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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hunger strike to mark Hindraf's epic protest

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi will hold a hunger strike at the entrance of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) on Nov 25 to commemorate the massive Hindraf rally three years ago.

In a press statement, its chairman P Waythamoorthy said a five-member delegation would also hand a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office at 10am.

“The memo will contain our 18-point demand. At the same time, another team will kickstart the hunger strike at 9am at KLCC,” he said.

Among the demands are calls for affirmative action to help all poor Malaysians especially the Indians, turn all Tamil schools into fully-government aided schools and stop the indiscriminate demolition of Hindu temples, crematoriums and burial sites.

The hunger strike, which is expected to see a turn-out between 50 to 100 people, is scheduled to end at 3pm.

“After ending the hunger strike, we will break fast and offer prayers at the Subramaniar Temple in Batu Caves,” said the London-based Waythamoorthy.

He also urged those who supported the struggle to light oil lamps to commemorate the day.

“We are requesting that you light up oil lamps and in remembrance, pray with your family and friends for this eventful day that we finally stood united as one to salvage our pride and dignity against oppression,” he said.

On Nov 25, 2007, thousands of Malaysian Indians gathered at the Petronas Twin Towers in protest against “marginalisation and discrimination” by the Barisan Nasional government.

The demonstration triggered the traditional ruling party supporters to swing their votes in favour of the Anwar Ibrahim-led Pakatan Rakyat in the March 8, 2008 general election.

BN begins to strike back

By Zainal Epi - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional (BN) is on the roll: it has introduced a new open door concept to make the coalition more inclusive and a new logo to replace the dacing to reflect a stronger, more vibrant partnership.

Like it or not, the new concept and image may just hit the right note in the hearts and minds of Malaysians, particularly the young, who will form the bulk of the voters come the next general election.

Prime Minister and BN chairman Najib Tun Razak has taken the initiative to rebrand BN, given the coalition’s dismal performance in the 2008 general election.

At a recent BN supreme council meeting, he announced that those keen to join the BN can apply directly to become associate members.

This means they need not be a member of any existing political parties to enter the BN club.Observers believe the move was a master stroke as it will encourage people who are disillusioned with several of the coalition parties to support BN as direct members.

Many of the BN partners began looking inward after the 2008 drubbing, and started to make some changes but they ended up in a worse position.

Umno, the backbone of BN, has made a fast recovery ever since Najib took over the helm. His fresh approach has brought hope and enthusaism into the dejected BN camp and even won back supporters who had “jumped ship”.

Still in the wilderness

Today, Umno seems to be in a better position with many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – Malay-based or otherwise – willing to work together with the party.

The MCA, the second largest party in the coalition, is still in the wilderness searching for answers as to why the Chinese community had abandoned the party.

The change of leadership does not seem to have much effect on the Chinese who seem to be drifting away from the party which claims to champion their cause.

The MIC has yet to see any significant change except that the Indian community seems to be running in and out of other multi-racial parties seeking an umbrella.

Gerakan seems to be on its own dreamland, occupied with infighting and, like the MCA, seeking a base again among the intellectual Chinese while losing its multi-racial colour.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is not faring any better – it is living in political oblivion.

In Sabah and Sarawak, the coalition parties are still intact with occasional minor noises coming from the peninular-based opposition parties.

Najib’s direct membership policy now seems to be the correct answer to regain the trust of the voters as many individuals and NGOs support the BN but not the coalition leaders.

Before Najib announced his new BN look, he has already won over many young Malaysians with his facebook and blogsite.

Perhaps his “grassroots” approach – dealing directly with the young – may have given him the idea of opening the BN door to associate members. Indeed it is a right move.

Najib’s move may not get the full support of his partners but he does not seem to be much bothered with the leaders of the parties.

His concern, judging from his new policies, is with the the people who will decide the fate of the ruling party.

In short, what Najib is doing right now is what democracy is all about – a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

No advisory role for me, says Samy

By B Nantha Kumar - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Outgoing MIC president S Samy Vellu declared today that he would not accept any advisory role in the party after his departure from active politics in December or January.

"For the time being, I do not have any idea of becoming MIC advisor," he told reporters after presenting cheques to Malaysian Indian students to help them further their education. The money came from the Maju Institute of Education Development, MIC’s education arm.

A jovial Samy Vellu said there was no need for him to take any advisory role in the party as deputy president G Palanivel and vice-presidents Dr S Subramaniam, M Saravanan and S K Devamany had the required experience and were "good enough" to run it in his absence.

"When I was elected as president in 1979, there was no one there to advise me. I conducted the party with my previous experience and ideas.

"So, I think after my resignation, it is better for me to let others lead the party," he said.

The long serving MIC supremo said his departure from active politics would give him plenty of time for family, friends and the Indian community in Malaysia.

He announced recently that he would step down soon and would reveal the details on Nov 29, after the party's central working committee meeting, which is expected to be his last as party chief.

There has been strong speculation that the government has offered him an ambassador’s post that carries ministerial status. He is expected to take up the job on Dec 1.

He has named Palanivel as his successor in MIC.

Smiling and chuckling throughout the press conference, he took pot shots at the media.

"I am always condemned by the media and others,” he said. “I am not being praised by anybody. I am being condemned by everybody.

"Some newspapers sell because of me. I pity them. When Samy Vellu resigns, their sales will go down."

He even sang for the reporters, picking one of his favourite Tamil songs from the 50's, "Anbu Oli Veesi" (Spread the Ray of Love).

Report: N. Korea fires on S. Korea, killing 1 and injuring 15


Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea fired artillery toward its tense western sea border with South Korea on Tuesday, killing at least one South Korean soldier, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Two civilians and 13 other South Korean military personnel were injured, with three of the soldiers seriously hurt, Yonhap said.

A Ministry of Defense spokesman contradicted the Yonhap report, saying that no deaths had been confirmed and that the military was checking on possible civilian casualties.

At least 200 rounds of artillery hit an inhabited South Korean island in the Yellow Sea after the North started firing about 2:30 p.m. local time, Yonhap said.

South Korea's military responded with 80 rounds of artillery and deployed fighter jets to counter the fire, the report said.

The South Korean army also raised its alert condition, the report said.

Images of plumes of smoke were quickly broadcast on Yonhap television from the island of Yeonpyeong, with some homes on fire. It was not immediately clear how much damage the artillery had done. The island has a large military garrison.

The island has a total of about 1,300 residents, a fisherman who lives on the island told Yonhap.

Some residents started fleeing for the South Korean mainland, which is about 145 kilometers [90 miles] away. Other residents were seeking shelter at schools.

The South Korean government immediately called an emergency meeting of its security ministers, meeting in a bunker under the presidential residence in Seoul.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak ordered his ministers to take measures against an escalation of the situation, presidential spokeswoman Kim Hee-jung said, according to Yonhap.

"Take a stern response and carefully manage the situation from further escalating," the president said.

The North Korean fire came as the South's military conducted routine drills in waters off the island, which is about 10 kilometers [6 miles] from the North.

The Yellow Sea has been a longstanding flashpoint between the two Koreas, but Tuesday's attack was an escalation in violence.

"Our navy was conducting a maritime exercise near the western sea border today. North Korea has sent a letter of protest over the drill. We're examining a possible link between the protest and the artillery attack," presidential spokeswoman Kim said, according to Yonhap.

The island is part of a small archipelago about 80 kilometers [49 miles] west of the South Korean port of Inchon, which serves Seoul, and is close to the tense Northern Limit Line, the maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea.

A South Korean warship, the Cheonan was sunk in the area in March with the loss of 46 lives in a suspected North Korean torpedo attack.

North Korean artillery is extremely difficult to hit, because it is dug into coastal cliffs. Though the North has tested its artillery -- and tested anti-shipping missiles -- it has not fired artillery into South Korean territory in recent years.

One of North Korea's most potent threats is the hundreds of artillery barrels dug in along its demilitarized zone with South Korea and ranged on Seoul.

Yonhap television was covering the attack nonstop in South Korea, forgoing other news Tuesday. Meanwhile, state television in North Korea did not mention the attack.

Hundreds die in Cambodia stampede

At least 410 people have been killed in a stampede at a water festival on a small island in the Cambodian capital.

The crush occurred on the island of Koh Pich following a traditional boat race along the Tonle Sap river on Monday evening.

Speaking in a live television broadcast, Hun Sen, the prime minister, said the incident was one of the country's worst disasters ever.

