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Monday, October 11, 2010

Police Intimidation

Why is UMNO Youth, PERKASA, MBM, GMP so Gung-Ho on HINDRAF statement?

Now, where is it do you find anything in the HINDRAF’s statement that is unruly, nor is there anything in the statement that is questioning the special position of the Malays in the constitution.

All the statement does is clarifying who had actually diluted the constitution, and what was the cause of it. Further it reminds the ruler that there is a genuine need to address the second limb of Article 153 which addresses the ruler’s responsibility to safeguard the legitimate interests of the other communities through policies that are fair and just for the minorities.

Naturally if you look at the statement by the Sultan, by insinuating May,13 and picking on a particular race fighting for their basic rights under the second limb of Article 153, definitely for me it seems to be like an endorsement for the ultras to reign control whilst continuing to compromise the basic rights of the minorities.

The rebuttal by HINDRAF is reflective of the current state of affair in Malaysia as oppose to one that requires subjugation even if there is a clear marginalization and discrimination against the minorities.

Cheap theatrical acts by the ultras clearly shows the depth of UMNO based power and influence to create further disharmony between the people for their own political survival. This can only change if we, the people act and speak out in a unified manner by understanding the truth and reality in HINDRAF’s statement.

R. Shan (Human Being)
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Cabinet faith panel gets moving from 2011

Datuk Ilani Isahak was appointed by Cabinet to chair talks among Malaysia's multireligious leaders.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — The Cabinet’s renamed faith committee will knuckle down next year to mend the feverish debate over religious rights, which is showing signs of flaring up again amid murmurs of a snap general election.

Datuk Ilani Isahak, the Cabinet’s appointed coordinator for the Committee for the Promotion of Inter-Religious Understanding and Harmony Among Adherents announced a two-day workshop “on developing a strategic plan as a way forward”.

“The objective of the workshop is to discuss the framework programmes, activities and to foster friendship and better understanding among the members of the committee,” she said yesterday in a media statement disclosing its meeting held last Thursday.

“It will also outline programmes for year 2011 and 2012,” the petite Kelantanese added.

Ilani said the workshop was also geared to “further establish and strengthen this committee via a shared vision, mission and objectives as well as to identify the way forward and means to further enhance inter-religious harmony and understanding and to deal with issues which currently affect religious harmony and understanding in Malaysia”.

Once established, she said she expected the committee to be able to speed up solutions to recommend to the Najib administration for action.

The committee, mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself, was formally set up this year after a nationwide series of attacks on houses of worship following a controversial court ruling that Christians could use the word “Allah” to also refer to their God.

It held its first meeting on April 6, but the fragile attempts among the committee’s multireligious leaders to form a bond was snipped soon after by extremist groups who objected to — among other things — its name.

It was previously called the Committee Promoting Inter-Religious Understanding and Harmony.

The Thursday meeting was only its second formal meeting since its inception.

The Cabinet also ordered a new joint secretariat to be formed, in reaction to demands from the extremist groups. It now consists of the Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs (ACCIN), the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and the Department of National Unity and Integration (JPNIN).

Hisham denies inaction against Banting lawyers

Hishammuddin said only one of six reports against the two lawyers pertained to murder. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied today that the authorities have failed to act against two Banting lawyers suspected of being involved in several murder cases including that of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya.

Hishammuddin told the Dewan Rakyat that out of six police reports lodged against the duo, one case has been brought to court.

He added that four reports lodged against the suspects between 2005 to March 2010 were for fraud, and not murder or missing persons.

The minister was responding to DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, who asked the home ministry for details on police reports lodged against the suspects in the Banting murders, who have been under investigation for the slayings Sosilawati and three others.

Today, Lim claimed that the alleged police inaction has undermined public confidence in the force’s professionalism.

Responding to the claim, Hishammuddin said, “The question of police inaction does not arise.”

He said that since 2000, the police have solved 21,344 out of 35,473 missing persons reports.

Investigations against the lawyers began as part of the probe into the murders of Sosilawati, 47; her driver Kamaruddin Shansuddin, 44; CIMB Kampung Baru branch officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38; and lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abd Karim, 32.

The quartet was reported to have gone missing since August 30 after they went to Banting over a land transaction.

On September 13, police confirmed the four were assaulted and killed before their bodies were burned and their ashes strewn into rivers near Ladang Gadong, Banting.

Following this, police also began investigating the suspects over the possible murders of Indian millionaire A. Muthuraja and Sungai Petani businessman Mohd Shafik Abdullah and his friend, only known as Thevaraj.

The suspects are currently remanded over the disappearance of Mohd Shafik and Thevaraj.

No decision on Galas candidate yet, says PM

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said today he has not decided on a suitable candidate for the Galas by-election.

Although it was anticipated that Umno Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will be the Barisan Nasional (BN) man for the seat, Najib said the decision will "be announced in due time".

Speaking to reporters after chairing a pre-BN council meeting in Parliament today, Najib, who is also Umno president, did not indicate who will be fielded to face PAS in the by-election on Nov 4.

"We are still deciding on the candidate but the decision will only be made later," he said.

However, Najib said the appointment letter of Razaleigh as the head of BN election machinery has been sent to the latter this morning.

"He is prepared to spearhead the BN machinery and promised to lead us to victory," he said.
'Ku Li unlikely to accept candidacy'
Meanwhile Tumpat PAS parliamentarian Kamaruddin Jaafar predicted that Razaleigh will reject the chance to be the candidate in Galas.

"His appointment as the elections director for Galas sends a clear message that he will reject the candidacy. Normally, an elections director will not be picked to be the candidate," he said.

He added that the speculation that Razaleigh would be the candidate was only a "tactic to divert from Umno's internal problems".

Kamaruddin also expressed confidence that Razaleigh, as the elections director, will ensure the campaign was "fair, clean and just".

While Razaleigh has been touted as the favourite BN candidate, another name should not be discounted too – that of Gua Musang Umno division secretary Abdul Aziz Yusof.

Some Umno leaders believe that Abdul Aziz is also capable to taking back the seat from PAS which captured it by a thin 646-vote majority in 2008.

The by-election is slated to be on Nov 4, with nomination day is on Oct 26. The seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent, PAS' Che Hashim Sulaima.
BN is expected to announce its candidate on Oct 24, which is also the final day of Umno's annual general meeting.

Umno man says PBS deserves to defend Batu Sapi

By Michael Kaung - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: A senior Sabah Umno leader and state cabinet minister has fended off talk of a tussle among BN component parties for the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat following the death of MP Edmund Chong Ket Wah in an accident on Saturday.

"Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) deserves to defend the parliamentary seat in the imminent by-election for BN," said Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Masidi Manjun.

He said BN was ready for any by-elections and suggested that the seat be given to PBS.

"It may not be a good time to talk about the by election when people are grieving," said Masidi when asked to comment on the parliamentary by-election for the seat following Chong's death.

