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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Malaysian judiciary captures world attention

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian judiciary's implementation of a mechanism which proved to be extremely effective in expeditiously clearing the backlog of court cases, has captured world attention. These countries now want to come to Malaysia to study the mechanism.

This was revealed by Chief Justice Zaki Azmi at the swearing-in ceremony of eight judicial commissioners who were elevated to High Court judges today.

In his speech, he said among the countries which came forward to study the methods practised by the Malaysian judiciary included Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries such as Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Singapore, Brunei, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria, Seychelles Island, Australia and Canada.

He said the approach introduced by the judiciary since early last year, which were found to be extremely effective in disposing of the backlog of cases included enhancing the competency of judges and court staff, increasing the number of judges and improving infrastructure.

Other steps taken by the judiciary were avoiding frivolous litigation, full utilisation of court working hours, applying judiciously the practice of adjournment of court cases and adoption of alternative dispute redress mechanisms and ending court boycotts.

In view of the judiciary's speedy disposal of cases, Zaki said an invitation was extended to him to give a speech on its adoption of methods, at a conference organised by Asia Pacific Judicial Forum this year.

The four-day conference beginning Oct 25 will be held in Beijing, China.

The chief justice is also expected to give a talk on judicial reforms in Singapore on Oct 4 and 5, this year.

Zaki also disclosed that an article entitled, “The Judiciary”, published on July 16, this year stated that Justice K Chandru of the Madras High Court had managed to single-handedly dispose of 53,000 court cases in the four years that he held office.

That article also stated that the judge had disposed of an average of 1,300 cases every month and in April alone, he delivered 1,474 verdicts.

Zaki said the article also stated that backlog cases could only be removed by taking the steps which the Malaysian judiciary had currently adopted.

New judges

At the ceremony, the eight judicial commissioners were confirmed full-fledged High Court judges, effective today.

They were Abdul Rahman Sebli, Zaleha Yusof, Halijah Abas, Mary Lim Thiam Suan, Kamardin Hashim, Yaacob Md Sam, Zabariah Mohd Yusof and Anantham a/l Kasinather.

Abdul Rahman took his oath before Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum while the rest, before Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria, and witnessed by Zaki.

On postponement of cases, Zaki said parties in a court proceeding should stop complaining that “justice hurried is justice buried” just because their request for postponement was denied by the court.

He said he had been monitoring daily reports and noticed many cases were postponed for flimsy reasons, including reports by chemist or specialist not ready, or documents not being served on time.

Zaki said lawyers also continued to request for postponement, giving reasons that they were just appointed to handle the case or because they were occupied in another court case.

"Why are their cases not ready to move on the dates fixed? Fortunately, those who make these complaints are relatively small. At the end of the day, what the judiciary is doing is aimed at benefiting parties who seek justice before the courts.

"Lawyers who appear on their behalf should also be happy with these positive steps taken, including being strict on postponements," said Zaki.

- Bernama

Activists cry murder over Singapore hanging

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Anti-death-penalty activists have asked the Singapore government to admit that it wrongfully executed a young Malaysian in 2003 and demanded that it release British writer Alan Shadrake, whose latest book sheds new light on the case.

“Singapore has murdered an innocent person in cold blood,” said N Surendran of Lawyers for Liberty in reference to the hanging of M Vignes, who was 21 when he was arrested in 2001 on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Surendran was speaking to reporters outside the Singapore High Commission, where his organisation and the Civil Rights Committee of the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall had submitted a memorandum demanding the abolition of the death penalty and a halt to all pending executions.

Vignes was hanged in Changi Prison on Sept 26, 2003. Shadrake is awaiting trial for criminal defamation and contempt of court for allegations he made in his book against the Singapore government.

He was arrested a day after the launching of the book, Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock.

“Alan's book revealed a shocking truth,” Surendran said. “We now know the key witness in Vignes's trial was himself being investigated for rape, sodomy and later convicted of corruption."

'Crucial facts'

Surendran said Singapore authorities had maliciously concealed these "crucial facts" from Vignes's lawyer, M Ravi.

"Worse still, when Ravi asked Chief Justice Yong Pung How whether an innocent man could be hanged because of procedural matters, he replied 'Yes, the answer is yes’. This is as if the CJ has himself strangled him with his own hands."

The memorandum was submitted to the High Commission’s first secretary, Walter Chia. It demanded that the Singapore government:

acknowledge the miscarriage of justice that led to the execution of Vignes; clear Vignes’s name and make amends to his family; institute immediate reforms in the Singapore judiciary to ensure Singaporean judges appreciate and respect human life and liberty; take appropriate action according to the Singapore Constitution against Chief Justice Yong; halt all pending executions in Singapore and commute death sentences to imprisonment; and withdraw all pending criminal charges against Shadrake and apologise for his wrongful arrest and imprisonment. Speaking to reporters, Vignes' father, V Mourthi, said he still felt as if his son was alive.

"I know he is innocent,” he said. “I want to know what the Singapore government is going to do about this. I hope the truth will finally come out.”

Dr M jabs Najib, says vote him out if...

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: After engineering the downfall of his handpicked successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with surgical precision, is former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad now training his scalpel on his protege Najib Tun Razak's jugular?

Those attending a function here this morning must have felt that this was the case based on the 84-year-old's scathing remarks.

The central topic was education, and the medical doctor-turned-politician, suggested that Najib's government should be given the boot if did not convince parents that education was one of its topmost priorities.

“You can change the government if you want to, or if you don’t want to change the government, you can change the person. But telling me (the problem), a former prime minister, is not going to help. You must tell the (current) prime minister,” he said.

Mahathir, who had delivered a talk on the impact of technology on higher education, was responding to a parent campaigning for the government to reinstate the policy of teaching Science and Maths in English.

The Najib government cancelled the policy, which was Mahathir's brainchild, following pressure from certain quarters who considered it as an attempt to phase out the prominence of vernacular schools.

'Lack of political will'

However, Mahathir said the mastery of the English language was not given its due emphasis by the current government, and blamed this on the lack of political will from the top leadership.

"If I am prime minister, of course I can do this...the government must change its mindset," he said.

The former premier also lambasted the present administration over its conflicting position on innovation, which was meant to be the primary theme in Najib's New Economic Model.

"On one hand, the government is saying that we must innovate, but when results are produced, they don’t want to use them," he said, adding that the government must believe in the innovation of its citizens.

Man attempts to torch himself outside CM's office

FULL REPORT GEORGE TOWN: A 53-year-old coffeeshop owner doused himself with petrol in an attempt to commit suicide outside the Komtar building here, which houses Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's office.


The man, identified as Teoh Bak Seng, was upset that several doors on the second floor had been closed to prevent public access due to security reasons.

Speaking to reporters earlier, he said the decision had cost him a loss of RM100-RM200 per day in revenue, which was almost 50% of his daily income.

Prior to that, Teoh had staged a lone protest with placards condemning the decision.

But when police officers attempted to pacify him, the businessman doused himself with petrol, and shouted: “Saya mahu bunuh diri” (I want to kill myself).

He was then arrested and taken to the police station located on the fourth floor of the building.

The doors were closed following an incident which saw an angry villager grabbing hold of the chief minister's shoulders and berating him for not helping Malay villagers.

The incident happened when Lim, whose office is on the 28th floor, was preparing to leave the building and had gone down to the second floor, where his driver's room is located.

