Share |

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now PAS accuses Ku Li of vote buying

Tengku Razaleigh (right)

GUA MUSANG, Nov 2 — The PAS Galas campaign alleged today that Barisan Nasional (BN) campaign chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah would eventually resort to vote buying in order to win the November 4 by-election.

PAS election director Datuk Halim Abdul Rahman says when that happens Umno’s desperation to win will be evident.

“We believe BN will use their financial strength, although everything looks calm, there may be danger beneath,” Abdul Halim told a press conference.

“Ku Li wants defend his status and he needs to prove that he is still an influential figure in Gua Musang. I believe Ku Li through his men will move from house to house to pay voters. This is their secret weapon,” said the Pengkalan Chepa MP.

When asked about the party’s move to pay outstation voters up to RM250, Abdul Halim defended the action saying that it was meant to help the Election Commission (EC) achieve high voter turnout. The seat's voter turnout in Election 2008 was 80.9 per cent.

“That is not for us. Many outstation voters may not be able to come back because of their work, but we are helping the EC,” said Abdul Halim.

PAS had previously pledged not to make personal attacks against Tengku Razaleigh who is also the Gua Musang Umno chief.

Just last week PAS election campaign adviser Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah said the veteran politician popularly known as Ku Li was responsible for the Orang Asli’s woes in the vast constituency.

Wan Rahim alleged that Ku Li who worked with PAS from 1990 to 1996 through the now-defunct Semangat 46 was responsible for Orang Asli affairs.

Ku Li’s return to Umno, which Wan Rahim called a betrayal, resulted in the Islamist party’s failure to address the Orang Asli problems.

Ku Li described the accusation as a lie, arguing that Orang Asli affairs were also handled by the then PAS president the late Datuk Fadhil Noor.

Today, Abdul Halim acknowledged that Ku Li remained an influential figure in Gua Musang but claimed that the latter’s popularity has dwindled over the years.

“Umno in Gua Musang has always been Ku Li’s Umno. But how popular he is today, compared to 30 years, or 20 years ago is yet to be seen,” said Abdul Halim.

Gua Musang Umno division secretary Abdul Aziz Yusoff will face Dr Zulkefli Mohamad from PAS for the Galas seat.

Nurul: Galas voters must reject BN's racial politics

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

VIDEO INSIDE GUA MUSANG: Galas voters must reject Barisan Nasional's racial politics and corrupt practices and show their protest via the ballot box, PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar told a Chinese crowd at a DAP ceramah here last night.

The Lembah Pantai MP drew loud applause from some 300 listeners when she exclaimed in Mandarin, "Wo me yi qi lai gai ge (let us work together for reform) and "wo men dou shi yi jia ren (we are a family)" before ending her speech.

"We (Pakatan Rakyat) are not just all rhetoric. (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) said he respects the Chinese but just recently we saw that he does not show any respect for those who are not Malays. For me, Galas would show that the co-operation in Pakatan Rakyat is multiracial," said Nurul.

Continuing her salvo against Najib, Nurul said he spoke about 1Malaysia but during the Umno general assembly, his speech went along racial lines.

"Today, we are facing groups like Perkasa, racist groups that are supported by Umno. That was why I challenged (Perkasa chief) Ibrahim Ali, eventhough I am Malay and Muslim. I cannot support those who are racist. We don't want Malay-saja... we want a Malaysia. We must fight racial politics."

Nurul said the Chinese were clever at fighting for their rights and were brave to create change in society, adding that Malaysia is running out of time in saving its bright future.

Selangor state assembly speaker Teng Chang Khim, who was also present, said Malaysia had 10 Malaysia Plans for over 50 years, but had nothing to show for.

"But Singapore is so much more advanced, and it just needed one plan," said Teng.

In his usual sarcastic manner, Teng said Malaysia's natural resources, palm oil and rubber, had all been wasted by the BN-led government, and the nation now only has one last resource – jokes.

Teng also poked fun at Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen for being a "tourist" minister and wasting government funds for her travels.

'Vote roti canai'

Former Perak state assembly speaker V Sivakumar also heaped criticism on BN, claiming that Najib's 1Malaysia was actually "sapu (sweep) Malaysia".

"Umno plans to lie to Malays, MCA to Chinese and MIC to Indians," said Sivakumar.

Referring to Titiwangsa Umno division chief Johari Abdul Ghani's "racially charged" remark, Sivakumar said: "He said he doesn't need and want the non-Malay voters, so if we vote them, we'd look like fools. Then we don't want them either. "

"Come Nov 4, vote the 'roti canai'," he said, referring to the moon-shaped PAS logo.

Earlier, Teng told FMT that BN seems to have given up hope in Galas and focusing more on Batu Sapi.

"I feel that BN is hoping for a Batu Sapi win so that it would overshadow a loss in Galas. BN expects defeat here and is going all out over there where their chances are better. BN is thinking that in case it loses here, the party wouldn't look so bad," said Teng.

Businessmen give MasWings a swatting

By Joe Fernandez - Free Malaysia Today

KOTA KINABALU: Inconsistent, unpredictable, unprofessional, unreasonable and uncaring—these are some of the words that businessmen here use when they talk about MasWings, a three-year old Malaysian Airlines subsidiary serving 42 routes covering 22 destinations in Sabah and Sarawak.
“MasWings is even worse than the most horrible bus service,” said Sabah Medical Centre chairman Chu Chee Kuen. “We want the federal and state governments to step in and do something about the worsening service it provides.”

Chu said he was speaking on behalf of a group of businessmen who want to bring their woes to the attention of the public and the authorities.

The airline was launched after Air Asia handed back the inter-town routes in the two states to Malaysia Airlines following a second rationalization exercise.

MasWings, the consensus holds, is inconveniencing tourists, investors and other travelers and directly and indirectly causing enormous losses to the business community.

Members of Chu’s group say Malaysia Airlines is equally erratic with its flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sabah, but the focus of their collective wrath is MasWings. Flights have even been cancelled, delayed or re-timed, they lament, but only to take off on short notice as per the original schedule.

In Chu’s opinion, the airline is run like a government department by people who lack business ethics and good corporate governance.

“There’s no public confidence in MasWings,” he said. “There is massive frustration and anger.”

Constant state of disruption

He pointed out that if business meetings, private functions and tourist schedules were constantly disrupted, “there will be a domino effect and it will be difficult to plan with certainty.”

He cited MasWings’s topsy-turvy flight schedules as a particularly sore point with the business community.

According to him, flights between Kota Kinabalu and towns on Sabah’s east coast, for example, have been in a constant state of disruption since early this year and there are no signs that the situation will improve.

“The result has been enormous inconvenience to the business community and we are not being compensated for it,” he fumed. “The unpredictability of departure and arrival times is playing havoc with business meetings and appointments.”

Chu concedes that MasWings does inform passengers through the short messaging service whenever there are changes to flight schedules. However, he takes issue with the airline informing passengers at the last minute, often when they are on the way to the airport. He wonders about the fate of passengers who travel without mobile phones or with faulty phones.

One bright spot is that the counter staff at the airports “handle the frustrations and criticisms of passengers quite professionally”.

According to Chu, the airline appears to be short-staffed and seems to be offering too many flights that were either overbooked or not taken up at reasonable levels. The result, he has surmised, is that it attempts to offload passengers from overbooked flights to other flights which may not necessarily be the next available flight but could be very early in the morning, late at night or even the next day.

Give specific details

He finds overbooking of flights a questionable marketing tactic as the airline should know that passengers choose flights to suit their schedules. However, the airline does not seem to have any qualms over luring passengers to a particular flight and then not hesitating to bounce them to other flights when the original choice of flight is over-booked.

“In the case of under-booked flights, the airline doesn’t hesitate to cancel them and transfer the passengers to other flights,” said Chu. “They wait until the very last minute to do this.”

A spokesman for MasWings, when asked to respond to Chu’s criticism, said the airline could not deal with complaints of a general nature. He advised dissatisfied passengers to direct their complaints to the airline with specific details.