"To me they (PBS) deserves it, it's their seat," Masidi said Sunday.

Chong, who was the PBS treasurer-general cum Sabah Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) chairman, won the Batu Sapi seat uncontested in 2004.

In the 2008 general election, he retained his seat by defeating independent Chong Kwong Wong with an overwhelming 3,708-vote majority by polling 9,479 votes.

Chong died of head injuries after a motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on the Sembulan highway on his return from the airport where he had gone to purchase an air ticket to attend today's parliament sitting.

Expressing his condolences to Chong's wife Linda Tsen and family, Masidi said that although he was not a close friend, he was saddened by the news of his death.

"Edmund has many good friends not only in his own party but outside BN."

Masidi, who is Sabah Umno assistant secretary, also commended Chong's leadership as a member of parliament.

High standard

Meanwhile, Rural and Regional Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal said that the constituency has been represented by BN all this while and the coalition needs to ensure that it regains the seat.

"We have to work to make sure that we can secure the seat," he said when met after paying his last respects to Chong at the Fook Lu Siew funeral parlor along Jalan Tuaran yesterday.

The Umno vice president described Chong as a dedicated worker who had set a high standard in terms of serving the people.

"He has done a good job… I won't say it is impossible to follow but it will be quite difficult because he has set a very high standard in terms of performance.

"This is his second term as MP and he is a dedicated leader. We usually have drinks at the canteen and discuss what needs to be done in his constituency.

"When I met him recently, he told me that he was going to visit his children in Australia. Prior to that we went to Tanzania for a Commonwealth Parliamentary meeting," said Mohd Shafie.

Women harassed at PKR election lodge police report

By Queville To - Free Malaysia Today,

PENAMPANG: Yet another police report has been made against a supporter of Darell Liking, the winner of the recent PKR's Penampang divisional elections.

This time, it was made by a female party member for racist and sexist remarks allegedly hurled against her and her female friend by Darell’s supporters on the polling day on Oct 3.

In the report lodged on Oct 7, the complainant identified a supporter of Darell as one of those who insulted her and her friend.

The same supporter was said to have manhandled and punched a contender, Dr Roland Chia, during the elections and he subsequently lodged a police report.

The complainant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity claimed that Darell’s supporters had among others called her and her friend “China Dolls, Pelacur Cina (Chinese whores)”.

They claimed that the individual also shouted: “Orang Penampang tidak mahu kamu, bagus kamu balik China.” (You’re not welcome by the Penampang people, you better go back to China).

“The shouts were so loud and disturbing to a point where it became unbearable and we wanted to call it quits and go home. It was really a horrible experience as never in my life have I been called a whore.

"It was totally unbearable for me. I do not need to subject myself to all these racial insults and sexual harassments,” she said.

Racist culture in PKR

A new member of the party, she stressed that she just wanted to exercise her right as a party member to elect those who she thought could provide good leadership.

Her friend, who is in her 30s also said she was disappointed over what transpired that day.

“I may look Chinese, but I'm actually a Sino-Kadazan. What has happened to our Penampang community? We used to be a tight-knit, harmonious and tolerant society,” she said.

She said the incident showed that a racist culture has crept in into PKR.

“How come some of these candidates could employ such disgusting and intimidating tactics? What difference does PKR make compared to Umno or, were they actually Umno boys in disguise?” she asked.

She regretted that Darell had allowed his supporters to harass the other contenders and their supporters.

She wants the PKR leadership to warn its divisional leaders that they will be punished for the loutish behaviour of their supporters.

The two complainants said they joined PKR early last year as they were inspired by young Pakatan leaders like Hannah Yeo and Elizabeth Wong.

They showed courage and enthusiasm towards making a difference to the people of this country, besides the party’s struggle for justice for all, regardless of colour and creed.

Umno tipu warga emas: Wang 'haram' dikutip Umno

(Harakahdaily) Sehingga kini tidak ada satu sen pun wang yang dikatakan diserahkan oleh warga emas di negeri itu kepada Umno diserahkan kepada kerajaan negeri, kata Adun Permatang Pasir, Pulau Pinang Ustaz Salleh Man.

Langkah ini, bagi beliau menunjukkan Umno cuba menipu warga emas di negeri itu dengan membuat provokasi kepada mereka kononnya wang itu haram lalu di serahkan kepada Umno.

"Seperti yang diakui oleh Ketua Menteri, sehingga hari ini satu sen pun wang tersebut belum diserahkan oleh Umno kepada kerajaan negeri. Kalau wang itu haram, serahlah kepada kerajaan negeri," kata beliau dalam ceramahnya dekat Kuala Nerus malam semalam.

Salleh mendakwa, UMNO tidak sudah-sudah memainkan sentimen perkauman dan agama di Pulau Pinang agar orang Melayu bangkit menentang Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat.

Padahal selama ini, apa yang dilakukan oleh Umno Pulau Pinang ketika bersama-sama Barisan Nasional yang dipimpin Gerakan memerintah negeri itu, soal Salleh.

"Adakah kerana menerima laba dan kemewahan mereka lupa nasib orang Melayu dan Islam, tapi bila Pakatan Rakyat memerintah mereka baru tersedar selama ini orang Melayu telah dipinggirkan," tanyanya.

Akhirnya, kata beliau, kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat dipersalahkan akibat kesilapan UMNO
selama ini.

Menurut Salleh yang juga Pesuruhjaya PAS Pulau Pinang, di bawah kepimpinan PR nasib orang Melayu mula terbela di negeri itu.

"Peruntukan sekolah agama rakyat telah disalurkan oleh kerajaan negeri, wang ehsan untuk wargamas diberikan, tabung khairat kematian dan pelbagai kemudahan lagi diberikan kerajaan Pakatan kepada rakyat," katanya.

Kejayaan Kerajaan PR ini sebenarnya melahirkan rasa cemburu dan khianat Umno, katanya.

"Mereka telah dan akan melakukan pelbagai helah dan kerja jahat untuk memburukan imej Ketua Menteri dan kerajaan PR," cerita Salleh dalam ceramahnya itu.

Leasehold or freehold: What’s the truth about Petaling Jaya land?

