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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nazir Razak says NEP 'bastardised'

(Malaysiakini) In the harshest rebukes yet of the New Economic Policy (NEP) yet, CIMB group CEO Nazir Abdul Razak described the NEP as having been bastardised by deviating from its original purpose.
nazir razak"I have strong opinions about how the NEP has been bastardised over the years," he said in a question-and-answer session after delivering a talk at the Chinese Economic Congress this afternoon.

Saying that it has come a long way from the social engineering experiment originally aimed at eradicating poverty, Nazir (right) said that the NEP has appeared to enrich small pockets of people.
“At that time, no one knew what the outcome would be. It was a social engineering experiment that no one had ever done before in any country. So they gave it 20 years. And they felt that after 1969 they had to give it a try.

“But now it is so embedded in every thing that we do, in every part of the government, in every part of businesses that it become a problem.
“And today, every time I mention the NEP, I get blasted,” Nazir said when fielding a question from the floor on his thoughts on the policy.

chinese economic congress 140810 audience"What I don't understand is giving these people Approved Permits (AP).That should go.
"If you just want a small number of people to make money, might as well just give them money," said Nazir, was reported to be the highest-paid GLC CEO back in 2007, drawing in an income of RM9.35 million then.
Incidentally, the main architect of the New Economic Policy when it was drawn up in 1971 was Nazir's own father, the country's second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein.
'Time to review NEP'

Boldly departing from the normal comfort zone, the banker also said that the affirmative action needs a relook.

“Now we need to address what kind of affirmative action we want to have. It is so infused in everything. But we will one day need to confront it one way or another,” said Nazir, who is the younger brother of current PM Najib Razak.
The NEP officially came to an end in 1990, but its traditions and policies still continue to this day. Najib had announced a New Economic Model back in March to reform and rebuild the Malaysian economy.

However, details still remain to be made public.
'Ignore extremist groups'

Speaking after delivering his luncheon address titled “Strength in Diversity, Beyond the Rhetoric”, Nazir also told the mainly Chinese participants to look beyond party calls advocating the rights of their own race.

NONECareful not to name names, he just advised the participants to “ignore them” when asked his stand on such groups.

“We have to accept that in a free and open society, we have to expect extremes. A few noisy people in the corner do not make up the majority or represent the majority.

“We as the majority have the strength to ignore them. Don't get too caught up with what others are saying, or what they are doing.
“Don't waste your time engaging with them,” he said.

Earlier, he also joked that he is a descendant of an immigrant family.

“I told (grand-daughter of one of the founding members of MCA Tan Cheng Lock) Tan Siok Choo that her family came to this country earlier than my family,” he said in between chuckles.

Video: HINDRAF & HRP 100,000 signature campaign to highlight conversion cases

Hindraf & HRP Expo at Buntong Perak

HRP aims to become 'third platform' for Indians

(Malaysiakini) In the next general election, the Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) is aiming to become the third political platform to uplift the socio-economic status of the Indian community in the country.

The party is planning to go for 15 out of the total of 222 parliamentary seats in the nation and 38 out of the total of 576 state seats in the country.

NONEParty pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar (left) said. "I dreamt of the magical number '1538' while I was in detention under ISA in the Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping and we hope to realise this dream in the coming general election. This will give us the political power to voice out the concerns of the Indian community both in the state assemblies and in Parliament."

The Indian community had first put their faith in the Umno-BN government but he was disappointed to note that it had denied the Indian community their basic rights to a better socio-economic environment for the past 53 years.
Second platform
"Then the community opted for the Pakatan Rakyat as a second platform during the last general election, hoping for a change in the political climate of the country.

"They (Pakatan) sailed through the elections by taking four states by politicising our 'Makkal Sakthi' theme and benefiting from our labour and even imprisonment," said the former ISA detainee.

According to him, Pakatan did not measure up to the Indian community's expectations in solving their economic woes and improving their standard of living.

azlanPakatan Indian politicians who were elected in constituencies with a large Indian presence failed to highlight the plight of the community both in the state assemblies and in Parliament he charged.

Uthayakumar claimed they were not action-oriented but only gave media statements and lip service and did not bother to go the ground to solve the woes of the marginalised community.

"These elected representatives only played second fiddle to their masters and did not want to offend the Chinese and Malay voters by aggressively campaigning for the rights of their community," he alleged.

So, HRP has decided to go on the warpath against Pakatan and BN by forming the third platform and this move may put the spanner in the works of Pakatan's ambition to take over Putrajaya in the next general election.

'BN and Pakatan have forgotten the Indians'

He accused both BN and Pakatan of harping on Malay and Chinese issues and problems but conveniently forgetting the Indian community.

barisan nasional and parliamentWhen asked about allegations that he was attacking Pakatan publicly with the aim of getting his party registered by the Registrar of Societies (ROS), an angry Uthyakumar said, "Our enemy is Umno-BN who had taken away our rights as citizens of this country."

As the ROS has not approved the application to register HRP, the party will field its candidates as independents under the banner heading of Uthayakumar.

When asked if HRP would work with Pakatan in the coming general election, he said it was possible but with the condition that Pakatan must surrender some of its state and parliamentary seats for HRP.

"We are not going to give a blank cheque to Pakatan but expect seats in return," said Uthayakumar.

At the moment, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) wants DAP to cede the Jelapang state seat to it or else their candidate will stand as an independent.

Uthayakumar said HRP will also take the same stand if its demand for some of the state and parliamentary seats from Pakatan is unsuccessful.

When told that HRP is seen by some as a racist party, Uthayakumar said the it was formed to help the marginalised Indian community uplift their socio-economic status in the country.

But he quickly added that the spin-off from helping the Indian community would help make all Malaysians equal partners in the economic cake.

Targetting Buntong and Ipoh Barat seats

HRP has started their preparation for the next general election by targeting the Buntong state seat, which has the highest proportion of Indian voters in the country at 46 percent, and next the parliamentary seat of Ipoh Barat which has 22 percent Indian voters.

The party leader hopes to increase the number of Indian voters in Buntong from 46 percent to 54 percent to make possible a win for HRP.

hindu indian women and islam and court and judiciaryThen it will go into constituencies with a large Indian presence and increase the Indian voter populations to ensure that they win their seats.

HRP is now highlighting several social problems in the Indian community, including conversion cases involving Indian women, Malaysian born Indians being denied birth certificates and identity cards and the increase in Indian youths turning to crime.

The party also wants Tamil schools, Hindu temples and Hindu cemeteries to be given permanent state land titles and gazetted accordingly.

Do the right thing, Soi Lek tells PM

Chua, speaking at the congress, wants to the government to do ‘the right thing’. — Picture by Jack Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said the government must “do the right thing” when calling for “execution” of the New Economic Model (NEM) and the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

He dissected the 10MP with criticisms and suggested tweaks, peppering his speech at the Chinese Economic Congress here today with “sir’s” to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“Our immediate priority is to jointly grow the economic pie, instead of noisily debating over which slice we deserve. Make no mistake, failure is not an option,” Dr Chua stressed.

He called for the prime minister’s support for government-linked companies (GLCs) to include more non-Bumiputeras and international expertise on their board of directors.

“It is important also that GLCs open up their procurement system to include SMEs based the quality of their service and products... rather than based on race or equity requirement,” he said.

