Share |

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Demise of Malacca-Addendum

written by John Doe

"The port of Malacca was in a horrible state of affairs. Every night, the river of Malacca had to be chained with logs, to keep the marauding Pirates from attacking this small port. Sailors had to sleep in their ships, to safeguard their cargo, and to prevent the frequent attacks and the burning of ships... Malacca was no longer safe"... - Portuguese Records.

Malacca was never the largest port in SEA. It was never the most important port either. It was always overshadowed by Tioman, Pasai, Patanni, Aceh, and so on. The trouble is, the Indonesian Government does not even want to recognize the Acehnese Kingdom anywhere in their Textbooks, or present day Maps, simply because the Acehnese are claiming independence. (The same quashing of this history is happening to Pattani, hence the everyday violence in Yala, Songkla, Satun and Narathiwat.) The Acehnese territories had been under the Ottoman Empire for a brief spell in the 12th & 13th Century. This leads to further Academic complications as the Ottoman Empire was a creation of the Mongols of Gengis Khan. The Khan's also ruled all of India, and their subsequent descendants built the Taj Mahal. (BTW, Shahrukh Khan, Riz Khan, Yahingir Khan, Jansher Khan are all descendants of the Gengis Khan family.)

You need to understand that the Mongols, or also known as the Moghuls, were of multiple religions. You had the Muslims, the Buddhists, and these Mongolians did actually live in harmony. It wasn't until the days of Kublai Khan when trouble began, as his uncles were too busy fighting each other for territories. Needless to say, Kublai Khan resolved all these issues, and built his Xanadu, in Beijing, known as the Forbidden City today. Yes. Altantuya's ancestor-relatives built the Taj Mahal, and Forbidden City.

Now all this happened BEFORE the birth of Parameswara's great-grandfather. This was the 12th Century. Circa 200 years, right around the time when the Majapahit Kingdom fled, and broke away from the Srivijaya Kingdom. The Majapahit Kingdom then begged China many many times to "recognise, and legalize" their position in Palembang. The vicious Javanese Srivijayan's duly killed the Chinese Emissaries of the Ming, and refused to recognize Majapahit. They had made enemies with the Thais, who were then, under the control of the new Kingdom of Sukkhotai. Yes, Sukkhotai was only formed in the 13th Century. Preciously, Siam were ruled by the Angkorians in the 11th and 12th Century, and subsequently by the Burmese (Bago) from 1558-1773.


Pix: Bagan, Myanmar

Back to the Majapahitans. They even started using and manufacturing their own Chinese coins, known as the Kepeng during the 13th Century. Please remember that the Majapahitans are really Javanese. These Hindus severely oppressed and ruled the gentle Malays of Jambi with an iron thumb. The Malays were innocent Buddhists then. The Hindu Majapahitan Javanese then quashed whatever was left of the Malays, and destroyed most, if not all, of the Malay Buddhist Temples. They all lie in ruins underwater in the Melayu River today. They await Archaeological Excavations, even though they were found more than 12 years ago.

Now this sets the stage for Parameswara. He wanted to kill his own father, because he was greedy, and wanted to be King of Majapahit, and was immediately issued a death warrant by his own father. He then fled to Temasik, where he killed King Tamagi, (who was the Brother of the King of Pattani, then under the rule of Ayodthaya). The port of Patani at that time was one of the busiest and wealthiest ports in the region with trade from China, Japan, Portugal and later on the British, apart from the local traders. The materials on trade were gold, cotton, silk, spices, porcelain and pottery.

Patanni was an excellent Port, situated right in between the Champa Kingdom of Vietnam, and Aceh of Sumatera. Furthermore, Lembah Bujang had been in existence since the 2nd Century, and was considered to be one of the Holiest Hindu sites in Southeast Asia. This was also the oldest Hindu known site in all of SEA. The second oldest would be in My Son (pronounced Mee Senn) in Central Vietnam, of the 3rd Century, under the Champa Empire. Borrobudor (Buddhist) was built n the 6th Century, and Angkor (Hindu), was built in the 8th Century.

All these Kingdoms were constantly flipping between Hinduism, and Buddhism. Depending on the Kings which ruled, their Kingdoms would constantly change from Hinsuism to Buddhism all the time. As such, Prambanan, Chandi Sukkho and Chandi Chetto, and more than 600 Hindu or Buddhist temples were built in Java during the Srivijayan Period alone. The same was true of Angkor. The Kings often hacked the statues of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, or Ganesan, and replaced them Buddha each time the Kings decided to change religions.


Pix: Angkor Watt, Cambodia

Such was the turbulent backdrop against which Malacca was to enter. It is important to note the dominance of the popular Religions, depending on the incoming traders as well. When the Gujerati traders first arrived in the 2nd Century, they were Hindu. When the same Gujerati traders arrived in the 10th Century, many had converted religions already. Champions of Islam were also arriving. Most notably, was Syed Bukhari, who smashed his penis on a stone, so that he would not "think evil thoughts", was one such Champion. The stone where he smashed his penis can still be viewed in Pariaman, West Sumatera. The Mingangkabau's are extremely proud of it, although we do not know anyone who has emulated Syed Bukhari recently.

On the same topic, Zheng He was probably either never circumcised, or perhaps he was "overcircumcised", as he was a Eunuch. I find it extremely strange that so many Chinese Temples are built in his honor, despite him being a Muslim. Regardless, Zheng He probably helped bring Islam into Malacca, along with his 30,000 Military Armada. The Sultan of Brunei, among others went to China to pay respects to the Ming Emperor. All Ming Emperor's names began with "Tzu" (pronounced Chu), so the fairy tale of Hang Li Poh being a Ming Princess doesn't hold water. There are those who claim that Hang Tu Ah translates to "Noble Warrior/ Leader" in the Thai Language. But, that remains to be confirmed.

It is important to note that despite Malacca having all the written records of a Maritime Law, the question of enforcement has never been brought up. The Royal Sampan Armada was never found, nor was there any grave of any Sultan during the classical Malacca Period.

The only one which is highly suspect, is the one found in Fort Canning Hill in Singapore. However, once you know that Parameswara killed the Temasik King, Tamagi, then, it is highly unlikely that the Malaccan Javanese and Bugis migrants would carry the body of Parameswara all the way back to Singapore for burial. The ruling Thai's would have never allowed this to happen. Also having said that, just like the grave of Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kesturi, Hang Lekir, and Hang Lekiu, there was never any names written on their grave (unlike the Acehnese Gravestones). All that was there, was a large stone. So, perhaps it was "Officially designated" as a tourist site, and a subtle claim of "Validation", which turned these unknown graves into the graves of warriors.

Just as the Tourism Malaysia Signage states (at the grave of Hang Tuah) "... This was a large stone, marking a grave, and hence, it must have been an important person. As such, it could have been no other than that of Hang Tuah". You see, this is open admission that no one really even knows whose grave this is. Also, by admission, "All we found was a large stone".

Yet, today, this Alleged Hang Tuah Grave is styled like the Touristy "Hang Graves" found in town near Jonker Street. I also find it extremely ironic that Hang Tuah's grave is situated in Kampong Keling. It is only dutiful of me to note now, that it becomes even more ironic that one can find alleged Soldier and Warrior Graves, but not one single Sultan. Yes. Not one single Sultan's Grave has ever been found.

Nor has there been ever any building, or structure of the Great Malaccan Empire been found either. Not one !! Why is this so? Is the Glory of Malacca a fictitious creation no different from the Mythical "Social Contract" which UMNO raves about?


Pix: Prambanan, Java

I now turn your attention to Pulau Besar, situated just off the coast of Malacca. You can reach that place by regular Ferry. Why has this island never been mentioned or offered as proof of Malacca? The island is beautiful !! It boasts a golf course which has changed hands at least 4 times (coz of Bankruptcy), and a magnificent Marina City, which has yet to be launched. Construction completed in 2001. And the white sandy beaches are a joy to sunbathe on. The reason? It is apparently haunted !!

Putting ghost stories aside. This island has more than 1,000 graves !!! Of these thousand graves, two are Muslim Graves. And all the rest are Hindu Graves. Many Indians, Muslims, and Chinese flock to this Island on the weekends to pay homage. The graves are from the Malaccan Period, and yet has never been offered as "Proof". Why?

Because there were only TWO Muslim Graves. It is most interesting to note that people go there to pray for Lottery numbers and such. It is even more interesting to note that the Malaccan Government destroyed 7 graves belonging to 7 Brothers. Who are these 7 brothers? And how important were they to warrant their graves to be destroyed with a Bulldozer by Malaysian Officials? And where are any of the Malaccan Kings?

And why is the only other Cemetery, the one on Bukit China? Why are Hindu, and Chinese Graves the only reminders of this allegedly Great Muslim Empire? Where are the Muslim Graves?