LEASEHOLD titles in Petaling Jaya (PJ) are a controversial topic. The expiration date of the lease and the high premium that needs to be paid to the Selangor government has caused revival of much of PJ Old Town, comprising Sections 1 to 4, to stagnate.
In my research into the issue, I have found evidence to show that leasehold titles in these areas may very well be invalid, and property owners of PJ may actually be entitled to freehold titles.
Various complications could arise if PJ property owners were to insist that their homes are on freehold land, but these have to be dealt with in another article. As far as this article is concerned, I will look at historical evidence that suggests that parts of old PJ have always been privately owned land, and should therefore be under freehold titles.
PJ Authority Booklet introduction
1 PJ Authority Booklet introduction (Click on thumbnails for bigger view)
Wrong land titles?
Petaling Jaya was founded in 19531 under British rule, with houses built and sold to the pioneer residents at prices ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. The town status was officially formalised in the Federation of Malaya Gazette dated 7 April 1955.2
This gazette, which lists the lot numbers, corresponds with the lot numbers found in a survey map of the area, which shows the land being owned by one Petaling Estate.3
Source: Federal of Malaya Government Gazette, 7 April 1955
2 Federal of Malaya Government Gazette, p71; 7 April 1955
Since the whole area was private land under the ownership of Petaling Estate, and was subsequently sold to the pioneers, should not the land titles be freehold? Yet, leasehold titles were issued for many of the houses in Section 1 through 4 of PJ.
In order for it to rightfully issue leasehold titles, the state government would have had to own the land before leasing it to buyers. That could only have happened if the government had bought the land from the pioneer residents of PJ back in the 1950s and 1960s to make it “state land”. But this did not happen.
Source: Federation of Malaya Government Gazette, 7 April 1955
2 Federation of Malaya Government Gazette, p72; 7 April 1955
Further, the leasehold titles that the Selangor government issued contain anomalies. For one, some of the titles were issued under the National Land Code, with the date of issue listed between 1962 and 1967.4 However, the National Land Code was only gazetted in 1965. What then of the titles that were issued before this year? I would say that many of these titles are suspect.
What went wrong?
Recall that the privately owned land was sold to pioneers in 1953, and subsequently gazetted as the town of Petaling Jaya under the administration of Kuala Lumpur in 1955.
Cross-section of PJ survey plan
3 Cross-section of PJ survey plan
The gazetting of PJ was done under Section 6 of Land Code Cap 138. This Code, or Cap 138, was the law for land matters up until the National Land Code was enacted.
Under the rules prescribed in Cap 138, when a town is declared over an area, the land titles must be amalgamated and subdivided according to the town plan. This means that all the land lot numbers that were shown in the survey plan of Petaling Estate would have to be combined to form one huge PJ town. The individual plots of land that pioneers bought would have to be subdivided and given new lot numbers. In other words, the land lots of the newly gazetted town would have to be redrawn and redivided.
Sample leasehold title
4 Sample leasehold title dated 17 July 1964
The job of assigning lot numbers and surveying the individual pieces of land was to be done by the director of survey. Only after this exercise was completed could the final titles be issued.
The actual development and sale of the houses to PJ’s pioneer residents happened faster than the British government could cope with at the time, as shown in a letter dated 19 Oct 1955.5 In this letter, the then Kuala Lumpur district officer admitted that it was a formidable task to survey Petaling Jaya. Surveys were done for some areas, as shown in survey plans from 1956.6
Letter from KL district governor
5 Letter from KL district governor
With such a short time to go before Malaya would achieve independence, the British-controlled government could not complete the land survey before the independent Malayan government took over.
What happened post-independence is speculation, but clearly the job of issuing final freehold titles to the pioneers of PJ was not done.
Old law still applies
Survey plan for Section 1 PJ Old Town
6 Survey plan for Section 1 PJ Old Town
Since all this happened so long ago under different regulations and a different government, can the law then – the Land Code Cap 138 – still be applied, and can it be used to correct the mistake made?
Section 4(1) of the newer law, the National Land Code 1965, states: “Nothing in this Act shall affect the past operation of, or anything done under, any previous land law or, so far as they relate to land, the provisions of any other law passed before the commencement of this Act.”
Therefore, Cap 138, the law that was used to produce the land titles, is still applicable when it comes to correcting a wrong.
To the argument that there is a statute of limitation on the liability of the state government or to correct the wrong that was done, Section 43 of Cap 138 states that there is no limitation by any law on matters pertaining to land.
This argument is further strengthened by Section 341 of the National Land Code, which states: “Adverse possession of land for any length of time whatsoever shall not constitute a bar to the bringing of any action for the recovery thereof by the proprietor or any person or body entitled to an interest therein, and accordingly, the Limitation Act 1953, shall in no circumstances operate to extinguish any title to, or interest in, land.”
What should be done
This report was compiled over a period of almost two years, but it is by no means complete, as there are many other supportive evidences and arguments that I have not included to ensure brevity.
But what I have presented is enough for now to show that some land titles in Petaling Jaya have been wrongly issued, and some might not even be valid. In short, some landowners have long been denied their dues.
The right thing to do would be for the state government to finish the survey started by the British, and issue the final freehold titles according to that survey.

Najib and Dr Chua want politicians to get over ‘pendatang’ issue

The Star 

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek took aim at racist politicians by condemning their brand of opportunistic politics, especially on the “pendatang” issue.

The Prime Minister, addressing the almost 2,000 people at the MCA annual general assembly, said Malaysian Chinese were not immigrants and had been loyal to the nation for the past three to five generations.

The MCA president in his speech pointed out that the younger generation wanted to be treated as equal citizens and “do not expect to have to be grateful because their parents were granted citizenship”.

The two leaders also touched on the role of MCA, with Najib saying that the party must become a bigger champion of the Chinese community.

Other developments:

> Najib says Umno and Barisan Nasional will allow MCA more space to highlight the needs and problems of the Chinese community.

> Dr Chua says on certain occasions MCA’s stand will be different from that of Umno’s as it needs to articulate the interest of all races, but this did not mean the party is being disloyal to Barisan Nasional.

> Dr Chua has called on the Government not to make flip-flop decisions by arbitrarily suspending the recruitment of foreign workers and also called for a minimum wage policy for certain sectors, where locals were earning less than RM700.

Kayveas: Other races also not immigrants anymore

The Star 

THE Prime Minister’s statement that Malaysian Chinese should not be called immigrants should also be applied to other races whose families have made Malaysia their home for generations, said a Barisan Nasional component party leader.

More leaders should stand up and say that the fourth and fifth generation, born of immigrants, were not immigrants anymore, said PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas.

At the MCA AGM yesterday, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said that the Chinese were already third to fifth generations who were born in Malaysia though their descendents were immigrants, and that the Chinese today should not be referred to as immigrants.

On Dr Chua, Kayveas said the party president was democratically elected and the most popular person to lead MCA.

“If one or two people are still unhappy about that, follow (former Wanita chief) Chew Mei Fun’s example and resign,” he said, commenting on Kuantan MCA Wanita delegate, Khiew Yuh Jiuan, who questioned Dr Chua’s leadership at the Wanita AGM on Saturday.

Lari di Kota Si Puteh terpaksa berdepan Galas dan Batu Sapi

KOTA KINABALU, 9 Okt: Pilihan raya kecil yang ke 13 akan diadakan di negara ini selepas 2008 apabila anggota Parlimen Batu Sapi, Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah, 54, meninggal dunia dalam kemalangan jalan raya.

