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Friday, August 13, 2010

Canadian imams issue declaration to combat radical Islam

A council of Canadian imams is issuing a declaration Friday that it says represents the world's first nationwide condemnation of radical Islam by the faith's religious leaders.

"People have done many, many condemnations of terrorism but it has never been done well enough or complete enough to get people to pay attention and to say this is a point of sea change," said David Liepert, a spokesman for the Canadian Council of Imams, which is issuing the statement.

"This is us reclaiming Islam from radicals who want to promote conflict and promote violence," he told CNN.

The Council, which comprises 50 influential imams, says its statement - called the Canadian Council of Imams Declaration– will be read in more than 200 mosques across Canada during Friday's afternoon prayers.

"Islam does not permit the killing of innocent people, regardless of their creed, ethnicity, race or nationality," the statement says.

The declaration doesn't mention radicalism or terrorism, but it repeatedly condemns religious violence.

"The sanctity of human life overrides the sanctity of religious laws," it says. "Islamic rulings do not - and should not - contradict natural laws. Islam is a religion that promotes peace, justice, equality, dignity and freedom for all human beings."

"All human beings are equal, and all of them are the children of Adam and Eve (peace be upon them)," another part of the statement reads. "The best Muslim is the one who is good to his/her family and neighbors, and one who avoids harming others with his/her hand or tongue."

The declaration, which comes at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, is aimed at establishing basic tenets of Islam for Muslim youth and at improving the public image of the religion, Liepert said.

"For Muslims, our religion is always part of the story when one of us does something wrong," he said. "Maybe that's not the way it should be, but it's the way it is."

"We need to take every opportunity we get to denounce terror and violence and their linkages to religion, which are false," he said.

Earlier this year, a Muslim scholar issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, from London saying that suicide bombers are destined for hell.

In March, Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri criticized Islamic extremists who cite their religion to justify violence, in what one counterterrorism think tank said was "arguably the most comprehensive theological refutation of Islamist terrorism to date."

"We looked at things like a fatwa, but the trouble is it's a limited legal opinion," Liepert said. "We consider this statement almost a constitution for the way Islam is and will be interpreted by Canada."

At a time of rising tensions in the United States between Muslims and other Americans over a proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero and over proposed mosques elsewhere in the country, Liepert hopes his group's document will provide a roadmap to its southern neighbor.

"This document will show American Muslims that this is the way to go," he said.

But Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that many American Muslim groups had issued condemnations of Muslim terrorists. He pointed to a 2005 fatwa issued by the Fiqh Council of North America, a U.S. counterpart to the Canadian Council of Imams.

Kugan’s mother seeks Palace intervention

Palace officials receiving the petition today. - Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — A.Kugan’s mother today handed over a petition to the palace urging the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to intervene and ensure all involved in his custodial death are charged.

N. Indra, accompanied by her son, A. Iswara, lawyer N. Surendran and Kapar MP S. Manickavasagam, submitted the petition to palace officer Guli Tahir this morning at around 11.00am amid strong police presence.

Kugan, 23, died on January 20, 2009 while being held in Taipan USJ police station. He had been arrested six days before on suspicion of stealing cars.

To date, only a policeman, PC V. Navindran, 28, has been charged with causing grievous hurt to Kugan at 7am on January 16, 2009 at Taipan USJ police station, Subang Jaya.

Navindran also faces two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan at the same place and time, which carry a maximum seven years jail and a fine upon conviction.

Surendran said it was clear from the evidence being presented in court that more than one person was involved in Kugan’s death.

The petition alleged that at least 10 other policeman were involved in Kugan’s death, all of whom were
Indra in tears today outside the Palace. - Picture by Jack Ooi
Vtransferred to desk duty following his death.

“There were many other people involved. None of them have been charged,” Surendran said.

“Kugan was severely tortured and, until today, after 17 months, only one person [has been] charged for a lesser offence.

“There is no satisfaction for the mother. There is no justice. Everybody else was allowed to get away with it,” he said.

He further argued that Navindran should have been charged with more than just causing hurt to Kugan.

“The charge... is just not good enough. He should be charged for murder because this was murder,” he said.

He also urged that Selangor OCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar be removed from his position for issuing a false statement that Kugan died suddenly after drinking a glass of water.

“This is serious. If you compare to Aminulrasyid’s case... same thing happened,” he said, comparing the case to that of 14-year-old schoolboy Aminulrasyid Hassan, who was gunned down by police in Shah Alam on April 26.

“After the death, the police came out with a lot of false statements and no action was taken until today. Same thing in Kugan’s case, also false statements.

Surendran said Kugan’s family made it a priority to get the petition to the Yang diPertuan Agong because they felt the country’s institutions had failed in delivering justice.

“The police have failed, the courts have failed, the home ministry has failed, the prime minister’s department has failed, and... that is why we’re coming to the King,” he said.

“It’s not that we really want to come to the Palace because this is a constitutional monarchy but we have no choice.

“When all other institutions of the state failed in giving justice to Kugan’s mother, then we’ve got to come to the King. This is the last resort.”

He said the Yang diPertuan Agong had the power to warn, advise, encourage and direct the government, and urged the monarch to do so in Kugan’s case.

Surendran warned that the police will not take seriously the fact that they cannot kill people without reason if they are let off lightly each time.

“There is no lesson sent out to the police. There is no warning sent out to the police.

“If all of them can get away with what they did to Kugan, they will do it again and again and again. And that’s why I say the system has failed,” he said.

“They have become... immune to the suffering of people who are in their lock-up. It’s okay to beat up people. That means that’s the police ethic, that’s the police culture.

“You cannot beat, abuse or assault a person who’s been arrested. You must take him to court and charge him and let the legal process continue.”

He added that the family had to fight an uphill battle to get even one person charged and for a second post-mortem examination on Kugan to be done.

“The authorities did their very best to cover up this case from day one... It’s a joke. If we keep on like this, Malaysia is going to become a failed state,” he said.

“This mother who keeps being forced to come here is a sign of the failure of the system.”

Surendran also took to task Ibrahim, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for not issuing an apology to Indra for the death of her son in police custody.

“What does that tell about our country? What does that tell about the seriousness of the attempt to so-called reform?” he asked.

“Look at this mother’s tears. Let Najib answer this mother’s tears.”

Three charged in killing of VK Lingam's brother

PETALING JAYA: Three committee members of the Audiyar Muniswarar Temple in Jalan Puteri, Bandar Puteri, Puchong were charged in the magistrate's court here with the alleged murder of prominent lawyer Datuk VK Lingam's youngest brother, last week.

DK Saravanan, 29, A Thayalan, 30, and M Devidasan 30, were charged with the murder of V Rajendram, 52, at the Audiyar Muniswarar temple between 9.30pm on Aug 2 and 12.05am on Aug 3.

The three accused, represented by P Sutheswary, were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Saravanan, a wireman, Thayalan a self-employed and Devidasan, a factory worker, nodded theirs heads when the charge was read in Bahasa Malaysia in front of magistrate Mohamad Ibrahim Mohammad Ghulam.

Mohamad Ibrahim later set Sept 23 for mention of the case.

Deputy public prosecutor Siti Fatimah Yahya led the prosecution.

Rajendram was believed to have died at about 3am on Aug 3, shortly after three men had beaten him up, following an argument at the temple, believed to be over an issue of collections in the temple.

- Bernama

Church attack: Five years jail for 'brothers in arson'

By Qayum Rahman - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court today sentenced brothers Raja Muhammad Faizal Raja Ibrahim, 24, and Raja Muhammad Idzham, 22, to five years jail over the arson attack on the Metro Tabernacle church earlier this year.

In her judgment, Judge SM Komathy Suppiah said that she found their testimonies to be inconsistent and that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt.

Both were charged, with several others still at large, on Jan 29 with causing mischief by torching the Metro Tabernacle Church at Jalan 4/4C, Desa Melawati at 11.50pm on Jan 7 this year.

The attack came in the wake of a controversial court ruling to allow a Catholic publication to use the term “Allah” in its Malay edition.

Petrol bombs were also hurled into several other churches, but Metro Tabernacle was the worst hit, with its first floor completely razed.