The Muslims do NOT cremate their dead, and throw them into the sea, so, again, and again, I question the validity of any Muslim evidence in Malacca.


Pix: Majapahit, Sumatera

I stress that the ONLY item which suggests that there was a Malacca was a solitary coin minted. I wrote about it sometime ago (Click HERE). Even then, the coin only states "Yang Arif", which means "The Smart One".

So either this King had no name, or it was not even a Malaccan coin at all !! Half the guys in town are called Arif today. This does not mean in any way that any of them minted this coin. It is also interesting to note that this coin is called a "pitis". As all of us know, the "Pitis" was a solitary coin ripped off from the Duit Pokok, which was used to be presented to the Siamese Kings. Bank Simpanan Nasional still reminds Malaysians of this tribute paid to Ketuanan Siam, as they still use it as their Logo today.


Pix: Wang Pitis, Malaysia

The other issue is the chronology of events. It was recorded that the Thai's attacked Malacca in 1447, and yet, the battle was fought in Muar. Perhaps, we have all been searching in the wrong place, and the original and REAL Malacca is Muar.

Geographically, the Muar river is far superior to the Malacca River. It is as wide as the Singapore River, and the waters are calm. All maps which we see from the Portuguese, and the Dutch, show present day Malacca. This is easy to understand, if the Portuguese relocated Malacca, from Muar to present day Malacca. This also makes perfect sense, that not one artefact from during the "Zaman Gemilang Malacca" has ever been found.

All we see today, are the 16th and 17th Century buildlings. Namely, the Portuguese "A Famosa" Gate, the Dutch Stadhuys, St Paul's Church, and the Dutch Graves located behind it. The fake Museum replica was only recently built to provide an "imaginary" illusion that there was once a magnificent Malacca in its' present day location. Of course, no one will find anything from the pre-Portuguese days.

Present day Malacca is probably NOT even THE Malacca !!! It is simply just another Kampong Nelayan which the Portuguese took over. Even Kampong Keling, and all the other "supporting Villages" which surround present day Malacca do not have a shred of evidence that any of them existed during the "Zaman Gemilang Malacca".

This is so strange. Any visitor should go see "Zaman Gemilang Portuguese dan Belanda" instead. Malacca is begining to be another "National Embarrassment" soon, if this is not quickly rectified.


Pix: Malacca, Malaysia

Assuming now, that there was indeed a Malacca, (but located in Muar), it is important to understand the state of affairs in and around Southeast Asia. Majapahit was going through tough times. The kings were assassinating each other, and there was Civil War in Java between 1401-1406. During the same period, there were also Multiple Earthquakes, Floods, Tsunami's and severe Drought.

All this took its toll on the warring Majapahit, and Srivijayan Kingdoms. Names such as Bhre Kertabhumi, Kertavijaya, Purvavisesha, Bhre Padan Salas, and so on dominated the scene begining with the assasination of Kertavijaya. All wanted to grab power. Most of Indonesia was divided, and subdivided into really small mirco-Kingdoms, and each was fighting the other for power, and control.

As such, the neighbouring ports benefited from this. Malacca (situated in Muar) was one such Port. It was small, young, and was adequately supplying resources to passing ships. However, things changed for the worse towards the end of the 15th Century. In 1499, Majapahit sent a last-resort plea to China to ask for financial assistance. It had gone bankrupt, and foreign merchants had decided not to stop there anymore. Malacca, and the other Sumatran Sultanates colluded to attack the northern Empires of Java. By 1500, they had suceeded in controlling all of the North of the Java.

The most powerful of this Alliance was the Demak Dynasty. He had 30,000 men, was much stronger than Malacca, and he was Chinese. His name is Cek Kok Po. He later adopted the Javanese name of Raden Patah, when he married his Javanese wife. The second strongest Force was Surabaya. The Portuguese saw this as a great opportunity to advance itself to the Spice Islands. As such, it immediately saw that the Civil Wars going on in Java had completely weakened itself. Perang Saudara was working for the Portuguese. However, this same Perang Saudara was also crippling the export of the much needed spices to the West, and their meats were rotting during the warm months of Summer.


Pix: Malacca during the Portuguese.

In 1509, the first Royal Portuguese trading expedition commanded by Diego Lopez de Sequiera with a fleet of 18 ships arrives in Malacca hence the first European to arrive here. The locals called the Portuguese `Benggali Putih'. In an argument over the collection of "Malaccan taxes", vs the Portuguese going to the Maluku islands to obtain their own spices resulted in the Portuguese ships being ferociously attacked by Malacca. Most escaped except for 20 prisoners. Thus, hatched the idea of Bludgeoning Malacca to use it's strategic location to attack Java, and thus command the Spice Trade of the West. Thus began all the report speaking good things about Malacca to obtain Military funding for the Expedition to control Java, and Maluku.

Now, the following is what was never taught in schools:

B. W. Diffie and G. D. Winius in the book "Foundations of the Portuguese Empire 1415-1580" wrote: "the capture of Malacca by a mere 900 Portuguese and 200 Indians must rank as an event in the history of European expansion no less stunning than the better known conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernando Cortés". Malacca claimed to have 100,000 fighting men, as was written in Sejarah Melayu (Asal-Usul Raja-Raja). So, either the 100,000 fighting men were utterly useless warriors, or someone was lying about the number. Or, the 900 Portuguese and 200 Indian Warriors had some "special Ketuanan" of sorts...

In 1510, Bendahara Tun Mutahir plots to assassinate the Sultan. Sultan Mahmud Shah executes him and his entire family instead. Sultans Ahmad Shah succeeded the throne temporary from his father Sultan Mahmud Shah. Internal strife of Malacca had begun. With more and more ships skipping past Malacca to go and directly obtain their Spices from Maluku, Malacca was left High-and-Dry. Its neighbours were all at war, and despite its contributions to the attack and conquest of North Java, Malacca was left with absolutely no control whatsoever of any territorial land in Java. In essence, Malacca was cheated, and now it was now suffering. The Portuguese obtained the help of Utimutiraja. He was a Javanese Spy who had a beef with Malacca because of the Malaccan role in the vicious attacks on Java. This Javanese Trader brought with him, his 5,000 personal Militia, to assist in conquering Malacca. All these 5,000 Javanese had developed strong hate for Malacca for their role in the destruction of Javanese Trade, and the capture of Northern Java by the Sumaterans. However, Utimutiraja became greedy. Before the Portuguese started to set sail, he decided to be a two-time spy. The Portuguese executed him instead for his "changing of sides". They then sought the help of a local Malaccan Chitty named Nina Chatu. This local rich Chitty then helped the Portuguese obtain information and deliver information for the impending attack. Meanwhile, the Malaccan Sultanate was still squabbling over which part of North Java they were supposed to control. The port was ignored, and all the traders had gone. This Chitty was very intelligent and smart. He managed to enlist the help of all the traders who were either cheated, or robbed by the Malaccan Sultan, or were disgruntled in some way or another. Thus, the Thais, the Sumatrans, and many Javanese pooled their resources to help the Portuguese. And this was done in record time too. Exactly the following year, the Portuguese return to take over Malacca. Alfonso d' Albuquerque brought his Portuguese fleet, and together with the Thais, the Sumatrans, the Javanese, and a handful of "dan lain-lain" ships attack Malacca on the 10 August 1511, and succeeded.

The Portuguese now had the perfect location from which they could launch strikes against the Javanese who were already so severely weakened, and crippled by their Civil Wars. To add to their problems, the Sumaterans were also constantly attacking the island of Java.


Pix: Majapahit, Sumatera

The year is 1628. And the Acehnese ruled Malacca for 8 months. Why was Acehnese Rule never discussed in Malaysian History Books? This was not the first time the Acehnese attacked Malacca. They attacked it in 1537, 1568, 1571, 1582, and terrorized Malacca for the next 60 years. The question is why? Here's the reason. The Portuguese wrote that Malacca was a very important location. This was not from the standpoint of Trade. But this was from the standpoint of a good base to launch attacks on the already weakened Javanese. And why Java? because they were a threat to obtaining "Droga" (Spices in Portuguese) for sale to the entire Western World. Therefore, "He who controls Malacca controls all of Europe" phrase was coined. This was said precisely to obtain the much needed Portuguese Military Funding to launch those attacks. This gamble proved to be correct.

Even before the construction of the A Formosa was completed, the King of Cerebon, King Suliwangi sent 2 Emissaries in 1512, 1nd 1513 to the Portuguese in Malacca to beg for their help. They pleaded with Henrique Leme (Captain, and Ambassador) to help stop the attack of the Cek Kok Poh. The Sultan of Demak from Sumatera. True enough, in 1513, Cek Kok Po, the Chinese Sultan of Demak decides to attack Malacca, as it was a threat to their impending attack on Cerebon. He failed to stop the Portuguese. In gratitutde, the King of Cerebon signed a treaty which allowed the Portuguese of Malacca to build a Defense Fortress and setup a Portuguese settlement in Sunda Kelapa.