Beliau meninggal apabila motosikal Kawasaki 750 yang beliau tunggangi berlanggar dengan sebuah kereta Mercedes di jalan Sembulan-Tanjung Aru dekat Kota Kinabalu jam 11.40 pagi tadi.

Chong mula memenangi kawasan itu dalam pilihan raya umum 2004 tanpa bertanding dan menang lagi dalam pilihan raya umum 2008 selepas mengalahkan calon bebas, Chung Kwong Wing.

Chong mendapat 9,479 undi berbanding dengan Chung yang mendapat 5,771 undi.

Chong lahir di Sandakan dan merupakan seorang jurutera mekanikal. Beliau meninggalkan isteri Linda Tsen Thau Lin dan empat anak.

Bn menggunakan semua jenteranya untuk lari dari berdepan PRK Kota Seputeh kerana perangai wakil rakyatnya yang kaki ponteng tapi takdir tuhan mereka terpaksa berdepan satu demi satu PRK.

Is it time for Sultans to protect the interest on Non Malays pursuant to the second limb of Article 153 as championed by Waytha Moorthy

Is Waytha Moorthy right in urging the Sultan Johor to stop the veiled threat to Non-Malays.

How to end the war in Afghanistan


Fareed Zakaria is an author and foreign affairs analyst who hosts "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN U.S. on Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET and CNN International at 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. Central European Time/ 5 p.m. Abu Dhabi/ 9 p.m. Hong Kong.

New York (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has started talks with representatives of the Taliban, a move that analyst Fareed Zakaria says could bring an end to the nine-year-long war.

Karzai convened a meeting Thursday with the Afghan Peace Council, which was formed to help negotiate with the Taliban. Referring to the militants, Karzai said, "I call on them once again to use this opportunity and say 'yes' to this endeavor. I want them to come and bring peace to this land."

The author and host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" spoke to CNN on Thursday. Here is an edited transcript:

CNN: Hamid Karzai has launched a council to help negotiate with the Taliban? What's the significance of that step?

Fareed Zakaria: I think it's about time. If you look at any good study of civil wars, what you find is that most of them end in a negotiated settlement. Maybe because Americans have the memory of our civil war in which the North crushes the South, we somehow think that that's how civil wars end. But that's actually is very unusual.

What normally happens is some kind of settlement that is negotiated in which the losers are reintegrated into the political order. Civil wars are unlike normal wars, because the winners and losers are going to have to live with one another.

CNN: How does that apply to Afghanistan?

Zakaria: The Taliban, which is mounting this insurgency, is not a foreign element within the body politic. The Taliban is basically the political representative of the conservative elements of the Pashtun community.

The Pashtuns are 50 percent of Afghanistan. ... It is a political force in Afghanistan. Coming to terms with it politically and seeing if there's some way it can be reintegrated into the political order makes sense. You're not going to kill every member of the Taliban. They're not going to be exiled to a foreign land. They're going to be there at the end of the day so it's better to to have them in the tent.

CNN: The U.S. military view seems to be that the talks haven't yielded progress so far, and a senior defense official told CNN, "We don't think the Taliban believe that they're losing to the degree that they'd come to terms in large numbers." Are the talks premature because the effects of the U.S. military buildup haven't been felt yet?

Zakaria: First the very fact that the Taliban are coming to the table in a way they had not been willing to before suggests that they are feeling some pressure.

But I also think you can't get too hung up with this idea that you have to negotiate from a position of strength. Ideally we would have them totally prostrate on the floor and that would be the time to negotiate. But the reality is that this is a very mixed military campaign. I don't know if it's going to be dramatically better one year from now or three years from now.

This is a little like somebody who owns a stock, who says, it's at six now, I need to sell it, but I'm going to wait till it goes to eight. Well maybe it will go to eight, maybe it will go to four.

You might as well start talking at this point. First of all you learn a lot in the process of negotiations. And secondly, the military campaign could move in many different directions. If the surge starts succeeding even more, that will be reflected in our negotiating posture.

CNN: Is there an idea yet of what a negotiated settlement might involve?

Zakaria: It seems as though the Taliban demands are that they want all foreign troops out. They don't want to accept the Afghan constitution and they don't want to lay down their arms.

Now those are obviously their opening demands. Foreign troops aren't going to be out, but one could point out that President Obama has said there is going to be a reduction of foreign forces next year.

On the Afghan constitution, there is a compromise there where there could be a few amendments to the constitution. But on laying down their arms, that it seems to me you can't really compromise, they would have to lay down their arms. Could some elements be integrated into the militia, or the Afghan national army? Perhaps -- that's what happened in Iraq.

CNN: Isn't there also a clashing conception of society, with the Taliban being a closed society that doesn't recognize an elevated role for women as opposed to a potentially democratic kind of society that's envisioned by the Afghan constitution?

Zakaria: Yes, it is the kind of society envisioned by the Afghan constitution. But Afghanistan is a fairly conservative society. While the extreme elements of the Taliban have draconian visions which are obviously not supported by the Afghans -- the polls bear this out -- it's also true that on issues of women's rights and some of the more progressive elements of the Afghan constitution, the Karzai government is in a minority and those rights are not popularly supported.

There are clashing visions, but there is probably a reality of Afghanistan which is a lot more progressive and open than the Taliban believe but is still a society that is somewhat conservative, and often tribal, and with very traditional views on something like women's rights.

The key is creating a situation where these rights are guaranteed but not fetishizing it. For example, one of the things the Afghan constitution has is a requirement for 25 percent representation of women in parliament. We don't have such a requirement either in the U.S. Constitution or in the amendments. Many European countries don't.

Is it conceivable that something like that could be compromised? Perhaps, and that's the kind of thing where we'd have to be creative in coming up with a solution that moderates and some elements of the Taliban could live with.

CNN: Is this an honorable exit for the United States?

Zakaria: I think so, and it's not really an exit, it's a reduction in our forces and in our role. And I think it would be appropriate. We've been there for nine years. It's not the only battleground, the only place where al Qaeda operates. There are many more members of al Qaeda in Pakistan than in Afghanistan.

You're trying to create a political settlement, and a self-sustaining political framework in Afghanistan that can survive the departure of American troops. And finally you're leaving enough troops in there where you could still prosecute a fairly vigorous counterterrorism operation against those elements of the Taliban or al Qaeda that continue to plot and plan to do violence to civilians, foreigners, westerners.

And I do think, if we could get this kind of a settlement, it would be an honorable way for the United States to begin reducing its exposure in Afghanistan.

Ngeh, Kula meet to settle squabble

Kulasegaran (pic) met with Ngeh and there is now a peace pact for the time being in Perak DAP
IPOH, Oct 10 — The Perak DAP crisis has tapered down to a reluctant friendship for the state’s top two, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and M. Kulasegaran, who met today to resolve differences.

The Malaysian Insider understands however that despite their meeting, the party’s state chairman and deputy chairman have yet to agree on a unity formula to end the leadership squabble.

