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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Burned girl a symbol of Roma hate and hope

Vitkov, Czech Republic (CNN) -- Natalka Kudrikova is a bright-eyed, three-year-old girl recovering from the severe burns she suffered when far-right extremists threw a Molotov cocktail into her home.

Her family and authorities say she was targeted because they are Roma, or gypsies. Natalka lost 80 percent of her skin, two fingers (a third was later amputated) and spent months lying in an induced coma following the attack last year in Vitkov, in the Czech Republic. She is still recuperating after 14 major surgeries.

In May, Natalka returned to Ostrava Hospital for rehabilitation sessions so that one day she may be able to get around without support. "I'd rather not take her back to the hospital," said her mother, Anna Sivakova, "but if she must return, my dream is that she learns how to walk without any help."

The very next day, four young men accused of attacking Natalka, filed into Ostrava District Court to hear the indictment: a racially motivated attempted murder.

According to the prosecutor, the attack was planned for the 120th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth. Court experts confirmed swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia were found in the defendants' homes.

In court, Ivo Muller and Vaclav Cojocaru described their coordinated Molotov cocktail attack. Their only excuse -- they said they thought they were attacking an empty storehouse of stolen goods.

Under cross-examination, Muller and Cojocaru admitted attending anti-Roma demonstrations organized by right wing extremists.

The other defendants, Jaromir Lukes and David Vaculik, did not take the stand. Lukes is accused of being the ringleader, a claim his defense counsel strongly denies although he concedes Lukes drove the getaway car. His lawyer also vehemently denies there was any racial motivation to the attack.

An anti-fascist website published a photo of Lukes walking next to the leader of the far-right Workers' Party. Another photo showed Vaculik wearing the armband of the Workers' Party, the public face of the Czech far right.

The leader of the now banned Workers' Party, Tomas Vandas, denied any involvement.

"Yes, we may have used those people as organizers of our public meetings but how could we know they would commit a crime?" said Vandas. "I hope Natalka gets better soon," he added.

Miroslav Mares, from Masaryk University in Brno, is the leading academic specialist on Czech extremist groups.

He thinks it's unlikely that the Workers' Party was directly involved in the arson attack, but he says they were responsible "for inflaming anti-Roma sentiment."

"Maybe some youngsters from the neo-Nazi scene said to themselves, 'If the whole population is against Romas we are justified in carrying out such attacks,'" he said.

And surveys do show anti-Roma sentiment is widespread. The European Union EURoma website says Czech Romas endure extremely high unemployment rates, low educational standards, isolation, and the prejudices of the majority population.

"In regions with high unemployment and poor social conditions, the rise of extremism is popular with unemployed young men but we can see more and more women on the neo-Nazi scene," Marek said.

Lucie Slegrova, 20, is a flag-waving militant of the now renamed Workers' Social Justice Party. She denies her party is inspired by Hitler's Nazi ideology.

Instead, she says, they follow their own nationalist ideas. "The Czech Republic should be for people who know how to behave. If the gypsies don't want to follow the rules, they're free to leave," she said.

Only one percent of Czech voters supported the Workers' Social Justice Party in the last elections, but Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer worries that 7 percent of Czech students voted for the far-right party, according to an unofficial nationwide poll.

"A lot of people are frustrated with politicians, and have troubles due to the crisis and recession. My message to them is please think it over and don't believe these very bad prophets," Fischer said.

The far-right movement has made bigger gains in neighboring Hungary where 17 percent of voters chose the Jobbik party in the last elections.

Violence has been much worse as well. In the last two years, nine Roma have been killed in Hungary in unprovoked night-time attacks, according to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

Roma bashing also became an issue in the Slovakian election campaign. The far right Slovak National Party commissioned billboards showing a dark-skinned man with tattoos and an inflammatory message: "Vote SNS so we don't feed those who don't want to work."

In eastern Slovakia many Roma live in segregated communities like the village of Ostrovany where municipal authorities spent some $16,000 to build a wall separating the Roma from their white neighbors, because of fears of "alleged Roma crime," said Stanislav Daniel from ERRC.

"To me the wall is a symbol of segregation because public finances were used to target a stereotype, not what's real," Daniel said.

The wall separates a tidy town from a rural slum. Roma, living right next to the wall, have no sewage or garbage collection and there's just one tap with drinking water for dozens of families.

Back in the Czech Republic, Natalka's father, Pavel Kudrik, has chosen to stay in the region and rebuild a comfortable home for his wife and four daughters.

After police asserted that Natalka's family were victims of a racist attack, many Czechs opened their wallets and their hearts.

Prime Minister Fischer's wife and son spearheaded a nationwide campaign to help them -- a move that led to the Fischer family having full-time police protection after they received anonymous death threats.

But the current climate is not the only reason Fischer wants to clamp down on right wing extremism.

Everyone in his family died in the Holocaust except for his father and grandmother. "Sixty-five years after WWII, the societal memory is getting weak," he said.

And Roma activists complain that recognition of their sacrifices under the Nazis has never been properly acknowledged.

Half-a-million Roma perished in what they call the "Devouring" -- Hitler's campaign to eliminate them as a people.

Last May, several hundred Czech Roma gathered at a memorial for the victims of the Lety concentration camp. Hundreds of Czech Roma children died there and are buried nearby in a mass grave.

Jan Vrba is one of the camp's last survivors. He was born there. His sister perished there.

"What happened in Vitkov made me cry", said Jan. "Little Natalka reminded me of my sister who died in this camp."

'Racist' HM: What you get from teachers in politics

your say'The ones who suffer most are the students. So let the teachers just teach - after all, they are paid handsomely to do so.'
'Racist' headmistress: DPM orders probe

Phan Gaik Cher: This uncalled for incident amplifies the danger of allowing teachers to get involved in politics. When teachers fail to draw the line between politics and education, this is what happens and you can bet that most of the time the outcome will be much worse.

The ones who suffer most are the students. So let the teachers just teach - after all, they are paid handsomely to do so.

Faithful Malaysian: Here we go again. Same stupid 'method' of giving an excuse to avoid responsibility by using the word 'investigate'. Remember Port Klang Free Zone, Teoh Beng Hock, A Kugan, Altantuya Shaariibuu, the VK Lingam tape, etc?

Investigate, investigate, investigate and then nothing. This is just a ploy used over and over again to calm the anger and save Umno's behind. After a while, lives go back to normal because Malaysians 'memang mudah lupa'. Sad.

Alexander Yuan: Why does it take 10-plus days, a botched 'cover-up' by the Education director-general and numerous protests from parents as well as political parties before the deputy prime minister finally decides on a probe? It shows just how 'effective' he is.

Jaguh: Why even waste time on a task force for this simple case of racial abuse and slurs? Fire her to warn all educationists; remove her pension. That's the least you can do for a Malay culprit. If she was non-Malay, it would have been sedition and the ISA. If she gets away with negligible punishment, can I also do the same?

KillBN: What do we need another stupid taskforce for? This so-called 'educator' spoke in front of the whole school during an assembly. Hundreds of pupils and teachers heard it, otherwise no one in their right mind would want to waste their time at our police stations making police reports (apart from lazy people who don't work like the Perkasa people). Sack this headmistress and stop wasting our taxpayers' monies on her salary.

Singa Pura Pura: Going by the simple and logical 'ejusdem generis' rule, the phrases 'Chinese students go back to China' and 'Munusamy and Chong were only passengers. They cannot claim any right to the car' are completely in sync with the phrase 'I'm a Malay first and a Malaysian second'.

And also, by necessary implication, they are all of the one and same genre as the phrase 'Malays first, Chinese second and Indians third'. This is why, irrespective of his or her personal sentiments, a national leader and a prime minister-in-waiting ought never to declare that his or her ethnicity comes before his nationality.

Bapak Toyol: If such comments were made by a non-Malay headmaster/headmistress, he or she would have been arrested and detained under the ISA. Just because the comments were made by a Malay, the Education DG had the audacity to say, 'It was only a misunderstanding and everything has been settled'.

What a lie by a Muslim in this holy month. The police as usual will say she was misquoted and hence, no case. This is what I call '1Malaysia' and 'Malaysia Boleh'.

Anonymous: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should stop casting aspersions on the case. He seems to be telling everyone that the incident is not true and it looks like he knows what his next move will be. Why did the headmistress apologise if she did not do it?

