Share |

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Say sorry, or get sued': Samy's paper warned

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: Former MIC member G Kumar Aamaan has issued a letter of demand to Tamil Nesan, warning the newspaper that it could face a RM80 million suit if it did not apologise for calling him a Muslim. Kumar gave the daily, owned by MIC president S Samy Vellu's family, seven days to respond to the letter.

In a statement today, his lawyer V Thiru Kumar said the daily had tarnished his client's image by referring to him as a Muslim when he was a Hindu.

“Tamil Nesan has not denied making seditious remarks against him. It also said that it is prepared to face us in court. So we are taking up the challenge. This is not the first time the daily has slandered him so he feels firm action must be taken,” he added.

In an immediate response, Samy Vellu's son, Vell Paari, who oversees Nesan's operations, ruled out the possibility of tendering an apology.

“We are not going to apologise, we are ready to meet him in court. My advice to him is to put his money where his mouth is. Let's meet in court,” he told FMT.

Vell Paari also claimed that he had received a text message from Kumar, stating that the latter would reveal more “spicy” news about MIC soon.

“MIC is more than 50 years old; it has seen the thick and thin of the political environment, we have faced all sorts of issues. The party will not be destroyed or undermined by any spicy news,” he said.

Kumar, a fomer central working committee member, was one of the three MIC leaders who were axed by the president for calling on the latter to step down.

The three later went on to form the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) movement.

Retiring IGP decries third-party meddling


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Outgoing Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan today spoke out against what he saw as excessive interference by “third parties” in police business, naming the Home Ministry among others.

“All kinds of people interfere. People from the ministry itself, outsiders, people with vested interests like those who want to do things that are not right — they will try to interfere,” he said.

“The ministry I mentioned is the Home Ministry, of course. Other ministries cannot give me orders,” he added, when asked to clarify.

Musa (picture) stressed that these third parties should not give orders to police subordinates without the knowledge of the senior police leadership as this sometimes stopped the force from carrying out its duties.

“If interference occurs... this is a wrong action because it is not in line with command and control,” he said.

“We don’t want others to give our officers orders that, if carried out, are wrong. That’s why it must be direct command and control from senior officers from the police themselves, and no outsiders to dictate what to do.”

Police must answer for alleged 'balik China' flare-up

(Malaysiakini)The police have been given till Friday to respond to a report filed against an investigating officer for allegedly making a racist remark, or have the issue escalated to Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein.

NONESegambut MP Lim Lip Eng (right) said it was unbecoming of a police officer to tell the complainant, Loh See Mooi, to balik Cina (go back to China) just because he assumed she did not understand Malay.
Lim said the 51-year-old housewife was filing a report at the Sentul police station on Aug 24 following a snatch theft where she lost her purse and documents.
He claimed that the investigating officer assigned to take Loh's statement however told her and her daughter to balik Cina kalau tak pandai cakap Melayu (go back to China if you don't know how to speak Malay) after Loh's daughter started speaking in English.
Lim said the mother and daughter were taken aback by the officer's sudden outburst, to which Loh responded by asking in Malay why the officer assumed that she did not speak or understand Malay.
Loh, accompanied by Lim, later lodged a police report at the Kepong police station against the officer on Saturday.
A team from Bukit Aman later went to her home on Sunday to record a statement on her complaint. Loh was however summoned again this morning to give a further statement to the one filed on Saturday,
"Why is it that she has to give so many statements to different officers? Isn't it enough for the statement to be taken by Bukit Aman? Does the right hand talk to the left hand?," Lim questioned.
The DAP man stressed that either way, they are expecting the police, particularly the Sentul station, to respond to the complaint by Friday.
"If they fail to do so, we will take this higher, including with the (home) minister," he said.

Incoming IGP must discipline his men to adhere to law

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Incoming inspector general of police (IGP) Ismail Omar must discipline his men and do away with the brutal 'detain first, investigate later' practice which has discredited the image of the country’s police force.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia coordinator Tah Moon Hui said Ismail must train members of the police force to implement codes of conduct during interrogation of detainees as stipulated under the Lock-Up Facilities Act and the Criminal Procedure Code.
He said this was the only way to ensure that cases of death due to police negligence in lock-ups are reduced.
"The IGP must prioritise this issue. He must make sure that they carry out investigations before making any form of arrests. This is most important.
“If the police completed their investigations and then made the arrests, then they can immediately charge the suspect in court. Let the court decide if he should be detained or not.
“In many cases the detainees who died in police lock-ups were people held to help police investigations.  He should stop the detain first investigate later practice, ” said Tah, adding that to date 141 cases of deaths in police lock-ups have been reported since 2000, the latest being a youth named R Gunasegaran.

No concrete proof

Tah said many suggestions have been forwarded to the police to help reduce  incidents of deaths in detention but the police apparently weren't interested or did not believe the suggestions were necessary.
"We have carried out strategic investigations and monitored the cases of deaths in police lock-ups in recent years.
“There is no concrete proof that the police have take sufficient action to avoid or reduce deaths while in detention,” said Tah.
He added that the Acts, which had been amended decades ago, still had room for improvements such as affirming the rights of detainees, such as the right to legal representation and right to know why they were being detained.
Citing an example, he said they had suggested that close-circuit televisions (CCTV) be fitted in all interrogation rooms so that the recordings could be used, but until now there had been no moves to do so.
“Some police investigation rooms have installed CCTVs but it either does not work or is directed elsewhere, ” he said, adding that in most cases interrogations did not adhere to the conditions stipulated under the Lock-Up Act.
The Act details the duration of each interrogation session, the rights and safety of the detainees.

Racism: Quick resolution needed

By FMT Staff

ALOR STAR: The federal government has been urged to put in place quickly a mechanism to counter race issues in the country, particularly in relation to teachers and racist politicians. Bukit Selambau assemblyman S Manikumar said Malaysians were becoming overly-sensitive and traumatised by recent incidents, which should not have occurred in the first place.

“We must think quickly of a mechanism to strengthen racial harmony. Malays, Chinese, Indians and Siamese must collectively think about the successes we have achieved since independence 53 years ago. It will all be a waste if we continue to carry on like this on a day-to-day basis,” he said

Manikumar was commenting on reports that the principal of Bukit Selambau Secondary School,   Ungku Aznan Ungku Ismail, would not be penalised for mouthing racial slurs at his non-Malay students who were eating in the school canteen during the Ramadan month.

He said in the past, when racial ties among Malaysians were at its best, a statement such as the one made by Ungku Aznan would be overlooked.

“But the situation is different now. I want to ask the Chinese and the Siamese community here in Bukit Selambau not to magnify the issue because there are many other good and wise Malays here who are there for us,” he said.

Manikumar said the Kedah government took serious note of the issue and had directed the state education department to look into the matter.

“I have raised the issue with Menteri Besar (Azizan Abdul Razak) and he has directed the state education department to investigate the matter and take firm action.

“The investigation will take time as it involves the department and legal provisions which must be studied,” he said.

Embarrassed TV3 yanks out controversial Raya advert

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno-linked TV3 has cancelled a controversial Hari Raya Aidilfitri advertisement and apologised for “hurting the feelings” of its Muslim viewers. Succumbing to angry outbursts from Muslims over Facebooks, TV3 in its main 8pm news bulletin last night apologised to Muslims nationwide.

The controversial advert which incorporated elements of Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism into the festive commercial came under heavy criticism  from Muslims across the nation, including Pakatan Rakyat.

The critics claimed the advertisement, which displayed a flying trishaw, lotus and lamps, would confuse Muslims and youths.

According to edyesdotcom.blogspot, a study of the advert gave the impression that 1Malaysia concept, propounded by Umno and Apco Worldwide, was now 1Religion.

The writer noted that another blog, aulakalimah, had found mirror reflections of fine jawi inscriptions from the Quran and a minaret of a mosque turned into a crucifix.

