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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Egypt protests: protesters defy curfew in Cairo

Aftermath of Cairo protests following day of riots
Tens of thousands of demonstrators remain on the streets of Egypt's major cities, despite a curfew which came into force at 1600 local time (1400 GMT).
The army has warned that anyone who breaks the curfew will be in danger.
In Cairo, police have used rubber bullets and tear gas in clashes with protesters, but the army has yet to step in. Injuries are reported.
There have also been clashes in the cities of Alexandria and Ismailiya.
Cairo's central Tahrir (Liberation) Square remains filled with protesters. Troops and armoured vehicles have been deployed but have not yet taken any action.
A BBC Arabic correspondent at the scene reports a friendly atmosphere between the army and the demonstrators.
Health officials say 45 people have died in clashes across Egypt since Friday.
The latest figures bring the death toll in the week's unrest to at least 52, with both protesters and police officers among the dead. About 2,000 people have been injured.
A curfew in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez has been extended to last between the hours of 1600 and 0800 (1400 GMT and 0600 GMT).
The army has advised people to obey the curfew and avoid gathering in groups.


The streets of this industrial port city are tense but quiet this morning after a night of violence and bloodshed. Local reports say as many as 13 people may have been killed during the hours of darkness.
City police and administrators have fled Suez and the army has moved onto the streets, although there is no real sign that they're in control.
The central police station is a smouldering ruin as are many shops and other businesses with close ties to President Mubarak's regime.
People have told us the protests will continue until every trace of that regime is gone.
Others have threatened us and demanded we stop filming, accusing the US and UK of supporting President Mubarak, and Western media of portraying the demonstrators as criminals and looters.
Hundreds of foreign tourists and Egyptian nationals are at Cairo's main airport seeking flights out of the country.
The Egyptian military has used tanks and armoured personnel carriers to seal off the site of the pyramids on the Giza Plateau, the Associated Press reports.
The army had already secured the Egyptian Museum, home to such treasures as the gold mask of King Tutankhamen, to protect it from looters.
In Abu Za'abal prison in Cairo, a political prisoner has told the BBC that 120 inmates have taken control of one sector of the jail.
Speaking by mobile phone, Mohamed Mahmud Sami - who has been in prison for 17 years - said: "Security forces are trying to storm in, but we can see that the soldiers are reluctant to fire at us, as if they want to side with the rebelling people of Egypt."
Cairo stock exchange will be closed on Sunday - a full trading day in the Middle East - because of the turmoil in the city.
On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters defied a curfew and remained on the streets into the night. In Cairo, they set fire to the headquarters of the governing NDP party and surrounded state TV and the foreign ministry.
Mr Mubarak responded by sacking his government. In a televised address - his first public comments since the protests began on Tuesday - he also accused the protesters of destabilising the country.
The government has now formally resigned, with reports suggesting that Racheed Mohamad Racheed - current minister of investment, commerce, and industry - will be named as the new prime minister.
Mobile phone services have been restored in Cairo, but the internet remains down.
The BBC's Yolande Knell, in the Egyptian capital, says there is anger that demands for political reform are not being listened to. Protesters have said they will ignore the curfew and stay on the streets until there is change, she adds.
Burned out personnel carrier beside a tank in central Cairo
In Suez, soldiers are on the streets after the city's police and authorities fled following Friday's violence in which the main police station was burned down.
Reports from the northern coastal city of Alexandria and the eastern city of Ismailiya say thousands of protesters are on the streets, with clashes occurring between polices and demonstrators.
And a BBC Arabic producer reports that inmates have rioted in the city of al-Manufiya, north-west of Cairo.
US President Barack Obama, who telephoned President Mubarak on Friday, has said a violent response by the Egyptian authorities will not address the grievances of the people. He urged protesters to desist from violence, and also called on the Egyptian government to stop interfering with the internet, social networking sites and mobile phone services.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Washington would review its aid to Egypt based on events in the coming days. Egypt is the fourth largest recipient of US aid, after Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel.
Britain, the US and France are all advising against non-essential travel to Egypt.
The unrest in Egypt follows an uprising in Tunisia two weeks ago which toppled President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.
The Tunisian upheaval began with anger over rising food prices, high unemployment and anger at official corruption - problems which have also left many people in Egypt feeling frustrated and resentful of their leadership.
Cairo protests

How will they vote in Tenang?

