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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Previously unknown language emerges in India

Linguist Gregory Anderson, right, makes one of the first recordings of the "hidden" language Koro.

Linguist Gregory Anderson, right, makes one of 
the first recordings of the "hidden" language Koro.
 
(CNN) -- Linguists announced Monday they have identified an endangered language known as Koro that is spoken by about 800 people in northeast India.

The language was unknown to science and recently came to light during an expedition by linguists traveling in India on fellowships for National Geographic, the linguists said in telephone interviews.

Koro belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language family, which is composed of a group of about 400 languages spoken primarily in east, central, south and southeast Asia and includes Tibetan and Burmese, according to linguist K. David Harrison.

Some 150 Tibeto-Burman languages are spoken in India alone, but no other language has been identified as closely related, said Harrison, an associate professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

Like most languages, Koro is unwritten and transmitted orally. It is neither a dialect nor a sister language close to Hruso-Aka, despite being considered such by both Hruso and Koro people.

Koro shares some vocabulary with other languages spoken in the region but shares more features with languages spoken farther east, such as Milang and Tani, the linguists said in a news release issued by National Geographic.

Harrison and another National Geographic Fellow, Greg Anderson, led the expedition, called Enduring Voices, which brought Koro to light. Enduring Voices documents vanishing languages and cultures and assists with language revitalization.

Harrison and Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages, in Salem, Oregon, focused on Arunachal Pradesh, a remote area of northeast India that is considered the black hole of the linguistic world.

It is a language hotspot where there is room to study rich, diverse languages, many unwritten or documented. A permit is required to visit, few linguists have worked there and a reliable list of languages has never been drawn up.

"On a scientist's tally sheet, Koro adds just one entry to the list of 6,909 languages worldwide. But Koro's contribution is much greater than that tiny fraction would suggest," Harrison writes in his book, "The Last Speakers."

"Koro brings an entirely different perspective, history, mythology, technology and grammar to what was known before."

In the news release, the linguists described their discovery as bittersweet: Of the approximately 800 people who speak Koro, few are under the age of 20, meaning the language is endangered.

"We were finding something that was making its exit, was on its way out," Anderson said. "And if we had waited 10 years to make the trip, we might not have come across close to the number of speakers we found."

The team set out in 2008 in Arunachal Pradesh to document Aka and Miji, languages spoken in a small district there. The expedition went door to door among homes propped up on stilts to reach potential speakers of those little-known languages.

While recording the vocabularies, they detected a third language -- Koro. It was not listed in Indian language surveys, Indian censuses or standard international registries.

"We didn't have to get far on our word list to realize it was extremely different in every possible way," Harrison said.

The inventory of sounds and the way these sounds were combined to form words were distinct from other languages spoken in the region.

An Aka speaker would call a pig "vo" and a Koro speaker would call a pig "lele."

"Koro could hardly sound more different from Aka," Harrison writes. "They sound as different as, say, English and Japanese."

Anderson and Harrison said Aka is the traditional language of the region's historic slave traders, and they hypothesized that Koro may have sprung from the slaves; though they said more study is needed to determine the origin.

The project reports that a language becomes extinct every two weeks. By 2100, it is estimated that more than half of the 6,910 languages spoken on earth will vanish. The team will return to India to continue studying Koro in November.

Ayodhya litigant begins talks; gets death threats

Babri Masjid
Ayodhya, Oct 6: Mohammad Hashim Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya title suit case, has alleged that people with political interests are plotting to eliminate him.

A week after the Allahabad High Court delivered its verdict in the Ram Temple-Babri Masjid land dispute, the oldest litigant in the case has claimed threat to his life.

“When I started to talk about peace with Mahant Gyandas (president of the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad) those doing politics on this issue felt their shops will get closed and they are issuing threats and plotting to eliminate me,” 90-year-old litigant said.

He claims that he started exploring possibilities of an amicable solution only after the consent of the Sunni Central Waqf Board.

The board, on the other hand, has denied this.

Mr Ansari holds that if the issue can be sorted out through talks, then that is the way to go.

“If the issue could be sorted out through talks today, tomorrow or two months, it should be done. After all we have three months time,” he said.

The HC prescribed three months of status quo while delivering its verdict on the 60-year-old dispute over the land, which was divided one part to the Muslim board, two to the Hindu parties.

Source: OneIndia News

Ex-Anwar aide claims was forced to implicate Najib, Rosmah in Sodomy II

The Malaysian Insider,

KLANG, Oct 6 — A former aide to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed today that he was forced to implicate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah in the on-going Sodomy II trial.

Rahimi Osman said that he was forced to sign two statutory declarations back on June 28, 2008 which accused Najib and Rosmah of masterminding a conspiracy against Anwar.

PKR members had stormed the press conference even before Rahimi could begin and demanded that he stop the press conference.

However, a police report made by Rahimi at 3.03 pm earlier was available to The Malaysian Insider.

According to the report, Rahimi claimed that he was forced to sign two staturory declarations by PKR information chief Latheefa Koya as well as party members at Quality Hotel back in June 2008.

“I was forced to sign two statutory declarations on June 2008 about Anwar and Saiful. The declaration was not true because I did not write it.

“I was forced to sign it because I feared for my safety... at that time there were hundreds of Anwar’s supporters and right-hand men around Quality Hotel,” said Rahimi.

The former aide also claimed that he was forced to stay at the hotel for a few days after signing the SD.

Khalid Samad dares Ibrahim Ali to contest Galas

The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Oct 6 — Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Samad has challenged Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali to contest the Galas state seat to prove that his group was not backed by Umno.

Ibrahim has repeatedly denied accusations that his Malay rights movement was linked to the Malay ruling party.

“If he (Ibrahim) does not contest and he campaigns for Barisan Nasional (BN), people should realise that this is Umno’s political game,” Khalid told reporters today.

“It is a good-cop bad-cop method to gain support from extreme Malay nationalists and moderate Malays,” he added.

Pro-Anwar mob thwarts 'sodomy' press meet

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

FMT ALERT KLANG: A group of men stormed a press conference at a restaurant here this evening regarding Anwar Ibrahim's ongoing sodomy trial.

The men, believed to be supporters of Anwar, started hurling abuses at Rahimi Osman, who is purportedly a former aide to the opposition leader.

Among others, the men shouted: “How many millions did you get?” and “We know everything”.

The men, led by PKR vice-presidential hopeful R Suresh Kumar, also threatened to forcefully drag Rahimi out of the restaurant if he did not end the press conference.

According to a media advisory sent out this morning, Rahimi was supposed to “set the record straight” on Anwar's trial.

Anwar has been charged with sodomosing his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
He subsequently called off the press conference

Read More

PKR leaders clash over Hulu Selangor division

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR leaders appear to be at loggerheads over the problematic Hulu Selangor divisional polls -- the division where a known party bigwig linked to party supremo Anwar Ibrahim and deputy presidency hopeful Azmin Ali had vied for the post of division chief. PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution today announced the party's decision to hold re-election for its nine trouble-plagued divisions including that of Hulu Selangor.

The Hulu Selangor election, which was nullified due to the alleged surplus of votes cast there, purportedly saw Anwar's former press-secretary during his time as deputy prime minister, Khalid Jaafar, defeated in a seven-cornered fight by popular local leader Nazar Yakin.

However shortly after Saifuddin's press meet, PKR election steering committee chairman, Dr Molly Cheah, has come out to question the validity of secretary-general's announcement.

Cheah, when contacted by FMT, said no decisions were made in respect to the party's Hulu Selangor annual general meeting.

"Who decided that there would be re-election there? As far as I know, I chaired the election committee meeting last night and no decision was reached with regard to Hulu Selangor," she said, adding that she was not aware that a press conference was held.

Saifuddin told a press briefing that PKR leaders had decided to hold re-elections for the nine divisions, dividing them into two categories with a separate schedule for each.

Divisions whose elections were postponed due to technical and logistical problems such as in Hulu Selangor, Petaling Jaya Selatan, Merbok, Jerai and Kuala Nerus will cast their ballots again before the party's national congress in late October.

Saifuddin said the rest of the divisions where pollings were marred by factional clashes will hold re-elections after the congress.

All's not well in PKR

Saifuddin, who is Machang MP, said while more could have been done to avoid the acrimonious electoral outcome of the nine divisions, this should not overshadow the party's success in holding a smooth polling process for the rest of its 145 divisions.

