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Monday, December 13, 2010

UK considers ban on US pastor visit

The American preacher who planned a mass burning of the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks could be banned from entering Britain under incitement and national security laws.

US pastor Terry Jones said in his website that he had been invited to address a rally in February, organised by English Defence League (EDL), a far-right group, about "the evils and destructiveness of Islam".

Theresa May, Britain's interior minister, said on Sunday she was "actively looking" at the case. She said Jones had "been on her radar for a few months" and, as home secretary, she could ban his entry if he was a threat to national security.

'Public threat'

The government has the power to bar people considered a threat to public safety or national security.

"Only extremists will benefit from his visit"

Nick Lowles,
director of Hope Not Hate

"It wasn't clear that he was definitely coming to the UK but if it is now clear that he's definitely coming to the UK, then of course this is a case that I will be actively looking at," May told UK's Sky News television.

The EDL has emerged in the past couple of years to oppose what it calls the spread of Islam, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in England.

Its opponents say the group is racist and stages violent protests.

Jones' website says he intends to visit an EDL rally on February 5 in Luton, which has a significant Muslim minority.

"During the protest, Terry Jones, will speak against the evils and destructiveness of Islam in support of the continued fight against the Islamification of England and Europe," the website says.

Jones told Sky News he would "respect the laws" of any country he visited.

"I would by no means advocate something, preach something, speak something that will cause that type of riot or disturbance," he said.

A previously obscure preacher, Jones gained infamy through his effort to burn the Quran. He cancelled the event after international pressure.

Anti-racism campaigners deplored the idea of such a visit and say his visit will only breed hatred and violence.

Nick Lowles, the director of the campaigning group Hope Not Hate, said Jones should be barred because "only extremists will benefit from his visit".

Eleven men were arrested by police in Peterborough, eastern England, during an EDL rally on Saturday. About 1,000 people attended the march and another 200 held an opposition rally staged by the local trades union council.


'WikiLeaks 'expose' on Anwar an open secret'

Ibrahim on Namewee: Up to the government

Anwar acts to stem WikiLeak effect on sodomy case

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Monday moved to stem the impact on his sodomy trial of US cables released by WikiLeaks claiming he had sex with a male aide in a honey trap set by enemies.
Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair told AFP he will file a complaint with the court hearing Anwar's sodomy case over articles in the local media which could affect the former deputy premier's ongoing trial.
sankara nair bukit aman teresea kok isa arrest pc 170908 01Most newspapers in the country carried the allegations on their front page with influential Malay daily Utusan Malaysia running a headline stating: "Singapore spy agency verifies sodomy act".
"Clearly it's a case of sub-judice, it's hearsay and conjecture, intelligence reports are not based on facts generally, they are based on rumours and I have served in the security services before so I know that the last thing you do is to trust such a report," said Nair.
"The judge must call up the newspapers and ask them to explain why they wrote the piece and to show their proof.

"If they can't do this then they will be cited for contempt," he added.
"If this is not sinister then it is totally unethical reporting. I have advised my client to file a lawsuit against these papers as well."

'Did indeed commit the acts'

The leaked US state department cables from November 2008 were given to Australia's Fairfax media group, which reported Sunday the Australian and Singapore intelligence agencies' assessment of Anwar's ongoing case.
NONE"The Australians said that Singapore's intelligence services and (former prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA (Office of National Assessments) in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar 'did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted'," the cable read.
"ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, 'it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway'," according to the cable.
Anwar, 63, has vehemently denied sodomising his aide, 25-year-old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, claiming he was the victim of a political conspiracy.
He faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of sodomy, a serious crime in Malaysia.
Human Rights Watch has urged Malaysia to drop the charges against Anwar, condemning the case as a "charade of justice".


Memorandum to mark “13th December 2007 HINDRAF ISA Black Day” & call to release all 16 ISA prisoners, Abolish the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and shut down “Malaysia’s Guantanamo Bay” Kemunting ISA detention Prison.

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YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Block Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra, Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax : 03-8888 3444 62502 Putrajaya. E-Mail:

Y.B Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Menteri Kementerian Dalam Negeri,Kementerian Dalam Negeri,
Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D,
Pusat Pentadbiran,
Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-2693 3131
62546 Putrajaya E-Mail:

Dear YB,

Re : Memorandum to mark “13th December 2007 HINDRAF ISA Black Day” & call to release all 16 ISA prisoners, Abolish the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) and shut down “Malaysia’s Guantanamo Bay” Kemunting ISA detention Prison.

Today is a Black Day for the Indian community because on 13/12/2007 Hindraf lawyers were arrested under this draconian law ISA. We call upon you to Abolish ISA and release all ISA detainees who are still being detained without trial at the Kamunting Prison in Taiping.

On 13/12/2007 ISA was used against Hindraf lawyers who were voicing out of the marginalization and segregation of minority Malaysian Indian from the National Mainstream Development of Malaysia by the UMNO regime.

Instead of UMNO regime addressing the pressing issues of Indian poor marginalization that were brought by Hindraf Chairman P.Waytha Moorthy’s on Hindraf 18 point demands dated 12/8/2007, Hindraf lawyers were falsely and maliciously labeled as Hindu extremists which had link with LTTE and detained under the draconian law ISA and were send to Kamunting Prison without trial.

While P.Uthayakumar was under ISA, he wrote a heart moving letter on his 500 days detention under ISA. He says that he being a Lawyer himself had defended others in

court of law but he was unable defend himself because of this draconian law that denies the right to be heard. Hindraf lawyers were detained for 514 days.

This is evidence that racist and religious supremacy in Malaysia used by UMNO regime to maintain and sustain their already 53 year old rule of Malaysia.

The use of ISA violates the Article 5 and 8 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution- Equality. Article 5 provided for Liberty of the person and free from arbitrary detention and Article 8 provides that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to its equal protection and there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent and gender or place of birth.

The rule of law is for every man to be given a right to be heard, a fair hearing as per the Latin maxim Audi Altrem Partem.

Under the law every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty and therefore no one should be arbitrarily detained under the ISA but instead should be given a full hearing and be tried in an independent and fair Court of law and that too only if there is a genuine case against him and the powers of the Attorney General cannot be arbitrarily used to embark on political prosecutions.

The pain and torture of detention under the ISA is a lot worse than for the ordinary prisoners who would know exactly when they would be released. But for the ISA detainees, their detention is indefinite and they would not know when they would be released. This alone is designed to make it a lot painful and most suffer from mental torture on a day to day basis.

We the Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP) and HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi call upon the Home Minister to forthwith release all remaining 16 ISA prisoners, Abolish the draconian law ISA and shut down “Malaysia’s Guantanamo Bay” ie the Kamunting ISA Detention Prison.

“Rights not Mercy”

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,



Information Chief/ National Info Coordinator

Human Rights Party Malaysia (HRP)

HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi
Note: Memo received on behalf of Home Minister by Datuk Loo Yeng Peng (Special Officer to Minister of Home Affairs)
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Ministry to probe claims of history books bias

Ng said that sections on the country’s fight for independence had been left out.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — The Education Ministry will order an investigation into claims that history textbooks are biased, factually wrong and used as political tools to propagate a false sense of nationalism.

When told of the allegations, made by two local history textbook writers in a news report today, Deputy Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi admitted he was unable to provide an immediate response.

But he gave his assurance that he would speak with director-general Datuk Abdul Ghafar Mahmud on the matter.

“I am sorry I cannot comment [yet]. I will call him and ask him to respond immediately about this,” he said when approached by reporters in Parliament this afternoon.

When pushed for his opinion on whether the allegations were a cause for concern, Puad hesitated before insisting that the matter should be handled by Abdul Ghafar after the latter investigated the complaints.

“I think it is better for the DG to comment because it involves our curriculum division, they have to give their full report to me,” he said.

