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Saturday, October 2, 2010

In Ayodhya, now Hindu vs Hindu

Day after the verdict
Nirmohi Akhara refutes VHP claim on temple site
Aditi Tandon writes from Ayodhya 
 
A day after the verdict in Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, divisions today surfaced on an altogether new front as Hindu groups (petitioners in the case) staked their separate claims to the right of serving Lord Rama.


The VHP has been on its own in this case. They have never talked to us. We have the first right on Ram Lalla and were praying in this area before the Centre acquired it and handed over the makeshift Ram temple’s affairs to a court-appointed receiver. We want that right back — Mahant Bhaskar Das, Head of Nirmohi Akhara
The fight now is no longer about building a Ram temple at the disputed site, which the court yesterday said was Ram Janmabhoomi. It’s now over who will manage Ram Lalla’s affairs.

The Nirhomi Akhara, which got one-third share in the hitherto disputed outer courtyard (comprising Ram Chabootra, Sita Rasoi, Bhandargriha), today told The Tribune that it would move the Supreme Court for the ownership of entire land — outer and inner courtyard and for the right to manage Ram Lalla who, as per court orders, will stay where He is — residing in the temple at the site. This permission came in the case, which the VHP-backed Triloki Nath Pandey (he holds the power of attorney on Parishad stalwart Ashok Singhal’s behalf) is contesting as the “next of friend of Ram Lalla”, the original petitioner.

Now, managing rights of Ram Lalla will also be claimed by the party which won for Ram Lalla the right to reside in a temple at His Janmabhoomi. The HC granted that right yesterday in the case which Deoki Nandan Aggarwal, former vice-chairman of the VHP, originally filed.
That explains why the VHP claimed the first victory yesterday and declared its intentions of not just building a Ram temple but also moving the Apex Court against the 33 per cent share of Sunni Wakf Board in the inner courtyard.
Asked if the Nirmohi Akhara was with them in this claim, Nrityagopal Das, president of Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, set up by the VHP to build a Ram temple, said yes. But Akhara head Mahant Bhaskar Das today refuted the claim. “The VHP has been on its own in this case. They have never talked to us. We have the first right on Ram Lalla and were praying in this area before the Centre acquired it and handed over the makeshift Ram temple’s affairs to a court-appointed receiver. We want that right back,” he told The Tribune.

VHP sadhus, who prayed at the makeshift Ram temple today, also claimed they represented the Hindu aspiration of building a temple and would move the SC for ownership of the entire inner courtyard.

With cracks appearing in the so-called Hindu unity in this originally minority-majority fight, one thing became clear — the Hindu petitioners stand united only against the Muslim presence in the inner courtyard. Both the Nirmohi Akhara and the VHP will move the SC against the Muslim share but will battle it out to own Ram Lalla.

Nirmohi Akhara’s lawyer Ranjeet Verma said: “The High Court has wrongly dismissed our plea to manage Ram Lalla’s affairs. The other Hindu party was in this case only as next of friend of Ram Lalla and their claim is limited to establishing that the idol stood at Ram Janmabhoomi. That has been proved. The VHP can build a temple but only under our banner.”

Kula calls off tell-all session

(Malaysiakini) Perak DAP deputy chief M Kulasegaran has called off a tell-all press conference over an apparent crisis in the state party leadership at the eleventh hour.

It is understood that he was persuaded by the top DAP leadership to lay down his arms in a one-week cooling off period.

The press conference was planned today to expose allegations that the 'Ngeh-Nga' cousins have been undermining leaders not aligned to them.

The 'Ngeh-Nga' faction - so-called because of state chairperson Ngeh Khoo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming - have been in conflict with many state leaders who are uncomfortable with their allegedly authoritarian style.

This conflict was suppose to be resolved during a high-level mediation talks in Ipoh last night involving top national party leaders, including party advisor Lim Kit Siang.

However, the peace talks fell apart with Kulasegaran's camp claiming that the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction has refused to compromise or keep to their promises.

Kulasegaran 'frustrated'

Contacted today, Kulasegaran said he would be going overseas for a week and will call for a press conference when he returns.

NONEHe conceded that he had abruptly left the mediation talks last night after 90 minutes because the stalemate could not be broken.

"I am frustrated that no meaningful solution could be found to resolve the problems with the state leadership," he said.

Kulasegaran confirmed that he and several other leaders are upset over attempts by the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction to tighten their grip over Perak DAP.

"They are desperate to win and stay in power at whatever the cost," he said.

"The principle of the a party united in its political struggle has been overtaken by self-interest and factional fighting."

'Enough is enough'

According to a source close to Kulasegaran, the mediation talks were held last night after the culmination of several events which had caused friction among state leaders.

umno youth chin peng doctored book 120905 ngah ngeh pcThe 'Ngeh (left) - Nga (right)' faction has been accused of reviving defunct branches while attempting to disqualify those allied to their detractors from voting in the upcoming state party polls on Nov 21.

Another accusation is that the cousins have been badmouthing Kulasegaran and several others state leaders, including elected state legislative assembly and parliament representatives, during statewide tours.

The source said that the cousins also have been busy establishing branches in state or parliament constituencies held by their detractors, such as that of Ipoh Barat and Jalong which are held by Kulasegaran and state treasurer Leong Mee Meng respectively, and running parallel service centres.

“We have been holding our tongue for a long time. But enough is enough,” said the source.

According to the source, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was when the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction started a petition among branches, which the majority are in their favour, to disqualify branches allied to their detractors.

“How can you disqualify these branches, such as Tebing Tinggi and Pasir Pedamar? These branches existed long before and were the lynchpin for the party in Perak prior to 2008,” said the source.

Either Ngeh or Nga must step down

During the mediation talks last night, the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction was given a severe reprimand by Lim and other national leaders for being overzealous.

Among others, Lim was said to have drawn analogies from the book 'The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris' by Peter Beinart to warn them that arrogance and overconfidence would lead to one's downfall.

dap pc on keshvinder quit party 160610 ngeh koo hamIn Greek mythology, Icarus constructed a set of wearable wings made of feathers held by wax. Against his father's instructions, Icarus flew too close to the sun causing the wax to melt and leading to the tragic hero plunging to a watery grave.

The source said Ngeh sidestepped the accusations and went off the tangent several times, thus raising temperatures to an already tense meeting.
It is understood that Kulasegaran and opponents to the 'Ngeh-Nga' faction feel that the only resolution to the 'crisis' is for either Ngeh or Nga to step down from their positions, to break their stranglehold on Perak DAP.

Numerous attempts were made to obtain comments from Ngeh and Nga. At press time, they have yet to respond.

Additional reporting by Humayun Kabir

Tony Fernandez forced to share Air Asia with UMNO. Refuses to speak up against UMNO racism and religious supremacy.


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians, especially the younger generation, need an interactive platform to air their thoughts on racial unity and the 1Malaysia concept.

Yayasan 1Malaysia trustee Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said yesterday there was a lot of suppressed frustration among the people and the first step to overcome the problem was through public dialogue.

“The media should help bring the issue of racial unity to the forefront and have young people – the future of our country – talk about what we can do to improve relations in the multi-racial community we live in,” he said at one of the workshops held in conjunction with the seminar organised by Yayasan 1Malaysia.

He also suggested that the “race” column in forms be removed since it makes individuals think of themselves as Malay, Chinese or Indian first instead of as Malaysians.

“Almost every form we fill up requests for race information, even when it is completely unnecessary,” said Fernandes.

Yayasan Budi Penyayang chief executive officer Datuk Leela Mohd Ali suggested that students from various educational institutions in the country be brought together for “reflective sessions”, adding it would be helpful to identify where the dissatisfaction stemmed from.

Television personality Daphne Iking said she hoped Malaysians of all races would one day agree on what is the common future for them.

“The future can’t be based on religious or racial ideology, but on merit,” she said.

Iking, another TV personality Azura Zainal, and Zubedy (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Anas Zubedy shared their views on “Voices on Unity” moderated by Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Anas said there was a need to compromise as only those who were able to do so would survive.

“Nobody can get everything but everybody must get something. There is enough for anyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed. These are the few things we have to work on,’’ he said.

Audit prompts Khazanah to reshuffle Iskandar unit

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Results of an internal audit has pushed Khazanah Nasional Berhad to change the leadership in its flagship developer Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), with DRB-Hicom property chief Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim to replace current chief executive Arlida Ariff this December.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Khazanah and Arlida have mutually agreed that her contract will not be extended. It is also learnt that Syed Mohamed will be named as the CEO soon.