Chinese swing to PAS may spell doom for MCA

LABIS: The Tenang Malay and Indian votes are considered “in the bag” for the Barisan Nasional (BN), but the 5,766 Chinese voters here – who make up 39% of the electorate – may still prove a headache to the BN.

And BN, especially the MCA, has much to worry about – and not just in Tenang.

Opposition sources are predicting that at least 70% of the Chinese will vote for PAS candidate Normala Sudirman on polling day tomorrow.

Sewing up the Chinese votes could spell trouble for not only MCA in Johor but nationally; and that’s why the DAP machinery is all out to woo the Chinese here.

Political observers say that MCA’s credibility is at stake if MCA president Chua Soi Lek himself and his son Tee Yong, the Labis MP, can’t convince their own supporters to back BN in their own homeground.

Johor DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau even predicted that PAS is only 3% away from clinching a victory.

“This is possibly a historic moment for us and we’re fighting the best fight we can. This used to be a MCA stronghold, but not any more. We have 48.5% of the votes and BN 51.5%, so only 3% is needed for a win,” he said at a ceramah.

He told FMT that DAP expects 80% votes from the Chinese, 30% Malays and 40% to 50% from the Indians.

However, most of his colleagues were more conservative, though equally optimistic.

“We can’t win this seat due to the strong Felda votes,” said another opposition leader. “But if we put up a strong enought fight and push for 75% votes, we can see a crisis for MCA because two of its presidents hail from here.”

He noted that the crucial factors to gain more Chinese votes are the return of outstation voters and the support of elderly women, which DAP conceded was MCA’s forte.

Lower confidence

Another leader, from PKR, said that a bigger Chinese turnout in Tenang, a well spread-out multiracial seat, could augur a takeover of Johor in future. But the votes of other races were crucial too.

In 2008, PAS secured between 50% and 67% of the votes in three main Chinese majority polling districts here, namely Labis Tengah, Labis Timur and Labis. This, according to some observers, put Chinese support for the opposition at 57% to 60%.

It is understood that MCA is aiming for a 5% swing in Chinese votes, but the Chinese component party of the ruling coalition seems to have a lower confidence than DAP.

“MCA must transform or else it will be very difficult. The DAP has really captured the minds of the people,” said an MCA leader, who wished to remain anonymous.

The leader, who has been in Tenang, admitted that Chinese response towards MCA has “not been so good”.

He said that Soi Lek’s handling of the independent Chinese school issue had disappointed many.

Tee Yong, the Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, himself was more conservative in his estimates.

“We’re hoping for 50% of the Chinese votes,” Tee Yong said, adding that MCA had about 42% support from the Chinese the last time around.

Sources from the ground told FMT that BN is looking at securing a majority of some 3,000 votes.

“Malay votes are at about 80%, Indians 60%, while we expect Chinese votes to be at about 45% for BN,” said a political observer.

“The DAP predicts that it can bag up to 70% but it is using only Labis Tengah as a yardstick. The surrounding areas are actually better.”

“MCA’s support in Johor now is a bit low. The party is aiming for a 5% increase but I predict it wil get 3% at most,” she said.

A swing in Chinese votes would also mean that PAS has slowly succeeded in shedding its extremist Islamic image among the Chinese here.

Last night, Normala wished a crowd of mainly 100 Chinese here a Happy New Year.

“For Chinese New Year we usually want to change new clothes but this Jan 30, we want to change the government.

“Huan! (change) Huan! Huan!,” she cried.

Voting for the two candidates Normala and her BN opponent Mohd Azahar Ibrahim begins tomorrow morning and results are expected to be announced by 8pm.

Gobala quits PKR

LUNAS: Fed up with the party leadership, Padang Serai parliamentarian N Gobalakrishnan has quit PKR with immediate effect.

He will not send any official letter to the party secretariat to inform of his resignation from the party he joined on April 14, 1999.

He said that his media and Tweet announcements would be enough for party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution to accept as his official quit notice.

Citing loss of confidence in the party leadership, he alleged the party was now under absolute domination of the Anwar Ibrahim -Azmin Ali cartel.

“I am fed up with the leadership because it had lost its direction. The party started as refomist movement for the betterment of all Malaysians.

“It is no more the same party now. Azmin (PKR deputy president) is now in total control of the party. He is the puppet master and Anwar (PKR adviser) is just a puppet,” Gobalakrishnan said.

“Azmin now has the money and power to take 100% control of the party if Anwar goes to jail,” Gobalakrishnan told reporters at his service centre in Paya Besar today.