In a report front-paged in theSun today, textbook authors Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi and Ng How Kuen alleged that school history textbooks were littered with factual errors and distortions, adding that these failed to give fair recognition to the country’s non-Malay nationalists.

Dr Ranjit, who is currently an advisor to the ministry on history textbooks, also claimed that secondary school history textbooks have been used to promote political interests.

He further claimed that when he once pointed out the errors and distortions, a ministry official had labelled him as “anti-national”.

“Secondary school history textbooks have been used to promote political interests. It should be a scholarly pursuit and not politically-motivated.

“Five out of 10 chapters of the Form Four history textbook deal with Islamic history as compared to only one chapter in the earlier textbook. The intention of the earlier syllabus was to expose our students to World History,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr Ranjit added that historical personalities like Yap Ah Loy (third Kapitan Cina of Kuala Lumpur), Gurchan Singh (the “Lion of Malaya”) and Sybil Karthigesu were not given sufficient recognition in the local textbooks.

Ng added that in the stories on the country’s fight for independence, the contributions of the communists had been left out.

“Students do know the truth but as textbooks are written according to approved curriculum, students end up learning history that is skewed,” Ng was quoted as saying.

Both men had been commenting on the announcement that the history syllabus would be reviewed and that the subject would be made a compulsory pass in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) from 2013.

The newspaper also quoted Dr Ranjit as saying that it was inaccurate to assume that the new policy would instil a better sense of patriotism in students if the syllabus was inaccurate and failed to provide them with a sense of belonging to the country.

Zaid Ibrahim now an Akim member


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who left PKR last month, is now a member of the Malaysian People’s Justice Front or Akim, said its president Zakaria Salleh today.

Zakaria told The Malaysian Insider that the former PKR deputy presidential contender joined the tiny Kelantan party last month.

Zaid (picture) had planned to quit PKR on December 16, but the party supreme council accepted his resignation on November 19.

“He is now an Akim member; he submitted his application last November. He is officially our member,” said Zakaria.

When asked if Zaid would take over the party’s presidency, Zakaria said it is up to the former law minister to decide.

“It is up to Zaid if he wants to contest or not, if he wants to I would step down. But members must agree, I alone cannot make the decision,” said Zakaria.

Akim is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting on Wednesday to elect a new leadership.

“Zaid will most probably attend the meeting,” said Zakaria.

Zakaria had last week confirmed that Zaid was in discussion to take over the party which would be relaunched as his new political platform.

Zaid had said early this month about the need of a new political party, describing existing parties as “unwilling to make a stand on defending fundamental principles.”

Akim was founded in 1995 but has been unable to make any impact, even in Kelantan which has been under PAS rule since 1990.

In 2008, the party contested in the Permatang Pauh by-election but its candidate Hanafi Mamat lost his deposit when he obtained only 92 votes.

Akim faced a leadership crisis recently but it was resolved after intervention by the Registrar of Societies which later confirmed its registration status on December 1.

After GE13, a hung Parliament, says RPK

Raja Petra
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Influential blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin has predicted that Malaysia will go Britain’s way in the coming general election, widely speculated to be held in the next three months.

Before Election 2008, he had declared that the opposition would take 90 federal seats and five states, which was startlingly close to the final results.

“I predict it will be a hung Parliament,” the self-exiled editor of the Malaysia Today news site said last night in an Internet broadcast live from London.

A hung Parliament, also known as a balanced Parliament in a two-party system, is one in which no party has an overall majority and will need to coax support from rival party members to pass laws.

The vocal government critic was replying to a question on which political pact will next form the federal government raised by a member of the audience off camera at the first Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) public forum.

The MCLM is an independent outfit Raja Petra co-founded two months ago and is made up of Malaysians abroad who are lobbying for political reform by offering political parties a stable of professionals and non-partisan civil rights activists to stand as candidates in the 13th general election.

Raja Petra has named prominent lawyer and human rights activist Malik Imtiaz Sarwar as the first candidate of the MCLM. Others will be named later in KL, he added.

The 60-year-old based his view of a hung Parliament on the growing groundswell of discontent in east Malaysia, which he observed has supplied the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition its majority support for decades.

“How Pakatan handles east Malaysia will have a very great factor in who forms government,” said the blogger popularly known as RPK.

Raja Petra, who has staunchly backed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim since the first wave of reformasi in 1998, withdrew his support for the opposition leader and the DAP-PKR-PAS pact earlier this year.

Raja Petra noted that Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, which have traditionally voted for the ruling BN, have become fed-up with being treated as little else but a “vote bank” by Putrajaya.

He foresees the voting pattern is likely to change because of this.

The two states and one federal territory in east Malaysia together occupy 57 seats out of a total of 222 in the Dewan Rakyat, and make up nearly a quarter of the members in the lawmaking hall.

Their votes have traditionally been cast in support of the BN, but Raja Petra foresees it is likely to change.

“Currently, the sentiment in Sabah and Sarawak is that Pakatan and Barisan are both totally worthless.

“My sentiment is that it’s going to be a lot of three-cornered fights in east Malaysia with lots of independents contesting,” he said.

Sporting a blue beret and Harry Potter-like round glasses at the talk yesterday, Raja Petra observed that the federal opposition pact, Pakatan Rakyat (PR), had failed to make use of the growing grassroots’ unhappiness to sway more supporters to its side.

“My view is that Pakatan is not handling east Malaysia properly… and it’s going to backfire,” he added.

He pointed to the racial-religious posturing between Umno and PKR and said the challenges over racial and religious supremacy have no traction in east Malaysia where multiculturalism is part of their lives.

But he added, it does mean the BN will win.

“If you ask me again during Chinese New Year, I can give a more accurate prediction,” Raja Petra said.

The UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are examples of the latest round of hung Parliaments.

A hung Parliament means the party in power will need to coax its rival party members to pass laws.

Two years ago, before Malaysia went to the polls, Raja Petra had predicted the opposition pact would win 90 seats and take over five state governments – Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Perak and Pahang.

The three parties came out winning 82 seats but failed to take over Perlis and Terengganu. Instead, they toppled the BN state governments in Penang and Selangor.

Don't cry conspiracy, Perkasa boss tells Anwar

By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: On his first day back in Parliament, independent Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali told Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim not to cry conspiracy over WikiLeaks.

"I don't know if it is a trap or not... for me, what's important is that when we do something wrong, and when people take the opportunity to trap us, we cannot accuse others of conspiracy," the Perkasa president told reporters.

Read: Anwar acts to stem WikiLeak effect on sodomy case

According to Internet whistleblower WikiLeaks, a US department cable issued in November 2009 showed that Singapore officials believed that Anwar was guilty of his sodomy charge.

The revelation, which was contained in a message between the Singaporean intelligence and an Australian agency, said that Anwar "did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted".

Reacting to the message, Anwar had accused the Malaysian police and their Special Branch division of contributing to the leak.

However, Ibrahim, who spent the last two months recovering from a heart bypass surgery, said that he was not surprised with Anwar's reaction.

He also advised the opposition leader to take action against WikiLeaks.

"I am not surprised at all (with Anwar). We have talked about him for many years, even during (former prime minister) Mahathir Mohamad's time, to the time where he was sacked as deputy prime minister," Ibrahim said.

"The best thing for him to do is to sue (WikiLeaks). I don't know (how to do so) from what point of the law, but that is the best way for him."

The firebrand MP also criticised the government for not taking action against controversial rapper Wee Meng Chee, or better known as Namewee.

'BN may lose some votes'

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz previously defended Wee and absolved him of accusations made against the rapper.

“If the government feels that by not taking action against Namewee it can bring more votes to BN, then by all means (go ahead). I am only afraid that this may lose some votes (for BN),” he said in a thinly veiled threat to the Najib administration.

In August, Kulai headmistress Siti Insyah Mansor allegedly told the non-Malay students in her school to go back to China and India. She was also said to have uttered: “If I were to helm the government, I will allocate 70% of the wealth to Bumiputera and only 30% to non-Bumiputera.”