The revelation, the writer said, raised several questions as to who created, directed and approved the airing of the advert and if Apco Worldwide was in anyway linked to TV3.

Isareli-linked Apco Worldwide is the controversial image consultants hired by the Barisan Nasional government to rebrand the government and country.

Meanwhile, PAS Youth has submitted a memorandum of protest to TV3 management over the airing of the advertisement.

Its president, Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi, said the advertisement was in poor taste and showed how deep TV3’s understanding of Muslim sensitivities was.

“This is what happens when people, including BN leaders, don’t understand the meaning of the 1Malaysia concept, which is being championed by the prime minister.

“In the end, a popular station like TV3 made its own interpretation of Aidilfitri to the point of aborting Muslim faith.

“Already you don’t understand the concept of 1Malaysia, what  more uniting under 1Religion,” he said.

Azmin press meet 'misleading'

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT PETALING JAYA: One of the PKR MPs who attended a press conference here to express support for Azmin Ali is fuming.
According to him, he was not told what was on the agenda.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the MP said: “I was not aware that it was to back Azmin and I am disappointed for not being told about this.”

He claimed that it was “misleading” for PKR supreme council member Kamarul Bahrin Abbas to  tell reporters that all the MPs present were in favour of Azmin becoming the next deputy president.

The MP said the situation was similar to what had happened with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim previously.

“It is the same thing... I was caught by surprise then as well when they discussed about his removal,” he added, referring to a meeting held in June.

Taking a swipe at Azmin, the MP said that the vice-president should not be resorting to such tactics to win in the upcoming party polls.

“Rather than pulling such stunts, why doesn't this ambitious person just focus on performing. I am sure if he performs, he can win without having to resort to these kind of charades,” he told FMT.

He said PKR was now in need of a leader with a vision who could take the party to greater heights.

“We should not only be talking about dislodging Barisan Nasional and grabbing power. We should focus on how to address the problems plaguing the nation and how to take the country forward,” he added.

Also present at the press conference were MPs Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang), S Manikavasagam (Kapar), Loh Gwo Burne (Kelana Jaya), Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani) and Amran Abdul Ghani (Tanah Merah).

Kamarul, who is the MP for Teluk Kemang, said that 20 MPs and senators were backing Azmin.

'I knew it was about Azmin'
Meanwhile, Manikavasagam said he was aware that the press conference was related to Azmin's bid for the number two slot.

“When I received the text message, I checked with Zuraida and Kamarul and they told me of their intention to show support for Azmin,” he added.

However, he pointed out that despite their support, it was up to the members to decide who they wanted as deputy president.

“The PKR leadership will be determined by its members, unlike delegates before,” he said, referring to the implementation of the direct election process.

“Therefore even if MPs support a particular candidate, it will be hard to predict who the members will vote for in the polls,” he added.

Court denies papers to ex-airman

Tharmendran claimed the documents would prove his innocence in the crime. — file pic

PETALING JAYA, Sept 6 — The Sessions Court here dashed ex-airman N. Tharmendran’s hopes of proving his innocence on charges of stealing two F5-E jet engines, when it denied him today access to classified documents from the prosecution.

Judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz cited the Federal Court’s decision which rejected Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal for further documents in his sodomy trial.

“Referring to the Federal Court’s decision in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s case, the court agrees that under Section 51A (of the Criminal Procedure Code), it supports the prosecution. Application is dismissed,” said Hayatul Akmal today.

The defence team for former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) sergeant Tharmendran made an application this morning asking for written correspondence between Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and RMAF chief General Datuk Rodzali Daud in relation to the case, along with log books detailing the time and persons on duty in December 2007 when the stolen jet engines were allegedly removed from the Sungai Besi RMAF air base.

They also sought statements recorded during police investigations on allegations by Tharmendran’s father that his son was tortured by air force majors, and statements recorded by the RMAF during their investigations of other air force personnel — who were allegedly tortured at the same time as Tharmendran claims, for the theft of spare parts.

The prosecution, however, said that such documents were not in their possession and that they were not obligated to supply the defence with papers other than what they were using.

“The court agrees with the prosecution that those are privileged documents under Section 112 of the CPC (Criminal Procedure Code),” said Hayatul Akmal, referring to the statements taken during police investigations.

Speaking after the ruling, defence lawyer N. Surendran later slammed the Federal Court’s decision in Anwar’s case that was cited by the Sessions Court here in Tharmendran’s application for key documents.

“The decision of the Federal Court is extremely narrow and conservative,” Surendran told reporters today.

“The Federal Court seems to be deliberately bent on retarding the rights of accused persons in criminal trials,” he added.

The Federal Court had rejected Anwar’s appeal to obtain medical notes from three doctors who had inspected the complainant in his sodomy trial, Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The apex court had ruled that prior to the start of the trial, Anwar was only entitled to documents and materials pertaining to the charge which had already been provided to him, and that a roving “fishing” enquiry for evidence was not permissible.

Following today’s ruling, Surendran said the defence will now resume focus Tharmendran’s trial.

“We see no point in appealing further. It is not likely that we will appeal,” he said.

The human rights lawyer added that non-governmental organisation, Lawyers for Liberty, would send the Chief Justice a memorandum after Hari Raya Aidilfitri to press for a reform of the judiciary.

Surendran has maintained that Tharmendran is a scapegoat in a larger conspiracy concerning the theft of aircraft spare parts involving high-ranking officers.

The lawyer added that basic documents like the RMAF log books related to the stolen jet engines were crucial in determining the validity of the accusations against Tharmendran.

Tharmendran’s application to cross-examine the two air force majors who allegedly tortured him has been set for hearing on October 1 in the Shah Alam High Court, after which his application to quash the charges against him will be heard.

Tharmendran, in a motion filed on July 16, is seeking for the charges against him to be thrown out on grounds that the authorities in the case had a specific intention to implicate him.

The former RMAF sergeant previously claimed to have been tortured by two “majors” who sought to force a confession that he had stolen the jet engines.

He further alleged that about 30 to 40 others had been similarly tortured as he could hear their screams during his confinement at the air force base.

The jet engine theft scandal saw a twist with the recent emergence of a new witness, whom Surendran said was willing to prove Tharmendran’s torture allegations.

Tharmendran and company director K. Rajandran Prasad were jointly charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on January 6 in connection with the theft of the missing F5-E jet engines.

Tharmendran is accused of stealing the engines in December 2007 at the Subang RMAF air base.

He was also charged with conspiring in the theft with senior airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop at the material processing shed at the Sungai Besi RMAF base.

He was arrested on September 1 last year, and if convicted faces up to 10 years’ jail and a fine. Rajandran is accused of disposing of the engines on April 30, 2008.

The theft was a major embarrassment to the government, following reports later that the country’s first submarine — KD Tunku Abdul Rahman — could not dive in tropical waters.

The prime minister had vowed that there would be no cover-up in the high-profile case which occurred during his tenure as defence minister while the current minister, Ahmad Zahid, had claimed that it had been an inside job.

Hayatul Akmal fixed the case for mention on October 11. - The Malaysian Insider

Guan Eng blames Muhyiddin for ‘racist’ civil service

Lim: Umno leaders should refrain from racist politics before pointing fingers to others.
UR, Sept 6 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today blamed Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for failing to act on reports of racism in the civil service over the past weeks.

Lim said that the move by the Education Ministry’s Director-General Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom in issuing a circular on August 26, warning that action would be taken against those “who made racist remarks” was irrelevant as it did not address the “real problem.”

“The Education Ministry’s latest circular to warn school principals and teachers against making racist remarks is irrelevant as it fails to address the real problems. Blaming the principals and teachers is merely an act of finding a scapegoat,” said Lim in a statement today.

Lim claimed that the warning should instead be directed to Muhyiddin, the education minister, for failing to act and condoning the racist remarks made by two school principals in Kulai, Johor and Kedah recently.

