness whose evidence is not to be believed”? Didn’t Judge M. Gunalen of KL Sessions Court also acquit Dato’ Ramli without calling for his defence after holding that the Prosecution could not even prove a prima facie case? In other words, Dato’ Ramli was fixed! Didn’t the A-G appeal in Sabah and again lost in the High Court?
All this was revived again when Dato’ Ramli appeared before Judge SM Komathy Suppiah on that Monday . What the public did not know was that IGP Musa Hassan and his co-conspirator, the AG, Gani Patail, had fixed up another charge against Dato’ Ramli. When they realized that the joy ride charge and the small change charge could not stick, they cooked up another charge. This time it was for being a shareholder and director of  a company called Kinsajaya Sdn Bhd  in 2006 without having prior approval. This escaped a lot of attention because they made this a Summons case. Whether Summons or arrest case, it is still a criminal case. This shows the vindictiveness of IGP Musa Hassan and  AG Gani Patail.
The only problem with this new charge is that Dato’ Ramli did have approval! Not only that, the paper trail clearly showed that the application for approval was submitted by Dato’ Ramli through the PDRM’s head of  administration, Dato’ Rubiah, who had already confirmed this fact in the  Sabah case earlier. Yet, AG Gani Patail was intent that Dato’ Ramli must still be charged for this additional offence, which is not even an offence. That is what distressed both the DPP Ahmad Bache and DPP Ahmed Sazle. That is what was written on their faces, when they were shown the application letters filed by Dato’ Ramli to KDN and to then IGP Tan Sri Bakri. The good DPP Ahmad Bache even said to Dato’ Ramli’s counsel that Dato’ Ramli should send in a representation to seek a withdrawal of this charge. But that begets the question, if the AG, if the Prosecution has no case, shouldn’t  they be honourable enough  and withdraw the charge?
Unfortunately, these good DPPs will claim that they are but foot soldiers. Their excuse would be that they are just doing their job- “hanya menjalankan tugas dan mengikut perintah ”. Unfortunately, I do not subscribe to that. Unfortunately, I do not buy the line that civil servants can hide behind the cloak of “mengikut perintah” to commit or perpetuate wrongs directed by their bosses.  That was the fundamental message explained by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in the book The Shafee Yahya Story thus : “ I believe it should not be blind loyalty if the instructions are not right and not in accordance with government policy and general orders. In other words, a civil servant must be direct, be truthful and impartial and be brave enough to say “no” if asked to do things that are not right”. He must have integrity.
Clearly being man of letters and law, these DPPs can tell that what they have been directed to do by AG Gani is not right. It would be wrong and against the principles of “Am’r Maaruf Nahy Mungkar” and against the laws of this country to fix anyone. It would be especially wrong for them to proceed with the trial when they can see that this charge under the Penal Code would require mens rea or the “criminal intent”. For that matter, most if not all criminal cases would require a criminal intent.
The criminal intent is clearly missing here because Dato’ Ramli had applied for such approval. When Dato’ Ramli showed these DPPs his application letter, they reacted with surprise, and then claimed that they have never seen that letter. If they have not seen it, then what kind of investigation did the MACC conduct? Or was one ever conducted in the first place before Dato’ Ramli was charged? Already, in the other cases against Dato’ Ramli, all the independent prosecution witnesses have admitted that they were only interviewed after Dato’ Ramli was charged!
What is more baffling in this case is that the KDN approval letter to be a shareholder is there in Dato’ Ramli’s personal dossier kept with the Pentadbiran PDRM. But the approval letter of the then IGP Tan Sri Bakri is missing. It is common knowledge that since the time Musa Hassan became  Deputy IGP to Tan Sri Bakri, he had started to dig up on Dato Ramli’s files.  Could the missing letter of approval from Tan Sri Bakri have anything to do with Musa Hassan? Did Musa Hassan make it disappear? After all, Musa Hassan and AG Gani Patail have already been implicated in several allegations for fabrication of evidence.
Whatever may be the case, it would have been so easy to establish this fact. Interview Tan Sri Bakri and ask him. Apparently, the MACC did not want to do that because they knew that Tan Sri Bakri’s answer would totally destroy their case. They knew that Tan Sri Bakri had informed his old squad mates R.Mogana Krishnan and Arif Khamis that he had given the approval. Because of that, the MACC DPPs have not even listed Tan Sri Bakri as one of their 12 witnesses.
From what I have seen in court yesterday and during the Rosli Dahlan trial, these DPPs do not take justice seriously.They play with people’s lives and they behave in a cavalier manner. What infuriates me most is that there are so many abuses, so many crimes and so much corruption out there, and yet IGP Musa Hassan, AG Gani Patail and the MACC are indulging in frivolous prosecutions of the innocent. They are wasting public funds and taxpayers’ money in pursuing cases like Dato’ Ramli’s and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan’s. 
Perhaps the time has come that we make the AG and the MACC accountable to pay costs if they lose cases against  innocent men who have had to engage expensive lawyers to seek  defend themselves. Perhaps, that will make them take justice seriously!