In response to Siti Insyah's remarks, Wee composed a three-minute rap title called “Nah!!” on YouTube, heavily condemning the headmistress.

However, the Perkasa boss questioned if Siti Insyah actually made those remarks.

“Did the headmistress actually say such things? I went to see her, met a few other teachers and students, and asked them what had happened,” he said, adding that Siti Insyah's outburst was no more than “angry words”.

“(They were) nothing more than angry words used against students, like parents to their children...,” he said.

Ibrahim also said that the issue was blown into a racist matter merely because Siti Insyah was a Malay, and that action had been taken against her even before she had been taken to court.

Turning his guns on Wee, he asked the government to get rid of the Sedition and Internal Security Acts if it was not going to use them.

“(The ISA is) still relevant. But if they don't want to use it, just get rid of it...,” the Perkasa boss said, and asked the government to make the right decisions in enforcing national security.

“You cannot satisfy everybody, but our past leaders made many major decisions for national security. At the end of the day, the majority of the people supported the government's decision,” he said, citing the 1987's Ops Lalang that was “at last, appreciated by the people”.

Anwar acts to stem WikiLeak effect on sodomy case

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today moved to stem the impact on his sodomy trial of US cables released by WikiLeaks claiming he had sex with a male aide in a honey trap set by enemies.

Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair told AFP he will file a complaint with the court hearing Anwar's sodomy case over articles in the local media which could affect the former deputy premier's ongoing trial.

Most newspapers in the country carried the allegations on their front page with influential Malay daily Utusan running a headline stating: "Singapore spy agency verifies sodomy act".

"Clearly it's a case of sub-judice, it's hearsay and conjecture, intelligence reports are not based on facts generally, they are based on rumours and I have served in the security services before so I know that the last thing you do is to trust such a report," said Nair.

"The judge must call up the newspapers and ask them to explain why they wrote the piece and to show their proof. If they can't do this then they will be cited for contempt," he added.

"If this is not sinister then it is totally unethical reporting. I have advised my client to file a lawsuit against these papers as well."

The leaked US state department cables from November 2008 were given to Australia's Fairfax media group, which reported Sunday the Australian and Singapore intelligence agencies' assessment of Anwar's ongoing case.

"The Australians said that Singapore's intelligence services and (former prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA (Office of National Assessments) in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar 'did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted'," the cable read.

"ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, 'it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway'," according to the cable.

Anwar, 63, has vehemently denied sodomising his aide, 25-year-old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, claiming he was the victim of a political conspiracy.

He faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of sodomy, a serious crime in Muslim-dominated Malaysia.

Human Rights Watch has urged Malaysia to drop the charges against Anwar, condemning the case as a "charade of justice".


Penang DAP polls: Outsiders now insiders

By Hawkeye - Free Malaysia Today

GEORGE TOWN: Delegates who walked into the hall in Komtar would have noticed an imposing banner which spelled out that they were gathered for an ordinary Penang DAP convention.

The words on the banner essentially captured Sunday's event as just a normal process - nothing out of the ordinary occurred. The 400 plus delegates voted in most of the incumbents during the bi-annual party election, while some personalities who lost were reappointed promptly as part of the process to close ranks.

Penang is now firmly a DAP bastion as its veteran chairman Karpal Singh put it, a "frontline state."

Although perceived to be parochial, Penang had accepted outside DAP leaders who were delicately planted in the state political lanscape.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng whose previous political base was Malacca, Johorean strategist Liew Chin Tong and Kuala Lumpur-based Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi were seen as "outsiders" before.

Today, they are firmly entrenched in the state, especially Guan Eng who played a behind the scene role to ensure the party election here was calmer and orderly compared to Perak and Selangor.

Yet, the rumblings on the ground by some quarters was how could the party reconcile between government and party posts since DAP was now a party in government and no longer just an opposition force per se.

Notable loser

The notable loser during the Penang DAP election was veteran member Phee Boon Poh who is a two-term Sungai Puyu assemblyman.

Phee is an affable state executive councillor and had held the party's torch during the "down" times in Penang.

He also played a key role in arranging for last month's state funeral of former chief minister Dr Lim Chong Eu.

After being edged out, Phee wondered aloud about how he went wrong.

"Is it because I was too busy performing the role of a state exco member! Perhaps, I had neglected my party grassroots," he said.

Political observers credit him for his good governing skills such as his move to preserve the environment, his attention to detail on public health and his caring society activities.

Yet, Phee lost. His bitterness was apparent when he declined to give a firm commitment on whether he would accept an offer to be an appointed committee member.

Phee's political circumtances could be similar to a certain degree with another DAP state exco member, Ronnie Liu from Selangor.

Both are hardworking state government representatives but somehow got detached from the DAP grassroots with Liu probably paying the price by earlier axing his strongest grassroots ally, Tee Boon Hock.

DAP now needs to manage both government and party roles best, said newly appointed Penang DAP treasurer Wong Hon Wai.

'Collateral damage'

They were also several assemblymen out of the 73 candidates who were "collateral damage” after the state election outcome was known.

Among them were state DAP Youth head Yeoh Soon Hin who is the Paya Terubong state assemblyman, local councillor Tan Hoon Wooi, Bagan Dalam state assemblyman A Tanasekharan, Padang Lalang assemblyman Tan Cheong Heng and Pengkalan Kota state assemblymen Lau Keng Ee.

Others who lost included Sungai Pinang state assemblyman Koid Teng Guan and observers said that some of them were actually performing well as assemblymen and government actvists but when it came to the party, they were left out or outright booted out.

Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai barely made it but it came at the expense of him being removed from holding the state secretary post which was now held by Guan Eng's political secretary Ng Wei Aik.

The political comeback of Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng and Batu Lanchang assemblyman Danny Law Heng Kiang were good sentiments for the senior ranks but it came at the expense of younger leaders.

Meanwhile, Karpal openly declared that he would not support the concept of DAP leaders holding too many posts.

He wanted them to hold either a state or a parliament seat while government duties must be balanced to avoid an overload of responsibilities.

Karpal, however, said that an exception should be given to the Penang chief minister post, meaning the individual could hold both a state and parliamentary seat, as it can help improve the state's governance.

Although the dust had settled, the record number of 88 candidates seeking just 15 slots, was an indication that more members were now clamouring for posts because they presume that DAP had much to offer since it is in government.

In the meantime, Guan Eng is repeating the the word “united” over and over at all party gatherings in view of speculations that the general election is around the corner.

By the people, for the people

The Write Way by Tiberius Kerk - Free Malaysia Today

(BOOK REVIEW March 8: Time For Real Change by Kee Thuan Chye and Fellow Malaysians) Back in the 1960s, the general election campaign was an exciting time for children. In Ipoh where I was growing up at that time, political party campaigners would send cars with loudspeakers announcing their arrival on certain dates at specific venues.

Children like me were thrilled because we knew we were in for a great time. It meant free cinema shows out there in the neighbourhood field. A big screen would be put up and enthusiastic young viewers would be treated to a Hollywood film, invariably a Western.

If we were lucky, it would be John Wayne, all in magnificent black and white. Before the movie began, the campaigners would pass out free Consulate cigarettes. Naturally, they bypassed us eager beavers even though we thought we could tolerate a puff or two and feel “cool as the mountain spring”.

But that was two generations ago. These days, politics has become much more complicated. What were simple issues had been made complex.

In the days of old when Internet had yet to surface and television was still in its black and white splendour, it was a simple case of voting for “the Ship” (Alliance Party) or the other side with the “Buffalo head” symbol.

Fast forward to the 21st century, there are now more political groups thann we care to remember. Information has long been on the overload mode. The Internet super highway, 3G mobiles and other wired devices are utilised to tug at the ears of the masses

Unfortunately for Malaysia, written materials like books are still being shunned by the majority. At last count, official statistics put the number habit of Malaysians at eight to 12 books a year.

