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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hisham! Where's the Chinese school you promised?

By FMT Staff

SHAH ALAM: The community at Putra Heights here want the federal government to fulfil its pledge to build a Chinese school for their school-going children.

According to the SRJK(C) Tun Tan Siew Sin working committee, former education minister Hishammuddin Hussein had promised in 2006 to construct a school in the area.

But four years have passed and there has been no indication of a school coming up.

According to committee chairman Chong Thim Siew, the 500 students living in Putra Heights have to travel six to 16km to their respective schools.

The nearest schools are SRK Wawasan and USJ23 secondary school, which are 10km and 6km away respectively.

The Subang Jaya Chinese School is 16km away from Putra Heights.

'Ninth Malaysia Plan almost over'

“We urge the government to immediately build a school here so that it can be used for the 2012 session.

"It is a situation of utmost urgency as we have been informed that the neighbouring schools are all almost packed for the 2011 session,” Chong told reporters here.

He said on July 8, 2006, Hishammuddin had announced that the government will build the school under the Ninth Malaysia Plan but until now nothing has been done.

“The promises have remained just that... pledges. It’s been four years and the Ninth Malaysia Plan is almost over... and there is no indication of a school coming up,” Chong said, adding that the community had lived in Putra Heights for over 10 years.

Throngs of parents, who attended the press conference, also signed a petition urging the government to keep its promise. The petition is to be forwarded to the relevant ministry.

Beng Hock's real new note

By Kee Thuan Chye - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT 'I am writing this note to absolve the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of any involvement in my death on July 16, 2009...Teoh Beng Hock'

My fellow Malaysians,

I am writing this note to absolve the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of any involvement in my death on July 16, 2009. This is something I’m doing at my own initiative. Nobody asked me to write it. And it would be ridiculous for anyone to think that I was tortured to do it.

I am placing this note in my bag in the hope that it will be found by the investigating officers. If it is sent for verification, I hope it will be concluded that this is in my handwriting. I hope no one will think that this note was planted.

It is likely that when someone finds it, they might not understand what it’s about because it’s written in Chinese, and they might just chuck it aside. But I hope in time it will be brought to light. I suppose it won’t matter if the note becomes public knowledge even a year later, as long as it serves the cause of justice.

People might think it suspicious that an important piece of evidence like this should surface so long after, but I hope they will understand that any mysterious death must have its twists and turns. Otherwise, it won’t be a mystery any more.

People often think that real life cannot have the kinds of complications they see in soap operas, but they should realise that truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction.

There may be an inquest held after my death to find out what actually happened. I hope this note will clear the air and put to rest all the speculation that would have arisen over it.

I’m sorry if the Attorney-General’s office is going to be caught in a bind when this note is found. Because it will seem to many sceptics that it was fabricated and planted.

I hope the AG will be prudent enough to inform the lawyers involved in the inquest about my note and even let them have a look at it beforehand, instead of suddenly springing it on them at the inquest.
Being very careful and thorough in carrying out its procedures, the AG’s office will probably send the note for verification by the relevant department. But this could take some time.

When the document examiners come back with their report, the AG himself might not even be convinced that the note is genuine. He might still need to talk to whoever found the note in order to be satisfied that it is genuine. I hope he will do this quickly, because if he sits on it too long, people might wonder why. Besides, if the AG is not convinced, he would surely not tender this note as evidence at the inquest.

However, it is not easy to keep a piece of evidence in total secret. Information about this note might somehow leak out, and Ezam Mohd Noor, who used to be with us in Pakatan Rakyat but decided to return to Umno, might bring it up in the Senate. This would then exert undue pressure on the AG’s office to decide what to do next.

To deflect accusations that it is trying to suppress or withhold evidence, the AG’s office might then bring the matter up at the inquest and direct the person who found this note to explain in court how he found it.

Of course, it might seem odd then that this note should be revealed so long after the AG’s office received it, and that it should be so suddenly introduced at the inquest. Speculation will spread that the AG is siding the MACC and helping it to clear itself of what happened to me. People would ask why the AG did not seek clarification from the person who found the note much earlier, and once and for all decide whether it was genuine.

It will not look good. Especially since a few other things might have happened in the inquest to suggest that there are attempts at a cover-up. I can’t tell the future but perhaps some forensic expert from somewhere might conduct an exhumation of my remains and conclude that I did not kill myself.

And if this person were to testify at the inquest that this was so, people might start to think that the AG’s introduction of my note was being aimed at debunking the expert’s testimony. The timing would look suspicious.

This matter of my death could really get out of hand. Some people might even think the government is also behind the fabrication of this note even though that would be a bit far-fetched. And of course, they would also wonder how Ezam managed to find out about this note.

I hope the AG will be prudent enough to inform the lawyers involved in the inquest about my note and even let them have a look at it beforehand, instead of suddenly springing it on them at the inquest. My intention in writing this note is for things to be done properly. If they are not, that would defeat its purpose.

It would be ironic if this note turned out to make the AG’s office and the MACC look bad.


Teoh Beng Hock

Zaid denies gunning for PKR No 2 post

PETALING JAYA: PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim has denied media speculation that he will be vying for the deputy president post in the coming party elections.

In a brief statement today, the former law minister and PKR Federal Territories chief dismissed the media reports as untrue.

“I have no plans nor interest to fight for any party position. I will serve the party in whatever position chosen supported and endorsed by (PKR supremo) Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

“My priorities are strenghtening PKR and Pakatan Rakyat in ensuring victory in the next general election,” he added.

The deputy president post is expected to witness a tussle after its incumbent Syed Husin Ali is not expected to defend it.

The favourite to fill up the vacancy is current vice-president and Gombak MP Azmin Ali, the former political aide of Anwar when the latter was deputy prime minister.

However, speculation is rife that Zaid, a former Umno MP, might attempt to go for the seat during the party's November polls.

There is also talk of friction between Azmin's camp and Zaid, with the former seeing the latter as a threat to their political advancement.

During April's Hulu Selangor by-election where Zaid was defeated by Barisan Nasional's P Kamalanathan, allegations of sabotage had emerged.

Certain quarters claimed that Azmin's camp had deliberately worked against the PKR candidate, fearing that if Zaid was victorious, it would put him on equal standing with Azmin as a MP and further strengthen his clout in the party.

However, Azmin and other PKR leaders denied this, while Zaid remained tightlipped on the matter.

Zaid had joined PKR in June 2009 after quitting Umno.

In September 2008, he relinquished his ministerial post after disagreeing with the government's decision to arrest opposition leader, Teresa Kok, popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and a Chinese daily reporter under the Internal Security Act.

'Racism in learning', Hindraf wants India's help

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The Hindu Rights Action Force, now known as Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, wants the Indian government to provide an educational lifeline for Malaysian Indian students.

Hindraf, which has constantly accused the Umno-led government of racism, believes that deserving Indian students here are being left in the lurch because of a discriminatory policy.

The movement, which was banned by the government, wants the Indian government to provide them with scholarships instead.

In view of this, Hindraf will submit a memorandum to the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur regarding the matter.

“We want the Indian government to know that our children are denied Public Service Department scholarships and matriculation courses due to a race-based policy,” its national information coordinator S Jayathas told FMT.

“We want Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide full scholarships to bright Malaysian Indian children and provide places for them to study in India,” he added.

Jayathas said the memorandum will be submitted on Sunday, in conjuction with India's independence day, and the commission has been notified of this.

The gathering would take place at 2pm and more than 100 people are expected to attend.

Last Sunday, Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar accused Umno of perpetuating genocide on the Indian community here.

In a hard hitting speech at the movement's national convention, he claimed that the Malay party was attempting to destroy the community's herigate.

“They destroy our temples, cemeteries and schools. They deny scholarships for our children. If this is not ethnic cleansing, what else am I to call it?” he asked.

In November 2007, Uthayakumar and four others led a mammoth protest in Kuala Lumpur, which saw tens of thousands of Malaysian Indians taking to the streets.

The Hindraf rally was credited as being the political awakening of the community, which paved the way for the Indians to vote for the opposition in the 2008 general election.

Shortly after the protest, the five Hindraf leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act and were released in 2009.

Suicide bombers attack guest house in Afghan capital

 Afghan police stand guard near the scene of a suicide bomb attack at a guest house in Kabul on August 10, 2010.
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Two suicide bombers attacked a guest house in central Kabul Tuesday, killing three people, said Afghanistan's Interior Ministry.

