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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Source: Hunt for bin Laden missed 'real opportunity'

Hamburg, Germany (CNN) -- When Osama bin Laden was being bombed at Tora Bora, Dr. August Hanning was Germany's foreign intelligence chief charged with hunting him down.

"He was watching the bombing," Hanning told CNN in an exclusive interview. "I know this," Hanning told CNN without elaborating on his source of information.

After bin Laden escaped from the mountain in December 2001 Hanning said he had agents feeding him information about the al Qaeda's chief's movements.

Frustratingly however, their information never led to actionable intelligence that would have allowed Western agencies to move against al Qaeda's leader.

"We have got information always on where he was. And that's the problem -- days, week later. But he was present there. He hadn't left the region," Hanning told CNN.

Hanning says that after bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora the search for al Qaeda's leader became much harder.

"I knew there was a chance in Afghanistan I think immediately before Tora Bora and in Tora Bora ... I think there was a real opportunity to catch him and afterwards in Pakistan it became very difficult," Hanning told CNN.

It was an opportunity the international community and the United States in particular have good reason to regret. His assessment of bin Laden's ability to inspire and lead today might make him more dangerous today than back then.

"He's not operational but I think he knows the basics. He makes strategic decisions, and of course he's a symbolic figure and figures are important. "

Hanning, who was appointed State Secretary in the German Federal Interior Ministry at the end of 2005 -- one of the country's most senior counter-terrorism positions -- retired late last year.

He says he agrees with recent comments by an unnamed senior NATO official to CNN last month that bin Laden is alive and well in Pakistan.

"I think there are still a lot of hints that he is in Pakistan, and according to my estimates he is in the tribal areas in the region near Peshawar: the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan," Hanning told CNN.

Pakistani officials consistently deny bin Laden's presence on their soil. Hanning believes rogue elements in their intelligence service, the ISI, are hiding him.

"It's hard for me to believe that they know nothing," he said, and in some ways the al Qaeda leader is useful to Pakistan. "So long [as] bin Laden is in Pakistan so Pakistan will get support from the Americans' fight against terrorism."

And Pakistan would be in a bind if bin Laden were caught, because to some Pakistanis he is a hero. "If he were caught the Pakistani government would be in a very difficult situation, because the Americans would ask the Pakistanis to extradite him."

Hanning believes bin Laden's presence in Pakistan is one of the United States' most delicate diplomatic problems and one that needs to be solved before U.S. troops can safely withdraw from Afghanistan -- because given the chance al Qaeda would return to Afghanistan.

"If they would have the opportunity to operate in Afghanistan they would use this opportunity as well," Hanning said -- because al Qaeda's assumption is that once Western troops were withdrawn it would be difficult for them to return.

It is a problem that would become more pressing if serious negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban developed. Hanning and other intelligence officials believe it would be difficult for the Taliban to abandon Osama bin Laden because of his stature as a leader of global jihad.

MIC slams S'gor non-Muslim house of worship curbs

(Malaysiakini) Selangor's decision to bar the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship in residential areas has irked the MIC, which has demanded that the ruling be retracted.

Describing the decision as short-sighted, MIC president S Samy Vellu said that the Selangor government has demonstrated a lack of understanding in managing race relations.

NONE“Do you mean to say that Muslims and non-Muslims can't live together? Did you not promise your electorate that should your party win (in the last general election), you will be fair to all races and treat them equally,” asked Samy Vellu in a statement today.

Samy Vellu (left) was commenting on a news report on Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's response to a question posed in the Selangor state legislative assembly yesterday.

According to the report, Khalid, responding to a question by Ismail Sani (BN-Dusun Tua), had said that non-Muslim house of worship cannot be constructed to avert racial tensions.

He said that the new ruling was made following the infamous 'cow-head protest', which saw residents of Section 23 Shah Alam demonstrating with a severed cow head, in protest at the relocation of a Hindu temple to the area.

Khalid 'playing with fire'

Samy Vellu added that Khalid's new ruling appears to be an attempt to systematically divide the Muslims and non-Muslims.

“Tell me a place where there is no majority of Muslims in a residential area. Where else will non-Muslims find a place to build their places of worship?

“I wish to remind Khalid that Pakatan Rakyat won in Selangor in the 2008 general election due to the demolition of a Hindu temple in Kampung Padang Jawa, near Shah Alam, Selangor in October 2007, and now he wants to ban the construction of temples in Muslim areas,” he said in the statement.

He said that Khalid must not “play with fire” by questioning the freedom of religion to all Malaysians enshrined in the federal constitution.

“That freedom gives every citizen in this country the right to build a place of worship in residential areas, irrespective of whether they are made up of majority Muslims or non-Muslims,” he said.

He said that the Selangor government should retract the ruling or face the political consequences.

Haram supremism fans bigotry

(Malaysiakini) Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin blogged yesterday that all parties should say “Thank you for carrying out his responsibility as a Muslim” to Iskandar Fadeli, the senior assistant of St Thomas School, Kuching, who caned a 10-year-old boy.

zulkifli noordinIn his posting headlined 'Sosej babi!', Zulkifli (left) blogged that any child of a Muslim is according to Islamic law also a Muslim [a question mark here pertaining to the Beginda boy, and reflective of the larger dilemma of conversion conflicts] and as such, the boy should not be packing pork sausages in his lunchbox. The boy's father is a native Sarawakian, Beginda anak Minda; Zulkifli claims that Beginda is a convert whose Muslim name is Nor Azman bin Abdullah.

Zulkifli has urged that the Islamic state authorities call up both parents as well as the boy to determine the child's religious status. Zulkifli wrote that he disagrees with the contention by DAP and PKR as well as a sprinkling of PAS MPs that the matter is not a religious issue. “Dah kalau ini bukan isu agama, isu apa lagi!” (If this is not a religious issue, what is it then!) he countered.

While the Education Ministry has been slow to get to the bottom of the affair, the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) takes the episode far more seriously. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz has announced that Jakim will be investigating Beginda.

Nonetheless, with vigilantes taking upon themselves the 'duty' as Muslims to morally police their neighbours and mete out arbitrary corporal punishment at personal discretion, and with the national preoccupation with the Muslim status of Malaysians, this country is on the verge of becoming a religious police state.

Halal religiosity borders fanaticism

In the earlier cases involving the principals of two schools in Kulaijaya and Bukit Selambau, DAP, when pressing for action to be taken against Siti Inshah Mansor and Ungku Aznan Ungku Ismail had labelled the duo 'racists'. However, DAP did not have the guts to accuse the principals of religious bigotry.

Racism and religious bigotry often overlap: Siti Inshah ordering the Hindu prayer strings of Indian students to be cut from their wrists, and Ungku Aznan berating non-Muslim students for eating during Ramadan, had undoubtedly displayed Islamist supremism.

With the boy who is a native Sarawakian though, he was more a victim of religious bigotry because his tormentor would not see him as belonging to the Si Mata Sepet or Si Kaki Botol communities.

The Pakatan politicians dreaming of Putrajaya while decrying racism nonetheless steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the 800lb gorilla in the room. Evidently, DAP has turned into an apologist for Ketuanan Islam.

NONEAs Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy (right) observed only recently, MCA and Gerakan have never bent over backwards [to Umno] to the extent DAP has done with its Islamist posturing to woo the PAS constituency.

I would add that MCA has been allied to Umno for over half a century, and Gerakan in Barisan close to four decades, whereas DAP and PAS have been together in the Pakatan coalition a mere two-and-a-half years. Comparatively, DAP is far and away the more malleable to voluntarily endorsing Islamism.