However, I suspect somebody at the Statistics Department was being over-generous. It is more like one to two books per person annually.

Thought-provoking essays

So it is a safe bet that one of the latest additions to the book market, “March 8: Time For Real Change” by Kee Thuan Chye and Fellow Malaysians will find a limited audience.

It is an upgraded and revised edition of the 2008 original. Still hot from the printing press, as they say, this book has some of the most thought-provoking essays and interviews about the current Malaysian political situation seen in recent years.

Kee has lit a beacon and its light is drawing fellow Malaysians who share his concern about the nation’s state of affairs to his corner.

In total, there are 42 articles spread over three sections, aptly labelled “Where We Are Now, Back To The Beginning” and “Where Do We Go From Here”.

It is heartening to learn that Malaysians of all races, creeds and professions have voiced their aspirations, good wishes and grievances about this country which they love so much.

Young and old, professionals and students have argued eloquently on the burning issues of the day. And these issues which are debated incessantly in coffeeshops, boardrooms and within the sanctity of one’s own home are about corruption, justice and education system and the rule of law.

Kee himself has contributed seven of the 42 articles in the book. One of the most interesting was his interview with Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang.

In that chapter, Guan Eng says “this victory of ours can be ephemeral. And time and tide waits for no man, so we do whatever we can. I prefer to fail trying than failing to try”.

Guan Eng was replying to the question: “In order for you to realise your plans for Penang, which could take a long time, do you foresee you need to stay more than five years in office?”

Outrageous comments

But some of the most outrageous and hilarious comments must surely belong to Raja Petra Kamarudin. RPK, as he is more commonly known, is famous for his outspoken views.

Reading what he has to say about some of the more sensitive issues that seem to persistently knock at our doors will tickle the reader’s funny bones.

At the same time, RPK thinks nothing of figuratively slapping you around to knock some sense into your head. The thought of the day, according to RPK’s book of quotations, is that even in our darkest political hour, we must learn to laugh at ourselves.

If we can do it at other people’s expense, that’s even better!

RPK is always great fun. He expresses opinions like Mount Merapi spewing ashes over Java. Most of his views are succinct and sharp as an arrow. He won’t beat around the bush when he could just conk you on the head.

The good thing is we often end up laughing with him.

On the other end of the political spectrum is people like Dr Lim Teck Ghee, the CEO and director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives Bhd. Lim was the director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at the Asian Strategic and Leadership Institute.

He resigned from the institute in 2006 after an official disagreement over his findings about some vital issues.

Lim’s dispassionate and clinical opinions on the NEP demand attention from all thinking individuals and close scrutiny from those who are in position to shape the future of Malaysia.

Malaysia is now at a crossroads. From the quiet town of Kangar, Perlis, to the tantalising plains of Tamparuli, Sabah, Malaysians striving or thriving in the melting pot of diversity must ask themselves: what do we want for our grandchildren and great grandchildren?

As citizens of this blessed country, we have listened to the radio, seen on TV, read the mainstream newspapers and attended talks, now we owe it to ourselves and others who will come after us, to lend our ear to the other voice.

“March 8: Time For Real Change” is the other voice. It shouts with great passion from across the wide gulf that separates some of us but nevertheless it wants to be heard. We will be doing ourselves a disservice, if we turn a deaf ear to our own people.

From 1957 to 2010, it has always been one person, one vote – your call.

The book is available in all major bookstores. FMT's interview with Kee Thuan Chye will be published tomorrow.

We have to speak up

By P. Ramakrishnan

We have every reason to be concerned. We wonder where this nation is heading for and what is in store for us. From the civil servant to the Umno politician, it is the same story: the non-Malays are “pendatang” and don’t have any citizenship rights. The rights conferred by Article 8 of the Federal Constitution are not respected or protected.

When an extreme group like Perkasa questions the citizenship rights of the non-Malays, the national leadership does not take them to task. When extreme elements in Umno berate and denigrate the non-Malays, the top Umno leadership does not chastise them. When one Umno delegate at the recently concluded general assembly had the temerity to suggest that the non-Malays be given the right to do business but should be denied the right to vote, nobody pointed out that it was against the constitution and that he should not be talking through his nose!

It is this disturbing silence when atrocious things are said which affect our unity that is worrying. It is this unbecoming conduct that encourages the extreme elements amongst us to be outrageous in their conduct and prompts them to continue with their seditious remarks.

It is this vocal minority that is predominant in our society and influences the trend of policy. Our political leaders dare not condemn them outright.

Utusan Malaysia fans the race baiting and gives the widest publicity without bothering to be responsible or sensible. When the powers-that-be that own and control this press do not force it to fall in line, what do we make of this?

A nation can make or break depending on the unity of its citizens. Today our unity is threatened. And if concerned voices and responsible leaders and caring Malaysians do not rise up and speak up, we will be a fragmented nation. By our silence, we will contribute to the chaos that may ensue. — Aliran

P. Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran.

Better protection for whistleblowers under Act

The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: The Whistle blower Protection Act 2010, which will come into force on Dec 15, 2010, is formulated to provide protection to people reporting improper conduct.

The Act is part of efforts under the GTP’s NKRA to curb corruption.

Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the Act, which was approved by Parliament in May, was developed based on the best practices of the same act in other developed countries.

“We observed that corruption in Europe and the US began to decline after the implementation of a Whistleblower Protection Act due to its effectiveness as a big deterrent,” he said. According to the Act, if a person has evidence on someone who is involved in corrupt practices, he or she can file a report with the appropriate enforcement agency.

“The whistleblower will be protected in terms of confidentiality,” said Idris, who is also the CEO of Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU).

When tabling the Budget 2010 in Parliament in October 2009, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the Whistleblower Protection Act would be formulated to encourage informers to expose corrupt practices and other misconduct while providing them immunity from civil or criminal charges at the same time.

BREAKING NEWS: Janji Azmin kepada Sarawak (Azmin's promise to Sarawak)

On Sunday, 12th December 2010, at a PKR Pre-Christmas Dinner held in Bintulu, PKR's recently elected Deputy President YB Mohd. Azmin Ali, spoke to a large dinner crowd consisting of about 300 party members and supporters. Present were DAP's YB Chiew Chin Sing, Sarawak PKR leader Baru Bian and several other party stalwarts.

In his speech, which he lambasted the Sarawak BN and its leadership for its corruption and cronyism, YB Azmin challenged the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to dissolve the Sarawak state assembly immediately if BN is so confident of its showing in the coming state polls.

In his rousing and fiery speech, YB Azmin also made a promise that got the 300-strong crowd onto its feet that turned into a five minute long standing ovation and applause. “Pakatan Rakyat akan memberi kuasa autonomi sepenuhnya kepada Sarawak sekiranya Pakatan Rakyat memenangi PRU13.” (Pakatan Rakyat will give full autonomy to Sarawak if we win at the 13th General Elections.)

YB Azmin went on to elaborate that “PR akan menghormati Perjanjian Malaysia semasa penubuhan Malaysia pada tahun 1963,” (PR will respect the Malaysia Agreement that was entered into at the formation of Malaysia in 1963) in reference to the 18 Point Agreement. Clearly YB Azmin had tapped into the very issue that resonates with all Sarawakians, regardless of colour or creed.

“Sabah dan Sarawak tidak masuk Malaysia. Sabah dan Sarawak menubuhkan Malaysia bersama Persekutuan Tanah Tanah Melayu,” (Sabah and Sarawak did not enter Malaysia. Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia together with the Federated States of Malaya) he added, to even more boisterous applause.

He ended his speech with a further promise, “Saya, Azmin, akan mempertahankan Sarawak dan membela orang orang Sarawak. 'Agi idup agi ngelaban!'” (I, Azmin, will defend Sarawak and be an advocate of the peoples of Sarawak. "While I breathe, I hope!") YB Azmin's use of the famous Sarawakian quote, which is derived from the Latin 'Dum spiro spero' that was the family motto of the Brooke Rajahs, was nothing less than genius that fired the crowd.