The meeting, held at 3pm at a private location believed to be in Tebing Tinggi here, apparently brought an agreement to keep their differences within the party.

The discussion was reportedly cordial and non-confrontational, a contrast to their last meeting which was heated ending with Kulasegaran’s quit threat (of his state party post).

Both men later issued a joint statement, their second since the crisis exploded last Friday, explaining that they had met and had struck an agreement to keep their disputes internal.

“We have met and agreed that all our differences should be resolved internally in the party as the greatest challenge is to restore public confidence in Perak DAP and Pakatan Rakyat to win back Perak state government as well as to capture Putrajaya in the next general elections to fulfil the people’s hopes and expectation for political change in the country,” they said.

They also pledged to work out details on how to restore unity in the fractured state leadership but did not give a deadline for their unity formula.

“We will work on the details to restore party unity, solidarity and a common sense of purpose in Perak DAP,” they said.

Present at the meeting were both Ngeh and Kulasegaran as well as DAP life adviser Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, national vice-chairman Tan Kok Wai, state organising secretary Thomas Su and Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Ong Boon Piow.

Perak DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming who, along with his cousin Ngeh, is at the centre of the ongoing leadership dispute with Kulasegaran, was not present at the meeting.

Later tonight, the leaders are expected to congregate again in a show of unity at two separate ceramah dinners in Kampung Baru, Bidor, and Jelapang.

The Malaysian Insider understands that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will join the group for both functions.

The leadership crisis in Perak DAP hit the headlines last Friday with Kulasegaran’s quit threat, following a special meeting held with leaders in Kampung Simee here.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the meeting had witnessed a spat between the two feuding factions — Kulasegaran’s camp and the Ngeh-Nga cousins — who have been at odds with each other over several leadership issues.

Their dispute in recent days centred around disagreements on the formation of new branches in the state, ahead of the coming state party elections this November 14.

Ngeh and Nga have been accused of forming new branches without endorsement from the state committee while Kulasegaran has been alleged to have illegally revived dead branches.

The leaders, through discussions with Guan Eng, has since agreed to keep the crisis outside of the media.

Just yesterday however, Kulasegaran held a press conference here where he declared that he was still willing to follow through with his challenge for an open debate with Ngeh on their grouses.

“If permitted, why not?” he had said.

Kulasegaran explained that such a debate would be similar to the practice of modern democracies like in the US and the UK.

PKR polls: Khalid Ibrahim joins race for No. 2

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT SHAH ALAM: Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim tonight officially announced his candidacy for the post of deputy president in the PKR elections.

His announcement was met with loud cheers and shouts of support from the 100-odd people who had gathered at his official residence here.

"You may wonder why I'd want to contest in an election that has received so much criticism from the media and even from within the party," he said.

"Even from my own observations, the campaign has been rife with factional leadership and personal attacks."

"I have already said that these are unhealthy practices which must be stopped. As a party leader and the menteri besar of a Pakatan state, it is my duty to try to rectify these issues. It is for this reason that I have decided to contest for the deputy presidency," he said.

In ensuring that his candidacy has only a positive impact on the party, Khalid has set up a special committee to evaluate its repercussions on party unity and administration.

This committee comprises Malaysian Trade Union Council (MTUC) president Syed Shahrir Syed Mahmud, Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez, PKR strategic director Tian Chua and ex-Abim president Muhammad Nur Manuty.

"They are free to hold discussions with any party leaders until Oct 15th," he added.

"If the committee concludes that my candidacy will not augur well for the party and there are better ways for me to serve, I will heed the advice," he promised.
Khalid is likely to face Azmin Ali, Zaid Ibrahim and Mustaffa Kamil Ayub in the contest. Vice-president Azmin is the clear favourite to take over from outgoing Dr Syed Husin Ali.
Khalid's manifesto
Earlier in his speech, Khalid heaped praise on the party's direct elections but also delivered a sobering reminder of the trouble that has plagued it.

"PKR is the only political party in Asia that has dared to attempt direct elections," he emphasised. "This party has a future that the people believe in and it has to continue fanning that fervour."

"But this is my fear - that in the fight to lead, we sometimes forget the true agenda of reformasi. I see leaders looking for ways to destroy each other. What has happened to the brotherhood of reformasi?"

While Khalid didn't mention names it was clear that he was referring to the escalating feud between Azmin and supreme council member Zaid.

"We are not politicking for a day but towards changing the political landscape in Malaysia," he said. "This direct elections must pave our path to Putrajaya."

In keeping to his word to ensure that his candidacy benefited the party, Khalid introduced a manifesto for his campaign. Themed "Fortifying Reformasi" the manifesto contained five principles.

The first is loyalty to the fight. Second, continue the agenda of change. Third, economy for the people. Fourth, rejecting "divide and conquer" politics and five, party unity.

During a later press conference, Khalid added that he would propose that 30% of the party leadership is made up of women.

Umno tells Galas voters not to expect instant projects

KOTA BARU: The Barisan Nasional (BN) will refrain from promising "instant" projects during the campaign for the Galas state by-election on Nov 4, Kelantan Umno liaison chief Mustapa Mohamed said today.

"We will not promise instant projects during the election campaign this time," he told reporters at the launch of a pre-university programme and the close of a "1 Programme 1 District" event at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), here.

The campaign for the by-election will begin after nomination on Oct 26. The Galas seat fell vacant following the death of the PAS assemblyman, Che Hashim Sulaima, 46, on Sept 27.

Mustapa, who is International Trade and Industry Minister, was responding to a question on the request by the Gua Musang Wanita Umno for the government to build a public university in Gua Musang.

He said the federal government had no plans to build the university even if the BN captured the Galas seat.

The government would give preference to raising the quality of education than build more institutions of higher learning, he said, adding that the 20 public universities in the country were deemed to be enough to accommodate student demand.

"For the moment, we do not plan to build more universities, including in Gua Musang," he said. Gua Musang is the parliamentary constituency which encompasses Galas and two other state constituencies, namely Nenggeri and Paloh.

Manik Urai promises delivered
On the allegation by PAS that the BN government had failed to fulfill the promises it had made during the campaign for the Manik Urai state by-election 14 months ago, Mustapa said all the four promised projects had been completed or were being implemented.

These were repairs to a public housing project for the poor at a cost of RM1.5 million and the construction of the Manik Urai bridge at a cost of RM8 million, a sports arena in Kampung Manjor at a cost of RM300,000 and the Temalir Mosque at a cost of RM600,000.

"In fact, Kelantan Selatan Development Authority (Kesedar) chairman Mohamed Arshad Ismail confirmed two days ago that the housing repair project for the poor in Manik Urai was completed four months after the by-election, which was held in July last year.

PAS retained the Manik Urai state seat by a reduced 65-vote majority in the by-election.

