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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pornthip-Razak verbal joust video a hit online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — Similar to the 2007 Datuk V.K.Lingam “correct, correct, correct” video, a new recording has been making cyberspace waves since its debut — showcasing MACC prosecution chief Datuk Abdul Razak Musa and Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

During the forensic expert’s second testimony for the Teoh Beng Hock inquest on August 18, Pornthip made the headlines for famously asserting “I work for the rights of the dead” and followed-up by asking Abdul Razak on whether he was indeed a lawyer.

With that story appearing relentlessly on newspapers, online sites and television, the public waited with bated breath for its online release.

The three-hour long 805MB video clip was however only uploaded on the Attorney-General Chambers website more than a week after the lively proceedings, after much public pressure.

Now, the video clips can be found across cyberspace, with thousands clamouring for it.

Already this latest blockbuster has received thousands of hits online and may likely go down Malaysia’s history as one of the most laughable displays of the Malaysian civil service at its worst.

On broadcast site Youtube.com, the clip was divided into eight parts, labelled under the title “Malaysia’s funniest and tragic court video”.

The first clip, which is 10 minutes long, has attracted 138,782 views and almost 500 comments as of this afternoon. The remaining seven clips attracted between 30,000 and 60,000 views each.

On her own the experienced Dr Pornthip is quite a character to have, made rich by her trademark rockstar look and impressive resume.

But paired alongside Abdul Razak, in his penguin suit and feeble attempts to speak English, it is no wonder the video has caused such a stir.

Comments on the site centre zero-in on Abdul Razak’s poor English and his “illogical line of questioning”. One person even suggested that the video be used in law schools to show “how to fail your law exam”.

Indeed, what was meant to be a cross-examination session turned instead into courtroom comedy with Dr Pornthip successfully outwitting her co-star Abdul Razak with her calm confidence and unfettered testimony.

Despite Abdul Razak’s relentless attacks on her professional qualifications, Dr Pornthip held her own and even succeeded, several times, to trigger applause from the packed court gallery with her quips.

At one point, Dr Pornthip scolds Abdul Razak for his attempt to discredit her graduating university, Mahidol University, by pointing out that Malaysia’s medical laws did not recognise it.

“I think the quality of the work does not depend on the certificate (from the university). You cannot look down on Asian experts,” she said.

She then pointed out that Mahidol University was one of Asia’s top five universities.

Abdul Razak scrambled with a comeback of his own when the gallery erupted in mocking laughter and said: “Either top one or top two, its nevermind but we have the law. We have the law – the medical act. So that’s why you are not allowed to conduct the second post-portem. Because you are not qualified.”

His reply only triggered sniggers from the audience.

Perhaps one of the most memorable comebacks made by the expert was when she reminded the court of her role in the case, which was not to side with any particular party but to carry out her duties as a forensic expert.

“You have to understand. I work for the rights of the dead, not for the Selangor, or for the Malaysian or for the Thailand governments. So in this case, I try to find whether I can help from the evidence... without the benefit from anyone,” she said.

Her statement was followed by a round of rousing applause from the gallery and already, the line has been repeatedly used as a quotable quote by many bloggers and politicians.

Perhaps buoyed by the apparent support she had from the watching crowd, Dr Pornthip later even dared to question Abdul Razak’s own credibility as a lawyer.

When discussing the fracture found on Teoh’s head, Abdul Razak pointed out that he had spent three days to read through Dr Pornthip’s autopsy report.

Giggles were heard in the audience and defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo was heard muttering that his opponent needed a few months to study the report.

When Abdul Razak asked Dr Pornthip what type of weapon could have caused the injury, she flippantly said, “I have question, whether you are a lawyer or not?”.

The laughter that erupted was deafening.

“Maybe I’m younger than you but I already serve 24 years as a lawyer,” said Abdul Razak, in reply.

Yet another scene in the video that has become much talked about is when Abdul Razak suggested that the political aide Teoh had strangled himself then jumped out the window.

Abdul Razak, in pointing out that no other doctor had found evidence of strangulation, asked if Teoh had strangled himself.

Gobind leapt to respond to this and asked Abdul Razak how a person could do such a thing.

“You can,” Abdul Razak claimed.

“Can you show us how you...,” Gobind replied.

“Like this...,” said Abdul Razak and while using both hands, one in front and the other at the back, grabbed his own neck and demonstrated to the courtroom just how a person could strangle himself.

DAP Socialist Youth chief Anthony Loke described Abdul Razak’s suggestion as the “joke of the century”.

“It is really a big joke. I laughed and laughed when I heard it and now, everyone is laughing,” he said, noting that Abdul Razak would find it hard to live down this sore point in his career.

Now, added the Rasa MP, the story has become a hot topic for Pakatan Rakyat leaders in their ceramah speeches.

“The audience loves the story. They laugh and laugh whenever we tell the story that Teoh could have strangled himself then jumped off the window sill,” he said.

He added that another stupid assertion Abdul Razak had made was when he asked Dr Pornthip whether she’s ever jumped out of a window.

“It is stupid. Are you saying that when you get a pathologist to testify in a rape trial, you are going to ask her if she has been raped before? Because if she has not been raped before then she would not be able to tell if the person had been raped?” said Loke.

Loke noted that the video would likely mark a black spot in MACC’s (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) professional integrity.

“It just reflects badly on the level of competency of our MACC people,” he said.

PKR chief strategist Chua Tian Chang said he was more embarrassed by the video clip then amused, pointing out that it was a clear reflection of the farce that the whole inquest had become.

“I do not even need to speak about it... everyone else already is, on Facebook, on Twitter, everyone is talking about it and they are laughing. And now the video is online... so the whole world can laugh at us. This is a total embarrassment... it shows the mindset and mentality and quality of the MACC lawyer,” he said.

He agreed that like the Lingam video, this new clip would likely become an object of entertainment for the Malaysian public.

Indeed, if one were to mention to any politically savvy Malaysian the line “correct, correct, correct” meant, they would likely laugh and repeat those famous words themselves.

In fact, the video, which shows Lingam allegedly brokering the appointments of top judges over the phone, is still used by many opposition leaders as anecdotes to punctuate their political speeches.

Chances are also that the same person who knows the “correct, correct, correct” line would likely also be able to describe MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s physical attributes and what his partner had worn when they were caught on camera at the hotel room in Johor in 2007.

They would also likely have seen Namewee’s latest “Nah!” clip or his old “Negarakuku” production and may have also once admittedly made jokes once about PKR’s Elizabeth Wong, after her private photos were exposed to the public.