“There is a mutual agreement that Arlida’s contract will not be renewed,” a government official told The Malaysian Insider.

However, he could not say if the sovereign wealth fund would press charges against anyone following the audit in the company that acts as a catalyst for Malaysia’s massive development in Johor.

Khazanah initiated an audit into the financial management and operations of IIB earlier this year following reports of alleged kickbacks, inflated costs and alleged questionable procurement procedures.

“The allegations were serious that the Khazanah boards called for an internal audit undertaken by Ernst & Young,” a source said.

The Sun newspaper yesterday reported that some of these allegations include the awarding of infrastructure projects to relatives of senior executives of IIB.

However, it is understood that Khazanah is not keen to pursue a full-blown investigation involving the authorities.

“Khazanah’s main concern is investor confidence but if there are any allegations of irregularities, they must be nipped in the bud,” The Sun quoted its sources as saying.

The daily however stressed that the change does not implicate Arlida, who was headhunted by Khazanah and named as CEO and president in 2008 to replace the company’s first chief executive, Dr Iskandar Ismail.

Arlida first joined IIB in 2007 from her job as executive director of KLCC Projeks Sdn Bhd.

IIB was founded in November 2006 as the South Johor Investment Corporation and has since brought in a total of RM39 billion worth of investment — both signed and pledged — including the RM750 million Lego Land theme park.

Iskandar is Khazanah’s largest property investment and the state asset manager owns 60 per cent of IIB, The Employees Provident Fund and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor each has a 20 per cent stake in IIB.

It is understood that Syed Mohamed is the best candidate among the shortlist due to his working experience in the Middle East. He is also no stranger to the property, construction and infrastructure sectors.

Syed Mohamed joined DRB-HICOM about nine months ago after working on a RM24bil city project in Madinah, Saudi Arabia. He became chief operating officer of Seera City Real Estate Development Co, a firm leading the 15-year project.

He earlier spent four years heading Lembaga Tabung Haji’s property arm, TH Properties Sdn Bhd, which is jointly developing Bandar Enstek township with Negri Sembilan State Development Corp.

India’s biggest budget movie hits screens

CHENNAI, India, Oct 2 — Three years after his last blockbuster, bus conductor turned Indian film megastar Rajinikanth returned to the silver screen Friday with a movie expected to break all box-office records.

The 60-year-old’s latest film, the Tamil-language “Endhiran”, has a budget of 1.65 billion rupees (RM108 million) according to the movie’s official website, making it the most expensive Indian film ever made.

The science-fiction fantasy thriller, which will be screened in nearly 2,000 theatres worldwide, had its first screening in India as early as 5am, with some fans queuing through the night for tickets.

Some celebrated the release by bursting crackers, beating drums, showering the movie screen with flowers and even washing life-size posters of Rajinikanth with milk — a sign of purity.

A star of more than 150 films, Rajinikanth’s presence on screen has been likened to a leaping tiger, and his fans are known to pray in front of life-size cardboard cut-outs of him for the success of his latest release.

“It’s a superhit and the film will run for 1,000 days,” one fan, Rajini Priyan, told AFP after watching the first show.

In India’s southern city of Chennai in Rajinikanth’s home state of Tamil Nadu, life-size posters and movie billboards of the megastar lined the streets and movie theatres.

The film, which will be released in Hindi as “The Robot” and “Robo” in Telugu, also stars former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, who is one of Bollywood’s biggest names and the daughter-in-law of megastar Amitabh Bachchan.

Shooting for “Endhiran” took the cast all over the world, from the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru to Brazil and the United States.

The reclusive Rajinikanth left his job as a bus conductor to study drama in the 1970’s and ever since he has acted in more than a 150 films. — AFP-Relaxnews

Pokok Asam residents fail in bid to defend their houses

GEORGE TOWN: The Sessions Court here today dismissed an application from the residents of Kampung Jalan Pokok Asam, Jelutong here, to prevent housing developer, Mission Fairway Sdn Bhd, from demolishing their houses.

Judge Muhammad Jamil Hussin made the decision after being informed by the plantiffs that their lawyer was not present in court today and could not be contacted.

On June 30, the residents in Kampung Jalan Pokok Asam were almost forced to evacuate their houses when the developer came with bulldozers to demolish the houses.

However, after negotiations between the residents and the developer, the eviction was postponed.

It is learnt that the 100-year-old village will be developed with high-rise apartments by the Kuala Lumpur-based company.

- Bernama

Election Shams

By John Doe

A show election, also known as a sham election or rubber stamp election, is an election that is held purely for show, that is, without any significant political purpose. Show elections are a common event in dictatorial regimes that still feel the need to establish some element of public legitimacy.

Results predictably show nearly 100% voter turnout and nearly 100% support for the prescribed (often the only) list of candidates or for referendums that favor thepolitical party in power. Examples of such elections include elections in the Soviet Union, North Korea, and Baathist Iraq. A predetermined conclusion is always established by the regime, either through suppression of the opposition, coercion of voters, vote rigging, forged number of "votes received" (e.g., the State of Vietnam referendum, 1955), or some combination. In an extreme example Charles D. B. King of Liberia claimed he received 243,000 votes, which exceeded the number of eligible voters over 15 times.[1]

Ballots in a show election may contain only one "yes" option. In case of a simple "yes or no" question, people who pick "no" are often persecuted, thus making the "yes" choice the only option. For example. the elections in North Korea require a voter to publicly reject the official candidate. People are often coerced to vote. For example, people who voted in the election of the People's Parliaments in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in 1940 received stamps in their passport. Those who did not have the stamp were persecuted as the "enemy of the people".[2]

In some cases, show elections can backfire against the party in power, especially if the regime believe they are popular enough to win without coercion or fraud, e.g., in the Burmese general election, 1990 as well as the upcoming Nov 7th Elections.

Why does UMNO even bother having elections? With all these dead voters turning up, the 1.5million civil Servants (including the guranteed Postal Votes of the Military, RELA, Police, and other Govt-Linked Institutions), why not just declare Elections as "costing too much Public Money & Resources", and go ahead, and declare UMNO the next Ruling Regime for the next 99years. Burma did it since 1990, and Singapore just gave the above reason for not having any by-elections.

UMNO wants itself to look as if it is Championing the "malays", and yet the people who are raped the most (financially at least), are the very people they pretend to Champion. And then of course, there is the God factor. How can you argue against "God told me to tell you that....".

The easiest way to keep a Population under it's control, is to make sure that it is poor, and stupid. First, they would be too poor to bother arguing and fighting against the Govt. So, unless you have some "Thaksin who feeds the Red Shirts money to demonstrate at MBK", no "poor and stupid person" would ever have time, or the resources to go on a demo. The second, is the simple fact that the stupid are too dumb to even realize that there is a better-life-out-there. The only exception which I know of, would be the Indonesians.

They are fantastic at organizing "Demos". They have perfectly timed buses, which would transport the people in and out of Jakarta, with absolutely NO TRAFFIC JAMS, and all 10,000 or more people would arrive punctually, and orderly at the demo (at least at the start of it anyway). My question to them was this, "Wow, you are so professional at organization, and getting things done accurately & correctly and no one is late for a demonstration, but how come no one can do this on regular workday?"

Well, elections are coming again. PKR has an internal pissing-contest, and UMNO is going to win again. Why not just declare that "Elections are costly. Therefore no more elections until the year 3011" and be done with it?

In my best Manglish, "Oi ! UMNO ! No balls to announce this ah?"

Bersih 2.0 and 1Malaysians say ‘Nah!’

By Pahlawan Volunteers

The smart thing for all Malaysians to do now is to just lie low and vote BN out at the next elections…

BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) 2.0 is an entirely civil society movement pushing for a thorough reform of the electoral process in Malaysia. BERSIH 2.0 will be having its official launch soon, so watch this episode of PopTeeVee with Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, Chairperson of BERSIH 2.0. to find out when!

Meantime, on Perkasa declares war against Namewee, it’s Time for 1Malaysians to say ‘Nah!’

“Pemerhati: The authorities at the New Era College probably reasoned that it was better to cancel the event for the sake of the safety of their students. This is because it has become increasingly obvious that Perkasa, like the cow-head protestors earlier, has the full backing and blessings of the top Umno leadership and the Polis DiUmno Malaysia.

