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Friday, September 17, 2010

60 feared dead in Sri Lanka construction site blast

Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- More than 60 people, including two Chinese nationals, are feared dead in eastern Sri Lanka in an explosion at a road construction site, military officials said Friday.

The blast flattened a nearby police station.

The two Chinese nationals were working on a road construction project and had gone to collect explosives to use in their work when the explosion occurred, said Major Gen. Udaya Madawala.

It took place in Karadiyanaru in the eastern coastal district of Batticaloa.

The explosives were stored near a police station and the blast destroyed the structure.

Officials are investigating the cause of the blast.

Hindraf paints bleak picture for reform agenda

By Joe Fernandez

KOTA KINABALU: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, in a Malaysia Day message issued last evening, paints a bleak picture of the change and reform agenda promised by the opposition alliance. The ad hoc apolitical movement is using the past 53 years as a guide to venture that this will have a bearing on the country’s future.

Hindraf’s assessment is also based on the observation that “Malaysians are not ready to be a merdeka (independent) society”. This is a factor that the opposition alliance has not factored in its plans to seize the reins of power in Putrajaya at the next general election expected by 2013, and this is what worries Hindraf.

The possibility of political change in Malaysia comes apart in Sabah and Sarawak, according to P Waythamoorthy, Hindraf’s London-based chairperson.

“Here, the ruling Umno elite has indoctrinated the local Muslims into the na├»ve belief that if they don’t stand united with their Muslim brethren in Peninsular Malaysia, both states will secede from Malaysia and become Christian republics in Borneo.”

The Hindraf chair opines that the local Muslims in Sabah have since discovered that they are no longer the most important factor in keeping the ruling elite in Putrajaya in power.

“The local Muslims in Sabah have had to pay a heavy price for being proxies to the ruling elite in Putrajaya since 1963” said Waythamoorthy. “They have now been effectively disenfranchised as well with the continuing influx of illegal immigrants who have entered the electoral rolls with MyKads issued by the backdoor.”

Waythamoorthy predicts that the local Muslims in Sarawak will suffer the same fate as their brethren in Sabah to complete the permanent colonisation of the non-Malays in Sabah and Sarawak by the ruling Umno elite in Putrajaya.

“Malaysia Day will only have meaning if the people of Sabah and Sarawak stand united and work hand in hand with the forces of change in Peninsular Malaysia,” Waythamoorthy said in a telephone interview from London. “This has not been happening.”



He described the MIC and MCA as mandore (labour headman) parties for Umno. These, he said, helped portray – through window-dressing and tokenism – that “Malaysia is a truly multi-racial country where power-sharing among the races has created the success story of a new nation”.

'Umno using MIC, MCA'

The MIC and MCA, said Waythamoorthy, have also been used by Umno to scare away the non-Malays from PAS.

In turn, the leaders have been well looked after by their Umno masters who want to ram down the ideology of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay political supremacy) down the throats of all Malaysians, he added. “This is an ideology that only serves the interests of the ruling Umno elite and not the Malay masses.”

The Hindraf chair labelled Ketuanan Melayu as an insidious ideology which was first planted by Malaysia’s founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and further honed by his successors. The “hidden agenda” appears to be to enable the ruling elite to indulge in abuse of power and exercise absolute power to embark on runaway corruption at the expense of the nation.

The failure of MIC, said Waythamoorthy, can be seen in the emergence of 450,000 stateless people among the Indian community in Peninsular Malaysia.

“This is a figure that Umno will dispute but we are not far off the mark,” said Waythamoorthy. “Their woes have been further compounded by the fragmentation of the plantation sector. This has sent them fleeing to the shanty towns in the urban areas as a permanent underclass.”

The Hindraf chair disclosed that he has since taken up the case of the Indian underclass, the stateless, with the United Nations which has confirmed that they could be termed “internally displaced persons” (IDP), that is, refugees within their own country. The Indian underclass has become “invisible people” – non-existent in law – and even more exploited than the foreign labour who at least have some papers on them.

The Indian underclass, without any personal documents, evidently lives in a world of their own without access to many of the things that Malaysians take for granted, for example EPF, Socso, legal marriages – which would make their children legitimate – education and travel outside the country, among others.

“If the Indian underclass has its woes, other Malaysians of Indian origin fare no better,” said Waythamoorthy. “Their children are denied scholarships and places in government-run universities even if they score A in all their subjects.”

He referred to the numerous demonstrations staged by deserving Malaysian students of Indian origin, and their parents, in recent months and described these as “solid proof”.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, to be reviewed after 15 years of independence, and Article 8, are not being applied as they should, said Waythamoorthy. “Umno and its leaders right from Tunku (Abdul Rahman) to Najib (Tun Razak) are master manipulators and neo-colonialists.”

He does not see the Indians, Chinese, Dayak, Dusuns, Muruts, Bajau, Suluk, the ordinary Malay masses and others ever enjoying the fruits of being in a truly independent country.

“If we are truly free, there would be respect for the rule of law, equality and freedom of religion,” said Waythamoorthy. “These are just some of the basic things to start with.”

A Tribute to Kg Buah Pala - The Last Indian Heritage of Penang

By Muralitharan Ramachandran - http://malaysianminorityindians.blogspot.com/

While many Malaysians were thrilled to cheer the so called Malaysia Day on 16th September 2010, here in the island well known as Pearl of the Orient, a group of Indian villagers were in tears to remember this date which reminds them of an awful memory. This day symbols their 1st year where their entire village which was also popularly known as The High Chaparral of Penang, demolished by a developer with the help of DAP steered State Government. Despite many pleas and cries by the Indian villagers to save their land which is a century old, this DAP lead state government merely refused to lend their ears.

This is an exclusive case where a traditional Indian parish was ROBBED by the Gerakan lead state government and handed it over to UMNO owned cooperative, who then sold it to a Chinese developer for a share of earnings. That was when DAP government entered the scene after the result of a political tsunami where Pakatan Rakyat achieved victory in 4 states on the 8th of March 2008 12th general election. This was actually an end result of a ‘snow ball’ thrown by Hindraf on 25th November 2007 where by the opposition alliance should never deny it.
(Before)
During election campaigns at this particular village, all top guns of the opposition party promised to retrieve the said land from the hands of the racism UMNO government and a pledge by these leaders to secure an individual land title for each and every family. These villagers were ecstatic by the promises of these top guns and proved their genuineness in the ballot box. The DAP took over officially the state government after the 8th of March 2008 polls with Lim Guan Eng leading the administration.

Instead of protecting the interest of these poor Indian villagers, this DAP lead state government took side of the developer by again giving them empty promises and false hopes. These poor Indian villagers who are generally live stock breeders where their land was the only survival ground and home to their families were left high and dry with their hopes and dreams. Lim Guan Eng as the administrator was more in favour of the developer than to villagers. Although after a few sequence of dialogues, discussion and pleas, nothing could be done to save the village. The village was finally demolished completely on the 16th of September 2009, the day every other Malaysian celebrating to signify the formation of Malaysia.

(present)
To date, the villagers are still waiting anxiously for their cries to be heard. This exactly proves the discrimination of the politically powerless Indians. This merciless betrayal by the Pakatan Rakyat will not be forgotten by Indians in this nation.

To Pakatan Rakyat…there is this physics theory to be remembered by the leaders; ‘For Every Action, There Will Be an Equal Reaction’.

See you all in the next polls.

Sodomy II: Anwar's bid to dismiss charge postponed

Vision 2020 likely to fail, say economists

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — Malaysia will likely fail to achieve Vision 2020 as political indecision and global economic uncertainty looks set to hamper economic growth over the next five years, according to economists.

With average GDP growth in the next five years projected to be just shy of the 6 per cent target set by the prime minister, the Najib Administration’s 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) looks set to go the way of the last two Malaysia Plans, which also failed to achieve their GDP targets.

Under the 7th and 8th Malaysia Plans, the economy expanded by 5 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively, well below the 8.6 per cent and 6 per cent targets set.

Similarly, under the current 9th Malaysia Plan, it is projected to grow by just 4.2 per cent annually, meaning Malaysia will once again fail to achieve its target.

This will put paid to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s dreams of making Malaysia a high-income nation in 10 years’ time and, by extension, Vision 2020 as well.

Unveiled in 1991 by then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Vision 2020 laid out the government’s 30-year ambitious plan to make Malaysia a fully developed nation by the year 2020 by boosting GDP and per capita income.

Although there is no single definition, advanced nations are usually identified by their high per capita income and developed service and knowledge industries, coupled with high life expectancy and quality of education.

Calling the high-income goal a moving target due to inflationary pressure, Kenanga Investment Bank economist Wan Suhaimie Wan Saidie said Malaysia will be hard-pressed to achieve Vision 2020 even if it managed to maintain a growth trend 6 per cent per year for the next 10 years.

“We have another 10 years to go to achieve Vision 2020 and you’re still growing below your potential even in the next five years. So what does that say?” he asked.

“Theoretically, what they need to do is to grow more than 6 per cent. The way we are going right now they need to grow about 8 per cent (to reach the high-income goal).”