German police shut 9/11 mosque

Mohamed Atta, leader of the September 11 attackers, had frequented the al-Quds mosque [AFP]
A Hamburg mosque once frequented by some of those involved in the September 11 attacks on the United Sates in 2001 has been shut down because authorities believe the prayer house was again being used to spread violent ideas.
The Taiba mosque has been closed and the cultural association that runs it banned, city officials said in a statement on Monday.
"We have closed the mosque because it was a recruiting and meeting point for Islamic radicals who wanted to participate in so-called jihad or holy war," Frank Reschreiter, a spokesman for Hamburg's state interior ministry, said.
He said that 20 police officers were searching the building and had confiscated material, including several computers.
Under observation
Authorities have said the prayer house, formerly known as the al-Quds mosque, was a meeting and recruiting point years ago for some of the September 11 attackers before they moved to the US.
Mohamed Atta, leader of the September 11 attackers, as well as Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah had studied in Hamburg and frequented the mosque.
Reschreiter said Monday marked the first time the mosque had been closed, and that it had been under observation by local intelligence officers for "quite a long time".
A 2009 report by the Hamburg branch of Germany's domestic intelligence agency also said the mosque had again become the "centre of attraction for the jihad scene" in the northern port city.
It said some people who belonged to the mosque's cultural association and prayed there had travelled to an armed training camp in Uzbekistan.
A group of 11 people that visited training camps in Uzbekistan in March 2009 was formed at Taiba mosque, the report said.
Most of the group's members were either German converts, of Middle Eastern origin or from the Caucasus region.
"A very important factor for the radicalization of the group members was certainly their joint visits to the mosque," the intelligence report stated.
It appears that one man from the group joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an armed group in Central Asia, the report said.

Aug 16 verdict on strike out bid, birthday boy slams 'cruel' Najib

By FMT Staff
UPDATED KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will decide on Aug 16 regarding the application by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who turned 63 today, to strike out his sodomy charge.
Earlier, the PKR supremo had celebrated his birthday at the court complex together with his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who came with a bunch of purple flowers for her husband.

Also present were PKR leader and former minister Chua Jui Meng and Anwar's legal team, headed by Karpal Singh.

Speaking to reporters later, Anwar lashed out at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, saying that the latter's ruthlessness knew no bounds.

He said Najib and his proxies lacked the courage to deny the alleged affair between star witness Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif.

“Najib and his government's cruelty towards me reflects the prime minister's attempt to exhaust all his influence to hamper my (political) advancement.

“The judiciary also does not have the gumption to decide fairly on cases involving Pakatan Rakyat because it fears the backlash from Najib and therefore is forced to toe the line,” he said.
Facing an uphill battle

Meanwhile, Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah adjourned the matter to next Monday after hearing submissions on the application this morning.

Anwar's application is based on the ground that the integrity and impartiality of the entire prosecution team had been compromised as a result of the alleged affair between Mohd Saiful and Farah.

Yesterday, the court dismissed an application by Anwar to call both Mohd Saiful and Farah as witnesses to give evidence on their alleged affair.

Anwar's lawyers said previously that the sodomy trial had been compromised as a result of the relationship since Mohd Saiful could have had access to the details of the prosecution's strategy as well as to notes from other witnesses.

The prosecution however claimed that Farah was just a note-taker in the prosecution team and had no access to legal documents and other sensitive material.

Both Mohd Saiful and Farah have not said anything publicly about the alleged relationship.

The court also dismissed an application to cross-examine DPP Mohd Hanafiah Zakaria on the allegation that he hd flouted syariah laws in relation to his second marriage in Thailand.

Mohd Hanafiah had earlier filed a sworn affidavit testifying that prosecution's documents were not leaked to his colleague, Farah Azlina.

Anwar, who said that he was facing an uphill battle in his strike out application, added: "It is clear that there was an affair (between Mohd Saiful and Farah) to the point that they are afraid of denying it... why have they not challenged me on this and prove that my allegation is wrong."

"The abuses in my sodomy case are evident, but the judge has still failed to strike out the matter," he added.

Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair also told reporters that this client and the defence team had little hope in the court's decision, but urged the judge to exercise fairness in his judgment.

“We heard the prosecution's submissions today, and on Monday, we (the defence) will stress on why this case must be struck out. This slander (against Anwar) must be stopped since there are abuses by many quarters, including the deputy public prosecutor,” he added.

Mohd Saiful, a former aide to Anwar, had accused the opposition leader of sodomising him in a condominium in Damansara here.

Anwar, who was convicted of a similar offence in 1999, had dismissed the present case, like the one in the past, to be a political conspiracy against him.

'Selective' minimum wage policy

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today
FMT ALERT SHAH ALAM: The requirement to pay minimum wage for workers may not be made a national policy but applied only in certain sectors or industries, Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam said here today.
He said many countries that implemented minimum wage do not "do it at the national level" but more towards a certain industry's needs and capability.
However, even this needs further study, he said.
Subramaniam added that the Ministry would submit a working paper on this "partial" minimum wage policy later this month.

Yet another twist to RM4m Tamil school fund

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: A new twist has surfaced to the “mode of disbursement” of the RM4 million funding for Tamil schools in Selangor.
A group of PKR members have apparently met with Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and tried to convince him and other top-level leaders to set up an independent body to manage the fund.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source said they were trying to convince the MB to channel the funds through a soon-to-be-established independent body, which the source said will be helmed by prominent people.

"Yes, we have invited some prominent peoples to join the independent body. Some of them have agreed, while others have asked for time to think about it," he said.

The source, while not disputing the role and capability of State Executive Councillor for Education Halimah Ali (who is now in charge of the RM4 million funds), however, said the allocation would be better managed by the independent body.

Before Halimah stepped in, the RM4 million allocation was managed by another councillor Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, whose decision to disburse RM1.6 million to Tamil schools via three Indian NGOs came under heavy attack.

"We do not argue Halimah is the best person to manage the fund, but we believe it is better managed by our own people.

“We are committed to our work because we have extensive experience in dealing with Tamil school," the source told FMT.

According to him, the independent body will be established under Halimah's portfolio and it will advise her on how to assist Tamil schools.

He said chairmen of Parent-Teacher Associations or NGOs wishing to conduct programmes in Tamil schools could send their paperwork to the independent body for perusal.

“This independent body will decide whether to approve the allocation for the programme.

"We’re inviting MPs and state assemblymen not only from PKR but also from DAP and PAS to join us," said the source, who declined to name the elected representatives who were approached.

He also said that all the Selangor state Indian MPs and assemblymen will be part of the independent body when it is formed.

Selangor currently has three MPs – S Manickavasagam (Kapar), Charles Santiago (Klang), and R Sivarasah (Subang); and three state assemblymen – M Manoharan (Kota Alam Shah), M Muttiah (Bukit Melawati) and Jeyakumar (Seri Andalas).

The source said the other parties keen to join the independent body are businessman OMS Thiagarajan and organisations such as the Hindu Youth Organisation; Child Information, Learning and Development Centre (Child); the Tamil Foundation (TF); and Education, Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF).

Anwar’s order

Meanwhile, it is understood that PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has instructed Khalid to channel the funds through MPs and state assemblymen.

According to another insider, Anwar had directed Khalid that the Tamil school funds be handled by MPs and assemblymen for fear that the money will be abused by the PTA chairmen who are mostly MIC members.

The insider said Anwar had suggested this to Khalid at the party’s political bureau meeting last week.

“We know that most of the Tamil school PTA chairmen are MIC members. We are afraid that our money may be misused by them.

"We see Anwar’s suggestion as relevant because this is the only way for MPs and assemblymen to visit Tamil schools," the insider told FMT.

He added that at present, it is difficult for Pakatan representatives to visit schools because of Umno-BN political interference.

With the money in hand, the representatives can help the Tamil schools by handing over the cash for their programmes.

