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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Custodial death of son, mother wins case

Eight long years after losing her son while in police custody, a mother could find some consolation when a court ordered the government yesterday to pay damages for negligence by a court.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court's Judicial Commissioner Harminder Singh Dhaliwal, had found the police liable for negligence in the death of R Sundar Raju at the Klang police station.

"The plaintiff's claim is allowed with costs, and damages are to be assessed by the senior assistant registrar," Harminder ruled.

R U Muthammal, the mother, and R Dharmarajan, the deceased's brother, had named then Klang OCPD ACP A Paramasivam, Selangor police chief, the Inspector General of Police and the government as the defendants.

Sundara Raju, 32, a lorry attendant was arrested on Nov 11, 2002 and was remanded at the Klang district police lock-up, after his wife complained of domestic violence but wanted him to return to her and stop his drinking ways.

His mysterious death while in police custody had resulted in the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), to probe the death and it had visited the cell the same year.

Assaulted to death by nine inmates

The family claimed that police had assaulted Sundara Raju, during interrogation. When he was placed back in his cell, he was assaulted by nine other inmates sending him into a coma brought about by severe head and bodily injuries.

He died three days after he was hospitalised at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital. Subsequently, the inmates were charged and pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the Shah Alam High Court.

Lawyer M Manoharan who is also Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson, had submitted that police were negligent in their duties and could have averted the incident, by removing him from the cell which also held hardcore criminals like murderers.

He added that the police personnel's desk was situated close to the cell, and it was hard to believe they police had heard or saw nothing in preventing the incident.

Manoharan said they were negligent in ensuring the safety of the detainees, taking action to ensure his safety, detaining more than 10 person in a cell measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, failing to maintain law and order in the lock-up, and failing to perform their duties up to legitimate expectations.

He also said police had the control over the lock-up and were duty bound to ensure his safety.

Warisan Merdeka latest battleground between Pakatan and BN

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — The controversial 100-storey Warisan Merdeka skyscraper announced during the 2011 budget is fast becoming the latest battleground for voter support between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

The project, which promises to be a symbol of a modern and developed Malaysia, has been viciously attacked on all front by the opposition as well as ordinary Malaysians online since the proposal was mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last Friday.

Backed into a corner, BN lawmakers have insisted that the project would help drive the nation’s economy forward, while PR representatives have flayed the government for introducing yet another “white elephant” and falling into the trap of previous government administrations of introducing grandiose but otherwise underutilised projects.

The Najib administration has yet to explain how the projects would help drive the economy forward despite the huge building costs.

DAP Socialist Youth Chief (DAPSY) Anthony Loke confirmed today that PR will be using this issue to rally more public support to pressure the government to abandon the plans of the construction of RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka.

He said as of right now, PR viewed the matter as a number one priority and will be bringing it up in Parliament whenever possible, as well as the Galas and Batu Sapi elections.

“All of the Pakatan component parties are united and have a common stand on this issue...we feel that it is a complete waste of funds and is completely unnecessary. Although we will focus on other issues, this will be the most attention-seeking issue to be raised in Parliament as it has generated a lot of public response.

“We are not using this to score political points. If the widespread opposition to this project is any indication, then Najib must back off from building this building,” Loke told The Malaysian Insider.

The Rasah MP said that PR would go on nationwide speeches to educate constituents on the issue at hand, in an effort to pressure the Najib administration to abandon the plans for Warisan Merdeka.

“This will be highlighted during campaign speeches, mainly on BN’s wasteful spending, but it won’t be the main issue in Galas or Batu Sapi.

“We believe that if enough people oppose this project, we can stop it from being approved. judging from our experience with the sports betting licence, where the government did a u-turn on it, we believe that the government will eventually back down. Najib has a tendency of u-turning at the most crucial times,” said Loke.

PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar echoed Loke’s remarks, stressing that PR would “milk” this issue for all it was worth.

“Of course we will be following PKR Youth on a nationwide campaign to educate people because this involves everyone’s interests. Every chance we get, at every campaign, every speech we will make sure that the need to oppose this project is highlighted. What’s more it’s already mentioned online that a lot of people are against the Warisan Merdeka,” said Mahfuz.

Mahfuz told The Malaysian Insider that he had already brought up in Parliament the need for a Parliamentary Select Committee to review the Warisan Merdeka proposal before going ahead with the construction.

“I have mentioned in the Dewan Rakyat the need for a Select Committee to review and discuss the proposal before going ahead with any rash decisions...this committee should be headed by both BN and PR MPs, and at the end of the day we want ti make sure that the project actually benefits Malaysians, not just the government,” added Mahfuz.

BN parties, namely Umno have rallied behind the push for mega projects at its annual assembly and accused PR of being against growth for opposing the government’s plan to spend itself out of a stagnating economy.

Malaysians, who were recently declared the world’s heaviest users of Facebook, have turned to the social networking site to express their dismay over the proposal.

An anti-Warisan Merdeka page on Facebook called “1M Malaysians Reject

100-storey Mega Tower” has been signing up fans at an astonishing rate of over 1,000 fans per hour on Wednesday. It had 60,408 fans at 11.50 am yesterday, and hit 83,002 fans as at 10.01am this morning.

In his Budget 2011 speech, Najib said the rationale for the Warisan Merdeka tower was similar to that of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, in that it would serve as a symbol of a modern and developed Malaysia.

Najib stressed that the project would also have a “multiplier effect” on the economy and help drive it forward, in addition to providing an attractive commercial centre for Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera businesses alike.

The 19-acre development area of the mega project — which includes a condominium and a shopping mall — is sited on the car park and land adjacent to Stadium Negara and Stadium Merdeka.

BN representatives remain optimistic of the project’s prospects but have admitted that the government administration needed to be more transparent on the issue.

“I admit, we need to provide more details for the proposal to build this skyscraper. The Prime Minister must explain the total benefits of the project. And from what I’ve heard there are over 90,000 people who are against this..we need to explain to them the benefits of Warisan Merdeka,” said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Datuk S.K Devamany.

Devamany said that the government would not have introduced such a project without first going through its benefits or weaknesses.

“The project will boost the tourism industry as well as development. I believe that the Prime Minister would not have proposed the project without going through the pros and cons. PM would not allow one project to undermine his administration,” said Devamany.

The Najib administration has yet to explain how the projects such as the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka structure would help drive the economy forward despite the huge building costs - file pic
The MIC vice-president however was non-committal when asked whether the government would scrap the project if there was widespread opposition.

“That, I cannot say. Anything will be possible. If there is enough pressure, the government will review it,” said Devamany.

Umno MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed reiterated Najib’s views that the project would be as beneficial as past mega-projects like the KLCC and the Petronas twin towers.

“If you go back 12 years ago no one thought the Petronas towers would bring profits. But today its become a centre for Kuala Lumpur to attract foreigners. Foreigners are looking for an international office space, a venue and Warisan Merdeka can offer that. We need a building that meets international standards.

“I think its about timing, where we need to be concerned also about the future, not just today. I believe that once the project delivers results, the attacks against it will stop,” Nur Jazlan told The Malaysian Insider.

Umno’s young cleric makes AGM debut, calls for ulama wing

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — Islamic scholar Fathul Bari Mat Jahya (picture) who joined Umno last June addressed the party’s general assembly today, and called for the formation of an ulama council.

The son of former Perlis Mufti Mat Jahya Husin, also defended the Malay party’s approach in promoting Islam.

“I would like to propose the formation of Umno ulama council with the aim of coordinating politically-motivated religious rulings issued by political parties,” said Fathul Bari when debating the motion on religion and education.

“There have been inconsistencies in issuing statements,” he told the assembly.

Fathul Bari suggested that the members of the proposed ulama council would be appointed from all Umno divisions, and be made delegates to the annual assembly, the party’s highest decision making body.

“I propose that the members of the ulama council be appointed at every division. So every year, we will be able to gather 190 clerics at the Umno general assembly,” he said.

In his 20 minutes speech, Fathul Bari also defended Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the wife of the prime minister from attacks by PAS leaders.