MasWings serves the Sabah and Sarawak sector with ten ATR 72-50 (68 passengers), a Fokker 50 (50 passengers) and a DHC-60 Twin Otter (19 passengers).

“In order to provide hassle-free services”, the airline is also offering charter services of its aircraft within the two Malaysian Borneo states. But this is subject to aircraft and technical crew availability. The Fokker, which will be retired soon, is not available for charter.

Generally, these charter services are from Miri to Mulu, Laying-Layang, Mukah and Marudi.

Pemilihan PKR: Aktivis Reformasi desak Anwar ambil perhatian

Oleh Fazy Sahir - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Aktivis Reformasi Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) mendesak agar Ketua Umum Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim mengambil perhatian serius terhadap kelemahan yang wujud dalam Jawatankuasa Pemilihan Pusat (JPP) dan pihak sekretariat ibu pejabat yang bertindak sebagai pengendali pemilihan 2010.

"Kita mengkritik kelemahan Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR) yang tidak adil dan telus, dan sepatutnya kita memberi contoh kepada SPR bagaimana hendak mengendalikan pilihanraya dengan adil dan telus.

"Oleh itu kami mendesak pimpinan parti khususnya Anwar Ibrahim mengambil perhatian pandangan kami. Jangan sampai kita diberi pepatah “Seperti ayam yang berkokok berdegar-degar tetapi ekor penuh tahi”," menurut kenyataan kepada FMT hari ini.

Katanya, kesilapan teknikal semalam memberi impak negatif yang mampu menghakis keyakinan rakyat terhadap kemampuan parti dalam mentadbir negara.

Akan lebih malang lagi, jika rakan seangkatan dalam Pakatan Rakyat (PAS dan DAP) mula hilang keyakinan terhadap kemampuan parti.

Aktivis Reformasi kesal dengan perkara yang berlaku sambil menyifatkan rentetan isu teknikal ini menunjukkan kelemahan ketara kedua-dua pihak malah memberi kesan psikologi kepada para penyokong calon yang bertanding.

"Kami melihat kelemahan kedua-dua badan tersebut adalah pada perkara paling asas mengumumkan keputusan pemilihan.

“Hal ini adalah sesuatu yang tidak adil bagi Azmin Ali dan juga bagi pihak Datuk Zaid Ibrahim yang sedang merebut jawatan nombor dua parti.

"Ia juga memberi kesan psikologi dan mental kepada para penyokong kedua-dua pemimpin utama yang giat berkempen," katanya.

Kekeliruan ini timbul apabila seorang petugas JPP melalui akaun twitternya mengeluarkan keputusan keseluruhan bahawa Zaid mendahului Azmin bagi jawatan timbalan presiden, malah ia turut disiarkan melalui laman web rasmi PKR.

Menerusi twitter dan laman web itu pada awalnya melaporkan Zaid mendahului Azmin dengan 632 undi. Zaid memperoleh 3,683 undi berbanding Azmin 3,051 undi dan Mustaffa ditempat ketiga dengan 1,271 undi.

Ekoran hal itu, media dan portal berita turut melaporkan seperti yang diterima melalui twitter mahupun laman web rasmi tersebut.

Namun Setiusaha Agung Saifuddin Nasution Ismail menerusi sidang media semalam, mengakui kesilapan manusia menjadi faktor kekeliruan kepada data undi itu.

Saifuddin kemudian memberi angka rasmi dan menunjukkan Azmin mendahului Zaid dengan perbezaan 522 undi.

Perebutan jawatan timbalan presiden bagi pusingan pertama secara rasminya,Azmin mendahului dengan 3051, Zaid (2529) dan Mustaffa Kamil Ayub 1149 undi.

The gods must be crazy

By Maclean Patrick - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT It is human nature to remember your maker when things are bleak. Crisis and emergency and disasters remind us that there is a higher force at work, often times in conflict with the wants of mere mortals.
Who are we to question the heavens?

We accept the fact that we are mere dust in God's creation.

Yet, this mere fact has been turned into excuses by mortals seeking to hide the truth of the matter. Hiding fact behind a cosmic guise is nothing new. It has been practised by civilisations throughout history.

The Mayans cut out the hearts of captive soldiers to appease their gods when the harvest was bad or sickness hit the nation. The Egyptians believe that Pharaoh was a god in his own right, thus you should never question his word.

In Sarawak, the gods are the culprits for landslides and log jams and possibly the drought hitting the Rajang River.

The gods are responsible for putting Sarawak in the record books for staging the longest logjam in the world. And if that was not enough, the gods have been able to reduce the longest river in Sarawak, from mighty torrents of water to a mere stream.

Yes, the gods in Sarawak are really powerful. And with 10 pigs and 50 “piring” (small plates) and 200 people in attendance, the gods will promise not to break their record for the longest logjam and maybe turn a blind eye to the impoundment at the Bakun Dam and allow the Rajang River to flow again.

And before Barisan Nasionals start spinning the tale that disaster would strike Sarawak if Pakatan Rakyat takes over government, let’s look at the real disaster playing out under our noses.

Any sensible person, religious or not, would see that the logjam is man-made. Any sensible person, with basic common sense, would see that the drying up of the Rajang River can be traced back to the impoundment of the Bakun Dam.

Yet, we find none of these sensible people in the current establishment.
Scary reality

So far, there is no official report concerning the logjam, even though an investigation was promised to the people of Sarawak and various officials making trips to assess the situation.

Yet, reality seems too scary and it amounts to bad press for the establishment; hence, it takes the easy way out – blame the gods.

It is convenient to point the fingers at the gods and hold an appeasement ceremony. The gods are happy and no report is needed to explain things.

Who would question divine mischief? Aren’t the gods more superior to a report written by mere mortal man?

In one smooth move, the logjam has been swept under the carpet and the Ibans are made out to be really feeble-minded people who belong to the Stone Age.

Hooray for the government of Sarawak, which takes pride in dealing with the gods when it comes to man-made natural disasters.

How then will the drying up of the Rajang River be explained away? Will we need another 10 pigs and 50 “piring” to appease the gods of the Bakun Dam? Is nature to blame because the rains have not come on time or the gods have not allowed enough rain to fall in the Bakun area?

Clearly, the gods have gone crazy in Sarawak. And our sensible politicians are giving us the answers we all have been waiting for. It is a good thing that our local politicians have priestly backgrounds that allow them to mediate between this world and the nether-world in matters that defy explanation such as the logjam and the drying up of a river.

God from the machine
There is something wrong, seriously wrong, in Sarawak: people want to see Sarawak modernised and high-tech yet they won’t bat an eye to stooping down to old-wives tales in order to appease the masses.

The people of Sarawak want real answers to real problems. The logjam caused real problems to the people living along the Rajang River. It killed off large numbers of fish, prawns and river animals.

It stops everyday life for many riverside communities – children could not attend school, fishermen could not fish, commerce was at a standstill and river folks could not get much needed supplies.

And this is now compounded by the drying up of the Rajang River. With waters running dangerously low, the same effects of the logjam will be felt in the long term by the same communities who were just getting over the October logjam incident.

We want real answers and not mere “deus ex machina”.

The Latin “deus ex machina” meaning “god from the machine” points to a practice in ancient times in theatre which the script writer would employ to explain problems in the plot where no apparent solution can be provided to the audience.

Where no answer can be given, a god would appear on stage as it lowered down by a mechanical crane from the ceiling or raised via a lift through the floor of the stage.

This practice was considered bad writing and the practice was frowned upon by ancient writers such as Aristotle, who advocated a solution that was logical and acceptable based on the logic of the story.

The Sarawak government has pulled a “deus ex machina” on the people of Sarawak, and no amount of pigs or “miring” should blind the people to the fact that the government of the day has truly failed in looking after the welfare of the Rajang River communities.

Maclean Patrick is a webmaster based in Sarawak.

Will Pakatan commit to a roadmap for true democracy?