After Pakatan captured Selangor in the March 2008 polls, the state government set aside a RM4 million to upgrade Tamil schools.

Bakun dam delay worries Sarawak Hidro

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: The state government has still not given the green light for the impoundment of the RM7.3 billion Bakun dam, which is already behind schedule, and this is causing concern to Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd. The delay will cost Sarawak Hidro, the owner and developer of the dam, a staggering amount in interest payment on its loan to the Employees Provident Fund.

Sarawak Hidro is wholly owned by Minister of Finance Inc.

“From next year, an additional interest payment of RM10 million per month will be incurred as the dam is already five months behind schedule.

“It will take seven months from the impounding date for the dam to reach its minimum level in order to generate power,” Sarawak Hidro managing director Zulkiflie Osman told reporters recently.

Sarawak Hidro wanted the impoundment to begin by end-2010 to curb the adverse impact on costs, waiting time and staff morale.

But the state government appears hesitant, perhaps due to political consideration as the state election must be held before July next year.

“If the dam is to be impounded now, it will become a very hot political issue in the coming election and it may even cause the downfall of the state government,” said a veteran politician.

“From the moment the dam is impounded, there are fears that the mighty Rajang River may dry up even though there are some small rivers including the Baleh River to supply water to the Rajang River,” he said.

Backlash

But the water from these rivers may not be sufficient enough to make the Rajang River navigable.

“If the Rajang River should dry up, the people are worried that they may not be able to communicate by express boats. They will suffer economically, the fish and other marine life will diminish, and houses constructed along the river banks will be affected as the water level sinks. Houses will become cheap in downstream towns like Kapit, Kanowit, Sibu and Sarikei.

“People will start to migrate to other towns,” said the politician who declined to be identified.

Understandably, the state government is unwilling to take that risk even though consultants have assured them that nothing of that sort would happen.

But the people are unlikely to believe or trust the government.

These are the issues that the state government does not want the opposition to use to frighten the people in the coming election.

The delay is also expected to cause potential investors in Sarawak Corridor of Renewal Energy (SCORE) to put on hold their investments as they are uncertain of the power supply.

Many are thinking of diverting their investments elsewhere as they cannot wait much longer.

Profits

Besides political consideration, the delay could also be attributed to the on-going discussions between Sarawak Hidro and Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) for the sale of the dam to SEB.

Sources close to the state government said that SEB has offered to buy the dam for RM6 billion, but Sarawak Hidro wants to let it go for RM8 billion.

The state government, unhappy with the federal government’s decision to scrap the under cable transmission to the Peninsula, wants SEB to take full control of the project so that it can supply electricity to SCORE without any federal government influence.

Of course, the state government and SEB have other reasons for taking over the dam.

The dam will operate initially on one turbine that is capable of generating up to 300MW and, by the end of next year, between 600MW and 900MW will be available for use of industries in Sarawak.

Sarawak needs about 900MW.

By 2020, all the eight turbines will be fully utilised to produce 2,420MW and with power from the Murum dam, the total capacity can easily reach 3,344MW.

The 95-metre high Bakun dam is the second largest in the world and is expected to submerge an area of 700 sq km, displacing some 10,000 natives of Kayan, Kenyah and Penan origins.

In addition to the Bakun, Murum and Bengoh dams, the state government is planning to build 11 more dams in the state.

Dr M explains Malay political dominance over Chinese

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has bluntly said that Barisan Nasional (BN) will not give more political power to the Chinese until the Malays expand their economic stake in the country where he once preached unity under Bangsa Malaysia.

The former prime minister also said that PAS is wooing the Chinese just for votes to gain power, adding that “hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics”.

Writing in his popular blog last night, Dr Mahathir said he had to give the true reasons for the lack of Chinese in high posts after being “startled” by criticisms from an ex-lawmaker about the issue at a recent gathering.

“In the political field the Malays appear to be in control. Most of the high posts i.e. PM, MB etc are held by the Malays. If these posts are held by the Chinese, then not only will the economy be under Chinese control but the political arena would also be under the Chinese.

“What will be the Malay stake in the country?” Dr Mahathir wrote in the post titled “To be or not to be a racist”.

Noting that the New Economic Policy (NEP) had “been on now for almost 40 years, far longer than originally planned,” he said, “Admittedly the Malays had been at fault because they did not make correct use of the opportunities created for them in the NEP. “

“But whatever the reason, the Malays have not gained for themselves the 30 per cent target in corporate ownership even. But more than that if a proper audit is made their wealth is even less than 30 per cent of total wealth of the people of Malaysia.

“Most of the wealth of the country belongs to the Chinese. It can also be said that the Chinese control the economy of the country,” he stressed.

Dr Mahathir added that “the NEP is about giving the Malays a fair stake in the economy of the country. Should they get this then they should be ready to relinquish a commensurate amount of control in the political field.”

“Since they have not gained a fair share in the economy, then they should be allowed to retain this greater share in politics,” he reasoned.

His latest diatribe is a contrast to 1991 when he launched his “Vision 2020” for a developed Malaysia with the hope for a Bangsa Malaysia regardless of race.

The country’s longest-serving premier also answered the question about PAS appearing accomodating to Chinese religious practises.

“If PAS appears to be more accommodating of Chinese religious practices, it is simply because it wants Chinese votes. Remember at one time PAS condemned Umno for having MCA as a partner. Now PAS is willing to accept DAP as a partner. It is political hypocrisy, not sincere partnership.

“I am talking about racial issues simply because my questioner raised racial issues,” he added.

The veteran politician also dismissed the BN’s poor showing in Election 2008 as the consequence of Malaysians being “sick of racial parties and racial politics.”

“I doubt it. Since 2008 there have been more talks about race than previously. And my questioner has illustrated this amply. Race is still very clearly an issue in Malaysian politics.

“If PAS is extremely supportive of the Chinese today, it is not because the party has become disaffected with race and religion. It is simply because it wants to play up Chinese racial sentiments in order to win Chinese votes.

“Hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics,” Dr Mahathir concluded.

The country’s fourth prime minister recently said Malaysians did not understand Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia, a concept to unite all races behind the government in the aftermath of BN’s dismal electoral outing in 2008.

But BN’s political foe Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had said 1 Malaysia had failed and pointed to their own efforts to unite Malaysians with more places for non-Malay politicians, adding it should be on merit and not race.

Uncommon Sense with Wong Chin Huat: What does Malay unity mean?