The top Umno people love to have this type of racial tension going all the time as they can use it as an excuse to introduce all sort of draconian measures to continue to rule the country, if they suspect that they are likely to lose the next elections.

The smart thing for all Malaysians to do now is to just lie low and vote BN out at the next elections…“
Have you registered as a VOTER yet? If not, head to the nearest post office NOW.

Check if you are registered as a voter here.

Treffen mit Anwar Ibrahim


By Alexander Lambsdorff
September 30th 2010
Die aktuelle politische Lage in Malaysia und das politisch motivierte Gerichtsverfahren gegen ihn waren die Themen bei einem Mittagessen mit dem malaysischen Oppositionsführer Anwar Ibrahim am Mittwoch in Brüssel. Anwar Ibrahim ist ein Kämpfer für die Demokratie.
—–
English translation:
The current political situation in Malaysia and the politically motivated judicial proceedings against him were the subjects at a lunch with the Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday in Brussels. Anwar Ibrahim is a fighter for democracy.

India: Women and Sports

Image(Asia Sentinel) Not-so-level Playing Field

Sports is ultimately about the human body, which is why it is a remarkable barometer of the physical differences between men and women and the social perceptions about these differences.

Mumbai-based senior science writer, Padma Prakash observed in a monograph she wrote in the early 1990s on women and sport, that "nowhere is this myth of (women's) biological inferiority so readily and forcefully demonstrable as in the sports arena. And nowhere can it be effectively demolished."

So what are these physical differences, stripped to the bone? The male body, generally speaking, is bigger built and weighs more than the average female body, is endowed with a larger heart and lungs and is estimated to be about 30 per cent stronger. There are significant hormonal differences too. Men have a greater concentration of testosterone in their bodies that help to create more red blood cells.

These factors, in turn, have implications for the intake and delivery of oxygen, which are directly linked to sporting performance. It is estimated that when a man is running at about half his capacity, a woman would need to run at over 70 per cent of her capacity just to equal his pace. On the plus side, women tend to be more sensitive to sound and have better night vision.

Then, of course, there is the difference in their reproductive roles: Women attain puberty at least two years earlier than men, have a greater body fat percentage and give birth – a function that does impact greatly on their ability to participate in sports.

The received wisdom over the years has been that women's bodies are delicate and need to be protected at all times. History, however, has an interesting way of exploding such myths. In 1926, renowned archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler unearthed a bronze figurine of a dancing girl from a Mohenjo-daro site in India’s Indus Valley. Later, he described her thus: "She's about 15 years old I should think...A girl perfectly, for the moment, perfectly confident of herself and the world." Clearly, even 4,000 years ago, women knew how to get the best out of their bodies. And women in the sports arena are proving it to this very day, whether through the power-packed tennis of a Serena Williams or the quicksilver boxing of India's own Mary Kom, five-time women’s world champ.

Yet, we need to recognize that every woman who excels in sports has to work immeasurably harder than her male counterparts to reach where she is, more so in a country like India where gender discrimination is hardwired into social reality.

Going by recent evidence, Indian sportswomen have to contend with at least four hurdles in their race to the finishing line: Social attitudes; administrative inertia and poor resource provisioning; sexual harassment; and family expectations and commitments. Each of these factors reinforces the other.

It may be useful to recall here that when Independence dawned in 1947, leaders like Rajkumari Amrit Kaur realized the importance of women's participation in sport for nation building. More recently, in 1995, India committed itself to the Beijing Platform, which urges governments to enable girls to participate in sport and physical activity on the same basis as men and boys through the creation of programs in schools, at the workplace and in the community.

Despite all this, India continues to treat its sportswomen shabbily. Every woman athlete in the country would understand the humiliation of a P.T. Usha, one of the country's greatest athletes of all time, who broke down before television cameras during the National Open Athletics Championship in Bhopal in 2009, after being denied accommodation in keeping with her status – she was asked to share a room with five other women.

Women cricketers and members of the women's hockey team playing for India are constantly pointing out that while their performances have equaled and even bettered those of their male counterparts, the treatment accorded to them in terms of facilities and monetary compensation is distinctly second class.

Such treatment is not accidental. It reflects the unquestioned social biases and prejudices of a seemingly equal society and an ostensibly neutral administration. Often such biases turn positively toxic, especially when women sportspersons come to be regarded as sexual prey.

Whether it is a Ruchika Girhotra two decades ago or women hockey players in the present team, innumerable, often anonymous women have been subjected to criminal and sexually overt behavior from those who often are in a position to decide their fate as participants in the field.

As the additional district and session judge noted in the Ruchika molestation case, "She used to play lawn tennis in the courts of the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association (HLTA) with the sole aim to become a good player. The convict was a senior police officer and HLTA President at the time of the incident. As police officer his role was to protect the public. As president of HLTA his role was to train young budding players for India. But he failed in both duties by molesting a minor girl."

The judge also noted that "as long as such persons are at the helm of affairs, the presence of women in sports activities cannot be increased and real talent cannot be brought forward to represent the country in various sports". An important observation. Indian sports stand undermined, every time a sportswoman is subjected to such behavior.

Family commitments can also often be a show stopper, given the centrality that society and family accords to marriage and child bearing in a woman's life. Manipur's Mary Kom has revealed how her father objected to her taking up boxing because he felt that it would spoil her face and ruin her marriage prospects.

Wrestlers, sisters Geeta and Babita Kumari, from rural Haryana, had to contend with sharp verbal attacks from local villagers and the larger family, who maintained that nobody would marry a wife with muscles, and that wrestling like men brings dishonor to women. But Kom and the Haryana sisters have been able to negotiate their way to sporting glory.

In fact, change will come, it has to come - not because of a more enlightened sports administration but because of the sportswomen themselves. India, despite its patent lack of a sporting culture for women from the school level onwards, has had many women, who have defied the odds.

Women like Kamaljit Sandhu, who won the gold for the 400 meters at the Bangkok Asiad in 1970, Karnam Malleswari, the only Indian woman Olympic medalist, or Saina Nehwal, presently ranked No 2 in world badminton.

Women like them have challenged stereotypes, re-defined parameters, expanded horizons and brought sporting glory to themselves and their country. This is also about freedom and testing the limits of endurance.

As Jude Howell, director of the Centre for Civil Society, London school of Economics, and a runner in the London Marathon once told me, "There are many reasons why I like running. I love the sense of space when one goes running. You feel refreshed and have a whole new burst of energy. Besides, there's that sense of freedom."

Sharing wisdom of all faiths

KUALA LUMPUR: Experts in various fields and religions are to gather here next week to discuss international laws and global policies for the promotion of a better world.

About 70 religious scholars, international law experts, academicians, government officials and civil society activists will take part in the four-day "International Consultation on Faith, Shared Wisdom and International Law" starting on Monday.

Among them are former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former president of Iran Dr Muhammad Khatami, former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo, former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser, International Court of Justice judge Abdul Koroma and the Grand Mufti of Syria Sheikh Dr Ahmad Badr Al Deen Hassoun.

International Movement for a Just World (JUST), one of the organisers of the event, said the principal goal of the consultation was to show how the shared wisdom of different faiths could work towards a better world.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday.

Debate over role of English

The debate is still ongoing between those who believe that a mastery of English is needed for Malaysia to become a so-called ‘knowledge economy’ and those who believe that the quality of education is more important than the medium of instruction.

See this Insider article . Both sides may have a point in some of their arguments.

But what is thoroughly hypocritical is that the same leaders who marginalise the role of English in our schools (and let these schools suffer in mediocrity through lack of investment and priority in education) then enrol their children in English-language international schools based in Malaysia or even send their children to study abroad in posh schools. Check out this Insider article.

To me, what is most important is the content (and of course the quality) of what is taught, and whether the education is holistic and teaches students to become more critical and aware of the world around them, and whether creativity is encouraged. It is vital for values such as compassion, integrity, justice and concern for the well-being of the human family, especially those suffering most, are promoted. The ability to analyse important issues of the day is also important. In short, we have to inculcate a sense of social conscience and responsibility, apart from imparting living skills and developing inherent talents to the full.

Nation calm a day after Ayodhya verdict, vigil continues

NEW DELHI: With thousands of security personnel keeping strict vigil, peace prevailed across the country on Friday and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere, a day after the Ayodhya title suit verdict.

Although the Allahabad High Court verdict was received with a calm response, thousands of security personnel remained on the streets and in a state of high alert in all sensitive states, including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Friday prayers by Muslims also passed off peacefully. Home Minister P Chidambaram said the people had given a "respectful and dignified" response to the Ayodhya verdict.