“Well what can I say, we seem to be getting a hang of producing things like this for public consumption. Its all a big farce,” Chua said. - The Malaysian Insider

'Namewee is a uniting factor'

By Malaysian Mirror
nameweeCOMMENT If Namewee (Wee Meng Chee) is prosecuted for his music-video, then two mixed messages are being sent out by the government: The first is that the authorities practise double-standards. The second is that it was only because of Namewee's 'intervention' that the government sat up and took racism seriously.
On Wednesday, it was reported that the rapper was being investigated by the police for sedition. Various ministers and a menteri besar also want Namewee punished for his controversial video.
In the first place, Namewee made this clip because of the government's slow response to tackle effectively the latest racist incident. It appears that we are now united, against racism.
Far from being seditious or racist, Namewee has done the job of the government in exposing all that is 'ugly' about us.
Just over two weeks ago, the Johore school headmistress featured in Namewee's clip made serious, humiliating and crude remarks to non-Malay students in her school.
The prime minister, who coined the term 1Malaysia, took two weeks to make any comment regarding this issue. In the meantime, the damage became magnified.
Finally, Najib said that when it came to racism, he wanted 'zero-tolerance' and a 'swift response' to people who made racial slurs.
It appears that the prime minister has fallen at the first hurdle. There was not a quick, speedy response, as promised. It took him a very slow two weeks before issuing a statement.
For another, why has the police investigation been allowed to drag?
But let us imagine that for one moment, it was a non-Malay school head who had uttered derogatory remarks about her Malay pupils and told them to 'pergi balik bawah tempurung' (return to your place beneath your coconut shell) or that the tudung worn by the girls was only to cover-up their 'bad hair-do'.
Wisdom and tolerance
I need not mention how the Malay community, egged on by the Ketuanan Melayu clowns, would react by picketing, protesting and practically foaming at the mouth.
If anything, the Johore school incident proved that the non-Malay community has shown extreme restraint and should be commended for their wisdom and tolerance.
The shame is that few Malays voiced their objections to the disgusting remarks of the Malay school-heads (both in Johore and Kedah). Where are the voices of condemnation for these racist rants? Are they afraid of pilloried by members of their own community? Or have they no principles? And lack a conscience?
Namewee is reacting to the slow response of the government to tackle racism. Hence, it is the government who has failed the Malaysian public. It is Namewee who conveyed the important message to Malaysians, in an entertaining way via his Youtube clip, that 'racism sucks'.
To date, what is the progress into the school-head investigation? How long does it take to get eye-witness statements?
People forget that Namewee is a rapper. He produces videos and music videos. Rap music may glorify violence, misogyny, drug abuse and homophobia. Profanity and vulgar language are common.
Like it or not, rap or hip hop, is the language of the young these days. With rap, he has managed to engage with the young, to 'say 'no' to racism'. Any parent of a teenager will know what I am talking about. The songs teenagers listen to these days, often colour the air-waves blue.
One can only imagine Namewee's rage at the slow official response to tackle racism.
It is the same fury that overcomes us when we are lectured by our political masters to do, think and talk '1Malaysia' but then discover to our shock, that some ministers do not practise it.
Admittedly, Namewee is simply expressing his anger and frustration in creativity and music, just like Eminem or Jay-Z.
It is highly unlikely that our aging ministers will understand nor appreciate rap music.
Namewee is the perfect entertainer and has sound business acumen. Sometimes, to shock may even sell more records. He has gained increased publicity for himself being enterprising.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin adopted a different spin on Namewee's questions: "You tak baca? Siapa buat Malaysia kaya?" (Don't you know? Who made Malaysia prosperous?). Khairy assumed that Namewee suggested the 'Malays played a minor role in Malaysia's economic growth'.
Khairy is possibly wrong and as far as can be ascertained, Namewee wasn't alluding to anything.
Namewee posed an open-ended question. However, political personalities are already scoring brownie points by insinuating various things.
Namewee was wrong to be abusive – even I would balk short at such behaviour. But Namewee speaks for all those who suffered that day in school and for the people in Malaysia who care.
Maybe if the authorities had been swift in their response, Namewee would not have had the reason to come up with this clip.
The more potent danger
Actually, Namewee has done the job of the government much better that the government itself. It has given prominence to racism issues in a creative way and made us take a stand against racism. If not for his Youtube, clip, would we have taken as much attention? The problem is that the authorities have 'lost it'.
When Dr Chua Soi Lek criticised Namewee and said, "Freedom of expression should come with responsibility to consider sensitivities towards other races and religions", he forgot that it was the two school principals who ignored sensitivities and caused a furore.
And instead of the school principals being censured, it is Namewee who is allegedly being charged with sedition. Namewee's clip was crude and coarse, but not racist.
This young disgruntled Malaysia's response to racism has been blown into something of a racial firestorm. That is the more potent danger.
It seems that when you scratch beneath the surface, 1Malaysia is unraveling faster than a knitted jumper. One person condemns an irresponsible racist head, and the so called defenders of the race, react like beasts unleashed, and all for the wrong reasons.
Namewee has talent. He engages with the young via his rap music and lyrics. He should be nominated for a role in the Ministry for Information, Communications, Cul­ture and Arts, to promote racial unity and other Malaysian issues.
Far from creating disharmony, Namewee has united us against racism. He at least has the courage to tackle racism in his own entertaining way.
* The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysian Mirror and/or its associates.

PKFZ: The next 'big fish' after Hari Raya and to come from Umno

Malaysia Chronicle

Speculation has intensified that after Hari Raya the next ‘big fish’ will be hauled up for RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone financial debacle, and this time it is learnt it will be someone senior from Umno.

Former Transport minister Ling Liong Sik was the first prominent political leader to have been arrested over PKFZ. Charges were pressed against him on July 30 for misleading the Cabinet on the project's land valuations. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the days that followed Ling's arrest, there were high expectations that Prime Minister Najib Razak would follow through with a long overdue promise to weed out corruption. But more than a month has passed and no one other than Ling has been brought in.

Ling Liong Sik's arrest shocked the nation
As a result, Najib’s already thinning credibility took further blows. He was accused of making decisions to manipulate the political situation at both Umno and BN to his advantage, rather than attempting to solve the endemic corruption in the country.

The Chinese community also saw in Ling’s arrest a stepping stone for Najib to placate the Umno grassroots while he went after several key leaders in the party that he regarded as obstacles to his career.

But Umno watchers deny the allegations and said the PM had to bide his time because the investigators were not ready.

“He may also have pulled back because he felt the timing was not to his advantage. He is extremely cautious but after Hari Raya, he will make his next move. It will be someone very senior in Umno even though he may not be so active in the party anymore. There will be a few others but it may not be all in one go,” a reliable source told Malaysia Chronicle.

Chan Kong Choy
Mat Tyson or Chan or Tiong

Names that have been bandied around include former Selangor mentri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib, another former Transport minister Chan Kong Choy and Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing, whose firm Kuala Dimensi was the turnkey contractor which racked up the project's massive cost overruns.

Muhd Taib aka Mat Tyson
PKFZ is an ambitious integrated port development mooted during the Mahathir Mohamad administration. It took off in the early 2000s and Abdullah Badawi continued the project after Mahathir retired in 2003.

The scandal has been described as a true Malaysian power play of conflict of interests, weak project management and bad governance at the highest levels - all the way up to Mahathir and Badawi.