“MALAY unity” and “Malay special rights” are grabbing headlines again. On 5 July 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reminded Malay Malaysians that they faced losing political power if they remained divided.  On 28 July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak warned the DAP not to highlight the issue of bumiputera and Malay Malaysian “special rights”. He said such discussions could instigate anger and dissatisfaction.
Such rhetoric has become commonplace in Malaysia. This week, The Nut Graph asks political scientist Wong Chin Huat to comment on what Umno leaders actually mean when they call for “Malay unity”, and what it would take for them to change their tune.
TNG: Do Malay Malaysians have to be “united” to “maintain political control”? Is “Malay unity” even possible? What exactly do Umno politicians mean when they say the Malays must be united?
Wong Chin Huat: “Unity” in Malaysian politics is actually a code word for “elimination of competition” and “one-party politics”. When politicians sing the tune of “Malay unity”, they are basically talking about building political monopoly to control the Malay Malaysian electorate.
Such a monopoly disadvantages both voters and politicians. Voters cannot play politicians off one another for a better deal if politicians were all united. Barring those already in dominant positions, politicians themselves would be denied the chance to compete and progress within their own party based on their strengths. Additionally, when you have no enemy out there, you fight among yourself. Competition is what politics is about, and how human societies operate.
Wanting to eliminate competition is naïve, or sinister, or both. Do we ever lament that hypermarket giants Tesco, Carrefour, Giant and Mydin are divided and engaging in competition, instead of cooperating to give consumers a better deal?
Ultimately, though, politicians’ need to compete will eventually terminate any unity arrangement. That’s why the Umno-PAS alliance in the Barisan Nasional (BN) from 1974 to1978 eventually broke down.
Is it true that non-Malay Malaysians are more united, as some politicians claim?
Would you say the non-Malay Malaysians are united when they have representations in [the different political parties of] the DAP, PKR, PAS, PSM, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, SUPP, SAPP, PRS, SDP, Upko, PBRS and LDP?
(Pic by Luc Viatour | Wiki commons)
(Pic by Luc Viatour | Wiki commons)
If non-Malay Malaysians appear more united rallying behind the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), it is simply because of the threat of Umno. Non-Malay unity will [really] materialise if Umno and PAS work together for “Malay unity”. That’s what happened in the aftermath of 13 May when the calls for both “Malay unity” and “Chinese unity” were popular.
Tony Pua‘s call for selective scrapping of bumiputera discounts for luxury houses led to a warning by Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan not to “play with fire”. How much longer do you think Umno can assert the “don’t mess with the Malays” rhetoric and survive in Malaysian politics?
The “don’t mess with the Malays” rhetoric survives on two premises. One, the myth that all Malay Malaysians, whether billionaires, labourers, farmers or the homeless, share the same interests and would act in concert. Two, the presumption that people can run amok and act violently and not be penalised because they were somehow instigated.
The first premise is collapsing as it cannot withstand the examination of common sense. What do poor bumiputera have to gain by defending the right of rich bumiputera to buy luxury houses? Will bumiputera billionaires [share their discounted bungalows with bumiputera labourers] for even a day?
The only “rationale” is that the poor bumiputera may hope to rise and somehow become rich, for example, by winning the lottery one day. The discourse of ethnic solidarity is very much one of gambling and get-rich-quick schemes. The premise seems to be this: If someone of the same skin colour or faith can enjoy the privilege of being rich, you can too one day. So, you must defend that probability with your life even if it is just a one-in-a-million chance.
The second premise is more dangerous. If there is impunity for violence, and one can threaten violence and not get punished, then unless final victory is assured and you are prepared for the sacrifice, it is more rational to back down. What this means is that even if the majority of people are rational, society can be held ransom by a militant minority that enjoys impunity for violence.
Ahmad Maslan must clarify what he meant by “play with fire”. He can easily rebut Pua’s suggestion with reason without the metaphor of fire. Does he imply riots and looting? If so, then Najib should sack him and police must investigate him for criminal intimidation. What reform is the prime minister talking about if a deputy minister thinks and speaks in this manner? Who will invest in a country ruled by the logic of violence?
Do the realities of grassroots sentiments push Umno to take the “ketuanan Melayu” stand to ensure voter support, or is it a miscalculation on their part about what the electorate wants?
No one miscalculates. It’s conflict of interest on different levels. Umno party members and the Malaysian citizenry at large are two different populations. Anyone in Najib’s position will realise the general mood of the nation is to move forward and away from ethno-religious politics. That’s the lesson PAS learned in the 2004 elections.
Ibrahim Ali
Ibrahim Ali
But Malay Malaysian politicians not in Najib’s position, from Muhyiddin to Datuk Ibrahim Ali, [have the incentive] to play to the gallery of Malay Malaysians who feel insecure about reforms. Or to those who dream of winning the lottery to become the next bumiputera billionaire. There is a natural constituency waiting for this kind of leadership.
Najib is strategically caught between two goals: on the one hand, fanning dissatisfaction among Malay nationalists against the PR; on the other, wooing the non-Malay Malaysian constituency with his 1Malaysia propaganda. It’s a challenging balancing act, but not mission impossible. All you need are collaborators in the traditional media and an unthinking public that only complains about politicking and refuses to analyse why.
What do you think it would take for Umno to try a different approach than their current “ketuanan Melayu” rhetoric?
Defeat or clear signs of defeat. If the 1Malaysia-Perkasa double-speak depletes non-Malay Malaysian support to a record low of 10%, while PR’s Malay Malaysian support remains at about 40% minimum, then Umno may become the opposition by the next elections. Umno will then realise Malaysians are too smart for their tricks. To avoid this Waterloo, they will have to drop the Perkasa approach and practise what they preach in 1Malaysia.
But there is a danger here. Like any other one-party regime, some in Umno will not bow out in any situation. If they lose the elections, they may resort to palace or military coups to stay in power or to force a coalition government.
Ultimately, Umno needs to transform itself into a democratic party – a party that unconditionally accepts multi-party democracy – before it will give up “ketuanan Melayu”. So, the key to evaluate Najib’s or Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin‘s credentials as “reformists” is not in their commitment to the New Economic Model, but in their willingness to bow out graciously should Umno lose the next poll.

Manipulasi Fakta Isu Diskaun, Muhyiddin Batu Api

Dari TV Selangor
Oleh Mohd Ezli Mashut

Ahli Parlimen Shah Alam, Khalid Samad melabel Timbalan Perdana Menteri,Muhyiddin Yasin sebagai ‘batu api’ kerana cuba melaga-lagakan parti gabungan Pakatan Rakyat khususnya DAP dan PAS dengan memanipulasi isu pemansuhan diskaun pembelian hartanah mewah.

Isu itu mendapat tempat dan ruang besar dalam media kawalan Umno Barisan Nasional hingga menimbulkan polemik berpanjang berikutan Umno memutar belit fakta dengan menuduh Pakatan Rakyat mahu memansuhkan hak keistimewaan bumiputera.

Hakikatnya, pemansuhan diskaun itu hanya melihatkan hartanah mewah manakala diskaun terhadap premis kos sederhana dan rendah terus kekal.

Cadangan pemansuhan diskaun berkenaan dibawa Ahli Parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua tetapi faktanya dimanipulasi dengan gambaran kononnya semua diskaun pembelian hartanah bumiputera, dimansuh.

Pada sidang media, Khalid Samad menegaskan golongan Bumiputera yang kaya tidak wajar memperoleh diskaun kerana ia hanya akan melebarkan lagi jurang dengan golongan berpendapatan rendah

“Memang pada dasarnya, kita ada satu Timbalan Perdana Menteri yang suka nak jadi batu api. Dia cuba laga-lagakan antara kenyataan Tony Pua dan Datuk Seri Guru Abdul Hadi sedangkan prinsip yang mahu dikemukakan ialah satu prinsip yang wajar untuk kita fikirkan bersama.

“Kita beri diskaun kepada orang Melayu, jurang antara Melayu yang kaya dan miskin tetapi akhirnya memberikan kelebihan kepada Melayu yang kaya kerana Melayu yang miskin,” katanya.

Beliau juga mencadangkan supaya pendekatan baru dirangka dalam menangani isu diskaun pembelian hartanah mewah supaya ia memberi manfaat secara langsung kepada bumiputera berpendapatan rendah.

“Saya mencadangkan pendekatan yang mengadunkan kedua-duanya apabila isu yang ditimbulkan Tony Pua ialah diskaun sepatutnya tidak diberi kerana mereka sudah kaya.

“Pada dasarnya, saya setuju,Datuk Seri Presiden menimbulkan persoalan istimewa orang Melayu dan keperluan untuk membantu masyarakat orang Melayu yang lagi ketinggalan dari segi ekonomi dan sebagainya,” katanya.