After the dinner, PKR leader Baru Bian, when met, said “This is a very clear message and commitment from our national leaders and Pakatan Rakyat to the people of Sarawak. It is a resolute promise from PKR to right the wrong suffered by Sarawak due to the neglect and failure of the BN government and to restore and honour the agreement made by our forefathers 47 years ago.”

“All this while, local Sarawak parties have been harping on the point that only they can deliver what Sarawak and Sarawakians need. Let me reiterate our stance: it is not whether a party is locally based that matters but what the party is fighting for. This is paramount and crucial. PKR, although a national party, is concerned with local issues. YB Azmin's declaration and promise very clearly shows that PKR at the national level understands local issues and will act on them and deliver to Sarawakians their greatest wish: full autonomy,” elaborated Bian.

“We urge all Sarawakians to unite and support Pakatan Rakyat because we are determined to redeem our rights that have been stolen from us for the last 47 years,” said Bian.

YB Mohd. Azmin Ali is on an East Malaysian tour, his first visit as PKR's Deputy President.

Sweden probes 'terrorist crime'

Swedish police have announced that they are treating bomb blasts in Stockholm, the capital, as a "terrorist crime".

Two people received minor injuries in the explosions on Saturday, the first of which came from a car that blew up near Drottninggatan, a busy shopping street in the centre of the city, Ulf Goransson, a spokesman for the Swedish police, told Al Jazeera.

Shortly afterwards, a second explosion was heard further up the same street and the body of a man was found on the ground.

"There was series of minor explosions, causing a fire in one of the cars in the street. Some minutes later, we found a man seriously injured 300 metres away from the scene of the first explosion. This man died," Goransson said.

Media in Sweden have named a 28-year-old man of Iraqi origin, who they say died in the attack, as the suspected bomber but Swedish police have refused to confirm the details.

"We are opening an investigation into a terrorist crime under Swedish laws," Anders Thornberg, of the National Security Service, told a news conference on Sunday.

Thornberg told the AFP news agency that his investigators were trying to find out if the blasts were part of a broader threat to Sweden or an isolated attack.

"We are trying to find out if something similar is going on [elsewhere in Sweden]. We don't have any indication about that, but we will try to make sure this was a single action," he said.

But he said it was too early to say if the blasts, about 15 minutes of each other, were linked. "We think so but we are still investigating," he said.

Linda Nyborg, a freelance journalist in Stockholm, said there was information saying that Britain's MI6 security agencies had information on the suspected perpetrator of the attack.

"The family has made comments on his death even though his name hasn't been made public or confirmed by police," she said.

"There is also information about a second man who was seen next to presumed suicide bomber. This is not official police information. So far police don't want to make any comment on the investigation."

Email warning

Fredrik Reinfeldt, Sweden's prime minister, said it was too early to reach any conclusions and warned that speculation could lead to tensions.

"Sweden is an open society which has expressed a desire that people of different backgrounds, who believe in different gods or or no god at all, should be able to live side by side," he said.

"Our democracy is well-functioning. Anyone who feels frustration or anger has the possibility to express this in a non-violent way ... This is a society worth defending."

About ten minutes before the blasts, the Swedish news agency TT and the country's security services received an email warning with a threat to Sweden and its people ahead of the explosions.

It said the threat was linked to Sweden's presence in Afghanistan, where it has a force of 500 soldiers, and referred to caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist.

"Our acts will speak for themselves," TT quoted the message as saying. "Now your children, your daughters and your sisters will die as our brothers, our sisters and our children are dying."

The message concluded by urging "mujahidin" to rise up in Sweden and in Europe, the news agency said.

TT said the email was not sent anonymously but the news agency refused to say who the sender was.

The newspaper Aftonbladet cited sources saying the sender was a 28-year-old who had been expressing "extreme views" on the social networking website Facebook.

Police would not comment on a report in the paper which quoted a source as saying the man was carrying six pipebombs, of which one exploded, and a rucksack full of nails and suspected explosive material.

Vilks, who depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog in a cartoon in 2007, has been the target of previous attacks.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Police to study SOP on accidental cabbie shooting

Investigations into the accidental shooting of a cab driver by a policeman in Jalan Pudu will determine whether the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was adhered to, including how the shot was fired.

NONEDismissing claims that the police are not caring, Kuala Lumpur Police chief Zulkifli Abdullah (right) said the police met the victim shortly after the incident and would see him again.
Speaking to reporters after attending a dialogue with Seri Perak Public Housing Scheme's residents in Kuala Lumpur today, Zulkifli said action would be against the policeman concerned if there was negligence on his part.
Taxi driver Yeow Leong Kang, 42, who was hit in his legs by a stray bullet, said the incident occurred on Sept 23 while he was resting inside his vehicle.
Last Friday, Yeow lodged a police report at the Cheras district headquarters here, claiming that his case was not given the due attention by the police.
According to Yeow, he was awakened from his sleep by a shot which pierced through the door of the driver's side that hit his right calf and grazed his left foot, causing him to be bedridden for two months.
He is seeking a compensation as he could not work for two months and had yet to pay the rent for his taxi.

Further slashing down on Malaysian Indian Doctors. Racist UMNO/BN orders five year stop on all medical courses locally and overseas.

(The Star Headlines 12/12/10)

UMNO started on this racist and religious extremist and supremacist policies led by the Secretary General of the Health Ministry Dato Dr.Ismail Merican who in 2002 onwards derecognized the world renowned Crimea State Medical University (CSMU) etc simply because hundreds of Malaysian Indian students were studying there and elsewhere in Ukraine and Russia.

And today the final clamp down on the 12 local private medical schools and 50 overseas. But UMNO would never agree to a Common Exams for all local University and foreign medical students with foreign external examiners to produce the best doctors. Why not? The UMNO fear factor?

This is the very same methodology UMNO used to “ethnically cleanse” Kill, stop and hamper thousands of Malaysian Indian students from becoming lawyers through the racially motivated CLP exams. Why not all Malaysian students including from all local Universities sit for this CLP exams also with foreign external examiners.

A medical lecturer who declined to be named said that the criteria of the qualifying examination should be made known in advance so that students know what was required of them.

Highlighting the case of a top student from a Ukrainian university who failed the exam, the lecturer said that the different methods of training was an obstacle too big for some.“No matter how diligent and conscientious students are, the chances of them passing the exam seem next to impossible, he said. (The Star 12/12/10 at page E13).

Welcome to UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak’s One Malay-sia and Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Hadi Awang all not questioning this UMNO racism and religious extremism simply because almost all the victims are the Indian poor (wanting a better life for their children by even spending their lifelong savings, EPF, gratuity selling their houses and land and life savings.

HRP’s Project 15/38 is the only way forward.

Would you still vote for UMNO/BN?

Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

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Samy Vellu's Tell-All Biography Launched

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 (Bernama) -- In a "tell-all" biography, former MIC president Datuk Seri Samy Vellu revealed how he tried in vain to stop the demolition of a Hindu temple in 2007, which the author describes sowed the seeds of a revolt against the party.

"A Life. A Legend. A Legacy" written by award-winning author Bernice Narayanan reveals Samy Vellu's greatest achievements and setbacks as well as "behind-the-scenes" events in his almost 50 years of active politics.

The biography, which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here Sunday, reveals how Samy Vellu had pleaded with the "powers that be" at that time to stop the demolition of the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Padang Jawa, Shah Alam, just three days before Deepavali.

"That incident paved the way for an uprising of the Indian community," the author said in the book, referring to the now banned Hindraf movement, which some political observers believe had led to many Indians voting against the Barisan Nasional in the 2008 general election.

