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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Status quo for M'sia in global graft index

(Malaysiakini) Malaysia remains in 56th place in Transparency International's (TI) latest Corruption Perceptions Index, but its score has dropped from 4.5 to 4.4.

The score also indicates that the country has failed to meet the National Key Result Area in the Government Transformation Programme, which targets an improvement from 4.5 to 4.9 out of the maximum 10 points.

This ranking follows a plunge of 0.6 points and a massive slide of nine places in country ranking in 2009 compared to the year before.

Singapore drew with New Zealand and Denmark in top spot among the 178 countries surveyed.

NONEReleasing the index this afternoon, TI Malaysia said that, while some steps have been taken in the right direction, problems still arise in implementation.

The president, Paul Low, described the drop in score as “statistically not significant”.

Secretary-general Ngooi Chu-Ing said that most glaring is a general perception of lack of political will to fight corruption.

"For example, there are glaring items of grave concern, such as generally no 'big fish' being bought to book, and poor progress in identifying and prosecuting culpable persons in the Port Klang Free Zone fiasco," he noted.

He also cited the 'no further action' decision by the Attorney-General against those allegedly implicated in tampering with the judicial appointments, and the "continuing and snowballing practice of awarding mega projects".
As 40 percent of the index is drawn from perceptions of local residents and the business community, the CPI also correlates to foreign direct investment performance.

azlanTo improve Malaysia's standing, TI-Malaysia recommended that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission be given prosecutory powers, and for the commission to report to parliamentary committees.

It also recommended regulation on political party funding and the public disclosure of assets of politicians.

"At present cabinet minister declare their assets to the prime minister but the information is not made public.

"We also urge for freedom of information (with) the repeal of the Official Secrets Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act," Ngooi said.

New Zealand model

Low said that failure to address corruption will halt the government's efforts to move up the ladder to high income status, as there is a direct link between corruption and per capita income.

He added that efforts through the Government Transformation Programme have not yet borne fruit as "it will take some time before the benefits are translated so people would begin to feel it."

The index, which is based on external surveys by organisations including the Asian Development Bank and the World Economic Forum, has a two-year lag.

paul lowLow pointed out that Malaysia would do well to follow Indonesia's lead in terms of political will against corruption, as is evident with the prosecution of many top officials.

The effectiveness of the Indonesian equivalent of MACC has had much impact on public perception, he said, with MACC's prosecution success rate at only 68 percent.

Comparatively, Singapore and Hong Kong's anti-graft units have a 90 percent success rate, while New Zealand does not even have an such a body.

"I was told that (NZ topped the list) because the society itself sanctions corrupt people. This is something the Malaysian society needs to learn," he said.

MACC begins probe on Audit Report

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — A total of 13 investigations papers (KS), 14 preliminary investigation papers (KPA) and five examination and consultation (KPP) papers have been initiated following the release of the 2009 Auditor-General’s report, said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) today.
The MACC said that out of the 13 investigation papers that the commission had started probing, three were opened in Johor, six within the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, two in Terengganu, and one each in Sarawak and Selangor.

“The MACC has reviewed the contents of the 2009 Auditor-General’s report which was tabled in Parliament on October 25, 2010.

“The Commission has begun its investigations on many of the issues raised in the report based on various public complaints and feedback,” said MACC in an official statement today.

Besides that, the breakdown for the 14 preliminary investigation papers are as follows — six cases were opened in Perak, two in Labuan, Sabah, Kedah, and one each in Terengganu and Selangor.

“Meanwhile for the five examination and consultation papers that have been opened, three were in Johor, and one case each was opened in Labuan and Sarawak,” said the MACC.

MACC’s statement today comes after it was announced today that Malaysia had a slightly lower dip in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) this year after the country experienced its worse ranking ever last year.

The anti-graft watchdog TI announced today that the country’s corruption index score declined from 4.5 to 4.4 out of 10, with 10 being the least corrupt. Malaysia’s ranking still remains the same as last year, at 56 out of 178 countries.

The annual TI CPI measures how corrupt a country is in the public sector based on data sourced from 13 different polls and surveys from 10 independent institutions over a period of two years. The three least corrupt countries in the world are, in order, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

Malaysia’s previous worst scores below 5 were 4.8 in 2000, 4.9 in 2002 and 4.5 last year.

The country’s ranking puts it on par with Namibia and Turkey.

Despite government efforts to fight corruption, MACC’s inability to prosecute “big fish,” lack of progress in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco, no action by the Attorney-General in the “Lingam tapes” case and contracts without open tender have continued to affect public perception.

Corruption index score down the chute

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency International (TI) has slapped Malaysia with a historically low Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score of 4.4 for 2010.

The CPI score indicates the perceived level of corruption in a country Its scale is set from 0 to 10, with 0 being the most corrupt and 10 being the least.

Malaysia's CPI score plummeted to 4.5 last year from 5.1 in 2008. Its 2010 score has maintained its current ranking at 56 out of 176 countries.

Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore have tied for first place with a CPI score of 9.3.

Unstable governments crowded the bottom rung with Afghanistan and Myanmar sharing a score of 1.4 and Somalia coming in last at 1.1.

According to TI-Malaysia, the positive measures taken by the government last year have been hampered by poor implementation and lack of confidence-building improvements, which indicated a lack of political will in eradicating corruption.

No 'big fish' in the net

Speaking at a press conference here, its secretary-general Ngooi Chiu-Ing listed a number of reasons that TI-Malaysia believed earned Malaysia its 2010 score.

“First is the perception of little progress in combating corruption,” he said.

“Second is the lack of political will in implementing anti-corruption measures and I think the perennial example here is no 'big fish' being brought to book.

“There is also poor progress in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco, no further action by the attorney-general in judicial appointment tampering, the practice of awarding mega projects and contracts without open tenders and no integrity pacts implemented to date,” he added.

TI-Malaysia also put forth recommendations for the government to improve its CPI score.

Among them is granting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission more independence and autonomy as well as requiring it to report to parliamentary committees as practiced in South Korea.

Public disclosure of politician's assets, reforming of political financing and regulation of political parties and the promotion of freedom of information were also on the list.

“Integrity is one of the National Key Results Areas (NKRA) with the target of improvement of the CPI score as a KPI,” Ngooi pointed out.

“But overall the government must show stronger political will in fighting corruption and walk the talk,” he added.

Ku Li goes missing, raises questions

By FMT Staff

GUA MUSANG: Gua Musang Umno division chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's noticeable absence from the Galas by-election nomination centre has stirred some curioisty.

Even before the nomination process ended, Razaleigh, who led Semangat 46 before returning to Umno, was seen leaving with Umno supreme council member Ahmad Sabery Cheek, who incidentally was Semangat 46 information chief under Razaleigh.

Speculation is rife that a pow-wow is underway over the brewing crisis between Razaleigh's Semangat 46 supporters, who see new a dawn in Galas, and the embittered backers of former division chief Saufi Deraman.

Gua Musang division's women and Youth wings are not in sync with Razaleigh. Reports of 11 other council members at odds with Razaleigh have also surfaced.

Saufi's group has reportedly objected to Gua Musang Umno secretary Abdul Aziz Yusof as the candidate for the Galas state seat.

They claimed Saufi had "slogged for Gua Musang Umno" after Razaleigh left the party to lead Semangat 46. Saufi had later given way to Razaleigh to lead the division when the latter came back to Umno.

However, Razaleigh's “decision” to ignore Saufi and his supporters in favour of Aziz has divided the division for good.

Inside sources said that federal Umno leaders are fearful that the dissenting group will cost Umno a comeback in Galas.

Galas was an Umno stronghold until the 2008 general election when incumbent Chek Hashim Sulaima (PAS) beat Saufi by 646 votes.