Khalid Samad mencadangkan supaya diskaun pembelian hartanah mewah disalur kepada pembelian rumah kos rendah dan sederhana.

“Apa yang nak dicadangkan ialah supaya diskaun yang dinafikan kepada orang kaya itu digunakan untuk memberikan diskaun yang lebih tinggi kepada rumah yang bawah RM500,000 dan bangunan komersil yang di bawah RM2 juta.

“Maknanya diskaun itu tidak ada tetapi digunakan untuk memungkinkan orang yang tak sekaya membeli rumah yang RM100,000, RM200,000 dan sebagainya tujuh diskaun,kita boleh cover diskaun rumah yang murah itu 10 peratus diskaun,” katanya.

Denying Anwar Natural Justice

By Dr Chen Man Hin

IT IS NATURAL JUSTICE FOR ANWAR IBRAHIM TO HAVE ACCESS TO ALL EVIDENCE IN SODOMY 2 TRIAL

Denial of clinical evidence from Anwar Ibrahim to defend himself to face a charge of sodomy is a denial of natural justice for Anwar. Before this, he was also denied of evidence several times on previous occasions in the course of the trial.

In any trial, any one charged with a crime, surely has a right to ask his accuser (the prosecution) to produce the evidence. To deny the accused of the so called charge is surely a denial of natural justice for the accused.

This is substantiated by a clause in the INTERNATIONAL COVENANT IN CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS passed by the United Nations, ‘which guarantees the accused the right to have adequate time and facilities to the preparation of defence. Article 14 (3) (6) of the Covenant guarantees that legal representation of the defendant should have access to all relevant material and evidence.’

A check on the covenant revealed that Malaysia has not ratified the covenant, nor is she a signatory. We have SUHAKAM which is supposed to uphold human rights in the country. Can SUHAKAM act on this?

Malaysia must observed human rights if there is sincerity to respect human rights. Suhakam should come up openly to support Anwar’s peitition in court to have access to all evidence which is currently withheld by the Prosecution.

THE WORLD IS WATCHING THE TRIAL OF ANWAR.

Al Gore and Paul Wolfowitz on August 4th told the Asian Wall Street Journal that although Anwar is tried in Malaysia, the trial is watched by interested leaders all over the world. Anwar’s trial is actually a trial before the people of the World. Al Gore said that it was a trial for democracy and justice. He is quite convinced that the charge of sodomy as trumped up, was purely to get rid of Anwar, as he was posing a threat to the Prime Minister Najib Razak.

DPM Muhyddin dismised Al Gore’e remarks claiming that he has no right to interfere in the affairs of the country. It is relevant to remind Muhiyddin, the persecution of Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar was an internal matter, but the whole world is clamouring for release of ASSK. So also in Anwar’s case the whole world is clamouring for a just and fair trial for Anwar.

Muhyiddin should not dismiss Al Gore’s comments carelessly, Al Gore was a vice president of America, he is a champion of a carbon free environment and a Nobel Laureate. He is a fighter for justice and during the early days of Reformasi, Al Gore defended Anwar at an Apec dinner meeting in Kuala Lumpur during Sodomy 1 days.

A TIMELY WARNING

A corrupt judiciary or unfair trials are one of the reasons why foreign investors fight shy of Malaysia, causing it to have a lower ranking in FDIs in Asean, below Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. A foreign investor would not put his money here, if he does not a get a fair trial, should his company be involved in a legal tussle.

Therefore, it would be prudent for PM Najib to ensure that Anwar get a fair trial, and to see that all evidence relevant to the Sodomy 2 trial be handed over to Anwar’s defence counsel. Not only are Malaysians watching, in fact, the WORLD IS WATCHING. WE WOULD ADVISE HIM TO DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST ANWAR.

Call for fair rules on conversion

The New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism and Taoism wants the authorities to come up with fairer regulations with regard to the family members of Muslim converts.

In a statement yesterday, its president, Reverend Dr Thomas Philips, said the move by the government to review regulations on the registration of Muslim converts would make no difference to the convert's family members.

"The fact remains that if the family members of the convert were given no reason whatsoever to suspect that the person had changed religion, why would they check that person's religious status.

"In most cases, it is the family members of converts who are experiencing legal consequences rather than the converts themselves."

He added that the regulations seemed to favour the convert in that the convert seemed to have the power to direct his children to be converted to Islam without the consent of his non-Muslim family members or spouse.

"This can be seen in the numerous news reports on several cases."

The council was responding to a New Straits Times front-page report on Friday, over the government's proposal to review the regulations pertaining to the registration of Muslim converts.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had said that the government was in the process of reviewing the regulations so that there would be no legal or religious repercussions over the status of converts.

He had said that, for the time being, the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) and other state religious departments would continue to use existing laws as it would take some time before any new regulation could be implemented.

Subsequently, the then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin, had said that upon conversion, Jakim and the National Registration Department would automatically document the particulars of the person so that the information would be made available to interested parties.

The council also urged the authorities to initiate legislation for a conversion bill, which would address the vital issues related to Muslim converts as it adversely affects their non-Muslim family members.

Philips said roundtable discussions should be held on the matter to avoid a convert's family from being victimised, especially when it concerned wealth distribution and inheritance.

The Taib saga continues

Have a look at the latest revelation in the ongoing saga of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Go here.

"Green" energy boom destroys tribes – new report

By SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE


Tribal peoples will be devastated by the current
boom in dam-building. © E. Lafforgue/Survival
To mark the UN Day of Indigenous People, Survival International has released a new report highlighting the devastating impact on tribal people of a massive boom in dam-building for hydropower.

Drawing on examples from Asia, Africa and the Americas, Survival’s report Serious Damage exposes the untold cost of obtaining ‘green’ electricity from large hydroelectric dams.


A rapid increase in global dam-building is currently under way. The World Bank alone is pouring $11bn into 211 hydropower projects worldwide.

The impact on tribal people is profound. One Amazonian tribe, the Enawene Nawe, has learnt that Brazilian authorities plan to build 29 dams on its rivers.
 Across the Amazon, the territories of five uncontacted tribes will be affected.


The Penan tribe in Sarawak face eviction to make way for a dam, and tribes in Ethiopia could be forced to rely on food aid if a dam being built on the famous Omo River is not halted. One man from the Omo Valley’s Kwegu tribe, said, ‘Our land has become bad. They closed the water off tight and we now know hunger. Open the dam and let the water flow.’

Hundreds of Brazilian tribespeople will gather this week to speak out about the controversial Belo Monte dam, which threatens several tribes’ land and vital food supplies.

Survival’s campaigners are available for interview.

Download the report
.

Taliban executes pregnant widow accused of adultery

The Taliban have been fighting Afghan and coalition forces for control of Afghanistan.

The Taliban have been fighting Afghan and coalition
forces for control of Afghanistan.
 

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Taliban has executed a pregnant widow accused of adultery in western Afghanistan, provincial and district officials said Monday.

The 47-year-old woman, Sanam Gul, also known as Sanam Bibi, was killed in Badghis province Saturday morning, said Ashrafuddin Majidi, the provincial governor's spokesman.

The district governor of Qades, Hashim Habibi, confirmed the execution. He said the woman was accused of adultery that left her pregnant. The Taliban shadow district governor, Mullah Abdul Hakim, and his judge ordered the woman to be executed, he said.

Mohammad Yousuf, a Taliban commander, carried out the execution, shooting the woman in her head, Habibi said.

1st National Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Convention

Indira's wait continues for daughter

(Malaysiakini) The legal team for kindergarten teacher M Indira Gandhi has been frustrated in its bid to serve a custody order on her former husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah @ K Pathmanathan.