P. Waytha Moorthy, HINDRAF Chairman

Many have forgotten that Pakatan Rakyat and the agenda to capture Putrajaya at 12th general election became a reality after the tsunami of HINDRAF on November 25, 2007. Till then, even the top leadership of Pakatan never for once imagined the prospect of reaching so close to Putrajaya. The cry of Makkal Sakthi reverberated in every household irrespective of race or creed. Yes, there was a shift of the mindset of the grassroots Indians, which was the main cause of the now forgotten impact caused by the Indian voters.

The great tsunami brought about the much spoken about “change” by the PR leadership.

Pakatan can’t go on with the rhetoric of change without defining its true meaning. Since gaining tremendously in the last GE they have been talking about the change that is needed for Malaysia. Promises of accountability, openness and eradication of corruption have been made to convince Malaysians of their agenda of “change.”

But let us be honest – these promises are good on paper but the true change starts with what is being done for the poor and discriminated. Every aspiring politician speaks those words which are no more than vague promises made without commitment or convictions (what we call kosong politics).

For a Human Rights Movement like Hindraf/HRP, which represents the poor, and underclass, those promises are meaningless. Honestly, it does not matter to the poor man suffering on the ground level if politicians are corrupt or if the country will be provided with good governance should there be change of Government. The poor man needs to be fed first. He needs an income. He needs a house. The almost half million internally displaced Indian labourers’ from the estates need to be provided with compensation for their displaced lives, training opportunities to cope with their displacement, proper relocation and affordable housing.

Since 1975 they have become the new urban poor and underclass who are suffering on a daily basis. A large number of them are stateless and a good 150,000 such stateless children are not attending schools because the UMNO Government dictates so. By virtue of being stateless, many are unable to avail of the basic benefits of healthcare, social welfare, employment, driving licenses, acquire property, etc. What does it matter to these men and women if a new PR government is not corrupt or can provide good governance. These promises of change do not matter to them.

PR should understand their version of change is only cosmetic when viewed from the point of view of the common man, leave alone the underclass. True democracy requires much more inclusive change not continuing benefits to only those who are already benefiting from the UMNO crafted system. Instead, they need to come out with a bold new commitment for true change and draw a road map for true democracy.

It is time the main component parties of PR, the PKR shed their UMNO, MCA and MIC mentality (I say this because PKR is filled with BN rejects) and start thinking seriously about getting rid of a REGIME. The UMNO regime has been monopolising, bullying, plundering and shortchanging the country and its people for a good 53 years and everyone realises this.

So talk of capturing Putrajaya should be backed up with a concrete commitment for CHANGE instead of mere rhetoric’s.

So what Democratic changes are we looking for?

Let me list down the following basic democratic changes, which in our opinion mean TRUE CHANGE;

1) Clear and unambiguous commitment to the principles of Equality for all as stipulated in Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

2) Strict adherence to the original spirit and intention of the drafting of Article 153 of the Malaysian Constitution, i.e. the Special Position of the Malays and Natives in limited areas and not the false notion of the Malay Special Privileges and the “sapu bersih/habis” concept that have paralysed non-Malays and stymied the country for 53 years.

3) Commitment to amend the Federal Constitution to incorporate a truly impartial and independent Constitutional Court and its composition of Judges takes into account seniority, experience and appointment are to be open and transparent and consists of members of all races equally.

4) Protection of Freedom of Religion as enshrined under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All conflicts of religious status of persons etc should be adjudicated in the civil courts.

The original intention of amendments to Article 121 (1) of the Federal Court should be strictly adhered to, i.e. that the role of Muslim syariah courts, are to strictly adjudicate upon matrimonial and property matters involving Muslims only as per the debates and adoption of the new article 121 1 (A) in the Parliament Hansard in 1988.

All places of worships belonging to non-Muslims are to be equally recognised as PLACES OF WORSHIP (many do not realise that non-Muslim places of worships do not have a status) and land titles issued and permanently gazetted. Provisions be made under Federal funding for the establishment of new places of worships for all religious groups in a fair and orderly manner in new townships and the government to provide for its maintenance as granted to Muslim places of worships. Land titles granted to all places of worships, which had existed before Merdeka and the rights of these Religious groups be respected.

All persons are allowed to choose a Religion of his/her choice without state interference.

5) PR commits taking over responsibility of Education fully, i.e. to provide land and funding equally for all schools including vernacular schools and upgrade and maintain all vernacular schools and schools belonging to minority groups, equally without discrimination. The responsibility of Education of all classes of citizens would be shouldered by the Government and the distinction of fully aided and non-fully aided school should be abolished.

6) Commit to revamp and clean the Police Force and civil service of its current corrupted particularly the top ranking officers.

7) Return the status quo of the monarchy prior to the amendments of 1981.

8) Commit to providing welfare and housing assistance of quality to all Malaysian poor equally under the welfare and housing ministry programs without any segregation/discrimination on grounds of race and religion.

9) Commit to the formation of a Royal commission of Inquiry into the Racist Agenda of BTN, which has trained almost 80% of its Civil servants to implement racist policies in Malaysia.

10) A royal commission and a truth and reconciliation commission to inquire into the abuse of power and corruption of UMNO regime over the past 53 years since independence.

11) Give the Borneo states its promised autonomy as per the 1963 Malaysia agreement and hold a commission of inquiry to investigate the issuance of citizenships to more than 1.5 million Muslims from around the region of Philippines and Indonesia which intended to dilute the Christian population in Sabah of their Political power. Return 50% of its wealth in natural resources back to the Borneo states for it to administer.

12) To revamp and draw concrete plans to implement new economic programs to benefit all Malaysians irrespective of race and Religion and announce these proposed plans before the next GE.

13) To pass a new Race Relations Act to make racial segregation/discrimination a crime in line with the International standards.

14) To adopt and ratify all International Human rights treaties and bring Malaysia on par with modern democratic society in the United Nations.

15) To revamp the Human Rights Commission to give it the power to initiate and recommend prosecutions independently of the Attorney-General and these recommendations are to be adhered by the Attorney-General (commit to amend the Federal Constitution to make the necessary changes). The appointment of members of the commission to be made open and transparent and its composition to be of people with integrity and credible Human rights record and contributions.

16) To make an immediate commitment to resolve (not look into) the plight of the marginalized society that is plaguing the country which includes;

* The estimated 350,000 stateless Malaysian born Indians.

* Provide equal economic, social and educational opportunities for all marginalised community and declare openly programs and workable budgets to bring them on par with other communities and place them in the mainstream economic agenda.

17) To fully implement recommendations of the Royal Commission to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police established by the King on 4th February 2004. To form an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the extra-judicial killings committed by the Royal Malaysian police.

18) To reduce annual defence budgets and mega projects and commit to allocate a minimum of RM5 Billion per annum to uplift Malaysia’s marginalised society and further RM5 billion of National wealth to help spur economic activity amongst the poor and marginalized.

19) To abolish the Internal Security Act and the Sedition Act and all repressive Laws and provisions in the Police Act, Printing Press and Publication Act, etc.

20) Commit to liberalise licenses/permits for publications and allow free airtime equally to all political parties during General Elections campaign period.

The above are the true democratic changes that we in Hindraf/HRP would like to see. Would PR share our dreams for a better Malaysia?

It is an insult to one’s intelligence to float the idea and notion that “they must vote us in because UMNO is evil and we will bring about changes”!

What changes are you talking about Pakatan? We do not wish to be fooled into voting for change only to find ourselves being oppressed by the new forces of Change!

The PKR-DAP-PAS Axis

The PKR-DAP-PAS axis is suspect. They can’t see eye-to-eye in a real sense but somehow seem to have tasted limited power and aspire to take full control of the country on a loosely knitted coalition based on some amorphous notion of democratic change. PAS strongly advocates an Islamic state and ideology and will never accept the International standards of democracy and humanity. DAP on the other hand advocates socialist democratic principles but once tasted limited power in Penang has shown they are no more capitalist than UMNO and are equally capable of betraying the trust placed on them when within a year of coming to power they demolished the Kampong Buah Pala, committed gross violations of human rights of the poor of Kampong Buah Pala.