Authorities said the security drill in sensitive areas across the country will continue for a few more days to thwart any law and order problem. The ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes has been extended to the midnight of October 3.

Thousands of potential trouble makers and anti-social elements were rounded up as a preventive measure in several parts of the country.

There was no report of any celebration or protests from any part of the country.

In Uttar Pradesh, a three-tier security vigil ( land, air and river) continued to be maintained in and around 18 districts identified as "hyper-sensitive" --Lucknow, Faizabad, Gonda, Balrampur, Bahraich, Gorakhpur, Mau, Azamgarh, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Agra, Aligarh, Bareilly, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut.

The district police have been told to deploy ASP-rank officers along with paramilitary forces in sensitives areas that were worst-hit by the violence after the Babri Masjid demolition.

Calm prevailed in the twin cities of Faizabad and Ayodhya -- the epicentre of the Ramjanambhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute -- and tension gave way to relief as devotees returned to the makeshift temple at the disputed site.

In Faizabad's alleyways, people were in a jubilant mood; with most saying there was no reason for discord after the court judgement.

No vehicle is being allowed entry into the temple town without extensive checking as patrolling has picked up, police said.

"Situation is totally normal but there will be no let-up in the security," Senior Superintendent of Police Faizabad R K S Rathore said.

In Delhi, police maintained a tight vigil, especially in the Walled city, to ensure that no untoward incident took place.

All police stations in the city were on high alert and the security arrangements made for the Commonwealth Games came in handy.

Amid a thick security cover with deployment of over 2.5 lakh security personnel, the situation in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra was peaceful.

A minor incident was reported from Aurangabad where police acted swiftly to maintain peace.

Mumbai, which had witnessed large-scale riots post- Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, also remained calm.

"No untoward incident was reported in the state. It remained absolutely calm. The security arrangements would continue for a couple of days," said K P Raghuvanshi, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order).

Mumbai Deputy Police Commissioner (Operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar said prohibitory orders in the country's financial capital will continue till October 3. Nearly 7,000 troublemakers were arrested in Mumbai as a preventive measure, he said.

In West Bengal, where security was enhanced, no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state.

In Jharkhand, a minor incident had taken place but the situation was quickly brought under control.

Kula to leave Perak DAP post?

(Malaysiakini) Factionalism in Perak DAP is set to hit a crescendo as it was strongly rumoured the the state deputy chairperson M Kulasegaran would be leaving his state post today.

In a short message on micro-blogging website Twitter, Kulasegaran - also the Ipoh Barat MP and party national vice-chairman - said that he will announce “what is lacking” in the Perak leadership today.

“Just finished DAP leadership meeting in Ipoh. Sad day as I will announce what is lacking in Perak leadership tomorrow (today) and why I have to leave for good,” he tweeted late last night.

NONEHe has dropped strong hints about leaving his state position, but maintained that he is still a party man.

“I have no intention to leave DAP. But contemplating to quit state leadership. Enough is enough. At tomorrow's press conference, I will explain all,” he later tweeted at 12.45am, hours after his first posting.

However, a source said that Kulasegaran (right) had apparently changed his mind about leaving when several national leaders did some serious cajoling.

Still, it is quite likely that he will be holding a press conference at 10.30am today at the Perak DAP headquarters to explain the entire fiasco yesterday which went on until past midnight.

It is understood that various national party leaders had scrambled to patch things up between the two factions until very late into the night.

Sources have told Malaysiakini that party supremo Lim Kit Siang, vice-president Tan Kok Wai and national organising secretary Teresa Kok quickly travelled to Ipoh yesterday for high-level talks to mediate things.

However, it was said that the first round of talks had fallen through, causing Kulasegaran to take to Twitter. It was then that the national leaders upped the ante at placating him

Perak DAP split apart

It has been an open secret in Ipoh that Perak DAP has been split into two strong factions, one of them helmed by state chief Ngeh Koo Ham and his cousin Nga Kor Ming, state party secretary.

And on the other hand, Kulasegaran has banded with his own group consisting of Thomas Su (organising secretary), Leong Mee Meng (treasurer) and a few others.

The dissatisfaction with the Perak DAP leadership, now held by the Ngeh-Nga cousins, have long been brewing in the silver state where it is said that they are highly intolerant of party dissent.

In a feud that dates back to even before the March 2008 general elections, various sources have complained that the cousins have been making unilateral decisions without consulting others.

fong po kuan and chong chien jen walkout suspended from parliament 061108 02In fact, popular Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan (left) was one of the earliest to throw in the towel from her state committee position in 2006 after becoming highly disillusioned with the cousins, once again causing a near scare when she tearfully announced that she will not be running in her parliamentary seat where she is almost a folk heroine.

Late last year, Leong - also the Jalong assemblyperson - had also broke down in tears during a press conference when she claimed that she was being marginalised by the powerful Ngeh-Nga faction.

But what would have been the tipping point for Kulasegaran's camp now could be the issue of party branches that may very well be the deciding factor for the state party elections scheduled for the end of this year.

Sources have said that the Ipoh Barat MP has been extremely unhappy when branches linked to him have been disqualified from voting, while the Ngeh-Nga faction are looking at reviving dead branches in areas where they wield influence.

If the last-minute negotiations had broken down, it was a very big possibility that nearly half of the state committee, which is aligned to Kulasegaran, will be hanging up their gloves today as well.

In the meantime, both Kok and Kulasegaran have declined to comment while the other Perak DAP leaders could not be contacted.

Permanent solution and land titles for poor Indian villages cum settlements like for Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban and Chinese. But which are systematically “ethnically cleansed” by DAP, PKR, PAS and UMNO in bi racial One Malay-sia.


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Date : 1st October 2010


YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak

Prime Minister of Malaysia,

Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444

62502 Putrajaya E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my

Y.B. Sen. Dato’Raja Nong Chik bin Raja Zainal Abidin,

Menteri Wilayah Persekutuan,

Kementerian Wilayah Persekutuan,

Aras 4, Blok B2, Menara PJH, Presint 2,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan

62100 Putrajaya

Fax No. 03-88891411 , Email- : datoraja@kwp.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,

Kedah Darul Aman

Fax : 04 – 7336192 Email: ustazizan@kedah.gov.my

Re: Permanent solution and land titles for poor Indian villages cum settlements like for Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban and Chinese. But which are systematically “ethnically cleansed” by DAP, PKR, PAS and UMNO in bi racial One Malay-sia.

We refer to the above matter on the need to stop all and any further demolishment of Indian villages cum settlements which are also the history and heritage of this country.

In the latest case reported in today’s New Straits Times (1/10/10 at page S2) the family of S.V.Sugayindan (55) who has been occupying their land for more than five generations has now been given notice to vacate their 2.02 hectres of land they are occupying in Kg Haji Abdullah Hukum, Bangsar despite he having a black and white Grant of Letters of Administration granted by the High Court in 1964 for the transfer of estate from his grandfather to his father.

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall refused to acknowledge this legal document but instead deem them as squatters and wants to demolish his ancestral village within one month.

Sugayindran also claims that the government had taken several parts of the land for various projects since 1964 without compensating his family. “For years they have taken our land without even giving us a sen. For even just this one man Sugayindran, he was never offered the RM4 Million the UMNO government has offered to each of the 5,000 Kg Baru Malay muslim villagers in the 80 hectres Kampong Baru which was in the 1960’s granted land titles and is now worth RM80 Billion as said by the Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik. (UM 19/2/10 at page 27).

Also in today’s Sinar Harian (SH 1/10/10 at page S23) three siblings M Aruchunan (54), M Ratnom (51) and M Rabas Sanderek (45) who have been living on their land for 50 years are now forced to move out by the Selangor PKR government. And again they were never offered the RM 4 Million offered to Kg Baru Malays but are forced to buy a RM30,000.00 low cost flats.

The aforesaid happenings to the Indian poor is just the tip of the iceberg. From our monitoring, it happens on an almost day to day basis. On average almost every day some Indian poor is served an eviction notice or is evicted from their only homes.

Unlike for the Indian poor, there are even 507 permanent Chinese New Villages with land titles nationwide receiving RM55 Million allocation @ RM500,000.00 per Chinese village. (The Star 11/8/10 at page N18).

There are similarly thousands of permanent villages with land titles for the Malay, Orang Asli, Kadazan and Iban poor.