While admitting that it was not an impossible task, he nevertheless said it was going to be difficult unless the government did “something drastic” to lift itself above its current growth trajectory.

He cautioned that there could be turning points in the next five to 10 years that will either propel Malaysia forward or negate everything that it has built so far.

“It could be war, it could be disease, it could be new technology... Maybe they are banking on the X factor. That means they’re banking on a major turning point that may or may not happen,” he said.

At the same time, Wan Suhaimie felt that it was more important to focus on equitable distribution of nation’s wealth than obsess about economic expansion.

“They need to narrow the divide between the haves and have-nots. No matter how high your GDP growth, if you cannot address these issues, you’re going to have problems eventually,” he said, citing a possible drop in investor confidence as an example.

He said the government will have to deal with “structural issues” such as Bumiputera equity policies, which it can do away with or at least tweak to improve investor opinion of the country.

“They should do something with it to make sure they really implement it. Now it gives the impression that only the select few elites are benefiting,” he said. “It’s a perception thing.”

Wan Suhaimie also stressed that Malaysia needed to address this perception issue and improve the education and migration systems to attract talent so it could compete with regional rivals for foreign investment. However, he remained skeptical that such measures will do much good at this point, saying they might help but offered no guarantee.

Despite this, public confidence in Vision 2020 remains high, according to an International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) survey conducted last month. The survey polled 1,367 respondents, most of whom had high hopes for Malaysia based on the government’s current programmes, including those to do with development, peace and harmony, the economy and the 1 Malaysia concept.

Popular support notwithstanding, CIMB Investment Bank chief economist Lee Heng Guie explained that dissecting the 10MP revealed some “very challenging” targets for the country, and predicted that Malaysia will only achieve an average annual GDP growth of 5.5 per cent for the next five years.

This comes at a time when traditional regional rivals have outpaced Malaysia. Singapore booked a blistering 18.8 per cent growth in the second quarter — among the highest in the world — and looks well on its way to achieving a 14.9 per cent expansion for the year.

Thailand enjoyed 10.6 per cent economic growth in the first half, its highest in 15 years despite political turmoil, while Indonesia recently revised its projected GDP growth for this year upwards from 5 per cent to 6 per cent and expects to achieve 7 per cent growth next year.

Even upstarts Vietnam and the Philippines managed to make strong gains of in the first half. The Vietnamese government has revised this year’s GDP growth estimate to 6.7 per cent and set a target of 7.5 per cent for 2011 while the Philippine economy grew more than 7 per cent in two consecutive quarters, the first time since 2004.

Lee said the government was running into a high savings-to-investment gap and will have to work hard to pull in the RM115 billion in private investment needed yearly to reach its 10MP target of 12.8 per cent annual investment growth. In comparison, investments grew by only 2 per cent on average from 2006 to 2010.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed last month said he remained confident that the target was attainable despite the well-publicised 81.1 per cent drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) last year. It was the first time in history that Malaysia fared worse than the Philippines, long seen as the economic basket case of Southeast Asia.

“It’s the most challenging,” Lee said of the private investment target. “It’ll be interesting to see next year, the first year of the 10th Malaysia Plan.”

He believed the government had realised there were long overdue weaknesses and were now taking proactive measures to address them, noting however that private investment was still languishing due to perceived policy flip-flops.

“The government will have to show that they’re committed and has the political will,” he said, adding that it will also unwind its involvement in the economy.

An economist with a local private investment bank who declined to be named agreed that the private sector will be the main driver of growth going forward, which he expected to moderate from 6.8 to 7 per cent this year to 5 per cent next year.

However, he cautioned that growth was very difficult to forecast beyond 2011 given the uncertainty in external demand, and stressed that it was important to boost domestic demand to mitigate the effects of a possible global economic downturn.

“In order for domestic demand to drive growth, there’s a need for government to maintain accommodative monetary policies, ensuring access to financing, as well as bringing down the cost of doing business,” he said, adding that the Najib Administration should introduce incentives in the coming Budget to lower the cost of doing business and support private sector consumption.

“If government continues to adopt business-friendly measures... then, obviously, private sector in Malaysia will continue to be the growth driver beyond 2012.”

The economist said that, while next year’s performance depended on the sustainability of China’s growth and US economic recovery, Malaysia could not ignore Greece’s sovereign debt problem if the global economy slowed down more than expected.

“If Greece were to default on their sovereign debt or if something were to happen to the US economy, it will trigger a double dip recession,” he said.

“Whether we can achieve 6 percent will depend on the health of the global economy... Malaysia is a very open economy so it will be challenging for Malaysia to achieve 6 per cent (GDP growth) if the external situation deteriorates.”

Singapore-based UOB regional economist Ho Woei Chen voiced similar concerns that export-oriented Malaysia was still at the mercy of external factors.

“Eventually, the end demand is still very dependent on US, EU. No matter how your diversify you’ll be hit by a downturn in the major economies,” she said, pointing out that there were still many risks in terms of global growth, such as the battered housing sector and high unemployment in the US as well as fiscal issues in EU countries.

“There’s going to be a moderation in growth but I don’t see a very big risk of a double dip in Western economies.”

Ho, who predicts “decent” growth for Malaysia over the next one or two years, expects the country to book real GDP growth of 6.8 per cent this year, 5.1 per cent next year and an average of 5 per cent annual growth from 2011 to 2015.

She said there is still room for stronger growth but lamented the fact that Malaysia was still being hampered by policies inherited from the New Economic Policy (NEP).

“This thing has been entrenched and has been there a long time and it’ll take effort to move out of some of these policies,” she said. “I think FDI will have to be dependent somewhat on the changing political landscape.”

Maybank Investment Bank chief economist Suhaimi Ilias, on the other hand, believed it was “not practical” to project beyond 2011 as there were too many variables to consider, including the second half of the New Economic Model (NEM) due to be unveiled in the next couple of months.

He said that, the key concern at the moment was how to stem investment outflow from Malaysian companies in order to compensate for falling FDI. Net direct investment abroad reached RM5.8 billion in the first half of this year, up from RM3.3 billion during the same period last year.

“The key issue is to try to entice local companies to not sell out and invest overseas, which seems to be the trend,” he said.

He said Petronas and other government-linked companies (GLCs) should be encouraged to focus their capital expenditure locally in order to compensate for the drop in FDI that will accompany the expected global economic slowdown next year.

“Getting FDI now is already tough but getting FDI in times of uncertainty or even downturn it’s even tougher,” he said.

However, Suhaimi said that while it was possible for Malaysia to achieve a certain level of growth through domestic investment, it would be difficult for the country’s economy to expand without external demand.

“With a small market of not even 30 million people it’s difficult to see us growing without external demand,” he said, suggesting that the government’s current strategy of strengthening intra-regional trade was the right way to go.  - The Malaysian Insider