Samy Vellu also explained about the controversial Maika Holdings Berhad, the MIC's investment arm which became unsuccessful many years after its launch, and has since been taken over by another company with shareholders getting back their investment.

He said among his greatest achievements were to build the Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (Aimst) in Kedah and the Tafe College in Negeri Sembilan.

The 200-page book traces the remarkable life journey of Samy Vellu, who rose through the years from being a rubber tapper's son and who started work as an ice cream seller and later bus conductor to Malaysia's longest serving Cabinet minister until his election defeat in 2008.

With every story of his life told in graphic detail, many never-before published pictures of the 74-year-old "legend" with kings, presidents and prime ministers adorn the book.

The author in the concluding paragraphs of the book writes: "Samy Vellu is MIC and MIC is Samy Vellu. There's no running away from this.

"He has no hidden agenda, no cloak-and-dagger political manoeuvres and certainly no masquerades. His life is an open book. This is the book".

The book will be sold at a leading book stores throughout the country soon. Some 5,000 copies of the book were distributed free to the guests at the launching ceremony.

Meanwhile, in his speech at the launching of the book, Samy Vellu said he was proud of achieving what he had set out to do when he took over the MIC leadership from the late Tan Sri V.Manickavasagam in 1979.

"Today, I am happy to see a more vibrant and dynamic community of Malaysian Indians who have carved a name for themselves and the nation.

"I am glad to have been part of the great transformation of the Malaysian Indian community. I am confident that they will continue to move forward as the country progresses, and achieve Vision 2020," he said.

Samy Vellu conluded his speech by saying: "Politics may be my past, but my interest is in the future. After all, as the old saying goes I am going to spend the rest of my life there".

Najib names Samy Vellu as special envoy to India

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today formally announced retired MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu is Malaysia’s new special envoy of infrastructure for India and the South Asian region.

“I will like to announce the appointment of Datuk Seri Samy Vellu (picture) as the special envoy of infrastructure for India and South Asia.

“We don’t want to lose his talents and I am sure many Malaysian companies will benefit,” he told a packed hall at the launch of Samy Vellu’s biography titled “A Life. A Legend. A Legacy” here this evening.

The 74-year-old was the longest-serving president of the Indian party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

He voluntarily stepped down from office earlier this month and is replaced by Datuk G Palanivel.

Najib’s press secretary told reporters later the infrastructure post is new and is the same rank as a minister.

The former works minister’s new role takes effect from January 1, 2011.

S'pore believes sodomy charge, Anwar blames SB

By A Sam Lini - Free Malaysia Today

FULL REPORT PETALING JAYA: Singapore government, including its senior minister Lee Kuan Yew, believes that Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim “did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted”.

This was revealed by WikiLeaks through a release of a US state department cable issued in November 2008. The cable was exclusively released to Australian daily The Sun-Herald and widely reported by other Australian newspapers today.

The cable, which quoted exchanges between the Singaporean intelligence services and an Australian agency, stated: ''The Australians said that Singapore's intelligences services and [Singaporean elder statesman] Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar 'did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted'.''

ONA stands for Australia’s Office of National Assessments

The document further stated the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment on the basis of ''technical intelligence'', which is likely to relate to intercepted communications.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report today, the ONA also recorded as saying that Anwar's political enemies engineered the circumstances from which the sodomy charges arose.

''ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, 'it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway','' the cable stated, according to Sydney Morning Herald.

Anwar has always denied accusations that he sodomised anyone. He also blamed the BN-led government's conspiracy to topply him by making the sodomy accusations against him.

He once again threw accusations against the Malaysian police over the cable leaks as reported by the Australian media.

Anwar blames special branch

Responding through his twitter account, Anwar said there was no proof to pin him as a person involved in sodomy and claimed that the original source of the claims was Malaysia’s Special Branch police.

“Source? Polis SB Msia. Bukti tak ada (Who is the source? Malaysian police special branch. There is no proof whatsoever)” Anwar replied.

In his earlier tweet, he merely laughed off the matter by stating: “Source? Msian SB ha ha”

Anwar is presently facing his second sodomy charge after being convinced and jailed in 1999 on charges of corruption and sodomy after a falling out with then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The sodomy conviction was later overturned and was freed from jail in 2004.

He was however charged again in 2008 with committing sodomy on his former aid. Anwar has maintained the case against him was fabricated and trumped up by his political enemies who fear his political resurgence.

The trial in presently underway.

DAP, PAS leaders fooled?

The disclosure that the Singaporea government believes that Anwar was guilty as charged will only increase the attacks on the opposition leader by BN leaders.

“Anwar will have to respond to this fresh claims to clear his name. He can't just blame the special branch by accusing them of leaking false information to the Singaporeans,” said a political observer.

“The Singapore intellengence agency is not stupid to blindly accept every rumour. Anwar will have to come clean.

“This will also mean DAP and PAS leaders will have to ask Anwar to come clean with them. Or are they pretending not to know anything for the sake of politics? Or have they been fooled?” he asked.

So far opposition leaders like DAP's Lim Kit Siang and PAS' Abdul Hadi Awang have not commented on this new leak.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Tian Chua was quoted by AFP sa dismissing the revelations as "hearsay".

"There is no doubt that this is a trumped-up charge," he said. "If the claim is true... it would have been relatively easy for the government to prove it."

"We cannot depend on what the foreign intelligence officials say. The question is whether the government has evidence to convict Anwar in court."

PKR sec-gen: Just a series of tirade

Meanwhile PKR's secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the leaked cable contained a high degree of personal opinions on not just Anwar but also on other Malaysian leaders, including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaludin.

He added that the cable should be “viewed in the context of the broad criticism of its (Singapore's) foreign officials against Malaysia, with nobody being spared.

“PKR maintains that those views and assessments are their own personal views that do not contain any facts – otherwise Najib will have a tough time explaining similarly damaging allegations against him made by the same Singaporean officials and leaked by the same set of cables,” he added.

He also pointed out that the leaked cable was “nothing but a series of tirades against anyone or anything that is not Singapore that continues a long history of vituperation against Malaysia coming from the Singaporean establishment”.

Confused and dangerous politicians

Meanwhile, Sydney Morning Herald also said that the cable also revealed some of the inner thoughts of senior Singaporean officials, including claims that:

* Malaysia is in a ''confused and dangerous'' state due to its incompetent politicians;

* Thailand's political elite are dogged by ''corruption'' and the country's crown prince is ''very erratic and easily subject to influence'';

* Japan and India were struggling to deal with China's influence due to their ''stupid'' behaviour;

* and some Asian leaders wanted the junta to retain power in Burma to ensure the country's stability.

Just cocktail talk

In another development, Singapore said the leaked reports by WikiLeaks should not be taken out of context.

"Any communication must not be taken out of context," Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo was quoted by local media as saying to reporters who asked him on private comments made by his senior ministry officials on foreign leaders in the region.

Yeo added that diplomatic relations could not be done "on the basis that there is a camera in the room recording everything", and that when that happened, "we lose something".

He also said that sometimes it was in the nature of "cocktail talk" where "people say things in a blunt forthright way, and we should not divorce, even if true, what is said from the context".

‘People-friendly’ halfway house back to Pakatan

By Joe Fernandez

COMMENT Now we have heard it all. Malim Nawar state assemblyman, Keshvinder Singh, whose days in the seat are apparently numbered, has re-branded himself in a bold move as “people- friendly”. This is taking a distance from the Barisan Nasional and the brink. It’s just a short hop, skip and jump from “BN-friendly” to “people friendly”.

He had declared himself as “BN friendly” in the wake of his June 15 defection from the DAP amidst allegations of money problems which he has since denied as “bulls..t”.

If Keshvinder is to be believed, there’s now some stigma of sorts attached to being “BN-friendly”, a euphemism for getting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to look the other way as is the case with Umno and BN legislators. Keshvinder’s re-branding may yet persuade other defectors from Pakatan Rakyat to similarly declare themselves as “people-friendly”. It would be a halfway house of sorts on their way back to Pakatan since the question of BN fielding them at the next general election does not arise. The unkind would label it as “reverse frogging”.