Meanwhile, Komathy said defence lawyer Hanif Hashim had failed to prove that the brothers were not involved in the incident while evidence from the Chemistry Department showed that both had sustained injuries from the arson.

'Contradictory statement'
She said the statement from the third witness Mohd Hamzam Zainal Abidin had also cast doubts and contradicted the statements from other witnesses.

This, she added, had further strengthened the court's belief that the duo were guilty.

"After evaluating submissions from the deputy public prosecutor and the defence, the court find both the defendants guilty," she ruled.

On July 3, the court acquitted despatch rider Azuwan Shah Ahmad, 23, due to insufficient evidence.

Komathy then had ordered Raja Muhammad Faizal and Raja Muhammad Idzham, who were also despatch riders, to enter their defence.

The judge said the church was deliberately set on fire by a group of men on the night of Jan 7 and although there were four witnesses, they could not positively identify the culprits.

However, she said, in view of the compelling nature of the circumstantial evidence produced, the prosecution had established a prima facie case in respect of the two brothers.

Bon was right to bite, say lawyers

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Several lawyers have voiced their support for Bar Council member Edmund Bon, who criticised the council for being toothless and not standing up for the rights of the people.
Directing his comments at current council president Ragunath Kesavan, lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad said: “The ear of a leader must ring with the voices of the people and the moment he stops listening to those voices, then he is no longer fit to be a leader.”
He pointed out that council members had a duty and that duty did not differ from the duty of every lawyer in Malaysia, which was to act without fear or favour.

He said that council members were not elected so that they could get titles or accolades or rub shoulders with judges and leaders of the government.

“They were elected because members of the Malaysian Bar want them to be their voice and conscience. The real issues are those raised by Bon (in his interview with FMT),” he added.

Amer told FMT that Bon was not the only one who had heard murmurs of dissatisfaction among Bar members.

He said lawyers and the public were turning to alternative avenues to air their problems because they felt that the council would not be able to effectively raise the issue with the powers that be.

"As a result of this, websites such as 'Loyar Burok' and e-groups such as 'Lawyerstalk' and 'Transformed Bar' have become outlets for lawyers and the public to voice their dissatisfaction on the judiciary or government when such issues should have been taken up by the council," he added.

'CJ and AG have no regard for us'

Agreeing with Amer, senior lawyer T Gunaseelan said the Bar Council's office-bearers were ineffective and no longer served the interests of Bar members.

"It is obvious that the chief justice and attorney-general have no regard for the views of the Malaysian Bar. Important legislations are passed without any concern about the views of the Bar.

"Even measures taken with regard to court procedure are just bulldozed through. We never seem to learn from past experience," he told FMT.

He noted that it was compulsory for all lawyers to be a member of the Bar under the Legal Profession Act but if this was optional, many would opt out.

Lawyer N Surendran criticised the council for not doing enough to stand up against the authorities, and this was apparent in its views (or lack thereof) over the absence of action on the allegations of corruption against Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, which was exposed by lawyer Karpal Singh.

"The council is also not critical enough of the chief justice's arbitrary decision on the administration of justice in this country," he said.

Surendran also lambasted the council for failing to express its views on the courts' tendency of making decisions in favour of the government.

Another critic, N Thirmoorty believes that Bon had hit the nail on the head with his criticisms.

"I strongly believe the council is not delievering what is expected of them and they been selective in their action,” he told FMT.

“Those critical of the council are sidelined and their views are not taken into consideration when making a stand on major issues," he said.

The Bar Council is the leadership body of the 13,000-strong Malaysian Bar.

Taib's billions: Will MACC boss walk the talk?

By FMT Staff

KUCHING: Will the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) finally act against Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud now that documented evidence is available over his vulgar amassment of wealth?

Or will its chief Abu Kassim Mohamed step down?
That’s the question being asked in Sarawak's social and political circles.

It appears that all eyes are on Abu Kassim who bragged not too long ago that he will “step down” if “no investigation is carried out on any report, even against a Cabinet minister”.

Thus far, a flurry of reports have already been lodged with the MACC, both in Sarawak and the Peninsula, against Taib based on a series of investigative articles by online portal Sarawak Report about Taib and his family’s multi-billion ringgit property empire in Canada, England, the US and Australia.

The latest report showcased a copy of a private agreement dating back to 1987-1988 relating to shares in Sakti International, a company that owns a building in San Francisco.

The document has Taib’s name clearly emblazoned as equity holder.

The Taib family-owned company is part of an extensive network of companies cutting across international borders. The network includes Sakto, a major Ottawa (Canada) property company, and Wallysons which owns the Abraham Lincoln Building in Seattle (US).

To quote the report: “The damning discovery lays bare a system of private deals, which enabled the chief minister to conceal his true ownership of the properties… Under the system, while Taib’s relatives are publicly registered as the official shareholders and directors of the companies owning the properties, a separate, private agreement ensures that the shares are actually held in trust for him.”

Sham investigation
Padungan assemblyman Dominque Ng download copies of the evidence onto his blog for public viewing and left a posting that read: “Surely the weight of evidence is now such that the MACC will be unable to ignore the deluge of demands requiring thorough investigation into Sarawak’s white-haired Raja?”

But the question remains: will the MACC walk its talk?

No one believes it will, and even if it does they think it will be yet another sham investigation.

According to Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian, the people have lost faith in MACC and are of the view that not much will get done.

“Sarawakians are fed up with the fraudulent ways of Taib. They have lost faith in the MACC...

“In Sarawak, Taib’s wealth is common knowledge. Sarawakians have known this for sometime... we just did not know the vastness of his empire abroad and the extent of his wealth. But now there is solid proof…” he said, referrring to documents made available on the Sarawak Report website.

Declaring that Sarawak’s money must be returned to the people, Bian said there was a strong web of deceit and corruption associated with Taib’s wealth.

He also questioned how such wealth could have been amassed on a gross monthly salary of less than RM50,000.

“If MACC does a genuine and thorough investigation of the source of Taib’s wealth, it is bound to find links to corruption involving millions of ringgit in public money.

“This money belongs to Sarawak and must be returned to the people,” he said.

PAS: Muhyiddin needs to keep the Malays confused

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS leaders are unperturbed by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s sneaky and deliberate manipulation of their statements.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad said that Muhyiddin savours the role of instigator and will manipulate, from time to time, statements made by him and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
According to Khalid, Muhyiddin needs to keep the Malays in a constant state of confusion which will then enable Umno-BN to retain its place in the 13th general election.
Khalid was referring to Muhyiddin recently pitting PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang against him on the issue of discounts and subsidies on housing and commercial properties.
“Before this he (Muhyiddin) pitted PAS president against Tony Pua (DAP's PJ Utara MP). Now he’s doing the same with me and Hadi.
“But the fact is there is no discord. Hadi and I have the same views. We both want to help the Malays, the poor Malays not the rich Malays and bumiputeras,” he said.
He said Muhyiddin had his own agenda in playing up the bumiputera 7 to 10 percent discount on luxury and commercial properties worth RM500,000 to RM2 million.
“He loves it if more Malays are poor because this way the rich can continue receiving more subsidies.
"They keep instigating issues to keep the Malays in a constant state of confusion and upheaval,” Khalid said.

Protecting the rich

The majority of the grassroots Umno leaders living in low cost houses don’t see that the rich Malays are benefitting from the 7 percent discount on properties worth RM500,000, he said.
“Only the rich can afford to buy a RM500,000 house. The poor can’t. This is what the section of Umno leaders living in PPRT (low cost) housing cannot see.
“They just support the instigators not realising that others are enjoying the subsidy and not them,” Khalid was quoted as saying in Harakahdaily.
He also questioned the rationale behind Muhyiddin’s defense of the discount and subsidies policy.
“How do we eradicate poverty among Malays if Muhyiddin continues to defend the subsidy and discounts only for the benefit of the rich?” he asked.
He that if Muhyiddin was indeed the people’s champion, he should then campaign for a bigger discount and subsidy on low and medium cost properties.
Earlier this week Muhyiddin had challenged Khalid to support Abdul Hadi’s stand on the bumiputera discount on the basis of the Malay struggle.
The challenge came to pass after Khalid took the 'middle road' by merging Abdul Hadi’s suggestion with Pua’s for maximum benefit to the low and middle income Malay community.

Umno = Perkasa?

On Malay Malaysian privileges and their position
“Don’t try to test the patience of the Malays of Penang, because it has a limit … Do not play with fire.”
PENANG Umno information chief Musa Syed Fadhil at the annual general meeting (AGM) of Umno’s Bukit Bendera division, where its former chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail was given a hero’s welcome. As part of this welcome, Musa declared that Penang Malays “were not weak and will rise again”.
Ahmad had been suspended for three years from the party and all his posts for calling Chinese Malaysians “pendatang” and inciting tensions during the Permatang Pauh by-election in 2008. However, his suspension was lifted in 2009, before the three years were up, and he was expected to re-contest the division chief post.
But in a shock announcement on 5 Aug 2010, he said he would not stand for elections so as not to jeopardise the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s efforts to win back Chinese Malaysian votes. At the division meeting, he was received with bungga manggar, kompang and a silat performance. He was also bestowed titles like “Bintang Perkasa Melayu Jati” and “Wira Bangsa”. (Source: Ahmad Ismail showered with heroic titles at AGM, Malaysiakini, 8 Aug 2010)
“So, I’m asking YB Tony Pua not to play with fire … Don’t even light a match.” 
Umno information chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan, warning Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentarian Tony Pua, from the DAP, to be considerate towards Malay Malaysians and bumiputera. Pua had earlier suggested to the Selangor government to remove the 7% bumiputera discount for residential and commercial properties worth more than RM500,000. Maslan said Pua’s suggestion was one among the DAP’s long list of proposals that questioned Malay Malaysian privileges.
Along the same line, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the federal government had no current plans to review the discount, which was under the purview of state governments. Najib also warned the DAP against pressuring bumiputra as it could cause anger and dissatisfaction. (Source: Ahmad Maslan to Tony Pua: Don’t play with fire, Bernama as quoted in Malaysiakini, 1 Aug 2010)
On the right to use “Allah” and talk about Islam
“I would consider the demand a rude one as it is disrespectful towards the country’s Malay Muslims. It is kurang ajar (extremely rude).”
“MCA just wants political mileage. They shouldn’t play with fire because this issue is very sensitive to Muslims. Although Christians in other Islamic nations like Indonesia use Allah, the situation is different here.”
Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali, responding to the MCA’s call for the government to repeal its ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims. The MCA’s publicity bureau deputy chaiperson, Loh Seng Kok, had urged the government to do this after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he regretted that his predecessor had imposed the ban and admitted that the issue would continue to haunt the BN. (Source: ‘Allah’ row: Ibrahim calls MCA ‘biadap’ , Free Malaysia Today, 4 Aug 2010)
“I don’t understand why the DAP and MCA are taking a common stand on such matters.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Seri Muhyiddin Yassin, commenting on the MCA‘s and DAP‘s stand on “Allah”, where both parties had asked the government to rescind its ban on the use of the word by non-Muslims. Muhyiddin said the subject should not be talked about as it was still pending in court.
The government has filed an appeal against the High Court‘s decision to let the Catholic Church use the word in its Bahasa Malaysia newsletter. The MCA later denied having the same stand as the DAP, and said it was only voicing the concerns of Christian citizens.  (Source: DPM: Let court handle the ‘kalimah Allah’ issue, Bernama as quoted in Free Malaysia Today, 3 Aug 2010)
“He can continue to speak but he will face the consequence in the next general elections … It is MCA and DAP that are standing in the way of national integration by bringing up controversial issues.”
Perkasa’s Ibrahim, commenting on MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek‘s remark that “some of the most corrupt nations are Muslim-majority countries”. Ibrahim said Perkasa would work to ensure the MCA’s defeat in the next general election if the party’s leadership continued to “insult Islam”.
He also accused the MCA of behaving like the opposition DAP by questioning Malay Malaysian special privileges under the Federal Constitution, and by deliberately making controversial statements to attract Chinese Malaysian support. (Source: Perkasa to punish MCA in polls over Islam ‘insult’, The Malaysian Insider, 8 Aug 2010)

Religious Conflict in Jakarta

Image(Asia Sentinel) Sectarian differences challenge future

Imagine that you've moved to Jakarta from your birthplace outside Java. This happened some 20 years ago and you're now married with a family.You've settled in Bekasi, a suburb outside the capital. Property prices there are more affordable than in the city center. The houses are small but sufficient. In fact, some of them have been converted into shops and kiosks.

Meanwhile, Bekasi with an estimated population of over 2.2 million, has grown by leaps and bounds.

There are now new shopping malls with everything you could ever want: from cinemas and restaurants to supermarkets.

Still, the development is haphazard.

With so many people streaming in to what was essentially a "dormitory" town, there's little sense of shared identity.

Moreover, the commute to Jakarta for work is exhausting.

You have to wake up long before dawn, only returning home after sunset.

After hours on the road, who has time for neighborliness? Some courtesies go missing.

Amidst all the changes and being far from your birthplace, you begin to realize the importance of "belonging."

On Sundays, your people — friends and family from the same community — gather together for prayers.

Many of you now live in the same housing development.

Initially, you moved the prayers from house to house so as to minimize the inconvenience.

But as the congregation grew — there are more than 1,500 "souls" now — the moving around became too impractical.

In fact, some of the children of this growing congregation are now in their 20s and are starting families of their own.

Having grown up in a disciplined and highly religious environment, you begin to wonder what the future holds for them and their offspring.

What kind of identity will they have, surrounded by people of other religions?

In such a restless environment the church becomes an important bastion: a source of guidance and solace.

You talk about your birthplace — perhaps it's Tapanuli in North Sumatra — but it's difficult for your children to imagine the place.

It's too far away and they've only known the hot plains of West Java. Still, you try — using the Batak language at home and in religious services.

Indeed, as you grow older you feel more strongly attached to the community and to the weekly religious services. It is an important part of your life. It grounds you.

But this is where the story unravels.

This is where the secular promise of Indonesia comes under pressure from the realities of communities in potential conflict on the ground.

Over the past two decades, your requests to municipal authorities for land to build a permanent church have been held up by endless bureaucratic delays and at times downright bigotry.

Every time you try something different — temporarily converting a house or buying a property, it's quickly blocked.

Indeed, even continuing the services in a semi-permanent venue is disallowed.

The problems are dispiriting, but you don't lose hope. Finally, you resolve to pray on a piece of land the church actually owns.

There's no protection from the elements but at least the land is yours.

However, on Aug. 8, five days ago, after five weeks of praying in the open, you are prevented from holding Sunday morning prayers.

Even though there are police present, they do nothing. Instead, an angry crowd intimidates your fellow worshippers. They push and they shove.

Some fall to the ground. The pastor is actually beaten. It is a humiliating and scary experience.

You return to your respective homes. In the days that follow, there is a media outcry.

Religious leaders from all faiths visit your community. Politicians intervene. The governor speaks up; even the president specifically refers to the incident in a speech.

The coverage is comforting; it makes you realize you are not alone.

But there's a depressing familiarity about the difficulties you've faced in finding a permanent home for your church.

It's a narrative that's been duplicated across Jakarta's suburbs — from Depok to Tangerang to Bekasi.

Thursday evening comes, and you meet a visiting writer from Malaysia. He's a Muslim and it's the eve of Ramadan.

He knows he's imposing as he sits down (in what was the temporary church) to talk with you and your friends. You tell your story. He listens and takes notes.

Finally he asks: "What will you do on Sunday?"

Without hesitation you answer: "We'll go out to pray on our land."

The writer takes his leave and returns to Jakarta. He's humbled by your courage and determination.

He's also enraged by how intolerant members of his own faith can be.

Still, it's Ramadan and he hopes that people change.

Karim Raslan is a columnist who divides his time between Malaysia and Indonesia. This piece originally appeared in the Jakarta Globe.

Senior Citizen’s Outrage: Open Letter To Sharizat

By Orang Lama Malaysian
Open letter to Sharizat

Many senior citizens are outraged by your uncalled for comments about the RM100 given to them by the Penang state government in appreciation of their contributions to the development of Penang.

Your comments indicate how uncultured you are, totally unbefitting of a cabinet minister. You said you are ashamed and offered your sympathies to Penang’s senior citizens because they are worth — according to your absurd calculation — less than RM10 a month in the eyes of the state government.

Can I ask you how much a senior citizen was worth when the BN ruled Penang? Absolutely nothing, Yes Nothing at all.

You went on to say that you thank God that there is a federal government and a Barisan Nasional government to take care of the people’s welfare without which the poor in Penang will be starving. Yes, the BN government looked after the people of Penang so well that on 8 March 2008, they kicked the BN of Penang!

As a senior citizen, let me tell you this. It is not the money that matters. It is the thought, the appreciation and the caring attitude of the state government that senior citizens value most.

Did you say that the BN government looks after the people’s welfare? Let us examine the BN’s track record. The NEP has been in existence for almost 40 years and during this period about 1 trillion ringgit was allocated supposedly to help Malays through ASN, ASB and numerous other government programmes involving many government agencies.

Umnoputras hijacked the NEP and by masquerading as champions of the Malays siphoned off a sizeable amount of the funds to enrich themselves, their families and their cronies. These Umnoputras live in palatial houses and live opulent lifestyles. Look at the posh cars they and their cronies drive and the designer clothes they wear while the poor Malays continue to languish in poverty, even after 52 years of Umno’s total dominance in Malaysian politics. How much have these Umnoputras, their families and cronies invested in high-end properties overseas? How much of the loot is stashed away in overseas banks?

A Morgan Stanley analyst estimated that between 1984 and 2003, RM360 billion was siphoned off by Umnoputras and their cronies. The Auditor-General’s Report bears ample testimony to the plunder of the nation’s wealth.

After more than 52 years of Merdeka, many kampungs do not have basic amenities like piped water and electricity while Umnoputras are wallowing in wealth and luxury. No wonder the income differential in the Malay community is the highest among all ethnic groups in Asia.

You were defeated in the last elections and came into the cabinet through the backdoor. We are ashamed of you No wonder Rafidah poured scorn on you. As minister of Women, Family and Community Development, you did little to genuinely empower Malaysian women, especially Muslim women whose problems — marriage, divorce, custody of children, alimony, property rights etc, etc have remained unresolved. Your failures in this regard are well documented by women NGOs and Sisters in Islam.

You had the audacity to offer your sympathies to the senior citizens of Penang. Let me tell you this:
Shut your face, honey. Guan Eng is making money (for Penang, of course), unlike you and the rest of Umno gang.

My advice to you is this:

Don’t open your mouth to make a bloody fool of yourself. Do us a favour; disappear from the political scene.
Stop monkeying around.
Orang Lama Malaysian

Brazil, India & China Fared Well During The Financial Crisis

WASHINGTON, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- At least three countries India, China and Brazil fared well during the current economic crisis that has engulfed the world in the past two years, mainly because of inherent strengthen of their economies, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported a Congressional oversight panel as saying.

"Because the financial crisis originated in domestic housing bubbles, and was transmitted by highly leveraged multinational financial firms, countries that were shielded from those forces fared comparatively well," said the panel in its report for the month of August.

"Brazil, India, China, Australia and Canada, for example, generally avoided the banking crises that plagued US and much of Europe; nonetheless their economies felt many of the aftereffects of the global financial crisis," it said.

Brazil, the 162-page report said is one of the countries that has fared best during the global financial crisis

"India also fared comparatively well," it said.

"Its highly regulated banking sector had limited operations outside India, and therefore very little exposure to subprime lending in the US," the report said, adding that although India did feel the follow-on effects of the crisis, though.

Its export-driven economy suffered when global demand dropped; its financial sector suffered from the global liquidity squeeze, which led to a fall in lending; and its stock market lost roughly 50 per cent of its value between June and December 2008.

"Although the Indian government did not provide capital to Indian banks, it did respond to the crisis with fiscal stimulus equal to about 2 per cent of GDP, and it shifted from a tightening monetary policy to an expansionary one," the report said.

The Congressional Oversight Panel said China's financial system also fared relatively well during the crisis, though it should be noted that China's state-owned banks have benefited from repeated government rescues in the recent past.

China maintains capital controls that limit foreign investment by individuals and businesses; these controls had beneficial effects during the crisis, since Chinese investors had little exposure to troubled parts of the US and European financial systems, it said.

Banks in China had invested heavily in US securities, but those investments were generally not in subprime securities, but rather in safer Treasury bonds and securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the US government stepped in to backstop during the crisis, it said.

"Therefore, China's financial system, like Brazil's and India's, did not sustain major damage from the crisis.

"China's export-driven economy did suffer, though, from the sharp downturn in global demand and the slowdown in foreign investment," the report said.

China's explosive growth slowed during the crisis, but the government countered the effects of the slowdown by increasing bank lending, lowering interest rates, and introducing fiscal stimulus spending that was among the largest in the world as a percentage of GDP.

"Australia also suffered relatively little from the crisis. Its only decline in GDP occurred in the fourth quarter of 2009, meaning that Australia did not enter into a recession," the report said.

Ex-detainee loses RM2.5m damages claim

The Star 

PUTRAJAYA: A former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee failed in his bid to get RM2.5mil in damages over claims of police abuse 12 years ago after his application to appeal was dismissed.

A three-man Bench of the Federal Court, comprising Court of Appeal president Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff and Justices Hashim Yusof and Mohd Ghazali Mohd Yusoff, unanimously dismissed the application for leave to appeal by Abdul Malek Hussin, 53, yesterday.

Justice Alauddin, in his ruling, said the court found that all three points of law raised by the applicant had failed to meet the requirements under the Courts of Judicature Act (CJA) 1964.

They also ordered him to pay costs of RM20,000 to the respondents — Asst Supt Borhan Daud of the Special Branch, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Government.

Abdul Malek, who is now a parliamentary affairs coordinator for the opposition, was arrested under the ISA on Sept 25, 1998, for attending a demonstration at the National Mosque a day earlier.

He was released on Nov 21, 1998, and filed the suit against the three respondents in March 1999, seeking RM30mil in damages.

On Oct 18, 2007, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled in favour of Abdul Malek and awarded him RM2.5mil after it held that it was convinced that the former detainee had been abused while in custody for 57 days.

It was the first such ruling in favour of an ISA detainee.

However, on March 25 last year, the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the respondents and ordered Abdul Malek to pay RM50,000 in costs.

Yesterday, Abdul Malek’s counsel Sulaiman Abdullah submitted that the Court of Appeal’s decision was a serious injustice and now had to be made right by the Federal Court.

The application for appeal, he said, should be allowed as the appellant had fulfilled all the requirements under Section 96 of the CJA.

Senior Federal Counsel Amarjeet Singh, who stood for the respondents, however, argued that the appellant had failed to meet the requirements of the law and that his application ought to be struck out.

Baby dumping may be classified as attempted murder or murder

The New Straits Times
by Rozanna Latiff and Daniel Bariga

KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has asked the police to probe into baby dumping as attempted murder or murder cases, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil said yesterday.

She said the cabinet agreed that the government should take sterner action to stop baby dumping.

“The government has no choice because of the rising number of cases. Despite the various initiatives, baby dumping is still happening.”
The women, family and community development minister said not only the women involved in baby dumping would be brought to justice, the men, too, would be prosecuted.

“We have taken a welfare approach all this while but the problem continues.

“The government cannot allow this state of affairs to continue and that is why the classification will be changed to attempted murder or murder.”

Under the move, Shahrizat said police, acting on the ministry’s request, would start classifying investigations as attempted murder, or if found with intent, murder.

Police have recorded 60 baby-dumping cases so far this year, compared with 79 for the whole of last year.

Tougher measures, she said, were required as baby dumping could no longer be tolerated.

“Dumping a baby only to see the child found dead in places such as dustbins and toilets is an inhumane act. It is tantamount to murdering an innocent person.”

Shahrizat said she put forward the request to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein during the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Police are now investigating baby-dumping cases under the Child Act 2001, and those found guilty, face imprisonment of up to 10 years.

However, those charged under the Penal Code for attempted murder or murder withintent face up to 30 years’ jail or the death sentence, respectively.

Shahrizat said cases involving underage parents would continue to be dealt with under the Child Act but added that it was up to the Juveniles’ Court to decide whether they should be tried as adults.

She said she had also requested for Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) profiling to be carried out to ascertain the identity of parents of abandoned babies.

“This is the only way to bring those responsible for the death of a baby to justice,” she said.

Shahrizat said there was no excuse for couples or parents to abandon their babies, given the avenues available for them in seeking help.

She said unwed parents unable to care for their children should approach the various institutions under the ministry or the Welfare Department.

Similar to OrphanCARE, the country’s first baby hatch, the 104 district welfare offices, 60 institutions and 55 clinics set up by the ministry are open to parents to give up their children for adoption.

“They can also approach the police, local hospitals and clinics, even the nearest Umno branch, if they truly need help,” said Shahrizat, who is also Wanita Umno chief.

The ministry had also embarked on an awareness programme at public and private institutions of higher learning nationwide to educate young people, seen as a high-risk group, on the consequences of unprotected sex and the options available for young unwed parents.

She said some of the programmes would be tailored to young males to educate them on their responsibilities as parents and sexual partners.

Malaysia not very ‘happy’; many ‘struggling’

A Gallup global survey reveals that Malaysia is way down in the list of ‘happy countries’.
Respondents were asked how they felt the previous day and had to rate “whether they felt well-rested, respected, free of pain and intellectually engaged”.
Denmark is the ‘happiest’ country in the world, according to the Gallup survey results published in Forbes.
The ranking among Southeast Asian nations is as follows:
79 – Thailand
81 – Singapore
85 – Indonesia
91 – Burma (and Bangladesh)
94 – Malaysia and Philippines
96 – Vietnam
130 – Laos
148 – Cambodia
Does that explain the stressed out faces all around us? Eighty per cent of Malaysians are classified as ‘struggling’. That puts us in 19th place in the survey if countries are ranked in terms of the highest percentage of people struggling.
The Forbes said that Gallup researchers found a link between income levels and happiness.
I would think the real link is between social justice and happiness.
Many countries are obsessed with GDP growth as the over-riding measure of national success.
Wikipedia describes an alternative measure, ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH), which is used in Bhutan:
Like many psychological and social indicators, GNH is somewhat easier to state than to define with mathematical precision. Nonetheless, it serves as a unifying vision for Bhutan’s five-year planning process and all the derived planning documents that guide the economic and development plans of the country. Proposed policies in Bhutan must pass a GNH review based on a GNH impact statement that is similar in nature to the Environmental Impact Statement required for development in the U.S.
The Bhutanese grounding in Buddhist ideals suggests that beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other.
The four pillars of GNH are:
  • the promotion of sustainable development,
  • preservation and promotion of cultural values,
  • conservation of the natural environment, and
  • establishment of good governance.
At this level of generality, the concept of GNH is transcultural—a nation need not be Buddhist in order to value sustainable development, cultural integrity, ecosystem conservation, and good governance.
Isn’t it time we started looking at the obvious flaws of GDP as a measure of success, especially when it doesn’t take into account environmental degradation, high stress levels and mental illness, rising crime, the wide gender gap, income disparities, pervasive corruption, abuse of human rights and the lack of civil and political liberties?

Iran stoning woman 'confesses'

Petitions against Ashtiani's stoning have been sponsored around the world [AFP]
An Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for allegedly committing adultery has reportedly appeared on state television to "confess" her crime.
In an interview broadcast Wednesday night, a woman identified as Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani admitted to conspiring to murder her husband with the man's cousin, with whom she had been having an affair.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting channel blurred the woman's face and dubbed her words from Azeri Turkish into Persian, so it was impossible to tell if the woman was actually Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two, or what condition she was in.
But Houtan Kian, a lawyer currently representing Ashtiani in Iran, told the Guardian newspaperthat she was "severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera".
Kian said he feared that the judiciary would now act quickly to carry out Ashtiani's death sentence.
Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Tehran, said that a source close to Iran's judiciary said that Ashtiani will "probably not be executed during Ramadan" - which lasts until September 9 - and that there is a "small possibility" her execution will be revoked.
But her case must still be heard by the country's supreme court, Moshiri noted.
'Toxic propaganda'
Amnesty International, which has protested against Ashtiani's impending stoning, said the broadcast"shows nothing more than the lack of evidence" against her, while the International Committee Against Stoning called the interview "toxic propaganda".
According to the Reuters news agency, Ashtiani offered details about how she and her husband's cousin conspired.
"If the judiciary in Iran is to be taken seriously, this 'confession' needs to be disregarded and assurances given that it will not affect the review of her case"
Hassiba Hadj Sharoui,
Amnesty International

"He told me: 'Let's kill your husband'. I totally could not believe that my husband would be killed. I thought he was joking", Ashtiani said. "Later, I found out that killing was his profession."
She continued: "He came [to our house] and brought all the stuff. He brought electrical devices, plus wire and gloves. Later, he killed my husband by connecting him to the electricity".
Ashtiani's previous lawyer, Mohammad Mostafaie, fled Iran this month after Iranian officials issued an arrest warrant for him. He is currently in Norway, while his wife remains in Iran and has been detained.
Ashtiani criticised Mostafaie in the broadcast.
"Why did you publicise my case? Why did you harm my reputation and dignity? Not all of my relatives and family members knew that I am prison. Why did you do this to me?" she said.
Hassiba Hadj Sahroui, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement that the broadcast calls into question the independence of Iran's judiciary.
"If the judiciary in Iran is to be taken seriously, this 'confession' needs to be disregarded and assurances given that it will not affect the review of her case", she said.
International outrage
The purported confession comes after Ashtiani's death sentence - imposed four years ago - was suspended last month, pending a judicial review.
Ashtiani's children, along with human rights groups including Avaaz, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have voiced outrageover the stoning, and Brazil said it would give Ashtiani asylum- an offer that Iran turned down.
Ashtiani's case has affected Iran's already turbulent international relations.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has said the United States is "troubled" by it,and Iran's rejection of Brazil's asylum offer may have played a rolein Brazil's decision to sign a decree supporting United Nations sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Ashtiani's case dates back to 2006, when she was given 99 lashes after pleading guilty to the crime of having an "illicit relationship" with two men.
An inquiry into whether Ashtiani had in fact committed "adultery while married" was opened later that year, as the government pursued the prosecution of one of the two men for allegedly also being involved in Ashtiani's husband's murder.

Signature campaign to highlight conversion cases

(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) is going on an ambitious plan to get 100,000 signatures nationwide to highlight the plight of seven women involved in conversion cases and submit memorandums later to the Agong and the Sultans of Perak and Johor.

NONEPerak HRP state chief P Ramesh, 39, told Malaysiakini today that the two-day signature campaign was launched by party pro-tem secretary general P Uthayakumar (left) at the Expo Hindraf/HRP near Kuil Sri Nagannal in Ipoh yesterday.

The signature campaign is also in conjunction with the celebration of the Adipuram Hindu festival at the temple today.

According to Ramesh, who is also the national Hindraf secretary, this signature strategy by HRP will be carried out nationwide at all Hindu temples and Hindu functions organised by the party.

The affected women are five from Perak - M Indira Gandhi,35, S Banggarma, 28, two sisters Laila, 25, and Habeeba Sulaiman Mohd, 23, and Siti Mariam Abidin, 47; one each from Malacca - Rani @ Jamillah Abdul Kadir, 46, and Johor - Regina Mohd Zaini, 32.

These seven women were supposed to be present at a HRP media conference organised by Uthayakumar near this Hindu temple today to highlight their plight.

However, only Indira, Banggarma and Rani turned up, while the others had prior commitments.

Abandoned family

According to Parit Buntar HRP district chief M Sivakumar, 38, the sisters' Hindu mother R Inthirani, 44, had married their father Sulaiman Mohd, 46, a bus driver. He later abandoned the family.

Both the sisters have married Hindus and the elder sister Laila has married K Kalimuthu and has four children aged seven, six, four and two.

NONELaila has managed to register the births of the first three children as Hindus but the Parit Buntar registration department in Parit Buntar has allegedly refused to register the birth of the last child.

According to Sivakumar (right), the registration department has allegedly set conditions for registering Nitishwaran - either Laila converts herself into a Hindu or convert all the members of her family into Islam.

Sivakumar claims that both the sisters Laila and Habeeba and their mother had all the while remained as Hindus and did not practice the religion of Islam, although their father had given them Muslim names. Both the sisters now want a change from Muslim to Hindu names.

In the case of Siti Mariam, her Muslim mother, Ramlah Man, had married a Hindu who converted to Islam as Abidin Abdullah.

NONEAccording to Sivakumar, after giving birth to Siti, Ramlah left the family and went away and Abidin married a Hindu woman and both he and his daughter reverted to Hinduism.

Siti has married a Hindu, S Palani Muthu, and has three children (two daughters and a son) - P Vanithan, 18, P Vanitha, 19, and Ariata, 17.

Both the two elder children have been registered as Hindus in their identity cards.

However, the problem arises with the third daughter whose birth certificate states no information on the father although the father was present, according to Sivakumar.

Ariata has been registered as a Muslim in her identity card and her father died on Jan 18, 2001 due to illness.

Now, Siti wants the registration authorities to recognise her and Ariata as Hindus.

Second wife

According to HRP national information officer and Hindraf information chief S Jayathas, Regina's father Mohd Zaini @ Krishnan who had earlier married a Malay woman, had taken her Hindu mother as a second wife and they have three children - two daughters and a son.

The elder daughter was able to change her status to Hindu but not Regina and her younger brother, who are still classified as Muslims.

The father died when Regina was four years old and her mother died about five years ago.

Regina had married a Hindu and her problem started when her son Thinas was born and she was unable to register his birth with the registration department.

NONEMeanwhile, Jayathas said that Rani (right, with Indira) is the sixth child of her parents who had 10 children. When she was 16 days old, her parents due to financial difficulties, had given her away to their Hindu neighbour by the name of Kandasamy.

Her Muslim mother Aminnah Ahmadu had married her converted father Abdul Kadir @ Krishnan.

When Rani was 16, she married her Hindu husband who was later forced to convert to Islam as Mustapha @ M Muniandy and they have four children - two daughters and two sons.

Their eldest daughter (who is 27 years old now) is named Aishah bt Mustapha Muniandy in her birth certificate, but the parents managed to change her name to Vijaya Letchumy A/P M Muniandy in her identity card.

However, the other three children, Abdul (now 26), Hamzah, 24, and Citra Devi, 16, still carry their Muslim names in their identity cards.

According to Jayathas, Rani had made sworn declarations before a commissioner of oaths that she wanted Abdul to be known by his Hindu name of Ganesan and Hamzah as Nagendran, but the registration department has allegedly refused to make the changes.

Ruling can't be enforced

As for Indira, she has obtained an Ipoh High Court order on March 11 for the custody of her third child Prasana Diksa, but is unable to enforce the ruling on her converted husband Mohd Riduan Abdullah @ K Pathmanathan who is allegedly hiding in Kelantan with the child.

On July 31, Indira had lodged a police report against her husband for criminal intimidation for using abusive words against her during a phone conversion on July 29 and for refusing to surrender the child to her according to the court order of March 11.

An angry Uthayakumar in a media conference today said: "It has been five months since the High Court passed the order and the police are unable to execute the court's order."

"This is gross injustice and contempt of court and we want the police to carry out their duties without fear or favour in returning the child to the mother," he said.

He cited a case in which he was the lawyer for Malaysian fugitive Michael Soosai who is believed to be hiding in India.

He said, "The police were very efficient in tracing Michael's family who were hiding in Ipoh within three days. So the same efficiency should also apply in Indira's case," he reasoned.

Application turned down

As for the S Banggama conversion case, on Aug 4 the Penang High Court had turned down her application for a court order that would nullify her conversion to Islam when she was seven.

NONEJudicial commissioner Yaacob Sam had found that Banggama (right) is a Muslim since her parents had converted to Islam in 1983 together with their children, and thus the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear matters concerning her conversion to Islam.

Banggarma's Muslim name is Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah and she is living in Tanjong Piandang with her husband, S Scokalingam and their two children Kanagaraj, eight, and Hisyanthini, two.

Banggarma's contention is that she had always remained a Hindu and will die as a Hindu even after the High Court had ruled against her.

Steven’s Corner, Sathisilan arrested, Aug 12 2010

At about 8pm last Thursday I was on the way to Puchong for meeting when I received a call from Mr Lim Tai San, my “old” friend and supporter of Overseas Union Garden (OUG) in my constituency. He told me he was beaten up by his neighbour, boss of Steven”s Corner (mamak shop).

I then rushed to OUG with my assistant Gary Chong. Our car was stucked at OUG due to the night market there. I also called the police when I was on the way to OUG.

When we arrived, Lim has been sent to hospital by police car. Lim’s sons were very emotional in front of Steven’s Corner. They showed me the photograph of their father who suffered from swollen blue black eye and bleeding nose. They described to me the whole incident and the pain their father suffered. They also told me that the threat by Steven’s Corner people who said they will burn down their shop and they have connection with all agencies including police. I then tried to cool them down.

The following day I called press conference together with Lim Tai San. I was quite shocked to hear from him that he has to wait for few hours for medical check up at Universiti Hospital. When the check up was done, he was sent back to Balai Petaling, and the police officer asked him to kautim with the person who assaulted him. Lim refused to do so and he walked away from the police station.

Wah??!! Is this the way police handle criminal cases?

I shouldn’t comment too much on this matter, but I would like to share with you the blogs and Facebook page on this case which you might find interesting.

Beng Hock’s family says outraged over ‘suicide note’

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 – The family of Teoh Beng Hock expressed outrage today with the Attorney-General’s Chambers for trying to tender as evidence in the coroner’s court a note it said was penned by him before he was found dead under mysterious circumstances last year.

They said it was highly “suspicious” that Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Gani Patail’s office would choose to bring up the evidence, speculated in the media to be a suicide note, as the inquiry into Teoh’s death winds down, and ten months after it was allegedly found.

In a statement released from their Malacca home today, they expressed bewilderment as to why the AG had not immediately sought their help after the note was allegedly found among Teoh’s belongings two months after his death.

They also demanded the government hire a handwriting expert to verify the note.

“The AG does not see our pain ... if the inquest has to be restarted, how are we as a family to suffer through this again?

“Is the AG trying to stop us from living normal lives?” the Teoh family said.

Lawyer for the Teohs, Gobind Singh Deo (picture), had accused the government lawyers of holding back crucial evidence and questioned the authenticity of the note at the last inquest on Monday.

“The question on Teoh’s frame of mind in this trial has been used by the prosecution … now we find that they had in their possession a document ‘allegedly’ written by Teoh,” said Gobind.

He said he was very surprised that it was not made known to the coroner or the other lawyers earlier.

“What’s (the point) of giving it to us now, after everyone has given their ideas, testimonies, what use is this to us?” Gobind challenged, adding the AG should have known it was a most significant piece of evidence.

The Puchong MP expressed disbelief at the AG’s explanation that he was initially not convinced of the note’s authenticity as the reason why the evidence was not raised earlier.

“If he’s not convinced of its authenticity then, how is he convinced now, month and months into the inquest?”

Lawyer for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) led Selangor government, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, had also hit out at Abdul Gani, for breaching court principles.

“The AG himself has allowed evidence to be put before the public without that evidence having surfaced in court,” Malik told The Malaysian Insider previously.

He said it was regrettable that the AG has chosen to make public the alleged discovery of a note without revealing the circumstances surrounding it.

Abdul Gani has been put on the defensive after his office gave notice in the coroner’s chambers on Monday that they intended to introduce the note as evidence, just before famed Thai pathologist, Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand steps back into the witness box.

Dr Pornthip is scheduled to give her expert view in court next Wednesday.

Saiful-friendly Najib aide headed for divorce

KUALA LUMPUR: Khairil Annas Jusoh, the Najib aide associated with the Sodomy II star witness, is having trouble in his marriage to the daughter of the Mongolian Honorory Consul, according to fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, also known as RPK.
Still smirking over the effect his revelation about the Saiful-Farah affair has had on the Najib regime, RPK has made another startling revelation about people involved in bringing about the sodomy accusation against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Khairil is the man posing with sodomy accuser Saiful Bukhari Azlan in the photograph published all over the Internet after news about the accusation broke. The picture was taken outside the office of Najib Abdul Razak, then Deputy Prime Minister. [photo below]

RPK, in a blog posting entitled “Just when you thought it is safe to go into the water”, says Khairil may soon divorce the woman he married slightly more than a month ago, the reason being that he is bisexual.

He writes: “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.”

RPK says Khairil’s wife, Sharifah Nabila Sara, recently left him and “divorce is certainly on the cards.”

She is the daughter of Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshy, who once adamantly insisted that Najib had an affair with murdered Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu.

However, as RPK notes, Syed Abdul Rahman did an about turn during campaigning for the Permatang Pauh by-election.

Previously RPK disclosed that Mohd Saiful was having an affair with Farah Azlina Latif, a deputy public prosecutor who was involved in the sodomy trial.

She has since been removed from the prosecution team by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail. He however had not confirmed or denied the alleged relationship.

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

SUPP's 'life and death' meeting with PM on Taib

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Leaders and elected representatives of Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) are in Kuala Lumpur to attend, what political observers described as a ‘life and death” meeting with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
According to sources, the leaders who arrived in the capital yesterday are expected to meet with the prime minister tomorrow and inform him of SUPP’s problems allegedly caused by Chief Minster Abdul Taib Mahmud.

“They want the PM to pressure Taib to give the Chinese community equal opportunities in business such as contract works and tenders, development projects as well as to provide funds for Chinese education and land for the landless, and so on.

“All the election promises made before and during the 2006 state elections have not been fulfilled, resulting in the Chinese having lost confidence in the party,” said the sources.

The Chinese alleged that they have been ignored by the chief minister who they claimed is giving businesses to his family members and companies belonging to his cronies.

“Tomorrow’s meeting with the prime minister is to tell him that if Barisan Nasional wants SUPP to do well in the coming election, then Najib must pressure Taib to give the party and the Chinese community not only respect but also equal opportunity in business,” said the sources.

During the Sibu by-election in May this year, the Chinese resentment against Taib was obvious so much so that the CM was advised not to campaign in Chinese areas.

However, SUPP lost the seat to DAP, and blamed Taib’s alleged negligence of Chinese interests for it.

In the 2006 state election, SUPP lost eight of 19 seats it contested.

“For the coming election, SUPP will be in hot soup if nothing is done to help the Chinese community,” stressed the sources.

62 Sri Lankan asylum seekers released

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: After being held at the KLIA depot for 111 days, 62 of the 75 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers were released at 12 noon today by the Immigration Department.
“The 13 still being held are expected to be released tomorrow,”Alternative Action Team (AAT) president B Kalaivanar said at a press conference here today. Also present was Tamil Integrity Movement chief T Sembiyan.

One of the asylum seekers had to be sent for psychiatric treatment for a stress-related ailment.

In April, the 75 Sri Lankan Tamils arrived at Tanjung Piandang, Perak. They claimed to be fleeing from persecution perpetrated by the Singhalese-controlled Sri Lankan government.

However, the Immigration and the Maritime Departments detained them and sent them to the KLIA immigration depot.

When pressed for the details of their release, Kalaivanar told FMT that it was all made possible by those who were sympathetic towards them, including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“We have also spoken to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and they were sympathetic.

“We also sent a memorandum to Suhakam commissioner Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah, who has been very helpful in sorting out the problem.

“When the asylum seekers' protection order lapsed on Aug 8, we immediately sought an appointment with the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail to get them released as it is a requirement under the law,” said Kalaivanar.

Kalaivanar said he met Gani today and he was agreeable to AAT's suggestion that they be released.

“Once they were released, we took them to the UNHCR office in Bukit Petaling for them to sort out their refugee status cards.

“The priority now is to get them proper lodging. From then on, we will assist them in seeking employment,”said Kalaivanar who urged more NGOs to come forward and assist the refugees.

In a related matter, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof P Ramasamy said that the DAP will set up a committee to probe atrocities committed by Sri Lankan security forces on the Tamils in May 2009.

“The committee will be headed by Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran and I,” said Ramasamy.

Investigate India's leaders
He said about 50,000 Tamils lost their lives in the final battle between Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tigers and to date, the Sri Lankan government's eight-member panel is delaying investigations.

“The DAP committee will include members of several NGOs and human rights groups. They will assist an independent panel set up by the UN, headed by Indonesia's former attorney-general Marzuki Darusman,” he said.

Ramasamy alleged that the Sri Lankan government could not have perpetrated the killings without the blessings of its powerful neighbour, India.

“I'm sure the violence had the blessings of India's political leaders. Therefore there is an urgent need to investigate its Prime Minister Manhoman Singh and Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi.”

“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi should also be investigated as some eyewitnesses' account has shown that the mass killings happened after he duped the Tamils to come out from their hiding, assuring them that the Sri Lankan army would not shoot them,” alleged Ramasamy.

Kulasegaran, meanwhile, urged the UN and the international community not to ignore the killings committed by Sri Lanka.

“The International Criminal Court should investigate the massacre and prosecute those who were involved in the killings. Please do not sweep this under the carpet.”

He also expressed his disappoinment over the Malaysian government for ignoring the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan army.

“The Malaysian government gives all the support for the Palestinian cause but the same is not reflected in the Sri Lanka issue,” said Kulasegaran.

Zaid to PKR: Don’t ape Umno’s hypocrisy

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim is worried that his party may become as hypocritical as Umno. Criticising PKR’s election code of ethics for being too similar to Umno’s, he took issue with the ban on criticising party leaders and the prohibition of the use of money in campaigning.

“If certain leaders cannot be criticised, how does the party improve itself, how does it progress to another level?” he said in a blog posting on

On the prohibition of money politics, he noted that even Hari Raya open houses would be closely monitored. This, he said, was extremely Umno-like.

“I suppose the implication is that open houses that are too lavish can sway voters,” he said, adding that it would be disgraceful if members of PKR, a party striving for good, could be bought with food.

Zaid, who announced recently that he would not vie for any post in the coming party election, said he would be campaigning for “able and honest” young candidates.

He said an election code of ethics should be reasonable and enforced without favouritism.

“I hope PKR will not copy Umno by using the code of ethics to prevent the ascendance of certain leaders,” he said.  “Let us practice democracy and respect the members’ choices.

“Let the members be free in making their choices. There is no need for a line-up of preferred candidates.

“We must trust that even those who are relatively new in the party can also contribute to discussions on the party’s needs.”

If I were in charge of Black Ops

Don’t think that just because some people do not access the Internet or own a computer this means they are ignorant. The news does reach them, although it takes slightly longer than those who click their mouse button to receive the latest information.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Have you ever heard of Black Ops? Even the largest democracy in the world, America, uses Black Ops. (Actually India and not America is the largest democracy in the world if you go by population).

Take the latest controversy involving PKR leader Chua Jui Meng as an example. Umno put up a banner proclaiming that Chua is going to be the next Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Johor in the event Pakatan Rakyat takes over that state. On that same banner they also inserted the portrait of the Sultan of Johor.

Then Umno whacked Chua and the opposition for ‘dragging the Sultan’ into politics and demanded that Chua apologise to the Sultan. Various Umno people also made statements accusing Chua of showing disrespect to the Sultan.

And what is Umno’s motive? To make the Malays hate the Chinese, of course.

That is what I call Black Ops, although this would be considered a mild form of Black Ops.

Umno has been using Black Ops for decades. Back in the 1980s they used it in Terengganu to defeat PAS. They sent Wanita Umno members dressed as PAS supporters into the kampongs with Korans. These ‘PAS women’ then asked the kampong folks to swear on the Koran that they will be voting for PAS in the next general election. They also distributed these Korans to the kampong folks with PAS flags pasted on them.

This of course upset the kampong folks who felt that PAS was abusing the Koran and Islam for political purposes. And the Koran with PAS flags pasted on them was considered extremely bad taste and an act of vandalism.

Umno then got hundreds of young Malay men and boys dressed up as PAS supporters, complete with turbans and PAS flags, to convoy all over town on motorcycles to create a ruckus. They caused traffic jams all over town and these ‘PAS’ thugs kicked and damaged cars that were ‘blocking their path’.

Unfortunately, there was no Internet or Malaysia Today that could counter this back in the 1980s so even PAS supporters and sympathisers voted for Umno that election because of this arrogance demonstrated by ‘PAS’.

