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Friday, January 28, 2011

Kugan’s mom: Give me back my son

The family's lawyer also urges the government to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the youth's death in police custody two years ago.

PETALING JAYA:  Crushed by the court’s decision to free a policeman charged with causing grievous hurt to her deceased son, N Indra broke down in tears at a press conference here.

When asked to speak, the 42-year-old housewife could not find the words, and muttered to her lawyer N Surendran amid sobs, “I want my son back… give me back my son.”

Kugan’s aunt S Renuga, who was also present, said that the family was saddened by the Session Court’s decision to acquit Constable V Navindran this morning.

“When his death was highlighted, (Attorney-General) Abdul Gani (Patail) said there were 11 suspects. Now, not even one has been convicted. So where did his injuries come from?” asked the ashen-faced woman, urging the public to support the family’s call for justice.

Meanwhile, Surendran urged the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the 21-year-old youth’s death in police custody two years ago.

“The commission must be given wide powers to find out who murdered Kugan,” he said.
Kugan, whose body was found riddled with scars, was detained to facilitate investigations into a car theft syndicate.

While the initial post-mortem concluded that he had died of fluid accumulation in the lungs, a second post-mortem commissioned by the family claimed that he was beaten, starved and burnt with a hot iron.

Surendran, who is also PKR vice-president, called on Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail to resign for failing to secure a conviction.

“Gani should be held personally responsible for the prosecution’s incompetence. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should personally answer for this,” he said.

MIC urges Najib to form IPCMC
Meanwhile, MIC information chief S Murugesan said a proper mechanism must be put in place to check the alarming number of death in custody cases.

“The acquittal in Kugan’s case just goes to show that we do not have a proper mechanism to monitor and bring to book those responsible for such deaths.

“At the moment, the police investigate death of inmates in its custody. Justice must not only be done but seen to be done as well,” he added.

Murugesan pointed out that in circumstances where the investigators were from the same agency under whose watch death occurred, the issue of impartiality and transparency arose.

Furthermore, he added, the number of convictions secured for death in police custody cases spoke volumes on the ineffectiveness of the current system.

In view of this, Murugesan urged Prime Minister Najib to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

“The commission should have full powers to receive complaints, investigate, publish reports and prosecute those responsible in cases of death in custody.

“It will help restore public confidence in our police force and show the seriousness of the government in dealing with the issue,” he added.

No prima facie case
This morning, Justice Aslam Zainuddin said that Navindran was not required to enter his defence at the end of the prosecution case.

He added that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the constable.

Navindran, 28, faced two counts of causing grievous hurt to Kugan, 23, at the D9 interrogation room at the Taipan police station, Subang Jaya, at 7am on Jan 16, 2009. The offences carry a maximum 10 years jail and a fine upon conviction.

Navindran also faced two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan at the same place and time, which carry a maximum seven years jail and a fine on conviction.

Humans may have left Africa for Eurasia earlier than believed

Humans may have left Africa for Eurasia earlier than believed
These small hand axes are at least 100,000 years old. A team of scientists found these tools in the United Arab Emirates.

Scientists have discovered new evidence suggesting that modern humans first left Africa to explore Eurasia much earlier than previously thought.

An international team of scientists has uncovered a tool kit that indicates that modern humans, who looked and perhaps behaved much like us, must have lived in eastern Arabia about 100,000 to 125,000 years ago. The collection of small hand axes, scrapers and other tools was found in Jebel Faya, United Arab Emirates. A report about the discovery appears in the journal Science.

The people who made these tools "are our ancestors, I have no doubt about that," said Hans-Peter Uerpmann, of the University of Tubingen in Germany, who collaborated on the project, at a press teleconference Wednesday.

But the findings still do not prove definitively that modern humans made these tools, as the researchers did not find human remains near them, said Ted Goebel, anthropologist at Texas A&M University, who was not involved in the study. They potentially could have been made by Neanderthals or Neanderthal-like hominids, who were already in Eurasia at that time, Goebel said.

Previous research suggested that modern humans first left Africa along the coast by way of the Indian Ocean rim about 60,000 years ago, based on genetic evidence.

But the tool kit suggests that humans arrived on the Arabian Peninsula much earlier. Scientists say the tool shapes, indicative of what would have been made in Africa, indicate that humans did not need technological innovation to get there.

Stanley Ambrose, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois who was not involved in the research, agreed that the structure of the axes found at the site are indicative of human-made objects from East Africa.

But, as Goebel said, human skeletons are needed to prove the connection.

"It's in Africa they produce hand axes, but also what are called foliates, leaf-shaped bifacial pieces. These simply do not occur in the rest of southwest Asia," Anthony Marks, study co-author and retired professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas said at the teleconference.

Instead, the researchers say, environmental factors aided the humans' departure. There was a global ice age between 200,000 and 130,000 years ago, during which global sea levels fell and desert belts expanded, Marks said. During that time, modern humans would have had to stay in East Africa, as it would have been hard to cross the deserts.

But then, warmer temperatures came in about 130,000 years ago in the "interglacial" period, giving way to savanna grasses with lakes and rivers. Around that time, Marks said, the southern Red Sea had water levels about 328 feet (100 meters) lower than what's found there today, and was also much narrower. This would have facilitated an easier crossing into Arabia.

The humans could have walked, or used rafts or boats, which they were capable of making, Uerpmann said. Their descendants may have moved toward the Persian Gulf, which was smaller then, and into Mesopotamia, or eastward along the Iranian coast to the Indian subcontinent, he said.

Although there has been extensive genetic study pointing to humans' departure 60,000 years ago, there is no archaeological evidence for this, Marks said. Genetics give a sequence of happenings, but cannot say how and when the events occurred, Uerpmann said. The archaeological record is better than genetics for this reason, he said.

Still, Goebel says he is cautious because the method for dating in the study, called luminescence dating, is not much more precise than extrapolating dates from genetics, and gives a large range of possible dates of origin for objects.

HRP Media Event : Appeal to High Court Judge 14 year old innocent Juvenile Mugelan a/l Mahendran imprisoned for 2 ½ months now without being found guilty as his family cannot afford RM 1, 700.00 Bail.

No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241
Fax : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245
Website: E-mail:

Your Reply :

In Reply :

HRP Media Event 28/01/2011 ( Friday )
RE: 1) Pro Bono public interest Revision / Appeal to K.L High Court Judge on 14 year old innocent Juvenile Mugelan a/l Mahendran imprisoned for 2 ½ months now without being found guilty as his family cannot afford RM 1, 700.00 Bail and the K.L Juvenile Court on 26/1/2011 dismissing his application for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for being groundless (CPC) and according to Child Act 2001. Tip of iceberg of such atrocities on many more such Indian juveniles on a day to day basis in the K.L Juvenile Court alone. Abuse of police and Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail’s powers.

Date : 28 /01/2011 ( Friday )
Time : 11.00 a.m
Venue : Ground Floor Lobby K.L, Court Complex, Jalan Duta, K.L.
Note : The Juvenile’s mother, family and lawyers would be present.
Thank you.
Your faithfully,
(Information Chief)
(H/P No : 012-636 2287)
O/FILE JAN 2011 – PC3 (V)

Cop cleared of hurting Kugan

Navindran was the sole officer charged over the death. — file pic

PETALING JAYA, Jan 28 — The Sessions Court here found police constable V. Navindran today not guilty of causing grievous hurt to A. Kugan when the latter was detained by the police two years ago.

In making his decision, Judge Aslam Zainuddin said the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the police constable.

Navindran, 28, was charged under Section 331 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine, upon conviction.

He was accused for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extract a confession from the 23-year-old Kugan, who died at the USJ police station lock-up on January 20, 2009.

He had also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan under Section 330 of the Penal Code. Kugan had then been detained on suspicion of having been involved in car thefts.

Outside the courtroom, Navidran told reporters that he will resume his work as a constable at Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya.

“I am very happy and I would like to thank my lawyer and the court,” he said.

DPP Abazafree Mohd Abbas later confirmed that the prosecution was awaiting orders from the Attorney-General on whether to appeal against the decision.

Kugan’s death sparked a nationwide uproar and reinforced the public’s general lack of faith in the police force.

Many critics have pointed out that Kugan’s death was one of the many custodial deaths in Malaysia, mostly involving Indians detained by police, which further alienated the community.