The house in the Taimani neighborhood was being used by a British security company, a local security service staff member told CNN.

Two drivers for the security company and a gate guard were killed, said Interior spokesman Zamari Bashari.

The two suicide bombers died as well, he added.

Bung’s jail time cut to RM1,000 fine

Bung Moktar and Zizie (right) arrive at the Gombak Lower Syariah Court May 19, 2010. — file pic

SHAH ALAM, Aug 11 – A teary-eyed Datuk Bung Moktar Radin hugged his second wife, actress Zizie Izette A. Samad, after the Syariah High Court here quashed his one-month jail sentence for committing polygamy without the consent of court.

Selangor chief syarie judge Mukhyuddin Ibrahim had earlier reduced the Kinabatangan MP’s jail sentence to a maximum fine of RM1,000.

Mukhyuddin explained that the one-month jail sentence was not suitable as it was Bung’s first offence and he had no previous criminal record.

He added that while Bung is a member of parliament, he was not involved in formulating and amendment of Islamic law in the state of Selangor.

“As this is a first offence and the appellant has a great responsibility to the family and society, I believe that a prison sentence will affect his responsibilities to the family. Also suffering by the family can lead to problems.

“In addition, the reputation and image of appellant as a member of parliament will be viewed negatively by society if the prison sentence imposed,” he said.

Bung Moktar and actress Zizie Izette A. Samad had pleaded guilty at the Gombak Timur Lower Syariah Court to the charge of committing polygamy without the consent of court and a marriage registrar on April 20.

Zizie was slapped with a RM1,000 fine, or one month’s jail in lieu, for the offence.

The couple were also handed a RM1,000 fine, or six months jail in lieu, for abetting in polygamy.

The Syariah High Court endorsed the marriage of Bung and Zizie according to Section 12 (2) of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 (Act 303) on June 15.

Outside courtroom, Bung Moktar expressed his delight to surrounding reporters.

“I am grateful with the court’s decision. I would to thank my family that has supported me since day one. This is a very good decision as today is the first day of Ramadan,” he said.

Exco wants 'rowdy' Murali sacked from PKR

Exco wants 'rowdy' Murali sacked from PKR

By FMT staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jeyakumar wants Selangor Tamil Schools Parents Association president S Murali sacked from PKR over his "rowdy" behaviour. Speaking to FMT, Jeyakumar said he lodged a report with PKR's disciplinary committee against Murali and four others over the fracas at a July 31 meeting in Shah Alam.

Murali was captured on video assaulting the PTA chairman of Midlands Tamil School S Kumaravel during the meeting to discuss the state government's allocation for Tamil schools.

Apart from this, the PTA chief also verbally abused Jeyakumar and several NGO leaders, who were seated on the stage, calling them “idiots and thieves”.

The PKR disciplinary committee is expected to call in the five for questioning.

"I want Murali sacked from the party for his misbehaviour and disrespect towards the state's PKR leaders,” said Jeyakumar.

He said due the incident, the management of the state secretariat building informed him that such meetings would not be allowed in the hall in future.

Jeyakumar said he had briefed PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim on the incident, and the latter also wanted disciplinary action to be taken against those involved.

FMT also learnt that the party headquarters would issue show-cause letters to the five over the next few days.

On Monday, Anwar, when met at the Jalan Duta Court Complex here, refused to comment on the matter.

Police probe underway

Meanwhile, the disciplinary board is also expected to grill Murali over his alleged role in causing disunity among Puchong PKR division members with his allegation that the division was not doing enough for the Indian community in the area.

The police are also probing the July 31 incident after NGO leaders K Arumugam and S Pasupathi filed reports against Murali, accusing him of criminal intimidation.

Kumaravel also lodged two police reports, one on the assault, and the other, regarding Murali's alleged threat to hurt him and his family.

The police recorded a statement from Arumugam yesterday, and are expected to quiz Pasupathi today.

Arumugam said the police had asked him to identify the attackers based on the video-clip handed over to the police by Kumaravel.

Sea works for KK airport a threat to marine parks

By Michael Kaung - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Another environmentally sensitive project in Sabah has hit a snag and it is going to cost the government, the people and marine ecology in the vicinity dearly.

The revelation comes on the heels of the controversy plagued coal power plant in Lahad Datu that the government tried to kick-start recently.

The government admitted this week that the sea-reclamation work it is conducting on a section of the city's coastline to extend the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) runway has been bogged down by environmental concerns.

Transport minister Kong Cho Ha said Monday during a site visit that technical problems continue to plague the RM1.4 billion KKIA expansion project and it is now unclear whether it can be completed by its new due date in March next year and cost overruns are expected.

Among the problems the work has encountered is the unforeseen impact it would have on the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park that surrounds a cluster of islands comprising Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, all only a 20 minutes boat ride from here.

According to Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa) president Wong Tack, the marine life and corals in the famed tourist attraction have already taken a hit.

"Also affected are the those living along the coast as erosion has started to occur in areas where houses have been built close to the sea," he said.

Meanwhile, Kong admitted that reclamation work and the requirements of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report as set by the Environment Protection Department was hindering work.

"Its about some dredging work and method of implementation. We are seeking quick solutions to all these issues…(it) has been taken to the highest level of government," he said.

The project's contractors had discussed the problem with his officers as well as the Ministry of Finance, he added.

What Sepa's Wong wants to know is if this means that the government would try get around the EIA and ram through the project.

"There is already erosion taking place in Kg Contoh (bordering the airport). Residents say houses have collapsed and that the waves hitting the shore are stronger than in the past.

"The consultant and contractor are to blame for not anticipating and predicting the problem," he said.

"This is the third time that the EIA report has been found to be faulty," he added, referring to the rejection of the coal plant EIA and the sand dredging along the Kinabatangan river that was quickly stopped by the state government due to environmental concerns.

EIA reports flawed

"Something is wrong with the way these reports are being prepared and presented. The projects' proponents and consultants appear to be either manipulating the reports to suit the projects or gross errors are appearing during their preparation.

"It is happening again and again. As such Sepa cannot trust these EIA reports," he said.

"The whole process (preparing and evaluating the EIA reports) must be revamped and scrutinised. We (Sepa) have serious concerns about the professionalism (of the project consultants).

"We should have been invited to participate. We are never invited to be on the panel. There are no government experts to question them … maybe they are told not to question.

“The people sitting on the panel have no knowledge at all of what is being proposed and how it is being implemented.

"These are the same people who did the (Kampung) Sinakut report," he said, referring to the consultants who prepared the coal plant EIA report that was rejected by the government after Sepa and environmental activists pointed out a series of glaring mistakes in the report.

Wong said he hoped the government would hold them (the panel) responsible if they are found to be misleading as the consequences of their reports and the delays caused to correct a situation invariably proved costly.

He said Sepa is now concerned that the effect the reclamation work would have a far reaching impact on the tourism revenue brought in by the marine park.

The five islands of the marine park are characterised by shallow waters, coral gardens and white sandy beaches.

The reefs lie in shallow waters with little current, making it an ideal location for novice divers.

The diverse and sometimes rare marine creatures also make it an interesting dive location for experienced divers and underwater photographers.

'Bar Council becoming toothless'

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

FMT INTERVIEW KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council has been described as "toothless" for its failure to effectively voice out against injustice and to take care of the welfare of lawyers.

Popular human rights lawyer Edmund Bon told FMT in a recent interview that his frustration with the council has partly prompted him not to stand again for another term as a council member.

"This will be my last term in the Bar Council... unless something extraordinary happens, I will not stand in the next election," said Bon, who has been in the Bar Council for five years and has been chairman of three committees.

While not saying it was a protest move, Bon said the Bar Council has not been performing as well as it ought to, and has seemingly lost its direction.

"We seem afraid of offending the authorities... the momentum we have gained over the past few terms has been lost... members feel lethargic, and there is a feeling that little can be done through the Bar Council," Bon said.

He also said his decision (not to stand for election) was to promote the idea that council members should not stay around for too long. In fact, he proposed the idea to the council at its annual general meeting in 2005 but it was not adopted.

"People can say it’s a protest move. It’s up to them what they might think. I have also failed on my part to move the Bar Council (to act on issues). But I am sure more young lawyers will take my place, lead and do better," Bon said.

However, he admitted that the decision was partly personal as he felt that he needed some time to re-evaluate his priorities and possibly make a comeback in a couple of years.