Every year, the Pajajaran Kings would then pay the Portuguese 20 tonnes of Pepper for continued protection of North Java. Menawhile, the runaway Older Son of the deposed King of Malacca was volleying continuos attacks on Malacca, in 1518, 1519, and 1523. Each time, he failed. Just for continuity's sake, here is the rest of the Royal Bloodline of Johor. Sultan Mahmud Shah ruled from 1511 to 1528, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah ruled from 1528 to 1564, Sultan Muzaffar Shah ruled from 1564 to 1570, Sultan Jalla Abdul Riayat Shah ruled from 1570 to 1597, Sultan Alauddin ruled from 1597 to 1612, Sultan Abdullah Maayat Shah ruled from 1612 to 1623, Sultan Abdul Jalil Shah II ruled from 1623 to 1677, Sultan Ibrahim ruled from 1677 to 1699


Pix: Hang Family, Mr Tuah

Sultan Mahmud, the ruler of Johor, was a savage and vindictive sadist. He was assassinated in 1699 by a group of nobles, with the killing blow struck by Tun Mergat Seri Rama, whose pregnant wife had been disembowelled at court as a result of Mahmud’s orders. The Bendahara, Abdul Jalil, seizing the opportunity, immediately appointed himself as Sultan. Parameswara's eldest son's Bloodline ends here. The present day Sultanate of Johore, is descended from a completely unrelated Bendahara Line, and has no ties to the Javanese-Parameswara line whatsoever.

The Bendahara, Abdul Jalil took over the throne from 1699 to 1717, Sultan Suleiman Badr Al-Aman Shah ruled from 1722 to 1760, Sultan Abdul Jalil Muazzam ruled on 1760 and Sultan Mahmud ruled from 1761 to 1813, and the rest is history.

Meanwhile, the story continues at Malacca. The Portuguese realized that they could never advance to Java from their Position in Goa. Hence, they chose Malacca as a new camp. Why Malacca? It would have been suicidal to try to take over Aceh, Pasai, or Majapahit, as they were simply too strong and well fortified. Singapore wasn't to be "discovered" for the next 200 years. Plus, it was located smack in the middle of the Pirate-Infested Johore-Riau Islands. Hence, Malacca was chosen. It was financially weakened, by the Malaccan attacks on North Java, it was in a relatively unprotected part of the Sumatran Straits, and (regardless of whether it was actually in Muar or Johor), it was generally well known to be the weakest of any Ports in the region. Since Malacca was only chosen as a Port from which to launch Military Mission, the real capabilities of Malacca as a trading port became irrelevant. It wasn't long before VOA, (under the Dutch), began to realize the importance of Maluku, and decided to set their sights on Java. The very factors which allowed the Portuguese to conquer Malacca, became their weakness, and they succumbed to the Dutch in 1645.


Pix: A Famosa, Malacca

You see, Malacca was not the great Port it was made out to be. It was a Military location, poised for launching attacks onto Java, and various other parts of Indonesia. It was a Naval Base, of sorts. Not a Trading Post.

All the nice descriptions of Malacca was simply to obtain Military funding. Most important to note, is, there is no evidence of any pre-Portuguese Malacca anywhere to be found. You want a real Location? Try Lembah Bujang instead !!!

Built in the 2nd century, the local Malays were iconic Hindu's, and helped spread Hinduism all over Southeast Asia fro a staggering 1,500 years. This was known as the Golden Hindu Era. Lembah Bujang is a real Empire, built 1,200 years BEFORE Malacca !!

From Lembah Bujang, Hinduism spread to the Kingdom of Champa in the 3rd Century. And then to Borrobudor in the 6th Century, and lastly to Angkor in the 8th Century. The Kingdom of Angkor was destroyed in the 13th century, a full 200 years before Parameswara was even born !! That is the importance of Lembah Bujang.

Lembah Bujang was built during the Chola Expansion, as per mentioned in the Sangam Literatures. It was built during the Rajaraja Chola the 1st's Reign. There have been much speculation that it is from this word that the name Raja Chulan is derived from. The only question is, how does one detect or correct such an error? The Kingdom of Lembah Bujang, would have been part of the Langkasuka Empire, as mentioned in Chinese records. The following name are also attributed to Kedah. They are, Kadar, Kiddara, Kalah, Kalajam, Kataha, and Jiecha. The last Kedah Empire is dated from 1201, which obviously pre-dates Malacca. There has been speculation that they occupied Malacca at that time. The Kedah Annals will be a good resource for this.

The following map shows the two sections of the Chola Empire. The Grey-Colored area was under direct Chola control, while the Dark Pink-Colored area shows suzerainty. However, no surviving records detail enough about the Pink Areas.


Pix: Map Showing Chola Regions.

The Cholas were also responsible for bringing the initial wave of Hinduism into Southeast Asia. We know that it was the Assam Indians who directly brought it into Bagan, Mrauk U, Bago, Inthein, in Burma, and was subsequently passed on to Thailand via the Lanna Kingdom at Chiang Mai.

Tome Pires, the author of the Summa Oriental written between 1512 and 1515, commented on the stranglehold which the Gujarati traders had on the textile trade.

We have learned much of the origins of the Indian trade textiles in pre European times from the excavations at Fustat, a town south of Cairo which was traditionally known as old Cairo and which was connected by a canal to the Red Sea.

Excavations at Fustat have revealed Gujarati resist textiles with patterns identical to those which have been discovered in recent times in Indonesia. Most of these textiles have been done with blocks, although there is some evidence of some hand drawn pieces. The age of these textiles should come at no surprise since cotton has been used in India for at least 3,000 years and fragments have been found at the Indus Valley sites of Mohenjo Dharo etc referable to the 2nd century BC. Mohenjo Dharo is of course geographically close to the area what is now modern day Gujarat.


Pix: Kingdom of Lanna, Thailand.

Other Kingdoms in the Southeast Asian region in the 1st-6th Century were:

Lin Yi (Champa), Dunsun, Chitu, Kiu Li, Barus, Ko-Ying, Si Tiao, Poli (Bali), Pu-Lo-Chung, Chu Po, Kutei, Pan Pan, Kantoli, Holotan, Tolomo, Holing (Chopo), and a few other scattered micro Kingdoms. All these existed a thousand years before Parameswara fled for his life to Muar.

Short of Perak Man from 10,000 years ago, and Niah Caves from 40,000 years ago, nothing else compares to the age of Lembah Bujang !! But using Perak Man, or Niah Man would be opening an entirely new can of worms, because they were both Negritos, hence, fortifying the Orang Asli's position as the one and true Bumiputras of Malaysia.


Pix: Negrito, Malaysia

I rest my case.

John Doe


- Fernandis, Gerard "Save our Portuguese heritage conference 95 Malacca, Malaysia"

. Gerard Fernandis, 1995, Malacca, Malaysia. More info about this book click here.

A very interesting book on the Portuguese heritage and history in Malacca.

- Irwin, G. W. "Melaka fort"

In "Melaka-The Transformation of a Malay Capital c. 1400-1980" Vol. one Edited by Kernial Singh Sandhu, Paul Wheatley. p. 195-241.

The history of the fort of Malacca during the Portuguese and Dutch time.

- Leupe, P.A. "The seige and capture of Malacca from the Portuguese in 1640-1641"

JMBRAS vol, 14, pt. 1 (1936)

The occupation of the straits of Malacca 1636-1639, the siege and the capture of Malacca 1640-1641, commissary Justus Schouten's report of his visit to Malacca 1641.

- Noonan, L. "The Portuguese in Malacca: a study of the first major european impact on East Asia"

In: "Studia" N° 23 April, Centro de Estudos Historicos Ultramarinos, 1968, Lisbon, Portugal.

Very interesting.

The coming of the Portuguese, Portuguese rule in Malacca, Malacca's role in Portuguese colonial strategy, Portuguese-Asian relations in Malacca, the end of Portuguese rule.

- O'Neill, Brian Juan " A tripla identidade dos portugueses de Malaca"

In: "Oceanos" n° 32 Outubro - Dezembro 1997, pp. 63-83

- Sandhu K. and Wheatley P. " Melaka; The Transformation of a Malay Capital c1400 - 1980" ?

. 2 volumes, illustrated throughout OUP / Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1983, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A complete study on Malacca town from the beginning till today, with a bibliography of Melaka studies.

- Silva Rego, Padre Antonio da "A Comunidade Luso-Malaia de Malaca e Singapura "

In: Actas do V Colóquio Internacional de Estudos Luso-Brasileiros, vol. I, Coimbra, 1964,

Also in: Silva Rego, Padre Antonio da "Dialecto Portugues de Malaca e outros escritos" . (Cadernos Ásia) CNCDP, 1998, Lisboa, Portugal.