Dr Chua highlighted such openness would increase competitiveness and productivity.

“Rather than enforcing the 30 per cent Bumi equity requirement across the board, a more flexible system in the form of a margin of preference system should be implemented on a sector-by-sector basis,” he said.

Suggestions and criticisms aside, Dr Chua was quick to praise the prime minister on other areas.

He lauded the prime minister’s announcement recently on offering Public Service Department scholarships to students who scored 9A+s in the SPM regardless of race.

“This is truly in the 1 Malaysia spirit. Ensure that 1 Malaysia is not just a political slogan,” he said, pointing out that such a decision would help retain and attract talent.

Bar Council uses its fangs judiciously

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan, who has been accused of leading a toothless set-up, said there was no need to sink fangs in issues all the time.
The approach, be it aggressive or passive, depended on the leadership style of the political masters in power.

During the tenure of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said, the council's existence was ignored. But this changed when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over the reins.

"Abdullah provided room for the council to play its role by inviting us to sit on several committees and this policy is now being continued by Najib Tun Razak," he told FMT.

Ragunath was responding to council member Edmund Bon's interview with FMT, where the latter had criticised the council of being toothless and not championing the rights of the people.

The chairman said members like Bon were entitled to express their views and he was prepared to accept constructive criticism.

"He is not the first and won't be the last to criticise me and the Bar, but we will continue to serve our members within our resources and scope available to us,” he said.

Ragunath clarified that policy decisions or the councils's stand on certain issues were made collectively and not decided by him alone.

"Generally, all council members believe in continuity where we remain committed to our struggle by looking into the needs and welfare of our members without sidelining any individual," he added.

According to Ragunath, the coucil should not function like a political party or human rights organisation, and as its president, he needed to strike a balance.

'Remember, we invited Anwar'

Also in defence, vice-president Lim Chee Wee said the council always strived to act and speak without fear or favour in the interest of justice and its members.

He stressed that the council never shied away from speaking out against the authorities, and cited a press statement critical of Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail's conduct in relation to the suicide note in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.

Furthermore, he said the council even elected to invite Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to the Malaysian Law Conference, knowing it would not go down well with government leaders.

The council, he added, had also complained about the slow pace of court proceedings, and under current Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, there had been substantial changes to improve the disposal of cases, appointment of more judges from the Bar, audiovisual recording, increased administrative efficiencies and much more.

"There is constant consultation between the Bar and the Bench to iron out disagreements and we don't always get what we want, but we do not give up trying," he said.

He said the council welcomed suggestions and criticisms, and agreed with Bon on reviving the walkabout in all states to reconnect with members and the matter would be discussed at the council's meeting on Saturday.

'Just because we don't march...'

Meanwhile, Bar Council secretary George Varughese said he did not agree with Bon's hard-hitting views.

"Just because we have not marched after the 'Walk for Justice', it doesn't mean the council fears taking difficult positions or has become docile.

“There are many ways to address issues; marching is one, but if we continue to march for each and every issue, then these marches will become toothless as well," he told FMT.

He said issues could be addressed through various other means, such as holding dialogues and discussions or through working committees.

Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan also dismissed Bon's criticisms as being unjustified.

"I have the highest regard for Bon. He is one of the most hardworking and committed members of the council and there is no doubt in my mind that there was absolutely no malice in what he said," she told FMT.

Ambiga pointed out that the counci's refusal to bow down to pressure with regard to inviting Anwar for the Malaysian Law Conference was testimony to its gumption.

"As for the lawyers, the council has stood up time and again for those who were arrested, hauled up for questioning, for lawyers in the proposed no fault liability scheme and much more.

“Then there is the mammoth task of revamping the insurance scheme for our members, an onerous project undertaken by the president himself over the past few years. It will ultimately bring substantial benefit to our members," she added.

Hope and despair of a Sri Lankan refugee

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

FMT FEATURE KUALA LUMPUR: “We were a thriving community in Sri Lanka, self-sufficient and never depended on the government for anything but the Singalese government continued its oppression against us for 30 years.”

These were the words of 27-year-old Sri Lankan M Kathir who was just released along with 62 of his compatriots after having being detained by the Malaysian authorities for more than 100 days.

The 62 were released by the Immigration Department after their protection order lapsed on Aug 8.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) subsequently issued them refugee status cards, allowing them to reside in Malaysia.

Speaking to FMT, Kathir said that he owned a farm back in Sri Lanka but it was destroyed by the government during the war.

“As long as we are Tamil, the government will automatically label us as members of the Liberation Tiges of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),” said Kathir.

Realising that his future was bleak in his homeland, Kathir and 74 others set their sights on any nation that would offer them a safe haven.

After five days braving rough seas in a boat, Kathir said their engine became faulty and the boat started to take in water. Then they put up a distress signal light, hoping someone will rescue them.

“We did not know where we were until the someone spotted our boat and we found out it was the Immigration and Maritime officers from Malaysia,” said Kathir.

Kathir said they refused to follow the officers, as they were aware that Malaysia does not recognise asylum seekers and they will not be permitted to work here.

“Only after being persuaded by officers from the UNHCR did we agreed to follow them,”said Kathir, who was detained in Juru with the others before being eventually moved to KLIA immigration depot.

In May, the refugees staged a hunger strike fearing the Malaysian government may deport them to Sri Lanka.

“We only ended our strike after the immigration officials told us that we will not be sent to Sri Lanka and they will be sent to a nation that will accept them as refugees,”said Kathir.

Food and accomodation needed


Kathir expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian government and NGOs involved in getting them released, especially the Alternative Action Team (AAT), Tamil Integrity Movement and Tamilan Uthavum Karangal (Tamilan Helping Hands).

“We are of the same race with no blood ties but they have sacrificed a lot to help us get asylum seekers' card from the UNHCR,”said Kathir.

AAT chief B Kalaivanar said the asylum seekers will be sent to AAT headquarters in Penang tomorrow morning.

“We will be able to provide better lodging and food for them over there,”said Kalaivanar.

Kalaivanar also said that he will be meeting Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil soon to assist the women and children in the group.

He reminded the public not to duped by certain quarters who are collecting donations on the pretext of helping Sri Lankan asylum seekers.

“We are aware that some quarters are collecting funds on the pretext of helping the Sri Lankans.Whatever assistance we have provided for the Sri Lankans are from our own funds and we have not taken any money from the public,”said Kalaivanar.

He urged volunteers and NGOs to come forward to provide food and clothing to the refugees.

“They are not allowed to work. Therefore we urge well-wishers to contribute food and clothing for them during their stay here,” said Kalaivanar.

No change in pay for relief teachers, says NUTP

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) has disputed allegations that allowances for relief teachers in the country had been tampered with.

“I think Tony (Pua) has made a mistake,” said Lok Yim Pheng, NUTP secretary-general.

PJ Utara MP Tony Pua had alleged that relief teachers in both Selangor and Penang have had their daily wages cut by as much as 66%.

It was claimed that as a result, degree-level and retired relief teachers earned as little as RM50 a day.

Lok said the actual amount had not been changed, adding that relief teachers had been paid allowances instead of wages. (see table)

“State education departments cannot reduce the allowances without prior approval from the Education Ministry,” she said.

Lok also said that although relief teachers were paid on a day-to-day basis, they still had to claim the full payment from the ministry by the end of the month.