"Although the media, especially those linked to Umno and Barisan Nasional, highlighted only unpleasant incidents, it must be emphasised that such cases took place only at four divisional meetings," he said.

But the spat between Saifuddin and Cheah will likely fortify the popular view that the direct election system is undemocratic.

It will also strengthen the belief that there is a concerted effort at the highest level to slot in certain leaders to key posts as part of the "Anwar-Azmin cartel".

The loudest critic is Azmin's strongest rival, Zaid Ibrahim, who claims that there are "powerful forces" attempting to undermine his chances for the number two post.

The fact that Saifuddin held a separate press conference for only selected medias after the initial media briefing will also not help the party dispel Zaid's allegations.

Veiled attack against Zaid

During the 'exclusive' interviews with reporters, Saifuddin launched a veiled attack against Zaid for his refusal to tow the party line pertaining to PKR's blanket rule against engaging Umno-owned media.

"The party's decision is clear in boycotting Utusan Malaysia. If we are members of PKR, we must respect the decisions of the party," online news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted him.

Zaid had recently given interviews to both Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times, saying there was an emerging "Umno culture" within PKR and despite the warning by Anwar, the PKR Federal Territories chief in an interview with another Malay daily yesterday defiantly said he will not hesitate to talk to all media including those which are Umno-owned.

Azmin Ali, the PKR vice-president and Selangor party chief, is leading in the nominations count. He has garnered 92 nominations against Zaid's 35 while the third contender, fellow vice-president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub, has received 13 nominations.

Saifuddin also said three candidates are eligible for the presidential contest, seven for deputy presidency, 27 for vice-presidency and 190 for supreme council.

The eligible candidates who wish to contest for any of the posts will have to confirm their nomination by Oct 16, he added.

Galas by-election: Polling Nov 4, nomination Oct 26

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission today fixed the polling date for the Galas by-election on Nov 4. Nomination will be held on Oct 26.

The dates were announced by Election Commission deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar during a press conference this morning.

The recently updated voter count in Galas stands at 11,553, of which 61.63% are Malays, 20.08% Chinese, 1.6% Indians, 0.9% Sarawak bumiputeras and 16.37% Orang Asli. Of this number, 127 will consist of postal votes.

Wan Ahmad said the election was being held on a weekday as “majority of the voters are based locally”. The nomination falls on a Tuesday while polling is on a Thursday.
The state seat fell vacant following the death of its rep, Che Hashim Sulaima, of PAS, on Sept 27.
The by-election is expected to see a straight fight between BN/Umno and PAS. The seat falls under the Gua Musang parliamentary constituency, held by Umno veteran and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Tight race expected
Observers believe the Galas contest will be a tight race considering the volatile voting pattern. In 2004, Umno won the seat and in 2008, Che Hashim won when he polled 4,399 votes against BN's Saufi Deraman who obtained 3,753 votes.

Two other state seats in the Gua Musang constituency — Nenggiri and Paloh — were won by BN with majority of 2,090 and 2,833 votes respectively.
This will be the country's 12th by-election since the 2008 general election.

While neither BN nor PAS have indicated whom they will field as a candidate, the past few days have seen a growing chorus of support in BN for Razaleigh to wrest the seat back from PAS.

The Kelantan prince yesterday agreed to assume to election director's post but has yet to decide on whether he will contest in the by-election.

Razaleigh's possible run for the seat has stirred wariness within PAS which believes his presence will steer the by-election in BN's favour.

Last weekend PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat attempted to discourage BN from fielding Razaleigh by suggesting that it would be an insult to his political career.
No decision on independent monitors
Speaking to reporters today, Wan Ahmad said Gua Musang district officer Wan Mustapha Wan Abdul Hami will be the returning officer for the by-election and he will be assisted by three assistants.

Wan Ahmad also said 11 schools, a treatment centre belonging to the Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) and public hall will be used as polling stations. There will be 25 election streams and 323 election monitors to oversee the election process.

The budget for the Galas by-election is estimated at RM1.3 million which includes helicopter access for four polling stations.
Wan Ahmad also said that the EC has yet to choose an independent watchdog for the Galas by-election.

"There is actually no need for an independent watchdog as the polling agents are capable of playing that role," he explained.

"As for independent watchdog Mafrel, it has recently sent us its reports of the previous by-elections. We  are currently studying those reports and will meet with Mafrel soon," he said.

The 2008 general elections saw an 81% turnout in the constituency.

Abolish party adviser role, Gerakan urged

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The Gerakan grassroots movement (VGG) has called on the party top leadership to abolish the office of party adviser following Dr Lim Keng Yaik's outburst against party president Koh Tsu Koon.

In its portal statement here today, the group said Lim was right to resign as Gerakan adviser for failing to perform the proper role of an adviser.

The group said although Lim has the right to criticise party affairs, he should have had some decency to do so.

It said that Lim should respect the office of party president and Koh’s discretion to listen or not to listen to his advice.

It said Lim should not abuse his position as party adviser to pursue his personal vendetta and ulterior motives.

The group added that since Lim had resigned, he should keep it that way and stay out of party affairs.

“With hindsight, it was a mistake to create the office of party adviser in the first place. Given this nasty episode, it is time to abolish the office of adviser immediately,” the group said.

Theatrical show

The group criticised Lim for putting up a theatrical “I quit” show at the eleventh hour to save Dr Teng Hock Nan from losing his position as Penang party chief.

“What is most upsetting is the manner he announced his resignation. It’s unbecoming of a former leader to ridicule and denounce the president of the very party that appointed him as adviser.

“He has failed to perform truly as adviser,” the group said in a statement made available to FMT.

The group said it was not calling on Lim to resign, but insisted that the former president was free to do so if he believed he could not perform in his advisory role.

This Sunday (10-10-10), Teng faces a vote of no confidence against his state leadership in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) engineered by VGG.

State Gerakan secretary Ong Thean Lye had sent notices of the EGM, called under Article 73 of the party constitution, to all 393 eligible delegates from 197 branches in the state.

Gerakan, which was the state ruling party under the Barisan Nasional from 1969 to 2008 until it was toppled by Pakatan Rakyat, has some 63,000 members in Penang.

Political stunt

Lim resigned as party adviser two days ago because Koh has decided to skip the EGM to attend the MCA annual delegates’ conference held on the same day.

VGG claimed that Lim pulled the political stunt because his anointed successor Koh did not listen to him on how to handle the party affairs, especially pertaining to the motion of no confidence against Teng.

“Koh was merely expressing his neutrality on the issue. So what’s the big deal? Why was Lim so upset and behaved as if the sky was falling?” asked the group.

VGG is puzzled why Lim, who is not a Penang delegate, chose to call for a press conference to angrily denounce Koh just before the EGM.

“Given Lim’s strange action and emotional outburst, one cannot help but suspect that he wants to interfere through Koh in the EGM,” the group said.

The group argued that Lim should leave the EGM matters solely in the hands of Penang party delegates.

It said that Penang delegates did not see Koh’s absence as an issue neither did they feel offended or neglected.

“The delegates can handle the EGM by themselves,” the statement said.

MACC: Documents published by RPK are genuine

MARHALIM ABAS, The Malay Mail

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), in its blog www.ourdifferentview.com, admitted that the documents published by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin were genuine, although it did not refer to it directly.

However, it stated that Raja Petra's claims in his Malaysia Today blog that the agency failed to act on graft allegations as baseless.

“The accusations made in a blog that said MACC did not investigate and did not prosecute suspects based on the investigation reports of three cases is absolutely baseless,” stated the MACC blog.

Apart from publishing MACC documents concerning ex-Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli and former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, Raja Petra also published MACC investigation papers or reports against Datuk Seri Zulkifly Mat Noor who was former chief of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA, as the forerunner of the MACC was known at the time) and National Civics Bureau director-general Datuk Shagul Hamid Abdullah, and a report on the allegations by Kulim State Assemblyman Lim Soo Nee that he was offered a bribe to defect to the Barisan Nasional (BN).

The MACC blog stated: "All cases cited are old cases.”

Concerning Zulkifly, MACC stated that news reports in 2007 had highlighted police investigations on Zulkifly, and pointed out that they could not have taken action against their own head.

“To ensure that investigations were done fairly and transparently, the police were given the responsibility to handle the investigations,” said the MACC.