He cited the protest against Rosmah’s presence at an Islamic fashion festival as an example.

PAS has planned to organise a nationwide protest over the issue claiming that during the festival a model was seen wearing a T-shirt with the Arabic word Muhammad.

“Recently we were faced with the issue of Datin Seri Rosmah’s presence at an Islamic fashion festival. The issue was played up by the opposition and she was blamed,” said Fathul Bari.

“If they are sincere they should have asked her in private, whether it was really her fault,” he said adding that Islam discourages reprimanding public officials openly.

Fathul Bari joined Umno along with 40 young clerics amid allegation of his group’s ties with the regional terrorist group Jamaah Islamiyah.

Fathul Bari and other clerics including former Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, were accused of being followers of the puritanical Wahhabi school of thought, dismissed the allegation.

Mohd Asri who was also rumoured to be joining Umno, changed his mind days before the group was supposed to handover their application to party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The term Wahhabi, also known as Sunnah Perlis, is often used to describe those who advocate purging Islam of practices that did not exist during the time of Prophet Muhammad.

But its followers prefer to call themselves Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, or people of the tradition of the Prophet.

Critics argued that the Wahhabi scholars’ interpretation of certain Islamic rituals often go against local practices.

SAPP picks Yong for Batu Sapi

By Queville To - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) will field its president Yong Teck Lee in the Batu Sapi by-election scheduled for Nov 4.

Yong was picked as the candidate by the party which cited his vast experience in politics and his popularity.

Meanwhile, it was also reliably learnt that PKRis most likely to field seasoned politician-cum- lawyer, Ansari Abdullah, who is also its Tuaran chief and a central leadership council member.

Ansari is among three shortlisted candidates announced by the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader, Anwar Ibrahim, during a news conference recently. The other two potential candidates are Sabah PKR chief, Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, and its Batu Sapi chief, Hassnar Ibrahim.

According to a senior PKR Batu Sapi leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the choice was based strictly on merit, and Ansari's name came out on top as he is the most qualified and suitable
candidate among the three based on his professional background as a senior, well-known lawyer in the state.

“We in Batu Sapi PKR are convinced that with his legal background, Ansari is the most qualified and suitable candidate for the job, with the possibility of representing the people of Batu Sapi
in Parliament if he wins the by-election.

“Gone are the eras of fielding any Tom, Dick and Harry in an election. We need someone who is brainy and really capable of representing the people in Parliament and not someone who is only good at pleasing his political masters, or making some derogatory remarks or clowning around. We need to choose the right candidate for the right job,” he said.

He also claimed that the decision to field Ansari was unanimous, with the backing of Hassnar.

Anwar is expected to announce the PKR candidate in Sandakan tomorrow morning.

As for the Barisan Nasional (BN), it was reliably learnt that it will most likely field the wife of the late incumbent Edmund Chong, Linda Tsen Thau Lin, 54.

The Batu Sapi parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of Chong in a road accident here on Oct 9.

PBS to woo 'sworn enemies'

By Michael Kaung - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: It wasn't so long ago that Sabah government leaders trained their guns on migrant workers from Indonesia and the Philippines who became “new Malaysians”. Short of murder, the leaders blamed them for all the state's woes.

But over the next few days, these new Malaysians will be wooed for their votes. And the reason is that they are among the 25,582 registered voters in the Batu Sapi parliamentary constituency.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), a Barisan Nasional (BN) component party, is contesting the seat. The irony is that PBS is a sworn enemy of these “foreigners”.

The tables have turned. BN and PBS need the votes of these so-called workers of foreign origin or new Malaysians as they hold the key to a comfortable BN victory in the Nov 4 election.

Local politicians estimate the number of new Malaysians at 5,000 among the 25,582 eligible voters on the electoral rolls that were updated on Oct 9 and will now be used in Batu Sapi

Election observers noted that the Umno election machinery is actively trying to locate this group of voters, half of whom are believed to be staying outside the constituency.

If they are successful, Umno could easily claim on paper to have about 6,500 voters including 1,500 postal votes in the bag prior to polling day. This gives PBS-BN a head-start before nominations on Oct 26, said a local politician.

PBS journey

The new election rolls, however, shows a shortfall of about 500 voters compared to the one used in the 2008 general election.

Batu Sapi has 25,582 voters, of whom 24,047 are ordinary voters and 1,535 postal voters, with 15,099 or 59.02% of the voters being Muslim Bumiputeras, 689 non-Muslim Bumiputeras (2.69%), 9,737 Chinese (38.06%) and others, 57 (0.22%).

Whichever way one looks at it, the coming election is incongruous for PBS, the born-again BN component party.

The Christian-dominated PBS ruled Sabah for nine years from 1985 to 1994. It first joined the BN a year after toppling the Berjaya government of Harris Salleh.

After a troubled relationship with the ruling coalition and on the eve of the 1990 general election, its president Joseph Pairin Kitingan abandoned BN and teamed up with Semangat '46 led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the BN chairman, described the PBS move as a stab in the back and ordered Umno's entry into Sabah where it has since become the dominant political party.

PBS won that election comfortably but its coalition partners at the federal level failed to deliver the goods.

In 1994, Pairin, facing growing federal government pressure for his BN betrayal and tied up with legal problems over “negotiated” contracts, called for state election days before the verdict in his corruption trial.

PBS again won with a narrow margin, taking 25 seats against the BN's 23.

However, due to defections by members of PBS, such as Bernard Dompok and Joseph Kurup, who formed new parties aligned to BN shortly after the election, PBS was forced out of power resulting in the BN forming the state government.

The outcome of this election and the defections gave birth to the term “katak” (frog) to explain the “jump” from party to party by politicians who had campaigned under a different party.

One of those who remained with Pairin after several of his assemblymen jumped ship was the late Edmund Chong Ket Wah who allegedly turned down large sums of money as an enticement to quit the floundering opposition party.

Phantom voters

Stunned by their removal from power, PBS leaders claimed that their poor showing in the election was because large numbers of migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia were hastily empowered to vote.

They claimed that the “extraordinary” population growth during the last few decades with illegal immigrants said to have been given citizenship based on false statutory declarations under the so-called “Project M or Project Mahathir” has changed Sabah’s ethnic make-up.

Politicians are said to have made use of “phantom voters” to decide the outcome of Sabah elections.

PBS supreme council member, Chong Eng Leong, now with PKR, marshalled an impressive array of facts and figures in a documentation of the illegal immigrants and phantom voters.

"It is feared that there will be 'a reverse takeover' of the state one day by foreigners, that is, if it is not already happening," he said in a book “Lest we Forget” he published recently.

After sitting on the sidelines for 12 years as an opposition party and shrilly but futilely protesting the steadily growing presence of migrant workers in the state, Pairin brought the party back into the BN fold once again in 2002.

In 2001, the High Court in Kota Kinabalu even ordered former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee, the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president, to vacate his state assembly seat, ruling that he won it in 1999 with the help of “phantom voters”.

Fast-forward to the present time, and Chong, who was by now PBS treasurer-general, won the Batu Sapi parliamentary seat uncontested.

In the 2008 general election, political observers said Pairin ironically depended on Umno's Muslim votes for the same seat when Chong had to fend off independent candidate, Chung Ong Wing.

Chong won the seat in the 2008 general election by a 3,708-majority after polling 9,479 votes against Chung's creditable 5,771 votes, nearly all of which were said to have come from the Chinese community.

Wooing Chinese voters

In this by-election, Sandakan politicians believe the Chinese will continue their rebellious streak given the anti-Umno sentiment at federal and state levels.

Small businessmen from the Chinese community are also chaffing at not getting a fair share of contracts from the administration of Chief Minister Musa Aman, the Sabah Umno chairman.

One Sandakan businessman had alleged that Musa and his boys are scooping even minor projects in the east coast for themselves.

He asked: “Do you know what Umno stands for? … Under Musa No Opportunities."