She told FMT that there were three types of relief teachers -- teacher-college-trained, untrained and untrained attachment teachers (GSTT).

She said college-trained relief teachers belonged to a special category known as the National Reserved Teachers Group. This group consists of both former and retired teachers. (Former teachers are those who left the teaching profession.)

While the first two categories are meant to replace teachers who go on leave, such as maternity leave, for a few months, GSTT teachers are usually on six-month to one-year contract.

However, Lok said that certain schools may have received reduced allocations due to some “financial crisis”. As a result, these schools had to cut back on costs, including the number of relief teachers.

“For example, a school can only hire one relief teacher instead of two,” Lok said. “Then the school has to do some readjustments (to their schedules) to reduce the workload (among teachers).”

The Battle for Putrajaya

By Thomas Lee

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has announced three promises that the Pakatan Rakyat would implement if the alternative coalition comes to power after the next general election.

The promises are (1) abolishing the controversial saman ekor (postal summons) scheme; (2) providing an annual ex-gratia of RM1,000 to each senior citizen aged 60 and above; and (3) providing free wi-fi or wireless broadband service throughout the country.

According to Guan Eng, the DAP central executive committee had agreed during its meeting on Thursday 12 August 2010 to issue a directive to all party leaders to publicise the three promises during all political functions.

He said the three promises proposed by the DAP had been accepted by its Pakatan Rakyat partners, and would duly be implemented should the alternative coalition win the Battle of Putrajaya at the next general election.

“These are the three policy initiatives that will bring benefit to the people that we are confident will be carried out by the Pakatan Rakyat should we win Putrajaya. We do not just want to harp on the corrupt practices of the Barisan Nasional, but also want to talk about what we can do for the people,” Lim told a press conference at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

On the controversial saman ekor scheme, Guan Eng said that blacklisting vehicle owners was not only unfair but actually a violation of the principles of natural justice, and should be declared an illegal practice.

On the annual ex-gratia for senior citizens, Guan Eng said it would be a practical way of showing recognition and appreciation to them for their contribution to the country.

He said the exercise would merely cost the federal government RM2.1 billion annually, and “what is RM2.1 billion when the country squanders RM28 billion annually to corruption”.

Regarding the provision of free wi-fi service throughout the country, Guan Eng said the move is part of the impetus to take the nation to greater heights in the fast-changing world scenario.

“We must innovate and only when you do that, you are racing to the top. If not, you are racing to the bottom,” he said.

The three policy initiatives proposed by the DAP certainly deserve the support and endorsement of the people.

However, we should take an indepth look at each of these three promises and, perhaps, offer some inputs to augment and enhance their benefits and advantages.

First, the controversial saman ekor scheme. It is a blacklisting system which bars traffic offenders who fail to pay their summonses from renewing their licences and road tax.

Currently, more than 650,000 traffic offenders are being blacklisted, indicating the seriousness of the traffic situation in the country, especially that of speeding motorists.

This is reflected in the horror reports we often read in the newspapers and see in television, particularly during the festive balik kampung periods, of tragic road accidents when even whole families are wiped out, with many others suffering the loss of limbs.

No doubt, Guan Eng is right in saying that the saman ekor scheme is unfair and a violation of the rights of the vehicle owners, and should be done away with.

Nevertheless, the main issue is not simply the issuing of saman ekor per se, but the very critical matter of irresponsible speeding motorists who are often the cause of the loss of lives and limbs on the highways.

Abolishing the saman ekor scheme will protect the rights of drivers who should remain innocent until proven guilty, but how do we prevent motorists from speeding and driving recklessly? How do we curb those irresponsible lethal speeding drivers who are the cause of tragic fatal road crashes?

The saman ekor is meant to serve as a deterrent to deter and dissuade motorists from speeding, which is obviously a very critical problem on the Malaysian roads.

In abrogating the saman ekor scheme, the Pakatan Rakyat should come out with a feasible and viable option to resolve the sempiternal problem of thoughtless and foolhardy drivers on the Malaysian highways.

I have one suggestion which may sound bizarre, perhaps even weird and uncanny, but logically sensible and practical.

My outlandish suggestion is that to require all imported and locally-made vehicles to have engines which allow only a maximum speed of, say, 150kph.

I simply cannot comprehend why vehicles are built with speed limit of up to 250kph when they are not allow to travel beyond 120kph.

Making it mandatory to have vehicle engines capped at a speed limit of 150kph will resolve once and for all the perennial problem of speeding on the highways.

On the issue of an annual ex-gratia for senior citizens, instead of giving each RM1,000 a year, I want the Pakatan Rakyat to consider abolishing personal income for all senior citizens 60 and above, even if they are still in employ. Those earning less than RM36,000 a year should be given a cost-of-living allowance (COLA) of at least RM250 to RM500 a month. Senior citizens who have contributed to Sosco during their working life should be given free medical treatments, with Sosco footing the bills.

Senior citizens who have their own business or companies will not be qualified for these privileges.

Regarding the provision of free wi-fi service throughout the country, the Pakatan Rakyat should also consider abolishing tax on computers, especially laptops, and, perhaps, even offer financial subsidies for students from poor families to buy laptops.

If the Pakatan Rakyat is prepared to pledge that these people-friendly policies will be implemented if it takes over the federal government, then I am sure it will be able to mobilize massive support for the Battle of Putrajaya.

But, first it must get its acts together, and treat the invisible wounds from the civil war within the coalition, especially the PKR, with the same circumspect vigilance that is given to physical injuries displayed publicly, ala the knock out Khalid drama, the Tian Chua boycott Sin Chew fiasco, the Tee Boon Hock scandal, etc.

Suspects in killing of Lingam’s brother show no emotion in court

The Star 
BY M. Mageswari


PETALING JAYA: Three friends were charged here with murdering the younger brother of prominent lawyer Datuk V. K. Lingam.

Odd-job worker V. Thayalan, 30, wireman D. Saravanan, 29, and factory worker M. Devidasan 30, were accused of killing priest V. Ra­­jendram at the Audiyar Muniswar temple at Jalan Puteri in Puchong between 9.30pm on Aug 2 and midnight Aug 3.

Kpl Jamhari Rasid, from the Puchong Jaya district police station, lodged a complaint over the murder on Aug 3.

No plea was recorded from the trio, who nodded when asked whether they understood the charge.

They did not show any emotion when they were charged before magistrate Mohamad Ibrahim Mohammad Ghulam at 10.45am yesterday.

During the proceedings, one of the deceased’s family members used her cell phone to take photos of the accused.

A court policeman who spotted this, immediately seized her cell phone.

At the outset, the trio’s lawyer, P. Sutheswary applied for the prosecution to supply documents saying that the defence may make a representation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers over the charge.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Fatimah Yahya asked the defence lawyer to send a letter.

S. Thisinayagam applied to hold a watching brief for the deceased’s family in the proceedings and this was granted by the magistrate.

The magistrate set Sept 23 for mention.

Lingam and his family had offered a RM50,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest of those involved in Rajendram’s death.

Tamil asylum boat docks in Canada

 

Migrants on the MV Sun Sea  

A ship carrying almost 500 migrants from Sri Lanka has docked at a Canadian naval base in British

Several dozen border officers met the ship, which arrived with a military escort, and quickly erected a tarpaulin to shield passengers from the media.