"People still remember how Saufi was killed off in the last general election. Razaleigh's men did not support Saufi and back-stabbed him although Saufi had stepped aside for Razaleigh when he came back from Semangat 46.

"If this group pulls back, then Umno will not have that 50:50 chance it is talking about," the source said, adding that there were moves to mediate involving top party leaders.

Razaleigh has been in the shadow of Umno mainstream politics until he was appointed election director for the Galas state constituency by-election following the death of incumbent Chek Hashim of cancer on Sept 27.

No issue

Meanwhile, Kelantan Umno liaison chief Mustapa Mohamad has downplayed Razaleigh's disappearance.

Fending off newmen's queries, he said: "Ku Li (Razaleigh) prefers to be with the people. He did not want to come up... to him voters are more important... he has gone outside."

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin also defended Razaleigh's disappearance with: "He was here with me this morning... but has since left."

Nominations closed with a straight between PAS candidate Zulkefli Mohamad and Umno's Abdul Aziz Yusoff.

Aziz is the Umno Gua Musang division secretary while Zukefli is deputy chief of Gua Musang PAS.

According to the Election Commission, Galas has 11,553 registered voters. Malays comprise 7,125 voters followed by Chinese at 2,317 and Indian 185. There are 1,889 Orang Asli and 10 Siamese Bumiputeras who are also registered as voters.

Kidney patients overcharged by RM140k

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Kidney failure is a heavy load to carry in life. More so when the hospital where treatment is sought overcharges.

The Auditor-General's 2009 report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, found that 10,101 patients at five hospitals nationwide paid a total of RM143, 329 in excess fees between 2007-2009.

The five are Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Malacca Hospital, Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Terengganu and the Sarawak General Hospital.

According to the audit report, outpatients seeking hemodialysis treatment were being charged RM13 based on a charge guideline on daily patient care introduced in November 1998.

Those seeking Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) paid a third-class patient fee of RM100 based on the Nephrology section of the Fee Directive (Medical) 1982.

An audit check revealed that these rates were for patients who were warded. Outpatient treatment for both categories only involved a RM5 fee.

Of the five hospitals, Kuala Lumpur Hospital topped the list of overcharged fees at RM85,296 over the three years.

In view of this, the auditor-general directed the Health Ministry to reimburse the affected patients.

The report added that amendments were currently being made to the Fee Directive (Medical) 1982 in order to gazette the definition of “daily treatment” and the fee for hemodialysis treatment.

A lengthy waiting period for kidney patients was another weakness highlighted in the report. The waiting period for hemodialysis treatment was between 1-2 years and between 1-34 months for CAPD treatment.

Hospitals blamed the delay on shortage of equipment, manpower, space and medical supplies.

In the meantime, these patients sought treatment at hemodialysis centers run by non-government organisations (NGOS) or private medical centers.

Payments made for untested equipment

The ministry had signed 12 contracts between 2007-2009 for the supply of equipment and medicine for kidney patients.

The contracts stipulated that the ministry would pay 75% of the total price upon delivery of the equipment and the balance once it was tested and accredited.

The contract also stated that equipment must be delivered 2-12 weeks after the order date, failing which the contractor would be slapped with a 2% penalty for each month of delay.

The auditor-general, however, discovered that the purchase of a hemdiafiltrarion machine was paid for in full even before the equipment was tested and accredited.

It also found that four hospitals, with the exception of Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, paid RM3.67 million for two other equipment even before delivery was made.

Malacca Hospital, Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital and the Sarawak General Hospital, meanwhile, made a prepayment of RM370,000 million for equipment which they only received 13-117 days later.

Another glaring oversight was in the financial assistance given by the ministry to the Klang Hemodialysis Society for the setting up of its second branch.

The ministry provided RM296,000 in aid to the society in September 2009, but when auditors visited the premises in December, all they found was a vacant building.

Further checks revealed that when the financial aid was made, the society had not received approval to set up another center nor had the ministry granted it an operational license.

The auditor-general said that the ministry had since sent a letter to the NGO involved to request that it be reimbursed for the total amount.

Orang Asli seething at uncaring govt

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Sidelined and insulted by the government, the Orang Asli are fuming and want their rights back and “not your sympathy”.

The Orang Asli Villages Network in Peninsular Malaysia (JKOASM) has vehemently opposed Budget 2011, calling it the beginning of the end to their traditional ways.

When unveiling the budget, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that RM100 million would be allocated for various programmes, including resolving Orang Asli land rights and border settlement issues.

The budget also said that tok batins (village headmen) were to be given a RM800 monthly allowance, a RM350 raise from their usual RM450. However, JKOASM revealed that the headmen received less than half of that amount (RM200).

“If the real amount is RM450 a month, where did the other RM250 go?” the statement asked.

Besides, instead of being handed out on a monthly basis, the allowance was claimed to have been given once a year, or every three months.

The statement added that these payments were sometimes delayed for several months without any explanation.

“We don't understand why the government does not leave us in peace. It seems to be out to get us on purpose.”

Basic amenities

The government was also criticised for not providing the most basic amenities to hundreds of Orang Asli villages, despite several multi-million ringgit allocations.

“Where have all the allocations gone? There are still hundreds of Orang Asli villages that do not have access to clean water, electricity or tarred roads. These villagers have to trek many miles just to get their water,” the statement said.

Citing development failures such as Kampung Buluh Nipis, Pos Betau, Bukit Lanjan and even the glamourously-styled Damansara Perdana, the statement said that the government only caused more hardship for the Orang Asli.

The statement also expressed its disappointment with Najib for referring to the Orang Asli as Sakai and Jakun during his speech at the recent Umno general assembly.

"Other races get angry and hurt over racially insensitive comments. The Orang Asli have feelings, too, and we don't like being referred to as (Sakai and Jakun),” the statement said.

"Najib does not respect the rights of the Orang Asli as the original peoples of Malaysia."

JKOASM also took a swipe at the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) for allowing other government agencies such as the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority, Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority and the police force to interfere in Orang Asli matters.

According to JKOASM, the department had allegedly made it easier for the government to encroach upon native land, bit by bit.

Life and blood

The statement also said that Najib had ignored its memorandum to the government earlier this year.

On March 17, about 1,000 Orang Asli descended on Putrajaya and handed over the memorandun signed by more than 9,000 Orang Asli to officials of the Prime Ministetr's Department. They were protesting the government's land policy.

According to the memorandum, the new policy, adopted by the National Land Council in December 2009, would grant land to the Orang Asli. The government would divide sections of land into two to six acres each without consulting the Orang Asli.

“Our land is our life and blood and not just one part of the economy,” the statement said, adding that a Royal Commission of Inquiry should be set up to investigate the alleged mistreatment of the Orang Asli.

“We don't want your sympathy. We are not beggars. We only ask for your respect and appreciation. We want what has been taken from us to be given back.”

Social contract and the secret of Chinese 'success'

Prime Minister Najib Razak on Oct 21 at the Umno general assembly told his party delegates "... kewarganegaraan Malaysia pada dasarnya bukan lagi bersifat sama rata". This country does not have equal citizenship. 

Despite 1Malaysia (or Malaysian First), this is the core implication of Article 153, the 'special position' of the Malay. 

NEP is the realpolitik of a race-based system to distribute resources. There has been no negotiation on its implementation: Umno dictates, MCA complies although it gets around the discriminatory policy by 'settling' (read: 'gao dim' or greasing the palm). 

The so-called 'social contract' carries a rider; MCA navigates the lopsided terms and conditions using money as the medium. Well-connected wheelers and dealers have obtained a satisfactory outcome for themselves via the Ali Baba arrangement.

Hence the claim by Liew Kee Sin, a Tan Sri and a tycoon, that Chinese had thrived under NEP. But only for a small handful of Chinese. Liew, the SP Setia president-cum-CEO, raised hackles with his statement at the Chinese Economic Congress organized by MCA on Aug 14. His talk was titled 'Malay and Chinese collaboration to achieve NEM'. 

