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Friday, October 8, 2010

Khazanah removes Iskandar unit CEO

Azman was understood to have made the announcement in a townhall meeting today. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — Khazanah Nasional Berhad has removed the chief executive of its Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) amid speculation of alleged irregularities in the awarding of infrastructure contracts.

DRB-Hicom property chief Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim will take over as the new CEO of Khazanah’s flagship developer in Johor from Arlida Ariff, and is expected begin on November 1.

The Malaysian Insider understands Khazanah chief Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar made the announcement of the leadership change at a town hall meeting with IIB employees in Johor Baru this morning.

Results of an internal audit had pushed Khazanah to take today’s drastic step.

It is still unclear, however, if the sovereign wealth fund would press charges against anyone following the audit in the company, which 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 Sun newspaper had reported recently 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.

It is also unclear if Arlida was implicated in the report.

Arlida was headhunted by Khazanah and named as CEO and president in 2008 to replace the company’s first chief executive, Dr Iskandar Ismail.

She 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, while the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor each have a 20 per cent stake in IIB.

It is understood that Syed Mohamed was chosen 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 RM24 billion city project in Medina, 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.

As tensions simmer, faith panel plans 2011 getaway

Philips (left) said Muslims and non-Muslims were opening up to each other. — Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 – Malaysia’s multi-religious leaders will go on a retreat early next year to draw up practical solutions to faith issues, as debate over Muslim and non-Muslim rights continue to heat up.

The Malaysian Insider understands the proposal was put on the table yesterday at the Cabinet’s recently rejuvenated Committee to Promote Understanding and Harmony Among Religious Adherents, chaired by Datuk Ilani Isahak.

“There will be a two-day brainstorming workshop early next year to see how we can resolve these areas of concern,” Reverend Thomas Philips, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), disclosed to The Malaysian Insider after the 90-minute meeting held late yesterday evening.

“We need to move forward,” he said, but admitted no specific date had been fixed.

Philips added it was likely to take place within the first quarter.

Cabinet appointed co-ordinator Datuk Ilani Isahak declined to comment when contacted last night, but said she was arranging a media statement in her text reply.

Speaking on behalf of the non-Muslim council, the head of the Mar Thoma church explained that concrete measures to resolve growing interfaith disputes appear to be slow because much groundwork was needed but many members of the main Cabinet committee had religious duties to perform for their respective communities.

He also related that it took time to rebuild trust and friendship following the bloody 1969 race riots, which also left a deep scar on the people of different faiths.

He added that the ties between the Muslim and non-Muslim groups were on the mend and leaders were “less hostile” now to each other.

“We need to build the kind of pre-1969 relationship,” Philips said.

The relationship between the Muslim and non-Muslim communities appear to have soured further in recent weeks after YouTube videos of two preachers — one belittling Islam and the other, Buddhism as well as traditional Chinese beliefs — went viral on local political blogs.

Last week, a video of a Malay Christian convert accused of insulting Islam – Malaysia’s official religion and one held by some 60 per cent of the population – in a Sarawak church six years ago, created an uproar among Muslims after it was highlighted by a Malay-Muslim blogger.

Putrajaya has ordered a probe on the video.

Two days ago, another video showing a Chinese-Muslim preacher apparently making fun of Buddhism and traditional Chinese beliefs — first uploaded three years ago — resurfaced, raising questions on the motive.

Authorities have yet to respond to calls by Buddhist leaders to investigate the video.

Galas dare 'not important' for Perkasa boss

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali felt that PAS MP Khalid Samad and the latter's challenge were not worth his time.
On Wednesday, Khalid had dared Ibrahim to contest in the coming Galas by-election to prove that Perkasa was not backed by Umno.

Khalid had said if Ibrahim did not contest the state seat but threw his support behind the Barisan Nasional candidate, it would indicate an Umno political game at work.

But when asked for a response, the Perkasa boss sent a text message to FMT, which read: “Not important to entertain”.

The Pasir Mas MP also did not respond to a question on whether the right-wing Malay movement would campaign in Galas to secure Malay votes for BN.

Khalid: This proves it

Khalid, however, found the Perkasa boss' response or lack thereof humorous.

"This just goes to prove the point that Perkasa and Umno are in cahoots,” he said, laughing.

“And Perkasa knows that its cause doesn't have the support of the majority of Malays be it in Galas or elsewhere in the country," he added.

Recently, Umno had clarified that it had no links with Perkasa after the party became concerned that the perceived link could drive away non-Malay support.

While Ibrahim maintained that neither Perkasa nor him were racists and they were merely defending the constitution, critics, however, had accused them of bigotry.

Among those who condemned the movement were Umno hotshots like Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, party secretary general Tunku Adnan Mansor and supreme council member Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

This prompted Ibrahim to declare that Perkasa did not need Umno, but former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned that it could prove disastrous for Umno in terms of Malay support.

Mahathir had previously said that entities like Perkasa had emerged because Umno had failed to protect the Malays from “extremist” Chinese groups.

Three-way split

If Ibrahim joined the Galas fray it would spell trouble for both Umno and PAS.

Aside from splitting the Malay votes three ways, the party-hopping Ibrahim could possibly have a stronger pull thanks to his previous affiliations with Semangat 46, Umno and PAS.

In the 2008 general election, Ibrahim won the Pasir Mas seat on a PAS ticket before declaring himself an independent.

The Galas seat fell vacant following the death of PAS incumbent Che Hashim Sulaima on Sept 27. Nomination would be held on Oct 26, while polling had been set for Nov 4.

BN had elected Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as its election director and was also looking at the prospect of fielding him as a candidate.

While the Kelantan prince had accepted the former role, he was only expected to announce his decision on the latter when he returns from abroad tomorrow.

Others expected to be fielded as the BN candidate were Gua Musang Umno secretary Abdul Aziz Yusof and Gua Musang Umno Youth vice-chief Zamzani Harun.

PAS was still contemplating its choice of candidate despite an earlier indication by Kelantan deputy commissioner Husam Musa that the party might consider fielding an Orang Asli.

Che Hashim, a first-term assemblyman, had defeated BN's Saufi Deraman in the 2008 general election with a slim majority of 646 votes. He had polled 4,399 votes against Saufi's 3,753.
Of the 11,553 voters in Galas, 61.63% are Malays, 20.08% Chinese, 1.6% Indians, 0.9% Sarawak bumiputeras and 16.37% Orang Asli.

DAP blames SUPP as 1,000 face eviction

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: More than 1,000 villagers from 156 families will lose their homes in the racially mixed Kampung Pasir Puteh next month when a private firm moves in to transform the area into a commercial district.

The DAP has accused the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) of being in cahoots with the developers.

“We have been told to move out or we will be evicted by next month,” said Juip anak Lanyot, who claimed he had lived there for more than 30 years.

He said the company had promised to pay a year’s worth of rent to any family willing to move to flats in Batu Gong here.

“If we refuse, the developer will come and destroy our houses and pay us RM2,000 per family.”