“Umno leaders should refrain from racist politics before pointing fingers to others. The buck should stop at Tan Sri Muhyiddin. If Muhyiddin continues to tolerate racist behaviour among Umno leaders and members, it is not surprising that it has infected the civil service, including school principals and teachers. Stern actions must be taken to resolve this problem, said Lim.

The Penang Chief Minister said that the Education Ministry’s move in issuing a circular reflected badly on the country’s education system, adding that principals, teachers and other school staff should themselves be aware that uttering racist remarks was wrong.

“By issuing the circular, it shows that something is seriously wrong with our education system. The principals, teachers and other school staff should already know a long time ago, even on the first day on their job that uttering racist remarks is wrong, illegal and against the basic principles of their vocation. It is such a shameful situation where teachers have to be reminded that racism is both wrong and bad. What will the students think?

“We have high hopes on our school principals and teachers. They are teaching our children to be good and responsible citizens. After 53 years of Merdeka, is this our education system’s greatest achievement?” said Lim.

The Najib administration has yet to announce whether it planned to punish Johor school principal Siti Inshah Mansor for allegedly uttering racial slurs.

Muhyiddin said last weekend that the buck was now in the hands of the “enforcement authority” to decide on what form of action to take against the Johor principal.

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.

“Muhyiddin should stop playing politics and seriously think of the impact on our multiracial country. Racism is beyond party politics; it is a cancer that can destroy all of us, regardless of one’s creed, colour and class,” said Lim.

PKR MPs, senators back Azmin for No 2

(Malaysiakini) The majority of PKR's representatives at both upper and lower houses of Parliament have pledged their support for Azmin Ali to contest for the party deputy presidency at the upcoming party polls.
Azmin, who is Gombak MP, has yet to officially state his intention to contest the post, but is widely speculated to do so soon.
Of PKR's 24 MPs, 18 have pledged support for Azmin while two out of three senators have expressed the same.
NONEAt a press conference at the party headquarters today, PKR supreme council member Kamarul Baharin Abas (right in photo) said that with Azmin as the deputy president, it would complement incumbent president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail's leadership.

"Azmin has gone through a rough path since the days of reformasi and he is dedicated to the party's struggle," said Kamarul, who is also Teluk Kemang MP.
Only a fraction of the entire group were present at the press conference today.
Other MPs present were Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang), Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani), S Manikavasagam (Kapar), Loh Gwo Burne (Kelana Jaya) and Amran Abdul Gani (Tanah Merah).
azlanThe remaining 12 are Abdullah Sani (Kuala Langat), Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan), Azan Ismail (Indera Mahkota), Hee Loy Sian (Petaling Jaya Selatan), Dr Lee Boon Chye (Gopeng), Ab Aziz Ab Kadir (Ketereh), Yusmadi Yusoff (Balik Pulau), Rashid Din (Merbok), Tian Chua (Batu), William Leong (Selayang), R Sivarasa (Subang) and Ahmad Kasim (Kuala Kedah).

The two senators are Mustafa Kamal from Penang and Zamri Yusof from Kedah. PKR has a total of three senators, with the third being Syed Husin Ali who is the incumbent party deputy president.

Other than Azmin himself, five other PKR MPs who are not in the group are Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh), Nurul Izzah (Lembah Pantai), Saifuddin Nasution (Machang), Khalid Ibrahim (Bandar Tun Razak) and N Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai).

‘My Constitution’ head laughs off sedition claim

Bon said the complainants had confused theory with facts. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 – Lawyer Edmund Bon, who heads the Bar Council’s “My Constitution” campaign, said today he was surprised and tickled by a youth group’s claim that its public awareness booklets were seditious.

Bon was responding to a police report lodged yesterday by the 1 Malaysia Youth Graduands Club in Serdang, calling on the authorities to take immediate action against the campaigners for allegedly advocating the changing of provisions in the Federal Constitution, especially those touching on the special position of Malays and Islam.

“We’re amused they are saying it’s seditious,” Bon told The Malaysian Insider.
He defended the contents of the booklets, explaining that they were written in a simplified form but were an accurate guide to the provisions of the highest law of the land, and denied the campaign was aimed at changing the Constitution.

“The campaign does not seek to amend the Constitution, only to educate the public on what is in the Constitution,” Bon stressed.

“They’re confusing the theoretical aspect of the Constitution with the facts,” he added, referring to the allegation by the youth group’s secretary-general Ezaruddin Abdul Rahman, that people had the right to amend the Federal Constitution if they voted for members of parliament capable of doing so.

Bon pointed out that some 90,000 booklets had been distributed nationwide to date with the support of the federal government and in partnership with several state governments — including Sarawak, Selangor and Kedah.

He also highlighted that senior members of each arm of government have graced the campaign since it took off on November 13 last year, notably Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia for the legislative; Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum for the judiciary; and representing the executive was Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department charge of integration and national unity.

“We’re certainly not funded by foreign, anti-government NGOs,” he laughed, in response to further insinuations from the group.

Ezaruddin was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying: “We also believe that the brochures were sponsored by an anti-government foreign non-governmental organisation.”

Today, Bon invited the group to the join in the campaign’s next forum at its next launch on September 16 in Bangsar, which will discuss the role of the judiciary.

He added they could also contact him for a private discussion. - The Malaysian Insider

MPs back Azmin for No 2: 'Cartel' at work?

PETALING JAYA: Azmin Ali has yet to announce his decision to contest for the PKR deputy president post but party leaders have already come out to express support for him.
According to them, the current vice-president was the right choice for the job.
However, some party sources wondered if this was an attempt to ensure that control of PKR remained in the hands of a select few.
Speaking to reporters at the PKR headquarters here this morning, supreme council member Kamarul Bahrin Abbas said Azmin had gone through many rough patches since the reformasi days.
He said 20 MPs and senators were backing Azmin for the number two slot.
Also present at the press conference were MPs Zuraidah Kamaruddin (Ampang), Loh Gwo Burne (Kelana Jaya), Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani) and Amran Abdul Ghani (Tanah Merah).
Questioning the timing of the press conference given that nominations had not concluded, the sources asked if Azmin's camp was rattled by the prospect of supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim entering the ring.
Azmin, who is a close associate of PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, was always said to be uncomfortable with Zaid's presence and meteoric rise.
"So is this a move by the Anwar-Azmin 'cartel' to make sure that the party remains in the hands of a privileged few instead of having an 'outsider' like Zaid move up the ranks?
"Zaid has been getting tremendous support in the party, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, and this has left some leaders in PKR squirming uncomfortably in their seats," said a source.
The source also questioned why PKR was averse to allowing new leaders to rise up the ranks compared to its Pakatan Rakyat partners PAS and DAP.
"This does not happen in the other parties, only in PKR. Like when (former MCA vice-president) Chua Jui Meng joined, it took him such a long time to go up," he said.
Certain forces
Meanwhile, Zaid himself indicated in his blog that certain forces were at work to undermine him and drew a comparison between his position and with what happened to Umno stalwart Ghafar Baba in the past.
Zaid said when he joined the opposition party a year ago, he was hailed as a hero, but now he was being branded as an Umno agent on a mission to destroy PKR.
He also revealed that his rivals had paid a popular blogger to tarnish his name.
"The blogger was asked to write that I will pay RM20,000 to the branch that nominates me, and that I was tasked by (former finance minister) Daim Zainuddin to destroy PKR," he said.
"My loyalty has been questioned, but loyalty to whom? Perhaps, I am not loyal to the party's cause or to the highest leadership, I don't know.
"Perhaps these MPs will come forward and explain why my nomination will not be supported at their press conferences to show support for the great Anwar-Azmin combination," he added.

Tamil media war: Paari says rivals drew first blood

By RK Anand - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The bitter feud between MIC president S Samy Vellu and his former deputy S Subramaniam often spilled onto the pages of the respective Tamil dailies linked to them.