Buses and ambulances were on hand to transport the migrants to nearby hospitals and containment facilities.

Authorities say the migrants will now be vetted amid fears that some may be Tamil Tiger rebels.

Canada, which is home to around 300,000 Tamils, has deemed the Tamil Tigers a terrorist group and will not accept members as migrants or refugees.

Authorities had intercepted the ship, the MV Sun Sea, off British Columbia. It had reportedly crossed the Pacific after being turned away from Australia.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the vessel had declared it had 490 refugees on board, but he said some were "suspected human smugglers and terrorists".

Officials said those on board had been offered food and water and would be quickly processed onshore.

Gary Anandasangaree, a lawyer with the Canadian Tamil Congress, expressed surprise at the size of the ship - which measures 194ft (59m) - given the number of passengers.

"It clearly gives us an idea of the type of conditions that could have been inside. Very cramped, given the
size," Mr Anandasangaree said.

There are unconfirmed reports that children were on board.
War's violent end

The Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated by the Sri Lankan army last year after more than two decades of conflict.

The rebels were accused of using child soldiers, suicide bombers and human shields.

Displaced Sri Lankans, file imageBut government forces were criticised over the bloody end to the war, in which many Tamils were killed and tens of thousands were rounded up into camps.

Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Canada, Chitranganee Wagiswara, has urged Canada to refuse the asylum claims of the MV Sun Sea passengers.

She says the ship is part of a people-trafficking operation linked to the Tamil Tigers.

Toronto-based immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that the country had "no choice" but to take the people in.

"Once they're here, we can determine what we'll ultimately do with them," he said.

Last October, a ship carrying 76 Sri Lankan migrants was intercepted in Canadian waters after crossing the Pacific.

All of the men were immediately detained in jails around the Vancouver area, but all apart from one were released shortly afterwards.

Some of those on board said they had paid thousands of dollars for a berth.

Kugan's mother finally submits petition to King

Churches want Allah issue resolved and others convicted

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 — Churches today demanded that the government resolve the Allah issue and charge the rest of the culprits responsible for attacking other churches, following the conviction of two siblings for torching the Metro Tabernacle church.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Rev Dr Thomas Philips said the convictions alone did not resolve the root cause of the church arson attacks as the Allah case was still pending in court.

“The root cause is still not resolved as the Allah issue is still in the courts,” Philips told The Malaysian Insider today.

Although the Catholic Church won a landmark ruling last New Year’s Eve which allowed Catholic weekly The Herald to use the word “Allah” in its publications, the government won a stay of execution, preventing the Church from using the word until the case is dealt with in the Court of Appeal.

The Sessions Court here today sentenced siblings Raja Muhammad Faizal Raja Ibrahim and Raja Muhammad Idzham Raja Ibrahim each to five years in prison for torching the Metro Tabernacle church earlier this year.
A journalist takes a picture of the torched Metro Tabernacle church in this January 8, 2010 file photo. — Reuters pic


Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri called on the government to charge those responsible in a string of attacks against nine other churches following the Metro Tabernacle church torching.

“The government must be seen to be serious in this matter,” said Shastri.

“Not all have been brought to book. The police should step up their investigations and bring others to book,” added Shastri.

Nine churches throughout the country were attacked in one week since the torching of the Metro Tabernacle church on January 7 this year.

The attacks against the churches drew international coverage and sparked outrage among leaders on both sides of the political divide, with the Najib administration promising to take stern action against the perpetrators.

Besides the Metro Tabernacle church in Desa Melawati here, the Assumption Church and Life Chapel Church in Petaling Jaya also fell victim to arson attacks.

The attacks against them, however, were not as serious as the torching of the Metro Tabernacle church that gutted the church’s administrative office.

Although National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia (NECF) chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng welcomed the sentence against the church arsonists, he criticised the government’s move of banning Christians from using the word “Allah” as “ludicrous”.

“No government should take it upon themselves to dictate what is written in the scriptures of other faiths,” said Eu, adding that the government should allow Christians to use the word “Allah”.

Philips pointed out that the sentence against the church arsonists would not deter religious extremists from violence as long as the Allah case remained stuck in the courts.

“Without solving all this, we are just prolonging the consequences... it will still be able to rouse the emotions and passions of extremist groups,” said Philips.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has stressed recently that the “Allah” controversy should not be brought up by either BN component parties or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as the matter was still being tried in court.

The apparent gag order came after the MCA called on Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to use his authority to rescind the ban on non-Muslims’ use of the word “Allah”, which earned a stern warning from Muhyiddin who questioned the BN component party for sharing the same stand as the DAP on the issue.

Hishammuddin also said recently that the government has no reason to retract its appeal, apparently backtracking on his earlier remarks expressing regret over the decision by his predecessor in the Home Ministry to ban the Catholic Church from using the word “Allah”.

Shastri nonetheless said that the act of sentencing the Metro Tabernacle church arsonists was a good first move.

“For now, we are pleased that action has been taken,” he said.

“This signals to all Malaysians that such acts are not tolerated, (which is) violence against places of worship,” he added.

Sessions Court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah said in her judgment today that the court needed to send a strong message that such a “dastardly” act of desecrating a place of worship could not be tolerated.

“Individuals who commit arson attacks on places of worship deserve little or no mercy from the courts. The message from this court must be loud and clear. Don’t play with fire,” she said.

Despite sentencing siblings Raja Muhammad Faizal and Raja Muhammad Idzham to five years in prison, Komathy granted a stay of execution pending an appeal by the defence to the High Court.

The siblings were charged under section 436 of the Penal Code for committing mischief with fire, with the intention of destroying the Metro Tabernacle church earlier this year.

The punishment for the offence is a maximum imprisonment of 20 years, while a fine is at the discretion of the court.

Christians make up around 9.1 per cent of the country’s mostly Muslim population, including a Catholic population of nearly 800,000.

Video: 'My King, bring cops who killed my son to justice'

'My King, bring cops who killed my son to justice'

By Teoh El Sen
VIDEO INSIDE KUALA LUMPUR: On Jan 14 last year, 22-year-old A Kugan, from Puchong, was arrested to facilitate investigations into a luxury car theft syndicate. Six days later, he was dead.
Family members and opposition politicians who stormed the mortuary found Kugan's body riddled with severe lacerations. A video clip of this was uploaded on the internet and sparked off national outrage.

However, the first mortem concluded that Kugan had died as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs. Dissatisfied, the family commissioned a second post-mortem, which revealed that the deceased was burnt, beaten and starved during detention.

This morning, Kugan's mother, made her way to the palace's gates for the third time, to seek justice for her son.

After being turned away on the previous two ocassions, this time, N Indra, 42, managed to hand over a petition to a palace official.

'The police took my son and killed him'

Unable to hold back her tears, Indra broke down when met by reporters.

“It has been nearly two years since my son died, but I still cannot get over him or sleep well. The police took my son and killed him. I want all of them charged, give justice for my son," she said.

Following the exposure of the video-clip, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had reclassified the case as murder, and it was also revealed that 11 policemen were reassigned to desk duties pending investigations.

But on Oct 1, Constable V Navindran, from the USJ police station, was charged with causing grevious hurt to Kugan. The case is ongoing.