The land, which belongs to the state, is populated by Iban, Bidayuh, Malays and Chinese. Most of the family heads are lowly paid labourers and odd-job workers.

DAP's Chong Chieng Jen, who is Bandar Kuching MP, told reporters that SUPP leaders, accompanied by the developers’ representatives, met the villagers three weeks ago and asked them to sign forms applying for flats at Batu Gong.

He alleged that they were forced into signing the forms and appealed to the developers to offer better compensation.

“Considering that these residents have been staying in the kampung for such a long time, it is the duty of the authorities to acknowledge their presence and to resettle them properly before approving or alienating the land for private development.”

He suggested that each family be given a plot of land close to the area and paid RM5,000 as moving cost.

Alternatively, he said, they should be paid RM18,000 per house plus an option for them to move into the Batu Gong flats and bear the rents themselves.

He called on SUPP not to mislead the people by equating the signed application forms with consent for the demolition of the village.

Labuan to see major boost in new budget

LABUAN: Oil and gas, tourism and international Islamic financing have been identified as the three main catalysts for Labuan's economy, said Federal Territories and Urban Welbeing Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin.
He said the three sectors were among those being focused under the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs).

"The provision for the development of the three sectors in Labuan will be announced in the budget to be presented by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in parliament next week," he told reporters after officially opening the Labuan Public Library, here, yesterday.

Raja Nong Chik said various efforts would be taken to spur development in the three sectors by taking into account the participation of the local people.

"There is a need for more effort to develop the tourism industry in Labuan as it has the potential to become another major tourist destination in the country."

Raja Nong Chik said apart from that, Labuan was also the production centre for methanol natural gas, hence plans must be drawn up to ensure its bigger contribution to the island's economy.

The minister also said that aggressive promotional efforts must made to sustain the international Islamic financing sector and make Labuan a premier international Islamic financing centre in this region.

"What is important in developing the three sectors is for the local people to be able to benefit from these to raise their living standard," he added.

- Bernama

Magnificent portrayal of wild Sabah

By Joe Fernandez - Free Malaysia Today
(BOOK REVIEW Wild Sabah) Wild Sabah, according to the publisher Beaufoy Books, is about the natural splendours of the state in North Borneo. Briton Junaidi Payne, 56, a permanent resident in Sabah where he has lived since 1979, has done a magnificent job on this coffee table book along with Lahad Datu-born photographer Cede Prudente.
Payne is considered one of the foremost authorities on the natural history and ecology of Sabah. His current conservation interests include saving the endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, and methods to restore damaged tropical rainforests.

Sandakan-based Prudente is one of Southeast Asia's leading natural history photographers. He has included photographs of rarely seen wildlife like the tarsier, sun bear, flying lemur, grey leaf monkey and the red-naped trogon. Prudente also worked with Nick Garbutt in 2006 on Wild Borneo: The Wildlife and Scenery of Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan.

Wild Sabah is a fitting tribute to the natural history of the region and takes in the landscapes, scenery and natural species. There are two maps showing the physical terrain, the mineral-rich mud volcanoes, climate, vegetation, and the principal wildlife watching sites. Mount Kinabalu, the Crocker Range, the Kinabatangan floodplains and the Klias Peninsula make compelling reading.

North Borneo is the largest tract of tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. It covers some of the world’s largest trees, swamps, mangroves and Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia.

Sabah, undoubtedly, is where some of the world’s most spectacular and rarest wildlife can be found. This is a diverse wildlife hotspot embracing some 1,000 vertebrate species (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians), more than 10,000 different plant species and probably more than 100,000 invertebrate species. This is home to the endangered Bornean rhinos, elephants, Orang Utan, sun bear, the clouded leopard, giant flying squirrels, huge pythons and hundreds of species of birds.

Climate change

The book begins with how Sabah got its name, the land, climate and landscape which ranges from the marches and beaches to rainforests and mountain tops. There’s some information on the geology of the region including rock types and formations.

Besides the wildlife, we learn about the trees and forests of Sabah, the logging industry, the people, their culture, customs, traditions, the places they live and how their lifestyles have changed over time.

Payne observes that a surprising two-thirds of Sabah’s land area is unsuitable for permanent cultivation. Much of the state consists of steep slopes while the soil suffers from low fertility forcing “a contest, which is still being run in the region, between natural and human forces”.

Payne covers trees and forests in some depth. His initial years in Sabah, from 1979 to 1987, were with the Sabah Forestry Department. He tells the story of the Tabin and Kulamba wildlife reserves which he helped establish. He also participated in the first state-wide survey of Orang Utans. He spent another 10 years with the state ministry of tourism, culture and environment to work out a number of conservation areas, notably the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Much of the state’s original wild forests, writes Payne, has been damaged or lost over the past several decades. “Clearly, the trends of the past few decades are not sustainable, at least in terms of exploitation,” he writes. “Much of the former forest lands that produced the large timber volumes of the 1970s and 1990s are now privately owned and under plantations, mainly oil palm.”

Logging in some areas compounded by fire and the conversion of forests to plantations has led to massive loss of biodiversity. Payne thinks that lost forests can be restored or regenerated to natural forests in various ways “since the vast degraded forest areas seem to be desolate and unproductive”. While deforestation has taken a terrible toll on the biodiversity of Sabah, climate change is considered an even greater threat.

Payne finds that there is no evidence of the extinction of wildlife species in historical times. The rare orchids and the Bornean Orang Utans still exist as breeding populations and the Borneo elephants continue to thrive in herds of 10 or more in grassy areas, forest edges and secondary growth, especially in logged areas of the Danum Valley and Tabin. Herds of 100 or more elephants can be seen in the open catchment areas of Kinabatangan and Segama.

Most endangered species

Still, the Bornean rhinoceros has become the most endangered species. “If any wildlife species needs sustained help to prevent extinction, it’s this one,” said Payne.

The book is replete with Payne’s personal experiences, discoveries and adventures on the wild side of Sabah. He joined the 1988 Maliau Basin arranged by the Sabah Foundation and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia. One surprising discovery during the expedition was a shard of celadon ceramic by veteran Sabah biologist Joseph Gasis. This is one of the most remote parts of Sabah and yet someone passed through more than a century ago and left behind a piece of broken pottery.

Payne declares the Tawau Hills, an hour’s drive from Tawau town, as the best kept bird-watching paradise in all Borneo for enthusiasts and biologists. The Tawau Hills Park is primarily a water catchment area for rivers flowing to Tawau and other settlements in the area. This is the home of the rare cream-coloured Red Leaf Monkey.

In Final Thoughts, an epilogue, Payne finds that Sabah is facing the same threats as the rest of the world. Global climate change may have great consequences for marine ecosystems in the Sulu Sea that forms the Coral Triangle off the eastern seaboard of Sabah. However, for now a combination of marine no-exploitation zones and programmes aimed at improved product management provide the chances for species and ecosystems to become better stabilised.

The royalty from the sale of this book will be donated to WWF-Malaysia.