“Besides, the cases mentioned were not graft cases. Don’t try to connect MACC with this issue and slam us for purportedly not taking action to investigate and prosecute. It is not fair to hit out at MACC and connect it to the issue of MACC’s frayed image for silencing action on this case.”

MACC also pointed out that the report on Lim was not enough to prosecute BN's former Kedah Menteri Besar who allegedly offered Lim a RM5 million bribe to defect to the BN, which could have resulted in the current PAS-led Kedah government to fall.

“If the investigation report is read carefully, it is only a report that was given by the branch office to the headquarters for it to start the investigation process. In this case, the ACA had already started investigations,” said the blog.

The blog further blamed Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders for hampering their investigations by sparking massive media coverage which eventually affected the outcome of the case.

“The attitude of PKR’s highest leaders who were too quick to over-react until this case was blown up in the media,” said the MACC.

“It clearly affected the ACA’s investigation process. Investigations were disrupted as there was no longer an element of surprise and the perpetrators who were involved knew the future actions of the authorities. Eventually, the case that was supposed to happen did not happen. So, who should be blamed in this instance?”

The MACC went on to state that they had tried to collect evidence in Lim's case as the purported bribe had not yet occurred, but their efforts were allegedly blocked by over-reactive PKR leaders as mentioned by the former MACC chief, according to a February 2009 news report.

“In this case, the (graft) transaction had not yet happened and the process of collecting evidence was disrupted because of the over-reaction of other parties,” it said.

“Because of that, MACC tightened laws by introducing Section 29(4) of the MACC Act 2009. It is aimed at preventing complainants from declaring their complaints in public until the investigation process is complete and the guilty party is brought to court.”

On Dr Khir's case, the MACC blog pointed out that the case was deemed 'no further action' as investigations showed that there was no wrongdoing.

In a third case which involved Dr Khir, the MACC pointed out that they had no basis to prosecute him as statements from witnesses and documents favoured the accused.

“In the case of the former Selangor Menteri Besar, it clearly shows that both elements — statements and evidential documents — were on the side of the accused. To what basis then MACC will have to use to prosecute him?” it asked.

“MACC has investigated and deemed that he (Dr Khir) did not commit any wrongdoing in his visits to Disneyland and Morocco,” it said, adding that the agency had completed their duties in investigating Dr Khir and pointed out that an investigation process was not about pinpointing the blame on someone.

“This case clearly proves that MACC has done its duty to investigate. The investigation process is not a process to look for someone to blame. Instead, it is a process to find the truth. MACC cannot accuse someone based merely on sentiment.”

How many times we have heard this: in the next election we must go all out and vote and make a difference.

by Haris Ibrahim,

“From what we see in PKR and Gerakan today, there is one thing we can learn. Never rely completely on politicians to see through our aspirations for a more socially just Malaysia. If we do leave it to the politicians, we are going to be seriously disappointed and disillusioned. We need to play our part through a constant participation in the larger democratic process
How many times we have heard this: in the next election we must go all out and vote and make a difference.
Big mistake. Why wait five years for the next election before you try and make a difference? Make your voices heard – now. Do something – write, speak, campaign, castigate racist politicians, speak out against corruption, lobby for policy and legal reforms, join a voluntary or civil organisation, read, discuss, debate, reflect. Do it 365 days a year. Small ripples of change will gradually spread across the country. Never rely 100 per cent on politicians and political parties, no matter how progressive they might seem – for their compromises, betrayals, and disgusting ambition will invariably disappoint us” - Anil Netto.
Read the rest of Anil’s thoughts HERE.

Will UMNO and BN be consigned to the funeral pyre come the 13th GE? It’s in your hands

By Haris Ibrahim,

Muhyiddin suffers from a malaise that inflicts many in BN, particularly UMNO.
It’s called arrogantitis.
No, don’t bother looking up the medical encyclopedia.
Comes from being in power for too long.
Lording it over a people long accustomed to being docile, submissive even.
In Muhyiddin’s case, along with a whole bunch of the others in UMNO, one classic symptom of the in-breeding that Dr M spoke of in his ‘Malay Dilemma’ is also showing through.
You know which symptom I’m referring to, right?
According to Malaysiakini, Muhyiddin reckons that RPK’s ripping into the Pakatan leadership at the dialogue session with Anwar, Tunku Abdul Aziz and Tian Chua in London last Saturday and his threat to pull out his support for Pakatan at the Galas by-election is evidence of waning support and confidence in Pakatan, and PKR in particular.
He is reported to have said that “more and more PKR members at the higher as well as the grassroot level had realised the wrong choice they made and left the party” and then offered this advice to the rakyat.
“… we hope the people will learn from this and think carefully”
This blog has been kicking PKR and its leaders in the head, in the groin, and in the butt the last few months or so and late last year, not because I have given up on PKR, but because I think there is still hope.
Hope that PKR will reform as it needs to.
Hope that it will begin to listen to, and heed, the voices of the rakyat.
Hope that, together with its partners in Pakatan, they will collectively turn their focus on what it will take to begin the restoration of our vital institutions of state, if they reach Putrajaya, rather than individually pursuing position and power and, to that end, indulging in self-serving intrigues.
Hope that Pakatan will work swiftly to get its act together and then, working closely with the many rakyat who are today committed to bring about the changes needed in this country, bury BN at the 13th General Election.
This is what, for the rakyat, separates Pakatan from BN today.
Hope.
Arrogantitis does not allow Muhyiddin to see this.
Many of us hoped we’d see BN out on its backside after the last general election.
It didn’t happen.
We hoped then that at least UMNO and BN would take some hard lessons from the loss of its 2/3 majority in parliament and another 5 state governments to the opposition, and begin the process of reform to be relevant to the needs of the rakyat.
That, too, didn’t happen.
Instead, they gave us Zaki in the Federal Court.
They gave us the Perak crisis.
They gave us NFA on the VK Lingam RCI recommendations.
They gave us renewed terms of Musa Hasaan.
They gave us Kugan and Teo Beng Hock.
They gave us AminulRasyid.
UMNO and BN cannot see this.
Arrogantitis.
BN must be buried, come the 13th GE.
What, though, if those hopes we now place on Pakatan turn out to be misplaced?
What if PKR, too, will not reform, and Pakatan cannot get its act together?
Unlike some of you who have commented in this blog, I do not see myself as limited in my choice to either Pakatan or BN.
I  do not see that if Pakatan flounders, I am compelled to give my vote to BN.
I have a third choice.
It is a third choice, though, that is not presented to me on a silver platter.
It is a third choice that I have to carve out for myself, if I have to.
And I will, if I have to.
In my constituency.
You want a third choice in your constituency too, if the need arises?
If Pakatan doesn’t measure up to your expectations?
You want it on a silver platter, without your having to lift a finger?
Dream on.
There is much talk now of a third force, both in this blog and elsewhere.
You want a third force, that might afford you a third choice in your constituency?
You want to be a part of that third force, or merely cheer from the sidelines?
In the coming days, friends and I will meet to deliberate on this idea of a third force.
Where this will go, if anywhere at all, and how far, I cannot say.
What I can say is that if BN still reigns after the 13th GE, I will be able to look my children in their eyes and say, ‘I tried. I gave it my all’.
Can you?

Anwar waves his magic and thrills European audiences

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

I have had to come all the way to Brussels and Berlin to discover a side of Anwar Ibrahim that I was wrong about.

Reading the Barisan Nasional-owned newspapers that consistently portrayed him as a “traitor to Malaysia” who exaggerated the situation obtaining in the country given half a chance, I have, I must admit, tended to view him as a self-serving political demagogue who could not care less about the fate of his country as long as he achieved his ambition of becoming prime minister.

Anwar spoke last Monday evening (September 28, 2010) on “Liberal Values in the Muslim World — Why Islam and Democracy are Destined to Coincide” to a packed hall of some of Europe’s powerful decision-makers. These were men and women with wide international experience and could not be easily hoodwinked even if he had tried.

It was vintage Anwar, perfect smooth-as-silk delivery of a complex, serious subject to a critical audience. He knew his stuff. His was more than a speech; it was an intellectual journey mapped out by someone who knew the area traversed like the back of his hand.

There he stood, under the spotlight, his charming and quietly confident self as always, speaking without a note for a full hour. Earlier in the day, when he said to me he had to go back to his hotel room to give his speech the once over, I told him half in jest that he could make his speech standing on his head. He did just that and more. He successfully won the audience over with his argument, supported by historical antecedents and more recent examples that completely demolished the conventional wisdom in non-Muslim circles that Islam and democracy were somehow incompatible bedfellows. He challenge the unfounded belief that it was against the order of nature for Islam to embrace democracy as seriously flawed because of the underlying assumption that Muslims, unlike others, were not born free to exercise their democratic rights.

As I sat listening to the prime minister Malaysia never had, thanks to Mahathir the Maverick, and who might yet take the country by storm, Anwar, I mean, not Mahathir, I could not help thinking how utterly sad and absurd for Najib, whose articulation of his 1 Malaysia slogan invariably finishes in a cul-de-sac, offering his services to Obama to help bring about greater understanding of Islam, the religion of peace, among the majority American non-Muslims. My dear fellow, charity begins at home.

The only Malaysian politician, who can, without making a fool of himself, stride the world stage with the right combination of strong intellectual credentials and honesty, is not to be found within the serried ranks of the BN, but in the person of Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s iconic liberal democrat.

As I saw here in Brussels, he had the European parliamentary leadership, figuratively speaking, eating out of his hands. Many have already put the champagne on ice; they clearly see this victim of a rotten political system as the next man to lead the country.

For all our sakes, I hope they are right. Malaysia needs a thorough overhaul and Najib whom we need like we do a great big hole in our head is unlikely to understand the dynamics of change for the great leap forward. Even if he understands the urgent necessity for change, would he be allowed to by the reactionary forces with the party ever so gingerly as the prospect of a palace coup remains a distinct possibility? He is not only busy watching oversized baggage, but also his back with the sort of loyal friends he has had foisted on him. There simply isn’t much time for anything else while the ship of state springs more leaks by the day.

I was asked by a senior European Parliament bureaucrat over coffee what the Pakatan Rakyat coalition’s priorities would be on taking over the federal government? In brief, I said revamp institutions of state that have been virtually destroyed and have, in many cases, been rendered dysfunctional, overhaul policies, systems and procedures that have tended to divide rather than unite Malaysians, pay special attention to economic policies centred on orderly growth and sustainable development, and generally to put things right and undo the excesses and abuses of that began under Mahathir so that democratic principles and practices may have a real chance of taking root. A tall order but with fairness, and integrity grounded in the rule of law, God willing, we will get there.

Perak DAP leaders, branches, members and supporters should rally behind Ngeh and Kula

By Lim Kit Siang,


On Sunday morning, I had sent the following sms to Perak DAP State Chairman, Ngeh Koo Ham and Perak DAP Deputy State Chairman M. Kulasegeran:
“Lets face it. What happened last 36 hrs have caused enormous damage to DAP leaders involved, DAP, PR – only question is who suffer more damage – which is utter madness. Its massive ‘lose-lose’ formula without any redeeming ‘win-win’ element at all. Public opprobrium all round. Nobody can hold head high. Decisive action needed.”
Ngeh and Kula have since issued apologies for the Perak DAP leadership crisis and have pledged to resolve party differences internally.
I urge all Perak DAP leaders, branches, members and supporters to rally behind Ngeh and Kula on an unity ticket to restore the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak and to help Pakatan Rakyat to take over Putrajaya in the next general elections.
I am reminded of two quotations about the lessons of history:
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” – Aldous Huxley
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Perak DAP leaders, branches and members must remember these quotations and prove that they are not only mindful of them but would not repeat the Perak DAP history where because party disunity, Perak DAP suffered the worst electoral setback in the 1995 general elections – reduced to only one State Assembly seat after winning four Parliamentary and 13 State Assembly seats in the 1990 general elections.
DAP Perak leaders, branches and members should fully embrace the unity formula in Perak so that DAP Perak can play its full role in ensuring that DAP and Pakatan Rakyat “write history” in the state in the next general elections – which is the expectation and aspiration of all Perakians and Malaysians who want to see a new beginning for Malaysia after more than half-a-century of misrule.

Supporters Want Kulasegaran To Quit DAP

IPOH, Oct 6 (Bernama) -- A group of DAP supporters today staged a demonstration demanding that Perak DAP deputy chairman M. Kulasegaran to quit the party.

Some 20 DAP Youth members of Indian origin gathered in front of the state DAP office at Medan Istana here carrying banners stating their support for Kulasegaran and criticisms against the Perak DAP leadership.

Azman Mubarak, 24, who claimed to be the spokesman for the group, said a total of 300 DAP members from Buntung here were willing to follow Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat Member of Parliament, to quit the party.

They were disappointed with the state DAP leadership for sidelining Kulasegaran and supporters of Indian origin, he added.

Another DAP member, Alex Raj, 22, said the gathering was held as a show of support for Kulasegaran and to condemn Perak DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham for allegedly practising nepotism and cronyism in Perak DAP.

"We feel cheated by DAP. They only need our votes in the election," he added.

Kulasegaran is now in Nepal and expected to be back in a week.

There have been reports of a tiff between Kulasegaran, Ngeh and Perak DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming that Kulasegaran has threatened to resign.

Patuhi peringatan Sultan Johor, jangan cabar Perlembagaan

Utusan Malaysia 


PERINGATAN keras Sultan Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar agar hak-hak istimewa orang Melayu dan bumiputera tidak terus dicabar wajar dihormati oleh semua pihak yang selama ini begitu lantang mempertikaikannya.

Pihak-pihak berkenaan bukan setakat lantang mencabar hak-hak istimewa Melayu yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan, malah makin berani menyentuh kuasa-kuasa raja.

Malah, dalam sesetengah keadaan seperti mana yang pernah berlaku di Perak, tindak-tanduk pihak pembangkang telah sampai ke peringkat menghina kuasa dan martabat Sultan.

Ini bukan kali pertama peringatan sedemikian dikeluarkan, malah kebimbangan pihak istana mengenai isu yang sama pernah dititahkan oleh sultan-sultan negeri lain termasuk Selangor, Perak dan Perlis.

Walaupun baru mengambil alih tampuk pemerintahan daripada ayahanda baginda, Sultan Ibrahim mungkin merasa perlu untuk menitahkan kenyataan keras itu bagi menyedarkan semua pihak terbabit.

Tragedi berdarah tahun 1969 yang dibimbangi oleh baginda boleh berulang pada masa-masa akan datang dan mungkin keadaannya lebih tragis jika kita membiarkan pemimpin kaum lain terus memberi tekanan politik agar Melayu melepaskan hak-hak istimewa mereka.

Berdasarkan sikap yang ditunjukkan oleh ramai pemimpin Melayu sekarang terutama yang berada dalam parti pembangkang seperti Pas dan Parti Keadilan Rakyat, hak-hak istimewa Melayu dan bumiputera seperti termaktub dalam Perlembagaan, mungkin satu hari nanti boleh terlepas seperti mana yang diperjuangkan DAP.

Lihat saja reaksi yang pernah dikeluarkan oleh pemimpin-pemimpin kanan pembangkang seperti Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan Mursyidul Am Pas, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat yang makin condong kepada perjuangan rakan politik mereka iaitu DAP.

Di manakah suara Anwar ketika orang Melayu di negerinya iaitu Pulau Pinang makin dipinggirkan di bawah pemerintahan pembangkang ditunjangi DAP.

Pertubuhan-pertubuhan bukan Melayu (NGO)yang lantang membela nasib Melayu dilabel sebagai rasis oleh pemimpin dari bangsa mereka sendiri dan NGO seumpama itu dianggap musuh dan perlu diperangi.

Tentunya kita merasa hairan, di mana suara pemimpin Melayu seperti Azmin Ali apabila golongan extremis daripada kaum lain menghina dan mencabar hak-hak bangsa mereka.

Pemimpin pembangkang seperti Azmin lebih rela menjadi juara bagi kaum lain kerana merasakan undi golongan itu boleh mencorakkan suasana politik negara terutama dalam menghadapi pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Misi utama mereka ialah untuk menawan Putrajaya dengan sokongan padu orang Cina dan India. Dalam menjayakan misi itu, pemimpin Melayu pembangkang sanggup mengorbankan hak-hak orang Melayu, kedudukan Sultan, malah kesucian agama Islam seperti dalam isu kalimah Allah dan isu 'tazkirah' pemimpin DAP di ruang solat surau.

Mungkin bagi Melayu berfahaman liberal, mereka menganggap peringatan demi peringatan oleh sultan-sultan dan pemimpin-pemimpin NGO Melayu sebagai agenda UMNO untuk terus berkuasa atau kenyataan 'lapuk' yang tidak lagi relevan dengan peredaran masa.

Pemimpin Melayu pembangkang semakin lantang menyokong misi DAP kerana mereka telah menguasai banyak masjid dan surau di seluruh negara melalui imam-imam dan ustaz-ustaz yang pro-Pas.

Hanya mereka lupa bahawa tragedi 13 Mei 1969 akan berulang jika lahir lebih banyak NGO yang lebih 'rasis' daripada Perkasa dan golongan Melayu yang merasakan mereka dipinggir dan dianiayai oleh pemimpin dan golongan elit Melayu yang sepatutnya melindungi dan mempertahankan hak-hak mereka yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan.

Bagi mengelak sebarang kemungkinan buruk berlaku, peringatan Sultan Johor perlu dijadikan renungan. ''Kita harus bertolak ansur jika ingin hidup makmur dalam negara yang berbilang bangsa ini,'' titah Sultan Ibrahim.

France arrests 'terror' suspects



French police have arrested 12 people in two separate counter-terrorism raids, amid a state of high alert for attacks in the country.

Nine people arrested in Marseille, the southern port city, on Tuesday morning were being investigated for suspected links to a "terrorist enterprise", police said.

Weapons including a Kalashnikov rifle, a pump action shotgun and ammunition were also seized in the raid, an official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.

Another three men were arrested in Marseille and Bordeaux, in France's southwest, on alleged ties to a group recruiting fighters for Afghanistan.

The trio were linked to Ryad Hannouni, a Frenchman arrested in the Italian city of Naples last weekend and suspected of being connected to al-Qaeda fighters, police said.

Officials said investigators wanted to question Hannouni on suspected links to armed fighters coming to Europe from Afghanistan, the AFP news agency reported.

'Terrorist threat'
The arrests come days after the US state department and a number of other governments warned of an increased risk of attacks in Europe.

France recently said it was on high alert, with the government warning that the country faces a serious threat of attack.

False alerts in recent weeks have prompted evacuations of train stations and Paris's Eiffel Tower.

Last month five French nationals were among seven people kidnapped, by the Northern African wing of al-Qaeda last, and continue to remain held hostage.


The arrests also come as reports suggest five German have been killed in a suspected drone attack in Pakistan that killed a group of fighters.

The are concerns that growing numbers of fighters are going from the West to remote war zones for training with al-Qaeda.

Brice Hortefeux, the French interior minister, said the threat of an attack in the country was "real".
"Yes there is a terrorist threat at the moment in Europe. It must be neither overestimated nor underestimated," he said.

"The threat is real, our vigilance is total and every French person must know that we're doing everything to ensure their security and their protection."

Hortefeux said he would take stock of the situation again on Thursday with European Union counterparts meeting in Luxembourg.

Intelligence reports have said well-armed teams of jihadists planned to seize and murder Western hostages in a manner similar to the attacks two years ago in the Indian city of Mumbai on two hotels and its main railway station.

Source:
Agencies

HINDRAF & HRP: Hindu Civilization Wiped Out- Bujang Vally Malaysia.

UMNO denial of fair opportunities pushes Indian youths into drugs vis a vis the gallows

url umno denial
The new emerging trend of Indian youths pushed into the drug trade has become a new and growing trend.

UMNO denies these poor Indians skills, training opportunities, even micro loans to kick start a business to indulge in agriculture, lifestock farming, fish farming, scrap metal, car wash, food stall, flower stall, fruit stall, etc opportunities to feed their wife and children.

In this case, these 28 and 29 year old Indian youths trafficking drugs is as a result of the high risk taking as they have not much to lose in the face of having been denied these aforesaid opportunities.

P. Uthayakumar


umno denial

Gerakan rejects Keng Yaik’s resignation

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said tonight the party will not accept the resignation of its adviser Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik.

After more than two hours of discussion at the Gerakan headquarters, the Central Working Committee (CWC) chaired by Koh, had decided not to accept Lim’s resignation, tendered yesterday.

“After an in-depth discussion, for the sake of party unity, Gerakan’s Central Working Committee will not accept the resignation letter by the party’s adviser and plead him to reconsider,” he told reporters after the meeting ended at about 10pm.

However, he did not elaborate on how the party would persuade Lim to change his mind.

Koh had moved into damage control mode earlier today, claiming that Lim’s sudden resignation could have been due to a mere “misunderstanding”.

The embattled president defended his handling of the ongoing crisis in Gerakan’s stronghold of Penang, pointing out that Lim himself had given him the impression that he would have a free hand in the matter.

This, he claimed, was the very reason why he had not sought the veteran leader’s advice.

Lim had dropped a bombshell on the party yesterday with his sudden announcement during a press conference after the Wawasan Open University convocation ceremony that he would quit his post as adviser.

In explaining his shocking decision, the Cabinet veteran expressed disappointment in the leadership of his former protege and accused Koh of refusing to get involved in conflicts for fear of offending others.

Koh acknowledged tonight that the party had received Lim’s resignation after 4pm yesterday.

However, Lim firmly asserted earlier today that the die had been cast over his resignation as Gerakan adviser and no amount of cajolling will persuade him to retract his decision because the party is “going to the dogs”.

However, it is likely that the party’s efforts would be futile for Dr Lim told The Malaysian Insider today that he was no longer interested in what the Gerakan leadership had to say.

MCA tells Muhyiddin to suggest action against racist principals

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 – The MCA today appeared to rap the Education Minister for passing the buck on disciplining two school heads accused of racism, and warned of a public backlash if not resolved soon.

The Public Service Department (PSD), charged with investigating the two principals, have been keeping mum on the matter nearly two months after they were made public.

“We feel the minister can make recommendations to the JPA,” its president Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek (picture) told reporters at its headquarters, calling the government department by its Malay initials.

Dr Chua was referring to Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s seeming reluctance to intervene, citing he had no power to act against the two principals who were senior-ranking civil officers and that the PSD was in charge.

The ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Chinese chief said his party understood the separation of authority, but pointed out that the public did not.

“The final decision is with JPA, but the rakyat don’t understand, and this includes the parents from the affected schools,” Dr Chua said.

“If the government does not take stern action and quickly, it will send the message that the government does not care about this issue,” the former cabinet minister observed.

The two principals – one from Johor and the other from Kedah – had triggered a national uproar in August after their ethnic Chinese and Indian students complained of being verbally abused with racially-tinged remarks.

Some 20 students of SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in Kulai, Johor had lodged police reports against principal Siti Insyah Mansor, claiming she had called them “passengers”, inferring they were not qualified to be citizens and likened the Hindu students wearing prayer strings around their necks to leashed “dogs”.

Ungku Aznan Ungku Ismail, the principal of SMK Bukit Selambau in Sungai Petani, Kedah, got into trouble after his ethnic Chinese charges complained of being scolded for eating in the school compound in front of their Muslim peers during the fasting month of Ramadan.

The two school heads were suspended following the outcry, but upset parents and politicians want a stiffer penalty imposed against them, including sacking.

GAS man Mugilan launches new NGO

By G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: The coordinator of the disbanded Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) has formed a new group called Malaysian Indian Visionary Association (MIVA) and will embark tomorrow on a membership drive. 

V Mugilan, who formed GAS after he was sacked from MIC, said he expected MIVA to register 100,000 members by the end of this year.

He said the membership drive would begin in Perak and last 10 days.

“I started my ground work to form this NGO in July, but could not launch it then as I was still involved in GAS,” he told FMT.

Mugilan dissolved GAS last Oct 1, after S Samy Vellu announced he would step down from the MIC presidency. GAS took credit for pressuring the longest serving party president to announce his departure.

He said MIVA would be apolitical.

“Any Indian who is 18 years of age or above is welcomed to join MIVA without any restrictions as the movement will only serve to empower the Indian community with information,” he said.

It would provide information from the government and the private sector on education and business opportunities, he added.

“The government and the private sector offer a lot of education and business opportunities to the Indian community," he said.

"However, the information does not seem to be reaching the grassroots. This is where we come in.

“We will work on two strategies to deliver the information. For the youths who are technology savvy, we will use media such as Twitter, Facebook and web portals. As for the senior generation, we will educate them on the opportunities using the Tamil newspapers.

“In addition, we will also educate the Indians on how to be successful in the Malaysian socio-economic scenario.”

