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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Volcano erupts again in Indonesia

Experts say the long dormant period has made Mount Sinabung highly unpredictable [AFP] 

A volcano on Indonesia's western-most island of Sumatra has unleashed its most violent eruption so far after laying dormant for 400 years.

Mount Sinabung sent a tower of hot ash more than three kilometres into the sky on Friday, sending thousands of residents fleeing to safety for the second time this week.

The tremor from the eruption in North Sumatra province could be felt some eight kilometres away.

Officials said it was the strongest eruption since the 2,460-metre volcano abruptly ended its long sleep on Sunday, and sparked panic among local residents.

"The volcano erupted at 4:38am and lasted for 13 minutes, sending a column of ash as high as 3,000 metres into the air. This is the biggest eruption," Agus Budianto, a government volcanologist, told the AFP news agency.

On alert

Budianto said there had been "intense magma movement" inside the volcano since Thursday evening.

"We must remain on alert for unpredictable events as this mountain has been dormant for hundreds of years," he added.

Mount Sinabung last erupted in the 1600s, and government scientists acknowledged they had made no efforts before the mountain started rumbling last week to sample gases or look out for rising magma or other signs of seismic activity.

Experts claimed they were too busy with more than 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia, a seismically-charged region because of its location on the so-called "Ring of Fire" – a series of fault lines stretching from the western hemisphere, through Japan and southeast Asia.

The sudden initial eruption on Sunday and Monday forced 30,000 people living along the mountain's fertile slopes to evacuate to cramped emergency shelters in nearby towns.

Evacuation

Police have evacuated thousands of villagers from a six-kilometre danger zone around the mountain, but some residents are refusing to leave their homes on the slopes.


Mount Sinabung is near Lake Toba, a 100-kilometre long volcanic crater that some archaeologists believe almost wiped out the human race when it erupted 69,000-77,000 years ago.

The Indonesian archipelago nation has recorded some of the largest eruptions in history.

 Some 30,000 residents were forced to flee their homes in the wee hours following the latest eruption [EPA]Earlier this month four people went missing after the 1,784-metre Mount Karangetang erupted on the island of Siau, in North Sulawesi 

The explosion of Mount Tambora in 1815 buried the inhabitants of Sumbawa Island under searing ash, gas and rock, killing an estimated 88,000 people.

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa could be heard province. 3,200 kilometres away and blackened skies region-wide for months.

The blast and the ensuing tsunami killed at least 36,000 people.

Putrajaya mum on punishment for Johor headmistress

Muhyiddin passes the buck to the 'enforcement authority' on the case of Siti Inshah - file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Despite mounting public pressure, the Najib administration has yet to announce whether it planned to punish Johor school principal Siti Inshah Mansor for allegedly uttering racial slurs.

Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reiterated this afternoon that the buck was now in the hands of the “enforcement authority”, which is due to make a decision soon.

The Deputy Prime Minister who was speaking to reporters after launching a road safety joint operation at KL Sentral here, said this after he was asked if the government planned to use the Sedition Act against Siti Inshah.

“That one, I will leave it entirely up to the enforcement authority to enforce under whatever law. I believe there are available enforcement instruments that can be used... under whatever law,” he replied quickly.

On Thursday, when Muhyiddin was bombarded with the same queries in Putrajaya, he said that the case had been transferred to the Public Service Department (PSD) to decide.

“We have transferred the case to PSD and we hope they will make a decision immediately. That is why it was transferred last week and the PSD director has been asked to make a decision as soon as possible,” he had said.

Before that, Muhyiddin had directed Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom to set up a task force to probe the incident.

Alimuddin had previously invited flak when he claimed shortly after the incident that it was merely a misunderstanding and had been settled between the principal and the school parents.

Siti Inshah entered the limelight recently after she allegedly told the SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman school assembly that the Chinese could go back to China and that the Indians looked like “dogs” when they wore their prayer strings.

MORE TO COME

Serdang MP moved by Muslim support, but won’t embrace Islam

Teo, dressed in a yellow baju kurung with her head covered by a matching scarf, made sure to sit outside the prayer hall during her visit to the Surau Tholabiah in Kampung Paya,Sungai Ramal Luar,Kajang late last night.- Picture by Choo Choy May
PETALING JAYA, Sept 4 — A devout Christian, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching said she was moved by the outpouring of sympathy and moral support from the Muslim community after she was royally rebuked for entering the prayer hall in a surau last month, but maintained she would not convert to Islam.

The federal opposition lawmaker disclosed in an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider yesterday that some Muslims in her parliamentary constituency had asked her when she planned to convert, during her visits to deliver financial aid to the surau.

“When I go to the surau, some of them ask me: ‘So when are you going to become Muslim?’ I just smile,” Teo related.

She added that some of her non-Muslim acquaintances had expressed concern she may be pressured or hoodwinked “through black magic” into converting.

She noted it was common that most devout followers of a religion would want others to share their belief but did not feel pressured by the questions from her Muslim constituents.

“You have to have confidence in your own religion. If I think Jesus is so great, why would Jesus be defeated by black magic?” she pointed out.

Teo said she was learning more about Islam and its customs from her Muslim colleagues in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), especially from PAS, and appreciated that the religion advocated the values to do good as other religions.

She slammed vocal Malay rights group Perkasa for its hardline Islamic stance calling for local syariah laws to be amended to bar non-Muslims from entering mosques and prayer rooms following her controversial visit to a surau last month.

She also denounced as “too narrow” the view that a sum of RM1,000 she had donated to the surau from out of her parliamentary funds was “unclean” money because she was an “infidel”.

“Their view is very narrow and will make non-Muslims fear Islam more,” Teo added.

The opposition lawmaker added that the strident group’s demands, if entertained, would go against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s efforts to bridge the religious divide and instead create more disharmony.

Teo pointed out that Najib had recently highlighted the growing “Islam-phobia” in the West and urged the Muslim community to help change the misrepresentation of the religion among non-Muslims.

“I think religion should not be made exclusive but inclusive,” she remarked.

The 29-year-old DAP politician recently caused an uproar after a national Malay daily, Utusan Malaysia front-paged a picture of her addressing a Muslim group from inside the dewan solat or prayer hall of the Surau Al-Huda in Kajang Sentral in its August 27 edition.

The inner hall is regarded as taboo to non-Muslims, especially women.

Conservative Muslim groups accused Teo of insulting Islam and the Sultan of Selangor, who is also the head of the religion in the state.

Teo was forced to issue a public apology, despite explaining she had only crossed the boundary of the room after being invited to speak by the surau committee after delivering a RM1,000 cheque.

The Selangor state Islamic Council (Mais) has also issued a stern warning to Teo not to enter the prayer hall of any mosque or surau in the state without its explicit permission.

The Malaysian Insider, however, understands the Council will not approve any request by Teo.

“Tak apalah (It doesn’t matter),” Teo responded to the news when it was conveyed. She seemed unperturbed.

The directive, however, has not stopped her from making her rounds to deliver financial aid to local mosques and surau.

But she makes sure to deliver the cheques and her well-wishes to the community outside the surau proper.

She also makes sure to wear a scarf on her head to cover her aurat whenever she enters the surau or mosque compound.

Samy Vellu shatters dreams of early exit

Despite the growing clamour for his exit, Samy Vellu is sticking to his own timeline. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu’s announcement this week that he is not stepping down in December has thrown the party into confusion, with supporters of deputy president Datuk G. Palanivel — expecting an early handover — facing the reality the MIC president will be around for some time yet.

They had eyed December 31 as a good cut-off time for Samy Vellu’s reign, and some were preparing a grand send-off — but are now disappointed that Samy Vellu, whom they had hoped would be cajoled into retiring earlier than he plans to, has dashed their hope.

On Wednesday, Samy Vellu firmly told his critics not to dream. “I am not leaving in December,” he said. “I will leave on a date of my choosing. I will not walk away into the night.”

However, supporters of vice-president and Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who are hoping Samy Vellu will call for an early presidential election, were overjoyed with the Samy Vellu’s announcement.

They want him to stay until at least mid-2011 when he can call for a presidential election and let the delegates’ decide once and for all who will succeed him as party president.

Samy Vellu had propped up Palanivel and ensured his wins in two contests for the deputy president’s post against veteran Datuk S. Subramaniam in 2006 and 2009.

In the last contest, Palanivel nearly lost but managed to hang on courtesy of Samy Vellu’s strategy in fielding Datuk S. Sothinathan as a spoiler. Sothinathan polled 280 votes, splitting the support for Subramaniam and enabling Palanivel to slip through by only 82 votes.

The combined votes against Palanivel were 827 compared to the 629 he had garnered.