"This is the biggest tragedy since the Pol Pot regime," he said, referring to the leader of the brutal regime that ruled the country between 1975 and 1979 and left up to a quarter of the population dead.

Hun Sen declared Thursday would be a national day of mourning, and ordered all government ministries to fly the flag at half-mast.

So Cheata, a soft drink vendor, said the trouble began when 10 people fell unconscious in the crush of the crowd. She said that caused a panic, which then turned into a stampede. Many people were trampled.

Part of the crowd pushed onto a bridge, which also jammed up, with people falling under others and off the bridge. Some witnesses said lighting cables had come loose on the bridge, electrocuting people. So Cheata said hundreds of hurt people were left lying on the ground afterwards.

Cause not clear

Many of the victims drowned, suffocated or were trampled as they tried to escape.

Authorities had estimated that more than two million people could descend on the capital, Phnom Penh, for the three-day water festival. Koh Pich is in the middle of Phnom Penh.

Yin Soeum, a local journalist, told Al Jazeera the cause of the incident was not clear.

"I heard a rumour that there was a group of people moving towards a bridge that collapsed," he said.

"But another rumour says there was a group of gangsters that got into a fight in the middle of a crowd of people, which made everyone panic and run around."

Om Yentieng, the prime minister's special adviser, denied reports that the victims were electrocuted by lighting cables and that the panic was sparked by a mass food poisoning.

Calmette Hospital, the capital's main medical facility, was filled to capacity with bodies as well as patients, some of whom had to be treated in hallways.

'Children just died'

"I was taken by shock. I thought I would die on the spot. Those who were strong enough escaped, but women and children died," Chea Srey Lak, a 27-year-old woman who was knocked over by the panicked crowd on the bridge, said.

She managed to escape but described a woman, about 60 years old, lying next to her who was trampled to death by hundreds of fleeing feet.

"There were cries and calls for help from everywhere, but nobody could help each other. Everyone just ran," she said at Calmette Hospital, where she was being treated for leg and hand injuries.

Many of the injured appeared to be badly hurt, raising the prospect that the death toll could rise as local hospitals became overwhelmed.

"This is the biggest tragedy we have ever seen," said Sok Sambath, governor of Daun Penh district.

Cambodia is one of the region's poorer countries, and has an underdeveloped health system, with hospitals barely able to cope with daily medical demands.

The prime minister e said that the government would pay the families of each dead victim the equivalent of $1,250 for funeral expenses and provide $250) for each injured person.
Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Karpal wants witness cited for contempt of court

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — In yet another dramatic move, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s legal team demanded today that a witness in the Sodomy II trial be cited for contempt of court.

Lead defence counsel Karpal Singh claimed today that Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng (SP3) had committed an offence punishable under the Penal Code “for interfering with the administration of justice.”

Karpal’s contention was that Dr Siew, who had refused to produce or refer to a proforma report during the cross-examination, had in fact referred to it during a court recess this morning.

Anwar’s team had wanted Dr Siew to refer and produce the said report during the cross-examination, which Dr Siew had refused, despite him not being able to remember parts of the report.

A proforma report is a form or a list which filled by a doctor before performing an examination on a patient.

“During court break, witness chose to refresh his memory by looking at the report. He has admitted to it,” said Karpal.

The lawyer stressed that a witness remained under oath even during a break, which meant that Dr Siew had committed an offence by “refreshing” his memory then.

“A witness remains under examination during the break. Even during adjournment of case, witness cannot refresh his memory.

“There are two offences here. One, contempt of court. Two, interfering with the course of justice.

“In fact, he can be prosecuted,” said Karpal.

The veteran lawyer also demanded that whatever material used by Dr Siew to refresh his memory be supplied to the defence.

Lead prosecutor Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden in turn argued that there was no legal provision which limited when a witness could “refresh” his memory.

Things heat up at sodomy trial, cops called in

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial witnessed a heated exchange, forcing the court to summon the police to diffuse the tension.
The temperature rose when Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden became embroiled in a verbal tussle with several people seated in the public gallery.
Hospital Kuala Lumpur forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng took the stand again this morning to be cross examined by Anwar's defence team.
At one point, lead counsel Karpal Singh grew frustrated with the witness and requested for a break.
“They (the witnesses) are like robots which have been programmed,” he said
This paved the way for a verbal joustle between Anwar and Mohd Yusof, with the opposition leader accusing the prosecution of suppressing evidence.
“You do not know the law,” retorted Mohd Yusof.
Following Siew, the defence team is slated to grill Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan, who is also from Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
Also present in court is Australian forensic specialist Dr David Wells, who is advising the defence team.
Anwar, accused of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, is looking at the prospect of landing in prison for the second time.
The former deputy premier had languished behind bars for several years after being convicted of sodomy and abuse of power in 1999.
Like the previous charge, Anwar claims that the present accusation is also trumped up by his political rivals. But the government has denied this

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It's a grey life for Sabah Chinese

By David Thien - Free Malaysia Today,

COMMENT The Sabah Chinese community face a growing reality that they are being diluted and replaced on all fronts - business, politics and community.
On the business front they are being shoved off the shelves except perhaps in the areas of commercial pig farming and death-rituals (undertakers). But these areas too are slowly being infiltrated by Indonesians and Timorese manual workers.
On the political front, many of the formerly Chinese majority seats are now mixed seats and some have been overtaken by new Malaysians with bumiputera status. State seats such as Api-Api and Luyang in the Kota Kinabalu parliamentary constituency are the very few exceptions.
As for the community, the birth rate of Chinese is among the lowest in Malaysia. This coupled with the highest emigration rate has reduced the percentage of the Chinese not only in Malaysia but also in Sabah.
History notes this trend in North Borneo as dating back to the Japanese Imperial Army, when they executed many able-bodied male and intellectual Chinese during WWII in retaliation for the uprising and support of the China's war effort.
It was a lesson to dissidents in the aftermath of the Double Tenth Rebellion in Jesselton where the Kinabalu Guerillas ‘liberated’ West Coast for a couple of days until Japanese reinforcement arrived from Kuching.
The Kinabalu Guerillas acted prematurely, before Allied troops arrived, as emotions ran high over the news that conscription of local Chinese women as comfort escorts for the Japanese military would commence then.
Loyalty, love, money
Chinese have a high regard for loyalty and consistency in purpose for the greater good in the long haul in life.
In that spirit, many Sabahan Chinese have little qualms about marrying non-Chinese spouses.
Over the years the numbers of Sino-Dusuns or Kadazans in Sabah has grown as a result of interracial or mixed marriages.
In towns like Ranau and Kuala Penyu, traditional Chinese shops are now run by descendants of mixed marriages as more Chinese children wed spouses of other races.
Education and multi-ethnic social interactions have opened up their minds and mentality to forging practical ties.
Economically speaking, a non-Chinese spouse is said to be cheaper when compared to the high expectations imposed by potential Chinese in-laws in the state.
Here in Sabah, this is perhaps the most pertinent point as more and more young Chinese resign themselves to lost opportunities due to various forms of discrimination in education and employment.
The increasingly widening socio-economic gap in the community is seeing the lesser educated working class suffering the most with limited options while the offsprings of their affluent 'other half' (i.e. political and business lords), succeed both locally and internationally.
While flashy cars, sprawling mansions and a teeming nightlife on the sideline tell of a purportedly cash-rich community, the truth is that the average Chinese parent in Sabah today is struggling with high costs of living, spiralling house prices, expensive transportation, food and education for dependents.
And all this is in addition to having to care of the health and welfare of their aging elderly.
Dropouts and dwindling opportunities
Many of the 'old and once considered rich' Chinese Sabah families have sold off their lands or mortgaged their houses to finance the tertiary education of their offsprings.
Many of these children who go abroad do not return. And those who do return are stuck in low paying jobs that don't help with the repayments of funds spent by their parents for their education.
Admist this scenario, a 'booming' community of school dropouts either from the Chinese stream or national type schools is emerging.
Schooled in only one language, which is 'opportunity and quick money', these youths are too spoilt to take up manual labour and most prefer to go into all kinds of opportunistic business including the black market from distributing contraband goods to the latest device or gadget or substance that has a demand.
Those with some skills like welders, mechanics and panel-beaters prefer to work outside Sabah in West Malaysia, Singapore or Taiwan.
Some have emigrated to as far north as Canada and south to Australia under the respective skilled migration programmes. Among them are hair stylists and beauticians.
A random survey of Sabah's once Chinese dominated provision shops, cobblers, tailors and home appliance and electronic repairs industries, found that the children of these skilled tradesmen have no interest in continuing their family business.
In which case these mostly hand-me-down skills will die a natural death much like the rattan furniture shops of yesteryears.
On the logistics front, one hardly finds Chinese taxi drivers or long haul truckers anymore.
The dwindling numbers are due to an unwritten policy that no Sabahan Chinese can buy a taxi permit from a non-Chinese holder.
A Chinese taxi driver can sell his permit to another Chinese or a bumiputera but a bumiputera taxi permit holder cannot sell his permit to a non-bumiputera.
New applicants for a taxi permit have little chance of competing agains the new Malaysians from Indonesia.
Unspoken fears
But more alarming to the concerned observers is the rising corp of Chinese youths living in escapism, indulging in the cyberworld playing games to earn a living.
Frustration, anger, brawls, money and warlords in their Facebook cyber lives are just as relevant in their daily lives out on the streets.
Some of these youths are still living off their parents and those who managed to find their way into grassroots political-work have a warped sense of reality and are disconnected with the larger picture of what is good for the country and the state.
These days most Chinese in Sabah just want to make hay while the sun shines.
From the well connected affluent individual to the daily wage earner eking out a subsistent living, every single person is waiting for the next big break such as striking the lottery, making the right bet or the newest trend which is ride the 'how to get rich fad.'
There is an unspoken fear that the community's youth is burning itself living in the NOW - with nowhere to go.
In all fairness there maybe a minority of youths that can transform the state and the country if given the opportunity to contribute and excel.
But the ongoing jostle in Sabah politics allows for little room for youthful enterprise and fresh insight.
In Sabah the political process militates against any such talents given the brawl and brawn rice bowl approach of the politico crème de la crème.
No leader
The political class has little concrete hope to offer voters except the usual recycled promises that their tax monies is being used to finance the state's 'development and growth'. Where and how this money is channelled into 'development and growth' is shrouded in secrecy.
Currently in Sabah, there is no one Chinese leader who commands the total respect of the young.
The recent Batu Sapi by-election was testimony to that.
Given Linda Tsen, a Chinese won the parliamentary seat on Barisan Nasional ticket, the truth is this once-housewife is not 'from the ground' and perceived as being among the wealthy who wallow in their comfort zones.
Tsen did not win because the Chinese voted her in, infact two-thirds of the registered Malaysian voters of Chinese descent did not come out to exercise their voting rights.
Analysts of the various political parties have differing opinions as to why this level of suffrage apathy happened and wonder if it will affect future elections.
The more optimistic among them have said that it was only a by-poll and unlikely to change the political landscape in the Sabah.
They believe the Chinese simply did not intend to waste time on a ‘trivial’ exercise such as a by-election.
David Thien is a political observer and writer based in Kota Kinabalu