Bon said he felt that if he stayed on under the present circumstances, he might turn even more cynical and become a lethargic member of the Bar Council.

Below are excepts of the interview:

FMT: Why are you quitting the Bar Council?

Edmund Bon: I’m not quitting the council as I will see out my term and fulfil the pledge to complete the 'MyConstitution Campaign' (bringing the Federal Constitution to the people). But I would like to add that while I am trying to promote the idea of taking a break after a length of time, it is quite frustrating at the moment because I feel that we could do much more as leaders of the Bar Council. We have not been performing as well as we ought to. I am also at fault as it is our collective responsibility. It’s just that each of us have our own portfolios and if we work on our portfolios full-time, it’s virtually impossible to have the energy to work on other areas without also stepping on the toes of other members.

What do you mean? Are there problems in the Bar Council?

We are not sufficiently listening to the members of the Malaysian Bar. We have lost touch and not responded fast enough to the needs of our members because we have become too comfortable being members of the Bar Council. Times have changed. The way information is being disseminated requires us to be on our toes. We are not communicating enough, we seem to fear taking difficult positions and standing our ground against the powers that be; and seem afraid of offending the authorities. Save for the well-entrenched views we have held in the past, we only react and our members are losing out. We are without a blueprint or a game-plan and that's why we are clueless about our direction. The momentum we have gained over the past few terms has been lost, and it will take some time to recover it. Members feel lethargic, and there is a feeling that little can be done through the Bar Council.

What 'momentum' are you talking about?

We haven't taken advantage of the influence we had acquired during our Walk for Justice (where on Sept 26, 2007, about 2,000 lawyers protested the VK Lingam video tape scandal, resulting in the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry on the scandal). That’s the problem when a precedent is set (establishing a high bar) – it's very difficult to emulate. I think that we (the Bar Council) are becoming toothless and lack direction in what we want to do. It is scary. I know I will be very unpopular with my colleagues for saying this, but I have tried many times before to work within the system. I hope this is not taken in a bad way, but we all need to wake up from our relative slumber. I admit I have not been as effective in pursuing the ideas I spoke about and I will step aside.

What other issues do you think the Bar Council has not addressed?

We have shied away from forcing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi and the judiciary to take a position on the judges named in the Lingam report, who have purportedly conducted themselves unprofessionally and who are still on the Bench. We are tip-toeing around the issue.We have not dealt with the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) issue sufficiently, allowing the judiciary to steamroll their ideas past us -- yes, some concessions were made to fine-tune the KPI system but on the whole lawyers are complaining about judicial conduct in dealing with cases -- justice is not being served, it's all a numbers game. The independence of the judiciary since the Chief Justice was appointed has not been dealt with at all; questions on the non-rotation of judges who sit on politically-charged cases are unexplained. There appears to be, unlike the 1988 crisis which was overt, a covert emasculation of the judicial arm. It’s even more dangerous because it’s happening without public attention or outcry.We have failed to monitor the work of the Judicial Appointments Commission and push for greater inclusion of civil society including the Bar into that mechanism.

We have failed to stop the recent amendments to increase the jurisdiction of the sessions and magistrate's courts. While we have got on well with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, ministers and judges, it’s a real wonder that we then get 'stabbed' and short-changed on the amendments. We were never asked for our views. Something somewhere is wrong. We are consulted more but we get pushed around more too. Internally, we are not responding adequately to members' bread-and-butter concerns -- young lawyers are suffering with the new court system. Many don’t wish to voice out for fear that their cases will be affected; and they also see the Bar Council as unable to improve conditions. So, these lawyers just put their heads down and hope for the best. Is this the Bar we want? We have moved away from the 'activist' Bar model we used to be two terms ago to a more 'centrist' one where the philosophy is one of consensus-building and compromising rather than of confrontation. That’s welcomed; only problem is that while this approach looks nice on paper, it’s not working or helping the members of the Bar. More worryingly, there are lawyers who have become disillusioned and disinterested in the affairs of the Bar Council because they think that as council members we only 'rub shoulders' with judges. It’s far from the case as there is some real work being put in on most occasions. We are fast losing energy and becoming devoid of new ideas of doing things. These issues are affecting public perception of the institutions of the Bar and the judiciary.

Are you hoping to send some kind of message from this decision (not to stand for election)?

We need to wake up, myself included. It’s a period of systemic introspection each of us needs to go through as leaders. It's very easy not to say anything, and be part of the 'crowd', because Bar Council members have the 'privilege' to rub shoulders with influential people. Some do, some don’t. But it’s not easy to speak out. It’s easy to be a 'career' council member though. Outside the council, members feel they are not being heard, and sometimes we must throw our hands up and admit that we are ineffective. We should be doing our walkabouts in every state like we used to. We should amend the Legal Profession Act to make the president and vice-president posts salaried, and the bearers will have to take time off their practice. If the Bar doesn't get in tune quickly enough, I believe members will rebel and revolt. But that's not to say we have not come very far and grown all these years. A great deal has changed and improved... but we must not stop there.

Is this decision also personal in nature?

Yes. And I blame only myself for not having the energy and desire to continue debating with my fellow council members to try change views when it looks like it can’t be done. There are of course other council members who feel the same but will voice their dissension in private. I have raised many of these issues in the council but it is up to the leaders what course of action to take. There is only so much one can do and some of us do not have sufficient powers to change things. Each of us has our own portfolios and all of us have to pull our weight together... So, if I were to continue (working in the council) I would probably get even more disillusioned. It’s time to re-evaluate my priorities. I feel that perhaps I need to be working from the outside. It’s been a great experience doing the best I could these past years with the young lawyers, and human rights and constitutional law committees, and I don’t regret it one bit. The many friends I have made along the way have now grown into a strong community of activists. .

Are you sure about this? And will this be permanent or will you return to the Bar Council later?

Quite definitely; unless something extraordinary happens, this is my last term in the Bar Council. I want younger members to continue what is being done but with more push and energy, maybe someone else can take up the fight. As for returning (to the council), I may make a comeback after two or three years outside of the Bar, depending on the situation.

Can you tell us about how you joined the Bar Council?

This is a common misconception; you cannot 'join' the Bar Council. The Malaysian Bar is made out of 13,000 lawyers. Under the Legal Profession Act 1976, it is run by the Bar Council, which only comprised 36 members elected by the State Bars and the Malaysian Bar. I was elected by postal ballot, where the top 12 will be council members. There are also 11 State Bars that hold their own elections and each will elect two representatives to the Bar Council, that is, 22 members.

Now we have 34, and the last two are ex-officio members, meaning the immediate past president and vice-president who sit automatically in the next council. We vote in November every year but we start our term only in March. Any member of the 13,000-strong Malaysian Bar can offer themselves to stand for council election. I stood for election in 2005. Surprisingly, I got into the council. (Bon is still the youngest council member.)

Do you have anything to add with regard to your move to 'quit' the Bar Council?

Maybe it is naïve idealism. I have nothing personal against the council and I hope what I’m saying would be viewed constructively and positively. It is an onerous duty, and an honour to serve in the council. But if one is not ready to put in the time, energy and effort, it is time to go. The council needs a holistic plan to improve the Malaysian Bar. There is much potential but we need to inspire our members again to collectively rise.

MPs upset over minimum wage flip-flop

By Ken Vin Lek and G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Several opposition MPs have hit out at the government for its flip-flop policy on minimum wage, saying its latest stand did not make any sense.

They said the government lacked the political will to implement a mininum wage scheme for all workers in the country.

They accused Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam of backpedalling when he said yesterday that the scheme may not be made a national policy but could be based on sectorial and industrial needs.

The minister had said on Aug 5 that the government was keen to come up with a national minimum wage scheme.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said the alternative approach did not make any sense.

“It does not make any sense to apply a minimum wage to a particular sector. The minimum cost of living applies to everyone, not just employees from certain sectors,” he said.

“This issue involves workers from all walks of life and not from certain sectors,” he added.

A confused man

Santiago, a former economics lecturer, said Subramaniam was a confused man for backtracking from his initial statement on Aug 5 that the government was finally considering a national minimum wage policy.

“This shows that the government has no political will to implement the minimum wage scheme.”

He cited a study by the Human Resources Ministry on wages in the country, which revealed that almost 34% or about 1.3 million workers earned less than RM700 a month, below the poverty line of RM720 per month.

Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar said Subramaniam was backpeddling on the issue.

“This government is not people-centric. Its policies favour mostly the corporate people. It has taken away the subsidies and now it seems it does not have the political will to implement a minimum wage scheme,” he added.

Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad said that a national minimum wage policy must be implemented to help the lower income group.

“The minister himself had admitted that 34% of Malaysians are earning below RM700 a month. Therefore, a minimum wage policy must be implemented to help those living in this income bracket.”

He added that a national minimum wage policy is one way to propel the country to a high-income economy.

However, he said any minimum wage policy must also include a programme to train workers.

“The government must conduct training courses for these workers to hone their skills as most of them are SPM school leavers. If they are able to get a certificate or a diploma, it will definitely help them earn a better salary,” Dzulkefly said.

Sarawak 'running a high fever'

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: The primary healthcare infrastructure in Sarawak is in poor shape, with many clinics unable to accommodate the large influx of patients. Sarawak PKR today said overcrowding in these clinics has reached an intolerable level and called on the government to rebuild the infrastructure at major centres of population growth.

Its head of health and welfare bureau, Dr Francis Ngu, said: “Many patients have told us that overcrowding in many polyclinics is getting worse.

“Patients have to wait long hours, and it is very difficult to get the queue numbers. Worst still, the consultation rooms are always crammed,” he said.

For instance, he said that at a polyclinic in Mosque Road here up to 12 or more patients are squeezed into the room; at Tanah Puteh, Pending, four have to wait inside the room; and at Merbau, Miri, up to eight persons are packed into the small space.

Similar cases are also reported in other towns like Sibu and Bintulu.

“Under these conditions, medical staff and patients suffer great stress. Moreover, privacy and confidentiality are compromised.

“It becomes awkward when doctors and nurses have to ask sensitive questions about the patient's medical history in the presence of so many patients. In cases where a proper physical examination is required, patients may have to expose parts of their bodies."

Ngu claimed that the state and the federal governments had been ignoring the healthcare needs of the people of Sarawak.

Even the setting up of a heart and cancer hospital at the Sarawak International Medical Centre (SIMC) brought little cheer. Ngu said PKR had repeatedly suggested that the failed SIMC be converted into a second hospital to complement the Sarawak General Hospital.

Bread-and-butter issue

The RM400-million SIMC located on a 100-acre site, if converted into a second general hospital, can provide about 200 beds.

“We have been asking the government to convert the SIMC into a second hospital to complement the Sarawak General Hospital and the overcrowded specialist clinics,” Ngu said.

But the people’s request for a second hospital have been ignored, he added. Instead, the SIMC is being converted into a heart and cancer hospital.

However, he acknowledged that the heart and cancer hospital was needed to upgrade cardiac and cancer treatment and rehabilitation services in Sarawak.

“But both state and federal governments should be aware that the healthcare needs of the people at the 'bread-and-butter' level are not met.

“No government of the day should ignore the fundamental healthcare needs of the state, especially when we are developing cutting-edge medical technology,” he said.

Ngu was commenting on a report by a national daily on the conversion of the failed private SIMC into the public Sarawak Heart and Cancer Hospital.

The hospital is expected to be in operation in January 2011.

Tun Mahathir Mudah Lupa

By Shen Yee Aun

Dalam blog Tun Mahathir bertajuk untuk bersifat perkauman atau tidak telah jelas menunjukkan beliau sendiri sudah melupai banyak fakta, sejarah dan kebenaran.

Menurut Tun Mahathir, kuasa politik tidak boleh berada di tangan Cina kerana Cina sudah pun menguasai ekonomi negara kita dan Melayu kita masih jauh ketinggalan walaupun selepas hampir 40 tahun Dasar Ekonomi Baru telah diperkenalkan. Tun Mahathir sudah lupa dalam 40 tahun tersebut 22 merupakan kepimpinan dan pentadbiran beliau sendiri. Matematik mudah menunjukkan lebih daripada separuh daripada 40 tahun DEB diperkenalkan merupakan zaman pemerintahan beliau sendiri.

Jika beliau pada hari mengemukakan isu kelemahan dan kelembapan ekonomi Melayu dalam ekonomi disebabkan oleh pelbagai faktor dan antaranya juga disebabkan oleh kaum Melayu mereka sendiri namun tidak sesekali Tun Mahathir menyebut bangsa Melayu gagal dimajukan olehnya walaupun merupakan pemimpin Melayu yang berkuasa paling lama di dunia.

Tun Mahathir juga sudah lupa bahawa jutawan-jutawan Cina hampir kesemunnya wujud pada zaman pemerintahan beliau. Jika tidak silap saya tiga Perdana Menteri sebelum Tun Mahathir hanya mendiang Lim Goh Tong sahaja yang kaya. Namun keadaan mula berubah apabila Tun Mahathir mengambil alih kuasa pemerintahan negara. Jika cina-cina jutawan dikayakan oleh kamu sendiri maka isu Cina kaya dan Melayu miskin disebabkan kehebatan dan kebijaksaan kamu sendiri.

Jangan lupa bahawa gabungan nilai beberapa jutawan Cina yang dihasilkan oleh kamu walaupun hanya beberapa orang namun angka tersebut lebih banyak daripada gabungan KDNK ratusan ribu Cina di Malaysia. Maknanya Cina Malaysia majoriti berpendapatan sederhana dan ada juga ramai lagi yang miskin dan yang menguasai ekonomi negara bukan Cina Malaysia tetapi gabungan jutawan Cina Mahathir.

Jangan lupa juga tidak semestinya sekirannya Cina yang memegang kuasa politik Melayu akan lebih terpinggir berbanding pemerintahan pemimpin Melayu. Sejarah dan fakta telah membuktikkan pemerintahan Cina Lee Kuan Yew di Singapore telah menjadikan ramai Melayu Singapore yang bukan sahaja lebih kaya daripada Melayu Malaysia malahan ramai juga lebih kaya daripada Cina di Malaysia.

Natijahnya, justifikasi dan hipotesis awal tidak tepat menggambarkan gambaran sebenar. Banyak Melayu di Malaysia pada hari yang berpendidikan Cina diketuai oleh guru besar Cina jauh lebih bijak dan berjaya berbanding Melayu di sekolah Melayu. Ramai juga Melayu pendapatan dan gaji mereka jauh lebih tinggi berada di bawah pemerintahan Cina di Sektor Swasta berbanding pemerintahan Melayu di sektor awam.

Bukan niat saya untuk menunjukkan bangsa mana yang lebih layak memimpin. Bagi saya soal kepimpinan bangsa tidak seharusnya dijadikan kayu ukurnya tetapi kebolehan dan kemampuan yang seharusnya lebih diutamakan. Keadaan ini juga menandakan ada juga pemimpin Melayu yang berkebolehan yang bukan sahaja boleh memimpin Melayu dengan baik tetapi semua kaum di Malaysia.

Namun yang menjadi persoalan rakyat pada hari ini bukan Melayu yang menjadi pemimpin tetapi Melayu zalim, rasuah dan tidak berkebolehan yang menjadi pemimpin mesti digantikan dengan pemimpin Melayu yang baik, bersih dan berkemampuan. Apabila Cina meminta jawatan tertentu dalam kerajaan bukan disebabkan faktor bangsa tetapi faktor kerjasama dan persahabatan politik.

Apabila PAS sanggup bertolak ansur dengan Cina dalam isu ini bukan disebabkan PAS mengkhianati Melayu tetapi PAS cuma berpegang pada prinsip persahabatan dan keadilan yang dibawa oleh Islam. Dalam Islam bukan bangsa yang menjadi kayu ukurnya kerana Islam menentang sistem kabilah dan semangat assabiyah seperti PERKASA yang menjadi alat, senjata dan buah catur kamu untuk menghuru-harakan negara Malaysia.

Islam sebenar yang dibawa oleh PAS percaya tiada perbezaan sesama kita melainkan takwa seseorang. Jika seorang bukan Islam dan Melayu lebih bermoral dan bernilai murni berbanding Melayu Islam yang tidak beradab maka bukan Islam itu mesti dipilih menjadi pemimpin demi kebaikan seluruh ummah. PAS berpegang pada prinsip muafakat sesama diri kita.