Musa, the neighbouring Sibuga assemblyman and election director of Batu Sapi election, is expected to spend lavishly to woo not only the Muslim votes but also the Chinese, given the disillusionment there.

He will be using his Sandakan hometown Chinese business partners, Sabah MCA chief Edward Khoo, former SAPP deputy president, Raymond Tan who is now in  Gerakan and party-less deputy chief minister Peter Pang to bring in the Chinese votes.

The first to benefit will be the Chinese independent schools. A dinner has already been planned in Sandakan tonight for distribution of the funds.

One political observer said the pressure is on Musa to deliver.

"He will be in a tight spot if he fails to get a bigger majority" in this by-election, the 13th in the country and the first in Sabah since the 2008 general election.

To win comfortably, BN will have to get at least more than half of the Chinese votes and three-quarters of the Muslim votes in a multi-cornered fight with SAPP and PKR candidates in the fray and with independents also expected to be fielded.

Pakatan Rakyat has appointed Sabah DAP chairman and Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu to make sure that the Chinese votes do not go to PBS and the SAPP.

SAPP will name their candidate today and PBS and PKR candidates will be named tomorrow.

Chong's death earlier this month in a road accident triggered the Nov 4 by-election.

Hawkers in 'Little India' see little business


By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Some call it a refugee camp. Some call it a construction site. Nestled near the the Tun Sambanthan-Travers junction in Brickfields, few know it as a hawker centre.

Hidden from public eye, the 68-lot centre is wedged between Jalan Tun Sambanthan and Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad, and spared the dust and smoke from nearby traffic.

It is also spared from one very important factor: customers.

Built against the main road, patrons in search of a meal tend to overlook these stalls, and head for the more obvious targets. Some, however, visit the lots nearest to their unsigned entrance, ignoring the ones further down.

VJ's Corner is one such lot. Its proprietor V Balasinggam, 57, has been frying burgers since the 80s. Three months ago, he was easily handing out over 100 buns a day. Today, he struggles to even sell 20.

A rarity among local burger sellers (most of whom are Malay), Balasinggam has been plying his trade for over 30 years. These past three months, however, have been one of his worst spells.

“It's a loss to be here, as we are making nothing,” he told FMT.

Trading in Brickfields for over 30 years, Rosni Zain has been facing a hard time since he was
relocated here by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) in mid-July, along with many other hawkers.

“Last time I was okay,” the vexed trader told FMT. “But now business has gone down by half. The only reason I am still in business is because of my regulars. Even then, my earnings are only enough for me to survive.”

Nothing in black and white

The relocation is part of the RM35-million “Little India” project, destined to turn Brickfields into a cultural hotspot, like Jalan Melayu and Petaling Street before it.

As old as the city itself, Brickfields was once home to a Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) depot and its accompanying quarters. The depot is now gone, replaced by the more contemporary KL Sentral business district.

In recent months, DBKL has gone to great lengths to transform this largely Indian residential district into something a little more commercial.

Old sidewalks have been ripped out in favour of larger, cemented ones. New tar has been stretched out over the roads, with brand new lamp posts and decorative arches lining both sides of the streets.

A massive fountain now sits at the intersection of Jalan Travers and Jalan Tun Sambanthan. At 7.62 metres, it will be the tallest of its kind in Malaysia.

But perhaps the biggest change here is the flow of traffic. Once a two-way system, most main roads here have now become one-way.

With construction undertaken by Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB), a government-linked company, the Little India project commenced in late June and was supposed to have been completed by Oct 15.

First built in June, the hawker centre was only meant as a temporary fill-in. The hawkers would return to their original locations after the development in the area was over.

“We appreciate their efforts in renovating the old place and putting us back there,” said Selvaraja Pillai, who plans to re-open his foodstall once development works are completed.

He added that the hawkers even came up with a “thank-you” banner for the government during the recent Merdeka celebrations.

However, none of them have seen this confirmation of being allowed to return to their previous location in black and white and are relying on the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry's verbal promises.

They also don't know what will happen to the temporary hawker centre after they have been moved back.

When FMT spoke to the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Deputy Minister M Saravanan, he said it was up to MRCB to do as it liked with the centre when all the construction dust had settled in Little India.

Not that it matters to the traders of the unnamed hawker centre, who had little say in the matter. Very few of them knew or heard about Little India until they saw the plans in the newspaper. Some did not even receive notices to vacate their former premises until the very last minute. They were moved to the centre in mid-July.

'11 shops selling mee goreng'

Once scattered along various spots, now they are forced to operate side-by-side. “Many of the stalls are selling the same thing,” said Selvaraja. “Eleven shops here sell mee goreng. How are we going to make business?”

Only half of the lots here are open for business. Like peas in a pod, all of them are similarly built. Larger businesses have had to take in two lots.

Ventilation in the lots is a short space between the zinc roof and brick wall. Compactly built, cooking smoke invades the airspace, something the hawkers never had to contend with before.

While there are roofs for the lots themselves, there is no proper cover for the walkways where patrons sit to eat. A few purple canopies have been provided by DBKL, but they are few and far in between.

Some of the traders have installed their own makeshift roofs for the walkways, crafted from zinc, wood and tarp. This poor cover is especially felt during heavy rain. In the afternoon heat, the place is akin to a furnace.

Although bitter with their relocation, a few are wary about talking to the media. While none of them have been expressly threatened by the authorities, the fear of retribution is still there.

One lady even tried to stop the writer from jotting down notes.

The hawkers claimed that Saravanan has asked them why they talked to the media instead of going to him directly.

“As ordinary people, we didn't know how to approach them (the minister),” said a hawker, who declined to be named, adding that Saravanan visits the centre every week.

“Maybe they are shy, or they don't know how to ask (questions),” the hawker added. “They fear that if they talk to the media, they will be 'punished'. They fear not being able to go back (to their original locations).”

Jeffrey wants new political model

By Joe Fernandez - Free Malaysia Today,

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah strongman Jeffrey Kitingan has begun working on a “New Political Model (NPM) for Malaysia under which anyone can be prime minister of the country”.

His concept paper on the NPM is expected to be ready within the next two months during which time he will be on leave from PKR.

He has already declined nomination on Oct 16 for any party post in the ongoing PKR elections and had said that he would not be taking up any position in the party.

“This time I am not going on a sabbatical like the last time (late last year),” said Jeffrey in recalling a previous occasion when he had expressed his unhappiness with PKR. “So, don’t read anything into my leave or link it with the party. I need the time off this time to also attend to some personal and family matters.”

He was speaking exclusively to FMT last night on the sidelines of a birthday function, his 62nd, in Kampung Minintod in the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu.

The press was not present. He had not initially planned to inform the press about the NPM “at this juncture but perhaps this could be a teaser”.

Jeffrey’s proposed NPM, in a nutshell, would also be designed to roll back the spread of the extreme racial polarisation in Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak over the years.

“We cannot deny the fact that Peninsular Malaysia is the pits when it comes to race relations,” said Jeffrey. “If we don’t do something about it, Sabah and Sarawak will be the unfortunate victims too. Future generations will suffer.”

He thinks that “some people in Peninsular Malaysia unlike us” (Sabah, Sarawak), have a problem with the Indians, Chinese and non-Muslims and would “continue to do so”.

Logical conclusion

Jeffrey dismissed the idea that the NPM was “a sudden development on his part”, saying that he had already mentioned his “unfinished business” at a press conference on Oct 16. He had then thanked all those who nominated him for the post of vice-president which he currently holds by appointment.

The “unfinished business”, he said, was mainly about the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights within the Federation of Malaysia.

“If we take the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights to its logical conclusion, then the issue of the prime minister’s post and race relations must also be included in the discussion,” said Jeffrey.

“We cannot continue to be part of a federation where we are deliberately denied the opportunity to occupy the prime minister’s post and where race relations are worsening by the day.”

Being denied the prime minister’s post or being discriminated on account of one’s race, said Jeffrey, is not something that Sabah and Sarawak bargained for when they agreed to help form the new Federation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, that is, 16 days after both states became independent on Aug 31, 1963.