Zaid says will win — eventually

Zaid said he was taken aback by the hostility towards his decision to contest the deputy presidency. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has been unfazed by the growing support for his contender, Azmin Ali, in the PKR deputy presidency race, claiming he would likely win the next round even if he faltered now. Both party strongmen are due to slug it out to replace incumbent Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali, who opted not to defend the post in the party’s first direct elections since its formation in 1999 and merger with Parti Rakyat Malaysia in 2003.
The former Umno man, who created headlines when he joined PKR last year after ending his brief stint in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's Cabinet in 2008, told The Malaysian Insider in an interview that he would continue his campaign even if he lost in the coming polls.
“Well, if you lose once, it does not mean you will lose again. No problem. I will try again... I am still young, only approaching 60,” Zaid said when met at the Tropicana clubhouse near his residence here.
Looking relaxed, he said that it was “okay” that he was walking into this fight alone, claiming that in the long term, he was likely to win.
Azmin has secured clear and visible support in the race.
Unlike Zaid, Azmin has received endorsements for the deputy presidency race from a host of PKR leaders, including 20 MPs and 13 state assemblymen from Selangor and Negri Sembilan before confirming his candidacy yesterday. “I will win. I am sure of that. If I do not get the support now, or if not tomorrow, then next year or the year after. You never know,” Zaid said.
The former de facto law minister expressed confidence that if all PKR members knew of his visions and goals for the party, they would back him 100 per cent.
“If they knew me, not just on a personal level, but if they understand in full what I want to do, then yes, why not?
“Unfortunately, our culture does not encourage discourse or debates. Instead, we are branded and people label you and you have to live with that label. It just takes time for people to see the kind of things you have to offer them,” he said.
Zaid pointed out that his brand of politics was clear-cut and vision-based, and that he was an “honest man” who did not believe in flip-flopping on his policies.
“I have been in politics for a long time. I was a minister before and I do not have the ambition to be somebody, the prime minister or something, at some point.
“I want to be a catalyst or someone who can help make the country a better place in terms of policies — that is why I left the government. I am very clear on what I want to do,” he said.
Zaid also said he believed he could bring more inclusiveness in the party and unite the factions.
“I do not like camps or cliques. I do not have preferred leaders. I do not have that sort of habit in me.
“I look at people for the value they give... for the contributions they make and that is how I judge them. I am slightly more open-minded in the way I look at things, and as a reformist party, we need new ideas, new people, the ability to tap into people’s strengths and I think I can play that role,” he said.
Zaid laughed off claims that he was engineering a takeover of the party leadership.
Zaid also scoffed at talk that party members, especially the present leadership, believed that he had an intention to singlehandedly take over the party and gain power for himself. “Why is everyone so worked up? Why do they think of me as so dangerous? You know what they are saying about me... that there are so-called enemies within the party.
“If there are enemies, then why did you not stop us from coming in, in the first place? So it is very strange that these people say these things... just because you offer yourself up for contest,” he said.
When he decided to offer himself up as a candidate, Zaid explained, his only intention was to offer PKR members an alternative so they could feel they had a say in the party’s future.
“I just want to help the party. I want to contribute. I have certain skills and strength... I think. I just want to give the members an alternative so why is everyone blocking me? I do not understand. I find it hard to understand.
“I am just offering myself just in case members think there are things we can do differently, certain approaches can be different and maybe we should have someone else as a leader, who is not a part of the group from 1998,” he said.
He also dispelled fears that he would bring Umno’s culture into PKR, claiming that his was the more “enlightened” culture of Umno.
“The question now is — are the members happy with the party? With the cultures, the values, with the whole set up, with the preparations? If they are happy, they can just vote for the present group of leaders, right?” he said.
Zaid said he was disappointed, however, in the reactions displayed by party leaders at his decision to contest, accusing them of failing to show respect to their own party members.
“That is the problem with the leaders... they think they know what is good for the party. But if that is so, then why have elections? Just appoint the leaders.
“The whole point of having direct elections is to show trust to your members. If you think they cannot think for themselves, then just forget elections,” he said.
He added that the present PKR leaders had proven their lack of commitment to the party’s reformist ideals with their open display of disapproval for his bid to contest.
“It is proven by this chorus of disapproval that I, as a new guy, am offering myself [up for election]. There is a chorus of opposition, accusing me of bad faith and bad intention. That is what is wrong with this party.
“If I am so bad, then I should not have been admitted into the party. If I am not that bad, then I should be allowed a fair contest without discrimination or personal attacks,” he said.
Zaid, however, promised that he would continue to stay low-key in his campaign, claiming confidence that although he did not have a large “delegation” of supporters like Azmin, the grassroots still backed him.
“At least I think so. Let the members decide,” he said, shrugging.
Conceding to the difficult competition, Zaid nevertheless pledged that he would not resort to underhandedness to gain support.
“Any contest is tough. Never underestimate your opponent. I am not blind... I know what is happening but I never shy away from a good contest.
“But on my side, the competition will stay friendly. I will not play the same game. If they are weak, I will say so but I think I am better and I will explain why I am better,” he said.
Zaid had previously alleged that since announcing his intention to contest late last month, his loyalty to the party has been questioned and he was also accused of working for former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to destroy PKR.
He also claimed that he was warned that he risk being “buried” — the way the late Tun Ghafar Baba had been in the 1993 Umno party election — if he chooses to stay in the race.
Then, Ghafar only received four nominations in that contest and withdrew from the race in favour of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Some 400,000 PKR members began voting across the weekend, in polls that will run until November 21.
The party amended its constitution last year allowing all members to vote for divisional leaders and the 25 members of the central leadership council — including the president, deputy president and four vice-presidents.
The party’s 218 divisions will hold two separate meetings: One for the annual general meeting and election of divisional leaders, and a second meeting to vote for national leaders.
The divisions will vote for national leaders over several weekends, from October 29 to November 21.

More youth taking ownership of Malaysia's future

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: More youth are gradually stepping forward as torch bearers of the country's future. One sign of this was at the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia's (SABM) first anniversary event yesterday. According to SABM's core group member, Haris Ibrahim, the non-partisan movement is more youth-driven than when it was launched last September. The youth made up almost half of the 70-odd crowd and also dominated the speeches and performances.

“SABM attracted the oldies back when it was first launched,” Haris recalled with a laugh. “But I think the baton is being passed on to the younger generation.”

He explained that SABM's interaction with the youth revealed that they were not disenchanted with Malaysia but simply with its brand of politics.

“They were initially very cynical of SABM's message of One People, One Nation,” he said. “But they evevntually realised that we old fogeys are equally disenchanted and very sorry for the state in which we've left the country for them. So they have now come on board to help us take our message forward.”

'Change inevitable'
PJ Utara MP Tony Pua, who was there with his young daughter, expressed surprise at the youthful crowd gathered there.

“These are the faces you would expect to see in a trendy mall, not in a politically aware crowd,” he said. “So it was a very pleasant surprise and it just goes to show that the youth are preparing themselves to own their country.”

“We are more globalised today,” he added. “And change is inevitable. But it's the speed of change that is questionable.”

According to Haris, SABM's next initiative is to take its message to more youth and also the older generation in the hinterland.

As a start, SABM invited political parties from both sides of the divide to engage in a dialogue to see if they would open up their networks to help it get its message across.

“We received a response from Pakatan Rakyat, Parti Socialis Malaysia and Human Rights Party,” Haris said. “We heard nothing from BN so we assume that it believes the 1Malaysia concept is sufficient. But we're ready to work with political parties because this is the shortest way towards unity.”

'Killer' lawyers not DAP members

PETALING JAYA: DAP has denied that the two lawyer brothers arrested in connection with the murder of milionaires Sosilawati Lawiya and three others were party members.
Its publicity chief Tony Pua described the allegation as a disgusting attempt by Umno and its newspaper Utusan Malaysia to discredit the opposition party.

“We want to set the record straight. Both suspects were not members of DAP at any point of time,” he said in a statement today.

“Even if they were members of a political party, their political affiliation has no relation to the crime they are alleged to have committed. A crime is a crime, and even Umno has its own leader who was found guilty of murder,” he added.

Responding to a report in Utusan yesterday, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to put a leash on his party's slanderous mouthpiece.

“Utusan has continued its campaign to slander Pakatan Rakyat, in particular DAP, with baseless allegations and insinuations with the specific intent to poison the minds of its readers and sow the seeds of racial hatred,” he said.

The Utusan report had quoted one Mohd Zahid Md Arip as asking if DAP's silence over the murders lent creedence to the allegation that the main suspect was a life-member of the party.

The report read:

Dalam pada itu, Mohd. Zahid mempersoalkan kenapa DAP langsung tidak bersuara bagi mengutuk pembunuhan kejam tersebut, sedangkan sebelum ini parti berkenaan gah mendakwa organisasi mereka sebagai sebuah parti yang memperjuangkan hak semua pihak.
(Why has DAP not criticised these ghastly murders, especially when the party claims to champion the rights of all quarters)

Apakah tindakan membisu ini mempunyai kaitan dengan dakwaan yang mengatakan bahawa suspek utama adalah ahli seumur hidup parti tersebut. Jika benar (dakwaan itu), ternyata DAP sebuah parti hipokrit yang hanya memperjuangkan kepentingan kaum tertentu sahaja.
(Is the party silent because of the allegation that the main suspect is a DAP life member. If this is true, then it is clear that DAP is a hyocritical party which only champions the rights of one race)

'Sad' Najib must act

Meanwhile, Pua said DAP condemned all crimes and has been at the forefront both in and out of Parliament to call on the police to increase its efficiency and effectiveness in fighting crime.

“It is the Barisan Nasional government which has been pleased with the crime situation here which escalated to record levels before declining recently according to official statistics,” he said.

“The unethical and downright unscrupulous attempt by Utusan to use any opportunity to slander and publish lies about DAP with the sole intent to incite racial hatred among its largely Malay readers signifies the utter desperation of Umno leaders to maintain their hold on power, even if it means using immoral means,” he added.

Despite its obvious transgressions, Pua pointed out that the prime minister had repeatedly defended Utusan.

“Last September, he held a 'buka puasa' function at the Sri Utusan Printing Complex and hailed Utusan for 'ethical and unbiased' reporting.

“Earlier this month, he told the public while breaking fast at the New Straits Times headquarters to 'trust the mainstream media and not the alternative media which are based on half truths',” he added.

Referring to Najib's Malaysia Day message, the DAP leader said the premier should not stop at expressing sadness over the rise of extremism in the country without naming the guilty parties.

“He should openly reprimand those who repeatedly lie and slander to harness the the feelings of ill-will and extremism among the rakyat, especially Umno's own Utusan Malaysia.

“Najib's failure to act will not only mean a blanket approval for Utusan to continue its reckless actions but also the height of irresponsibility by jettisoning of his own 1Malaysia goal,” he added.

Pua also revealed that DAP had instructed its lawyers to look into the Utusan report and take the necessary action, including filing a lawsuit.

Pemilihan pemimpin PKR bermula hari ini

Oleh: Muda Mohd Noor
PETALING JAYA: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) akan memulakan pemilihan pemimpin secara berperingkat mulai hari ini dimana 208 cabang, juga dikenali sebagai bahagian, akan mengadakan mesyuarat agung tahunan dan pemilihan pimpinan dari hari ini hingga 3 Okt.