If that’s the case, it’s unlikely that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) would be very interested in Keshvinder. Also, it’s not the done thing to invite political lepers into the party especially if, as in this case, it will incur the people’s wrath. Besides, there’s no guarantee that Malim Nawar will be handed over to PPP by BN for the next outing.

The bottomline for Keshvinder is that he’s still friendly to all, including the opposition alliance, except some in the DAP. He thinks that his political foes in the DAP are spreading the rumours that he has been neglecting the people in his constituency. Hence no doubt his re-branding purportedly in preparation for his entry into the PPP where he does not mind being treated as a nobody. He won’t be demanding any posts in PPP unlike in DAP which he left because he was “marginalised and treated as a nobody”. Why accept from PPP what he was not willing to tolerate in DAP?

There seems to be some truth in the DAP’s allegations against Keshvinder. There’s no smoke without fire. Of course, the DAP has a more colourful way of describing Keshvinder since his defection but it would be kinder not to mention the venom reserved for him by not only the party but by the people as well. They swear that they are just waiting to punish him at the next general election.

A hung Parliament

Keshvinder isn’t the first frog in politics in the country. He won’t be the last either if the next general election produces, as expected, a hung Parliament. But that’s a different story.

Sabah is a precedent of what’s likely to happen to Keshvinder and the other “BN-friendly” legislators at the next general election if they don’t return soon to Pakatan. Those who jumped ship from the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) in 1994 were rejected by the voters at the subsequent general election.

Among those punished was Jeffrey Kitingan, the younger brother of PBS president Joseph Pairin Kitingan. In fact, as it subsequently emerged, it was Pairin himself who instructed Jeffrey to sacrifice himself for a while and be the eyes and ears of the PBS in other political parties.

Unless Keshvinder and the other “BN friendly” ex-Pakatan legislators are into politics in the abstract, complex and sophisticated mould of the Kitingans, it’s unlikely that they would remain relevant and last the pace as Jeffrey has done especially if they veer towards the BN.

Even today, the suspicion lingers that the Kitingan brothers are working hand-in-glove and that “Jeffrey’s politics is all about protecting PBS”, a party he co-founded with his elder brother in 1985.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since 1994. Even then the speculation in the grapevine continues that Jeffrey would return to PBS in a jiffy if he can take over from Pairin as party president. That would require Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s blessings as Pairin is reported to have advised Jeffrey recently amidst rumours that the elder Kitingan was not exactly in the pink of health.

Political lifeline

Jeffrey is more inclined to remain, as at present, the de facto PKR chief in Sabah and Sarawak, according to his inner circle.

Jeffrey has dismissed the speculation as “sheer nonsense” when it was levelled at him in public not so long ago by PKR Batu Sapi division chief Hassnar Ebrahim based on the “blood is thicker than water” link.

Pakatan co-ordinator Zaid Ibrahim might offer the “BN- or people-friendly” defectors a more modest political lifeline of sorts when he launches his new party, dubbed “PKR Baru” or Parti Keadilan Baru, next month. There’s space here for all those who defected from PKR and DAP to become “BN-friendly”. Apparently, they had been having second thoughts since then on their haste to jump from the frying pan (Pakatan) into the fire (BN).

Zaid’s new outfit is likely to seek and obtain membership in Pakatan with the backing of DAP and PAS, if not de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim. The majority of PKR members can be expected to welcome Zaid in Pakatan since the alternative would be his reluctant defection to BN. The mood in the opposition alliance is for a closing of ranks. This calls for the return of the prodigal sons, Keshvinder and Zaid & Co, since BN remains as from before the common enemy.

With friends like RPK, Haris Ibrahim, PKR doesn't need enemies

The knives are out for Anwar - Umno offers big money for his scalp
I recently wrote an article thinking aloud why Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) the blogger now-in-exile in Britain has been writing some articles highly critical of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, especially regarding its de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but I tempered my concern with giving benefit of the doubt to the blogger now resident abroad that he might have been misinformed or disinformed by his cronies back home including civil rights lawyer-cum-blogger Haris Ibrahim.

My main criticism was that RPK had always written promoting Reformasi from 1998, marked by his outstanding role of director of FreeAnwarCampaign (FAC), and generally working in concert with opposition parties and non-governmental organisations(NGOs) towards change in government at the federal level. But recent writings had given rise to concern he was giving lots of ammunition to the ruling BN regime, especialy UMNO, to attack the Pakatan Rakyat. And today's New Sunday Times proves again my point -- its page 9 report shows that following the departure of former PKR deputy presidential candidate Zaid Ibrahim, RPK has become the "flavour of the month" of the MSM.

In fact, most Malaysians long to see the birth of a two-party/coalition system in this country -- surely a central message sent by the March 8, 2008 General Elections (GE12)? My contention is that PR consisting of PKR, DAP and PAS, now form the only viable alternative coalition able to topple the BN government in Putrajaya, and hence must be given a chance to prove themselves. I add that any third force, however well-intentioned, would only become a new impediment to PR's march on Putrajaya.

I have mentioned Haris in tandem with RPK because their efforts in moving civil society often are inter-connected in timing, and objectives, but whether by design or in revision of stands, the duo are caught flat footed in their contradictions when promoting their preferred candidate to take over PKR Zaid Ibrahim, and curently The Third Force in Malaysian politics.

I clearly recall that RPK, in elaborating on the third force, had stressed that it's NEVER meant to field any canidates in the forthcoming general elections, especially the GE13. Using the public-listed companies as an analogy, he said the third force would act like an auditor, to check the listed company's accounts and watch out for discrepancies, or waywardness by its directors and management chiefs. One point I would ask: The listed companies always appoint their own auditors who are qualified for this role, but whose mandate are this third force using to self-appoint themselves as auditors to the three components of the PR?

In fact, in my earlier article I had quoted Haris as saying the third force -- now birthing as Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) in London -- had identified some 30 men/women of integrity to stand as candidates in GE13, and some 20 had agreed to stand, and they would want DAP and PKR to allow these candiadtes to stand under their party banner, according to a Star report dated Nov 17, 2010. I had questioned why would these well established parties with their own selection criteria privatise such an important role to outside parties. This stance was also restated by leaders like PKR strategy director Tian Chua besides Dr Syed Husin.

This Third Force is neither third nor force, according to just retired PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali. In fact he sarcastically shared at a mew conference in conjunction with recent party Congress a "revealing" episode, relating that preceding the March 2008 elections, a representation was made to him to allow a Third Force candidate to stand under PKR banner. Syed Husin knew of this "guy" candidate quite well, so he told off the backers that they should have done a thorough background check and would have found that their nominee was a regular pub-goer who often ended up drunk.

Let me now reproduce the NST report dated December 12, 2010 in full, and I reiterate that the headline itself again proved my point that RPK is providing grist to the MSM to attack PKR and PR frontally, with banner headlines likely to be used by the UMNO campaigners cometh GE13.

'Some PR reps not fit to walk a dog'

KUALA LUMPUR: Raja Petra Kamaruddin has reiterated his disappointment at what he views as the lack of commitment to reforms by Pakatan Rakyat.

After virtually reprimanding his most recognisable political ally Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a London political forum on Oct 2 for not honouring campaign promises, the fugitive blogger wrote in his latest blog posting: "But what is Pakatan Rakyat's excuse? Pakatan Rakyat talks about reforms. But what reforms are they themselves introducing?

"They demand that Barisan Nasional reform. Should not Pakatan Rakyat demonstrate what it means by reforms by first of all reforming itself?

"In a nutshell, this is what I mean when I say that the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) seeks to reform the political environment of Malaysia. Note that our target to push for reforms is not just Barisan Nasional but also Pakatan Rakyat.