He said that no one, under the Federal Constitution, can deny anyone the right to be prime minister of the country “but the practical reality is that current political models don’t open up the PM’s post to every citizen”.

“I have already completed a memorandum on the issue of Sabah and Sarawak rights,” said Jeffrey without saying who will receive it. “Now, it’s time to work on an addendum to the memorandum, that is, the NPM, for submission to the people.”

He noted that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is also flogging the idea of a NPM but expects nothing new to come out of this initiative.

“Najib’s rationale for a NPM is to supplement his so-called New Economic Model,” he said. “As he has stated, Umno’s old style politics of development and its pre-occupation with racist rant no longer works.”

New reality

Jeffrey doesn’t expect Najib’s NPM to bring “new hope to Sabah and Sarawak”. Instead, he sees Najib’s NPM as “more of the same thing that the people have come to expect from Umno since independence”.

Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN), he said, are failing models “since Malay-majority seats in Parliament and the state assemblies can no longer be taken for granted by the ruling elite”.

He thinks that it won’t be an easy task for Najib’s NPM to cope with the new reality that all ethnic-based seats in Malaysia, including Malay, are slipping from the hands of the BN.

At the same time, the Indian and Chinese communities in Malaysia and the urban dwellers are abandoning the BN, added Jeffrey.

“Umno could of course open up to the Indians and Chinese but it would never do it even if not doing so would kill the party eventually.”

“The ruling Malay pre-occupation in Peninsular Malaysia has also always been with the Indian and Chinese communities,” said Jeffrey. “They are more concerned about bottling up these two communities and denying an Indian or Chinese from ever becoming prime minister of the country.”

Jeffrey thinks that Najib’s NPM would be designed around the increasingly discredited concept of ketuanan Melayu (Malay political supremacy through one political platform).

New form of domination

For Sabah and Sarawak, he said, the last “tuan” (British colonialist) left on Aug 31, 1963 and the pre-occupation in the two states has been “to reverse their re-colonisation by Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia)”.

The issue of re-colonisation, disenfranchisement and statelessness is being addressed in his memorandum on Sabah and Sarawak rights, he said.

He denies the suggestion that his proposed NPM would be a new form of domination designed to place Sabah and Sarawak in the thick of the political action in the country.

“No one can levy the charge of political domination or colonialism when a member of a minority community becomes prime minister of the country,” said Jeffrey.

Under Jeffrey’s NPM, “the country will graduate from having only Malay prime ministers to one where we would have a Dusun, Iban, Indian or others as well in the post”.

Jeffrey disclosed that he once asked then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad “why a Sabahan could not be prime minister of the country”. Mahathir’s answer, according to him, was: “A Sabahan cannot be prime minister of the country. A Malaysian can.”

Jeffrey’s mission with his NPM, it seems, would be to determine whether Sabahans and Sarawakians are also accepted as Malaysians by the ruling elite and people in Peninsular Malaysia.

Jeffrey did not say whether his proposed NPM would find expression through the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, which has since announced a Common Policy Framework (CPF) to put it on the road to Putrajaya. It’s also not known whether the NPM would be an addendum from Sabah and Sarawak to the CPF.

The CPF had no input from Sabah and Sarawak but merely focused on merging the separate election manifestos of PKR, PAS and the DAP into one framework.

Umno tetap perkauman selepas 50 tahun merdeka

(Harakahdaily) - Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang berkata, ternyata setelah lebih 50 tahun merdeka, Umno tetap berwajah perkauman dan bersikap berpura-pura, bahkan menentang Islam.

“Justeru, kita tidak mempunyai pilihan dalam membangunkan negara yang makmur dan masyarakat yang adil, melainkan dengan mendaulatkan Islam dan ianya tidak akan tercapai melainkan dengan kita memperkasakan jihad,” ujarnya ketika menyampaikan ucaptama pada Ijtimak Kepimpinan PAS Negeri Terengganu ke-14 di Kampung Tanjung, Batu Rakit, pagi ini.

Pesuruhjaya PAS negeri, Datuk Harun Taib turut berucap pada majlis itu yang dihadiri sama Setiausaha Agung PAS, Datuk Mustafa Ali.

Mutakhir ini, katanya Umno BN sedang mengukuhkan strategi gerakan Islam Liberal melalui pengisytiharan kemasukan sekumpulan mereka yang dianggap sebagai ‘ulama muda’.

Menurutnya, mereka diharapkan oleh Umno menjadi barisan hadapan untuk menentang gerakan PAS di bawah kepimpinan ulama.

Mutakhir ini juga, tambahnya apabila PAS berjaya menubuhkan Dewan Himpunan Penyokong PAS, Umno BN menjadi sangat bimbang sehingga mereka mengambil langkah mempertajamkan semula gerakan perkauman dengan didokongi oleh beberapa NGO seperti Perkasa.

Menurut beliau yang juga Ahli Parlimen Marang, seperti yang sedia maklum Kerajaan Umno BN telah menyalahgunakan undang-undang untuk menghalang pelaksanaan Islam yang syumul.

Mereka, katanya komited untuk menghalang kemaraan PAS di mana pada hari ini bersama Pakatan Rakyat atau menyekat PAS daripada memerintah.

Katanya lagi, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri atau ISA 1960, Akta Hasutan 1948, Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti AUKU 1971, Akta Rahsia Rasmi 1972 dan Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan 1984 merupakan undang-undang yang berkaitan.

Mereka, ujarnya sentiasa menakut-nakut dan memperbodohkan rakyat seperti yang digambarkan di dalam surah az-Zukhruf, ayat 54 yang bermaksud: (dengan yang demikian), maka Firaun memperbodohkan kaumnya, lalu mereka mematuhinya; Sesungguhnya mereka itu adalah kaum yang fasik derhaka.

“Di atas kenyataan seperti inilah kerajaan Umno BN menggunakan jentera-jentera kerajaan untuk menekan rakyat.

“Mereka mempunyai kuncu-kuncu dan agen-agen dari golongan tertentu yang sanggup menindas dan merampas hak rakyat demi survival kepentingan mereka,” ujarnya lagi.

Beliau turut menyentuh mengenai media yang berat sebelah di Malaysia juga menjadi faktor besar penghalang kepada jihad yang didokongi PAS.

“Lihatlah siapa yang memiliki media elektronik negara kalau bukan Umno BN. Siapakah pemilik TV3, RTM, NTV9?

“Siapa pula pemilik akhbar arus perdana Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, New Straits Times kalau bukan Barisan Nasional?

Baginya, media itulah yang digunakan untuk memberi persepsi yang negatif terhadap PAS dan parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat di mana kerap kali PAS digambarkan sebagai parti ekstrimis.

Tambahnya lagi, dengan media itulah mereka menguasai minda rakyat yang mana propaganda demi propaganda dilancarkan melalui media demi meneruskan kezaliman mereka.

“Setiap waktu, musuh selalu menakut-nakutkan kita melalui media dengan menyebarkan berita-berita bohong dan membentuk persepsi negatif bagi memecahbelahkan saf perjuangan kita.

“Didiklah diri kita agar tidak mengikuti apa yang kita tidak ketahui tentangnya,” katanya.

Justeru, beliau mengingatkan pendukung PAS agar jangan tergolong dalam orang yang disebut oleh Nabi s.a.w. sebagai pembohong hanya kerana menceritakan apa sahaja yang dia dengar walaupun berita yang dibawa adalah bohong.

Beliau juga menyentuh mengenai rakyat dan pengundi yang jahil di mana pepatah ada menyebut "kamu adalah musuh kepada apa yang kamu jahil".

Ini, katanya kerana rakyat dan pengundi yang tidak mendapat maklumat yang sepatutnya menyebabkan persepsi mereka terhadap PAS menjadi negatif.

“Kejahilan inilah menjadi senjata Umno BN untuk memancing undi mereka setiap kali pilihanraya berlangsung,” ujarnya.

Menurutnya, punca rakyat menjadi jahil adalah disebabkan dua faktor penting iaitu malas membaca dan penguasaan media oleh Umno Barisan Nasional.