Tiong King Sing
Among the personalities named in an external auditor's report are two former transport ministers Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik (1986-2003) and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy (2003-March 2008), former Minister of Housing and Local Government Tan Sri Dr Ting Chew Peh, who was also Port Klang Authority chairman (2000-2004), former Serdang Member of Parliament Datuk Yap Pian Hon who was Port Klang Aurhority chairman (2004-2007), Alor Setar Member of Parliament Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung, who was Port Klang Authority chairman (2007-2008), former UMNO treasurer Datuk Seri Azim Mohd Zabidi, the first woman general manager of Port Klang Authority Datin Paduka O.C.Phang and the project "executor" Bintulu Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing.

Racism: Cop under probe


By Andrew Sagayam, TheStar 

KUALA LUMPUR: A police inspector who allegedly told a 51-year-old snatch theft victim to “balik China” (return to China) if she could not speak Bahasa Malaysia is being investigated.

City police chief DCP Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman said the inspector, in his 30s, was from the Sentul district police headquarters. He is being investigated by the city police headquarters disciplinary committee headed by the Chief Police Officer.

The officer, who is attached to the Criminal Investigation Depart­ment, has been temporarily relieved of his duties pending investigations. He is now handling administrative work.

He allegedly made the remark to housewife Loh See Moi, who was a snatch theft victim on Aug 24 in Kepong.

“The police force will not defend and protect any policemen, if they are guilty of wrongdoing,” said DCP Muhammad Sabtu.

Loh, from Selayang, lodged a police report against the inspector at the Jinjang police station yesterday, alleging that he had uttered these words: “Jika tak tahu cakap Bahasa Melayu, balik China” (go back to China if you can’t speak Bahasa Malaysia).

In her report, Loh said she had gone to the Kepong police station accompanied by her daughter Fong Ay Lian, 26, to lodge a report following the snatchtheft.

She said at the inspector’s office, her daughter spoke to the officer in English but he refused to entertain her as she was not the complainant.

Then as Loh began to relate her ordeal in English, the inspector made the remark.

Loh said she asked him in Bahasa Malaysia why he made the remark, saying that she was a Malaysian.

DCP Muhammad urged the public to lodge a report or complaint with their respective district police chiefs if they encountered problems with policemen or officers.

“I will be very disappointed if the allegations against my officer are true. We will investigate the matter thoroughly,’’ he added.

Fighting the good fight for Lembah Pantai

The bumiputera corporate equity issue revisited

(Malaysiakini) COMMENT More than five years have passed since the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) corporate study report revealed that bumiputera ownership of corporate equity in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange had exceeded the 30 percent target.

malaysia stock exchange market klse 141008 09The study's findings of a 45 percent bumiputera share were based on a different method of measurement compared with the official one.
Using market value as opposed to the par value valuation official method, and allocating the equity of GLCs according to racial share, the study noted that time had come to do away with the policy that had been implemented since the 1970s.

The study's findings raised a hue and cry not only because it challenged the official data on the share equity attained by the Malay community, but more importantly because it challenged the official orthodoxy.

Strong reactions from various Umno leaders at that time indicated their fury - and perhaps fear - that the Asli study negated a long-held belief on how the bumiputera corporate equity strategy was necessary for bumiputera economic advancement, and synonymous with the interests of the Malays.

nazir razakLost in the firestorm were the study's recommendations that encompassed a wide spectrum of issues. Those recommendations are reproduced below.

I hope they will be read more carefully by the present crop of policymakers and politicians who are trying to find their way out of what has correctly been referred to as the "bastardisation of the NEP", an assessment made by one of the nation's foremost bankers, Nazir Razak (right).

Findings on corporate equity


The following findings and recommendations are drawn from the Centre for Public Policy Studies' 2006 report.
  • GLCs are leading shareholders of corporate equity. The GLCs' pattern of operation reflects little entrepreneurial and manufacturing capacity.
  • Regulatory agencies ensure that 30 percent of the equity of quoted firms are owned by bumiputera. These agencies do not, however, ensure that individual bumiputera allocated large volumes of publicly-listed equity, especially during IPOs, retain their ownership of this equity.
  • Publicly-listed shares distributed to bumiputera minority shareholders during IPOs should be done in a more equitable and transparent manner. Currently, an elite benefits from such IPOs, and these shares are quickly divested for huge profits.
  • The continuous divestment by bumiputera shareholders (partly as a means of asset diversification) has been mainly responsible for the so-called "under achievement" by bumiputera in relation to the NEP corporate equity targets based on the official definition.
  • Even if this divestment is not taken into account, bumiputera share of corporate equity presently is well in excess of the target of 30 percent, if more objective methodologies of measurement are used.
  • There is little intra-ethnic business cooperation among leading Chinese businessmen. There is growing evidence of inter-ethnic partnerships forged on a basis where the partners contribute equally to the development of an enterprise.
  • Government regulation and policies, principally in the form of NEP measures, are stymieing entrepreneurial development and hindering domestic and foreign investment.
Recommendations of the report
  • Enterprises owned by the GLCs must be managed by competent professionals with expertise in the business of the company under their charge. Senior management positions should not be determined on the basis of ethnic background but on merit and professional achievement.
  • The government should cease allocating equity to individual bumiputera during IPOs. The allocation of shares to bumiputera before IPOs tend to promote 'Ali-Baba' relationships that only serve to undermine investor confidence and foster ill-will.
  • Bumiputera trust agencies, such as the ASN and ASB, should be the primary beneficiaries of IPOs allocated to this community. At the same time, there should be equal determination by the government to increase the share participation of the Indian and East Malaysian bumiputera communities through similar community-based trust agencies.
  • Government initiatives to promote enterprise development on the basis of affirmative action will undermine entrepreneurial endeavours, that have emerged primarily among SMEs without state support.
  • The government should focus its attention on promoting key economic sectors and SMEs as a means to develop Malaysia's economic potential. The government should particularly tap into the potential of the new middle class to create thriving enterprises and find means to support such endeavours.
  • Racially-oriented affirmative action and the promotion of Malay-owned businesses have created serious intra-ethnic Malay cleavages while also hindering the creation of a competitive economic environment. The government should not continue with the promotion of such policies.
  • In calculating the respective ethnic shares of the corporate equity, there is need to apportion the share of GLCs as well as nominee companies according to the ethnic composition of the country. This will provide a fairer and more objective computation of the respective ethnic shares as compared with the current methodology.
  • Government policies to enhance Malay bumiputera and other ethnic minority participation in commerce and industry are better achieved through capacity-building efforts such as investment in human resource development and skills training rather than through forced equity restructuring.
Continuing wayang on Malay equity

It is understandable why Perkasa and similar parasitic groups are raging away at the corporate equity issue. The ultra-nationalist movement badly needs issues that can burnish its credentials as the protector of Malay interests and derail the structural reforms the country needs to flourish.

malaysia stock exchange market klse 141008 05What is incomprehensible is why Umno continues to harp on the attainment of the racial corporate equity share target as a key goal to be pursued for the Malays and the country as a whole.

It is absolutely the wrong target to focus on because it has been conclusively shown to benefit only a minority of well-connected and already wealthy business and political leaders - numbering perhaps no more than a few tens of thousands of individuals and their families at most.