The book is available at the MNS Shop, Malaysian Nature Society Headquarters, JKR 641, Jalan Kelantan, Bukit Persekutuan, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

'UMNO ill-equipped to combat Islamophobia'

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7: PAS's non-Muslim wing, the PAS Supporters Congress (DHPP), said Najib Razak and UMNO were ill-equipped to counter Islamophobia as they subscribed to racialism and had the tendency to fan racist sentiments.
“UMNO or Najib Razak cannot solve the problem of Islamophobia because they like to fan racist sentiments," said DHPP's deputy head N. Bala Subramaniam (pic).
He was responding to Najib's statement during the Asean-US meeting in New York, in which Najib offered Malaysia's assistance to president Barrack Obama in combating a recent spate of Islamophobia across the United States, including the call to burn copies of the Qur'an by a pastor.
"The most important step is to provide the basic knowledge about Islam; that Islam carries universal values, a progressive religion which is very much in line with the concept of modernisation," Najib was reported as saying.
Bala said PAS had the advantage over UMNO due to the calibre of its leaders such as Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and the party's National Unity chairman Mujahid Yusof Rawa, who he said had opened the eyes of non-Muslims towards Islam and the basis of PAS' struggle.
"Nik Aziz, Dr Mujahid as well as other leaders are more qualified and capable (in tackling Islamophobia),” he told Harakahdaily today, adding that PAS's two-decades of administration in Kelantan proved its commitment to harmony between religions and races.
“Over 20 years of governing (Kelantan), we have not heard Tok Guru [Nik Aziz] speaking ill of any other religions.
"Tok Guru likes every community who has faith in God so that they can improve,” he added.
On Mujahid, who is PAS's Parit Buntar member of parliament and who has been instrumental in the establishment of DHPP earlier this year, Bala said he had helped a lot to bring about friendly relations between PAS and non-Muslims.
This, Bala added, was in stark contrast to the practice by UMNO to keep non-Muslims at bay and not approach Islam.
“In Najib’s era, non-Muslims not only cannot enter mosques, Allah’s name too cannot be uttered,” he said.
On the upcoming by-election in Galas, Kelantan, Bala said DHPP was currently helping to mobilise volunteers from the non-Muslim community to help PAS defend the seat.
“I am confident that Orang Asal in Galas will complete our machinery,” said Bala, referring to the constituency's seizable Orang Asli voters.

We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers – Emmeline Pankhurst All cut from the same cloth

UMNO says these were not their boys.

Menjawab Fitnah Rahimi Osman

Press Statement
In response to the allegation of duress by Rahimi Osman
7 October 2010
I wish to strongly state that at no point in time had I ever used any form of duress or undue influence on Rahimi Osman in relation to the statutory declarations that he signed.
At all the material times, I was among several lawyers assigned to prepare witness statements from several potential witnesses, which is a norm in any legal defense. In my several meetings with Rahimi, I was accompanied by another lawyer, Radzlan Jalaluddin to interview him at the party headquarters at Tropicana. We prepared statutory declarations for some of the witnesses including Rahimi which is normal practice and for the protection of the witness as well.
These statutory declarations were prepared because in certain cases (as in the present case), there were possibilities that witnesses for whatever reasons may decide to change their testimonies and therefore these statutory declarations can be used as a form of defence against such potential turn around. For example, in the previous cases against DSAI, a few persons connected to DSAI were wrongfully taken away by the police and were subjected to various forms of torture and abuse, and eventually they were made to “confess” and testified against DSAI. See the cases of Sukma Darmawan, Dr Munawar Anees and Meor. In such cases, these statutory declarations can further be used as a form of protection for the witnesses themselves in the event of such wrongful incidents.
Rahimi’s allegation that the statutory declarations were amended to include the names of Dato Seri Najib Razak and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor without his consent is completely untrue and without any credibility at all. This is because in his own statement given to the police at IPK on 23.7.2008 in the afternoon, he has confirmed that he knew that Saiful had met Najib and Rosmah. He also told the police that he himself was taken by Mumtaz Jaafar, a close friend of Rosmah to meet her and also Najib. Rahimi shared this information with us after his interview with the police. He also told the police about his meeting with Ezam Md Noor and SAC Rodwan.
Further these individuals’ involvements in the case were confirmed by Saiful Bukhari’s testimony in court. Ezam Md Noor and Mumtaz Jaafar were called in for identification by Saiful. Najib has also admitted to the press that he has met Saiful when he came to his house.
The allegation that we confined him in Quality Hotel is ludicrous and totally untrue. He was there on his own free will at all times and volunteering information to assist us with DSAI’s case.
These statutory declarations that he voluntarily signed were just part of the several meetings with him over the course of some months as he was also called to clarify or assist on factual matters within his knowledge during the pre trial preparations.
At all the material times, he had voluntarily cooperated and met up with the lawyers whenever he was asked to assist. Even though he was no longer officially employed at the office of DSAI, he has however continued to come over to the party headquarters for various reasons and he has further followed the party’s campaign trail in the by-elections.
I strongly reiterate that at all times, our conduct as lawyers were entirely professional and Rahimi was not subjected to any form of undue influence or duress as claimed. I find it absurd that all of a sudden, after more than two and half years, and further despite the fact that these statutory declarations were never even used in court and therefore a non issue, it is now being alleged that they have been made involuntarily.
These accusations are manifestly slanderous and malicious and a form of harassment against the party and DSAI’s lawyers. I will be consulting with my lawyers and reserve all rights to initiate legal proceedings against Rahimi.
Latheefa Koya

MCMC Officers May Go For Forensic Training Anroad

GUADALAJARA (Mexico), Oct 8 (Bernama) -- Several officers from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) may be sent for training abroad to gain expertise in the field of computer forensics to tackle cyber crime especially in sedition and child pornography cases.

Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said these officers would be trained to become experts in gathering computer evidence needed to prosecute those involved in cyber crime.

Several countries such as India, the United States and Japan had already started courses in this field, however, the cost for attending such courses was rather high, he told Bernama and Radio, Television Malaysia (RTM) after attending the fourth day of the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at the Guadalajara Expo Centre, here Thursday.

Rais said that by having the computer forensic experts, all information that had been deleted could still be retrieved from the hard disc.

In addition, there was also a need to have expertise on law and evidence although Malaysia already had the Evidence Act and Telecommunications Act to prosecute those suspected to be involved in cyber crime, he said.

Action to prosecute those committing cyber crime was not as easy as prosecuting those involved in thefts and so on because investigation into cyber crime needed various levels of investigation with many obstacles, he said.

"The Evidence Act 1950 itself has many obstacles making it difficult for the Attorney-General himself to take court action against those found to have committed cyber crime, especially in terms of evidence and proof," he said.

The minister said that in ensuring that a particular case could be brought to court, he wanted the determination of the validity of the evidence to be decided not only by one particular party but several parties including officers from the ministry and the MCMC as they had the relevant expertise.

In this context, officers from the ministry as well as the enforcement division of the MCMC would cooperate with the police and the Attorney-General so that a number of important cases could be followed up.