Worse, now they are bending backwards just to please PAS for the sake of Malay Muslim voters with Guan Eng claiming to take a leaf from a Caliph and DAP MP’s wayang kulit of selendang clad visits to suraus. We have never seen even the mandore parties MCA or GERAKAN doing that but we see that aplenty with the LIM dynasty hell bent on grasping power at all costs. PKR on the other hand is filled with UMNO, MCA and MIC rejects and formed not to champion a political cause but more as a vehicle for Anwar Ibrahim to become the next Prime Minister. Any new comer who aspires for a change and reforms are termed as chameleons and branded as planted to destroy within.

So how can a purely Human Rights Movement like Hindraf and HRP trust the suspect alliance of PKR-DAP-PAS axis? I believe we are not the only ones in doubt. I have personally spoken to many NGO’s and friends in the Human rights circle and they are in agreement that PR is not genuine in bringing about change that they often speak of. Why should genuine grassroots movement like us take their words as gospel truth when they dare not even spell out in the open their change and reform agenda? I challenge the top leadership of PR come in the open to say that I’m wrong and they are committed to the above changes which I believe many peace and democracy thirst Malaysians would love to see.

Would they? No, I don’t think so. They are just not ready for the true CHANGE. We have to take this country out of its slumber and rebuild Malaysia into a progressive and democratic country. To do this there must be genuine political will for Democracy, Good governance and Human Rights.

But what kosong politicians would like to champion and portray is Human Rights from top to bottom. For us in Hindraf/HRP, we are committed to the fundamental principles of Human Rights of individuals and not the Human Rights of the privileged.

So wake up PR and stop demonising all who speak the truth and say what is right and just.

Up until the Kampong Buah Pala saga, HINDRAF was a gem of a Movement because it delivered the 80% Indian votes free of charge to PR. The moment we stood our ground on the KBP issue and the subsequent inaction and inefficiencies of state PR Governments we fell into the list of an extremist and fanatical movement. Have you guys forgotten that this was the very same label UMNO painted on us on a daily basis in their media post 25/11? And yet the grassroots were with us because they recognize we ARE THEIR TRUE VOICE.

I had the opportunity to speak to Dato Seri Anwar as early as January 2009 on the inefficiencies of the respective PR state Governments and had requested for urgent meeting to look into ways on how we could complement each other and help the Pakatan states overcome their so-called teething problems in solving the main issues affecting the Indians. Unfortunately he never got around fulfilling his promises perhaps because of our stand on the KBP issue, for which we do not regret. It surprised me when labels of racist outfit were painted by him when he clearly understood the issues and pertinent questions, which I had raised during the many tele-conversations I had with him in 2009.

The Political structure of Malaysia is so used to Mandore Politics that I feel the Pakatan leadership does not want to disrupt that set up as much as BN as they would be more comfortable with “weak Indian leaders” who are either not educated, non-professionals or the elite Indians who are aware they do not command the grassroots support and hence need to cling on to PR leadership in the ticket of being multi racial leaders.

We in Hindraf/HRP are committed to not only break loose from the shackles of UMNO hegemony but also the Mandore system which has been used by both divide of politicians to rule and control the grassroots Indians. It appears it is in the interest of both UMNO and Pakatan to stop us from breaking this Mandore system as it is easier to deal with the Mandores in their respective parties than dealing with a strong movement which is committed towards the cause of Human rights and stands its grounds of principal rather than accept some bread crumbs contracts and funds thrown at them. For taking a principled stand we are termed racist and extremists.

Today it is Zaid who is slaughtered for saying and wanting to take the right direction. He is being demonised and branded a racist and chameleon sent by UMNO to break the party from within. Last year, it was Sabah’s Dr Jeffrey. It is rumoured that Anwar did not want a Christian Sabah leader and he was targeted as a traitor for his Borneo autonomy demand. Is Pakatan going to demonise each and every Movement and individual who are not in tandem with their vague and uncommitted politics?

We in Hindraf/HRP are in no hurry. We are prepared to wait another 53 years if it means ultimately getting a true democratic country. After all, the blacks in America fought a “war” for more than 200 years to be recognised as equal citizens. The Indians fought another 250 years to gain independence. It took centuries for the French to be rid of the monarchy.

All those people endured torture and contempt. We in Hindraf/HRP have just started crawling but we will never be cowed nor bought with the offer of privileges of the powerful. Yes we are a minority community and may not have the numbers to bring about changes we want. But believe me, in time to come, Malaysia would eventually realise the true form of democracy and we and our great grandchildren would wait and continue the struggle till then. WE ARE IN NO HURRY, WE MAY OR MAY NOT ACHIEVE OUR GOALS IN THIS LIFETIME BUT WE HAVE DEFINITELY SOWED THE SEEDS FOR A TRUE DEMOCRACY IN MALAYSIA.

RIGHTS NOT MERCY

Warga Batu Sapi Perlukan Pembelaan

Hal yang amat memprihatinkan adalah tahap kemiskinan ketara di kalangan ribuan keluarga di Batu Sapi dan kawasan sekitar Sandakan. Hasil balak dan royalti minyak mencecah berbilion ringgt. Namun di Kampung Gas, Kampung Bukara, Kampung Forest dan Pulau Singa yang kami lawati mempamerkan kehidupan merempat yang sungguh menyayat hati.

Sebentar tadi kami singgah di pasar BDC – luar biasa daif! Peniaga kecil Muslim mencari nafkah hidup tanpa sebarang prasarana dan pembelaan. Pemimpin UMNO yang sering melalak sebagai jaguh pembela Melayu perlu membeliak mata menyaksikan penganiayaan masyarakat yang dipinggirkan olih pemimpin mereka sendiri.

Kami sekadar menjelaskan dan mendoakan agar rakyat insaf dengan menolak keangkuhan dan rasuah BN. Saudara Ansari Abdullah diharap akan mendapat dukungan rakyat agar suara mereka akan dikumandangkan di Parlimen dan di seluruh negara.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
Batu Sapi, 1 November 2010

Vote BN As A Deepavali Present, Says Mohan

GUA MUSANG, Nov 2 (Bernama) -- Voters from among the Indian community in the Galas state constituency are asked to vote the Barisan Nasional (BN) as a Deepavali gift, said MIC Youth chief T. Mohan.

He said the Deepavali celebration on Nov 5, one day after the by-election for the Galas state seat, would be more meaningful if the BN were to win.

Speaking to reporters after attending dinner with the people here, in conjunction with the Deepavali last night, he said although the number of Indian voters in the constituency was only 185, they were capable of helping the BN to achieve victory in the by-election.

"Support from the Indian voters for the BN is most encouraging following the door-to-door approach adopted by the MIC machinery. I'm confident that they will choose the BN as their elected representative to champion their cause," he said.

In the by-election, BN candidate Abdul Aziz Yusoff will face Dr Zulkefli Mohamed, from PAS, in a straight fight.

Mohan said the MIC had identified several problems faced by the Indian community such as land for housing.

Meanwhile, Gua Musang MIC chief Dr G. Rengaraju said house ownership was the main problem faced by the Indian community in the area and in this context, the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the implementation of the first public housing project here, was a most welcome news.

He said most of the Indian community here worked as mechanics, or worked on other people's farms and earning not more than RM1,000 per month, and with the high cost of house rent of between RM300 and RM500 per month, they had to share a house with others to reduce their cost of living.

"There are some house owners but the number is small and for those who are renting, the number of tenants can be as high as 12 in one house.

"In view of the housing problem, the Indian community hopes that more low-cost houses would be built here," he said.

Protest outside Penang State Assembly

Some 70 people staged a noisy protest outside the Penang State Assembly at about 11.00am.

They were protesting about the Komtar traders’ complaints and the state’ government’s acquisition of land in Balik Pulau. 


Some in the group of placard-bearing protesters shook the gates of the State Assembly and shouted at the men in suits standing inside the premises who had gathered for the Budget session. A handful of police were also present.

Parcel-bomb 'mastermind' revealed

A number of countries have announced changed security procedures after the discovery of two parcel bombs in US-bound air cargo.

Britain has banned unaccompanied cargo freight to the UK from Yemen and Somalia, while Germany also said on Monday that it was extending its ban on cargo aircraft from Yemen to include passenger flights.