DOC: The irony of the situation is such that this education minister is ordering a probe for an allegedly racist headmistress for inciting racism. Basically as I see it, the HM (headmistress) was only mimicking her boss's action. 'Monkey see, monkey do'. I guess we can safely assume how this probe will end - 'tutup kes; salah faham'.

ONG: The deputy prime minister is only 63 years old but his reaction time is getting very, very slow - it took him almost a week to react. This extremist headmistress should be sacked, and not just transferred.

Otherwise there is no proper message for others like her. Can I assault somebody I don't like and later apologise and claim that it was all a 'misunderstanding'?

Mohd Naim Ismail: Don't worry, this headmistress will be an Umno candidate for the next general elections since graduate teachers can now be involved in politics. The DPM needs more of these kind of people as Umno candidates.

Another 'racist' principal in Kedah

Peoples Voice: What has happened the past 15 years? I raised five children and could write a book on what they tell me happens in their schools. PE (physical education) teachers will ask the Malay boys to play ball elsewhere and then group the non-Malays to one side. I think the minister of education should resign.

ISA@Penyu: Recently the Malays have been getting all worked up and raising a lot of racial issues. Why? It is simple. They are sick of others questioning the royalty, Malay rights, the bumiputera status and equity. PKR and DAP started this trend and we are now heading towards more and more problems.

Even MCA now wants to be the champion questioning Malay equity. So just go back to what our forefathers have agreed and stop questioning the social contract for the betterment of all. If you don't like the country, you can always migrate but don't create problems here.

There a lot of Indians and Chinese who are happy with Malaysia where they earn good living and the politicians are spoiling it all by creating divides.

Chris T: Racists are a global issue. Whether they are educated or not, they are already set in their moronic minds. You can't change them but the laws can definitely stop them. It is only a problem when those in power refuses to apply the law because they are racists themselves.

Mamboking: During my time in school, during the 70s and 80s, we never had these issues. The canteen was open to all and non-Muslims students ate there. Then again, those were the glory days of being 'muhibah'. Now all have been messed by the same 70s and 80s era politicians. What a shame.

Mohd Hazwan: What kind of school principals are we churning out? This is all due to the negative consequences of Biro Tata Negara's social engineering. My advice to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is to stop going on this unhealthy course once and for all.

Jaguh: This will not end. All the racists use the same terms, sing the same song and all because of Umno. It's really getting bad and the racists are getting bolder each day because they are not penalised.

Coming back to the non-Muslim kids in schools, they have to eat - so where do they eat? So what if they eat in the same canteen? They are not feeding and tempting the Muslim kids are they? This country is really getting ridiculous.

Hadi warns BN from using racial politics

Hadi Awang warns Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties against using
racial politics to win support among voters. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang today issued a stern warning to Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties against using racial politics to win support among voters.

The PAS president claimed that BN had been ramping up its efforts in using “racist” and “narrow-minded” politics as a desperate attempt to try and woo over the different races in the country.

“The narrow-minded politics and racist sentiments have now become weapons and a means in which BN leaders are desperately trying to win back support, as though voters would be so easily swayed in today’s information world,” Abdul Hadi said in a statement posted today on his blog.

Abdul Hadi took a swipe at the MCA’s recent Chinese Economic Congress, claiming that the issues raised by MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek was a mere “manifestation” of the failure of BN in understanding the needs of the different races in the country.

“The issues raised by the MCA president in the form of resolutions from the economic congress held recently are nothing more than a mere manifestation of the failure of Barisan Nasional in understanding the needs and rights of the different races in the country,” said the PAS president.

The MCA’s Chinese Economic Congress held on August 14 had called for economic liberalisation and a merit-based and needs-based system to contribute to the path for Malaysia to be globally competitive.

The congress had called for an abolishment of the 30 percent Bumiputera equity target, which had resulted in a verbal war between Umno’s top leaders and MCA.

Abdul Hadi however dismissed MCA’s seemingly bolder stance, accusing the BN component party of being “elitist” and having failed to look after the poorer Chinese population.

“The situation becomes more complicated when MCA, which is an elitist party led by the rich has not been able to defend or look after the needs of the Chinese poor. This failure is also seen in MIC,” said Abdul Hadi.

The Marang MP also lashed out at Umno for discriminating against Malays in unfair economic distribution of wealth over the years.

Abdul Hadi said that only Malays who were aligned to Umno-BN benefited from the economic policies practiced by BN.

“The Malays in this country can no longer trust in Umno to look after their interests, as we have seen over the years how the country’s economic system has led to unfair economic distribution of wealth to Umno-putras.

“This injustice is not only felt by many races in our country, even within the Malays as there is discrimination towards Malays and Bumiputeras who are not politically-aligned with the Umno-BN government,” he said.

Abdul Hadi’s remarks calling for BN to stop playing up racial politics comes amid fresh allegations by Umno against the Penang Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government under DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.

Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zabidi had claimed that several mosques in the Tasek Gelugor, Permatang Pauh and Jelutong areas had replaced the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s name with Lim’s name during Friday sermons.

The Penang state government has vehemently denied Umno’s allegations.

PR have also slammed the Najib administration for its silence on reports of a Johor school principal uttering racially sensitive remarks During a school assembly speech last week.

The school principal had allegedly told the Chinese students to go back to China and said the Indians looked like dogs when they wore their prayer strings.

Yesterday, another school principal in Kedah was accused of telling her Chinese pupils to “return to China”.

“I plead with everyone in this country to stay calm and judge fairly the stirring up of racial hatred that is being propagated by Umno-BN on a daily basis.

“Let everyone stick together with PAS and PR in order to create a wave of change and get out of this sick cycle of politics being played by Umno-BN. Let us together put this country on the right path, in midst of challenging times to a better better, stable and just Malaysia,” added Abdul Hadi.

The Best Malaysian Drama Awards Night

The Information, Communication and Culture Minister, Rais Yatim, will be gracing The Best Malaysian Drama Awards Night at the TV3 auditorium tomorrow night to choose the best Malaysian dramas aired by the Umno-owned television station. The following is the list of nominees and their categories.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

1. The best alternative lifestyle drama award

a) Ahmad Ismail, the ex-Umno Chief of Bukit Bendera, Penang, in ‘Boys to men’ (shot in his apartment in Batu Feringgi in Penang)

b) Kevin Morais, the DPP of MACC, in ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ (shot in England)

c) Khairil Annas Jusoh, the special aide to the Prime Minister, in ‘Never kiss and tell’ (shot in Seri Perdana in Putrajaya)

And the winner is…

2. The best courtroom scene dialogue award

a) The Karpal Singh sedition trial, ‘ultra virus means insulting the Sultan’

b) The Teoh Beng Hock death inquiry, ‘Have you ever jumped off from a building?’

c) The Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial, ‘Charged for sex with a duck but evidence for sex with a chicken’

And the winner is…

3. The best double-speak dialogue award

a) Ibrahim Ali for his ‘I am a Director of Vincent Tan’s company because I am opposed to the Chinese controlling the economy’

b) Muhyiddin Yassin for his ‘I support Najib’s 1Malaysia as long as we maintain the Ketuanan Melayu policy’

c) Chua Soi Lek for his ‘The Chinese are not running dogs to the Malays but Umno is the big brother to MCA’

And the winner is…

4. The highest budget drama award

a) PKFZ: RM12 billion and still counting

b) MAS: RM9 billion down and no end in sight

c) Bakun: damn that dam and what was the cost again?

And the winner is…

5. The best comedy award

a) Zainuddin Maidin in ‘Malaysia has erections every five years’

b) Rais Yatim in ‘Okay, I will change my mode’

c) Anifah Aman in ‘Malaysia’s legal system is the most respected in the world’

And the winner is…

6. The leading actor/actress musical award

a) Mahathir Mohamad in ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’

b) Rosmah Mansor in ‘Girls just want to have fun’

c) Razak Baginda in ‘We all live in a yellow submarine’

And the winner is…

7. The best career comeback award

a) Chua Soi Lek in ‘So you thought I was history’

b) Mahathir Mohamad in ‘Who do you think calls the shots?’

c) Khairy Jamaluddin in ‘The show’s not over till the fat lady sings’

And the winner is…

8. The best script award

a) Sodomy 2: Riding on the same plot

b) PKFZ: The Chinaman as the fall guy

c) Karpal Singh Sedition: I no speakee Inggeris

And the winner is…

Malaysia tops in political freedom, Singapore in business, survey shows

by Dr. Dzul

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member of PAS Central Working Committee.