Although for now he would sit as a non-aligned independent MP, he did not rule out joining another party, especially from the non-Barisan Nasional rank in the near future.

“I quit PKR to strengthen my political standing in my parliamentary constituency,” he said, indicating that the party leadership was planning to drop him in the next general election.

“I am open for talks to any party, including PAS, DAP or even Kita.
“They are my friends,” he said, ruling out, however, any chance of him rejoining MIC or any other BN component parties.

“I have no plans of joining BN,” said Gobalakrishnan, who was also the Padang Serai PKR division chief.

Emergency meeting

The division vice-chairman M Ravintharan and secretary S Nagalingam were present at the press conference.
Nagalingam said that current deputy chief Johari Ismail would take over from Gobalakrishnan as the division acting chairman.

He said the division committee would hold an emergency meeting tomorrow to decide on the next course of action following Gobalakrishnan’s shock resignation.

Gobalakrishnan was involved in a political bust-up with the current party leadership following his outburst against the Anwar- Azmin cartel.

He was issued a 45-page show-cause letter for his trouble.

The vocal parliamentarian made it clear today that he was upset with the way Azmin and his gang manipulated and cheated the party election held late last year.

Gobalakrishnan said the party was now in disarray due to Anwar’s inability to control Azmin.

He said the current party leadership was on a membership-cleansing drive to get rid of all internal opposition, including himself and former vice-president Mustapha Kamil Ayub.

Divide-and-rule policy
Gobalakrishnan said that PKR was not a “parti refomasi”, but a party only interested in taking care of the interests of Anwar, Azmin and their families.

“I expect more frustrated people to quit the party… but the party leaders would not be bothered about it.
“They would sideline and banish anyone who is against the current leadership helmed by Azmin,” said Gobalakrishnan.

He said that the Anwar-Azmin team had always adopted a divide-and-rule policy in running the party.
“They have divided and ruled the Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans merely to safeguard their political positions and interests,” he said.

Gobalakrishnan dismissed PKR accusations that he had been bought over by other political parties.
“Ask Anwar whether I can be bought over or not. He should know better,” he said.

Gobalakrishnan is disappointed that he had not been appreciated even though he had worked hard and sacrificed his precious family hours and money for the party for past 12 years

He said that the troubles in PKR have undermined Pakatan’s chances of capturing the federal government in the 13th general election.

He warned that the situation would become worse if Anwar goes to jail and Azmin takes over PKR officially as the party supremo.

He claimed that Azmin is just waiting for Anwar to go to jail to helm PKR.

“However, will other Pakatan allies and leaders accept Azmin as their leader?
“With the way things are going now, I am not convinced that Pakatan can capture Putrajaya,” he said.

A house turned into a pile of rubble

A hawker is busy at work and returns to find his home demolished.
KUALA LUMPUR: A Maranan, 63, left his Kampung Udara house on Jan 12 to go to work. Upon returning, his house was nothing more than a pile of rubble.

It was close to lunchtime that Maranan, a Brickfields hawker, received a phone call from his neighbours. An excavator had torn down his 31-year-old house without warning at around 12pm, completing the task in a matter of minutes.

His son, M Mahesan, rushed over, expecting the worst. But nothing could prepare him for what he was about to see.

The excavator had levelled everything. Almost nothing was spared in its destruction. The roof was caved in, and the walls had followed suit. Furniture had been converted into firewood, and bundles of clothes torn into strips.

Not even the family’s five dogs were spared from the violence. Two of them were killed as the excavator did its work. Two were spared, although they suffered injuries of their own. Another ran away, never to return.
To add insult to injury, the perpetrators carted off some of Maranan’s potted plants.

Luckily for Maranan, none of his family was inside the house while it was being destroyed.

All in all, it was a message from property developer, Seri Tiara Development Sdn Bhd, telling the family to get out.

(Seri Tiara Development is also one of United Overseas Australia’s controlled entities, according to its 2008 annual report.)

“Nobody gave us any trouble. Until now,” Mahesan told FMT, pointing at the house he grew up in. He and his mother A Puspawathy were distraught when they visisted the site.

Rocky relationship

The family’s rocky relationship with Seri Tiara went back as far as 2008. The developers had strolled into Kampung Udara and told the folk there that they were sitting on the company’s land.
Seri Tiara, Mahesan said, offered each villager RM3,000 as compensation. Without land titles of their own, nearly all of them took the money.