- Silva Rego, Padre Antonio da "A Cultura Portuguesa na Malaia e em Singapura "

Comunicaçao apresentata a reuniao conjunta da Academia Internacional da Cultura Portuguesa e do Conselho Geral da Uniao das Comunitades de Cultura Portuguesa, 28 May 1968.

Also in: Silva Rego, Padre Antonio da "Dialecto Portugues de Malaca e outros escritos" 304 pp. (Cadernos Ásia) CNCDP, 1998, Lisboa, Portugal.

- Sousa Pinto, P. J. de "Portugueses e Malaios: Malaca e os Sultanatos de Johor e Achém 1575-1619"

. maps, Fundaçao Oriente, 1997, Lisbon, Portugal.

Malaca e o Estado da India: enquadramento economico, quadro politico militar; Malaca e a geopolitica dos estreitos 1575-1619, Portugueses e Malaios, a cidade de Malaca.

- Sousa Pinto, P. J. de "Capitaes e casados: um retrato de Malaca nos finais do seculo XVI"

In: "Oceanos" n° 32 Outubro - Dezembro 1997,

- Sta Maria, Bernard "My people, my country. The story of the Malacca Portuguese community" ?

Malacca Portuguese Development Centre, 1982, Malacca, Malaysia.

Draws attention to role of lay groups in keeping the faith particularly during the Dutch period.

- Sta Maria, Joseph "Where do we go from here ?"

89 pp. Joseph Sta Maria , 1991, Malacca, Malaysia.

- Subrahmanyam, Sanjay "Commerce and conflict: two views of Portuguese Melaka in the 1620s" ?

In: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, n° 19(1), March 1988,

- Teixeira, Manuel "The Portuguese missions in Malacca and Singapore (1511-1958)" ?

3 vols. Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1961, 1963, Lisbon, Portugal.

- Thomaz, Luís Filipe Ferreira Reis "Early Portuguese Malacca"

. CTMCDP - IPM, 1998, Macau

From: Thesis "Os Portugueses em Malaca: 1511-1580" Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa, maps 2 voll. 1964, Lisboa.

This volume comprises three essays on the city of Malacca and its society, during the first decades of Portuguese rule.

- Thomaz, Luis Filipe Ferreira Reis "The Indian merchant communities in Malacca under the Portuguese rule" ?

In: Souza, T. R. de (ed., ) "Indo-Portuguese History: Old issues, new questions" Concept, New Delhi, 1985,

Protest against violent arrest

Memorandum of protest to the IGP on the arrest and detention of inquest witness K.Selvach Santhiran Bukit Aman, 30 October 2010

Selvachandran Bkt Aman

The continuing descent of the PDRM into lawlessness has been graphically demonstrated by the 25 October beating and abduction of K. Selvach Santhiran by men in plainclothes claiming to be police personnel who did not properly identify themselves. Selvach was one of the key witnesses who testified against the police in the recently concluded R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest.

On the very day the verdict was delivered in the inquest, the police moved against Selvach and came to his home to arrest him. When Selvach’s children asked the police why their father was being dragged away, the police answered by beating Selvach in front of his own children. In a twisted perversion of conjugal love, the police tried to make Selvach’s wife S.Saraswathy kiss him before beating him up in front of her.

Selvach, who did his duty as an upright citizen by telling the truth at the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest, is now being held at an unknown location with no access to his family or lawyers despite several efforts to meet him or ascertain his whereabouts.

It is believed that he is being detained without trial under the draconian Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 or the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 that allow the police to detain a person for 60 days with no recourse to judicial safeguard and thereafter 2 years’ detention on the order of the Home

Surend Bkt Aman Whilst we understand that the police have an important and onerous job to prevent and combat crime, the police must understand that the wide powers of arrest and detention cannot be abused and used arbitrarily. As a professional police force, they should be guided by the law and legal processes in the country and not act with impunity and complete disregard for constitutional and judicial safeguards.

This is unfortunately symptomatic of the police’s inability to act professionally as a police force that can work within a modern criminal justice system and not resort to preventive measures that do not require any real police work and diligence. The police should instead strive to be a modern and professional force that conform to international standards and best practices and not regress to wrongful practices that have caused the public to lose so much confidence with the police force.

The aggressive and unlawful response of the police is a reflection of the general arrogance and lack of respect for the Federal Constitution, the rule of law and other legal procedures. This is not an isolated incident but a continuation of a long standing series of acts by the police that showed their contempt for the rights of the people that have resulted in gross abuse of police powers leading to brutality, torture, arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, shooting, custodial violence and death.

The arrest and detention of Selvach is gravely aggravated by the fact that he was arrested on the same day – after the outrageous and scandalous “open verdict” delivered by Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin in the R.Gunasegaran death in police custody inquest. Selvach was one of three persons who were in police custody with R.Gunasegaran and they have consistently identified Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal as having physically assaulted the deceased. They did so despite threats to their safety by the police and despite the inducement that their cooperation would secure their immediate release.

It cannot be a mere coincidence that Selvach was arrested so soon and further more he was detained IMG_3835 under unspecified accusations under draconian provisions that allow the police to detain a suspect without trial for up to two years. It goes without saying that whistleblowers should be protected by the administration of law rather than punished by law enforcement officers. This is a blatant abuse of police power and a serious criminal act that can be prosecuted under the Penal Code and may further be subjected to contempt of court proceedings. Further, these actions point to police retaliation and clearly intended to intimidate those who speak up against injustices or wrongdoings perpetrated by members of the police force.

Uncivilised and unjust laws like the DDA and EO have no place in a modern and democratic state like Malaysia. These oppressive laws and methods violate the constitutional and human rights of the people and are contemptuous of the judicial authority and the legal process. The Malaysian Bar and civil society have forcefully and repeatedly called for the repeal of all preventive detention laws and for such arbitrary arrests and re-arrests to cease.

The police cannot be permitted to continue to operate in an environment of impunity but as this tragic episode has explicitly illustrated, the police has just sent a strong message that they can act as they please with no regard to the rule of law, police professionalism and the law and procedure governing their conduct.

Our Demands

The Inspector General of Police must:

1. release Selvach immediately and issue a public apology to him and his family;
2. take stern action, including criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against the policemen who assaulted and arrested Selvach;
3. support the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), to function as an independent, external oversight body to investigate complaints about police personnel and to make the police accountable for their conduct;
4. stop the unjust practice of arresting and re-arresting under preventive detention laws;
5. undertake to respect the right of the people for unimpeded and free access to lawyers at all times;
6. require the police especially those in plainclothes to identify themselves and display their authorisation when affecting their powers;
7. support human rights education and training programmes, with a view to changing the attitudes and methods of law enforcement personnel.

Submitted by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on behalf of the family of K. Selvach Santhiran 
IMG_3827 IMG_3829
IMG_3830 IMG_3831
IMG_3832 IMG_3836
SelvabBkt Aman IMG_3838
IMG_3840 IMG_3842

Key witness to death inquest held under drug charge

(Malaysiakini) A noisy protest in front of the national police headquarters staged by around 80 people forced the disclosure that a key witness to a police custody death had been detained for alleged drug offences.

bukit aman protest against selvachandran arrest 301010 02A police spokesperson said that the narcotics department took the action taken against K Selvachandran under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures).

However, it took him close to an hour and a half of noisy protest at Bukit Aman to come up with the answer.

They had gathered this morning to demonstrate against Selva's sudden arrest on Monday night, just a few hours after the coroner's court gave an open verdict on the custodial death of R Gunasegaran.
bukit aman protest against selvachandran arrest 301010 01The participants mobilised by several human rights and civil society NGOs such as Lawyers for Liberty and Suaram they also handed over a memorandum to the police.
However, there was a brief face-off when the police officer who had come out to receive the document earlier had no answers for the protestors, which included Selva's wife Saraswathy (below, right), on where he was being detained.
bukit aman protest against selvachandran arrest 301010 wifeThe protestors also refused to hand over the memorandum to him, until answers were forthcoming.
A little more than an hour later the police officer returned to deliver the news of Selva's whereabouts.
No trial for key witness, yet
Under the special preventive measures of the Dangerous Drugs Act, a suspect can be detained without trial for up to 60 days.
Upon its expiry, the home minister is empowered to endorse a two-year extension which can be renewed indefinitely and cannot be challenged in court.
bukit aman protest against selvachandran arrest 301010 hand in memo to police"The minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said that he did not want to interfere but it will be his signature on the detention orders once the 60 days are up. He is responsible for Selva," said Latheefa Koya, (right in headscarf in photo) a representatives of Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).
The memorandum signed by LFL and Suaram, also demanded Selva's immediate release as well as a public apology from the police.
bukit aman protest against selvachandran arrest 301010 03"The inspector-general of police also must take stern action, including criminal prosecution and disciplinary action against the policemen who assaulted and arrested Selva," said the memorandum.
A hat was also passed around, collecting RM1,140 from the protestors as financial aid to Saraswathy.
Representatives from Pakatan Rakyat included four MPs - Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Dzulkifly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor), R Sivarasa (Subang) and Charles Santiago (Klang).