Mustapa said PAS would fall into its own trap if it attempted to raise the issue of unfulfilled BN projects during the Galas by-election campaign.

He also said that BN promises were contained in statements made by the prime minister and deputy prime minister and not those made by local Umno and community leaders.

- Bernama

Gerakan sec-gen: It's not winners take all verdict

By Athi Shankar - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Gerakan secretary general Teng Chang Yeow warns the Penang party leadership not to be carried away with the ‘victory’ at the unprecedented extraordinary general meeting (EGM) here today.

He cautioned the jubilant state chairman Dr Teng Hock Nan not to take lightly the dissenting views of party grassroots, who expressed support to the motion of no confidence against his state leadership.

Although Teng survived the motion, the junior Teng said the result shall never be misconstrued as a “winners take all, losers lose all” verdict by delegates.

The junior Teng, who cast his vote as a state delegate, said that one must look into the fact that some 45 per cent of delegates cast their votes in support of the motion.

“It shows nearly half of the delegates present voted against the state chairman.

“We cannot neglect or ignore their dissenting views and opinions. The delegates represent the grassroots sentiments,” he told a press conference after the EGM.

It was a close call on Penang Gerakan chairman Dr Teng when he survived the motion with a 29-vote majority.

From the 320-delegate votes cast, Dr Teng garnered 174 votes against 145 votes for the vote of no confidence, with a vote spoilt.

The EGM was held when an informal party grassroots movement (VGG) submitted a petition on Sep 17 calling for it with support of 64 party members.

A jubilant Dr Teng said afterwards that the result was actually a vote of confidence on him, shown by delegates to continue to lead the party.

It’s learnt that during his EGM run-in campaign to canvass support, Dr Teng has assured party members that he would outline a smooth leadership transition plan if he survived the motion of no confidence.

'Failed opportunity'
The junior Teng called on Dr Teng to engage in dialogue sessions with grassroots members, who were against his leadership.

“The state leadership should first address various issues raised by this dissenting group. Otherwise it would be difficult to move ahead as one party in one spirit,” he said.

A VGG coordinator, Yeap Ban Choon, expressed disappointment with the motion’s defeat, adding that his group had expected the motion to be passed with simple majority until this morning.

He lamented that Gerakan delegates have failed to seize an opportunity presented by the EGM to reform the party.

The EGM outcome is expected to draw some serious repercussions on the party in Penang with a chain reaction at national level.

Some disappointed branch leaders aligned to VGG are said to be contemplating resigning from their positions while several members are expected to leave Gerakan soon.

PM tells MCA to curb its communal tendencies

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Tun Razak told MCA to step out of its communal inclination, urging them to serve all and not just the Chinese community in a "give and take" spirit.

The directive was made in his speech at MCA's annual general assembly here where the premier called on the party to encapsulate a national agenda in its struggle rather than merely focusing on Chinese needs.

"Serve the people, not just the Chinese community but all races. If you see a poor Malay or Indian, go and help him.

“I encourage Umno to do it, too. During the fasting month, I gave aid to the poor Chinese and the Indians too... so what is wrong?” he said in his 48-minute speech.

It was a thinly-veiled reference to MCA leaders who at its recent economic congress, boldly demanded the government to remove the 30 percent bumiputera equity target.

The demand infuriated many of their BN comrades in Umno who were growing increasingly uncomfortable with MCA's loud demands for the abolition of race-based affirmative action policies and replace it with needs or merits-based ones.

Its demands triggered a verbal bout between the two allies and strained relations between the two biggest component parties in the ruling coalition.

Najib took a more diplomatic posture and said he is trying best to implement a more inclusive range of policies but faces difficulties given his position as the chief of Umno.

"I am also the president of Umno. My Umno leaders tell me, look, you want to give the Chinese community this and that, what are they doing? Are they responding?," he said.

MCA has implicitly blamed racism on the part of Umno for its flagging support and while Najib had somewhat conceded to this when he stressed on the need to "give space" to the Chinese party to fight for its community, he demanded "some ass-kicking" from MCA in working towards pulling back Chinese support towards BN.

"You have to be frank to them. Tell them that this is not just about the Chinese community, but about this lovely country, for beautiful Malaysia," he said.

Not 'pendatang'

It would not be easy for the premier though. Race-based policies and publicised racist statements by top government officials have not convinced the Chinese electorate that it wants to hold the fort for a government that has been least respectful to them.

"I don't agree with the term pendatang (immigrants)," he said in reference to the popular derogatory term used to describe the Chinese community.

"Yes, you came here at one time, but that was three, four, five generations ago. Now, you are all loyal citizens of the country,” he said to a loud applause.

Reconciliatory tone then took over Najib's speech when he recalled the struggle of BN's predecessor, the Alliance, where the founding fathers bypassed race to work towards nation-building post and pre independence.

MCA can play a pivotal role in this, said the nation's sixth premier, if it transform its mindset.

Najib urged the party to work harder in gaining back Chinese support which he said was "part and parcel" of the government's plan to transform Malaysia into a "high class 21st century nation" by 2020.

MIC happy that UPSR is retained

KUALA LUMPUR: More Tamil school pupil are expected to score 7A's in the Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) following the decision by the Education Ministry to maintain the examination, says MIC president S Samy Vellu.

In thanking Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the education minister for not doing away with the UPSR from the school’s examination calendar, he said the decision came as a huge relief for many parents and students.

He said the MIC had opposed the move earlier to scrap the UPSR, and thanked Muhyiddin for taking into consideration the party’s views.

“They (the students) can now concentrate in the UPSR knowing fully well that it will not be scrapped. In fact, the new format from 2016 would further encourage them to do even better,’ he said in a statement here today.

Samy Vellu was commenting on Muhyiddin’s announcement yesterday that the UPSR would not be scrapped but would have a new format, while the Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR) for Form Three students would be a school-based assessment from 2016.

The MIC president said the MIC through the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) would continue to assist Tamil school students taking the UPSR through various initiatives including distributing UPSR module books.

“Each year, the MIED has been distributing the module books for each of the seven subjects in the UPSR to all Tamil school students, and we have achieved remarkable success,” he said.

He said the number of Tamil school students scoring 7A’s in the UPSR had increased from 357 students in 2003 to 824 students last year.

“We are confident that the number will increase this year,” Samy Vellu, who is also the MIED chairman said.

He also said the MIED would continue with its annual event to recognize the excellent students by awarding them RM500 to each of the 7A students from Tamil schools.

The crossroads of my life

I do not hide my disappointment and disgust with Malaysian politicians and Malaysian politics. I feel we can no longer trust politicians from both sides of the political divide. It may be time to take back power from the politicians and give it to the people. But how do we do that? I don’t know.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Later today I am going home. I spent the last ten days in London to attend the 2nd October talk with Anwar Ibrahim, Tian Chua and Tunku Abdul Aziz and to conference with friends and associates to discuss what the future holds for all of us. That is why you have not heard from me for about week now, other than the MACC revelations in The Corridors of Power.