At the meeting today, Rais participated in the election of the ITU secretary-general and deputy secretary-general where Dr Hamadoun Toure retained his post as secretay-general and Zhou Houlin was also retained as the deputy secretary-general.

Rais and his wife, Datin Seri Masnah Rais returned home to Malaysia this afternoon after arriving here on Monday for the conference.

Ex-IGP and CID chief to know court decision soon

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin will know on Oct 28 if the High Court will cite them for contempt.

High Court judge Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak said the two must be present at 8.30am on that day to know the outcome of his ruling on an application by two businessmen against them.

B. Sasinthiran, 28, from Kuala Selangor, and R. Muniyandi, 26, from Kluang, had filed contempt proceedings against the two cops on Sept 29 for allegedly not complying with release orders issued by a High Court over their (the two businessmen’s) arrest and detention.

Mohd Sofian said the integrity of the court had to be preserved.

“Nobody is above the law. Even a common man has to come to court on decision day. I do not want to give a wrong message to the public. Irrespective of the finding of the court, they have to be here,” he said after hearing submissions by parties in the contempt proceedings.

Sasinthiran and Muniyandi were detained by the authorities for suspected involvement in gangsterism and were subsequently sent to the Simpang Renggam detention centre in Johor under the Emergency (Preven­tion of Crime) Ordinance 1967.

They later filed habeas corpus applications at the High Court here. A release order was granted to Sasinthiran on July 29 while Muni­yandi obtained his on June 10. How­ever, as soon as they left the detention centre, they were re-arrested.

Their lead counsel, Datuk N. Sivananthan, argued that both respondents had to be cited for contempt of court for their failure to file an affidavit-in-reply to the allegations by his clients in relation to their re-arrests.

Senior Federal Counsel Najib Zakaria argued that the re-arrests did not amount to contempt or mala fide (in bad faith).

Blasts rock Karachi shrine

At least seven people have been killed and 60 others injured in two explosions at a busy Sufi Muslim shrine in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

One blast took place at the entrance to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the Clifton district on Thursday and a second occurred inside the compound, sources said.

At least one of the explosions appeared to have been caused by a suspected suicide bomber.

"We have provided the best available security at this shrine," Zulfiqar Mirza, the interior minister for Sindh province, said.

"Humanly, it is not possible to stop suicide bombers intent on exploding themselves."

Mirza said that other shrines in the coastal city had been closed to prevent further attacks.

Pools of blood

TV footage showed pools of blood at the scene, while people helped two wounded victims get to an ambulance. Police were cordoning off the area.

Hassam Uddin, a witness, told The Associated Press news agency that two blasts occurred near the main entrance and that he saw 18 to 20 critically wounded people lying on the ground.

Mohibullah Khan, a 38-year-old manual labourer, said he was about to visit the shrine after evening prayers at a nearby mosque when the explosions occurred.

"I heard a huge bang and smoke billowed from there," he told The Associated Press news agency.

"I ran back toward the mosque and seconds after heard another big explosion. Then I moved to help the wounded and put six or seven of the crying ones in ambulances and police vehicles."

Thursday evenings are typically the busiest times of the week at such shrines.

Thousands of Sufi Muslims often visit to pray, distribute food to the poor and toss rose petals on the grave of Hazrat Abdullah Shah Ghazi, the great-grandson of Prophet Mohammed, who is credited with bringing Islam to the coastal region in the eighth century.

Thursday's explosions echoed a twin suicide bombing at a well-known Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore that left 40 people dead earlier this year.

"It has all the hallmarks of a Taliban assault," Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman, reporting from the capital Islamabad, said.

"They feel, and have said many times in the past, that this [Sufi] form of Islam is unIslamic and unacceptable to them."

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister, "strongly condemned" the blasts and ordered an immediate inquiry into the incident.

"It is yet another heinous act of violence reflecting the deranged minds of terrorists," he said in a statement issued by his office.

NB face off with villagers again, three held

Chaos again erupted at Rawang New Village as Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) workers began construction work on high tension cable towers in the area.

NONEBacked by about 50 police personnel, about a dozen TNB workers appeared at the village unannounced and began work at about 9am.

According to eyewitnesses, the TNB workers were trying to fill up a trench to allow heavy machinery to reach the site.

This prompted scores of villagers to stop them from doing so and a fracas broke out.

NONEA TNB worker fell in the ditch during the ensuing melee, resulting in the arrest of three individuals. They were a villager and two aides of Rawang state assemblyperson Gan Pei Nei.

Eyewitnesses claim that the TNB worker's fall was an accident and not the fault of those arrested.

They have been brought to the Rawang police station.

'Still in negotiations'

Following this, villagers remained at the site, monitoring the workers' activities.

NONEAt about 2pm, Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong arrived at the scene and presented TNB workers with a document ordering them to stop work.

Wong explained that the state government was still in negotiations with TNB over the situation in the village and thus the latter should not begin work.

A lawyer who represented TNB told Wong that since the Federal Court had ruled in favour of the utility giant, it had the right to begin construction work.
After failing to convince the workers, Wong contacted TNB vice-president Rozimi Remeli, urging him to discuss the matter with the Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim. This too proved futile.

Municipal officers to the rescue

At around 4.30pm, Selayang Municipal Council officers arrived at the scene and said that the contruction works were in violation of council bylaws and thus TNB must stop work.

NONEAlthough TNB workers heeded the council officers, they have already performed some piling work and placed a barbed wire fence around the site.

TNB is attempting to resume the construction of high tension cable towers which was halted five years ago, after villagers mounted a legal challenge to stop the project.

The matter was eventually brought to the Federal Court which ruled in TNB's favour, but villagers still resisted attempts by the company's engineering team to resume works in March.

The Selangor state government attempted to intervene in the matter, offering TNB an alternative site for the towers and wanted to deliberate on the matter further through a joint committee, which will also involve the residents.

HINDRAF: Is the Sultan of Johor promoting further annihilation of minority’s rights?

 The recent statement by the Sultan of Johor in relation to the constitution has thrown to light for what seems to be a veiled support to encourage the neo -fascist movement PERKASA with their antics based on the purported Federal constitution.

The failure by the Sultan to recognize and acknowledge the second limb of Article 153 that provides for legitimate interest of the non-Muslim will only provide credence to PERKASA to continue their shenanigans hand in hand with UMNO against the non Muslims.

Malaysia is a secular country and in their represention to Reid Commission in 1956, the Rulers have speficially agreed that Islam should be for ceremonial purpose and that they did not intend to make Malaysia an Islamic state.

This was further echoed by Tunku Abdul Rahman, at the 80th birthday celebrations organized by the Barisan Nasional in his honour on 8th February 1983, where Tunku pointedly said Malaysia should not be turned into an Islamic state, that Malaysia was set up as a secular State with Islam as the official religion which was enshrined in the Constitution. This is the true spirit of the constitution.

The constitution had been pristine clear in its objective, yet UMNO & the government had diluted the true spirit of the original document with more than 650 amendments since 1957 where now the original Federal constitution only bear a biased mirror of its original model against the minorities.

The very notion that it is amended just to favour a certain parties seems all too obvious as what had been observed over the last 50 years with such dilution of basic rights for the minorities on the basis of religion including the East Malaysians.

The devolution of the Rulers power in the constitution was itself emanated by their own weakness as what had been observed in during the Mahathir era in 1983 and 1993 as Mahathir was able to obtain the obedience of the rulers for reasons known best to them. Therefore any issue of any amendments to the Sultan & Agong rights stated in the constitution was a downfall of their own doing not the public at large for the excessive manipulated power UMNO possessed during the Mahathir era.

In relation to judiciary and its independence, as a rule of thumb, constitutional monarchy needs to understand and grasp the separation of power between judiciary, legislators & executives. The weakness of the rulers to ensure that the legislators toe the line was obvious during the spill over of the UMNO general election of 1987 that created the Malaysian Constitutional crises in 1988 with the suspension of Tun Salleh Abbas for opposing the subordination of the judiciary to the legislators and executives during the era where the Sultan of Johor was the Agong. This was a clear breach of the Federal constitution, yet it was succumbed to for the Mahathir legislators & executives to absorb the functions of the independent judiciary for judical powers.

If you look further to East Malaysia, the monarchy is a non issue as they were never part of the 1957 constitution nor are they neither subject to such monarchy nor what the monarchy states or intimidates against the minorities based assertion for basic rights.

Bearing the above facts, and as the bearer of a constitutional monarchy for all Malaysians irrespective of race, religion or creed, the Sultan should make attempts to ensure the sanctity of the Federal constitution in its true sense in upholding it rather than making veiled threats to minorities against questioning the malay rights and acting as spokesperson to Perkasa. Citing lessons to be learnt from the May 1969 racial riots are most distasteful and insulting the intelligence of Non Malays who no longer live with the idea of subjection.

As the Ruler for all communities, the Sultan should remind the government and umno of the secong limb of article 153 which provides for the legitimate interests of non muslims and Article 8 which provides for equality for all citizens.

Thank you.

P. Waytha Moorthy




Jesyntha Surrenders Herself To Dang Wangi Police

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- Jesyntha Clarene Isreal, who was wanted by police to assist in the investigation into the murders of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others, surrendered herself to Dang Wangi police, here Thursday.

According to the Royal Malaysian Police official Facebook, Jesyntha came to the district police headquarters at about 5pm accompanied by a lawyer before she was detained by police.

Recently, the police through its Facebook, released information on the 27-year-old woman as she was believed to have information which could help solve the high-profile murder case.

Media reports have also linked Jesyntha to one of the murder suspects.

Sosilawati, 47, her driver Kamarudin Shansuddin, 44, CIMB branch officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, and lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, are believed to have been murdered and burned after they went missing on Aug 30.

Following this, police arrested eight suspects on Sept 9 and 10.

Nurul to talk to ‘elders’ over tilt for PKR deputy presidency

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 – Nurul Izzah Anwar said tonight that she will only decide whether to contest for the PKR deputy presidency this Sunday after consulting with “party elders”.

PKR deputy presidential candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim announced today that he would withdraw from the race for the party’s No. 2 post if the Lembah Pantai MP joins the contest.

Zaid said that he understood that the Lembah Pantai MP could be a contender for the deputy presidency as she had garnered enough nominations.

“I have been made to understand that Nurul Izzah will contest the deputy presidency as she has enough nominations. I am ready to withdraw and help her in this contest,” he said.

Nurul Izzah (picture) told The Malaysian Insider today that she needed to consult party leaders and members before making any decision.

“All this is news to me. I need to consult the ground as well as party elders before making my official statement,” she said in a text message.

Nurul Izzah is currently in the running for the vice-president post with 26 other qualified candidates.

The eldest daughter of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had defended her bid for the vice-presidency and stressed that she did not plan to continue a family dynasty.

Instead she expressed hopes to pursue her own ideals, which were separate from either of her parents.

Nurul Izzah was popularly called “Puteri Reformasi” after her father was sacked, arrested and later convicted for corruption and sodomy in 1998, successfully parlaying her popularity to win the Lembah Pantai seat in Election 2008.

Najib plans ‘finishing school’ in ICT drive

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 7 – The government will establish an information and communications technology (ICT) “finishing school” to train 25,000 knowledge workers needed to take the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) to its third phase of development starting next year.

The programme’s curriculum will be jointly developed with industry players to be more market-driven, in an effort to boost ICT contribution to GDP from 1.2 per cent in 2009 to 10.2 per cent by 2015, as outlined in the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP).

The Najib administration also intends to issue work permits to the top 1,000 foreign ICT students from local institutions of higher learning annually to address the projected shortfall in talent in coming years.

“The focus is to leverage the ICT sector even more and take things to a new level,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (picture) said here today after chairing the 22nd Implementation Council Meeting (ICM) and the 13th MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel (IAP).

“Based on our discussions today, we have come to the conclusion that the way forward requires us to start working towards an innovative digital economy.”

The prime minister explained that the goal of the initiative was to ensure Malaysia’s competitiveness in the “fast and unforgiving” world digital economy by stimulating creativity with new technologies, outlets and opportunities.

While acknowledging the success of MSC’s second phase – it contributed over RM35 billion to GDP from 2004 to 2010 and created 83,000 jobs – Najib cautioned that only a well-planned and executed “digital strategy” would allow Malaysia to further tap into the digital economy, which contributed to 35 per cent of world trade in 2009, or US$5.95 trillion (RM18.4 trillion).

In view of this, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) will develop the architecture for a national innovative digital economy framework, infuse technology across all economic sectors to drive productivity and innovation, make Malaysia an ICT solutions hub, empower ICT to increase the country’s competitive advantages and utilise ICT to increase quality of life.

“These outcomes perfectly complement the outcomes of th government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP),” Najib said.

“A total of 85 of the 131 EPPs (Entry Point Projects), which are collectively worth RM670 billion, are ICT dependent, with 28 of these being ICT intensive.”

He added that the government will also set up a task force to facilitate soft loans to support expansion of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and formulate a national intellectual property (IP) valuation model to support the acceptance of IP as collateral by financial institutions.

Hindraf to Sultan: Don’t speak for Perkasa

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has bemoaned the Sultan of Johor’s recent call for caution in the handling of sensitive court cases, describing it as “direct royal interference” in judicial work.

“He has tainted the doctrine of separation of powers and parliamentary democracy,” said London-based Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy in a statement posted today on his organisation’s website.

Waythamoorthy was responding to a Bernama report on Monday that quoted Sultan Ibrahim of Johor as saying, “"It is best not to entertain sensitive cases, especially those involving the powers of rulers."

He alleged that the Sultan sounded like a spokesman for ultra Malay organisation Perkasa and was making “veiled threats to minorities against questioning Malay rights”.

In separate statement emailed to FMT, he said: “The Sultan thinks that if the threat comes from the royalty, non-Muslims can be silenced.”