Maranan, however, was hesitant to follow in his neighbours’ footsteps. Much of the house was built by his own bare hands.

The hawker even had a 1980 letter from Umno that allowed the family to stay on that land, which belonged to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB). Mahesan proudly told FMT that this letter had dissuaded KL City Hall (DBKL) from molesting their house in the past.

Even with these factors in tow, Maranan wasn’t against moving out of his house. He asked Seri Tiara for RM10,000 instead.

But the company refused to pay him the extra money, and tried to chase his family out of Kampung Udara. This prompted Mahesan’s father to file a case against Seri Tiara before the Kuala Lumpur High Court in 2009.

After a year of legal tussles, the family won the case. The High Court said that they could keep the house, but had to demolish the parts of it that stood on Seri Tiara land.

In return, the developers needed to pay the family RM15,000 in compensation.

Empty promise
However, the impatient Seri Tiara decided to take matters into its own hands. Just minutes before they sent the excavator over to smash Maranan’s house, the company handed an RM15,000 cheque to his lawyers.

The company’s lawyers even admitted to destroying the house in a Jan 17 letter to Maranan’s legal advisers, calling it an “unstable structure”.

Naturally, the family was not happy with Seri Tiara’s brazen act. “They gave our lawyer a RM15,000 cheque and then smashed the house one hour later,” Mahesan told FMT angrily.

“If they wanted to destroy our house, they should have given us notice. They had our phone numbers, why didn’t they call? How can they do this?”
Mahesan estimated that the losses incurred by his family came up to RM80,000. After making a police report over the destruction, his family demanded compensation.

A few days later, Maranan was allegedly told several times by Seri Tiara that the company would rebuild his house. But it was an empty promise, as the family waited in vain for a construction team to show up.

Seri Tiara was also claimed to have dared the family to file another case before the High Court.

Most families would have been given up after seeing the developer’s show of force and intimidation. But not Maranan, who now has to stay in a Seri Kembangan apartment.

The swathe of destruction only strengthened his family’s resolve to stay put, and to rebuild their Kampung Udara house anew.

Determined, his son, Mahesan told FMT: “My family will not leave. Even if Seri Tiara gave us RM100,000, we will not leave.”

Can Rosmah ‘pillow-talk’ Najib to ‘save’ Taib?

Pandering to Rosmah Mansor's vanity, Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is hoping, she will 'call' for joint polls.

KUALA LUMPUR: A revolt is simmering in Sarawak and is threatening to indirectly topple self-declared first lady, Rosmah Mansor, unless she manages to “pillow-talk” her husband Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak into holding concurrent polls.

Suave Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Taib Mahmud is pandering to Rosmah’s vanity and is hoping that her sweet-talk for “concurrent polls preferably in June” will save his hide.

To help Taib achieve this, is his wealthy flamboyant sister Raziah Mahmud, who is said to be very pally with Rosmah.

According to a FMT source, Taib has asked his sister to “persuade Rosmah to push Najib” into holding joint state and parliamentary polls “for BN’s own survival”.

“Taib has informed Najib of the ground situation. He believes Najib is mindful of this but there is no positive reaction.

“Now Taib wants his sister to help him convey to Rosmah the hard facts.

“Raziah will tell Rosmah that if Sarawak BN fails to deliver the parliamentary seats, then Najib will no longer be able to hold onto Putrajaya.

“He will not be prime minister and Rosmah, as the first lady, will be history,” said the source.

No Putrajaya

The source said Taib believed that by holding concurrent polls, the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact will be stretched and resources divided.

“Being a peninsula-based party, Pakatan is going to focus its maximum efforts on retaining Selangor, Kedah, Penang and Kelantan while pushing for Perak and Negri Sembilan.

“But if we hold only state polls, then the opposition will come down on us like it did in Sibu,” said the source.

Meanwhile, another insider in Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party familiar with “rumours to rope in Rosmah” said the coalition was in dire need of “this particular federal assistance”.

“Umno in Sabah and in the peninsula is very divided. Najib is very dependent on Sarawak.

“We know this and unless both elections are held together there is no guarantee that BN can win a majority of the parliamentary seats in Sarawak.

“Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats. The opposition holds two seats. We think we will lose more seats this coming general election.

“If this happens, then BN’s overall majority will be greatly reduced and it will definetly affect Najib’s bid to retain Putrajaya,” the source said, adding that if Sarawak BN failed to deliver the seats there was the “frightening” possibility of Umno muscling its way into the state.