Dalam blog Tun Mahathir juga menyebut bahawa PAS berkrompomi dengan Cina sehingga bukan sahaja mereka melawat upacara pengebumian Cina malahan membakar kertas kepada mayat yang sudah meninggal dunia. Tun Mahathir sudah lupa bahawa pembakaran kertas dalam upacara pengebumian Cina tidak sesekali berunsur agama tetapi itu hanyalah sekadar budaya pengebumian Cina.

Saya cabar Tun Mahathir atau sesiapa membuktikkan kitab agama Cina mana, ajaran mana dan Tuhan mana dalam Cina yang mengatakan pembakaran kertas itu adalah tuntutan dan sebahagian daripada agama Buddha. Taoisme pula bukan merupakan satu agama tetapi lebih kepada falsafah. Sedangkan mereka yang benar-benar mengikuti ajaran Buddha di negara lain tidak mengamalkan upacara pengebumian sedemikian. Amalan tersebut hanyalah simbolik dan sebahagian daripada budaya Cina seperti budaya ‘angpau’ semasa Tahun Baharu Cina.

Saya cabar Tun Mahathir sekali lagi dalam ajaran Islam mana yang melarang kita untuk menghormat budaya orang lain? Mungkin pemimpin UMNO tidak melakukannya kerana mereka menggangap pembakaran kertas itu sebahagian daripada amalan agama Buddha. Keadaan ini hanya menandakan pemimpin UMNO tidak berilmu dan berpengetahuan.
Mungkin juga bagi sesetengah pemimpin UMNO amalan meminum arak, berpoya-poya, berskandal, rasuah dan zalim itu dosanya jauh lebih kurang berbanding perlakuan membakar kertas. Wahai Tun Mahathir bersama-sama anak buah anda sahutlah wahyu pertama Tuhanmu Yang Maha Esa supaya menuntut manusia mengerja ilmu dan rajin membaca.

Anda juga menyamakan penentangan PAS terhadap UMNO apabila UMNO bekerjasama dengan MCA maka PAS hiprokrit apabila mereka sendiri berkerjasama dengan DAP. Keadaan ini sekali lagi menunjukkan bahawa anda lupa bahawa terdapat perbezaan yang amat ketara antara MCA dan DAP. DAP membuka keahlian mereka kepada semua kaum dan MCA yang bersistem kabilah apabila hanya untuk puak-puak Cina sahaja.

Jangan sesekali menuduh PAS dapat menawan hati Cina kerana PAS hiprokrit. Kenyataan ini seolah-olah memberi gambaran kepada dunia bahawa Cina di Malaysia adalah bodoh dan tidak berotak. PAS berjaya “Walk the Talk” apabila prinsip Islam yang mereka cuba bawa berjaya membawa keamanan dan perpaduan serta keadilan di negeri Kelantan dibawah pemerintahan PAS.
Mereka boleh nampak seorang ketua bahagian UMNO memiliki rumah mahligai bagaikan Istana dan Syurga tetapi seorang Menteri Besar Kelantan tinggal di sebuah rumah kampong papa kedana. Melayu dan UMNO dibawah Tun Mahathir yang hebat pula “Talk And Never Walk”.

Jangan lupa, Tun Mahathir. Jika bukan kerana Cina pada 1998 anda akan menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia pertama yang kalah dalam pilihan raya umum. Yang bersifat hiprokrit dan munafik serta palsu di sini bukan PAS tetapi kamu sendiri. Jika Cina 1998 tahu akan sifat sebenar Tun Mahathir pada hari ini mereka pasti akan singkirkan kamu daripada Putrajaya dan Petronas.

Ada kalanya jika Raja-Raja Melayu tahu bahawa seorang pemimpin dan pejuang Melayu akan menarik kekebalan mereka mungkin juga mereka lebih sanggup menyokong bukan Melayu yang akan menghormati mereka.

Ada kalanya jika rakyat Melayu miskin tahu bahawa seorang pemimpin dan pejuang Melayu hanya menjadikan anak Melayunya jutawan mungkin juga mereka lebih sanggup bukan Melayu yang akan sanggup membantu mereka.

Ada kalanya juga jika pejuang bahasa Melayu tahu seorang pemimpin Melayu di ambang pengakhiran karier politiknya setelah 22 tahun baharu mencadangkan pertukaran Sains dan Matematik kepada bahasa penjajah mungkin mereka lebih rela bukan Melayu yang akan menghormati kedaulatan dan keanggungan bahasa Kebangsaan kita.

Ada kalanya juga jika Melayu yang bijak tahu bahawa ada seorang pemimpin Melayu menjadikan segelintir bukan Melayu di Malaysia kaya raya dan apabila Melayu tidak dapat bersaing dengan jutawan bukan Melayu maka mereka dilabel sebagai bangsa pelupa.

Ada kalanya juga jika Melayu Islam yang sebenar tahu bahawa ada seorang pemimpin Melayu yang mendalangi penubuhan PERKASA yang bersifat assabiyah mereka lebih rela pemimpin bukan Melayu yang memperjuangkan keharmonian dan kemanan semua kaum di negara kita.

Saya rasa Tun Mahathir sudah melupai kesemua isu yang telah saya lontarkan.

Do your bit for the third force : Get to know your Pakatan Rakyat MP

By Haris Ibrahim,
On 21st April, 2007, in  a post entitled ‘Get to know your MP : What and how’, I wrote :
“In the time that we have between now and the next elections, I want to try to put in place an initiative by which we get to know something of our MP and in the process get across to him or her what our concerns are and what our expectations are of him or her. If we emerge from this exercise with a sense that the present MP does not stand with us on these numerous issues, we must make it known to Barisan and the usual opposition parties that they must not assume that we are condemned in our choice of representatives to the usual fare. And if Barisan and the opposition will not pay heed to our cries, then we must have the courage and the will to find that candidate of choice from amongst our own ranks”.
Much has changed since.
Today, we have Pakatan Rakyat.
And today we can say with greater conviction that come the next GE, we will sack BN as the government of the day.
And that means unlike in 2007, we shall not be wasting precious time measuring the quality of the 137 BN MPs.
If you’re BN, you’re out.
This time round, I’d like to try and get as many of you involved in an effort to assess as many of the 76 Pakatan MPs.
How many of them are worthy of another term in office?
I’m going to try and put together a team that is going to get up close and personal with my MP, YB Hee Loy Sian, of PJ Selatan.
Following my ‘Do we go with a third force?’ post, 3 PJ Selatan constituents have e-mailed me to say that they would like to be part of this effort to report card our MP.
Including me, that makes 4.
Another 6 PJ Selatanites would make a nice number to kick off this effort.
E-mail me at if you vote in PJ Selatan and would like to get involved in this effort.
Also :
1. Melissa from Kuching has written in to ask if there is any effort there to appraise the MPs there? Anyone game to get one started in Kuching?
2. Kuhaneson of Ipoh Barat has written in to indicate that he would like to work on an initiative to get to know YB Kula. Any others ready to get involved?
3. TW Ng of Selayang would like to start an initiative in his constituency. Anyone else?
Can we start similar initiatives in Bandar Tun Razak, Batu, Lembah Pantai, Segambut, Petaling Jaya Utara, Subang and Kelana Jaya?
Send me an e-mail at if you’d like to get involved in any of these constituencies or any other where the MP is from Pakatan Rakyat.

Saiful-Farah liaison: Whither justice?

By Kim Quek

Judge Zaibidin Diah’s rejection of Defence’s request to put complainant Saiful and DPP Farah on the witness stand despite the duo’s complete failure to respond to allegation of sexual relations between them is most regrettable. For it is another black mark to the long-running, scandal-ridden Anwar Sodomy Trial II, thus reinforcing the universal perception that the trial is nothing but political persecution for Anwar Ibrahim.

What would a deputy public prosecutor do when he or she is accused of sleeping with the complainant in a criminal trial, if the allegation is false? Shouldn’t the DPP instantly yell and deny and act against the defamer?

What is your take of this DPP if he or she chooses to steadfastly act deaf and dumb despite the fact that the controversy sparked by his or her alleged misconduct has raged relentlessly for almost three weeks?

And what is your take of the Attorney General and the prosecuting team who insist they know nothing about the affair and also insist the DPP has done nothing wrong despite the AG’s incongruous act to quickly bundle her away not only from the prosecuting team but also from the prosecuting division of the Attorney General’s Chambers?

Mind you, we are not talking about an ordinary criminal trial, but possibly the most important trial in our history involving the fate of the highest-profiled political leader of the country, the outcome of which may sway the course of history for many years to come.