France and the US have already banned air freight from Yemen in response to the plot.

Authorities in Yemen announced a crackdown on all cargo shipments on Monday, while security officials manned checkpoints in Sanaa, the capital, searching vehicles and checking payments.

Yemen's national committee for civil aviation security said the measures would counteract the "methods used by terror organisations", the state news agency Saba reported.

'Terrorist cancer'

Following his chairing of an emergency committee to decide Britain's response to the scare, David Cameron, the prime minister, told parliament that the UK must take every possible measure to "cut out the terrorist cancer" that existed in the Arabian peninsula.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from London, said: "The British government says there's nothing to suggest there's another plot coming down the pipeline, that a similar thing is about to be attempted.

"But they've alerted the whole country, really, to the threat from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), they say they're active, they're dangerous and Britain remains on top of the list [of countries to be attacked]."

The parcel bombs, addressed to synagogues in Chicago, were discovered at a UK airport and in a cargo terminal in Dubai on Friday.

Qatar Airways said the Dubai parcel had been transported on two of its passenger planes from Sanaa via Doha.

Theresa May, Britain's interior minister, said the package intercepted in the UK was powerful enough to bring down the aircraft, while other officials said the device was so sophisticated that it nearly slipped past investigators despite a tip-off.

The parcel, which was hidden inside a computer printer with a circuit board and mobile phone SIM card attached, was said to contain pentaerythritol trinitrate (PETN), a highly potent explosive, which is difficult to detect in security screenings.

A leading al-Qaeda fighter in Yemen who surrendered to Saudi Arabia last month provided the tip that led to the thwarting of the mail bomb plot, according to Yemeni security officials, the AP news agency reported on Monday.

The officials said Jabir al-Fayfi, a Saudi who had joined al-Qaeda in Yemen, had told Saudi officials about the plan.

The Yemeni officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the press.

Several tribal leaders with knowledge of the situation, who similarly spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed al-Fayfi's role, AP said.

Tracking numbers

The Saudi newspaper Al-Watan on Monday cited Saudi security officials saying that the kingdom
Jabir al-Fayfi surrendered to Saudi Arabia last month
gave US investigators the tracking numbers of the packages.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanaa, said: "The latest announcement about al-Faifi brings to the fore two major issues.

"One, that Saudi Arabia enjoys unlimited influence and leverage in Yemen. Number two, is it shows that Saudi managed to infiltrate Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

"To a certain degree, this is something that is unheard of in the history of al-Qaeda in general.

"Usually, when they plan an attack, it is only a small circle of al-Qaeda that is familiar with all the details of the operation

"The Yemenis don't seem to be happy with the revelations that Saudi was the key player in tipping off the Americans."

Suspect named

In another development, US transport security investigators headed to Yemen in a bid to track down those behind the plot, as officials named a "key suspect".
Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is believed to be hiding in Marib province [Reuters]

Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is believed to be working with AQAP and tops a Saudi Arabian wanted list, is the brother of a suicide bomber killed last year in a bid to assassinate Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Saudi counterterrorism chief.

"There are indications he may have had a role in past AQAP plots, including the attempted assassination of a Saudi official and last year's failed Christmas Day attack," a US official told the AFP news agency.

Yemeni security officials have also said that they are searching for al-Asiri, who is believed to be in Marib province.

Yemen freed on Sunday a woman suspected of mailing two parcel bombs destined for the US, saying she had been a victim of identity theft.

Hanan al-Samawi, a 22-year-old student, had been detained a day earlier after she was tracked down through a telephone number left with a cargo company.

But when the shipping agent was called in to identify her, he said she was not the right person. Al-Samawi is now on bail, along with her mother who was also detained.

Al-Qaeda's Saudi and Yemeni branches merged in January 2009 to form Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

In the past year, the organisation has emerged as "one of the most dangerous branches of al-Qaeda", according to a US assessment.

It calls for the overthrow of the Saudi and Yemeni governments and has carried out a string of brazen attacks against local security forces.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Memo to Menteri Besar Johor, UMNO denies land for Masai Hindu Graveyard

1st November 2010 at 11.00am, Human Rights Party together with concern citizen handover memorandum to Johor Menteri Besar regarding land denied for Masai Graveyard. Memorandum collected by Encik Sharul (Pegawai pembantu pentadbiran Menteri Besar Johor).
01112010154
HRP at Johor Menteri Besar office. from left: G.Subramaniam, S.Magesan, En.Sharul, Y.Mohan (Johor HRP Chairman) & Perumal. 

MEMORANDUM

MEMORANDUM KEPADA YAB DATO’ HAJI ABDUL GHANI BIN OTHMAN – MENTERI BESAR JOHOR BERKENAAN TANAH PERKUBURAN DI MASAI DAN DI KAWASAN SEKITAR JOHOR BAHRU YANG SUDAH PENUH DAN TIADA TEMPAT LAGI PADA MASA KINI.
HRP5

Salam sejahtera,

Kami dari Human Rigths Party Malaysia (Interim), mewakili kaum India beragama Hindu di sekitar kawasan Masai khususnya dan kawasan sekitar Johor Bahru secara amnya ingin menggesa kerajaan Johor di bawah pentadbiran YAB DATO’ HAJI ABDUL GHANI BIN OTHMAN – MENTERI BESAR JOHOR supaya masalah Tanah Perkuburan di Masai dan Johor Bahru diselesaikan dengan segera memandangkan tiada tempat untuk tanah perkuburan.

Untuk pengetahuan pihak kerajaan, tujuan utama kami memberi memo ini ialah untuk mendapatkan sebidang tanah perkuburan baru dan juga mengkaji masalah tanah perkuburan di Masai.

01112010151Kami menggesa kerajaan supaya:

1) Mengenal pasti Tanah Perkuburan yang baru di Masai dan bagi kawasan sekitar Johor Bahru.

2) Membuat satu siasatan rasmi di Tanah Perkuburan Masai berkaitan penggunaannya memandangkan didapati masih ada ruang tetapi tidak digunakan. (Dikhuatiri kawasan paya)

3) Memandangkan Tanah Perkuburan lain disebelahnya sudah penuh dan diberi tanah di tempat lain kecuali bagi beragama Hindu.

Situasi sekarang.

Situasi sekarang tiada tempat untuk dikebumikan / dibakar. Tetapi masih ada ruang untuk ditanam dan dibakar. Tempat pembakaran tidak dijaga kerana kebanyakan mayat dibawa ke perkuburan Cina untuk dibakar secara elektrik yang terletak di Sungai Tiram, Tiram dimana ia terletak lebih kurang 30 KM dari Masai. Untuk pengetahuan pihak kerajaan, bukan semua mayat Hindu boleh dibakar kerana menurut agama Hindu ada yang mesti kena bakar dan ada yang mesti kena tanam. Tetapi sekarang semuanya kena dibakar dan itupun di Perkuburan Cina. Masih lagi menumpang mayat. Kesemua masyarakat India Hindu terpaksa berbuat demikian dan mereka ini melingkungi kawasan Pasir Gudang, Kota Masai, Masai, Seri Alam, Plentong, Kong Kong dan Permas Jaya.

Persoalan masyarakat Masai pula ialah, Tanah Perkuburan Masai yang digazetkan pada 22/07/1962 dan diluluskan pada 2/07/1963 (Plan no: 25429 dan Lot no: 2127) seluas 1.75 ekar yang diuruskan oleh Subramaniam Temple Masai, kini tiada tempat lagi. Jika ada pun ia adalah paya dan persoalan mereka ialah adakah kesemua tempat ini digunakan sepenuhnya. Sudah lebih 10 tahun tiada kes perkuburan disini dan tiada tanah baru.