He called on His Royal Highness to instead “recognize and acknowledge the second limb of Article 153” of the Federal Constitution, which he said provided for the legitimate interest of non-Muslims, and to remind the Umno-led government to do the same.

He said Sultan Ibrahim should play his role as “ruler for all communities”.

Waythamoorthy's full statement:

Is the Sultan of Johor promoting further annihilation of minority’s rights?

Temple demolition: MB urged to suspend land officer

By B Nantha Kumar - The Malaysia Today

SERI KEMBANGAN: Vexed committee members of a temple which was demolished in Bukit Serdang want Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to suspend the officer responsible from the Petaling district land office.

Failing which, they warned that a protest would be mounted in front of the Serdang DAP office.

The committee members made the demand after a meeting with DAP's Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching last night.

Committee spokesman P Prem Kumar said they were disappointed with the decision to demolish the temple.

"Until now, none of the parties including DAP had provided an explanation over this,” he said, adding that they had a photograph of the officer in question.

Prem said this was the third temple demolition to have happened in the state since Pakatan Rakyat took over in March 2008.

He said the incident recurred because the state goverenment had failed to take stern action

The officer from Petaling land office
The officer from Petaling land office
"This time we want the MB to punish the officer. It will be a lesson to other departments not to go against the state government's directives,” he added.

If the state government and DAP failed to respond, Prem said, it would clearly show that the state government was behind the demolition of the Sri Maha Perchai Vada Bathra Kaliamman Alayam temple.

Meanwhile, committee chairman B Gopalan said Teo had promised to secure a new plot of land to rebuild the temple as soon as possible.

He added that the committee still had faith in DAP and the Serdang MP.

This temple was built in Section 6 some 10 years ago. It was moved to a temporary site in Section 5 under the direction of DAP as the original land was sold to a developer.

Despite numerous attemps, the MB's officials could not be reached for comment.

'No one is above law': Judge wants ex-IGP, CID boss in court

By FMT staff

KUALA LUMPUR: In order to make it clear that nobody was above the law, former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan and federal CID director Mohd Bakri Zinin had been ordered to be present in the High Court on Oct 28.

Dismissing the argument of senior federal counsel Najib Zakaria, Justice Mohd Sofian Abd Razak held firm that the duo must be in court at 8.30am to hear the verdict as to whether they had committed contempt of court.

The duo were accused of contempt following the police's decision to re-arrest two youths whom the High Court here had ordered to be released from detention under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

Mohd Sofian said the court agreed with counsel S Sivanathan, who was representing both applicants, that Musa and Bakri be present like all other respondents.

He added that the court wanted to maintain its intergrity by sending a message to the public that nobody was above the law.

Earlier, Najib had attempted to convince the court to exempt the duo, especially Musa, who was currently performing his umrah.

R Muniyandi, 26, from Kluang and B Sasinthiran, 28, of Kuala Selangor, were detained under the EO for their alleged involvement in gangsterism and other criminal related activities.

The duo had succeded in obtaining a habeas corpus writ from the High Court here but were re-arrested immediatly after they stepped out from the Simpang Renggam detention centre in Johor.

On Sept 30, both men had succeeded in their application to initiate contempt proceedings against Musa and Bakri for not complying with the court's order to release them.

'Strange and outrageous'

In his submission, Sivananthan said he was suprised that both respondents (Musa and Bakri) had failed to respond to the affidavits filed by his clients.

"The law is clear on this, they must respond with an affidavit-in-reply and if they don't reply, they are deemed to have admitted to the allegation made by the applicants. It's extremely strange that they decided to remain silent and it's quite outrageous,” he added.

Sivananthan warned that if the court sanctioned the police's action of re-arresting suspects even when an habeas corpus application was granted, then it would make a mockery of the habeas corpus application process.

"It's a shame if the police are allowed to continue doing this,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib argued in his submission that the contempt application had no merit and was made without basis.

He also called it an abuse of the court process.

"Even if Musa and Bakri were said to be involved in re-arresting the applicants, such act cannot per se constitute contempt of court," he said.

'The court cannot stop the police from exercising their duties. The IGP cannot be held liable for contempt under the doctrine of vicarious liability," he stressed.

Najib also noted that there was no order from the court to prevent a subsequent arrest and urged the the court to dismiss the application.

Anwar's lawyers rubbish ex-aide's charge

By Rahmah Ghazali - The Malaysia Today

UPDATED PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim's lawyers have dismissed the claim by the opposition leader's former aide Rahimi Osman that he was forced to lie in two statutory declarations on the sodomy case.

Speaking to reporters at the PKR headquarters here today, Latheefa Koya, who is also PKR information chief, said Rahimi had “voluntarily” come forward to assist Anwar.

She also claimed that Rahimi's allegation that the statutory declarations were amended to include the names of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor without his consent was "completely untrue and without credibility”.

"This is because in his own statement given to the police on July 23, 2008, he confirmed that he knew Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan (Anwar's accuser) and had met Najib and Rosmah.

"He also told the police that he himself was taken by Mumtaz Jaafar, a close friend of Rosmah to meet her and also Najib. Rahimi shared this information with us after his interview with the police.

“He also told the police about his meeting with (former PKR Youth chief) Ezam Mohd Noor and one (senior police officer) SAC Rodwan," she added.

Latheefa also rubbished the allegation that the lawyers had confined Rahimi in Quality Hotel, describing it as "ludicrous and totally untrue".

"He was there on his own free will at all times and volunteering information to assist us with Anwar's case," she said, adding that he continued to come over to the party headquarters for various reasons, including participating in the party's campaigns during by-elections.

She also questioned the timing of Rahimi's relevation, dismissing it as "absurd".

"I find it absurd that all of a sudden, after more than two and a half years, and despite the fact that these declarations were never used in court and therefore is a non-issue, it is now being alleged that they (declarations) have been made involuntarily," she said.

Another lawyer, Saiful Izham Ramli, who was also implicated in Rahimi's police report yesterday, claimed that Rahimi had "volunteered to help Anwar to give statements regarding Saiful's accusation against him as he (Rahimi) was close to the latter".

Sivarasa: Classic offence of perjury

PKR vice-president S Sivarasa also said that Rahimi's act was a "classic offence of perjury" now that his new statutory declaration contradicted with what he said in the police statement two years ago.

"He said that he has done a new statutory declaration to state that the earlier declarations are false... this is perjury which is a serious criminal offence," he said.

Yesterday, Rahimi claimed that he signed the documents because he feared for his safety at the time because he was surrounded by Anwar's supporters and his "right-hand men" in Quality Hotel in Shah Alam where a party leadership seminar was held.

In a police report he lodged yesterday, Rahimi also alleged that both Latheefa and Saiful Izham forced him to stay at the hotel, and compelled him to sign the documents when he did not agree with the contents at all.

Rahimi stated that in his first statutory declaration signed on June 28, he had "accused" Najib and Rosmah of conspiring against Anwar.

24-hour apology

Meanwhile, lawyer N Surendran said they would send a letter of demand to Rahimi for "defamation as soon as possible". The letter would seek an apology "within 24 hours".