In the Monday night incident, Selva - who had testified at the inquest into Gunasegaran's death on July 16, 2009 in a police lock-up in the Sentul police station - was suddenly whisked away by policemen, but not before assaulting him in front of his wife and children.

Gloves off as PAS fires broadside at Ku Li

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today

GUA MUSANG: The cordial form of campaigning in the Galas state by-election only lasted for three days. Yesterday, PAS singled out Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for criticism.

Before the official campaigning period started after nomination closed by noon on Tuesday, both sides were reportedly keen on a cordial and gentlemanly form of campaigning.

Both Razaleigh, the Barisan Nasional by-election director and Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the de facto PAS election leader here, spoke of a commitment towards non-personal attacks but it has disintergrated within 72 hours.

Yesterday, state PAS election committee adviser Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah singled out Razaleigh, who is affectionately known as Ku Li, as the main cause why land deeds and titles were slow in being awarded in Galas.

Wan Abdul Rahim, who is widely considered to be one of the key PAS' brains in Kelantan, said Razaleigh was bestowed the trust to handle the issue when he headed Semangat 46 but instead he decided to hide the files.

Semangat 46 is now defunct after it dissolved in the late 1990s and its members rejoined Umno but in 1990, it was part of an opposition front called Gagasan Rakyat with PAS and DAP.

Wan Abdul Rahim's criticism came as a surprise because earlier Razaleigh and Nik Aziz had both said that would not be any personal attacks.

Secret mission

Wan Abdul Rahim also alleged that BN was trailing far behind in Galas so it would likely resort to using outsiders to impersonate as voters here.

He claimed that a secret mission with the National Registration Department was in full swing to offer RM1,000 and a television set to each voter here who is willing to surrender his or her identity cards.

The cards would then be modified to be used by outsiders who comprise Barisan election workers for voting in Galas, he claimed at a press conference.

This is the only way for BN to win as it is now desperate since the coalition is trailing far behind, particularly among Chinese voters, Wan Abdul Rahim said.

A bemused Ku Li only said that Wan Abdul Rahim has a right to say what he wants but stressed that it is virtually impossible to commit voting fraud here due to the presence of the Election

Commission and each of the party's own polling agents.

"Perhaps, he (Wan Abdul Rahim) was referring to Mona Fandey's ability to vote (a woman bomoh sentenced to death for murder years ago). I really do not know what PAS means."

He declined to be dragged into a war of words with PAS.

Political equation

Earlier, Razaleigh said that the campaign should be friendly as it was an insignificant by-election to Kelantan.

Whoever wins, either BN or PAS, would not change the political equation in Kelantan, he said.

PAS has 37 seats with PKR one and Umno six.

Meanwhile, PAS has stepped up its evening rallies by organising smaller ones in various polling areas here.

There are now even rumours that Kelantan PAS would invite the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V Tuanku Muhammad Faris Petra Sultan Ismail Petra to officiate at some programmes.

A palace official has denied this, saying the royal institution is above politics.

Talk has also resurfaced of a secret negotiation between Razaleigh and Kelantan PAS over the proceedings of the by-election, which centred on the contentious issue of oil royalty, which the state

government is demanding from Petronas.

This has now transformed the by-election into a feverish pitch.

'Too many restrictions holding back Labuan'

By Joe Fernandez - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Outgoing PKR vice-president Jeffrey Kitingan, just back from a rare visit to Labuan, is shocked that the reality on the ground on the duty-free island is a far cry from that presented in the media.

Labuan is a sleepy hollow with a virtually deserted international airport “and not much traffic on the few roads which lead to nowhere”.

He thinks that the shine, if any, appears to have come off Labuan. He attributes this to “various restrictions” that the international offshore financial centre has been saddled with by administrators in Putrajaya.

“At one time, the thought of visiting Labuan excited people on the mainland and in neighbouring Brunei,” said Jeffrey. “Now, it’s no longer. Prices in Labuan are generally the same as in Kota Kinabalu despite the island’s duty-free status.”

People from Brunei, who used to flock to the island to take the AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur, are no longer doing so ever since the airline started direct Bandar Seri Begawan-Kuala Lumpur flights, he noted. “The taxi drivers in particular and the shopping malls are feeling the pinch.”

Meanwhile, smuggling between Labuan and Sabah has deterred mainlanders visiting the island for the cheap booze, tobacco and chocolates. There are also allegations that Labuan has become a transit point in the region for people smuggling, human trafficking, white slavery and prostitution.

The way forward, Jeffrey opines, would be to allow Labuan to be self-administered just like other offshore tax havens circling the globe in competition.

“Tax havens should have a high degree of autonomy to maintain their credibility in the global world of finance,” says Jeffrey. “The moment politics enters the picture, economics flies out the window.”

Beef up naval presence

The federal government, said Jeffrey, should confine itself to ensuring the security of Labuan and otherwise leave the island alone. This would mean beefing up the naval presence on the island to supplement and complement the submarine base at Sepanggar on the mainland, a deterrent aerial presence and a bigger role for the marine police and coastguard.

He clarified that he had no dealings whatsoever or interest in Labuan and was there to visit PKR members who come under the Sabah chapter. He has taken two months leave from the party and will resume duties next year.

He acknowledges that Labuan being self-administered would not be possible as long as the island was merely used as a post box and the actual physical dealings in international finance are conducted in Kuala Lumpur. He does not see this duplicity happening in any other tax haven elsewhere in the world. He added that in this case Labuan sticks out like a sore thumb in the world of high finance.

He suggests a two-pronged process under which Labuan would first function truly as a tax haven with none of its related activities done in Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in the country. The first prong, when it matures, should give way to the second prong under which the island would be self-administered, he says.

He sees no need to reconcile the call for Labuan to be self-administered with the demand by Sabahans that the island be returned to the state by the federal government. It’s obvious, stressed Jeffrey, that “self-administration means no interference by either the state government of Sabah or the federal government”.

As an immediate measure, the Sabah strongman sees the need for improved air and sea connectivity between Labuan and the mainland and thereafter with the region and the world.

“There are only limited air links between Labuan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur,” said Jeffrey. “The ferry services are appalling and take too long, over three hours, for an air trip of just under 25 minutes with the mainland, Bandar Seri Begawan or Miri.”

To bring down the cost of air trips, Labuan-KK-Labuan being as expensive as Labuan-KL-Labuan, one idea is that seaplane services be introduced by a company like AirAsia, he urged. “At present, Malaysia Airlines keeps AirAsia out of the Labuan-KK-Labuan sector and slaughters the air commuters at will since they now have a monopoly of the air corridor.”

Virtual lifeline

The long-proposed bridge to connect Labuan with Menumbuk, directly opposite on the Sabah mainland, is seen as a virtual lifeline for the island. “The bridge will create a win-win situation for both Labuan and Sabah,” said Jeffrey. “When the bridge is built, it will boost the marine, tourism, oil and gas industries on the island.”

The bridge means, he reckons, more employment and business opportunities for a bigger population which can come from the mainland, Sarawak and elsewhere in Malaysia “since there are no immigration restrictions”.

Jeffrey’s call for Labuan to be self-administered appears to be an attempt to ditch the baggage of the past and move on for the benefit of not only Labuan but Sabah.

The handover of Labuan to the federal government in 1984 by the then Berjaya administration under chief minister Harris Salleh was one of the factors that led to the 45-day-old Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) seizing the reins of power in Kota Kinabalu in 1985. Jeffrey co-founded PBS along with his elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan who went on to become chief minister for an unprecedented four terms. The brothers have ever since called for the return of Labuan to Sabah.

Labuanites are still considered Sabahans and there are no immigration restrictions between the island and the state. This is unlike the restrictions in place between Sabah on the one hand and Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia on the other. Sarawakians, however, can freely enter and reside in Sabah with no restrictions whatsoever except if they want to work.

Opposition exploiting Orang Asli, says Devamany

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department SK Devamany has warned the opposition not to use the Orang Asli as a platform to attack the government.

"The Orang Asli should avoid being used by the opposition. Like the mega-tower, for example. You see it being taken over by the opposition (for its own purposes)," Devamany told FMT when he was asked about the grouses of the Orang Asli.

FMT previously reported that several Orang Asli leaders had been barred from entering Parliament by the police despite getting permission to do so by PKR Teluk Kemang MP Kamarul Baharin Abbas.