Waytha reckons that the pandering - “Lim Guan Eng claiming to take a leaf from a caliph and a DAP MP's wayang kulit of selendang-clad visits to suraus” - is to please PAS for the sake of Malay-Muslim votes.
True enough, for we haven't seen Ng Yen Yen and her Wanita MCA predecessors over the last 50 years eagerly donning the selendang to go surau-hopping. Waytha forgot to mention, too, all the spouting of Quranic verses by DAP non-Muslim parliamentarians, and the DAP-led Penang government benchmarking itself on Islamic governance.

'Haram' also forbidden to nons

Iskandar, the school senior assistant who caned the Kuching pupil, had reportedly said the 'haram' issue is very sensitive among Muslims.

NONEA controversial advertisement greeting aired during Deepavali that features a Muslim convert (who shouldn't even celebrate the Hindu festival) contained the same element of hyper sensitivity regarding haram food. It showed the convert's Muslim wife refusing to touch the meal served by her Indian in-laws.

Since the advert is produced by Filem Nasional (Finas), a government agency under the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, the information that the 2:30-minute video clip imparts, the message it communicates and the culture it promotes reflect the national agenda.
Information: Muthu has converted and become a Mohd Something-or-other. Formerly 'anak lelaki' (let's assume a/l Muniandy), the man is now bin Abdullah - his biological father's name erased from his MyKad. For some, Indian parentage in the Land of 1Malaysian1st is dirt cheap and discarded for Arabism at the drop of a songkok.

The ad communicates the prevalent demographic trend; in the present instance, the birth of twin Muslim babies towards achieving our 70 million target population. The ad tagline is 'Biarpun berlainan agama, kita tetap keluarga' (Even though we're of different religions, we're still family). While the family of the parents are Hindu, the nuclear family of the son are Muslim - so there you have it, the much vaunted 'Change' that Pakatan followers are constantly clamouring for.

Culture: The Finas vignette does not celebrate Deepavali as it shows absolutely nothing of the religious, cultural or social aspects of the Festival of Lights. Instead it celebrates the ever expanding ummah; the concluding scene in the hospital room is the arrival of Muslim newborns. The different religions within a household unit touted by the tagline is a one-way street conversion to Islam; you won't hear them preaching “we're still family” should a Malay want to convert out of Islam. Instead they'd be invoking detention and ISA.

Given all the cheerleading for Islam by Umno, PAS, every single state institution you can think of, and as I've written before 'the third force in Islamisation' DAP, is it any wonder that this Melayu Baru (formerly Muthu) felt encouraged to ditch his religion of birth?

But he's in good company as some Penangites are keenly awaiting similar good news of their Chief Minister, what with the PAS khatibs earnestly praying in the mosques for this to happen.

Accelerating the Islamisation agenda

Pakatan and their supporters demand nothing less than unconditional, unquestioning support for the opposition cause and for effecting a regime change. Yet do we see DAP and its cohorts PKR and PAS doing any 'opposing' to gear down the Islamisation bulldozer?

Currently, Jamil Khir Baharom is Minister in the PM's Department in charge of religious affairs. Say Pakatan succeeds in taking over Putrajaya and Nasrudin Hassan at Tantawi assumes Jamil's cabinet post. Nasrudin, who is PAS Youth chief, is well-known for his public protests against the many, many things he and his party wing believe are 'unIslamic' and desire to be banned.

The Islamisation process can only intensify as DAP has shown itself wholly incapable of playing a role to check and balance, and furthermore dependent on PAS to rescue them like in the Teo Nie Ching episode.

What's fact is that DAP, since March 8, 2008, has equally set back the secular agenda with its appeasement of the Islamist juggernaut (call it positive reinforcement of Islamisation) as much as have the spineless BN component parties in capitulating to Umno's push of the Islam agenda (call it passive acquiescence to fait accompli).

Just this week alone, the Finas fiasco is a perfect example of Ketuanan Islam at work. Another is the unfolding drama dubbed 'Sosej babi!' viz the enforcement of pork-free zones.

Even if we were to change the faces in government, the system remains the same. Shared public space will be relentlessly cleansed of contaminants as the culprits remain in their jobs and the identical scheme of things continues to breed more Iskandar Fadelis, more Kong Kali Kong ustazes. Little Mullah Napoleons would still run all over the place and run the show.

Whether under a Barisan or Pakatan state government, Harussani Zakaria remains the Mufti of Perak. Tens of thousands of Islamic Studies graduates are absorbed into the civil service and these can be pro-Umno, pro-PAS (more likely) or non-aligned but working the will of Allah. Ketuanan Islam has gone beyond Umno and PAS.

DAP refuses to deal with the issues as religious bigotry or calling a spade a spade. We know why. At every turn, DAP challenges Umno and MCA (even when Chua Soi Lek was accurate in his critique of the general backwardness of Muslim countries today) but has not shown itself willing to challenge the system.

HELEN ANG used to be a journalist. In future, she would like to be a practising cartoonist. But for the present, she is in the NGO circles and settling down to more serious writing and reading of social issues.

Two MSRM like fully residential schools for 798 7 As top Tamil school pupils by PKR Selangor and DAP Penang State governments. Every year these top Indian students destiny is a mere “fill in the blanks”.

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Every especially the three Tamil dailies carry news reports of hundreds of 7 As’ top Tamil school students. For this year all three Tamil dailies reported in their headlines 798 Tamil school pupils who had scored all 7As’. Even Malay school pupils only get to score a maximum of only 5 As in the UPSR. But these 798 Tamil school pupils scored a whopping 7As’. Excellent.

But where do these 798 elite Indian students go to after this under the present oppressive, racist and religious supremacist UMNO led regime of Malay-sia? Top Indian students full potential will not be realized by their exclusion and segregation from the 12,440 places in the tens of MRSM and other fully government residential schools ( BN 21/11/09 at page 7 ) if not allowed in, and may end up becoming mere factory workers.

This is how racist and religious extremist UMNO can get which has today earned One Malay-sia the name as the world’s most racist country. “Atrocities” to this extent does not happen in any other part of the world except in One Malay-sia.

To undo these injustices the PKR and DAP state governments of Selangor and Penang could each urgently set up one MRSM respectively in their states. Why not ? The Selangor state government runs University Unisel. So why not a special MRSM Tamil for these 798 poor Tamil school students. After all we have in Malay-sia MRSM Felda, MRSM ATM ( army) and MRSM PDRM for almost 99% malay muslims alone.

And almost 98% of the aforesaid 12,440 MRSM etc places are for the Malay muslims.
PKR and DAP must not only claim to be multi-racial but must also be seen to be multi-racial by also including these poor 798 top Indian students into the national educational mainstream development of Malay-sia.

This is the kind of change the Indians expected when they had voted in the PKR, DAP and PAS state governments of Selangor Penang and Kedah in the March 2008 general elections.

Rights not Mercy


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Selangor water bondholders to ask Najib for RM1b bailout

Najib will be asked to provide the bondholders with a RM1 billion lifeline. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Selangor water bondholders will urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intervene directly in the state’s water restructuring deadlock in an effort to safeguard their bonds from being further downgraded, sources revealed today.

The Malaysian Insider understands that major bondholders — including CIMB Principal Asset Management, Hong Leong Investment Bank and Great Eastern Life — have drafted a joint letter to Najib asking the federal government to bail out Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) with a soft loan worth some RM1 billion.

In the letter, bondholders contend that further downgrades of debt ratings will put capital markets at risk and will seriously impede the government’s effort to promote its Capital Markets Masterplan.

Putrajaya bailed out Syabas once already last year when it gave a RM320.8 million soft loan to parent company Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd (PNHB) in December to help settle its debts to water treatment concessionaires.

Selangor’s water players — Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Syarikat Pengeluaran Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash) and Konsortium ABASS — are at risk of debt payment default as water bonds approach their maturity dates.

The debt service problem started when Syabas was barred from implementing a 37 per cent tariff hike agreed upon in January 2009, after the Selangor government claimed the sole water distributor had not done enough to reduce leakages which cost the state millions.

This in turn led to payment problems between Syabas and water treatment concessionaires PNSB, Splash and Konsortium ABASS, who supply it with treated water.

All four term loan borrowers are already in technical default following their inability to maintain six months’ worth of reserves in a special account used to pay bondholders. The shortfall is understood to be some RM50 million, although this deficit could double in six months.

The technical default triggered a downgrade of the debt issuances by Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) and RAM Ratings Services Bhd on September 8, who warned of further multiple-notch downgrades in this quarter. An industry source told The Malaysian Insider that bondholders suffered RM457 million in mark-to-market losses following the downgrade.

Syabas, Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd (PNSB), PNHB, RUN Holding SPV Bhd (RUNH), Splash, Viable Chip (M) Sdn Bhd (VCSB) and Titisan Modal (M) Sdn Bhd (TMSB) were downgraded by MARC while RAM cut ratings for Splash and Taliworks Corp Bhd subsidiaries, Destinasi Teguh Sdn Bhd and Sungai Harmoni Sdn Bhd.

A statement by MARC at the time urged federal and state governments to urgently interfere in the water industry’s restructuring negotiations to prevent a free fall of ratings in following months.

Sources also told The Malaysian Insider that bondholders intend to issue a separate letter to the Selangor state government by early December at the latest to push for a speedy resolution of the state’s water woes.

So you want to rumble, let’s rumble

Anwar Ibrahim admitted that he made a serious mistake in choosing the candidates in the last general election. But he qualifies this mistake by saying that it was because they were not able to find good candidates.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Nik Nazmi (article below) is not the only one who, over the last few days, wrote about the ‘third force’. Many other political analysts have done the same. Maybe it is time that I reply to some of these criticisms.

We from the civil society movements (Bloggers and political activists included) launched Barisan Rakyat before even Pakatan Rakyat was mooted. At that time there was a clear and present danger that PKR, DAP and PAS may not see eye to eye and may engage each other in three- or four-corner fights -- like they did in the two general elections before that (and with disastrous results, may I add).

Barisan Rakyat wanted to unite the three squabbling opposition parties and get them to agree on a common and joint election manifesto -- The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration.

We invited all Malaysian political parties to attend the launching ceremony and endorse these two documents. Only six came and none of them were from Barisan Nasional.

Invariably, therefore, The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration became an ‘opposition’ election manifesto due to the absence of the 14 Barisan Nasional parties.

At that time, we did not call Barisan Rakyat a ‘third force’. But that was what it was -- a gathering of civil society movements, Bloggers and political activists.

Then, back in 2008, when they needed our votes, they supported the third force called Barisan Rakyat. Today, now that they think they will soon be marching into Putrajaya to form the new Federal Government, they thumb their noses and look down on the third force.

The Malays say: kacang lupakan kulit. You have forgotten the role that the third force played in the 2008 general election. None of us contested the general election. We were not interested even if we had been asked to. And we still do not wish to contest the next general election even if you get down on your hands and knees and beg us to. But we toured the length and breadth of Malaysia to campaign for the opposition candidates. And we also campaigned in every by-election since.

Are you now getting too big for your britches? You no longer need us, is it? Well, just say so. Anwar Ibrahim already declared that we are outsiders. We do not belong and therefore should stay out and not interfere.

That is well and fine with me. The Malays also say: hidung tak mancung, pipi tersorong-sorong.

“If anything’s anything, a third party would simply split the vote of Malaysians who want to see real change. To me therefore (and I may be wrong about this), the only effect a third party would have in Malaysia would be to simply ensure the continuance of Barisan Nasional’s rule. Or is that the point?” said Nik Nazmi.

Yes, when we support you, we are great, fantastic, patriots, wonderful Malaysians, and whatnot. But when we criticise you, we are Trojan Horses, Barisan Nasional agents, we want to sabotage the opposition to allow Barisan Nasional to rule forever, etc.

Brader, we have been opposition since the 1970s, long before Anwar Ibrahim joined Umno in the 1980s. Anwar betrayed the cause by joining Umno and yet we forgave him and treated him as our comrade. And when he was ousted from Umno and sent to jail, it was we who stood by him and fought for him and suffered jail and detention without trial since 1998.

Long before many of you were even in politics and were still in school we have done what we could to bring Barisan Nasional to its knees and see the emergence of a strong opposition and a viable two-party system in Malaysia.

That mission and vision has not changed one bit. We are still committed to what we were committed to back in the 1970s, 35 years or so ago. Only the method now needs to change. And it needs to change because you in the opposition are proving to be bumbling fools.

We still want the political parties to endorse The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration and take that as the election manifesto. They endorsed it in 2008 and they never unendorsed it since. So what has changed? Nothing!

You have forgotten one thing. Power can come from the barrel of the gun. Power can also come through the ballot box. The people decide if you have power or not. All we want to do is to remind you that the people are the boss. The people gave you that power. THE PEOPLE ARE THAT THIRD FORCE THAT YOU LOOK DOWN UPON WITH CONTEMPT AND DISGUST! GET IT?

Power has got to your head. You forgot who made you. And you forgot that he who makes you can also break you. We hired you; we can also fire you. That is how it works. And if you don’t like it, tough!

Yes, we too want to see a strong two-party system. But it is not carte blanche. You are not King and Emperor. You are the people’s representative, the wakil rakyat. So we will decide how you run this country.

Anwar Ibrahim admitted that he made a serious mistake in choosing the candidates in the last general election. But he qualifies this mistake by saying that it was because they were not able to find good candidates.

We responded in our meeting with him by agreeing to help the opposition find good candidates from amongst the civil society movements. Now our effort is being mocked.

So be it. If you don’t need our help just say so. We are not forcing you to accept candidates we propose. If you can do well enough without our help, well and fine. If you want us to stay out of your affairs just say so. Just give the word. Tell us to fuck off and we will. Then you will never hear from us again.

You do your thing and we will do ours. No need for us to become a pain in you arse any longer. But just remember one thing. No longer will the people vote based on promises like back in 2008. No longer will the people vote for your party even if you field monkeys as candidates. This time around the people are going to scrutinise the candidates and vote for them only if they meet the criteria.

So good luck in the next general election.


Let’s Perfect the Two-Party System First

Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad

I am currently visiting Britain for a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference. Part of my trip will also include meetings with Malaysian students and expatriates all over the country.

As you probably know, I’m a UK graduate — from King’s College London — and so it’s always good to meet other young Malaysians who are pursuing their studies abroad as I did, or starting their careers. Back then, opposition-leaning students had to organise meetings covertly out of fear of reprisal.

It’s good to see therefore that the various Malaysian societies who host me now do so openly. As a matter of fact, the talk I gave in Warwick was hosted by the local Umno Club!

The young Malaysians I met, like their compatriots back home, are bright, talented and passionate about their homeland. One can only wish them well and hope that they will someday return to enrich our nation in turn.

Many of them have asked about the state of Pakatan Rakyat, and the troubles we’ve had lately. Their questions often remind me that I have to be at my best at all times. They also remind me that Pakatan has a long way to go on the road to Putrajaya.

That the last couple of months have been hard for Pakatan, especially Keadilan, is an understatement. We’ve suffered from several by-election losses and no small amount of internal problems.

Keadilan’s decision to hold its party elections on a one-member, one-vote system was historic but it has been hit by various technical problems and overinflated egos. It must also be admitted Pakatan hasn’t yet offered up a dynamic alternative to the comfortable, but ultimately fatal mediocrity that characterises Umno/BN’s style of government.

Also, it doesn’t help that certain establishment figures are determined to find fault with whatever we do. When Malaysians complain of state governments “not doing anything”, one sometimes wonder whether they are aware of how centralised power has become in Malaysia.

Most financial, security and oversight powers reside in the federal government. If it chooses to withhold its co-operation from certain states — as it has for those served by Pakatan — the ability to effect substantive reform there is severely limited. Such a situation will continue until and unless Malaysians elect a government that is willing to respect the spirit of federalism.

But I digress: Pakatan has been able to achieve much since 2008, but we ought to be doing much better. We definitely need to pull up our socks and realise that the wave that brought our candidates to office more than two years ago can just as easily knock them back. Believe me when I say that Pakatan is not unmindful of this and are working to improve ourselves.

For all the attacks on us by the establishment media, Pakatan has made great strides forward as a coalition. Keadilan, DAP and PAS are all committed to centrist, multi-racial politics: there will be no going back on this for us. We realise taking back Putrajaya for the people requires the support of all Malaysians, and not just our core supporter bases.

The initial problems aside, Keadilan’s elections have and will in the future provide our party leadership with greater legitimacy: better than any party that relies on backroom negotiations and “money politics.” Our leaders are truly elected, unlike certain politicians.

The party elections have brought out better grassroots leaders, of all ages, genders and ethnicities. They will provide us with candidates for the next elections, and will more than make up for the defectors and non-performers Malaysians have had to put up with. The decision of our leadership to trust the wisdom of the ordinary members has paid off.

Despite the sabotage and obstruction, Pakatan has achieved a lot in the states we serve. We’ve had a convention and launched a Common Policy Framework that clearly sets out the agenda of a Pakatan federal government. We stand by this document and it will form the basis of our manifesto in the next general election.

It will take time but Pakatan is well on the way to shaping up as a viable alternative to Barisan Nasional, towards the two-party (or rather two-coalition) system of politics we’ve all been waiting for.

The problem, however, is that people get impatient. Taking a leaf from Britain and Australia, there’s been a nascent movement in Malaysia’s blogsphere to forge a third party to contest the next general election in order to become kingmakers.

Romantic notions notwithstanding, it’s not clear, at least to me, how much difference a “third party” could make in Malaysian politics. Third parties are supposed to draw support away from both “established” parties.

The partisans of this line do not seem to have any ideas on how to crack open Malaysia’s rural heartlands, i.e. where Umno’s source of power lies. They have no real vision for winning votes from Barisan, and indeed seem to only want to punish Pakatan because certain of their idols did not get their way.

They are also fond of citing the “success” of the Liberal Democrats in the recent UK elections. Here’s a reality check: the Lib Dems are now lingering at about nine per cent in popular support, having been blamed for the harsh policies of their Conservative coalition partners.

If anything’s anything, a third party would simply split the vote of Malaysians who want to see real change. To me therefore (and I may be wrong about this), the only effect a third party would have in Malaysia would be to simply ensure the continuance of Barisan Nasional’s rule.

Or is that the point?

Malaysians deserve so much more from their politicians; I will be the first to admit. But trying to set up a “third force” will definitely not make things better.

Pakatan holds the promise to become the party of change, the political arm of the Malaysian people. It needs your support to live up to its potential.

Raja Petra - Talks About Zaid and PKR

People, please guide your Barisan Rakyat

By Haris Ibrahim,

“It is evident that politics will not save Sarawak. Politicians will not save Sarawak. It is the people who will save Sarawak. 

We need Spartacus, Mahatma Gandhi and the spirit of the Tiananmen students to lead the charge for change.

Yes, it is a long-withdrawn battle and losing is assured, yet history will record that the lay people put up a stand against an establishment bent on manipulating them for personal gains.

With or without Pakatan, the people of Sarawak will mount an ongoing assault for change. This is the legacy we want to leave our children.

This is something Pakatan needs to understand. It is not that Sarawak needs Pakatan to fight its battle. Pakatan needs Sarawakians. And all we ask is that Pakatan put its act together and come along side us…

…In Sarawak, change will happen because the people desire it. And neither the BN nor Pakatan can deny them that” – Maclean Patrick’s “Shape up or ship out, Pakatan Rakyat”.
“If there is one thing all Malaysian democrats have in common, it is that we have a common aim of ridding the country of 53 years of Barisan Nasional’s misrule and oppression. But let us first examine the so-called ‘politicians of integrity’…

…how is this Third Force going to ensure that their leaders are not going to jump ship? If the answer is that the Third Force politicians have ‘higher’ political principles than those of Pakatan, how do you measure the level of ‘principled-ness’? What guarantees can they give the rakyat?
Let’s face it, if the Third Force is the same as, or on the political right of Pakatan, then forget it – we’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Spare us.

The Third Force has to go beyond the populism and neo-liberalism of Pakatan and provide the substance of reform. At the last panel discussion on ‘neo-liberalism’ that I shared with Zaid, he said that he was not clear about what exactly ‘neo-liberalism’ is but that he was a liberal and a democrat!

….it is clear that there is no place in the Third Force for careerists no matter how ‘principled’ they claim they are.

A Third Force of substance has to be the political left of Pakatan, and it is meant to take our country beyond the neo-liberalism of BN and Pakatan toward a ‘Peoples’ Federation of Malaysia” – Dr Kua Kia Soong’s “What it takes to be the Third Force”.
Since the first week of the last fasting month, a small group of citizens have met and had discussions about the possibility of civil society initiative to offer candidates for the 13th GE to political parties seen to be committed to the cause of addressing the plight of ALL marginalised Malaysians, reforming and restoring our institutions of state, and returning the nation back to her people.

This Sunday, we are hosting a closed-door meeting involving a wider spectrum of civil society interests whereat we hope, after serious deliberation and discussion, a consensus might be arrived at to carry this initiative forward, and perhaps, establishing an interrim committee to do all that is necessary to get this initiative off the ground

Dr. Kua advocates that such an initiative should not have amongst its candidates career politicians.
I agree.

Dr Kua also appears to suggest that any past politicians looking to resurrect their political fortunes in the fertile grounds of this civil society initiative be politely but firmly shown the door.
I am of like mind.

Dr Kua asks what guarantee could this initiative offer the rakyat that such of their candidates, if elected, will not jump ship?

This is an important question, and one that I shall endeavour to answer.

Before I answer, though, I ask that each of you address this question : what guarantee did DAP, PAS and PKR give to the rakyat in respect of the candidates that they offered at the last election?

What guarantee did they give that Wee Choo Keong would not jump ship?
That Zahrain would not betray the rakyat?

That Zul Noordin would not cross over to the enemy?
We took no guarantees from the parties.

Well, we voters, too, were not thinking then, so perhaps we too are at fault in the matter of electing these most dishonest of characters to high political office.
I ask that we not make the same mistake again.
I ask that this time round, when Pakatan or any of the other non-BN parties come asking for your vote, you ask the same question that is now put to those who propose this civil society initiative.
My answer to Dr. Kua’s query is that we cannot guarantee that none of the civil society candidates will jump ship.

In fact, no one can ever give such a guarantee.
What we can do is to minimise the risk of such betrayals by putting in place a stringent candidate selection criteria that weeds out the ‘risky’ candidates, leaving only the ‘as risk-free as possible’ candidates for selection.

I am going to propose to the meeting this weekend that prospective candidates be required to do as follows.

First, to submit a comprehensive biodata / profile and to authorise a verification exercise by a risk management agency of all the details stated therein, and to carry out any further investigation deemed necessary following upon this verification exercise.

Second, to follow the lead set by Parti Sosialis Malaysia and require each prospective candidate to give a statutory declaration as to the assets in their names and that of their spouses, to undertake to make a similar statutory declaration within 6 months of being duly elected and every twelve months thereafter. They are to give their written authorisation to allow for the matters detailed in their declarations to be verified by a risk management agency.

By this exercise, we hope to be able to also weed out those whose lifestyles expose them either to the risk of blackmail or being seduced to crossover.