Kugan died after being held for five days in police detention to aid investigations over the theft of luxury cars.

The death was initially classified as sudden death and attributed to water in his lungs according, to an initial post-mortem report.

However, the case was reclassified as murder following public outcry.

A second post-mortem was conducted at the insistence of his family, and pictures from it released online indicated Kugan had suffered severe injuries on his body. This supported widespread belief that he was tortured while in police custody.

The reluctance on the part of the police to allow a second post-mortem and the significant differences in the two reports, including descriptions of the extent of injuries and the actual cause of death, has also raised accusations of an attempted cover-up.

Following Kugan’s death, 11 rank and file policemen were transferred to desk duty at the Selangor police headquarters.

Kugan’s case: Constable walks free

PETALING JAYA: The Sessions Court here today ruled that Constable V Navindran be discharged and acquitted from facing charges of causing grievous hurt to suspected car thief A Kugan two years ago.

Justice Aslam Zainuddin said that Navindran was not required to enter his defence at the end of the prosecution case this morning.

He added that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the police constable.

Navindran, 28, faced two counts of causing grievous hurt to Kugan, 23, at the D9 interrogation room at the Taipan police station, Subang Jaya, at 7am on Jan 16, 2009. The offences carry a maximum 10 years jail and a fine on conviction.

Navindran also faced two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan at the same place and time, which carry a maximum seven years jail and a fine on conviction.

Earlier in the trial, witnesses have testified that Navindran had beaten Kugan with a rubber hose even when it was not his turn to interrogate the suspect.

The decision today is not expected to sit down well with Kugan’s family members who want those responsible to his death to be punished.

Navidran later told reporters that he will return to work as a constable at Taipan police station.

“I would like to thank my lawyer and the court,” he said.

DPP Abazafree Mohd Abbas later confirmed that the prosecution was awaiting orders from the Attorney-General on whether to appeal against the decision.

On Jan 14, Kugan, from Puchong, was arrested to facilitate investigations into a luxury car theft syndicate. Six days later, he was dead.

Family members who stormed the mortuary found Kugan’s body riddled with severe lacerations. But the first mortem concluded that Kugan had died as a result of fluid accumulation in the lungs.

The family then commissioned a second post-mortem, which disclosed that the deceased was burnt, beaten and starved during detention.

‘What will Umno lose by banning Interlok?’

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 200 non-governmental organisations have banded together to form the National Interlok Action Team (NIAT) to urge the government to withdraw the book from the secondary school compulsory reading list.

NIAT council member, A Rajaretnam, said that the new coalition, under the leadership of Mohammad Haji Tasleem, was founded on the premise that the Interlok novel cannot, under any circumstances, be used as an educational material in schools.

He said that the book has to be withdrawn from schools with immediate effect and replaced with other books from the other zones.

He also said that all the negotiations on the amendments to Interlok were secondary and subject to approval by the Indian community.

“We will have a nationwide forum to explain to the people about the real issue in the book,” he told FMT after last night’s emergency meeting which saw more than 200 NGOs in attendance.

Rajaretnam said that there was no plausible reason why the government cannot remove the book from the list of compulsory readings in school.

“We want to know what has Umno got to lose if the book is removed and banned. The book is hurting us, not them (Umno),” he said.

Rajaretnam also chastised the government for seeking only MIC views and not taking the issue directly to the people.

“He (Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin) can refer to MIC which secretly supports the book, but do not forget that at some point the government will still have to come back to us for votes. We will remember this,” he said.

On NIAT’s next move now that Muhyiddin has declared that the book stays on the authorised list of reading material, Rajaretnam said that a hunger strike would be held in Brickfield on Sunday.

He said that some 50 university students and youths would take part in the one-day strike.

Inept MIC

Meanwhile, an MIC member today hammered the party for its poor handling of the issue.

Calling MIC a “traitor to Indians”, the source said that the party leadership, the Education Ministry and the Cabinet had already decided to only remove the word “pariah” and keep the book.

“It’s all a drama… they have already decided to remove the ‘pariah’ word from Interlok. They (government and MIC) had no plans to ban the book.

“This is MIC manipulating the situation. It played along with Umno to divert the community’s attention from the other hidden issue in the book.

“We think the federal government directed the school to use the novel as literature book although it is aware that it was a derogatory depiction of the Indian community,” the member, who did not want to be named, he said.

He said that the real issue within Interlok was not the word “pariah” but the “idea and nuances” perpetuated by the book’s content.

“The whole ‘pariah’ word issue is simply a distraction. If you read the book, you will understand that the book aims to stress the fact that Chinese and Indians came to this country as immigrants searching for a life which was better that their homeland.

“Life was hard for them back home. In contrast, Malaya was paradise. So don’t question Malay rights and privileges.

“Interlok simply wants the Chinese and Indians to accept their lot and be thankful to the Malays,” he said.

Noting that he had been an MIC member for 30 years, the MIC member said that he was grossly embarrassed by how MIC had handled the controversial issue.

Meanwhile, the Interlok controversy is not over yet with an NGO planning to step up protest. The World Tamil Preservation Society says it will burn copies of the Interlok book in front of the Subramaniam temple in Labis at 6pm today

Millions more for ‘helicopter charges’

KUCHING: What could possibly justify a RM15 million increase in allocations for the 10th Sarawak election? And where would the additional RM15 million, which incidentally wasn’t there six months ago, be channelled?

Would it go towards “helicopter charges” as indicated by the Sarawak Election Commission’s latest disclosure that it had allocated RM45 million for the 10th state polls? Or will it translate into a government’s “gift” to ease the burden of the people?

Those in the “know” are already doing their mathematics.

Sarawak has some 6,000 longhouses and despite the state’s immense oil and gas resources it is, unfortunately, the fourth poorest state in the country.

The bulk of these precarious-looking longhouses have no clean water or electricity and children walk hours at a stretch to get to their abysmal-looking schools. If they are lucky, they’ll have two square meals.

The federal government’s latest round of withdrawal of subsidies and oil hikes has upped the price of kerosene (an essential item in every longhouse) to over RM4.50 a litre and likewise the cost of basic necessities such as sugar, flour and rice.

In fact, the additional burden had been the recent incessant rain which led to Sarawak’s worst seen floods in recent years.

The prices of basic necessities are not only high, they have skyrocketed. At a time like this, money, any amount, will be literally godsent!

These interesting posers have put a different spin on state EC director Takun Sunggah’s revelations about the RM45 million allocation for the Sarawak polls.

Sunggah had said the allocations “were justified” because Sarawak was a vast state with many areas only accessible by air “especially by helicopters”.

Didn’t the EC know this six months ago when their KL boss, chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof declared, here, that it was “ready to conduct the 10th Sarawak state election and has set aside RM30 million for the purpose”?

Incidentally, the infrastructure situation in Sarawak has not seen any major changes since August last year when Aziz announced the EC’s preparedness.

The vast expanse of Sarawak’s interior is still only accessible by dirt roads or logging tracts, boats or by air. And the natives, urban and rural, are still battling Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s regime for their land rights, among others.

‘Most exciting polls ever’

In 2006, the EC had allocated RM31 million for the state polls, the bulk of which Aziz had said was also for “helicopter charges”.

Can anyone tell FMT how much it really costs and are not army helicopters part of the “machinery” at the government’s disposal?

Sarawak with its 71 state constituencies is seeing for the first time ever a consolidated battle between parties for political power.

In the ring are ruling Sarawak Barisan Nasional team comprising Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP).

Opposing them is the Pakatan Rakyat coalition of PAS, DAP and PKR, Sarawak National Pary (SNAP), Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) and other minor players and independents.

Taib’s team currently holds 62 of the 71 seats contested in the 2006 state polls.

His PBB won all its 35 seats, including in 27 Malay-majority seats, while SUPP won 11 seats and PRS and SPDP took eight each.

The rest is held by DAP and independents.

In the upcoming state polls, an empowered opposition is expected to unleash its full might on Taib’s team.

Already DAP has declared that it has 15 seats in the bag, while SNAP has said it will contest in 28 Dayak-majority areas. PAS is reportedly eyeing PBB’s 27 Malay-majority seats.

Since BN’s unprecedented defeat in the Sibu parliamentary by-election last year, there has been a mood-swing leaning towards the opposition.