Tambahnya lagi, memang jelas bahawa antara penghalang kepada rakyat untuk bersama dengan jihad PAS ialah kejahilan mereka terhadap kebenaran jihad perjuangan PAS dek kerana tipudaya melalui propaganda media Barisan Nasional.

“Inilah gerak kerja golongan munafik yang sentiasa mencari jalan untuk melemahkan semangat juang umat Islam untuk berjihad menentang kebatilan mereka,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, tegasnya PAS haruslah memainkan peranan sebagai pendidik masyarakat melalui program-program ilmu seperti kuliah, ceramah, tazkirah dan seumpamanya yang hendaklah diatur dengan sebaiknya bagi menangani kejahilan masyarakat terhadap Islam dan perjuangan PAS itu sendiri.

Report of the Federation of Malaya (part 2 of the series on the Social Contract)




A Constitutional Conference was held in London from 18th January to 6th February 1956 attended by a delegation from the Federation of Malaya, consisting of four representatives of the Malay Rulers, four representatives of the Alliance Party (the Chief Minister of the Federation, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and three Federation Ministers), and also by the British High Commissioner in Malaya and his advisers. This is a report of that conference.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin



Two-generation home loans may bankrupt the next generation

Philip Ho,

Petaling Jaya, Oct 23 – Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung has urged house buyers to sign up two-generation housing loans so that more Malaysians can afford to own houses.

“The most important thing is for the individual to own a house for his family to live in. If loan repayment is extended to the second generation, that means the family will remain intact,” said Chor yesterday after launching the Malaysia Building Society Bhd’s Ultimate Mortgage programme on Friday (Oct 22).

Chor said that the newly announced 2011 Budget also encouraged the two-generation loan term while denying that the move would increase the financial burden of the next generation.

“I don’t think it is a burden for the next generation because the repayment will be spread over a long period and the younger generation are financially strong. They can even buy a second house,” he added.

Klik4Malaysia (K4M) contacted Selangor state government’s chief executive of economic advisory Rafizi Ramli for comments from an accountant’s perspective, regarding the implications on the younger generation’s financial burden.

Rafizi expressed disappointment that the federal government was not addressing the country’s alarmingly high household-debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio of 78% (RM 561.5 billion).

“The household-debt is primarily made up of car loans and housing loans and by stretching the loan period to two generations, you are forcing the next generation to bear a heavy financial burden as soon as they start work,” he said.
Rafizi then explained that with the current housing loan period of 30 years, a house owner would be paying accumulated interests that would be almost similar to the principal sum.

“If the loan is stretched to two generations, they (family) will be paying two to three times the amount of a house bought 60 to 70 years ago. Why is the housing ministry endorsing this proposal of prolonged debt on top of already high household-debt? he asked.

Rafizi said it was the first time he had heard of a government endorsing a two-generation loan, adding that it has never happened in the USA, Europe or even in the South East Asian region.

He also expressed concern that the younger generation would be bearing a financial burden that would be several times heavier than their parents because principle value of the currency may not be the same in 10 years.

“For example the value of RM100 may not be the same in 10 years due to inflation and also currency depreciation.

“Because of inflation and depreciation of money, over a time period, the next generation will already face lower purchasing power and by dumping such a huge financial burden on them, you are practically forcing them to live in debt,” Rafizi said.

He urged the ministry and also the federal government to control property speculation so that houses can be more affordable rather than allow developers and real estate agents reap over-inflated profits at the expense of the people.

When asked if Malaysia could face another property bubble like USA, he said, “The risk of a property bubble is not that high. Currently, our banking industry’s re-mortgage facilities are still tightly regulated as compared to America.

“I am more worried about the risks of individual bankruptcy because there will come a time when the people can no longer afford to pay their mortgages because they are tied down with so much debt.”

Consensus on ‘social contract’ imperative

By Clive Kessler | Malaysiakini

The nature of the current disagreement about “the social contract” should be clearly identified.

Nobody is seriously suggesting that “the social contract” be repudiated, set aside, rejected. Nobody is arguing that it is fictive, a pure fantasy, an illusion. On all sides, everyone in their own way is arguing that it should be honoured, respected and upheld.

People just need to be clear, and find a way to agree, what its terms were, what “upholding the social contract” means and entails.

People are broadly agreed that in the years between 1955 and 1957 certain basic inter-ethnic or inter-communal understandings were reached. Through them a national “accord” was solemnly affirmed and politically “enshrined” that made the nation possible.

Known informally in earlier times as “the Merdeka agreements” or “Merdeka understandings”, these were subsequently, in the 1980s, relabelled, or as people now say “rebranded” with a new identity as “the social contract”.

Embodied within the constitution, these agreements – this national “accord” or inter-communal “compact” – became the foundation of Malayan, and later Malaysian, nationhood.

Within the current debates, people on both sides of this question broadly agree on this.

There is basic disagreement, however, about what those agreements were, what they provided, what their terms precisely specified.

In retrospect, different parties have construed them differently and have, at times, enlarged or “inflated” the import of those parts of the agreements, or their preferred notions of them, that they found congenial, that seemed to their sectional political liking.

There is now an urgent need for people on both, indeed all, sides of this question – and all Malaysians generally – to understand what exactly those agreements now designated as “the social contract” in fact were.

Malaysians need to reach a historically well-founded consensus concerning “the social contract”, what its terms were at the nation’s formative moment and in its founding experience, and what it means today and for the future. The coherence, strength and political sustainability of the nation require no less.

‘Ketuanan Melayu’ not part of the deal

It needs to be widely understood that, whatever they provided and mandated, “Ketuanan Melayu” was not part of what those agreements enshrined.

Any suggestion that Malay political domination in perpetuity, continuing Malay “ethnocratic” ascendancy over other Malayans (and now Malaysians), was any part of those foundational agreements now designated as “the social contract” is simply wrong.

Those who argue to the contrary that Ketuanan Melayu is a constitutionally guaranteed “foundational” component of Malaysia’s national sovereignty and international public identity are disingenuous, mischievous, or simply ill-informed.

The attempt to “read back” subsequent notions of Ketuanan Melayu into ideas of “the social contract” and in that way to embed them within newly fashioned but quite dubious views of the constitution is simply an exercise in anachronistic revisionism.

It is the duty of serious historians and legal scholars to say so.

CLIVE S KESSLER is emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the School of Social Science and International Studies at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Expert not sure if Teoh wrote note

The Star
SHAH ALAM: A handwriting examiner in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest could not be certain that a note found in the political aide’s sling bag was written by him.

Wong Kong Yong, who is attached to the Chemistry Department, said there were insufficient corresponding Chinese characters for comparison between the note and a cash voucher that were given to him.

However, he told coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas yesterday that the initials on both documents showed similar handwriting characteristics, adding that in his opinion, the initials on both documents were probably written by the same person.

The initials on the note and voucher also had similar characteristics with those on Teoh’s 10-page witness statement given to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Wong, however, agreed with Teoh’s family lawyer Gobind Singh Deo that the initials could also be visually different.

To Gobind’s suggestion that the initials were unlikely from the same person, Wong said: “I do not agree with your contention. The visual difference is due to natural variation.”

He said Teoh’s signature could be considered simple, adding that it was possible to reproduce a simple signature or initial.

Wong also told the inquest that the romanised writing on the note shared similar characteristics with that found in a notebook.

“This handwriting was probably written by the same person,” said Wong.

The note and notebook were among the documents in Teoh’s sling bag, which was found at the MACC office located on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam.

The documents created a stir when investigating officer ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal tendered them 10 months after the inquest began.

Besides the note, notebook and voucher, a visa card from a local bank and three pens were also found in the bag, handed over to Wong,

Wong said the ink used to write the note also matched that from the two Kilometrico pens given to him from Teoh’s bag.

Teoh, 30, the political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16 last year on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam after giving evidence at the office of the Selangor MACC on the 14th floor.