Pemilihan pemimpin peringkat cabang, yang akan disertai oleh kira-kira 400,000 ahli parti itu, akan menjadi titik permulaan kepada pemilihan pemimpin peringkat nasional, atau pusat, mulai 29 Okt hingga 14 Nov.

Pemilihan PKR kali ini membolehkan semua ahli mengundi untuk memilih pemimpin cabang dan juga pemimpin pusat, termasuk presiden, yang akan menerajui parti tersebut untuk tiga tahun yang akan datang.

Ini adalah julung kali PKR mengadakan pemilihan secara langsung membabitkan ahlinya, menjadikan parti itu parti politik pertama dalam negara dimana ahlinya memilih pemimpin tertinggi parti. Selama ini semua parti politik dalam negara mengamalkan sistem dimana hanya perwakilan cabang atau bahagian yang memilih pemimpin tertinggi dan bukannya kesemua ahli.

Hari ini 10 cabang iaitu lima di Kedah dan lima di Kelantan akan mengadakan mesyuarat masing-masing.
Esok 40 cabang kebanyakannya dari Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, Sabah dan Negeri Sembilan akan mengadakan mesyuarat, manakala Ahad pula sebanyak 35 cabang lagi di Pahang, Perak, Sabah, Melaka, Pualu Pinang dan Negeri Sembilan akan bermesyuarat.

Pada hari terakhir iaitu 3 Oktober sebanyak 17 cabang di Selangor, Johor dan Sarawak akan mengadakan mesyuarat.

Manakala mesyuarat pemilihan pimpinan pusat akan bermula pada 29 Oktober hingga 14 November di mana ahli peringkat cabang akan memilih pemimpin untuk mengisi kekosongan jawatan-jawatan utama parti termasuk Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) dan Wanita.
Bagaimanapun, 14 cabang iaitu tujuh di Johor, Terengganu (4), Sarawak (3) dan Kedah (3) tidak akan bermesyuarat kerana cabang-cabang itu belum diiktiraf lagi sebagai cabang oleh ibupejabat PKR.

Cabang tumpuan
Di antara cabang yang menjadi tumpuan pada pemilihan ini ialah Subang, Gombak, Kuala Selangor, Pensiangan, Lembah Pantai, Ampang dan Bukit Katil. Cabang-cabang ini akan menyaksikan pertandingan pemimpin utama PKR.

Subang merupakan kawasan R Sivarasa; Gombak (Azmin Ali) Kuala Selangor ( Khalid Ibrahim), Pensiangan (Dr Jeffery Kitingan), Ampang (Zuraida Kamaruddin), Lembah Pantai (Nurul Izzah Anwar) dan Bukit Katil (Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin) .

Sivarasa, Azmin dan Dr Jefrey merupakan naib presiden PKR, Khalid (menteri besar Selangor, Zuraida (ketua wanita), Nurul Izzah (anak ketua umum PKR Anwar Ibrahim) dan Shamsul (ketua AMK).

Tidak terkecuali juga untuk cabang Permatang Pauh iaitu cabang presiden PKR Dr Wan Azizah Ismail; Zaid Ibrahim (Wangsa Maju) dan Chua Jui Meng (Bakri) yang akan menjadi perhatian umum.

Pertandingan Sengit, Halatuju Parti Ditentukan


Menurut penganalisa politik pemilihan parti itu kali ini akan sengit terutamanya diperingkat nasional. Pemimpin-pemimpin yang akan dipilih akan juga dipertanggungjawabkan oleh ahli parti untuk membawa PKR ke peringkat yang lebih tinggi lagi.
Mereka yang dipilih juga akan memacu PKR pada pilihanraya umum yang ke-13, dijangka diadakan penghujung tahun 2012 atau 201 dan ini dianggap suatu tugas yang cukup berat.

Penganalisa merasa pemimpin PKR sedang mengalami suatu keadaan yang getir dimana pertama mereka mesti menang di peringkat cabang dan lepas itu peringkat nasional. Mereka juga perlu meraih undi dari 400,000 ahli dan tugas ini dianggap sudah cukup berat.

Jika seseorang pemimpin itu menang kedua-duanya (cabang dan nasional) mereka perlu bersiap untuk pilihanraya umum yang akan datang.

Secara keseluruhannya, ramai pemimpin PKR akan memberi tumpuan penuh atau fokus kepada politik parti untuk tiga bulan yang akan datang kerana mereka kena "menjadi kuat dalam parti" sebelum boleh keluar untuk berkerja untuk Pakatan Rakyat dan meraih undi rakyat pada pilihanaraya umum yang akan datang.

Mereka yang akan memegang jawatan kelak, bukan hanya perlu meraih undi ahli parti dan rakyat tetapi juga akan menentukan halatuju PKR untuk masa hadapan.

Sodomy trial: Anwar's appeal adjourned to Sept 20

FULL REPORT PUTRAJAYA: The hearing of Anwar Ibrahim's appeal on a High Court's refusal to throw out his sodomy charge has been rescheduled to Monday.
Court of Appeal three-man panel led by Justice Ahmad Maarop allowed an application by Anwar's counsel Karpal Singh to adjourn the appeal hearing to Monday to allow him to prepare submission on jurisdictional issue of the court in hearing the matter.

The prosecution team, headed by Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, is raising a preliminary objection, saying Anwar did not have the right to lodge an appeal against the High Court's decision because the order by the High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, was not a final order.

Karpal Singh said he needed time to prepare his submission because Yusof did not give any indication to him that he would be raising that issue.

The PKR advisor is appealing against the Aug 16 decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court which had dismissed his application to strike out the sodomy charge, his second bid to have the charge dropped.

Anwar had claimed that the impartiality of the entire prosecution team had been compromised because of an alleged affair between Anwar's accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and a member of the prosecution team, deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif.

He claimed that as a result of the alleged affair, Mohd Saiful had access to information on the case, and that had deprived him of a fair trial.

His first application to strike out the charge had been dismissed by the High Court, a decision which was upheld by the Federal Court on May 4 this year.

Anwar, 63, is on trial for allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful, his former personal aide at unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm, on June 26, 2008.

Anwar's another counsel SN Nair told reporters outside the court that following today's postponement, the on-going sodomy trial which had been fixed for mention on Monday would be deferred to Tuesday.

- Bernama

Najib to blame for Umno blunder with Perkasa

By Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT If there is anyone to be blamed for the confusion about how Umno should treat Perkasa, it's the Umno president. Umno has forfeited its role as spokesman of Malay leadership by default. First because the Umno president is giving out ambivalent messages.
He hasn't given unqualified and absolute support to his foot soldiers. He is asking his people to distance themselves from Perkasa but undercuts this call by saying we are not at war with Perkasa.

And what does distancing mean exactly? It's not a question of at war or at odds. It's a case of stating clearly that Umno doesn't share the same ideals of Perkasa.

It's a case of saying that Umno has a better program and agenda than Perkasa will ever have. Right now, Umno hasn't done that!  (As such) we are better off shutting up.

The core element of Perkasa's struggle is the retention of NEP and of Malay rights. It is to this element that Umno leaders must argue. Unfortunately they don't have the grey matter to argue against the idea.

Malays in general are not averse to reason and sensibility. It is a mark of mental and cerebral deficiency if you resort to name calling as a means to counter Ibrahim Ali's Perkasa.

How would you argue against NEP? Start by asking what has NEP turned into at the hands of achievement- challenged Umno leaders?

* It stands for social immobility
* It stands for getting on in life by way of cutting corners, working less and wanting a free lunch.
* It stands for a system that does not match rewards with ability and hard work..
* It stands for a system that makes putting in less effort but getting more benefits, respectable.

Clueless Umno
But before that we have to state the following. If whatever privileges are already enshrined in our constitution- to wit article 153, then why do we need organizations like Perkasa to add validity to this article?

It suggests that we are not confident of our own constitution. Or Perkasa can clearly see that there is no longer Umno in the future. If there is no Umno then, the constitution can be changed. By the way article 153 provides for the Agung to ensure a few things pertaining to Malay privileges are protected.

To me then, it's not article 153 that we should focus our attention to. It's the paramount authority of the institution of the Agong as the final arbiter and veto power to ensure not only Malay privileges but to include other things as well such as how and why Petronas money is applied.

Two, Malays will forever be the majority group in this country. I find it impossible for Malays to forsake what is important to them regardless of whatever party they belonged to.

So where is the steam that pushes Perkasa? Ini pun orang Umno tak boleh debat.

This is the way we should argue why NEP must be abolished. It's not that the Malays will drop dead if the NEP is abolished.

I have long held the view that rights are what we fought for and earned and not gotten gratuitously. This is what the NEP is instilling - that rights are a given because they are so. Also because its written in our constitution.

The validity of NEP doesn't depend on article 153. That article provides for powers to be exercised by the Agung in matters concerning government positions, scholarships etc. even then, such powers are to be exercised with circumspect- the most important qualification being, in so far as they do not injure the legitimate rights of other Malaysian races.