Indra's lawyer, N Surendran, who accompanied his client, said the family was disappointed that only one policemen was charged, and that too for a lesser offence.

"From the trial, we can see that others were involved, yet none of them have been charged. Kugan's family and the public are unhappy that until today, no policeman has been charged with murder.

"This was the worst death in custody in this country, yet only one person is charged. The police appear not to have learnt their lesson,” he added.

'Let Najib answer for her tears'

Surendran said if the police were under the impression that the government would protect them, then such incidents would happen again.

“Until now, there has not been a single apology from the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and the so-called reformist Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak... let Najib answer for this mother's tears," he said.

Surendran said Kugan's mother had turned to the King, because the police, courts, Home Ministry and the Prime Minister's Deparment had failed to take action and provide justice.

"Therefore we have no choice but to come to the King. This is our last resort," he added.

Apart from Indra and Surendran, the petition was inked by Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives S Manikavasagam (Kapar MP), M Manogaran (Teluk Intan MP) and M Ravi (Port Dickson state rep).

The petition requested the King to ensure that:
  • All those responsible for Kugan's death be brought to justice
  • Action be taken against Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar for making “false statements”
  • To ensure the safety of the rakyat when under police custody
  • To set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission ( IPCMC)

Suicide note: Karpal wants AG in the dock

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Karpal Singh will file an application to have Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail take the stand on Aug 18 over the suicide note purportedly penned by the late Teoh Beng Hock.

“Given the media statement (by his office) on the matter, the AG has become a vital witness and he must explain to the coroner what had transpired,” he told FMT.

Karpal is representing Teoh's family in the inquest to determine the former DAP political aide's cause of death.

Teoh was found dead after a marathon grilling at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's Selangor office in Shah Alam.

Meanwhile, Karpal said Gani himself had doubted the authencity of the suicide note, and the latter must explain what had prompted his office to tender it as evidence at the tail-end of the inquest.

The veteran lawyer said that the document should not be seen as a suicide note simply because it ended with the word, “Goodbye”.

Normally, he said, suicide notes would be addressed to the father, mother, wife or any next-of-kin, but in this case, it was addressed to the MACC.

"The note generally stated that he (Teoh) coud not stand the manner in which he was being interrogated by the MACC, which wanted him to implicate certain individuals,” he said.

“Even if one accepts the authencity of the note, it could still implicate MACC officers based on the possibility that they had driven him to suicide with the nature of their interrogation,” he added.

A-G's Chambers denies supressing evidence

According to reports, the AG was informed about the discovery of the note in Teoh's slingbag by investigation officer ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal, two months after the victim was found dead.

Teoh, 30, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, on July 16 last year.

When the note was introduced on Monday, Karpal's son and counsel Gobind was enraged, and accused the A-G's Chambers of withholding crucial evidence.

The chambers denied the allegation, saying that it was equally startled when the discovery of the note was made known and ruled that it warranted further investigation.

It said that Gani was not convinced of the authenticity of the note due to insufficient samples to verify the handwriting, in particular the Chinese characters.

This, it said, was compounded by the timing of the note surfacing and that it would raise suspicion on its authenticity and discovery.

Based on these factors, the chambers said Gani ruled that the note should not be tendered "until and unless the investigation officer could provide satisfactory explanation of its discovery".

"The A-G's Chambers was earlier briefed by the investigation officer that he conducted a thorough search after being advised by a psychiatrist that ordinarily there would be a note left in a suicide case.

"However, recently the officer admitted that he did in fact find the note when searching the slingbag on July 17 last year, but did not realise the significance of it as there were other documents as well that were written in Chinese and Roman characters found," said the chambers.

It was following this, the chambers said, the A-G decided to put the note in and directed the investigation officer to explain the matter in court and let the coroner decide on its weight.

In a related development, Thai forensic expert Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand is scheduled to testify again at the inquest on Aug 18.

Her previous testimony that there was a 80% probability of Teoh being murdered had paved the way for a second post-mortem.

Khir, Faizal top 'to be charged' rumour list

By Muda Mohd Nor - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Rumours are rife that at least one Selangor Umno leader will be charged in relation to the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

And the two names topping the rumour list are former Selangor mentri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo and Kapar Umno deputy division chief Faizal Abdullah.

However, there are also those who do not rule out the possibility that it could be Muhammad Muhd Taib or Abu Hassan Omar, who were Khir's predecessors.

Contacted by FMT, both Khir and Faizal claimed to be in the dark over this.

Khir, who was menteri besar from 2001 to 2008, said: “I was never involved in the PKFZ project.”

Sources also pointed out that Khir, a local Umno warlord, could cause problems for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's plan to reclaim Selangor in the next general election if he was to be hauled to court.

Recently, former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik was charged for allegedly misleading the Cabinet pertaining to the sale of land for the PKFZ project which saw its initial cost balooning to possibly more than RM12 billion.

Speculation was rife that another former transport minister, Chan Kong Choy could also be charged in connection with the scandal.

In the course of the Public Accounts Committee's probe on the PKFZ fiasco, its chairman Azmi Khalid had once said that a former Selangor menteri besar was under investigation over the PKFZ fiasco.

No action in courts

Meanwhile, Faizal is the deputy chief executive of Wijaya Baru Global Bhd, the developer and investment firm behind the PKFZ project.

PKFZ is operatinng on 400 hectares of land on Pulau Indah next to Westport, Port Klang.

The Cabinet, under former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had approved the project in 1999 and it had began operations on Nov 7, 2007.

Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd, central to the PKFZ scandal, was appointed as the turnkey contractor to the project and is currently tied to an ongoing litigation suit with the Port Klang Authority for alleged fraudulent excessive claims.

The government had come under heavy criticism after it agreed to repay bondholders despite the ongoing suit.

Yesterday, journalists who had staked out at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya in anticipation of a VIP to be charged, had left disappointed.

Battle for Chinese support looming in PKR

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: A battle for the title of supreme Chinese leader in PKR is shaping up, with rival factions accusing each other of sabotage in the run-up to the party polls scheduled to be held by year-end.

FMT understands that influential former MCA deputy president and PKR supreme council member Chua Jui Meng is the latest subject of attack by a rival faction led by the party's chief strategist Chua Tian Chang or popularly known as Tian Chua.

Chua, who is also the party's Johor chief, has come under attack from the Sultan of Johor and Umno for allegedly dragging the royal household into politics when a banner which used the sultan's name and mentioned Chua as the next Johor menteri besar appeared.

While the former MCA man alleged the incident was Umno's doing, party sources told FMT that the banner debacle could have been engineered by an "ambitious national-level leader".

"The leader referred to is no other than Tian Chua. Think about it: Chua is a rising star in PKR. Very influential. And despite only joining the party for a while, he has done much to draw Chinese support towards PKR, especially in Johor," a party official said.

"Tian Chua, on the other hand, has been in the party for a long time, but he has yet to gain any significant influence either at top or below. To make it short, Chua is seen as a direct threat to him," the party official added.

Covert ops by Tian Chua's men?

Several party sources claim this is not the first time factions led by Tian Chua had launched "covert ops" against what is perceived to be rising Chinese leaders within the party.

Although Tian Chua, a former PKR vice-president himself, holds no important post in the party, sources say the chief strategist have planted several of his followers in key posts in the party.