Witnesses in the dark over machete in car

The New Straits Times
By Rita Jong

SHAH ALAM: The mystery surrounding the machete found in the car allegedly driven by Aminulrasyid Amzah the night it crashed following a high-speed chase remains unanswered.

According to witnesses who testified at the Sessions Court yesterday, they had never seen the rusty machete before, let alone place it in the car.

The machete was found under the front passenger seat of a white Proton Iswara which was said to have been driven by the teenager.

His sister, Tuty Shahninza Amzah, 36, said she had been using the car since 2007 until the incident and had not put the machete in the car.

The car belonged to her father-in-law.

When deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar showed her the machete, she said: "This is not mine. I do not know who it belongs to."

Tuty was testifying at the trial of Corporal Jenain Subi, 48, who is charged with causing the death of Aminulrasyid, 14, in Jalan Tarian 11/2, Section 11 here, between 1.10am and 2am on April 26.

She said Aminulrasyid, her youngest brother of eight siblings, a Form Three student, had never driven a car before and did not have a driving licence.

The courtroom fell silent when Dusuki showed her two post-mortem photographs of her brother to identify.

Tuty looked at the photographs for a good 10 seconds before replying in the affirmative and was seen wiping tears from her eyes.

Dusuki: Do you know what happened to Aminulrasyid?

Tuty: He was shot dead.

Tuty, who lives in Taman Sri Andalas in Klang, said she went to her mother's house in Jalan Mak Yong 11/2G here on April 25 late evening to stay overnight with her three children.

"I parked my car at the porch, left the car keys in the living room and saw my brother doing his homework at the dining table," she said.

"Aminul then wanted me to make fried rice and we later ate together with my children and mother."

After dinner, she went upstairs to sleep while he continued doing his homework.

At 3am, Tuty said she was woken up by a telephone call from her husband, who was in Klang, asking her the whereabouts of her car as he had received a call from the police saying that the car was involved in a "case".

"I went downstairs to check the car and it was gone.

"I then checked to see if my siblings were in their rooms, only to realise that Aminul was missing," she said, adding that she then walked outside the gate of her mother's home and saw police vehicle lights at the end of the road," she added.

"I walked towards the scene and saw my car along Jalan Tarian 11/2.

"I asked the police what had happened, who and where the driver was, but they refused to speak."

Tuty then went back to the house and tried calling Aminulrasyid on his handphone but the calls went unanswered.

She also tried calling his friends but to no avail.

She said when the car was towed to the police headquarters in Section 11 at 7am, she noticed a bullet hole at the back windscreen and blood on the front seats.

"My mum and siblings went to the police station at 10am that day and were told to go to the hospital in Klang to identify his body," she said, adding that she later joined them at the hospital.

Speaking calmly, Tuty, who was then an assistant to a company chairman, described her brother as a smart and active boy.

"He plays football every evening and when my children go over to the house, he would also teach them Mathematics.

"He never answers back, he was very 'manja' with my mother and he did not have disciplinary problems," she said.

To a question by counsel Salim Bashir, who is representing Jenain, Tuty admitted that she was shocked to learn that Aminulrasyid had driven her car that night.

Tuty's father-in-law, Mahali Ramlan, 69, a retiree, and her husband, Muzafar Mahali, 36, an operations manager, also testified that they had never seen or placed the machete in the car.

Hearing continues before judge Latifah Mohd Tahar on Oct 28.

Court fixes Dec 3 for verdict in Kugan case

The Star

PETALING JAYA: A Sessions Court has fixed Dec 3 for its verdict in the case of A. Kugan, who died in police custody.

In the dock is Kons V. Navindran, who claimed trial to two charges of causing grievous hurt to 23-year-old Kugan.

The policeman is alleged to have committed the offences at the interrogation room of the serious crimes branch office at the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya, at 7am and 4pm on Jan 16 last year.

Kons Navindran, who is attached to the Subang Jaya district police station, is alleged to have caused grievous hurt to Kugan to extort a confession or information, which may lead to the detection of an offence or misconduct.

If found guilty, the father of two could be jailed up to 10 years and fined for each charge under Section 331 of the Penal Code.

Judge Aslam Zainuddin also fixed Nov 8 for the prosecution to add more arguments in their submission.

The defence is to reply to the prosecution’s submission by Nov 22.

Now here come the smelters…

Smelters are set to sprout in Sarawak to guzzle the energy that is expected to be produced by Bakun Dam, now that the government appears to have given up on the submarine cables.
This is the situation at the moment:
Press Metal Sarawak Sdn Bhd-Sumitomo Corp
Current capacity – 60,000 tonnes.
First phase – 120,000 tonnes.
Second phase – 240,000 tonnes.
Salco: Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS)-Rio Tinto Alcan
Planned capacity – 720,000 tonnes. This would make it one of the largest in the world.
GIIG Holdings Sdn Bhd-Aluminium Corp of China Ltd (Chalco)
Planned capacity – 330,000 tonnes.
The power for these energy-intensive plants is likely to come from Bakun. Sarawak state wants to acquire the dam for RM6.2 billion, but the final cost of the dam is around RM7.3 billion. (Who will bear the difference?)
Aluminium smelting process flowchart - Source: agmetalminer.com
With all these smelters coming on line, it’s only a matter of time before spin-off upstream refining come in. That’s where the environmental risk will rise.
Check out an analysis of the Hungarian alumina refinery disaster (on the agmetalminer.com website), where red mud with high PH value spilled out.

Cambodia's poor butterfly hunters



The ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia's Siem Reap province is one of Asia's great heritage sites.
But despite the hundreds of millions of US dollars in tourism revenue it brings in per year, the province remains one of the poorest in the country.

Aela Callan reports from Siem Reap on how many children have to resort to catching butterflies to help scratch out a living.
Source:
  Al Jazeera

MCMC targets Malaysiakini again

HRP to meet Hilary Clinton in KL: Help stop Islamaphobia and Indian minorities denied constitutional rights to statehood, education, employment, business opportunities, upward mobility opportunities etc.


Date: 22nd October 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

US Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton,

We are the Human Rights Party of Malaysia and we represent the interests and rights of the marginalized minority Indian Malaysians. We write this letter to your goodself as the Secretary of State of the United States of America who supports causes around the world for political renaissance and for democratic, economic and social reforms. We wish to bring to your attention some aspects of life in Malaysia to clarify the true state of human rights and minorities rights here. As you prepare to make your first trip to Malaysia as Secretary of State from the 1st to the 3rd of November 2010, we urge you to make human rights and minorities rights issue a prominent topic in your public and private discussions with the Malaysian leadership with the clarity we hope to provide.

Your visit will certainly shape the relationship between Malaysia and the United States of America for the years to come. The long established trade and commercial ties is now to be enhanced by increased defence and diplomatic ties in the Obama administration. This effectively represents a deepening of the relationship between the two countries. Malaysia is a frontline state in Asean, which itself is a frontline region for the United States vis-à-vis US strategic interests. This position makes it imperative for Malaysia to rise up to the standards and norms of a frontline state and ally of the United States of America. Malaysia however, has fallen short of that high standard in not living up to universally accepted human rights norms, especially in its treatment of minorities in the country. We attach a detailed Malaysian Indian Minority and Human Rights violation Annual Report 2009 and as is reported on a day to day basis in our website www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com for your further understanding.

We understand from the pronouncements of the Malaysian Government that the United States would like to use the model of Malaysia as a moderate and progressive Muslim state to the rest of the Muslim world and for Malaysia to be used to the rest of the world to deal with Islamophobia.. The advancement of human rights and minority rights indeed becomes even more imperative if that is an additional strategic dimension that the United States of America sees in this relationship. In this context let me quote Barrack Obama’s proclamation to the world in his Presidential Inaugural Speech:

“To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”—President Barack Hussein Obama’s Inaugural Address (January, 2009)

Before embarking substantially on this path it is necessary first that the model chosen be indeed the model the United States of America wants. By reviewing the many details in the Report we attach, it will become clear to you that there is a tacit, subtle and strong move away from the universally recognized democratic values. The movement rather, is towards what would be considered a racist and religious supremacist apartheid type of regime. Tacit, we say, because it is not commonly visible as a result of the state

policy of suppression of information. Subtle we say because it is pervasively woven into state policies in ways that what is constitutionally guaranteed is procedurally denied to the minorities. All with tacit State support. The trajectory of this tendency is more rather than less of these abuses. Looking into the future, it will not exactly be the model that the United States of America seeks without some intervention to change this performance by the Government of Malaysia.