On Wednesday, the 74-year-old Samy Vellu candidly admitted he has to go but maintained that he would only do so at a date of his choosing. All efforts to oust him by lodging police reports, using newspapers to pressure him, and starting the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu have failed miserably.

Earlier, the government had offered various inducements — including a federal Tunship and a special ambassador’s post in South Asia — in the hopes that Samy Vellu would be enticed into hastening his exit — but he was not.

Subramaniam’s supporters said an early election was the way out. “It would be free and fair and the person with the real support would inherit the MIC,” a supporter said.

“A party led by a popular leader can better interact with the community and restore Indian support for the Barisan (Nasional),” she said.

Palanivel’s supporters, however, disagree. They want Samy Vellu to leave and hand over to his position to Palanivel, who would become acting president until the next party election — which is not due until March 2012, when Samy Vellu’s current term ends.

Samy Vellu has promised to leave “eight or nine” months earlier than that, putting it at around August or September 2011, when a presidential election can be held.

But supporters of Palanivel claimed that an early presidential election would be illegal and was not provided for in the MIC’s charter.

They also say Samy Vellu must resign in order to create a vacancy for the president’s post, a position that supporters of Subramaniam dispute.

“Samy Vellu can remain president and conduct the presidential election as long as the CWC (Central Working Committee) agrees,” they said adding the legal issues can be ironed out. “What’s important is the will of the delegates as expressed in the general assembly or the CWC.”

While these disputes rage on in the MIC, the two main protagonists in the drama — Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam — are crisscrossing the country under the guise of ministerial functions to meet delegates and lobby for their support.

Although Palanivel is against an early presidential election, but he is not leaving the matter to chance and has hit the campaign trail to canvass for support.

His appointment as a deputy minister soon after the Hulu Selangor by-election has galvanised his camp and raised their hopes that he may one day inherit the MIC.

Subramaniam, seen to be more popular among the party rank and file than Palanivel, is equally determined to meet and win over the party grassroots.

If Samy Vellu does hold a presidential election, the two leaders are determined to be ready to battle it out and not be caught by surprise.

Former deputy Datuk S. Subramaniam is also likely to enter the fray, along with possibly Sothinathan, to make it a grand, do-or-die affair to inherit the MIC after Samy Vellu’s exit.

Ultimately, however, it is Samy Vellu who will still decide the winner. Despite the waning of his long career, he still controls the loyalty of at least 60 per cent of the delegates and will likely determine his own heir.

Mike undur, beri laluan kepada Gobala dan Suresh

Oleh Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Ahli Parlimen Kapar S Manikavasagam tidak akan bertanding jawatan naib presiden pada pemilihan pucuk pimpinan PKR, yang akan diadakan tidak lama lagi.

Keputusan ini, katanya, adalah untuk memberi laluan kepada "kawan seangkatannya" dalam PKR, iaitu Ahli Parlimen Padang Serai N Gobalakrishnan dan bekas Pengerusi Timbalan Pengerusi Wilayah Persekutuan, R Suresh Kumar, untuk mencuba nasib pada pemilihan yang bakal diadakan pada  penghujung bulan Oktober ini.

Keputusan itu dibuat selepas perbincangan bersama Gobalakrishanan, katanya kepada FMT hari ini.

"Saya tarik diri untuk bertanding memandangkan ada tiga calon yang bertanding (R Sivarasa, Gobalakrishnan dan Suresh).

"Setelah berbincang dengan Gobala, sama ada beliau atau saya yang akan bertanding, kami capai kata sepakat untuk beliau (Gobala) bertanding jawatan itu," katanya.

Menurut Manikavasagam, lebih dikenali sebagai Mike di kalangan ahli parti pembangkang itu, keputusan beliau memberi pelaung kepada beliau untuk memberi lebih tumpuan kepada kawasan Parlimen Kapar serta akar umbi parti.

Katanya walaupun ramai ahli parti mahukannya bertanding jawatan naib presiden, namun beliau telah memilih untuk bertanding jawatan ahli  majlis tertinggi PKR dalam pemilihan itu nanti.

"Orang bawah mahu saya bertanding naib presiden, jika saya lawan nanti tiada masa untuk orang bawah dan kawasan. Maka saya lepaskan hasrat itu dan mahu fokus kepada akar umbi parti sendiri.

"Saya ada masa yang panjang... tidak perlu terburu-buru. Saya sah bertanding majlis tertinggi (MPT)," katanya.

'Saya tidak sokong Sivarasa'

Jawatan naib presiden parti itu menjadi hangat apabila -- Suresh Kumar -- seorang lagi pemimpin India dalam parti itu semalam mengumumkan yang beliau akan bertanding jawatan tersebut.

Ahli Parlimen Subang, R Sivarasa, pula disebut-sebut bercadang untuk pempertahankan  jawatan naib presiden.

Namun menurut Manikavasagam, sudah tiba masanya Sivarasa memberi peluang kepada muka-muka baru untuk bertanding jawatan itu.

"Saya tegas mengenai hal ini, ia bukan bersifat peribadi tetapi saya tidak sokong Sivarasa. Kita tidak mahu apa yang terjadi dalam MIC – (S) Samy Vellu pegang jawatan terlalu lama.

"Maka sejajar dengan harapan baru untuk rakyat, beliau (Sivarasa) pun sudah 10 tahun memegang jawatan, kini tiba masa untuk memberi peluang kepada orang lain untuk bertanding," katanya.

Katanya, perubahan perlu memandangkan undi masyarakat India ke atas PKR mulai menurun sehingga 10 peratus.

"Siapa-siapa menang saya akan sokong. Kita memerlukan satu naib presiden baru untuk memberi idea-idea bernas untuk terus tarik rakyat kepada PKR.

"Ketika Sivarasa pegang jawatan itu sokongan 80 peratus mulai turun hingga 10 peratus. Ini yang kita tidak mahu," jelas beliau.

Spy camera: 'Check the fingerprints'

By Rahmah Ghazali and Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

SHAH ALAM: There may be fingerprints on the spy camera discovered at the menteri besar's office but whose fingerprints are those? Former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo wants the state government to find out. “If it is true that Umno is involved, lodge a police report. Let’s see whose fingerprints all over the spy camera. Don’t throw wild accusations at us,” he said.

But Toyo seems to know who is behind it.

According to him, the set-up was the work of people known to Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

“I want to tell you this: it involves inside people. Khalid knows who is behind it,” he told FMT after breaking fast with the press here last night.

He was, however, quick to add that neither he nor the previous Barisan Nasional administration had any hand in this or knew the culprits.

“I don’t know who the culprits are, but I know this is the work of inside people. It has nothing to do with us; I can guarantee you that,” he said.

Khir dismissed allegations that he had links with Khalid’s staff working inside the state secretariat building, and that they had planted the spy camera in the office.

“No, I have no links with any of the state secretariat officers. No one even dared to come and see me because they were too scared of Khalid,” he said.

He accused the state government of “diverting attention from the real issue”.

About 10 people identified

Meanwhile, Khalid's political secretary Faekah Husin told FMT that about 10 individuals captured on the camera have been identified.

However, she refused to divulge more details.

Asked if the internal task force set up by Khalid last week to look into the matter has held a meeting to call for an investigation, Faekah said “no meeting has taken place yet”.

“We could not do it last Friday (as scheduled) because the menteri besar had to meet the Selangor Sultan, but we will hold the meeting on Monday,” she said.

The spy camera saga took a new twist recently when  Faekah said the culprits may have captured themselves on the camera and that some of them were “insiders”.

Everyone in M’sia is racist except certain people

By Suresh Kashuerin - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT It’s incredible that one line in Malay in the Namewee video – You tak baca? Siapa buat Malaysia kaya? – (You didn’t read? Who made Malaysia rich?) could cause such uproar among the guardians of Malay pride. Is it a case of “siapa makan cili rasa pedasnya (if the cap fits, wear it). Where were these same guardians of Malay pride when school principal Siti Inshah Mansor abused her Indian and Chinese pupils in outrageous language? There wasn’t even a peep out of them. She wasn’t accused of racism. In fact, she’s even being treated by the Education Ministry with kid gloves despite non-Malay uproar. It wouldn’t be surprising if she’s kicked upstairs soon as one of those modern-day heroines in Malay celluloid.

Then, there was the later case of a principal up north who advised the Chinese pupils of the school to go back to China since AirAsia flights were now every cheap. This was after they were caught eating at the school canteen by the principal during the fasting hours. They were accused, in some kind of warped logic, of not respecting the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

What their own gnawing hunger has got to do with Ramadan and respect was not explained to the errant students.

Now, there’s a real possibility that this Namewee character will be charged soon with sedition. This emerged after police, who don’t seem to have better things to do with their time, grilled him for three hours. Sedition, put simply, is the act of stirring up rebellion against the state.