One would have thought that the RM52 billion out of RM54 billion of equity value sold off by bumiputera preferred investors between 1985 and 2005 would be sufficient proof that these individuals do not need more perks and special treatment.

More important, the bumiputera corporate equity target is the wrong target as it will only distract from the more important challenges that the nation and especially the Malays and other bumiputera communities need to face up to.

DR LIM TECK GHEE is director for the Centre for Policy Initiatives. This article first appeared in Chinese in the weekly paper Red Tomato.

Brickfields make-over pitched at Indian voter, new business interests

The Vivekenanda Ashram, constructed in 1904, remains a oasis of calm in bustling Brickfields, but for how long?
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 —While many of Brickfields traders are fuming over the multi-million redevelopment of this Indian enclave, it is intended to have a pleasing political effect on the Tamil voter, hundreds and thousands of whom visit regularly from across the country.

The redevelopment plan aspired to turn the long neglected bustling neighbourhood into a world class tourist outpost complete with ‘Indian’ arches and floral patterned pavements.

It will also be re-named, perhaps mistakenly, “Little India”.

With the majority of Chinese voters implacably set against the Barisan Nasional, Prime Minister Najib Razak has been courting the Indian vote with numerous feel good measures.

Consequently, the transformation of Brickfields has an unmistakable political dimension to it.

If there is any place the Tamil voter can call his own it is in the new Brickfields that is rising at breakneck speed to meet the arrival of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who together with Najib, would tour the transformed town and declare it open in late October.

For the alienated Tamil voter the new Brickfields, ironically developed by Yap Kwan Seng, the last Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur as a site for a brick kiln, is a place where he can shop for everything Indian.

“I already feel at home,” said S. Rajansoorian, a bank clerk. “I like the Indian design and motifs and the arches that are all coming up. I think it would be very Indian when completed.”

“You only find such designs in India,” he said. “Even Singapore doesn’t have them.”

Each year Tamils from across the country visit Brickfields not just to shop but also to mark auspicious days like Taipusam and Deepavali.

The next time they visit they will be greeted by a new Brickfields, transformed into a “Indian enclave.”

All the roadside stalls, now temporarily located at a field, would relocate to a food court being built in Brickfields. A multi story car park is also under construction for locals to park, shop and dine.

Tourists arrivals at KLIA an easily connect with the new brickfields through KL Sentral.

To meet the new demand building owners are transforming their properties into budget and medium cost hotels.

But not everyone is happy. Apart from the affected traders, sex workers are also worried as the cost of room rentals has shoot through the roof.

But while the new Brickfields may well sound the death knell of traditional Indian traders in the area, other entrepreneurs are sure to cash in.

According to some traders 70 per cent of one side of the Brickfields is owned by Chinese businessmen while Indians businessmen owned about 70 per cent of the other side of the area.

Both groups are, however, raising rentals to levels that one trader selling clothes said is “astronomical”.

A casual survey by The Malaysian Insider showed rentals have been raised by an average of 30 per cent since City Hall announced early this year that Brickfields would be transformed into “Little India”.

“We were already paying high rentals but after the announcement rentals shot up again,” said Kumar who owns a souvenir shop.

Traders currently pay anything between RM18, 000 to RM30,000 a month and with the increase a few have called it a day and close shop.

The only bank in Brickfields – CIMB – has also moved out after the rental of its space was raised to RM63, 000.

Not only Tamils from across the country but also well-heeled tourists from the sub-continents and Middle Easterners are expected to make a beeline for the new Brickfields, which will resemble Petaling Street but with a Bangsar-like enclave of high end shops, entertainment outlets and restaurants.

As rentals escalate most of the current traders, who have already been hit by an 80 per cent drop in business, are expected to give way to the new businessmen who hope to cash in on the new, well-heeled tourists.

The assumption that there are more millionaires in India than the entire population of Malaysia is what the new Brickfields is all about.

It’s about how to get a slice of that big money coming from India and Middle East.

Brickfields has everything for them – numerous Hindu temples, Indian shops, IT connection, international schools interspersed set in a built environment reminiscent of India.

Yap’s brick making town was transformed into a crowded little Indian town with the arrival of the Malayan railway depot in the 1920s.

With the more recent arrival of KL Sentral, the town evolved again into a transport hub.

Today change is in the offing again; one even Yap might not have dreamed of – Brickfields as tourist haven.

'Putting a new man will not change the police force'

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: A change in leadership does not necessarily mean the cleansing of the police force (PDRM), said Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary general S Arutchelvan.
Noting that PDRM’s image is currently at an all time low due to its many ‘unconstitutional’ actions, he said having a new Inspector General of Police (IGP) was not enough for the police force to redeem its battered image in the public eye.

In Arutchelvan’s opinion, outgoing IGP Musa Hassan should have stepped down much earlier following the rise in criminal activities during his term. In addition Musa had also faced a slew of allegations of power abuse.

“You can’t change the police force by simply changing the IGP. He has been under constant pressure to step down and we welcome his retirement.

“But from the perspective of reforming PDRM, we feel the 125 suggestions made by the royal commission must be implemented first,” Arutchelvan said.

He said the public were concerned about the bias shown by the police and the existence of ferociousness and violence in the force.

“The core problem in PDRM is that they take direct orders from the Home Minister. As long as there is no freedom, until then we will have problems,” he said.

Continuing the agenda

Arutchelvan said although Musa had stepped down, he should not escape an inquiry.

“Please investigate the cases involving him (Musa). Just because he is retiring, it does not mean that he is not responsible for his actions.

“The question now is whether Musa’s successor has the temerity to act against Musa?” he asked.

Deputy IGP Ismail Omar is to takeover from Musa who will step down on Sept 13, 2010.

PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin meanwhile felt that Ismail was picked because he appeared as the government’s best choice to continue Musa’s agenda.

He said Musa was now considered a liability to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration because he (Musa) was riddled with scandals.

“They (government) needed someone who was obedient and loyal and who could implement orders without question. This was the main criteria why Ismail was chosen to replace Musa.

“Ismail does not have an impressive track record as a policeman. He was appointed mainly to maintain calm within PDRM politics,” he said.

Iran tries human rights activist


Nazar-Ahari was originally arrested after Iran's disputed presidential election in June 2009

Shiva Nazar-Ahari charged with "warring against God" and links to opposition groups as trial opens in Tehran.

(Al Jazeera) A court in Tehran, the Iranian capital, has tried a female human rights activist and journalist on charges including "warring against God," which has the potential punishment of death.

Shiva Nazar-Ahari, 26, went on trial on Saturday "on charges of Moharebeh [warring against God], conspiring and gathering to commit a crime, propaganda against the regime and harming public order," Mohammad Sharif, her lawyer, said.

"After presenting the last defence, the end of the trial was declared," he said.

"We are awaiting the verdict and I am not pessimistic about the fate of the case."

An opposition website also said that Nazar-Ahari had been charged with links to the exiled People's Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI).