The increased presence and access of alternative media – online news portals, blogsites, online radio, TV and print (opposition party vernacular newsletters) – spilling the “truth” about Taib’s extensive wealth, locally and abroad, and his family’s opulent lifestyle are fodder for kitchen and coffeeshop banter.

The corporate corridors are also rumbling over lack of business opportunities and the arbitrary awards of contracts to Taib’s family members and cronies.

There is also the increasing pile of lawsuits against the Taib regime for land grabs and illegal loggings.

According to a civil servant, the coming Sarawak polls will be the “most exciting ever”.

“Winning and losing are secondary to the information download here. People are now more aware of what is happening in Sarawak.

“Even in the rural areas, people are talking,” he said.

Sexism and the role of women’s groups

Last October, the local Mandarin daily Kwong Wat Yit Poh, as part of its coverage of the Asian Games, carried a picture of women swimmers with this caption: “Makes you unable to restrain yourself.”

The writer, in assuming that all his male readers shared his prurient thoughts when looking at a picture of women in swimsuits, insulted both men and women. But it was a women’s group, the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), which complained about it in a letter to an online news portal.

Indeed, if the women of this country are to see a change in their lot, it is up to them to do the work. They certainly cannot depend on government agencies, not even the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, which has remained silent in the face of sexist media portrayals of women and displays of bigotry by male public officials.

All this despite Malaysia being a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

In 2009, the director-general of the Labour Department, Ismail Abdul Rahim, revealed both his ignorance and his sexist attitude when he ridiculed the need for a Sexual Harassment Act, saying it “could lead to a dull and rigid environment in the workplace”.

It would be a waste of time to talk to such a bigot about Cedaw, which seeks, among other things, to safeguard women’s dignity at the workplace.

Perhaps he was just lucky not to have been maimed by women’s groups. But we may well ask: Where were the women’s groups?

Ismail is just one of the many chauvinistic high-powered figures dispensing their pea-brained thoughts to the Malaysian public. With so many of them running around scot-free, it is no wonder that media organisations run riot showing women as sex objects.

For instance, they have no qualms carrying advertisements showing women as lusty or sex-starved. One example is the Super Power coffee commercial that shows a husband taking his wife to a genie, seeking “power” to copulate satisfactorily.

Another advertisement, for the Orang Kampung Kacip Fatimah, shows the husband all too impatient to get home from work. He runs up to his bedroom to join his wife, who has just had a drink containing kacip fatimah, a traditional herb taken by women for its aphrodisiac effect.

Then there is the Ombak Besar advertisement that talks about bigger breasts for women.

In a country where the government can push through any new law it likes, why are such lewd messages allowed? Isn’t the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry offended? Or is there a gag order barring it from taking these television stations to task?

Even perfume advertisements, both on television and in magazines, unabashedly use women to sell their products. Likewise, neither Malaysia Airlines nor AirAsia has ever failed to flaunt its female cabin crew in announcements of new fares. What happened to the male stewards’?

Changing mindest

Women’s groups must always remember that they exist to protect and defend women’s rights at all costs. Writing letters to editors is not enough. It is a shame that not a single women’s organisation marched up to Ismail’s office to rebuke him for his atrocity.

Educating the media is difficult, but it is not an impossible task. Perhaps the best strategy is one that brings about a change in the mindset of editors. This could lead to a smart partnership between the women’s groups and the media establishments.

There is much work for the women’s groups to do against the prevalent sexist mindset. Nowadays, not even the movie theatres are spared.

In a recent Malay movie, Cuti-cuti Cinta, there is a scene in which the hero points to the female lead’s breasts and says, “Ni apa? Nasi lemak 50 sen?” This piece of dialogue went uncensored, but not the fleeting sight of Sharifah Amani’s belly button in Dalil Cinta, which was aired by TV3 on Nov 28. What criteria are the censors using?

Women’s groups should worry about such trivialisation of women, their bodies and their concerns.

In 2008, when a restaurant employee accused former minister Jamaluddin Jarjis of sexual harassment, what was the reaction of women’s groups? Nothing. In less than 24 hours, the complainant withdrew her statutory declaration, saying she was “used” to Jamaluddin’s “rough ways” and jokes. Jamaluddin got away without the slightest reprimand from any women’s group.

When it comes to defending women’s rights, women’s groups cannot just pick and choose their issues. When advocating women’s welfare, they must not allow themselves to be cowed by the threat of being blacklisted because of the “sensitivity” of the cause being championed.

It is no crime to march in the streets or to government departments to demand that women be treated with the same respect accorded to men.

While women’s groups are busy dealing with issues like amendments to the Penal Code on rape and looking at ways to empower women, these will be good only if the chauvinists and bigots – be they politicians, bureaucrats, editors, film-makers or owners of media organisations – are challenged and persuaded to change their sexist mentality.

The story of the four Tan Sris

Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow Sin has quit as a member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel. What is the story behind his resignation and what is the link with another three Tan Sris -- Tajuddin Ramli, Gani Patail and Ramon Navaratnam?
Raja Petra Kamarudin


DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE FILE. To play the recording, go to the link above and click the play button (RIGHT ARROW BUTTON) on the player icon (see sample below).

Kugan custodial death case: Cop acquitted of causing hurt

By M. Mageswari, The Star

PETALING JAYA: Police constable Navindran Vivekanandan, 30, was acquitted by the Sessions Court over two counts of causing grievous hurt to suspected car thief A.Kugan, who died in police custody in 2009.

His defence was not called.

Sessions Court judge Aslam Zainuddin ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.

On hearing the verdict, Kons Navindran said he was happy and thankful to God.

He said he was looking forward to returning to the police force where he has served for 10 years.

Kons Navindran,who was attached to the Subang Jaya district police station, is alleged to have committed the offence against the 22-year-old to extort a confession or information which might have led to the detection of an offence or misconduct.

He was accused of causing grievous hurt to Kugan, then 23, at the interrogation room of the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya, between 7am and 4pm on Jan 16 last year.

He was charged under Section 331 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine, upon conviction.

He had also pleaded not guilty to two alternative charges of causing hurt to Kugan under Section 330 of the Penal Code.

The trial, went on for 25 days from Feb 18 with the prosecution offering 24 witnesses.

"Makkal Sakti will always support Barisan Nasional"

(Malaysian Digest) - Malaysia Makkal Sakti president, R S Thanenthiran today lodged a police report against Kannan Ramasamy who allegedly has been masquerading as the party’s president while campaigning for the Opposition in the Tenang by-election which will be held this Sunday.

Thanenthiran said Kannan’s alleged action was intended to mislead voters and irresponsible.

“We (Makkal Sakti) will always support Barisan Nasional (BN) and will make sure that its candidate (Azahar Ibrahim) wins this by-election,” said Thanenthiran.

“This is a dirty trick practiced by the Opposition in this by-election. They want to mislead voters with hope that they will vote Normala (PAS candidate),” he added.

Thanenthiran stressed that he is the legal chairman of of Makkal Sakti while Kannan is a former secretary general of the party who was one of the 13 members who was sacked on 20 January last year for violating party’s constitution.

He said he decided to lodge a police report after reading reports from newspapers that mentioned Kannan making a statement admitting that he is Makkal Sakti’s president and declared that the party supports the Opposition.

“Police report has been lodged and I hope that the authorities will take appropriate action against him (Kannan). We (Makkal Sakti) hope for a clean by-election. Our machinery will work to help the BN candidate and we will explain to voters about the exact fact on this matter,” he added.

Home arrow News arrow Legal/General News arrow Conviction against five for unlawful assembly upheld * * Malaysian Bar Web Ads * Malaysian Bar Web Ads * Malaysian Bar Web Ads * Malaysian Bar Web Ads * Malaysian Bar Web Ads Conviction against five for unlawful assembly upheld

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has dismissed an appeal against the conviction of five men found guilty of participating in an unlawful assembly 10 years ago.

Nik Norhafizi Nik Ibrahim, 31, Zulkefli Idris, 31, Ahmad Kamal Abdul Hamid,30, Rafzan Ramli, 34, and Khairul Amal Mahmud, 31 – who were undergraduates at that time – were fined RM3,900 each in default three months’ jail by a magistrate’s court on June 18, 2009.

In her ruling yesterday, High Court judge Justice Su Geok Yiam said the court was satisfied that the appeal had no merit.