I do not need to list those concerns here. We all know what they are.

For candidates not prepared to go through with this rigorous screening, it ends there.

For those who clear this screening and are shortlisted, their names will be published in one issue of a Malay, English, Tamil and Mandarin newspaper as well as a website set up for this initiaitve to announce them as civil society prospective candidates, inviting the general public to write to the committee if they know of any reasons why any one or more of these shortlisted should not be offered as candidates.

Allegations without details and hence do not allow for a verification by the risk management agency will not be entertained.

Two weeks will be allowed for the public to revert with any such information.
Candidates who survive these two stages will now be required to enter into an agreement to pay back in full all monies expanded on their candidacy, both before and after nomination day until polling day should they get elected and, before dissolution of the new Parliament, as assessed by a court of law, if they should join any political party without having first obtained the sanction of a majority of voters in their constituency in attendance at a meeting notice of which shall have been published in one issue of a  Malay, English, Tamil and Mandarin newspaper, convened in the constituency for the purpose of obtaining such sanction.

It is hoped that this might give the initiative the best chance to identify the ‘as risk-free as possible’ candidates for selection.

What of the criteria to use to identify, from these shortlisted, the candidates with the best MP-aptitude?

In an earlier post, this is what I had suggested.
“My2cen suggested that an MP should be highly intelligent, have a good grasp of our Malaysian history & lots of respect for it’s multiculturalism, know enough of the law to be able to understand the proposed bills/laws to be implemented, or propose new bills/laws that are more current and benefit the people as a whole, can articulate well and highlight to us any adverse laws and policies that are being contemplated, or already implemented by the govt that should be scrapped, and have a good sense of humour”.

I would like to hear from you on that which I have written here and, if possible before this Sunday, so that I may  be guided by you in taking these proposals to the meeting.
I have one thing to ask of you.

Please subject Pakatan Rakyat to the same expectations that you will now demand of your Barisan Rakyat.

Selangor state government lays to rest fears about discriminatory house of worship policy

Received a copy of the following press release about 40 minutes ago from YB Teresa Kok.
Contrary to fears arising from the FreeMalaysiaToday report yesterday, it would appear that the Selangor state government is moving in the right direction.

Terdapat  beberapa versi laporan berhubung jawapan yang diberikan Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim mengenai isu pembinaan kuil ketika menjawab soalan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Dusun Tua, Ibrahim Sani pada sesi sidang Dewan Negeri Selangor (DNS), semalam.
Kerajaan Negeri Selangor ingin menjelaskan pendirian mengenai pembinaan kuil dan rumah ibadat lain iaitu
  • Pembinaan tempat-tempat beribadat harus dibuat secara terancang dan mengikut garis panduan kerajaan demi memastikan kepuasan semua pihak yang terlibat
  • Projek perumahan baru yang bakal dibina di Selangor diwajibkan mengambil kira kewujudan kuil dan rumah ibadat lain  yang sudah wujud di kawasan tapak atau kawasan berdekatan tapak pembinaan
Sekiranya pihak pemaju gagal mengambil kira rumah-rumah ibadat yang sudah wujud berdekatan dengan tapak pembangunan atau sekurang-kurangnya menyediakan rancangan rapi untuk pemindahan rumah ibadat tersebut yang dipersetujui semua pihak terlibat, kelulusan untuk membina tidak akan diberi.

Sejak Julai 2008, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor telah meluluskan 30 geran tanah kepada kuil Hindu manakala 15 lagi masih menunggu kelulusan Exco untuk diwartakan.

Permohonan bagi membina rumah ibadat perlu diperhalusi melalui kajian mendalam dan setiap kelulusan yang dibuat tertakluk kepada kekosongan tanah, kesesuaian lokasi dan keperluan penduduk setempat.

Laporan media yang mendakwa Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat tidak mengambil kira kuil dan rumah ibadat lain ketika meluluskan projek pembangunan adalah tidak tepat.

Pegawai Sekretariat Akhbar Pejabat Menteri Besar bertugas sepanjang DNS berlangsung dan sedia memberi  penjelasan jika terdapat sebarang kekeliruan.


Open Letter to Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah, President of Parti Keadilan Rakyat

I received this in my inbox about an hour ago.

I want to congratulate Jonson for coming up with a very viable suggestion to resolve this crisis that is plaguing PKR.

Here’s hoping good sense prevails.


Dear Madam President,

Please allow me to make one final plea to you for the sake of our Party’s future.

KEADILAN’s current state of affairs, to say the least, is profoundly disturbing and sad. Indeed, not only party members but all our supporters are extremely disappointed by the manner in which our party election is conducted.

No doubt, we had very good intentions when we first mooted the idea of direct elections, where each and every member will be given the democratic right to vote for their leaders.

However, we must remember that we are not judged by our intentions but by the results of what we set out to do. We must do the right thing the right way.

Now, whether we like it or not, the credibility and image of KEADILAN is at an all-time low. This is nothing less than a crisis for the Party.

I understand that it is difficult for you to suspend the ongoing party election. However, no matter who wins the contest, we are all losers in the end. Hence, after some serious thought, I would like to make a humble suggestion to you.

Currently, there are many doubts about the integrity of our Party’s electoral process. I believe that if we can show the public that we are sincere in rectifying whatever irregularities, perceived or otherwise, then we will have taken the first step to salvage KEADILAN’s tattered reputation.

Hence, I humbly suggest that we take the most dubious incident as a litmus test to show, once and for all, that our Party election is free from irregularities. I am referring to the Libaran results, which shows an impressive but incredulous 60 percent turnout of voters.

If agreed by you, Madam President, I will personally help raise the necessary funds to engage an independent and professional audit firm to scrutinise the polling results of Libaran. With the large number of generous KEADILAN supporters who are still hoping that we will do the right thing, I am confident that resources can be arranged to carry out this important task.

If the Libaran results are certified to be free from irregularities, then I will unequivocally accept the Party’s overall election results. I believe all other contestants will do the same. However, if the audit results show otherwise, then a resolution must be passed at the upcoming National Congress to nullify the results of the Party election.

We are now at a critical point in our Party’s history. We must show that KEADILAN is true to its own name. Not only must justice be done but it must also be seen to be done.

Madam President, right now, the Party needs you to take charge and lead us through this challenging period.

Thank you.

Humbly yours,


Member No. B130001542

PR Kekal Komited Pertahan Perlembagaan

Dari TV Selangor

Pemimpin berjiwa rakyat seharusnya mempunyai maruah dan harga diri, ujar Ketua Umum PKR, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Tambahnya pemimpin juga bukan menggadaikannya begitu sahaja apabila ditawarkan imbuhan oleh pihak tertentu.

Beliau berucap di dalam satu perjumpaan bersama rakyat di Restoran 88, Simpang Renggam semalam, Anwar berkata dakwaan Umno bahawa sekiranya Pakatan Rakyat berjaya memerintah, perlembagaan akan dipinda adalah tidak berasas sama sekali.

“Mereka berkata, Kita tidak akan benarkan orang-orang tertentu, Anwar Ibrahimlah siapa lagi (berjenaka), nak rebut Putrajaya, pinda Perlembagaan. Siapa yang kata nak pinda Perlembagaan?

“Saudara tahu tak, Perlembagaan dalam PR dipertahankan! Siapa sain? Tuan Guru Ustaz Awang Hadi sain,” tegas beliau kepada kira-kira seribu hadirin yang membanjiri pekarangan restoran tersebut.

Kata beliau, tidak logik sama sekali jika mengatakan Ustaz Awang Hadi sanggup menggadaikan prinsip perjuangan agama dan bangsa semata-mata untuk kepentingan diri.