Mohd Riduan is believed to be living in Kelantan with their youngest daughter Prasana Diksa, aged two, whom he has refused to surrender to her following his conversion to Islam.

She took her case to the Ipoh High Court, which awarded her custody on March 11 and gave weekly visiting rights to their father. Their two older children are already living with Indira.

NONEIndira's lawyer M Kulasegaran (right) was to have travelled to Kelantan yesterday to personally serve the custody order at the office of Mohd Riduan's lawyers.

On Saturday evening, however, he received a phone call from one of Riduan's lawyers claiming that their client could not be contacted and advising Kulasegaran not to travel out.

Kulasegaran said today that he would resort to a substitute process - by way of an application giving the reasons why the court's order cannot be personally served on Riduan.

The court will then give a ruling to either serve the order at Mohd Riduan's last-known address or to place advertisements in the newspapers.

“We will soon file the application in the Ipoh High Court,” said the lawyer.

'Police should help'


He said Indira can only go for a contempt of court ruling against her husband if the court's order to surrender the child has been served on Riduan.

Kulasegaran also asked the police and relevant authorities to help track Mohd Riduan, so that Prasana can be returned to her mother.

Mohd Riduan had earlier said he would only abide by the Syariah Court ruling that gave him custody of the children, who he had converted to Islam without their mother's knowledge.

On July 28, the High Court allowed Indira leave (permission) to apply to quash the certificates of conversion to Islam of the children.

Teoh’s family mum on rumours of suicide note

 SHAH ALAM, Aug 9 – The family of Teoh Beng Hock refused to be drawn into speculation that a suicide note was the “new evidence” which the prosecution wanted raised during the inquest into the political aide’s death today.

“Ask our lawyer and the Attorney-General,” said Teoh’s sister Lee Lan.

She said any new evidence should have been raised by the prosecution at the start of the inquest.

“This should have been brought up one year ago, not today. This is an abuse of process,” she said.

Lee Lan (picture) was speaking after she and her family met DAP’s parliamentary adviser Lim Kit Siang.

The Ipoh Timur MP said the public just wants to know if he was “pushed to his death”.

“Any distractions undermines public confidence in the inquest,” said Lim.

He said the inquest should not disappoint the people and the truth should come out.

Lim added that he was not in the position to say if the new evidence was really a suicide note.

“I have not seen it, so I don’t know,” he said.

Rumours about the existence of a Teoh’s suicide note in Chinese has been raised by Senator Ezam Mohd Noh and has been circulating on the internet.

However, Teoh’s former boss Ean Yong Hian Wah today dismissed the speculation.

“I knew him and there was no reason for him to kill himself,” said the Selangor executive councillor.

Ean, who is also Selangor DAP chairman, also pointed out that his political aid was going to get married the very day his body was found.

“He was happy and I heard him speaking to his mother and fiancee.”

Counsel for Teoh’s family Gobind Singh Deo today accused the Attorney-General’s Chambers of withholding evidence which may have “changed the course of the Teoh Beng Hock inquest”.

Penan issue: Taib expresses regret over NGOs' unfriendly views

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has expressed regret over the issue of the Penans being hurled at the state all the time by "unfriendly" non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly foreign NGOs, which he said held the wrong view that they should be left to roam the jungles like the orang utans.
However, he said, if the government left the Penans to roam like animals in the forests, then the state would be accused by human rights groups of not doing its duty to help them develop.
"To date, some 500 of the Penans are still wandering as nomads in the forests," he said during a recent interview with a British television station at Oxford, near London.
Extracts of the interview were made available in a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office here today.
Nevertheless, Taib said, he was happy that most of the Penans had begun to settle down while some of them had been able to earn a good income from cultivating oil palm.
He said there were Penans among the civil servants, and added that they excelled in education at school.
"Although they are late starters, they are increasingly becoming part of the Sarawak community," he said.
Taib said his visit to London was to look into the possibility of tapping the expertise and knowledge of the academia, particularly those at Oxford, on how to get in touch with big investors and players in the global market to participate in the development of the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub in Sarawak.
Also present at the interview were Sarawak Land Development Minister James Jemut Masing, Deputy Foreign Minister Richard Riot and Kuala Rajang MP Norah Abdul Rahman.
- Bernama

Perkasa wants columnist to be put under ISA [video]



By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: Malay-right wing NGO Perkasa today lodged a police report against well-known political analyst and columnist Helen Ang over a “seditious” article titled “Enforcing NEP on minority religions”.
According to Perkasa Youth chief Arman Azhar Abu Hanifah, the article was posted on Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) website on Aug 4.

He said it contained derogatory remarks against the Bumiputeras, Islam and the King.
Giving an example, Arman said the columnist had questioned the reciting of prayers by Muslims in schools, despite the presence of other races.

“She should not have questioned this because Islam is the official religion of the country and that is why we need to respect it.

“It does not mean that if we recite our prayers, we are denouncing the existence of other religions. Reciting prayers is just part of the Muslim culture,” he said.

He also said that Ang has “belittled” Islam and incited hatred among the races in the country.
“We think that the article would create racial tensions and also threaten national security because it is seditious in nature.

“We want the authorities to use the Sedition Act or Internal Security Act against her,” said Arman.

An agenda to create tension?

Arman vowed to reveal the “real truth” behind Ang, who he claimed has links with controversial left-wing blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

“According to my sources, she is Raja Petra’s protégé and sponsored by him as well. The sources also told me that she was moulded and planted by Raja Petra,” he said.

Although he said he did not have evidence to that effect against Ang, he nevertheless reaffirmed that she was part of Raja Petra’s funded movement.

“If I get proof, I would report it. This is part of her political agenda... to create tension among fellow Malaysians,” he said.

In her writing, Ang portrayed how the non-Malays had become the victims of the affirmative action strategies in the NEP which seeks to boost the Bumiputeras' economic standing.

Support letter probe complete, DPP to decide next step

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Police have wrapped up investigations into the alleged misuse of Selangor exco Ronnie Liu's letterhead and seal in letters of support purportedly used by Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock to obtain contracts for his cronies and family.

The investigation papers have been handed over to the Attorney-General's Chambers to decide if anyone will be charged over the matter.

On July 31, Tee was sacked by the DAP disciplinary committee for the alleged offence. This Thursday, Liu himself will be facing the disciplinary committee to explain the issue as Tee claimed that he had acted on Liu's orders.

Due to face the committee is also Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim, who posted the controversial "OMG! real culprit freed" tweet following Tee's sacking.

"We have completed investigations and have sent our case files over to the state prosecution department, which will then hand it to Putrajaya to decide on the case.

"We await further instructions on whether there is anything else to clarify or whether anyone will be charged," said Selangor commercial crime investigation department deputy chief Supt Mohd Sakri Arifin.

However, Mohd Sakri revealed that police investigations into the case focused on fraud and not corruption, as the case was classified under Section 468 and 471 of the Penal Code, which was for forgery (for the purpose of cheating) and using (as genuine) a forged document.

Asked if the case will be referred to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Mohd Sakri said he was unsure but it was possible that the MACC could continue investigations if so instructed by the DPP.

Internal power struggle

Investigations into Liu's letters of support were spurred by three police reports, two lodged by MCA members, which called on the police to investigate the scandal based on media reports. Several witnesses were called in, including Liu and Tee, to have their statements taken.

Over the past few weeks, Selangor DAP was in the headlines for an alleged internal power struggle between rival factions within the party -- the letterhead fiasco is believed to be an extension of the struggle.

It was reported that Tee, the former Selangor DAP organising secretary and special assistant to Liu, was alleged to have secured contracts worth more than RM1 million for some 20 companies and one for his own son with letters of support with Liu's letterhead.