She added that Section 27(5)(a) of the Police Act 1967, the section under which the five men were convicted, did not prevent members of the public from exercising their right to assemble, but merely spoke to control or regulate such manner.

The court then upheld the conviction and fine by the magistrate’s court.

The five were charged on July 19, 2001, with participating in an unlawful assembly in the compound of Mesjid Negara between 2pm and 2.15pm on June 8, 2001.

They had taken part in a protest against the Internal Security Act and were held at the Tun H.S. Lee police station lock-up overnight after their arrest.

They were later expelled from their universities.

Their case was heard in a magistrate’s court on July 14, 2003. All five were acquitted in 2005.

Following an appeal by the prosecution, the High Court called the five to enter their defence on Nov 11, 2006, and remitted their case back to the magistrate’s court. The defence case started on March 15, 2007.

Lawyer Edmund Bon represented the five men while DPP Mohd Hafiz Mohd Yusoff acted for the prosecution.

Protesters torch Egypt police post

Angry demonstrators in Egypt have torched a police post in the eastern city of Suez, where violence between police and protesters has racheted up amid a security crackdown.

Police fled the post before protesters used petrol bombs to set it on fire Thursday morning, witnesses told the Reuters news agency. Police in Suez responded to other demonstrators by firing rubber-coated bullets, water cannons and teargas.

Dozens of protersters gathered in front of a second police post later in the morning, demanding the release of relatives who were detained during a wave of unprecedented protests that authorities have failed to quell since they began on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, activists calling for the outser of Hosni Mubarak, who has served as Egypt's president for 30 years, clashed with police in the capital, Cairo, in the early hours of Thursday.

While the situation had calmed later in the morning, the protests are likely to gather momentum with the arrival of Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning former head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, and a potential presidential rival to Mubarak.

Responding to a reporter's question as he departed Vienna for Cairo, ElBaradei said on Thursday that he was ready to "lead the transition" in Egypt if asked.

"If people, in particularly young people, if they want me to lead the transition I will not let them down," ElBaradei told journalists at Vienna airport.

But ElBaradei added: "My priority right now is to see a new Egypt and to see a new Egypt through peaceful transition."

Demonstraters were planning another major protest for Friday, a day often used for protest in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood - the country's technically banned but largest opposition movement - said on Thursday for the first time that it would participate.

Mubarak's whereabouts questioned

Rumours that Mubarak's son, Gamal, had fled the country have swirled in Egypt since Tuesday, the "day of anger" that ignited the protests. But Al Jazeera's Dan Nolan, reporting from Cairo, said that Gamal remained in Cairo and was attending a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Party. Footage from that meeting were to be broadcast on television later on Thursday.

But little was known about President Mubarak's whereabouts, and a senior government official was unable to confirm whether he was in Cairo or the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula.

"You would imagine, with what we've been seeing here - these are unprecedented protests, certainly unprecedented under President Mubarak's rule - that perhaps it might be a good time to address the nation in a televised broadcast or something like that," our correspondent said.

"There's been no indication that he's going to do that. Not even a televised address by the prime minister, only a brief prime ministerial press statement."

In the statement, Ahmed Nazif, the Egyptian prime minister, said that while people were free to express themselves in a peaceful manner, "there will be swift and strong intervention by police to protect national security".

In protests that some activists have explicitly connected with the uprising in Tunisia, Egyptians have defied a government ban on political rallies and taken to the streets in the thousands across several cities to vent their anger against Mubarak's 30-year rule an the emergency national-security laws that have been in place during his entire tenure.

Since the street protests erupted on Tuesday, police have confronted protesters with rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, water cannons and batons, and arrested more than 860 people.

An independent coalition of lawyers said that at least 1,200 people had been detained. At least six people have also been killed.

The turmoil on the streets affected even the country's stock exchange, where trading had to be temporarily suspended on Thursday after stocks dropped more than six per cent.

Defiant protesters

Our correspondent said the protesters seemed determined and continued to gather at various locations, despite the crackdown.

Protesters have constantly regrouped, using Facebook and Twitter to galvanise and co-ordinate their demonstrations.

Calls for another big protest on Friday gathered 24,000 Facebook supporters within hours of being posted. The Muslim Brotherhood's promise to join the protest means that police are likely to crack down harder.

Web activists seem to have acted largely independently of more organised opposition movements, including the Brotherhood, which boasts the biggest grassroots network in the country through its social and charity projects.

There have been reports of blocked Internet access and mobile service interruptions in an apparent government move to thwart protesters from communicating among themselves.

Twitter on Wednesday said its service had been blocked in Egypt. But Al Jazeera's Nolan reported that the site was up and running on Thursday.

Jillian York, who oversees the Herdict web monitoring service at Harvard University, said that Egyptian Facebook users confirmed to her that the website was blocked. Facebook, however, said it had not recorded "major changes" in traffic from Egypt.

US response

Washington, which views Mubarak as a vital ally and bulwark of Middle Eastern peace, has called for calm and urged Egypt to make reforms to meet the protesters' demands.

"We believe strongly that the Egyptian government has an important opportunity at this moment in time to implement political, economic and social reforms to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people," Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, said.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane said that the US must strike a delicate balance.

"Egypt is by far one of the biggest beneficiaries of US foreign aid when it comes to military financing," our Washington DC correspondent said, adding that Egypt received $1.3bn a year from the US, second only to Israel in that respect.

"It would seem then, that the US has some leverage to push the Egyptian government to not crackdown on the protesters," Culhane said. Whether the US choses to exercise that leverage remains to be seen.

Like Tunisians, Egyptians complain about surging prices, lack of jobs, and authoritarian rulers who have relied on heavy-handed security to keep dissenting voices quiet.

Egypt's population of about 80 million is growing by 2 per cent a year. Two thirds of the population is under 30, and that age group accounts for 90 per cent of the jobless. About 40 per cent live on less than $2 a day, and a third are illiterate.

A presidential election is due in September. Egyptians assume that the 82-year-old Mubarak plans either to remain in control or hand power to his son. Father and son both deny that Gamal, 47, is being groomed for the job.

Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

UMNO: Royal Commisssion headed by Supreme Court Judge for Teoh Beng Hock or for Aminulrasyid. But never for Krishnan, beaten up and killed in police lock up and with 2 witnesses and hundreds such Indian victims.

police shootingYou get justice in One Malay-sia only if you are a Malay or Chinese who form 90% of the voters. A Malay or chinese death in custody gets the hoo hah treatment, front page coverage, royal commissions, retired supreme courts judges, forensic experts and attractive pathologists flown in, queens counsel, the works my boy! An Indian death gets none! Not even an independent second autopsy.

And if you are and Indian never mind the gross injustices. All UMNO/BN and also PKR, DAP, PAS, NGO’s, Bar Council Civil Society, Indian elite cares a damn simply because the victim is a Indian poor. The poor Indians in Malaysia are doomed. Welcome to Malaysia’s the world’s most racist country.
Our only way forward is HRP’s Project 15/38.

(see NST 27/1/11 headlines and The Star at front page)
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice
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Muhyiddin: ‘Interlok’ stays but with amendments

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The novel “Interlok” will remain as the textbook for the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five but with amendments to several aspects deemed sensitive by the Indian community, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin said.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said an independent panel would be set up to study the types of amendments and would submit recommendations to the government.

“The decision to continue using the novel, with amendments so as not to hurt the feelings of the Indian community, is the best solution,” Muhyiddin (picture) said in a statement.

Muhyiddin said the panel would comprise linguists, academicians, literary figures and representatives of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as well as the Indian community.

“I expect the amendments to be carried out in the near future,” he said, adding that the novel would only be used and distributed to schools once the amendments had been incorporated into it.

While waiting for the process to be completed, he said, the Education Ministry would instruct teachers to continue with the existing syllabus so as not to disrupt the teaching and learning process.

“I believe we have sufficient time to make a thorough amendment so that there will be no more dispute over Interlok,” he said.

The novel, by National Laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussein, became a controversy following the ministry’s decision to use the novel as a literature textbook, with several parties claiming that it contains words deemed sensitive to theIndian community.

Muhyiddin said that the decision was made after taking into consideration the views of all parties, which acknowledged that the book was good in nurturing and strengthening unity among the multi-racial and multi-religious society in Malaysia.