Mugilan, who was MIC’s deputy youth chief before his sacking, said he expected the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to approve of  MIVA  in two weeks’ time.

He said he had been meeting Indian grassroots leaders since July and was confident that about 50,000 people were already interested in joining MIVA.

“Once I get the approval from ROS, the committee will work to register them immediately and get the numbers to reach the 100,000 mark by the end of December.”

DAP's Kula: I'm sorry comrades

By FMT Staff

PETALING JAYA: Embattled DAP leader M Kulasegaran today apologised for washing the party's dirty linen in the open and said he would cease discussing party matters openly.

“DAP is like a family and comrades are just like brothers and sisters. The last thing I want to do is to hurt this family and the family members,” he said in his blog posting today from Nepal.

“To all those party leaders and members as well as party supporters who have felt disappointment or even anger over the Perak family problem becoming a public issue, I hereby tender my sincere apologies,” he said.

Kulasegaran has been holidaying in Nepal for the past three days and is expected to return later this week. He left Malaysia to cool off following an open and heated fight with Perak DAP leaders.

Perak DAP deputy chief Kulasegaran had on Oct 1 stormed out of a meeting with state DAP head Ngeh Koo Ham and state secretary Nga Kor Ming, threatening to resign from party positions.

He then tweeted "Just finished DAP leadership meeting in Ipoh. Sad day as I will announce what is lacking in Perak leadership 2molo n why I have 2 leave 4good.”

He had also planned to hold a "tell-all" press conference on Saturday but called it off at the last minute and and left for a week-long trip to Nepal.

This was after the intervention of DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, who wanted Kulasegaran to take time off to let things cool-down.

'I spoke no lie'

In his blog posting, Kula Segaran, who is also MP for Ipoh Barat, said he had been planning for the Nepal holiday with his family for the past two months.

He added that while he was enjoying his break, his thoughts were nevertheless with his “second family back home in Malaysia—the DAP”.

“I have no hidden agenda or ill intention. My conscience is clear.

“I spoke no lie and made no insinuation against anyone. I was prepared to go open and tell all--nothing but the truth.

“But since I have agreed with the party secretary-gGeneral Lim Guan Eng of the need to cease talking about internal issues openly, I shall abide by the agreement,” he added.

He also stressed that he was committed to the DAP cause despite the ongoing turmoil in the Perak DAP.

“I shall play my part to ensure that DAP shall continue to be the beacon of hope for Malaysians who have yearned so long for a better Malaysia,” he said.

'Killer' lawyers' lawyer: Charge or free them

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The counsel for the two lawyer brothers arrested in connection with the brutal murder of a millionaires Sosilawati Lawiya and three others want the police to charge his clients or release them.

Ravi Nekoo said the police should have conducted their investigation first and then arrest the suspects.

“It seems to me that the police are only investigating the case now,” he told FMT.

“How long is this going to continue? Every week, a fresh missing persons report is highlighted by the media and my clients are linked to it,” he added.

Ravi said he was dissappointed with the police and Attorney-General's Chambers who continue to keep him in the dark over the progess of the investigation.

Previously, the police claimed that they had solid evidence against the suspects, whom they believed were linked to a spate of murders.
The brothers and six others were arrested on Sept 12, and were still being remanded for further investigation, sparking off speculation that the police had yet to find conclusive evidence.

The remand orders against the brothers expire on Thursday, while for the other six on Friday.

FMT also learnt that a high-profile meeting was held at the AG's office recently led by head of the prosecution unit Tun Majid Tun Hamzah to discuss the progress of the investigation and what charges to be brought against the suspects.

Brothers file police report

In a related development, the two brothers had filed police reports claiming that they were denied legal representation.

The suspects aged 41 and 38, lodged their reports with the Telok Panglima Garang police station at about 5pm yesterday.

On Sept 26, the elder brother filed a police report claiming that he was beaten with a rubber hose and a policeman had hit his private part with a stick.

In their latest reports, which appeared identical, the brothers claimed that an officer and detective from the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters had forced them to sign a document without letting them read the contents.

The officer, the brothers said, later told them that they were being denied legal representation.

The brothers also complained of “feeling tortured” due to the continous interrogation which had caused their blood pressure to increase and their backpain to worsen.

"We were denied our rights of giving instructions to our counsel on matters pertaining to our arrest. Our request of meeting family members has also been denied, we are lodging this police report to seek a meeting with our counsel before our remand orders expire on Oct 7," they said in their reports.

Sosilawati, 47, her driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, a CIMB bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, and lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abd Karim, 32, were battered to death, their bodies burnt and remains strewn in a river.

The murders had allegedly taken place on a farm belonging to the suspects in Banting. The other six detained were the lawyers' workers.

Shafie: Galas best handled by Ku Li

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is the right man to handle the Galas by-election, Umno vice-president Shafie Apdal said today.

Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat had said that asking Razaleigh to contest in the Galas by-election was undermining the latter's credibility.

"PAS is in a state of confusion," said Shafie, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister.

"Razaleigh is not only a respected leader in Gua Musang, but also in the whole country," he said at the Hari Raya celebrations at Mara headquarters here.

Fondly known as Ku Li, Razaleigh has been the country's longest-running MP, having lead Gua Musang since 1969.

Apdal said that since Razaleigh had proven himself to be capable in both domestic and international affairs, it had made him the right man for the job.

He also confirmed that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had already contacted Razaleigh, who is in Northern Ireland, regarding his appointment as election director.

"It is an honour (for Muhyiddin) to give (Razaleigh) that sort of responsibility," Apdal said, adding that Galas also fell under Razaleigh's jurisdiction.

However, Apdal did not mention if Razaleigh had accepted the post to lead BN's election machinery in Galas.

"Razaleigh is an Umno member and he's been struggling for the party as well," he said, adding that it was up to Razaleigh to make the decision.

"Don't leave it to Nik Aziz to make the decision for him," he said.

Media interviews: Nurul backs Zaid but urges caution

By Stephanie Sta Maria and Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar is at odds with her father regarding PKR deputy presidential hopeful Zaid Ibrahim.

Anwar Ibrahim, the PKR supremo, had warned party leaders not to engage Umno-linked media but Zaid had stressed that he would not hesitate to talk to all media organisations.

However, Nurul said she agreed with Zaid and she could understand where the former Umno law minister was coming from.

"I can rationalise Zaid's statement because we cannot espouse freedom of media and then take an extreme position with certain media," she told FMT.

However, Nurul stressed on the need for caution when speaking to the media, especially those owned or linked to Umno.

"What we need to do is exercise caution, practice constructive engagement and be very careful to ensure that our words are not manipulated. We cannot boycott a particular media no matter how unfair or bigoted they are," she said.

Zaid had recently given interviews to both Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times, launching veiled attacks against, what some observers have dubbed as, the “Anwar-Azmin cartel”.

Azmin is Zaid's main rival in the contest for deputy presidency and touted as Anwar's preferred choice for the number two slot.

Zaid, who joined PKR last year, had consistently cried foul over alleged attempts to undermine his deputy presidency bid.

'Umno culture' in PKR

In the interview with Utusan's weekend edition, Zaid had lashed out at the party leadership, saying that “Umno culture” was emerging in PKR.

However, Nurul felt that Zaid had crossed the line with this remark.

"I didn't see Zaid exercising caution when he said that an Umno culture was emerging.

"I am very careful with all media especially the mainstream ones and always provide my statements in writing wherever possible," said the first-term MP.

PKR's attempt to become the country's political trendsetter by introducing a direct election system and the escalating battle for the No 2 post have exposed its weaknesses and created deep fissures.

The contest for deputy presidency is expected to be a three-cornered fight with vice-president Mustaffa Kamil Ayub also vying for the post.

Orang Asli : We voted for BN but we are called ‘penumpang’

BarPC041010The Malaysian Bar Council has condemned the recent harassment by police and Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli (JHEOA) on Orang Asli at Kampung Sebir in Negeri Sembilan. 

According to Bar Council President Ragunath Kesavan (second from left), a police officer from the Seremban 2 police station had questioned Tok Batin of Kampung Sebir regarding their customary meeting, two days prior to the scheduled event on September 30.

Ragunath said that the police officer requested Tok Batin to provide a written notification of the meeting to the police in order to obtain approval from the police to formally hold the customary meeting.

He then added that on September 30 itself, JHEOA and the police again visited the village and harassed the villagers for not obtaining a permit to conduct their meeting.

