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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Arrests amid pope's visit to London

 


As a sex abuse scandal rocked the Roman Catholic Church, what did Pope Benedict XVI -- then a cardinal and Vatican official -- know, and when? Watch the investigation "What the Pope Knew," September 25 & 26 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN U.S. and on September 25 at 7 p.m. CET and September 26 at 8 a.m. HK on CNN International.

London, England (CNN) -- Investigators in Britain arrested six men on suspicion of terrorism Friday and reviewed security arrangements for Pope Benedict XVI's trip there, authorities said.

Some news reports said the arrests involved a potential threat to the pope, who was in London on Friday, but the Metropolitan Police declined to say whether the case was directly linked to the pontiff's visit.

Police said they were satisfied the pope's security plan remains "appropriate," and the pope's itinerary did not change.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope and his representatives were not particularly worried about the arrests.

"The police have already said that the information they have until now collected demonstrated there is no need to change anything about the program of the pope and the security," Lombardi told reporters in London.

He said he believed the police had simply taken "normal precautionary measures," and everyone remained calm.

"The pope is happy with the trip until now, and we can go on with the same joy as until now," Lombardi said.

Five suspects arrested earlier in the day are street cleaners in Westminster, the borough of London that includes Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and many of the city's tourist attractions, the Westminster City Council said.

They work for one of Westminster's contractors, Veolia Environmental Services, the council said.

It said all staff are subject to checks to make sure they are eligible to work in England, referencing questions about the men's nationality.

The men arrested appeared to be Algerian, a high-ranking source familiar with the investigation said, adding that some or all of them were probably in the country illegally.

The men were arrested around 5:45 a.m. at a business on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, police said.

The men are ages 26, 27, 36, 40 and 50, and were taken to a central London police station to be interviewed by detectives.

A sixth man, 29, was arrested later in the day by counterterrorism detectives investigating the possible plot against the pope, Scotland Yard said.

The men were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to hold them without charge for 28 days.

Searches were being carried out at a business in central London and at residential locations in north and east London, police said.

Searches of the men's homes have not turned up any terrorism-related paraphernalia such as bomb-making materials, the source said.

"Today's arrests were made after police received information," police said. "Following initial inquiries by detectives a decision was made to arrest the five men."

Police added there was no change to the threat level in the United Kingdom as a result of the arrests.

The arrests came on the second day of the pope's four-day trip to Britain, and on his first full day in the capital.

After holding an event in south London with Catholic schoolchildren and educators, then meeting with religious leaders, the pope met the archbishop of Canterbury -- the leader of the Anglican Church -- at his London residence of Lambeth Palace. It is the first time a pope has ever visited Lambeth Palace, and the visit marked a bridge between the two faiths.

"Part of what's at stake here is history," said John Allen, CNN's senior vatican analyst. "This is a schism between Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion that dates to the English reformation in the 16th century."

Pope Benedict and Archbishop Rowan Williams are friends, Allen said, but they have long-standing problems to deal with in the relationship between their churches. The Anglican Church has adopted fairly liberal policies on things like female priests, female bishops, and blessing gay marriages, much to the disapproval of the Catholic Church.

Earlier this year, many Anglicans objected when Benedict created new structures to welcome disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic fold.

"It is not my intention today to speak of the difficulties that the ecumenical path has encountered and continues to encounter," the pope said at Lambeth Palace, acknowledging the problems. "Rather, I wish to join you in giving thanks for the deep friendship that has grown between us and for the remarkable progress that has been made in so many areas of dialogue."

Stressing, however, the firm stance of the Vatican, the pope then said, "We recognize that the church is called to be inclusive, yet never at the expense of Christian truth."

The pope also spoke to members of the British Parliament at London's historic Westminster Hall.

It was there in 1535 that Thomas More, a Catholic, was convicted of treason and sentenced to death for refusing to accept King Henry VIII's marriage annulment and repudiate the pope after Henry broke with the Vatican and created the Anglican Church. The pope paused at the spot where More was condemned.

The pope told the legislators that the central questions in More's trial were still presenting themselves in "ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge."

"I would suggest that the world of reason and the world of faith -- the world of secular rationality and the world of religious belief -- need one another and should not be afraid to enter into a profound and ongoing dialogue, for the good of our civilization," he said. "Religion, in other words, is not a problem for legislators to solve, but a vital contributor to the national conversation."

Later, at nearby Westminster Abbey, an Anglican church, the pope prayed alongside the archbishop of Canterbury at the tomb of Edward the Confessor, the English king who built the abbey and was buried there after his death in 1066.

He spoke once again about the commitment to unity among Christian churches while noting the obstacles.

"We know that the friendships we have forged, the dialogue which we have begun and the hope which guides us will provide strength and direction as we persevere on our common journey," he said. "At the same time, with evangelical realism, we must also recognize the challenges which confront us, not only along the path of Christian unity, but also in our task of proclaiming Christ in our day."

Thursday, Benedict said the Roman Catholic Church has not been vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by priests.

"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 (in his priestly vows) 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.

Thursday, tens of thousands turned out to hear the pope preach in Glasgow, Scotland, with members of the faithful describing it as a "happy day" and calling it a "great honor" that he had come.

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.

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.

CNN's Richard Greene, Laura Perez Maestro, Andy Carey and Antonia Mortensen in London, England, and Kathleen Johnston in Atlanta, Georgia, contributed to this report.

Penan power and a press conference that wasn't

COMMENT Trouble was brewing in 1990 in the jungle of Sebatu near Long Ajeng, Ulu Baram in Sarawak. Penans from 15 villages had put up a long-standing blockade in their attempt to stop loggers from entering their area. A blockade is a simple collection of branches laid across the path of a jungle road to prevent timber trucks from entering.

penan benalih baram blockade 270807 community 03Eventually, the state police decided to take action. They sent in 300 members of the much-feared Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and tore down the blockade by force, while arresting the people on site.
The protesting Penans were taken utterly by surprise and they were shocked by the sudden show of violence on the part of the FRU.

They ran helter skelter through the jungle in great confusion. In the pandemonium that followed, a four-year-old Penan boy was overcome by one of the tear-gas bombs hurled into the midst of the Penans and he later died from the effects from the gas.

With the FRU and police personnel occupying their Long Ajeng settlement, many families left Long Ajeng to take refuge in other Penan settlements. It was on one of these desperate journeys that a 12-year-old Penan girl was raped by a uniformed intruder, according to Penan villagers.

azlanWhen some NGO members from abroad brought these crimes to my attention in 1993, I decided to take the matter to the law. I sent my personal aide, See Chee How, into the Upper Baram area to get a first-hand, eyewitness account of what had happened in the deep jungle.

Chee How reported to me the violent actions of the FRU, together with details of the death of the young boy and the rape of the 12-year-old girl.
But my attempts to report the matter to the police failed, because the police in Miri were lukewarm in their response and did not treat the report seriously. That was when I decided to lodge a police report in Bandar Kuching central police station.

It was a logistic nightmare, but finally we overcame all kinds of difficulties in communications and transport. A group of 20 Penan village chiefs representing 15 Penan villages finally arrived in Kuching city.
Close knit community

The next morning, I took these village chiefs (tuai rumah) to the central police station in Kuching. A police inspector had been contacted and was waiting for us, and he was the very picture of hospitality and courtesy.
The visitors were offered hot drinks and cakes, and invited to sit down at a big table. After we sat down and exchanged pleasantries, a police officer was assigned to record the villagers' statements. The action of the police, in this instance, was exemplary.
In the afternoon, the Penan chiefs called for a press conference. They trooped into my small office at Green Road in Kuching. The office was crowded with eager members of the local press.
That was when I noticed something unique as we entered my office; the Penans always walk in single file, there in my office in the city, and anywhere they go in the jungle. They keep together and depend on one another.

NONEThat was my first time meeting the Penan villagers face to face. Much as I had heard of their shyness, they were articulate and outspoken in voicing their long-standing problems with the authorities, in their jungle home. They were a gentle people and slightly shorter in stature than town folk.