There are three dailies in the ring, the Samy Vellu family-owned Tamil Nesan in one corner, the Subramaniam-owned Makkal Osai and pro-Subramaniam Malaysia Nanban in the other.

In recent months, the slugfest was reduced to personal jibes, name calling and the using of unsavoury language causing an uproar in the Indian community.

Even Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had reminded the dailies not to ovsertep the boundaries and the mud slinging had since shifted into low gear.

Speaking to FMT on this, Samy Vellu's son Vell Paari, who oversees Nesan's operations, pointed the finger at the rivals.

According to him, it was Osai and Nanban which had started the ball rolling downhill.

During the height of the K Sujatha issue, Vell Paari said both dailies, especially Osai, had run a series of articles which broke all journalistic ethics.

“They wrote horrible things about me and my family... everyone was happy reading about this then, so why do they complain about Nesan doing the same now?” he asked.

“I was patient at first. But then, they wrote about my mother,” he said.

'We were pushed against the wall'

Vell Paari claimed that Osai had run an article stating that he would be charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code for “murder” in relation to Sujatha's death and if found guilty, he would be hanged.

“The article said that my mother was running around town, with her hair let down, like a 'mad woman', searching for shamans to save me. How could they say such things about my mother?” he said.

“When they kept pushing us, there was a point we were against the wall so we had to come back clawing. We gave them a taste of their own medicine,” he added.

Vell Paari said even when the inquest into Sujatha's death had ruled that he was innocent, Osai had continued to “twist and turn” the story.

Sujatha, a former actress, had worked for Vell Paari in his capacity as chief executive officer of Maika Holdings.

Continuing his tirade, the MIC central working committee member said the two dailies had always been unethical in their reporting about the party and his family.

“How long could we be quiet? We had complained to them, we went to the Home Ministry but nothing happened. There was no reasoning with them. So we decided to talk in their language.

“There is no point now in crying who let the dogs out, they had let the dogs out. There is a difference between writing news articles and concocting stories,” he said.

'My heart is heavy'

However, Vell Paari conceded that he was saddened that the situation had deteriorated to such a low point.

“I agree, this is not good journalism. I am aware of this, and my heart is heavy, but we had no choice, we had to hit back. But we have stopped now. We just wanted them to know that we could play the same game as well,” he said.

Vell Paari stressed that he had no issues with those who were critical about his father, him or MIC but noted that decorum must be maintained.

Citing a recent example, he accused one of the dailies of deliberately “cutting out” MIC Youth chief T Mohan from a photograph regarding a news report on a building opened by the latter in Puchong.

“Even the opposition maintains a sense of decorum. We have our differences but they are confined to the political arena. We do not get personal,” he said.

'Sue us if you want'

Meanwhile, Vell Paari defended Nesan's editor Tamil Mani, and quashed rumours that the latter was suspended following a police report lodged against him by former MIC member G Kumar Amman.

He said Tamil Mani had applied for two weeks leave since he had been working without a break and his son's wedding was around the corner.

“If Kumar is upset with what the editor wrote, then he should sue Tamil Nesan and we are prepared to face him in court,” he said, adding that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Kumar, a former CWC member, was one of the three MIC leaders given the boot by Samy Vellu for openly calling on him to step down as president.

Following this, the three, including former Youth deputy chief V Mugilan and former CWC member KP Samy, went on to form the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu or GAS.

Malaysia or Malaysaja? - Part 2

Nurul - a chip off the old block
Nurul Izzah Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR - Since I wrote my August 31, 2010 article, titled “The Ultimate Malaysian Debate: Malaysia or Malaysaja?”, which called for a constructive engagement with Perkasa, and with the stated purpose to seek clarification and not challenge or repeal the constitution, my invitation to Perkasa has not only been rejected but countless accusations and police reports were made against me.

I believe as a democracy, that all opinions made related to the article — which I hope was not lost in translation — is accepted and responded to with thanks.

With that, I invite everyone to read the full article again.

I stand by that article and will remain a Malaysian Patriot forever.

I also recommend that the Malaysian Constitution be read in conjunction with the Articles mentioned. For brevity, the fantastic MyConstitution brochures produced by the Malaysian Bar Council are also very helpful.

Part 2: Clarifying and Reconciling the Constitution

In the interest of framing the context of my concerns for the state of our nation, I have written this sequel.

I wish to continue in the path of constructive engagement with all concerned Malaysians.

I again reaffirm that I only seek clarifications and not to challenge or ask to repeal our constitution.

I have decided to make a list of issues concerning “Malay Rights”, that needs to be clarified and reconciled between the mixed government policy signals over the years in relation to Article 153, Article 152, Article 89 and the NEP.

The main contention for clarification is that, how do we reconcile between the need for change to meet current circumstances facing the nation today and the constitution — the raison d’etre of my proposed debate with Perkasa for a better Malaysia?

The list, where all the information is available as a matter of public record, is as follows:

Part XII, General and Miscellaneous — Article 153 — Reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

Article 153 contains a quota mechanism in the form of Article 153 (2)... the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law... to ensure the reservation for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable for:

• positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State)

• scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given

• permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.

Position in Public Service Quota

In regards to “position in the public service”, in 2009, 78.2 per cent of public service positions are composed of Malays and 7.7 per cent other Bumiputeras for a total of 85.9 per cent.

However, it is reassuring that measures have been introduced to recruit more non-Malays into the civil service.

How do we reconcile this with the need for diversity and fair racial representation without diminishing “Malay Rights”?

Scholarship Quota

In regards to scholarships for Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak, I would like to propose that more scholarships should be given as education is a great equaliser and facilitates social mobility; hence shouldn’t all PTPTN student loans be converted to scholarships to fulfil Article 153 intent?

And as a sustainable source of funds for more scholarships, shouldn’t Petronas oil revenue have a specific 30 per cent of profits mandated for scholarships, this would definitely be putting our “Khazanah Negara: (national treasure, i.e. oil) to develop our most treasured resources: our children?

Wouldn’t it also be an exercise in good governance and in the interest of “Malay Rights”, if Petronas accounts are made public and accountable through the Parliament?

I do believe with Petronas mandated scholarship contribution, even all deserving top scorers, regardless of race can receive a scholarship that will enrich the quality of our human resource and foster national unity to achieve higher economic growth; to improve the quality of our current workforce, 80 per cent of which are SPM holders.

Wouldn’t this enhance “Malay Rights”?

Public University Admission Quota

We should also look at how Article 153 (2) is to be reconciled, with the change of policy from a quota-based to a meritocracy-based admissions system to public universities made by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003?

Wouldn’t this lead to efforts to continue improving our education system or just be seen as limiting access to public universities? Which is the priority?

Permits and Licenses for Business and Trade Quota

In regards to permits or licences for trade or business, how can it be reconciled with the initiative of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s act to liberalise 27 sub-sectors within the services sector?

Would this impact “Malay Rights” positively or negatively, in terms of creating market efficiencies through competition which will grow the economy or have market protection that limits growth?

Part XII, General and Miscellaneous — Article 152 — National Language

Article 152 (1) ...The national language shall be the Malay language.....

How do we reconcile between the need for change and the constitution with the earlier initiative to teach Science and Maths in English in national schools by prime minister Mahathir in 2003, which now has been reversed back to being taught in Bahasa Malaysia?

As a note to the ability of the courts to interpret on the constitution, this year in a test case brought by four students, a High Court has ruled that it is constitutional to teach Mathematics and Science in English. [1]

Indeed, is it safe to surmise that the constitution can be reconciled with the needs of the times, as shown in the PPSMI case?

Part VI, Chapter 4 — Land; Article 89 — Malay Reserve Land

Article 89 refers to Malay Land Reservation matters, how can it be reconciled with the government’s proposal to establish the Kampung Baru Development Corp, with a yet to be finalised 60:40 ratio for Malay and non-Malay participation in property development (and ownership?) made by the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister?