“Lim it Siang, bertarung berpuluh-puluh tahun, saya kat UM dah tahu dah siapa dia. Kita gaduh dengan dia, kita tak setuju dengan dia dalam beberapa perkara, kita bagi dia tengok. Satu, dia boleh pertahan, dia berani dia takkan gadai, itu prinsip dia. Kalau dia boleh dikompromi, boleh dibeli dah lama dah!” kata beliau lagi.

Anwar seterusnya menjelaskan bahawa beliau bersama Ustaz Awang Hadi serta Lim Kit siang telahpun menandatangani perjanjian bahawa perlembagaan akan terus dipertahankan, bersama-sama dengan bahasa Melayu, agama Islam dan hak keistimewaan raja-raja.

“Cuma kita kena faham, kita kena pertahankan bahasa Melayu, bahasa rasmi dan saya tidak akan bertolak ansur. Sekiranya kita mengambil alih Putrajaya, saya beri jaminan kedudukann bahasa Melayu lebih tinggi dimartabatkan penguasaan akan jauh lebiih baik daripada apa yang dijalankan oleh Umno sekarang ini. Saya janji!,” tegas beliau lagi.

Suu Kyi's party seeks boost from her release

Image(Asia Sentinel) NLD still alive, despite 'dissolution'

Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, appears likely to be  freed on Nov. 13 in the wake of near universal condemnation of Nov. 7 Burmese elections, which were widely described as rigged to keep the junta in power and were said to be rife with vote fraud.

The Chiang Mai-based expatriate publication The Irrawaddy reported that authorities entered Suu Kyi's lakeside house on University Avenue at noon, reportedly to deliver a release warrant, according local journalists who were waiting outside her compound. However, according to news reports, the democracy leader was said to be negotiating the terms of her release, seeking an unconditional release although the junta is expected to place limitations on her travel and political activities. .

"Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and authorities seemed to be talking in the house after the release warrant was read," a reporter outside her residence told The Irrawaddy. However, despite widespread reports that she would be given her freedom on Friday, authorities said she would have to spend a final day under house arrest.

The junta was said to be hoping that freeing Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, would deflect domestic and international criticism of the election. The National Democratic Force, an offshoot of Suu Kyi's banned party, reportedly won 12 seats in the upper and lower houses and four regional assembly seats out of the 161 that it contested. Reports were rife of stacks of pro-government ballots being brought into polling places, particularly in Rangoon, to forestall more victories for the opposition, and of intimidation of voters to go to the polls whether they wanted to or not.

Agence France Presse reported that many believe that voter frustration could explode into civil unrest if the 65-year-old Suu Kyi were to remain locked up.

Although some expect that her release might ease the post-election disappointment, others say she is likely to be rearrested if she speaks out, or that travel restrictions may be placed on her. Still others believe the regime hopes her release will draw attention away from the rigged polls.

"We take it for granted that she is going to be released," a 40-year-old NGO worker told a member of a daring team of young undercover journalists covering the election for independent publications. "We must wait and hope for the best."

Tin Oo, a top leader in the National League for Democracy, said the party is not dead despite its formal dissolution by election officials.

"If she is released, our party will be much stronger and we can do more work," said Tin Oo, vice chairman of the NLD. "She will not just stand by and watch the fraud although she boycotted the elections."

"The NLD cannot be dissolved," Tin Oo said. "Though it has been working for humanitarian issues, it is not an NGO. It is doing this work as a party."

The party did not take part in Sunday's polls because it overwhelmingly won the last elections 20 years ago, results that were never honored by the military. The national election commission dissolved the party last month when it failed to register for the elections, but Tin Oo rejected the panel's move.

Certainly there is spreading voter outrage, with partial election results Thursday that indicated that the military's proxy party had gained 75 percent of parliamentary seats.

"This is insulting to the people," Myint Lwin, 55, a trader in Mandalay, told a member of the underground team. "They don't think we are humans."

Myint Lwin said he had voted for the opposition, which he said should have beaten the unpopular pro-government Union Solidarity and Development Party.

"This election was a sham since the beginning," said Shwe Yay, a motorcycle seller in Mandalay. "This result is not a truth. But we cannot change it."

State-run newspapers have reported 20 percent of the vote results so far. According to their tallies, the USDP has won more than 180 of 239 regional and national parliamentary seats. On its front page, the English-language New Light of Myanmar on Thursday listed winners for the lower house of parliament in order of their military rank. The paper began with Shwe Man, formerly the junta's No. 3 general, followed by Prime Minister Thein Sein, the former No. 4.

Both men and other military officials shed their uniforms to contest the polls as civilians. "They are shameless people," said a 49-year-old man in Magwe, in central Burma.

"Everyone already expected they would win. I was driving the car for election officials and I heard them asking villagers to vote for the USDP."

The country's first election in 20 years featured 37 political parties and more than 3,000 candidates vying for 1,159 seats. But the NLD boycotted the polls and other opposition parties fielded candidates for only a fraction of all seats.

The NLD, banned or not, has also been investigating complaints of election fraud and "dirty tricks," Tin Oo said. The junta-backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, appears to have won an overwhelming victory at the polls, taking roughly three-quarters of all national and local legislative seats.

However, reports of intimidation and vote fraud were widespread, and several of the 37 registered parties have filed complaints.

"The NLD will let people and the international community know the truth," Tin Oo said.
Although the nation's Supreme Court on Thursday rejected Suu Kyi's largely symbolic appeal of her house detention, she is expected to be freed. Her latest sentence, for 18 months, expires Saturday. Because of her widespread popularity, she is considered the greatest single threat to Senior General Than Shwe and his ruling clique of generals. She was still one of the number one issues in the campaign.

"She does appear to have huge relevancy here," British Ambassador Andrew Heyn said. "The fact that everyone is talking about her and her party was the landslide winner of the '90 elections. What she embodies is hope and unity, and both are in pretty short supply."

Suu Kyi is the only daughter of independence leader Aung San, who was assassinated in 1947. Educated in Oxford and married to a British academic, she left the UK for Burma in 1988 to care for her sick mother, and got caught up in the pro-democracy movement. She has refused to leave the country during her brief periods of freedom for fear the generals would not let her back in.

Thida, 38-year-old university teacher, said she was looking forward to Suu Kyi's release but planned to stay away from her old colonial house on University Avenue. "I dare not go near her house," she said, referring to her status as a government employee. "She must be happy now for she is going to meet people."

Aung Naing Lin, 25, who voted for the National Democratic Force, a breakaway party from NLD, said, "I think she will do something about how we are being cheated. What she says is much more effective than other people."

Why only very inclusive and 1Malaysia speeches/statements before by-elections but racist slurs and very anti-1Malaysia sentiments especially after Umno/BN by-election victories?

By Lim Kit Siang,

Malaysians are entitled to ask the reason for the recent phenomenon – why only very inclusive and 1Malaysia speeches/statements before by-elections but racist slurs and very anti-1Malaysia sentiments especially after Umno/Barisan Nasional by-election victories?

Two days before the Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections on November 4, 2010, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech to the World Chinese Economic Forum was described as a “reaching out” to the Chinese Malaysian Community conceding that Malaysia’s 2020 goal of a developed nation might fail without its support.

Najib’s speech said:

“Malaysia would not be what it is today without the industry, expertise and dedication of the Malaysian Chinese community.

“Likewise, there will be a bleak future for Malaysia without the Chinese community’s support. We would clearly fall short of reaching the goals to become a developed nation by 2020.”

However, very opposite sentiments seem to have the upper hand immediately after the Galas and Batu Sapi by-elections with obnoxious statements and a very serious slur against the Malaysian Chinese and Indians made in less than one week of the two by-elections on November 4.
On Tuesday, 9th November, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi insulted Malaysian Chinese and

Indians when he told Parliament during question time that the low participation of non-Malays especially among the Chinese and Indians in the military could be due to “lack of patriotism”.
The next day, Wednesday, 10th November, 2010, the Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia carried a

prominent article which described May 13 as “a sacred day” and a day to be celebrated.