I could not detect a single fat person among them. They were all fit, their bodies hard as nails, thanks to the long years of living in the wild and depending only on their personal resources for survival. I was told that the nomadic Penans' most prized possessions are their loyal hunting dogs, on which their existence depended.

penan logging blockade 220606 headman panai irang and familyI was taken aback by another unique practice of the Penans. In their communal traditions, they share everything in their lives together. They do not have a concept of a spokesperson.
Every time a question was raised by the reporters, the question would go through the ring of Penans one by one, with murmured consultations, until finally one answer emerged at the end of the discussion. The press conference took a great deal of time for this, but I was very impressed by the democratic practice of their communal living.

There was some degree of excitement among the reporters at the end of the press conference; some were busy taking pictures, while a film crew recorded the proceedings.
Muted press

The next day when the newspapers were delivered to my office, not a single picture of the Penans appeared in the press. That was how it was in those days: any news of the Penans was systematically blacked out.

Fortunately, the news of the Penans' visit to Kuching was leaked out to the international press. That was the time when reports about the Penans had become big news with the international media, shortly after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June, 1992.

NONEDuring their visit to Kuching, the delegation of Penans also took the opportunity to lobby their cause with the government.
penans meet suhakam 130208 see chee howThey sent a delegation of representatives to visit the chief minister's office; they also met with officers from the education and medical departments and a representative from the State Cabinet Committee on Penan Affairs, under the aegis of Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg.

A day or two later, they returned to their villages. All in all, despite efforts to suppress the news of their suffering, it had been a successful trip for the Penans.

This was how one of the most highly publicised actions taken by the Baram Penans came about. Unfortunately, in 1995, I fell ill and had to retire from active politics. But thanks to the Internet, the struggle of the Penans has never lost steam and has gained more momentum in the last two decades.

Meanwhile, See Chee How (right) and his team of lawyers have picked up the Penan cause where we left off. They have kept up public interest regarding the plight of the Penans with even greater urgency and effectiveness. Today, the problem of the Penans and native people fighting for their rights to their land is one of the hottest issues on the Sarawak political stage.
Next week, I shall reproduce in full the 1993 police reports lodged on the deaths of the four-year-old Penan boy and a Penan man at the blockades, and the rape of the 12-year-old Penan girl.

Batu Arang Special: A step back in time

Perkasa tells Najib to explain his 1 Malaysia or face rejection

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — Malay rights group Perkasa today demanded a clearer explanation from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on his 1 Malaysia concept as failure to do so could result in Umno and Barisan Nasional being rejected.

Najib defended his 1 Malaysia policy yesterday, claiming that it was not a failure but a “work in progress”.

“Perkasa is very worried that if there are not enough efforts to explain the 1 Malaysia concept, it will cause certain communities to reject Umno and BN (Barisan Nasional),” Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali told The Malaysian Insider today, in a thinly-veiled reference to Malay conservatives.

“Perkasa has feedback from the Malay grassroots that this concept is still confusing,” he added.

Syed Hassan said some non-Malay communities perceived the 1 Malaysia policy as an initiative to create racial equality in sharing the economic pie where no particular race was prioritised.

“Among some non-Muslim communities, Perkasa finds that they believe the 1 Malaysia policy is an effort to equalise all races in terms of sharing the nation’s wealth and no race is given special treatment. All races are considered the same,” said Syed Hassan.

He pointed out that the 1 Malaysia concept must be based on the Federal Constitution.

“Perkasa accepts the 1 Malaysia concept that was stressed by the prime minister in Parliament not too long ago that it is based on the Federal Constitution,” said Syed Hassan.

Perkasa had said earlier that the policy was being twisted by some to claim racial equality, stressing instead that the 1 Malaysia concept must be founded on Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, which states the special position of the Bumiputeras and allows the government to set quotas for educational institutions, government jobs and permits.

Najib said yesterday, however, that the misuse of Article 153 could spiral into “sensitive” issues and hurt racial groups.

He also urged all individuals and institutions in the country to conduct a “1 Malaysia test” before making rash moves that could create racial tension.

The test required the individual to ask himself, “How does my stand on ethnic-based issues impact each community? Will it improve harmony or cause hatred towards my own race? Can it lead to an improved relationship between the races and improve national unity on a whole, or will it do otherwise?”

The 1 Malaysia policy has been decried by critics as a hollow slogan amid escalating racial tension, notably racially-tinged incidents involving two allegedly racist school principals and the furore surrounding a Chinese MP’s visit to a surau.

Najib’s weeks-long silence on racial issues like that of the school principals has earned him much flak from the public and the opposition who accused him of being like his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Yesterday, Najib reiterated his stand that his administration would continue affirmative action but would redefine the policies to make it fairer, more transparent and market-friendly.

Perkasa, however, has lobbied against attempts by the Najib administration to implement more inclusive economic reforms in a bid to increase the country’s competitiveness that has suffered because of affirmative action policies.

Using the Malay rights platform, Perkasa has opposed any proposal to remove Bumiputera quotas and has even taken MCA leaders to task for making such proposals. - The Malaysian Insider

Najib does not want to snub us, says Perkasa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 —Perkasa claimed today that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s stand against Umno stirring conflict with non-governmental organisations indicates his reluctance to snub the Malay rights group.

Najib said yesterday that the ruling party did not want to be in conflict with any NGO despite the recent move by Umno leaders to distance the party from Perkasa.

“It does not mean that the prime minister agrees with all of Perkasa’s demands, but he clearly feels that distancing Umno from Perkasa is not the right move,” Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali told The Malaysian Insider today.

“Perkasa believes that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) will always take into account the demands and views of Perkasa and other NGOs,” he said.

Najib, however, has played down Perkasa’s significance as a pressure group and said that Perkasa was just like any other NGO.

Syed Hassan pointed out that there was no reason for BN to alienate a registered NGO like Perkasa as the ruling coalition has listened to the views of an unregistered NGO like Hindraf.

“If the BN government takes into account the voice of an unregistered NGO like Hindraf, why can’t a valid NGO like Perkasa be approached?” he asked.

Syed Hassan also stressed that there were no special ties between Umno and Perkasa.

The opposition has accused the ruling party of using Perkasa to restore Malay votes that were feared to be lost among conservatives who felt that the Najib administration was pandering to the non-Malay communities.

Recently, however, leaders aligned to Najib have begun the process of distancing the party from Perkasa to halt the erosion of non-Malay support for the ruling coalition.

Using the Malay rights platform, Perkasa has denounced Najib’s economic reforms despite his assurances that such reforms would not be at the expense of Bumiputeras.

Perkasa, backed by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has opposed any attempt to roll back the Bumiputera quotas associated with affirmative action policies.

“Perkasa is very thankful for the prime minister’s statement,” said Syed Hassan.

He also expressed hope that the Prime Minister’s statement would not be twisted by certain parties to accuse him and Umno of having hidden agendas.

The Perkasa secretary-general pointed out that alienating NGOs was tantamount to alienating the people as members of NGOs are Malaysians.

“Those who are members of NGOs are Malaysians. So, to alienate NGOs is to alienate the people,” added Syed Hassan. - The Malaysian Insider

Sabah, Sarawak losing points to KL


FMT ALERT KOTA KINABALU: Several PKR leaders vying for divisional posts have resorted to using illegal immigrants to win.
"It is quite rampant in Sabah. Many contestants who have no chance of winning are bringing in illegals to vote for them," a local leader told FMT.

He added that in the Kudat division, the main contender, believed to be aligned to PKR vice- president Azmin Ali, brought with him 800 “new members” for voting today.

"They all had temporary MyKads with them," said the local leader.

He claimed that the contenders who have little support in Sabah were using illegals as a way to break the stronghold held by PKR vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan in the state.

Jeffrey has thrown his support behind PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim for the deputy's post. Azmin is also vying for the post.

"Azmin's boys are trying to use whatever ways possible to come to power in Sabah," said another local leader close to Jeffrey.
MORE TO FOLLOW

'Malaysians mad about power'

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are power-crazy. The prospect of power means everything for them. That's the conclusion of political observers and an organisational study.
“(Malaysia) is a society that worships political power,” said Professor James Chin of Monash University.