Prosecution smacks of dishonesty

Under the circumstances, shouldn’t the AG be duty bound to the nation to come clean and say outright whether the allegation is true or false? What choice do we have other than to impute dishonest intention and dishonourable conduct on the part of the prosecution over its prolong ambiguity over such an important issue?

Who would believe prosecution team leader Solicitor General II Yusof Zainal Abiden when he professed no knowledge of the affair though he and DPP Farah Azlina had been working together as a team on this case for six months and meeting almost every day, and all he needed to do was to ask Farah whether the allegation was true. Don’t tell me Yusof never asked her, or that she never answered, or that he had no means of finding out the veracity of the allegation. For that would be a blatant lie.

Having failed the honesty test over his dubious stand on the Saiful-Farah liaison, Yusof had very little credibility left when he claimed that this unethical and illicit relationship had absolutely not caused any injustice to Anwar.

In the first place, why didn’t he get Farah and Saiful to file an affidavit in defence against Anwar’s affidavit seeking the dismissal of the case? There is absolutely no reason to use only third parties to rebut anwar, when the principals are alive and well and fully capable of speaking for themselves. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation to this anomaly, how much weight can we attach to these third party affidavits?

Then, failing to get the affidavits from the principals, why did Yusof get his subordinate DPP Hanafiah Zakaria and investigating officer Supt Jude Pereira to file their affidavits, instead of doing it himself, since as team leader he should be more knowledgeable and his words more authoritative? Isn’t this another indication of the lead prosecutor’s evasiveness?

Unbelievable claim of Farah’s constricted role

Prosecution claimd that DPP Farah’s function as a prosecutor in the team is strictly confined to taking down notes during court proceedings and categorically declared that she had never had access to any investigating document or any meeting throughout her six months of participation as a team member. As such, the prosecution claimed that she knew virtually nothing that could be of help to Saiful, neither could she have exerted any influence over the course of trial.

Keeping in mind that Farah is a qualified lawyer and a prosecutor officially appointed for this trial, is it credible that she could take this humiliation of only being allowed to work as a menial clerk and denied any opportunity to function as a legal officer? Does it make sense for the Attorney General’s Chambers to engage a qualified lawyer, make her a prosecutor but forcing her to work only as a clerk? Isn’t this a waste of talent and public funds and an unjust treatment of a fellow legal officer? Why should the Attorney General and the Solicitor General II have done a horrible thing like this? Will these two gentlemen please answer these questions before they expect the people to believe even a word of what they claim?

Is it conceivable that during the six months on the case as a DPP, she has never had the opportunity to see any document of relevance or heard or participated in conversation or discussion relating to the case? Was there any strict order that she be barred to all these? If not, how can anyone be certain that she knows nothing of consequence to the prosecution case?

Naïve to ignore sexual passion

Prosecution assured the court that they were absolutely sure that Farah had not communicated any information to Saiful that the latter was not entitled to know. Have they been keeping a 24-hour watch on this couple including what happened within the bedroom? If not, how can they be so sure?

Are we so naïve that we are unaware of the power of sensual love between two individuals? Have we forgotten the lessons of history when many an empire and kingdom rose and fell because of the passion ignited between a man and a woman? If Saiful and Farah are lovers, which no one has denied, no court of law should accept any assurance that the prosecutor has not infringed the ethics of her profession.

It is puzzling how Judge Zaibidin had arrived at the conclusion that justice is better served by not allowing the principal actor and actress to come forward to say their piece and expose themselves to scrutiny.

With many swirling questions remaining unanswered and the credibility of the prosecution plunging to an all-time low, what can we interpret from prosecution’s vehement objection to call the duo as witnesses, and the judge’s endorsement of such objection?

Have these officers of the court forgotten their sworn duty to seek truth and defend justice at all times?

Isn’t it true that the prevailing public perception now is that the court is fearful of the truth being exposed?

Now that the court has shut the door to learning the truth from the horses’ mouth, what alternative is left to salvage the honour of the court and our judicial system other than to dismiss the case and spare the nation the agony of watching infamy in the making?

Kim Quek.

Future unclear for man who impregnated widow in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A man accused of having sex with a widow and impregnating her remained in Taliban detention Tuesday, his future unclear.

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

A Taliban commander carried out the execution, shooting the woman in her head, said Hashim Habibi, the district governor of Qades, which is located in the province.

Gul had been widowed for four years. She was accused of adultery for her relationship with the unnamed man, said Abdul Jabar, the provincial police chief.

Local residents said the man had planned to marry Gul. Instead, the Taliban whipped him 200 times and detained him, Jabar said.

The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan condemned the killing.

"This tragic gruesome brutality is an example of Taliban justice," said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, director of the ISAF Joint Command Combined Joint Operations Center.

"This is not what the people of Afghanistan want -- they want peace and freedom and that's what we're going to help provide."

Brazil formalizes asylum offer for Iranian woman sentenced to stoning

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery in 2006 and was originally sentenced to death by stoning. 

(CNN) -- Brazil formalized its offer of asylum to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning, state-run media said Tuesday.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had made a previous offer for asylum, raising Ashtiani's hopes for survival. Brazil's ambassador in Tehran has now officially made the offer at Iran's foreign ministry, according to the state-run news service Agencia Brasil.

Iran rejected the previous, informal offer, saying Lula lacked sufficient information about the case.

Last month, Malek Ajdar Sharifi, who is the head of the judiciary of East Azerbaijan province, said Ashtiani's crimes were "numerous" and said she was "convicted of adultery and murder and was sentenced to death," according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Ashtiani's lawyers said Iranian authorities are mischaracterizing the status of the adultery and murder charges against her. Attorney Hootan Kian said even though Ashtiani was cleared of her husband's murder five years ago, Iran continues to insist she was found guilty.

Ashtiani has said she was "grateful" for Brazil's offer and would "graciously" accept, according to a statement from her son, Sajjad Ashtiani, who has been to visit his mother in a Tabriz prison.

Ashtiani, 43, was convicted of adultery in 2006 and was originally sentenced to death by stoning but after international pressure, Iranian authorities said the sentence has been put on hold.

A decision could come any day on whether the courts will reinstate Ashtiani's sentence of death by stoning, execute her by other means, or possibly even grant her a reprieve, according to human rights groups.

Mina Ahadi, spokeswoman for the International Committee against Stoning, said if Ashtiani is executed, "it is entirely political. It has nothing to do with the case itself."

Ahadi penned a letter to Lula last week, saying that his offer was an "important step" in saving Ashtiani from undue punishment.

Brazil's relations with Iran have improved in recent years and it recently participated in talks with Tehran aimed at restarting negotiations about Iran's nuclear program.

In May, Brazil helped broker a deal with Iran that would provide the government with enriched uranium for medical research. It also abstained from a United Nations Security Council vote on tougher sanctions for the Islamic republic.

One of Ashtiani's attorneys, Mohammad Mostafaei, is seeking asylum for himself in Norway. Mostafaei's wife and brother-in-law were arrested and imprisoned in Iran but both have since been released.

Master English, Dr M tells students

Memo to Singapore Embassy

Sack IGP Musa Hassan. Appoint army Chief as new IGP in national interest to bring down crime rate, corruption and a world standard police force

url sack
(See The Sun 10/8/10 at page 2)
We have had a precedent of an air force chief assuming the army chief’s post some years ago.
We call upon the government of Malaysia to at least not extend Tan Sri Musa’s tenure as the Inspector General of Police. He has done much damage in causing the crime rate to increase, police arrogance and above the law mindset.
In the last 20 years of monitoring the police force via Police Watch, we see none or very little change.
The new Army Chief will certainly give the no nonsense jolt that the police force needs very badly. Another policeman assuming the IGP’s post will only inherit  and continue with the pre existing police culture.
P. Uthayakumar