At the same time, he said that any amendment made to the novel would not affect the storyline and the noble message which the writer wanted to convey.

The deputy prime minister was previously reported as saying that he had a formula to resolve the impasse over Interlok.

Muhyiddin said that the consensus to resolve the issue was reach after he, together with MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel and MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam, met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to discuss the matter this morning.

He had also met Palanivel and Subramaniam over the issue yesterday.

In the Barisan Nasional (BN) spirit of consensus, he said, they agreed that the novel would continue to be used as a textbook for the literature component of Bahasa Malaysia for Form Five in Zone 2, namely Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

The amendment to the book would be made, taking into consideration the views of MIC, he said. — Bernama

Anwar, jangan anggap saya ‘nyamuk’: Ummi

KUALA LUMPUR: Saksi kes Liwat I membabitkan Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pada tahun 1998, Ummi Hafilda Ali memberi amaran kepada pihak pembangkang supaya tidak meganggap dirinya sebagai ‘nyamuk’.

Malah Ummi berkata dirinya mungkin akan menjadi salah satu penyumbang utama kepada kejatuhan karier politik Anwar.

“Kalau kaji sejarah Raja Namrud yang menganggap dirinya Tuhan pada zaman Nabi Ibrahim, nyamuk yang kecik itu boleh membawa kemudaratan.

“Jadi Anwar jangan aggap saya nyamuk kerana dia boleh hilang kuasa, kedudukan, integriti sebagai pemimpin, dan segala-galanya.

“Apabila kembalinya ‘nyamuk’ ini, mungkin ‘nyamuk’ ini mungkin akan membawa kepada ‘kematiannya’ dari segi karier politik,” katanya kepada pemberita ketika mengulas respon Anwar apabila dipelawa berdebat berhubung kebenaran kes salah laku seks.

Ummi Hafilda yang juga adik kepada Timbalan Presiden PKR Azmin Ali hari ini hadir di Ibu Pejabat Polis DiRaja Malaysia Bukit Aman untuk berjumpa dengan Pengarah Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah (JSJ) Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin dan membuat laporan polis tentang beberapa isu fitnah yang dihadapinya.

Fitnah jenayah

Antaranya, menurut Ummi berhubung fitnah jenayah yang dilakukan saksi kes yang sama 13 tahun lalu, Baginda Minda dan Raja Kamaruddin Raja Abdul Wahid yang dikenali sebagai ‘Raja Komando’ terhadap dirinya.

Katanya, Baginda yang tidak pernah dikenalinya secara peribadi telah memfitnah beliau berzina dengannya dilaman blog dan media arus perdana walaupun dirinya telah melakukan sumpah laknat 10 tahun yang lalu.

Begitu juga dengan ‘Raja Komando’ yang mengheret setiausaha politik perdana menteri ketika itu Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Datuk Aziz Shamsudin yang beliau kononnya menggelarkan dirinya pelacur namun dinafikan Datuk Aziz, katanya.

“Saya menganggap Baginda dan Raja Komando adalah saksi palsu yang telah dibawa oleh Anwar dalam mahkamah dan kita akan bongkarkan imbuhan yang mereka peroleh setelah mengaibkan dan memfitnah saya.

“Saya ada bukti dimana Raja Komando ini dilantik sebagai Pengerusi Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd (KSSB) yang menguruskan semua projek pasir di Selangor. Saya juga mendapat maklumat Baginda diberikan tanah di Selangor,” katanya.

Selain itu, Ummi juga mahu membuat laporan polis bersama bukti yangakan diserahkan supaya siasatan dijalankan terhadap kekayaan yang diperoleh Azmin dan isterinya, Shamsidar Taharin dalam keadaan yang ‘mencurigakan’.

“Saya memohon polis menyiasat segala kekayaan Azmin dan Shamsidar yang melampaui batas luar biasa di mana Azmin dengan rela telah melacurkan isterinya kepada Timbalan Perdana Menteri ketika itu yang merangkap Menteri Kewangan bagu tujuan mendapatkan kekayaan secara haram melalui pemberian peruntukan saham yang bernilai jutaan ringgit.

“Saya menncabar Azmin dan Anwar bahawa saya pernah menerima apa-apa imbuhan daripada mana-mana tokoh politik sedangkan saya mempunyai bukti dia yang sering berkonspirasi dan sering memberi upah kepada mana-mana individu untuk bersubahat dengan mereka,” katanya.

Sumpah laknat

“Saya mencabar Azmin dan Amwar membuat laporan polis fitnah jenayah ke atas saya sekiranya apa yang akan saya laporkan ini hanya fitnah semata-mata. Saya dah buat sumpah laknat, Saiful (Bukhari) dah buat, kenapa mereka tak berani buat?,” katanya.

Ditanya pemberita tujuan membuat laporan polis setelah 13 tahun berlalu, Ummi berkata dirinya selama ini sudah cukup bersabar kerana isu ini membabitkan abangnya sendiri.

“Pada ketika Anwar dipenjara saya fikir cukuplah, sebolehnya saya tak mahu heret abang dan (kakak) ipar saya tetapi mereka melampaui batas malah kesabaran saya itu diambil kesempatan untuk memfitnah dan menghina saya.

“Saya bersabar dan fikir mungkin selepas lima atau enam tahun, Azmin akan datang kepada saya dan berkata “Ummi, I am sorry” sudah cukup.

“Saya tidak akan buka mulut lagi selepas itu tetapi sampai hari ini orang masih memfitnah saya sebagai perempuan jalang, pelacur dan tidak bermaruah. Saya inginkan kebenaran supaya yang benar ditegakkan dan yang bersalah itu didakwa dimahkamah.

Telah sampai masanya saya membersihkan nama saya…cukuplah, ini maruah saya yang akan saya bawa sampai akhir hayat saya,” katanya.

Ummi, penulis surat “Perihal Salah Laku Timbalan Perdana Menteri” bertarikh 5 Ogos 1997, turut mahu membuat laporan fitnah jenayah terhadap beberapa blogger pembangkang yang memfitnah dirinya.

Blogger itu termasuk ‘Tukar tiub’, ‘Tranungkite’, ‘Ruang bicara pria malaya’, dan akhbar Media Rakyat yang berniat jahat menyiarkan gambarnya dimuka depan akhbar bertajuk ‘Kisah dalam kain diselak’.

“Saya memberi amaran kepada mana-mana blogger supaya lebih bertanggungjawab kerana saya akan heret mereka ke muka pengadilan.

Buktikan saya perempuan sedemikian. Buktikan atau sama ada kamu tarik balik kenyataan atau kamu akan berhadapan dengan saya, atau ke penjara,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Ummi selepas bercakap dengan pemberita bagaimanapun gagal berjumpa mahupun membuat laporan polis dengan Bakri kerana beliau difahamkan Bakri mempunyai urusan penting yang lain.

“Kita sudah buat temu janji hari ini dengan Datuk Seri (Bakri) malangnya beliau ada urusan penting lain dan kita akan buat satu lagi temu janji yang baru pada satu tarikh yang akan diberitahu kelak,” kata peguam mewakili Ummi Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz ketika ditemui FMT.

Interlok retention condemned

PETALING JAYA: Various groups have condemned the government decision to retain the novel Interlok as a Malay literature text in schools, and their anger is directed mostly at Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister.

Klang MP Charles Santiago called it a “slap” on the face of Malaysian Indians and accused Muhyiddin of pandering to ultra-Malays to win votes in the Tenang by-election.

Muhyiddin, who announced the government decision today, said there would be amendments to the Abdullah Hussain novel to avoid hurt to Indian sentiments. Many groups are offended by what they describe as the novel’s stereotyped and misleading characterisation of Indians in Malaysia.

“He is pandering to the conservatives within Umno to secure his position in the party at the expense of the Indian community,” said Santiago.

This morning, Santiago led a group of 25 people representing non-governmental organisations and opposition parties to the Tenang police station, where they lodged a police report against the Education Minister and demanded complete withdrawal of the novel from schools.

Government misled?

The International Movement for the Preservation of Tamils, one of the NGOs, said it would hold a special prayer tomorrow in response to the Muhyiddin’s announcement.

“We will hold the prayer in Subramaniyar temple in Labis,” said the group’s public relations officer R Suresh Kumar.

He urged MIC to condemn the decision, saying this was the best time for the party to prove its mettle.