Today in real terms the poor Indians do not have permanent villages like these poor Malays, Orang Asli, Kadazan, Iban and Chinese as they have been denied their due land titles from the word go.

We have taken note that within one month of coming to power in Perak the DAP, PKR & PAS government granted up to 110,000 Malays, Chinese and Orang Asli land as follows:-

Utusan Malaysia on 1/1/2009 reported that “349 Rancangan Perkampungan Tersusun (RPT) and 134 New Villages in Perak with 110,000 and 102,000 (60,000) titles respectively to be given out irrespective of the National Land Councils orders involving almost all Malay and Chinese owners and land recipients. Freehold titles for just RM63.00 for 110,000 planned villages (almost 99% Malay) and 102,000 (60,000) (estimated at almost 99% Chinese) Chinese New Villagers in Perak. “The value of these properties will then go up and they can apply for bank loans to rebuilt their houses” says Datuk Ngae Koo Ham, the Senior DAP EXCO Member for Perak (NST 10/10/2008 at page 23). The PKR, DAP and PAS Perak State government also allocated 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres) of land to nine Chinese schools “for them to generate revenue to pay for their operational expenses” says PAS Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Nizar Jamaluddin (NST 31/8/2008 at page 38). The schools were urged to form a company to work the land and share the profits among themselves. The Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar also donated RM30,000.00 for each of the nine schools.

Further the 3.3 hectares of land for every orang asli family was approved. 18,000 hectares of forest land have been gazetted as orang asli reserve and another 30,000 hectares more are waiting to be gazetted, says Perak Senior EXCO Member Datuk Ngae Koo Ham (NST 20/9/2008 at page 20).

Enough has been said about the demolishment by DAP of Kg Buah Pala in Penang, the last traditional Indian village in Penang Island.

Also the small Indian farms and settlements demolished by the Kedah state government.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of land granted to the poor Malay, Chinese and the Orang Asli. But a similar permanent being granted land titles solution has never been granted to the poor Indians. Why?

Why are they are systematically “ethnically cleansed”?

Why one rule for the poor Indians and another for the poor Malays, orang asli, Iban, Kadazan and Chinese? in bi racial One Malay-sia. Why take advantage and bully these poor Indians who are powerless and helpless as they have no economic power and are poor and politically powerless?
As a permanent solution, we hereby call for all Indian villages and settlements nationwide to be forthwith granted land titles and for there to be a permanent, lasting and wholesome solution instead of systematically “ethnically cleansing” them one by one and then either offering them a token sum of cash or nothing at all or peanuts flats to be bought which they may not be able to buy or because of poverty and/or old age cannot get a loan in the first place or cannot even pay the monthly installments and are evicted when their property is auctioned. They are then back on the streets or end up like the – Three day old baby in cramped up low cost flat with 20 others including 13 children is height of urban Indian poverty. (The Star 13/7/10 at page N6).

Kindly revert to us accordingly.

Thank You.

Yours Faithfully,

_________________

P.Uthayakumar

Secretary General (pro-tem)

Sinar hARIAN NST

Najib, clean up Islamophobia in Malaysia first

By P Waytha Moorthy,

1
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should look into his own backyard at how the minority Malaysian Indians and the non-Malays suffer from Islamophobia through BTN, Jakim, Rela, the judiciary, Perkasa and practically every organ of the government institution against the minorities in Malaysia.

Coerced sharia law onto non-Muslims, forceful conversion, statelessness, body-snatching, direct insults similar to the cow head incident that prevails through state-sponsored institutions in Malaysia are classic examples of Islamophobia that affect the tenet of human rights in Malaysia for minorities that needs to be rectified and curtailed before Najib goes to the US to preach how to assist the Barack Obama on Islamophobia.

There are ample examples for this as per the Everest Moorthy, Indra Gandhi and Baggarama cases, the slurs against non-Muslim students by the headmistress and the latest on the issuance of a derogatory statement by a BTN official against non-Muslims.

All the above happens without a wink of an eye against the minorities in Malaysia and even more accommodated by the government, yet here we have the premier offering a publicity speech on assisting on Islamophobia in US to Obama.

Najib, your Islamophabia preaching is a ‘red herring’ argument whereby in doing so; you intend to mislead and distract the discussion away from the issues under debate and instead focus attention on publicity stunts.

The Islamophobia is perpetrated to the highest extent in Malaysia through your administration’s practice towards the minority so how will you be able to assist Obama when you can’t even clean up your own backyard?

If you look at the incidents that occur in Malaysia as discussed above, it definitely gives the credence to Ismaophobia as an irrational fear or prejudice towards Islam and Muslims seems to prevail. It is no more a theological belief system for what is humane but becomes a cult institution perpetrated by the Malaysian institution against what is a basic right for minorities.

Frankly, looking at how a majority Islam-based government in Malaysia and its organs treats its minorities in Malaysia for the last 53 years; it would enlighten any nation of its ramifications.

The writer is chairperson, Hindraf.

Ku Li caught between oil royalty and party loyalty

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — The 73-year-old Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah finds himself in a pickle, caught between his appointment as the man charged with wresting the Galas state seat from PAS and his backing for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) party in its oil royalty fight with the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government.

And he is being forced by his own party to quickly choose between the two.

Deputy Umno president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin added to the pressure on Tengku Razaleigh by suggesting that he would be the ideal candidate for BN.

The Kelantan prince (picture), affectionately known as Ku Li, has been the Umno MP for Gua Musang — which includes the Galas state seat — since 1969 and still remains an influential figure in his state.

According to his aides, he is now in London and is expected to return on October 9, three days after the Election Commission (EC) announces the date for the by-election caused by the death this week of the PAS state assemblyman.

Tengku Razaleigh is expected to hold a press conference when he returns and will speak about his role in the by-election.

But his insistence on backing the PAS Kelantan state government in its claims for oil royalty will be a major issue in the campaign.

The PAS campaign will certainly play up the oil royalty claim in its campaign.

And this will put Tengku Razaleigh in an unenviable position.

Dr Mohammad Agus Yusof from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia told The Malaysian Insider that Umno will have to give Tengku Razaleigh autonomy in running the campaign.

“There is a conflict, a very big conflict but it depends if he accepts his appointment. We cannot make any assumptions because there is no confirmation yet. It is hypothetical and not yet a fact.

“He must, however, be given autonomous power to make his own decision and strategies for the campaign because there is no point if people do not listen to him. I still think he has tremendous influence in Gua Musang and Kelantan,” he said.

Reports from Tengku Razaleigh’s Gua Musang division say the veteran MP has accepted his appointment as director of BN’s campaign, and is already preparing to lead the campaign.

Tengku Razaleigh’s appointment is unprecedented as BN traditionally uses the Umno deputy president as campaign chief in by-elections.

But his appointment could turn the tide in favour of Umno and BN because Gua Musang is his stronghold.

Some in Umno believe that if he takes up the challenge to be candidate he would almost certainly win.

But either as candidate or as campaign director, his conflicts of interests will be exposed.

Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian said Ku Li would have to ”compartmentalize” his different roles due to the conflict of interest between oil royalty and party.

“It is going to be an interesting situation for Tengku Razaliegh Hamzah because on one hand he will be working for the state and the oil royalty issue. So I think there is going to be some conflict.

“Maybe he will compartmentalize the role that he is playing. As an observer I think it is still early days and he has not made any comments yet. So we will have to wait for him to say something. However many have commented on the difficulty of his position,” he said.

However Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani from Universiti Utara Malaysia pointed out that Umno had made the right decision in appointing Tengku Razaleigh because of his influence in the state.

“Regardless of the issue, I think he is the most suitable candidate to become the director for the by-election. Even though in by-elections, it is usually the DPM but considering Galas is Kuli’s and Umno’s stronghold, he is the most suitable.

“There will be a clash and conflict of interest but Kuli’s heart is still in Barisan Nasional. I also think it is a good strategy by Umno because PAS will not be able to capitalise on the oil royalty and allow Umno to concentrate on other issues. It would certainly increase Umno’s chances with Kuli as the director and PAS will feel threatened.”

For now, the country awaits Ku Li’s take on the issue when he returns from London.

Ku Li undecided over Galas campaign

Tengku Razaleigh's twit suggest that the Kelantan prince may not be as enthused as his Umno mates about the by-election.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah remains undecided over his role in the Galas by-election, saying today he will only ‘clarify’ matters when he returns to Malaysia next week.