"This is the first time in the history of Malaysia that the police have told villagers that they need a permit to hold their own village meeting," BarPC041010aRagunath told the media at a press conference today.

"We have been holding our customary meeting for so many centuries and so many generations. Why suddenly do we need to apply for a permit?" Network of Orang Asli Villages founder Tijah Yok Chopil (pic right) asked.

"Why are the Orang Asli treated like this? Where is Najib's 1Malaysia? We are also very unhappy about the proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954," she added.

BarPC041010b"There is also the issue of illegal quarry and illegal logging activities in our villages but the police are not doing anything about that. Instead, they come and harass us about a permit," Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Negeri Sembilan (JKOANS) committee member Zurdi Baharu (pic left) said in frustration.

According to Zurdi, the state Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan and also the state police chief Datuk Osman Salleh have yet to take any action against the illegal quarry activities that has been going on for 15 years.

"We also lodged 5 reports about the illegal logging activities but the police just ignored us."
Zurdi's family had the greatest scare of their lives when a large stone from the quarry landed on their house, nearly crushing his child in the process.

"We are sick of the trespassing, abuse and degradation by the government and the authorities. They only protect the corporate," he said in disgust.

BarPC041010dBar Council Orang Asli Committee Chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan had called the recent actions of the authorities an 'evidence of the paternalistic attitude' of the government towards the Orang Asli community.

"They (government) are nervous about the proposed amendments to the Orang Asli act. The government is giving away a few acres but taking away hundreds of acres from them. They know that Orang Asli are also against the amendments. Memos have been submitted to the government but there is still no response from the authorities," she added.
Ambiga opined that the harassment was to prevent the Orang Asli from meeting and discussing about how the government was fleecing them.

"Otherwise, why won't the government release a copy of the bill for debate? Are they going to table the amendments last minute and pass it as a legislation without considering feedback from all stakeholders?" asked Ambiga who also questioned the government's deafening silence on the matter.

"The Orang Asli community of 18 diverse tribes numbering 150,000 in Peninsular have been continually harassed and their rights denied. They are the 'one community' that has suffered the most under the Barisan Nasional government," Ragunath added.

Tijah then referred several other incidents that were clear signs of the government's bullying of the Orang Asli people.

"After 53 years of Merdeka, do you all know that the water supply to my village of 3,000 people is one small pipe not bigger than a finger (holding out her thumb) and the pipe runs across a pig sty?" she told a roomful of stunned reporters.

"Then there is this Orang Asli by the name of Panjang Tangkak who has been arrested 4 times for selling produce from his own palm oil estate!" she said.

"The government took away his estate comprising tens of acres and then gave him back only a few acres. Then they did not pay him back the dividends that were promised in the agreement. How is he going to survive if he doesn't sell the produce?

Then they arrest him for selling the produce, claiming it belongs to state property. How can the government say that they 'give him land' and then arrest him for selling product from his own land?" said Tijah who also questioned the logic for such arrests.

Meanwhile, Langkap Kessu from Kampung Belihoi, situated between Mantin and Seremban trunk roads, told K4M that the government wants to take away the ancestral land and then divide it into small pieces to give back to the Orang Asli.

"Is this just, under the law? asked Langkap when questioning the legality of the government's claim that all land belonged to the state.

"How can they (BN government) repay our votes with such treachery? We voted for them. Why didn't they protect us."

According to Reh Binjan, another Tok Batin from Kampung Lumut, Lenggeng, Negeri Sembilan, he was appalled at a speech by Lenggeng state assemblyman Mustafa Salim during a Hari Raya open house that the state owns all the land and that there was no ancestral land.

Mustafa was alleged to have said that the Orang Asli did not fight the war, therefore forfeiting their rights to lay claim to the 'ancestral land'.

Mustafa then allegedly labeled Orang Asli as 'penumpang' (squatters).

"Our ancestors were here even before Malaya was formed. This is even before Malaysia gaining independence. How can he call us penumpang? We are all very sick of the way the government is mistreating us."

Immigrants and Emigrants - Facts and Figures *updated*

by masterwordsmith  
 
The Star reported HERE today that more than 25,000 Malaysian citizenship applications have been processed by the National Registration Department over the last three years, following efforts by the Government to expedite the matter.



Note the following facts and figures from that report:

1. Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said a total of 29,667 applications have been submitted to the department since 2007, and of these, some 4,000 were pending a decision.

He said that the department has set a benchmark of settling the remaining 4,000 applications by the end of this year.

2, He said a special task force set up by ministry, comprising 60 officers, helped resolved a backlog of 32,927 applications from 1997 to 2006.

3. Some 15,000 applications were received by the department as of October this year, which will be processed by 2011, he added.

To sum up:

1997 to 2006 (ten years inclusive) : a backlog of 32 927 applications

2007 to 2010 : 29, 667 applications in three years

2010 (as of October 2010) : 15 000 applications

4. Abu Seman said there was an increase in the number of citizenship applications in recent years, mainly from those from neighbouring countries, due to Malaysia's stability and economic growth.

Is it realistic to make such a statement? What he said does not seem to jell with the following facts and figures from The Malaysian Insider HERE :

1. About 700,000 Malaysians are currently living abroad, with half of them in Singapore, while the rest can be found mostly in Australia, Britain and the United States.

2. An Australian immigration agency in Perth with offices in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor has reportedly said that the number of Malaysians enquiring about moving to Australia had spiked by 80 per cent since 2008.

3. Many Malaysians living abroad, however, have reportedly cited racial tension and affirmative action policies among their concerns about returning to their homeland.

If that is the case, why would 15 000 people from neighbouring countries want to apply to be a Malaysian citizen when:

a) there is reluctance to change some affirmative action policies to enable meritocracy to lure the diaspora to return

b) About 80 per cent of the country’s workforce has only secondary school education thereby leading to the lack of skilled labour in Malaysia which deters more high-technology industries from coming to Malaysia.

c) London School of Economics and Political Science economics professor Danny Quah had pointed out that brain drain has had a huge impact on Malaysia’s economic and industrial development for the past decade or longer.

d) Malaysia’s growth rate dropped to an average of 5.5 per cent a year from 2000 to 2008, from an average of about 9 per cent a year from 1991 to 1997.

e) The country is also facing uncertain economic prospects with average GDP growth in the next five years projected to be just shy of the six per cent target Najib had set.

f) Foreign direct investment plunged a record 81 per cent last year and the World Bank has warned that a lack of human capital is a “critical constraint in Malaysia’s ambition to become a high-income economy.”

g) The number of Malaysian migrants rose by more than 100-fold in a 45-year period, from 9,576 Malaysians in 1960 to 1,489,168 Malaysians in 2005, according to the World Bank.

h) Malaysian migrants with tertiary education living in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, numbered at 102,321 in the year 2000.

i) Deputy Foreign Minister Senator A. Kohilan Pillay said recently that 304,358 Malaysians had migrated from March 2008 till August 2009 compared with 139,696 Malaysians in 2007.

That is an increase of 217.87%!!!

If the outlook is really rosy, why would 304, 358 Malaysians have migrated from March '08 till August '09????

Why would those 15 000 people apply on the basis of Malaysia's stability and economic growth which are being questioned by MANY quarters?

So something does not sound right, does it? The pieces of the puzzle just do not fall into place at all!
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Updated @ 12.05 am, October 6th
I did more sleuthing and discovered a few interesting facts:

Look at the birth rate of Malaysia as taken from THIS LINK.

Check out the death rate of Malaysia AT THIS LINK.

The population growth rate of Malaysia can be seen HERE.

Net migration rate is available for 178 countries at THIS LINK but not for Malaysia. Mind you - the source of information is the CIA World Factbook.

THIS SITE confirms that net migration rate for Malaysia is NOT AVAILABLE.

Why?

Strangely, this site shows that the population trend in Malaysia in on an increasing trend and is slightly over 27 million in 2008.

Compare this chart with the tables in the earlier links. Judge for yourself. I am sure the statistics are available but how come the net migration rate is unavailable and who come the population pattern is on the increase in the light of the statistics for birth rate, death rate and the absence of net migration rate for the country?

Just who are leaving and WHO ARE COMING IN???? Can someone kindly explain the demographic pattern??

Check out the statistics shown AT THIS SITE which is the Department of Statistics of Malaysia which tells us that the population of Malaysia in 2010 is 28.25 whilst it was 27.9 in 2009.