Will Kitingan ditch Anwar-Azmin team?

By Luke Rintod and David Thien - Free Malaysia Malaysia,

KOTA KINABALU: Outgoing PKR vice-president Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said that his priority was Sabah and that his group was' willing to work with whichever party' that could resolve the state's innumerous outstanding issues and recognise Sabah and Sarawak's rights as "equal partners" in the Federation of Malaysia.
"My priority is and always will be Sabah and Sarawak. All I want now is to get what's due for these states. I want both Sabah and Sarawak to get what was promised to them when they agreed to join with Malaya to form Malaysia," he said.
Jeffrey has been in the forefront of calls for the federal government to recognise the content of Sabah's 20-and Sarawak's 18-points agreements which was agreed upon before the states joined the peninsula to become the federated states of Malaysia.
Speaking to newsmen here yesterday, Jeffrey said he and his group were 'at loss' over PKR leader Zaid Ibrahim's decision to quit the party.
"We supported Zaid because he is a man of principle and he supported the aspirations of Sabah and Sarawak.
"We wanted leaders at the apex of PKR who understand the need and aspirations of Sabah and Sarawak but he (Zaid) has quit now. We are at a loss," said Jeffrey.
According to him, Zaid has openly supported Sabah and Sarawak's "rights as equal partners" in Federation of Malaysia.
He added that he was unaware of there were other PKR top central leaders who "really" respected Sabah and Sarawak's rights.
Will Jeffrey ditch Anwar?
Jeffrey's 'revealing' statement is seen by many as an indication of 'uncertainty' over continued ties with PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, who many blamed for the problems in the party which was further exacerberated by Zaid's decision to withdraw from the deputy presidential race citing widespread electoral malpractices.
A series of verbal slinging between him and rival candidate Azmin Ali and Anwar, led to Zaid announcing his resignation from the party effective Dec 16.
Zaid's sudden decision has upset his supporters across the ranks inside and outside the party.
His announcement came in the midst of the Batu Sapi by-election, which also saw Kitingan's 'sudden' declaration that he was taking two months leave from politics.
Jeffrey's absence during the by-election fuelled rumours that he was unhappy and disappointed at the choice of the PKR candidate Ansari Abdullah for Batu Sapi, and Anwar's lack of will to deal with the contentious party polls.
A reliable source here said that Anwar was paying a heavy price for backing Azmin.
"Zaid is not a man PKR should lose. When Anwar came to Batu Sapi to campaign for Ansari Abdullah (PKR candidate), he literally 'forced' PKR members to vote for Azmin.
"He knows Sabahans don't like Azmin. They don't like his arrogance. They don't see Azmin as a grassroots man.
"Everyone knows that in Sabah and Sarawak, Zaid has lot of support," said the source.
In the meantime political observers are waiting and betting on Jeffrey''s next move. Many are speculating on when Jeffrey will ditch the Anwar-Azmin led-PKR and what his options are.
Back to drawing-board
Meanwhile Jeffrey, who is still on his two month 'vacation from politics', said he is using 'this time to re-evaluate his options.
"You may ask me this (question) again when I come back from my leave next year. You may say I am on a soul-searching (mission) right now..." he quipped.
He said the priority now was to see existing issues plaguing the state resolved.
"My friends and I want to see Sabah problems like the high poverty, the illegal immigrants, and state rights not being upheld, resolved. We don't care who can do this, whether BN or Pakatan as long it is solved.
"We want to be where we (Sabah and Sarawak) were prior to the formation of Malaysia (in 1963) where we were supposed to be equal partners.
"We can work together... We want the present leaders to be more determined and assertive in pursuing the aspirations of Sabah and Sarawak.
Sabah is now known as the second poorest state after Kelantan, among the 13 states of Malaysia. This despite the fact Sabah being richest in natural resources, comparable only to Sarawak, which also happen to have the poorest ethnic groups in the country.
Relevant Third Force
A visibly disappointed Jeffrey said that it was clear now that neither BN nor Pakatan could really comprehend the aspirations of the people, especially in East Malaysia and the marginalised natives and other ethnics groups.
He said in view of this, there is now an increasing relevance of a third force in the country's political landscape.
"But the third force must have its own force and standing... Sabah and Sarawak are actually in a pole-position to dictate the balance of power in Malaysia.
"Unfortunately they (the people) are reluctant to act on their position of strength," he said.

Guan Eng : Rais has bad motive

Komentar Umum: Nafi Nota Klinikal Sudah Dijangka

‘Everyone following the Sodomy II case ‘knows’ that Anwar Ibrahim will be denied the clinical notes. It was a foregone conclusion.’

Semen can stay in rectum for 72 hours: Doc

Cheong Sai Fah: To someone not in the legal profession, denying Anwar Ibrahim access to the doctors’ notes seems grossly unfair and morally wrong, even if there is a legal technical reason to support the judge’s decision. How can any fair-minded person be persuaded that Anwar has been given a fair trial?

I do hope that the neutral Malay voters view this as unfair treatment and cast their votes accordingly. Then the politician who declared that he doesn’t need votes from the Indians and the Chinese may begin to sit up and take note.

Yobama: This case is just a ‘modern’ version of the classical intrigues that plagued the Malay ruling class in the ancient Malacca kingdom, dating back to Hang Tuah’s time. In the place of the hereditary sultans, we now have elected PMs and elected DPMs as the puppeteers. They call the tune, and the judges and AG’s Chambers just simply carry out their ‘duties’ in obedience to the master.

Now the whole world is following the unravelling of the plot, when during the Malacca sultanate days only people close to the istana knew the storyline.

Is this the height of ‘ketuanan’ Melayu governance where the incumbents wield their power by persecuting their political foes just to stay in power? Is this the execution of Najib Razak’s pledge to ‘defend Putrajaya with their crushed bodies’ and by selling all their souls?

Defending by hook or by crook? To me, it is more by crook.

Teh: Everyone following the Sodomy II case ‘knows’ that Anwar Ibrahim will be denied the clinical notes. It was a foregone conclusion. In Malaysia,

judicial decisions can be foretold by any man in the street in cases where Umno is involved.

Changeagent: I think 99.9% of all Malaysians have the same extraordinary powers to predict the outcome of this case. The other 0.1% of the population are either indifferent or in denial.

Lim Chong Leong: This is a persecution, not prosecution. How can the defence team even imagine if there are contradictions between the clinical reports, the medical reports and the doctor’s testimony if they are not allowed to see any of it? If they are all consistent, then fine, they won’t pursue that line of cross. That would actually save time.

But if there were contradictions and the witness is discredited, the court can then determine that the evidence is useless. What harm can there be to allow the defence access to the prosecution’s documents?

This is not a card game of bluff. This is our judicial and criminal process. And Umno is screwing it up just so they can stay in power to plunder us further.

Sarawakian: Justice has to be seen to be done. Our judiciary and our judges are becoming a laughing stock to the world. It’s time they salvage at least a little of their sullied reputation. Now even the doctors are in cahoots with corrupt politicians.

Allan Kong: Brother judge, who are you to judge that the reason for the release of the medical report is based on a hunch? Why can’t the report be revealed to show the truth? The very act of concealing the facts is tantamount to a criminal act.

Ranjit Singh: Anwar’s lawyers must be ready to face such a stupid decision and able to counter it. You can’t expect fairness and justice in an Umno court, but you can put the judge to shame when you anticipate what it is going to be. We can continue to run the system down, but if we cannot synergise to anticipate what is expected and prepare for it, it then it becomes about political manoeuvering that we are all so use to.

Look at Karpal Singh – didn’t he know the date of the hearing? Suddenly he needs to table a motion in Parliament that is of no use, as nothing will come out of it as has been the case from time immemorial. Sure, it is a kangaroo court, but didn’t we know that already?

“In today’s decision, High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that the defence had failed to give reasons as to why the court should allow Anwar access to the medical notes.”

Can there be anyone more ignorant of the concept of innocent until proven guilty, until all avenues and options are provided to ensure a human’s liberty? The important transcendental factor is that clear principle and common law that aims to protect the accused based on reason and common sense, not procedures and man-made law to satisfy Umno and its cronies.

It is obviously the lack of impartiality and the human failings and the abandonment of any pretence of objectivity to that rights that are adjudicated upon by people who are biased that does a disservice to Malaysians.

CarL: If PM Najib Razak can be considered a murderer, and an elected MP can say this out loud in the Parliament, then why is it difficult to believe that the accused is guilty of what he is accused of?

Calling the PM a murderer in Parliament is something never heard off, and even if he is guilty, there is no need to behave like that. There are avenues, and as an elected representative, you must show a good example.

Anonymous: While Augustine Paul was famous for the words ‘irrelevant, irrelevant, irrelevant’, this judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah seems smarter with his ‘masuk bilik, masuk bilik, masuk bilik’

Omi: The ‘Third Force’ attacked PKR about its ‘unfair’ party elections, that PKR is a ‘pa-ma’ party, that Azmin Ali is bullying Zaid Ibrahim into a corner, and that Dr Syed Husin Ali is nyanyu.
How ironic that they choose to keep an elegant silence on this kangaroo court issue.

Malaysians abroad keeping the government under watch

The Malaysian Insider

Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay,

We read with interest your latest statements in the Dewan Rakyat today that the Malaysian government is keeping Malaysians abroad under watch.

Guess what? Malaysians abroad are keeping the Malaysian government under watch too. Its encouraging to know that a number of civil society initiatives and solidarity actions taken by Malaysians overseas in the past year have been noticed by the Malaysian government.

It means that all those days of braving the cold and rain to protest against the archaic Internal Security Act and government corruption, and writing to various overseas Members of Parliament and lobbying politicians, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth Human Rights Council, the overseas press and international civil society organisations to alert them to the worrying state of human rights in Malaysia has not been in vain.

When will we stop protesting, letter writing, lobbying, campaigning and keeping the Malaysian government under watch?

When the Malaysian government starts listening to the voice of the people and restoring social justice and democracy to the citizens of Malaysia.

When the Malaysian government starts behaving like elected and paid servants of the rakyat, rather than lawless, corrupt political masters.

When the Malaysian government stops spending RM1.8 million of the Malaysian tax payers money on luxury holidays to Disneyland.

When the Malaysian government abolishes the Internal Security Act and stops using it to suppress freedom of thought, speech and association.

When the Malaysian government stops using the University College and Colleges Act to penalise students who choose to observe or participate in the socio-political life of our nation.

When the Malaysian government stops arresting peaceful candle light vigil protestors and throwing grandmothers in jail.

When the Malaysian government stops exerting absolute control over the media and using the Press and Printing Act 1985 to stamp out free speech.

When the Malaysian government stops stripping the judiciary of its independence and autonomy.

When the Malaysian government stops torture and murder in detention.

When the Malaysian government starts to recognise and uphold the rights of migrant workers and refugees.

When the Malaysian government stops institutionalised racism.

When the Malaysian government stops recklessly threatening that a challenge to their 53 years of BN rule will result in “crushed bodies” and “lost lives”.

Listen – loosing an election is not the worst thing in the world. This is politics — some days you win, some days you loose. When you don’t win, you retreat gracefully to the sidelines, show some statesmanship and rebuild and strengthen your team. You reflect on why you may have lost the popular support of the people and you try to adapt and improve accordingly. You form a shadow cabinet, you develop progressive policies and wait for the next election to once again capture the imagination and hearts of the people.

So get real and grow up, BN. No one party can rule for over 50 years and not be considered a despot.

When the Malaysian government stops plundering and cheating our brother and sisters in Sabah and Sarawak of their native customary rights and rich and beautiful heritage.

When the Malaysian government stops throwing cartoonist in jail.

Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay, why do you think over a million Malaysians abroad choose to reside overseas?

Because they cherish their basic civil liberties and human rights which are all too often trampled on back home. Because they hold dear the fact that the most important ingredients to success are in fact talent and hard work, not the colour of your skin.

Because they acknowledge that any truly developed and civilised society emphasises the importance of high quality education, healthcare and social equity, not merely the senseless pursuit of obscene wealth and 100-storey vanity projects.

You claim that ‘irresponsible people are tarnishing the good name of Malaysia’. We beg to differ. In our opinion, the only one tarnishing the good name of Malaysia is the Malaysian government itself. The only traitors in this whole saga, are the politicians who have betrayed the citizens who elected them. And this is why Malaysians abroad are standing in solidarity with their fellow citizens back home to demand good governance, justice, accountability and transparency. Till then, please let Prime Minister Najib and his cabinet know that you are all under watch.

Progress In Sustainability Practices Will Create Demand For SRI Fund Within Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 (Bernama) -- Continuous progress in business sustainability practices in Malaysia will translate into greater demand for Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) funds within the country.

Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said, studies had shown that there is a positive correlation between the sustainability practices of companies and their share price performance.

He said many international responsibility indices had emerged, such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good, as well as other rankings like the Fortune Most Admired Companies.

"These indices profile the world's most socially responsible companies and attract global SRI funds," he said in his keynote address at the Sustainability Guide and Portal "Powering Business Sustainability," here, Tuesday.

Also present were Bank Negara Malaysia Governor, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akthar Aziz, Bursa Malaysia chairman, Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah , Securities Commission chairman, Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar and Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer, Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusuf.

At the end of last year, the European SRI market value was estimated at US$7 trillion and this figure is expected to increase to US$26.5 trillion by 2015.

Investors are drawn to companies that integrate environmental and societal concerns into their strategic planning and conduct business ethically and responsibly.

Large institutional investors can also actively influence companies to focus on sustainability.

"I believe that over time, this global development will translate into greater demand for SRI funds within Malaysia," said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.

He commended Bursa Malaysia for coming up with the Business Sustainability Programme and believes it will make a difference.

Najib said sustainable development would have a concrete impact on national economic growth, industrial innovation and the bottom line of individual businesses.

He said although Malaysia began its sustainability journey long ago, it is time for corporate Malaysia to help the nation move faster, by adopting an integrated and inclusive approach to business that embraces a group of stakeholders broader than just shareholders.

Kabul is no child's playground


Nato's top civilian spokesperson in Afghanistan has come under fire for playing down the country's level of danger over the weekend.