It is unfortunate that my supplementary question to the Deputy Home Minister Datuk Abu Seman in Parliament yesterday was not allowed by the Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, as I had wanted to know whether the joint committee set up by Home Ministry to deal with offensive, sensitive and seditious media reports would be acting on Utusan Malaysia’s article glorifying May 13 as “a sacred day” – when it is the blackest day in the history of Malaysia which cost the lives of Malaysians of all ethnic groups.

As Utusan Malaysia is Umno mouthpiece, the article must be taken even more seriously as it tantamounts to a public repudiation of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy.

How can the Prime Minister expect his “inclusive” 1Malaysia concept and policy to command credibility as well as national and international confidence when there is so much flip-flops demonstrating a Jekyll-and-Hyde dimension?

Zaid Supporters Missing From Elections

MACHANG, Nov 12 (Bernama) -- Supporters of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim were believed to have stayed away from three Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) divisional meetings Friday.

The members from Machang, Gua Musang dan Jeli divisions opted from voting for PKR supreme council members.

Machang PKR division secretary Mohd Jafri Manan said most of the 1,300 members failed to turn up when voting closed at 5pm Friday.

"Most of them are youth members supportive of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim," he told reporters here Friday.

Jeli PKR division chief Mat Sulaiman said only 100 of 700 members attended the meeting with some citing the rain as reason for staying away.

It was the same in Gua Musang division where most of the 2,179 members failed to turn up citing the bad weather.

Gua Musang division chief Hanafi Abdullah said the rain made it difficult for many members to turn up as many stay in rural areas.

Sex education from next year

The Sun 

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 11, 2010): Sex education will be taught as part of the curriculum in secondary schools throughout the country from next year.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said today the subject to be called "Social and Reproductive Health Education" would be introduced from January.

The decision to introduce sex education is a move to help reduce unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping, and promiscuity among teenagers.

"This course is not to sensationalise sex or promote promiscuity. The classes starting in January 2011 will give students information on what they are going through in terms of puberty and adolescence so that they don't end up getting pregnant or becoming promiscuous," he told AFP.

"We must fight this problem of unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping, among teenagers and promiscuity," Wee said.

"This can only be done through education, by giving boys and  girls enough information so they can make the right decision," he added.

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced the government's plan to extend sex education in schools nationwide to address baby dumping.

The announcement came following positive response towards a pilot project which had been implemented in five secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, Pahang and Kelantan five years ago.

Muhyiddin who is also education minister said creating an accurate understanding of reproductive health among the young was vital in reducing baby dumping.

He said response to a pilot project using a module created by the Women, Family and Community Development and Education ministries had been encouraging.

Muhyiddin said a comprehensive action plan involving the government, private sector and non-governmental organisations was needed as part of a holistic approach to address baby dumping where newborn babies have been left to die in toilets and on garbage dumps.

Last year, there were 79 cases of baby dumping but as of mid-September this year there had already been about 70, sparking alarm among authorities and in the community.

The nation's first school for pregnant teenagers, an initiative directly  aimed at curbing the rising numbers of abandoned babies, opened  in  Malacca last September .

Last May, the nation's first "baby hatch" centre for rescuing unwanted  newborns was introduced here in Kuala Lumpur.

The centre – modelled on similar services in Germany, Japan and Pakistan – allows mothers to leave their babies anonymously

Commission for equality to be set up under Suhakam

The Star 

THE Gender Equality Commission is to be set up, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abd Aziz said.

In his reply to Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam), he pledged to find a way to set up such a commission.

“Gender is an important issue and I will find a way to work it out. I have checked and there is no sub-committee for gender under the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

“This can be set up to protect the interests of all women, including old women like you,” he told Chong during the question and answer session.

This prompted Chong, who had earlier asked Nazri about upholding justice and improving gender equality in the country, to quip that the minister should also not “forget about protecting the interests of the young.”

At the Parliament lobby, the women MPs caucus also called for more women to participate in politics, saying that currently, only 10% of elected representatives were women while the quota had been fixed at 30%.

“There are still very few women in politics, even fewer at decision-making levels.

“There are only two women ministers in the Cabinet,” Chong pointed out.

She also welcomed the RM100,000 grant provided by the United States to women’s group Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor or Empower for a project to encourage women in Selangor to participate more in both local and national politics.

Backbencher Nancy Shukri, who is also head of the caucus, urged young women to join a political participation workshop which would be held from Dec 9 to 12 in Sepang.

Empower executive director Maria Chin Abdullah said for more than two decades, women’s participation in Parliament remained at 10% and between 6% and 7% in state assemblies.

In comparison, women’s participation in Parliament in Singapore was 24.5% and 20.5% in the Philippines, 11.7% in Thailand and 11.6% in Indonesia.

Former Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the 30% quota for women’s participation in politics was inadequate.

Email penjelasan kes Datuk Zakiah

mendapat email yang menyentuh mengenai posting surat terbuka kepada Datuk Zakiah.

berikut ialah penjelasan tersebut

  • Dato Zakiah adalah setiausaha sulit kepada Menteri Kewangan. Bukannya setiausaha sulit kanan kepada Perdana Menteri. Dato Seri Najib sebagai Menteri Kewangan & Perdana Menteri mempunyai setiusaha sulit yang berbeza. Di Kementerian Kewangan, setiusaha sulit reports to setiausaha sulit kanan dan di Pejabat Perdana Menteri, reports to Ketua Setiausaha Sulit.
  • Dato Zakiah sebelum ini adalah PA kepada Menteri Kewangan sebelum dinaikkan pangkat sebagai setiausaha sulit lebih kurang 2 tahun lepas. Dato Zakiah memilih untuk bertugas di Kementerian Kewangan berbanding di Pejabat Perdana Menteri, Jabatan Perdana Menteri bagi mengelakkan diri dari terlibat dgn politiking, tikam belakang, mengadu domba dan fitnah memfitnah untuk meraih kepercayaan Dato Seri Najib. Secara purata, Dato Seri Najib lebih banyak menghabiskan masa di Jabatan Perdana Menteri berbanding di Kementerian Kewangan.
  • Semasa bertugas sebagai PA di pejabat Menteri Pertahanan, beliau pernah meminta untuk ditukarkan ke bahagian lain untuk mengelakkan diri dari perkara seperti di atas. Ini berlaku setelah Dato Seri Najib dilantik sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri. Bagaimanapun, Dato Seri Najib telah mengarahkan beliau kembali bertugas ke pejabatnya selepas beberapa bulan.
  • Malah, Dato Zakiah pernah membayangkan untuk pencen awal ketika di Kementerian Pertahanan lagi tetapi dilarang oleh Dato Seri Najib.
  • Dato Seri Najib juga pernah bertanyakan kepada Dato Zakiah, kenapa tidak pernah terlihat suaminya (seorang ahli perniagaan) datang ke rumah beliau samada Langgak Duta (rumah peribadi), Sri Satria (kediaman TPM) dan Seri Perdana (kediaman PM). Jawabnya, suami beliau enggan datang bagi menggelakkan sebarang pandangan serong terhadapnya.
seperti yang dijanjikan sebarang penjelasan mengenai kes ini akan di siarkan. pengirim email ini hanya mahu dikenali sebagai orang yang mengenai Dato Zakiah.

Sudah berhubung semula dengan penyalur maklumat pertama. Mungkinkah ini adalah persaingan 'politiking' dalaman orang di sekeliling PM ? apapun jika Dato Zakiah sudi tampil memberikan penjelasan amat dihargai selaku penjawat jawatan penting awam rakyat ada hak memohon penjelasan dan selaku manusia Dato Zakiah juga berhak memberikan penjelasan.