Reduced majority

Barely 10 months ago, a confident Taib had rubbished talks of an emerging grassroots rebelllion.

He saw absolutely no threat in Sarawak opposition DAP, as the sole flagbearer holding a parliamentary seat.

Sarawak BN held 30 seats at the time, a nice number which helped seal BN’s grip on Putrajaya in the unexpected 2008 political tsunami.

Then blew the unprecedented Sibu wind which defied the political odds in Sarawak. DAP won its second seat.

In August last year, opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim said the Pakatan Rakyat coalition was “upbeat” about its chances in Sabah and Sarawak.

Speaking at a ceramah, Anwar had reportedly said: “They can hold on to Sabah and Sarawak. Najib has been going there over and over again and (his wife) Rosmah even went there to sing.

“But when we can wrest a seat in Sarawak (Sibu), it is a clear indication that the BN fortress has begun to crumble. All we need is less than half the seats in Sarawak and a few in Sabah, and Insyallah (God willing), we will take on Putrajaya.”

But much has happened in Anwar’s PKR, which, if truth be told, has shaken its members’ faith in the party, its policies and ability to lead.

“PKR is riding on DAP and, to some extent, PAS’ strength. On its own it can’t survive. In Sarawak, we have good capable PKR leaders but they are subject to KL’s law and that makes them useless to us.

“PKR also does not have much money, not like DAP… PKR expects Sarawak to take care of itself but long-term sustainability is not easy…” said a grassroots PKR member here.

10 election reforms we would like to see

By P. Gunasegaram, The Star
There are more urgent things to address before considering proxy voting.
IT seems to us that the Election Commission is putting the cart before the horse. Yes, there could be some benefits to proxy voting under some circumstances, but there are much more urgent things to be addressed before we even come to that.

To better ascertain what should be the urgent reforms to elections, let us start with what elections should be, irrespective of which party we support, but from our standpoint as fellow Malaysians.

No one will disagree that elections must be free and fair, without threats and intimidation, with everyone being given equal opportunity and time to air and debate their views so that the public makes an informed choice.

Elections must also be representative of what people want. As much as possible of the adult population must be encouraged to vote and as far as possible, one must ensure the principle of proportional representation where the majority chooses the government of the day and all have representation in the legislatures.

With these in mind, here are 10 urgent reforms the Election Commission should undertake as soon as possible.

1. Automatic voter registration. Why the need to require voters to register? We have probably the most sophisticated identity card system in the world, with all relevant information contained in a single microchip embedded in our identity card. Simply use this to verify voters – nothing else is required. That move alone will increase participation in the election process more than any other move we can think of and truly help make democracy work.

2. Compulsory voting. The purists will argue that this is well, undemocratic. But even in a democracy we must require that citizens discharge their obligations – such as getting an IC, and yes voting. Make it compulsory to vote and more people will vote. And make it simple for those outside the country to vote if they are not here through a foolproof system, which does not necessarily have to be proxy voting.

3. Lower voting age to 18 from 21. This will ensure that a much larger proportion of the adult population votes. A person can go to jail at the age of 18, get married, work, etc. That means at that age, a person basically becomes an adult as he assumes full and sole responsibility for his actions. It is only reasonable that he be given the right to vote along with his assumption of adult responsibilities.

4. Promote proportional representation. We all know some constituencies are rather small – sometimes as little as a tenth of another. That makes it difficult to meet the principle of one-man one-vote because in some constituencies fewer votes elect a representative. To overcome such problems, populated constituencies should be split up to largely reflect population.

5. Consider representation based on percentage votes. It is an anomaly in our system of first-past-the-post that absolutely no consideration is given to the minority votes, which often form a huge proportion of total votes. Thus, often a 54% popular vote for instance can control more than two thirds of votes in Parliament, clearly an unfair situation not reflective of the situation on the ground. Perhaps the Senate should be reconstituted and its members allocated to various political parties according to proportion of popular votes garnered. That way, the Constitution cannot be changed willy-nilly when a government enjoys a small majority of popular votes.

6. Require public accounting of all money spent on elections and their sources. Those who have access to money are better off at running election campaigns. Requiring an accounting of election expenses will ensure that all money channelled into elections are legal and accounted for, helping to prevent abuse. Requiring parties to disclose their sources of finance for elections keeps a check on how elections are financed and ensures transparency.