"The children are probably safer here [Kabul] than they would be in London, New York or Glasgow or many other cities," Mark Sedwill told CBBC Newsround, the televised news programme for youngsters.

"Here in Kabul and the other big cities (in Afghanistan) actually there are very few of those bombs," he added.

But Sedwill tried to clarify the comments to reporters on Monday, saying they were taken out of context.

"I was trying to explain to an audience of British children how uneven violence is across Afghanistan," he said.

"Half the insurgent violence takes place in 10 of the 365 districts and, in those places, children are too often the victims of IEDs and other dangers.

"But, in cities like Kabul where security has improved, the total levels of violence, including criminal violence, are comparable to those which many western children would experience."

But contrary to what the Nato spokesman says, Afghanistan is one of the worst places in the world for a child to live in. One in five children there will die before they reach the age of five due to a myriad of causes, ranging from everyday violence to widespread diseases.

Sue Turton reports from Kabul on how growing up in the Afghan capital is no child's play.

Source: Al Jazeera

Denial of even death ceremony hall for Hindu deceased at multi million ringgit Sultan Ismail Hospital Johor. Height of segregation and “ethnic cleansing” a la Malay-sia.


HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY MALAYSIA
No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241
Fax : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com E-mail: info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Your Reference:

In Reply          :

Date                :    22nd November 2010
YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,                                  Fax : 03-8888 3444
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,                 E-Mail : najib@pmo.gov.my
62502 Putrajaya.
YB Dato Seri Liaw Tiong Lai
13th Floor, Block E7, Complex E,
Federal Government Administrative Centre.                              Fax: 603-8888 6188
62590 Putrajaya. Malaysia.
Dear Sirs,
Re      Denial of even death ceremony hall for Hindu deceased at multi million ringgit Sultan Ismail Hospital Johor. Height of segregation and “ethnic cleansing” a la Malay-sia.
We refer to the above matter and to our note to your goodselves dated 28/8/09 on the urgent need for a death ceremony hall for the Hindus as had been granted to the Malay muslims at the then newly opened multi- million ringgit Johor Baru General Hospital following the Malaysian Nanban 28/8/09 at page 18 newsreport.
We were appalled to read in the front page of today’s Malaysia Nanban 22/11/2010 that the Johor Baru Hindus have still not been granted their said death ceremony hall. To the contrary as usual yet another but this time an insulting temporary solution was granted. That is the Hindus are given a trolley to be used for bathing the dead at the hospital corridors. This is in direct contravention of Article 8 ( Equality before the law ) and Article 11 ( Freedom of Religion) of the Federal Constitution.
Kindly therefore grant a fit and proper death ceremony hall at this hospital and within one week from the date hereof failing which our HRP Johor State committee would proceed to make an appeal to the palace of DYMM the Sultan of Johor for his royal intervention.
We trust this may not be necessary.
Kindly revert to us accordingly.
Thank You,
Yours faithfully
………………………………
P.Uthayakumar
Secretary General (pro-tem)
c.c       Tan Sri Dato, Seri Dr Hj. Mohd Ismail Bin Merican,
Ketua Pengarah Kesihatan
Blok E1, E6, E7, 8 E 10 Kompleks E,                                          Fax: 03-88882545
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62950 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Email:ismailmerican@moh.govmy
Dr Mohd khairi bin Yakub
Pengarah Kesihatan Negeri Johor memangku Jusa B
Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Johor             Fax : 07-22477361
Tingkat 3, 4 & 5, Blok B, Email: Khairiyakub@moh.gov.my
Wisma Persekutuan, Jalan Air Molek,
80590 Johor Baru
Dr. Rooshaimi Merican bt. A. Rahim Merican
Pengarah Hospital Sultan Ismail,               Fax: 07-3574842
Jalan Persiaran Mutiara Emasutama,
Taman Mount Austin,
81100 Johor Bahru,

Nazri says hard to prove sedition despite new cyberspace rules

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz played down today Putrajaya’s impending move to define sedition law for cyberspace, saying that despite the rules it would not be easy to prove incitement and pin a conviction.
The minister, who was named by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on Saturday as one of those appointed to draw up the new rules on sedition, told The Malaysian Insider in Parliament this afternoon that any statement deemed as seditious did not necessarily prove a person’s intention.
As such, the de facto law minister urged the public to keep an open mind when reading online material, and predicted that eventually, even news from alternative media would be viewed critically.
“What is really important is the public’s perception of things. One day people will not trust the media, even the alternative, online media.
“You have to think twice before you swallow everything that you read, be more critical,” he said.

Nazri says one day the people will not trust the media, even the alternative media. — File pic
The outspoken minister cited himself as an example of a person who would not be easily angered by accusations or statements made against him as he was confident that if the statements were untrue, there was no need to raise ire. “For me, I do not care about things. I do not care what people say about me. But then again, that is me... what about the others?
“To me, it is very simple... the test is this — if something is said about you and you did not do it, then why get worried? You only get worried when it is true and you tell yourself, oh... how did they know about me?” he reasoned.
He pointed out that any seditious-sounding statement may not necessarily be seditious in nature as it was mandatory to take into consideration the context of the situation which led the statement to be uttered.
“To me, what human rights means is that you can exercise your rights and there is no limit, except when you touch on another person’s right... that is the limit.
“Is it fair to accuse a person’s mother of being a prostitute? Is it my right to say that? Imagine if I said it and I did not know you?
“But if I knew you as a person and we are friends and joking around, we can say things in jest. So this means that the utterance of the word may not be seditious or made with ill-intention,” he said.
He added that it was important to obtain feedback from the “reasonable man on the street” to gauge a person’s definition of what was considered “seditious”.
“If you went up to a reasonable man on the street and made a seditious-sounding statement, how would he react? What would he think of it?” he said.
Nazri explained that this proved that it would not be easy to pin sedition on a person if the intention to incite could not be proven.
However, the Padang Rengas MP stressed that it was important to have laws to prevent those with actual intention to incite hatred from making seditious statements.
“The law is good because if a person has a specific intention to target particular groups and keep making statements to incite hatred, then the law is there,” he said.
Nazri was however silent on the status of the sedition law for cyberspace, noting that the matter was under Hishammuddin’s purview as the home minister.
“Perhaps once it is drafted it will come to me,” he said.
In his statement on Saturday, Hishammuddin revealed that Nazri, along with Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim and the Attorney General’s Office, had been roped in to draw up the new rules on sedition.
He added that the rules would be revealed by this week but did not add details on when they would come into enforcement.
The move has received much flak from opposition lawmakers and online users who depend on the Internet and social media applications like Twitter and Facebook to get their messages to the masses.
Several people told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that they feared the archaic law was being strengthened to clamp down on freedom of speech and cut out criticism against government policies.
Additionally, under the 10-point Bill of Guarantees of the Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor launched in 1996, the government had promised not to enforce any censorship.
An opposition lawmaker had also predicted that the new guidelines were being fashioned to coincide with the impending general election and were a part of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s strategy to silence dissenting political views ahead of the election.
The Malaysian Insider reported today that BN had also told its media to play up “feel-good” and “positive” reports and to find flaws with its political foes in the next few months in its build-up towards the polls.
Umno owns and controls both the country’s largest media group — Media Prima Berhad (MPB) which owns English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers, television and radio stations, and the Utusan Group which publishes both Utusan Malaysia and the Kosmo tabloid. The MCA now directly owns The Star and several radio stations and magazines while the MIC owns the Tamil Nesan.
Key editorial executives had informed The Malaysian Insider that they expect the general election to be held within the first quarter of 2011 with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confident of regaining the customary two-thirds parliamentary majority after being denied by Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the informal three-party pact that won four more states and 82 federal seats in Election 2008.