NEP hogwash
I want to tell our Malaysian Chinese brothers, they are not the only ones pissed off with the NEP. The majority of Malays are equally angered. Because the NEP has turned out to actually be, a fight to control the turf by competing Malay elites, the superbumis, the puteras in the bumi.

The majority are treated as cannon fodder by these people in working out a solution with the elites of other Malaysians.

How many percent of the Malay population benefited from the RM 54 billion offer to take up offers in listed companies?

We know so many cashed out that the value held by bumiputeras is now only RM 2 billion. I have written sometime ago, let the government list out those who have cashed out and permanently bar them from even applying for new shares.

So I come to my first contention that NEP far from empowering the majority of Malays represent a hurdle for social mobility.

So when the majority is denied access to wealth creating resources, this breeds enmity and social tensions. The social mobility which the NEP sought to do, was enjoyed by the privileged few.

How many can play golf with the PM and brokered RM200k for the PM? Not everyone can become Low Taek Jho and redirect RM 5 billion to become 1Malaysia Development Fund and in the process, earned RM700k?

Not many people can equal an ex-sprint queen who arranges the hubby to become the umbrella contractor controlling so many JKR projects or become one of the partners selling train coaches to the Malaysian government?

Because the mobility meant for Malays are differentiated. For some, the privileged, the well connected, it's a program that allows cutting corners. Pink forms here and there, easy financing, sometimes free shares because of who they are. For the majority, the mobility has to be earned the hard way- work hard, toil the land, study harder.

The NEP represents unequal outcome through unequal opportunities. What we wanted were equal opportunities resulting naturally in unequal outcomes.

How can I be persuaded that NEP is good for the Malays?

Why we chose Chinese school for our children

Foon Yew High School is the one singled out by name by Kulaijaya principal Siti Inshah Mansor who implicated it as a school with Chinese students who do not speak or read Bahasa Malaysia.
It is the only Chinese independent secondary school (ISS) in Johor Bahru. It is also where my two children are studying.

My wife and I had discussed in great length before we decided to send our kids to Foon Yew, which incidentally is my alma mater.
The fact is that I myself speak and debate in Malay with confidence in the Johor state assembly as the opposition leader. Interestingly enough, several special assistants of the Johor Menteri Besar are Foon Yew alumni who deal with the state's Chinese and Malay communities, communicating in both Mandarin and Malay.

Therefore Siti Inshah's sweeping statement that non-Malay students from vernacular schools do not speak Malay at all only proves her own ignorance and bias. After all, her non-Malay students understood her racial slurs well enough to assess her half-hearted apology as coming from a "penipu" and a "pembohong".

She is a classic example of a Biro Tata Negara (BTN) product and how a Malay ultra nationalist like Dr Mahathir Mohamed has ingrained racial prejudice into many Malays. One aspect of this racism is institutionalised towards language policies.

Parent's personal experience

My wife went to a well-known national school in Johor Bahru and has a diploma in Malay Studies. Until today, she still bitterly recalls the racist remarks made by many Malay teachers during her years in school.
Unsurprisingly, she was more adamant than I that our children should not be subjected to the same racial degradation in the national schools that she went through.

This racial taunting has been nurtured as a norm over the years by the powers-that-be through the notorious BTN. The authorities have to be held responsible for the pathetic state of inter-racial relations in the country today.

The Siti Inshah incident has made me realise how much my wife helped our children make the right choice of enrolling in my old school.
It is where we think not only that they could learn three languages, but more importantly that they are subjected to better discipline without going through the mental trauma of being victimised -- some ultra-nationalist Malay teachers utter racist slurs with impunity.
As racial degradation is bad for any child's self-esteem, I have always been determined to make sure my children do not go through what my wife went through studying in national school.

Moreover, I can afford sending my children for tuition in Bahasa Malaysia at a Malay-run private tuition centre as I always believe the best way of learning a language is from its native speakers. They enjoy learning the language from Malay teachers.

Some of the teachers have gone out their way to help my children. But some still hinted at racialism in interpreting Malaysian history, especially in upholding Bumiputeraism, which upset the non-Malay students. My children are still puzzled as to why they are not considered 'Bumiputera' as native-born fourth generation Malaysians.

Malays in vernacular school

After 53 years of Independence, we are still polarised along racial lines, and view each other with great suspicion and prejudices.
Many Malay friends of mine harbour an allegiance to Umno and hence feel obliged to defend Umno's Malay Supremism. Actually, it is an ideology whose creation has very little to do with them personally.
We have to come to terms with several longstanding issues for a sustainable inter-racial relationship in our beloved country, and among these issues is mother tongue education.

Siti Inshah's prejudice towards vernacular schools -- like my old school Foon Yew -- is quite reflective of Umno propaganda which is not only factually incorrect but certainly politically motivated.
If one feels Malays are discriminated in going to vernacular schools, why were Malays and other non-Chinese students given free tuition? Why would halal food stalls be provided in the canteen for them?
Shouldn't a blanket fee waiver for non-Chinese students in Chinese schools be considered as 'reverse racism' against the Chinese students themselves?
Previously Foon Yew High School gave a blanket fee waiver to Malay students. It was only recently that the school decided all students have to pay the same fees due to its ever increasing non-Chinese intake. However, poor Malay students are still entitled to scholarships on individual need assessment.

I myself as a wakil rakyat have recommended a few Malay students for such financial assistance.

In many Chinese independent secondary schools, non-Chinese students are still exempted from tuition fees. If the accusation is true that Chinese institutions are discriminative, why in the world would Malay students be given the same benefit and care in these schools?
Mara and other single-race institutions

A mirror situation to the above would be that Chinese students are welcomed into Mara junior colleges and not required to pay any fees to boot. But this doesn't happen, does it?
Therefore, Malay Supremacists like Dr Mahatir Mohamed and Siti Inshah Mansor need to get their facts correct.

Racial integration can be achieved in any language medium of the education stream if all children are treated equally.
There has been an increase in number of Malay and Indian parents sending their children to Chinese schools not only for acquiring Mandarin, but also for the schools' stricter regimen in teaching science and mathematics.
These non-Chinese parents obviously believe that Chinese schools will help provide their children better job opportunities later in life. This decision indicates that many Malay parents have taken a step forward compared to the Umno supremacists who fail to see a brighter future for their children if they were to be multilingual.

Malay and Indian parents have realized the importance of equipping their children to compete in both the domestic and international job markets. Language competency is also a boost for social mobility.
Language is a skill, and no longer a racial trait anymore in our present 'global village'. This means it is a definite disadvantage for monolingual Malays when competing with multilingual Malays and others in our increasingly cosmopolitan world.

My wife and I are confident that we made the right choice for our children's future.

The knockout punch Najib failed to deliver

Najib - reliance on form rather than substance
Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

The much longed-for recognition for Malaysia Day finally came in the form of a public holiday for the entire nation, but it failed to do anything to shore up the political position or the popularity of Prime Minister Najib Razak and his BN coalition.

And for this Najib has to take the blame. Not only has he been hiding behind glitzy public relations that do nothing but burn a hole in taxpayers’ pockets, even his Malaysia Day message was laughed at by the people for perceived cowardice. For while the 57-year old Najib disavowed ‘extremism’ in his speech, he took great care to do it as vaguely as possible so that no one knew what he was talking about or was referring to. Intentional or not, the end result was that no one took him seriously. And that is serious.

Because September 16 could have delivered so much for him and the BN. It could have been their knockout punch to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

In 2008, Anwar had promised Malaysians to topple the BN federal government but his complex plan went awry. Unsurprisingly, for months after that, Anwar was mercilessly attacked for being a Mr Talk-A-Lot.

When Najib came to power months later in April 2009, he grandly proclaimed a holiday for Malaysia Day. If he had worked hard, done his job, delivered the reforms he promised, then on September 16, 2010, he could have proudly and justifiably showed the country the difference between him and Anwar.

But sad to say, all that Malaysians saw on Thursday was another public relations show from Najib.

Making use of racial and religious-bigotry

More than a year has passed, but Najib leader has little or even zero to show for it. In Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was voted into the world’s top 10 most respected leaders by Newsweek last month alongside Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah who had urged Muslims “to embrace the spirit of tolerance, moderation and balance.”

By contrast, no mention was made of Najib at all and unsurprisingly the Umno-aligned newspapers and online portals went on a desperate binge to avoid comparison with the Singapore leader. But that doesn’t mean Najib hasn’t hit the international headlines at all. He has - but for the wrong issues and reasons.

In January 2010, thanks to a Najib-sanctioned move to protest the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims, Malaysia became notorious for a spate of attacks against churches. It became associated with the words “rising religious intolerance”.

Even so, did Najib stop to take stock of what he should do as the prime minister of a multiracial country of 28 million people? It appears not, because from this incident was born Perkasa – an Umno splinter group that champions Malay rights in what may say is an extreme way. Last week, a picture of Perkasa’s emotion-choked leaders with arms raised and brandishing daggers was flashed around the world - putting off even more investors and further denting the country's image.