Given the recent enormous drop in the nation’s FDI to a whooping 81% (World Investment Report, WIR 2010), the announcement of 8.9% GDP growth in the 2Q compared with -3.9% yoy in 2009, came as a great relief to many. It is the third consecutive quarter of growth. Though it’s slightly lower than the 10.1% of the 1Q, it nonetheless brings the much needed comfort and assurance. Overall, the economy grew by 9.5% for the first half of 2010.

More substantively, the growth has been essentially driven by stronger domestic demand due mainly to higher private consumption and continued improvements in both private and public spending. So it was claimed. Additionally robust growth in external demand and trade similarly spurred the supply-side of our domestic manufacturing and services sectors.

Just as we are about to be back on our bullish view of the economy, this writer unfortunately will gently remind us that not all is well, over and done with. Quite on the contrary, we are in fact dangerously treading a precarious path of recovery with the pending double dip always lurking devilishly ahead.

More importantly and on a longer timeline, some fundamental and structural problems need serious addressing. These are economic malaises that have entrapped us in a decade of stagnation with a negligible increase in real wages hence stuck in the prolonged middle-income trap, a low value-added activities and low productivity.

Global Economy is Slowing Down

Firstly, back to the issue of relying on a robust external demand to drive growth and domestic production. A robust growth in the second half of this year is not as promising. The global economy after receiving massive fiscal and monetary stimulus is now heading for a sharp slowdown as the multiplier effect of those measures wanes.

Worse still is the scenario where governments and consumers of the advanced economies – US, UK and Europe – will be spending less and are now concerned with de-leveraging their debts. Meanwhile nations saving too much – China, Asia, Germany and Japan – are not willing to spend and produce more for obvious reason to compensate for the fall in demand by the de-leveraging countries earlier. Hence you have a ‘double-whammy’ situation of diminishing global aggregate demand in the recovery exacerbating the softer and lower economic growth.

Even if the global economy is to escape a W-shaped double-dip recession, the likely scenario for advanced economies, is at best a U-shaped not a V-shaped recovery. In the Euro-zone meanwhile, the outlook will be even worse as governments’ austerity drives set in and stock market falls.

If we are to rely on China to drive our growth, we may be in for a disappointment as China is already slowing their growth for fear of economic overheating. With the other advanced economies and Euro taking a continued beating, it will have a further knock-on effect on China’s growth. This will be bad news for all other Asian economies shifting expectation to piggy-beg on China’s imports for sustaining their growth.

With the scenario of US growth decelerating to 1.5%, the Euro zone stagnating, while Japan’s economy continues to be in an L-shape recovery, even if the global economy were to escape a double-dip, the extreme downsides of these all acting in concert could similarly trigger a recession-like shock.

Our Growth Curve is on a Downward Path

Besides, a closer look at the claim of the Bank Negara may not after all be that assuring. Bank Negara noted that the manufacturing sector registered the highest growth of 15.9 percent followed by the service sector at 7.3 percent.

However, the first quarter performance revealed that manufacturing registered a growth of 17 percent, while achieving 8.5 percent for the service sector. The growth for the construction sector has similarly dwindled from 8.7 percent to 4.1 in the second quarter. In other words these indicators are all on a downward path.

For the year-end outlook, Bank Negara said that the domestic demand was expected to increase and support growth in the second half of the year. If this writer recalls correctly, the consumer’s sentiment as recently reported by MIER is not as bullish as the government painted it to be, as to support domestic demand.

In anticipation of further withdrawal of subsidies and the introduction of a new consumption tax, the GST, the government doesn’t seem to be getting their fiscal policy right– subsidy and taxation- it seems to this writer, anyway. There is a clear mismatch of encouraging domestic spending with both the fiscal and monetary policy of the BN government going in the opposite direction.

Recent spate of OPR increases, though described as ‘normalisation’ may affect cost of funding and eventually affect domestic investment and spending. Although inflation is under control for now, it is beginning to gather pace especially in Asia. Commodity prices are on an upward trend globally as a result of greater demand and poor weather condition. We shall not be spared.

Burdened with increasing debt and fiscal deficit, the degree of freedom in using such stabilizing fiscal and monetary measures is much stifled and limited.

Hence, it pays if the BN government is to be honest and truthful about the very cautious optimism, lest it has to eat humble-pie for the second half of the year.

Addressing Structural and Fundamental Economic Malaises

On a more substantive approach and on a longer timeline, there are clear ‘mismatches’ both structurally and fundamentally that need to be addressed, dismantled and reconstructed. Najib’s policies of ‘liberalization’ and ‘inclusiveness’ that generated an immediate appeal, were in apparent collision course with his own party’s ethnic-based ideology. So far it doesn’t move beyond his rhetoric. His flip-flop is ever more pronounced of late.

Talks of moving into a higher income economy and spurring growth through private investment, both domestic and foreign have already hit a snag with the WIR report. Concrete measures to attract and increase the appetite for both local and foreign investors, over and above doing ‘more of the same’ are not identified.

Excuses of failures abound. We seem not to understand that Fiscal Reform has to be a part of a wider programme of macroeconomic and political reform.

Besides, a higher income economy is premised on higher productivity hence presupposing a fundamental shift from labour-intensive to capital-intensive and finally to knowledge-based industries and enterprises. However, willingness to address serious labour and industrial policy are evidently missing. Evidently we are not ready to bite the bullet.

Let’s get real and see what is on the ground.

A recent survey of conducted by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) on their members who were mainly wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, professionals, service providers and construction entrepreneurs, revealed that 63% of the respondents are heavily dependent on foreign workers.

To all intents and purposes, until and unless we address the over-reliance on foreign workers, not only to man our construction and plantation industries but as well our manufacturing and service sectors, rest assured that we will be stuck to this ‘low-income’ trap to doomsday.

The question to ask is how possible is to execute such reforms? Or perhaps a blunt way of putting it is do we want to go that way? Are we prepared for that shift?

Much as we know that this is the bottle-neck of it all, we still need them to rack up decent growth numbers yearly and the vicious cycle continues unending. To answer the above question of whether it is possible after all, the answer is yes. We have simply to break the vicious cycle if we seriously want to move in that direction. Perhaps it is best not to view the ‘foreign labour’ issue as mutually exclusive to a ‘higher income and a high performing economy’. We need to think out of the box.

To do that it presupposes that we must be prepared to re-skill and retool our workforce to be at least semi-skilled and to focus on greater specialization of production. Meanwhile a more concerted programme at the tertiary level of education must be put in place to prepare a greater pool of skilled and knowledge workers.

With 77% of secondary school leavers entering the workforce armed with merely SPM qualification, we are in for a major overhaul. It challenges our earnestness and commitment to put money where the skill and talent are to be produced.

But with the news of big ticket infrastructural projects back in the pipeline, the like of the multi-billion Greater KL development, alongside the jaw-dropping RM43billion MRT mega-project, 3,300 acres of Sungai Buloh, Sungai Besi etc, it doesn’t take a professor of economics to tell us that we are back to square one.

Yes we may be back on Growth Trajectory albeit driven again by huge Government spending (G-factor) and already many dubious direct-nego dealings in the 2nd wave privatization (PFIs?) with a concomitant enlarging circle of billionaires club of old and new rent-seekers. Even if we were to achieve the income target per capita of RM38,850 in 2015 with an annual growth of 6%, will it bother us then to witness the yawning income-disparity, malignant corruption and leakages to continue unchecked?

So what are we in for? It’s back to the old paradigm of development and growth model. So what is new of the NEM?

That spells doom for the already ailing Malaysian economy. Will it be a case of a Misplaced Optimism?

MACC loses again

Din Merican
My wife, Dr. Kamsiah and I were at the Courts today to listen to the tail end of prosecution’s submission and Dato Shafee Abdullah ‘s brilliant rebuttal.  In not more than 25 minutes, the respected lawyer convinced the Honorable Judge Somathy that his client, Dato Ramli Yusuff, should be acquitted with his defense being called as the prosecution could not establish  a prima facie case, despite  the  best efforts of the DPP. That precisely what the Judge did.

Finally, and to the relief of family, friends and associates,  Dato Ramli is spared further humiliation and agony from the MACC working in concert with the IGP and the AG. Earlier, this cabal had pursued him in Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. In both  cases, the MACC lost.
It is indeed a good day for Dato Ramli and his friends and supporters. But upon reflection, I am saddened by the fact the MACC had incurred a lot of taxpayers’ money by charging Datuk Ramli for the third time , failing again for the third time and the Court was asked to hear a case for which there is no basis to charge him in the first place. Even more painful is the fact in order to uphold his honour and dignity , Dato Ramli had to incur legal expenses to defend himself.
Without sounding like a soothsayer, I knew at the start of this case that there was no basis to charge  Dato Ramli. Most of us  who attended the trial knew that he had the permission of his boss, the then IGP Tan Sri Bakri Omar to establish a company Kinsajaya Sdn. Berhad but he was not  a director on May 2, 2006 as claimed by the persecution. As for his involvement in business while being a public servant, the prosecution could not establish that Dato Ramli  was engaged in trading, even if it could show that he was director on the aforementioned date (which the prosecution did not, since his two sisters were still directors of the company and had signed the financial statement for the year ending June 30, 2006). By the way, Kinsajaya  is a dormant company.
The MACC has again discredited itself in the eyes of the Malaysian public. It showed itself  to be  an instrument of selective prosecution. It is not interested in fighting corruption but it is part of a conspiracy, in this case to “finish off” a public official who had the conviction and courage to investigate people in the corridors of power.
Having failed three times to obtain a conviction against Dato Ramli, the MACC is well advised to drop the case against Lawyer Rosli Dahlan  because they will  again not be able to establish prima facie case. I have written quite extensively on the Rosli Dahlan case and the antics of a certain Kevin Morais and the DPP who is pursuing the case. Stop the fabrications and lies and get on with the real business of fighting corruption. Take justice seriously.–Din Merican
MACC loses a string of cases against Dato Ramli Yusuff
by Joseph
Former commercial crime chief Dato Ramli Yusuff can finally heave a sigh of relief as the Sessions court today dismissed the third and final criminal charge against him.
Judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the ex-top cop on the charge of breaching laws preventing civil servants from being involved in private business.
She said that the evidence presented by the prosecution could not prove that Ramli (right) had in fact taken on the role of director at Kinsajaya Sdn Bhd on May 2, 2006, which she said is the “essential ingredient” of the charge.
She argued further that even if that point could be proven, the prosecution again failed to show that Ramli was engaged in any form of trading while in his alleged capacity as a director of the said company.
The prosecution’s submission that Ramli had indeed engaged in trading by virtue of becoming the company’s director rang hollow as the definition of trade must consider that it involves at least two parties in a bilateral exchange and is “habitual or a regular cause of conduct”, she said.
“The evidence shows that the defendant was a director of a dormant company… the company had no business, had no partners, so it cannot be said that the defendant had engaged in trade,” Komathy said when delivering her judgment.

Uthaya slams Pakatan's 'peanuts' and 'mandores'

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Party (HRP) has lashed out at Pakatan Rakyat, saying it has done little with regard to the Tamil school issue.

HRP pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar described the Selangor government's RM4 million allocation for Tamil schools as “peanuts”.

"I'm not here to undermine the Pakatan Rakyat government but the community's expectations were greater than that,” he told FMT.

“The Selangor state budget a year is RM1.6 billion, but they only give RM4 million. On average, that is only RM41,000 for each (of the 97 Tamil) school in the state. Do you think it's enough?

"What can be done with such a small amount? We cannot even build a canteen or computer lab.” he said.

Uthayakumar said that he was frustrated because Pakatan had failed to keep its election promises

The Indian community, he added, hoped that the Pakatan state governments in Selangor, Kedah and Penang would provide land to all Tamil schools.

There are 58 and 21 Tamil schools in Kedah and Penang respectively.

Schools sit on prime land

According to Uthayakumar, one of the main reasons why Barisan Nasional and Pakatan do not give the land was that Tamil schools are located in prime locations.

"Take the Bangsar Tamil school; the land value is maybe a few millions. The government prefers to have commercial development on these lands,” he said.

Uthayakumar accused the Pakatan state governments of being more interested in money-making schemes instead of exercising social responsibility.

The fundamental thing, he said, was that Tamil schools hoped to have their own land.

“We do not wish to talk about BN, we all know that BN is a racist party. Our hope was on Pakatan,” he added.

Uthayakumar also slammed several Indian leaders in Pakatan, whom he claimed were afraid of speaking out on such issues for fear of losing Malay votes.

“These mandores have become the agents for the 'Tuans in PKR', Taukes in DAP' and 'Tuan Hajis in PAS' to win Indian support. They are the same as MIC, just follow the boss,” he said.

Uthayakumar urged the Pakatan state governments to give a minimum of 10 acres for every Tamil school in Selangor, Kedah and Penang.

"Perhaps, the public may think this is too much, but we must take the future into account. Admissions in Tamil schools have risen over the last few years,” he said.

The Hindraf leader also warned Pakatan that if it did not heed the community's request, then the coalition would lose in the next general election.

Saving Sarawak from corrupt leaders

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: Pakatan Rakyat wants to gain a foothold in Sarawak to “save the state from corrupted leaders”. It is gearing up for the fight in the coming state polls, confident that it can do better this time around.

Not wasting time, Pakatan will hold a one-day meeting next Thursday in Kuala Lumpur to draw up its battle plan to capture the Land of the Hornbills.

Said PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution: “Leaders of Pakatan will meet and discuss only one agenda – the preparation for the coming Sarawak election.”

“We expect to discuss the list of candidates, seat allocation, manifesto, logistics, strategy and various other issues,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

He said he was satisfied with PKR election preparation, adding: “We are ready now to enter the fight.”

On seat allocation, Saifuddin said the overlapping of claims was only minimal and hoped the matter could be thrashed out at the Kuala Lumpur meeting.

“Unlike previous elections, this coming election will see one-to-one fight against the Barisan Nasional in the 71 constituencies,” he said.

“We are confident we can do better this time,” he said.

PKR’s head of strategy bureau, Tian Chua, who was present, said the people of Sarawak should vote wisely because their choice was important.

“Pakatan Rakyat is coming to Sarawak not only to try gain a foothold, but also to save the state from corrupt leaders who have been in power for so long,” he said.

“Now the BN is in crisis... this is the best time for the people of Sarawak to make a change.

“Pakatan is here to provide a vehicle for people of Sarawak who want to see change in the state,” he stressed.

On the selection of candidates, Chua said that the criteria of selection would be stringent as they did not want ‘political frogs”.

“Only loyal and winnable candidates will be selected,” he added.

Lofty economic ideals, 'pariah' education system

By TM Ranee - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT Yet again, we read of racism, religion and politics rearing their ugly heads in the neutral sphere of education.
The latest insulting racist remarks were made by the principal of Sekolah Menengah KebangsaanTunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Kulai, Johor, allegedly against Chinese and Indians during the school's Merdeka day celebration.

The previous incident involved the Klang High School, where the headmistress directed three non-Muslim religious societies in her school to shut down, purportedly on the instruction of the State Education Department.

Then there was the directive to schools not to invite guest of honours from Pakatan Rakyat after the 2008 tsunami general election.

What about cases that have not been reported in the media?

In 2008, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of SK Taman Desa, my 12-year-old nephew's school, was shocked to find out that the Education Department had transferred a dedicated Chinese headmistress within 24 hours. Her perceived misdeed? She was accused of undermining Islam by approving motivational talks of all the religions in the school in the run-up to the UPSR exam.

The allegation was made in a letter which was sent to the Education Ministry and a copy forwarded to Umno.

Neither the headmistress nor the PTA was consulted on the matter. There was also no investigation conducted. And yet a letter to Umno did the job: the power of politics came into play

In yet another incident, the teachers instructed non-Muslim children not to bring cooked food for their canteen day due to religious sensitivities.

One friend’s eight-year-old son told his mother that the ustaz in his school had told the Malay boys not to sit next to their Chinese friends during recess because they ate pork and sweat!?!

I could rant on about similar ugly cases that have cropped up in schools across the Klang Valley and the verbal abuse some of the children have to suffer as a result of racist teachers and false indoctrinations.

All we need to do is speak to the innocent children and stories of racism, discrimination and religious over-zealousness are rampant in schools from Perlis to Johor.

Why are our children’s minds being poisoned by racism, religion and politics?

When parents decide on the education and future of their children, their foremost thought is the quality of the education system – the subjects taught, the knowledge, skills and values the children acquire and the quality of the teachers.

It matters not whether the teachers are Malay, Chinese or Indian. It matters not what are their religious inclinations.

Why should it matter whether the children are Malay, Chinese or Indian? Our children, whatever their race and religion, are the future of this country.

Burden to society

Our country needs to decide what we want from our education system: do we want to mould our children to be of value to society? Or do we want to allow unworthy teachers, an erratic education system and selfish politicians to destroy the minds of our offsprings and the future of this nation?

Children who lack concrete education, universal values and skills, no matter what their race or religion, will become a burden to society.

Aren’t the results of the past 20 to 30 years of an inferior education system proof enough?

Uncaring, biased and racist teachers, religious zealots and self-seeking politicians are clearly responsible for producing the current crop of youths and adults who possess minimal skills. .

For the record, about 75% of Malaysian workers are categorised as unskilled/unemployable while 60% fall under the borderline/poverty margin.

Regular media reports of baby dumping, child abuse and human trafficking reflect a lack of basic human values.

Furthermore, we lack international reputation and recognition. Reports note Malaysian universities that failed to secure a place in China’s top 500 educational institutions listing (forget global listing!).

We produce graduates who lack basic English and are unable to compete in local/global corporate markets.

The rot in our education system, right up to the universities in Malaysia, is clearly represented by the likes of Mingguan Malaysia columnist PhD holder Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, whose biodata reveals he is the product of UKM, UPM and UIA.

His best argument for intellectual debate on matters of race and religion is anchored in personal attacks and the all too familiar “go back to your homeland” cliche.

A superior education system with dedicated and unbiased teachers is crucial to the very foundation of Malaysian society.

Taint our children’s mind with discrimination and their mental perspective will always be constricted by race and religion, which can disastrously disrupt the prime minister’s lofty economic and development plans for this country.

School is neutral ground and children are colour blind.

Racism mouthed by teachers, politicians and so-called academicians will infect our children’s minds and embed cancerous cells of conflict for the future.

And while the current and future gang of racists battle this cancer, the rest of the world, regardless of race and religion, marches forward towards an individualistic, educated, progressive and profitable society.

TM Ranee heads an influential corporate organisation in Selangor. She is a mother of two and actively involved in the lives of her school-going nephews and nieces.

Stand up, all ye women!

The Write Way by Tiberius Kerk - Free Malaysia Today

BOOK REVIEW (The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer): Into every man’s life must fall a great book about women. One day about 20 years ago, I came across a book that caught my attention and changed my life. Actually, it was the cover that seized my attention. I didn’t know much about Germaine Greer, except her name seemed to ring a bell.

Later I was to learn that she was one of those feminists that most normal men would steer clear of.

I couldn’t resist buying the book. I felt the primordial urge to understand our better-half. Even though there were three girls in my family of five children, the need to fully comprehend woman’s mind was imperative at that time of my life.

So I slowly plodded through what seemed like a book of trying proportions. The gist of what was later termed as a seminal work was about how “women were taught to hate themselves and not realising how much men dislike them”.

Today Germaine Greer is 71 years old. When The Female Eunuch was published, she had just turned 31. The Female Eunuch worked up almost a perfect storm of global proportions.

It was reported that husbands didn’t want their wives to read it because it might give them strange ideas, and boyfriends didn’t want their girlfriends to read it because of “who knows what it may make them do”.

Within a year of its publication, it surpassed its second edition. Before long, it was translated into eight languages.

The “messiah of womanhood” had arrived and her name was Greer. The author proudly proclaimed in New York Times that “Women have somehow been separated from their libido, from their faculty of desire, from their sexuality. They've become suspicious about it.”

In some ways, it was true then but perhaps no longer so in modern times, thanks in a large part to Germaine Greer.

In a nutshell, The Female Eunuch shook me to my roots. I didn’t know that a woman could harbour such thoughts, let alone urge her own kind to break free from those chains, forged in the fires of prejudice by men “to enslave them”.

In a chapter on Womanpower, Greer postulates that “it is true that women often refuse to argue logically. In many cases, they simply do not know how to, and men may dazzle them with a little pompous sophistry. In some cases, they are intimidated and upset before rationalisation begins”.

When I first encountered these words, I felt as if a woman had kicked me hard in the groin. And Greer did, to its maximum and painful effect.

But at the same time, I was mesmerised and befuddled by her exasperatingly logical mind. Greer asserted that women should learn to accept their own bodies and “taste their own menstrual blood”.

Then, she urged them to give up monogamy and celibacy. If those lines were meant to be counter-punches by the champion of the feline species, we men certainly didn’t see that coming.

Those chain-breaking proclamations drew a clear battle line across the sands laid out by time immemorial hunters – that’s us, men.

When I loudly proclaimed one fine day to a female co-worker about this marvellous tome by a very famous feminist, she promptly borrowed it, and never returned it.

I was too cowed by then to ask for it back and had to scour the second-hand book shops in town for a second copy, which I later found and never breathed another word about it to another woman.

Shortly after it became available in book stores, the Guardian (of England) commented “A detailed exposition, of chilling clarity, that guarantees a cosmic persecution complex to any woman reading it.”

From the columns of Newsweek: “A dazzling combination of erudition, eccentricity and eroticism.”

The Listener hammered home its conclusion: “A fine continuous flow of angry power… terrific polemical force… a brilliant attack on marriage.”

Forty years after Greer had put the fear of women in men’s hearts, she continues to fascinate all her admirers and fans. Two years ago (2008) in Australia, she told her radio listeners that she was “an old anarchist”. No argument about that.

Greer was certainly and undisputedly a tour de force in the arena of women’s rights.

If you are a man who feels an inner call to understand modern women in an eclectic way, perhaps you may find some answers in The Female Eunuch.

If you are a woman who believes you have been punished all your life for just being a woman, or being bullied by your male co-workers, this book may be your liberation.

Whatever your cause or reason may be, Germaine Greer is nothing short of astounding in her personal philosophy. The Female Eunuch may not be the answer to all your prayers but you are guaranteed to have a jolly good time on your way to the other side of the mountain.

Meeting to discuss racist remarks by another HM

The Star

SUNGAI PETANI: The Kedah Education Department is organising a meeting between parents and authorities of a school here following complaints that the principal had scolded non-Malay students for eating outside the school canteen.

Its director Shahidan Abd Rahman said he had spoken to the school principal involved after learning about the incident on Thursday.

“We will call a meeting soon on the matter, involving him, the parent-teacher association and parents of the students concerned,” he said here yesterday.

In the incident, the principal had allegedly scolded 10 Form Three students for eating outside the school canteen at about 7am before classes began.

The students were eating outside because the lights in the canteen were not switched on.

The principal had purportedly told them off for “not respecting” their Muslim friends and that they “should return to their country of origin if they did not show such respect”.

Merbok MCA division secretary Chow Kok Leong, who received complaints from the parents, claimed that the principal also made similar remarks during the school’s morning assembly the next day.

He said there were about 80 non-Malay students at the school, which has an enrolment of 780.

“Such remarks should not be made as Malaysia is a multi-racial country and a principal is someone who holds an esteemed position in the community.

“I acted as mediator for the families and have lodged a report with the Deputy Education Minister (Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong),” he added.

Bar says civil courts abdicating duty in conversion disputes

The Malaysian Insider 
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The Bar Council today charged that the Court of Appeal’s ruling to stand aside in Islamic conversion disputes showed that the civil court was running away from performing its constitutional duty.

Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said it was now up to the Federal Court to make the right decision on Islamic conversion disputes, after the Court of Appeal said it was powerless when dismissing the bid by widow S. Kaliammal to claim her husband, Sarjen M. Moorthy’s remains from Islamic authorities.

“It’s up to Federal Court now to decide. We look to the Federal Court to make [the] right decision,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Abdicating of jurisdiction over such matters will not resolve issues dealing with interfaith,” Ragunath added.

He pointed out that the main issue in the court case concerned a dispute brought by a non-Muslim and must be settled in the civil courts — not a religious court.

“Although the matter may be on religion, in such a situation… a non-Muslim has no locus to appear in the Syariah Court.

“The Federal Constitution states the Syariah Court is for Muslims only. For persons of other faiths, the civil court must entertain and deal with the issue,” he highlighted.

Kaliammal has been involved in a legal tussle with the Federal Territories Islamic Council and the federal government to claim Mount Everest climber Moorthy’s body since his death on December 20, 2005.

She maintained he had kept up Hindu religious practices before falling into a coma, from which he never awoke, and had not once indicated he had changed his faith to Islam.

The High Court ruled it had no power to decide on Islamic conversions and today, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision.

Ragunath disagreed with the ruling but stressed that the processes of the courts must be followed and exhausted fully before considering other steps to address the conflict.

“Unless the court decides otherwise, then the legislation will have to be amended,” he added.

Hindu Sangam president, Mohan Shanmugam, also voiced unhappiness with today’s ruling.

“We’re very upset with the Court of Appeal’s decision. Why should non-Muslims go to Syariah Court? We are Hindu, why should we go to a Muslim court? It’s totally unjustified,” Mohan complained to The Malaysian Insider.

“The civil court has already given its verdict. It’s not a good sign. They’re trying to say the civil court is nothing, that the civil court is only for non-Muslims,” he claimed.

The vocal Hindu chief added that if that was the case, “then Muslims should take their cases to the Syariah court, not only for religious [disputes] but for everything”.

“Even Anwar should go to Syariah,” Mohan noted, referring to the ongoing high-profile prosecution against Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is accused of sodomising former male aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Boy charged in Child Court for murder

The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A 16-year-old boy has been charged in the Child Court here with the murder of his 13-year-old schoolmate.

The Form Four student claimed trial yesterday to murdering R. Surendren at an apartment in Taman Sri Relau, Bayan Lepas, near here, between 8am and 1pm on Aug 11.

The offence carries the mandatory death sentence under Section 302 of the Penal Code, but the Child Act 2001 allows for an underage offender to be detained at the pleasure of the Ruler of the state.

The family members of both boys were present in court.

The accused, who is being held at the Sungai Petani juvenile detention centre in Kedah, was represented by S. Yagoo, while Jagdeep Singh Deo and R.S.N. Rayer held a watching brief for Surendren’s family. DPP Mukriz Mat Rus sought a mention date pending the post-mortem and chemist reports.

Magistrate Noor Aini Yusof fixed Sept 24 for mention.

Approached by pressmen outside the courtroom, Surendren’s father K. Ramesh, 38, said he hoped justice would be served.

“Whatever happens, my son will not be with me again,” he said.

It was reported that Ramesh found his son dead in a pool of blood with his throat slit in a bedroom at their home.

'Hudud is not for Malaysia'

The New Straits Times 
By Lydia Gomez

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no place for hudud laws in the country because Malaysia is not an Islamic state, said DAP chairman Karpal Singh.

Having recently suggested a royal commission of inquiry to find out why baby dumping cases were becoming rampant, Karpal said he disagreed with Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat who suggested that hudud was the answer to baby dumping and other social problems.

"This is moral pontification. The DAP will not accept hudud in the country. I think it is wrong for Nik Aziz to suggest something that can't be introduced in the country in the first place."

"I must make it clear before any quarrel starts between me and Nik Aziz that when I say Malaysia is not an Islamic state, I go by the Federal Constitution, which clearly provides for a secular state."

Nik Aziz had said on Thursday that civil law needed to be amended as it failed to control crimes and social problems in the country.

He had said it was natural to turn to hudud but taqwa, or the fear of Allah, and tarbiah, or religious education, should be instilled in the people first.

Karpal said as Malaysia was a secular state as provided by the Constitution, hudud did not apply.

"I have no quarrel with Pas but when it comes to hudud, ours is a multiracial country and we should go by what is in the Constitution. Suggesting the impossible is futile," said the Bukit Gelugor MP

Syariah Court can decide on religious status

The New Straits Times
 PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal ruled that the Syariah Court is the competent authority to decide the religious status of Muslims and those whose conversion is disputed. It also held that a non-Muslim challenging a conversion could appear in the Syariah Court to set side any order.

Court of Appeal judge Datuk Zainun Ali who delivered the unanimous decision in dismissing the appeal by S. Kaliammal, the widow of M. Moorthy, said a High Court in 2005 was right in declining to hear the widow's application on grounds that it lacked jurisdiction.

Zainun said when a question arises whether one was a Muslim or not, "it is our view that the legislature has, by Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution, placed the determination of this question in the sole jurisdiction of the Syariah High Court".

Zainun, who sat with Datuk Wahab Patail and Datuk Clement Allan Skinner, in her 14-page judgment said if there was a conflict between two judicial systems (civil and syariah) and they were irreconcilable, it was the intention of the constitution that the legislature should provide the remedy.

In December 2005, the widow sought legal redress in the High Court as the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Islamic Affairs Council wanted to give Moorthy, a member of the first Malaysian team to scale Mount Everest in 1997, a Muslim burial.

Moorthy is said to have converted to Islam prior to his death on Dec 20, 2005, without informing his family.

The High Court declined to hear the case after the council produced an ex-parte syariah court order that Moorthy died as a Muslim.

Zainun said it was not for the civil court to go behind that (ex-parte) order of a court of competent jurisdiction to question the merit of the matter decided upon. She said it was argued that the council's appearance before the Syariah Court was a nullity because it had no locus standi.

"It is not for the civil court to determine who may or may not appear before the Syariah High Court in matters within its jurisdiction," she said, adding the assumption that a non-Muslim was barred from suing the Syariah Court arose from the provision the religious court had no jurisdiction over non-Muslims.

She said the question of jurisdiction, however, related to the power of the court to exercise compulsive authority over "a person or on a subject matter". She said the fact that a person who sought relief in a syariah court may not be a person who was subject to the compulsive authority of the religious court would not "in our view preclude such person from going to the Syariah Court through the council to obtain relief".

Zainun said Kaliammal was not prevented from applying to the Syariah High Court to try to set aside the ex-parte order and giving the religious court an occasion to address the relevant issues and deliver a fair decision.

Ex-CCID chief Ramli acquitted yet again

(Malaysiakini) Former commercial crime chief Ramli Yusoff can finally heave a sigh of relief as the Sessions court today dismissed the third and final criminal charge against him.
Judge SM Komathy Suppiah ruled that the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the ex-top cop on the charge of breaching laws preventing civil servants from being involved in private business.
ramli yusuff asset declare case 120310 04She said that the evidence presented by the prosecution could not prove that Ramli (right) had in fact taken on the role of director at Kinsajaya Sdn Bhd on May 2, 2006, which she said is the “essential ingredient” of the charge.
She argued further that even if that point could be proven, the prosecution again failed to show that Ramli was engaged in any form of trading while in his alleged capacity as a director of the said company.
The prosecution's submission that Ramli had indeed engaged in trading by virtue of becoming the company's director rang hollow as the definition of trade must consider that it involves at least two parties in a bilateral exchange and is “habitual or a regular cause of conduct”, she said.
“The evidence shows that the defendant was a director of a dormant company... the company had no business, had no partners, so it cannot be said that the defendant had engaged in trade,” Komathy said when delivering her judgment.
'Prosecution helped our case'
During submission, Ramli's counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah called into question the prosecution's insistence that the ex-CCID chief had indeed taken on the role of Kinsajaya director on May 2, 2006.
raja petra shafee abdullah sedition case 150808 01Shafee (left) stressed that while Ramli did sign the agreement to become a director on the company, it was the company's secretary who dated the document which was subsequently rejected by the registrar of companies (ROC) twice.
The letter was only accepted and filed by the ROC in July, two months later.
Shafee also cited Kinsajaya's report and financial statement for the financial year ending June 30, 2006, which was signed by Ramli's sisters Rohmah @ Hasmah Yusoff and Roslina Mohd Yusoff as the only two directors of the company at the time.
“The prosecution agrees with this because this is evidence tendered by the prosecution themselves... so the prosecution has actually helped our case,” he said.
String of court victories
Ramli, a former Sabah chief of police, had earlier scored a string of courtroom victories, turning away charges of abuse of power and failing to declare his assets while serving as director of the Commercial Crime department in Bukit Aman.
In October 2007, he publicly announced that he was the target of “widely sensationalised” reports of a senior police officer being investigated for owning RM27 million in undeclared assets.
Ramli, 57, subsequently faced multiple charges at the Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur Sessions Courts later that year.
He was however acquitted in 2009 by the Kota Kinabalu Sessions Court of abusing his power as the Bukit Aman CCID director for his pecuniary gain.
The Kuala Lumpur Sessions court meanwhile freed Ramli in March this year from three charges of failing the declare his assets, finding that the MACC-led prosecution could not prove a prima facie case against the former senior police officer.
Throughout the ordeal, Ramli maintained his allegation that the then Anti-Corruption Agency, now known as the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission, had mistreated officers in the CCID and that the police had failed to stand by him and his officers over the course of the ACA's investigations.

Lawyer: Charges against Tharmendran baseless

(Malaysiakini) New charges have been levied against former airman N Tharmendran in the Sessions court today, this time for alleged money laundering in connection with the 2007 theft of two jet fighter engines.
He was slapped with three separate charges while company director K Rajandran Prasad, who is jointly charged with the theft, faces five separate counts on the same charge.

NONETharmendran (right) is accused of having laundered a total of RM62,000 on three separate occasions between March and April 2008 at a bank in Subang Jaya.
All the offences were alleged to have been committed at Standard Chartered Bank's Subang Jaya branch.
For these offences, he has been charged under Section 4(1)(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) and can be jailed up to five years and fined up o RM5 million, if convicted.
Meanwhile, Rajendran Prasad was accused of money laundering involving RM437,319.50 at HSBC Bank's Subang Jaya branch between April 18 and May 29, 2008.
Both accused denied the charges.
Already convulated case
The latest accusations add yet another twist to the already convoluted case facing Tharmendran, who had claimed that the armed forces had tortured him in connection with the jet engine theft.
His lead counsel, N Surendran, said the prosecution had intended the new charges to be heard together with Tharmendran's earlier one, but the defence had submitted against the application.
dog owners demo mbsa 301205 n surendranJudge Hayatul Akmal Abd Aziz set Sept 6 for mention to decide whether or not the new charges should be heard together with the earlier ones.
Surendran (left) said the new charges are fishy as there had been no prior investigation by the police.
"We believe someone gave instructions to charge Tharmendran, because after the charge was read out the police wanted to take him to record a statement.
"The charges are completely baseless and we believe this is being done to simply persecute Tharmendran, since he had exposed his torture by the military," he told Malaysiakini.
Tharmendran is currently being detained at the Sungai Buloh prison, after he retracted his bail, fearing possible reprisal from his former employers after making his torture claims.
The former air force sergeant is also facing a court martial for alleged dishonest misappropriation of public property and has the alternative charge of accepting stolen property filed against him.

On dangerous ground they steal

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FMT EXCLUSIVE TAIPING: Kampung Jelai was once just another traditional Malay village tucked in Batu Kurau, an half-hour drive from Taiping, Perak. The residents were kind and generous folks.

A decade ago, they extended their generosity to a man known only as KH who sought permission to begin sand-mining work in Sungai Jelai. Little did they know then that their consent would have severe repercussions.

The sand-mining operation was sub-contracted to an excavator for a period of 10 years. Throughout that time, both excavators and villagers co-existed peacefully. When the permit expired last month, the excavators packed their bags and left.

However, KH was not done with Sungai Jelai.

As the permit expiration date drew closer, he opened another mining site but this time without consulting the villagers or the relevant authorities. Not only was the operation illegal, it also flouted the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) guidelines.

The guidelines stipulated that a sand-mining site must be located at a distance of more than 200 metres away from small hydraulic structures like bridges. The illegal site is less than 100 metres from a bridge, which is situated in front of a school.

“The river bank has eroded drastically,” said Mohd Nor, who was part of the original excavating team. “The villagers have grown afraid of using it and fear for the lives of their children. They have complained to us but we are not involved with this other site so we can't do anything about it.”

Mohd Nor, who visited the area two weeks ago, noted that the river bank and the road were now level. According to him, that was a sure sign that the excavation was literally being carried out on dangerous ground.

“The residents made verbal reports to the state and district JPS but KH intimidated them from filing a formal, written report,” he added. “Since the authorities haven't taken action or visited the area to investigate, the excavation is brazenly carried out during the day. ”

'No report, no investigation'

Contacted by FMT, the JPS of Taiping and the JPS of Larut, Matang and Selama (the jurisdiction under which Kampung Jelai falls) denied any knowledge of the matter.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an officer from the public complaints department in the JPS of Larut, Matang and Selama said he had not heard of such complaints.

“I don't know why matters like this are forwarded to me when it is clearly the responsibility of the district engineer. These are the people on the ground, who know the real story,” he said.

When contacted, the engineer admitted that he had heard about the complaint but since there was no official report, nobody had looked into the matter.

“But I did mention (the complaint) to the Land Office,” he was quick to add. “It's up to them to lodge a report with the police for action to be taken. That's just how it's done.”

An official from JPS Taiping expressed nonchalance and even amusement over the issue.

“There are so many cases of illegal sand mining,” he said. “We hear about it all the time. It's nothing new and it's not going to stop. If this case is serious, it will be investigated eventually.”

In other words, KH has been given the green light to continue putting Kampung Jelai and its residents at risk.

I am no traitor, Nurul tells the 'patriot'

By Ken Vin Lek - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR's Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has denied committing treachery as alleged by Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The minister had lambasted the opposition politician over her statements regarding Malaysia's submarines, which were published in the Indonesian newspaper, Kompas.

He claimed that Nurul, the daughter of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, had tarnished the nation's image and put its security at risk.

However, Nurul begged to differ.

Speaking to FMT, she said the label “national traitor” was more befitting for a minister who abused his power and indulged in corruption.

“If it is true that the minister is a patriot, why then is he not supporting the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) probe on the commission paid to Perimekar Sdn Bhd for the purchase of the Scorpene submarines as stated by the Dewan Rakyat speaker on July 2.

“Is it not the trait of a true traitor who uses public coffers to pay the high costs for the submarine to the government’s ‘golden boy’ (Abdul Razak Baginda) consulting company and to purchase equipment or the multiplied cost of projects to fill the pockets of the ‘chosen ones'?” she asked.

Nurul said her comments which appeared in Kompas were based on the official answer given by the defence minister on March 17 in the Dewan Rakyat about one of the submarines not being able to dive because of technical problems.

'I am ready to be investigated'

Despite the Royal Malaysian Navy having filed a police report against her, Nurul stood by her statements.

“I am ready to be investigated and I hope that the investigations will bring to light other issues relating to the purchase of the submarines,” she said.

In a statement yesterday, Nurul also pointed out that the problems regarding the submarine were common knowledge.

“In light of the image and national security of the country which have been apparently affected by my statement, I would like to bring up a statement made by the minister on the very same day who said that technical problems like this are also faced by many other countries all over the world.

“If this information regarding the status of submarines is available openly all over the world, where is the rationale with regards to my statement threatening national security?” she said.

Nurul also quoted an Aug 6 Bernama article, which revealed that the navy was only conducting its integrated navy exercise once, instead of three times, a year in order to save cost.

According to her, this was a greater threat to national security.

“What would be the reaction of the enemies if they found out that the navy only performs such training once a year. I fear for the country which has wide coastal areas to only conduct such tests only once a year,” she said.

In the interview with the Indonesian daily, Nurul was asked to comment on the submarine scandal being investigated by the French authorities and was quoted as saying, “The submarine purchased by the Malaysian government cannot dive and the weaponry which was purchased has clearly expired.”

The alleged corruption in the sales of the two Scorpene submarines purchased by Malaysia from the French shipbuilder DCN is currently being probed by French judicial officials.

The case was opened at the request of Malaysian rights group Suaram, which alleged that DCN paid a commission of 114 million euros (RM635 million) Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which is owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of the Prime Minister, Najib Razak.

Zahid previously said there was no need for any investigations to be carried out by the MACC citing that the deal was approved by the Finance Ministry and was in accordance with the procurement procedures despite the revelation of the hefty sum of commission paid to Perimekar.

Another 'racist' principal invokes the ire of Gerakan

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Two northern region-based Gerakan leaders called on the Education Ministry to take uncompromising stand against a 'racist' national school principal in Kedah.
An upset Kedah Gerakan chief Dr Cheah Soon Hai said the government must take punitive action against the principal.

“Schools are places of learning, not to promote racism. Such degrading and disparaging words from a school principal should not never be condoned,” he said.

He was referring to an alleged incident at a national school in Bukit Selambau, Sungai Petani early this week, where the principal had allegedly told off several non-Muslim students to “balik negara asal China” (go back to native country China).

It was reported that the principal had scolded the students for taking breakfast at the school compound, saying they were insensitive because Muslim students are fasting. At that time, the school canteen was closed.

The principal allegedly said the students should respect every race’s culture, if not they should “balik negara asal China.”

“If it was true that the principal had made the racist utterances, then the person should face disciplinary action. The government should take stern action against the principal,” insisted Cheah, the Derga state assemblyman.

Statement totally unwarranted

Echoing this, Penang Gerakan secretary Ong Thean Lye called on the ministry to initiate appropriate disciplinary action against the irresponsible principal.

“Racism must not exist in schools. The people must see that the government is serious in its 1Malaysia concept,” added Ong.

Cheah said the people should know that Malaysia's independence was not gained due to the effort of one single community, but through genuine collective effort of all ethnic groups.

“While non-Muslims should be more sensitive towards Muslim during fasting period, the principal's statement has clearly gone overboard,” he said.

He said that the principal racist remarks have indirectly described non-Malays as passengers in this country.

“Such statements undermining Malaysian citizens as penumpang are totally unwarranted,” said Cheah.

Ong said Penang Gerakan strongly condemns the principal. He said school principals, as educators, should promote racial harmony and integration, not the opposite.
Samy Vellu wants severe action
In a related development, MIC president S Samy Vellu urged the government to take severe action against those who make racist remarks so that their punishments will be a lesson for others.

He said those found guilty should be charged under the Sedition Act and not just be transferred if they were in government service.

“The MIC Central Working Committee (CWC) feels that severe punishment must be meted out against such persons be they be government officers or politicians,” he said in a statement today.

“We have to take a very, very serious view of this trend. If we allow this to happen over and over again, we may be in trouble.

“I appeal to the relevant authorities to take swift action against those who spread racism. We should not wait until the people get agitated because the authorities did not do anything against them,” he said.

The Kedah incident marks the second time a school principal had allegedly uttered racist remarks against non-Malays following the first incident in Kulai, Johor on Aug 12.

In that episode, SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra principal Siti Inshah Mansor allegedly uttered derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist statement against non-Malay Muslim pupils during the launching of the school's national day celebrations.

The Education Ministry has already ordered the formation of a task force to probe in the controversy.

Chua Soi Lek dikecam mahasiswa Islam pula

Press Statement YB Azmin Ali On Racism


20 August 2010

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (Keadilan) views with grave concern the continuing occurrence of incidents where racial hatred is incited, the latest being the statement made by the Johor school headmaster during a school assembly.

It is unacceptable to suggest, as stated by the Department of Education that it considers the matter closed and that the matter has been settled between the said principal and the students and/or their parents.

This incident has been widely publicized and is a matter that affects the whole nation. It is also irresponsible to suggest that it is merely a misunderstanding.

Keadilan demands that the said Principal be suspended pending an investigation and if found true that she did indeed make such remarks, she should be immediately removed.

These recurring incidents of incitement of racial hatred and racial insults are a manifestation of a bigger problem i.e the Barisan Nasional Government’s tacit encouragement of incitement of racism and lack of real political will to curtail such behaviour.

As long as draconian laws such as the ISA and Sedition Act exists and used to stifle healthy discussions and openly allowing extremist groups to continue inciting racism with impunity, this problem will fester.

Keadilan’s view is that statements such as that made by the Johor principal are not isolated incidents and must be dealt with a holistic and comprehensive approach.

Our answer is to provide a genuine multiracial political paradigm based on principles of fairness, respecting human rights, democracy and justice to all and to reject race based politics.

Further, we and Pakatan Rakyat are committed to the enactment of a Race Relations Act to deal with such instances of incitement of hatred, to provide mechanisms for resolution of such problems when they occur and to safeguard unity and harmony of the rakyat.

Azmin Ali
Vice President
Parti Keadilan Rakyat

India's BlackBerry Brouhaha


(Asia Sentinel) Beware terrorists wielding smartphones

The impasse between Research in Motion, manufacturers of the popular BlackBerry smartphones, and the Indian government continues although RIM said this week it would yield some ground in allowing "lawful and limited access" to its messenger services.

And, while the Canadian company cobbles together what it calls a "technical solution," the face-off has brought into sharp focus the growing friction between communications companies and governments in several countries over how to balance consumer privacy with national security.

India has a special case to make. The Mumbai carnage of 2008, Indian authorities say, was orchestrated by a handful of Islamic terrorists wielding BlackBerry devices. The attacks killed 166 and crippled India's financial capital for months as well as resulting in billions of dollars of property destruction.

Caught between "supporting legal and national security requirements" and preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations on the other, India's security concerns are not confined to RIM, nor are the concerns India's alone. Other communications providers such as Google and the Internet telephony firm Skype are on its radar and the radars of other countries. Experts feel the government should work out a package solution to enable possible interception and monitoring of all Internet-based traffic.

Although RIM says it will allow only "lawful access" for security requirements and won't make "any changes to the security architecture for Blackberry Enterprise Server customers," matters came to a head last week when the Indian Home Ministry threatened to pull the plug on its million-plus BlackBerry subscribers if RIM did not make private data accessible to its security agencies by August 31. Following meetings this week between RIM and Indian authorities, Home Secretary GK Pillai has fleshed out the requirements of Indian security agencies to which the manufacturer will have to adhere.

New Delhi has been demanding encryption keys to BlackBerry's servers since the service debuted in India in 2008, demands that echo requests of other governments around the world. The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are all are reportedly considering new requirements on services like BlackBerry to ensure that they can monitor electronic messages for security reasons.

The United Arab Emirates has threatened to ban BlackBerry messenger, email and web browsing services from October 11. Earlier this month, BlackBerry scrambled to strike a deal with Saudi Arabia to set up a server in its territory after the government threatened to pull the plug on 700,000 subscribers for four hours. The government will now be able to track traffic, but it's doubtful if it can decode the content without encryption keys.

Despite RIM blinking first, the trickier question remains over intercepting mail in its highly encrypted enterprise servers. RIM's stand has been that `encryption' is a fundamental technology required in any country that wants to attract and maintain international business.

Analysts say that rather than just arm-twisting outfits like RIM, the time is ripe for India to formulate a clear policy on augmenting its surveillance and monitoring of internet traffic. Its Department of Telecom may follow Saudi Arabia's lead and ask RIM to set up a server in India.

"Such a facility would allow the government to monitor messages sent from the smartphone," says Vishal Shahi, a Delhi-based internet security expert. "Since most servers relaying corporate or government email are located within the host country, a solution can emerge if the telecom regulator were to hold telephony service providers to their surveillance obligations."

Shahi adds that if indeed the Indian government is using BlackBerry as a sample case to gain lawful access to private data on other telephony networks, the solutions provided by RIM could help it to formulate a policy response to security imperatives.

However, despite national security concerns, top Indian carrier companies like Airtel, Bharti and Reliance say the legitimate business and ethical concerns of RIM, Google or Skype or any other providers of internet telephony ought to be a part of the sustainable solution.

"The Indian government can't use the BlackBerry case as a bargaining chip to access proprietary technologies without accountability," Shahi said. "Access to this data must be lawful and such interception shouldn't jeopardize the fundamental architecture of the network."

Analysts point out that even as the government seeks RIM's compliance with its demand for access to the service's encrypted messaging services, it must also enhance its indigenous safeguards to prevent misuse of electronic surveillance.

"If commercial or personal information obtained in the course of security-related surveillance is misused," said Ashok Aggarwal, a Delhi-based civil rights lawyer and Founder, Social Jurist, "law and procedure should make it possible for the injured party to hold the government accountable. All stakeholders – citizens, the government, security agencies should function cohesively to avoid the misuse of any information."

Activist and Supreme Court advocate Kamini Bhasin says the issue of consumer privacy also kicks in. "Indian authorities will have to be responsible about whom they're bugging. Should there be doubts, the aggrieved party should be able to take the government to task."

Given the Indian economy's relevance as a major driver of growth for any global company selling goods and services, the government has strong bargaining power over companies like BlackBerry. But, critics say, this is no excuse for not investing enough in indigenous capability to monitor providers such as RIM.

With no clear sign of truce between RIM and the Indian authorities, an inter-ministerial group meeting has been called on August 20. It will be attended by senior officials from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Cabinet Secretariat, security agencies, the Center for Development of Telematics and the Department of Telecom to review the internet monitoring systems deployed nationwide.

"RIM must understand that India is on a fast growth trajectory and has genuine serious security concerns. BlackBerry has compromised with China and Saudi Arabia" says an official of the Cellular Operator Association of India, "So why is such a big deal being made out of India's request?"

Neeta Lal is a New Delhi-based independent journalist; neetalal@hotmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it