Within any context, a racist can be defined as one who denies others their place in the sun. Déjà vu? If one stands up for his or her place in the sun, without denying others their rights, the question of being racist does not arise.

In Malaysia, the definition of racism is the reverse.

Ibrahim Ali and Mahathir Mohamad of Perkasa routinely twist and turn every issue into a racial issue in order to play to the gallery and force the Malays to circle their wagons under one platform, that is, Umno. They are hailed as great heroes standing up for Malay rights.

Their hidden agenda is to mask the “thievery” that goes on under the guise of development. Government procurements and contracts cost twice, thrice and even up to 10 times what it should cost the taxpayer. So, behind the rhetoric and polemics generated by Ibrahim and Mahathir to pull the wool over the people’s eyes, they are in cahoots with their “comrades in crime” who steal the people’s sweat from the public treasury.

When Hindraf Makkal Sakthi kicked up a fuss over the continuing marginalisation of the Indian underclass in the country, they were accused of being racists. The New Economic Policy (1970-1990) pledged, among others, that poverty would be eradicated irrespective of race, religion, class and caste.

Elsewhere, when Hindraf pointed out that Article 153 of the Federal Constitution provides for the legitimate aspirations of the non-Malays and non-Natives, they were accused of questioning Malay special privileges. In fact, Article 153 doesn’t mention special privileges at all.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim himself, ironically fighting on a platform of change and reform, accused Hindraf of being racists and questioning Malay rights and privileges. He was playing to the gallery, like Umno, to project himself as the great protector of the Malays but at other people’s expense.

Hindraf was further accused of stoking racism when it stressed that Article 153 only mentions a reasonable proportion for the Malays and Natives in four specific areas, namely intake into the civil service; intake into government-owned institutions of higher learning and training privileges; government scholarships; and opportunities created by the government to do business.

The implication is that Article 153 is a “sapu bersih” (clean sweep) policy which gives a license to commit the worst transgressions in the name of race.

Ninety per cent of the staffing strength in the civil service today is Malay, a number which is way above the 60% they represent in the population. When this was pointed out, the Chief Secretary to the federal government explained with a straight face that intake was based purely on merit and that there was no quota system. In short, the Malays and Natives don’t need the protection of Article 153 to secure jobs in the civil service.

Again, the NEP pledged that there would be no identification of race with economic function and place of residence.

It’s like a “heads I win, tails you lose” kind of policy in government. This means certain people are always on the winning side while others are forced to be born losers all the time through no fault of their own. This is not racism, according to the perpetrators.

On the other side of the South China Sea, there has been no Borneonisation of the federal civil service as pledged by the Malaysia Agreement. Almost all the top jobs are held by Malay civil servants from Peninsular Malaysia in the fashion of the British colonialists.

The federal government is also not being shared equally by Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

In politics, the local proxies of the ruling elite in Putrajaya are used to prevent the majority community – Dayak in Sarawak and the KadazanDusunMurut in Sabah – from heading the state administrations or being appointed as governors or ambassadors.

At the board level in Petronas, and its numerous subsidiaries, there’s not even one person from Sabah or Sarawak. When queried recently in Parliament, the reply from the federal government is that race is not used by Petronas as a criterion in appointments to the board. If that’s the case, why is that all Petronas board members, and subsidiaries, are from the same community? Not racism!

Everyone in M’sia is racist except certain people

We never stopped transport, says Samling

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak timber giant Samling Global has denied stopping indigenous villagers from boarding its logging vehicles. "We did not threaten to suspend transport service or force the villagers to sign any statements," a Samling spokesperson said.

The company also questioned the credibility of Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) for quoting Long Ajeng village headman, Jawa Nyipa.

"We do not know Jawa Nyipa and have had no interactions with that village," the spokesperson told FMT.

According to BMF, indigenous communities were not allowed to board Samling's timber vehicles until they signed a statement confirming that they had retracted allegations of sex abuse against its workers.

Timber vehicles are the only means of transport for villagers in the deep interior.

However, the company has come up with a more stringent transport policy.

"This new policy requires villagers to make a formal request for transport services," the spokesperson said.

She said that passengers travelling on Samling's vehicles needed to be accompanied by their respective family members.

"In light of the recent sexual allegations, Samling has issued a stern memo to its staff," she said. She claimed that two such memos were issued in 2008 and 2010.

"We will hand over any employee found to be violating the law to the authorities."
When asked if any of the workers had been arrested, she said: "We have not received any formal allegations against our employees."

"Samling has never stopped assisting the local communities where we operate," she added.

"But it appears that our efforts are always seen in the negative light," she said. She accused “vested parties of making baseless allegations”.

She also said that groups such as the National Action Committee and the Penan Support Group did not include Samling in the investigations of sexual abuse.
An investigation into sexual abuse of Penan women was carried out by the National Action Committee in October 2008.
Despite a subsequent report in September 2009, and more allegations surfacing in July this year, no government action has been taken.

Race for PKR veep post hots up

By S Rutra

KUALA LUMPUR: The race for the PKR vice presidency is hotting up, with another Indian grassroots leader throwing his hat into the ring. R Suresh Kumar, who was a former PKR Federal Territories deputy chairman, joined the fray by announcing his intention to contest for a vice-president post at the party elections scheduled end-October.

Party insiders said besides Suresh, other Indian contenders eyeing for the post are incumbent R Sivarasa, Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan and newcomer, former ISA detainee K Vasanthakumar.

When contacted by FMT, Suresh confirmed his intention, saying he had the blessings of party supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

"I had expressed my intention to Anwar who encouraged me to contest," he said.

Suresh, 45, who is an ordinary member of the Puchong PKR division, took a break from active politics in the last few years to complete the final phase of his PhD studies in business development at the Open University.

When asked what prompted him to contest, he said the party needed drastic changes, especially in championing issues affecting the lower income group.

"Besides, when you compare me with the other candidates, I have a better multi-racial appeal. I have travelled in most parts of the peninsula and the support I have been receiving is very encouraging," he said.

Asked what will be his next course of action if he fails in his bid, Suresh said he would continue serving the party and prepare it to face the Barisan Nasional in the next general election.

Meanwhile, a party insider said Suresh would be facing an uphill task in securing more support compared to Sivarasa and Gobalakrishnan, since both of them had been with Anwar since the early days of the Reformasi movement.

"Sivarasa and Gobalakrishnan are MPs. Suresh still has a long way to go before he can capture the hearts and minds of all PKR members," the party insider said.

It is learnt that PKR has some 400,000 members, and 20% of them are Indians.

Hindraf wants two-year ban lifted

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today,

GEORGE TOWN: The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) wants the federal government to lift the nearly two-year ban on the human rights movement. In an open online letter posted today, UK-based Hindraf supremo P Waytha Moorthy said it was time the ban be lifted to allow the movement to address pressing issues pertaining to the marginalised Indian community in the country.

He alleged that the Indians have been subjected to state-sponsored discriminative policies for more than half a century.

He urged Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein to repeal the ban to pave the way for the registration of Hindraf, which was outlawed on Oct 15, 2008.

“Once registered, Hindraf can pursue its struggle lawfully,” said Waytha Moorthy, who left the country during the government crackdown on the movement in the aftermath of a mammoth rally on Nov 25, 2007.

Waytha Moorthy’s Malaysian passport was also revoked by then Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.

Since then, Waytha Moorthy has been living in London under British political asylum.

He said the ban was ineffective as it did not stop Hindraf from carrying out its social responsibilities and domestic and international campaigns for betterment of the Indian community.

He said that Hindraf was a consistent movement championing and protecting human rights of the community.

Arbitrary power
Waytha Moorthy, a UK-trained lawyer, criticised Syed Hamid for wielding his arbitrary power vested in the ministry under the archaic and draconian Societies Act 1966.

He said although Hindraf had attracted 70% of the poverty-stricken Indians to its cause in a peaceful manner, Syed Hamid had abused his vested power by silencing the movement.

Nonetheless, he claimed that all efforts carried out by the home ministry to curb the movement have been futile.

“Hindraf has grown over the years as witnessed in its recent inaugural national convention,” he said.

Some 1,000 delegates from across the country attended the convention held on Aug 8.

Following two years of international lobbying, Waytha Moorthy said Hindraf was now a recognised human rights movement.

He said the government must accept reality and formally engage with Hindraf to address human rights violations suffered by ethnic Indians.

Investigations into Aminulrasyid’s death followed rules, says ministry

The Star
PUTRAJAYA: Investigations into the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah have been transparent and fair to all, according to the special panel set up by the Home Ministry to monitor the case.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusof said the panel reached the conclusion during its final meeting on the April 26 case in which the teenager was shot dead by police following a car chase.