“If the MIC president has any clout in BN, he should act now,” he said.

The chairman of the Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs, A Vaithilingam, said the decision went against the government’s 1Malaysia campaign.

“I believe the government has been misled,” he said.

The Malaysian Indian Business Association also condemned the decision, with its president P Sivakumar arguing against the establishment of another panel to amend the novel.

He added that the Indian community’s view on the matter was very clear.

“The book should be taken out from schools,”said Sivakumar, who warned that the Indians may punish the ruling government for this in the next polls.

P Uthayakumar, the secretary-general of the Human Rights Party, meanwhile said he would respond only after seeing the amendments to the novel.

Kavyan welcomes it

However Kavyan Writers Association welcomed Muhyiddin’s decision to retain Interlok with necessary amendments.

“The decision is proof that the government is willing to listen to the plight and voices of the Indians,” said its president Uthaya Sankar SB.

He also reiterated the association’s stand that it was the Education Ministry and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka(DBP) that should take the blame, instead of National Laureate Abdullah Hussain since the copyright for the students’ edition was held by DBP.

Interlok: ‘What does MIC want?’

KUALA LUMPUR: An exasperated Federation of National Writers Association (Gapena) secretary, Zainal Abidin Borhan, has slammed MIC for its “ inconsistent” stand over the Interlok novel.

He alleged that MIC had three different stands – remove the “p” word, remove the book from the system, and re-edit the book.

Zainal raised this alleged “inconsistency” during an Interlok forum held yesterday at Universiti Malaya here.

Participating panellists included Zainal, Bahasa Malaysia teacher Ghalib Yunos, National Parents Teachers Association Solidarity Council (PIBGN) chairperson Mohamad Ali Hasan and Uthaya Sankar SB, who represented MIC (but incidentally is not an MIC member).

Zainal said that Uthaya’s argument during the forum was not in sync with the stand MIC had taken during the meeting with the Education Minsitry and Gapena.

He said that during the meeting with the ministry, MIC representatives had failed to counter Gapena’s arguments to keep the Interlok novel in the education system.

“During the meeting with the ministry, MIC representatives agreed to the positive values in the book. They did not oppose Gapena’s views.

“So why oppose the book now if you cannot even counter arguments (put forward by Gapena) during the meeting?” he asked.

Zainal also chided the Indian community for harping on the issue of the alphabet “p”’ (as in “pariah”) .

“You are the ones to be blamed… You are the ones making it an issue over a small letter. We have glorified and purified the word (pariah) by using a capital P for the term.

“In essence ‘pariah’ means impure and polluted. They (the Indian characters in the book) changed to pure when they came to Malaya,” he said.

Factual errors

Meanwhile, Uthaya, who chose not to lock horns with Zainal, raised instead some of the factual errors in the Interlok book.

“There are factual errors in the book and this will give rise to problems as those who read Interlok are not only students but also their family members,” he said, referring to Ghalib’s stand that Interlok was “the perfect choice” and that there were 10 values contained in the meant-for-school edited version.

Describing students as a “mature lot”, Ghalid said the early distribution of the books in October 2010 had “allowed them to read it on their own”.

“There is no issue among the students… even the teachers are well prepared to teach.

“It is us (the adults) who are making it an issue,” he said.

Uthaya, however, was of the opinion that Ghalib was overlooking the “core issue”.

“This is not a means to an end… you can’t justify derogatory words and phrases. If this be the case, then who cares if an individual humiliates another using the ‘P’ word?

“And if that is the case, then one can also use the ‘F’ word liberally,” he argued.

Banting murder case set for re-mention on Feb 24

A lawyer and three farm workers will appear in court again over the murder of cosmetics millionaire Sosilawati Lawiya.

BANTING: The Telok Batok magistrate’s court here fixed Feb 24 for re-mention of the murder case in which a lawyer and three farm workers were charged with murdering cosmetics millionaire Sosilawati Lawiya and three others in August last year.

Magistrate Hurman Hussain fixed the date after an application by the prosecution pending the outcome of the appeal and revision against the seven-year jail sentence meted out by the Shah Alam High Court on two farm workers for disposing of evidence in the murder case.

On Oct 13 last year, lawyer K Pathmanabhan, 41, and farm workers T Thilaiyagan, 19, R Matan, 20, and R Khatavarayan, 30, were charged with murdering Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and Sosilawati’s driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, at Lot No 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat near here on Aug 30.

On Oct 15, two of Pathmanaban’s workers K Sarawanan, 19, and U Suresh, 26, pleaded guilty to disposing of evidence by burning the bodies of the victims at Lot No 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat here between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30.

They had since filed an appeal and an application for a review of the case.

Earlier, lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad, representing all the accused, told the court that the defence had yet to receive the relevant documents from theprosecution.

He wanted assurance that the prosecution would hand the documents by Monday during the hearing of the appeal and review at the Shah Alam High Court.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff said the prosecution would hand over part of the documents.

Hurman said he could not keep on deferring the case and said that he planned to transfer the case to the high court.

Amer Hamzah said he also wanted the case to be transferred but it could not be done at the moment because the prosecution had not given the letter agreeing to the transfer yet.

“I know you are very upset, sir,” Amer Hamzah said, to which Hurman replied: “I am not very upset but I am not happy.”

The defence also told the court that they had yet to receive the police report lodged by one of the accused, Khatavarayan, at the Kuala Langat district police headquarters.

“We have also been told by Thilaiyagan and Matan that they have been assaulted while in jail. We have told the prison management that our clients want to make a police report,” he said.


Kampung Buah Pala returns to haunt

A banner put up during the Thaipusam festival has irked nine former residents, who claim to have been shortchanged by the state government.

GEORGE TOWN: Some issues just refuse to die, and the now extinct Kampung Buah Pala is one such case.
Despite the Pakatan Rakyat state government’s attempts to lay the ghost to rest, the demolition of the Indian village two years ago continues to haunt Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s administration.

A political banner put up during last week’s Thaipusam festival claiming that Lim had delivered his promise to the village folk had irked nine ex-residents.

Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairman M Sugumaran called it a misrepresentation of facts.
“The banner implied that all affected residents have been compensated. Regretfully, nine more families are still waiting for compensation,” he told reporters.

The nine included two cowherds who were also seeking alternative land to breed their cattle.

“Our ranches were demolished ruthlessly by the developer two years ago. But until today, the state government refuses to give us alternative land to rear our cows, which are sacred to us,” said cowherd K Sivanantham, 41.

He said the state land office once offered a swamp-like waterlogged land near the Kuala Sungai Pinang coastal area in the Southwest district.

“Any cowherd will know that one cannot breed cows in a wet area. It has to be dry land,” he said.
Sugumaran blasted the state government for still refusing to compensate the nine “merely because they stood
up to defend their  rights”.
“Where are the houses for the nine? Why are we not compensated?” he asked.

Court hearing next week

The banner presumably was put up by former villagers thanking the Pakatan government for compensating them with double-storey houses.

It featured portraits of Lim, Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, and photographs of the ongoing construction of the posh Oasis condominium project on the land.
The banner was put up near the DAP thaneer panthal (refeshment shed), located outside party national chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh’s house in Jalan Utama, Waterfall.

The 200-year-old Kampung Buah Pala was demolished in September 2009 to make way for the Oasis, undertaken by landowner Penang Civil Servant Cooperative Society and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

The 6.5-acre plot was sold to the cooperative for only RM3.21 million.

The village was once known to the locals, especially Indians, as the Tamil High Chaparral due to its high population of Indian cowherds and livestock as well as unique cultural features and festivities.

Originally, some 33 families lived in the village when the Oasis project was hatched by the previous Barisan Nasional state administration some six years ago.

However, the Gerakan-led state government inserted a clause to compel the developers to settle the compensation issue with the villagers first before the land title could be transferred.

Nine families moved out from the village some six years ago after agreeing to the original compensation package offered by Nusmetro.

The package was either a RM75,000 worth 800 sq ft low medium flat unit in the Oasis or cash.
But 24 others stayed put to fight for the land, which they claimed was given to their ancestors under trust by their colonial plantation master, the Brown Family.

When the village was demolished, the Pakatan government agreed to compensate the families with a double-storey house each, to be built on a 1.5-acre plot of land at the project site.

However, nine out of the 24 families did not get the house.