Incidentally, Najib delivered the keynote address at the event that included two Tan Sris and five Datuks among its speakers, and three Tan Sris and four Datuks as moderators and discussants.
Giving an example of how Chinese have fared well under NEP, Liew disclosed that SME owners can afford his company's expensive bungalows, exclaiming "One Chinaman want to build a bungalow of RM40 million!"

Zaid Ibrahim commenting on the sidelines was cheeky enough to spill the beans on the secret of Liew's success, i.e. stellar co-operation with the bumiputera shining stars.

Zaid informed us that the Chinese property magnate truly practises what he preaches, i.e. "We [Chinese] must also learn how to live with their [Malay] culture, their mindset." Racial muhibah was achieved long ago in high society.

Theory on the middle tier

The more Chinese are discriminated against in Malaysia, the better the community performs. This is a theory explored by two dons from Yale University and the University of British Columbia. The 30-page paper by Fang Han-ming and Peter Norman titled 'Government-mandated discriminatory policies: Theory and evidence' postulates that the NEP could actually have been the reason for, rather than an obstacle to, the Chinese's economic success. 

Their research was published in the International Economic Review, Vol.47, No.2, May 2006, and in also our CPI archives.

They wrote: "Some minorities, notably overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and Jews in Europe, have performed economically better than the native majorities, despite being subject to government-mandated discriminatory policies."

Nonetheless, Fang and Norman placed a caveat: the extent of the discriminatory policies is crucial. The discriminatory exclusion can only be beneficial if the government-controlled sector is small enough. Aside from the public sector, the other parts of the economy that the government can legislate are in the industries where the authorities have direct ownership or control through professional licensing. 

Occurring some years after the publication of the above study, the Low Siew Moi (left) episode inserts a more timely perspective. Loh, a long-time civil servant, failed to be confirmed as PKNS general manager by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim due to the glass ceiling occasioned by her ethnicity. That Ketuanan Melayu objected vehemently to her appointment was a clear display of the minorities' limited access to public sector jobs and positions. 

Although Malaysia is in a denial mode, foreigners like Fang and Norman nonetheless make the comparison with apartheid. 

They noted: "As far as we understand, the policies facing Blacks [in South Africa previously] were significantly broader measures than those implemented in Southeast Asia. Moreover, it is necessary that some sector where investments in skills are important is left open for the discriminated group. Again, this seems like a more plausible assumption when considering overseas Chinese."

Their theory posits that exclusion from opportunities provided by the state created better incentives for Chinese to make a costly investment in skills. These skills are assets invaluable and crucial for private sector jobs. 

On the flip side, giving a group (read: Malay) preferential access to high-paying public sector jobs may dampen the incentives for skill investment so crucial in the private sector.

Consequences of apartheid

Fang and Norman also tackled the vexing question of why the Malay majority would have implemented a policy that ultimately hurt itself. They believe the "natural answer is that the negative indirect effect of preferential policies in favour of the Malays was quite subtle and difficult to forecast; whereas the direct beneficial effects were obvious." 

The direct benefits are that the public sector offers secure employment and generous perks. Government administration jobs ranked among the top five of 100 occupation categories, only slightly lower than architects and engineers. [S. Anand, 'Inequality and Poverty in Malaysia: Measurement and Decomposition' [Oxford University Press,1983].

From the recent budget announced for next year, taxpayers can get a clear idea of the staggering percentage of our national expenditure that goes towards paying the civil service.

Despite the minorities hardly benefitting from state largesse, Najib in his Umno speech on Thursday again made them the bogeyman. He attributed success to "creativity, innovation and the willingness of the individual to work hard and take risks".

Having said that, he added, "For example, the non-bumiputeras, after 39 years of affirmative policies being implemented, are still the race who own the largest share of wealth".

The Chinese indeed possess an unerring ability to cope with the hostile NEP environment. Yet paradoxically, this coping mechanism is a poisoned chalice with the effect of 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'. The insecure, fearful Malay views the trait of competitiveness as being 'ultra kiasu', innovative as 'underhanded'; resilient as 'cold and heartless'.

Essentially what the two Yale and University of Chicago professors have said -- if I may rephrase the idea as social Darwinism -- is that the Chinese survive when they are the fittest. But here, the fitter the Chinese are, the more the Malays feel intimidated.

The Mahathir era was a juggling act and to his credit, the maverick managed to keep all the balls in the air. Tensions aside, the good ship Malaysia Inc. stayed afloat. The Chinese were able to 'cari makan' but soon after Mahathir relaxed his iron grip and the unwritten 'social contract' began unravelling, the vessel started sinking. 

A good illustration, even today, of the Mahathir-Machiavellian method is the planned development of Kampung Baru, a Malay reservation where the residents want to retain this prime real estate 100% in bumiputera hands. It was Mahathir who urged that Chinese investment be allowed for the reason of "we want to use the non-Malays as bait to lure more visitors".

Mahathir's callous remark is a backhanded compliment on Chinese capital and business acumen, but galling.

While the Fang and Norman theory may be applicable to its time (the 1980s), and to certain segments of Chinese, it doesn't cover all bases. The working class and wage-earners -- and their children -- have been shut out and victimised by NEP.

Another important factor to be borne in mind is the time frame of the Fang and Norman study. It was premised on population data up till 1988 where Chinese formed 32%. However, Chinese had since declined to 24% of the population in 2007, and further fast decreasing. It is expected that Chinese will only be around 18.6% in another 25 years or likely even lower. 

Readjusting the variables to the current Chinese population ratio (and the much, much smaller slice projected in future) will be adversely affect the Fang-Norman theoretical framework. Their theory is that the NEP discriminatory exclusion is an obstacle that can be surmounted if the government-controlled sector does not encroach too much into private enterprise. 

However, in the last decade we've seen how the government has grown very big and its finger in every pie. In short, the Fang-Norman model that Chinese are inveterate high performers who run harder and jump higher needs a revisit under prevailing circumstances.

The ‘Social Contract’ is signed and sealed on 8th February 1956 (part 5 of the series on the Social Contract)

The Constitutional Conference agreed that Merdeka be given to Malaya in August 1957 subject to certain constitutional changes, as can be read below. To achieve this and to meet the tight deadline of August 1957, a Constitutional Commission would be set up. And this was the Reid Commission, which came out with the Articles to be included in the new Federal Constitution of Malaya. The signatories to this ‘Social Contract’ of 8th February 1956 were the representative of the Alliance government of Malaya, the representatives of the Malay Rulers, and the representatives of the British government
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Man Jailed 20 Years For Killing Housewife

KOTA BAHARU, Oct 26 (Bernama) -- A man was sentenced to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to a charge of killing a housewife, who was also his neighbour, in Pantai Senok, Bachok, four years ago.

High Court Judge Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim, in meting out the sentence on Rahim Ngah, 33, described the case as among the most brutal he had handled in career as a judge given that the victim was stabbed 32 times.

"This is a grave offence and the victim was subjected to vicious attacks" he said.

Rahim was charged under Section 204(a) of the Penal Code with causing the death of Norazlina Awang, 27, on Sept 14, 2006 between 8pm and 9m at a house in Kampung Senok, Bachok.

Two versions of Guna’s death

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coroner’s Court delivered an open verdict in the inquest of toddy shop assistant R. Gunasegaran who died in police custody last year.

Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin found there was insufficient evidence to record a conclusion.

In a six-page judgment, Siti Shakirah said there were two versions of how Gunasegaran had died based on the testimonies of witnesses.

Gunasegaran died on July 16, 2009, between 6.45pm and 7.20pm while his thumbprints were being taken by police for processing.

“The first version is the deceased fainted when police were processing his thumbprints.

“He was taken to hospital and died on the way. The doctor who performed the post-mortem had concluded that his death was drug-related,” she said.

The second version, Siti Shakirah added, was that the deceased had been kicked and beaten by a police officer who arrested him that caused his death.

“Both versions can be accepted in my opinion. However, two post-mortem reports gave the same conclusion, that the deceased had died of a drug-related cause.

“A post-mortem report is an undisputed prima facie evidence,” she said.

The coroner said the court could not conclude which of the two possibilities had caused the death of Gunasegaran, 31.

A total of 23 witnesses took the stand during the inquest which began on Nov 11 last year.

It was conducted to determine the cause of Gunasegaran’s death while in police custody.

He was pronounced dead at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

The court was assisted by DPP Nor Aishah KM Abu Bakar and lawyer M. Visvanathan, who represented the deceased’s family.

Gunasegaran’s sister Ganga Gowri, who was present with her husband, cried outside the courtroom.

She later told the press that she was disappointed with the verdict.

“I have five siblings. All but one have died, including Gunasegaran. I only have a younger sister left,” said the housewife.

In another development, one of the three key witnesses in the Gunasegaran’s case was arrested at his house in Desa Rejang Setapak.

K. Selvach Santhiran, 39, was nabbed by police last night on suspicion of drug abuse.

He had previously testified against the police at Gunasegaran’s inquest.

Selvach was one of the deceased’s cellmates but was freed after a urine test for drugs proved negative.

The two other witnesses, however, have been in police detention since last year.

Remedy for malicious prosecution

The Star
Articles of Law By Bhag Singh

A PERSON may be charged in court because a police report has been made. Of course, the report merely triggers off an investigation, and in turn the person may be charged by the relevant party. The outcome could be a conviction or an acquittal.

A reader says he knows of instances where a report was made based on suspicion. Yet the person against whom the report was made was charged even though he was subsequently acquitted. This caused him damage. Can such a person sue the person who made the report in the first place?

There are also situations where after a person is charged, the matter does not proceed to full trial. Before commencement of the trial or during the trial, the prosecution may withdraw the charge or drop the case. Thereafter, the person charged would be acquitted, and the same question arises.

The situation would be different if the person charged is convicted as there is hardly any basis for legitimate grounds to complain against the person who made the report.

There are also cases where after a police report was lodged, the person complained against is called in for questioning or even detained but later released. The person so detained is likely to feel aggrieved and may seek remedy in defamation but there are limitations.

Where a person complained against is charged, damage has been caused. The law, no doubt, provides a remedy based on malicious prosecution. However, there are basic requirements which need to be complied with in order to succeed. These are not easy to meet and the onus of proof is on the claimant.

This is because for action to be brought and pursued successfully, there must be what is regarded as, among others, “abuse of legal process”. The intention of the person who made the report should have been to cause wrongful harm to the person reported against, and not merely to report a wrong done.

Pursuant to a report being made and investigations carried out, the person charged may well be acquitted after he is charged. This may be after trial or as a result of the charge being withdrawn and the prosecution being discontinued. But acquittal alone cannot be the basis of a successful claim for malicious prosecution. This is because the elements of such a claim are the institution of prosecution without reasonable or probable cause, malice and an outcome establishing the innocence of the person bringing the claim.

Acquittal of a charge alone does not mean that the institution of criminal proceedings was necessarily without reasonable and probable cause. This is clear from the decision of Brett MR in Abrath vs North Eastern Railway Co.

The judge said: “It is not enough for the plaintiff to show, in order to support the claim which he has made, that he was innocent of the charge upon which he was tried. He has to show that the prosecution was instituted against him by the defendant without any reasonable or probable cause and with a malicious intention in the mind of the defendants, that is, not with the mere intention of carrying the law into effect, but with an intention which was wrongful in point of fact. It has been decided over and over again that all these points must be established by the plaintiffs, and that the burden of each of them lies upon the plaintiff.”

What will constitute want of reasonable and probable cause and malice depends on the circumstances of the case. A much quoted statement by Tindal J. in Willans vs Taylor, reads: “What shall amount to such a combination of malice and want to probable cause is so much a matter of fact in each individual case as to render it impossible to lay down any general rule on the subject, but there ought to be enough to satisfy a reasonable man that the accuser had no ground for proceeding but his desire to injure the accused.”

Claims based on malicious prosecution are hard to come across. Such a claim can be seen in Robin vs Sunrise Investments (Pte) Ltd & Anor, a Singapore case. The plaintiff was a permanent resident of Australia and the second defendant a proprietor of a firm of public accountants and also the plaintiff’s consultant in tax matters. The plaintiff had gone to visit the second defendant about tax matters.       

In the course of conversation, the plaintiff indicated he was considering business opportunities in Australia, especially in jewellery and stones. The second defendant took a packet of emerald stones which belonged to him, and showed it to the plaintiff.

The second defendant’s table was cluttered with documents. In between, a telephone call came in which he attended to. Meanwhile, the plaintiff walked out of the room, then came back again, and subsequently left.

Shortly after, the second defendant realised that the envelope with the emeralds was missing and he tried to get in touch with the plaintiff who was not reachable because he was on the move.

By the time the plaintiff got back, the defendant had made a police report. Following this, the plaintiff was apprehended and later charged. However, the prosecution was later discontinued and the plaintiff acquitted and discharged.

He then instituted an action for malicious prosecution, against the defendant. The question that the court posed to itself was whether the second defendant had honestly believed that the emeralds were removed by the plaintiff. In doing so, the judge was guided by Hawkins J. in Hicks vs Faulker.

He said: “I should define reasonable and probable cause to be, an honest belief in the guilt of the accused based upon a full conviction, founded upon reasonable grounds, of the existence of a state of circumstances, which, assuming them to be true, would reasonably lead any ordinarily prudent and cautious man, placed in the position of the accuser, to the conclusion that the person charged was probably guilty of the crime imputed.”

The court than went on to decide that even if it be otherwise, the report was not lodged with any malice. There was nothing to suggest that the intention of the second defendant was to cause wrongful harm to the plaintiff.

DAP demands review on History subject

Zahrain: May 13 should be in school history syllabus

Files show al-Qaeda's grip on Iraq

"If you're asking, are there al-Qaeda in Iraq, the answer is yes, there are. It's a fact, yes." Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence, August 2002

It was one of the key American justifications for the Iraq war. But the theory that al-Qaeda was present in Saddam-era Iraq, much cited by the Bush adminsitration in the run-up to the invasion, has been undermined by the content of secret US military documents.

The files contain only half a dozen references to the group for the whole of 2004, the year records begin. But under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who had met Osama bin Laden while fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the classified reports show that al-Qaeda established itself as major player in the carnage as the conflict wore on.

The infrequency of al-Qaeda-related files early in the war suggest that US officials were wrong when they accused Iraq of harbouring the group's fighters in the years prior to the invasion. Instead, the narrative that emerges from the classified reports indicates that the US presence itself was what attracted them to the country.

Experts have always doubted the existence of a link between the secular Baathist government of Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Speaking at the British inquiry into the Iraq War in 2005, Eliza Manningham-Buller, the UK's spy chief at the time of the invasion, said that even US intelligence officials doubted a connection between Iraq and the group.

"There was no credible intelligence to suggest that connection and that was the judgement, I might say, of the CIA," she told the inquiry. "It was not a judgement that found favour with some parts of the American machine."

"It is why Donald Rumsfeld started an alternative intelligence unit in the Pentagon to seek an alternative judgment," Manningham-Buller, who was a frequent visitor Washington in the run-up to the war, said.

"Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 and I have never seen anything to make me change my mind."

Brutal methods

When al-Qaeda did arrive in Iraq, it wreaked havoc in the country. Its fighters announced their presence with a ruthless campaign of kidnappings and televised beheadings of foreigners starting in late 2004.