France's Sub Scandal Resurfaces

Image(Asia Sentinel) Torpedoes Running!  
Questions over the sale of French-built Scorpène submarines to militaries across the world may finally ensnare some of France’s highest-ranking leaders. 
They include former French President Jacques Chirac, former Prime Ministers Dominique de Villipin and Edouard Balladur and the country’s current president, Nicholas Sarkozy in addition to an unknown number current and former French defense executives. In addition, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should be starting to get nervous, along with officials in India, Chile and Brazil.
Lawyers for the families of 11 French engineers killed in a 2002 bomb attack in Karachi were quoted Friday as saying they would file a manslaughter suit against Chirac, allegedly because he cancelled a bribe to Pakistani military officials in the sale of three Agosta 90-class submarines to that country’s navy. Sarkozy was Minister of the Budget when the government sold the subs, built by the French defense giant DCN (later known as DCNS) to Pakistan for a reported US$950 million.
Prosecutors allege that Pakistani politicians and military officials and middlemen received large “commissions” with as much as €2 million in kickbacks routed back to Paris to fund Balladur's unsuccessful 1995 presidential campaign against Chirac. As budget minister, Sarkozy would have authorized the financial elements of the submarine sale. At the time he was the spokesman for Balladur’s presidential campaign and, according to French media, has been accused of establishing two Luxemburg companies to handle the kickbacks.
It is alleged that when Chirac was re-elected, the president canceled the bribes to the Pakistanis, which resulted in the revenge attack on a vehicle in which the French engineers and at least three Pakistanis were riding. For years, the Pakistanis blamed the attack on fundamentalist Islamic militants, including Al Qaeda.
“Our complaint is going to target how the decision was arrived at to stop the commissions,” Morice told AFP, saying the suit was prompted by recent testimony from arms executives in the case. Morice also called for Sarkozy, who witnesses have told investigators was linked to the bribes, to be questioned. The French president angrily denounced the allegations. As president, he has immunity and can refuse to be questioned while in office.
Nonetheless, l'affaire Karachi, as it is widely known in France, has been called the most explosive corruption investigation in recent French history, according to AFP. It may well be far bigger than just the unpaid bribes to the Pakistanis. Executives of DCNS embarked on a global marketing drive to sell the diesel-electric Scorpène-class subs, a new design. They peddled two to the Chilean Navy in 1997, breaking into the market previously dominated by HDN of Germany.
DCNS also sold six Scorpènes in 2005 with the option for six other boats, to India, whose defense procurement agency has been involved in massive bribery scandals in the past. Defense Minister George Fernandes was forced to step down in 2001 after videos surfaced of procurement officials taking bribes. In 2008, Gen. Sudipto Ghosh, the chairman of the Ordnance Factory Board, was arrested and seven foreign companies were barred from doing business in India as a result of a bribery scandal.
In 2008, DCNS also won a bid to supply four Scorpènes to Brazil. DCNS is to provide the hull for a fifth boat that Brazil intends to use as a basis for developing its first nuclear-powered submarine.
DCNS sold the Scorpènes to Pakistan in 1994. At about the same time the French engineers were murdered in 2002, Malaysia placed an US1 billion order for two Scorpènes in a deal engineered by then-defense minister and Deputy Prime Minister Najib. In exchange, a company wholly owned by Najib’s close friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, was paid €114 million in “commissions,” according to testimony in the Malaysian parliament.
It is unclear why Malaysia decided to acquire the two boats. A new naval base is being built to house the two at Teluk Sepanggar in the East Malaysian state of Sabah because the waters around peninsular Malaysia are generally too shallow for optimal submarine operations. In addition, the boats were delivered without advanced navigational and weapons gear, which the Royal Malaysian Navy is acquiring at a high cost from individual suppliers.
That episode has been widely reported. Caught up in it, besides Najib and Razak Baginda, was Altantuya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian translator who was murdered in 2006 and whose body was blown up with military grade explosives. Razak Baginda, her jilted lover, was charged along with two of Najib’s bodyguards but was acquitted under unusual circumstances without having to put on a defense. Before she was murdered, Altantuya told witnesses she was to be paid US$500,000 for her role in the submarine deal.
After his release Razak Baginda immediately decamped for Oxford University and apparently hasn’t set foot in Malaysia since. On Nov. 5, Malaysian prosecutors closed the book on the case, despite statements by a private investigator that tied Najib to Altantuya’s murder.
The case, however, remains alive in France. In April, three French lawyers, William Bourdon, Renaud Semerdjian and Joseph Breham filed a case with prosecutors in Paris on behalf of the Malaysian human rights organization Suaram, which supports good-governance causes.
Breham journeyed to Malaysia later in April to interview further witnesses. In an email, Breham said he and Bourdon are returning to Southeast Asia to ask more questions next month. If the three lawyers — or any other French or Malaysian prosecutors for that matter — want a witness, Razak Baginda remains in the UK.
The efforts by prosecutors to link Sarkozy to corruption allegations in the Karachi affair may well have ramifications beyond French politics. France's commercial competitors in tightening global defense markets can also be expected to seek advantage from the affair.
The decision in mid-November by DCNS and Navantia of Spain to end their collaboration on building the Scorpène-class of boats purchased by Malaysia now make the companies commercial rivals. This seemingly bitter split may unleash new insights into past business practices, notably from the Spanish side as they seek to promote their S80 submarines against the Scorpènes. France can also expect little support from Britain, where suggestions that the two navies share aircraft carriers as a cost cutting measure have been met with a mixture of rage and derision.
Further, any revelations of systemic corruption within the French naval shipbuilding sector could present opportunities for in Britain seeking an escape from seemingly watertight contracts with French and shipyards for the construction of two large aircraft carriers.
Any investigation into corruption at the levels now underway in France is inherently unpredictable given the interests involved. What began as a ripple in Paris may yet build into a tsunami threatening individuals and plans previously thought impervious to such a threat. Questioning Abdul Razak Baginda might be a place to start.
 
Gavin M. Greenwood is a security consultant with the Hong Kong-based security risk management consultancy firm Allan & Associates. John Berthelsen is the editor of the Asia Sentinel.
 

Syabas may default on payment, risks losing investors' confidence

By G Vinod FMT
PETALING JAYA: Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) risks defaulting payments to its bond holders as coffers of the water services firm may be drying-up, leaving Syabas with insufficient funds to pay stake holders, an opposition MP has claimed.
To rub salt to the wound, Syabas bonds amounting to a whopping RM1 billion would mature this year, while payout for bonds maturing next year was even higher.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said while the issue was all about economics and finance, it had also became a political contention between Barisan Nasional-led federal government and Pakatan Rakyat-led state government.
“In 2006, the Parliament passed the Water Services Industries Act where it called for a holistic management of water services,” Santiago told FMT in a recent interview.
With the passing of the Act, distribution of water was no longer separated and managed by different entities but giving the state government the legal position to acquire water assets from Syabas, its parent company Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (manages water treatement), Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor (Splash) (building, operating and maintaining Selangor River Water Supply Scheme Phase 3) and Abass Konsortium (operating and maintaining Semenyih River).
Santiago said the previous BN state government had sent letters to the four entities on the matter before the 2008 general election.
However, after Pakatan took over the state government after the last general election, negotiations broke down after Puncak Niaga and Syabas rejected the state government's offer despite the latter offering RM5.7 billion to acquire water assets.
“The Water Assets Management Berhad (PAAB) evaluation estimated the state's water assets to be worth RM1 billion but the state government offered RM5.7 billion.
“Last year, an offer of RM10 billion was made to the entities but was also turned down. The point here is Syabas and Puncak Niaga should have taken up the offer,”said Santiago.
With Syabas now risking a default, its major bondholders (CIMB Principal Asset Management, Hong Leong Investment Bank and Great Eastern Life) are said to be urging the federal government to offer a bail-out to Syabas or risk its bonds being downgraded.
“If the federal government provides a bail-out for Syabas, not only it will be paying off the bond holders but it will also acquire Syabas' debt which will put the government further into debt,”said Santiago.
Memo to the King
The DAP lawmaker added that not only will this tantamount to crony-capitalism, the federal government would also risk violating the Water Services Industries Act.
“In 2005, Syabas was given RM2.9 billion in soft loans and grants by the federal government when it acquired water distribution function from Perbadanan Urus Air Selangor Berhad (PUAS).
“In 2008, the federal government again provided it with RM320 million, with no interest for five years and payable within 20 years.
“However between 2005 till 2009, Syabas accumulated RM44.5 million in revenue after disconnecting 809,000 water connection. Most of those affected were poor people,”claimed Santiago.
He added that while the state government was trying to fulfill the requirements under the Water Services Industries Act 2006 by trying to provide a holistic water services management to the people, the federal government is throwing spanners into the works by planning to retain Syabas as the water supplier for the state.
“The federal government had told the state government in a recent meeting that it wished to retain the status quo, that is Syabas controlling 52% stake in the company while the state government only retains 48% which is in direct violation of the Act.
“Therefore, while the cronies are being bailed out, the state government has to wait for the federal government to consent to our deal despite us being supported by the Water Services Industries Act,” said Santiago.
The Selangor state government plans on Dec 5 to submit a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in a bid to stop the federal government from bailing out Syabas and return water assets to the state government.