"His allegations are outrages, malicious and a total lie, so without a doubt legal proceedings will commence against Rahimi for defamation.

"I think we will be issuing a letter of demand to Rahimi to withdraw his remark and apologise, failing which proceedings will be filed," he said.

Proton recalls Gen2, Satria Neo cars

KUALA LUMPUR: National carmaker Proton Holdings Bhd today announced a voluntary recall of its Gen2 and Satria Neo cars made between 2004 and 2008 due to a clock spring malfunction that raises potential safety concerns.

The voluntary recall, which is part of its Global Quality Assurance programme, affects 15,911 (2%) of 660,000 cars produced and sold over the four-year period.

The clock spring connects switches and airbag to the radio, horn and cruise control.

"Although the number is small, the safety of our customers is paramount and we apologise for any inconvenience caused," its group managing director Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said in a statement here today.

Routine tests identified irregularities with the clock spring such as friction noise within the steering wheel, activation of horn or car lights without warning, audio control switch malfunction, and in extreme cases, deployment of the driver side airbag.

"We hope our customers understand that this recall is necessary to ensure their continued confidence in the safety and performance of their vehicles," he added.

Owners of the affected models can contact any authorised Proton service centre, to book an appointment for a free check-up.

All labour and parts costs related to the replacement of the clock spring will be provided at no charge at Proton's authorised service centres nationwide.

Proton will be sending letters to affected customers notifying them of the matter.
At the same time, Proton has set up a dedicated website, to help customers check the manufacture year for their vehicles.

- Bernama

The Third Force : RPK spells it out

By Haris Ibrahim,

So many of you have expressed concerns that the third force that I and others speak of will work in BN’s favour.

A third force will cause three-corner contests in the next GE, delivering the seat to BN, some of you fear.

A third force will dilute the strength of Pakatan, one or two have suggested.

I have tried to allay those concerns in an earlier post, ‘Do we go with a third force? Let me walk you through this’, but I appear to have failed.

Maybe RPK can put your fears to rest.

Peguam: Kenyataan Rahimi Bohong Dan Fitnah

Dari Malaysiakini

Dua peguam yang didakwa memaksa Rahimi Osman membuat dua akuan bersumpah memberi amaran mengambil tindakan undang-undang terhadap terhadap bekas pembantu Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim itu.

Peguam N Surendran berkata, kenyataan Rahimi itu jelas pembohongan dan fitnah kepada dua anak guamnya Latheefa Koya dan Saiful Izham Ramli.

“Tanpa ragu, kami rasakan ia merupakah satu fitnah. Kami akan keluarkan surat peguam supaya beliau membuat permohonan maaf terbuka atau menghadapi tindakan undang-undang,” kata Surendran.

Ditanya sama ada beliau akan memberikan seminggu kepada Rahimi menarik balik dakwaannya semalam, Surendran berkata: “Lebih cepat daripada itu.”

“Saya rasa dia tak perlu seminggu. Dia tahu dia berbohong. Hanya perlu 24 jam untuk tarik balik,” katanya.
Tangan belakang

Sementara itu bercakap dalam sidang media di ibu pejabat PKR tengah hari ini, Latheefa dan Saiful secara rasmi menafikan dakwaan Rahimi bahawa lelaki itu dipaksa membuat akuan bersumpahnya yang mengaitkan Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan Rosmah Mansor.

Menurut mereka, Rahimi sebaliknya membuat akuan tersebut dengan kerelaan.

Latheefa dan Saiful – kedua-duanya pemimpin kanan PKR – juga mempersolakan dakwaan Rahimi semalam memandangkan ia dibuat selepas dua tahun setengah.

Sementara itu, Naib Presiden PKR R Sivarasa pula berkata, pihaknya mengesyaki ada pihak lain di belakang Rahimi.

“Ada tangan di belakang dia yang merancang episod baru ini? Itu akan kita ceritakan. Itu akan jadi bab kedua dalam beberapa hari lagi. Kami akan beritahu,” kata Sivarasa masih berteka-teki.

Why should MCA interfere with Utar?

by NH Chan
Centre for Policy Initiatives

Human nature is such that there are two kinds of human behaviour when it comes to charity – the pretentious and the altruistic donor. I have always doubted the sincerity of those who give to charity by proclaiming it under the flashbulbs of press photographers. In these amusing photo ops, you see the donors posing with an enormous mock cheque to emphasize the size of the donation. If you’re truly charitable, why not dispense with the fanfare and write the amount on a normal cheque?

Having said this, I can now tell you about the truly altruistic gesture of philanthropist Koon Yew Yin. He made an offer of RM30 million, quite gratuitously, for the building of hostels for University Tunku Abdul Raman (Utar) students in Kampar.

Ever since the university was founded, its students have had to find their own accommodation outside campus. In many cases, they have to pay exorbitant rents far beyond the means of poor or even middle- class students.

The generosity of Koon was brought to my attention by the unflattering headline ‘Tycoon wanted seat on council’ in theSun (Sept 3, 2010). The article’s sub-headline was ‘Koon also wanted Utar residential village named after him, says MCA division chief’.

The MCA division chief in question, Ipoh Timur’s Thong Fah Chong, had said Koon’s requests were not acceptable as they had “exceeded the university’s jurisdiction and [could be] deemed an interference in the management of the university”. Thong added that hostels could not be named at one’s whim and fancy.

In his immediate response, Koon countered that although it was correct that while the facility was to be named after him, what he had specified was that the hostel blocks should be named after the fundamental rights such as Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Freedom, or the qualities of integrity such as honesty, justice, etc.

Koon also categorically denied he had ever requested a seat on the Utar council, clarifying instead that he had agreed to Utar’s counter-proposal for a task force to oversee the construction of the hostels.

He said his requests, including for a seven-man task force (four from Utar and three to be nominated by him) to oversee the construction of the hostels, and for all construction contracts exceeding RM10,000 to be open to competitive tenders, were to ensure everything was done in the interest of the students. He said it was not meant to interfere with the management of the university.

It’s common practice

One may ask, why should the Ipoh Timur MCA division chief Thong Fah Chong (left) criticize the well-meaning and generous offer of RM30 million by a good Samaritan?

Thong even questioned the motive of Koon for his offer of substantial financial assistance to Utar. He accused Koon of wanting to sit on the council of the university. This is a false accusation. It is not true because Thong has admitted that “late last year he had … arranged for the philanthropist to meet the then president of the MCA … but he was not aware of what transpired at the meeting apart from the request”.

If he was unaware of what took place at the meeting, then how could he say that Koon wanted to sit on the university council?

Furthermore, why should a member of the MCA interfere with an offer of a donation to the university?

Should it not be left to the university to accept or not accept the offer without having to cast aspersions on the motive of the donor? If you must refuse the offer, surely it is polite to refuse it graciously? But the way it has been handled by Thong as the representative of the MCA has reflected badly on the upbringing of the man as well as on the sincerity of the association.

Not surprisingly, Koon has now withdrawn his offer? Can you blame him? Anyone in Koon’s shoes would have done the same thing.