With a supply of sympathetic fighters willing to enter Iraq and fight the US occupation – the documents hold thousands of references to "foreign fighters" - it then launched a series of suicide bombings, utilising a flow of foreign volunteers that peaked in 2005.

As the situation in Iraq evolved, so did the group's tactics. Perhaps realising that sectarian fighting would delegitimise the US presence in the country, al-Qaeda did its utmost to sow sedition between Iraq's religious communities.

In February 2006, the group plunged Iraq into the bloodiest phase of the conflict by bombing the al-Askari mosque, one of Shia Islam's holiest sites.

The attack triggered a wave of revenge attacks from Iranian-backed Shia militias, forcing thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes to escape the sectarian violence.

But the attack, and the violence it sparked, also tarnished al-Qaeda's reputation. For many potential supporters, opposing the US occupation of Iraq was one thing, but efforts to plunge the country into civil war were quite another.

Four months after the Samarra bombing, US forces discovered Zaqarwi's location and launched an air raid, killing him. But his deadly ideology would live on.

New pressures

In 2007, as the Washington ordered a troop "surge" to Iraq, Sunni militias that had previously tolerated al-Qaeda were persuaded to turn against the foreign fighters in their midst.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq did not give up without a fight. The leaked documents reveal that the number of attacks by the group and their allies went up during 2007.

The more recent attacks seem to employ increasingly desperate tactics, recruiting children, women and the disabled to serve as suicide bombers. One shocking report, from April of 2008, describes how a bombing was carried out by a "16-17 year old male, who looked mentally-retarded and had facial features of a person with Down syndrome".

But as Al-Qaeda's support dried up, so did its money, and fundraising appears to have become a serious issue for the fighters. When a Christian archbishop was kidnapped in northern Iraq in 2008, Al-Qaeda reportedly demanded $3 million for his release.

The secret documents note that the kidnapping shows the group's fighters were "running low on funds, and are resorting to drastic measures to get money".

From his captivity, the archbishop managed to send a message to his church, urging them not to pay the ransom because it would be used for "evil" acts. His body was found in a shallow grave a month later.

The legacy

Today, Al Qaeda does not exist in Iraq as a single entity. Its mantle has been taken on by a disparate range of groups inspired by its ideology, but lacking the resources and popular support that marked out their predecessor.

In truth, the Wikileaks Iraq war files tell us little that we did not already know about al-Qaeda in Iraq. But they do serve to underline the great irony of the US war in Iraq; that the invasion, billed as part of the so-called "war on terror", did more to inspire al-Qaeda activity in Iraq than it did to undermine it.

It is an irony that has not been lost on former spymaster Manningham-Buller. "Arguably, we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad," she said earlier this year.

The thousands of incidents detailed in the leaked documents show just how grateful al-Qaeda was.

Source: Al Jazeera

Gunasegaran's death: Inquest returns open verdict

(Malaysiakini) Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin today gave an open verdict in the inquest into the death of R Gunasegaran, ruling that the cause of his death while in police custody could not be conclusively proven.

“This is an open verdict case as witness testimonies were not enough for a conclusion,” she said.

An open verdict means that the evidence brought before the court could not enable it to determine the cause of death. The court therefore only records the death.

Reading out her decision in the magistrate's court in Kuala Lumpur today, Siti Shakirah said she arrived at the verdict because witnesses who testified on the second post-mortem only stated that the injuries Gunasegaran sustained in custody were "likely" to be the cause of his death.

“The death was caused by one of two things, but I cannot conclude if it was true that the injuries found in the post-mortem were due to beatings,” she said.

The other possible cause of death, she said is the “lethal level” of drugs found in his system in the first post-mortem.

During the inquest, witnesses based at the Sentul police station, where Gunasegaran died on July 16, 2009, testified that they saw Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib kick the deceased, but did not do anything to stop their colleague.
In his submission, M Visvanathan, the lawyer for the deceased's family, argued that Gunasegaran died from injuries sustained by being kicked in the chest by Mohd Faizal, not from a drug overdose as claimed by deputy public prosecutor Shashitah Mohamad Hanifa.

NONEVisvanathan (left) also submitted that there was a “conspiracy” by certain quarters to conceal the truth, by using post-mortem photographs that were insufficient to show a wound measuring 28cm x 8cm x 5cm, which was recorded in the second post-mortem.

The second post-mortem could not conclusively prove cause of death as the body was not preserved properly, he submitted.

He also agreed with Shashitah's submission that the police officers were lax in discharging their duties, and failed to lodge a report on the death even to this day.

A report on Gunasegaran's arrest was only lodged after he was pronounced dead. Conflicts of interest also exist, the lawyer said, since as the officers investigating this death-in-custody case were also from the Sentul police station.

Review to be filed at High Court

Speaking to reporters later, Visvanathan said that a review would be filed in the High Court.

“There are witnesses who positively identified (the person) who made the assault.

“How is it possible for the man who was identified to walk out as a free man?” he asked.

The deceased's sister R Ganga Gowri, who was in tears after the verdict was announced, also expressed her disappointment with the system of justice.
“The truth is, my brother died in custody due to the injuries. He died for nothing,” she said.

NONEGanga Gowri (right in picture) said she would this afternoon lodge a report against the police on duty at the Sentul station for not reporting Gunasegaran's death until today.
She also wants to cite them for ignoring the testimonies of witnesses who said her brother was assaulted, and for their failure to stop the assault.

A police report will also be lodged against Hospital Kuala Lumpur for mismanagement of her brother's body, causing it to rot.

The pathologist in the second post-mortem testified that he could have come to a conclusion on the cause of death if the body was in a better state.

“The body had decomposed to the extent that brain matters had turned fluid and had to be moved into a pail,” Visvanathan said.

Gunasegaran's killing is only one of many deaths in police custody cases, which the Bar Council to estimate to average of one police custody death case every day.

In July 2009, the Dewan Rakyat was told that some 2,029 detainees died in prisons, rehabilitation centres and immigration detention centres between 2002 and June 1, 2009.

International media attention on Malaysian Indian poor brought to Manmohan’s K.L visit. (Media Statement 25/10/10)

No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241

Fax : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245

Website: E-mail:

International media attention on Malaysian Indian poor brought to Manmohan’s K.L visit.

(Media Statement 25/10/10)

In a series of media statements HINDRAF and HRP has appealed to the Prime Minister of India to take up the issues of the violation of Human Rights against the Indian minority in Malaysia and about their welfare.

The Press Trust of India, the official news agency of India carried a statement on the 20th of Oct “ P.Waytha Moorthy, the leader of a prominent Hindu rights group today appealed to the Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, ahead of his visit to Malaysia to take up the issue of “serious human rights violations” of the ethnic community with his Malaysian counterpart. This statement was feeder to the media throughout India.

On the 23rd of Oct, The Hindu, one of the oldest daily in South India elaborated on that statement. Welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s planned visit to Malaysia next week, the Hindu Rights Action Force Makkal Sakthi (HINDRAF) has urged him to raise issues concerning the welfare of ethnic Indian minority in that country. They appealed to Dr. Singh to show a sense of “moral responsibility” towards the Malaysian Indians

by placing the “concerns” of ethnic Indians on the agenda with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Referring to the planned opening of “Little India” in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Uthayakumar of the political wing of HINDRAF wrote: “The significance is only symbolic. Little India is no more than a little flower bazaar. Of greater significance to the Indian community in Malaysia will be … the provision of scholarships … [for] study in Indian universities.”

In making this statement HINDRAF and HRP was again bringing focus to the issues of discrimination against high performing Malaysian Indian students in the awards of scholarships, places in Universities and in the matriculation Pre –U stream in Malaysia

Meanwhile on the 22nd of October, BBC Tamil radio carried a live interview with Mr.Waytha Moorthy , the Chairperson of HINDRAF, on the status of the Indians in Malaysia. On the question of whether any of the utterances coming out of the UMNO General Assembly, meant any difference, Mr Waythamoorthy’s responded that it was all just rhetoric coming as it does just a few months before a possible snap poll in 2011. Waytha Moorthy reiterated that HINDRAF’s struggle was a long struggle and it is a peaceful struggle to achieve a better future for the Indian minority in Malaysia.