sack igp

Two sought in murder probe

V.K. Lingam offers RM50,000 for information leading to capture of brother's assailants
Monday, August 9th, 2010 12:52:00
Saravan Kumar a/l Darmalingam
Saravan Kumar a/l Darmalingam
Devidasan a/l Munisamy
Devidasan a/l Munisamy
Police have identified the two men who could shed light into the murder of V. Rajendram, the youngest brother of prominent lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam.
Serdang police chief, Supt Abdul Razak Elias said police are looking for the duo, aged 29 and 30, to assist police investigation.
They are Saravan Kumar a/l Darmalingam, I/C: 811115-14-6077 of 43, BT 12, Jalan Puchong, Castle Field, 47100 Puchong, and Devidasan a/l Munisamy, I/C: 801127-14-6171 of Ladang Castle Field Batu 12, 47100 Puchong.
Abdul Razak urged those who have knowledge of the duo's whereabouts to contact the nearest police station or Serdang police headquarters at 03-89484822.
On the man who was arrested following Rajendram's murder, Abdul Razak said the suspect's remand order which ends today has been extended to assist investigation. He said police have also obtained CCTV footage from the petrol station where Rajendram's body was found to aid the probe, and has been sent to the forensic department.
While police are doing their best to track down the duo, Rajendram's family members, including Lingam, have offered a reward of RM50,000 to anyone with information on the suspects.
Lingam, in a Press release yesterday, said the family was deeply aggrieved and shocked to learn of the sudden and brutal murder of his 52-year-old brother.
Rajendram graduated from the University of Buckingham, UK, in 1993 and had been staying at and assisting the Avdiar Muniswarar Temple in Bandar Puteri Puchong since the end of last month.
Lingam said the family had confronted the temple authorities on allegations that Rajendram had stolen its donation money.
Lingam said the temple had told them that Rajendram was not involved in the theft and the collection for the period when his brother stayed there was less than RM50.
Temple devotees put their donations in the donation box which is handled by the treasurer.
Rajendram's family had urged the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the murder.
Rajendram was found dead at a petrol station in Lebuh Puteri 6 near Bandar Puteri Puchong on Tuesday. He was believed to have been assaulted by a group of men at the temple grounds where he stayed before escaping and seeking help at a petrol station where he collapsed and died.
Rajendram, the youngest of seven siblings, suffered severe injuries on his head and chest, believed to have been caused by a blunt object.
He was believed to have been assaulted by a group of men who accused him of stealing temple funds.
A 30-year-old labourer had been arrested in connection with the case after he lodged a police report on the fight. Two others are still at large.

MB: Dragging Johor Sultan into politics is going overboard

SEGAMAT: Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman said that dragging the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim, into a political party campaign is going overboard and described it as an extreme act. He said such acts had never been done before and hoped that the police would initiate immediate investigation to identify the people involved.

"This is something that has never been done before where Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Johor is dragged into a political party campaign. It's certainly improper for them to involve the palace," he said during a working visit to the Sekijang parliamentary constituency, here today.

In his speech at the conclusion of the “Kembara Mahkota Johor Bermotosikal 2010” in Kota Tinggi, yesterday, Sultan Ibrahim expressed his displeasure over the use of his photograph by a political party in a banner at a ceramah in Batu Pahat, recently.

The banner also expressed support for Johor PKR chairman, Chua Jui Meng, as the candidate for the post of Johor Menteri Besar should the Pakatan Rakyat win the next general election.

Commenting on the allegation that the banner was prepared by Umno people, Ghani said the allegation was unfounded because it was not Umno practice to do so.

"Nobody will do it. We have never practised such politics. What we know is that Pakatan held a meeting at that time and the banner was put up," he added.

- Bernama

Just when you thought it is safe to go into the water

What is the relationship between Saiful and Khairil? Khairil says Saiful went to Najib’s office to apply for a scholarship and he says they met only that once. Malaysia Today said that that was not true and that there is something more than that going on between Khairil and Saiful that has nothing to do with a scholarship.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Now that the court has delivered its decision -- that Saiful Bukhari Azlan and Farah Azlina Latif would not be called to testify with regards to their sexual relationship -- allow me to come to the real issue.

Yes, the sexual escapade between Saiful and Farah is not what I was targeting at. That was actually the Red Herring to draw them out and make them run round in circles in panic. And, boy, did they panic. Putrajaya was so flustered that even an attack on Johor by the Singapore armed forces could not have outdone that.

But now everything has settled down again. Yesterday, everyone, in particular those in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s office, have breathed a sigh of relief. With the court’s ruling blocking Saiful and Farah from testifying with regards to their relationship they feel they are now well protected.

Well, if that was my main target then maybe so. It would mean they are quite secure. But that was not my main target. That was merely a distraction to get them to fluster for awhile and just when they thought it is now safe to go into the water, as they would say in ‘Jaws’, I spring them with what I was really aiming for.

Before that, do you remember Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi? He is the Mongolian Honorary Consul to Malaysia who escorted Altantuya’s family whenever they were in Malaysia and who held a few press conferences condemning the Malaysian government with regards to how it was conducting the Altantuya murder investigation.

Syed Rahman was very vocal. He practically accused the Malaysian police of covering up crucial facts of the murder. He even threatened to take legal action against Malaysia.

Syed Rahman was on a crusade. He was angry and wanted to expose the real culprits behind Altantuya’s murder. He met Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Anwar Ibrahim, and many other political leaders to complain about what was going on. He actually mentioned Najib by name and declared that he had in his possession the photograph of Najib, Razak Baginda and Altantuya, which he had handed over to the IGP.

Yes, there was much which Syed Rahman alleged. And in his crusade to bring the real murderers to book he met many people and told them this story over and over again.

I was there together with Datuk Kamal Amir, Aspan Alias and Jaddawi Datuk Ghazali (all Umno people) in the Bangsar Shopping Centre when Syed Rahman spent about an hour briefing us on the entire facts of the murder. In fact, there were about 15 of us there that day, all relishing the ‘insider information’ that this Honorary Consul was giving us.

Then, during the Permatang Pauh by-election in 2008, Syed Rahman did a u-turn. He went on primetime TV and declared that the allegation of Najib’s involvement with Altantuya is a downright lie. And he denied he had told people so.

There are hundreds of people all over Malaysia who can testify to the fact that Syed Rahman did tell them that Najib was involved with Altantuya and that Syed Rahman admitted he had handed the photograph that proves this to the IGP. But all that is now water under the bridge and is old news. What we want to talk about today is the relationship between Najib’s office and Saiful.

Do you remember the photograph below of Saiful and Khairil Annas bin Jusoh, Najib’s aide, which Malaysia Today published in 2008, mere days after the Sodomy 2 allegation against Anwar Ibrahim surfaced?

What is the relationship between Saiful and Khairil? Khairil says Saiful went to Najib’s office to apply for a scholarship and he says they met only that once. Malaysia Today said that that was not true and that there is something more than that going on between Khairil and Saiful that has nothing to do with a scholarship.

Khairil is a graduate of the International Islamic University (UIA) and all his contemporaries in UIA know about his gay tendencies. A number of his university mates have confirmed this, as have his secondary school mates from Sekolah Alam Shah.

On 30 June 2010, Khairil got married to Syed Rahman’s daughter, Syarifah Nabila Sara. Yes, that’s right, our Mongolian Honorary Consul to Malaysia is now the father-in-law to Najib’s aide, Khairil. However, barely a month later, Syarifah Nabila went home to her father. They are not quite divorced yet but divorce is certainly on the cards.

And why did Syarifah Nabila leave her matrimonial home to return to her parent’s home in a huff? Simple. She is not happy that her husband is AC-DC, just like Saiful. For the benefit of the less savvy readers that means bi-sexual.

Yes, Khairil, just like Saiful, likes it both ways. And Syarifah Nabila is very upset that her husband is using their bed for trysts with boys. Having sex with boys is one thing. Bringing them home to your matrimonial bed is another -- Khairil’s wife can’t accept that.

So what do we have here? Najib’s aide is married to the Mongolian Honorary Consul’s daughter. The daughter wants an end to the marriage after merely a month because her husband likes boys and brings them home to their bed. The gay aide also has links with the gay man who has accused Anwar of sodomising him. And this same ‘sodomy victim’ also has a sexual relationship with the deputy public prosecutor in Anwar’s trial.

Even Peyton Place is not as complicating as this. And do they not say that the truth is even stranger than fiction?

Let’s see them wangle out of this one.