Tee, a councillor since 2008, had maintained that he had acted with Liu's blessings and also vehemently denied knowledge of his son's directorship.

Today, media reports revealed two new letters of support apparently signed by Liu in 2008 and 2009 to support several companies for jobs worth some RM1 million.

The emergence of these letters could potentially exonerate Tee, as it seemd to indicate that Liu had already given Tee's son the greenlight even before Tee himself "issued" the said letter of support in August 2008.

Following this, Liu -- the Pandamaran state assemblyman -- suspended three aides and has removed all letterheads and seals from his service centre in Pandamaran.

The controversy has also prompted several quarters in the Pakatan-led Selangor government to call for an end to the culture of issuing support letters, a practice said to be a remnant of Barisan Nasional's rule.

IGP’s tenure: Is Hisham making an about-turn?

By Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today,

PUTRAJAYA: Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today apparently contradicted what he said last March about appointing a new Inspector-General of Police to replace Musa Hassan.

Speaking to reporters here, he said he had not decided whether to let Musa stay on after Sept 12, the date his contract ends.

He was not so undecided last March 15.

“I already know who is going to replace the IGP,” he said then, reacting to speculation about Musa’s tenure.

“I already know those who will take over, so there is no need for us to speculate and report news without basis.” He was speaking to reporters covering Parliament.

Today, responding to a reporter’s question, he said: “It’s not yet appropriate to decide on the matter.”

He was speaking at a press conference that followed an official function at the police headquarters here.

He told reporters to await an announcement about Musa’s position.

Musa, 59, was supposed to have retired last Sept 13, but his contract was extended for a year.
Status on party organs
Hishammuddin was also asked to update the public on the delay in renewing the publishing permits of opposition newspapers Suara Keadilan and Rocket.
He said his deputy Abu Seman Yusop was monitoring the situation.

"What is important is that there are guidelines, and the Attorney-General had also stated that there must be guidelines so that everyone understands what can and cannot be done," he said.

He said if they refused to abide by the guidelines, the ministry would take appropriate action.

On July 1, the Home Ministry decided not to renew the publication permit for Suara Keadilan as it was dissatisfied with the explanation given by the newspaper's editorial board on several matters including the publication of the article entitled 'Felda Bangkrap' (Felda Bankrupt).

The DAP meanwhile received two show-cause letters for the English and Mandarin editions of the newspaper 'Rocket' whose permits expired on June 30 and Nov 30 last year.

766 settlers sue Felda for RM200 million

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today,

SEREMBAN: A group of 766 settlers from Felda Serting and Felda Raja Alias from Jempol, Negeri Sembilan filed a suit against Felda and Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd for fraud and breach of trust and claiming losses of more than RM200 million at the Seremban 2 Court complex this morning.
The 766 settlers are from Felda Serting Hilir Kompleks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7 from Air Hitam, Jempol and also from Felda Raja Alias 1, 2, 3 and 4 from Serting, Jempol.

They are represented by lawyer R Sivarasa, assisted by Latheefa Koya and T Kumar. Also present was the representative of the settlers Karip Mohd Salleh.

Speaking to reporters at a presss conference in the compound of the Seremban 2 High Court, Sivarasa, who is also the Subang MP and PKR vice president, alleged that the settlers were paid at a lower rate of the oil palm extraction grade (Kadar Perahan Gred or KPG) averaging at 18.9 percent for the last 15 years.

"The settlers suspected something was amiss when they realised that they could not match the recommended rate from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board which was higher at 22 percent.

"In March and July this year, the settlers sent their fruit yields samples to two different independent laboratories to assess the actual rate of the KPG and the results showed a much higher rate of 24 percent and 25.5 percent.

"This is a 6 to 6.5 percent more than what the rate Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd used," said Sivarasa to which the crowd responded with 'Felda Penipu'.

Accumulative losses for 15 years

According to Sivarasa, based on the six percent losses of the fruits yield on the oil palm extraction grade for the year 2008, each Felda settlers from the group 766 faced losses amounted to RM20,039.05 each for the year 2008 alone.

"That means for 2008, the total amount losses for the 766 Felda settlers was RM15,349,912.00.

"We are claiming for the losses from year 1995 till 2010 with four percent interest annually. So the accumulative losses for a period of 15 years will be more than RM200 million," explained Sivarasa to cheers from a 300 capacity crowd.

The settlers are also claiming examplary damages and eight percent of the total losses and damages.

Also present was the National Felda Settler Childrens Association's (Anak) president Mazlan Aliman; Negeri Sembilan PAS commisioner Zulkefly Mohamad Omar; Jempol PAS chief Abdul Rahman Ramli and Negeri Sembilan PKR secretary Sabaruddin Mohd Yassim.

More than 300 of the affected settlers were present in the vicinity of the court to show their solidarity.

Interviewing fugitive Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin


 Ben Bland, Guardian UK

I met Raja Petra Kamarudin, one of Malaysia's best known bloggers, at a recent press conference in London, after spotting his trademark beret in the crowd. I subsequently interviewed him for a piece that's been published in The Guardian today.

RPK, as he's usually known, fled Malaysia after hearing that he was about to be detained without trial for a third time under the Internal Security Act, which was bequeathed by the British colonial regime.

But the same colonial legacy that threatened his freedom also proved to be his salvation. As he was born in the UK before Malaysia obtained independence, he has right of abode here.

Many senior members of the ruling United Malays National Organisation have called on RPK to come back to Malaysia and clear his name if he really believes he is innocent of the sedition and criminal defamation charges that have been levelled against him.

But, RPK says, he is less concerned about those charges than the fact that the government seems determined to detain him without trial again - the home ministry is still trying to overturn RPK's successful appeal against his ISA detention in 2008.

In any case, he says that it is for the prosecution to prove his guilt, not for him to prove his innocence.

"If the Malaysian government wants to prove my guilt, they will have to apply to extradite me and for them to be able to, they will have to satisfy a British court that I am guilty. Does the Malaysian government have the guts to try to convince a British court that I'm guilty? Because the standards set by a British court are very different."

Now that his Malaysian passport has expired. RPK is effectively stuck in the UK. Although he is free to remain in the UK, he has no official travel document so cannot leave the country.

But the chirpy trouble-maker doesn't seem too perturbed, saying he may even opt to stay in the UK if the charges against him are dropped by a future Malaysian government.

In the globalised era, distance is no bar to speaking truth to power and RPK has continued to be a thorn in the side of the Malaysian establishment from his Manchester base.

The success of his Malaysia Today website, which he says gets up to 1 million hits a day, is partly due to his high-level contacts within the establishment. RPK told me that he's twice been visited in the UK by a senior UMNO figure "of ministerial level".