MCA, stand firm or close shop

By Thomas Lee
MySinChew.com

The arrogance of Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in giving a stern warning on Monday 3 August 2010 to the MCA over the “Allah” issue simply cannot be stomached and tolerated.

If the MCA has any dignity and integrity, it should not allow itself to be so severely rebuked and dictated to publicly by an “equal” partner in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

The MCA is right in standing up for the right of the non-Muslim community to be allowed to freely practise and express their religious faiths using any word they deem fit in Bahasa Malaysia, which is their national language.

The MCA is absolutely right to ask the federal government, of which it is purportedly an essential component, to rescind the ban on non-Muslims using of the word “Allah”, after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein expressed regrets over the decision to ban its use by his predecessor.

The deputy prime minister had insisted that the MCA must accept the decision of the federal government without questioning, saying that the party should not trigger another debate on the word “Allah.”

The MCA should not allow such haughtiness to go unchallenged, and should ensure its fundamental right is recognised, accepted, and respected as an equal component of the ruling coalition to any assent and/or acquiescence of any decision affecting the nation.

If the MCA is not allowed to voice its views and have a say on such fundamental matters as the right of the non-Muslims to freely use any word in the national language for the purpose of expressing, worshipping, teaching and publishing of their religious faith, then the party should dissolve itself as it is obviously politically impotent, and has no essential practical use to the Chinese community it claims to represent.

Muhyiddin has also questioned the MCA intention in sharing the same platform with the DAP.

“I am not sure why the DAP and the MCA have the same stand in this matter,” he said.

In condemning the MCA stand on the “Allah” issue, which happens to align with that of the DAP, Muhyiddin is showing himself to be superficial and perhaps even shallow in understanding the universal fundamental human, civil and constitutional rights of the people.

The MCA may not be idealogically and politically compatible with the DAP, but the universal principles and values of the fundamental human rights are applicable to political parties of all tints and shades, including even Umno.

So, for the MCA to make a stand on the “Allah” issue, which is basically a human right issue, is both legitimate and justified, even if it is similar to the stand of the DAP.

Take the case of Umno having a similar stand as PAS on the issue of the need for Malay unity.

If Muhyiddin’s argument on the MCA having the same political agenda on the “Allah” issue as the DAP is seen as a perfidy against the Barisan Nasional, then Umno’s willingness to hold unity talk with PAS is likewise a betrayal of trust against the other component parties of the Barisan Nasional.

The MCA must not compromise on this “Allah” issue, which involves the fundamemtal human, civil, and constitutional rights of the people. If it now shrinks from its responsibility to help preserve, protect, and promote the God-given rights of the people, then it can be sure that its days are numbered and the next general election will be its funeral ceremony.

NOTE: As I had expected, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said in a statement soon after the above Comment was published that the MCA “does not share the same stand with the DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims.” In view of the party backing out on its stand on the issue, I think it should start making arrangement to hold nationwide funeral ceremonies after the next general election.

No Condition Set By MIC, Says Murugiah

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 (Bernama) -- Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk T. Murugiah has denied an online newspaper report that he was given two weeks by the MIC to bring in his supporters.

He said the Malaysiakini's report on Monday was false and questioned the credibility of the sources.

Murugiah, who was former People's Progressive Party (PPP) youth leader, said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu did not set any condition when he joined the party.

"Of course, I had promised to bring some 200,000 supporters to join the MIC and they agreed to do so," he told a news conference at the Dewan Negara secretary's office here Tuesday.

Malaysiakini reported that the MIC Central Working Committee recently decided to give Murugiah two weeks to produce a list of 200,000 supporters he claimed he had and get them to join the party.

Murugiah, who joined the MIC on July 24, was sacked by PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas after a protracted struggle for power last year.