As you may be aware, I also celebrated my 60th birthday on 27th September and my friends chipped in to buy me a birthday present, a Roland electronic drum set. I suppose I am going to spend more time polishing up on my drumming rather than writing articles. Anyway, I shall try to balance my time so that my drumming does not cause my writing to suffer. My friends have threatened to repossess the drum set if I start slacking in my writing.

I am now eligible for a ‘freedom pass’ so I can actually ride the public transport either free of charge or on a discounted fare. I am also eligible for many other free services and discounts, even when I go to the cinema. So life of a 60 year old is pretty nifty here in the UK with my senior citizen status.

I consider myself at the crossroads of my life, not just because I am now 60 but because of the current developments in Malaysia. And that is why I decided to take a ten-day break and just chill out and jam. As I write this I am awaiting the rest of the gang who are coming over to jam. We may even put on a show at the end of next month for a farewell gig for one of our friends who will be leaving for home after spending more than a decade working outside Malaysia.

My friends, associates and family are quite divided on what I should do from hereon. I am not in a hurry to go back to Malaysia. I have a house here and am quite comfortable in my new surroundings, the country of my birth. I do still have family in Malaysia. But I also have many family members here in the UK -- brother, sisters, cousins, children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and their children who would be my cucu saudara. So I am not quite alone or detached from the family.

The question would be where I would want to be buried. My mother and my maternal grandparents are buried here. My father and my paternal grandparents are buried in Malaysia. So does it really matter where my final resting place is going to be? One place is as good as another and once you are no longer a member of this world it really does not matter too much when you would not be aware of it anyway.

I am going to reflect on the situation these next two months till the end of November. In December, subject to what happens over these two months, I shall have to make my decision. And in January, whatever that decision may be, I shall embark on the next phase of my life. What that decision is going to be will all depend on what I see over these two months.

I am still committed to The Peoples’ Declaration. That is going to be the foundation of what I embark upon. I believe that Malaysia needs reforms and The Peoples’ Declaration clearly spells out what these reforms should be. And I am prepared to work with any group, movement or political party that can commit itself to these reforms.

I earlier spoke about the Third Force. This idea has met with mixed reactions. The Third Force can be anything. It can be a political party. It can be a movement. Or it can simply be a group of like-minded Malaysians who share the aspirations defined by The Peoples’ Declaration. Ultimately, it would be a grouping of Malaysians who seek change or reforms.

Malaysia needs change. Initially we thought that Pakatan Rakyat would be that agent for change. But after more than two years we are not seeing Pakatan Rakyat walk the talk. And because of events like the Selangor PAS internal skirmish between the liberals and the conservatives, the Selangor DAP mud slinging, the Perak DAP public quarrel, and now the PKR party election fiasco, it appears like the three Pakatan Rakyat parties are no different from the parties in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Can we trust Pakatan Rakyat to be that agent for change? All I can see is the same shit that we see in Barisan Nasional. The only thing is the shit in Barisan Nasional is bigger. But shit is still shit, whatever the size.

I am proposing a meeting of the members of the civil society movements to discuss where we go from here. The focus must be about how to seek change as laid out in The Peoples’ Declaration. Can the current political structure serve our purpose of seeking this change? Can Pakatan Rakyat still be that agent for change?

I don’t know the answer to this, at least not yet. I hope that by December the scenario would be clearer and that by then we will know exactly what we must do. Is this aspiration an exercise in futility? Should I instead plan the rest of my life around just lazing in the sun on a Mediterranean beach with a drink in my hand and a cigar in my mouth?

I do not hide my disappointment and disgust with Malaysian politicians and Malaysian politics. I feel we can no longer trust politicians from both sides of the political divide. It may be time to take back power from the politicians and give it to the people. But how do we do that? I don’t know. And I hope by December it would be clearer.

I have choices as to what to do with the rest of my life, many choices, in fact. I can, if I want, be selfish and make a choice that serves me best. But that choice may not quite be what is best for Malaysia or for the people of Malaysia. So my final choice may have to be laced with some sacrifice and will have to take into consideration what is also good for Malaysia and Malaysians. And what that is I am yet to decide.

I suppose life is such. It is never so simple and straightforward. Anyway, let me stop here for the meantime and get back to my drums and hopefully by Christmas you and I will be clear in our minds as to what we need to do come the new year.

Perkasa unhappy with being attacked all the time

(Bernama) - Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) has lamented that the non-governmental organisation (NGO) continues to be treated as a punching bag by certain quarters just because it is defending Malay rights.

Its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said Perkasa was not a racist or extremist group as labelled by some quarters as it also rejected racism.

“As far as we are concerned, we are only defending Article 143 of the Federal Constitution, besides speaking up on economic issues as this is part of the democratic process,” he told reporters after launching the Kuala Langat chapter of Perkasa, here, today. Also present was Kuala Langat Perkasa chairman Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar.

Ibrahim was earlier asked to comment on the call by MCA Youth for the Barisan Nasional leadership to separate itself from extremists or extremist groups in the country.

The movement’s head Datuk Wee Ka Siong said this move was important in BN’s effort to lobby for the people’s support and in fulfilling its responsibility of looking after the interests of all communities, so that no group would be marginalised in the development process.

On Wee’s statement that MCA Youth respected the social contract and Federal Constitution, Ibrahim asked Wee to give his own definition and explain his understanding of the matter.

Ibrahim who is also Pasir Mas member of parliament, also questioned Wee’s stance of only criticising Perkasa’s struggle but did not do the same over Hindraf’s London-based chairman P. Waythamoorthy questioning the words of caution from the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, on Oct 4 over the issue of raising sensitive issues.

“He (Wee) also did not pressure the government to set up a royal commission of enquiry into claims that DAP leaders had benefited in terms of timber concessions when the opposition pact governed Perak.

“We were also called primitive which we don’t mind, as it can also mean ‘original’ and also because we are only defending Malay rights,” the Perkasa leader said.

Asked whether Perkasa had any plans to field a candidate in the next general due to increasing support for the NGO, Ibrahim said they did not think about it as Perkasa was not a political party and its focus was on uniting the Malays.

A plea for sanity over Perak DAP crisis

By Tunku Abdul Aziz

Perak DAP leaders must try, if they possibly can, to subordinate their personal ambitions and put the interests of the party above all else. The unseemly internal squabbling over local leadership is already causing considerable damage to the reputation of the DAP which has earned for itself, over the years in the face of great odds, enormous goodwill and credibility. Do you think it fair to put all the hard work and personal sacrifices of thousands of party members at risk to satisfy your craving for personal glory and power?