All of this attention to the issue of the welfare of the Indian Minority rights coming up as it does on the heels of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit does raise a few interesting questions. The politics within Malaysia does not now seem to have answers for the distressed situation of the Indian community in Malaysia? There is plenty of rhetoric, but little in the form of effective solutions. There is clear need for change in the political arrangements within Malaysia if this problem is to be ultimately resolved. There is now a need for intervention.

1) Given the intricacies of International diplomacy will India intervene and accept to play any role in this issue?

2) What will be the ramification of an Indian community that continues to be in distress in Malaysia to India and to India-Malaysia relations as India develops in stature around the region?

3) Is business and regional security, the only plane on which India will engage with Malaysia, does it not have a moral responsibility for the welfare of people of Indian origin here due to its historical and cultural affinity, like the rest of the Islamic world have for the plight of the Palestinians?

4) Given the growing business clout of India should it not use some of that to

bargain a better life for the Indians in Malaysia?

5) Will India not benefit from an upliftment of the Indian community here in


6) And finally how will Malaysia view intervention from India?

N.Ganesan , the Advisor to Hindraf and HRP adds, “ it is timely, with Dr,Manmohan Singh’s visit that some of these questions, be squarely addressed. Ignoring them – Dr. Singh and the Government of India have not responded to several approaches by HINDRAF and HRP for positive intervention on these issues, is to lose a significant opportunity for leadership. India as a leading nation in the region, coupled with the cultural and historical affinity to the Indians in the country does have a moral responsibility to intervene. Does the Government of India have the vision to see it in this light?”

P. Uthayakumar

Secretary General (pro-tem)

Odd Malay poor homeless gets five UMNO mainstream English and Malay newspaper coverage. Problem solved instantly. But hundreds of thousands of Indian homeless segregated and excluded.

url odd
And this poor and homeless family was instantly given a home at Wisma Belia by the powerful UMNO Youth.

Bi-racial One Malay-sia is the only country in the world where ethnicity of the victim matters even on poverty and welfare matters. We have been monitoring the media for the last 35 years and are yet to come across even one Indian poor and homeless case out of the thousands which received colour photo and prime news coverage.

If only The News Straits Times, The Star, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia and Sinar Harian in their newspapers at pages UM 25/10/10 at page 14, SH 25/10/10 at page 12, SH 25/10/10 at page S8, The Star 25/10/10 at page N 17, NST 25/10/10 at page 13, also similarly reports on the Indian poor and homelessness, and the UMNO government acted equally on the misery, hundreds of thousands of poor and homeless Malaysian Indians would have been saved. But in over the last 53 years this is how Malaysia has evolved to become bi-racial One Malay-sia where if the victim was a Malay muslim as in the instant case which is just the tip of the iceberg or a Chinese, their misery would be almost instantly given coverage, relieved and they are instantly given homes to move in.

The Indians poor are so poor that they even cannot afford to pay water bills of RM 18.00 per month and have had even their water supply disconnected. The Indian poor even cannot afford to pay the RM 124.00 rentals for the PPR low cost government flats they live in.

Their flats are sealed up, their very basic bedding, clothes and furniture are confiscated.

These poor Indians are now on the streets or back to another squatter house only to be thrown out to the streets or another low cost flats and to be thrown out all over again and again or the end up squatting in some friend’s or relatives flat to the point of some 16 Indian poor living in a two bedroom flat including a four month old baby as has been reported in this website earlier.

Imagine the tension of 16 adults and children living in a mere 800 or so square feet.

But for the odd Malay poor, UMNO, Jakim, Lembaga Urus Zakat, banks, cooperatives sector, businessman or datuk, etc pay up their rental and water and other arrears and thereafter directly pay for their rentals.

For the odd Chinese poor, some Chinese businessman or datuk would pay up, bail them out, give then a business to cari makan and get them out of their misery.

The rich Malaysian Chinese community who control some 50% of the Malaysian economy can take care of the Chinese poor.

For Malay poor, the Malacca Chief minister swiftly moved in give a similar odd poor Malay family a house and a food stall to keep them keep afloat.

But these help will never and has almost never been given to an Indian poor and homeless. The Indians have not been given opportunities in the first place so that they cannot bail out poor Indians or are limited in their efforts unlike the Chinese or the Malays and their guilds and organisations.

Why? Bi-racial One Malay-sian?

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Tsen wants to continue husband’s work in Batu Sapi

The three personalities to watch in the Batu Sapi by-election (from left) — Yong, Tsen and Ansari. — Pictures by Jack Ooi

BATU SAPI, Oct 25 — Her rivals may be gearing up for a fierce tooth-and-nail battle for votes but widower Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin has her sights set on only one goal — to continue the work of her late husband Datuk Edmund Chong Ket Wah.

Her eyes glassing over at the mention of Chong’s name, the mother of four’s immediate words when asked of her vision for Batu Sapi was: “I just want to... to carry on with what my husband has started.”

Tsen, who has so far been out from media limelight since talk of her possible candidacy was raised, said this when approached by reporters after a meeting with the Barisan Nasional election machinery here in the Sabah Hotel tonight.

The trim and youthful-looking 54-year-old at first asked reporters if she could save her response for nomination day tomorrow but relented with a smile when she was persuaded for an answer.

In a soft and lilting voice, she explained that her only aim was to finish what her late husband had started and continue with his good work in the constituency.

“Because of his sudden death, a lot of things he wanted to do he could not finish so as a wife, I feel that I have this desire to finish what he started,” she said haltingly, her eyes beginning to glisten.

When asked if she felt that the Batu Sapi voters would ride on the emotional attachment to her husband, whose life was cut short by a biking tragedy, Tsen said: “I hope so that they will.”

She was later asked for her message to her two rivals in the race, Sabah Progressive Party’s (SAPP) Datuk Yong Teck Lee and PKR’s Ansari Abdullah, but the press conference was cut short by an aide standing nearby.

Giving a regretful smile to the press before she was led away, Tsen said she did not really have any message to her contenders but noted that it would be a “tough fight”.

“We will work hard,” she said.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chaired the meeting with a number of Barisan Nasional personalities, including Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and several east Malaysian elected representatives.

Tsen was said to have been chosen as the BN’s candidate for the seat due to her being the wife of Chong and his popularity among the Batu Sapi constituents.

She is however herself involved in politics and is the Elopura PBS Wanita deputy chief.

Meanwhile, Tsen’s leading contender for the battle, Yong, a former Sabah chief minister, told The Malaysian Insider that his campaign would concentrate on the local issues plaguing the people of Sabah.

He insisted that although the sentiment was such, the by-election should not be about particular individuals but about the work that they could do.

“The issue of the by-election has always been about land, the unemployment rate, the rising prices of goods... it is not about a particular individual,” he said.

Yong, who led his Sabah-based party out of the BN after Election 2008, however, would not say if he meant that the late Chong had not been doing his job as an MP.

“I know Edmund and he was a stellar politician,” he said.

He hoped nomination day would go on smoothly tomorrow and took a subtle dig at BN for the hordes of supporters it would likely bring.

“We see huge groups of Umno leaders, flying in, coming by car, crowding the restaurants. I hope everything will go smoothly and it will be a good nomination process,” he said.

Ansari, the Tuaran PKR division chief, admitted that it would be an “uphill battle” for him in Batu Sapi.

For him, the struggle would be in convincing the local voters of the “bigger picture” at hand and hope it would be enough to beat BN’s play on their emotional sentiments.