A celebrated English lawyer of the 18th century, William Blackstone, was the first Vinerian Professor of Law in Oxford University, as was the renowned Geoffrey Cheshire later. The law professorship was named after a certain Mr Viner who had endowed on Oxford a large sum of money.

For his offered RM30 million, Koon did not even ask for a professorship to be named after him. All he asked was for any eventual profits from the hostel rental in future to be overseen by a foundation in his name, and for this foundation to disburse scholarships and other forms of assistance to Utar students.

And what is so wrong for the donor to establish a foundation in his name to oversee the utilization of his donation? Alfred Bernhard Nobel, 1833-96, Swedish chemist, engineer, and philanthropist – noted for his invention of dynamite (1866) – is a household name today for his bequest to the foundation awarding the Nobel prizes.

But in Malaysia, Utar and MCA vilified Koon for demanding accountability and transparency in how the university and its authorities from the political party would manage his RM30 million. Their action sinks my opinion of the MCA to an even lower level.

Students become innocent victims

After I retired from the bench in the year 2000, I returned to Ipoh. Here I met Thong who became a friend. Later I befriended Koon during the height of the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.

Today I have lost respect for my erstwhile friend Thong because he tried to gain political mileage by vilifying poor Koon, an unpretentious retired engineer whose only sin – if you can call that a sin – is to offer RM30 million to build hostels for students.

Koon earned my respect and admiration because he was concerned with the plight of the thousands of students who face the uncertainty of not being able to find decent lodgings and having to pay extortionate rents to unscrupulous landlords besides. Since Utar students must seek accommodation outside campus, the private house owners in the vicinity have taken advantage of the situation.

If you’ve been reading the Ipoh Echo – a fortnightly free newspaper – you will have noticed that for several months now the paper carries an advertisement of Koon Yew Yin’s offer of scholarships to poor students.

Koon has given scholarships to about 70 deserving students for the last three-and-a-half years and most of them are studying in Utar. The only repayment required of the recipients is their word — a promise that when they’re financially secure after graduation, they will in turn help other poor students.

Just for this year alone, the Koon Yew Yin scholarships are worth a total RM1 million, of which some three-quarters of the sum has been approved to those applicants who passed their interviews. This itself is a large amount of money to be coming from a single Malaysian individual, and furthermore one who does not bond the students to work for him.

Yet there are some people in politics – in the MCA for instance – who are wary or envious of the unpretentious and well-meaning millionaire.
There is really more to why Utar and its political masters did not accept the donation of RM30 million from Koon, but I won’t dwell on the matter here.

But perhaps there is a lesson to be learnt from the withdrawal of Koon’s offer more than one year after it was made.

With these dubious episodes occurring, you can understand why I choose to be apolitical. But for the young students who have nothing to do with politics and the parents who have to worry about their children’s living environment the first time away from home, it is a disappointing lesson learned with some sad poignancy.

Zaid Willing To Make Way For Nurul Izzah

PETALING JAYA, Oct 7 (Bernama) -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy president hopeful Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has expressed his willingness to make way for Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar should the latter is keen to contest the post.

"I understand that Nurul will offer herself for the deputy presidency and she has enough nominations. So if she is really serious and wanted the post, I am willing to withdraw from contesting the post to open a huge door of opportunity for her.

"I see Nurul as a new blood in the party, a young blood who could attract new members, more dynamic members and professionals. I will support and help her and will not complicate her chances to win," said Zaid, who is PKR central working committee member.

Zaid, who received 38 nominations for the post, however, did not discount the possibility of going for the number one post.

"This does not mean that I am not contesting for any post. If she (Nurul Izzah) does not want contest, I will offer myself for the post. Otherwise, I may go for a higher post," he told reporters at his residence here Thursday.

Zaid also expressed his disappointment on slanders and personal attacks levelled against him by the party's top leadership.

On PKR's warning against contestants from granting interviews to certain newspapers, Zaid said he would not abide by it.

Drama at Kg Sg Terentang

1505: TNB contractors are disregarding a Selangor state government order and going ahead with the construction of a structure. “This land is state land,” insists a furious Selangor exco member Elizabeth Wong, when contacted.
“Real corporate bullies. Refused to acknowledge local council stop work order, kata see you in court some more.”
Defiant contractors putting up a structure at 3.00pm
This is an apparent breach of an earlier agreement to postpone work until the Selangor government could reach a settlement with TNB regarding alternative routes for high tension cables.
I ask Wong why the contractors are so adamant about building now.
“Ask (Energy Minister) Peter Chin,” she replies. “This is what happens when we are held ransom by (corporate) monopolies e.g. energy, water, waste, now sewage.”
Rawang Adun Gan Pei Nee at the scene with police in the background
1449: “Wahliao, xxx tried to knock me down with his car,” Wong exclaims.
1424: Tweets from Wong earlier:
  1. State Secretary has called TNB to stand-down. Am on the way to Kg SgTerentang w Exco decision papers. about 1 hour ago
  2. 3 persons arrested thus far in Kg Sg Terentang about 1 hour ago
  3. TNB w hundred police forced their way into KgSgTerentang 2day to start work on high tension structures. State said hold, TNB ignored about 1 hour ago

Rahimi: Meeting Najib/Rosmah, contradictions, perjury

ps- Wanted people to know about the incursion of TNB into Rawang today. Once again, they are trying to renege on an agreed postponement until the Selangor government can reach a settlement with TNB regarding alternative routes for high tension cables. Three people were arrested trying to stop TNB construction – Wan Han Ming, Kumaran and Alex Gan, Rawang YB Gan Pei Nei’s brother >:(
Here’s a brief roundup from info I got from the PC on Rahimi today and lunch thereafter.
Let’s start back in the day, before Saiful made his confession.
Mumtaz Jaafar is apparently the mother of a mutual friend of Saiful and Rahimi’s, and said to be an associate of Rosmah’s.
She was apparently involved in setting up meetings for both young men with the then 2nd couple.
Around the time the Saiful news broke, Rahimi confessed to this.
Now here are some important parts:
He confessed this FIRST to the police, in a Section 112 witness statement, which is legally binding.
Thereafter, he related the same story to PKR leaders, who took down what he said in the form of a Statutory Declaration.
Part of the reason they did this was from lessons learnt from the first Sodomy trial, where witnesses were intimidated and tortured in the later stages of the investigation and trial.
Fast forward to the present day, where Rahimi now claims he made the SD under duress – in fact, he has made another SD now to set the record straight (think PI Bala).
Let’s think about this for a second.
a) You made that 1st SD after giving a witness statement containing the same information, in a police station, surrounded in essence by BN bodyguards.
b) If your latest SD says that information was false, then it appears you have now committed perjury – ie, you have admitted to lying in a sworn 112 witness statement (where there can’t possibly have been anyone present to intimidate you).
c) and the most obvious and repeated notion of all, you waited two years to come forward.
I might have gotten a preview of who the legal team will be accusing of being behind all this (if jadi), so stay tuned.