Like all high-profile bloggers, he's also extremely prolific and spends "10-14 hours a day, seven days a week" working on his website, assisted by a team of Malaysian volunteers spread around the world.

http://uk.asiancorrespondent.com/the-asia-file

Do we go with a third force? Let me walk you through this

By Haris Ibrahim,

At the time of writing up this post, my ‘Enter the Third Force’ post had elicited 82 comments in this blog and another 26 comments at the MalaysiaToday link.
Many have been critical of the idea of a third force.
Equally, many have voiced concerns about the possibility of such an initiative literally handing constituencies over to BN arising from 3-corner contests, or diluting Pakatan Rakyat’s pull with voters, or even confusing voters in some constituencies.
This criticism is good. It means we are thinking. This is what we need.
I want to address the issue of sufficiency in numbers of quality candidates here, but let me first quickly say that the initiative that we have in mind envisages a close level of co-operation between Pakatan Rakyat and the third force.
The third force is not in competition with Pakatan Rakyat.
As I said in the earlier post, we are working on a common aspiration : to kick BN out come the 13th GE.
As such, no question of 3-corner fights arise.
More on this later.
For the moment, lets forget about the state seats and turn our focus to the parliamentary seats.
Presently, there are 222.
A redilineation exercise  is due by next year.
We do not know how many new parliamentary seats will be created through that exercise.
So lets just stick to the existing number of 222 for our present discussion.
BN hold 137, Pakatan have 76 and there are 9 independent MPs.
In the 13th GE, Pakatan must not only strategise to defend their 76 seats, but most also look to field another 146 candidates to take on BN and the independents in the other constituencies.
Those of us working on the third force initiative would not have even bothered with this effort if we thought Pakatan had the requisite number of candidates to field for all 222 seats come the next GE.
Do they?
Do they have in their ranks 222 good, honest women and men to offer as candidates come the 13th GE?
To the extent that they might not, that is where the third force hopes to augment the Pakatan Rakyat by making available indepependent candidates who will, without joining any of the parties, stand on a Pakatan ticket.
It has been done before.
Wee Choo Keong of MDP stood on a PKR ticket in Wangsa Maju.
Dr Jeyakumar of PSM stood on a PKR ticket in Sungai Siput.
We need to know early if Pakatan Rakyat have enough good candidates to field in all the seats.
If they have enough, good.
If not, the third force would like to make available candidates to supply the shortfall.
Anwar, to his credit, admitted that he made mistakes in the selection of candidates in the last election.
We’ve seen the whore and the cash vendor from DAP cross over to BN.
Hassan Ali of PAS has been causing havoc in Selangor.
All three Pakatan parties have had their share of nightmares in the selection of candidates.
When do we get to find out if Pakatan have got 222 candidates of unquestionable integrity to field in the next election?
On the eve of nomination day?
Why is there the need to hold close to the chest the identities of candidates?
They used to tell us that if the details of candidates were known early, those candidates would be approached by the other side with enticements!
Isn’t that the very candidate that we do not want to have?
Another reason is that if it is known too early who the candidate is, other hopefuls will not work for the party or may even work to sabotage.
Are weaknesses in the party rank and file reason enough to keep constituents in the dark as to who is being offered by Pakatan until the eleventh hour, by which time there is little time to source another candidate from civil society?
Let’s forget for the moment the 146 seats held by BN and independent candidates, and turn our attention to the 76 seats presently held by Pakatan.
Are they all MP material?
If any one of the 76 is your MP, can you say that they have lived up to your expectations?
Would you vote for them again come the 13th GE?
And if you would not, are you not entitled to know at the earliest if he or she is being replaced and, if so, by who?
Would they stand up to a benchmark?
Could we set a benchmark?
In an earlier post, I had asked commentators to share their thoughts on a criteria by which we should measure our MPs.
32  responded.
My2cen suggested that an MP should be highly intelligent, have a good grasp of our Malaysian history & lots of respect for it’s multiculturalism, know enough of the law to be able to understand the proposed bills/laws to be implemented, or propose new bills/laws that are more current and benefit the people as a whole, can articulate well and highlight to us any adverse laws and policies that are being contemplated, or already implemented by the govt that should be scrapped, and have a good sense of humour.
Could we use this as an initial benchmark to measure the present Pakatan MPs?
Nutgraph carried out an MP Watch effort, where they posed 6 questions to all MPs. Some responded. Others did not.
Could this effort, too, be used to measure the 76 Pakatan MPs?
I’m also aware of an internal effort at PKR to come up with a criteria for candidate selection.
Would it not be a good idea if Pakatan set up a joint committee with civil society to come up with that criteria, so that public expectation is not overlooked when the three parties sit to pick their candidates?
In the very first post in this blog, I wrote :
“This blog, then, is about civil society reclaiming its power to determine who are the law-makers in Parliament today who are worthy of the trust reposed in them by the people and if, sadly, we discover there are none presently, to make an informed decision of who we will next install in the people’s parliament”.
I vote in the PJ Selatan constituency. I voted for YB Hee Loy Sian. I propose to now appraise his performance over the last two years with a view to deciding if he has been worthy of my vote and is worthy of a second term come the 13th GE.
If YB Hee fails, I will turn to PKR to ask who will be fielded in his place, as I am entitled to know early if the replacement is acceptable or whether I need to source a candidate from elsewhere.
I welcome any other PJ Selatanites to join me in this effort. Send me an e-mail at thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com if you would care to work on this effort.
Similarly, if any other readers from the other constituencies would like to form a group to measure your respective Pakatan MP, drop me an e-mail at thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com, stating your name, constituency and contact number and a I will try to help put your group together.

TO BE OR NOT TO BE A RACIST

1. Recently I had occasion to talk to a group of former state and federal members of the Barisan Nasional.

2. I had extolled on the virtues of the BN coalition type of Government and the achievements under the BN Government at State and Federal levels.

3. Then came question time. Very sensible questions were posed by these ex-YB's and I managed to answer them reasonably well.

4. Then an ex-MP or State Councillor rose and pointed out that under the Opposition Government he sees more Chinese holding high posts in the Government. The component parties also seem to be working much closer with each other. As an example, PAS women members not only attended the funeral of a Chinese but also helped to fold the paper money usually scattered at Chinese funerals.

5. Why is it that the BN did not give more posts to the Chinese and appoint Chinese Deputy PM and assistants to the state MB's? Why is Umno less tolerant of Chinese religious ceremonies?

6. I was startled by this criticism of the BN by an ex-member of the State or Federal BN Government. Do I answer truthfully or do I skip and gloss over things in order not to sound racist? But then in asking the question, isn't the questioner being racist?

7. After the forum I debated with myself and finally decided that I must give the true reason for the fewer positions given to the Chinese in the BN Governments, and Umno appears to be less accommodating of Chinese religious practices.

8. The NEP has been on now for almost 40 years, far longer than originally planned. Admittedly the Malays had been at fault because they did not make correct use of the opportunities created for them in the NEP. But whatever the reason, the Malays have not gained for themselves the 30% target in corporate ownership even. But more than that if a proper audit is made their wealth is even less than 30% of total wealth of the people of Malaysia. Most of the wealth of the country belongs to the Chinese. It can also be said that the Chinese control the economy of the country.

9. In the political field the Malays appear to be in control. Most of the high posts i.e. PM, MB etc are held by the Malays. If these posts are held by the Chinese, then not only will the economy be under Chinese control but the political arena would also be under the Chinese. What will be the Malay stake in the country?

10. The NEP is about giving the Malays a fair stake in the economy of the country. Should they get this then they should be ready to relinquish a commensurate amount of control in the political field. Since they have not gained a fair share in the economy, then they should be allowed to retain this greater share in politics. If PAS appears to be more accommodating of Chinese religious practices, it is simply because it wants Chinese votes. Remember at one time PAS condemned Umno for having MCA as a partner. Now PAS is willing to accept DAP as a partner. It is political hypocrisy, not sincere partnership.

11. I am talking about racial issues simply because my questioner raised racial issues. It is said that the poor showing of the BN in 2008 was because the people of Malaysia were sick of racial parties and racial politics. I doubt it. Since 2008 there have been more talks about race than previously. And my questioner has illustrated this amply. Race is still very clearly an issue in Malaysian politics.

12. If PAS is extremely supportive of the Chinese today, it is not because the party has become disaffected with race and religion. It is simply because it wants to play up Chinese racial sentiments in order to win Chinese votes.

13. Hypocrisy is very much alive in Malaysian politics.