The houses were instead given to villagers who had already left after agreeing with the original compensation package.

According to the official version, the nine families failed to ink the documents for the houses in time.
However, the deprived nine pinned the blame on Lim and his personal vendetta.

The nine families had already initiated court action seeking a full trial over the Kampung Buah Pala land status.
They argued that since the land was under a federal trust, the state government had no right to transfer the land to a private developer.

Moreover, there had been no documented evidence to show that the federal government had ever transferred the land title to the Penang government, read the affidavit.

The case is up for hearing at the High Court next Monday.

Najib Fobia Menghadapi Pakatan Rakyat!

Laporan Cable News Network (CNN) yang bertajuk “Saudis discover new funding channels for Taliban, al Qaeda” memperlihatkan ketakutan Dato’ Sri Najib untuk berhadapan Pakatan Rakyat pada Pilihanraya Umum yang akan datang. Laporan CNN yang baru sahaja beredar beberapa jam lalu menyebut antara lainnya, Presiden Umno itu menyatakan rasa tidak puas hatinya kepada Kerajaan Arab Saudi kerana terdapat dua Putera Arab Saudi yang menyokong dan membiyai saya untuk Pilihanraya Umum yang akan datang.

Laporan ini menyerlahkan ketakutan serta rekayasa Dato’ Sri Najib untuk menyekat kemaraan Pakatan Rakyat yang setiap hari berusaha membina dokongan rakyat terhadap usaha kami demi menyelamatkan Malaysia dari segala kepincangan yang disebabkan oleh kelemahan mentadbir pimpinan negara serta ketirisan akibat dari rasuah yang semakin membarah.

Kehadiran Buku Jingga, sebuah dokumen yang mengandungi hasrat serta saranan Pakatan Rakyat demi menyelamatkan Malaysia dari terus parah akibat kerakusan dan ketidakcekapan pimpinan Umno-BN, memunculkan rasa takut Dato’ Sri Najib. Beliau sedar dokumen tersebut mendobrak ilusi upaya pemulihan yang didendangkan Umno-BN kepada rakyat. Presiden Umno itu pastinya tahu rakyat tidak akan menerima bulat-bulat pengumuman demi pengumuman yang digarap semata-mata memenuhi maksud iklan.

Ketakutan ini malah membuat beliau enggan berdebat secara terbuka berkenaan kedudukan ekonomi negara dengan saya. Malah, Perdana Menteri tidak segan silu menyerang saya secara peribadi sedangkan hasrat debat terbuka itu semata-mata mahu menyampaikan maklumat yang tepat kepada rakyat Malaysia.

Saya tidaklah terkejut sekiranya Perdana Menteri sanggup ke luar negara, bukan demi menarik pelaburan tapi semata-mata untuk menyekat dan mentohmah saya. Mereka sebenarnya sudah mula merasai angin Perubahan yang bakal melanda. Mereka sedar Rakyat Malaysia sudah mulai mual dengan segala macam kebobrokan. Kepimpinan Umno-BN sebenarnya fobia dengan kemaraan rakyat.


China Boosts North Korean Export Zone

Is that raisin bread in Rason? The Dear Leader inspects
(Asia Sentinel) The raison d'etre for Rason

The Rajin-Sonbong Free Trade Zone in the extreme northeast corner of North Korea was always something of a joke. The zone was created in 1991 by the late North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung when the North was in one of its periodic flirtations with Chinese-style free markets. But nothing much came of it.

That may be changing as a Chinese state-run investment firm has signed a deal with Pyongyang to pump big money into the enclave to develop infrastructure, coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other projects to help exploit the natural resources in this corner of the country.

The original zone was obviously modeled on China's pioneering free trade zones, in which certain communist export restrictions were relaxed in a bid to attract foreign investment. Its prime location, close to where the Chinese, Russian and North Korean borders come together, was assumed to be a draw.

It is also about as far away from Pyongyang as one can get in North Korea, thus keeping any capitalist contamination isolated in one remote corner of the country far from the rest of the population as one can get and still be in the Stalinist country.

In the two decades of its existence, Rajin-Sonbong has languished, neglected by the impoverished government in Pyongyang and generally ignored by potential foreign investors. Michael Rank of the British Guardian newspaper visited the site only last September and described it as being "desolate."

"The main square turns into a sea of mud when it rains . . . there are no street lights". The only connection with the nearest Chinese city is over a winding, mountainous gravel road, offering little incentive to turn the grubby little town (Rajin and Sonbong were merged into one city, renamed Rason) into an export entrepot.

The only real foreign investment that the zone ever attracted was a casino-hotel called the Emperor, funded by a Hong Kong gambling magnate and evidently designed to attract Chinese punters from the Northeast, who may not have the wherewithal to go to Macau.

The Emperor Hotel supposedly closed in 2005 in the aftermath of a scandal involving a senior Chinese cadre, who gambled away about 3 million yuan in public money, but the Guardian's reporter, visiting Rason in September, saw a couple dozen Chinese punters still playing in what must be the world's most forlorn gambling establishment.

There are multiple signs, however, that Pyongyang is getting serious about making something of Rason. One important sign of things to some was a personal visit a year ago by Kim Jong-il, the first time he had toured this remote corner of his bailiwick.

Possibly tied in to this was Kim's several visits last year to China, including the city of Dalian, Northeast China's main export portal. The Chinese would like to see Rason turned into a serious competitor for Chinese exports and imports because they are putting a strain on Dalian's facilities.

Shortly after Kim's tour, the local leadership was replaced with cadres with more experience in international trade, headed by no less than by a former minister of foreign trade, Rim Kyung-man, by far the senior most communist official to take charge of the zone and municipality.

There are reports too that work is finally getting underway to improve and pave the gravel highway that connects Rason and the Chinese border about 50 km away. It is assumed that the Chinese are paying for this and a new customs facility on the North Korean side of the border at the Tumen River.

Of course, the most significant sign came earlier this month when the Chinese state-run Shangdi Guanqun Investment Co. Ltd, signed a memorandum of understanding with Pyongyang's Investment and Development Group to invest US$2 billion in the zone to turn it into "the biggest industrial zone in Northeast Asia," as the MOU reportedly stated.

The project calls for basic infrastructure such as roads, modern piers, coal-fired electric power plants and oil refineries, using Rason as an export base for China, Japan and Southeast Asia. The first project apparently will be the coal plant plus ancillary roads, rail and piers.

Shangdi Guanqun Investment was founded in 1995as a government-owned trading arm specializing in oil processing, and natural resources development. An official was quoted in the South Korean press as saying that the company will build a plant to refine crude imported from the Middle East and Russia to sell to China and other customers.

The revival of investment interest the free trade zone appears to be one with other Chinese moves to help develop North Korea's abundant natural resources to feed its economy. North Korea has considerable amounts of coal, gold, iron ore, copper, zinc and other minerals which China needs to feed its economy and which it is actively helping develop.

The Rason zone is close by the huge Musan Iron ore mine, which is is said to have seven billion tons of iron ore reserves, making it potentially one of the world's largest iron mines. It has attracted Chinese interest as well as some other foreign investment such as India's Global Steel.

Russia reportedly has also invested some US$200 million equivalent in Rason, mainly in infrastructure. It would seem, however, that Russia has less interest in the zone as it already has ice-free major ports at nearby at Nadhodka and Vladivostok.

On the other hand, the Chinese Northeast is landlocked to the east and has to send its goods by rail and truck overland to the port of Dalian. Development of the Rason free trade zone would effectively give the Chinese an outlet on the Sea of Japan that they presently lack.

It is just another sign of China's growing economic ties with its neighbor. The two sides signed an economic cooperation treaty in Pyongyang on Nov. 23, the very day the north bombarded the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. The value of two-way trade increased more than 30 percent in 2010.

The Chinese have long advised Pyongyang to embrace its market-oriented measures, including free trade zones, with the aim of improving North Korea economy and thus reducing the potential for instability. Until now Pyongyang's response has been half hearted at best –witness how Rason languished for so many years. It may be that now it is taking things to heart.

Who are telling the truth – or who are telling lies – about government’s proposed censorship of online news?

By Lim Kit Siang,

Who are telling the truth – or who are telling lies – about the government’s proposed censorship of online news?

Could one of the country’s top civil servants like the Home Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam be openly and blatantly telling a lie when he was reported by Bernama yesterday as saying that the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 would be amended to expand its scope and include publications posted online and “plug loopholes”?