The feedback from the majority of Malaysians and investors may have been the reason why Najib ‘disavowed’ extremism in his Malaysia Day message, but his obvious refusal to be clear about it confirms suspicion that this may be just another public relations exercise.

Final lap - national plunder

Now, in the final lap to the next General Election, public focus is shifting to national wealth and how to prevent unprecedented large-scale plunder by the ruling elite, who might be tempted to make a final grab as the chances of the Pakatan wresting power grow stronger by the day.

The gov't has warned of bankruptcy
Topmost on the list of those being scrutinized - not just by the Pakatan but also civil society leaders, the people themselves and even his own political foes within the BN - is of course Najib himself due to his scandal-plagued record and the power he holds due to his office.

From Malaysia’s purchase of two overly-priced Scorpene submarines to alleged involvement in the latest rash of corporate wheeling-and-dealing over mega-projects such as the national railway and the Iskandar economic zones, Najib may find himself under the spotlight. Just like Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, whose alleged graft has been splashed out in online magazine Sarawak Report.

No wonder then that Najib has ordered Internet regulator MCMC to crack down on websites and blogs. No wonder too that he has beefed up his public relations team with highly paid staff – all at taxpayers’ expense and for the purpose of ‘un-spining’ the allegations about his ‘secret’ business deals.

So September 16 should not come and go for nothing. For Anwar and his Pakatan, it should have added to their vigor because they know now that after more than a year, their rivals in BN have not been able to narrow the gap at all.

Sadly for Najib and BN, the majority view is still very much that they have done nothing in the past 18 months other than experiment with dangerous racial and religious political games. Not a single measure has been taken to stem corruption, unless the high-profile arrest of Ling Liong Sik is counted as one.

Instead, the politicians of the day are still busily ferreting gold for themselves - possibly as much as they can before they get thrown out either in 2011 or 2012.

We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers – Emmeline Pankhurst Is UMNO/BN the solution or the problem?

A sense of fullness that money can never buy

By Haris Ibrahim,

I took loads of photographs at the SABM Malaysia Day event yesterday but, as some of you have pointed out to me before, my photos suck.
No, it’s not the camera.
I’m just a lousy photographer.
And yesterday’s event was just too beautiful to not share the same with you through some of the better photos taken by the others, so I’m going to wait for their photos and then try to put together a pictorial for you.
For now, I’ll share something else with you.
The SABM coregroup started work on our Charter some time in March last year.
It took all of some two months and numerous meetings at Ambrose’s house in PJ, drafts and re-drafts, to get that document to what it is today.
In July, last year, we secured a tenancy of what is now known to all of us as Rumah Anak Bangsa Malaysia.
With Charter in hand and a home for SABM, it was time to reach out.
In August, last year, we hosted a round table conference with prospective partners from civil society to share our Charter and the 5 key messages that we hoped they would join us in taking to the rakyat.
From that conference, we have been blessed with some of our firmest friends and allies in our ‘One People, One Nation’ mission.
Malaysia Day, last year, we launched our humble SABM sampan.
From November, last year, through to June, this year, that sampan has made its way to Penang, KL, Malacca, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, JB and Kota Bharu, to deliver our 5 key messages, the most important being that we are all human beings, born free and equal.
What’s driven that sampan?
First, the wishes and encouragement we received from the 250 anak Bangsa Malaysia who joined us in launching the sampan last year.
Thank you all.
Second, the coregroup that has steered the sampan this last year is made up of some of the finest people I have ever had to work with in any endeavour.
I had written last year that the SABM sampan was built “by men and women who, by God’s grace, are free from the shackles of ‘tribal think’. Who look at each other and see, not Malay, not Chinese, not Indian, but fellow human beings, equal and free. Who respect, embrace and celebrate our cultural differences”.
It has been an honour and a privilege working with men and women who have given wholeheartedly of themselves, expecting nothing in return, hoping only to see justice and equality for all our brothers and sisters.
Third, the many beautiful people who have joined hands with us in the course of our journey this last year, bringing with them much needed energy and comradeship to make lighter the task that lies before us.
Since March, last year, up to our Malaysia Day event yesterday evening, at every coregroup meeting, and at every forum, teh tarik sembang session and movie screening that we have organised, again and again, between those who have partaken of the same, God has planted love, tenderness and respect in great abundance.
I am full.

FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

1. One reason advanced by the advocates of letting the Ringgit to be traded abroad is that it will encourage foreign direct investment.

2. There was a time when Malaysia practically pioneered encouragement for foreign direct investment. It was even before FDI became popular with many developing countries as a shortcut to economic growth. Malaysia wanted FDI for job-creating labour intensive industries because of the need to create employment opportunities for its workforce at that time. It was really not about growing the economy.

3. For Malaysia at that time, foregoing taxes and even local participation were not important. The Government did not rely on FDI to fill its treasury.

4. The policy of attracting FDI was so successful that it resolved the problem of unemployment until it created a problem of labour shortage. This led to an inflow of foreign workers and the expatriation of billions of Ringgit back to their countries. FDI no longer helped Malaysia's growth.

5. But being used to this easy approach we keep on inviting FDI believing that it would still help with our economy. But let us look at what really happens when there is foreign direct investment.

6. Most people think that there would be an inflow of capital. But actually only about 10 per cent of the capital needed was brought in. The rest is borrowed from local banks, preferably foreign owned banks. It is therefore Malaysian money that is invested.

7. Apart from tax exemption Malaysia also subsidised the operations of foreign owned companies through subsidised electricity, fuel and domestic transportation. Of course the Malaysian workers contribute through their cheap labour.

8. There is another type of FDI which is even less beneficial. This take the form of investments in the stock market. Usually the objective is not to benefit from profits and dividends but from capital gains.

9. When foreign investors buy Malaysian shares, the prices are likely to appreciate. Foreign institutional investors, especially pension funds can easily push up share prices with their repeated purchases.

10. When the prices are high enough the investors would dump the shares and collect capital gains. The local investors would lose money as prices depreciated.

11. During the financial cirisis of 1997-98, foreign investors dumped their shares so as to quickly change the Ringgit into foreign (US) currency before further falls in the Ringgit would give them less foreign currency in exchange. This invariably caused a steep fall in the share prices and Stock Market Index with consequent losses by local investors.

12. The Malaysian Stock Exchange makes money from commissions or the sales and purchase of shares. Consequently they are happy with more selling and buying on the Exchange. They therefore welcome foreign investors in the market. In fact they believe that if short selling is allowed they will make even more money.But these kinds of market activities do not benefit the nation.

13. FDI is double-edged and caution is needed when deciding on encouraging it. Today FDI is not coming into Malaysia because countries such as China, Vietnam, even Thailand and Indonesia offer lower cost of labour. Besides the economic recession in America and Europe mean less capital is available.

14. But what about the Ringgit? How will it affect the FDI? We need to know whether there was a lowering of FDI due to fixing the Ringgit exchange rate in 1998. If there was, was it directly due to the exchange control or other factors like increase in the cost of labour and competition with the above-mentioned low cost countries?

15. Actually when the Ringgit was fixed at RM3.80 to 1 US Dollar, the cost of investing in Malaysia was lower in terms of foreign currency. Now that the Ringgit has appreciated to RM3.20, the cost has appreciated. If we allow free trading of Ringgit abroad, two things can happen.

16. If the Ringgit strengthens then the cost of investment in Malaysia would increase, This would not facilitate foreign investments.

17. On the other hand the currency traders may once again cause the Ringgit to depreciate. This may result in increased FDI. But remember how we went into recession when our ringgit was devalued by foreign currency traders? Do we want to have that crisis again?

18. The present financial crisis in the world is due to the abuse of regulations in the financial market. No positive steps have been taken so far to regulate it. Certainly currency trading remains unregulated and selective.

19. The latest report says that every day currency trading is valued at four trillion dollars, equal to the total output of Germany in one year.

20. Whereas Germany's 4 trillion dollars yearly output creates millions of jobs, businesses big and small and much trade, the 4 trillion a day currency trade creates practically no jobs, businesses or trade. Of course the currency traders make tons of money. In the process we know that they can cause a repeat of the crisis faced by the world when they lose. Why should the world allow such greedy people to put the world at risk.

21. If we fully free our Ringgit the risk of being attacked by currency traders will once again be faced by us. Do we really want to have the financial crisis once again?

22. So I hope the Government will explain why it wants the Ringgit to be traded again. I hope it is not because we want to be good boys who will always do what we are told to do.

Waiting for promises made three generations ago

By Leon Donald

SRI AMAN, Sept 16 — As we celebrate Malaysia Day, my thoughts roll back to my 95-year-old grandfather in Sri Aman.

He has shared many a story with me on how his grandmother brought him to Kuching to meet the Rajah in court, reminisce on the hardship during the Japanese occupation and then continue on the tragedies he had to go through during the early days of Malaysia during the Confrontation and Communist insurrection.

Then he would tell me about the hardship of campaigning with his cousin, the Paramount Chief of the Ibans, the late Tun Jugah anak Barieng, trying to convince the Ibans to agree to the formation of Malaysia.