PKR has released four sets of pictures showing the man who made a police report alleging sodomy by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The pictures were taken at the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the accuser was posing with three Cabinet ministers.
One of the pictures showed Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, posing with Khairil Annas Jusoh, an aide at the Deputy Prime Minister's office. -- The Star, 30 June 2008
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, yang didakwa meliwat pembantunya, mendakwa pemuda itu mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan timbalan perdana menteri dan isterinya.
Penasihat PKR mendakwa lagi Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan beberapa kali bertemu Rosmah Mansor, selain rapat dengan Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan pegawai khasnya Khairil Annas Jusoh.
"Saiful Bukhari mempunyai hubungan yang rapat dengan Khairil Annas, Rosmah dan Najib. Beliau bertemu berulang kali dengan Khairil Annas dan Rosmah," katanya.
"Beliau bukan pegawai peribadi saya. Beliau mempunyai hubungan yang kuat dengan Najib."
Kelmarin presiden PKR Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail menunjukkan foto pemuda itu dengan Khairil Annas - bagaimanapun Najib semalam menafikan pembabitannya dan pegawainya itu dengan kontroversi terbaru Anwar. -- Malaysiakini, 1 July 2008

Saying “no” to child sex trafficking

ON 7 Aug 2010, The Body Shop Malaysia organised a march down Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur in an effort to join the war against trafficking of children and young people for sexual exploitation. More than 100 people, including students of Inti College University, took part in the march. They distributed leaflets and car stickers to the public to raise awareness about the crime.
Human trafficking is the third largest and fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. An estimated 2.5 million people are in forced labour, including sexual exploitation, at any given time as a result of trafficking. Of this, 1.4 million, or 56%, are in Asia and the Pacific.
An estimated 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked every year.
In 2009, The Body Shop Malaysia, together with non-governmental organisation partners Tenaganita, PS the Children and Nurusalam, embarked on a campaign to lobby for the ratification of the optional protocol for better protection of children against sexual exploitation. The optional protocol was created by the United Nations to complement the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Malaysia is the remaining of three Southeast Asian countries which have yet to ratify the protocol. The other two are Burma and Singapore.
Members of the public are urged to sign the Stop Sex Trafficking Petition at any The Body Shop stores, or by visiting All pictures above by Soo Phye, with photos and caption information courtesy of The Body Shop Malaysia

India's Unconventional Energy Path

(Photo: Water Contamination Center)
(Asia Sentinel) With India importing nearly 25 percent of its gas needs – which could rise to 50 percent by 2020 – the government is spurring a push into a plethora of new, unconventional energy sources including shale gas and oil, oil sands, coal bed methane, underground coal gas, coal-to-liquid, tight gas and others to replace traditional natural gas and crude oil.

Even as India pushes for the new options, however, there are unsolved concerns about the environmental fallout of such energy sources that, given India's fractious NGOs, could spell serious trouble for the companies out to produce energy from them – especially multinationals. This is a country that could call out hundreds of protesters against Coca-Cola bottling plants for allegedly polluting groundwater or absorbing groundwater that villagers claimed as theirs.

The search for energy and mineral resources has already spurred a bloody Maoist rebellion in India's mineral-rich states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. According to a 26 April, 2010 Asia Sentinel report, some analysts call the threat the biggest India faces.

Shale gas, for instance, is produced by a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" – fracturing rock formations deep underground that potentially involves massive pollution of underground water and seismic activity, apart from huge amounts of wasted water in bringing shale gas to the surface. Given the state of new technology, the impact on large-scale production is not definitive, however. Although some oil and gas industry analysts have labeled the concerns as "overblown," major incidents such as the 65-day BP oil rupture that spilled an estimated 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, which make the need for proper safeguards crucial. The lenience shown to officials of the Union Carbide-created poison gas disaster in Bhopal have also raised environmental outrage.

In India the Madras high court recently urged firms to implement social and environment responsibility norms. However, profit-driven hydrocarbon and mining companies are known to usually ignore such aspects unless there is a strict crackdown on polluting activity.

Shale Gas Option

India is preparing a road map for its first-ever shale gas auctions within the next 12 months, marking the tapping of the second unconventional natural gas resource after coal bed methane. Indian shale gas reserves have not been measured, but they are estimated to be higher than conventional gas reserves. Reliance Industries, which has already invested in US shale gas projects, is expected to play a leading role in Indian exploitation of the resource. RIL has acquired 40 percent of Atlas Energy's Marcellus Shale acreage in the US for US$1.7 billion followed by 45 percent of US-based Pioneer Natural Resources shale gas assets for US$1.15 billion. Y K Modi's Great Eastern Energy Corporation is also keen on shale to expand its existing coal bed methane portfolio. Multinationals such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell are also expected to seek to go after Indian reserves

The decision to tap shale gas followed a recent meeting presided over by Jitin Prasada, the minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, with officials of the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, to outline a policy plan for shale gas output in India, following in the footsteps of America, China and Canada. Shale gas producing areas are to be marked out by early next year, followed by open bids for the blocks in which both Indian and foreign companies will be able to participate.

India is also likely to bring in the services of the US Geological Survey to share knowledge in the area. Some 20 percent of America's gas production today is derived from shale gas. India's Oil Minister Murli Deora recently met with the US deputy secretary of energy, Daniel Poneman to discuss shale gas exploration.

Several known hydrocarbon basins – Cambay in Gujarat, Assam-Arakan in the northeast and Gondwana in central India have been identified as potential shale rich locations. State owned ONGC has earmarked Rs 1.3 billion for a pilot project for shale gas exploration at the Damodar Basin and has been looking to work with America to develop the new energy source. Preliminary talks have taken place with Canada as well.

Pushing coal bed methane

New Delhi recently awarded seven CBM blocks for exploration, with Essar Oil bagging four of them, Australian firm Arrow Energy two via separate joint ventures with Oil India Ltd and Tata Power, while one block went to Great Eastern Energy Corporation. Essar's four CBM blocks offers the company an additional acreage of 2,233 sq km and potential of 7.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) CBM gas.

"The decision will accelerate energy security of the country," the government said in a prepared statement after round four of bidding for CBM blocks.

The Arrow-Tata consortium has been awarded the Assam and Satpura (in central Indian province Madhya Pradesh) blocks. The latter is likely to hold 900 billion cubic feet of gas and is to be used to back Tata power units that supply electricity to Mumbai. Arrow Energy, with 80 percent, will be the operator of Satpura with initial production expected in 2014.

Arrow also has CBM interests in Australia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The company was recently acquired by a joint venture of Shell and Petrochina. Reports indicate Arrow is in talks with ONGC to develop CBM blocks in West Bengal and Jharkhand. ONGC owns six blocks and has been looking for a technology partner to develop them.

Petroleum minister Deora has said CBM production in India is expected to touch nearly 7.5 million standard cubic meters per day in 2012-13. Production began in 2007 with Great Eastern commercial supplies. Great Eastern has two dozen wells in West Bengal.

Essar Oil is looking to become the country's second commercial producer. The company's Raniganj coal block holds about 30 percent of proven coal-gas reserves in India.

Of a total of 250 tcf of natural gas estimated in India, 45 tcf is expected from coal deposits. Three companies -- Reliance Industries (3.6 tcf), GEEC (1.9 tcf) and Essar Oil (2.2 tcf) -- have declared 8 tcf commercially recoverable CBM.

RIL's coal-gas finds are in Madhya Pradesh, Essar and GEEC's are in West Bengal

UCG Projects

ONGC is preparing to begin underground coal gasification production, with three major projects in the offing.

"We are waiting for the mining lease approval from the coal ministry, said company chairman R S Sharma recently. "These three major projects will bring future growth.''

ONGC estimates the Mangalore project in Karnataka to be completed by 2012; in Tripura (in north east India) around 2-3 billion cu.m of production is expected to commence from March 2012, while at Vatsan in Gujarat, ONGC expects to produce 2 billion cubic meters by 2013-14, all of which the state-owned energy company hopes can offset declining revenue as crude oil production begins to fall.

ONGC has been experimenting with underground coal gasification technology for the last five years, setting up pilot projects in 2005 in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, to be followed by others in Rajasthan. The pilot plans are now being enlarged as the government seeks to build a base for UGC output. UCG technology uses a chemical reaction to convert coal into gas underground before pumping it to the surface. Given India's nearly 260 billion metric tons of coal reserves, it is hoped that UCG will become an important energy source. Coal, which now accounts for more than 60 percent of India's primary energy needs, is one of the world's biggest sources of greenhouse gases.

In a related development Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) has finalized plans to set up a coal-to-liquid (CTL) plant in Orissa (eastern India) that will require investment of Rs 420 billion. A joint venture between India's Tata Group and South Africa's Sasol plans to invest US$10-billion in a CTL project, also in Orissa, by 2018.