Abu Seman, who heads the special panel, said yesterday the investigations had adhered to all the terms of reference set by the ministry.

“We have found the police investigations transparent, fair to all sides and there were no attempts to suppress any information.

“This was further proven when one of the policemen on patrol, Kpl Jenain Subi, was charged on May 10 under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code with culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” he told a press conference here.

He could not disclose the details of the panel’s findings as the information was classified and the trial was ongoing.

On the Inspector-General of Police Standing Orders (IGSO) concerning the use of force and firearms in apprehending suspects, Abu Seman said the panel was finalising a report to be presented to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein after Hari Raya.

“In conducting our evaluation, we looked at the IGSO in Malaysia and the standards used by enforcement agencies in Canada, United States and Britain as well as the United Nations.

Councillor: S'gor opposition portal slandered me

KJ: Kenyataan Kit Siang gila, tak masuk akal

Aminulrasyid panel redraws police operation procedures

(Malaysiakini) The Inspector-General's Standing Orders (IGSO) will take on a "substantially new" form once it is approved by the Home Ministry, Deputy Home Minister Abu Seman Yusop says.

The special panel set up to monitor the investigation into the fatal shooting of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah, he said, has finalised its recommendations for improving the IGSO.

NONE"This is pending approval by the higher-ups. The special panel discussed the matter at length to evaluate and ensure that a more comprehensive IGSO is in place," Abu Seman (left) told a press conference in Putrajaya today, after chairing the final meeting of the panel.

Aminulrasyid, 15, was fatally shot in Section 11, Shah Alam ,on April 25. In connection with the case, a police corporal, Jenain Subi, 48, has been charged with manslaughter under Section 304 of the Penal Code.

Abu Seman said the panel was now in the process of "polishing" up its report before presenting it to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein within this month.

azlanThe details of the recommendations could not be disclosed at the moment, he said, but noted that the panel had defined step-by-step how police should operate from their arrival at the scene of a crime to the possibility of having to use force and firearms.

The panel felt the existing IGSO was incomplete and needed improvements, which was why some of the standard police operating procedures practised by the forces in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the United Nations' basic principles on the use of force and firearms 1990, had been adopted.
Police probe 'fair and transparent'
On the police investigations into Aminulrasyid's shooting, Abu Seman said the panel was satisfied that it had been fair and transparent.

"The panel found that the police did not hide any facts or statements over the course of their investigations," he said, declining to elaborate further in view of the ongoing court case involving the alleged shooter.

NONEThe special panel was convened in May this year, following public outcry over Aminulrasyid's (left) shooting death by the police.

Abu Seman had said earlier that the current IGSO, drawn up in 2003, was limited as it only dealt with the use of firearms.

He had said then that the panel was recommending that other aspects such as verbal directives, techniques for providing cover, the use of spray equipment, handcuffs, taser guns and batons be also included in the IGSO.

Wrongful arrest: Uthaya awarded RM145,000

UMNO: 17 years to get Birth Certificates, 35 years to get I.C and a life time for most of 450, 000 stateless Indians.

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No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com Email: info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Your Reference :

In Reply             : MISC/09/2010

Date                  : 03RD September 2010



(Press Release-03/09/2010)
The Human Rights Party Malaysia’s Proposals to eliminate Statelesssness among the Malaysian Indian poor



The problem of statelessness among Malaysian Indians is a serious problem, not only in numbers, which we estimate could very well run into several hundred thousands, but also for what this continuing problem implies. What has been constitutionally guaranteed has been systematically and procedurally denied to these poor and vulnerable people. This has contributed to their marginalization and continuing dispossession from mainstream Malaysia.

One of the major objectives of Hindraf/HRP is to bring these marginalized Indians into the mainstream of national development and an early and enabling condition for this is the elimination of this endemic problem of statelessness among them. DSC_0160


The main causes, as we understand for this current state of affairs are:

1) Extreme poverty and resultant life norms of the affected.
2) Racial and religious bias in the system that works against them.
3) The complicated and outdated procedures of the National registration system .
4) Birth registrations not handled in a manner consistent with Malaysian Federal Constitution.


Given that understanding of the root causes of the problem we make the following proposals to the Government Department and we hope that they will take this up seriously for implementation.
DSC_0168

1) The Government should set up a special unit in the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara to address this Statelessness problem among the Indians. This unit should  be adequately resourced all the way from field workers to Department Director. Their charter will be to:

a) Identify all Indian Malaysians who do not have a Birth Certificate (BC)
and/or an Identity Card (IC) or have some problems with their status.
b) Create a database of them and establish appropriate programs to clear them one
by one by the 31st of December 2011.
c) Simplify the procedures for applying for delayed BCs and ICs. Make the
process “poor friendly”
DSC_0166 – do not require the applicants to fill out so many forms
- do not require them to provide so much and often redundant
documentary evidence
- do not require them to come to the JPN offices so many times
- do not reject their applications because they did not cross their ‘t’s or
dot their ‘i’s.
- treat them with more respectat the JPN counters and support them
through this process
d) Authorize Senior and respected members of the community to certify birth and parentage where a hospital is unable to do it.


2) Religion, race and marriage should not be made non- Constitutional barriers to birth registrations.


3) Parents must be empowered to decide the religion of their children on the basis of equality of all religions.


4) The JPN or other religious organizations should not impose the Syariah law on non-Muslims. Mixed marriages are one of the major reasons for the stateless Indian problem.


5) Empower this newly set up special unit within JPN to address this problem without interference from any religious bodies.


6) The JPN should upgrade their procedures employing technologies like the National database and DNA profiling. All, that is really required, is for the hospital where the child is born to be made responsible for the registration of the birth. The birth then goes into the national database of births . The birth is registered – a birth certificate should be issued. For deviations from the normal case, like for births at home or for abandoned children – a similar simple enough alternative procedure needs to be established.

7) The Government should extend the e-Government system to cover this crucial need.


8) The Government needs to set up a mechanism to monitor and report on this effort to eliminate statelessness in the JPN website.DSC_0173


9) The special unit in the JPN must be authorized to work with the Health Ministry, the Education Ministry, Welfare Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry to resolve any associated problems pertaining to those Ministries.


These proposals are what we consider a minimum for correcting the problem and for preventing future recurrence of the problem. We hope all this will yield some fruitful results from JPN.

The family we present to you – that of Mr.Thayalan, is but one live example of how this problem of statelessness perpetuates in the country after 53 years unabated, the destructive effects of it on the young, the possibility for expeditious resolution of the situation when there is a will, given that the seven children were issued birth certificates in about 3 weeks from our intervention.

The UMNO led government has ignored this problem for far too long. Now, it is time the government picked up the will needed to resource the effort to eliminate STATELESSNESS among the Indian poor in the country. The Human Rights Party will not let up in its campaign till we see a complete elimination of this problem.

DSC_0175We are taking this campaign nationwide and we will step up the campaign as we go along, unless we see a psotive move by the government on this problem.

On Sunday the 5th September we are gathering 40-50 stateless people in our HRP Perai office to begin the documentation of their application to the JPN for BCs and ICs. We invite all those in the North to come to the HRP Operations Center at 1st Floor, 15 Jalan Perai Jaya 5 ( Along Pacific Mall), Perai from 10.00 amd to 4.00pm . The following people can be contacted Kalaiselvan – 0174107244, Devendran – 012 5409943, Ganesan – 012 480 3284.

For those in the Central region and Southern Region please contact the HRP HQ office NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245. Contact Persons – Ms.Jeevita or Mr.Sambulingam – 010-2774096, S. Thiagarajan-019-3085944



S.Thiagarajan

Early presidential polls in MIC?

By JK Jayan - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT On the surface, it all appears quiet on the MIC front. But the grassroots is abuzz with news of a possible early presidential election. The head counting of branch chairmen has begun.
Of late, branch chairmen are being wooed by the party's top leaders and meetings are frequently held. It is the branch chairmen who would vote in the presidential election.

Since announcing that he would be step down in September 2011 to pave the way for a leadership transition and that his deputy G Palanivel would take over, S Samy Vellu has not made a single move. So would the 74-year-old president relinquish the post he has held for three decades?

At the recent MIC general assembly, widely rumoured to be Samy Vellu’s last as president, there was no indication or talk that he was going to step down soon.

On the contrary, Samy Vellu has been making more announcements and holding seminars for MIC leaders on the next general election as though he is going to lead the MIC through the polls.

Rumours of an early presidential election have also raised a legal poser whether the MIC constitution allows for this as the current president's term only expires in May 2012. The clause in question (Clause 58.3) reads as follows:

“Not later than three months before the expiry of the term of the office of the president, the central working committee (CWC) shall appoint an election committee to conduct the election...”