Mahmood had said that the Home Ministry was looking at the definition of “publication” and whether it should include Internet content, blogs or Facebook to expand the Act due to the changing landscape of the digital era.

Expressing the hope that the amendments will be tabled in Parliament by March this year because “we need to overcome weaknesses, especially those involving multimedia content”, Mahmood said the ministry was working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to study the proposed amendments.

He revealed that he or his representative chaired a daily meeting at 8 am among his ministry, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Information Ministry to monitor internet content including what was shown through online video site YouTube.

Could the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail be telling a lie when he confirmed that the Home Ministry was working the Attorney-General’s Chambers to study the proposed amendments and that his department has drawn up drafts to amend several laws including the PPPA?

Or are these two top civil servants in the country guilty of figments of the imagination with the denial and statement by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in the company of two other Cabinet Ministers, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim that the government is far from ready to amend the PPPA?

How could two top civil servants who head two of the most important departments in the country make the common mistake that amendments to PPPA are ready for tabling in the March meeting of Parliament when, according to Hishammudin, the proposed changes are still “at the very, very early stages” and it has not even been decided what exactly the amendments will entail?

If Malaysians are asked as to whom they believe to have told the truth – the two top civil servants or the Ministers – there can be no doubt that the benefit of the doubt would be given to the civil servants.

The statement today by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong that he was not aware of any plan to table amendments to the PPPA in the March meeting of Parliament does not throw any light, as he would probably be informed at the very last minute – not very much earlier than MPs and the Malaysian public.

Like the majority of Malaysians, I choose to believe the top civil servants – as they have no reason to mislead the public like the Ministers, who would have a political motive to deny that proposals have been finalized to extend the PPPA to online publications.

Clearly, freedom of expression and online publication are under grave threat. Is this part of the “political transformation” that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been talking about recently, after his Government Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme?

Indian Community Urged To Ensure Victory For BN In Tenang By-Election

LABIS, Jan 27 (Bernama) -- Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman has called on the Indian community in the Tenang state constituency to join the other communities to ensure that the seat remained a bastion for the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Johor.

Abdul Ghani, who is also the Johor Umno Liaison chairman, said the people in Tenang should not be deceived by the promises made by the opposition pact in their efforts to wrest the seat because they were merely adopting the 'divide and rule' approach in achieving their objective.

"We should all realise and believe that among the pledges made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Malaysians under his leadership was to ensure that the interests of every ethnic group, including the Indian community, were not neglected.

"With the support of all the communities in Tenang, we will show to the nation that the communities in Johor, particularly in Tenang, are united and giving undivided support to the BN government," he said at the 'Pesta Irama Ponggal' at the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Labis Hall, here Thursday.

The by-election for the Tenang state seat will be held on Jan 30 following the death of the incumbent Assemblyman, Datuk Sulaiman Taha, on Dec 17, last year.

In the by-election, BN candidate Mohd Azahar Ibrahim, 39, is being challenged by the PAS candidate, Normala Sudirman, 38.

This New Year, say a prayer for Yong

While you celebrate the New Year, spare a thought for Yong Vui Kong, a young Malaysian convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Singapore.

Pray for a miracle, that he be given a second chance.
Pray for an even bigger miracle, the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia and elsewhere. 

World Muslim population doubling, report projects

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
Twenty years ago, the world had about 1.1 billion Muslims. Twenty years from now, it will have about twice as many - and they'll represent more than a quarter of all people on earth, according to a new study released Thursday.

That's a rise from less than 20 percent in 1990.
Pakistan will overtake Indonesia as home of the largest number of Muslims, as its population pushes over 256 million, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life projects.

The number of Muslims in the United States will more than double, to 6.2 million, it anticipates.
Afghanistan's population will nearly double, to about 50.5 million, making it home to the ninth largest Muslim population in the world.

Israel will become nearly a quarter Muslim. The Palestinian territories have one of the highest growth rates in the world.

Fractious Nigeria, where Christian-Muslim violence has left thousands dead in the past decade, will become a Muslim-majority country by 2030, the Pew Forum projects.

And two western European countries - France and Belgium - will become more than 10 percent Muslim. Sweden will hover just below that level, at 9.9 percent.

Iran, on the other hand, will see very slow growth. Iranian women have among the fewest children of anyone in the Muslim world. They use birth control at exactly the same rate as American women, 73 percent.

The Muslim share of the global population will rise primarily because of their relatively high birth rate, the large number of Muslims of childbearing age, and an increase in life expectancy in Muslim-majority countries, according to the report, "The Future of the Global Muslim Population."

Conversion will play relatively little part in the increase, the report anticipates. It says little data is available on conversion, but what little there is suggests Islam loses as many adherents via conversion as it gains.

Pakistan's rapid growth - adding an estimated 70 million people in 20  years - could create "a potentially lethal cocktail,"  said Ghaffar Hussain of  the Quilliam Foundation, which calls itself and anti-extremism think tank and  does work in Pakistan.

"Pakistan is an unstable country, there are literally hundreds of  jihadist groups," he said.
And the government is not doing much to slow population growth, unlike in  nearby Bangladesh, he said.
"In Bangladesh they have tax incentives not to have large families.  Pakistan doesn't have that strategy - they're not even talking about it," said  Hussain.

"More effort should be made to finding some solutions, especially in the  border region with Afghanistan," he advised.

Governments in Europe, meanwhile, should do more to explain the value of  immigration, he argued.
Muslim growth there "is coming from the first generation having large  families" and will slow down, he predicted.

But the large new Muslim populations are not always welcome, he said.

"A lot of European countries don't tell their people we need immigration  for (economic reasons)," he said, adding that government also should do more to  help new immigrants assimilate.

European government need "some sort of strategy of what to do when people  come. Integration has been managed very badly," he said.

The key phrase in the Pew Forum report is "growing but slowing," says  Alan Cooperman, associate director of the think tank.

The increase in the last 20 years is greater than what we expect in the next 20 years," he said. Muslim population growth "is a line that's flattening out. They're increasing, but they're getting closer to the norm, the average."

In other words, Muslims are coming into line with global trends toward fewer children per woman and an aging population. But, the report points out, because of the existing Muslim "youth bulge," or unusually high percentage of young people, Muslim population growth has a certain momentum that will take decades to come into line with world averages - if it ever does.

The Pew report, more than a year in the making, is part of an ambitious attempt by the think tank to calculate the number of adherents to each of the world's major religions. The Islam report comes first, and a Christian project is in the works.

They started with Muslims, Cooperman said, because they are "the largest group for which data was lacking, and we saw public interest in knowing more."

Despite the rapid growth of Islam, Christianity seems set to remain the biggest religion in the world for the next 20 years. There are currently more than 2 billion Christians - 30 to 35 percent of the global population - making it very unlikely that there will be fewer than 2.2 billion Christians in 2030.

"There is nothing in these numbers to indicate that in 2030 there would be more Muslims that Christians," Cooperman said.

In fact, both Christianity and Islam could be growing, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the whole, he pointed out.

"We don't want people to jump to the conclusion that if Islam is growing, everyone else is shrinking," he said. "Christianity and Islam could both be growing at the expense of other religions."

Sub-Saharan Africa is a case in point, he said.

"Tremendous numbers are being added in sub-Saharan Africa, but... Christianity and Islam are both growing rapidly. There is not a change in the overall proportions of Muslims to Christians."

He's aware that the report has policy implication, but insists that the purpose of the Pew Forum is simply to provide unbiased data.

"It's not our role to say what should be done," Cooperman said.
What they're aiming to do, one of the project's leader said, is to make sure there's reliable information available.

"There has been a lot of speculation about the growth of the Muslim population around the world, and many of those who speculate don't have good data," said Brian Grim, a senior researcher at the Pew Forum.

For example, the report undermines the notion that Europe is heading toward having any country with a Muslim majority. The continent will be about 8 percent Muslim in 2030, it projects.

"The data that we have isn't pointing in the direction of 'Eurabia' at all," Grim said.
"The Muslim population is growing and slowing. Instead of a runaway train, it's trending with the general global population," he said.

Cooperman hopes that information will help make for more intelligent discussions, he said: "In the midst of heated debate and speculation, we think that solid, reliable, empirical estimates are valuable."