The 3rd Force – Realities

A wish is empty if it does not possess any chance of achievement. I sincerely wish that there is a 3rd force in Malaysian politics, but the reality is that the opposition as a loose grouping is still disorganized, undisciplined, weak, fractious and quarrelsome. As one MT commenter said – there is no 2nd force, let alone a 3rd force. And as RPK himself says – PR seems quite capable of shooting itself in the foot.

By batsman

There is always a wish and the obstacles to achieving that wish. It is like Murphy’s Law (if there is anything that can go wrong, it will) or Newton’s 3rd Law. Resistance is real in real life. If there is anything that will snag or block the way, it will happen. It is a nuisance to our wishes but is nonetheless necessary for life. That is why life is a struggle. Idealists may not like it, but it is a fact of life. Often if such facts of life are ignored, great disasters or “accidents” await. So it was and will always be for all the great idealistic movements in history.

In the face of it, a 3rd force in Malaysian politics is extremely desirable. Without it, Malaysia looks doomed to be ravaged by predators and vultures without any hindrance. Civil society will not have any strength or even any conscience. There will be no one to stop the rapists and the police will probably look the other way if the rapist possesses wealth and influence. Worse still, the MACC may even blame the victim or charge the victim for attempted seduction of the rapist. This is one of the nastier facts of life and it creates a very strong wish for civil society to control the excesses, corruption and abuses of
power.

Unfortunately a wish is empty if it does not possess any chance of achievement. I sincerely wish that there is a 3rd force in Malaysian politics, but the reality is that the opposition as a loose grouping is still disorganized, undisciplined, weak, fractious and quarrelsome. As one MT commenter said – there is no 2nd force, let alone a 3rd force. And as RPK himself says – PR seems quite capable of shooting itself in the foot.

Introduce an organized or “organizing” start-up 3rd force at this stage and the opposition becomes even more disunited.

The current political environment in Malaysia is characterized by suppression and dirty tricks. While this will motivate some very strong individuals to fight against such injustices, such individuals will still be in the minority.

The environment has to be changed into a more positive one where there is succor and encouragement in a very material sense (not just moral or verbal) before the movement for justice can grow more vigorously.

My argument is that the 2nd force needs to establish its strength and thence introduce greater checks and balances first such that the material conditions for an organized 3rd force to thrive may become reality. Only then may a 3rd force of mature and civilized civil society be openly organized into protecting hard won real (not paper) civil liberties. In the meantime, all strength must be concentrated into boosting the 2nd force. Let the 3rd force just live in our hearts for now.

After all, Britain got its political 3rd force only after many starts and retreats and only after many years of struggle. If not for the damage done by Bush, Blair, Wall Street and High Street, the Brits may yet still be wallowing pitifully in comfort and schadenfreude of the US’s shadow.

You may not agree with me, but I think the LDP is a child of Blair and Brown just as Osama is a child of US foreign policy and Bush.

In our case, the wish for a 3rd force may be a child of Azmin and Zaid, or later on still a child of DAP and PAS, but I think it is a premature child.

There is another scenario in which a 3rd force may become a viable start-up – that is PR not only shoots itself in the foot but becomes permanently crippled and hopeless for a difficult fight. Until this happens, make threats and explore possibilities if you wish, but let us not harbor unachievable wishes.

The benefit of being Malay first

Are
ARE you Malay first? Or Malaysian first? That is the current rhetoric in some parts of our political landscape and is spurring some Malaysians to engage in a contest over what it means to be Malaysian.
For certain the question is not a new one. The DAP has for the longest time been brandishing the motto of “Bangsa Malaysia” in an attempt to dismantle the Barisan Nasional (BN)’s race-based politics. DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, for one, is nowhere close to letting up on this issue. He has demanded repeatedly for, especially, Umno politicians to declare if they are Malaysian or Malay first.
And while Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin seemingly failed the test question, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz recently scored some points by declaring he was “Malaysian first and Malay next”. But is the question really about which should come first? Why does it seem to matter so much? And which of the two labels — one about race and the other about citizenship — is more profoundly important to us as Malaysian citizens?
Asset vs liability
If there’s anything that we’ve learnt from our series of Found in Malaysia interviews, it’s that our identities are far more complex than, first, the British colonialists and now, the BN government would like us to believe.

Chef Wan (Pic by Roland Tanglao @ Flickr)Chef Wan (Pic by Roland Tanglao @ Flickr)
Just read some of the stories from the Malay Malaysian personalities we’ve featured. Chef Wan has Japanese and Indonesian ancestry in him, national squash player Mohd Azlan Iskandar is European, Indian, Malay and Chinese all in one, and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz who is featured exclusively in the Found in Malaysia book is, in her own words, of pendatang stock since her ancestors were from Sumatera.
And so, one wonders why someone like the deputy prime minister, who is also Umno deputy president, feels compelled to respond to Lim’s challenge by making his Malay identity more important than, in this instance, his national identity. Why was it not possible for Muhyiddin to have replied that he was both Malay and Malaysian with neither one identity being more important? After all, our racial identities are far more complex than the tightly contained boxes we are expected to tick.
But this isn’t just about Muhyiddin although what our deputy prime minister, who is also education minister, says has implications on politics in Malaysia. It is about a larger issue of why being Malay to some is far more critical in Malaysia than placing equal or more importance on being Malaysian.
Najib Razak
Najib Razak
This is where I find a commentary by Deputy Education Minister Dr Puad Zarkashi and the remarks by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the end of September at the United Nations rather disingenuous. Our racial diversity, we are told, is an asset, not a liability, that is cherished.
These claims, however, belie the fact that it is really far more advantageous to be a Malay citizen than a non-Malay citizen in Malaysia. From quotas for education and housing to promotions in the civil service to becoming prime minister, it cannot be denied that the system in place clearly favours Malays over non-Malays primarily on the basis of race.
And so if it’s clear that there are two classes of citizens in Malaysia — Malays and non-Malays — it is only logical to expect the growing incidence of name-calling of non-Malay Malaysians whether in political rallies, Biro Tatanegara programmes or in schools. In order to maintain the paradigm of ketuanan Melayu that is repeatedly used to justify continued Malay privileges and dominance, one must not ever admit that regardless of race, we are, as citizens, all actually the same and hence deserving of equal opportunities and treatment.
Puad (© parlimen.gov.my)
No surprise then that the likes of Muhyiddin are not about to declare they are Malaysian first. Similarly, that would also explain just why Puad, who is an Umno supreme council member, would so quickly label the likes of Nazri as suffering from “Malayphobia”. Those who declare themselves as Malaysian first, Malay second, are dangerous because they are violating the constitution and Umno’s raison d’etre, charged Puad.
Herein lies the weak link to the BN’s claim that it believes in the vision of 1Malaysia. How can citizens believe that the government, especially Umno, cherishes our diversity if it consistently favours one racial group of citizens over others?
Any attempt to reframe the equation so that all of us are the same — from a citizenship point of view — would of course be seen as a threat. After all, such thinking could just dangerously lead to changing the equation of privilege and superiority to one of equality.
Inclusive instead of exclusive
Nazri Aziz
Nazri Aziz
And that’s why Nazri‘s remarks made him such an instant hero in some circles. No matter the actual motivation for his remarks, this is what I suspect many people heard him say. That it was more important to him to belong to a group of people (“Malaysians”) where everyone was the same than it was to belong to another group of people (“Malays”) who enjoy exclusive privileges at the expense of others.
For many Malaysians, including me, saying “I am Malaysian first” is not about denying the cultural heritage of our respective ethnic groups. It is about reclaiming an identity that is inclusive instead of exclusive. It is about contesting the equation of Malay privilege so that no citizen needs to feel disadvantaged because of their race.
For certain, our identities are not one or the other, and cannot be limited to just race or nationality. Class, gender, sexuality, and religion are other aspects of identity that have been sidelined in this debate about being Malaysian. Indeed, depending on context, one aspect of our identity may be far more important than another with no contradiction at all to who we are. When Malaysians are overseas for example, it’s the most natural thing to say, “I’m Malaysian” instead of “I’m Malay/Chinese/Indian/etc”.
Still, if Umno politicians, or any other politician for that matter, want us to believe that 1Malaysia is for real, they best start talking and acting in ways that demonstrate they believe in an equation of inclusivity instead of exclusivity. The sum result, after all, is in the proof.