Let me give you two specific examples of this tendency. The first is the slow encroachment of the Syaria court into the precincts of the Constitutionally sanctioned Civil Courts. The Federal Constitution clearly only established the Civil courts. It was amended in 1988 to recognise the existence of the Muslim Syariah Courts which were set up to be inferior courts to the Civil High Courts with intent to adjudicate on Islamic family and property matters. However the Syariah Courts have crossed their boundaries and jurisdictions and are now significantly usurping the powers and duties of the Civil High Courts, in so many recent incidents. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as this slow and systematic Islamisation of the country has spread in steady terms for the last 30 years, not only with the Syaria Legal system but in so many other aspects of common life, a deeper study will reveal. The second example is the fact that the civil service is almost entirely of the majority Malay ethnic group. Through this overwhelmingly monoethnic composition of the administration the Government operationalises what we call its near apartheid policies of depriving the minorities of their constituionally guaranteed rights in all spheres of life – staehood, education, employment, business opportunities, development programs, discrimination in all affairs between minorities and the

Government. These are detailed in the attached report.

As much as these issues may be sensitive given the intricacies of international diplomacy, we feel that unless there is positive intervention,

there will not be adequate political will to make the changes necessary to rise to the occasion. We can see some rhetorical movements in the position of the Government in response to some of the pressure that has been mounted on them recently in various for and from this we do know that they will respond to the right kinds of suggestions from the right quarters.

In specific we urge that you raise on this visit the following issues:

· Authority of Civil Courts: The return of the rights of the Civil Courts as enshrined in the Malaysian Federal Constitution and the resetting of the authority of the Syaria Courts according to the laws of the country as a first requirement to promoting a true democracy in a multiethnic and multi religious national setting needs to happen.

· Equal rights and equal opportunities for Minorities in the country: The minorities of the country whether ethnic or religious be accorded equal right as citizens of the country and the Government of Malaysia to recede from a regime of dual levels of citizenship akin to the separation in the apartheid regime in the areas of statehood, education, employment, freedom of religion, land matters and development programs to name a few key areas. The government must change its policies on equal rights and equal opportunities to reflect true equality.

· Abuses against Human Rights Defenders: P. Uthayakumar of our party has been charged in court under the Seditions act for having raised Human Rights issues in very forthright terms. He has already spent 514 days in prison under the draconian Internal Security Act for that same charge. Such abuses against Human Rights defenders must be stopped

· The violations of the Malaysian Federal Constitution: The use of extraconstitional methods to deny what is guranteed in the constitution has been a facet of Malaysian life which accelerated greatly from the 1980s during Dr.Mahathir’s tenure. This needs to be stopped. Article 153 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution clearly states that the King has the responsibility for safegurading the special position of the Malays and also the legitimate interests of all the rest of the nation. What has been operationalised and emphasised is the safegurading of the special position of the Malays and what has been conveniently ignored and consciously neglected is the legitimate interests of in particular the ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia especially of the marginalised Indians, resulting in the emergence of what we call the near apartheid regime.

We strongly urge that you raise these issues during your visit here, dear Secretary. We are aware that the US’s agenda with Malaysia is a broad one, but we believe that the mutual goals of the people of the United States of America and Malaysia can be attained through this meaningful intervention.

We would like to make a request for a delegation of 3 to meet with you during your visit to Malaysia on any of the days from the 1st to the 3rd of November. We would like to present you our views in some more detail. We will appreciate if you will grant us this request.

Thank You

Yours faithfully,

P. Uthayakumar

Secretary General (Pro-Tem)

Human Rights Party Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

cc. Paul W Jones

United States of America Ambassador-designate to Malaysia

US Embassy

376, Jalan Tun Razak, Fax : 03-21489192

50400 Kuala Lumpur E-mail: mariatimy@state.gov

Kurt Campbell

Assistant secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific affairs

US Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Jim Steinberg

Deputy Secretary of State

US Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Mr. James Bangert

Malaysian Desk Officer Fax : 202-647-7350

US department of State E-Mail: BangertJ@state.gov

2201, C Street NW

Washington DC 20520

Anti-Warisan Merdeka Facebook campaign hits 100,000 mark

A screenshot of the page tonight.
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — As at 9.20pm tonight, more than 100,000 have signed on to a Facebook campaign opposing the Najib administration’s Warisan Merdeka skyscraper.

The proposed 100-storey building in the city, has stirred up spontaneous grassroots opposition, moving the issue to the front and centre of current Malaysian politics.

More so impressive is the pace of recruitment — that only seven days ago Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the plan, during his budget speech. It is clear the groundswell opposing it is considerable and now has shaped into a major political minefield for the Barisan Nasional(BN) government.

It began with the Facebook page “1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower” being created anonymously soon after the announcement.

Those who have backed the campaign are ordinary Malaysians who use the popular social networking site.

“Malaysians saying no to the RM5-Billion 100-storey Mega Tower proposed by PM Najib in the 2011 budget. Malaysia needs better education, better health care, better public transportation, safer neighbourhood, cleaner water, but not taller building(s). We don’t need another white elephant! Are you ready for action?

“Announcement to be made when we reach 100,000,” said the administrator of the Facebook page earlier today.

Last Friday, Najib announced Permodalan Nasional Berhad’s (PNB) initiative to complete the RM5 billion construct by 2015.

“A few months ago,some Minister said that the country will be going bankrupt if subsidies are not withdrawn.... so this is why the subsidies were withdrawn... to build another “Mega White Elephant “ project.

“While the people suffer, our leaders are finding more ways to rob the nations depleting wealth !!At this rate in 20...20 Malaysia will become a fully developed Zimbabwe or worse!!” said one of the comments on the page by a Natalie Ho.

Another fan, Kirksman Teo claimed that the government’s push for the building indicated that they had learnt the lesson from their losses in the last general elections.

“A leader once said, the people should not fear the government, the government should. Rightly so.

“Now... Why the devil does the government refuse to listen to the people once again?... Knowing very well that the last time they lost, it was because they didn’t listen,” said Kirksman.

Expectedly, opposition politicians like DAP’s Lim Kit Siang have entered the fray, providing live updates of the growing number of Facebook fans every hour.

The anti-Warisan Merdeka Facebook page has 102,739 fans as at 10.21pm tonight.

In contrast, a pro-Warisan Merdeka fanpage on Facebook has only 244 members as at the same time.

The Najib administration could now be faced with a major hurdle in winning over support for what was supposed to be a symbol and pride for all Malaysians.

'Rights of other races never ignored'

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah Umno delegate Mohd Salleh Tun Said said today the government had never ignored other races as their rights were clearly spelt out in the Federal Constitution and this fact should be accepted by all.

He hoped the government would not hesitate to act against anyone who attempt to destroy the nation.

He also urged leaders to personally go down and meet the people to better understand their needs in order to discourage them from going to the alternative media to voice their grievances.

“At the same time, the leaders at the federal level should give ample space for Sabah to play its role and contribute to the nation,” he said when debating the presidential address.

“We in Sabah do not want to be labelled as fixed deposit and as such, should also be given the chance to select our own candidates,” he added.

Puteri Umno delegate Fahariyah Md Nordin urged the government to chart a new strategy to impart knowledge of the country’s history to the younger generation so that they would know Umno’s struggles and not forget the party’s contribution.

She suggested that this should be made a compulsory subject in schools.

A delegate from Penang, Mohamad Farid Saad, said the Malays, particularly those in Penang, should admit that they had lost out as far protecting their rights is concerned.