He must be wondering the same as I, why only now, the government declares a public holiday on September 16?

Malaysia was formed 47 years ago, not 53 years mind you as Umno would lead us to believe, and only now there is an urgency to recognize the date.

For the past 47 years, we in Sarawak and Sabah have seen this auspicious date pass by without any fanfare.

Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Ghazali Shafie used to visit Sarawak frequently in the early ‘60s to convince the indigenous people to join and support the formation of the federation of Malaysia.

Strong were their convictions that by agreeing to join Malaysia, the indigenous people would be living a better life.

We — the indigenous people of Sarawak and Sabah are generally categorised as Bumiputera, clustered together with the Malays — however, nowadays I am sad that when leaders in the government, including the prime minister, address the various races in the country, only the Malays, Chinese and Indians are mentioned.

I am always upset when I have to fill forms at government offices. The official myopia regarding the indigenous races of Sarawak is also apparent in a number of forms where applicants have to tick one of the four boxes to identify the racial group they belong to: Malay, Chinese, Indian and Lain-lain.

Is this what we the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak been reduced to: lain-lain and fourth class citizens?

What hope do we from Sarawak and Sabah have in securing government employment if our ethnic identities and names have been omitted from the official records?

Is this present government going to do anything about this?

Will this current administration advocate some form of affirmative action that will help us, the minority in Sarawak and Sabah.

Back then, before the formation of Malaysia, promises were made and study trips were done for the leaders from Sarawak and Sabah, showing them the villages in the Peninsular that had piped water and electricity, promising these developments will all be done in the rural areas once we form Malaysia.

It was these promises that prompted our leaders to campaign vigorously to the people in Sarawak and Sabah to agree to support the formation of Malaysia to the Cobbold Commission and the United Nations Fact Finding Team.

Now we are going into the implementation of the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Many of the leaders that campaigned for the formation of Malaysia have died without seeing piped water, proper roads and electricity reaching their villages and longhouses.

My own longhouse here is without electricity and piped water. I hope I do not have to die first before these developments reach my longhouse.

* Leon Donald is a Sarawak DAP member and plans run for the Sri Aman seat in the upcoming state elections.

Kelantan Umno Has No Problem With Perkasa - Awang

BACHOK, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- Kelantan Umno has no problem with Pribumi Perkasa (Perkasa) as most of its members are from Umno.

Liaison deputy chairman Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said Umno differed from Perkasa which fought for Malay interests as some were unacceptable to the party.

"Umno has a bigger responsibility to look after the interest of all races," he said at an Aidilfitri function and formation of Bachok Graduates' Associations in Tangok Thursday.

Awang who is also Deputy Finance Minister said Perkasa was like other non-governmental organisations (NGO) that had good ties with Umno.

"In Bachok, almost all Perkasa members are from Umno and some are holding important posts in the NGO," he added.

He said Kelantanese and Umno members should understand that the party believed in moderation and should be wary of manipulation by the opposition.

Pope addresses sex abuse scandal as he starts visit to Britain

Pope Benedict XVI inspects a guard of honour accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip at Edinburgh airport, September 16, 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI inspects a guard of honour accompanied by Britain's Prince Philip at Edinburgh airport, September 16, 2010.
 
As a sex abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church, what did Pope Benedict XVI -- then a cardinal and Vatican official -- know, and when did he learn it? Watch the CNN investigation "What the Pope Knew," September 25 & 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

Glasgow, Scotland (CNN) -- The Roman Catholic Church has not been vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by priests, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday.

"These revelations were for me a shock and a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible," he told reporters aboard his plane to Scotland. "How a man who has done this and said this can fall into this perversion is difficult to understand."

He added, "It is also a great sadness that the authorities of the church were not sufficiently vigilant and insufficiently quick and decisive in taking the necessary measures."

British people feel overwhelmingly that the pope has not done enough to punish priests who abuse children, according to a ComRes poll for CNN released as Benedict arrived in the country. Three out of four British people -- and two out of three Catholics in the country -- say he should do more to punish abusive clergy.

Critics of the church were quick to pounce on the pope's remarks.

"It's disingenuous to say church officials have been slow and insufficiently vigilant in dealing with clergy sex crimes and cover ups. On the contrary, they've been prompt and vigilant, but in concealing, not preventing, these horrors," said Joelle Casteix of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Another campaigner took aim at the pontiff personally.

"The pope affects the stance of a shocked bystander, when in fact he has been for decades the church's central handler of sex abuse cases," said Terence McKiernan of BishopAccountability, a group that tracks reports of abuse by priests.

The pope made the comments as he arrived for a historic four-day state visit to Britain, where the issue of abuse, and the Vatican's perceived lack of response to it, has created anger.

But there was a warm welcome for him on a cold afternoon in Glasgow, Scotland, for the first major mass of his visit.

Tens of thousands turned out to hear him preach, with members of the faithful describing it as a "happy day" and calling it a "great honor" that he had come.

Benedict elaborated in Glasgow on what's expected to be a major theme of his visit, the value of religion in a society that he sees as increasingly secular.

"There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty," he said in his homily. "Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect."

He also urged bishops to look after their priests -- possibly an oblique reference to the sex abuse scandal -- and warned young people against the temptations of "drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol -- which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive."

Benedict started his visit in Edinburgh, where he held a meeting with the queen and greeted thousands who turned out to see him on the streets of the Scottish city.

Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with the pope at her Scottish residence near Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, before they sat down for a private meeting. A military marching band played the national anthem God Save the Queen, for which the pope removed his white cap.

The pope used relatively strong language in a speech delivered after the meeting, reflecting on the "sobering lessons of the atheist extremism" of the 20th century.

He reminded the media of its "greater responsibility than most" to promote peace and the spread of human rights, and he reminded the country of its "deep Christian roots" that he said are still present in "every layer" of British life.

"Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society," the pope said. "In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms."

Those comments, too, resulted in "disappointment" from the British Humanist Association, which said the notion that atheism "somehow fuels intolerance in Britain today is a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God."

The National Secular Society said British secularism "is not something to criticize, but to celebrate."

"We have rejected dogmatic religion devoid of compassion," the group said in a statement. "In its place we have embraced and included gay people and given them the right to full equality, given women the right to control their own fertility, given scientists a free hand to seek cures for horrific diseases by the use of stem-cell research."

Though a pope has visited Britain once before -- Pope John Paul II in 1982 -- this is considered the first state visit by a pope to Britain because it comes at the invitation of the queen, not the Catholic Church, as was the case 28 years ago.

Benedict's September 16-19 trip is scheduled to include meetings with political leaders, royalty, and bridge-building events with Anglican Church officials. It will culminate in the beatification of British Cardinal John Henry Newman, a Catholic convert who died in 1890 and is credited with helping rebuild Britain's Catholic community.

Assistant Chief Constable Fiona Taylor, of Scotland's Strathclyde Police, said earlier this week that she estimated only 65,000 pilgrims would attend the Mass there, short of an initially anticipated 100,000.

There has already been widespread outcry over the estimated 12 million pounds ($18.7 million) British taxpayers are having to pay for the visit, though Christopher Patten, the prime minister's representative for the papal visit, has pointed out that one day of last year's G-20 summit in London cost 20 million pounds.

Criticism has also focused on the armed police squads needed to protect a religious figurehead previously targeted by attackers.

Along with anger about the Vatican's response to child and sexual abuse, there is criticism over the pope being granted a state visit, given the Catholic Church's attitudes towards gender equality and homosexuality.

Catholic leaders and government officials have defended the trip, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying Britain and the Vatican have "incredibly important work to do together" in promoting a "multi-faith dialogue."

Khir: Perkasa 'bigger' than Umno Youth

Judiciary fails to protect minority rights: Sri Ram

(Malaysiakini) Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram said today that the judiciary has failed in its duty to defend minority rights.

Since the executive branch is elected by the majority, and as such it represents the rights of the majority, Sri Ram argued that the judicial branch has the duty to protect the rights of the minority.

"It is the judiciary which must fulfill this task,” said the former judge in his speech at the National Conference on Integrity in Kuala Lumpur today.

gopal sri ramSri Ram told the 350-strong audience that if the question was asked on whether the judiciary has performed its duty, the answer he said would be an “emphatic no!".

According to him, this was because the judiciary has become so "executive-minded" that the judges have become creatures of the government.

"The judiciary is so anxious to help the executive... And when you bend the law to help the executive, this results in ridiculous decisions," contended Sri Ram.

He cited examples of the courts reversing decisions through the Federal Court to accommodate the wishes of the federal government.

Sri Ram believed that such interference by the executive was clearly a breach of the doctrine of separation of powers.

The powers to convict and sentence are exclusive to the judiciary and Sri Ram said this role should not be usurped by the executive.

1988 judicial crisis
But more worryingly, Sri Ram contends, is that this failure to protect the rights of the minorities bodes more future ill for Malaysia for the judiciary also holds another higher duty.

"It is up to the judiciary to preserve our constitution," he said.