It is understood that top Chinese leaders like Gopeng MP and PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye, supreme council member and Selayang MP William Leong and Petaling Jaya Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian are all followers of Tian Chua.

"They form his power base within the party and it gives him the opportunity to set forth his agenda. It also consolidates his position as the number one Chinese leader in the party," said another party source.

Chua's presence, however, would add a different dimension to the party where new and talented Chinese leaders would come in and build his support base.

Anwar-Azmin-Chua pact leaves Tian Chua out

It is learnt that Chua is also vying for the vice-president's post in the coming party polls. If he wins, his position in the party will be further strengthened and he will be able to exert his influence over the choice of candidates for Chinese leaders within the party.

"This is a threat to Tian Chua and his men. Tian Chua and gang may feel that Chua would favour his own men when the time to select candidates arrives," said another party source.

Chua also has strong influence and is considered to be in the inner circle of party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim. He is also close to Tian Chua's rival, party vice-president and aspiring PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.

"All these are factors enough to worry Tian Chua's faction. If Chua wins, you have the Anwar-Azmin-Chua power pact and Tian Chua's influence will die off and his men sidelined," said the same party source.

Both Tian Chua and Chua could not be reached for comments.

Boustead DCNS secures RM1.32 billion contract to service Scorpene submarines







(Bernama) -- Boustead Holdings Bhd announced on Friday that its subsidiary Boustead DCNS Naval Corporation Sdn Bhd has secured a contract to provide in service support for the two Royal Malaysian Navy's Prime Minister Class Scorpene submarines.

The contract worth 193 million euro (one euro=RM4.07) and RM532 million and is effective for a period ending Nov 30, 2015, the company said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia.

Boustead Holdings said the contract included a full submarine integrated logistics support package which consisted of a comprehensive spare parts package as well as the outfitting of workshop equipment, respective yard facilities and equipment, submarine safety conditioning facilities and their corresponding upkeep and maintenance.

The contract also covered tugboat services and the operation and maintenance of the shiplift, transfer system and submarine "umbilical services", it added.

Revamping education: Is the government up to it?

THE idea of abolishing the Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) exams shouldn’t have taken us by surprise when Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced it in June 2010.
Those who follow developments in the Education Ministry might recall that plans to have school-based assessments instead of centralised exams have been on the cards since the last parliamentary term. The National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 had talked about moving in that direction. There was already the idea that the public school system should be made less exam-oriented for students, and abolishing the UPSR and PMR were proposals that were discussed even then.
Still, public opinion is only now being solicited. And what has emerged is that revamping the education system is far more complex than the government’s oversimplified suggestion to either do away with or retain the UPSR and the PMR. The question, then, that needs to be answered is, is the government up to the challenge of such a complex task of national importance?
(Pic by ywel / sxc.hu)
(Pic by ywel / sxc.hu)
Framing the issue correctly
What is emerging from public discussions is that the ministry’s proposal is not just black or white. From the two ministry-sponsored roundtables so far and other roundtables and numerous letters to the media, many more questions need to be answered. If abolition is seen as a yes/no issue, the overall feedback then appears largely in favour of retaining the exams. However, is this the best way to frame the issue?
Here are some views and questions collated from various forums such as news reports about the ministry’s roundtables, dialogues organised by other groups like the MCA and Gerakan, and letters to the media:
  • There is not enough research or empirical data to justify such a move.
  • Public exams are still needed for uniformity in assessing students.
  • PMR should be abolished, but UPSR retained.
  • If PMR is abolished, how would this affect the streaming of students in Form Four?
  • UPSR should be retained but moved earlier to Standard 5. Year Six should be a “remedial” year for pupils who did poorly in the UPSR to prepare them for secondary school. As such, remove classes for vernacular school students should also be stopped.
  • Drop non-core subjects like civic and moral education, and Religious Studies from being counted in exam results. Let these be “pass/fail” subjects. Or take these out of formal education altogether and leave them to be taught by religious bodies and parents.
  • Instead of abolishing the exams, review the way exam questions are asked. Test students on knowledge and reasoning, rather than memorisation of facts. Currently, Malaysian exams are focused on the “lowest order of thinking”, which is dependent on rote learning.
  • Also review the number of subjects, and which ones students should be tested on.
  • Retain centralised exams but revamp them and have a balance between public exams and school-based tests to assess students holistically. Exams currently test only the academic component of students’ multiple intelligences, but not their other abilities.
  • The issue is not centralised exams or school-based testing. The issue is the quality of teachers to begin with.
  • It is not centralised exams that promote an exam-orientated culture of rote learning. It is the monthly, term, trial and yearly school exams that are giving students undue pressure. The number of these additional exams throughout the year should be reduced.
  • Instead of scrapping exams, it is teaching and learning methods that should be changed to promote experiential learning, understanding, creativity and critical thinking.
  • If centralised exams are replaced with school-based assessment, can teachers be trusted to set aside their personal, religious or racial bias when grading students?
  • With school-based assessments, teachers will need to be trained to design and conduct such assessments. Will the training be adequate, or will some teachers still struggle as many did despite being trained to teach Mathematics and Science in English?
  • Could a test, or pilot project, of how school-based assessments would work be held first before a final decision is made?
  • What will the impact of abolishing UPSR and PMR be on students in poorer, rural schools? How will it impact the urban-rural divide?
  • Public education should be revamped to cater to the majority of students who are rural based and underperformers. Currently, teachers tend to focus on students whom they feel will score As to boost school performance.
  • A comprehensive, long-term policy or at least a 20-year education policy is needed, and must include improving teachers’ quality and welfare.
Despite the question of abolishing exams clearly being a complex issue, Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, says the government will make a decision about the matter in September. At the same time, the ministry already has a detailed plan on how school-based assessments are to be conducted in place of UPSR and PMR.
Courage to decentralise education
September is a month away, and given the above concerns, one wonders how the Education Ministry will respond. Will it clarify the uncertainties? Will it come back with a proposal for more public feedback? Will it conduct a pilot case study on school-based assessments? Or will it ram through a final decision?
Muhyiddin
Muhyiddin
Ultimately, exams are a necessary evil. And doing away with them doesn’t address other overarching concerns about the education system as listed above.
If, as Muhyiddin said, the reason for abolishing public exams is to make the education system less exam-oriented and more holistic, then the focus should be on changing teaching and learning methods. Substituting centralised exams with school-based testing while doing nothing to improve teacher and teaching quality doesn’t guarantee that public education will be any less exam-oriented or more holistic.
If time, money and effort will have to be invested in training teachers to handle school-based assessments, wouldn’t the same investment be better spent on a thorough revamp of the education system? Changing the nature of public exams along with reviewing the curriculum and improving teacher quality and teaching methods can be a place to start.
It would be heartening if after all the feedback, the government would have the courage to re-consult all stakeholders on what should be done next. Even if it means abandoning the question of “abolish or not” and rephrasing it to address the concerns that have been raised. It would be a start to de-politicising education and placing it in the hands of stakeholders.

PROJEK BAKUN: SUBSIDI KORPORAT DITERUSKAN, SUBSIDI RAKYAT DIAMBIL

Saya memandang dengan serius laporan-laporan mutakhir yang menunjukkan kelewatan projek Empangan Bakun kerana begitu banyak wang rakyat telah disalurkan ke projek ini sejak sedekad yang lalu.