In the 1999 general election, Umno printed posters of the new ‘opposition Cabinet’. The ‘opposition Cabinet’ that would become the ruling government if the opposition were to win the 1999 general election of course favoured the non-Malays. Lim Kit Siang would be the Deputy Prime Minister and non-Malays like Karpal Singh and so on would hold key positions in the Cabinet.

Basically, the poster ‘revealed’ that the non-Malays would practically control the government while the Malays would lose political power. This was meant to frighten the Malays into voting for Umno for the sake of the ‘survival of the Malays’ but it turned out the other way around when the Malays still voted opposition -- mainly because the opposition made full use of the Internet to counter this Black Ops exercise.

There are many examples of Black Ops, which Umno and Barisan Nasional embarked upon through the decades. Actually, if the opposition also had a Black Ops unit and if I were put in charge of that unit I could do a better job than the ruling party.

For example, in one Black Ops exercise, I would dress up Malays in Umno and Perkasa T-shirts and get them to beat up defenceless people at random. Never mind if these victims of violence were pro-government or anti-government. The ‘Umno-Perkasa’ thugs would break their heads.

Malaysians would become outraged at the ‘Umno-sponsored’ violence.

In another Black Ops exercise we would send bullets to the judges in the Anwar Ibrahim trial and warn them that if Anwar was acquitted or found not guilty then the next bullet will be aimed at their heads.

That would really upset everyone.

We can also organise anti-MCA demonstrations by ‘Umno people’ and demand that Umno sack MCA from Barisan Nasional and take action against the MCA President for insulting Islam. If not then expect a race riot that would make May 13 look like a Sunday picnic by comparison.

Can you see how there is no limit to what we can do with a Black Ops unit? And each exercise would increase the peoples’ hatred towards Umno and Barisan Nasional.

But that is not how we do things. If we do what Umno does then we are no better than Umno. And how can the ends justify the means? Black Ops exercises such as those would just destabilise the nation and push the country to the brink of a civil war or race riot. And in spite of the allegation that we are terrorists, in truth we are not or else we could have done all those things I mentioned a long time ago.

Malaysia Today’s job is to expose the Black Ops campaigns of the ruling party (such as the Chua Jui Meng-Johor Sultan banner), not to also play the Black Ops game. And we expose the hidden secrets of the government and of those who walk in the corridors of power. We tell the untold stories that the ruling party and government would rather it remain untold.

Some Malays may have been fooled by the banner of Chua Jui Meng with the Johor Sultan’s portrait proclaiming him as the next Menteri Besar if the opposition wins Johor. They may believe that Chua insulted the Sultan by dragging His Highness into politics. But then there is always a sucker born every minute, as they say. The majority of the Malays, however, are no longer taken in by such Black Ops exercises. And we have the Internet to thank for that.

And don’t think that just because some people do not access the Internet or own a computer this means they are ignorant. The news does reach them, although it takes slightly longer than those who click their mouse button to receive the latest information.

Death in custody No.1805 inquest : Today’s proceedings

By Haris Ibrahim,

Counsels were supposed to submit this morning on what was the probable cause or causes of death, based on the evidence led in court.
Instead, they all ended up in the coroner’s chambers.
Visva wanted witnesses called previously to be re-called for further cross-examniation.
He also wanted a witness not previously called to the stand to now be called to give his evidence.
And Visva also wanted the fingerprints of Guna taken whilst at the Sentul police station, which had been alluded to previously, to now be tendered in evidence.
The coroner has made the necessary directions.
On 27th August, the inquest will resume and the police raiding team of 6 police officers will be recalled for further cross-examination by Visva.
On the same day, magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham, who was the first judicial officer to view the body of Guna at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on the evening that he died, and who made the decision that no inquest was necessary, will be called to the witness stand to be examined.
Submissions have now been scheduled for 13th September, 2010.

Najib should give his personal attention to stamp out the unhealthy and disturbing trend towards very ugly, intolerant and vicious politicking illustrated by M16 bullet threat to Tony Pua

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should give his personal attention to stamp out the unhealthy and disturbing trend towards very ugly, intolerant and vicious politicking illustrated by the M16 bullet threat to DAP National Publicity Secretary and MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua yesterday.

Pua received a live 5.56mm bullet used in M-16s with a threatening note posted from Tangkak, Johor mailed to his service centre in Damansara Utama yesterday.

The note threatened: “Tony Pua Kiam Wee. You are so brave? What do you want now? You better watch out.

“We know about your family, your house, your office, your car.”

Pua believes that the threat was probably related to his recent proposal to the Selangor government to slash Bumiputera discounts for luxury homes and commercial property in the state to improve competitiveness and restore investor confidence while retaining the seven per cent discounts enjoyed by Malays and other Bumiputeras for homes below RM500,000.

Selangor Umno Youth lodged 22 police reports against Pua after the UMNO information chief and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Ahmad Maslan warned Pua not to “play with fire” for being seditious in attacking Article 153 of the Constitution and the “social contract”.

The Prime Minister should know that Pua’s proposal was no attack on Article 153 of the Constitution or “the social contract”. In fact, it is fully in line with the New Economic Model (NEM) proposed by the Prime Minister to reform affirmative action programmes to be “market-friendly and merit-based” and to focus on the bottom 40 percent of lower income earners.

There can be disagreement and debate as to whether Pua’s proposal is suitable and timely but it is irresponsible politics of the highest order to attack it as anti-Malay and a challenge to Article 153 of the Constitution or to incite communal hatred against Pua.

The trend towards very ugly, intolerant and vicious politicking makes a total mockery of Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan which is why the Prime Minister must provide the leadership to stamp out such un-1Malaysian tendencies in Malaysian politics.

Bakti Will Send Humanitarian Aid To Pakistan, Says Rosmah

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- The Welfare Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers (Bakti) will send humanitarian aid to Pakistan to help the country, which has been affected by the worst flood disaster in its history, said the Prime Minister's wife and Bakti president Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Rosmah conveyed this message during her 15-minute telephone call to Pakistan Prime Minister's wife Begum Fouzia Yousaf Raza Gillani Thursday night.

Rosmah told Fouzia that among the items Bakti planned to send were children's milk powder, biscuits, cooking oil, flour, toiletries and baby diapers.

"I expressed sympathy on behalf of Malaysians...especially on behalf of women and children (of this country)...I can feel the suffering of the people there," Rosmah told Bernama here Thursday night.

Rosmah said the aid would be sent on Aug 23 by a Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft to Karachi to be distributed to the affected areas.

"These are the things I think the people over there need...This will the first consignment of aid to them from us...but later on if we feel much is more needed, we will consider seriously (to send more)," said Rosmah.

Rosmah said Fouzia expressed her appreciation for the help to be rendered by Bakti as well to the government of Malaysia, which on Thursday gave a US$1 million (about RM3.18 million) donation to Pakistan to help the country handle its worst floods in 80 years that have left 1,600 people dead besides displacing more than 15 million others.

Rosmah told Fouzia that the help was out of sincerity and in the spirit of brotherhood between the people of Malaysia and Pakistan.

"And she (Fouzia) said that the government will make sure the aid went to the right people," said Rosmah.

"Any time you need us we are always here (to help)," Rosmah had told Fouzia.

In her conversation, Rosmah also said that she prayed for the wellbeing of the people of Pakistan at this difficult time.

She said Fouzia told her that she was very grateful that she (Rosmah) had called her in Pakistan's hour of need and also mentioned the role played by Mercy Malaysia in assisting the victims.

"I am very happy with that..congratulations to Mercy for being there," said Rosmah.

Rosmah said that she was thankful to the Prime Minister for granting approval to send the aid through RMAF, adding that Bakti had already written a letter to the RMAF chief on the matter.

According to Rosmah, the aircraft could only transport up to 25,000 pounds of goods.

Rosmah said that Bakti had contacted a lot of donors, Bakti's regular donors known as "friends of Bakti" and that they were willing to donate the needed items.

"Please extend help to the victims if able to contribute, especially in cash as it would enable Bakti to act faster" said Rosmah, adding that she felt very sad for the victims of the natural disaster, more so it being the Ramadan month.