Untuk pengetahuan tuan, masalah sebenar bukannya tak boleh bertoleransi semasa pembakaran mayat di tempat orang Cina (dimana perkara ini tak akan diterima oleh agama lain), Cuma bila ia melibatkan mereka yang miskin, mereka terpaksa bayar lebih untuk bakar mayat kerana hanya mereka yang menumpang kawasan perkuburan sahaja boleh merasai rasa duka yang teramat. Kereta mayat sekarang memberi pakej perkuburan yang melibatkan paling kurang RM 5000. Mereka yang miskin terpaksa untuk mencari ALONG untuk mendapatkan wang segera agar mayat tidak dibiar begitu sahaja dan mereka akan lakukan apa sahaja termasuk meminjam wang. Terdapat lebih 20 keluarga (yang kami ada sekarang dan mungkin lebih jika kami buat kajian) yang menghadapi masalah Along yang berpunca daripada kematian.

Bayangkan selepas pemergian seseorang, tiada tempat untuk mengkubur dan membakar, yang ada cuma menumpang , dengan berat hati terpaksa membakar walaupun ada yang kena tanam, , terpaksa meminjam wang dari Along, bayar sampai 5 tahun dan lebih. Adakah ini bukannya tanggungjawab kerajaan tempatan dan mereka yang mengurus Tanah Perkuburan? Jika semua perkara perlu demonstrasi dan Memo apa gunanya kami sebagai rakyat India Hindu yang bergenerasi 5 dan 6 keturunan di Malaysia. Adakah kami bukan rakyat Malaysia.

Apakah sebidang tanah perkuburan yang kami minta untuk beribu ribu masyarakat India di Johor Bahru dan Masai adalah keterlaluan? Lagi teruk keadaan kami kerana tiada tempat lagi untuk mengebumikan di Kebun Teh, Johor Bahru.

Apa yang kami menggesa pihak kerajaan ialah:

· Laksanakan segera siasatan di Tanah Perkuburan Masai.

· Kami perlukan sebidang tanahperkuburan segera sebagai tanda menghormati agama dan masyarakat kami.

· Kami bersedia untuk sebarang perbincangan dan jika tiada hasil atau keputusan dalam masa dua bulan maka kami tiada cara lain selain menjunjung mayat ke Pejabat Menteri Besar kerana kami percaya beliau boleh selesaikan masalah ini.

Bersama ini kami sertakan dokumen yang berikut:

* Ditandatangani oleh masyarakat India yang terlibat dalam masalah ini dan orang awam yang mula risau.
* Gambar-gambar kubur Masai pada masa kini.
* Pelan Tanah Perkuburan India, Masai

Sekian, Terima kasih.

Yang Benar,

____________________

(Y.MOHAN)

HRP JOHOR STATE CHAIRMAN

Tel h/p: 019-7102895

Sk1.Yang Dipertua Majlis Pembandaran Johor Bahru Tengah, Skudai Johor.

GAMBAR-GAMBAR YANG DIAMBIL DI TANAH PERKUBURAN INDIA MASAI,JOHOR.
clip_image002
Penyokong-penyokong orang awam yang meminta tanah untuk kubur India di masai.
clip_image004
Tempat membakar mayat yang tidak sempurna seperti bumbung tidak ada dan tidak dijaga lansung.
Tempat ini langsung tidak dipakai lebih kurang 10 tahun lalu.
clip_image008 clip_image006
Kubur India Masai sudah penuhi dan orang awam di kawasan itu dipercayai kubur China sudah memasuki ke kawasan kubur India.sejak lebih kurang 15 tahun kubur India di masai tidak boleh dikebumikan mayat.
clip_image010 clip_image014
Jambatan inilah laluan masuk utama ke kubur India yang tidak sempurna.Hal ini, menyusahkan orang awam melintas jambatan ini kerana takut runtuh bila-bila masa.

Ibans to invoke spirits against 'irresponsible' loggers

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KAPIT: Some 200 Iban elders and chieftains will seek the help of their “Petara” (gods) to punish those who were responsibile for the logjam in Rajang River and its tributary Baleh River.

According to an Iban shaman, who refused to be identified, they will be performing the traditional “miring” (ritual) next month to seek the help of the spirits because the government has refused to act against those responsible for the logjam.

The logjam has caused so much hardship and misery to the people who live along the rivers.

“We have to call our ‘Petara’ (gods) to punish those responsible,” said the shaman.

Meanwhile, State Land Development Minister James Masing confirmed that a massive “miring” ceremony will be held next month in Kapit to appease the spirits whose anger was believed to have caused the logjam along the Baleh and Rajang rivers.

The ritual is also to calm the angry Ibans living along the Rajang and Baleh rivers as their livelihood is affected by the logjam.

Ten live pigs, 50 sets of “piring” (ritual ingredients) and foodstuff will be required for the ceremony.

Some 50 longboats will be needed to transport the longhouse chiefs and guests to Muara Sungai Meratai, which is a four-hour journey by boat from Kapit.

Kapit district officer, Simon Japut, who is involved in the planning of the ceremony, said that after the ceremony, the 10 pigs will be slaughtered, five on each of the river banks, and their carcasses hanged on rocks at the Muara Sungai Meratai.

Massive losses suffered

Japut said that after the ceremony, no one will be allowed to pass through the site for at least one week. The cost of organising the ceremony is about RM50,000.

He added that the estimated loss of properties and infrastructures caused by the logjam is RM1.8 million. This amount did not include the two bridges which were washed away by the debris at Meratai.

None of the longhouses along the Rajang and Baleh rivers had been damaged, but some of the longhouses were badly affected by soil erosion and needed urgent attention, especially on building retention walls.

The logjam was caused when the logs, which have been piling up over the years as a result of indiscriminate logging at Sungai Meratai, a tributary of the Baleh River, were washed away.

The logs drifted down on Oct 7 after a downpour and caused a jam which spread over 250km of the Rajang and Baleh Rivers, suffocating tonnes of fish and cutting off river communications.

Then a few days later, the Rajang River began to dry up soon after the impoundment of the Bakun Dam on Oct 13.

From suffering to enlightenment

The Write Way by Tiberius Kerk - Free Malaysia Today

(BOOK REVIEW: When Bad Things Happen To Good People by Harold Kushner) If you are among the 98% of the 6.7 billion people on earth who have experienced hardships and loss of dear ones, you may have asked the question: why me?
Twenty-nine years ago, Harold Kushner, a rabbi, sought to alleviate his own intense pain after seeing his son Aaron die prematurely by writing When Bad Things Happen To Good People.

In this deeply personal account about that life-altering experience, Kushner touched the lives of countless people who had undergone intense suffering of their own.

In the first place, it is not realistic to think that nothing bad ever happens to yourself. It can and probably will occur at some stage of your life.

It is also not rational to believe that God is responsible for your suffering. Kushner had boldly treaded the path that others have sought to avoid.

He says that “bad things” happen to everybody. There’s no particular order. And there’s really no need to look for a reason behind every tragedy because there is none that the human mind can fathom.

Good people are not exempted from suffering. That’s another point to remember. So don’t get angry with God, says Kushner. There is such a thing as the universal natural order.

The writer eloquently answers the questions that he probably had asked silently in his heart on countless occasions. “Pain is the price we pay for being alive,” says the author.

The doors that open as a result of personal suffering usually make us better people when we begin to cast away the blame and look for ways to grow in spite of it.

The book also touches on the aspect of us being human. This inadvertently leads to the issue of freedom of choice. That means if we are free to choose, some of our choices will lead to pain.

Man's moral choice

Kushner talks about the millions of Jews who were killed in Auschwitz. He points out it was man’s evil act that caused others to suffer and die. So don’t look towards heaven for a response.

He alludes to man’s moral choice. The freedom of choice has its roots in the Garden of Eden which began with Adam and Eve. The deal, if we can describe it as such, is that God’s great gift to man was the liberty to act as he s
o wishes.

The consequences of his act, rightly or wrongly, can lead to either joy or grief. This is the lesson that we the living must learn, and that is also why bad things do happen to good people.

When suffering comes to those who are grieving, we also need to understand that we are not being punished for forgotten evil deeds.

Those of us who comfort relatives and friends in their hour of sorrow must help them to erase those traces of guilt that may linger in their hearts.

Thus, in pain and misery comes understanding and compassion.