The Kelantan prince’s response comes hours after Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that Tengku Razaleigh is the best candidate to win back the Galas state seat from PAS.

“Dear friends, I have not said yes or no. I will clarify re: Galas once I’m back in Malaysia,” the Gua Musang MP said in a posting on his Twitter micro-blogging account.

The Galas state seat fell vacant with the death of PAS lawmaker Che Hashim Sulaima on Monday, triggering the country’s 12th by-election since Election 2008.

Gua Musang Umno division deputy chief Mat Yusof Abdul Ghani agreed with Muhyiddin that Tengku Razaleigh was the best choice for the seat.

“I am confident he can win if selected,” Mat Yusof told The Malaysian Insider.

The politician popularly known as Ku Li has won the Gua Musang parliamentary seat in every election since 1969, including the 1990 and 1995 polls when he was leading Semangat 46 after Umno was declared illegal in 1988.

"Tengku Razaleigh is the best choice for the Galas seat. He has a good reputation in Gua Musang and is respected by all parties," said Mat Yusof, echoing Muhyiddin's remarks.

Muhyiddin had also said Umno would discuss the matter further with the Kelantan once he returns home from abroad on October 9.

He also expressed confidence that Tengku Razaleigh’s appointment as Galas election director was the “right step” to ensure a Barisan Nasional (BN) victory in the constituency.

PAS however has said it is ready to face any opponents for the seat, telling Umno to step aside if it was serious about Malay unity.

Umno is not buying the pitch, with party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak vowing to win back the seat which Che Hashim captured by a majority of 646 votes in Election 2008.

The Malays make up 65.81 per cent of the more than 10,000 voters in the state constituency, the Chinese 22.03 per cent, Indians 1.81 per cent, while other races are at 10.32 per cent.

Two other state seats in the Gua Musang constituency — Nenggiri and Paloh — were won by BN with majority of 2,090 vote and 2,833 votes respectively.

'DAP members voted in PKR polls'

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: The controversies surrounding the PKR divisional elections nationwide continued to pile up, with the latest allegation being DAP members having voted in the Sri Aman division contest.

In last week's contest, Jimmy Donald was elected chairman after edging his opponent Ibi Anak Uding by a mere eight votes. Donald got 84 votes, Ibi 76 and the third candidate Cobbold John Lusoi managed to get only 10 votes.

However, Ibi claimed that her supporters had detected irregularities.

“We found that eight voters who cast their votes for Donald are DAP members. Not only that, they are also DAP Sri Aman division committee members. This is the ‘father and son’ strategy,” Ibi said, referring to Donald's son, Leon, who is a DAP member.

“When PKR is having its election, they claim to be PKR members and take part in the election. And likewise when DAP has its election, they say they are DAP members,” she added.

Ibi, who is the Sarawak PKR Wanita chief, said her supporters were collecting more information on those who could have dual party memberships.

'Disqualification a blow for Azmin'

Meanwhile, state PKR information chief See Chee How said the party election committee could declare Donald's election null and void if there was basis to the allegation.

If Donald was disqualified, party sources said it would render a blow to vice-president Azmin Ali's bid for deputy presidency as the former is a stauch supporter of Azmin.

The division was also expected to be hit by resignations as those elected had refused to work with Donald. Ten out of the 15 elected members are aligned to Ibi.

Ibi said that she had informed the state PKR headquarters and party election committee in Kuala Lumpur about the irregularities.

Contacted later, PKR deputy secretary-general Paul Kadang said that the headquarters was aware of the matter and was looking through it.

This was the first report of alleged irregularities in PKR elections in the state. So far, 13 divisions had elected their representatives and committee members.

Starting today, another 16 divisions would elect their chairmen and committee members.

According to sources, winning the chairmanship of each division was akin to coming one-step closer to being selected as candidates for the coming state election.

Taib the lone political dinosaur after Samy’s exit

By Joe Fernandez - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is on the verge of claiming the dubious distinction of being the lone dinosaur in Malaysian politics. This follows the decision by MIC president S Samy Vellu to throw in the towel come January, that is, several months before his previously announced exit in August/September next year.

It appears that Samy Vellu is hedging his bets. He will step down in January as pledged this time if it looks like the general election is going to be held anytime soon. He would not want to go through another humiliation at the ballot box.

However, if the general election will only be held in another two years' time as one school of thought holds, Samy Vellu may well drag out his exit until August/September as initially planned or even later. He has previously broken all promises to quit. The fact that he didn’t put a quit date for January is telling. That shows that he’s still thinking whether to quit or wangle his way out again. Anything can happen between now and January. Even a week, they say, is a long time in politics.

In any case, whether Samy Vellu stays or goes is no longer of any consequence. Both MIC and Samy Vellu are history. Samy Vellu may well go in January. It really doesn’t matter one bit. Too little, too late.

With Samy Vellu out of the way, the spotlight will fall on Taib as the public marvels at his utter shamelessness in wanting to still cling on to office after three decades of squatting on the people. Already, Taib’s long stay in power has denied two generations the right to rule themselves.

Taib clinging on to power is no longer about the people but all about himself, his family, relatives and cronies. He will have a busy time at least until at least 2015, a year before the state election, to re-figure his business and political empire for him to rule from behind the scenes. By that time, he will be 79 years old. The next state election is due by the middle of next year.

Taib knows that he would fare even worse at the next state election vis-à-vis 2006 but in his words, he’s confident of returning to power yet again based purely on the 56 Bumiputera state seats. He seems to have written off the 15 Chinese state seats in a worst-case scenario. He’s reconciled to heading a purely Bumiputera government. This will be a dubious first in Malaysia.

Counting on Sarawak Malays

Taib’s confidence, despite widespread allegations of rampant corruption, stems from the belief that the Melanau, both Muslim and Christian, will not desert a fellow Melanau. He can count on the support of the Sarawak Malays who have long been persuaded that not to stick with Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is to risk losing the chief minister’s post and Muslim political control of Sarawak.

The overwhelmingly rural illiteracy-plagued Iban community, the largest in Sarawak, has yet to demonstrate any degree of political maturity so far. They can be expected to go along with the pemerintah (government or party in power). The naïve Ibans think that going against the “government” would be like going against their own “father and mother”, and hence unthinkable. The opposition parties are seen as traitors, trouble-makers, anti-national elements, big talkers, and as Taib has depicted them in recent days, big fat “liars for whom the government can do no right”.

Taib benefits hugely, in political terms, from the prevailing slave mind-set in Iban country. This is where the core of Taib’s political support resides. Taib, being a Melanau, also appeals to them as a fellow Dayak. It’s difficult to persuade them on his corruption, especially when he pawns them off with a fistful of ringgit, cheap moonshine and wild boar at every election.

The Sarawak Malays have been known to rebel before as in 1987. Dubbed the “Ming Court Affair”, after the hotel along Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur, the majority of Sarawak state assemblymen gathered to vote Taib out. Unfortunately, they got Abdul Rahman Ya’kub – Taib’s predecessor and maternal uncle – to lead them and he tipped off his nephew who quickly dissolved the state assembly for snap polls.

The Ibans and Sarawak Malays, besides the Melanau and Chinese, came to Taib’s rescue and the plotters were either left in the political cold for many years or eliminated one by one “for their treachery”.

Poetic justice

Taib can no longer take the Bidayuh and Orang Ulu for granted. This is where he’s going to lose seats besides the Chinese areas. Some Malay areas may go as well if Taib doesn’t win them by razor-thin margins.

All in all, Taib can count himself extremely lucky if he can still manage a two-thirds majority in the state assembly but no one is betting on this as yet.
The opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, has already made an unprecedented promise to the electorate, that is, to return all land stolen by “the politicians, the state government and big companies from Peninsular Malaysia” to the people.

The second promise is to trace and return the ill-gotten gains of the politicians “to the public treasury”. This would be a massive undertaking involving forensic accounting, Interpol, foreign governments and the United Nations. The role of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission can be discounted.

The third promise is to return political autonomy to Sarawak as pledged under the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.

It would be interesting to see how Taib manages to cope with the opposition onslaught.

So far, he has had a relatively easy time until 2006, winning by default in the absence of an organised opposition. The last outing was just for starters. Henceforth, it’s going to get increasingly tougher for Taib. Eventually, like Samy Vellu, he will not go out in a good way but in disgrace. That would be poetic justice!