What has happened to the declaration of high-minded devotion to duty in the public interest? DAP does not exist in isolation. It is a vital part of the nation’s social, political and economic mosaic in a vibrant tangle of races, cultures and religions. We have as a party derived legitimacy from our consistency of purpose for the greatest good of the people of Malaysia. It is the height of lunacy to jeopardise what we have achieved so far and the party’s future prospects by greed-driven, irresponsible, behaviour.

While I concede that leadership infighting is the norm in politics, I suggest it is a luxury we can ill afford as we strive desperately to build a reputation for consistency, reliability and credibility. Our party must by our actions demonstrate that we put great store by principled leadership, and that individually as well as collectively, we are above pettiness of mind, deceit and greed. In other words we are a party motivated solely by considerations of service before self. We are different in the values we embrace; values that we believe can make a positive difference to the process of transformation so vitally important to ensure a sustainable future for ALL Malaysians.

Our most urgent task is to convince our fellow Malaysians that they can trust us to lead this country honestly, competently, and justly, without recourse to corruption. Why should they throw their support behind us if they could not distinguish us from the rest? We are under the minutest public scrutiny, and on the day of reckoning, they will deliver their verdict. That verdict will decide our political relevance.

While we would like to imagine that there would be overwhelming public support to propel us to Putrajaya, it would be a mistake to believe that this would be given on a silver platter. As Lim Kit Siang has said on several occasions, our success in the last general elections could well be a one term wonder unless we delivered on our promises, to the best of our ability. We have to earn public support not by intermittent rhetorical bombardment, but by remaining totally focused on issues that have continued to bedevil the nation with a view to excising them as we would cancerous cells so as to stop them dead in their tracks. We must curb our exuberance because “one sparrow does not a summer make.”

I fully acknowledge the very useful contributions of our younger members who are better educated than those in the past, but they must never fall into the temptation of supposing that because they have had the benefit of an overseas tertiary education, they have all the answers. They don’t. The confidence of youth is refreshing, but our younger members must realise that wisdom comes from wide experience and not from the confined cloisters and musty corridors of university life. No doubt they will learn from life’s harsh realities, sooner rather than later, for the sake of their party.

As a disciplined party, all in leadership positions must not expect special treatment if they go against party values and principles. Many believe that by virtue of their seemingly special relationships with those highly placed individuals in the party’s pecking order, they will receive special treatment of the sort we deplore in other parties. All levels of our leadership must discourage factionalism as this practice is guaranteed to divide loyalty and detract from the party’s main focus of bringing about changes to the governance of the country, through constitutional means. We profess to be a democratic party, and we should live up to our ideals. Anything less puts us in the same moral and ethical league of political parties we despair of and despise.

Doing what is ethically right by our party is no longer the luxury of the virtuous; it has become a political necessity for survival. Are we up to the challenge because otherwise Putrajaya could well turn into a grand mirage?

12 Kiled, More Than 40 People In Injured In Six-vehicle Crash

REMBAU, Oct 10 (Bernama) -- Twelve people were killed and more than 40 others injured in an accident involving two buses, a van and three cars at Km223 of the North-South Highway near the Simpang Ampat toll plaza here Sunday.

Police said in the 6.40pm tragedy, a bus heading towards Kuala Lumpur went out of control and flipped over to the southbound side of the highway.

He said it then was involved in collisions with a van and two cars before slamming into the side of a National Welfare Department bus.

Another car was also later involved in the pile-up but its occupants were unhurt.

So far the victims have yet to be identified.

The dead and injured were sent to the Tampin Hospital, Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital in Seremban and Melaka Hospital.

The incident caused massive traffic snarls on both sides of the highway.

Karpal may seek contempt move

The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Karpal Singh, the lead counsel in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s ongoing sodomy trial, may seek to have Rahimi Osman cited for contempt of court.

He said nothing should jeopardise the outcome of the trial, which was due to continue next week.

“Rahimi may well be in contempt of court by publicly clearing both the Prime Minister and his wife of the allegations against them in Anwar’s trial.

“The judges are human beings and they can be adversely affected by what they read in the newspapers,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Rahimi, who is Anwar’s former aide, recently claimed that he was forced to sign statutory declarations implicating Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor in the PKR leader’s ongoing sodomy trial.

Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who is also Anwar’s former aide, had accused Anwar of sodomising him.

On another matter, Karpal said he had written a letter to Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi, giving him one week to respond to allegations of corruption against him while he was in private practice.

Greed inflates property bubble

Greedy speculators, developers and even valuers, facilitated by easy credit from financial institutions, are inflating a property bubble. But the state is reluctant  to intervene effectively, erroneously leaving it to market forces to find an equilibrium.
But there is no equilibrium nor sanity in the market. Property prices are getting ridiculous.
Don’t take my word for it. Some choice comments from national House-buyers Association honorary vice-president Goh Seng Toh as reported in The Star:
“Prices of houses, like everything else, will go up at reasonable inflationary trends, but it should not be at the rate we are experiencing now.
“Greed and the market are driving up the prices. For every piece of land, developers want to maximise profits, and there is no social responsibility.”…  (Sorry, Goh, social responsibility is something they don’t understand.)“In the Klang Valley, there are no developers who are building affordable single-storey houses. Why build one when you can build a double-storey unit and sell it for twice the price?”…
Goh also discounts the fact that increasing construction costs translate directly to the current spiralling prices.
“We call it the ‘teh tarik syndrome’, when the price of sugar goes up by 10 sen, the price of a cup (of teh tarik) goes up by 10 sen as well.”
He explains that construction costs account for about 30% of the ultimate cost, so the drastic increase cannot be justified.
HBA honorary secretary-general Chang Kim Loong adds:
“It is a problem in bigger cities and towns, and on Penang island, for example, it is worse. Even those earning RM4,000 monthly cannot afford a place on the island. They have to go over to the mainland in the Prai area.”…
“The biggest reason is unsustainable demand, driven by easy credit availability and speculation.”…
Chang goes to the extent of stating that there is an artificial inflation of prices.
“There is an unholy alliance between developers, certain financial institutions trying to maximise profits and reach targets, and even valuers who collaborate,” he claims.
He gives an example of a project which when launched three years ago was RM400,000 per unit, but units in a current phase there now cost RM1.8mil.
“How is this possible? There has to be some reason for the trumped-up valuation and the banks extending the loan period to 35 years. These loans will spill over to the next generation,” Chang argues…
“If they can implement price controls for essential food items, why not for housing? Both are items of necessity, so why can’t they do that based on the same philosophy?” Chang queries.
It is not as if the government cannot intervene. It can – by setting restrictions on housing loans, fiddling with Capital Gains Tax, establishing price controls, curbing foreign speculators and setting minimum owner occupancy periods, among other things.
But I presume the cronies are also involved in property development, speculation and loan financing – and making big money in the process – so there is little incentive for the government to act decisively.
Meanwhile, the property bubble grows bigger and bigger…. while more and more of the lower-income group and the middle-class find themselves unable to afford a house of their own. How long can this bubble last?