Wouldn’t this reduce “Malay Rights” in terms of landholdings, but how do we unlock the value of these lands for productive uses? Which should be the priority?

In the matter of the poverty eradication regardless of race, absolute poverty in the population as a whole dropped from 49.7 per cent in 1970 to 3.8 per cent in 2009, according to the 10th Malaysia Plan government statistics.

In real numbers this means that 228,400 households or 1,004,960 Malaysian live on an average of RM800 per household a month and below.

However, if we use a more realistic and reasonable measurement methodology for determining the Poverty Line Income (PLI) which is defined as income that is necessary to buy a group of foods that would meet the nutritional needs of the members of a household and other basic necessities such as clothing, rent, fuel and utilities, transport and communications, medical expenses, education and recreation, then according to Jayanath Appudurai, who writes extensively on poverty for the Centre for Policy Initiatives, suggest that Malaysia calculates the PLI based on two-thirds of the median income of its households. The median income is a country’s total income divided by half which is RM2,830 for Malaysia. Therefore, Malaysia’s PLI for 2010 based on two-thirds of the median income, should be RM1,886 rather than the government’s PLI average of RM800 per household. [2]

Based on RM800 per month per household of 4.4 people, then the daily amount needed to live is RM6.00 per person as compared to an income of RM 1,886 per month which would provide a daily average of RM14.00 per person to cover basic necessities.

What is the price of one chicken today? Has food prices increased? Is living getting more expensive while job opportunities and incomes are stagnant or declining? Are we losing our purchasing power day by day?

With a more realistic and reasonable PLI, it would mean that 32 per cent or 1,923,368 households with 8,463,821 million Malaysians are living below the poverty line.

And mind you, by some estimates it requires a monthly income of RM3,000 to barely live in Kuala Lumpur. However, should we take heed of a minister’s advice to cut overheads such as Astro and cars to survive?

Furthermore, our Gini Coefficient index which is a measurement of income inequality, where an index of 0 means perfect income equality and an index of 1 means perfect income inequality, in 2009 is 46.1 and ranked 35 among other nations. Will it go any higher to an index of 1?

Therefore, the first step should be to review the Poverty Line Income (PLI) for Malaysia to a realistic and reasonable measurement, and use it to set urgent corrective and doable policies which have been suggested by Pakatan Rakyat, such as:

• A living income policy that will realign our labour market towards a higher-income nation.

• To review the major utilities concessions that will bring down living costs.

• To strictly implement anti-monopoly laws without fear or favour.

• To expand micro-credit facilities for small business development.

• To provide targeted subsidies for essential goods and services for deserving households.

• To implement a transparent government procurement practice to avoid wastages and leakages that drives up economic cost that burden the poor more.

• And for good measure, to provide even more scholarships and convert existing PTPTN student loans for these households into scholarships.

Can all these be done to assist the households that would be termed to be in poverty, which are majority Bumiputeras, with the more realistic and reasonable PLI, as part of “Malay Rights” struggle?

The Lembah Pantai MP highlighted four conflicting accounts of Malay equity under the NEP.
NEP — Corporate Equity Ownership Goal

Has the Bumiputera corporate equity ownership reached 18.9 per cent or more than 30 per cent in 2006?

These are the four studies or reports on the matter.

In the first study, a 2002 University of Malaya research entitled “Bumiputeras in the Corporate Sector — Three decades of performance 1970-2000″, by Dr M. Fazilah Abdul Samad, head of department of finance and banking in the Faculty of Business and Accountancy, has concluded that the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity ownership as targeted under the NEP had been achieved in 1997.

The research was based on a 10-year analysis of Bumiputera equity ownership between 1988 and 1997 of public listed companies on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE), now called Bursa Malaysia. It is important to note, that the study used par value of KLSE listed companies as the basis of calculation.

Bumiputera equity ownership reached 33.7 per cent in 1997, comprising 30.6 per cent Bumiputera corporate equity ownership and 3.1 per cent individual Bumiputera share ownership. This does not include nominee company ownership which could be held in the majority on behalf of Bumiputeras.

In a second study in 2006, the Asian Strategic Leadership Institute (Asli) also released a study that showed that Bumiputera ownership of corporate equity in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange had exceeded the 30 per cent target.

The findings of a 45 per cent Bumiputera equity ownership share were based on a different method of measurement compared with the official one. It used market value as opposed to the par value valuation official method, and allocating the equity of GLCs according to racial composition.

In a third study, also in 2006 and in spite challenging the validity of both the UM and Asli reports of exceeding the 30 per cent target, the government had inadvertently announced on Novermber 7, 2006, that Bumiputeras indeed owned 36.6 per cent or RM78.4 billion in shareholding value in companies listed on the main board and second board of Bursa Malaysia up to December 31 2005.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said shareholding by non-Bumiputeras stood at RM100.4 billion (46.9 per cent) while another RM55.2 billion (16.45 per cent) was held by foreigners.

However, this initial report was later retracted by another qualifying report, which is our fourth report, was released.

The fourth study in 2006, attempted to explain the official NEP statistics calculation methodology. It was reported (published here in its entirety as to understand the full context of the subject) that:

“The Malaysian government has released details on how it calculates the Malay share of corporate ownership following a controversy over this statistic, which is crucial for the continuation of pro-Malay policies.

Izzah - time waits for no woman or MP
The Asian Strategic Leadership Institute (Asli) sparked a debate last month when it said Malays already owned 45 per cent of business equity, ahead of the government target of 30 per cent by 2020.

This was seen as challenging the government’s affirmative action policy. Official statistics put Malay corporate ownership at 18.9 per cent.

Following the controversy, the government promised to reveal how it had arrived at its statistics.

The Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Rahman Suliman disclosed the methodology in Parliament on Tuesday, ahead of next week’s Umno general assembly, where the issue of Malay economic progress is expected to be debated.

He said the government based its calculations on the 609,625 registered companies and not just the 1,000-plus public listed ones.

Based on listed companies, the Bumiputera share would be 36.6 per cent as at December 31 last year. This is because all such companies must have at least 30 per cent Malay ownership.

In the case of registered companies, only 24 per cent are controlled by Malays, said Datuk Rahman.

Secondly, the government uses the par, or nominal, value of the shares held, and not the market value, as this gives a better picture, he said.

Datuk Rahman said market value could be used for listed companies, but for the other companies, this could be manipulated easily.

“But the government is always open to reviewing the methodology,” he said.

The Asli study used market value because it believed that this reflected the actual value of the company.

Datuk Rahman addressed criticisms that the government failed to count as Malay the shareholdings of GLCs and shares held by nominee companies and trustee companies.

He said it had taken into account shares held by companies like Permodalan Nasional, set up to raise Malay involvement in business, and unit trusts open only to Malays.

It also counted shares held by nominee companies, most of which were owned by non-Bumiputeras.

As for GLCs, he said shares held by the Employees Provident Fund, Khazanah Holdings and Minister of Finance Inc are not classified as held by any particular ethnic group.

He said the government’s data covered only corporate equity in Malaysia and not wealth held overseas.

Datuk Rahman also said Malays owned less than 12 per cent of urban commercial properties, while Chinese held 72 per cent and Indians 5 per cent.

These last two statements are telling. It shows the government has expanded its parameters for equitable wealth distribution beyond the usual yardsticks of corporate equity, household income and employment.

Property ownership, especially commercial assets, and overseas holdings are also now a factor.

Asli director Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam told The Straits Times: “I hope the government will broaden the spectrum of experts to include academicians and the private sector to provide a wider perspective when they review the methodology.”

Opposition Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng criticised the use of par value calculation and said market value gave a more accurate picture.