"In the court, she expressed repulsion at this organisation [PMOI], denied any links with them and dismissed the accusation as completely baseless," the website Kaleme.com, of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, said.

Nazar-Ahari was originally arrested after a disputed presidential election in June 2009, but released on bail after three months.

She was then re-arrested in December when travelling to attend the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a chief dissident cleric, in the city of Qom.

'Politicised trial'

The 2009 poll, won by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sparked the largest demonstrations in Iran since the 1979 revolution that brought the current Islamic regime to power.

The opposition against the result, known as the Green Movement, said that the election had been fixed.

The government has since undertaken a widespread crackdown on dissidents, with at least 10 people arrested in the protests being sentenced to death.

Mohamed Abdel Dayem, the Middle East co-ordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Al Jazeera from New York: "These charges frankly bear all the hallmarks of a politicised trial."

"Ms Ahari is one of a number of journalists who are being charged with Moharebeh and this is the first time in history that journalists are being charged with a capital crime such as this," he said.

"One of the charges is for something that never took place because she was arrested before she arrived at the supposed location of the alleged crime.

"She is not part of the Green Movement but a journalist and a human rights activist.

"There is no reason to charge a journalist and human rights activist with combating God, which is essentially what Moharebeh means."

Drewary Dyke, an Iran researcher at Amnesty International, said to Al Jazeera that reports suggest that the trial took place in "a relatively calm and normal way".

"The lawyer is said to have been able to present the case for his client," Dike said.

"But the story here is not about a trial or seeking to get to the bottom of a crime. It is about trying to created a narrative that the auths would like to portrary about justifying the continued clampdown that we are seeing in this country.

"And that is the subtext to the allegations to this group the PMOI. These allegations are really baseless as far as anyone can make out."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

'Racist' Kedah principal only 'temporarily suspended'

(Malaysikini) Differences in the handling of the two principals who allegedly made racist remarks to their non-Muslim students last month raises question marks on how such cases should be dealt with.

Siti Aishah Mansor, principal of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Kulai in Johor faces “punishment” should she be found guilty in a Public Service Department (JPA) investigation.
Her fate will depend on the outcome of the investigation paper that will be submitted to the disciplinary commission of the Prime Minister's Department after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Her counterpart in Kedah however retains his post despite rumours that he may be replaced.

Ungku Aznan Ungku Ismail, principal of SMK Bukit Selambau (SMKBS), Sungai Petani in Kedah, although “temporarily suspended”, has instead been reassigned to an office in the district education office at Kuala Muda/Yan, Sungai Petani, for a week.

A state education department source revealed that Ungku Aznan will have to stay away from the school for that period, but was unsure whether this arrangement was temporary.

It is speculated that the move was aimed at keeping the principal away from the press and politicians while his case is being investigated and to allow the situation at the school to cool down.

No sign of transfer

The principal of the boys' secondary school was earlier expected to be transferred by Sept 1 on the insistence of the local Chinese community, MCA and state Gerakan.

The source said that Ungku Aznan has since apologised to a group of his students during a special meeting at the school, a few days after the incident.

Ungku Aznan had caused a national outcry when, angered by the sight of Chinese students having breakfast at the school canteen during fasting period, had during the next morning assembly publicly called them “disrespectful” and suggested that "they should go back to China”.

The incident came barely a week after Siti Aishah allegedly made derogatory remarks against her Chinese and Indian students during a school function.

The Kulai principal, apparently speaking about discipline problems, had allegedly told the Chinese students they were "not needed" and should "return" to China, while she criticised the Indian students for wearing prayer bands around their wrists, allegedly saying that only dogs would do so.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who on Aug 27 spoke out for 'zero tolerance' for racism, has however remained circumspect on the issue.

Seven indian children granted birth certificate

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Umno denies 150,000 other Malaysian born Indian children Birth Certificates. ( TN 4/9/2010 at page 4 )
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Police stops HRP tawan DUN Buntong & Ipoh Barat Forum

Kit Siang claims double standards in Namewee, school principals cases

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 – Lim Kit Siang put more pressure on Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to act against racism by comparing the swift action against controversial rapper “Namewee” to inaction over two school principals who allegedly uttered racist remarks.

Describing it as “double standards”, Lim pointed out that while Namewee or Wee Meng Chee had been questioned for 10 hours over his latest rap video “Nah!”, the government was still dragging its feet in the school principals case.

“Why double standards against Namewee, questioned for over 10 hours, for his anti-racist outburst as compared to treatment of the two errant school principals?” the DAP adviser (picture) asked in a statement today.

He noted that Wee was questioned yesterday for more than seven hoursvat the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) while three days before, he was questioned a further three hours by the police.

“In contrast, the two school principals in Kulai and Bukit Selambau, who had made racial and seditious slurs against non-Malay students, had been spared such an ordeal although Meng Chee’s video was made as an anti-racist protest against these two incidents,” the Ipoh Timur MP said

Lim also expressed disappointment in a statement from the Public Service Department (PSD) today which said that a show cause letter would be issued to the Kulai principal if she had indeed uttered derogatory remarks at her students.

“Three weeks have passed since the incident in Kulai on August 12. Is it so difficult to establish the facts and the truth of the incident?” he asked.

The Education Ministry had on Thursday announced that the matter had been diverted to the PSD to handle.

In a press conference today, its minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin reiterated that the matter was in the hands of the enforcement agency and deflected questions on whether the government would use the Sedition Act on the principal.

The principal, Siti Inshah Mansor, has been accused of telling her students during a school assembly that the Chinese could go back to China while the Indians resembled “dogs” when wearing their prayer strings.

Her remark sparked off public uproar and the Najib administration’s continued silence on the matter had inspired Wee into producing his “Nah!” video clip.

The youth, with his trademark use of profanities and vulgarities, criticised the two school principals in his video clip and was hauled up by the authorities to explain his actions.

Lim however continued to stress today that there was nothing seditious or racist about Wee’s videclip.

He scoffed at the notion that an anti-racism video could become racist in nature and said that any punishment meted out on the youth should be in proportion to that given out to the two principals.

“Is the three-minute video by rapper Wee seditious? I would say no.

“Is the video racist? I would say no, unless an anti-racist response has also become ‘racist’ in the way former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants Malaysians to believe that meritocracy has become a form of racism,” he said.

Lim however admitted that Wee had been “crude, vulgar, abusive and even obscene” in his video.

“Yes. I have said twice publicly that I do not approve of the crude, vulgar, abusive and even obscene style used by Namewee but that is different from saying that it is seditious or racist and deserves the harshest criminal action,” he said.

Lim disagreed with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s statement that the party would support any action taken by the government against Wee.

“Does this include action under the Sedition Act or other capital offences? How can the MCA leadership with four ministers in the Cabinet take such an irresponsible position, giving a blank cheque to racists and extremists to set the agenda as to the punishment that should be meted out to Meng Chee?

“Isn’t this a gross abdication of responsibility in government?” he said.

Lim further questioned Najib’s sincerity when he pledged “zero tolerance for racism” recently, in his response to the incidents in the schools.