"And I will continuously write about how things are done elsewhere and ask why we can't also do the same in Malaysia.

"And I will not accept the argument that we can't also do that because our skin is black, brown, cocoa or yellow and not white.

"It is not the external colour of our skin that determines advancement. It is our brain and how we utilise it that will."

At the Oct 2 Friends of Pakatan Rakyat Forum in London with Anwar, and now Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Tian Chua, Raja Petra launched an attack on Pakatan's failure to implement "not a single one of the reform agenda contained in the People's Declaration".

He said this was an improved version of the Agenda of Change authored by Anwar in 1998.

According to Raja Petra, the People's Declaration was drawn up by what he termed as the civil society movement and was adopted by Pakatan parties as their manifesto for the March 2008 general election.

Three other non-Pakatan parties, too, embraced the People's Declaration, Raja Petra said.

He argued that the move and the spirited efforts of activists and bloggers like him had helped Pakatan gain seats. And now some 21/2 years after the election, not a single one of the reforms had been implemented.

As seen from the video recording of the event, Anwar had smiled approvingly when Raja Petra started addressing the forum but no longer smiled as the speech wore on.

Raja Petra offered not himself, but credible personalities from the civil society movement to be fielded as Pakatan candidates in the next general election.

As for some of the candidates fielded by Pakatan in 2008, Raja Petra, quoting his wife had said, "some of them, I can't even trust to walk my dog".

Raja Petra described them as an embarrassment.

(NST report ends here)

RPK asked in a reaction article to my piece titled "Why RPK is acting out (of character)" asked "Have I really changed?", and in a partial reply, I just said we all as individuals "grow up" with passing years, and that only the person himself or herself (including this writer!) would be able to answer truthfully if he/she has changed characterwise or with respect to the causes he/she once championed. But today, a month later, I conclude that RPK, your struggle has indeed changed direction, and you are treating PKR, and Anwar, as the enemy bigger than BN-UMNO. WHY?

So today when I opened up the New Straits Times, I wasn't surprised by the page 9 lead item headline; totally in character with his previous Oct 13's header: "Umno is Beginning to Look Better Than PKR"

So Pakatan Rakyat be forewarned that you would have to "review" your election strategies with the probable entry of MCLM or Third Force candidates, however you call them, now or revised because the promoters don't seem to know their directions and mandate. Maybe they will be strengthened by their well-linked ally Zaid Ibrahim-- in the next general elections?

The Rakyat/electorate must stay focused and united in rejecting a third, or fourth or fifth force; by contesting, they will only become "spoilers", siphoning off votes from the PR, hence benefiting the BN. Foremost on our mind must be to question where these sudden new forces get their monies from? Whose agenda are they really fighting for ?

Who are you to act like a SUPRA-GOVERNMENT BODY just because you have drawn up a People's Declaration via the People's Parliament via Can an elite group meeting outside the country -- be it in London, Paris or Timbuktu, I care not -- totally a crowd of some 50 to 100 Malaysians carry the Malaysian fight for "A better Malaysia"? If you remain a cyber-voice writing pieces of concern for the homeland, I can live with that. But shortlisting candidates of impeccable character,playing a demi-god role? No, a BIG resounding No!

I end with a recollection of my criticism when it was made known that more than a decade ago, MCA leader Ng Yen Yen was a permanent resident of Australia when she was made a Senator. My stand then was,and still is, that I hold nothing against Malaysians having PR overseas, but I am firm that Yen Yen should NOT remain a Senator and continue to play active role in the country's politics as her loyalties were/are split. In fact, in passing, I too wrote a letter to the PM's Department too objecting to an Aussie PR being appointed as Editor-in-Chief of the Star, more or less on the same principle that one must not have any "conflict-of-interest" situation that often arises with high profile posts.

I too wish that Malaysians abroad who wish to play any significant role such as taking part in the country's elections by initiating or becoming Third Force candidates, or serving as a Cabinet minister, to return home to fight the battles. And help sincerely PR and the people's efforts to win the war for Putrajaya.

Why launch an MCLM in London, and announcing candidates to shove down the PR component parties throats? Maybe the BN regime under Najib Tun Razak will be more accomodating absorbing them -- hence the direct Barisan Nasional membership?

The UMNO leaders seem suddenly to become reform-minded, and so willing to co-opt Taiwan-returned graduate-rapper "Namewee" aka Wee Meng Chee -- why not also co-opt the 20 men of integrity nominated by Haris Ibrahim? I wonder if indeed we are seeing the emergence of The Third Force or The Third Farce?

- YL Chong is a reader and contributor to Malaysia Chronicle 

Muhyiddin, you have lost the plot

Using your own logic, what are those people who voted for your party in the last elections going to feel because they are caught in a constituency in which the opposition candidate got more votes and because of that they are being left out?


Americk Sidhu

“Development funds are being channeled to Barisan Nasional MPs constituencies only. There is no intention to channel any funds to those constituencies represented by opposition MPs.”

This is what our very own Deputy Prime Minister has categorically stated. I have read and reread the report appearing in The Star on Friday December 10th. There is no mistake. He repeated himself a few times. This man ‘shot down a request that the Federal Government extend development funds to opposition MPs’.

I must confess I am flabbergasted by this infantile attitude which reflects the immaturity of the ‘leaders’ of this nation. These people are not fit to hold office. They obviously do not understand basic concepts.

We are not in primary school Mr. Muhyiddin. We are not supposed to be punished because the headmaster doesn’t like our faces. You are supposed to be running a country. You are a servant of the people who pay you to administer THEIR country. You have no right to discriminate against those you do not like. That is not your job.

Let me explain this to you simply lest you become confused by technicalities.

You see, a government is formed by the party with the most number of seats in Federal Parliament. That’s your party. There are other seats occupied by Malaysians representing other Malaysians who did not vote for your party but nevertheless are entitled to the same benefits of those Malaysians who did.

This is what a ‘democracy’ is all about. This means you get elected by a majority of the people to run the country for everyone. You are an employee of the people and I mean ALL the people and not just the ones who voted for you.

Do you follow so far?

Part of your job is to be entrusted with the country’s coffers. Everyone contributes to these coffers, not just the people who voted for you.

If you represented only those people who contributed to these coffers, you would never have been elected because most people would probably choose to use their money more wisely. Therefore you are running a government whose funds come from both your supporters and the supporters of the opposition. This is because everyone, unfortunately, has to pay taxes irrespective of whether they are members of Barisan Nasional or not.

Are you still following me?

Good. Then you will now begin to appreciate that the money you have been entrusted with belongs not to you or your mates but to everyone in the country. It is not your personal money. It is the rakyat's money. It belongs to every Malaysian, even those who chose not to vote for your gang.

Are things becoming clearer now?

Therefore when you spend OUR money, you cannot be selective. If you feel you are able to allocate some funds for the betterment of the average citizen’s welfare, you must consider all citizens. You cannot select a few citizens to benefit from your misguided generosity based not on need but on your own whims and fancies. That is not the way things are supposed to work.

Otherwise it would be called ‘discrimination’, (or even bribery).

Yes, I know they are long words but let me try and explain by drawing you a simple analogy.

Just suppose you had, instead, said you were going to give out government ‘ang pows’ to only those Malaysians who agree to attend your eldest son’s wedding. What do you imagine the reaction to that decision would be?

Don’t you think all those people who declined the invitation to attend the wedding would feel a little disgruntled?

Do you get my drift?

Can you now see that what you have said is really inappropriate?

Using your own logic, what are those people who voted for your party in the last elections going to feel because they are caught in a constituency in which the opposition candidate got more votes and because of that they are being left out?

Do you think by ‘punishing’ those who voted for the opposition (and in so doing punishing your own supporters), will necessarily mean more votes for you next time around? Is that your logic?

Well, try this. Give everyone the benefit of development funds and perhaps everyone will vote for you next time. Or are you just simply unable to think outside the box?