Kemaman MP Ahmad Shabery Cheek told online news portal Malaysiakini that affirmative action was still needed to bridge income disparity between races. However, the government is adamant that the NEP should be continued. Earlier, it had rejected two reports from Asli and UM which suggested that Bumiputera corporate equity ownership is more than 30 per cent.”[3]

It would appear in summary that there are four Bumiputera equity ownership share reports with different conclusions and methodologies, the UM report puts it at 33.7 per cent (using par-value method of listed companies), the ASLI report shows it at 45 per cent (using market-value of listed companies and GLCs race apportioned method), the Deputy Finance Minister’s statement is 36.6 per cent (using market value of listed companies) and the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department places it at the official 18.9 per cent (using par-value of listed and all non-listed companies excluding all GLCs and Government Managed Financial Institutions except PNB).

So has the Bumiputera corporate equity ownership reached 18.9 per cent or more than 30 per cent in 2006?

Which valuation method should be used?

Regardless of valuation method, what the reports fail to show is that which Bumiputeras own all this wealth? How was it allocated?

And how can we explain the NEP Equity leakage of RM52 billion that was sold off?

Shouldn’t the focus for the sake of “Malay Rights”, be on the improving the mode of NEP or progressive NEM implementation and share allocation to include more Malays rather than to only a few individuals?

Shouldn’t our efforts for the sake of “Malay Rights”, be on strengthening the diminishing “enabling” factors to equitable and sustainable economic growth, caused by cronyism, corruption, wastages, leakages, wrong resource allocations (big projects phenomenon), racism, anti-democratic laws and state institutional degradation and abuse, that in reality subverts and undermine achieving the well intended NEP or progressive NEM goals?

Therefore, I want to suggest that to correct this NEP wealth distribution dilemma, and in the interest of “Malay Rights”, a new mechanism be applied on existing Bumiputera equity holdings in both listed and non-listed, especially government vendors, privatisation, utilities and concession holder companies (which is in line with official Bumiputera Equity Share calculation methodology), whereby, 30 per cent of current ownership be divested on a par-value basis (since this is the official method of calculating equity value held), in the following portions; 25 per cent to a Bumiputera Education Fund for more scholarships, and the remaining five per cent to a Bumiputera employee-owned co-operative of the participating company.

As for financing the par-value shares purchases, to compensate the current Bumiputera equity owners, the beneficiaries should apply for a loan from Bank Bumiputra Berhad which is a financial institution created from the Bumiputera Economic Congress, and as the bank no longer exist, then they should apply to CIMB instead.

This mechanism can be called the “Bumiputera NEP Equity — Quota in a Quota — Redistribution Program”, where the current Bumiputera equity owner will still be left with a 70 per cent stake of his current holdings and the 30 per cent be used for the programme, and may I suggest we start with Kenchana Petroleum, Scomi, CIMB, Perimekar, APCO and a certain Pasir Mas Bridge Building Construction Company as test-cases?

In Conclusion

The above list should suffice for now, to set the context of my concerns for the future of our nation.

I would like to reaffirm, that I am only seeking clarification and to reconcile, and not challenge or repeal the constitution, for a better Malaysia.

I would again remind ourselves that a possible way forward out of this “Malay Dilemma”, comes from a Malaysian statesman, the late Tun Dr Ismail, who once argued that “the question (of the ‘Special Position’ of the Malays) be left to the Malays themselves because as more and more Malays became educated and gained self-confidence, they themselves would do away with this ‘special position’.” However, Tun Dr Ismail believed the special position was “a slur on the ability of the Malays.”

Finally, I do wish to end with the proposition that the government must allow the restoration of local government elections and implement national election reforms immediately, so that the people may legitimately decide, on how to live together as one people, with the constitution, in peace and harmony, in one truly independent and sovereign nation.

Hidup Malaysia (or Hidup Malaysaja?!)

(Note: Bersih’s Joint Communiqué for Election Reforms provides an illuminating argument on the subject. Please support and promote new Voter Registration.)

* Nurul Izzah Anwar is the MP for Lembah Pantai.

Can non-Muslims enter Muslim houses of worship?