PKR lets Zaid go with immediate effect

By Rahmah Ghazali - FMT
VIDEO INSIDE PETALING JAYA: PKR has decided to accept with immediate effect Zaid Ibrahim's decision to quit the party instead of waiting until Dec 16 as indicated in his resignation letter.

As such, Zaid is no longer considered a member of the party, secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said during a press conference at the party headquarters today.

He added that the decision to allow Zaid to leave immediately was made by the party's political bureau yesterday.

“The political bureau has decided to accept the resignation letter and it takes effect immediately... this is a political party. When he says he wants to resign, we will grant his wish to leave... We just want to make it easier for him to take the next step," he said.

He added that Zaid's relationship with the party was not like an employment contract which needed a month's notice prior to leaving.

"... the sooner (he leaves), the better," said Saifuddin.

But feedback from the party does not indicate that the former leader would be expelled swiftly.

"In Zaid's case, he submitted a resignation letter and it is up to him whether or not to appeal... but I would not want to answer a hypothetical question (if he wants to appeal).

"If that happens, he can come and see me," he added.

Zaid recently announced he would leave the party on Dec 16, in mockery of a Pakatan Rakyat “coup” to take over Putrajaya on Sept 16, 2008.

'We will investigate'
On another matter, Saifuddin said the party would investigate allegations about leaked ballot papers which made the rounds on the Internet before the central leadership polls proceeded in 51 divisions yesterday.

It was reported that two ballot papers went missing from two divisions yesterday, which Saifuddin claimed had something to do with allegations by a popular blogger that some ballot papers were released earlier than scheduled.
Read: PKR polls: Leaked ballot papers surface again
Without naming the blogger, Saifuddin said they came to know of the problem soon after the party checked the database system.

"Shortly, we informed the divisions that they had some missing ballot papers... but it turned out that the thief had given them to the blogger," he said.

Saifuddin also denied another allegation that several police officers had to escort ballot boxes to the party headquarters from the Puchong division.

"It was just that tension was high, which was to be expected as it was the final round of polling," he said, adding that the counting of the ballot papers was held at the polling hall.
Story continues after video:


As of yesterday, a total of 30,000 members out of 400,000 from 218 divisions nationwide have cast their votes in the “one-member, one vote” system kicked off last month.

Although the figure was not as impressive as expected, Saifuddin remained optimistic that it was a good start.

"It is a good start for us. It gives us an opportunity for us to improve our members' participation in the election process (in the next round to come)," he said.

The PKR national congress will take place from Nov 26 to 28, where the new leadership line-up including the deputy president and the vice-presidents will be announced.

But early results have shown that Azmin Ali is set to replace outgoing deputy president Syed Husin Ali. For the vice-presidents' post, the new line-up will be Nurul Izzah, Fuziah Salleh, Tian Chua and Dr Mansor Othman. 

New Wave of Youth in Malaysian Politics

By Rian James

The newly launched UK arm of Friends of Pakatan Rakyat held a forum for young leaders of the Malaysian opposition party here in London today.

The event held at the Holiday Villa Hotel in Bayswater was attended by around 80 Malaysians (including Raja Petra Kamarudin) and paneled by Hannah Yeoh, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) State Assemblyman for Subang, Ginie Lim Siew Lin, PKR Angkatan Muda committee member, and Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, State Assemblyman for Seri Setia, all of whom highlighted their experiences as youth leaders in Malaysian politics today.
Hannah Yeoh, 31, divulged that having only had 2 weeks to run an election campaign after being asked to run for State Assemblyman of Subang, she was shocked by her landslide victory and was quick to form a Service Centre, American town-hall style, following her election in order to keep her ear to the ground, rendering it an initially scary experience but concluding that it was necessary to dialogue with her constituents and tackle key issues faced in the area. Quickly getting to the crux of the matter in her direct way of address, Yeoh brings a refreshing change when compared with mature politicians who practice ‘beating around the bush’ with Olympic precision. She noted that young people aren’t afraid of change and take full advantage of alternative media sources to quench their thirst for objectivity in local politics. Fuelled by a wave of information available online as well as direct or indirect involvement with issues like social injustice against Malaysia’s youth (such as the deaths of Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock), Yeoh has had great support from young volunteers in helping to run her office and Service Centre, as they are eager to become agents of change in Malaysia’s political front. Yeoh highlighted that 500-600 volunteers under the age of 35 had campaigned for and registered over 100,000 new voters in the country. After surviving 3 years in the state government, Yeoh’s brand of politics involves good governance through accountability, announcing that she could confidently declare her financial assets if anyone was interested and ensured that strict use of funds allotted to her constituency are used for that purpose alone and not for DAP based activity. Yeoh remarked strongly that she hated race-based politics and is in favour of needs-based assistance instead, a notion which rings true with many young Malaysians today, bumiputra or otherwise. She encouraged the youth of Malaysia to involve themselves in politics as the opposition struggles to find good candidates to stand as state level electorates by saying “You don’t have to be smart to be a politician, you just have to have common sense – just do it!”.

Ginie Lim, PKR Angkatan Muda executive committee member and spokeswoman who ran for the state seat in Machap during the general election of 2008, was roped in to become a panelist in today’s event with little notice but proceeded to engage the audience with her experience of involvement in pro opposition politics as a student in Universiti Sains Malaysia. Lim naturally fell into politics after becoming acutely aware of marginalised pockets of society that needed defending. She also felt there was an air of acceptance among students and the wider public that politics was dirty, corruption rampant and that the status quo in government had to be challenged to make way for a democratic space. Following her graduation, Lim continued her involvement in politics by joining PKR. Despite garnering unfavourable responses from other Chinese colleagues at university in the early days of the Reformasi as she engaged in dialogue with PAS supporters, the years have seen preconceived notions about the opposition coalition slowly dispel as the country becomes increasingly intolerant toward the belligerence of the ruling coalition. Voting for Barisan National was condoning a government that had blood on its hands, Lim warned, as she encouraging the audience to join the movement for change.

The ‘Obama’ of Malaysian politics, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who has had involvement in local politics since the tender age of 26 and who now holds the State Assemblyman seat in Seri Setia for PKR, reminisced about the time he was a student in London and had a hand in smuggling Nurul Izzah Anwar into the UK so she could propagate overseas involvement in the release of her father, Anwar Ibrahim, from prison. Following his graduation, he took a well paid job and found his feet with PKR, for which he subsequently gave up his job and had to pay back his student loan to his sponsors when Anwar Ibrahim personally requested that Nik Nazmi run his office for him. Due to the lack of candidates and after several revocations, Nik Nazmi finally relented and managed to win his Kelana Jaya State Assembly seat by campaigning for just three weeks. With the help of amendments made to PKR’s party constitution in 2009 which now adheres to the one member one vote process, the principle where party supporters are entitled to equal legislative representation, more young people have taken the helm in opposition politics such as Y.B. Sim, State Assemblyman in Pantai Jerejak, Penang. Challenges young opposition members face, according to Nik Nazmi, is battling cynicism following a win, because the changes promised to constituents before being elected take time to implement, especially as the old race-based politics still grips the country and legislation such as the University & University College Act (UUCA) prevent all hands from being on deck. He highlighted that many of Malaysia’s middle class who have the knowledge and resources to make a big contribution towards change in local politics prefer to remain indifferent. This is perhaps due to the apathy brought about by 55 years under a corrupt ruling party that will go to any lengths to continue its reign. Nik Nazmi urged involvement in opposition party politics at all levels and said that young people need to get involved in policy and legislation and not just ‘susun kerusi dan pasang bendera’.

There was a question and answer session which followed where audience members posed queries to the panel but none more poignant than Raja Petra’s challenge to develop an opposition-owned newspaper to counter the monopoly of coverage that Barisan National holds over the media. Unprecedented publicity for PKR could be garnered via the middle-aged middle-classes and those in rural Malaysia who don’t normally rely on blogs and online podcasts for information. Hannah Yeoh admitted that there was no excuse for the lack of a daily opposition paper. The mammoth task of publishing a paper would have to have capital backing and the involvement of a massive pool of resources which, for the time being, seems like a big ask for a young party.

Youth of Malaysia, here’s your queue to put your shoulders to the plough.