“The DAP has taken away land owned by Malays in Penang and this reflects how critical the situation is over there. We hope the federal government would do something to return the land to the right owners,” he added.

International sympathy

Umno Foreign Clubs’ representative Mohd Rizal Abdul Rahman claimed that many leaders from the opposition parties went to universities overseas to spread their ideology and influence among Malaysian students there.

He said opposition parties had set up a “Friends of Pakatan” club overseas aimed at running down the government to gain international sympathy.

Kedah delegate Osman Aziz called on the government to give local contractors the chance to build the proposed Menara Warisan, saying that these contractors were on par in skills and experience with their foreign counterparts.

“How would it look like if such a building is constructed by foreigners?” he added.

Negri Sembilan delegate Jalaludin Alias, meanwhile, urged Umno to seriously woo the young voters who would be the determining factor in the coming general election.

He said that Umno needed to use the appropriate approach to get closer to the younger generation, given the change in the country’s political landscape.

He added that leaders of Umno Youth and Puteri should take steps to get closer to the younger generation whose writings in the new media reflected their sense of discontent for being sidelined by the government.

“At the same time, Umno leaders should give enough space to the grassroots to voice their views and opinions in the selection of candidates for general election.

“The quota system in allocation of seats for the coming general election should also be reviewed to take into account which community is the majority.

“The traditional method of allocating seats can no longer guarantee victory,” he added.

Jalaludin also said that sensitive issues like the social contract should not be discussed openly.

Najib traps Umno in economic Catch-22

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and G Vinod - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: An Umno delegate has suggested that the party was now trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea due to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's economic policies.

Casting doubts on the Economic Transformation Programme's (ETP) ability to bolster the fiscal growth for the Malays, Federal Territory Umno's Johari Abdul Ghani said the government was now forced to deal with two sides of the same coin.

Heads, the need to maintain Umno's Malay power-base which was demanding that its “given” economic share remained intact and tails, the growing call for economic liberalisation from non-Malay voters.

"Is the government ready to face them?" he asked during the presidential speech debate on the economy at the Umno general assembly here.

Johari's question was a tell-tale sign that some in the party remained unconvinced with Najib's rationale to remove race-based eonomic policies.

There were also doubts that despite the strong assurance by Najib, who is also Umno president, yesterday that Malay economic rights remained unshakable and that race-based affirmative action would carry on in the New Economic Model (NEM), there were no guarantees that it would not be challenged by the non-Malays.

'We've spirit, no network or capital'

Johari, the Titiwangsa Umno division chief, contended that many Malay businesses lacked the capital and capacity to contribute to the RM1.4 trillion in investments needed to push the economy and Malaysia towards a developed nation by 2020.

"How many Malay businesses are there with capital and capacity to contribute to the ETP? Malay entrepreneurs only have spirit but we lack network and working capital to move forward," he said.

The government believes the initiatives laid out under the ETP would lure the private sector into contributing to some 92% worth of domestic and foreign direct investments to the required amount as it aims to transform the government's cash-dependent economy into a private-driven one.

However, economists and the opposition were sceptical that the private sector would bite the bait. Data showed that private investments in the economy remained relatively low with insignificant increase since the past 10 years.

Johari agreed that the government had no choice but to implement the ETP but said the government had not done enough to assist and enhance Malay economic capabilities to compete on a level playing field once the economy was opened up under the NEM.

On a more constructive note, the Umno delegate urged the government to set up a Permodalan Nasional Berhad-like institution but this one would focus on training Malay entrepreneurs and equipping them to face the challenges of a high-income nation.

He also called for an increase in allocation to banks like BSN, Agro Bank and Exim Bank. This was to empower them to fund Malays entrepreneuers venturing into small and medium enterprises, a sector which Najib had indicated would be one of the main drivers of the ETP.

Johari claimed that there was also a tendency to overlook successful Malay businesses on the part of the government.

This, he suggested, could be rectified through the setting up of a comprehensive database of Malay businesses.

"This will be helpful for non-Malay entrepreneurs to find a credible Malay partner with good track record for their business ventures," he said.

No tower please, we're Malaysians

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: In a massive chorus of disapproval, 100,000 Malaysians on Facebook have come out in protest of the proposed Warisan Merdeka tower.

The group called "1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower" was formed earlier this week after the skyscraper was first announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in Budget 2011.

The 100-storey tower, which will be developed by the country's largest fund management company, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), will cost about RM5 billion. Construction will commence next year, and is expected to be completed by 2015.

Criticising the government's decision, many of the group's members ticked off the government for not using its money wisely.

"This idea is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone with any leadership or governmental sense would know that buildings do not solve the social issues and the unrest of citizens," said a member, Aaron Lam.

"If the leaders of this nation still don't get this, they probably should go back to the basics and play Sim City (a city-building simulation game) or some management simulation games before taking on a real nation," he added.

Other members have suggested that the government pull out of the project and concentrate instead on more pressing issues, such as poverty and education.

"Such a huge amount of money can be put to better use. This sum (RM5 billion) can be used for better causes like eradicating poverty and providing scholarships," said Raevathi Supramaniam.

“Foreigners come to Malaysia to see the beauty of our culture, our food, and our flora and fauna, not a RM5-billion mega tower. There is nothing to be proud of if we have the tower but still have people begging for some money by the roadside," said Nur Quraisha Hanapiah.

“(The government should) use the RM5 billion instead to help our government servants pay for their children's school books, tuition fees and milk for babies,” said another member, Hizwan Ahmad, who urged Malaysians to reject the Barisan Nasional.

Fear of heights

With thousands of new members joining every hour, the group's rapid growth has even caught its members by surprise.

Interestingly, a much smaller counter-group in support of the tower known as "Kami Sokong Menara Warisan" (KSWW) has been formed.

Mocking the anti-tower group, a KSWW member known only as Ali Setan said, "People who aren't supportive of the project have a fear of heights. They say the RM5 billion should go to hospitals, but in truth, they're really suffering (from a fear of heights)."

However, even with a membership of under 300, the majority of KSWW members appear to be against the project.

Disagreeing with growing criticism, many cabinet ministers have sided with the Warisan Merdeka idea.

Najib had said that the project would benefit the economy.

Chipping in her two cents' worth, Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen said that the tower would bring more tourists to Malaysia.

In a move to quell public anger, PNB's chief executive officer Hama Kama Piah Che Othman said that neither the government's money nor unit trust funds would be used to develop the towering skyscraper.

He said that PNB had more than enough money to build the tower, although it remains to be seen who will foot the bill at the end of the day.

Anwar: Glitter for PM, gutter for rakyat

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today

GUA MUSANG: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to keep pressing Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to explain why he needed RM65 million to renovate his residence.

The people deserved a full clarification, he told about 20,000 people yesterday at a rally where Pakatan Rakyat announced its candidate for the Galas by-election.

The federal government has been ignoring the controversy surrounding the upgrading of the Prime Minister’s residence, one of the proposals of the 2011 Budget.

Opposition leaders have been comparing the cost of the proposed renovation to the RM17 million spent during the premiership of Najib Abdul Razak’s predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Anwar described the proposal as a reflection of Umno’s arrogance.

“Huge sums are spent on palaces when the people are reeling from the high cost of living," he said.

Pakatan’s candidate for Galas is Dr Zulkefli Mohamed, a 44-year-old physician and surgeon. He is the son of Awang Mohamed, a former state assemblyman for Guchil.

Zulkefli contested against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the Gua Musang parliamentary seat in 2004 and 2008. He lost in both elections.

Support for gold dinar
Anwar also promised voters that Pakatan would lower fuel prices if it won federal power.

He said the cascading effect of the reduction would help push down the prices of consumer goods.

He also declared his support for Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s effort to popularise the use of the Kelantan gold dinar.

He urged all Muslim members of DAP, PKR and PAS to purchase the gold dinar coins for use as payment of the customary dowry in Malay Muslim marriages.

This would generate a market demand for the dinar and help boost the state's economy, he added.

He said the dinar could become as influential as Bank Islam in the economic life of Muslims in the country.