“Orang bukan Islam adalah dilarang memasuki ruang solat kerana mereka ini dalam berkeadaan hadas besar apatah lagi berada di bahagian imam dan menyampaikan ucapan kepada umat Islam di dalamnya.
“Oleh itu, kita akan mendapatkan laporan dan penjelasan daripada nazir serta jawatankuasa surau berkenaan mengenai perkara ini. Jika dakwaan ini benar, kita akan memaklumkan kepada pihak Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS) dan tindakan tegas akan diambil.”
(pic source:
Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi (pic source:
Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) director Datuk Mohammed Khusrin Munawi. He said JAIS would take stern action against the Surau Al-Huda committee in Kajang Sentral for inviting Serdang member of Parliament Teo Nie Ching to speak in the prayer area of the surau.
Teo, a DAP politician, said she had gone to the surau to hand over a Selangor government donation for repairs to the surau’s fence and to join the breaking of fast. She said she had been invited by the surau committee to say a few words to the congregation, which she did. The committee has reportedly since been suspended by the Selangor Islamic Council (MAIS) over the incident. (Source: Tindakan tegas jemput bukan Islam — JAIS, Utusan Malaysia, 26 Aug 2010)
Teo’s explanation:
“As I was invited to give a brief speech, I made a sincere effort to explain the state’s education programme for the benefit of the people.
“I regret that the matter has caused restlessness among Muslims nationwide and this issue has been further heated up by certain quarters due to political reasons.”
Teo, explaining her reasons for entering the surau. She said she would clarify the matter and apologise to the Sultan of Selangor over the incident. (Source: Serdang MP to apologise over surau gaffe, The Star, 29 Aug 2010)
“Tok Guru (Nik Aziz) clarified to me that from the viewpoint of Islam, it is not an issue for a non-Muslim to enter a surau or mosque.
“He said that in fact, during the time of Muhammad, non-Muslims entered the mosque (of Medina) to meet with the Prophet.”
Teo, after she met with Nik Aziz. She said he encouraged her to visit Muslim houses of worship, saying there was nothing wrong with non-Muslims visiting and entering suraus and mosques. Teo visited a Bukit Mahkota surau on 29 Aug 2010 and said she would continue to visit mosques and suraus when invited. (Source: Teo: Nik Aziz encourages me to visit more suraus, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
Umno’s & Perkasa’s response:
“Teo had no business to be inside Surau Al-Huda as she was deemed dirty but Nik Aziz said its alright, we are modern now. What disaster can we expect next?”
Hishammuddin Hussein (pic courtesy of theSun)
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein saying he was shocked Teo had the support of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. He said it was clear DAP was adopting an extreme approach by questioning the rights and privileges defended by Malay leaders and rulers. (Source: Mosque visit: Teo was “deemed dirty”, says Hisham, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
“We don’t want excuses or justification. The issue is about the sensitivity of other religions.”
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin saying DAP was “insensitive” for attempting to justify Teo’s visit to the surau. He also called Teo “naïve” and said her explanation on her visit was an afterthought after coming under fire. He said the DAP must understand that the majority of Muslims were upset by Teo’s conduct. (Source: Khairy calls DAP insensitive, Teo naïve over surau visit, The Malaysian Insider, 28 Aug 2010)
”Nie Ching sepatutnya tahu bahawa menjadi ahli politik bukanlah lesen untuk memecah-belahkan perpaduan rakyat berbilang bangsa dan keharmonian negara.”
Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, condemning Teo’s visit. Shahrizat said Teo was disrespectful to Islam and the sanctity of mosques and suraus. She said Teo should not have entered the surau without covering her “aurat”. Teo had entered the surau without covering her hair. (Source: Tindakan biadab DAP terhadap umat Islam, Utusan Malaysia, 27 Aug 2010)
“The Selangor Islamic Religious Council must charge the Serdang MP for desecrating the Al-Huda Surau.”
“In America, Islamic preacher  Malcom X, who preached to Christians and entered their churches was shot dead but in Selangor an ‘unclean DAP politician’ was dragged into the surau’s prayer room.”
Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, calling for strong action to be taken against Teo for desecrating the surau with her visit.  (Source: Ibrahim Ali demands action against Teo over surau visit, The Malaysian Insider, 29 Aug 2010)
“Orang bukan Islam hanya boleh melawat kawasan masjid atau surau tetapi tidak boleh memasuki ruang solat rumah ibadat berkenaan apatah lagi memberi ceramah kepada jemaah surau berkenaan.
“Perkara ini disifatkan serius dan ia perlu disiasat secara menyeluruh dan jika benar ia berlaku ia seakan-akan satu bentuk penghinaan terhadap orang Islam.”
Mashitah Ibrahim (©
Mashitah Ibrahim (©
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim saying Teo should not have been allowed into the surau’s prayer area.  (Source: Tindakan YB Serdang cemar imej Islam, Berita Harian, 28 Aug 2010)
“We cannot accept Malaysians who are unfamiliar with Islamic traditions, especially those who are leaders. If they are still ignorant after 53 years of independence, we urge them to leave the country.”
“I would like to remind DAP not to use Islam to gain political support. Don’t use Islam as a tool to fish for votes from Muslims.”
“An apology would not suffice because we Muslims [...] feel that we are gravely insulted.”
Seputeh Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Muhammad Rafii saying that Teo’s act was seditious and could cause religious conflict. He urged the Home Ministry to take action against Teo as an apology did not suffice. (Source: Umno, PAS Youth wings clash over Teo, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
PAS and PKR’s response:
“Tidak salah orang bukan Islam termasuk wanita masuk dalam masjid sama ada untuk berucap atau apa sahaja asalkan berpakaian sopan bagi bukan Islam dan menutup aurat bagi orang Islam.”
Nik Aziz, defending Teo’s surau visit. He said her visit did not go against Islamic laws and was a way of bringing Muslim and non-Muslim communities closer together. (Source: Isu takzirah dalam surau: Nik Aziz pertahan Teo, Utusan Malaysia, 28 Aug 2010)
“The attacks on YB Teo for giving aid to the surau’s fence deviates very much from the teachings of Islam and is an embarrassment to Muslims.”
Press statement from Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim‘s office. (Source: Selangor MB says attack on Teo shames Islam and Muslims, The Malaysian Insider, 30 Aug 2010)
“Does Umno Youth know that the prophet had often received non-Muslim guests at the Nabawi Mosque? [Are] the mosques and surau in Malaysia holier than the Nabawi Mosque to the point where non-Muslims cannot enter?”
Selangor PAS Youth chief Hasbullah Ridzwan, challenging Umno Youth to a debate on whether it was acceptable for non-Muslims to enter mosques and suraus. He advised Umno to consult experts on religion first before issuing statements. (Source: Umno, PAS Youth wings clash over Teo, Malaysiakini, 30 Aug 2010)
“It is usual for BN parties like MCA, MIC, Gerakan, Sabah and Sarawak (sic) to come to mosques and give speeches.”
“When BN does it, there is no issue. But when Pakatan Rakyat does it, there is an issue. This is a cheap issue.”
PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub accusing BN of double standards for criticising Teo’s visit, saying members of BN component parties also do the same. (Source: PAS veep says BN attack on Teo “a cheap issue”, The Malaysian Insider, 28 Aug 2010)
What does Islam say?
“Non-Muslims can enter into a mosque or surau with the right intent, like to get to know Islam, understand and study it. They are also allowed to enter the houses of worships to conduct dealings with Muslims.”
Former Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin. He said to his knowledge, nothing bars a non-Muslim from entering a Muslim house of worship. He said non-Muslims were allowed to enter the mosque during the time of the prophet Muhammad. (Source: Scholars: Islam doesn’t bar non-Muslims from mosques, Malaysiakini, 29 Aug 2010)
“According to history, the Prophet (while he lived) in Medina did not repulse any visits by Jews or Christians who wanted to meet him even when he was in the mosque of Medina.”
“They would come with a request, seeking justice (in a dispute) or for an administrative or other matter.
“It is understood from such incidents that there is no prohibition in Islam for meetings to be held within mosques other than the Masjid Al-Haram in blessed Makkah so long as they are held with good intentions.”
Selangor mufti Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahid in a 9 Nov 2009 letter to the Jais’s chief assistant director in charge of mosques. (Source: Islam doesn’t bar non-Muslims from mosques, Malaysiakini, 29 Aug 2010)
“We strongly feel that disallowing non-Muslims from entering mosques only portrays a negative image of Islam and is not in line with the examples set by the Prophet. It is well known from the tradition that the Prophet allowed Christians from Najran to pray in his mosque in Madinah.
“It is in the interest of maslahah or common good of Islam that non-Muslims should feel welcomed and not intimidated from visiting mosques. Calls to ban non-Muslims from entering mosques or any knee-jerk reaction by the Islamic authorities to bow to certain political pressure in preventing the commendable attitude of cooperation and mutual respect is regrettable and uncalled for.”
Muhammad Adli Musa and Wan Norhaziki Wan Abd Halim, analysts with the think-tank Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) on the controversy over Teo’s surau visit. IRF holds that banning non-Muslims from entering Muslim places of worship goes against the universalism of Islam. (Source: IRF stand on the Issue of Non-Muslims Entering Mosques, press statement, Islamic Renaissance Front, 2 Sept 2010)

Is Najib prepared to put his 1Malaysia policy to the test by leading a nation-wide “Say No to Racism” campaign starting with errant Umno leaders, government officials and Utusan Malaysia?

By Lim Kit Siang,

Although the Director-General of Education Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom has issued a circular dated August 26 to all school principals and teachers warning of action to be taken for racist remarks in schools, the absence of action against the two school principals in Johore and Kedah who had made racist remarks stands out like a sore thumb.

More than three weeks have passed and both principals had not yet been referred to the police, let alone the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

This is totally at variance with the “Zero tolerance for racism” belatedly made by the Prime Minister two weeks after the deplorable incidents involving the two school principals.

The Prime Minister should realize that the escalation of the rhetoric of race and religion makes a total mockery of his 1Malaysia slogan, one reason why there is so little national enthusiasm for the Natioal Month theme of “1Malaysia – Transforming the Nation”.

Is Najib prepared to give flesh to his “Zero tolerance for Racism” declaration and put his 1Malaysia policy to the test by leading a nation-wide “Say No to Racism” campaign starting with errant Umno leaders, government officials and Utusan Malaysia?

The Cabinet at its meeting this Wednesday could not make a more useful decision than to launch a nation-wide “Say No to Racism” campaign to end the escalation of racist bigotry and religious extremism which has increasingly invaded the public space and consciousness.

The “Say No to Racism” should be a truly national one, rising above party politics, leveraging on the fact that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians regardless of race or religion abhor racial and religious extremism and mobilizing the good sense and goodwill of the majority of Malaysians to take a clear and unequivocal stand to denounce racism in any form.

Don't Question Social Contract, Says Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 6 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reminded the people today against questioning provisions in the constitution, particularly those related to the social contract, saying they had been agreed upon by the nation's forefathers.

"We should uphold what has been agreed upon by our forefathers, by the past generations, which have enable us to reach where we are today," he said at the Prime Minister's Department's monthly gathering on Monday.

He said that to safeguard race relations, the society should be mindful of one another's sensitivities and refrain from engaging in acts that could hurt the feelings of other communities.

"If we can refrain from doing these two things, we can cool off a lot of heat and I believe it can contribute towards strengthening the country's national unity and political stability," he said.

Najib said both aspects were also important in managing the country's politics and racial relations.

"We have been saying that the country's pillar of stability is national unity; if we don't manage race relations properly, it can affect the country's stability," he said.