Berdasarkan laporan, jumlah kos keseluruhan dijangkakan akan meningkat akibat beberapa kelewatan projek. Kos setakat ini sudah pun mencecah RM7.3 billion dan sebahagian besarnya dibiayai oleh wang rakyat melalui pinjaman berjumlah RM5.75 billion yang diberikan oleh Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) dan Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP). Kedua-dua pinjaman ini juga dijamin oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan.

Sikap tidak peduli Perdana Menteri yang membiarkan wang rakyat terus digunakan di dalam projek Empangan Bakun adalah sangat bertentangan dengan pendapat beliau mengenai subsidi minyak dan gula. Beliau seolah-olah tidak kisah dengan kemungkinan wang rakyat terus dibazirkan untuk projek ini, tetapi bersungguh-sungguh mahu menarik balik subsidi minyak dan gula – sedangkan sasaran penjimatan perbelanjaan kerajaan adalah terlalu kecil berbanding dengan wang rakyat yang digunakan untuk membiayai projek Empangan Bakun setakat ini.

Sasaran penjimatan RM750 juta dari potongan subsidi hanyalah 10% dari jumlah kos keseluruhan projek Empangan Bakun. Projek ini juga telah menyebabkan anggaran kerugian sejumlah RM450 juta yang dialami oleh Sime Darby bagi tahun kewangan 2010, di samping pampasan RM900 juta yang dibuat oleh kerajaan sebelum ini. Jumlah keseluruhan kerugian dan pampasan kepada Sime Darby sahaja boleh membiayai pelbagai program kebajikan rakyat yang sepatutnya dijalankan apabila subsidi ditarik balik, untuk meringankan bebanan rakyat.

Minggu ini, kita dikejutkan dengan berita projek ini akan mengalami kenaikan kos mendadak disebabkan oleh kelewatan (bukan perkara baru sejak projek dilaksanakan). Laporan-laporan juga memetik sumber dalaman yang menyebut perbezaan pendapat di antara Kerajaan Persekutuan dan Kerajaan Sarawak mengenai harga apabila projek ini diserahkan kepada kerajaan negeri. Perbezaan ini memungkinkan Kerajaan Persekutuan terpaksa menanggung kerugian yang dianggarkan berjumlah RM2 billion apabila projek diserahkan kelak.

Siapa yang akan membayar kerugian yang dianggarkan berjumlah RM2 billion ini? Adakah Perdana Menteri akan secara senyap-senyap mengarahkan KWSP dan KWAP melupuskan sebahagian dari RM5.75 billion hutang yang diberikan kepada projek Empangan Bakun, untuk menutup kerugian itu?

Empangan Bakun adalah lambang layanan Barisan Nasional yang berbeza-beza kepada rakyat dan syarikat besar dalam menentukan subsidi. Di mata Barisan Nasional, 20 sen subsidi bagi setiap kilogram gula yang dinikmati rakyat adalah beban yang cukup besar kepada pentadbirannya, tetapi pada masa yang sama ia menghadiahkan subsidi korporat berbillion ringgit kepada syarikat besar tanpa rasa bersalah sedikit pun.

Saya menyeru Perdana Menteri mengambil pertanggungjawaban dan berterus-terang dengan rakyat mengenai masalah kewangan projek Empangan Bakun dan kesannya kepada wang rakyat. Menteri yang dipertanggungjawabkan menyelia projek juga perlu berterus-terang dan menerangkan kepada rakyat kenapa anggaran kerugian RM2 billion itu perlu ditanggung oleh rakyat.

Rakyat berhak tahu terutamanya apabila rakyat diminta mengurangkan beban kewangan kerajaan, maka subsidi korporat juga perlu dihentikan.

YB DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
KETUA PEMBANGKANG

A referendum will show that overwhelming majority will vote for a new IGP

When Tan Sri Musa Hassan’s extension of service for another year as Inspector-General of Police was announced on Sept. 3 last year, former Selangor Police Chief Datuk Yahaya Udin was quoted by the media as saying that the one-year extension should be sufficient for Musa to complete his “unfinished work”.

Now, it would appear that Musa has still got “unfinished work” and he is angling for another extension of service.

Let me reiterate what I had said last August, when opposing any extension of service for Musa as the No. 1 Policeman in the country.

I had said that I have no doubt that if the issue of whether the country needs a new IGP is put to a referendum in the country or the police force, the result will be an overwhelming “yes” for a new IGP.

Let me reiterate that I have no personal axe to grind against Musa and am purely taking a stand in the national interests, to roll back the tide of crime in the past six years as well as to inject the Malaysian police force with the adrenaline, dynamism and a reinvigorated sense of purpose that only a new police chief could evoke in another attempt to scale the goal to become an efficient, incorruptible, professional world-class police force respected internationally for its competence, ability and success to fulfil the three core police functions to keep crime low, eradicate corruption and protect human rights.

Malaysians as well as the 100,000-strong police force just cannot believe that the present batch of police leadership are so short of leadership material that the Prime Minister cannot find a single one from the topmost 100 Police officers of Deputy IGP, CPs, DCPs, SACs I and II to qualify to be the new IGP.

Is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak prepared to put the issue to a referendum among the top 2,000 police officers from ASP upwards to enable a secret poll to get their true and authentic voice and vote of whether the overwhelming majority of the top police officers are in favour of a new IGP?

PM Announces RM350 In "Duit Raya" For Felda Settlers

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 (Bernama) -- A total of 101,391 Felda settlers will receive RM350 each in special payment in conjunction with the coming Aidilfitri, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Friday.

A total of 11,244 other settlers within the Felda settlements, who carried out replanting but not through Felda, will received RM150 each.

Najib said in a statement that the payment, involving a total of RM37.14 million, would be made before the Aidilfitri.

"I hope that the 'duit raya' payment will help ease the burden of settlers in their preparation for the Aidilfitri.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to urge settlers who are no longer with Felda to return to the agency and help develop the settlements," he said.

Wanted: Far-reaching reforms

I notice press reports mentioning the DAP’s three promises should Pakatan take over Putrajaya:
  • RM1,000 annually for senior citizens
  • Free nationwide wifi
  • Abolition of the postal summons (saman ekor)
Shouldn’t a progressive electoral platform highlight the following:
  • the stamping out of corruption and abuse of power at all levels
  • a minimum wage or a minimum living income – more multiplier effect, given that 34 per cent of workers earn wages below the poverty line.
  • high-quality, efficient, universal healthcare at a nominal charge and an end to the privatisation of essential services
  • an immediate repeal of the ISA and other detention without trial laws and ratification of international human rights treaties
  • measures to narrow the income gap
  • reinstatement of local council elections plus village elections
  • upholding of sustainable development and environmental protection including independent EIAs and SEIAs for all significant projects
  • loans for small business folks, fisher folks and farmers
  • land titles for those with customary rights to the land
  • restoration of the independence of the judiciary, election commission
  • affordable housing for all
  • a strong social security system that would cater to senior citizens, people with disabilities, the poor, etc
  • the promotion of food self-sufficiency (but not via corporate agriculture)
  • a revamp of the education system
  • measures to address the digital divide, including adequate facilities for schools
And that’s just for starters.
I am looking for far-reaching reforms, not just superficial sweeteners.