“Everyone wants to have power, because when they have power, they can do whatever they want.”

Chin said this after being asked on Malaysia's high Power Distance Index (PDI) ratings, which were gleaned from a study done by Dutch organisational sociologist Geert Hofstede.

According to Hofstede's website, in a study covering over 50 countries, Malaysia and Slovakia both reigned as the world PDI champions with a score of 104 each.

In comparison, Malaysia's immediate neighbours Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore were rated at 78, 64 and 74 respectively.

High PDI scores included countries such as those in the Arab world, Russia, China and the Philippines. Democratic countries such as Japan, Australia and Canada were among those with lower PDI results.
Higher PDI ratings not only showed examples of unfair power distribution, but also revealed that a society's leaders and their followers allowed these practices to continue.

The study also argued that people in countries with high PDI ratings tended to display their rank openly, and had accepted class divisions within society as the norm.

Whatever the boss says, goes

When asked if Malaysia's PDI ratings were surprising, Centre for Policy Initiatives director Lim Teck Ghee said, "I expected Malaysia to have higher scores than longer established democratic states.”

“But I did not expect Malaysia to be ranked behind China, Mexico and the Philippines.”

Unlike Lim, Chin appeared nonchalant about the readings. “It just reinforces what we know about the problem,” he said.

“The idea of a hierarchy is very strict in Malaysia. So whatever the boss says, goes.”

Lim told FMT that cultures with small PDI scores were not only more democratic in nature, but its people also tended to relate to each other as equals.

"In these societies, there are strong institutions that foster equality," he told FMT. "Ordinary people see the right to criticise those in power as their inherent right."

Lim said that Malaysia's high PDI rating allowed ordinary citizens to accept power that was either autocratic or paternalistic.

"This has been the political and cultural baggage that we have inherited," he said, adding that the ratings were also influenced by ideologies built around "constitutional" positions.

"So long as there are such ideological positions at work, there will be elite groups that see unequal power relations as the norm and seek to preserve it for their own interests."

"We may be a democratic society in name," Lim said. "But in Malaysia the tolerance and acceptance of inequality is even higher than in many less democratic societies."

Fear of Kampung Buah Pala II haunts villagers

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Kampung Melayu Tanjung Tokong residents here are having sleepless nights. They have their reason: the “ghost” of Kampung Buah Pala is haunting them.
Like Kampung Buah Pala, the residents of Kampung Melayu Tanjung Tokong fear that their historical village will also be demolished.

And they want the state government to form a special task force immediately to address and resolve all issues pertaining to their village before allowing redevelopment project on the site.

In making this call, Tanjung Tokong Villagers Association chairman Mohd Salleh Yahaya slammed Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's administration for “doing very little” in resolving the outstanding issues faced by the village, especially on the preservation of heritage.

The state government has recently issued a stop-work order on the redevelopment of Tanjung Tokong undertaken by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).

Acknowledging this though, Salleh, however, is upset that the state government had been silent over the pressing issue since.
He claimed the state government had left it to UDA and the villagers to resolve the issue among themselves.

He said UDA has now seized the opportunity to split the villagers by making many “dubious” offers of compensation to them.

Claiming that some have been influenced by UDA's offers, he said most villagers were still united to preserve their village.

“By right, the state government should have formed a special task force to resolve the problems. The task force could become a middle man between UDA and the villagers,” Salleh said.

Howerver, the state government has always claimed that it was powerless to stop UDA from evicting the villagers, flattening the site and carrying out its development scheme.

Posh condo project

Kampung Melayu Tanjung Tokong currently occupies 24 acres of land on which stand 300 houses, 30 of them built illegally.
Part of the original village site had already been rebuilt by UDA into flats for ethnic Malay low income group.

Salleh alleged that UDA has also embarked on a posh commercial condominium project on a nearby reclaimed coastal site allotted by the previous Barisan Nasional state government.

The association has called on both the federal and state governments to set aside part of the village site as heritage Malay village.

Historians say Kampung Melayu Tanjung Tokong is the oldest Malay fishing village in Penang, and several civic groups have accused the UDA of wanting to wipe it off the map and build in its place modern residential and commercial complexes.

However, due to lukewarm response by both governments, Kampung Tanjung Tokong residents fear that the village would end up like Kampung Buah Pala, the Indian enclave in Penang that was demolished last year.

It was Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s late father, Abdul Razak Hussein, who, as the coutnry's second prime minister, launched the scheme to restructure, redevelop and upgrade the village under UDA in 1972.

The idea was to create a Malay settlement in George Town.

However, UDA subsequently decided to relocate some of the villagers. In 2008, it declared the remaining villagers as squatters.

Money matters
Last year, the Kampung Melayu Villagers Association, which has about 500 members, collected some 3,000 signatures nationwide and submitted memorandums to Putrajaya and the state government seeking their intervention to save the village.

Salleh wants the Najib government to walk the talk on the 1Malaysia concept with “swift and decisive intervention” to save their village from extinction.

He accused UDA of being interested only in money matters, saying the federal body was focusing now on achieving its corporate goals, and not restructuring, redeveloping and upgrading the place as an urban ethnic Malay village enclave in George Town.

He also accused the state government of being pro-developer.

“We are losing our rights over our land even though we are the descendants of the original natives of Penang.

"This is due to UDA's statutory declaration and lack of incisive action from the federal and state governments.

"The demolition of Kampung Buah Pala and now our village shows that both governments lack people-orientated policies,” Salleh said.

One-school system is the key

KUALA LUMPUR: A single school system is the answer to the quest for unity, but only if teachers go the extra mile to encourage students of various races to interact with one another.

That was the collective opinion of participants at the 1Malaysia Foundation's conference on "Living in a Multi-Ethnic Society" at the Securities Commission yesterday.

The session, which was moderated by foundation trustee and AirAsia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes, had participants discussing what helps and what hinders the unity of Malaysians.


"Most are for a one-school system but Chinese and Indian parents continue to send their children to vernacular schools because there are teachers who sabotage the success of national schools, such as making racist remarks which are being highlighted by the press," said Fernandes.

"We should create a school that focuses on nurturing the strengths of all races. People are in favour of having a one-school system but how sure can they be that certain races won't be victimised?"

Participants also lamented that concentrations of specific races in residential areas also contributed to certain schools having a lack of students from other communities.


A panel consisting of television hosts Azura Zainal and Daphne Iking, and businessman Anas Zubedy, moderated by foundation trustee Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, agreed that inter-racial mixing had been limited by a lack of effort.

"Teachers and parents are not doing enough to get children to mix with one another.

"There should be a special class for students to learn about each other's culture, and teachers and parents should lead by example in teaching children about acceptance and unity," said Azura.


On the role of the media in uniting people, Azura said television shows did not address the issue of unity among youths.

"It's always about singing and dancing competitions. Why not have a junior version of the Oprah Winfrey Show where youths can talk about their ideas on unity and experiences in school?"

Iking said filmmakers and producers should not assume that the masses were turned off by serious subjects.

1Malaysia Foundation trustee and 8TV chief executive officer Ahmad Izham Omar said negative perceptions of races took root before one even entered school.

"It's not really the schools or the media but what happens between the ages of zero and 12. It's about what parents say to their children.

"It's easy to talk about unity to people who already believe in 1Malaysia. It's harder to bring it to the masses who don't."

Anas said it was sad that there were Malaysians who did not appreciate the diversity of the nation's people. "There are people who pay and fly far to hear the sounds of temple drums, the azan and Chinese opera while there are those who curse whenever they hear these things."

Read more: One-school system is the key http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/3sin/Article/#ixzz0zrfxUVDK

YB Nurul Izzah states her position on the party elections


I make this statement to indicate my official position on the Parti KEADILAN Rakyat elections.

I am happy that KEADILAN is going through direct elections, which is a true reflection of our national election process.