US charm offensive in Asia

By Anil Netto,

Suddenly, it seems that the United States is on a charm offensive in Asia It’s amazing what an economic slowdown or recession can do.

A flurry of high-level visits by top US officials appears aimed at reasserting American influence in the region as China flexes its economic muscles. These high-level US trips around the G-20, Apec and the East Asia Summit (EAS) may also be seen as an attempts to secure access to important markets (and cheap labour) and shore up US footholds in the region.

The US is of course also concerned about China’s growing naval power. America has large permanent bases in Japan and South Korea and military facilities and strategic arrangements elsewhere in Asia.

Let’s list them out the whistle-stops: Hillary Clinton visits Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates checks in on Malaysia – amidst talk of strengthening ‘bilateral military ties’ (whatever happened to Zopfan – the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality?) – and Australia.

Bill Clinton is visiting the Philippines amidst increasing calls for the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Next week, he will be in Malaysia.

And of course, Obama’s tour is taking him to India, Indonesia, Seoul and Japan, where the East Asian Summit is due to take place. The United States is set to join the summit next year.

At this point, as America is stuck in an economic quagmire and China goes on the ascendancy, I think America needs Asia more than Asia needs America; the high-level American visits bear testimony to that. Hopefully, leaders of the South will know better than to fall once again into the suffocating embrace of the world’s superpowers.

A Politicized Self Immolation

by Dinesweri Puspanadan,

Those who familiar with William Hogarth's pieces definitely remember his mind blowing engraving;Satire on False Perspectives.

This engraving carries a mind blowing subtitle;
Whoever makes a DESIGN without the Knowledge of PERSPECTIVE will be liable to such Absurdities as are shewn in this Frontispiece
It is a perfect example of a paradox; statement that consists of two seemingly contradictory ideas which both appear to be true. Definitely both contradictory statements are not true and supposedly only one statement is true while another is the spoiler which degrades the authenticity of a true statement.

The Star;

Illegal temple structures taken down after drawn out discussions

MAN set himself on fire in protest against the demolition of an illegal structure at a temple by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) at the Puchong Industrial Park yesterday.
The person, identified as Chakara Guna, was sent to the Serdang Hospital for treatment.
A Rela member S. Magen said the man repeatedly doused himself with kerosene and threatened to set himself on fire on different occasions around the area.
Around 9.45am, he pulled the same stunt while holding a cigarette lighter. Suddenly, the wind blew towards him and his kerosene-soaked body accidentally caught fire,” he said.
A meeting was held later in the morning after the incident. It was attended by MIC Youth chief T. Mohan, representatives from MPSJ town planning department and MPSJ councillor Michael Tamilarason.
According to SJK (T) Castlefield, Puchong board of directors chairman Nagamuthu, the issue began four years ago when the land surveyors came and certified that the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple’s store room and toilet were built on school land.
We wanted to apply for a land title in 2007 and a licence survey was conducted.
We had a meeting with representatives from the education department, Land Office, Parent-Teacher Association and the temple.
The temple representatives agreed to demolish the structures when the school needed to utilise the land,” he said.
About six months ago, the school received a RM500,000 grant from the Education Ministry to build two kindergartens.
We wrote to the temple committee members asking them to move out but our request fell on deaf ears.
Last month, we were informed by the ministry that the grants will be withdrawn if we did not identify the land for the kindergartens,” he said.
He added that they sought advice from the police and MPSJ to solve the issue as “the temple representatives were adamant”.
The council put up a notice on Oct 26 that the structures be taken down in a week’s time.
The demolition of the structures was supposed to be done last week but it was only carried out yesterday after requests from several political leaders to postpone it to after Deepavali,” he said.
At the meeting, the temple representatives asked to be given a year to relocate the temple’s toilet and store room but the school representatives declined.
Mohan and Michael were on hand to calm both parties when the discussion turned into a heated argument.
According to Mohan, it was decided the government reserve land next to the temple will be used temporarily until the temple completes the construction of the store room and toilet within the temple grounds.
Nagamuthu said the cost of the demolition and the temporary building will be borne by the school board.
The temple committee adviser could not be contacted for comments at press time.
An excerpt from Malaysiakini on related news
M Alejandran claimed that his brother was only feigning the attempt at self-immolation, and suggested further that he was goaded into carrying out the act by the said individuals.
Who would want to burn himself? My brother was only bluffing,” Alegandran told Malaysiakini when contacted.”
 Some headlines (on the same issue) picked from Human Rights Party's website

Hindu devotee’s self-immolation: Zero multi-racial PKR, DAP and PAS’ permanent solution land titles for all Hindu temples, cemeteries, Tamil schools and Indian village
Despite burning himself in protest, PKR proceeds to demolish Puchong Hindu temple
Mainstream media’s racism refuses coverage of Indian poor man’s self immolation to stop Hindu temple demolishment.
Shouting Match by PKR, DAP and PAS over caning of Chinese pupil, but zero shouting match on self immolation of Chakra Guna to stop the demolishment of the Hindu temple
Did Guna set himself on fire because PR refused to give land to build temple, school, and cemetery or was he merely threatening the people there? Which perspective is true? Is this an authentic sacrifice or a failed heroism?

Like it or not, we cannot run from the fact that some people take advantage of this self immolation to strengthen their political influence.Guna' s self immolation in fact appeared to be accidental as how claimed by his brother but later the news twisted by certain irresponsible parties. If a group of people is fighting for a good cause, then why do they need to twist the truth?

Lets call a spade as spade.

HRP's act to wrap this issue in a blatant context where Muslims are highlighted as 'bad' while Indians portrayed as very 'pitiful' is unacceptable. There was a time; HRP believed to be the Indian community's rescuer but today with their prejudicial statements, they prove that they are no different from MIC which has been bastardizing the community's future.

A weak or bastardized political structure will result in the downfall of a community and that is what exactly the Indian community is experiencing. From the day one MIC has been echoing their call for transformation but up to date, not many changes observed despite their loud speech whereas on the other side, we have Human Rights Party bashing the government, protesting here and there without any proper measure tackle the problems.

To our disappointment, many do not stop to re analyze their thought or decision and Guna's self immolaton is a very good example. Maybe today Guna gained overwhelming support but are these people prepared to take charge of his family if anything happens to him?

Some are trapped in the past where they are still thinking that protest is the only way to solve a problem but mind you,protest should be the final option

The community is at edge of everything where there is no turning back. Its the time for crew on the ship to take charge. Yes, we need to be empowered! If Guna were to be empowered in a good way earlier, he would have understood one thing very clearly;the change should begin from himself. He would have understood that self immolation or protest would not bring him anywhere.

We cant blame these poor people. They are puppets misused by politicians and fueled up by wrong cause just like Guna. Why should we allow ourselves to be fooled by politicians even though we are aware of it? Doing a mistake again and again but hoping for a different result is insanity!

Please be notified that 60 percent crimes belong to our community and we contribute to 14 percent of the population in prisons. Picking a specific statistics In 1994, 128 of the 377 murders committed in Malaysia were by Indians. Under Emergency Ordinance around 5000 Indian youths are detained every year. In the last few months around 300 detained in Selangor alone.

Do you think this could be solved through protest or self immolation?

A kid who is detained under EO will not able to sit for SPM! So, how do you think he could make a living ? Now, that's the beginning of another poverty stricken family.

No one denies that the problem exists but instead tackling the root cause, elected leader are busy organizing vigils, protest, street demonstrations which bring the community no where.

Time to get rid these false perspectives of which our mind is automated to believe for ages! Tell me how long do you think we need to depend on these 'leaders' and be their scapegoats?

Today is Guna! Who is tomorrow? It could be anyone from our family?

Time for us to take charge of the community and leave these people who are pursuing their political agenda aside
I am empowered and already out to empower the people around me. Are you?