“Where is Najib’s pledge and his slogan of 1 Malaysia when there could be such great contrast between the treatment meted out to the two errant school principals and Meng Chee?

“If action is to be taken against Meng Chee, there must be a sense of proportion and justice with regard to the action meted out to the errant school principals on the one hand and Meng Chee on the other,” he said.

Full NEM report to be made public next month

IPOH: The full report on the New Economic Model (NEM) transformation will be presented to the public next month, said Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.
The NEM is a new economic model which will have at its core the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) which are expected to position the country competitively in the international arena.

"The detailed initiative is being taken to ensure that the country's aim to become a high income nation is achieved... to ensure that the achievement is through the growth of economy that will enable the people's income per capita to rise to US$15,000."

The NEM will function more on the line of real economy which will require the establishment of various industries, he told reporters after a ceremony to hand over Hari Raya Aidilfitri contributions to, among others, orphans and single mothers at the Kampung Tengku Hussin mosque here today.

He said through the transformation programme, the government will position the private sector as the driver and mover of the country's economy.

The government has formulated the NEM with the confidence that it would be able to be the catalyst in providing the new direction for the country's economy, he said.

Husni earlier said that the government is looking at an operational cost of RM500 million and a development cost of RM5 billion for the NKEA budget which will bring up the total cost to RM5.5 billion next year.

"From that amount, 8% from the budget will be contributed by the government and the remaining will be through the participation of the private sector including the government linked companies (GLCs)," he said.

The 12 NKEA fixed under the 10th Malaysia Plan are oil, gas and energy, palm oil, financial services, tourism, business services, electric and electronics, wholesale and retail, education, healthcare, communications, agriculture, and the Greater Kuala Lumpur.

From the 12, 11 are industrial sectors and one -- Greater Kuala Lumpur – is a geographic area.

- Bernama

Drug trade: Malaysia-based gang links up with Indian underworld

CHENNAI: A Malaysia-based triad society is suspected to have linked up with the Indian underworld to capture a slice of the flourishing drug trafficking trade in the region.

This startling exposure comes in the wake of the arrest of a Malaysian man by Indian police, when he attempted to smuggle out 300kg of ephedrine via Chennai Port to Malaysia, by faking the contents of the cargo.

The 34-year-old suspect, with a Kuala Lumpur address and unknown occupation, was picked up by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) sleuths, en route to boarding a flight to Malaysia from Chennai last Friday night, after completing his clandestine operation.

"We found he is a regular visitor to Chennai and was connected to a triad gang in Kuala Lumpur.

"He must have been working for a bigger network...we have also arrested two Indian nationals in connection with the case," NCB South Zonal director S Davidson Devasirvathan said today.

Interrogators believe the suspect had procured all consignments locally with the help of Indian-based drug dealers in Chennai -- which is often used as a convenient gateway by drug traffickers.

"The suspect had come to Chennai to make a booking of the substance, which is easily available in India, through an agent.

"The 'master' (suspect's triad gang boss) is in Malaysia," said Davidson, adding that the ephedrine, filled in 12 drums and discovered at Chennai Port, was estimated at nearly RM1.5 million in the black market.

Ephedrine, a stimulant substance widely used in Chinese traditional medicine, can also be converted to methamphetamine which is commonly used as “party drug” and in great demand in Southeast Asian cities among party-goers.

Davidson said NCB, India's elite drug enforcement agency, would get in touch with its Malaysian counterparts soon to unearth more information on the Malaysian suspect and the Kuala Lumpur-based triad gang.

The suspects are now being held under judicial custody as investigations are still in progress.

Two months ago, the Directorate of Revenue, another investigating agency, arrested four Indians in Chennai, linked to an international racket involved in trafficking ephedrine.

The ephedrine was smuggled to China, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In India, ephedrine is a controlled substance under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and special licence is needed for its export.

- Bernama

Muslims urged to unite against "burn a Quran day" campaign

SUMENEP (East Java): The Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) has called on all Muslims around the world to unite against the "Burn a Quran Day" campaign to commemorate the Sept 11, 2001 attacks in America, Indonesia's Antara news agency said.

About 50 activists of this conservative Islamic organisation staged a protest in Sumenep, Madura Island, East Java Province, yesterday.

"May Almighty God curse those who have initiated and planned to burn the holy Quran. This is an act of cruel and uncivilised people," a spokesman of HTI, Faisal, told the crowd of protesters.

To stop this campaign, all Muslims in the world had no choice but to unite to do their best to prevent this from happening on Sept11, Antara quoted him as saying.

"The plan itself has hurt and humiliated Muslims all over the world. Don't let this happen," he said.

A HTI-Sumenep chapter activist named Rifki said yesterday's protest was staged to remind Muslim communities all over the world of this plan to burn the Quran in the US.

"We are sure that our brothers and sisters in Islam will be encouraged to do their best to stop this act. They will, at least, recite prayers for the failure of this act," he said.

“The people who wanted to burn the Quran in the US wanted to humiliate Muslims.

"This shows that the US does want to declare war on Muslims," he said.

"The US has always cornered Muslims by saying that Muslims are part of terrorists though that country is actually a terrorist to the Muslims," he added.

This controversial campaign has not only made Muslims in Indonesia deeply concerned but also stirred uneasiness in American society.

One of the Americans who expressed her worry was Jennifer S Byron.

In her recent article published in Newsweek-Washington Post online, Byron called on American Christians to reject the "Burn a Quran Day".

She said the "Burn a Quran Day" was the way of a church in Florida to mark the ninth anniversary of the Sept 11 incident.

"So far the Christian response to this in America has been nearly dead silence."

"The National Association of Evangelicals has issued a press release opposing Burn a Quran Day. This is good, but it is basically just a statement to assure non-Evangelical Christians that Terry Jones does not represent authentic Evangelical Christianity," Byron said.

The Sept 11, 2001 attacks on American soil were launched by members of the al-Qaeda and killed several thousand people, especially in New York City's Twin Tower buildings.

- Bernama

Seeing the back of Musa Hassan: An answer to a prayer

Tunku Abdul Aziz - Malaysia-Chronicle

I hardly ever receive presents because, I suppose, I rarely ever give any. I do not even bother to celebrate my own birthday; it comes and goes completely unnoticed. When on the odd occasion I do receive a present for delivering an anti-corruption and ethical governance speech, I treasure it even though it is just another Royal Selangor pewter plate, to clutter my already-cluttered sitting room, collecting dust, to the annoyance of my long-suffering wife.

The present I am now writing about is infinitely more precious, a bountiful God’s munificent blessings in answer to a nation’s desperate prayer. The prayer, in short, beseeches God the Almighty to give Hishammuddin Hussein, our often “not all there” Minister of Home Affairs, the courage and wisdom to put Musa Hassan out to pasture, not so much as a normal and inevitable consequence of the ravages of time, but, in this case, his unethical baggage had grown too large for the nation to ignore. That must surely weigh heavily against his fitness for continued employment.