Based on this clause, it is clear that the CWC can call for a presidential election at any time, even tomorrow.

The doctor changes gear

According to sources, instead of handing over the reins to Palanivel, Samy Vellu might announce that he wants the next president to be democratically elected and call for an early presidential polls.

Since he still controls the majority of CWC members, there would not be any problems in pushing this through.

Several factors and some of the movements of the top leaders are fuelling the speculation. Talk is that Palanivel and vice-president Dr S Subramaniam are preparing for battle.

During his recent visit to Penang, Subramaniam held a dinner for all the branch chairmen. Such dinners are rarely held at this point, since the party election was held last year.

Furthermore, even if such dinners are held, those invited would be division leaders who are delegates to the general assembly. However in Penang, it was the branch chairmen who vote for the president, who were invited.

After the Penang meeting, Subramaniam held a “meet the people session” at the Kuala Selangor MIC division in Selangor to solve several local issues together with the branches there.

Since becoming MIC's sole Cabinet member by virtue of being appointed human resources minister, Subramaniam has seldom gone down to the grassroots, preferring to focus on his ministerial duties. So his recent actions have sparked off speculation that he might be vying for the top post.

It is said that Subramaniam has also received the blessings of Samy Vellu, and his supporters are confident that with his ministerial position, he would be able to win the top post.

Meanwhile, Samy Vellu has announced that some 2,000 new MIC branches would be formed to strengthen and prepare the party for the next general election.

However, sources described this as a strategy to propel voters' strength in the event of a presidential election. They claimed that the branches are being formed secretively and potential chairmen are being vetted by a team comprising Subramaniam, Youth chief T Mohan, Vell Paari (Samy Vellu’s son) and former secretary-general G Vadiveloo.

Simultaneously, several branches have been sent show-cause notices for not attending the 2010 general assembly. Sources said this could be a ploy to get rid of rebel branches.

Palanivel on the prowl as well

On the other hand, Palanivel, armed with his new deputy minister post, has also started to make his move, holding meetings with key branch leaders.

Having successfully defended his deputy presidency for the second consecutive term, the former journalist and press secretary to Samy Vellu is determined to take over the helm. His strongest advantage is that he would automatically become acting president if Samy Vellu steps down.

Palanivel is also said to have earned the support and sympathy of many party veterans and division leaders since they feel he should be given the opportunity to lead because of his seniority and experience.

His supporters point out that Subramaniam is after all “a leader by two defaults” and did not work his way up the party hierarchy like Palanivel.

Subramaniam’s first default was when he was selected as the MP for Segamat merely because of his name and initial. Samy Vellu had picked him to replace his nemesis and former number two S Subramaniam for the seat.

The second default was becoming minister after the 2008 general election, following Samy Vellu's defeat. If the latter had won in Sungai Siput, he would have continued as MIC's sole cabinet member.

However, Subramaniam is said to still have an edge due to rumours of strained ties between Samy Vellu and Palanivel. Sources claimed that of late, Samy Vellu has not been saying nice things about his deputy and even made some negative remarks about Palanivel to his close associates.

Who can get the nominations?

In the event of a presidential election, the uphill task for a candidate would be to get the required nominations to make the person eligible to contest.

The MIC constitution requires a presidential candidate to get at least 50 nominations endorsed by six branch chairmen. This means that a candidate should have at least 300 branch chairmen to endorse his nomination papers.

Sources said apart from Samy Vellu, there are only three leaders who can achieve this – Subramaniam, Palanivel and former deputy president S Subramaniam.

Although the former deputy president is keeping a low-profile, he however might decide to give it one last attempt or perhaps even back a particular candidate, and the latter move could tilt the odds.

The fourth possible contender might be former vice-president S Sothinathan. Although it would be difficult for him to secure the required nominations, he too could throw his weight behind one of the candidates.

Speculation is also rife that the Barisan Nasional leadership is pressuring Samy Vellu to step down by the end of this year, and according to sources, behind-the-scene deals are being struck.

With the ouster of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Taib Mahmud looking imminent, it might not be possible for Samy Vellu to cling on to his position any longer.

If such a scenario takes place, then Palanivel would automatically assume the position of acting president and embark on the herculean task of winning back Indian support.


*******
Malaysiakini

GAS attack on Tamil Nesan editor

author_photo("S Pathmawathy")
S Pathmawathy

The Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) movement has demanded the Home Ministry revoke Tamil Nesan's publishing permit for “trashing the reputation” of journalists from other media organisations.

NONEGAS coordinator KP Samy (right), who was booted out from the MIC in May for going against the party leadership, urged the ministry to act against the newspaper - controlled by MIC president S Samy Vellu - for labelling journalists as 'scoundrels, frauds and lacking in dignity'.

However, Tamil Nesan's chief editor A Veerasamy, who goes by the pen name of Tamil Mani, told Malaysiakini that he was not referring to all media practitioners in his writing, but to only one reporter from the rival Malaysia Nanban.

In his article, Veerasamy had lamented that all other media organisations are biased when reporting or commenting on Samy Vellu.

“I was not defending Samy Vellu, but I was voicing my opinion of a journalist who has no dignity and honour,” said Veerasamy.

mic agm 110710 s samy vellu 1“I was referring to him specifically because his newspaper has been attacking Samy Vellu (left), and they even printed a picture of someone hitting a leader's photo with a slipper on the front page,” he said.

“Is that necessary? Samy Vellu has agreed to leave by September next year so it is not appropriate to humiliate a community leader,” he said while asserting that he was not personally defending the MIC boss.

He refused to comment further on KP Samy's allegations and reiterated that he will only answer to the Home Ministry.

Threat against journalist

However, seeing red over Veerasamy's stinging remarks, KP Samy lodged a police report on the Tamil Nesan editor's "threat against a journalist" yesterday, as well as writing to the Home Ministry complaining about the article.

“Samy Vellu claims to be the crusader for the Tamil language, but look at the use of such unsavoury words in his own newspaper,” he blasted.

“We all know Tamil Nesan belongs to Samy Vellu and his son Vell Paari. Samy Vellu has been going around claiming to be the protector of Tamil (language) in this country. Is this how he protects the language, by allowing his chief editor to write such articles?” he asked.

“Both of them (Samy Vellu and Vell Paari) should do the right thing and sack Tamil Mani for his foul writing,” he said.

He also issued an ultimatum to the ministry to act on the daily within the next three days, or GAS 'would not stop at anything' to take its grouses to the street.

Fanning religious sentiments

Besides offending journalists, Tamil Nesan has also been accused of playing on racial and religious sentiments, another GAS coordinator, S Kumar Amaan charged.

Kumar has filed a complaint addressed to the Home Ministry's Publication Control and Al-Quran Text Division claiming that the newspaper has been labelling him as 'Karim Kumar' although he is a practising Hindu.

He added that his name had been 'savaged' and over the last four months the daily has been repeatedly addressing him as a Muslim, as Kumar's father had converted following his parents' divorce when he was younger.

“I am a Hindu by birth. My father divorced my mother and married a Muslim woman. He became a Muslim after that. I was brought up by my mother after my father left,” he stated in the letter.

“But the newspaper continues to say that I am a Muslim and I am named Karim Kumar. This allegation is baseless. It is also trying to blow this issue out of proportion by using religious sentiments,” he said.

The complaint letter were also forwarded to Selangor Islamic authorities, the Malaysian Hindu Sangam and the prime minister's office. A police report has also been lodged.

“The allegation is also affecting me as a businessman. I hope the Home Ministry will investigate and take appropriate action.” he said, suggesting that the Tamil Nesan's permit be suspended.