Rival siblings may face off on electoral battlefield

By Dominic Legeh - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA KINABALU: Beaufort Umno chief Lajim Haji Ukin does not see his younger brother Abd Jarih, the recently elected PKR Beaufort chief, as a threat.

“There is no problem, itu senang saya urus nanti (that I can easily deal with him later),” he said at a press conference after presenting medals of honour, excellent service awards and appreciation certificate to Fire and Rescue Department personnel here today.

Lajim said his brother, who has been long in politics and who joined Umno before him, had gone over to the opposition because he was not appointed to any post in the Beaufort Umno division.

“I think he was frustrated because he did not get a position at the Umno divisional level... I could not appoint him and that’s why he is angry with me,” Lajim said.

“You know, at the Beaufort divisional level about 80% of those holding a post are my relatives,” he said.

On the possibility that he might face his brother in the general election, Lajim said sometimes these things could cause a problem, but “it is very common and I have my own strategy”.
Jarih won the PKR post after securing 341 votes in a one-to-one fight against John Ghani who received 273 votes in the controversial divisional election.

John, however, is disputing the result and has protested to the PKR’s central election committee, demanding a re-election.

Dine at Buddha’s feet

On the Food Trail with Tiberius Kerk
VEGANS, take note. On a faraway island beyond our shores is a vegetarian restaurant tucked away near a green mountain.
Lantau Island is also home to the Hong Kong Disneyland. However, the theme park is on another part of the island and visitors who want a place that offers peace, relaxation and tranquillity will find the Ngong Ping preserve a better alternative.

If you desire to work up an appetite, you must opt for the Crystal Cabin on the long cable car ride to Ngong Ping. The glass-bottom cabin will give visitors a clear view of the marvellous views below from great heights.

Buddhism takes centre stage in Ngong Ping village. There’s a giant statue of Buddha that sits on top of the mountain and it dominates the landscape. On the day when I was there, white clouds embraced the mountain top. It was as if the spirit of Buddha had paid a special visit to the island.

There are eateries, restaurants and fast-food joints on the tourist route that ends at the long, upward 260 steps leading to the imposing statue of the Tian Tan Buddha which measures 34 metres high.

After taking in the breathtaking views from where Buddha sits, you may opt for the Poh Lin Monastery restaurant nearby.

It is vegetarian of course. For HK$318 (RM126), the meal consists of six dishes. There’s the popiah-style dish that would please any Malaysian, a big bowl of soup, a very tasty tofu dish that is splendidly complemented by a generous spread of corn.

Lifelong mission

It is not a lifelong mission of mine to seek out vegetarian restaurants but I consider it a blessing when a great vegetarian restaurant comes my way.

The serenity that prevailed in the restaurant’s interior put all of us at ease. Consequently, we ate most heartily. We did our utmost not to exhibit ourselves as gluttons.

The meal at the Poh Lin Monastery restaurant was an almost zen-like experience. The restaurant workers were swift with the prepared dishes. There was a calm that is non-existent in ordinary restaurants.

For a party of four, the various dishes with ample portions were more than adequate. We couldn’t even finish all plates on our table. Happily put it down to self-restraint.

Sometimes a great dining experience is often accentuated by circumstances that are strangely predestined. In this instance, the harmonious surroundings and the sanguine aura definitely helped diners to have a hearty appetite.

The dishes that gave my heart and stomach some pleasant jolts were the mushroom mixed with baby pak choy and the tofu-corn-green peas combination.

After a series of lunches and dinners that comprised mostly wantan noodles, beef brisket and roast goose, a satisfying meal at the Poh Lin Monastery restaurant served as a cleansing antidote to the
culinary “toxins” that we had consumed in the days before.

All in all, Ngong Ping where nature and culture blend seamlessly is quite refreshing after days of walking up and down the hilly concrete terrain of Hong Kong Central and the long stairways of the Hong Kong MTR.

Every country that brags about its tourist attractions needs a place like Lantau island. Great cuisine, lovely scenery and a brief encounter with Mother Nature is food for the soul.

Govt acts to check sensitive statements

KUALA LUMPUR: A general service circular has been issued to all heads of government departments to remind their officers to refrain from making statements touching on racial and religious sensitivities, Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Sidek Hassan said today.

He said the circular also wanted the heads of department to take immediate and stern action against the erring officers based on the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

Sidek said in a statement that the government viewed seriously and would not comprise on such conduct, as was the case recently by a small number of public officers.

He did not cite any example but said the number of erring officers was very small compared to the 1.2 million public officers.

"The government will strive to check such conduct which can jeopardise the racial harmony enjoyed thus far," he said.

He also said that with 1.2 million public officers, it was an impossible task to ensure 100% compliance despite having in place clear regulations and guidelines to supervise the conduct of public officers.

In any organisation, there was bound to be a small number of employees who strayed from the organisation's vision and mission, he said, adding that the Bar Council had reported recently that it was impossible to police the conduct of all its 13,000 members.

Sidek said the incidents involving a small number of public officers should not necessarily be seen as reflecting the stand of the government.

"In fact, the government administration has never allowed and will not allow any action and conduct contrary to the racial harmony forged all this while, particularly by public officers who are implementors of government policies," he said.

Sidek said immediate action must be taken to suspend any officer alleged to have made such statements pending an investigation.

This measure was to ease any tension which might have built up following the issuing of the allegedly seditious statement, he said.

Thorough probe needed

Sidek added that when news spread that public officers had made racially sensitive statements in their capacity as government officers, many quarters responded by asking the government to act immediately against these officers.

However, he said, the people must understand that any disciplinary action against public officers should be in accordance with the law and gazetted disciplinary regulations.

The government could not be hasty in taking action based purely on an allegation without (conducting) a thorough investigation in accordance with the law and regulations in force, he added.

"Any action should be implemented according to regulations (in stages) and the time frame provided for in the law and regulations," he said, adding that this was to ensure that no one was treated unjustly and that the action was in accordance with the principles of the rule of law and natural justice.

He said the Public Service Department was established 50 years ago and it belonged to all the people of Malaysia of all races and religions.

As such, any element which hampered the aspiration to achieve the oneness of Malaysians did not have any place at all in the Malaysian public service, he said.

"I wish to take this opportunity to urge all quarters, particularly public officers, to concentrate fully on realising the various government programmes and initiatives for the progress and prosperity of the country as well as on the efforts to make Malaysia a high-income nation.

"We are now in the final phase of achieving the objectives of Vision 2020. We should not allow negative elements to obstruct our path towards that target.

"This is the time for everyone of us in the society to exercise calm and patience and refrain from making irrational statements which can cause disharmony," he said.

- Bernama

Enforce Official Secrets Act against Raja Petra, says newsmen


(The Malay Mail) - The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Malaysia said it was "totally unacceptable" the Attorney-General Chambers and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had not acted against controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin for publishing documents classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on the Internet.

NUJ president Hata Wahari said the Attorney General should ask for the repeal of the OSA if it was unable to enforce the law to ensure justice.

He said this in a statement emailed to The Malay Mail when asked for comments on the flagrant violations of the OSA by publication of classified documents mostly of the MACC on the blogger's portal, Malaysia Today.

Both the AG and the MACC maintained silence on the veracity of the purported documents.

"NUJ Malaysia see the failure of the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) and MACC's to act against Raja Petra as unacceptable."

"Due to failure of the AGC and MACC, the NUJ Is demanding no action against any Malaysian media for publishing these documents".

Since Monday, Raja Petra better known as 'RPK' started publishing, among others, he claimed were official MACC documents and marked 'Rahsia' (classified).

The latest document is the alleged investigation papers into graft allegations against former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Raja Petra, who now lives in London, claims to have in his possession "hundreds of official MACC documents, including investigation papers marked classified".

He said he would publish them in his blog to "punish" MACC for its failure to investigate ex-Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli for his alleged role resulting in massive losses for the airlines.

The documents, he claimed, were handed to him by his informants.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed and its director of investigations Mustafar Ali were unavailable for comments at Press time.

YB Gobalakrishnan : Is Zaid being marginalised in PKR?

By Haris Ibrahim,

Got this press statement from YB Gobalakrishnan’s office a little while back
_________________________________________

PKR vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye’s statement against fellow leader Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was played up by all the mainstream media today. The New Straits Times even used it as the main news today, all in an attempt to undermine our party and our efforts to Putrajaya.

What was the reason for Lee to issue such a statement in the first place? Was he trying to portray himself as PKR’s champion with the statement or was he instructed by someone to continue the attacks on Zaid?