On the same day, the Orang Asli Villages Network in Peninsular Malaysia (JKOASM) had condemned the recent Budget 2011 announcement.

JKOASM had alleged that tok batins (village headmen) did not regularly receive their RM450 monthly payments from the government. Instead, they claimed to have received only RM200 once every three months.

JKOASM also said that hundreds of villages were still without access to basic facilities, such as electricity, water and roads.

Although Devamany, the Cameron Highlands MP, said that more could have been done for the Orang Asli, he did not agree that the government had ignored their plight.

"We've been doing a lot for the Orang Asli communities. In Cameron Highlands, we have done a lot of development work for them," he said.

Nevertheless, he welcomed the comments by Orang Asli, saying that it was important for the government to life the indigenous people out of poverty.

"We want the Orang Asli to be part of the mainstreaming of development. I agree that we have to look very seriously into the matter, but whatever planning (in development) must be set properly," he said.

He also advised the Orang Asli not to look at the Budget 2011 criticially, especially where the RM100 million allocations were concerned.

Devamany added that various governmental outlets were open to the Orang Asli if they had a complaint to make. These included the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Prime Minister's Department and even the Prime Minister himself.

"All these areas are open to the Orang Asli,” he said.

Ignore CPI at own peril, Nazri told

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Downplaying Malaysia's position on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) could prove devastating for the country's economy, especially where its foreign direct investments (FDIs) are concerned.

Noting that the CPI is internationally recognised as a reasonable assessment of the state of corruption in 180 countries, former Transparency-International Malaysia (TIM) president Ramon Navaratnam said that “to negate it will come at our own peril”.

“Whether we like it or not, this index is taken seriously by both the international community and investors (alike), and should be recognised (by Malaysia.) So to negate it, or to play it down will be at our own peril,” he said.

Navaratnam said domestic investments including the ones by Bumiputeras would not be spared from a fall in FDIs, adding that this would in fact have a greater impact on the economy.

Malaysia's CPI score fell to 4.4 this year from 4.5 in 2009, maintaining a historically-low 56th position.

Even with this decline, the response from many government officials has been largely lacklustre.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the government was unable to mend public perception on corruption.

Beyond government control

Citing both the VK Lingam and Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandals, Nazri said that these cases were beyond government control. He added that they were left to the Attorney-General to act upon.

"We can't simply charge Lingam just to get an extra 0.1 or 0.2 in our rating point. We cannot do anything about PKFZ because it is already in the hands of the judiciary," Nazri said.

Minister in the PM's Department Idris Jala shared Nazri's views.

Downplaying the CPI as a survey for “business people, experts and analysts”, he said that the drop in score should not be viewed as a negative development.

Jala said the government had put in place several measures in recent years to combat corruption, including the formation of 18 special corruptions courts, and introduced laws such as the Whistleblower Protection Act.

But Navaratnam, however, believes these measures are not enough.

He said the country's anti-corruption and legal departments needed more training and resources.

“Many of the (corruption) cases with the Attorney-General go to court but end up losing, partly because these lawyers face more experienced lawyers,” he said.

Grounds of technicalities

Navaratnam said that some defendants would escape on grounds of technicalities, while some judges were intent on getting “100% proof” when it came to convictions.

“There is no such thing as a perfect case. Judges should be able to recognise that corruption is a scourge and convict those on overwhelming evidence,” he said.

Navaratnam currently serves as the chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) panel on corruption prevention and consultation.

He strongly feels that all of these measures would be meaningless unless money politics is abolished.

Describing money politics as the “mother of all corruption”, he said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak needed to be much tougher in turning it into a thing of the past.

“You can't have money politics on one side and a well-equipped force on the other. If you get rid of money politics, it would be much easier to fight corruption. But efforts (to combat corruption) are not good enough.”

“If we have done so, then our rankings (on the CPI) would have gone up,” he said, adding that Malaysia should emulate Singapore, which scored first on the CPI charts.

He said although no index in the world was “absolutely perfect”, the CPI was one of the world's most reliable indices and Malaysia would do well to examine its own faults.

“We need to accept the index despite (our) reservations, and resolve as a government and as a people to combat corruption more effectively.”

“We need to constantly examine the index to see where we did well, and where we are lacking,” he said.

However, Navaratnam admitted that Malaysia had a difficult road ahead when it came to combating corruption.

“The road to Vision 2020 will be filled with large potholes, and this will make it more difficult for Malaysia to achieve a developed nation status by 2020,” he said.

My friends are my enemies

And the ongoing PKR party election also gives us the impression that fellow PKR members and leaders need to be destroyed at all costs and that comrades-in-arms are the enemy and not those wearing the uniform of the opposing forces.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

This morning I am going to write a very short piece and not my usual cheong hei article. After all, international publications restrict pieces to about 800-850 words and anything longer than that is rejected.

So let’s see if I can say what I want to say in less than 800 words. And then I have to hit the road to attend the inaugural meeting of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) followed by an anti-ISA demonstration at Piccadilly, probably the busiest intersection in London, to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

What I want to write about today concerns friends and enemies. History has shown us that humankind is more brutal to its friends than its enemies.

More than 1,000 years ago, during the time the Roman Empire was split into two (the Western Roman Empire was in Rome and the Eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople) Christians regarded Catholics as not Christians but Paulicians. And these Paulicians were regarded as heretics and were put to death, as were the Coptic Christians who eventually fled to Muslim-controlled territories.

Now, they were all Christians, mind you, but they were Christians who did not share the same theological beliefs or were of different sects. But this is not what I want to talk about. What I really want to mention is that the Christians of Constantinople had diplomatic relations and trade dealings with the Muhammadens (now called Muslims) of the Abbasid Empire of Baghdad.

Can you see the irony of this whole thing? The non-Christians were friends of the Christians but fellow Christians were their enemies and were put to death.

1,000 years later, when the Wahhab clan swept across the Arabian Peninsular after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, they killed all fellow Muslims not of the same Wahhab movement or sect.

The Jews and Christians were spared though. But entire Muslim communities that included old men, women and children were massacred -- including their goats, sheep, camels, horses, chickens and whatnot. Nothing that breathed was allowed to live.

Can you see the irony of this as well when Muslims massacre Muslims but Jews and Christians are not touched?

Now we are seeing the Batu Sapi by-election in Sabah and we begin to wonder whether PKR and SAPP (fellow anti-Barisan Nasional parties) regard each other as the enemy or whether they see Barisan Nasional as the real enemy.

Then we see DAP, in particular DAP Selangor, and we begin to wonder whether fellow DAP members or fellow DAP Selangor members are the enemy or whether Umno and its Barisan Nasional stooges are the real enemy.

And the ongoing PKR party election also gives us the impression that fellow PKR members and leaders need to be destroyed at all costs and that comrades-in-arms are the enemy and not those wearing the uniform of the opposing forces.

That is all I want to say today and I managed to say it in 500 words. That proves I can be short and sharp if I really wish to.

CORRUPTION: The Pass Mark Eludes Malaysia

by Tunku Abdul Aziz

Judged internationally, by almost every performance indicator known to man, Malaysia is a duffer, and that is putting it charitably. Our report card is drowning in a sea of red ink. The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index just released shows Malaysia scoring 4.4 points at number 56 out of 178 countries surveyed. Many have questioned the methodology used and have gone so far as to suggest developing our own index. But let me just say this. Whatever we may think, the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index enjoys a reputation second to none as the world’s most authoritative index of its kind. A similar sentiment has been expressed about the world’s top universities index. Shoot the bearer of bad news and retreat to hide under our tempurung and croak our lungs out for the entire world to hear about our version of Malaysia’s achievements. We have become a nation of bad losers.

When Datuk Anwar Fazal, Raja Aziz Addruse, Datuk Param Cumaraswamy and other like minded men and women of the highest integrity met in the Royal Commonwealth Society one night many years ago to discuss forming the Malaysian Chapter of Transparency International Malaysia, they had seen enough, and had become greatly concerned at the speed with which corruption in national life had destroyed the moral fabric and consumed the very soul of our people. It was not the easiest of undertakings to operate an anti-corruption non-governmental organisation during Mahathir’s corrupt and repressive regime.

The Registrar of Societies in this case was helpful, and much to our delight, approved our application. TI owes its existence to Tan Sri Hassan Marican, then President of PETRONAS a highly principled servant of this country. He invited me to lunch in my capacity as President of TI and said, not five minutes into the meal, that he would like to support our work, and how much would I need? I responded by saying I was not interested in a one off grant, but long term support. I asked for very little, not wanting to be greedy. He agreed. I understand the PETRONAS support continues today, with no strings attached.