“I believe the people have two choices — either they vote for the BN, which is maintaining the status quo, or they vote for somebody who can voice out the problems of the people in Parliament,” he said.

Using PKR’s national politics playbook as his weapon, Ansari revealed that he planned to drum into the minds of Sabah folk the importance of understanding that their local needs ultimately required a national victory for the opposition.

“Batu Sapi is another step for the opposition towards Putrajaya. These are local issues, security issues, cleanliness, bad roads, lack of street lights, the terrible unhygienic condition of these people’s lives, exposing the children to diseases, the electricity supply... yes they are local issues but they clearly cannot be resolved by the BN.

“We need to voice them out in Parliament because it will help push us towards change and we want to bring that change to Putrajaya for them,” he said.

Like Yong, Ansari stressed that the by-election should not be about the personalities but about the people.

“It is between the people and the government. As far as the candidates are concerned, among the three, we have one who is a mainstream from BN — Linda — and the culture she brings is that she will not voice out the people’s problems. The next candidate is Yong, who is neither here nor there. He is not with the BN and he is not really with the opposition,” he said.

PKR on the other hand, Ansari said, offered a fresh start for the nation on a whole.

“At the moment, the representation in Parliament is too lopsided towards the BN. The CM, the deputy CM, the deputy federal ministers, they are all from BN here. And despite this, the major problems of the people are not resolved,” he said.

The Batu Sapi nomination day has been set for tomorrow at the Sandakan community centre near here while polling day is on November 4.

Batu Sapi has 25,582 voters, including 1,535 postal voters.

The constituency near Sandakan comprises 15,099 Muslim Bumiputeras (59 per cent of the voters); 9,737 Chinese (38 per cent); 698 non-Muslim Bumiputeras (2.69 per cent); and 57 others (0.22 per cent).

Chong won the seat with a 3,708-vote majority over independent Chung On Wing in Election 2008.

Perkasa denies 'member' stepped on royal toes

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Perkasa has denied that the person who condemned Kelantan Sultan Muhammad Faris Petra on Facebook as an “unlawful” ruler was a member of the movement.

Following this, 15 Perkasa members, led by Youth chief Arman Azhar Abu Hanifah, lodged a report with the Damansara police station this afternoon.

In the posting, the person, who identified himself as Muha Tajul Ariffin, claimed that he was a Perkasa member on Facebook's Pria Malaya fan page.

The posting read: “All who oppose Perkasa also oppose the fight for the special rights of Malays in Malaysia. It doesn't matter whether they are Malay, Chinese, Indian or any other race... including the unlawful Sultan of Kelantan.”

Meanwhile, Arman said he was informed of the incident last Thursday.

“When I checked Muha's Facebook account, I realised that it was only been registered last month. I sent him a few messages but he didn't reply any of them.

“We also ran his name through our member database and found nothing on him. Muha is definitely not a Perkasa member,” he said.

“We then had to act swiftly before news of this spread. We do not want such people insulting the dignity of our rulers,” he added.

'We bear no grudge against the ruler'

Arman said the police had advised him to approach the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) directly as online content fell under its jurisdiction.

“I have already contacted the person in charge and expect to be called in to file another report at the MCMC next week,” he added.

Two weeks ago, the Sultan of Kelantan stripped Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali of his datukship.

No reason was given for this revocation but Arman insisted that neither Ibrahim nor Perkasa bore any ill will towards the Sultan over the matter.

“We are not angry at all,” he emphasised. “We respect the sultan's decision and we will not question it. And we will continue to protect the institution.”

Sultan Muhammad Faris ascended the throne following a dramatic power struggle with his brother that rocked the Kelantan royal household.

On the hospital menu: Bloody chicken, hairy soup

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: This could be an attempt to either worsen your condition and prolong your stay in hospital or just sheer negligence on the part of the kitchen staff.

Either way, the Auditor-General's Report serves some unpalatable truths about the dishes in hospitals.

The report stated that the Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor was churning out a low quality diet for its patients, with its fried chicken still oozing with blood.

Up north in Penang, the general hospital there was serving its patients with blood-curling vegetable soups with bits of hair or fur in them.

"This can cause food poisoning and other diseases," read the report. Food operations from both hospitals were outsourced to Besta Corp Sdn Bhd.

The Penang Hospital was also caught serving smaller portions in its menus.

The report also found that patients at the Sungai Buloh and Ampang hospitals were only given one choice in meals, with no alternative menus (including vegetarian).

Many of the hospitals (with the exception of Sultan Ismail) also did not have equipment used to keep their food at a certain temperature.

According to the report, the Health Ministry signed a RM67.92 million contract with two companies to supply food to seven different hospitals over a three-year period.

Between May and September 2009, the Auditor-General's Department inspected five of these hospitals, namely the Sungai Buloh, Ampang, Selayang, Penang and Sultan Ismail hospitals.

A total of RM42.29 million was allocated for meals and refreshments at these hospitals. As of June 2009, a total of RM36.39 million had been spent.
Stale grub for soldiers

On the military front, Malaysian soldiers were being fed stale fish and vegetables, as discovered in Malacca's Terendak camp.

Meanwhile, army camps in Sungai Petani, Lok Kawi, Rasah and Terendak had prepared excessive food portions for midday meals.
The report concluded that this might have been caused by the absence of soldiers, who were participating in other activities at the time.

Contractors employed by the Ministry of Defence also seemed to have a tendency to confuse their shopping lists.

In two separate incidents, the Terendak camp received much cheaper jenahak fish (RM4/kg) even though specific orders had been placed for kurau (RM8/kg), bawal hitam (RM8.20/kg) and ikan merah (RM8/kg) fish. This resulted in an excess of payment by RM4337.84.

The Batu Caves Central Supply Depot (food kept for camps in the KL area) was another case of bewildered food supplying, where an order for 629.9kg of imported limes turned into a supply of watermelons.

'Sardine-less' sandwiches for pupils

The report also unearthed a sandwich scam in schools under under the government's Additional Food Programme (RMT).

Founded more than 30 years ago, RMT was designed to give additional portions to schoolchildren from low-income families.

According to the report, SK Jeroco in Lahad Datu, Sabah, was supposed to serve its pupils with sardine sandwiches, prepared with slices of cucumber, tomato and lettuce.

However, what the pupils got were two slices of white bread with margarine.

Students at SK Jernang in Batang Padang, Perak were also fed by miserly chefs, who promptly gave them fried mee hoon bereft of vegetables, and a sixth of an apple, instead of half as promised.

The report also found that suppliers to five primary schools were supplying low quality food items under the RMT programme.

Six other outsourced school food suppliers were also found to be providing items, usually of inferior quality, different from the RMT recommendation.

The report also revealed several irregularities such as in SJK(C) Choong Hua 2 in Bidor, Perak, where packets of instant noodles, instead of fried beehoon, were provided to pupils.

The excuse often cited was the difficulty in obtaining raw materials, with some schools said to be too far from suppliers. For many students in the mornings, breakfast was not ready to be served.

Sodomy II: 'There's another medical report'

KUALA LUMPUR: The sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim today heard about the existence of an initial medical report on the history and examination of the complainant, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
The initial report, which was not tendered in court as evidence, was prepared before the full medical report dated July 13 was done and subsequently made available to the court.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) general surgeon Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim testified that the initial report, which was being kept at the HKL, was prepared by him and two other specialists, HKL emergency care specialist Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan and forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng, after they examined Saiful for three hours on the night of June 28, 2008.

He told the court that he could not remember the date of the report, which was signed by all three of them.

Razali, however, said the date of the type-written report ought to be between June 28, 2008 and July 13, 2008.

The existence of this report came about when Razali was cross-examined by Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh.