"And when and if it fails in that function, then the state has failed," warned Sri Ram, who retired from the judiciary in February this year.


He indicated that the failure of Malaysia as a state may indeed be imminent given the deteriorating condition of the judiciary since the 1988 crisis, which saw the sacking of a number of Malaysia's top judges. 
Sri Ram had the distinction of being plucked from private law practice and appointed straight into the Court of Appeals.

He however was stuck in the appellate court for 15 years, with a number of judges who are more junior than him being promoted to Federal Court.
It wasn't until 2009, months before he was due to retired, that he was named a Federal Court judge.

Sosilawati murder: Family of Land Scam

 sosilawati murder

Murder suspect’s sister showing one of their luxury cars

The Traveler, Thursday, September 16, 2010

“If the father can jump 8 feet, the son will jump 16 feet” , is an old Tamil proverb that turned out to be correct in the case of Pathmanaban, the prime suspect in the murder case of cosmetics millionaire Sosilawati Lawiya, her driver Kamaruddin Shamsudin, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, and CIMB Bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad.

The brothers, Pathmanaban and Surinder, learned the ‘Land Scam’ and ‘Ah long’ (money lending) trade from their father Nalliyanan (not sure of the spelling).

According to sources, Nalliyanan was a big time con-man in Banting, Selangor, running his business under ‘Nalli Finance’.

Also, he had a rice dealership license.

He had cultivated strong political connections with several top MIC politicians, including former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam, Sangaran Gopal, Klang Businessman Saminathan and others.

With these connections and having an added advantage of being a ‘Konggu Gounder’ caste, Nalliyanan received special treatments for his Land Scam deals from NESA, a cooperative society founded by MIC and currently headed by S Subramaniam.

NESA approved loans, some still outstanding, beyond the real value of the land.

Since NESA took an injunction against Maika Holdings to stop the sale of its insurance arm owing to irregularities in the deal, NESA is morally obliged to explain if there were any irregularities in the loan approval to their clan and their nexus with Nalliyanan in land deals.

Nalliyanan has been implicated in several other cheating and misappropriation cases. One of them is the misappropriation of Banting Pillayar Hindu temple funds. The case is pending in court.

The family lived a luxurious life from the wealth amassed. Some of the looted money was at least used for his children education.

Pathmanaban and Surinder studied law in Bond University, Australia, where else, the daughter, currently a practicing gynecologist, went to a medical school in England.

Father thought the kids to jump 6 feet but the brothers jumped 16 feet.

“Outwardly, the brothers lived like Jamindhars but actually they lived like Pannayars”, said a businessman familiar with the case.

In essence, Pathmanaban did some charitable work defending foreign workers rights. Many describe him to be humble and ever ready to help the needy.

But those who know him well think otherwise.

“He has high temper and ever ready to punish those who cross his line like a Pannayar”.

Pathmanaban is married to an engineering graduate who is a lecturer at a Community College in Banting but were living separately, the last few months.

Though Pathmanaban received huge publicity from the media and has been branded as the mastermind, the younger brother Surendran, a shrewd man carrying out all the dirty work behind the scene, received little attention.

Surendran, an auditor, accountant turned lawyer, is married to a medical doctor from India. She works in Putrajaya.

So far, Padmanaban’s sister has not been implicated in any of the brothers land scam, money lending and money laundering activities.

However, she had an extravagant wedding reception at KL convention center where the police provided VVIP escort. Why such a treatment for an ordinary citizen?

And, the family seems to own nearly 15 luxury cars.

Supramaniapuram was a box office Tamil movie in recent times directed by relatively a new director. The movie portrays how ordinary street thieves are manipulated by the rich to commit cold blooded murders.

Likewise, Padmanaban and Surindran manipulated the young ordinary criminals to commit heinous crimes.

Certainly, the brothers jumped much further then the father.

Dr M’s racial politics outdated, says Pakatan’s young leaders

Dr M, seemingly getting more and more detached from younger voters, Pakatan leaders think
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers lambasted former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for frustrating the nation’s efforts to move forward, calling his remarks stale and irrelevant to the needs of younger Malaysians.

They said the country should do well focusing on bread and butter issues rather than harp on issues from the 1960s, such as the circumstances surrounding Singapore’s expulsion from Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir, in his latest blog post, had claimed that “Racism in Malaysia is clearly the result of Singapore’s membership of the country for just three years.”

He was responding to the island republic’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, who remarked in his New York Times interview that Malaysia’s inter-racial relations would have been if Singapore were not expulsed from the federation.

PKR’s Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, one of a clutch of rising young political stars in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) stable, sent out this message on his Twitter site earlier this week: “Let’s focus on the future. They’re fighting the cultural wars from the 1960s. We have more urgent battles to fight.”

The first-term Seri Setia assemblyman’s views were echoed by PR colleagues Nurul Izzah Anwar, the DAP’s Liew Chin Tong and Dzulkefly Ahmad from PAS.

The trio observed that Dr Mahathir’s arguments were growing increasingly stale among the younger generation of voters who are more concerned with how Putrajaya handles bread-and-butter issues in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

“Harping on the events of August 9, 1965 won’t resolve anything,” said Nurul Izzah, the eldest daughter of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, referring to the date Singapore was booted out of Malaysia.

The Lembah Pantai MP observed that the long-standing battle between the two former prime ministers had nothing constructive to work on in the way of nation-building today.

“We have to learn the past, but focus on the current if we want solutions.

“What we decide to do today will shape Malaysia’s future; and the current tit-for-tat shouldn’t distract
Nik Nazmi: Let’s focus on the future. They’re fighting the cultural wars from the 1960s. We have more urgent battles to fight.
us from managing issues such as the need for Malaysia to implement economic reforms, improve quality of education in the country and continue to address alleviation of poverty,” she stressed.

Liew, who is Bukit Bendera MP, subscribed to Nik Nazmi’s observation likening the verbal jousts between Dr Mahathir and Lee as an outdated “cultural war from the 1960s” that had no place in the present day society.

“That cultural war has nothing to do with us. I think we have moved beyond the question of if Singapore should be out or in,” said the DAP international secretary.

“I think we should not be distracted by Dr Mahathir. Let him do whatever he wants. He was a racist, and then he was inclusive...he’s changing colours every decade. He should not concern Malaysians pondering their future,” he added.

Liew observed that Dr Mahathir had been racist in his approach in the first half of his term in office in the 1980s but had switched to preaching inclusiveness after he nearly lost to Kelantan prince Tengku Razaleigh in the 1990 general elections.

Political scientist Agus Yusoff echoed the two first-term legislators and called Dr Mahathir’s argument “irrelevant”.

“I disagree with Dr Mahathir’s argument that Singapore is to blame for racism in Malaysia. It’s irrelevant. Why should we care what Lee Kuan Yew says in Singapore or in New York for that matter?” the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer said.

“What we have to concern ourselves with is what’s happening in our own country. Racism is a problem in Malaysia because there are organisations like Perkasa,” he stressed.

“We don’t have many politicians who support the prime minister’s concept of 1 Malaysia. They don’t even understand what the concept is all about,” he added.

Agus warned that Malaysia would not be able to go far in fighting racism as long as there are political groups championing the rights of a single ethnicity.

“We can’t go far if even in the BN, if there are political groups that fight for only the rights of one racial group, Malay rights, Chinese rights... That’s why racism keeps happening in this country,” he insisted.

Nurul Izzah: What we decide to do today will shape Malaysia’s future; and the current tit-for-tat shouldn’t distract us from managing issues such as the need for Malaysia to implement economic reforms, improve quality of education in the country and continue to address alleviation of poverty.
PAS lawmaker Dzulkefly Ahmad said Dr Mahathir is the nation’s biggest obstacle to racial harmony and pegged him the “Father of All Racists”, paraphrasing minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s criticism against the ex-premier in a rare show of support across the political lines.

The Kuala Selangor MP slammed the elder statesman for not owning up to his failure to stop the rift from widening during the latter’s 22 years in office.

“He had 22 years and the longest premiership. What was he doing all those years? He can’t blame an event in history or attribute the problems to another country,” Dzulkefly told The Malaysian Insider.

The PAS central working committee member pointed out that Dr Mahathir’s argument was flawed and only served to highlight the gravity of Malaysia’s inter-racial rift.

“He himself is admitting there is a serious racial divide in no uncertain terms. His only denial is that he is the catalyst for that,” Dzulkefly said.

He pointed out that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was at least “trying to enhance racial relations by taking an inclusive, market-friendly approach”.

He contends the 85-year-old’s patronage of hawkish Malay rights group Perkasa had further fanned racial conflicts here.

“He is now calling for racially-biased politics and reminding the current PM, in fact, coercing the PM not to ever debate those politics and not to marginalise Perkasa for fear of losing the Malay vote,” Dzulkefly said.

The PAS man warned that Umno was at a most crucial political crossroads and its survival to stay relevant with the Malay community depended on whether it would choose Najib’s reform-minded inclusiveness or continue to parade itself as the “most supreme Malay party on Earth”.