In the years since the TICPI made its appearance in 1995, two years after Transparency International was founded, Malaysia has very rarely achieved the minimum pass mark of 5 points. We used to be ahead of South Korea regularly, and in Asia were for years only behind Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. What all this shows is that we have regressed to a point that corruption in our country is no longer just a fact of life, but it has graduated to become a way of life. When we look closely at the countries that are perceived to be among the least corrupt, we find they are invariably well governed and that there is a correlation between good governance and competitiveness. These countries realise only too well that corruption if unchecked will distort and destroy their moral values and value systems and, sooner rather than later, their economies.

The symptoms of moral decay is everywhere in this country. It never ceases to amaze me at the naivety of our government leaders that they think that mere rhetorical expressions of good intentions to fight corruption could camouflage the unbridled systemic subversion of the country’s mechanisms of checks and balances and other institutions of government as part of our constitutional arrangements to protect the rights of our citizens. Mahathir’s had a cynical view of his stewardship, a concept totally alien to him. He set about destroying, like a man possessed, what he saw as constitutional or legal impediments to his personal and political ambitions. His legacy to Malaysia is best described as a lasting and deeply entrenched culture of corruption that this country will be saddled with for all time unless we, the citizens, take matters into our own hands and vote the corrupt government of the day out of office. Do it before it becomes a case of too little, too late.

In the meantime, my advice to Najib is to stop playing the silly games much loved by Abdullah Badawi, the keeper turned poacher. He put up a slew of anti-corruption showpieces such as the National Institute of Integrity, the Royal Commission inquiring into the Royal Malaysia Police, and new anti-corruption laws to support the work of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, all nothing more than a sleight of hand that has fooled no one, with predictable results. Badawi’s exercise was both dishonest and costly, and as the latest TICPI shows, corruption has the last laugh.

In a speech I made in 2001 at the Asian Development Bank-organised conference in Phnom Penh, I reminded my audience that “Even before we contemplate any action against corruption, it is important for us to recognise the special and complex circumstances that give rise to it. Studies show that a common cause of corruption is a lack of strong and unsullied government institutions, such as the judiciary, the legislature, the office of the auditor-general, the police, the office of the attorney general, the media, civil society organisations and the private sector.”

In Malaysia, sadly, Mahathir has succeeded brilliantly in doing his foul deed. None of these important institutions can any longer even justify their existence and they have become part of the problem of corruption. “The main purpose of developing strong institutions is to prevent corruption from occurring in the first place rather than relying on penalties after the event” according to Jeremy Pope in his TI Source Book 2000.

The Executive can change the hitherto negative international perceptions and at the same time exercise greater legitimacy to govern by making it mandatory for all holding elected public office, including the prime minister, to declare their assets and those of their wives and immediate families to an all party parliamentary commission. Other areas of concern relate to issues of integrity of the various key national institutions. Public procurement as practised in our country breeds grand corruption and is one of the reasons why we score badly in overall terms. The Official Secrets Act protects the corrupt and must be replaced with a Freedom of Information Act. It would be extremely important to bring new, intelligent and untainted blood into the MACC which at the moment seems to have run out of steam before the whistle to commence play is blown. It must report to an all party parliamentary commission.

While we want those who commit corruption to be suitable punished, this must be done within the scope of the existing judicial practice. The idea as suggested by TI Malaysia President that for the MACC to operate effectively, it must be given the power to prosecute is dangerous as it shows a lack of understanding of what constitutes justice. What is implied in this preposterous idea is that we abandon all principles of fairness and fair play so that the MACC could trample on our justice system with impunity. Enough is enough.

Early next month I will be speaking in Sydney, Australia at the annual conference of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association on, no prize for guessing, my favourite subject, Overcoming Corruption: A Regional Challenge. I will have a field day calling a spade a spade. I hope I will not be accused of disloyalty to my country, but if telling the truth is treachery, so be it.

CHANDRA MUZAFFAR: Misconstruing the Constitution

The New Straits Times 
By Chandra Muzaffar

MISINTERPRETATIONS of, and misconceptions about, the Constitution have exacerbated ethnic relations in the country. Several issues have come to the fore lately.

A few weeks ago, a politician alleged that the concept of 1Malaysia is against the Constitution since it promotes equality among the communities. Actually, the Constitution embodies an article on equality. Article 8 (1) states that "all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law". Discrimination is prohibited except when it is expressly authorised in the Constitution. Provisions pertaining to the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak would be an example.

However, "special position" -- it is seldom appreciated -- is also about equality. It was incorporated into the Constitution to protect the well-being of the abysmally poor indigenous Malays in the wake of the conferment of citizenship upon more than a million recently domiciled Chinese and Indians by the Malay rulers and the Umno elite on the eve of Merdeka. In other words, special position -- like other affirmative action policies elsewhere -- is meant to address gross ethnic inequalities.

There are also misconceptions about Article 153. The article is not just about the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Article 153 (1) also makes it "the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard... the legitimate interests of the other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article".

The provisions of Article 153 go out of the way to ensure that while the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak is protected in public service, in the granting of scholarships, in education, in trade and in business, the legitimate interests of the other communities are also safeguarded. This balance in Article 153 is seldom highlighted.

There is another misunderstanding about Article 153 that should be set right. The article does not provide for a 30 per cent quota in equity capital for Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak. That is part of the New Economic Policy and subsequent policies, but it is not stated in the Constitution.

Neither does the Constitution provide for the establishment or continuation of Chinese schools in the national education system as some politicians and media commentators have argued recently.

There is no such provision in either Article 12 which deals with rights in respect of education or in Article 152 that focuses on the national language. What Article 152 (1) contains are two sub-clauses that read:

- no person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (other than for official purposes) or from teaching or learning any other language; and,

- nothing in this clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any state government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the federation.

There is no need to emphasise that teaching, learning, preserving and sustaining a language can take place within a Bahasa Malaysia-based school system that provides ample scope for studying Chinese, Tamil, Arabic or any other language. Nonetheless, it should be reiterated that Chinese and Tamil primary schools are part of the national education system today, and their status is protected by the law and policy.

The Education Act 1996, for instance, makes it the duty of the education minister to provide primary education at government and government-aided schools.

Another misconception being propagated by certain individuals is that when Sabah and Sarawak (together with Singapore) joined Malaya to form Malaysia in 1963, a new nation came into being which ipso facto rendered irrelevant some of the defining Malay characteristics of the earlier Malayan state. Whatever the political rhetoric that prevailed before the formation of Malaysia, this is a view that has no basis in the Constitution.

The Constitution makes it very clear that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is also the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Sabah and Sarawak (he appoints the governor of the two states), Bahasa Malaysia is the national language of the two states and Islam their official religion. Special position also applies to the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

Besides, Article 1 (2) spells out lucidly that Sabah and Sarawak are states in the federation like the other 11 states. Of course, the Constitution confers additional rights and powers upon the two states, given their history and the circumstances of their membership in the federation.

If Malaysia in 1963 was a new nation, why didn't we reapply to join the United Nations? The truth is Malaysia is, to all intents and purposes, an extension of Malaya.

What is important is to ensure that the rights of all states, especially Sabah and Sarawak, are protected and respected in the expanded federation.

It is a pity that such issues that impinge upon the fundamental character of the nation and the structure of the Constitution are being raised with increasing frequency. Ignorance is not the only explanation. It is part of the intensification of communal politics in the past few years which, if we are not careful, may push us all over the precipice.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is chairman of the board of trustees of Yayasan 1Malaysia and Noordin Sopiee professor of global studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang.

Court rules in favour of SIS

The Star (

KUALA LUMPUR: SIS Forum (Malaysia) can use Sisters In Islam as its name and identity.

The Malaysian Assembly of Mos­que Youth (Pemuda Masjid) failed in its bid yesterday to prevent SIS Forum (Malaysia) from using Sisters In Islam.

High Court judge Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof allowed an application by SIS Forum to strike out the suit against them after meeting the parties in chambers at the court complex here yesterday.

Lawyer Richard Wee, who represented SIS Forum, told reporters that the judge agreed to strike out the suit as she ruled that Pemuda Masjid had insufficient locus standi to act against them.

“If the applicant (Pemuda Masjid) had any problems with SIS Forum, they should take it up with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

“The judge agreed with this and ruled in our favour,” Wee said.

SIS Forum was also represented by counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Azhar Harun while lawyers Mohd Ibrahim Mohd and Anas Fauzi acted for Pemuda Masjid.

On June 16, SIS Forum filed an application to strike out the suit.

On March 22, Pemuda Masjid – a non-governmental organisation with 5,000 members – filed an originating summons seeking a declaration that the valid name for the organisation under the law was not Sisters In Islam and wanted to prevent the organisation from using the name.

In an affidavit filed in support of the application, its executive director Mohd Taqiuddin Abdullah said a check with the SSM revealed that the respondent was registered under the name of SIS Forum (Malaysia) and not Sisters In Islam.