Our 400,000 members is a microcosm of the 11 million Malaysian registered voters whose aspirations are expressed in the mandate given to elected leaders through a fair and free election process.

The entire nation is watching on how we conduct our party’s democratic process, as it would be an indicator of how we will govern the nation once given the opportunity.

Therefore, I call upon all candidates to demonstrate their leadership and responsibility in ensuring that party elections become an example for the nation.

A true democratic process welcomes divergent views and a contest of ideas between candidates.

A healthy election happens when we evaluate the ideas presented instead of focusing exclusively on a candidate’s personality.

Let us hear about ideas and solutions from the candidates on how to move the nation forward.

Let us not make the mistake of looking at the messenger only without reflecting on the message.
Let it be about substance not mere form.

Once we have all passed through the rigors and excitement of campaigning, we should close ranks and stand united with our newly elected leaders to bring change and build a better Malaysia.

Let the party elections become a party-building exercise for our members and national confidence-building effort for all Malaysians. - Haris Ibrahim

Kerajaan Gagal Menarik Minat Pelabur

Laporan Bank of America Merill Lynch berkaitan pasaran negara begitu membimbangkan. Menurut laporan tersebut Malaysia kini antara negara yang tidak digemari para pelabur di Asia Pasifik selepas bank tersebut meninjau pandangan pengurus dana. Sungguhpun kerajaan cuba memberi gambaran yang serba indah, hakikatnya Malaysia jatuh dua anak tangga dari kedudukan sebelum ini iaitu di tangga ke 10, dan kini di kedudukan tercorot. Pastinya berita ini menerbitkan rasa bimbang saya berhubung kedudukan ekonomi semasa negara tatkala kononnya pentadbiran Dato’ Sri Najib akan mengemukakan satu kebijakan ekonomi yang diwar warkan bertujuan menarik minat pelabur.

Beberapa perkara mustahak yang sewajarnya diberi perhatian adalah pandangan para pelabur yang melihat Malaysia sudah tidak mampu bersaing dengan negara jiran yang begitu bertenaga maju ke hadapan seperti Indonesia. Tetangga kita itu menurut tinjauan Forum Ekonomi Dunia(World Economic Forum) pula telah melonjak 10 anak tangga ke kedudukan 44 dari 139 negara. Berikutan perkembangan sebeginilah kita sangsi perincian Model Ekonomi Baru yang bakal diumumkan perdana menteri mampu memulihkan ekonomi negara yang lembap ini. Hasrat kerajaan untuk menjana pelaburan bernilai RM 2.2 trillion dalam masa 10 tahun, yang mana 92% dari jumlah tersebut datangnya dari pelaburan swasta, pastinya menimbulkan kemusykilan tatkala para pelabur bertindak menjauhi pasaran kita.

Pemerintah harus sedar, kebijakan ekonomi yang menafikan perkara dasar serta gagal memberi keutamaan untuk melakukan perubahan terhadap sistem yang curang pastinya dipandang sepi. Secara tuntas saya tegaskan, para pelabur memberi keutamaan terhadap sistem keadilan yang bersih, iklim yang tidak rasuah dan culas serta kepimpinan negara yang meyakinkan. Pembentangan serta perincian dasar ekonomi namun menafikan perkara yang mendasar tersebut hanya akan disambut dingin. Malangnya hakikat ini terus dinafikan elit pemerintah walau rakyat jelatalah yang menderita menahan beban.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

1Malaysia not “work in progress” but “work in regress” if Najib proves to be new Mr. Flip-Flop as PM overshadowing his predecessor Abdullah

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday defended his 1Malaysia concept, claiming that it had not failed but merely a “work in progress”.

He admitted that the concept could not become a “full realization” today but would do so eventually with the help of all segments of society.
Najib’s 1Malaysia concept is not “work in progress” but “work in regress”, especially if he proves to be a new Mr. Flip-Flop as Prime Minister, putting the former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to shame.

In back-pedalling from Umno’s recent decision to disentangle and distance itself from Perkasa as announced by Umno Secretary-General Datuk Sri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor only a week ago, Najib has exuded negative vibrations and sent out the negative message that he is not prepared to be the leader for all groups and component parties in Barisan Nasional let alone be the Prime Minister for all Malaysians.

Nobody is expecting the impossible of “a full realization today” of the 1Malaysia concept but it is disingenuous and even dishonest to claim that his 1Malaysia concept is “work in progress” when he himself lamented in his Malaysia Day message at the rising tide of extremism in his 18 months of premiership with unprecedented outpouring of the rhetoric of race and religion unseen in the first 18 months of all the first Prime Ministers of Malaysia – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah!

And what has made this “rising tide of extremism” in the first 18 months of Najib’s premiership even more unhealthy and undesirable is that they emanate primarily from the ranks of Umno and allied or outsourced groups!

Five days before the August 31 Merdeka Day, Najib broke his long two-week silence to declare a “zero tolerance” policy towards racism and pledged immediate action against those found to have made racial slurs – but this has been followed by more than two weeks of inaction against two school principals who had made unacceptable racial and religious slurs against students in their schools!

This is not the stuff to inspire confidence in his political will and commitment to achieve the goal of 1Malaysia “to make Malaysia more vibrant, more productive and more competitive – and ultimately a greater nation: a nation where, it is hoped, every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second and where the principles of 1Malaysia are woven into the economic, political and social fabric of society”. (1Government Transformation Programme Roadmap: p11)

Najib has come out with a “patriotic litmus test” to determine the political attitudes of those aspiring to positions of authority, questioning a person on his or her priorities in achieving greater unity and harmony among Malaysians, viz:

• “One has to ask whether his actions would affect people of other races and religions.

• “Would you be promoting harmony and unity or inciting hatred towards your race?

• “Could your actions lead to better understanding among people of different races, or the contrary?”

If Najib put his Cabinet and the leadership of all the Barisan Nasional component parties to such a 1Malaysia litmus test for their words and deeds in the past 18 months, how many of them will pass?

Utusan Malaysia, the Umno mouthpiece, will not only fail these tests but will be among the most egregious offenders, breaching these three tests on a daily basis.
In fact, Utusan has reached a new low as illustrated by its irresponsible and contemptible attempt to racialise and politicise the heinous and gruesome mass murders of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others against the DAP when it has nothing to do whatsoever with DAP.

Utusan Malaysia is guilty of double lies against DAP as none of the suspect killers were DAP members let alone DAP life-members, but also because DAP had condemned the heinous and gruesome mass killings right from the beginning.

When news broke on Sept. 12 of the horrific mass murders of Datuk Sosilawati, DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, who was in Shanghai tweeted his “shock”, condemned the quadruple murders as “ghastly” and extended condolences to the families of the victims of the “horrible tragedy” of the mass murders.

I was also in Shanghai for the World Expo. In my first press conference and public statement on my return from Shanghai, made in Kota Kinabalu on Sept. 15, I condemned in the strongest possible terms the heinous, gruesome crimes of the mass murders of Sosilawati.

Yet Utusan Malaysia could publish such garbage the next day on Sept. 16 to insinuate that the DAP is siding with the mass murderers and had been silent on the mass murders either because the “Datuk” killer is DAP member or DAP “fights for the rights of a certain race only”.

I have a video recording of my press conference in Kota Kinabalu on Sept. 15 condemning the mass murders of Datuk Sosiloawati and three others but I do not think the Utusan Malaysia editors would dare to ask to view them.

Coming back to Najib’s 1Malaysia test. Najib should do something simpler – ask his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and all his Ministers at next Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting whether they are prepared to be Malaysians first and race second as a first step to show their support and loyalty to his 1Malaysia concept, and if not, to tell them that they have no place in his Cabinet and government if his 1Malaysia concept is not to be taken as an empty and meaningless slogan!

And we lived happily ever after

ImageThe Sun
by Maha Balakrishnan

RECENTLY, I asked five people to tell me the ending to The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. These five people, all adults, and some of whom recall reading the book when they were children, were sure that the ending was a happy one, and that the prince falls in love and lives happily ever after with the mermaid princess.

Actually, the story did not end that way. The ending is not one that children have come to expect of fairy tales. At the end of the book, the mermaid princess does not get the prince and sail off into the sunset.

When Disney made the movie The Little Mermaid, they modified the story, creating clearly defined "bad guys" and "good guys" and a heroine who was unequivocally good, and choosing to have an ending that ascribed to the popular understanding of what is "happily ever after". It would certainly be an easier sell for the public – happily-ever-afters are so uncomplicated, while stories where the princess does not get the prince are much more difficult to explain to your child, because it would mean explaining about life, about different routes to happiness and about compromise.

The Disney movie is now accompanied by the Disney storybook carrying its version of the tale, and a lot of lucrative merchandise. The Disney version has now become the "true" story in most people’s minds. The original tale lies almost forgotten, even by those who had once known it.

And thus a pretty and simple story takes the place of a more complex tale in our collective memory.

The loss is ours. Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid has the capacity to teach us about sacrifice, and about choosing goodness and what is morally and ethically right over personal desires, even over one’s own life.

It can teach us that there are not only two categories of people – good guys and bad guys; princesses and witches; "Us" and "Non-Us". Most of the time, there is just one category of people, who can alternate between "good" and "bad" according to the choices they make.

In the original tale, the mermaid princess is far from perfect, a little selfish and very nearly bad, before she redeems herself. And there is a second princess who is a heroine in her own right and who gets the prince in the end. Yes, two princesses, one prince. No clearly defined good guys and bad guys. No clearly defined person who is entitled to a happy ending and another who is not. There are just good deeds and sacrifice, a respect for the right to life, liberty and free will, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

Both the princesses played a role in saving the prince’s life. As much as you might want to hate the other princess, as much as you try to convince yourself that she is not entitled to a happily-ever-after with the prince, there is no clear deserving victor in that battle, and you come away with the realisation that it was never really about the prince. The original story has far more to teach us about real life and the pursuit of happiness than Disney’s pretty tale.

Recently, some people alleged that The Rakyat Guides booklets published by the MyConstitution Campaign were a "new constitution" or a means of drafting a new constitution.

Are The Rakyat Guides a "new constitution", or merely a summary of key provisions of the original constitution? Read The Rakyat Guides, read the constitution or any textbook on it, and you will have your answer.

What is more interesting, however, is how this allegation could have come about or gained any traction with the public. Is this due to a lack of knowledge of what the constitution says? More alarmingly, is it due to a complete misconception of what the constitution says?

Are some people under the impression that the constitution provides a happily-ever-after, and now have to discover that it in fact provides questions for discussion and debate as much as it does answers?

Have we, as a society or in different pockets of society, brought into being a myth of what the constitution says and does not say, until we do not recognise the actual document?

Do you know how much your understanding of the constitution matches reality?

When I read The Little Mermaid as a child, I came away with a sense that it was unfinished. Something needed to be added to it or taken away from it. But I realise now that it wasn’t the story that needed to be changed or corrected; it was my perception of what the story should be.

When you read the Federal Constitution you might find that it contains far more or less than you had thought it did. You might find that it contains something different from what you have been told or were given to understand by others. Is it time perhaps, to change – or correct – your perceptions?

And here’s something interesting I came across when I was writing this article: Hans Christian Andersen himself apparently changed the ending of The Little Mermaid from what he originally penned. Our constitution too, has been changed from what was originally drafted. What other lessons could we have learned from the original ending, and what prompted him to make those changes?

Equally, what could we learn from the original provisions that were in our constitution, and what prompted the changes that have been made to it?

Our constitution – what it was and what it is – has more to tell us about the truth of who we are than any fairy tale or political myth. Isn’t it time you learned the true story?

Maha Balakrishnan is the co-deputy chairperson of the Constitutional Law Committee (ConstiLC), Bar Council Malaysia (www.malaysianbar.org.my/constitutional_law_committee). The views expressed in this article are personal to the writer and may not necessarily represent the position of the Bar Council. The Rakyat Guides are available at the Bar Council and all offices of the State Bar Committees. You can also download the same at www.perlembagaanku.com

Far-right tests Swedish tolerance


The Sweden Democrats' leader has been protected by police as anti-racism activists have disturbed rallies [EPA] 
As Swedes head to the polls on Sunday, there are concerns that a nationalist party could win representation in the country’s parliament for the first time. Several opinion polls suggest that the Sweden Democrats (SD), which says it opposes the "increasing Islamification" of Swedish society, will exceed the four per cent threshold needed to win seats.
Critics have tried several strategies to prevent the party from gaining ground. Established parties have tried to keep SD out of the political debate, while activists have disrupted rallies and vandalised campaign posters. Some party members have even been attacked. But attempts to prevent SD from getting its message out have been counterproductive, handing the party the chance to portray itself as is a victim of censorship.
After TV4 refused to air SD's campaign, the clip was viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube. The video shows a dramatic race where a Swedish pensioner is being overtaken by Muslim women in burqas competing for welfare payments.
The party wants to cut asylum and immigration by relatives of people already living in Sweden by 90 per cent. It describes Muslim immigration as the "biggest foreign threat to Sweden since Second World War".

"SD says a multicultural society is doomed to fail and that those coming here have to adapt, unconditionally, in issues ranging from gender equality to food habits," Pontus Mattsson, a Swedish journalist who has been following the party closely, says.
'Tolerance increasing'
In the 2006 general elections, SD gained seats in 145 of 290 municipalities but fell 1.1 per cent short of being represented on the national level. Now it seems it could finally make the step up.
But while support for the party is steadily growing, surveys suggest that there has been no upswing of xenophobia in Sweden, a country known for its generous asylum policies. On the contrary, tolerance towards immigrants seems to have increased and Sweden keeps its position as the country most positive to multiplicity in the European Social Survey.
SD's campaign claims that the cost of immigration is having a negative impact on social services [Fatma Naib]
According to a survey conducted in 2009 by the SOM Institute, housed at the University of Gothenburg, 36 per cent of Swedes said there are "too many foreigners" in Sweden, a significant drop from the 52 per cent who held the same opinion in 1993.
Mattsson says better organisation and larger financial assets were likely explanations for SD's success in recent years.
"It's rather about the party wising up than about a shift in public opinion," he says.
"There has always been a minority larger than four per cent [the parliamentary threshold] that shares the Sweden Democrats' critical view of immigration. But this group has never before found a party considered worth voting for."
"SD is very much a protest party. It has managed to mobilise voters who think politicians are shying away from problems."
The smartly-dressed men leading SD today stand in stark contrast to the image the party had when it emerged from the neo-Nazi movement Keep Sweden Swedish in 1988.
SD has gone through a gradual make-over, trading bomber jackets and marching boots for sharp suits and ties. In the late 1990s, party leaders repeatedly urged members not to display Nazi symbols at rallies so as not to deter potential supporters.
'Voiceless opinion'
Andreas Johansson Heino, a political scientist at Gothenburg University, stresses that a certain degree of xenophobia has always existed in Sweden.
"There's a gap in opinion between voters and politicians, an opinion not given a voice," he says. "SD profits from being the only political party in Sweden criticising immigration."
He says a shift in SD's policy, from criticism of immigration in general terms to a focus on Islam, has been another contributing factor.
Immigration in Figures
  14.3% of Sweden's population are born in another country
  The biggest non-European immigrant groups 2000-2009 were Iraqis (82,000) and  Somalis (24,000)
"While tolerance towards immigrants has gone up in the last decades, there has been no positive trend in the attitude towards Islam."
A recent survey from Linnaeus University suggests that about 50 per cent of the Swedish population tend to dislike Islam. But only 19 per cent of respondents disagreed with the statement "immigrants should be able to practise their religion freely."
Andreas Malm, who has written a book about Islamophobia in Sweden, says the same anti-Muslim tendencies can be seen there as in many other countries in Europe. He blames this partly on the weakening of the labour movement and the political left.
"It's like a seesaw all over Europe. The weaker the left gets, the stronger the right becomes and with that also the extreme right. I think what made Sweden resistant for so long is that we have had a strong labour movement which exercised some kind of social gravitation[al] force and strived in a more solidary direction.
"Muslims have in recent years been singled out more and more as the enemies of Europe, partly of course because of terror acts. It also has to do with the Muslim minorities' position as marginalised in our segregated societies. They have poorer accommodation than others, inferior jobs. Since they have this peripheral position, they become a suitable target for different kinds of hate and dissatisfaction."
Iraqi supporters
Jimmie Akesson, SD's leader, has insisted that the party has a zero tolerance towards racism and accepts a multi-ethnic society where cultural assimilation is promoted.
To back up this argument, SD can point to some unexpected supporters - Iraqi Chaldeans. Some members of the conservative Christian minority have joined SD because it is the only party which opposes same-sex marriages. The party's anti-Muslim profile is also appealing to Chaldean voters.
"Islam is a violent paedophilia sect, if you follow the message of the Quran."
Isak Nygren, SD county council candidate
In Sodertalje, the town which received more Iraqi refugees than all of the US and Canada together after the US-led invasion in 2003, SD has become the party with the biggest percentage of immigrants among its candidates in local polls.
But no matter how politically-correct party representatives at national level try to be, the well-polished rhetoric is not reflected among local candidates.
On web forums and in internal meetings, prominent local candidates have been talking about immigrants with "barbarism in the backbone,” characterised by their "aggressive genes" and describing Islam as a "violent paedophilia sect."
An investigation by the Expo Foundation, a private anti-racism research foundation, also found local SD candidates who were denying the Nazi Holocaust and signed emails with Nazi greetings.
In the early 1990s neo-Nazis and other racist groups staged large demonstrations in Stockholm and violent attacks were targeted at immigrants.
The extreme right-wing later lost strength and analysts say they do not expect a return to those dark days. In an apparent reaction to the violence, a strong anti-racism movement emerged and immigration became much of a taboo subject in the media and in political circles.
Sensitive issue
Those sensitivities were highlighted in the 2002 election campaign. When the Liberal Party, Folkpartiet, suggested a language test as a condition for citizenship. It was bombarded with allegations of racism with political rivals accusing it of flirting with far-right elements.
Before the election, the party had been close to the four per cent threshold. But in the polls, it reached 13.3 per cent, its best results in two decades.
Magnus Hagevi, an associate professor in political science at the Linnaeus University, said the language test proposal seemed to have been a strategic decision that paid off for the party.
"In Denmark, their fellow Liberals, Venstre, had been talking about playing the 'immigration card' to get those sympathisers of the Social Democrats who were critical of immigration to change bloc.
Under the leadership of Akesson, SD has worked hard to improved the image of the party [Reuters]
"Folkpartiet chose not to propose restricted immigration but to put in place a policy of demands regarding those coming, demands that they should learn the language and earn their own livings to a greater extent."
In this year's election campaign, no major moves have been made relating to immigration and integration, possibly out of strategy to shift attention away from the Sweden Democrats.
The ruling centre-right bloc is challenged in the polls by the opposition centre-left. Until recently, a tight race was expected and there were fears that the Sweden Democrats could get a "kingmaker" role in parliament.
However, recent polls have indicated the government has a steady lead.
Hagevi says the apparently big gap between the two blocs could actually boost SD.
"If the battle between the blocs was even, many of those who would consider voting for the Sweden Democrats would vote for one of the blocs instead. But in the situation we have now, with the centre-right in a clear lead, voters may think their votes are not so important in the battle between the blocs, and instead they vote for the Sweden Democrats."
Sweden has a long history of minority governments, and Hagevi says a situation where the Sweden Democrats actually gets real influence in parliament is unlikely.
"If they get into parliament but without getting any influence, and sit as a 'lame duck' for four years - that could be the worst-case scenario for the Sweden Democrats and they could disappear as a party."

- Al jazeera

Sorrowful tale of Bakun evictees

Grant all 523 Tamil schools land, make them permanent and part of the Malaysian culture, history and heritage. Why temporary and piecemeal solutions?

muhyiddin yassin
clip_image002

No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Your Reference :
In Reply :
Date : 17th September 2010
Y.B Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin Minister of Education Malaysia,
Pejabat Menteri Pelajaran, Aras 10, Block E8,
Complex Kerajaan Parcal E, Fax : 03-8889 5846
62604 Putrajaya. E-Mail: khairulam@moe.gov.my
YAB Tan Sri Dato` Seri Abd Khalid Bin Ibrahim
Menteri Besar Selangor Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor
Tingkat 21,
Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, Fax: 03-55190032
40503 Shah Alam . E-Mail: khalid@selangor.gov.my

YAB Lim Guan Eng Chief Miniter of Penang,
Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Fax : 04-7957 5718
Tingkat 28, KOMTAR 10503, Pulau Pinang. E-Mail : limguaneng@penang.gov.my

YAB Dato Seri Haji Azizan Bin Abdul Razak Menteri Besar Kedah
Aras 3, Wisma Darul Aman, 05503 Alor Setar, Fax : 04 – 7336192
Kedah Darul Aman Email: ustazizan@kedah.gov.my

Re: Grant all 523 Tamil schools land, make them permanent and part of the Malaysian culture, history and heritage. Why temporary and piecemeal solutions?
We refer to the above matter and are astonished to read of the two newsreports in one day of the Sabak Bernam Tamil school being rebuild after 40 years (MO 10/9/10 at page 24) and the mere land allocation for the Harvard Tamil school in Gurun after 20 years of struggle (MN 10/9/10 at page 18).
Why do Tamil schools have to individually struggle to be rebuilt from their cowshed like structures and to be in line with the national mainstream development of Malaysia Malay, Chinese, Orang Asli, Kadazan or Iban schools are built as of right. Why do the poor Indians in Malaysia have to struggle for their children’s basic primary school education? And why should the poor Indian parents be make to fork out money to build their children’s Tamil schools?
Article 12 of the Federal Constitution provides that there shall be no discrimination in providing education out of the funds of a Public Authority.
Section 28 of the United Nations (U.N) Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for compulsory and free primary school education for all children.
In fact it is an offence according to the Education Act not to send children to primary school and these parents can be jailed for up to six (6) months for not doing so.
These 110,000 students attend 523 Tamil schools. 371 of these primary schools are denied full government financial assistance even after 52 years of Independence. 289 of these are located in the plantations.
But why is the UMNO/BN federal government refusing to make all these 523 Tamil schools in Malaysia fully government financially aided schools? And the PKR, DAP and PAS state governments still refusing to grant land to all 98, 58 and 28 Tamil schools in Selangor, Kedah and Penang respectively.
70% (370) of 523 Tamil schools are not fully government aided. (NST 11/6/08 at page 24).
250 Tamil schools on estate land: Education Minister Hishamuddin (UM 25/7/08 pg 6).
About 1,400 (20%) (Tamil Nesan 16/6/08 pg 15) of the 7,800 Tamil school teachers are temporary and untrained teachers. (NST 30/6/08 pg 24) to teach the 150,000 tamil school pupils. (TN 16/6/08 pg 15).
Why can’t all these 523 Tamil schools all be granted government land all in one go and not in bits and pieces of a political “wayang kulit” Tamil school land here and there.
With land being granted to all these 523 Tamil schools all in one go these Tamil schools will become permanent structures in One Malaysia. It would follow that their history and heritage especially in recognition of the Indian plantation workers who helped build the foundation of what Malaysia has developed to become today. Why not? After all we are supposed to be One Malaysia?
Granting land to all these 523 Tamil schools will also ensure that they do not fall prey to supposed “development” and being pushed about here and there.
For example the Midlands Tamil school in Selangor has been told to move out for the fourth time now. The Lukut Tamil school in Port Dickson is the world’s only school upstairs a shophouse in Port Dickson is not condusive as young children need to play. The Assad Tamil school is the world’s only basement primary school and the Ladang Jeram Tamil school is the world’s only Tamil school fully housed in claustrophobic congested shipping containers. The Kulai Besar Tamil school having the world’s only classrooms in wedding tents and shipping cabins and the Rini Tamil school Johor being denied their 6.1 hectre land which is now being occupied by illegal immigrants. SRJK (T) Mukim Pundut not allowed to run their own kindergarten in a vacant building meant for the Chinese section of a vision school. (T.N 3/7/08). The Ladang Sungai Para Tamil school kindergarten and scores of others being in the world’s only cowshed like structure.
The Cheras Tamil school with 355 children is in a mere 0.2 hectre of land space and is being the world’s most cramped up primary school. The Tepi Sungai Tamil school having been the world’s only Tamil school housed in a Public Works Department storeroom and the list goes on and on.
This does not happen to any Malay, Chinese, Orang asli, Kadazan or Iban schools! Why does this only have to happen to Tamil schools in One Malay-sia?
We hereby call upon the UMNO/BN federal government and the PKR, DAP and PAS state governments to with allocate land to all these 523 Tamil schools immediately, make them all fully government aided schools, and make them permanent schools. Why should these 523 Tamil schools still be temporary structures after 53 years of Independence?
And to be made on par with any Malay, Chinese, Orang Asli, Iban and Kadazan schools which is the very basic necessity in any country except in UMNO/BN’s One Malay-sia and PKR, DAP and PAS’ multi-racial but bi-Malaysia.
These 523 Tamil schools are a part of One Malaysia’s culture, tradition, heritage and history. So why exclude and segregate them?
Thank You.
Yours Faithfully,
_________________
P.Uthayakumar
Secretary General (pro tem)
ladang Harvard t school Sabak bernam t school

PM says Umno will not be in conflict with any NGO

Najib: However, it is clear that our approaches are by far very different from those of certain individuals and groups.
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared to falter today on Umno’s decision to distance itself from Perkasa, declaring instead that the ruling party did not want to be in conflict with any non-governmental organisation.

Najib said this in a press conference at the Securities Commission this evening after he was asked to explain his silence in the recent move by Umno leaders to snub the Malay rights group.

“No, we do not want to be in conflict with any NGO,” he firmly said.

Najib went further to play down Perkasa’s significance as a pressure group, pointing out that as far as Umno was concerned, Perkasa was just like any other NGO.

“It is just like any other NGO. We have so many NGOs. There are times we can agree, and there are times we cannot agree,” he said.

However, the Prime Minister took pains to stress that at the end of the day, it was Umno that was a part of the government.

“And what Umno says matters,” he said.

He declined to commen on his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s note of caution to Umno that the party could not afford to snub Perkasa as it would likely face further electoral losses.

“No, I do not want to refer specifically to anyone,” he said, and ended the press conference.

In his speech however, Najib repeatedly stressed on the need to remain a moderate society and appeared to take a dig at Perkasa when he defended the government’s intention in redefining affirmative action.

“Since we achieved independence, our leaders and our people, have acted according to principles that are very important — the principles of moderation and balance or equilibrium — in administrating and managing the nation.

“These policies are what brings us to the middle path, and what ensures that the rights and privileges of all races are taken into consideration,” he said.

Najib noted that while the Federal Constitution protected the special position of the Malays and the Bumiputeras, it also protected the rights of other communities.

“However, it is clear that our approaches are by far very different from those of certain individuals and groups.

“For example, if we want to carry out affirmative action. We accept the objectives of it but what is wrong is we redefine affirmative action in the context of society today, in the landscape today, so that we be seen as fairer, more transparent and market-friendly.

“We accept the objective but we are looking at how to achieve that objective in a new and strategic environment,” he said.

“Some people have decided to take narrow-minded views and to be selfish in order to defend their rights.

“When someone is not sensitive to the needs and aspirations of others, the gap of differences that divide the communities would eventually become wider,” he said.

When questioned during the press conference later if he was referring to Perkasa however, Najib was quick to deny this.

“No, no, I am not talking about anyone, Why do you mention Perkasa? I am just talking about times have changed... we have not forgotten the objectives of affirmative action because we want a fair society, a balanced society but we have redefined the mechanics of getting there.

“We should be attuned to the changing times,” he said.

The Najib administration has been struggling in its bid to sell its economic reforms to a sceptical public, and this process continues to be made complicated by political curve balls thrown by Perkasa and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Recently however, leaders aligned to Najib had begun the process of distancing the party from Perkasa because of the group’s controversial and strident views on economic reforms.

Using the Malay rights platform, Perkasa has been a major obstacle in the way of Najib’s economic reforms which he has assured would not be at the expense of Bumiputeras.

But Perkasa, backed by Dr Mahathir, is against any attempt to roll back the quotas associated with Malaysia’s affirmative action policies. - The Malaysian Insider

Dalbinder: Teng must go

The residents of KBP  manipulated by certain irresponsible parties by sweet talks. The residents claimed some personals played into the hands of the land robbers who want to failed the issue for their interest, KBP residents houses demolished and some residents are not compensate by the local DAP government. One of those who made the failure of KBP is Dalbinder in the video below.

No Tamil schools will be closed down, says Samy Vellu

KUALA LUMPUR: MIC president S Samy Vellu today assured the Indian community that the government will not close down any Tamil schools even if their enrolment is low.

“Not a single Tamil school will be closed. In fact, we (the MIC) will ensure that all existing Tamil schools are redeveloped,” he said in a statement here today.

Samy Vellu was commenting on a statement by the Malaysian Tamil Council managing director S Sivasubramaniam who was quoted as saying that about 100 partially-aided Tamil schools would likely be closed as they had low enrolment.

The MIC chief chided those who claimed that Tamil schools with very low enrolment faced closure.
“There are solutions to these problems, but we must work out reasonable solutions to resolve the problems faced by schools with low enrolment,” he said.

Samy Vellu said the MIC was aware that there were Tamil schools which only had two or three students, but stressed that the schools would not be shut.

He added that the Indian community and related organisations should work with the MIC to come up with workable solutions, which include relocating the affected schools to areas where there were a sizeable number of Indians.

Samy Vellu said the government should not be blamed for not doing much for Tamil schools.
“The government is ready to assist in finding a solution to this problem.”

He cited the special allocation for the redevelopment of Tamil schools under the two economic stimulus packages last year amounting to RM130 million and another RM67 million in the 20101 Budget.

“Even Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassan has pledged that no Tamil school will be closed down,” he said.

Samy Vellu added that the MIC would ensure the continued progress of the Tamil schools “whether they are fully- or partially-aided”.

Najib: 1M'sia has not bombed, it's work in progress

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Lashing out at critics who have panned his 1Malaysia brainchild, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak described it as “work in progress”.

In his keynote address at the 1Malaysia Foundation public seminar here, he said the concept cannot be described as having failed.

“It is not fair to say that 'I am not getting fair treatment that 1Malaysia is not working'. That should not be the attitude, it’s work in progress,” he added.

The concept, introduced soon after Najib took over office last year, was supposed to foster greater racial unity but critics, especially the opposition, had called it a failure.

One of the main reasons for this, according to the detractors, was Umno's lenient approach towards Malay right-wing movement Perkasa.

They also argued that racial polarisation still existed in the education and economic sectors.

The 1Malaysia concept was also rendered a blow by cases of racist remarks being hurled at students by headmasters and principals.

'We don't have the magic wand'
Despite this, Najib stressed that his concept was guiding the nation along the road of transformation.

“What we can put right, we will put right. It is a work in progress, where we need full commitment from the people to get us to our objectives,” he said.

Najib also said the 1Malaysia concept was still in its infancy, and would prove to be successful over time.

“This could be implemented in a more systematic way through our main principles of National Key Result Areas (NKRA), the Government’s Transformation Plan, 10th Malaysia Plan and the New Economic Model,” he added.

However, the prime minister said the government did not have a “magic wand to perform miracles” in achieving the goals of the 1Malaysia concept.

“We need the people’s support to achieve this,” he added.

Video: Gunfight for deputy sheriff: Enter dark horse

Gunfight for deputy sheriff: Enter dark horse

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR's former deputy secretary-general P Jenapala has tossed his hat into the ring for the upcoming battle for deputy presidency.
The party veteran, who resigned from his post when he became bankrupt in 2008, announced his candidacy at a press conference held at a restaurant here today.

Currently, the top contenders for the number two slot are vice-president Azmin Ali and former law minister and supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim.

"I represent the working class, the layman's representative,” said Jenapala, who beamed with confidence.

“I believe 95% of the members are grassroots members and they will support me. Most of the party leaders are towkays and professionals who don't understand the feelings of the grassroots," added the 56-year-old security firm manager.

According to Jenapala, there is a lot of frustration in the party, evident from meetings and conventions held, that Indians and the grassroots members were not well represented in the party, and he was here to fill that void.

He spelt out four objectives for him to contest the post:

1. to have fair representation and respect for the Indian community within PKR.

2. to test the democratic process in PKR – does it truly exist?

3. to re-affirm PKR as a plural, multi-racial party.

4. to return PKR to the people, to the grassroots members.

"Our party membership data shows us that approximately 40% of PKR membership is made up of Indians. Yet we remain under-represented in this party," said the former informal national coordinating Indian committee chairman.

"Some members have questioned if Indians are treated with dignity to begin with. Some time back there was a story where a well-known senior PKR leader openly called an Indian leader 'pariah'.

“If this is true, this sort of disrespectful name-calling goes against all that the party stands for. I believe that PKR stands for respect for one another, regardless of who we are," he added.

Promotes 'ketuanan Melayu terpilih'

The former deputy division chief for Ipoh Barat said that he wanted to know if PKR was really democratic or would he be branded as a saboteur for taking this path.

Lamenting the state of the party, Jenapala said PKR was in the past seen as the new frontier, or symbol for multi-racialism in Malaysia.

“This is a party for all Malaysians. This is what the party promised prior to March 2008 when Anwar called on all Malaysians to fight for justice.

"Today it feels more like a party that promotes ‘ketuanan Melayu terpilih’ or in other words, a party for and of a few chosen Malays," he said, adding that PKR must return to the people.

"Democracy is damaged, and we are here to repair it," he stressed.

Asked about the Indian leaders in PKR, he replied: "Now tell me, which PKR leader can read and write Tamil?"

Jenapala, who claimed to be contesting due to suggestions from grassroots members, said he was prepared for the "mud slinging" and "slander" that would surely follow his announcement.

"They will surely embarrass me to the maximum. For the record my financial problems are almost resolved. I will soon be getting a certificate of discharge (from bankrupcy) and that will be done well before nominations, but I have to make this announcement now," he explained.

Asked if Kapar MP S Manickavasagam would be joining his campaign, Jenapala said it was too early for him to say but he welcomed anyone who would join hands with him.

On how much support he had, Jenapala claimed that he already had 30% and he aimed to double that.

'This is not Anwar's party'


Meanwhile, Jenapala also called on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to lead PKR as its president and not as adviser.

"I have deep respect for Anwar but this is not his personal party, nor of a few super MPs trying to be power barons. This is a party for all Malaysians," he said.

In late 2008, Jenapala had quit his deputy secretary-general post and claimed that Indians in the party were marginalised and that many had threatened to quit the party as well.

However, his claim was disputed by PKR vice-president R Sivarasa who said Jenapala was not re-appointed at the PKR national congress as he was a bankrupt and could not hold any positions.

Jenapala joined PKR after being expelled from PPP as its Ipoh Barat branch chairman in 1998 for allegedly working against the party and undermining its objectives.

He was the first batch to join PKR in 1998 and claimed that he was the 45th PKR member and first Ipoh Barat division member.

Musa's last sermon at Bukit Aman

A more insincere and hypocritical load of rubbish would be difficult to imagine, especially coming as it did from the man who confessed, so I was reminded, at the Anwar Ibrahim show trial some years ago that he would not hesitate to tell a lie if ordered to do so by his superiors.

Tunku Abdul Aziz, My Sinchew

I squirmed. All of a sudden a wave of nausea of tsunami proportions swept over me as I munched my buttered toast while reading a news report in the NST (9 September 2010) that IGP Musa Hassan’s parting wish was that Ismail Omar, his deceptively docile successor, would “emulate him in bringing about changes to the force and lifting its integrity.”

My breakfast to which I had looked forward with great anticipation came to an abrupt end; it became quite unpalatable and totally indigestible.

A more insincere and hypocritical load of rubbish would be difficult to imagine, especially coming as it did from the man who confessed, so I was reminded, at the Anwar Ibrahim show trial some years ago that he would not hesitate to tell a lie if ordered to do so by his superiors.

We deserved, I suppose, to have Musa set loose among us, the unsuspecting long suffering public, as the country’s Inspector-General of Police because we have done nothing, or very little, to stop the general rot in our country.

For Musa, his promotion to the post of IGP was a well-deserved reward for his “turning” operations and for being economical with the truth.

Musa was denounced as an unreliable witness in a Sabah law court, a euphemism, if there ever was one, for a hostile witness.

In truth, we must not be too hard on the poor man because it is quite possible that “truth” was not in the lexicon of ethics as far as he was concerned.

I thought it odd, to say the least, that he who was literally shown the door had the gall to ask his successor to “emulate” him. Did he really believe that he was worthy of emulation?

I should think it the height of arrogance for me, for example, if I were to suggest that anyone should emulate me. Why should they?

People emulate you because there is something in you, or about you, that they admire. Emulation is not product money can buy, unlike bare faced flattery or lies which seem to get you everywhere.

It is, I suppose, the measure of the man’s limited grasp of life’s vicissitudes that he continued to harbour the delusion until the end, in spite of the open contempt and disdain shown by the general public during his stewardship of the PDRM, that he was about to make a triumphant exit under a decorated arch with flags and pennants fluttering in the breeze and trumpets blaring.

There is, of course, no accounting for one’s pattern of behaviour in response to particular circumstances.

Musa would never in a thousand years admit that he had left a force that is hopelessly demoralised. Ismail Omar has inherited a broken down institution that needs strong, principled and visionary leadership. Ismail Omar’s will be a thankless job. He must quickly wipe out all the negative traces of the Musa years if confidence in the PDRM is to have a ghost of a chance of being restored.

The Government that spent millions to set up the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2004 must take charge and have all the 125 recommendations implemented.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister not only, in the opinion of the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, slept on the job but also showed no inclination even in rare moments of wakefulness to deal effectively with Musa who, in rejecting the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission), declared that if the IPCMC was forced on the police, they would to a man revolt.

It was a threat of the most virulent and seditious nature and yet Abdullah Badawi took it all lying down, no pun intended, as if the threat to revolt against an elected government, however the election was conducted, was a normal part of police practice and response in the circumstances.

This naturally led, not surprisingly, to aspersions being cast on Badawi’s integrity. There were suggestions doing the rounds that there was a series of complicated connections that bonded Abdullah Badawi and Musa Hassan. According to many, it was an uneasy close relationship based on mutual survival, bordering on the criminal.

The IPCMC is central to the process of transforming the police force into the police service in which the focus is on service in the public interest rather than concentrating solely on the Police Act. This is a vital mechanism for ensuring that members of the public are protected from police brutality and human rights abuse. On the other side of the coin, the police too will be protected against unfair allegations of illegal acts.

The IPCMC if properly constituted will bring about a change in public/police relations which have broken down almost beyond repair.

It is not often realised and appreciated that the police work under great pressure and are exposed to great danger, and tend to forget that they are no more than civilians in uniform sworn to protect life and property. They must operate within the law. The police, from experience in many developed countries, need to be protected against themselves and this is where a mechanism such as the IPCMC is vitally important for the development of fair and honourable relations between the police and members of the public.

The government must put in train without delay the implementation of the IPCMC to bring PDRM in line with universally proven best policing practice as part of its much touted governance reform programme. For once, do not let the tail wag the dog as Badawi did to the detriment of effective policing in a multi-racial environment.

Tunku Abdul Aziz was a member of the 2004 Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police.