More dirt emerge on PM's private secretary

By Teoh El Sen
PETALING JAYA: New allegations of corruption have surfaced against Zakiah Ibrahim, the Prime Minister’s private secretary who was recently accused of accumulating some RM200 million in wealth by misappropriating funds.
PKR leader Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as Chegu Bard, said he was in possession of documents containing the allegations, including photos of a mansion said to belong to Zakiah and to cost RM5 million.
He called again for a response from Zakiah and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
FMT has also received, by e-mail, a copy of the new allegations.
The informant, now calling himself "Deep Throat JPM", questioned how Zakiah had managed to acquire such an expensive home on a private secretary’s salary.
He attached to the e-mail a set of photos of the mansion in Taman Setiawangsa, claiming that Zakiah had been staying there since last December. One of the photos bears the caption “Zakaya”, a play on Zakiah’s name and the Malay word for “wealth”.
"If she is brave, then deny that she has a mansion worth RM5 million with the interior design costing up to RM2 million, as she hired the best consultants from Da Vinci Group Holdings," the informant wrote.
Chegu Bard lamented that MACC had done nothing about the allegations of Zakiah’s corruption, which have been in the news for more than a week.
He said: "The problem is this: if it was a Pakatan leader that was being accused as such, MACC would act as if they were fire fighters and rush in to try their very best to dig more dirt and blow up the issue.
"But why is MACC this time so silent and deaf?
"I challenge MACC to honestly investigate and give an explanation on whether Zakiah is really guilty of all those things she has been accused of.
"I also challenge Zakiah herself to come forward. There are a lot of things that are doubtful here, including her bank loans and the new allegation on her home. The public deserves to know."
Waiting for more documents
Asked whether he would be lodging a report with the MACC, Chegu Bard said he was waiting for more documents from the same source as well as other sources.
He said he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak but had yet to receive a response.
'Deep Throat JPM' challenged Zakiah (right) to deny that she arranged a loan of RM200 million from two financial institutions to an alleged crony company for a business worth RM20 million.
He said: "Can she deny that on May and June she met with a Datuk O, an Umno division head from a state up north, on a solar project with the promise of a RM5 million commission?
“Who are the two Chinese businesswomen who eventually acquired the project and allowed Zakiah to share the profit of RM35 million, RM30 million more than promised by the Umno man?
"We also challenge MACC to investigate a direct negotiation project in Sabah involving one of Zakiah's cronies. Also investigate what has happened to the gold mine project in Pahang.”
He alleged that Zakiah teamed up with relatives of the Pahang Menteri Besar to start the gold mining project.
Immense influence
He also alleged that Zakiah had "absolute power" over the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance and claimed this could be confirmed by Fauziah Yaakob, secretary of the Finance Ministry’s government procurement division.
Deep Throat JPM promised that more "shocking" exposures would follow.
Early this month, FMT reported that an informant had accused Zakiah of misappropriating funds and accumulating the extraordinary amount of RM200 million.
The allegations were made in a set of documents purportedly leaked by an insider.
The documents described Zakiah as “a woman with immense influence in the Prime Minister's Office” and alleged that her modus operandi was to switch proposals made by other companies with those of her own cronies and to share the wealth thus acquired with Umno division heads or members of royalty.
Attempts to reach Zakiah for comment have been unsuccessful.

PKR, Stop Taking Indians For Granted!

As a member of PKR, I have to express my bitter disappointment with the way the party leadership has marginalised issues to do with the Indian poor and underclass of this beloved country.

So easily have the party’s top leaders forgotten that about one out four PKR members is an ethnic Indian.

So easily have they forgotten that without Hindraf, there would have been no tsunami of March 2008 which carried many PKR candidates to victory in many parliamentary and state assembly seats.

So easily have they forgotten that in the two and a half years since that electoral tsunami, the party they are leading have done practically nothing to address the plight of the Indian poor in the states that the party and its allies govern.

So easily have they forgotten that Indian poor look at PKR as the best, if not only, alternative to the other existing parties through which real political will can be found for meaningful action to uplift the socio-economic status of the disadvantaged Indian masses.

Alas, that hope has turned into disappointment. PKR is proving itself to be no different from MIC, PPP, IPF and the like. To all of them, the Indians are nothing more than a vote bank. Pursue them for their votes with all sorts of promises but forget about them once the elections are over or worse, treat them and their demands for rights and social justice as nothing more than a nuisance.

Witness yesterday’s demonstration against the party leadership at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya. Yes, it was prompted by anger over the disgraceful way the supposedly democratic party elections were conducted. But look at who formed the overwhelming majority of the protesters. Yes, ethnic Indians! There is a groundswell of dissatisfaction and frustration within the Indian community about the way PKR has been treating the Indians.

Listen to what one Indian protester said about the Indians at the top level of PKR’s leadership: they are not really Indians - convey Indian-related grouses to them and they could not be bothered. Listen to what those protesters said about the party’s electoral fortune: without Hindraf, there would have been no 2008 tsunami.

To Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali, Wan Azizah and the rest of the party leadership – ignore the signs at the party’s peril. The recent party elections have shown PKR to be just another of version of Umno which means Indians will continue to be shunted aside and marginalised. Don’t take Indian voters for granted! MIC without Samy Vellu may just look attractive again. What happened in March 2008 may not come your way again.

Angry PKR Member,
GOVAN NALIAH
PKR Membership No: B050000688

Malaysia and ASEAN should support Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for a second multi-ethnic Panglong Conference to create a federal democracy in Burma to foster democratization and national reconciliation

By Lik Kit Siang,

Malaysia should play a leading active role in ASEAN to promote peace, democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar as Malaysia, under the then Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was responsible for Myanmar’s entry into ASEAN in 1997 despite ASEAN reservations and international criticisms on the ground that a policy of “constructive engagement” approach would pave the way for democratization and national reconciliation in Myanmar and security and stability in the region.

Thirteen years have elapsed but none of these objectives had been achieved.

Nine days ago, on 13th November, 2010, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was released after spending 15 of 21 years in detention under the Myanmese military junta, a release which was long overdue as the series of incarceration against the Nobel Peace Prize Laureatte should not have occurred in the first place.

With over 2,200 political prisoners still in detention in Burma, is Suu Kyi’s release a sign that the Myanmese military junta is ready seriously to address the challenges of democratization and national reconciliation in Burma?

After her release, Suu Kyi called for a second multi-ethnic Panglong Conference that is appropriate to 21st century concerns to create a federal system based on equality and democracy.

Suu Kyi’s father general Aung San who then represented the Burmese government reached an agreement with ethnic leaders from the Shan, Kachin, Chin and Mon on 12th February 1947, to accept full autonomy in internal administration for the ethnic-controlled frontier areas after independence from Britain.

The agreement, which was an outcome of the conference at Panglong, was never enforced due to the assassination of national hero Aung San in July 1947, just months before independence. However, many ethnic groups have continued to deem the Panglong Agreement as their bible of struggle for self-rule in Burma.

Malaysia and ASEAN should come forward to support Suu Kyi’s call for a second multi-ethnic Panglong Conference to create a federal democracy in Burma as an important contribution towards achieving dialogue, democratization and national reconciliation in Burma.

Malaysia, ASEAN, the UN Security Council, General Assembly, Human Rights Council, the UN Secretary-General, the European Union, the United States and even China have been calling for tripartite dialogues in Burma among the military junta, the pro-democracy activists and the ethnic nationalities down the years and even decades, but they have not borne any fruit.

A second multi-ethnic Panglong Conference involving the Myanmese military rulers will turn a new page for Burma.

Although Suu Kyi has been released from detention, there has been increasing concerns not only whether she would be allowed to be fully active in legitimate political pursuits, but also about her personal safety.

There was an explosion in Mandalay with two injured following reports that Suu Kyi is planning to visit Burma’s second largest-city after her release.

Malaysia and ASEAN must send clear and unmistakable concerns to impress on the Myanmese military junta their responsibility not only to respect Suu Kyi’s freedom of speech, association and movement, but to ensure her personal safety – and that there would be no repetition of the Depayin Incident in May 2003 where about 100 of her supporters were killed and she herself was nearly assassinated when ambushed by junta-backed elements.

As part of the leading active role in ASEAN to ensure that Myanmar does not continue to undermine ASEAN’s good name and credibility, Malaysia should take initiatives on the following issues:

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Immediate release of 2,200 political prisoners in Myanmar;
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The military must declare a nation-wide ceasfire and end its offensive against ethnic civilians. Rape and forced labour, torture, the forcible recruitment of child soldiers and the destruction of villages must stop.
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Withhold recognition for the Nov. 7 sham elections held in Myanmar; and
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Support the proposal by the UN Special Rapporteur to establish a Commission of Inquiry under UN auspices to look into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Myanmar.

[Speech in the 2011 budget debate during the Foreign Ministry committee stage in Parliament on Monday November 22, 2010]