In an ethically more demanding society, which ours, I fear, is not, he would never have been allowed to darken the portal of Bukit Aman, let alone occupy the office of the Inspector-General of Police, a position of trust. Musa should never have been appointed the nation’s top dog in the first place, especially after his remarkable stellar performance in the infamous earlier Anwar Ibrahim trial, appearing complete with his pathetic stock in trade or prop in the shape of a decidedly grubby mattress, for the entire world to see.

It was in the course of this trial that he showed the full extent of his brilliant professional approach to policing which led an irreverent friend of mine to describe both Musa and Augustine Paul, and may his soul rest in peace, as “the lowest form of human life.” I apologise on behalf of my friend to the amoebas of this world. Musa displayed the agility of someone who knew exactly which side of the bread was buttered and he served Mahathir Mohamad’s evil purpose well. Quick promotions followed as a reward.

There is a sense of blessed relief permeating the atmosphere; even the police, I am told, are celebrating the departure of the man who has brought them into disrepute. Musa became the first IGP, since the post was held by Claude Fenner, to be publicly denounced in a court of law in Sabah as an “unreliable witness.” But then he was merely reverting to type and following in the footsteps of a long line of corrupt predecessors who are now luxuriating in the lap of their ill-gotten riches.

From my years of observation of the PDRM, there have only been three IGPs who were clean and seen to be free of corruption, namely the late Claude Fenner, Abdul Rahman Hashim who died under tragic circumstances in the service of the nation, and the best of them all, Mohamed Hanif Omar who is enormously disappointed to see his years of work destroyed under a succession of disreputable men. Hanif remains the quintessential officer and gentleman, an iconic figure symbolising the golden age of the Royal Malaysia Police.

While the nation rejoices in seeing the back of Musa as he gets on his bicycle to ride into the sunset of ignominy, his shadowy successor’s opening expression of gratitude to his soon departing superior sent shivers down the spine. He said, “I have been well trained by Musa. I am honoured to succeed him.” The last thing we want after the Musa years is a Musa-cloned successor. If continuing in the Musa policing model is all Ismail Omar can bring to the table, then woe betide this nation that has so far waited in vain for a human rights-based police culture.

Let Musa’s deftly cultivated culture of impunity be replaced by one espousing honour, dignity, respect, responsibility, transparency and accountability for actions taken to protect life and property. The new IGP would do well to be his own man and exorcise the dubious and unethical practices that Musa believed to be his great gift to this nation. We deserve better.

(Tunku Abdul Aziz is the vice chairman of DAP)

How Hindraf and the civil society movements can come together



There are those who say I am anti-Indian or anti-Hindraf. My outspokenness towards a single-race struggle has been condemned as that of an anti-Indian or anti-Hindraf stance. And many who propagate the Hindraf cause have taken me to task for this perceived ‘anti’ stance. Maybe it is time I made my stance clear, for whatever it is worth.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I have had meetings with Hindraf’s London-based chairman, P. Waythamoorthy, quite a number of times over the last year or so to discuss how the ‘Indian struggle’ can be broadened to include Malaysians of non-Indian ethnicity. My contention is that Hindraf needs to appear less Indian and more Malaysian to attract Malays and Chinese to its cause.

My argument is that we are not downplaying the Indian problem as much as we are saying that the problem the Indians face are also faced by the Malays and Chinese as well as the natives of East Malaysia. Poverty, after all, does not discriminate. Poverty is colour-blind. It affects all races. So if Hindraf’s struggle is to alleviate the lot of the downtrodden then it should be for the downtrodden of all races, not just the Indians.

Moorthy and I both agreed that this would be a difficult thing to ‘sell’ to the Indians. The Chinese have their ‘strong economy’ to fall back on while the Malays have their ‘government protection’ under the new Economic Policy (NEP). What do the Indians have other than the MIC, which has failed to deliver what it is supposed to deliver?

Notwithstanding the uphill battle ahead of us, we agreed to try and give it a shot and see whether we can convince the Indians that it is to their interest that the Malays and Chinese rally to their cause. And I came out with a brief ‘concept paper’ to explain what we are seeking and what we can achieve if the other non-Indian-based civil society movements make an ‘alliance’ of sorts with Hindraf.

At worse we will be accused of being too idealistic -- but idealistic or otherwise we can never be accused of insincerity in attempting to solve the ‘Indian problem' by including the Malays and Chinese in the Hindraf cause.

As follows is the brief concept paper that I prepared and which I handed to Moorthy. In principle he is agreeable to the spirit of the paper although he feels some polishing up needs to be done to the paper to clarify certain areas and make it more specific. My contention is that this is merely a choice of words and rearrangement of sentence structure, which does not change what we want to say one bit.

******************************************

The Hindraf cause should be a Malaysian cause

Though the New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced in 1970, was aimed at eventually eradicating poverty ‘irrespective of race’ and to undertake economic restructuring so as to eliminate the identification of ethnicity, its implementation within the framework of the race-based system of governance has led to a state of affairs where poverty and inequities persist.

The NEP and its successor policies have enriched a small community of elites at the expense of the overwhelming majority and the creation of a belief of racial supremacy on the part of some conclusively show that it is imperative that the Malaysian system of affirmative action be seriously reconsidered.

A significant percentage of the population are still living in poverty and face serious difficulties in fulfilling the most basic of needs and expectations. In the East Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak, some rural communities live in absolute poverty with no access to basic needs such as potable and clean water, electricity, and other essential amenities. In the West Malaysian states, the Indian community is the main victim although many Malays and Chinese are no less spared.

The rising incidence of urban poverty is leading to an alarming increase in the crime rate. The poverty cycle threatens to self-perpetuate due to a lack of opportunities for higher education for those from the lower economic segment of the population, in particular the Indians. There is a serious deficiency in the quality and capability of human capital with a rising number of local graduates finding it difficult to find employment.

A denial of access to opportunities has led to a growing disenfranchisement that can potentially become a serious threat to stability and the Malaysian way of life. The system of governance having emphasised the differences amongst the racial communities, it is not unlikely that in the event of any unrest, such unrest may manifest along racial and religious lines.

Poverty does not discriminate. Poverty does not recognise race. Poverty touches all segments of society whether they are the natives of East Malaysia or the Indians, Chinese, Malays and Orang Asli of West Malaysia. It is time, therefore, for Hindraf’s struggle to include all races and for all races to participate in Hindraf’s struggle.

Invariably, since the Indians are the more dispossessed group, the struggle to reduce poverty and for more equitability in all sectors, education included, would automatically improve the lot of the Indians. But in doing so the lot of the other communities would not be forsaken.

Hindraf aspires to see the end of a race-based system of governance in favour of a non-race-based, integrated system of governance. This should also be the aspiration of all Malaysians regardless of race. Hindraf also desires that the policy of affirmative action be reconsidered with a view to establishing a system that ensures that the objective of poverty eradication can be achieved efficiently, effectively and inclusively. And this too is what most Malaysians desire. Therefore, the aspirations and desires of Hindraf are compatible with that of all non-Indian Malaysians, which means there is nothing to prevent all Malaysians from supporting the Hindraf struggle for a better Malaysia for all.