7. Put a limit on the amount of money spent per seat. To level the playing field and to ensure that no candidate spends too much on elections, the amount of money spent per seat by a candidate should be limited. That way, no one will have an unfair advantage in terms of money used.

8. Stop party hopping. The EC should lead the move to change the law to require a new election if an elected representative switches parties. This is fair because the candidate was elected under the banner of a particular party and should seek a new mandate if he changes parties mid-course. But that will depend on whether the necessary laws will be changed, and is not within the power of the EC.

9. Have a minimum campaign period of at least one months. Two weeks or less is a pretty short period of time for nationally important issues to be aired, debated upon and finally decided by the public by a vote. But adopting our final point would avoid this problem and take the uncertainty out of elections in terms of time at least.

10. Fix the election date well in advance. The removal of executive powers to call for elections at any time will remove considerable uncertainty and ensure that elections are held at reasonably certain times. Thus, the next elections will be held exactly five years after the last one if the elected government is not toppled by a vote of no confidence or some other move before that.

As we can see, there is much that the Elections Commission still has to do before it goes to the rather dubious area of proxy voting. Most of these 10 measures are already in place in many countries around the world. And, yes, we do realise that the power to change the law is not with the EC but it can do its part by suggesting the changes.

In the interest of democracy and the rights of the rakyat, it is high time we considered these reforms. A good time will be now.

> Managing editor P. Gunasegaram is not at all optimistic that even a single one of these 10 reform measures will be adopted any time soon.

Corporal had no intention to harm or kill anybody, court told

The Star

SHAH ALAM: The policeman charged with causing the death of teenager Aminulrasyid Amzah submitted in a Sessions Court here that he was merely discharging his duties during the incident.

Kpl Jenain Subi’s lawyers M. Athimulan and Salim Bashir argued that their client had no intention to cause harm or kill anyone as he was just trying to stop the white Proton Iswara driven by Aminulrasyid.

“It was not a case of indiscriminate shooting. The evidence shows that the Proton driver’s unusual conduct led policemen to conclude they were criminals,” said Salim.

He added that Kpl Jenain was put under a difficult situation to make a decision.

“Should the public punish this Corporal who had to carry out his legal duty to stop the unlawful act of the driver?

“The court’s decision will send a clear message to other police officers,” said Salim.

Kpl Jenain is charged with causing the death of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid after an early morning car chase in Seksyen 11 here on April 26 last year.

Athimulan also said there was no credible evidence to show who caused the teenager’s death.

“There was no conclusive evidence to show which of the two MP5 sub-machine guns discharged the fatal shot,” said Athimulan.

He pointed out that Kons Mohd Izham Mahayadin, who was in another patrol car, had testified that he started opening fire at Bulatan Kayangan but Aminulrasyid’s friend Mohd Azamuddin Omar told the court he did not hear any gunfire at the roundabout.

However the prosecution contended that there was no reason to open fire.

“There was no provocation and the patrol vehicles were clearly not in danger.

“The accused fired 21 shots showing that he had full intention to cause harm,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Idham Abdul Ghani..

Judge Latifah Mohd Tahar adjourned the hearing until Jan 31.

Commission To Hand Over Report To King On April 25

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 (Bernama) -- The Commission of Inquiry into the Teoh Beng Hock case will begin on Feb 14, and the final report will be handed over to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 25.

Announcing this today, commission head Tan Sri James Foong who chaired its first meeting at the Jalan Duta Court Complex here, said it was up to the King to decide the next step on the report.

Foong, who is also Federal Court judge, said during the meeting, the commissioners held discussions on the terms of reference of the commission and went through the relevant sections of the Commission of Inquiry Act.

He said a high court room located on the third floor of the court complex would be used, adding that the proceedings would be held between 9am and 4.30pm from Monday to Friday.

"We are planing to hold the inquiry every day (Monday to Friday) until we complete it before April 25," said Foong.

He told reporters that during today's meeting, the five commissioners also met the three conducting officers of the inquiry from the office of the Attorney-General's Chambers, to enquire who would be called as witnesses.

"They told us that they will be holding a meeting on Monday to list out the witnesses and officers who would be assisting us in getting documents on rules and regulations of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)," said Foong.

The conducting officers were senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh and deputy public prosecutors Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud and Kwan Li Sa.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the setting up of the commission headed by Foong, after Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin consented.