"We (Razali, Khairul Nizam and Siew) examined the patient (Saiful) on June 28, 2008, at 9pm and we completed the examination three hours later," he said at the trial of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is charged with sodomising Saiful, 25, at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Karpal Singh: On June 28, 2008 examination was conducted. Between June 28, 2008 and July 13, there’s another report during that time?

Razali: The history and examination of the patient.

Karpal: So the history is more detailed than in this report?

Razali: I can’t remember.

Asked by Karpal whether he (Razali) could produce the report in court because it was very important to the defence, Razali replied that the report was available at the HKL but he did not know where exactly the report was now.

Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah then stood down the proceedings for the parties to discuss this report.

When the proceedings continued, Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden informed the court that Siew had an unsigned copy of the report.

Karpal replied that an unsigned copy had no consequence and that he wanted the signed copy as testified by Razali.

The hearing continues tomorrow to allow the doctors and the investigation officer to locate the initial report and produce it in court.

Earlier, when quizzed by Karpal as to who was present during the examination on Saiful at the hospital, Razali had said that throughout the three-hour examination, investigation officer Supt Jude Pereira was there.

Asked by Karpal what was the purpose of the police officer being present during the examination, explained that he was there as the case was considered as a medico-legal case.

Razali also told the court that the examination was conducted on June 28, 2008, and the clinical report on the examination was prepared on July 13, 2008.

Karpal: Was this report requested by anyone? By any authority?

Razali: I was not informed. By a higher authority.

Karpal: You assume it was requested by a higher authority?

Razali: Yes.

Karpal: Why is that?

Razali: Because usually the higher authority needs the report.

Karpal: Higher authority means the police?

Razali :I don’t know. Maybe.

Karpal:Normally in this case, by police?

Razali: Yes. Should be the police.

- Bernama

Skyscraper: Opposition barks first, then wags tail

By Rahmah Ghazali - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Based on their track-record, the opposition would eventually warm up to the 100-storey Warisan Merdeka tower despite pouring cold water on the proposal now, said a BN MP.

In his Budget 2011 debate speech, Mohamed Aziz (BN-Sri Gading) called on the opposition not to crticise the RM5 billion project because they would “eat their own words” at the end of the day.

Previously, he said, the opposition had condemned the construction of the administrative capital of Putrajaya but it had now become their ultimate goal.

"Before this, they even said they wanted to auction Putrajaya because it was a waste of taxpayers' money. Now they want to take over Putrajaya.

"They also used to condemn the construction of the Penang bridge but now they want a second Penang bridge," he told the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon.

Bung: Facts manipulated

Meanwhile, Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) slammed the opposition for not being grateful for the development which the BN government had brought for the nation.

He also accused the opposition of "manipulating the facts" by alleging that the country's largest fund management company Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) would use taxpayers' money to construct the tower.

"But PNB has made it clear that they will not touch the government's money or the unit trust funds to develop the skyscraper. Instead, PNB will use its own private fund to bear the cost," he said.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders had criticised the project, arguing that it would become another BN white elephant.

Some 170,000 Malaysians had also voiced their objection to the project through Facebook. The group called "1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower" was formed last week.

The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM)

Earlier this month, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid came to my house for dinner and we talked about the MCLM that is going to be legalised at the end of this month. Sanusi said that Tun Dr Mahathir actually has the same idea and that the latter did speak to the former about it.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

PPP: Be selective in accepting non-political bodies into Barisan

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wants the Barisan Nasional to be selective in admitting non-political bodies into the coalition when its constitution is amended.

Its president Datuk M. Kayveas said that this was to ensure no racial and problematic organisations were admitted into Barisan.

“I am totally against racial politics,” he told reporters here yesterday.

Kayveas said this when asked to comment on the plan to amend the Barisan’s constitution to admit friendly individuals, non-governmental organisations and political parties as members.

It was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Barisan chairman, earlier this year. -- Bernama, 25 October 2010


Back in 2004, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Society (MCLS) at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel. Some even paid RM250 to sign up as a member of this new society that promised exciting days ahead of us. And it would have been exciting because the people involved were those from the legal fraternity, professionals, activists from the civil society movements, and new Bloggers like me (Malaysia Today had just been born then).

That was six years ago and after six years nothing further has happened. This is because the MCLS is still awaiting the approval of its registration. Considering that some have been waiting ten years or more for the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to approve the registration of their political party or society/association I suppose this six-year wait is not surprising at all.

Since then much has happened in the Malaysian political scene. The opposition has formed a new coalition called Pakatan Rakyat after the breakup of the first coalition, Barisan Alternatif, that was launched in 1999. The opposition made a remarkable recovery in the 2008 general election after the disaster of 2004. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has bailed out and has handed the reins of power to his successor, Najib Tun Razak. And so on and so forth.

The MCLS, however, is still waiting to be born while the world around it has moved on. And it appears like the MCLS will never see the light of day unless I take matters into my own hands. And take matters into my own hands I must.

This Saturday, 30th October 2010, I am going to legalise the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM). And so that I do not create any confusion or be accused of ‘hijacking’ the MCLS, I am going to call it ‘Movement’ instead of ‘Society’.

Thus the launching of the MCLM this Saturday to take over from the MCLS that was shot down even as it was still taxiing on the runaway and before it could take off.

Earlier this month, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid came to my house for dinner and we talked about the MCLM that is going to be legalised at the end of this month. Sanusi said that Tun Dr Mahathir actually has the same idea and that the latter did speak to the former about it.

This is purely coincidental, of course, and we are not taking this initiative to beat Dr Mahathir to the starting line (I told Sanusi first about the MCLM before he mentioned the part about Dr Mahathir’s idea). However, if Dr Mahathir does have the same idea then he should not raise any objections to our initiative to launch the MCLM.

The objective of the MCLM, amongst others, is to promote and propagate The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration ( to all political parties contesting the coming general election.

Another objective of the MCLM is to ‘offer’ non-political party candidates from the amongst the Malaysian professionals/lawyers and the civil society movements to ALL the political parties contesting the general election that may either be short of candidates or are not able to find ‘quality’ candidates to field in the elections.

This, incidentally, is also Dr Mahathir’s objective, said Sanusi. So this is even more reason why Dr Mahathir should not block our effort since what we are attempting is something he too is talking about.

One thing these political parties must understand is that the MCLM candidates are not going to be ‘party stooges’ and neither will they seek positions in any political party. Their loyalty will be to the voters, the rakyat, and not to the political party that they represented in the elections. This will be our term and condition and if this is not acceptable to these political parties then they are free to reject our offer of candidates.

It is not the intention of the MCLM to become another political party or to participate in three-corner fights with Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. It is to complement both coalitions in addressing a most important issue concerning Malaysian politics -- and that is to see the emergence of ‘politik baru’ or ‘new politics’. It is also to see the realisation of a two-party system -- which means we have to ensure that both coalitions are equally strong (or equally weak, as the case may be) and ‘better-balanced’ than they are now.

I have also spoken to various leaders from Gerakan, PKR, PAS and DAP about this and the first impression appears to be that the idea is being well-received -- of course as long as these politicians do not see the MCLM as a competitor because politicians are suspicious of competition.

It is actually too premature for me to tell you more because we shall only be legalised by this weekend. However, since Kayveas has somehow already got wind of it (because Sanusi may have informed Dr Mahathir about our discussion this month who in turn informed Kayveas), and since Kayveas has pre-empted my move with his statement about the matter, I thought I would give Malaysia Today’s readers a heads up or early warning of what’s to come.

Anyway, don’t react just yet until all the details about the MCLM are revealed. We hope the MCLM will become a new and exciting milestone in Malaysian politics and that it would be able to satisfy what many are lamenting about and what appears to be lacking in Malaysian politics.

That’s all for now but stay tuned and I shall tell you more as we go along. I hope that many of you who talk about doing something but do not know what you can do will participate in the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement and help push Malaysia towards seeing that change that we clamour for.