Kushner, who was born in Brooklyn and educated in Columbia University, received six honorary doctorates in his lifetime.

In reading the book, you will come to understand more intimately the meaning of prayer and the right things to ask for in prayers.

Prayers are not really about miracles but more about the miracle of finding the courage to embrace suffering that seems inevitable.

It is about asking God for the strength to withstand the burden that has been placed on our shoulders.

Bigger agenda


People who suffer in silence or sometimes continue to feel pain in long stretches of their wretched lives may ask, “what’s the use of religion?”

On that aspect, Kushner says that out of the pit of human suffering comes kindness and love from others. Very often, we are so moved by the misery of strangers that we feel compelled to extend a helping hand.

It is religion that makes us want to be better human beings. Perhaps that explains in part why bad things do occur with such frequency in this world, so that it triggers a chain reaction of benevolent acts.

God has a bigger agenda. He does not expect us to understand his blueprint but he knows no matter how deep our sorrow, there will always be a light at the end of the long tunnel, if we do not give up hope, and always keep the faith.

Ultimately, the knowledge that keeps the sufferers from straying from the righteous path is that they are not alone. Somehow from somewhere, someone will eventually come to help.

Kushner has expounded some very meaningful answers and he delivers them with great religious fervour. His thoughts are well expressed, easy to comprehend and revealing in their passion.

In the final analysis, this book tells all of us who have suffered, whether intensely or fleetingly, that “God helps us when we suffer beyond the limits of our own strength”.

This book has brought solace to many people who questioned God, relatives, friends and themselves during their darkest hour.

Kushner is a rabbi with a mission and he is constantly by the side of those who are grieving. His other books like Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World, Overcoming Life’s Disappointments, Who Needs God, and When All You Really Wanted Isn’t Enough: The Search for a Life That Matters are testimony to his splendid dedication to mankind.

Why Onn Jaafar really left Umno to form the IMP (part 10 of the series on the Social Contract)



On 21st December 1951, around four years before the Constitutional Conference of January-February 1956, the British government came out with a report on the racial situation in Malaya. The Malay-Chinese population ratio then was 50:50 but because many Chinese were not allowed citizenship this ratio eventually tipped in favour of the Malays. Page four of this report reveals that Umno aimed to embark on a ‘Malaya for the Malays’ policy and that was why Dato Onn Jaafar broke away from Umno to form his Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin



Raja Petra is a Free Man

Isteri tentera pula didaftar pengundi pos

(Harakahdaily) - PAS Negeri Pulau Pinang mendakwa satu lagi penyelewengan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) apabila bertindak mendaftar isteri tentera sebagai pengundi pos tanpa pengetahuan mereka.

Timbalan Pengarah Jabatan Pilihanraya PAS Pulau Pinang, Fadzil Kemi ketika dalam sidang media di Pejabat Parti Keadilan Cabang Tasek Gelugor semalam menegaskan, yang peliknya SPR tidak pun memaklumkan kepada isteri tentera terbabit bahawa mereka telah menukar status pemilih dari pengundi awam ke pengundi pos.

Sedangkan, katanya jika mahu berbuat demikian seseorang isteri tentera harus mengisi borang 1 bukan boleh melakukan tanpa pengetahuan mereka terlebih dahulu.

Walhal isteri tentera sebelum ini, ujarnyaadalah pengundi awam yang tertera dalam daftar pemilih dan bercanggah dengan peraturan-peraturan pilihanraya (Pendaftaran Pemilih) pindaan 2002 dalam seksyen 2(b) yang mana isteri seorang anggota tentera diberi pilihan sama ada mahu mendaftar sebagai pengundi tidak hadir (undi pos) atau pengundi awam.

"PAS Pulau Pinang mendapati apa yang berlaku terhadap 630 orang isteri tentera di Dewan Undangan Negeri (Dun) Teluk Air Tawar sebagai undi Pos diragui kerana mereka tidak pun dimaklumkan tentang status pemilih mereka sebelum ini," ujarnya sebagaimana yang terdapat pada pertambahan undi Pos dalam Pendaftar Pemilih Tambahan (DTP) suku ketiga 2010.

Katanya, menjadi persoalan sekarang ialah nama mereka diletakkan di bawah pengundi baru sedangkan mereka mendaftar dan mengundi beberapa kali sebelum ini.

Tambahnya, ia juga bertentangan dengan sistem SPR yang tidak akan membenarkan pendaftaran baru bagi orang yang pernah mendaftar.

Contohnya, Nazirah Mahmood yang sebelum ini mengundi di Jarak, Tasek Gelugor dalam Dun Permatang Berangan tetapi kini namanya tiada lagi sebagai pengundi awam sebaliknya diletakan di daerah mengundi Jalan Masjid dalam Dun Teluk Air Tawar.

"Bila ditanya beliau mengatakan tidak pernah memohon pertukaran status pemilih dari pengundi awam ke pengundi pos. Walaupun beliau seorang isteri tentera namun lebih senang memilih mengundi cara awam daripada pos," katanya yang juga Setiausaha Perhubungan PAS Pulau Pinang.

Jika begitu, sambung Fadhil, ianya berkemungkinan mempunyai agenda tertentu untuk menggunakan undi pos sebagai 'fixed deposit' dalam pilihan raya umum ke 13 nanti.

Sertai sama dalam sidang media itu ialah Pengarah Jabatan Pilihanraya PAS Pulau Pinang, Ustaz Khalid Man, Ketua Cabang PKR Tasek Gelugor, Mohd Nasir Mohamed dan Setiausaha DAP Bahagian Bagan, Francis Ong Koon Liak.

Rakyat, KEADILAN Dan Anwar

Oleh Nik Nazmi

Walaupun saya cenderung menyokong pembangkang sebelum Reformasi, apabila Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dipecat sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri pada 1998, saya pada mulanya keliru tentang apa yang berlaku dan signifikannya kepada rakyat Malaysia.

Tetapi selepas Gerakan Reformasi memuncak, saya sedar gerakan ini bukan mengenai kes Anwar semata-mata, tetapi suatu kebangkitan rakyat yang selari dengan zamannya.

Apabila saya mula terlibat membantu KEADILAN menerusi Unit Pendidikan Politik-Institut Kajian Dasar sekitar 2001, saya menyedari bahawa KEADILAN lah parti masa depan Malaysia: sebuah gerakan pelbagai kaum yang progresif dan memartabatkan ketuanan Rakyat. Sebab itu saya memilih menyertai KEADILAN.

Perjuangan KEADILAN berasaskan 17 perkara dasar yang menjadi asas matlamat dan perjuangan parti.

Ramai ahli nujum yang mengatakan KEADILAN akan gulung tikar selepas Pilihan Raya Umum 2004 yang meninggalkan KEADILAN hanya kerusi tunggal Permatang Pauh. Apabila Anwar dibebaskan dari penjara pada tahun tersebut, ramai anggap sudah tiada gunanya KEADILAN wujud kerana ikonnya sudah bebas.

Tetapi mereka tersilap. Setahun kemudian di Kongres KEADILAN pertama yang saya hadiri di Kuala Lumpur, usul Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia diluluskan oleh Kongres. Anwar mula bercakap mengenai menggantikan Dasar Ekonomi Baru dengan pendekatan yang menekankan merit dan tindakan afirmatif berdasarkan keperluan.

Waktu itu semua kata tindakan itu gila. Tetapi Anwar menjelajah seluruh Malaysia mempertahankan pendirian tersebut. Selepas Pilihan Raya Umum 2008 yang menyaksikan KEADILAN muncul parti pelbagai kaum paling berjaya dalam sejarah negara, tiba-tiba pendirian tersebut menjadi arus perdana. Mana tidaknya, UMNO yang dahulu menuduh Anwar pengkhianat Melayu pun bersetuju dengan pandangan tersebut.

Pada Pilihan Raya Umum 2008 KEADILAN masuk ke gelanggang Pilihan Raya dengan 5 Janji Anwar yang mewakili manifesto komprehensif tentang agenda parti sekiranya menang di Putrajaya.