********
themalaysianinsider.com

Didakwa Muslim: Pemimpin dipecat MIC minta Jais bersihkan nama

September 03, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Sept — Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) sedang menyiasat aduan bekas ahli jawatankuasa kerja pusat (CWC) MIC, G Kumar Aamaan, yang meminta namanya dibersihkan daripada dakwaan 'fitnah' sebuah akhbar Tamil bahawa beliau pernah memeluk Islam. Penolong Pengarah Unit Perhubungan Awam dan Penerbitan Jais, Nurhamizah Othman berkata pihaknya telah memulakan siasatan sebaik sahaja menerima surat daripada Kumar semalam.
"Kita sudah terima surat tersebut dan Pengarah Jais (Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi) sudah meneliti perkara ini.
"Beliau juga sudah mengarahkan Bahagian Akidah Jais untuk mengambil tindakan dan menjalankan siasatan terperinci," kata beliau ketika dihubungi The Malaysian Insider hari ini.
Beliau berkata, siasatan tersebut akan meliputi kesemua aspek termasuk mengambil keterangan daripada Kumar sendiri.
"Bahagian Akidah akan siasat sama ada beliau (Kumar) benar-benar memeluk Islam atau tidak," katanya lagi.
Nurhamizah berkata dalam surat yang bertarikh 2 September itu meminta Jais mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap akhbar Tamil Nesan kerana memainkan isu dan sentimen keagamaan.
Dalam surat itu, Kumar mendakwa akhbar tersebut memainkan sentimen itu terhadap diri beliau sejak empat bulan lalu iaitu sejak dipecat daripada MIC.
Selepas dipecat beliau bersama tiga pemimpin yang turut dibuang dari MIC melancarkan Gerakan Anti Samy Vellu (GAS), tindakan yang mendapat tentangan daripada kumpulan yang menyokong kepimpinan Presiden MIC Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu.
Ketika dihubungi The Malaysian Insider, Kumar menegaskan, beliau adalah penganut Hindu, bukannya Islam  seperti yang didakwa dalam akhbar tersebut.
"Ingin saya tegaskan bahawa saya sejak lahir adalah penganut agama Hindu, yang beragama Islam hanya ayah saya... itupun selepas dia menceraikan ibu kandung saya sebelum dia berkahwin dengan seorang wanita beragama Islam.
"Akhbar tersebut sengaja mempermainkan isu ini kerana mahu menjejaskan imej dan kerjaya saya.
"Sejak laporan yang dikeluarkan itu, ramai kawan yang beragama Hindu seolah-olah memandang serong terhadap saya," katanya.
Akhbar Tamil Nesan dimiliki oleh keluarga Samy Vellu.
Kumar berkata, selain Jais beliau turut membuat laporan polis terhadap akhbar tersebut dan turut menulis kepada Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) untuk diambil tindakan ke atas penerbitan berkenaan.
"Saya sudah buat laporan polis pada 1 September lalu terhadap akhbar Tamil Nesan kerana membuat laporan palsu terhadap diri saya.
"Saya juga sudah serahkan surat kepada KDN untuk diambil tindakan tegas terhadap akhbar tersebut," katanya.
Beliau turut menyerahkan surat kepada sebuah pertubuhan agama Malaysia Hindu Sangam untuk mengambil tindakan.
"Disebabkan, imej saya terjejas teruk, saya mengambil keputusan untuk saman akhbar Tamil Nesan kerana menyebarkan cerita fitnah tentang diri saya," katanya.
Dia akan menyerahkan surat tuntutan kepada Tamil Nesan Isnin ini. — Reuters

Where is the 10MP?, DAP rep asks PM

Liew, quizzes if the prime minister is being superstitious about the 10MP
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — A DAP MP has demanded the Prime Minister explain why he had failed to fulfil his promise to release the 10th Malaysia Plan’s first list of projects last month.

Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong reminded Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today of his pledge in Parliament on June 10 when he said that the implementation of the 10MP would be on a two-year rolling plan basis and that the first plan for the 2011 to 2012 period would be ready by the end of August this year.

In his speech, Najib had reportedly said that the approach would allow commitment to be made based on the government’s financial position and provide flexibility to respond to new priorities and changes in the global and domestic economic environment.

“The government was supposed to have released a detailed list of programmes and projects for the first rolling plan for 2011-2012 by the end of August but I have been made to understand that it is still nowhere near completion,” Liew said in a statement today.

He pointed out that the Dewan Rakyat had spent a day listening to Najib’s speech on the 10MP, six days debating it and four days hearing replies from ministers while the Senate had spent six days on it.

“In essence, the Parliament was debating on thin air, having not been provided with any details. The plan was a document of statements which sounded good, but not accompanied by any actual plan,” he said.

Liew added that it was strange that the government had rushed to present the plan without actually preparing a definitive programme for the next five years if its implementation.

“Was it, as alleged, because of the Prime Minister’s superstitious concerns? Or was there an effort to hide the actual programme from Parliament, especially the issue of allocations to Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states?” he said.

Liew also claimed that unlike the previous plans, the 10MP had departed from the practice of detailing allocations for states and ministries.

Najib, he said, must explain to all Malaysians if this had been done “maliciously”.

“Secondly, he should also explain why the first rolling plan for 2011-2012 had not been disclosed in August as pledged and third, will Parliament be given the opportunity to debate the rolling plan, which is essentially the actual plan?” said Liew.

Namewee grilled by Internet regulators

Namewee explains, this time to the regulators
CYBERJAYA, Sept 3 — The composer of a controversial song, Wee Meng Chee, was today interrogated for more than seven hours by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) regarding his video clip in the YouTube, which was reported to criticise a principal of a secondary school in Johor, who was alleged to have made a statement with racial undertone recently.

Wee, or better known as Namewee, who was accompanied by his manager, Fred Wong, arrived at the MCMC headquarters here, at about 12.30pm and completed giving his statement about 8pm.

When met by reporters later, Wee said that yesterday the MCMC had asked him to come to its headquarters to give a statement on the video clip.

Wee said he was interrogated by four police and MCMC officers, however, he declined to reveal the information given.

“They did not give me any warning or threaten me with action. They only wanted to gather details on the video that I posted and I answered all of their questions.

“I answered truthfully because I have nothing to fear since my intention for posting the video was to voice out against racism and not because I am racist,” he said. — Bernama

Insolvency DG wants Vinod Sekhar jailed

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — The Director-General of Insolvency has filed an application for a committal order for the imprisonment of prominent businessman Datuk Vinod Balachandra Sekhar for contempt of court.

In the application filed on Aug 13, the Director-General of Insolvency sought for Sekhar’s imprisonment for contempt of court when he failed to comply with the provision under Section 38(2) of the Bankruptcy Act 1967.

According to the application, Sekhar, who was declared a bankrupt by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 8, 2005, committed two offences when he became a director of 25 companies and had left the country without permission of the Director-General of Insolvency, under Section 38 of the Bankruptcy Act.

Sekhar was declared a bankrupt for failing to settle his debt to credit company, Orix Credit Malaysia Sdn Bhd and 11 other companies totalling RM12.376 million.

Vinod, 42, is the chief executive of the Petra Group, and he had once been named by Forbes Magazine as the 16th richest man in Malaysia in 2008.

Senior Assistant Registrar of the High Court, Rozianti Mohamed Hanaphi, ordered Sekhar to be present in court on Nov 26 to show cause why the committal order against him should not be made.

She fixed the date after meeting Senior Federal Counsel Ahmad Muttaqim Rabbani Abdullah who represented the Insolvency Department, and lawyer S.Veerapan, who represented Sekhar, in her chambers.

Ahmad Muttaqim told the media that two notices had been handed to Sekhar so that he would attend hearing on the committal order.

He said Sekhar’s lawyer had informed the court that his client could not be present today because he was unwell but his lawyer made a pledge that Sekhar would be present on the next hearing. — Bernama

Fugitive Soosai likely to be charged with fraud, murder

CHENNAI: Malaysian fugitive Michael Soosai, who was nabbed recently in Tamil Nadu in connection with fraud and murder of a compatriot, is likely to be charged at the Coimbatore magistrate's court tomorrow. According to police sources, he is expected to face three charges of fraud involving RM80,000, committed in Coimbatore city, and a six-year-old murder charge.

His three children are in a government juvenile home while his wife is held in a city jail.

Coimbatore Assistant Commissioner of Police M Selvarajan, who is involved in the investigation, said today:

"The interrogation is underway and he (Soosai) is cooperating well. So far, he has admitted taking money and jewellery from his victims but did not say that he cheated them.

"He said he would return their valuables and belongings but did not promise the victims any date.

"He has admitted that he is Michael Soosai, and has a family in Malaysia."

Soosai, 47, is allegedly involved in the murder of Malaysian lorry driver N Subramaniam in South India in 2004, due to a family marital dispute.

After tracking the suspect for almost three months, Coimbatore police deployed its Cyber Crime Cell to nab one of Malaysia's most elusive white-collar criminal who had eluded the Malaysian police dragnet for nearly a decade.

Coimbatore police took Soosai by surprise at a hotel room in Chennai, along with his wife Rajeswari, last Thursday.

Well-placed police sources in Tamil Nadu said the suspected fraudster could have been involved in nearly 20 other fraud cases, mainly in duping Indian job seekers.

His modus operandi was to lure his victims to hotels where he promised them lucrative jobs and later absconded with their money or jewellery.

Since he escaped from Malaysia, he was believed to be hiding in South India, mostly operating from the state of Andhra Pradesh.

- Bernama

'Racist' remarks: PSD to table investigation paper

PUTRAJAYA: The Public Service Department (PSD) will table an investigation paper on the principal, who is alleged to have made racist remarks, to the disciplinary board of the Prime Minister's Department after Hari Raya. Its director-general Abu Bakar Abdullah said it was to determine whether a charge sheet would be filed against the principal.

"I have received the investigation paper from the Education Ministry's investigation committee yesterday and am scrutinising it together with several PSD officials.

"If there is justification (for action to be taken), we will table it to the disciplinary board to get its approval to file a charge sheet against the principal," he told reporters after breaking fast with the press here yesterday.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, asked Abu Bakar to make an immediate decision on the racist remarks alleged to have been made by Siti Aishah Mansor, principal of Sekolah Menengah Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Kulai, Johor, recently.

Abu Bakar said if the charge sheet were filed, the principal would be given the opportunity to enter her defence before any decision was made.

"We will take her defence into consideration before any punishment under the Public Officers Regulations (Conduct and Discipline) was decided," he said.

- Bernama

Suaram, GMI wants all ISA detainees freed

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Local human rights groups heaped more pressure on the Najib administration today to free all Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, following the release of the longest-held ISA detainee yesterday.

Shamsuddin Sulaiman, 40, suspected of being a member of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) Malaysia, was released from detention under the security law that allows detention without trial as the Home Ministry decided he no longer posed a threat to national security.

“Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) welcomed the release of Shamsudin Bin Sulaiman, who has been the longest detained Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee since 17 April 2002. He was alleged to be a Jemaah Islamiah (JI) member but till now has not been charge in any open court,” said a joint statement from SUARAM and GMI today.

Suaram and GMI claimed that Shamsudin’s release was only “partial” because he was still under police observation and not allowed to move about freely.

Both NGOs “condemned” the government for being “selective in the release of the detainees.

“We demand the government to release all the ISA detainees who has been detained without trial.

“GMI and Suaram view this development as another ugly episode of the arbitrary nature of the ISA. Neither clear explanation nor details were given to the nature of the threat or national security risks. In fact under the ISA, the Home Minister has no obligation to disclose to the public or the courts the details of the detention or release.

“He has absolute power to detain a person without trial or proof, bypassing any judicial process as well as to extent the detention arbitrarily. This is a clear violation of rule of the law,” said the statement.

The two NGOs reiterated their stand in demanding that the government abolish the ISA, along with other laws which permitted detention without trial such as the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Crime Prevention) 1969 (EO) and Dangerous Drugs Act Special Preventive Measures 1985 (DDA).

“All laws providing for detention without trial should go immediately. We therefore demand the government to abolish the ISA, EO and DDA immediately. We urge the government to pay damages to all the ISA, EO and DDA detainees who have been detained unlawfully under these acts and to resume their life that they have lost for so many years,” said the statement.

Shamsuddin, who is from Masai, Johor, was the longest-serving ISA detainee. He was detained on June 13, 2002, and was arrested as a JI member on April 17, 2002.

The AG is so full of shit


The ex-Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, has a tape-recording of the AG extorting money from him. Yes, that’s right, the AG demanded money from Kasitah Gaddam or else he was going to charge him for corruption.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamaudin

Home ministry's appeal on RPK release postponed

(Bernama) -- The Federal Court today adjourned the hearing of an appeal by the Home Ministry against the High Court's decision to release blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin from two-year detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) to a date to be fixed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah informed the panel led by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, that the prosecution had not served the notice of appeal on Raja Petra, the reason for his absence today.

Justice Arifin who sat with Federal Court justices Datuk Hashim Yusof and Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen granted the prosecution's application to adjourn the appeal, as they had not served the notice on Raja Petra, who is the editor of the web portal Malaysia Today.

When asked by Justice Hashim on the chances of serving the notice on Raja Petra, Tun Majid replied: "Raja Petra's address is still unknown."

Raja Petra's counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar told the court that the appeal had become academic because the minister's order to detain him for two years had already expired.

"The matter is academic but it's nothing to stop the minister to issue a new order as it's already two years," he said.

Tun Majid replied that the minister's order would become academic after Sept 21, 2010.

Speaking to reporters later, Tun Majid said the prosecution did not know Raja Petra's whereabouts as his right address was not known to the prosecution. On Nov 7, 2008, the Shah Alam High Court ordered the release of Raja Petra from ISA detention after ruling that his two-year detention at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping was unlawful.

Raja Petra was arrested on Sept 12, 2008 as he was deemed a threat to national security and the order to detain him under the ISA was issued on Sept 22, 2008.

Raja Petra was detained on the grounds that he, among others, owned and operated the Malaysia Today website and had intentionally and recklessly published his articles and also readers' comments on Malaysia Today that were critical of and insulted Muslims, the purity of Islam and the personality of Prophet Muhammad.

In filing the habeas corpus application, Raja Petra had named the Home Minister as the respondent.

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The Umno people are asking me to come home to ‘face the music’. Basically they are talking about my allegation against the wife of the Prime Minister, Rosmah Mansor. They call me a fugitive from the law and accuse me of not being brave enough to be accountable for my actions by coming home to face trial, and so on.

As I said before, either they are ignorant or they are intentionally trying to mislead the public. I have already written about this issue at length more than once so allow me to just go through the summary of the whole issue.

First of all, the two criminal charges against me have been dropped. I have been discharged not amounting to an acquittal. So what charges are they talking about? There are no charges against me and neither is there a warrant of arrest pending. So how can I be a fugitive from the law?

That is the first point.

What I have stressed over and over again is the fact that they are still trying to get me under detention without trial -- the Internal Security Act. In short, they are trying to get me through the ‘back door’. That is my bone of contention.

Now, there are two things wrong here.

First is that my detention without trial is for the same ‘crime’ as the charges I had faced, and now dropped. This means I am being punished twice for the same crime, which is wrong in law. You can’t be punished twice for the same crime. I have said this before.

Second is that the Shah Alam High Court has already ruled my detention as unlawful. The government, however, is not happy with that. Around the same time that the government announced it would not be appealing against the Razak Baginda acquittal it announced it would be appealing against the high court’s decision to release me.

Is not murder a more serious crime than writing an article not favourable to the government? Why announce that they would not appeal against Razak Baginda’s acquittal for murder and at the same time announce that they would appeal the release of someone freed from illegal detention without trial?

Okay, so they want to appeal the high court’s decision to release me. Well and fine. They in fact already filed the appeal in early 2009. Then, after almost two years of inactivity, they suddenly pursue the appeal.

Why after almost two years of silence do they suddenly wake up? Is it because the detention order against me is expiring soon -- in about three weeks to be exact? Are they trying to ride on the old detention order so that they can roll over the detention order another two years? This would avoid them having to issue a new detention order.

I call this mala fide, which means bad faith in layman’s language.

Yesterday, the Federal Court was supposed to hear the appeal. But without any warning the government asked the court to postpone the hearing. My lawyers were ready to proceed and I had already told them to fight this case till the end. Why do they not want to proceed with the hearing? Why ask the court to postpone it indefinitely?

The excuse the government is giving is they do not know my address so they can’t serve any papers on me.

That is utter bullshit. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad knows my address. I have given it to him. Tan Sri Sanusi Junid also knows my address. He has come to my house for dinner. In fact, we met twice. And Sanusi has not hidden this fact. He has told others about it who in turn phoned me to tell me that they found out from Sanusi that he came to my house for dinner.

It is therefore no secret.

When I was in Kamunting back in September-November 2008 they served papers on my lawyers. They know who my lawyers are so why can’t they serve whatever papers they want to serve on my lawyers? They have done this before. Why can’t they do it again? My lawyers are authorised to receive papers on my behalf. Serving the papers on my lawyers is as good as serving them on me.

Anyway, yesterday’s appeal hearing is a continuation of the hearing of February 2009. This is not a new hearing. It is a continuation. And this means the papers have already been served back in 2009. So what new papers are they talking about?

More importantly, I do not need to be in court for the hearing. I am not under arrest or out on bail. This is detention without trial, not a criminal charge. So I do not need to be in court. Why can’t they proceed with the hearing even though, as they said, I am not in court?

Do you remember the case of the Hindraf 5? They were also not in court. Yet the court heard their appeal in their absence. In fact, the Hindraf 5 asked the court for permission to appear in court but the court rejected their application. The court ruled that they do not need to be in court.

So there you are. The Umno chaps talk about the allegation against Rosmah Mansor. I am telling them it is not about that. It is about the government still trying to detain me without trial. And yesterday the government just proved me right.

Over to you Umno. What do you have to say now?

Aiyah, the Attorney General is so full of shit. He treats Malaysians as if they are country bumpkins. Okay, his DPPs are stupid, as the Teoh Beng Hock murder inquiry has proven. But that does not mean the rest of us are also stupid.

Hey, maybe the AG would like to response to this allegation.

The ex-Land and Co-operative Development Minister, Tan Sri Kasitah Gaddam, has a tape-recording of the AG extorting money from him. Yes, that’s right, the AG demanded money from Kasitah Gaddam or else he was going to charge him for corruption.

Kasitah Gaddam then went to meet the Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and played the tape for the PM to hear. But the Prime Minister did nothing. And Kasitah Gaddam refused to pay the money that the AG demanded. So the AG charged him for corruption. Read more here: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/2/13/nation/7307934&sec=nation

Does Umno want to talk about this? A comment from Dr Mahatbir maybe?

As I said, the AG is so full of shit. And I bet he prays five times a day and fasts the entire month of Ramadhan as well. I suppose he can always go to Mekah after this to get his sins cleansed in front of the Kaabah like most Muslims do.

Munafiq!

Malaysia's Timber Giant and the US Sub-Prime Crash

Image(Asia Sentinel) Samling Global leaves behind the most-distressed real estate development in the US

Samling Global Ltd., the giant logging company controlled by the timber tycoon Yaw Teck Seng and favored with numerous timber licenses by Sarawak's Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, played an extraordinary and unlikely role in the US housing bubble and crash, according to research by the Sarawak Report, an NGO based in the East Malaysia.

The biggest of Samling's once far-flung real estate operations in the US was a planned bedroom development called Mountain House, east of the San Francisco Bay Area near the Altamont Pass. Currently, sheep graze on the once-projected Mountain House golf course. It has been called the most underwater community in the United States, with 90 percent of its properties, almost all held by sub-prime borrowers, worth less than they paid for them. The biggest loser appears to be the California Public Employees Retirement System, which at last report was US$926 million in the red on Mountain House although it hopes eventually the market will turn and allow it to recoup its US$1.2 billion investment

With crucial help from Taib in the form of timber permits in Sarawak, Samling has evolved into a global giant, harvesting 2.3 million cubic meters of timber annually in Malaysia, Guyana, New Zealand and China. It is vertically integrated, from cutting timber at one end to producing flooring products, kitchen systems, doors and furniture on the other, according to Samling's website. And, taking vertical integration even further, it became one of the biggest real estate builders in the United States.

Samling's involvement in the global financial meltdown was the culmination of years of massive investment in real estate across the United States, according to the Sarawak Report, which has turned out an astonishingly detailed series of reports on Taib's dealings and particularly his connections to Samling. This investment came out of the profit from logging in Sarawak under heavily criticized permits granted by Taib, the NGO reported.

Samling Global was condemned in late August by the Norwegian Government as an 'unethical' company, involved in "illegal logging and "environmental devastation" in Sarawak. As reported in Asia Sentinel, the Sarawak Report provided a wealth of detail on how a Yaw family subsidiary, CSY Investments, had passed two multi-million dollar mansions to the Taib family in Seattle, Washington, in what appeared to be an unrecorded property transfer linked to a US$1 dollar quitclaim deal.

CSY Investments, originally headquartered in Roseville, California, formed just part of a multi-billion dollar web of Yaw-owned companies in the United States, primarily involved in property development. These companies were subsidiaries and affiliates of SunChase Holdings Inc, a California registered company incorporated in 1988 by Chee Siew Yaw, a son of the Samling boss.

With Chee Siew Yaw as its original president and chief executive, SunChase Holdings has been involved in a number of massive land-deals across the USA, including "the largest real estate partnership ever formed with the US government", according to its own publicity.

The registered shareholder of SunChase Holdings was, until recently, Universe Limited, a Liberian company, which according to an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was "controlled by Hiew Tek Seng and the Yaw family, all citizens of Malaysia." The companies and subsidiaries linked to SunChase Holdings are now mainly operated out of Phoenix, Arizona.

SunChase Holdings has clearly been exceptional among US developer corporations in possessing an extraordinary level of shareholder capital from the very beginning. Straight after graduating from California State University, Sacramento, with a BSc in Real Estate, Land Use and Finance in 1986, the youthful Chee S Yaw immediately demonstrated his access to enormous sums for investment.

One his first subsidiary ventures was Trimark Communities LLC, set up in July 1988, with himself as president. This became the company behind the disastrous Mountain House town project. Documents released by San Joaquin County show that between 1990 and 1992 Trimark bought over 70 percent of the 7.8 square mile site outright and began seeking approval for an approximately half billion dollar development project comprising the largest housing scheme in California.

Approval was finally granted after two decades of lobbying and in the face of lawsuits filed by the State Department of Fish and Game over environmental concerns. Meanwhile, SunChase had impressed the authorities with numerous other grandiose projects in which it played the main investor. The company claims it specializes in building "large-scale, master-planned communities."

It appears to have immediately gone after assets left high and dry in the late 1980s Savings & Loan crisis, in which 747 S&Ls – known as thrifts elsewhere in the world -- failed in the United States. The federal government paid US$124.6 billion to clean up the mess, with the bill borne by US taxpayers. The Resolution Trust Corporation was set up to dispose of the assets of the failed lending institutions.

A Federal Audit Report issued in 1999s confirms, "In April 1993, the Resolution Trust Corporation selected SunChase Holdings, Inc, as the winning bidder for five of the six pools of assets offered in the National Land Fund I initiative."

Indeed, SunChase currently boasts: "The company is proud of its heritage as the managing general partner in the National Land Fund, the largest real estate partnership ever formed with the US Government."

Mountain House
was a Yaw family project. Started in 2001, Mountain House was originally advertised as "The Town of Tomorrow" and "The American Dream Made Reality" with houses selling for more than $800,000, mainly through sub-prime mortgages. But in the aftermath of the crash, the partly-built project has been abandoned by the original developer. The prices of these houses are now half what they were in 2006, leaving buyers in a repossession nightmare.

Mountain House finally gained planning permission on the basis that it promised to create a sustainable, self-contained new town that would create sufficient jobs for its inhabitants. The original San Joaquin County Master Plan promised affordable housing to meet the Bay Area housing crisis, together with retail and business outlets. Indeed, the promotional material by Trimark Communities clearly targeted the aspirations of middle-class Californians looking for grander accommodation in an area of housing shortages.

The company promised traditional-style, detached houses built around 14 separate 'village' settings, each with a school, leisure centre, open spaces and a commercial heart for business enterprises. Although the San Joaquin authorities had understood that houses would be priced around an affordable US$200,000, the demand for grander homes and the availability of dubious lending mechanisms and sub-prime loans meant that prices before the crash in 2007 were topping four times that amount.

Within weeks of the crash, all that had changed. 16,000 houses were supposed be built, providing accommodation for 44,000 people, in the most ambitious development project in California for decades, but as the lending market collapsed, the Yaw family pulled out. Trimark Communities was dissolved in California and Chee Siew Yaw returned to the Far East, claiming that he had divested all his US interests in 2006. As a result, Mountain House has been left partly constructed and famous for being the repossession capital of the USA.

The main losers in the disaster have been the thousands of buyers who lost their their homes and CalPERS, which had invested heavily in the project on behalf of its future pensioners. Those who have remained in Mountain House have found themselves paying huge mortgages on low-value properties in a part-built town. According to one description:
"Landscaped lawns face fields of weeds. Sheep graze on the future golf course. While two schools [of a promised 14] have been built and a third is under way, there's just one retail business, a convenience store. The closest supermarket is five miles away. A multimillion-dollar bridge — designed to link the southern and northern halves of town — has been fenced off. It's our bridge to nowhere."

So, like the indigenous people of Sarawak, the people of Mountain House are now living with the devastation wrought by Samling. According to one, "all they did was build as many houses as they could as quickly as possible to cash in on profit before the bubble burst."

Finally – Sterling Pacific Assets

Interesting questions still surround the transfer of the Yaw holdings in the US. Following Chee S Yaw's pronounced divestment of his US assets, SunChase Holdings was transferred to the current ownership of Sterling Pacific Assets.

Sterling Pacific Assets was already part of the SunChase Group and had previously been described as "an affiliated professional services company" in SunChase promotional material. The 100 percent shareholder of Sterling Pacific Assets of is one of SunChase's own company directors, William A. Pope, who joined the Management Team in 1990, two years after the Yaw family established the company. Nevertheless, the SunChase website currently implies that it was he who formed the company.

Notably, in spite of the takeover, SunChase Holdings Inc is still run out of the same offices and by the same management team established by Chee Siew Yaw before his abrupt departure in 2006. The circumstances that enabled a member of the management team to buy out such an enormous multi-billion dollar company remain unclear. Questions thus remain over whether the Yaw family in fact retains an interest in SunChase Holdings in the US.

Other Asia Sentinel articles about Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud can be found here:
Sarawak's White-haired Rajah
Sarawak Chief Minister's London Connection
Sarawak Chieftain's US Properties
A Sarawak Chieftain's Vast Canadian Fortune