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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zaid: Stop the attacks on Nurul Izzah

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Former law minister and PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim lambasted Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for 'attacking' Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar for her comments in Indonesian newspaper, Kompas.

Zaid, in his blog post, said Nurul has become a target after what she said about the nations economy and the controversial purchase of submarines in the interview with the publication.

He said both the senior cabinet ministers should instead focus on important national policies such as the New Economic Model or the alarming frequency of racist incidents lately.

"They should talk about why so many Felda settlers are taking Felda to court. Or they could also explain the process of appointment principals in schools of the country.

"Or they can even explain how disgusting racist and facist opinions could still be tolerated without any action taken against them," said Zaid.

Zaid said both ministers claimed Nurul has tarnished the image of the country and a police report was even made by "those with nothing else better to do".

He said Nurul was only commenting about the government but not the country.

'Rakyat knows the difference'

"In other words, the comments and opinion of Nurul must be in praise of the Barisan Nasional government, and only then it is considered as praising the name of the country.

"When she criticises and questions the government and its decision, it means she has tarnished the good name of the nation," he said.

Zaid said such narrow-minded thinking and logic of not knowing the difference between country and government is the cause of all problems.

"This is why the rakyat's money is been used as if it is BN's money. Public institutions like the Elections Commission and the police are also used by them as if it it was BN's right.

"This country belongs to all Malaysians irrespective of political alignment. Anyone, including Nurul, can discuss and criticise policies and the buying of submarines.

"What has that got to do with the nation's dignity? Only the dignity of BN has been tarnished with those criticisms," said Zaid.

Zaid said anyone can give their views about the shortcomings and weaknesses of BN policies, whether locally or abroad.

"Zahid Hamidi and Hishammuddin will try to avoid these issues by using our 'country' as their defence, but the rakyat knows the difference between the country and the BN," he added.

Praying for solution to conversion dilemma

( Malaysiakini) Two women seen in the eyes of the law as Muslims but who consider themselves as Hindus took part in the Timithi Vizla (annual fire walking ceremony) at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil temple in Parit Buntar last Friday.

NONEAccording to Parit Buntar district Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) chief M Sivakumar, S Banggarma (left), 28, (Muslim name Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah) had carried the milk pot for a kilometre from Muneesuarar temple to the Sri Muthu Mariamman temple praying for a swift solution to her conversion dilemma.

Rani @ Jamillah Abdul Kadir, 46, also attended the temple function asking for the same favour.

At the religious function, the HRP also went on a signature campaign to highlight the plight of four women trapped in a religious twilight zone.

Besides Banggarma and Rani, M Indira Gandhi and Regina Mohd Zaini, are also attempting to seek royal intervention to solve their conversion dilemmas.

They have exhausted their legal avenues including the religious departments, courts, registration departments and the police.

Their last resort is to appeal for royal intervention from the Sultans of Perak, Johor and the Agong who are heads of Islamic matters in the country.

NONETheir contention is that they have the right to freedom of religion as enshrined in Article 11 of the federal constitution.

Indira is from Ipoh and Banggarma is from Tanjong Piandang, while Rani is from Malacca and Regina from Johore.

According to Perak HRP chief P Ramesh, these four are members of his party, which has collected about 5,000 signatures in support of them.

HRP will present the first memorandum of appeal to Sultan Azlan Shah at Istana Kinta in Ipoh on Sunday at 11am.

They will then approach the Johor Sultan on the case of Regina, followed by the Agong for Rani as Malacca does not have a sultan.

Given away

According to HRP national information officer and Hindraf information chief S Jayathas, Rani's parents, due to financial difficulties, had given her away to their Hindu neighbour by the name of Kandasamy.

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

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

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

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

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

Application turned down


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

Judicial Commissioner Yaacob Sam had found that Banggama is a Muslim since her parents had converted to Islam in 1983 together with their children and said the civil court has no jurisdiction to hear a case involving conversion to Islam.

NONEBanggama is living in Tanjong Piandang with her fisherman husband, S Sockalingam and their two children Kanagaraj, eight, and Hisyanthini, two.

Banggama's contention is that she has always been a Hindu and will die one even after the High Court ruled against her.

Banggarma claimed that she was unwittingly converted by the state Islamic religious authorities at the age of seven while she was staying in a welfare home in Kepala Batas, Penang.

Banggarma's birth certificate revealed that she was born a Hindu on Aug 13, 1982, in Keratong, Pahang, to plantation workers B Subramaniam and Latchumy Ramadu.

She has practised Hinduism even though her identity card stipulated she is a Muslim.

Meanwhile Regina's father Mohd Zaini @ Krishnan, who had earlier married a Malay woman, had taken her Hindu mother as a second wife and they have three children - two daughters and a son.

The elder daughter was able to convert to Hinduism but not Regina and her younger brother who are still classified as Muslims.

The father died when Regina was four years old and her mother died about five years ago.
Regina had married a Hindu and her problem started when her son Thinas was born and she was unable to register his birth with the registration department.

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

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

I'll die missing my children

Teenagers arrested over surau paint splashing

The smeared surau wall, picture taken yesterday.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Four teenagers aged 16 to 18 were arrested early this morning in connection with red paint splashed at a surau (Muslim prayer hall) in Seremban yesterday.

Negri Sembilan police chief Datuk Osman Salleh said initial investigation showed that the four Chinese teenages acted following misunderstanding with members of the surau.

“They played with firecrackers a day earlier and was told off by the people from the surau,” Osman told a press conference.

“This is not a racial issue or a religious issue,” he said.

Osman described the attack as a mischievous act motivated by minor misunderstanding.

Osman also attempted to play down the incident saying that the attack did not leave any major damage to the surau.

He said one of the suspects is unemployed while the rest are working.

Osman said the four would be remanded until Friday and are being investigated under Section 295 of the Penal Code for allegedly offending a religion, which punishable by imprisonment of up to two years.

The surau in Taman Pulai Jaya Seremban was found splashed with red paint early yesterday morning by local Muslims before performing dawn prayers.

Several broken liquor bottles were also found within the surau compound.

Early this year, two churches in Seremban were attacked following the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruling allowing Christians to use the word Allah outside of the Muslim context.

Firebombs were thrown at one of the churches, leaving scorch marks at its front door, while another church had one of its windows broken.

Two mosques near Petaling Jaya also suffered attacks early this year when pig’s heads were found within their compounds. Pigs are considered unclean and offensive by Muslims.

Nuke plant in Port Dickson?

By FMT Staff

PORT DICKSON: The grapevine has it that the coastal town, once a bustling tourist destination but now in the throes of death, could be “nuked” by the government.
Talk is that Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan is seriously lobbying Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to site the country’s first nuclear power plant at the Bukit Kepong Lake here.

Telok Kemang MP Kamarul Baharin Abbas, who visited the lake recently, acknowledged the rumour but declined to comment on it

However, the PKR leader said he wanted to know why the Drainage and Irrigation department (JPS) was demolishing the “passageway” in the 50-year-old water catchment.

“I don’t want to speculate. But I have asked JPS to explain why it is demolishing the passageway which controls the dam and keeps the lake from overflowing and flooding the low lying areas.

“We want JPS to explain their rationale for demolishing the bund when the current rain spell is already causing floods in the low-lying oil palm estates,” he said.

“Once they explain, we will know for a fact what their real agenda is,” he said. adding that it was unlikely JPS was carrying out the demolition work for no reason.

“One thing is for sure, they must have a big agenda if they are demolishing a large dam such a this which has been around since merdeka,” he added.

Ideal location

Rumours of a nuclear plant in PD was first reported by blogger Singalautmetro, who is a veteran journalist.

In a posting, the blogger said Malaysian Nuclear Agency director-general Daud Mohamad’s statement that several locations, including those in Negri Sembilan and Perak, were being considered for the proposed nuclear plant further confirmed speculation about the Bukit Kepong lake.

He claimed that Tenaga Nasional Bhd had been given the responsibility of implementing the project. .

According to him, the lake was unique because it was shaped like a cauldron with a depth of 15 metres from its banks.

Its more than 10 kilometres reserve is capable of preparing at least 80 hectares as required for the nuclear plant. This coupled with the lake’s expansive reach of over 1,000 hectares made it suitable for the plant.

The Tuanku Jaffar power station situated nearby also had the right technical specifications needed to support a nuclear power plant.

Explaining further, the blogger claimed that the lake would eventually be as hot as the 1,000 MW power plant and capable of producing 14,000 to 18,000 MW of energy.

Najib is expected to announce the location of the country’s first nuclear power estimated to cost between RM6.5 billion to RM 9.75 billion in 2012. Construction of the power plant is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Lingam, two former judges win appeal

PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal today allowed an appeal by senior lawyer VK Lingam and two former chief justices Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Mohd Eusoff Chin to review the Royal Commission of Inquiry's findings over the controversial Lingam video clip.
In a 2-1 majority decision, the court held that the High Court had used the wrong test in dismissing the trio's leave application for a judicial review against the commission's findings.

Justices Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud, who led a three-member panel, and Zaharah Ibrahim allowed the appeal while Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus dissented.

The case is now remitted to the High Court to hear the merit of the case.

Lingam, Ahmad Fairuz and Mohd Eusoff are appealing against the High Court's refusal of their applications for leave for a judicial review to challenge the findings.

On Dec 12, 2008, the High Court ruled that the commission's findings were not reviewable on grounds that they were not a pronouncement of a decision and thereby did not affect the rights of the individuals or their obligations.

The five-member panel of commissioners, in their report, had found the video clip showing Lingam in a telephone conversation with Ahmad Fairuz over judicial appointment to be authentic.

The commission had also recommended that appropriate course of action be taken against six individuals namely Lingam, Ahmad Fairuz, Mohd Eusoff, tycoon Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for misconduct.

It found that there was sufficient evidence to investigate the six men for offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, Penal Code and the Legal Profession Act 1976.

Except for Mahathir, the other five had filed for leave for a judicial review in an attempt to quash the inquiry's findings.

However, Vincent and Tengku Adnan withdrew their appeal early this year.

The commissioners -- chairman Haidar Mohd Noor, former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Amar Steve Shim Lip Kiong, retired Court of Appeal judge Mahadev Shankar, former solicitor-general Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh and Professor Emeritus Khoo Kay Kim -- sat for 17 days to inquire into the 14-minute video clip and concluded its work on Feb 15, 2008.

Lingam represented himself while lawyer Mahinder Singh Dulku appeared for Ahmad Fairuz, Hazman Ahmad for Mohd Eusoff and senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi for the commission.

- Bernama

Sabah and the genesis of frog politicos

By Erna Mahyuni - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT Malaysians who associate democracy with decency and fair play are still bitter about the coup Umno pulled off in Perak last year. But 15 years before Perak, there was Sabah.
In 1994, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), then a Barisan Nasional rival, won the Sabah state election, but did not even have time to uncork the champagne bottle. Umno moved in and, almost in the twinkling of an eye, engineered a coup through defections. They say Anwar Ibrahim led the charge.

Sabahans were the first Malaysians to denounce their statesmen as “katak” (Malay for “frogs”). Among the high-profile politicians who hopped out of PBS were Joseph Kurup and Bernard Dompok. Kurup is now the MP for Pensiangan and Dompok is the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

But PBS chief Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to face a more heartbreaking betrayal when his brother, Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan, left PBS to form his own party. Currently vice-president of PKR, Jeffrey hopped through three other political parties – PBRS, Akar and Upko—and even applied twice to join Umno, only to be rejected.

Kadazans divided

Though the Kadazandusuns, the majority community on Sabah, hold Pairin in high regard, his party no longer commands their support. The locals see no reason why they should support a party whose members’ loyalties are suspect.

It was rumoured that the frogs were offered up to RM3 million each to defect.

James Chin, writing about the 1994 election in Asian Survey, notes that despite strong regional sentiment and tribal nationalism in the state, these factors were not enough to withstand “the onslaught of the BN’s national political machine with its almost unlimited funds and resources”.

Those resources include local television and radio stations. The BN campaigns through them, and one of the campaign messages is the “Binalah Sabah Baru” TV commercial that shows people living in abject poverty. We are supposed to believe they are Sabahans, but they are actually illegal immigrants living in shanties.

It was telling that in the closely contested 1994 election, PBS won all 15 Kadazandusun majority constituencies while BN won the 18 Malay/Muslim constituencies. The remaining seven seats were predominantly Chinese. PBS won four of them and the rest went to BN’s SAPP.

PBS is now a shadow of its former self as other parties, including Upko and PBRS, jostle for Kadazandusun support. With Pairin’s inevitable retirement looming and Jeffrey’s image as a turncoat persisting, no candidate has yet emerged to unite the now-splintered Kadazandusun electorate.
Anwar was allegedly the prime mover behind Sabah Umno’s victory in the state. It is said that he was behind negotiations with the defectors, setting the wheels in motion for PBS’ dethroning.

We must forgive Sabahans if they are wary of PKR. After all, it is Anwar’s party and its head honcho in Sabah is Jeffrey.

What both Umno and PKR have failed to realise is that the racially charged politics that we associate with Peninsular Malaysia does not apply in Sabah. For one, the majority race is the predominantly Christian Kadazandusun and the brand of Islam practised in Sabah is far more moderate than that of West Malaysia.

Anwar made a huge political gaffe by his initial appointment of Azmin Ali as Sabah PKR chief, a move that alienated locals. His lack of understanding of the local political landscape and his inability to attract respected political leaders to PKR’s fold will make it nearly impossible for PKR to win Sabah in the next general election.

PAS will have an even more difficult time than PKR. Voters have soundly rejected the Islamic party’s overtures in the state. This leaves DAP as the only peninsular-based opposition party with any hope of winning seats.

Empty promises

However, Umno is not going to have it easy either. Despite its promises of development and aid, Sabah still struggles with poverty.

According to United Nations statistics (http://www.undp.org.my/uploads/SabahHumanDevp.pdf), 23% of households in the state live below the national poverty line, with child poverty rates standing at 42%. More than one fifth of the population aged six and above have never been to school.

Yet the state boasts rich natural resources and an enviable biodiversity, not to mention tourist attractions such as Sipadan island and Mount Kinabalu. The truth is that the state has precious little control over the revenues it makes, which are channelled directly to the federal government.

What has Umno brought? Instead of development and improved infrastructure, as it has promised in every election campaign, it has tried to tighten its hold in the state by appointing Malaysians from the peninsula as heads of departments in the civil service.

Umno has yet to address the problem of illegal immigrants. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala, who regards it as a minor issue, has obviously not visited the crime-ridden “black areas” of Kota Kinabalu, which are controlled mainly by illegal immigrants.

Sabah’s voters made their choice clear in the 1994 election. Simple majority or no, PBS had clearly won the mandate.

In the 1980s, former chief minister Harris Salleh bartered away Labuan to curry favour with the federal government and paid the price when the voters reacted by supporting PBS and ousting his party, Berjaya.

But the voters still suffer. The frogs betrayed not only their trust, but also put in place a government motivated by greed instead of a belief in democratic principles. Sabah deserves better.


Erna Mahyuni is a Sabahan writer currently based in Kuala Lumpur.

Green light to challenge “Lingam tape” report

Lingam

(The Edge) PUTRAJAYA: The Court of Appeal has allowed Lawyer Datuk VK Lingam and two former Chief Justices to challenge the findings of a royal commission of inquiry which implicated them in alleged fixing of judicial elevations following a public hearing on a secretly-recorded video clip.

Court of Appeal Judge Tengku Datuk Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud said on Tuesday, Aug 24 the decision to allow the appeal was a 2-1 majority decision with him and Judge Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim granting the request while Judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus dissented.

Lingam and former Chief Justices Tun Mohamed Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim are appealing a Kuala Lumpur High Court decision in December 2008 which refused them leave to pursue a judicial review of the royal commission's findings.

The royal commission had sat for a month from Jan 14, 2008 to hold a public inquiry into a video clip, now dubbed the "Lingam tape" showing a telephone conversation purportedly about the fixing of judicial elevations.

Commenting on the early victory, Lingam said he and the two former top judges were "pleased with the outcome" and would proceed with addressing the substantive submissions in their bid to quash part or whole of the royal commission's report.

When asked, Senior Federal Counsel Datin Azizah Nawawi, who is representing the royal commission, said she would seek instruction from Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on whether to appeal the Court of Appeal's decision.

If it comes to be, Lingam, Eusoff and Ahmad Fairuz's bid to review the royal commission's findings could once again re-open the controversial issue some two years after the royal commission held a keenly-followed public inquiry into the secretly-filmed video clip.

The royal commission's report, which was made public in May 2008, held that the video clip was "authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt".

The panel also found, among other things, that the person shown in the grainy video clip was indeed Lingam and that the latter was engaged in a telephone conversation with Ahmad Fairuz, who retired from office as Chief Justice in late 2007 after his contract was not renewed.

The royal commission had also found "sufficient evidence of misbehaviour" on the part of certain individuals identified or mentioned in the video.

It had also recommended, among other things, that Lingam be investigated under the Sedition Act, Legal Profession Act, Official Secrets Act and Penal Code.

Is it time to let go of our Constitution?

By Lingswaran Singh
Starting with the Perak Mufti’s now infamous remark about a “new Constitution”, then rebutted by Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, a LoyarBurokker today flies us on a hot-air balloon, LB-styled. The courts have consistently ignored the Constitution and failed to uphold many of its protective provisions. The people have suffered. Is the Malaysian Federal Constitution a Document of Tyranny or one of Salvation? Is it time to let go of a Constitution which continues to protect only the elite and powerful?
Document of Tyranny or Salvation?
Document of Tyranny or Salvation?
Back in 1956, a constitutional conference was held in London. It was attended by Tunku Abdul Rahman, three other ministers, four representatives of the Malay Rulers, and by the British High Commissioner in Malaya and his advisers.
A Commission headed by Lord William Reid, and consisting of constitutional experts from Commonwealth countries was appointed by the Queen and the Malay Rulers (Reid Commission).
The Constitution of Malaya was drafted on the advice of the Reid Commission which conducted a study in 1956. The Constitution came into force on 27 August 1957.
The Constitution of Malaya (with significant amendments) was used as the basis for the Constitution of Malaysia when Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore merged to form Malaysia in 1963. This so-called “document of destiny”, per Professor Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, has been the supreme law of Malaysia ever since.
I am not a big fan of the Federal Constitution.
It was a document devised to protect the interests of the elite and the royalty of Malaya, and one of compromise between the British and Malay rulers for the economic benefit of the British. It represents an insult to human dignity and intelligence.
A “document of tyranny”, the Constitution tells us how many Members of Parliament and senators we can have, the levels of government, the election periods, the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and provides other lame guarantees of individual rights.
This document did not come from the people of Malaya; it came from the very people who colonised us.
Some say it is a symbol of our independence; the question is, when have we ever been dependent?
And it can never be a symbol of freedom. Ironically, it is a document which propagates the ideas of the elite that we have enslaved ourselves to.
Power to the elite only?
Power only to the elite?
I subscribe to the opinion of Justice Learned Hand of the US Supreme Court that liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; and when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.
Freedom is not something you gain; it is something that you are born with.
We need no recognition to be free; we just need not be enslaved.
As the wise Jean Jacques Rousseau said, “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains”, and so are we, to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, 1957.
Many Malaysians fiercely protect the Federal Constitution, giving it unreasonable credit for various purposes, not knowing that it is the most abused document of law in Malaysia. A tool which legitimises any act of the Executive, be it right or wrong.
Many argue that the actions of the Executive are subject to the scrutiny of the courts of law, the so-called guardians of the Constitution that protect, preserve and defend the Constitution from legislative changes or other attacks. The question remains however: do we even need a Constitution?
Article 5's right to life now illusory?
Article 5 right to life now illusory?
Thomas Jefferson said that all men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights. We have the right of enjoying and defending our lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; that of seeking and obtaining our safety and happiness.
Our fundamental rights are universal in nature, rights so sacred that it is inalienable to us. There is no need for a document to protect these rights.
Has the Federal Constitution of Malaysia done any good in providing for or even protecting these rights? Have the courts stopped the Executive from infringing these rights or have they legitimised the infringements? In my view, the courts have done nothing but legitimise the infringements of civil liberties, which cases such as Stephen Kalong Ningkan, Assa Singh and Karam Singh bear witness.
Clarence Darrow was right when he said, “You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.”
The current Constitution represents the mindset that is the cause of Malaysia’s inherent problems. We have yet to resolve these problems.
The ultimate resolution is to get rid of this imperialist legacy. Only then will we be truly free as a nation, only then will we be truly united as Malaysians, only then will we be able to appreciate our sovereignty, for it will not be an order imposed upon us, but one that we acknowledge as our own.
We do not need a Constitution to ensure that our rights are guaranteed, we need liberty, we need compassion, we need equality, we need honesty, and most of all we need justice. That is all we need to ensure our rights.
That is all we need for a better Malaysia.
It is time we set ourselves free, it is time we tell ourselves that it is alright to let go of our Constitution.
James Baldwin said, “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given; freedom is something people take and people are as free as they want to be.”
And of course, “It’s only after you’ve lost everything,” Tyler Durden says, “that you’re free to do anything.” (Fight Club)
[But for extraordinary reasons there are those of you who would disagree with me, do follow this excellent Campaign.]
LB: Lingswaran Singh has been a LoyarBurokker since he was 5. He speaks an open but disinterested language, dictated not by passion but that of humanity. Independence is his happiness, and he views things as they are without regard to place or person. His country is the world, and his religion is to do good. He too is an emissary of Lord Bobo Barnabus, tasked to enlighten Malaysians through loyarburok.com, this awesome blawg leading the quest for world domination.

Uncommon Sense with Wong Chin Huat: Spotlight on DAP


THE media spotlight has turned to the DAP in recent weeks over the party’s sacking of Tee Boon Hock, Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu‘s special assistant. Tee had allegedly issued letters of recommendation using Liu’s official letterhead and seal to help family members secure contracts. Liu was severely reprimanded by a DAP disciplinary committee for the incident.
Meanwhile, Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim faced disciplinary proceedings due to his “OMG, the real culprit is freed” tweet. Teng told the disciplinary committee he was tweeting about a movie character and not about Liu and Tee.
The Nut Graph asks political scientist Wong Chin Huat how he thinks the DAP’s leadership performed in these events, and what the DAP‘s democratic health is like as a whole.
TNG: How did the DAP’s leadership perform in this recent series of events? Are the revelations surrounding Ronnie Liu merely part of an internal power struggle?
Wong Chin Huat: The DAP tried its best to do damage control by sacking Tee immediately, but the problem is more complicated. Support letters are part of Malaysian political culture. Ronnie Liu or Tee would not be the first people to have issued support letters, nor will they be the last.
Support letters may serve some pragmatic purpose, and stopping them will require alternatives; for example, a comprehensive audit on public administration. But such a move was not proposed in the rush to do damage control. To many, Tee is indeed guilty, but was also chosen as a sacrificial lamb.
Teng
Unnecessarily dragging in Teng Chang Kim, who wittily got away with his “movie tweet” explanation, made the DAP’s disciplinary committee hearing look like a badly managed public relations exercise. It also revealed that senior party leaders don’t talk to each other, which is quite an open secret.
But factionalism and power struggles are normal in politics. Power and the prospect of winning greater power will help them to close ranks or restrain their antagonism. One need not read too much into it.
What is interesting is that errant members from the DAP and other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties are mostly grassroots-level politicians. They are either local councillors or special assistants to lawmakers. You may blame the party leadership or lawmakers for trusting the wrong people. For me, I see it as the consequence of not having local elections.
If local elections were held, the real power would rest with people who can win the popular mandate, not those who know how to impress the senior leadership. Of course, the party may still pick the wrong candidates, as they did for parliamentary and state elections, but the pressure of facing the scrutiny of the electorate and political opponents will make them more cautious.
There have been media murmurings about the Lim Kit Siang-Lim Guan Eng leadership, and also talk of in-fighting in Perak where cousins Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and Nga Kor Ming hold prominent positions. Are the charges of factionalism and nepotism justified? Does the  DAP suffer from a lack of democracy in its leadership?
I don’t think it is fair to label the Lim father-and-son or the Ngeh-Nga cousins as proof of nepotism. They are more like the Kennedys or the Bushes.
At least Lim Guan Eng has proven his worth in forming a credible team to lead the party into an unprecedented victory. This is a fact that even his critics in the party would acknowledge. If he was once seen as his father’s shadow, he is certainly more than his father’s son. For one, the junior Lim knows how to win the Malay-Muslim electorate over. He is genuinely popular among the PR’s Malay Malaysian supporters.
Gobind
Similarly, Nga is sharp and articulate. He is a good orator and more well-known than his senior cousin. Likewise, Gobind Singh is now known as a politician and a lawyer in his own right, not just as the son of Karpal Singh.
Factionalism is another issue. The DAP is famous for having leaders position themselves as proxies of certain top leaders and who alienate other state or local leaders. However, factionalism only becomes an issue when the winners take everything. As long as there is enough room for different factions to survive, the losers will not be eliminated and the factionalism will not be deadly to the party.
Formally, the DAP is democratic, where members can elect their leaders up to state level. Even Lim Guan Eng and his wife, a sitting assemblyperson, once lost in the Malacca party elections. Such democratic practice, however, does not necessarily translate into the selection of candidates for the general election. In the past, candidate selection was decided by only three top leaders. The selection of “parachuters” or senior leaders’ right-hand persons over local leaders often caused a lot of resentment.
The solution to this problem is decentralisation. There should perhaps be primary elections within local branches to choose candidates. The senior leaders can still recruit young talent to run, but this cherry-picked lot will have to win grassroots support.
The DAP is often branded a Chinese chauvinist party by Umno, even though it is a non-race-based party. What makes the DAP an easy target for the chauvinist label? What hinders it from establishing itself firmly as a multiracial party, especially among Malay Malaysians?
Political parties are often defined by their opponents. The DAP exists mainly to challenge Umno’s hegemony, a role expected of the MCA, Gerakan and the MIC, which have all failed miserably.
The DAP’s chauvinist label, principally given by Umno, stems from its failure to oppose Umno and defend Malay-Muslim interests at the same time. Until 2008, it failed to show how “anti-Umno” and “pro-Malay” were reconcilable. This is ideologically a challenging task – the most successful “anti-Umno-yet-pro-Malay” position so far is the Islamist one held by PAS.
Theoretically, two other possible positions would be “Malay-left” and “Malay-liberal”, but neither of these constituencies can be easily cultivated. Even Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is not hugely successful in this sense.
Liew
For party strategist Liew Chin Tong, the DAP’s future lies in defining itself as an urban party rather than a Chinese Malaysian party. This means it will need to cultivate a pro-urban-Malay position and image. In the long run, it is the only way for the DAP to survive because the urban population is increasingly multiethnic. Thanks to the administrative power and resources in Penang, and earlier in Perak, the DAP is now slowly building its pro-Malay/Muslim credential.
It, however, faces a new challenge: the PR is now trapped in an ethno-religious division of labour that mirrors the Barisan Nasional: PAS in the Malay Malaysian heartland, PKR in mixed areas, and the DAP in urban Chinese Malaysian centres. So, some DAP leaders may be reluctant to water down its Chinese/non-Malay/non-Muslim appeal. Also, ambitious Malay Malaysians may not be keen to join the DAP because of the perceived limited opportunities. So, Liew’s far-sighted direction may not be able to materialise.
In their answers to The Nut Graph‘s MP Watch project, DAP MPs were arguably the most principled and consistent in their answers on issues of democracy. Are DAP members better trained in democratic issues compared with other political parties? If so, why?
Yes. Among the major opposition parties in West Malaysia, only the DAP and PAS have veteran oppositionists, but PAS’s language is more coated in Islamist discourse rather than a democratic one.
Inclusive democracy is a new language to even the many open-minded PAS leaders because their constituents are used to a more monolithic worldview. They worry that explicit commitment to a plural democracy – for example, over whether Malaysia should be an Islamic state – will lead to accusations of them abandoning the faith and community.
Meanwhile, many PKR leaders are new kids on the block in opposition politics or in politics, being former BN leaders or politically inactive prior to the last elections. Like PAS, an outright defence of civil rights and democratic values is something many PKR leaders have yet to learn. While this is not new for former non-governmental organisation activists in PKR, these former activists still worry that the more conservative segment of their constituency won’t buy it.
In contrast, the DAP can speak principally on most issues because both their leaders and constituents have been speaking in this language for decades.
What kind of second-echelon leaders are emerging in the DAP? Who are the young leaders that we can be hopeful about? Is the party doing enough to cultivate and develop its young leaders?
Yeoh
Yeoh
The shining second-echelon leaders emerging in the DAP share some characteristics: well-educated or professionals, articulate and media-savvy, able to cross different ethno-linguistic constituencies. Among the parliamentarians, Tony Pua, Liew Chin Tong and Teo Nie Ching are the names to watch. Among the state assemblypersons, Hannah Yeoh is perhaps the most shining one. Dr Boo Cheng How in Johor Baru is another first-term lawmaker with a lot of potential and far-sightedness, but he is an old party member and is not so young.
The DAP is keen to cultivate young leaders. And the senior leadership, from Lim Kit Siang to Lim Guan Eng, is generous in giving opportunities to young blood.
However, many young talents leave when they find themselves playing the role of party dissident and attracting the hostility of loyalists. In that sense, Teng Chang Kim, Boo Cheng How and Ng Swee Lim are great assets to the DAP because they prove they are able to survive well in the party even though they are not from the party’s mainstream.

V K Lingam, 2 ex-chief justices allowed to challenge Royal Commission findings

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Court of Appeal allowed lawyer V K Lingam and two ex-chief justices to challenge the findings of the Royal Commission against them.

It was a majority decision.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry was held after a secretly-recorded video clip showed the prominent lawyer allegedly being involved in brokering a deal over the appointment of judges.

The video clip which surfaced in 2007 implicated five people; Lingam, former chief justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan and the then Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

The Royal Commission found that “a compelling inference can reasonably and conceivably be drawn that Datuk V.K. Lingam was actively involved in the appointment of Tun Ahmad Fairuz as Court of Appeal president, with the possible aim of his further appointment to the post of Federal Court Chief Justice.”

On October 2009, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz said in a written reply to Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) that investigations showed no criminal offence had been committed in the appointment of judges.

After ACA officers investigated those involved in the video clip, it was concluded that there was no abuse of power, he claimed in Parliament.

Nazri said that the case was later classified by the Attorney-General as “no further action” as there were no suspects who could confirm the handling of documents in the appointment of High Court judges.

Spreading hate is an offence

The Sun
Down 2 Earth by Terence Fernandez

I REMEMBER walking out of class during a Geography lesson when I was in Form Six when the teacher made a light-hearted joke about Indians. Everyone laughed except me and I boycotted her class for two weeks – basically playing truant for one to two periods a day, spending that time in the canteen or library.

It was far from exemplary conduct of the deputy head prefect, but I wanted to prove a point – as foolish and foolhardy as it may have seemed, seeing that I didn’t do too well in the Geography paper in my STPM.

In any case, the teacher one day bumped into me at the canteen and asked why I had been avoiding her class. Apparently, she already knew the reason as my classmates – my Malay classmates to be precise, had spoken up for me. They explained her folly, with one of them even telling the teacher that she had gone overboard making disparaging remarks and that she should apologise to me if she wanted me back in class. Another classmate also cautioned her that if the principal were to catch me loitering around school during classes, he would demand an explanation from me and my answer to the principal would not be beneficial to her.

To cut a long story short, I started attending classes the following day after she apologised.

I still remember her words: “Cikgu minta maaf kalau Terence tersinggung. Cikgu tak sengaja.” (“I apologise if I had hurt your feelings. It was unintentional.”)

This episode occurred 20 years ago. Looking back, I would never equate that teacher to a racist. I will not repeat what she said but it was not a slur. She was perhaps guilty of going overboard with light-hearted banter with the wrong crowd and in the wrong forum – although the truth of the matter is that the Indian community has always been the butt of jokes though some of it is through the own doing of its leaders. (But that’s another story.)

In any case the words my ex-teacher said are nothing compared to the words that were allegedly spewed out by two headmasters in Johor and Kedah. They were the language of racists and for the government to pussyfoot around taking action is endorsing the festering racism that is prevalent in our institutions from kindergarten to university.

Such educators must be removed from public service, sent for rehabilitation and only then assimilated back into society. Transfers are not an option as it just gives them another avenue to spread their dogma of hate and intolerance – be it among schoolchildren or impressionable adults in the education department.

Spreading hate is a seditious offence, especially when we are trying to teach the next generation about co-dependence. This is why these two “educators” from Kulai and Bukit Selambau must be made an example of; their anti-social behaviour is contradictory to nation building. If the government is truly serious in inculcating the 1Malaysia spirit in Malaysians, then mere sloganeering is insufficient. Such elements must be dealt with by using the full might of the law.

We do not know how much damage had been done to the students of these two schools; and these are incidents that we know of. God only knows what else is going on in other schools.

These two headmasters had betrayed the trust placed in them as educators. But what is frightening is that the comments were not jokes. The headmasters meant what they said.

At one time the government was concerned that religious schools were breeding extremists. Now it seems that national schools are also being sullied by those entrusted to mould the future generation on the tenets of the Rukun Negara.

It would be wise to keep a close eye on these schools – yes, even the vernacular ones – to ensure we don’t end up with a generation of bigots, racists and chauvinists. We already have more than our fair share to deal with now.

But here’s food for thought: Are these school heads to be entirely blamed? Perhaps they were emboldened by their leaders and superiors who had publicly made similar statements, some to the extent of articulating them with pointy tools.

Terence is convinced that many Malaysians subscribe to the 1Malaysia principle, but they are the silent majority. Feedback: terence@ thesundaily.com

PAS says DAP does not understand hudud

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 – PAS said today it would not back down from its promise to implement hudud laws adding that its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally DAP does not understand concept.

PAS vice-president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the implementation of hudud would only affect Muslims.

“DAP rejects hudud because they do not clearly understand its implementation. It is actually compulsory for the government to implement hudud,” Tuan Ibrahim (picture) told The Malaysian Insider.

He hoped that DAP would understand and respect PAS principles.

“We have never questioned DAP or PKR policies. We can agree on certain things so we hope DAP will do the same,” said Tuan Ibrahim.

“Hudud law is only for Muslims, if it is implemented the non-Muslims would not be affected. So they don’t need to worry. I hope this issue won’t be turned into a controversy,” he added.

Meanwhile, PAS Youth chief Nasruddin Hassan said the party would continue to explain to DAP on the implementation of hudud.

“DAP does not understand what is hudud, so it is the responsibility of PAS to explain until they can understand,” said Nasruddin.

“We are not questioning DAP’s loyalty but we only want to explain what PAS has been fighting for,” he added.

He said it is DAP’s right to reject the Islamist party’s objective, but it would continue to fight for “Islamic principles”.

Nasruddin however said the difference in ideology would not affect their cooperation in Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

“The relationship between PAS and DAP is purely political so the issue of disagreement with DAP does not arise,” he said.

“PAS and DAP would continue to work in PR and we would not question the loyalty of any party in PR,” said Nasruddin.

Yesterday, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said hudud law and Islamic state are not part of PR policy.

Lim said the party has always been fighting for a secular Malaysia.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh had also said that PR would not support the implementation of hudud if the coalition takes over the federal government.

Karpal said such a law is unconstitutional and every party must respect the constitution.

DAP made the statement a day after PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said Karpal’s rejection of hudud law was his personal opinion.

Karpal made the statement to dismiss Nik Aziz’s proposal for the implementation of Islamic laws to address social issues.

“The Federal Constitution only allows for Penal Code and other civil law, there is no room for hudud,” said Karpal.

Hudud or the Islamic criminal law imposes strict punishment, which includes amputation for stealing and stoning for fornication.

The Kelantan legislative assembly passed the Syariah Criminal Code II in 1993, which encompasses hudud law.

A similar was enacted in Terengganu in 2003 when the state was ruled by PAS.

The law however has not been enforced in both states.

Paint attack on surau: 'Form a police task force'

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today,

SEREMBAN: Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) wants police to act fast after a surau near here was splashed with paint yesterday.
Its chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin said a special task force should be set up to probe into the incident similar to the special team formed in Penang to investigate the Friday sermon issue.

(In Penang, the chief minister's name was allegedly used, instead of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's, in the “doa” during the Friday sermon at certain mosques in the state.)

“We hope a similar team will be formed to investigate the surau case, which is more sensitive and dangerous,” Badrul Hisham said.

In yesterday's incident, the surau at Taman Pulai Impian, Sikamat, near here, was splashed with red paint by unknown assailants. Broken bottles were also found in a nearby drain.

The police have taken samples of the paint.

Badrul Hisham, who is also known as Chegu Bard, said SAMM condemned the attack, saying the act smacked of a possible motive to instigate racial unrest.

"SAMM never accuses anyone but if racial and religious sentiments are stirred up, the parties that will benefit will be the racist-oriented ones.

"The motive could be to instigate racial and religous sentiments. Early this year a church in Seremban was also vandalised,”he said.

Badrul Hisham, who is also Rembau PKR chief, said SAMM will meet the surau committee today to help repair the surau.

"SAMM plans to bring activists of different races and religions to do a 'gotong royong' to repair the damage.

“I urge the residents and people outside the housing estate to be calm and show a sense of maturity by not over-reacting", Badrul Hisham said.

Sabah and the genesis of frog politicos

By Erna Mahyuni - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT Malaysians who associate democracy with decency and fair play are still bitter about the coup Umno pulled off in Perak last year. But 15 years before Perak, there was Sabah. In 1994, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), then a Barisan Nasional rival, won the Sabah state election, but did not even have time to uncork the champagne bottle. Umno moved in and, almost in the twinkling of an eye, engineered a coup through defections. They say Anwar Ibrahim led the charge.

Sabahans were the first Malaysians to denounce their statesmen as “katak” (Malay for “frogs”). Among the high-profile politicians who hopped out of PBS were Joseph Kurup and Bernard Dompok. Kurup is now the MP for Pensiangan and Dompok is the Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister.

But PBS chief Joseph Pairin Kitingan had to face a more heartbreaking betrayal when his brother, Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan, left PBS to form his own party. Currently vice-president of PKR, Jeffrey hopped through three other political parties – PBRS, Akar and Upko—and even applied twice to join Umno, only to be rejected.

Kadazans divided

Though the Kadazandusuns, the majority community on Sabah, hold Pairin in high regard, his party no longer commands their support. The locals see no reason why they should support a party whose members’ loyalties are suspect.

It was rumoured that the frogs were offered up to RM3 million each to defect.

James Chin, writing about the 1994 election in Asian Survey, notes that despite strong regional sentiment and tribal nationalism in the state, these factors were not enough to withstand “the onslaught of the BN’s national political machine with its almost unlimited funds and resources”.

Those resources include local television and radio stations. The BN campaigns through them, and one of the campaign messages is the “Binalah Sabah Baru” TV commercial that shows people living in abject poverty. We are supposed to believe they are Sabahans, but they are actually illegal immigrants living in shanties.

It was telling that in the closely contested 1994 election, PBS won all 15 Kadazandusun majority constituencies while BN won the 18 Malay/Muslim constituencies. The remaining seven seats were predominantly Chinese. PBS won four of them and the rest went to BN’s SAPP.

PBS is now a shadow of its former self as other parties, including Upko and PBRS, jostle for Kadazandusun support. With Pairin’s inevitable retirement looming and Jeffrey’s image as a turncoat persisting, no candidate has yet emerged to unite the now-splintered Kadazandusun electorate.
Anwar was allegedly the prime mover behind Sabah Umno’s victory in the state. It is said that he was behind negotiations with the defectors, setting the wheels in motion for PBS’ dethroning.

We must forgive Sabahans if they are wary of PKR. After all, it is Anwar’s party and its head honcho in Sabah is Jeffrey.

What both Umno and PKR have failed to realise is that the racially charged politics that we associate with Peninsular Malaysia does not apply in Sabah. For one, the majority race is the predominantly Christian Kadazandusun and the brand of Islam practised in Sabah is far more moderate than that of West Malaysia.

Anwar made a huge political gaffe by his initial appointment of Azmin Ali as Sabah PKR chief, a move that alienated locals. His lack of understanding of the local political landscape and his inability to attract respected political leaders to PKR’s fold will make it nearly impossible for PKR to win Sabah in the next general election.

PAS will have an even more difficult time than PKR. Voters have soundly rejected the Islamic party’s overtures in the state. This leaves DAP as the only peninsular-based opposition party with any hope of winning seats.

Empty promises

However, Umno is not going to have it easy either. Despite its promises of development and aid, Sabah still struggles with poverty.

According to United Nations statistics (http://www.undp.org.my/uploads/SabahHumanDevp.pdf), 23% of households in the state live below the national poverty line, with child poverty rates standing at 42%. More than one fifth of the population aged six and above have never been to school.

Yet the state boasts rich natural resources and an enviable biodiversity, not to mention tourist attractions such as Sipadan island and Mount Kinabalu. The truth is that the state has precious little control over the revenues it makes, which are channelled directly to the federal government.

What has Umno brought? Instead of development and improved infrastructure, as it has promised in every election campaign, it has tried to tighten its hold in the state by appointing Malaysians from the peninsula as heads of departments in the civil service.

Umno has yet to address the problem of illegal immigrants. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala, who regards it as a minor issue, has obviously not visited the crime-ridden “black areas” of Kota Kinabalu, which are controlled mainly by illegal immigrants.

Sabah’s voters made their choice clear in the 1994 election. Simple majority or no, PBS had clearly won the mandate.

In the 1980s, former chief minister Harris Salleh bartered away Labuan to curry favour with the federal government and paid the price when the voters reacted by supporting PBS and ousting his party, Berjaya.

But the voters still suffer. The frogs betrayed not only their trust, but also put in place a government motivated by greed instead of a belief in democratic principles. Sabah deserves better.

Erna Mahyuni is a Sabahan writer currently based in Kuala Lumpur.

'Muslim' Banggarma demonstrates her Hindu faith

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

PARIT BUNTAR: S Banggarma, who was declared “a Muslim” by the Penang High Court on Aug 4, defied the Islamic authorities and demonstrated her Hindu belief by carrying “paal kudam” (pot of milk) at a temple festival here last Friday. The mother of two offered her penance to Hindu goddess Mariamman at Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil fire-walking festival in Dennis Town Estate in the morning together with hundreds of Hindu devotees.

She carried the paal kudam for a kilometre from nearby Sri Muneeswarar Kovil to Sri Muthu Mariamman Kovil seeking the divine’s blessing and intervention to help her overcome her battle with the Islamic authorities.

“I want to show to the world that I am a Hindu... no one has the right to change it. I will live and die a Hindu,” she told FMT later.

Judicial Commissioner Yaakob Sam declared in his 40-minute oral judgment that the 28-year-old mother of two was a Muslim and therefore would have to resolve her “unwitting conversion” dispute with the Syariah Court.

Banggarma, whose Muslim name is Siti Hasnah Vangarama Abdullah, instantly brushed aside the verdict as “unfair and unrealistic”.

Her lawyer Gooi Hsiao Leung has prepared documents to file an appeal soon against Yaacob’s decision at the Court of Appeal.

Banggarma is married to fisherman S Sockalingam in Tanjung Piandang, Perak, in 2000 and has two children -- Kanagaraj, nine, and Hisyanthini, three.

'Unwittingly converted'

Banggarma claimed that she was unwittingly converted by the state Islamic religious authorities at the age of seven while she was staying in a welfare home in Kepala Batas, Penang.

Banggarma’s birth certificate revealed that she was born a Hindu on Aug 13, 1982, in Keratong, Pahang, to plantation workers B Subramaniam and Latchumy Ramadu.

She fled the home with a few inmates when she was 16.

She discovered her “conversion” only when she wanted to register her marriage with Sockalingam.

Several involuntary Muslim converts such as Rani from Malacca, Ragina Mohd Zaini alias Krishnan, her sister, Rajiwah a/p Krishnan alias Mohd Zaini, and brother Rajeni Mohd Zaini, all, from Johor Baru, were also at the festival.

Rani was born to a Muslim mother but as a 16-day-old baby, was adopted and brought up as a Hindu by a Hindu family.

She has practised Hinduism even though her identity card stipulated her as a Muslim.

However, recently the state Islamic authorities stormed into her house and forcibly circumcised and converted her Hindu husband M Muniandy into Islam.

Rani’s children, too, are facing the same predicament.

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf ) and its political off-spring Human Rights Party (HRP) are carrying a nationwide signature campaign protesting forced conversion of Hindus to Islam in the country.

Bullying tactic

Hindraf legal adviser and HRP secretary-general P Uthayakumar slammed the Umno-led federal government for its bullying tactic to convert Hindus into Islam.

He alleged that since independence, the Umno government had systematically built up an overwhelmingly Malay-dominated civil service, army and police to instil fear and carry out the bullying tactic on non-Muslims.

“Such forced conversions in a democratic society only happen in Malaysia... not even in the largest Muslim-majority nation, Indonesia,” he said.

He said the Indonesia Parliament had even passed the Race Discrimination Act in 2008 to outlaw all forms of racism, racial discrimination and religious extremism in the country.

“As the largest Muslim country, Indonesia could have easily implemented the Islamic state and hudud law, but it chose to remain universally secular and protect the minority.

“Indeed in all democratic societies, the majority protects the minority rights, interests and benefits.

“But not in Malaysia. Here the majority suppresses and oppresses the minorities.

‘If you don’t call this ethnic-cleansing, what do you called it then?” asked Uthayakumar, who performed prayers at the festival.

Hindraf and HRP erected a panthal (canopy shed) at the festival displaying anti-forced conversion banners.

Prayers were also performed by their supporters for the rights of Banggarama and others to practise Hinduism in accordance with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution (freedom of religion).

So far 5,000 signatures have been collected in Perak alone, including 1,200 at Friday’s festival, for the anti-forced conversion campaign.

Perak Hindraf-HRP coordinator P Ramesh said the group, together with Muslim converts, would submit a memorandum on the issue to Sultan Azlan Shah at Istana Kinta, Ipoh, on Sunday.

A new script for Malaysia

By Nurul Izzah Anwar
COMMENT A Malay daily recently declared that a civil war would break out in the country. And this war would dwarf the May 13 1969 racial riot – the worst in Malaysia’s history. The war, said the newspaper, is a response to a non-existing amended constitution that abolishes the special position of the Malays and Islam. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also made reference to the 1969 riot in his comment when he reminded his Barisan Nasional (BN) colleague, Dr Chua Soi Lek, to tone down his demands to scrap what the government likes to call the pro-Malay economic policy.

In Penang, we heard stories that the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has been replaced with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in Friday sermons in some mosques in the state.

Apart from some Umno leaders who are fond of making racist comments, we also now have Perkasa which claimed to champion the constitutional position of the Malays.

These stories have been reported at length and front-paged by many newspapers, inviting discussions from both sides of the political divide.

These stories are not new. Many of us have heard similar stories not too long ago.

Remember in 1987 when Umno organised a racially charged political rally? It was followed by detention of many opposition leaders, including Karpal Singh and Guan Eng, under Operasi Lalang.

I wonder what the people behind the recent racial provocations hope to achieve.

Political theatre

I was too young to remember Operasi Lalang, but from my understanding of the event, it sounds so similar to the political theatre we are watching right now.

Every now and then, Malaysians are forced to watch the show based on an outdated script, written perhaps by those in power who benefit from racial polarisation.

Except for the change in the cast, the script always revolves around racial hatred, and how one community is a threat to another community’s interest.

Thank God, this latest show has not resulted in a new racial riot, or the “great war” that the Malay daily was trying to instigate.

Obviously, this tactic has not worked with Malaysians. Young Malaysians now demand a new script for the nation to be written by them.

In saying that the latest attempt at disuniting the country has failed, I am not entirely dismissing the fact that the racial rhetoric might have attracted some groups of young Malaysians.

Reading reports on Perkasa activities, I noticed the presence of a small number of young Malays. These are the people that I wish to reach out and to join other young Malaysians to write a new script for the nation.

Real issues

Perkasa has been accused of only trying to defend rent-seeking activities, but I doubt these youths are awarded any government contract. My suspicion is they have been indoctrinated with years of racist propaganda.

They are not alone. I have heard of civil servants and even teachers who made racist remarks while on the job.

For them, this country is all about “us” versus “them”, “oppression by certain group” or “risk of losing political power.”

But I have not given up on them.

I want to tell them that it is not hard to look beyond the colour of our skin, to understand that diversity has always been the foundation of this country.

I would like for all of us to focus on the real issues that will destroy this country: such as corruption, low foreign investment, lack of job opportunities and many other problems shared by all Malaysians.

It would not be easy to make them understand, but the success of the new script for Malaysia’s future depends on not just one group but also others who have been misled and marginalised. That is why all Malaysians must speak out and decide once and for all what the new script would be. A script built on the promise and vision of an independent Malaysia for all citizens: based on the rule of law, justice and equality.

Those who deny the will of the people for a better Malaysia should take note. Malaysians recognise theatre as it is, and the days of political theatre are over.

Nurul Izzah Anwar is PKR's MP for Lembah Pantai.

Pornthip - Thailand’s most trusted person

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Flamboyant Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan may be a thorn in the side of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but in Thailand she is a revered figure. Her latest testimony -- that Teoh Beng Hock did not commit suicide -- has forced the MACC to rethink its strategy in the ongoing inquest into the death of the aide to a Selangor state executive councillor.

Holding her own under MACC counsel Abdul Razak Musa’s badgering on Aug 18, an exasperated Pornthip retorted: “I work for the rights of the dead and not the Selangor government.” This drew loud applause from the packed courtroom and admiration from Malaysians at large.

Harakahdaily recently ran a personality profile of her and quoted a Readers’ Digest survey that  found her to be the “most trusted individual in Thailand”.

Readers’ Digest published the survey results in its March 2010 edition.

Below is an excerpt from the Harakahdaily story.

In Pornthip we trust

The survey found that the public's trust in Pornthip exceeded their trust in Phra Ajarn Alongkot Dikkapanyo, the head monk at a Buddhist temple that helps AIDS victims, who ranked second.

The dead may not be able to speak on behalf of Pornthip, but her vast experience and no-nonsense approach to her work has made her one of the most respected figures in Thailand.

Respondents in the Readers’ Digest survey, which was conducted last October, were impressed by her dedication and fearlessness in her fight for justice.

Long before fictitious heroes such as CSI Miami's sergeant Horatio Caine and CSI NY's stern-faced detective Mac Taylor came on the scene to give forensic scientists their long-overdue recognition, Pornthip had already defied the stereotypical portrayal of people in her line of work as nerds locked in their labs in plain white suits.

Her flamboyant, punk-dyed hairstyle and eccentric clothing have, indeed, made her the darling of media photographers.

“I chose to study pathology, which is shunned by most medical students,” she said in a 2001 interview with Thailand Illustrated.

“I intended to work in the government and contribute to solutions to social problems. I am serious with my work. I love justice and fairness, and am very individualistic.

"This is why I made this choice in life.”

Women and pathology

Pornthip feels that women make good pathologists.
“Women are suited to this profession,” she told Thailand Illustrated. “They are meticulous, anxious, picky, and doubting. Such attributes can be turned into assets for the profession."

Born in 1954, Pornthip is today Thailand's most renowned forensic pathologist. She is the director of  the Central Institute of Forensic Science, which comes under the Thai Ministry of Justice.

Her expert opinion is often sought by investigators.

During the riots in Bangkok early this year, the Thai government appointed her as a member of the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), the powerful body which was responsible for handling the brief emergency rule declared in several parts of Thailand.

Her services were also critical during the 2004 tsunami, and in the aftermath of the infamous Tak Bai tragedy in 2004, when 78 Muslims died under army custody following their arrest during a protest against police abuses in southern Thailand.

Pornthip provided damning evidence of military abuse of the detained Muslims, who died of suffocation in the trucks they were stuffed into. Most of them had been fasting.

Although Pornthip is a government appointee, she has no qualms in calling a spade a spade. She has spoken out many times against police abuses and human rights violations.

Yes, but what do you mean by ‘vices’?



And I am only talking about just one issue. I am not even yet talking about abuse of power, corruption, police brutality, deaths in custody, fraudulent elections, racism, exploiting Islam for political gain, and much, much more.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Shun vices to gain respect, Shafie tells Malays
(Bernama) - Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has called upon Muslims and Malays in the country to avoid conflict among themselves to earn the respect of other religions and races.
He said in order to preserve the image of Muslims and Malays, they need to stay away from social ills that they are frequently associated with.
“Others will respect us if the country’s Muslims, Malays and Bumiputeras show good behaviour instead of being involved in street racing and baby dumping.”
“Innocent babies are abandoned because of our actions. It seems like others aren’t involved in this ... we are the ones street racing, smoking ganja (marijuana) and even syabu.”
“These acts are linked to our youths and can bring about negative perceptions among others that we are not noble people and our people cannot set good examples,” he said during a breaking fast function with the community in Semporna here today.
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Most of you have certainly heard of Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam. But have you ever heard of Chaplain Yusuf Estes (photograph above) now known as Sheikh Yusuf Estes? If not then go to these links and read about the man.
http://www.famousmuslims.com/Yusuf%20Estes.htm
http://islamtomorrow.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Yusuf-Estes/9209579703
Now, why are we talking about Yusuf Estes? Simple, because Yusuf Estes once said, “I love Islam but I hate Muslims.” He also said that if you want to see good Muslims then you have to go to the Christian world. In other words, the Christians conduct themselves the way Islam asks Muslims to conduct themselves -- but unfortunately they don’t.
This is exactly what I have been saying for years but when I say it they detain me without trial under the Internal Security Act.
And with that opening statement I would now like to refer to the Bernama report above about what the Umno VP, Mohd Shafie Apdal, said.
Shafie has asked the Malays-Muslims to shun vices so that the non-Malays/non-Muslims would have more respect for the Malays-Muslims. While that is a good and noble appeal, what concerns me is that ‘vices’, according to Shafie, is merely premarital sex (abandoning illegitimate babies or baby dumping), street racing and smoking pot (marijuana, ganja or syabu).
What about the other vices? There are worse things than premarital sex, street racing and smoking illegal substances. Should Shafie not be more concerned about the other more serious vices? Why has he not mentioned these as well? These are more damaging than premarital sex, street racing and getting high on weed.
I remember, back in the 1970s, at the height of the Vietnamese refugee problem, Terengganu was flooded with ‘boat people’. And what did the Malays-Muslims do? They 'kidnapped' the good-looking Vietnamese girls and women and raped them.
I personally knew the OCPD of Kuala Terengganu who headed the operation to round up the Vietnamese boat people. He would point to the girls and women who met his fancy and order his police officers to separate them from the rest and transfer them to his ‘harem’.
Sometimes the Vietnamese refugee boats were intercepted on the high seas and the girls/women were removed from the boats. One week later you will find these girls/women clinging to the oil rigs about 200 kilometers offshore. They would be dumped there after the men have had their fill of them.
Is this the way Malays-Muslims should treat unfortunate refugee girls and women? And can you imagine how the children, brothers, husbands or fathers feel when they see their kin taken away and used as ‘sex toys’?
Most Vietnamese refugees came with gold strapped to their bodies. Do I need to add that in many instances they would be ‘relieved’ of their gold?
Then they would be dumped on Pulau Bidong, the refugee island. Then they would be charged ten times or more the market price for the food they bought. A loaf of bread or packet of Maggi Mee would cost a king’s ransom. These poor refugees would be exploited and they either pay the exorbitant cost for their food or starve.
You may say that this was back in the 1970s and today we no longer have any Vietnamese refugees landing on Malaysia’s shores. Maybe so, but we still do have many refugees coming to Malaysia, although not ‘boat people’ from Vietnam, and they still suffer exploitation.
In fact, it is now worse. Today, they are rounded up and sold to the slave traders while the beautiful girls and women are sold to the pimps and forced into prostitution.
Can you imagine your daughter, wife, sister or mother being sold to the slave traders and turned into prostitutes? Can you live with that? And what would the non-Muslims think of the Muslims when it is Muslims who are behind this foul act?
Can Shafie also please condemn this? Don’t confine the condemnation to just street racing, baby dumping and smoking pot. In my book, slave trading and the flesh trade (prostitution) is worse.
I raise this matter because of what Shafie said: that Muslims must shun vices to avoid non-Muslims having a poor opinion of Muslims.
And I am only talking about just one issue. I am not even yet talking about abuse of power, corruption, police brutality, deaths in custody, fraudulent elections, racism, exploiting Islam for political gain, and much, much more. And don’t let me even start on those issues or else this piece is going to be 30 pages rather then three pages long. These are all vices committed by Malays-Muslims, which Shafie avoided and did not mention.
So there is more that Malays-Muslims need to do to clean up their image. Street racing, baby dumping and smoking pot does not even scratch the surface. Those are merely the tip of the iceberg.
Why do Malay-Muslim ministers like Shafie not dare call a spade a spade? If they are really concerned about the image of the Malays-Muslims and are concerned about what the non-Malays/non-Muslims think about the Malays-Muslims then there is much that needs to be done. And eradicating street racing, baby dumping and smoking ganja will not achieve that.
I think I have made my point so shall I stop here before my piece becomes too cheong hei?

Surau Thrown with Red Paint, Liquor Bottles


(Bernama) - A surau in Taman Pulai Impian, Sikamat near here was thrown with red paint and liquor bottles early today.

The incident was discovered by residents who arrived for Subuh (dawn) prayer, said Taman Pulai Impian Surau committee chairman Mohd Hasbi Ismail.

"I believe the incident could have occurred between 3.30am and 4am and I had lodged a police report," he told Bernama.

He said the right side of the front wall, floor and glass door were splashed with red paint while broken pieces of four liquor bottles were found in front of the surau.

"I am saddened over the incident as it smeared a place of worship and the sanctity of Ramadan," he said.

The new surau which is not fenced up was opened on July 24.

"I hope the police will nab those responsible and find out the motive of the attack," said Mohd Hasbi.

Mahathir and Badawi in 2 separate abuse-of-power cases


Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

This week, two major corruption cases involving two of Malaysia’s past prime ministers are due to appear in the local courts, and the world at large can expect to be titillated once again by shenanigans of the country’s ruling elite.
The first, known as the Lingam Tape saga, involves Mahathir Mohamad and created so much public disdain for the BN government’s endemic corruption it led to the rise of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Rakyat.

The other is less well-known but its ramifications will surely send a shudder across Malaysia’s GLC-dominated corporate scene. It involves Malaysia Airlines, a true-blue GLC or government-linked-company in that it typifies the rampant abuse of public wealth by top Umno leaders to benefit themselves and their families. In this case, Malaysia’s 5th prime minister Abdullah Badawi, his brother Fahim and flamboyant fallen tycoon Tajudin Ramli are implicated.

Lingam Tape
On Monday, the Appellate Court will hear the appeals by former lord president Eusoff Chin, former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and lawyer V K Lingam over a 2007 Royal Commission of Inquiry's recommendation that action be taken against them.
The RCI had actually recommended the government to act against 6 people after scrutinizing evidence that they were involved in fixing the appointment of judges for the purpose of influencing the outcome of certain trials.The men are Mahathir, tycoon Vincent Tan, Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor, Lingam himself, Eusoff Chin and Ahmad Fairuz.
The RCI also said there was enough evidence to investigate all 6 men for offences under the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, the Penal Code and the Legal Profession Act 1976. But after much delay and despite huge public outcry, the Attorney-General has only proceeded to charge Lingam, Eusoff, and Ahmad Fairuz.
The most memorable piece of evidence in this case was a video tape showing Lingam on the phone actively brokering the judicial appointments.

MAS - skeleton in Badawi's closet?
Also due for mention is the Advent Management Sdn Bhd versus Fahim Capital Sdn Bhd and 5 Others in KLHC CS No.D1-22-745-2004. It not only involves Abdullah Badawi and his brother Fahim Ibrahim, but also former Malaysia Airlines chairman Tajudin Ramli.

Despite the national carrier lodging a police complaint against Tajudin, a former poster boy for the country's New Economic Policy, the government has refused to take action. And if not for Advent Management suing Fahim’s firm for reneging on commission fees, the entire web of deceit would be largely hidden from public eye.

However, within the capital markets, speculation has been rife from as far back as 2002 that Abdullah, who was then the Deputy Prime Minister, had bullied Malaysia Airlines into giving Fahim’s company an option to buy 51 percent of MAS Catering Sdn Bhd.
READ MORE HERE