Tahun 2010 KEADILAN bersama-sama PAS dan DAP telah menggagaskan Dasar Bersama Pakatan Rakyat yang bersejarah.

Kini KEADILAN sekali lagi mempelopori sejarah politik negara dengan konsep satu anggota satu undi.

Justeru untuk menuduh KEADILAN taksub pada Anwar adalah tuduhan yang tidak berasas sama sekali. Reformis yang mengasaskan parti ini bangkit bukan kerana Anwar sebagai individu, tetapi kerana nilai-nilai yang diwakilinya.

Meninggalkan kes Anwar hanya pada pasukan guamnya

HAF Highlights Persecution of Hindus in Muslim-Majority Nations

Washington, D.C. (October 26, 2010) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) articulated the extensive oppression of Hindu minorities in Muslim-majority nations at The Plight of Minorities and Expatriates in Arab and Muslim Countries: What the U.S. Should Do,
a conference sponsored by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in
Saudi Arabia (CDHR).  Drawing upon extensive data in HAF’s 2009 human
rights report, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A Survey of Human Rights,
Professor Ramesh Rao, HAF’s Human Rights Coordinator, highlighted the
discrimination faced by minorities, particularly Hindus, in Saudi
Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Afghanistan.
 
Other
presentations focused on the persecution of Copts in Egypt, plight of
Christians in the Middle East, repression of minorities in the Arab
Middle East and Iran, experience of Baha’i communities in the Middle
East, status of Jews in Arab countries, women’s rights under Sharia law,
compatibility of Sharia law with the U.S. judicial system, and
oppression of minorities in Iraq.
 
Labeling
the muted complaints and silence of the media, governments and scholars
in recording this history of oppression of minorities in
Muslim-majority countries as “taboo history,” Prof. Carole Basri of the
University of Pennsylvania Law School urged speakers and participants to
engage lawmakers more vigorously by shedding light on the plight of
minorities in many Muslim-majority nations. Dr. Ali Alyami, Executive
Director of CDHR, said, in his introductory remarks, that
representatives of these persecuted minorities should collaborate and
speak with one voice to give voice to the oppressed in Muslim-majority
nations.
 
“It
was heartening to meet with representatives of the Copts, Ahmaddiyas,
Baha’i, Christians, and Jews at this conference, and join them in
voicing our distress at the fate of minorities, including Hindus, in
Muslim-majority nations across the world,” said Prof. Rao. “It is
important we build on the synergy created in this first meeting and
demand action from our lawmakers and administration officials who have
succumbed to the pressures of the 57 member-nations of the Organization
of Islamic Conference (OIC) by disregarding these atrocities.”
 
Image Credit: Migom Foto

India's Obsolete Defense

Image
Time to modernize
(Asia Sentinel) Could India take on a major opponent in battle? Don't count on it


Despite years of concern on the part of defense analysts, former generals and others over the inadequate state of preparedness of India's armed forces, the defense establishment remains mired in corruption, red tape and bureaucratic sloth.

In a damning indictment, India's Air Force Chief Marshal P V Naik said recently that half of all the systems and equipment of the air force are obsolete and that steps are being taken to bring down the obsolescence levels in the next four to five years.

"The obsolescence percentage is 50 percent," he said adding that "by 2014-15, it would come down to 20 percent." Naik went on to add that despite the existing status, the IAF is capable of handling threats.

Signs of trouble leaked out as long ago as 1999 during the high-altitude war with Pakistan in the Kargil area of Kashmir, when it was revealed that India's defense forces were dealing with acute shortages in every sphere.

The then-Army chief, V P Malik, said at the time his forces would make do with whatever was in hand, given the fears for a full-scale war. That was eventually avoided due to pressure to desist by America under then President Bill Clinton, who personally rebuked Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and asked him to withdraw Pakistani soldiers from the territory.

The Kargil review committee report noted that: "The heavy involvement of the Army in counter-insurgency operations cannot but affect its preparedness for its primary role, which is to defend the country against external aggression.”

Ten years hence, matters don't seem to have changed much. According to media reports in 2008, reluctance for battle by an ill-prepared army played a major role in precluding an all-out attack on Pakistan in the aftermath of attacks in Mumbai by a band of terrorists in November 2008 that took 174 lives.

It became apparent that during closed-door meetings, top military commanders and political leaders discussed the poor state of the armory, both ammunition and artillery, which tilted the balance against striking at Pakistan. The army commanders impressed on the political leadership in New Delhi that an inadequate and obsolete arsenal at their disposal argued against any make-or-break battle.

Although there have been expensive attempts to hasten India's overall defense modernization program, there are gaping holes. There also appears to be no defense contract that passes through without the usual cycle of allegations of corruption, political brinkmanship and investigations.

India's defense expenditure has fallen below 2 percent of gross domestic product for the first time in decades despite analysts pegging 3 percent as adequate. Years of neglect have meant that India's fighter jet squadrons are far below required strength due to frequent crashes, for instance. The bidding process for long-sought medium fighter planes has only just begun and may take years before it is completed.

Although India's submarine fleet is depleted, the first deliveries of French Scorpene subs won't begin before in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Bofors gun scandal which broke out in 1987 and resulted in the fall of the Congress government, has stymied the Army's artillery modernization plan for 23 years. No howitzers have been purchased since 1986, with the army's stock of 155mm guns having dwindled to 200 such weapons.

The Army has been looking to buy 400 howitzers from abroad and another 1,100 manufactured domestically, without success. Last year, the defense ministry blacklisted ST Kinetics, a Singapore state-owned company, and six other defense arms firms after they were named in a corruption case against the former chief of the ordinance board. The army was just about to schedule attest of Kinetics' Pegasus gun when the scandal broke.

In addition, the army's huge tank fleet is in bad shape due to want of Russian spare parts, while indigenous efforts to build one, such as the main battle tank Arjun, have largely failed. Army Chief Deepak Kapoor earlier this year said 80 percent of India's tanks, dominated by 2,400 obsolescent Russian T-72s, are unfit to fight at night. More modern T-90s were purchased in 2001 but to keep costs down after a squabble in Parliament, they lack crucial battle systems.

This is not to say that India hasn't been buying arms. In the decade that has followed Kargil, deal value has exceeded US$50 billion, with every sign of such momentum carrying over the next decade and crossing US$100 billion.

Interestingly, India's arms acquisitions have more than doubled over the last five years from 2004-2009 (US$35 billion) compared to 1999-2004 (US$15.5 billion), as defense plans of the earlier period due to the Kargil conflict have been followed to fruition.

The defense ministry has signed more than 450 arms contracts worth over more than US$30 billion within the last three years. A Deloitte-Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report has said that in the next couple of decades India's defense budgets will likely surpass that of major western nations like the US, the world's biggest overall defense force by far.

However, there are structural issues that need to be addressed in India's defense sector for acquisition and modernization processes to be sustainable, continuous and not ad hoc. India's local arms industry remains in the hands of monopolistic state-owned corporations that hark back to the pre-liberalization (pre-1991) era of India's socialist past. Given the "strategic" nature of defense, private players were kept out of manufacturing.

There is need for major restructuring to reach a level of competence including play of private entities to reach level of Western competition. But the huge cost of production and time lines required to manufacture have been major bottlenecks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed concern about the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization, which oversees all defense production, as imports escalate in the defense sector due to incessant delays in indigenous delivery of weapons systems.

Most observers agree that the agency's performance record has not been up to the mark and there is need to incorporate foreign technology and help. Among severely delayed are the home-made Light Combat Aircraft Tejas and the Arjun, which is far behind schedule and dogged with problems.

India has been trying to replicate efforts by both China and South Korea to provide increasing play to private entities in defense, ruling out allowing multinational arms companies to go in for indirect offsets (investments in non-defense sectors) in defense deals and encouraging private investment. The offset clause requires that 30-50 percent of deal value be reinvested in India.

In an assessment the Confederation of Indian Industry has said: "Indian companies should rise to qualify for the requirements of Indian defense." But while private firms have developed some expertise, they need to scale up to the next level of competition. That appears to be dishearteningly far into the future.

Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it