This is not the first ‘anti-Zaid’ statement that has come from the party leaders. Even the party’s communications directors Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad has opted to take sides in joining the attacks against Zaid Ibrahim, thus belittling his position which warrants that he remains neutral.

And then we had the deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali joining the fray. After that vice-president R Sivarasa, Wanita Chief Zuraida Kamaruddin and party strategist Tian Chua have also continued with the attacks.

Strangely all these leaders spoke to the media about this. Why is Lee now criticising Zaid for giving interviews to the media?

It is quite clear that Zaid is being continuously marginalised in the party. The various incidents during PKR cabang elections around the country in the past two weeks will show that the ‘anti-Zaid’ sentiment is being put in place by someone high-up in the party.

The question is who is responsible for this? Judging by the statements coming out from our very own leaders, including the Ketua Umum who warned of Trojan horses in the party, I can only conclude that these people are all in one group – the group which wants Azmin to defeat Zaid for the deputy’s post.

Am I wrong in making this assumption? Based on what’s happening in the party, I don’t think so. I am starting to believe the stories about the Azmin cartel now.

It will be a sad day for the party if we have to forget our aims and principles, all to ensure Azmin is given a free ride to the top post. I hope not to see that day. Let’s allow PKR to remain free and independent.

N Gobalakrishnan

YB Manikavasagam : PKR elections must be clean and fair

Haris Ibrahim,

I received the following press statement from the office of YB Manikavasagam about 5 minutes ago.

_________________________________________

I am very disturbed by the recent events in the party – right from the ruckus and voting manipulations at the divisional elections to the recent statement issued by party vice-president Dr Lee Boon Chye against PKR FT chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

I feel the party and its office bearers have failed to uphold the fundamental principles of democracy in holding a free and fair elections.

While I had anticipated some stuttering problems in conducting the path-breaking ‘one-member, one-vote’ elections, I am very saddened by the fact that the entire elections process has been hijacked by certain people.

I urge other senior party leaders such as Dr Lee Boon Chye to retain a neutral ground and stop issuing statements to attack other contenders, including Zaid Ibrahim.

Dr Lee must realise that he is also in the contest for a top post and he should not be seen as trying to campaign to win votes by undermining others.

Once again, I hope the party can put its house in order for the coming divisional elections this weekend so that our party does not become the laughing stock in the country.

I also urge everyone to ensure that our elections are conducted in a clean and fair manner. We should not be criticising the Election Commission over the manner it conducts the elections in this country when we ourselves can’t do a good job.

S. Manikavasagam

MP for Kapar

Member, Majlis Pimpinan Pusat, PKR

On Faith: A Mosque, Temple and Court Verdict in India

Minneapolis, MN (September 30, 2010) - As a regularly featured blogger on the Washington Post/Newsweek's "On Faith" blog, Dr. Aseem Shukla, member of HAF's Board of Directors, has the opportunity to provide a Hindu viewpoint on various issues.  Below is Dr. Shukla's latest blog. Please post your comments directly on the "On Faith" site by clicking here.
 
An emotional battle over a drive to build a mosque on disputed ground--tense with fear of violence-- has transfixed a global audience. The story may be front page on the Washington Post and New York Times, but far from lower Manhattan, all eyes are focused on a town not far from India's eastern border with Nepal, Ayodhya. No shining example of India's vaunted growth or software industry, the abundant dust that thousands of paramilitary forces kicked up on their way to that hamlet covered layers of a complex past and explosive present.
 
Somewhat akin to a U.S. Court of Appeals, an Indian High Court ruled today on a judicial case that in various forms has dragged on for no less than twenty years. Delayed as that seems, the first suit in the matter was filed in 1885, and the process seemed labyrinthine this time for the emotive issues it addressed.
 
First the basics: In 1528, Zahir-ud-din Babar, the first Islamic ruler of large parts of India, built a mosque on grounds held sacred by Hindus as the birthplace of one of their most widely worshipped avatars, Lord Rama--worshipped beyond India throughout South Asia, and venerated hero of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. A massive Hindu temple complex at that site was allegedly destroyed by Babar to make way for the mosque. The first recorded bloody riots broke out at that site between Hindus and Muslims over access to the site in 1853, and the first suit was filed in 1885, during the time India was ruled by the British. In 1949, the Indian government locked the gates of Babar's structure calling it disputed. Multiple lawsuits over ownership of the land were transferred to the High Court in 1989, and attempts to reach an amicable settlement between Hindu and Muslim plaintiffs failed. In 1992, rampaging mobs, reportedly spurred on by Hindu nationalist leaders, destroyed the structure, sparking some of the worst riots in Post-Independence India in its wake.
 
It is a sordid tale of conquest, destruction, inter-religious conflict and bloodshed. And India was on edge as the verdict was delivered this afternoon. The remarkable decision was as bold in its breadth and scope, as muted as it was in its final order. The three judge panel--two Hindus and one Muslim--declared that yes, a temple existed at the site before Babar destroyed it and built his edifice incorporating portions of the temple in his own structure. Yes, the site is the exact locus that Hindus have revered as the birth site of Lord Rama since "time immemorial," who was a "juristic person" and was born thousands of years prior. And yes, Hindus have a right to build a temple on the site. A muted judgement --that many will embrace as the road map to peace --the final order was a simple compromise: That the land should be divided equally between Hindu and Muslim plaintiffs so that Hindus could rebuild their temple and Muslims their mosque.
 
So those are the facts, but as the 8,000 page verdict was sent on to New Delhi, Hindus may sigh with satisfaction even as the press will move on to details of appeals that will be filed and the political ramifications. Churchill claimed history is written by the victors, and India's, ironically, is shaped by a millenium of Islamic and then British conquests. But the facts laid out in this decision add a dimension of veracity to the faith of Hindus usually disputed by India's famously far-left historians. Many have argued that it is the very disenfranchising of Hindus from the historical contentions of their scriptures that fuels disaffection and the fodder for demagoguery.
 
Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva, along with Lord Rama, are prominent players in the Hindu pantheon. Seek out their most revered temples and sacred spaces, in Mathura where Krishna was born, and Kashi, the holy city of Shiva, and massive mosques built by conquerors still mark the spots. Several thousand temples were destroyed throughout India by the marauding Mongol, Babar, and those that followed him in the 15th and 16th century following the example of Babar's immediate Turk predecessor, Sultan Mehmed II, who was busy laying siege to the Hagia Sophia, the focal point of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Constantinople just a few decades earlier. This is not to say that history must be reversed in every corner of India--far from it. But acknowledgement of an injustice is a necessary first step, and an accomodation long denied to Hindus. The modern Turkish government, after all, had the courage to turn the destroyed Hagia Sophia site into a museum acknowledging a disputed past.
 
The prevailing response for Hindus, then, is vindication. Babar is a reviled figure in Hindu lore, and now the world knows why. Hindu Americans had long chafed reading modern historical renderings of an "alleged temple" to the "warrior god Ram"; of fawning accounts from the notoriously "pseudosecular" Indian academy of Babar's mosque and their highly "authoritative" claims, parroted in the Western media. It was astounding that despite copious evidence unearthed by the Archaeological Survey of India, these same historians and politicians refused to concede that Babar had actually destroyed a massive Hindu temple, one of the holiest for Hindus, and built a conquest monument he called a mosque.
 
Lord Rama is almost always rendered as an ahistorical mythological character set in an interesting epic--the judgment terming him a "juristic person," is given in syntax as clumsy as it is empowering. He existed, Hindus can claim with a legal imprimatur, and his birthplace is as real and important as Bethlehem, the Temple Mount or Mecca. It is a jejune claim that a legal judgement affects the faith of a billion Hindus, but Hindus rarely find their faith corroborated in the cold renderings of history or law.
 
The legal validation of Hindu claims satisfies a struggle over history, but the big story will be the peace that prevails in India. Hindu nationalists have learned that the issue can no longer be milked for votes in a country where development counts, and the current government will find the focus back on its horrid demonstration of corrupt incompetence in planning the Commonwealth Games as athletes from seventy nations descend on New Delhi this week. Hindus and Muslims will move on tomorrow as there is an 8% growth rate to continue and work to do to ensure that prosperity reaches the hundreds of millions not seeing their share of a modern India. There is no time to wallow in the past, it is time to move on.
 
Views expressed here are the personal views of Dr. Aseem Shukla, and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Minnesota or Hindu American Foundation.