The use of the word Islam was controlled and limited by the Registrar of Companies and could only be used upon getting permission from the SSM and related government agencies, he added.

Orang asli realises his ambition

The Star 

ORANG asli activist Amani Williams-Hunt Abdullah has finally realised his ambition to become a lawyer and also become the first male orang asli to be admitted into the legal fraternity.

He was called to the Bar in front of High Court judge Datuk Zainal Adzam Abd Ghani in Ipoh on Oct 22.

Amani, 57, said it had always been his dream to become a lawyer for more than 30 years.

“However, the opportunity did not arise as I was offered to study Economics in Universiti Malaya.

“I then did law part-time while working in a bank and did my Certificate of Legal Practice after leaving the bank,” he said, add- ing that the first two lawyers from the community were wo- men.

Born Anthony Williams-Hunt, he is the only son of Peter Darell Rider Williams-Hunt, the advisor to the aborigines in Malaysia shortly after World War II, and Wah Draman, an Orang Asli Semai woman from Kuala Woh located at the foot of the Cameron Highlands.

His father died in an accident at an orang asli village in the jungle when he was barely one year old.

Amani was taken care of by his mother and an uncle and he completed his primary and secondary education in Tapah.

After graduating in 1979, he joined the then Bank Bumiputra before opting for a VSS in 2006.

Popularly known as Bah Tony to the orang asli, he is a former president of the Peninsula Malay-sia Orang Asli Association.

He is active in welfare and social work and is a founder member of the orang asli foundation, YOAP Berhad.

He is now a council member of the Orang Asli Development Advisory Council, a think-tank set up by the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, and also sits on the Orang Asli Rights Committee in the Malaysian Bar Council.

Amani is married to Khatimatul Husna Zainuddin, 38, and they have two children. Amani has another four children from a previous marriage.

He believes that law is the cement of society.

“As a lawyer, one can do something to seek justice,” he said, adding that he would help his people in legal matters.

Judge upholds whipping sentence for illegal entry

The New Straits Times 
By Rita Jong
SHAH ALAM: Foreigners who abuse Malaysia's entry privilege and enter the country as a transit point to get to another country are deemed to have committed a serious offence.

High Court judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa said such white collar crimes should not be spared from the whipping sentence in order to "protect the public".

He said this in dismissing the appeal of two Chinese nationals who were sentenced to 15 months' jail and three strokes of the rotan on two counts of possessing forged passports and for entering the country illegally.

Liu Ching Chung, 21, and Huang Cheng Ho, 31, were sentenced at the Sepang Sessions Court on Aug 10 for possessing two forged Taiwan passports and for entering the country illegally at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Immigration Office (Operations Department) arrival hall at 1.45am on Aug 6.

They entered Malaysia via the country's entry privilege to go to the United Kingdom.

They were sentenced to 12 months' jail for possessing the forged passports and another three months' jail and three strokes of the rotan for entering the country illegally.

The jail terms were to run consecutively from the date of their arrest on Aug 6.

Liu and Huang appealed against the sentence and sought for the jail terms to run concurrently, to set aside the whipping and to replace it with a fine.

Yesterday, Yazid upheld the lower court's sentence and whipping but ordered the jail terms to run concurrently from the date of their arrest.

He said: "Traditionally in criminal offences, whipping is only reserved for violent crime. However, in order to protect the public, the whipping sentence has been introduced into the Immigration Act to combat the prevalence of such crime."

He said the appellants' attempt to enter the UK via Malaysia using forged passports was an act which was detrimental to the country's image.

"The court is cognisant of such widening practice by foreigners who are abusing Malaysia's entry privilege to the UK," he said.

"Therefore the court is unable to turn a blind eye by granting the appellants' wish for a lenient sentence," adding the sentence imposed was not manifestly excessive.

Rifle Range flats set for urban renewal

By Anil Netto,

The results of a competition to come up with the best urban renewal design for the congested and run-down Rifle Range area in Penang will be revealed on 4 November.

Rifle Range is one of the state’s oldest low-cost apartment projects, and when completed in the 1970s, the 17-18 storey blocks, were among the tallest buildings in the state. (Did you know that Rifle Range got its name because the site was originally used for target practice back in the 1950s?) The nine blocks contain one- or two-bedroom pigeon-hole apartments, measuring about 400 square feet each. Haphazard hawker stalls and crowded car parks add to the general sense of congestion.

The competition, which closed on 22 September, has received 57 entries (17 from overseas), of which 22 have been shortlisted.

The local government hopes that this urban renewal project will be a benchmark for transforming other state low-cost flats. So far, it seems the local government hasn’t decided whether to tear down the existing buildings or refurbish them.

I hope the plans will include a strong public transport component.

If the refurbishment is done right and if residents are consulted and their views incorporated, it would be a positive move in transforming Penang. After all, a poor built environment may breed all kinds of social problems.

The general decline in foreign direct investment could also be a blessing as it could pave the way for public and private funds to be mobilised into projects that really benefit and empower the people. Apart from urban renewal, such projects could focus on public transport, public health care (as opposed to medical tourism), affordable housing, food security, meaningful education, skills development and arts and culture. All these sectors can generate jobs and improve human dignity.

Residents of other low-cost flats in the state – many of which are poorly maintained – will be watching closely to see how the Rifle Range renewal works out.

The urban renewal design competition was organised by the state government, the MPPP, Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia Northern Chapter (PAM NC) and the Malaysian Institute of Planners.

An exhibition of the entries is now being held at City Hall daily, and from 1 November, the display moves to the Town Hall. It might be interesting to hop over and see what could be in store for Rifle Range.

Suspicious parcels spark bomb probe

Investigation launched after suspicious packages sent from Yemen to US are found in cargo flights in UK and Dubai.

Authorities on three continents are investigating whether suspicious packages shipped from Yemen to religious sites in the US were part of a "terrorist plot".

No explosives have been found so far, but officials said on Friday they are investigating whether the packages were sent as part of a dry run for an attack.

Yemen is home to the al-Qaeda branch that tried to bomb a US-bound airliner on December 25, 2009.

Intelligence and law-enforcement officials discovered suspicious packages in Britain and Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, late on Thursday night, prompting national security officials to alert Barack Obama, the US president, to a "potential terrorist threat", the White House said.

The two packages were addressed to Chicago religious sites, Ross Rise, a Chicago FBI spokesman, said.

One was a synagogue, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the investigation.

Jets searched

The package in Britain, discovered aboard a jet in the East Midlands about two hours north of London, contained a toner cartridge with attached wires and powder.

It was found during routine screening of cargo, prompting authorities to search three aircraft and a lorry in the US on Friday, US officials said.

"Obama directed US intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, and the department of homeland security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting," the White House said in a statement.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Aden, said that the Yemeni authorities have denied claims that a direct cargo route from Yemen to the US exists.

"Authorities here continue to reiterate, however, that they are doing all they can to eliminate al-Qaeda from the country, amid growing international pressure," he said.

Yemeni officials said they launched a terrorism investigation and Scotland Yard said its investigators were testing a number of items seized from the jet in East Midlands.

In the US, searches were conducted in Philadelphia, Newark, New Jersey and New York City.

The packages were being sent via the shipping companies United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx. The packages, not the flights, originated in Yemen.

Kristin Lee, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman, said the jets in Philadelphia and Newark were "swept", and moved away from terminal buildings while law-enforcement officials investigated.

Two Philadelphia aircraft belonging to the Atlanta-based UPS were searched. A US law-enforcement official said nothing suspicious was found.

'All clear'

A source with knowledge of the situation in Newark who was not authorised to speak publicly said the FBI and a bomb squad checked two packages there and gave the "all clear".

Ray Kelly, the New York Police commissioner, said that the NYPD removed a package from a UPS lorry in Brooklyn, tested it for possible explosives and found it not to be dangerous.

The package was an envelope that came from Yemen, appeared to contain bank receipts, and was addressed to the JP Morgan Chase bank in Brooklyn, Kelly said.

The package arrived on a flight that landed at Kennedy airport, he said.

An Emirates flight from Dubai carrying another package from Yemen landed safely at Kennedy airport and was met by law-enforcement authorities. The aircraft was escorted by US fighter jets, a law-enforcement official said.

Mike Mangeot, a UPS spokesman, said two jets in Philadelphia that had come from Cologne, Germany, and Paris were being investigated.

"Out of an abundance of caution, those aircraft have been isolated, and they are looking into the shipments in question there," he said.

A third jet had arrived in Newark, New Jersey, from East Midlands airport. That flight was cleared and flew to UPS's main hub in Louisville, Kentucky, on its usual route, Mangeot said.

In central England, police evacuated a freight distribution building at East Midlands airport after a suspicious package was reported.

Police and emergency workers examined the package and lifted the security cordon by midmorning, but Leicestershire Constabulary later said officers were re-examining it "as a precaution".

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies