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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bkt Jalil folks want more time, seek PM's help

By B Nantha Kumar

BUKIT JALIL: The 41 families, whose houses are on the brink of being devoured by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) bulldozers, have turned to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for help.

This morning, the residents submitted a memorandum to Najib's office in Putrajaya, requesting for more time to decide on a new offer made by DBKL.

After living and working in the Bukit Jalil estate for decades, the residents felt that DBKL's three-day grace period to them to make such an important decision was simply unfair.

“We live in a democratic country. Malaysia is not a communist state,” stressed K Balakrishnan, a member of the estate action force committee.

"They gave us only three days to decide. Many of the people here are uneducated. How do you expect them to make a decision within three days?” he asked.

The memorandum was also sent to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

Yesterday, DBKL had offered the residents a RM80,000 flat unit each for RM35,000. The residents were given until midnight tomorrow to decide.

After their eviction deadline expired on Tuesday, the residents vowed to put up a fight even if it meant facing the wrath of the police's anti-riot personnel.

They also believed that there is more than what meets the eye behind the claim that the land, which was allegedly sold to a former minister, would be converted into a cemetery.

'A ploy to break us up'

Meanwhile, Balakrishnan said the residents had little faith in DBKL, and the new offer was also enveloped in uncertainty, with regards to obtaining bank loans to purchase the flat units.

Echoing his views, another resident said there were several former estate workers who took up a similar offer from DBKL in the past but could not secure banks loans.

"Yes, we can take up the offer but will the banks give us the housing loans. What's the point in taking up the offer but not being able to get the loans. DBKL must address this issue,” he said.

The resident, who declined to be named, also accused DBKL of using underhand tactics to get them to vacate their houses.

According to him, former estate workers, who took such offers, were being used to convince them to take up the new offer.

"Yesterday, I received a note from a former resident who said that if I agreed to move, DBKL will give me an additional RM10,000.

“If this is true, they should make the offer public and let us decide. Make the offer to all of us, not only to a selected few. This is just a ploy to break us up," he said.

While the residents denied squatting on the land, DBKL, however, claimed that only 12 of the 41 families were former estate workers, while the rest were squatters.

Makkal Sakthi Party rivals keen to close ranks

By B Nantha Kumar

SHAH ALAM: Embattled Malaysia Makkal Sakthi Party (MMSP) central committee members (CCM) recently endorsed a call for unity talks among the two rival factions of the party.

MMSP secretary-general R Kannan said members want peace for the sake of party unity and are keen to see the factions led by founding president RS Thanendiran and suspended deputy president A Vathemurthy sit down for talks.

"The unity talks are very important for the benefit of the party and Malaysian Indians," he said. "As the secretary-general of the party, I've been appointed by central council members to get both sides to the table."

MMSP is facing a leadership crisis with its senior leaders deciding to take over the party from Thanendiran over claims that he was running the party in dictatorial manner.

On Jan 18, 2010, 14 out of 27 CC members of the party, led by deputy president Vathemurthy, voted to revoke the membership of Thanenthiran.

The decision was later declared invalid by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) because proper procedures were not adhered to.

Party image sullied

Meanwhile, according to Kannan, CC members also want action to be taken against Vathemurthy who they claimed was running the party in violation of the constitution.

At a CC meeting last April, Vathemurthy appointed himself president of MMSP and subsequently sacked four CC members who were against him.

Kannan also explained that Vathemurthy confused the party members and the ROS by submitting minutes of meetings without proper endorsement.

"MMSP was officially launched by the Prime Minister. It will not be good if we allow the party's image to be sullied," he said. "I will do whatever I can to unite the factions."

The Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party was founded on May 11, 2009 led by Thanenthiran, a former national coordinator of the Hindu Right Action Force (Hindraf).

Boy: I was slapped, kicked by police for no reason

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: A 14-year-old boy has claimed that he was repeatedly slapped, kicked, and handcuffed till his wrist was badly injured by a police constable when he was arrested for no apparent reason.

The boy further alleged that during detention on Tuesday night, he was threatened and forced to sign a document to "confess" to his crime-- sexually assaulting a young girl.

Recounting his traumatic experience, M Mugelen said he was taking a swim with his friends at a pool at the Pantai Hill Park condominium at about 7pm with four other friends when police approached them.

"Four policemen came up to us and one of them asked us 'who disturbed the girl?' and we answered we did not," he said.

"I did not even know the girl, who is about eight or nine years old. Why didn't they question a group of Malays who were also nearby?" said Mugelen, adding that he suspected the girl's family had lodged a false report to stop him and his friends from swimming at the area.

Mugelen said he was subsequently slapped three times on the left cheek and all five of them, aged between 14 and 17, were brought to the Pantai police station and later the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

One of Mugelen's friends, 17-year-old P Thanasegar, alleged that when he was brought there he was handcuffed to a motorcycle and not given any helmet. He was also allegedly kicked in the stomach.

"At the station, my friends were released but I was left alone at about 10pm. A constable, Yani, with the police number 140179 then asked me what was I doing at the pool. When I answered nothing, he slapped and kicked me. He also tightened my cuffs until I was in so much pain," said Mugelen. Doctors later told him that his wrists were dislocated.

"I cried the whole time and I thought about Kugan, and I became so afraid that I would die like him. The same policeman then told me this was 'a little bit pain only, wait till you enter prison'," said Mugelen. (A Kugan, a suspect in the thefts of luxury cars, was found dead while in police custody last year.)

'Investigate the constable'

Mugelen said he was later brought to another room where he was asked to sign a document he believed was a confession.

"I was so scared that I just signed it. They told me if I did not sign I will go to jail," said Mugelen, who stopped schooling since he was 11 as he did not possess a birth certificate then.

Mugelen was relased at 2am the next day after a RM5,000 police bail was paid by his family, but not before he was again kicked by another unknown policeman.

Human Rights Party Selangor Youth chief S Thiagarajan, who highlighted the boys' plight, said the party is urging police to investigate the constable for the alleged attacks on the boys.

"Under the Children and Young Persons Act 1947, this officer should be charged and sentenced to two years for cruelty to the boy. Also, it is wrong under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution to arrest someone without telling them what is his offence," said Thiagarajan, who asked if police were practicising racial discrimination with the boys' arrest.

Brickfields district police chief ACP Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said both reports were received but investigations into the alleged abuse have been passed over to Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

When contacted, Kuala Lumpur deputy police CID chief ACP Khairi Ahrasa said the boy is being investigated for alleged molest.

"We will not cover up; investigations are still ongoing," he said.

Save MIC, Barat Maniam tells Najib

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A former MIC division head today accused the party’s top leadership of abandoning the Indian community only to ensure that party president S Samy Vellu remain in power.

V Subramaniam, better known as Barat Maniam, called on Barisan Nasional to remove Samy Vellu from power, saying other MIC leaders were “too beholden” to him to initiate change from within.

“It’s up to the BN chairman now,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Maniam headed MIC’s Petaling Jaya Selatan division until last May, when he was sacked for allegedly issuing statements against the party’s interest. The party’s policymaking body, the Central Working Committee (CWC), endorsed the expulsion last month after considering his appeal.

Since his expulsion, Maniam has been relentless in denouncing the party president, but in today’s statement, he shifted his aim to other party leaders.

“No one can criticise the leadership these days,” he told FMT, adding that most of the CWC members who supported the decision to sack him and three others were "only interested in their own well being and not the party’s".

He ridiculed Samy Vellu’s recent announcement about setting up new MIC branches and increasing its membership as “mere hogwash” and a pathetic attempt to stay relevant.

Samy Vellu’s “dictatorial rule” was pushing the majority of Malaysian Indians away from the party, he said.

"His removal should come from the inside, but that is unlikely because all the leaders were handpicked by him,” he said.

“They are indebted to him. If they go against him, then he will go around and say that they are ungrateful.

“Now the question is, if they are beholden to one man, then what about the 1.8 million Indians, or the half million MIC members?

"Their gratitude to Samy Vellu is greater than their concern for the wellbeing of the party and the Malaysian Indian population.”

He said Samy Vellu was unpopular even in BN. “Even the BN coalition wants him out. As long as he is leading the party, MIC is heading towards its doom.”

Referring to former PPP youth chief T Murugiah, he said his decision to join MIC was premature.

"He should have waited for the MIC to be renewed,” he said. “Joining the party now would be like committing political suicide."

Murugiah, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, was recently sacked from the PPP.

Life grinds on under the shadow of poverty

By Ken Vin Lek and Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FMT FOCUS PETALING JAYA: Poverty is a beast that lurks in the shadows of every city. Its face is mostly hidden somewhere on the the city's periphery where it can be forgotten with ease. In Selangor, that beast lives in the Putra Damai flats in the vicinity of Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.

The flats are the product of the zero squatter policy, a brainchild of Dr Khir Toyo during his tenure as Selangor menteri besar, and fall under the government-initiated Housing Project for the Extremely Poor (PPRT).

Putra Damai was meant as a two-year transit home for those who were relocated there from the squatter areas of Kampung Penaga, Damansara Dalam, Klang Lama and Kampung Lindungan. But two years stretched to 10 and the site now houses the largest concentration of low-income families in Selangor.

The residents there draw a monthly salary of less than RM2,500, of which RM250 goes for rent. Those earning less than RM1,500 qualify for a lower rent of RM124. None of the units are available for purchase now, but the National Housing Department under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government has plans to enable individuals to purchase it within a year or two.

The blocks are numbered alphabetically ranging from A to H, with 392 units respectively. Each block has its own head of block and committee members which are elected by the residents.

While Blocks A to F are huddled together, the last two sit together in isolation. And this separation has allowed it to shape its own culture and mindset.

A model community

Walking along the corridor of Block G, one can't help but notice the odour emanating from the drains, the crudely patched-up cracks on the walls and random patches of peeled paint.

But what is also noticeable are the makeshift sundry shops along the corridor, the working pay phones and the absence of trash on the ground.

“We're slightly different from the other blocks,” says Mazlan Mat Yunos (photo), the head of Block H, with a slight smile. “There is more integration, respect and open-mindedness here. But that doesn't mean we're better than the other residents. We just get along better.”

Mazlan, who is also the head of the Umno branch in Sungai Way, has been living in Putra Damai for nine years and was elected as head this year. His multiracial committee consist of 32 people.

“Although Malays make up 80% of the residents here, we have a multiracial committee,” he said. “A multiracial community needs multiracial leaders. Isn't that what 1Malaysia is supposed to be about?”

According to Mazlan, the head and committee members are elected once every two years and are responsible for organising regular community activities. To date, his team has organised donation campaigns for single mothers and the disabled, karaoke sessions for the youths and cultural ceremonies to ensure that tradition doesn't die in the city.

When FMT came calling one Saturday morning, a tuition programme was in full swing. Organised by a local church group three years ago, the volunteers were tutoring primary schoolchildren in various subjects. Attendance was low that particular day but, according to Mazlan, about 30 children usually show up each weekend.

“Most of them are Indian children but there are a few Malays as well,” he said. “It doesn't matter that it's a church initiative. Only the rich city people turn good intentions into religious issues. Over here, we don't discriminate against any helping hands. Our top priority is the people. If we make room for political or religious intolerance, then we're the ones who will suffer.”

This little speech evoked a loud chorus of approval from other residents listening in on the conversation. A clear indication that Mazlan's attitude is reflective of the community there.

The fingerprints of poverty

It's easy to get carried away by the community's positive vibes, but Mazlan is having none of that. With the same ease as he described the bright spots so did he point out the dark ones.

“The fans are not working and the toilet is a disgrace,” he said, gesturing to the small community hall. “Many individuals from various political parties have promised to get them fixed but nothing has been done yet.”

“No, I'm not going to say which political party because it doesn't matter. But I will say that being an Umno member has not stopped me from working alongside opposition party members and vice- versa.”

But politics is far from his mind. He is more concerned with some of the pressing problems plaguing the community.

“We need a proper playground for the youths,” he said, glancing at the small patch of grass in the middle of the carpark. “They have to play football around the community hall and we've lost a few windows. We've had a few dengue cases here too, so frequent fogging would be good.”

Zulkifli Abdullah, the Block G supervisor, however, claimed that there has been a huge difference since he took over two years ago.

“I don't think it had anything to do with me specifically,” he laughed. “The residents elected leaders who cared about the community. Before this, drug-related issues, motorcycle thefts and vandalism were rampant. Now the Rukun Tetangga works together with the heads of blocks and committee members to keep the area safe.”

The biggest thorn in his side though is the perpetually faulty lifts. He complained that at any given time, only two of the three lifts work due mainly to outsiders stealing the steel coils.

“It's a huge problem especially during rush-hour time,” he said. “There was once when a man returned from hospital and had to be carried up 17 flights of stairs. And then of course no one wants to stay on the upper floors.”

Another major problem is the lack of proper parking bays for both cars and motorcycles. Each family owns one car and there are only 100 parking bays. Double parking is common but the residents have devised a clever system to keep tempers from flaring.

“All those who double park leave the hand brake down so the driver of the blocked car just has to push the other car away,” Zulkifli (left) chuckled.

Mazlan, on the other hand, is more concerned about the motorcycles which lack a designated parking spot.

“Most of the time the bikes are parked around the community hall,” he said. “But many have to be parked in the corridors or further down the road which leaves them open to theft. It's a serious problem.”

The other problem that exasperates Zulkifli are the electrical wiring and the metal water tubes that have been ripped from the walls of the upper floors to be resold for a quick buck. Both he and Mazlan insisted, however, that the troublemakers are outsiders and very rarely the residents themselves.

A ray of hope

Life isn't a bed of roses for the residents of Putra Damai but they are far from bemoaning their fate. There is a ray of hope that someday things will brighten up and already there is a stirring of a promising start in the shape of a project to help alleviate their harsh conditions.

The community residing in Block G and H has been chosen for an urban poverty eradication project headed by Kota Damansara assemblyman and Socialist Party of Malaysia chairman Dr Nasir Hashim.

The project aims to eradicate poverty through empowerment and its success will be used as a model for the other blocks. Both Mazlan and Zulkifli are cautiously excited and quietly proud over this prospect.

“Nasir has already visited to learn about our needs instead of telling us what we need,” Mazlan smiled. “It's a good start.”

UN: Israel did not cross border

Two Lebanese soldiers, one Israeli soldier and a Lebanese journalist were killed in the clash [AFP]
The United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon has confirmed that Israeli troops did not cross into Lebanon during Tuesday's deadly border skirmish.
The clash started after an Israeli army unit tried to cut down trees near the Blue Line, the UN-administered border between Israel and Lebanon. Both countries said the trees were on their side of the line.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Alain le Roy, the head of UN peacekeeping, confirmed that the trees were on the Israeli side of the border.
"Unifil established... that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side," le Roy said, reading from a Unifil communique issued earlier on Wednesday.
Delay requested
The trees were in an area between the Blue Line and the "technical fence," a physical barrier near the border. The Lebanese government has long considered parts of that area to be Lebanese territory.
in depth
"Lebanon has always expressed its respect for the Blue Line but always affirmed that the Blue Line is not the international border, and there are areas south of the Blue Line that are Lebanese territory," Tareq Mitri, the Lebanese information minister, said at a press conference in Beirut on Wednesday.
Le Roy also confirmed that the Israeli army notified Unifil "several hours" before starting the operation, and that Unifil passed the information to the Lebanese army.
"We had been informed by the Israeli authorities of their intention to do this operation, and immediately as procedure we informed the Lebanese side," le Roy said.
Unifil asked Israel to delay cutting down the trees in order to "facilitate an agreement between the two parties," le Roy said. The Israeli army delayed the operation by several hours, but le Roy said the UN would have liked a longer delay.
The Israeli army returned to the area on Wednesday to finish cutting down the trees, which it claimed could provide cover for fighters.
Hezbollah warning
Tuesday's border clash left at least two Lebanese soldiers and one Israeli soldier dead. A Lebanese journalist was also killed. All four were buried on Wednesday.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, sought to downplay the skirmish, telling a radio interviewer that it was not orchestrated by senior figures in the Lebanese military.
"It was a very grave provocation and we reacted in a measured, just and immediate answer," Barak said. "[It] was not programmed by the chiefs of staff of the Lebanese army in Beirut or by Hezbollah."
But Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, said he nonetheless "sees the Lebanese government responsible" for the clash.
"Our policy is clear: Israel responds and will continue to respond with force, to any attack against its citizens and soldiers," he said.
Hours after the skirmish, Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, warned Israel against any future aggression.
"We told our militants to hold back, not to do anything," Nasrallah said in a speech on Tuesday that was transmitted by video link to thousands of supporters massed in Beirut's southern suburbs.
"From now on, if the army is attacked in any area where the resistance [Hezbollah] has a presence or a say, we will not stand by idly. We will cut off the Israeli hand that reaches out to [attack] the Lebanese army," he said.
Hezbollah was not believed to have been involved in the skirmish.

New witness may prove airman was tortured, says lawyer

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Aug 5 — A High Court was informed today that a new witness has come forward in former RMAF Sergeant N. Tharmendran’s jet engine theft case, with testimonies that could prove his allegations of torture.

As such, defence counsel N. Surendran told the court he would need more time to file additional affidavits before Tharmendran’s motion seeking to quash the charges against him was heard.

“Furthermore, the prosecutors filed four affidavits on Tharmendran yesterday. Two of them were by the two majors that my client is alleging had abused him.

“We would need more time to file a further affidavit from this new witness, as well as an affidavit in reply to the prosecution,” he said.

Tharmendran, in a motion filed on July 16, is seeking for the charges against him to be thrown out on grounds that the authorities in the case had a specific intention to implicate him.

The motion was originally set for hearing today.

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Asmabi Mohamad fixed August 25 to hear Tharmendran’s motion, to allow time for both sides to file their affidavits.

Outside the court room later, Surendran told reporters that the new witness, believed to be a female, would be willing to testify that torture was a “routine practice” in the RMAF.

“This person, whose identity we will not reveal for safety reasons, is an eye-witness to the physical assault arising from the same transaction involving Tharmendran and about 30 to 40 others who had initially been arrested along with him,” said Surendran.

Tharmendran had earlier claimed that he had been tortured by two majors to force a confession that he had stolen the jet engines. He had also alleged that about 30 to 40 others had been similarly tortured as he could hear their screams during his confinement at the air force base.

Surendran also explained that Tharmendran’s motion was filed in view of the fact that the authorities were “all out to convict my client”.

“The police went to the Sungai Buloh prison on June 21, while Tharmendran was in custody, and on the pretext of investigating his torture allegations, questioned him again on the theft of the jet engines.

“This has never happened before. They are using underhanded and dirty tactics to go after a person who has already been charged, to interrogate him further. This is a highly malicious act by the prosecution agencies, particularly the police and they must be answerable,” he said.

He added that the harassment and the allegations of torture by Tharmendran clearly showed an abuse of the criminal justice system.

“This is why we want the charge to be quashed. We are arguing that the charges should be quashed because of the clear abuse of the criminal process by all authorities, from the government to the police.

“We believe that the court has the right to interfere, to say that such behaviour by the authorities cannot be accepted for it is unfair to the accused,” he said.

Tharmendran and company director K. Rajandran Prasad were jointly charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on January 6 in connection with the theft of the missing F5-E jet engines.

Tharmendran is accused of stealing the engines in December 2007 at the Subang RMAF air base.

He was also charged with conspiring in the theft with senior airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop at the material processing shed at the Sungai Besi RMAF base.

He was arrested on September 1 last year, and if convicted faces up to 10 years’ jail and a fine.

Rajandran is accused of disposing of the engines on April 30, 2008.

The theft was a major embarrassment to the government, following reports later that the country’s first submarine — KD Tunku Abdul Rahman — could not dive in tropical waters.

The prime minister had vowed that there would be no cover-up in the high-profile case which occurred during his tenure as defence minister while the current minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had claimed that it had been an inside job.

Hulu Selangor by-election: Zaid's petition struck off

FMT ALERT KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Court here today has struck off an election petition by Zaid Ibrahim with costs.
Zaid, who is now Federal Territory PKR chief, filed the petition on May 24, naming Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan, returning officer Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan and the Election Commission as respondents.

'Take action against blue-eyed boy Ronnie Liu'

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A former DAP leader has urged the party to take action against Selangor “blue-eyed boy” exco member Ronnie Liu, alleging that Liu was behind the "exposé" of the “letterhead” incident which led to the recent sacking of Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock.

(DAP expelled Tee, who was also a former special assistant to Liu, from the party last Saturday on grounds that he had allegedly abused Liu's letterhead and seal to secure contracts worth RM1.04 million to 15 companies. Tee has 14 days to appeal.)

The DAP man claimed that the whole fiasco was an elaborate plan to remove Tee as well as State Legislative Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim ahead of division and state party elections.

(Teng has been summoned by the DAP disciplinary committee to explain his controversial Tweeter posting over the dismissal.)

"This episode is bad for the party. The top party leaders should intervene and mediate in the dispute. They should accept everybody's views and not only those of blue-eyed boy Ronnie Liu. Listen also to Teng and Tee so that we can come clean and resolve everything," said the source, who wished to remain anonymous.
"I think Liu is the one who used The Star to expose this whole thing. It is best for him to step down and remain as an ordinary state assemblyman... he should focus on working with the people in Pandamaran, especially since Liu rode on Tee's support during the 2008 general election.”
According to the source, Liu apparently has very little grassroots support and had all the while relied on Tee's powerful influence in Klang.

The source said the two were always seen as allies until about a year ago when both had a fall-out. Liu started "sidelining" Tee even to the extent of removing him as Bukit Tinggi municipal councillor and giving him the "lesser" councillor position at Pulau Ketam.

"The party won handsomely in 2008, and I think from there, greediness crept in. This happens once you are in power, and once you taste an exco position... Liu was not gracious towards Tee. This time the infighting has become severe," said the source.

"Liu knew his faction is going to lose in the next party elections and is afraid he will have no power base in Selangor. He knew Tee was already going to the ground preparing for the state party elections and he commands good support.

“Word got to him (Liu) that Tee was impossible to defeat and the only way to stop him is to bring up this 'letterhead' issue.”
Touch n Go politician
Asked why Liu would bring up something that has his name on the letterhead, the source said: "It is detrimental to him, but he is a seasoned politician. He knows it's better to bring it up now rather than be embarrassed later on."

Describing Liu as a "street politician", the source dismissed him as a "touch and go" politician who just turns up for functions and does not try to understand the people's grouses.

The source said due to Liu's "questionable" performance as Pandamaran state assemblyman and as a state exco, many of his supporters have gone over to Teng and Tee.

"This mess is also an attempt to get rid of Teng. I won't be surprised if he is suspended for six months just so he can't contest the elections. I don't understand why Teng was always sidelined and why whatever decision he made was seen as biased, whereas whatever Liu's faction did was deemed right."

Meanwhile, a Klang grassroots leader said he was also convinced that Liu was the "main suspect" in the whole affair.

"The filing and photocopying of documents such as the letters of support can only come from the state assemblyman's office. If it was not Liu, then it was the people around him," he said on condition of anonymity.

He said Liu's relationship with Tee soured last year when Independent Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong alleged that Liu was connected to underworld characters and ex-MCA and Umno members.

"Apparently, the party leaders instructed Tee to monitor Liu then, and Liu got upset about it."

"The party members in Klang could not accept that he was mixing with the wrong crowd and hoped he would leave these people so as not to tarnish the party's image. Tee was then terminated as special assistant to Liu in 2009."

Tee has local support

However, the leader denied claims that Tee had aligned himself to Teng following the former's fall- out with Liu, saying that those were simply rumours created by Liu's camp.

"The whole of Klang knows that Tee, and not Teng or Liu, is the only one who enjoys grassroots support. Tee and his supporters are much like a third force in Klang, if not the whole of Selangor, and that's why he (Tee) was feared,” he said.

“The rumour that Tee was working with Teng to 'control Selangor' was probably created so that national leaders such as Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng would perhaps take drastic action against Tee," he added.

The source claimed Tee commands the support of over 25 branches in Klang and at least half in Selangor, because he is a person who does the right things for party members...

He said that Teng's "OMG" tweet was just a publicity stunt to gain prominence during this controversy.

The source also said grassroots leaders see the furore over the "letter of support" as more of a morality issue than a crime.

"There is nothing right or wrong here, and in Tee's case he was only supporting a few companies to be registered with the municipal council, and not directly getting any projects.

“He should have been suspended until the outcome of the police investigation. He should not have been sacked. DAP is not the court."

Meanwhile, Selangor police from the commercial crime investigation department have started questioning Liu and Tee over the alleged misuse of the letters of support.

Liu and Teng have also been summoned to appear before the DAP disciplinary committee on Aug 12 to explain their respective side of the story.

Bad arithmetic in Umno’s politics of fear

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT It is no secret that Umno is on a mission to preserve itself by instilling in Malays a fear of Chinese domination.
Its leaders and spokesmen like to tell the Malays that Umno’s fall would mean the loss of Malay rights and supremacy, which is an oblique way of saying that a vote for the opposition is a vote to hand over power to the Chinese.

They deliver this message not only in political speeches and writings, but also at gatherings of public servants. Many who have attended Biro Tatanegara courses report that the training often places heavy emphasis on the alleged Chinese threat.

Among the most hysterical of the spokesmen mentioned above are the spin doctors who dish out their stuff through the mainstream media, which are all directly or indirectly controlled by Barisan Nasional.

In many of the spins, it is implied that Pakatan Rakyat is synonymous with DAP and that if the opposition coalition wins the next election, Malaysians may get a Chinese prime minister.

It is hard to say whether these Malay rights champions are really that poor in elementary arithmetic or whether they think their listeners or readers cannot count. In the last election, DAP contested only 47 seats and two of its candidates were Malays. In the next election, it is doubtful that it will field enough candidates to make it the biggest party in Parliament even if all those candidates win.

Another politics-of-fear strategy consists in calling for a union between Umno and PAS. The tacit message is that the Malays must unite under one political force to safeguard their interests against the non-Malays and infidels. Under this strategy, PAS is often portrayed as naive for staying on as a partner of Pakatan, which, so the argument goes, is controlled by DAP.

Contrary to the impression one gets from Umno broadcasts and writings, not everyone in that party is a simpleton. Indeed, there are some intelligent and well-educated people in its leadership. So Umno knows very well that even if Pakatan wins all the parliamentary seats, there is no way that any Chinese-based party will dominate the government.

But the idea, of course, is to create a little confusion and a lot of fear among the Malays, especially rural Malays. Unfortunately, this spin is having its desired effect on a surprisingly large number of Malays, including urban Malays.

Misleading spin

A simple study of the candidates’ list in the 2008 election will show how misleading the spin is. If Umno had won 100% of the seats it contested, the number of Malay MPs would be 103. However, if Pakatan had won 100%, there would be 116 Malay Mps.

The PAS leaders who are favourable to the unity talks should realise that if they cooperate with Umno, they may receive support from some pro-Umno voters but will lose much of the votes traditionally given to PAS.
Furthermore, 60% of PAS leaders are against any form of cooperation with Umno. They are with the party’s spiritual head, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who is regarded as a godfather by the majority of PAS supporters.

By remaining with Pakatan, PAS is assured not only of a large block of Malay support, but some Chinese and Indian support as well.

Meanwhile, Malay voters must realise that it will not be the end of the world for their race even if Umno is vanquished in the next election. PAS and PKR and even some DAP candidates are there to maintain the Malay power base.

'Show us EIA report on Murum Dam'

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today,

BINTULU: About 1,000 Penans from six villages in the Murum river area are in a dilemma over their future and livelihood because the authorities don’t think it is necessary to inform them of the outcome of a social and environmental impact assessment (SEIA) report on the Murum dam.

“We demand to see and scrutinize the SEIA report on the Murum dam first before the report is to be approved,” said Surang Alung, chairman of the Pelieran-Murum Penan Affairs committee.

He said that throughout last year, the community had been visited by various parties claiming to do some studies related to the Murum dam project.

“And every time someone came, we were told that the government had carried out the SEIA studies in order to determine the impact of the dam on our community.

“But until now we do not know the actual progress whether the said studies, the SEIA report and other related reports have been completed and ready for public scrutinizing,” said Alung.

He urged the state government, especially the natural resources and environment board (NERB), to let them know without further delay.

“As the dam affects our life and our culture, our opinions and feedback on the report should be seriously taken into account,” he stressed, adding that to date the community did not know where they will be resettled.

The government, he added, should also explain and clarify to them regarding the specific development plans that are related with the resettlement programme as well as their livelihood and future.

Alung said: “In addition to the SEIA report, we also call upon the government to inform us regarding the plan for resettlement area for us.

Problem with resettlement

He also said that they have forwarded their suggestions to the government on the proposed resettlement at the Metalon river in the upper reaches of Pelieran river.

“However, at present, Shin Yang Company is on the verge of clearing the proposed resettlement area for the purpose of large scale oil palm plantation.

“If Shin Yang is allowed to extensively clear and fell the forest in the area, there will be no more forest left for our community to sustain our livelihood.

“Thus, it would be meaningless for us to be resettled in the proposed area if it is to be developed with oil palm plantation,” he said.

“It will be a double tragedy for us,” he added.
The RM3 billion Murum dam, when completed, is expected to displace six Penan villages, namely Long Way, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Malim and a Kenyah village, Long Uba.

The moral imperative of disobeying unjust laws

THE day after police forcefully broke up peaceful candlelight vigils held on 1 Aug 2010 against the Internal Security Act (ISA), and arrested 36 people in Petaling Jaya and Penang, I followed a debate on Twitter. It was between a young lawyer and a Barisan Nasional (BN) Member of Parliament (MP). The gist of their positions was this:
BN MP: It’s not okay to break the law, in this case the Police Act, which regulates public assembly, to protest another law that you disagree with, the ISA.
Young lawyer: Civil disobedience, in this case, the breaking of one unjust law to protest another unjust law, is okay.
Can one wrong be used to correct another? Should bad laws be obeyed? Is this even a concept that the BN understands?
Police at the scene of the anti-ISA rally in Petaling Jaya on 1 Aug 2010
Police at the scene of the anti-ISA rally in Petaling Jaya on 1 Aug 2010
Politicising human rights
The argument, as with most debates on Twitter, went nowhere. The young lawyer recalled apartheid in South Africa, the murder of Jews in Nazi Germany, and racial segregation in the US as examples of unjust laws which should, and were, opposed. The MP retorted that Malaysia could not be compared to those states which were “tyrannies”. The MP suggested that people ought to accept the Police Act as it was the law, and leave the courts to decide whether the Act contravened the Federal Constitution’s guarantee on freedom of assembly.
The argument finally hit a wall when the MP said the lawyer was politicising the issue. The lawyer denied this and said it was the MP who had politicised it first.
These days, that’s how ideological discourse in Malaysia ends. Whatever is pro-reform, supports human rights, and calls for more freedom and transparency smacks of an opposition agenda. And the opposition does indeed politicise such issues, which is not always helpful in public education about civil liberties.
That said, not everyone who supports having more civil liberties is pro-opposition. And this strikes me as too nuanced a notion for many BN politicians to grasp – that one can be pro-human rights but nonpartisan as well. It is as nuanced as saying that what is unlawful is not necessarily wrong. Indeed, the law doesn’t necessarily or always uphold what is right or just or good.
It is easier for the ruling party to lump civil society and the opposition together than to see beyond politics to the core of unjust laws like the ISA and the Police Act. For certain, it’s also in the BN’s interest to not admit that indefinite detention without trial is inhuman, and that the Police Act violates Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution on the right to peaceful assembly.
Following conscience
Wilberforce, Gandhi and Parks (Public domain | Wiki commons)
Wilberforce, Gandhi and Parks (Public domain | Wiki commons)
What those in power fail to remember, or are selectively ignoring and even demonising, is the moral imperative of civil disobedience. The modern world is founded on rebellions against unjust laws and systems. The French Revolution was a rebellion against centuries of monarchic rule. The Protestant Reformation against the Catholic church’s greed and corruption. The Iranian Revolution toppled a repressive shah and ushered in an Islamic resurgence that influenced other parts of the world, including Malaysia.
Throughout history, challenges to the status quo have always begun with the act of one or a few persons following their conscience. William Wilberforce, the British MP who campaigned against slavery. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian minister who plotted Hitler’s assassination because he saw it necessary to oppose such evil. Rosa Parks, who defied segregation laws and sparked off mass protests in the US civil rights movement.
Closer to our region, José Rizal was executed for writing social commentaries and novels that inspired dissent among Filipinos against their Spanish colonisers. Mahatma Gandhi led India to independence by non-violently resisting the British. More recently, in 2007, Buddhist monks in Burma marched, at great peril to themselves, in protest against the military junta.
Malaysia itself has a history of civil disobedience, despite what leaders today say about protests not being part of our culture. Indeed, that was how the country was formed. Thousands of Malays demonstrated against the Malayan Union in 1946, paving the way to independence. Men like Penghulu Dol Said of Naning resisted the British by refusing to pay taxes and surrender his territory, resulting in a bloody war. Other early freedom fighters were Datuk Maharaja Lela of Pasir Salak, who assassinated British resident JWW Birch; Datuk Bahaman, Tok Gajah and son Mat Kilau, and Tok Janggut, all of whom clearly broke the law to lead rebellions against the British.
Pressuring Parliament
The BN MP and the young lawyer weren’t the only ones debating civil disobedience on Twitter. Other Twitterers, too, were giving their views on the police’s handling of the anti-ISA protesters. Some, quite obviously in support of the ISA and laws against public assembly, said the police should not be blamed as they were merely upholding the law. Their argument was, if you want to have public assembly without a permit, get Parliament to change the Police Act instead.
It’s an argument that, again, ignores the core of what makes the ISA unjust and the Police Act unconstitutional. This argument says that whether a law is good or bad is a separate issue for legislators. What matters is that as long as it is law, you must obey it. It fails to see that the act of holding a candle in protest is itself a call to Parliament to change bad laws.
Let’s also look at the realities of our Parliament, where the legislative agenda is decided by the executive. Then, consider amending the Police Act on public assembly. Would the executive even table such changes in the first place? If an opposition or independent MP were to move a motion or a private member’s bill for the Act to be amended, would it see the light of day? In the past, similar attempts by opposition MPs have been thwarted.
Rice (Public domain | Wiki commons)
Rice (Public domain | Wiki commons)
As for the police, the issue isn’t about blaming them for upholding the law. What police should do is enforce the law fairly. If permits can be given to BN-organised rallies, why can’t they be granted to opposition and civil society gatherings? If police could allow the Umno Youth protest against US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit in 2007, and the one against the “Allah” court judgment in Kampung Baru in January 2010, why can’t it allow anti-ISA candlelight vigils, which are far less emotive?
Responding to the public
How, then, should those in power respond to civil disobedience? For one, more politicians from the ruling party must learn to distinguish what is lawful but unjust from what is just but made illegal. And they must learn to understand civil disobedience as a moral force in history.
Secondly, that arresting people at peaceful protests is no longer an effective deterrent against future vigils. The authorities should have realised this from the Hindraf and Bersih rallies of 2007, and from the numerous anti-ISA and Perak vigils that have taken place since then until now. It makes more sense to let protesters express themselves for they will tire after awhile and disperse, than to deploy water cannons, tear gas and security personnel for nothing more than a brute show of force.
Thirdly, it can show the electorate that it can rise above politics and deal with civil liberties based on justice and universal principles of human rights by amending or abolishing unjust laws. Given the government’s stubbornness, however, that would likely need a revolution.

Sime Darby to report biggest ever loss

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 5 — One-time Malaysian icon, the 100-year-old Sime Darby Berhad, appears to be in a downward spiral as it faces huge losses again after the last one 13 years ago, with top officials being taken off from several units.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the government conglomerate will next month announce that potential full-year net loss could top RM2 billion — and go as high as RM2.5 billion. Most of the losses are down to ill-advised investments in the energy and utilities sector in Qatar as well as tardy business practices in the development of the Bakun dam in Sarawak.

The last time Sime Darby saw red on its balance sheets came after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, when a plunge in the stock market and a sharp depreciation of the ringgit led its financial arm, Sime Bank, to post a RM1.6 billion loss — the largest in Malaysian banking history — for the six months to December 1997. The conglomerate went on to post a six-month loss of RM676.2 million and closed the 1998 financial year with a net loss of RM540.9 million.

It is also learnt that property division managing director Datuk Tunku Badlishah Tunku Annuar has been removed from some units within his division while other top officials are being put on notice after Sime Darby instructed former chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid to take a leave of absence last May 13 in relation to the losses.

But hefty losses and disciplined officials aside, the group could also face crippling billion-ringgit law suits as it moves to abruptly end some of its joint ventures across the globe.

It is understood that since being appointed as the acting chief executive, Datuk Bakke Salleh has been looking at joint ventures involving Sime Darby, arguing that some of these were not as advantageous to the group as others and mooting that they be revisited or ended.

The only hitch is this: All the ventures are legally-binding, were agreed to and vetted by Sime’s legal department, and given the green light by the previous management and the board of directors. A couple of the ventures even pre-dated Zubir’s tenure as the chief executive.

Any move to end these ventures is likely to set off an expensive legal battle for Sime Darby. The conglomerate could also have an embarrassing face-off with Zubir. He has been forced to go on leave but has not quit as the chief executive.

Along the corridors of Wisma Sime Darby, there is growing belief that he will engage a lawyer to protect his interest and avoid being made the scapegoat for all the problems at the conglomerate. A slugfest in court will prove bloody for both Zubir and the board of directors, led by Tun Musa Hiitam, but it could also have serious repercussions for the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

It is widely known that government-linked companies sometimes enter into deals at the behest and urging of government leaders and political masters.

One of the chief concerns of investors on hearing the news that Bakke has been selected to steady the listing ship at Sime Darby was his relative inexperience in running a public listed entity.

He has helmed Tabung Haji and Felda, where profit making were not the primary objective. In both these organisations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a key objective, and since occupying the hot seat at Sime Darby and meeting senior officials, the view in the conglomerate is that corporate social responsibility will enjoy equal billing with profit making, news which may not cheer investors.

Officials who have met him describe Bakke as driven but impulsive.

Sime Darby closed at RM7.70 per share yesterday, falling one sen from the opening price. It has lost nearly some RM6 billion in market capitalisation since news of its troubles became public last May 13.

SIS: Tetapkan 18 tahun had umur minimum kahwin muda

The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, 5 Ogos — Sisters in Islam (SIS) menggesa kerajaan persekutuan menetapkan had umur minimum 18 tahun bagi seseorang untuk mendirikan rumah tangga bagi mengawal perkahwinan pada usia muda.

Melahirkan kekhuatiran dengan keputusan Majlis Agama Islam Melaka yang melonggarkan usia bernikah 16 tahun bagi perempuan dan 18 tahun untuk lelaki dengan kebenaran Mahkamah syariah, jurucakap SIS Prof Noraini Othman berkata, pihaknya mahu agensi agama itu mengkaji semula keputusan mereka.

“Kami menggesa Majlis Agama Islam Melaka mempertimbangkan semula keputusannya,” kata beliau dalam satu kenyataan.

Norani berkata kajian kendalian agensi-agensi Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu dan pertubuhan wanita di seluruh dunia menemui kesan-kesan negatif akibat perkahwinan kanak-kanak ke atas kehidupan golongan muda.

“Berbanding menggalakkan perkhawinan kanak-kanak, kerajaan negeri seharusnya menyokong pendidikan seks dan meningkatkan kesedaran bagi membolehkan mereka (golongan muda) membuat keputusan berdasarkan pengetahuan tentang hak dan persefahaman bersama,” kata beliau.

Selain itu jelas Norani, SIS juga menekankan pendiriannya bahawa dalam al-Quran usia kahwin dikaitkan dengan pertimbangan yang wajar dan pemikiran yang matang.

“Puberiti sahaja tidak mencukupi,” kata beliau.

Malah kata Norani, keputusan majlis itu bertentangan dengan peruntukan Akta Kanak-kanak 2001 dan konvensyen hak asasi manusia yang turut diterima oleh Malaysia.

“Sementara kami mengalu-alukan kenyataan Datuk Shahrizat Abdul Jalil membidas perkhwinan kanak-kanak, kami juga menggesa Kementerian Pembangunan Wanita, Keluarga dan Masyarakat bekerjasama dengan kerajaan negeri Melaka untuk membantu pembuat dasar dan pegawai-pegawai agama tentang kesan perkahwinan kanak-kanak,” katanya.

Semalam, Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom  berkata kebenaran berkahwin untuk pelajar di bawah umur bukan untuk semua tetapi ditentukan mengikut kesesuaian kes.

Katanya, Mahkamah Syariah berhak meneliti setiap permohonan berkahwin awal yang diterimanya dan memutuskan sama ada keizinan layak diberi atau tidak.

“Dalam Enakmen Majlis Agama Islam dan peruntukan agama Islam hanya lelaki 18 tahun dan perempuan 16 tahun ke atas dibenarkan kahwin tetapi ada kekecualian yang dibenarkan oleh mahkamah syariah untuk mereka yang di bawah umur,” katanya.

Beliau memberitahu tindakan Majlis Agama Islam Melaka itu ada peruntukan undang-undang jadi undang-undang akan tapis mengikut kes.

Kelmarin, Majlis Agama Islam Melaka dan Jabatan Agama Islam Melaka bersetuju dengan kerajaan Melaka untuk memberi kelonggaran bernikah bagi pelajar lelaki di bawah umur 18 tahun dan perempuan di bawah 16 tahun, bagi mengatasi masalah hamil luar nikah dan gejala pembuangan bayi.

Malah, sekolah khas untuk pelajar hamil yang dibiayai kerajaan Melaka akan dibuka di Jasin dalam masa terdekat ini.

No way out for Bukit Jalil residents

Israeli troops south of border when Lebanon fired, U.N. says

Lebanon says Israel wanted to remove a tree on August 3, 2010, using a bulldozer seen here the next day at the same location.

Jerusalem (CNN) -- An initial U.N. investigation of a cross-border skirmish between Israel and Lebanon showed Israeli forces were on their own side of the border when Lebanese troops opened fire, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said Wednesday.

An Israeli officer and several Lebanese soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire Tuesday across the volatile border.

"The U.N. announcement today clearly corroborates the Israeli version of events," said Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman in a written statement. "Our routine activity yesterday was conducted entirely SOUTH of the frontier -- on the Israeli side -- and that the Lebanese Army opened fire without any provocation or justification what-so-ever."

UNIFIL said, "The investigations are still ongoing" and the findings will be released after they conclude.

Lt. Col. Dov Harari, an Israeli battalion commander, was killed in the fighting, according to an Israel Defense Forces statement. Another Israeli soldier was seriously wounded, it said.

A Lebanese army spokesman said at least two Lebanese soldiers were killed and several others were wounded.

Lebanon's official National News Agency reported that journalist Assaf Abu Rahal also was killed in the exchange of fire between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers.

Israel filed a letter of complaint with the U.N. secretary-general and the U.N. Security Council Tuesday after the incident.

"These attacks threaten stability, peace, and security in our region," Israeli Ambassador Danny Carmon said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asking that the United Nations address the matter.

"In response to this grave incident that constitutes a blatant violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, Israel exercised its right of self-defense, responding with the appropriate measures on LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) positions in the area."

Two separate narratives emerged in the aftermath of the incident, highlighting the tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border.
The U.N. announcement today clearly corroborates the Israeli version of events.
--Mark Regev

Israel said the Lebanese fired on Israeli soldiers who were on the Israeli side of the border.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor said the incident was captured on video and that it all occurred on Israeli soil.

"This is all under Israeli sovereignty," he said. "Somebody wanted to ignite fire and kill one of our soldiers and wound another. We responded in a military way. But this should serve as a warning: Don't dare do this again."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the Lebanese government against continuing provocations of Israeli forces and demanded an investigation into Tuesday's violence. He said Israel would not tolerate attacks on Israeli territory.

"The IDF will continue to act firmly and determinedly to protect the residents of Israel and the sovereign borders of Israel," Barak said in a written statement.

The Israeli military said its soldiers were on "routine activity" when the incident occurred. It issued a statement saying that the soldiers were in "an area that lies between the 'blue line' [the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon] and the security fence, thus within Israeli territory."

The Lebanese army's account and a report from Lebanese media said, however, that the hostilities occurred when Israel wanted to remove a tree.

A Lebanese army unit stopped the Israelis, and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon intervened, the National News Agency said.
This aggression proves once more that Israel has always been seeking to destabilize security and stability in Lebanon and the region.

The Lebanese army said it asked the U.N. force to arbitrate the issue, but the Israeli forces didn't comply and entered Lebanese territory. That led the Lebanese army to open fire, with Israeli forces returning artillery fire and hitting a house in the village of Odaise.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Israel violated U.N. Resolution 1701 in crossing the blue line and by bombing a Lebanese army checkpoint in Odaise. He said Israeli aggression needs "to be confronted, whatever the sacrifices are" and that he will pursue the issue diplomatically.

Israel fought a five-week war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006 after Lebanese-based militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers during a cross-border raid.

Resolution 1701, which was intended to resolve the 2006 conflict, bars Israel from conducting military operations in Lebanon. Israel has accused Lebanon-based Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by the United States, of violating the resolution by smuggling arms into southern Lebanon.

In a televised speech marking the fourth anniversary of the summer war, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of never having stopped its attacks on Lebanon and said it is guilty of 7,000 violations of Resolution 1701.

"We salute the Lebanese army and we salute their commander, their soldiers and their officers for baptizing the land with their blood," Nasrallah said. "Our young men were in Odaise and other neighboring villages in the south but we asked them to exercise restraint. We were ready to fight and defend our land."

In the aftermath of the 2006 fighting, the United Nations deployed peacekeepers to the area. The U.N. troops were focused Tuesday on restoring calm, said spokesman Neeraj Singh.

Acting Commander Brig. Gen. Santi Bonfanti flew to Odaise and said the situation had quieted. The United Nations was urging Israel and Lebanon "to exercise maximum restraint," Singh said.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri discussed the potentially explosive situation with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Hariri's office said.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated Syria's support for Lebanon "against the heinous aggression launched by Israel," according to the Syrian state-run news agency SANA.

"This aggression proves once more," he said, "that Israel has always been seeking to destabilize security and stability in Lebanon and the region."

In Washington, the Obama administration expressed concern about the clashes and urged both sides to exert calm while the United Nations investigates.

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters the State Department was in touch with the Israelis, Lebanese and the United Nations mission on the ground to establish the facts.

But Hezbollah leader Nasrallah predicted any U.N. investigation would not favor Lebanon.

"Israel wasn't condemned for massacres that they have committed," he said. "The U.N. will not condemn their aggression in Odaise."

Still, he predicted, the incident is not likely to turn into another war. "I don't believe that there is a likelihood of a[nything] close to war but there is reason for concern," he said.

CNN's Saad Abedine, Nada Husseini and Michal Zippori contributed to this report.

HRP and Hindraf full force to stop ethnic cleansing of Bukit Jalil esatate homes temple, cemetary and Tamil school by neo colonialist UMNO.


Kuala Lumpur 4/0/08/2010. Since 6.30 this morning HRP and Hindraf supporters started gathering at the Ladang Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur to put up a peaceful resistance to stop the “ethnic cleansing” of the Bukit Jalil estate workers homes, their Hindu temples, Hindu crematary and their Tamil school build by the British colonialist over 200 years ago. And now after 53 years of independence the same is now to be “ethinically cleansed” by the neo coloialist, racial and religious supremacist and extremist UMNO.
P. Uthayakumar, S. Thiagarajan and S. Tinakaran arrived at about 8.30 a.m and were warmly greeted by the ex-plantation workers of Bukit Jalil estate Music was played with the trademark Hindraf song Tholvi Nilai yena nivaithal. About 30 Hindraf and HRP supporters in their traditional orange shirts and the residents of Ladang Bukit Jalil sang along with full of emotions.
Captain Bala of Bukit Jalil estate then started with the anti UMNO slogans and “Satu Malaysia Dua Sistem” chanting. A group of Bukit Jalil residents then started chanting Hindraf and which was responded with Valga which still remains magical and sent vibrations till to day since the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally. Also heard were slogans of “Polis Kejam” DBKL kejam, “Jangan nyaya masyarakat India, satu Malaysia and the response “dua sistem”, “UMNO” and the response “dua system”.
Addressing the media P. Uthayakumar said that the strangers to the 200 year old Bukit Jalil estate ie DBKL formed only some 30 years ago and the Federal Territories Ministry are now declaring these native Indian ex rubber tappers of Bukit Jalil estate as squatters. UMNO’s DBKL “tuans” are now abusing the law by using the Emergency Ordinance to forcibly “ethnically cleanse” the Bukit Jalil estate workers homes, their Hindu temple, Hindu cemetary and Tamil school. UMNO has refused to get a Court Order and are now abusing their powers by using the Emergency Ordinance.
The Bukit Jalil residents were repeatedly invited to discuss the settlement away from the Hindraf & HRP gathering but they had refused. Typical UMNO divide and rule strategy!
Finally about 10.00 a.m one UMNO “tuan” Mohamed Amiruddin, Deputy Director of Operations and read “ethnic cleansing” of UMNO’s DBKL (black and white). This UMNO “tuan” used a loud hailer and announced that all the said residents would be isuued letters of offer to purchase the nearby low cost flats to which the crowd started chanting that they wanted surat hitam putih. This Director went away promising to come back and that the “ethnic cleansing” would be deferred for three days.
Another UMNO temporary solution for Bukit Jalil estate workers homes, their Hindu temple, Hinkdu ceremtary and Tamil school.
After a few hours UMNO’s DBKL come back and handed them an offer letter given to them earlier much to the disappointment of the residents.
HRP’s W. Sambulingam then organised a meeting with the residents at Bukit Jalil at 7.00 p.m today to plan thier next plan of action to also secure land for Hindu temple, cemetary and Tamil school.
Another “Multi-racial” PSM party leaders were seen negotiating with the said DBKL “tuan” and then briefed the gathering about the meeting. But these “comrades” as usual had refused to even ask about the fate of the Hindu temple, Hindu cemetary and the Tamil school. Maybe, because their “Socialist principles” says so or more likely that they may lose Malay voters if they are seen to be also championing justice for the Hindu temples, Hindu cemetery and Tamil schools.
When a member of the gathering had asked this PSM leader about the Hindu temple, Hindu cemetary and the Tamil school he merely had kosong replied “later”.
Two MIC Youth mandores were also seen among the gathering. But they had refused to sing along the Hindraf Tholvi song as there may not be Tholvi in their mandore roles as they are making some peanuts money in the name and by shortchanging the Indian community.
Karunai Nithi @ Compensative Justice.

Home Ministry won’t renew Suara Keadilan permit

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 – The Home Ministry insisted today that it has closed the file on Suara Keadilan’s printing permit, indicating that the PKR organ would not be obtaining its long-awaited renewal.

The ministry’s Publications Control and Quranic Text secretary Datuk Zaitun Ab Samad told The Malaysian Insider this afternoon that as it stands, the party cannot proceed with publishing Suara Keadilan as its permit had expired last June.

“Nothing has changed. Their permit has expired and that’s that,” she said.

She insisted that there was nothing further to discuss regarding the issue, pointing out that the ministry had already informed PKR that it was not satisfied with the party’s explanation on its queries.

The ministry had earlier slapped a show-cause letter on the party, seeking for an explanation on several offensive articles it had published, including the controversial “Felda Bangkrap” article.

It held back indefinitely on its decision to renew the party’s printing permit, which had expired on June 30 this year.

“We already told them that we were not satisfied with their explanation so what does that mean? As far as we are concerned, their permit continues to be expired,” she said.

When asked if this meant that the ministry had made a decision not to renew the publication’s permit, Zaitun said: “It’s not about that. The question of renewal does not arise. Like I said, their permit expired and it remains expired. We have also said we were not satisfied with their first explanation and they have not given us another one since then.”

When informed of Zaitun’s response this evening, PKR chief strategist Chua Tian Chang chided her for making such a statement, claiming that it was “not her job” to say if she were satisfied with PKR’s explanation.

“In fact, it is not up to us to satisfy them. The question now is whether the Home Minister himself is satisfied. If not, then he should be banning us right?,” he said.

He insisted that the ministry had no power or right to stop PKR from proceeding to find ways to spread information through its newspapers.

“Just like how you can reject an application for a ceramah but you cannot stop people from gathering? They canot stop us. They can throw you in court, or arrest you but they cannot stop you,” he said.

To avoid being penalised for printing Suara Keadilan without a permit, the party has since resorted to printing its editions under different names, the latest being “Utusan Keadilan”. It has so far printed “Keadilan”, “Obor Keadilan” and “Sinar Keadilan”.

It is utilising a loophole in printing laws that allows it to print one-off non-serialised publications without obtaining a permit, similar to the editions it published from 1999 to 2008 when it finally received a permit.

“They cannot stop us. And you know what? They will never be satisfied with whatever we say. Imagine, they claimed that we had undermined the government’s image. What do they expect from an opposition party paper?

“You cannot expect articles that they would consider as ‘responsible statements’,” an irritated-sounding Chua said when contacted.

He said that the party would deal directly with Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein during the next Parliamentary session.

“When I see him, I will personally ask him what he wants to do. Oftentimes, when we deal with ministry staff, all they tell us is that the decision is the minister’s to make so I do not know why suddenly this person, I don’t care what’s her name, is saying this,” Chua said, indicating Zaitun.

Meanwhile, for DAP’s The Rocket newspaper, Zaitun said the ministry would be making its final decision very soon on whether to renew its permit.

“Now that they have responded to us, we will make our decision fast,” she said.

She noted that the party had been asked to respond to three queries by the ministry on why the publication had continued printing under expired permits, why it had failed to submit eight copies to the ministry prior to each publication and why it had printed an inaccurate permit number on one of its issues last year.

DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua confirmed with The Malaysian Insider this morning that the party had responded to the ministry through a letter delivered late last week.

“We are expecting a response very soon,” he said.

He noted that unlike the PKR, the DAP would not go ahead and print its publication by changing its masthead.

“At this juncture, we are not considering it. Our content is ready but we will wait for the ministry’s response,” he said.

As such, the Rocket’s English and Chinese versions missed its printing deadline late last month for this month’s edition.

Khairy defies Dr M, says 1Malaysia not a failure

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaludin today disagreed with former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, perhaps his number one enemy, that Najib's 1Malaysia concept is a failure.
Mahathir had said that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak must clear the shrouds surrounding his 1Malaysia clarion call, saying the concept has not reached voters well and could be susceptible to manipulation by other races.

However Khairy reasoned that it would take longer for Najib's one-year-old administration to dilute the idea among the electorate but contended that the all-encompassing idea has sat well with many, if not all, Malaysians.

The 1Malaysia idea, meant to unite and regain the nation's moderate image after decades of racial politics have divided the nation, was introduced shortly after Najib took office on April 3 last year.

"No I don't agree with him (Mahathir) because every government campaign needs constant and consistent messaging and communications to the public.

"But to say that the public do not understand it is incorrect," he told a press conference at the party's headquarters here.

Khairy, who is also the first-term Rembau MP and the son-in-law of former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, believed the 1Malaysia idea is comprehensive and that the voters can grasp the policies behind the idea.

Mahathir argued that the idea had failed to unite the country and came amid shocking revelation by an opinion poll centre that Najib's 1Malaysia was considered to be a mere political gimmick by majority of the nation's non-Malay electorate.

“I have spoken to the Chinese, the Malays, each person has different opinions and cannot be united. I feel that an explanation is needed,” Dr Mahathir had said, adding that the onus was on Najib to ensure that his 1 Malaysia is understood by all.

Well accepted by all

But Khairy disagreed, saying the idea is well accepted by the public.

"I think that people understand it and the general understanding of it can get higher," he said.

Despite his position, the Umno youth chief currently holds no post in Najib's Cabinet as a result of what political observers believe to be Mahathir's influence in Umno and the government.

Mahathir's attacks against Abdullah, his handpicked successor, had almost crippled Umno. Many party leaders felt Mahathir played a major role in Barisan Nasional's pathetic electoral performance in the 2008 general election.

The enmity between the two started after the latter began scrapping unfinished projects started by Mahathir and Khairy was subject to merciless virulence when he was accused as the main string-puller in the Abdullah government.
Fearing the potential damage of another "Dr Mahathir episode" had forced Najib to shun Khairy out of his Cabinet line-up, a repeat of what had transpired in the past when current Umno vice-president Zahid Hamidi was not appointed as minister when he was the Youth chief.

Khairy has avoided triggering another potential explosive spat with Mahathir, remaining quiet despite the ongoing assault by the former premier.

His statement today may just trigger Mahathir's wrath towards him and pundits believe the Najib administration may suffer the most should this happen.

Umno, Perkasa gagalkan 1Malaysia Najib

(Harakahdaily) - PAS mendakwa Umno adalah musuh utama gagasan 1Malaysia yang mahu dijayakan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yang juga presiden parti itu.

Malah, kenyataan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin bahawa 1Malaysia gagal membentuk perpaduan kaum, jelas menunjukkan bahawa Najib hanya berseorangan dengan gagasannya itu.

Ahli Jawatankuasa PAS Pusat, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad berkata, dalam hal itu gabungan Muhyidin dengan Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) yang dipimpin Datuk Ibrahim Ali sudah cukup untuk menjatuhkan Najib.

"Musuh terbesar Najib adalah Umno. Ada pepatah mengatakan dengan kawan-kawan seperti ini, anda tidak perlu memerlukan musuh.

"Dengan ultra Melayu Perkasa, ditambah sokongan Timbalan Perdana Menteri, jatuhlah Najib. Najib kini ada hanya Khairy seorang sahaja," katanya yang juga Ahli Parlimen Kuala Selangor.

Ahli Parlimen Titiwangsa, Dr Lo' Lo' Ghazali pula mempersoal tindakan Muhyiddin yang dilihat hanya berani membuka mulut apabila Najib ke luar negara.

"Kenapa kata ia gagal apabila PM bercuti di luar negara? Adakah timbalan PM hanya berani apabila PM tidak ada dalam negara?” soalnya.

Bagi Ahli Parlimen Shah Alam, Khalid Samad pula, konsep satu Malaysia adalah sesuatu yang sememangnya dimahukan rakyat namun Umno bukan wadah terbaik memperjuangkannya.

Malah katanya, Pakatan Rakyat sudah lama memperjuangkan perkara itu sejak dulu lagi berasaskan perinsip keadilan untuk semua kaum.

Mengulas pandangan itu, Dzulkefly menambah, 1Malaysia dislogankan Najib, diamal dan dihayati oleh Pakatan sejak dulu.

Mereka berkata demikian pada satu sidang media bersama di Pejabat Agung PAS, Jalan Raja Laut di sini pagi ini.

Turut serta pada sidang media itu, Pesuruhjaya PAS Wilayah, Mohamad Nor Mohamad.

Pandangan sama sebelum ini pernah dilontarkan Mursyidul Am PAS, Tuan Guru Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat sewaktu Najib melaungkan slogan tersebut ketika awal dilantik menjadi perdana menteri.

Menurut Nik Aziz, 1Malaysia Najib adalah sia-sia kerana orang pertama yang menentang konsep itu adalah Umno sendiri yang sudah sebati dengan doktrin dan perjuangan perkauman sejak dahulu lagi.

Willing buyer willing seller

So we have a situation where property developers put their houses up for sale and cross their fingers and hope that no Malays will buy their houses. And if within a certain period of time the ‘Malay units’ remain unsold then they would be free to sell them to the non-Malays at the normal and undiscounted price.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are those who would have us believe that Islam is a very complex religion. If you studied Islam from the day you were born till the day you die, say these people, you can learn only a very small percentage of Islam. Nobody goes to his/her grave knowing everything about Islam, they would add.

Okay, that is what they believe, and they are entitled to their beliefs, just like I am entitled to mine. But what is so complex about The Ten Commandments? For example, which part about ‘thou shalt not kill’ do you not understand? And has not humankind been killing fellow humans since the beginning of time? And worse of all, many, all religions not exempted, have been killing in the name of God.

Actually, Islam is not that complex, as what many may think. It is a very simple religion. It sets certain guidelines for mankind. The problem is, along the way, man, and not God, has added to this and has made it complex. So the question is did God or did man turn Islam into a complex religion?

That is of course a matter for debate and not something that can be resolved in this article.

My Tok Guru once said that Islam views the hypocrite as the real enemy of Islam. The Munafik, said my Tok Guru, is the most dangerous enemy of Islam and they deserve death.

We may shudder at this ‘fatwah’ or decree. There they go again propagating death, you may say. Why is Islam so engrossed with death to this person or death to that person? Nevertheless, whether we agree or disagree with the death sentence being propagated for Munafiks, we can’t deny the fact that Islam views the Munafik as a very dangerous person who deserves death.

And what, you may ask, would be considered a Munafik?

Well, let us deliberate on one example. Islam says that in any transaction there must be a willing buyer and willing seller for the transaction to be valid. Any transaction that is not based on willing buyer willing seller is considered not valid. And any transaction that is not valid will not receive God’s blessing.

That is not what I say. That is what Islam says. I am just enlightening you on what Islam says -- or at least what my Tok Guru has told me.

Now let us take the current brouhaha about the special discount on houses sold to Malay buyers. Umno has made police reports against Tony Pua for calling an end to the special discount on luxury homes given to Malay buyers. In short, Umno wants the police to arrest Tony Pua and send him to jail for calling an end to the policy of giving Malay buyers of luxury homes a special discount.

We must remember that Umno means Muslims. So Muslims want the housing developers to give Malay buyers a special discount on the houses sold to them. This means, whether they agree or not, by law the housing developers must offer Malay buyers a special discount on the houses they buy. And if they do not then they are to be denied approval to build these houses.

Of course, they hide behind the New Economic Policy in enforcing this rule -- which although its name has been changed a few times since 1970 is still very much in force since the last 40 years.

Now, since Umno is Muslim, let us reconcile this with Islam and see what is Islam’s view on this special discount to Malay house buyers.

In Islam there must be a situation of willing buyer willing seller. If someone is forced to sell something at a price that is not agreed upon, or at a price that is reluctantly agreed upon due to certain government intervention, then it is not a willing buyer willing seller situation.

This means the transaction is not valid.

So Malays who buy houses at a special discount because the developer is forced to sell it to them at a special discount are entering into a transaction that is not blessed by Islam. This is because it is not a willing transaction. It is a forced transaction.

The developers really have no choice in the matter. When they apply for their licence to build those houses the government would stipulate a clause that a certain percentage of the houses must be reserved for Malay buyers and the houses must be sold to the Malay buyers at a discount. If they do not agree then the developers would not be given permission to build the houses.

So they have no choice but to agree, if they want permission to build the houses. And they will need to price the houses sold to the non-Malay buyers slightly higher to subsidise the discount given to Malay buyers. So they ‘steal’ from the non-Malay buyers to be able to afford the discount given to the Malay buyers.

They can of course disagree with this, which means they will not obtain permission to build the houses. If they want to remain in business then they have no choice but to agree. It is a sort of blackmail. This is no willing buyer willing seller situation. It is sell to the non-Malays at a higher price so that the Malays can buy the houses at a cheaper price.

Most property developers are not happy with this. But they can’t do anything about it. Either they agree or else they will not obtain approval to build the houses. And they hope that not many Malays would come forward to buy the houses so that they can go back to the government to inform the government that there are no Malay buyers and they therefore need permission to sell the ‘Malay units’ to the non-Malays.

So we have a situation where property developers put their houses up for sale and cross their fingers and hope that no Malays will buy their houses. And if within a certain period of time the ‘Malay units’ remain unsold then they would be free to sell them to the non-Malays at the normal and undiscounted price.

Muslims are taught that in any transaction both the buyer and seller must be satisfied with the price and quality of goods being transacted. No one must be short-changed in price and quality.

A kilogram of apples must be exactly a kilogram. And there should be no worms in any one of the apples. The quality and weight must be as agreed and at the price agreed upon between seller and buyer. The seller can’t cheat the buyer either in weight or quality. And the buyer also can’t pay less for the apples but must pay what the seller has demanded. If the buyer pays less and walks away then the transaction is not valid and the apples become haram, just like it was pork.

That is when transacting a kilogram of apples. What about when transacting a house? Can you compel the seller to sell you his house at a ‘forced sale’ price? The seller must be satisfied with the price. It is not enough that the buyer is satisfied with the price. The seller too must be satisfied.

This is Islam. And in Islam the willing buyer willing seller concept is very important. Anything short of that and Islam will not recognise the transaction. So how can these Muslims be up in arms about what Tony Pua said? What Tony Pua said is what Islam also says. You can’t force someone to sell you something at a price the seller is not happy with.

So this is what I mean by Munafik. They shout, scream, rant and rave about Islam. And, in the same breath, they violate the most fundamental thing in Islam. They say it is the birthright of the Malays to be able to buy houses at a discount even if the seller is not happy selling it at that price. Then they ask the government to detain under the Internal Security Act all those who question Malay rights and privileges even though Islam forbids detention without trial.

And they say Islam is complex. Actually it is not. It is the Malays who have made Islam complex.

Do you know there are some Malay house buyers who refuse the special discount because they know in Islam you can’t force someone to part with his goods at a price he does not agree with?

Now those are what I would call true Muslims.