We are committed to the need of the dismantling of any and all remaining practices of ‘divide and rule’ in public administration and to put in place an affirmative action programme at Federal and all State levels to eradicate poverty and marginalisation from amongst the weak and backward groups irrespective of race, social background and religion.

Special attention must also be given to the Orang Asli in the Peninsula and all the indigenous groups in Sabah and Sarawak. Various laws and regulations pertaining to this community must also be amended or formulated so that justice is served, including establishing a Commission to protect Native Customary Rights (NCR) land and to resolve disputes relating to such lands while respecting their traditions and customs.

National integration should also be strengthened through the restoration of the rights and privileges that were promised to the people of Sabah and Sarawak. An independent ‘Ethnic Relations Council’ should also be set up that will report directly to Parliament to help in building a united Bangsa Malaysia.

In fulfilling this concept of a Bangsa Malaysia, Hindraf needs to broaden its struggle to include the needs of all Malaysians, irrespective of race, and for all Malaysians, irrespective of race, to support the Hindraf struggle to improve the lot of all Malaysians without ignoring the reality that the Indians and Orang Asli of West Malaysia and the natives of East Malaysia are the more displaced community.

Jika tak tahu cakap Bahasa Melayu, balik Cina!

Ay Lian mulai bercakap dengan Inspektor Shabudin dengan Bahasa Malaysia tetapi Inspektor Shabudin enggan cakap dengan Ay Lian sebab dia bukan pengadu. Inspektor Shabudin seterusnya kata dengan saya "Jika tak tahu cakap Bahasa Melayu, balik Cina".

By Lim Lip Eng (DAP MP for Segambut)

I accompanied the complainant to make this police report this morning at 9am.

We left IPD Sentul at about 11am after waiting for almost 2 hours without any investigating officer taking a statement from the complainant.

jinjang

Revisiting the Bumiputera corporate equity issue

More than five years have passed since the Asli corporate study report revealed that Bumiputera ownership of corporate equity in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange had exceeded the 30 percent target. 

The study's findings of a 45 percent Bumiputera share were based on a different method of measurement compared with the official one. Using market value as opposed to the par value valuation official method, and allocating the equity of GLCs according to racial share, the study noted that it was time to do away with the policy which had been implemented since the 1970s.

The study's findings raised a hue and cry not only because it challenged the official data on the share equity attained by the Malay community but more importantly because it challenged the official orthodoxy.

Strong reactions from various Umno leaders at that time indicated their fury -- and perhaps fear -- that the Asli study negated a long-held belief on how the Bumiputera corporate equity strategy was necessary for Bumiputera economic advancement and synonymous with the interests of the Malays.

Lost in the firestorm were the study's recommendations that encompassed a wide spectrum of issues. Those recommendations are reproduced below. 
I hope they will be read more carefully by the present crop of policymakers and politicians that are trying to find their way out of what has correctly been referred to as the "bastardization of the NEP" - an assessment made by one of the nation's foremost bankers, Nazir Razak.


Corporate equity findings (from Centre for Public Policy Studies' Report)
    *  GLCs are leading shareholders of corporate equity. The GLCs' pattern of operation reflects little entrepreneurial and manufacturing capacity.


    * Regulatory agencies ensure that 30% of the equity of quoted firms are owned by Bumiputera. These agencies do not, however, ensure that individual Bumputera allocated large volumes of publicly-listed equity, especially during IPOs, retain their ownership of this equity.


    * Publicly-listed shares distributed to Bumiputera minority shareholders during IPOs should be done in a more equitable and transparent manner. Currently, an elite benefits from such IPOs, and these shares are quickly divested for huge profits.


    * The continuous divestment by Bumiputera shareholders (partly as a means of asset diversification) has been mainly responsible for the so-called "under achievement" by Bumiputera in relation to the NEP corporate equity targets based on the official definition.


    * Even if this divestment is not taken into account, Bumiputera share of corporate equity presently is well in excess of the target of 30 percent, if more objective methodologies of measurement are used.


    * There is little intra-ethnic business cooperation among leading Chinese businessmen. There is growing evidence of inter-ethnic partnerships forged on a basis where the partners contribute equally to the development of an enterprise.


    * Government regulation and policies, principally in the form of NEP measures, are stymieing entrepreneurial development and hindering domestic and foreign investment.


Corporate equity recommendations
    * Enterprises owned by the GLCs must be managed by competent professionals with expertise in the business of the company under their charge. Senior management positions should not be determined on the basis of ethnic background but on merit and professional achievement.


    * The government should cease allocating equity to individual Bumiputera during IPOs. The allocation of shares to Bumiputera before IPOs tend to promote Ali-Baba relationships that only serve to undermine investor confidence and foster ill-will.


    * Bumiputera trust agencies, such as the ASN and ASB, should be the primary beneficiaries of IPOs allocated to this community. At the same time, there should be equal determination by the government to increase the share participation of the Indian and East Malaysian Bumiputera communities through similar community-based trust agencies.


    * Government initiatives to promote enterprise development on the basis of affirmative action will undermine entrepreneurial endeavours, which have emerged primarily among SMEs, without state support.


    * The government should focus its attention on promoting key economic sectors and SMEs as a means to develop Malaysia's economic potential. The government should particularly tap into the potential of the new middle class to create thriving enterprises and find means to support such endeavours.


    * Racially oriented affirmative action and the promotion of Malay-owned businesses have created serious intra-ethnic Malay cleavages while also hindering the creation of a competitive economic environment. The government should not continue with the continued promotion of such policies.


    * In calculating the respective ethnic shares of the corporate equity, there is need to apportion the share of GLCs as well as nominee companies according to the ethnic composition of the country.  This will provide a fairer and more objective computation of the respective ethnic shares as compared with the current methodology.


    * Government policies to enhance Malay Bumiputera and other ethnic minority participation in commerce and industry are better achieved through capacity building efforts such as investment in human resource development and skills training rather than through forced equity restructuring.    


Continuing wayang on Malay corporate equity

It is understandable why Perkasa and similar parasitic groups are raging away at the corporate equity issue. The ultra nationalist movement badly needs issues that can burnish its credentials as the protector of Malay interests and derail the structural reforms the country needs to flourish.

What is incomprehensible is why Umno continues to harp on the attainment of the racial corporate equity share target as a key goal to be pursued for the Malays and country as a whole.

It is absolutely the wrong target to focus on because it has been conclusively shown to benefit only a small minority of well-connected and already wealthy business and political leaders - numbering perhaps no more than a few tens of thousands of individuals and their families at most.

One would have thought that the $52 billion out of $54 billion of equity value sold off by Bumiputera preferred investors between 1985 and 2005 would be sufficient proof that these individuals do not need more perks and special treatment. 

More important, the Bumiputra corporate equity target is the wrong one as it will only distract from the more important challenges that the nation and especially the Malays and other Bumiputra communities need to face up to. 

Note: This article first appeared in Chinese in the weekly paper, 'Red Tomato'.