He also called on civil servants to fully understand and internalise the 1Malaysia concept and set examples for others to emulate.

"Please remember that it is our responsibility to care for the country for our future generations. Let us not damage what is already in good condition," he said.

He also wished the staff of the department a Happy Aidilfitri.


Call to enact anti-torture law

The Sun 
by Bernard Cheah

GEORGE TOWN (Sept 5, 2010): A human rights non-governmental organisation has proposed that an anti-torture legislation be introduced in the country.

'Malaysian for Beng Hock' Campaign adviser Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon said there should be a change in the way enforcement officers handle individuals who are alleged to be involved in criminal activities.

"Why should those suspected of crime be beaten up or killed while in custody?" he asked, adding that those accused should instead be taken to court.

He also said that under the proposed anti-torture law, government officers found guilty of torturing others would be punished.

Toh said there had been several cases of people dying while under custody of authorities, such as the police, and now under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in view of the death of Teoh Beng Hock in July last year.

"If we are to looking for a torture-free society, there should not be any form of torture at all," he said at the 'Penang for Beng Hock' Forum held at Han Chiang College, attended by over 200 people today.

The public forum was jointly organised by Suaram Penang together with Aliran, Sembang-sembang Forum, Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG) Penang Branch and Amnesty International Malaysia.

The other panel speakers were Aliran president P Ramakrishnan and Amnesty's executive director Nora Murat.

Toh, who is also LLG president, said the public wanted the truth about who is responsible for Teoh's death and why.

"We have been feeling anger, rage, and grief since (the incident) last year. But now, we want the truth," he said.

Teoh, 30, the political secretary to Selangor State Executive Councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 last year on the Fifth Floor, Plaza Masalam after giving evidence at the office of the MACC, Selangor on the 14th Floor of the same building.

Ramakrishnan echoed Toh's statement, saying that the issue should have been pursued more vigorously. He also suggested that a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be set up to look into the matter as well.

A 20-plus minute video clip of Teoh's sister, Teoh Lee Lan, giving updates on the inquest as well as the family's situation was screened at the forum.

The inquest into Teoh's death resumes on Sept 20. -- theSun

Saira Shameem: We sanitized our past because its unpalatable to our present

Saira Shameem: Sex, Sexuality and Merdeka

Basque separatist group announces ceasefire

Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- The Basque separatist group ETA released a ceasefire statement Sunday to various media, including the Basque newspaper Gara, where it typically releases information.

ETA has announced ceasefires before and broken them, notably the unilateral 2006 ceasefire that was announced as "permanent," only to be broken months later with a car bomb at Madrid's airport that killed two people.

In a statement published on the Gara website on Sunday, ETA --- which is blamed for more than 800 deaths in its long fight for Basque independence in northern Spain and southwest France -- calls on the Spanish government to "agree to the minimum democratic solutions necessary to start a democratic process."

Officials at Spain's Interior Ministry said the ceasefire announcement was being studied cautiously but that no senior officials were due to speak publicly about it, CNN affiliate CNN+ reported.

The prime minister's office told CNN it had no comment.

The latest ceasefire announcement was not unexpected, following weeks of calls for a new peace process by some smaller leftist Basque political parties.

The ceasefire announcement also follows months of what is widely regarded as a successful police crackdown against ETA operatives in Spain and also in ETA's hideouts in neighboring France and Portugal.

Police have arrested many of ETA's suspected top operatives, as well as many ETA foot soliders, and seized bomb-making materials and weapons from hidden arms caches, virtually shutting off ETA attacks.

In its ceasefire announcement Sunday, ETA said that "months ago it decided not to carry out armed offensive actions," but made no mention of what it might consider a "defensive" action.

The announcement was accompanied an ETA video which showed three apparent ETA members seated at a table in front of an ETA banner and facing a camera. They wore white face hoods with eye holes but their mouths covered, black berets and black jerseys.

The person in the middle apeared to do all the speaking in the ancient Basque language -- not in Spanish -- and the voice seemed to be that of a woman.

ETA is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union for its campaign of car bombings and shootings.

The Spanish government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero began a peace process in 2006 during the last unilateral ETA ceasefire, but after ETA's airport bomb, the government called off negotiations.

Since then, officials of Zapatero's government have said they would accept only a definitive statement from ETA to end its armed fight, and to announce when and where it would lay down its arms forever, and not simply a ceasefire.

Only then would the government be willing to consider leniency for some of the more than 500 ETA prisoners in jail.

The Basque region in northern Spain already has considerable home-rule authority, with its own police, parliament, taxing power and control of health and education. But ETA rejects those as partial steps, and has fought for full independence.

ETA's goal is an independent Basque nation comprising the three-province Basque region and the neighboring Navarra region in Spain, along with three departments in southwest France that also have Basque roots. About three million people live in those areas now.

ETA's ceasefire statement called on the international community to get involved in the Basque peace process.

On Sunday, the leader of the Sinn Fein party in Northern Ireland said he supported the ceasefire.

"Gerry Adams has welcomed ETA ceasefire announcement," the Sinn Fein party said on its Twitter page.

Stateless in Malaysia - the poor suffer most

(Malaysiakini) Fifteen year old Citra Dorai was born in a prison in Alor Setar and her knowledge about the circumstances surrounding her birth is rather vague.

She has been illiterate all her life as she does not have a birth certificate or an identity card which makes it impossible for her to register for any school.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 citra dorai on rightHer mother died recently and her father has left her and two other siblings in the care of an aunt, and Citra (left) is totally uncertain of her future.

"I want to be like everyone else, to go to school, and to have something to do in the future," she said, teary-eyed.

Citra, is among 40-odd stateless persons who turned up at the Human Rights Party's office in Perai today, to fill in their national registration forms.

More than 20 children, with ages ranging from two to 15 years, were accompanied by their equally stateless parents, to try and reverse their situation by registering their plight.

The effort is part of the HRP's national campaign to assist stateless persons, as most of them come from the Indian community.

Citra is also part of the 150,000 Malaysians who were born and bred in the country but who continues to suffer as stateless persons for various reasons ranging from not having parents' with citizenship to refusal to follow suit when a spouse or parent converts to Islam.
Disappointing meet
On Aug 13, HRP leaders met with NRD officers in Putrajaya, but came home feeling disappointed that the officers gave the impression that the problem was not as serious as they had made it out to be, said the party's national advisor N. Ganesan.

"But we have proven our point, in just a month, without even a campaign, only word by mouth, we have managed to gather some 40 stateless people in this office," he said.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 n ganesan"We want the NRD to take ownership of this problem and try to resolve this issue; it cannot deny that this is a big problem," Ganesan (right) added.

Ganesan, a lawyer by profession, reiterated that what has been constitutionally guaranteed has been systematically and procedurally denied to the poor and vulnerable.

"This has contributed further to their marginalisation and continuing dispossession from mainstream Malaysia," he added.

Meanwhile, the NRD has responded to the allegations by stating that the mobile registration program known as MyDaftar has been travelling to several Tamil schools and Indian estates to register undocumented children this year.

Its public relations officer Janisiah Mohd Noor stated in an email reply, that for cases of mixed marriage sans conversion, the matter should be referred to the appropriate religious department for more clarification.

She also stressed that the parents must be in legal wedlock to be registered as the child's parent.

Janisiah claimed that the main reason for this statelessness plaguing the poor Malaysian Indians is due to their ignorance of law, unregistered marriages, and domestic problems.

stateless persons gather perai 050910 crowdGanesan said the forms provided by the NRD was complicated that even an educated, un-marginalised middle class person would find a daunting task to fill in all their particulars.

"Please be reminded that these people with the stateless problems are from the working class; everyday they go to the NRD and are rejected due to incomplete forms, they lose a day's wage," he said.

"They have to return again and again before they get their forms rights and for many of these working class people, they simply cannot afford the time, so they let things continue to hang," he added.