What the AG wants you to believe about Teoh's note

Just a quick plug for today’s TMI article, with a slightly longer ‘director’s cut’, edited-post-publication, pictures added, version printed below. Thanks!
Teoh’s note, justice perverted
AUG 13 — Malaysian (in)justice belies belief. We have seen things here that defy the imagination of even the wildest storyteller.
I would like to start by examining in detail the statement released by the Attorney-General’s Chambers with regards to the alleged “suicide note” left by Teoh Beng Hock.
I shall attempt to retell the narrative this press statement suggests, in a more chronological order. The two main parties involved are the police and the AG’s chambers (yeah, think “Law and Order”). I must note that this account is based only and entirely on the official press statement from the latter.
So, their version seems to go thus: The investigating officer in Teoh’s case, ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal, finds the note in Teoh’s bag on July 17, 2009, after the death. He does not understand the Chinese written on it and proceeds not to do anything about it until around October 7.
On October 7, ASP Ahmad Nazri approaches the AG’s chambers, and tells them something to this effect: “Hey, are you interested in this letter? I was recently told by a psychiatrist that suicide victims usually leave a suicide note, so I went back to look through his bag after that, and then found this.”
(Of course if the AG’s press statement is to be believed, he said “psychiatric” and not “psychiatrist” — a mistake on either part is equally plausible)
So the AG goes “WTF?” and promptly has the document sent to forensic document examiners on October 9 and 20. Based on their report, he then goes: “This doesn’t seem authentic; and if we bring up something like this two months after the death, people will think it’s fake. Best leave it be, no one needs to know about it.”
Now, fast forward to this last week.
The AG is now saying: “Hey, guess what? That Ahmad Nazri guy? He just confessed that *actually*, he did in fact find the note on July 17, 2009, and not later as previously indicated. He just, you know, didn’t know what it was all about. Yeah. So since he’s now telling us that he found it there and then, and not some time later as he originally told us (which we are writing off as just an honest mistake, really), we figured this is the right time to let the coroner and the public know.”
Were it not for the constraints of professional column writing, I would at this point insert a face represented by two upper case O’s separated by a full stop, to represent my disbelief.
Conversations
Let’s take a quick recap of the irregularities here.
First of all, ASP Ahmad Nazri is quite simply either lying or possessed of an incompetence that defies reason.
Even if we were to take his words at face value, they would have us believe that the cops, in such a high profile case, did not in fact have every single document in Teoh’s bag scrutinised with the utmost of diligence.
If they did not do this, then I suppose it is less of a surprise that investigations into murders like Altantuya Shaariibuu’s seem to end in such unlikely conclusions.
Secondly, why is ASP Ahmad Nazri going to the AG and telling him tales? According to this story, the major reason the AG did not bring this up back in October last year was because this note was allegedly not found on or around July 17, but considerably later.
Going by the press statement, the huge decision not to reveal the note was made after a conversation last year that may have gone like this:
AG: “Eh, you sure you didn’t find this on July 17?”
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. Yeah.”
AG: “OK. Like that, we won’t tell anyone about this then.”
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. OK.”
If your head has stopped spinning, let us then fast-forward again to recent weeks. Now, we are made to believe that a conversation along these lines transpired:
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. Boss. You remember last year when I said I didn’t find that note on July 17?”
AG: “Yeah?”
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. Yeah. Actually, right, I did find it on July 17.”
AG: “What? Really? Are you sure?”
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. Yeah.”
AG: “Hmm. Well. Alright then. In that case, we better go ahead and make it public then, shall we?”
ASP Ahmad Nazri: “Err. OK.”
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen — Malaysian Law and Order.
Clearly you will think I’m being glib, but I do earnestly invite you to read the AG’s press statement for yourself, and see whether my “re-enactments” veer too far from what they would have us believe.
What’s really happening?
For my money, I reckon this is all a load of hogwash.
Given the pressure everyone was under, there is absolutely no way that a suicide note that had even the merest hint of authenticity would have been kept under wraps. Anything that might even have caused a semblance of reasonable doubt in the minds of those enraged at Teoh’s death would have been exploited ad nauseam.
This fairytale the AG seems to be spinning is rife with inconsistency, and can only be described as what we have come to expect from the man who first tried to convict Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy over 10 years ago. Now, as then, the things they expect us to swallow go beyond insulting.
How could a policeman worth even a shred of integrity be either so incompetent or be deliberately misleading the AG himself?
Furthermore, if the AG feels that the authenticity of the note is suspect, then the time the note was purportedly would have scant bearing on whether to release it to the inquest and public.
After all, what the AG’s press statement is actually implying is that he originally suspected the police of fabricating the note, or at the very least, that the note was planted by someone.
Now, some nine months later, he wants us to believe that ASP Ahmad Nazri’s convenient “owning up” as to when exactly he found the note (whether we have anything more than his word to go on, we can hardly say) is sufficient grounds to alter his position with regards to whether the note is fit to be showed to the court.
A more plausible explanation seems to be that the AG is desperately grasping at straws — what more with Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand’s testimony on the horizon. Do they seriously take us for such fools?
Sadly though, no sooner do those words appear on my screen do I realise how clearly they do.
A history of judicial rot
This all begins with Umno Baru and Tun Salleh Abas. It continues unabated through Sodomy I and Sodomy II.
Only this week, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal ruling that quashes a High Court decision that found activist Malek Husin’s 1998 detention under the ISA unlawful.
Reports state that Malek testified that while detained, he “was stripped naked in an air-conditioned room, blindfolded during interrogation, and physically assaulted up to 60 times, beaten until he was unconscious, forced to drink urine and subjected to sexual abuse.”
Lawyers throughout the nation are understandably enraged at this latest in a growing trend of justice frustrated in the upper courts. The most prominent similar example was the case of Perak, where the High Court found in favour of ousted mentri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, only to find its decision immediately overturned by the Court of Appeal.
Given this recurring pattern, we are confronted with the question of which individuals make up the bench in the appealleate court, and how they got there. Judges, after all, are still human beings, and much as we would like, we cannot assume all would have the same inclinations given the legal merits of a particular case.
In the question of promotions, the elevation of Gani Patail, Musa Hassan and Augustine Paul – all key players in Sodomy I – to apex positions in their profession have aroused the suspicions of many with regards to meritocracy and promotions.
More recently, even the highest judicial officer in the land, Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi, was appointed to his position in a considerably controversial manner.
Tun Zaki was not promoted from any level of the bench, but from his position as a lawyer and, as ‘coincidence’ would have it, a legal advisor to Umno. I’m not sure, but would that technically make even a sessions court judge ‘outrank’ him prior to his catapult into power?
Whatever Tun Zaki’s personal integrity, surely such a conflict of interest would be beyond inconceivable in any real, functioning democracy. If we cannot trust the promotion of key judges to the higher courts, how then, can we expect them to uphold justice pronounced by the lower courts – as in the Malek Husin and Perak cases?
These ongoing, mind-boggling trends cannot but put us in the mind of justice as being treated like a cheap whore — used and abused at will by those with money and power. I daresay there are plenty of actual prostitutes around with far more integrity than seems to pervade our justice system.
We can only hope that Malaysians from all backgrounds will do everything that is necessary to stop these perversions of justice, before the rot runs too deep.