The other four members of the commission are former federal judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, ex-Court of Appeal judge Datuk T. Selventhiranathan, Penang Hospital s senior consultant forensic pathologist Datuk Dr Bhupinder Singh and Cyberjaya University College of Medical Science s dean and consultant forensic psychiatrist Prof Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom.

Najib also announced the commission's terms of reference:

a) Whether or not, there was any impropriety in the conduct of the examination of Teoh in the course of an investigation into a Shah Alam report by the MACC, in relation to its standing orders and practices, and to recommend any appropriate action, where necessary; and,

b) To enquire into Teoh's death and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death.

Asked whether the commission would hold any meeting before Feb 14, Foong said the second meeting would be on Feb 9, pertaining to the list of final witnesses and whether the officers needed other assistants.

To another question on whether the commission would advise on the witnesses to be called, he replied: "Certainly, we will advise them, but when once proceedings commence, we will know who will be coming before us."

Asked to comment on the number of witnesses and possibility of calling foreign experts, including Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand, Foong said he would not know the actual number since the commission only held its first meeting, four days after the prime minister's announcement.

"It's premature at this stage to confirm the number of witnesses but we would definitely look into all witnesses appearing before the coroner during Teoh's inquest," explained Foong.

On another issue, whether the commission's findings would be challenged in court, similar to the findings of the Datuk V. K. Linggam's commission or application of recusal of commission members, he said he would rather refrain from speculating.

"We will deal with it, when it comes to us and will carry out our inquiry within the terms of reference given to us," he replied.

Before the press conference, Foong and the other commissioners visited the court room at the third floor and its recording facilities.

NGOs tell police: Let's see 90 days of no death in custody

(Malaysiakini) As many as 147 deaths in police custody have been reported since 2000 and NGO activists today demanded guarantees from the home ministry and the police force that such deaths will no longer occur.

Lawyers for Liberty representative N Surendren and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) co-founder R Sivarasa also insisted that investigations into the cause of death of any person while in the custody of the authorities should be carried out responsibly.

NONE"This is a high number. Under the section 334 of the Penal Code, inquests into deaths in custody are mandatory. There are no two ways about it," Surendran (left) said.

"The statistics show kegagalan (failure) on the part of the BN and the police in taking care of suspects in custody," he said, adding that every system of the government appeared to be a failure.

Statistics between 2000 and February 2010 showed that 64 Malays died while in police custody, with 30 deaths among Chinese detainees, 28 among Indians, eight people of other races, and 14 of the dead being foreigners.

azlanSurendren said ridiculous reasons had been given for the causes of the deaths: 63 from 'other diseases' such as ulcers, yellow fever (jaundice) and intestine, lung and throat infections, 23 had been listed as 'suicide' in the cells and 12 deaths from brain haemorrhage.

He asked how diseases such as cardiac arrest or pneumonia could "suddenly affect" detainees when many of them were aged between 30 and 40 years.

Surendren also questioned why a large number of deaths in custody - 66 - were termed as "no further action" (NFA).

"When they classify deaths as NFA, these files go to storage and nothing happens. No action," he stressed.

NGOs, rakyat to protest if deaths still occur

Sivarasa, a well-known Malaysian lawyer who together with Surendran represented Kugan's family in the case in which a police constable was charged with causing Kugan's death, challenged the home ministry and the police to achieve 90 days of 'no death in custody'.

The policeman, A Navindran, 28, was this morning acquitted by a sessions court in Petaling Jaya.

"We challenge them to achieve this, and show that deaths can be avoided.

NONE"If such deaths still occur, NGOs, opposition parties and the rakyat will organise a peaceful gathering to push for reformation in the police force," Sivarasa (right) added.

It has been quite clear from the incidents, he said, that many youngsters detained in police stations die, and this was manslaughter.

Malaysians for Beng Hock movement co-ordinator Ng Yap Hwa, who was also present at the press conference, called for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission be set up immediately.

"During (former prime minister) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's era, money was spent on infrastructure for the police force, but what about their behaviour?" Ng asked, and said there had been no remorse on the part of the police for deaths in custody

Fadiah Nadwa Fikri , who is also with Lawyers for Liberty and was present, described as "wrong" the procedures used by the police force.

NONEFadiah (second from right) said several memoranda had been sent to Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar , but he was yet to reply.

"We have been sending the IGP a memorandum on deaths in custody every year since 2005, but nothing has changed until today. We have not even received any reply from the police. Nothing at all.

"The government has complicity in this wrongful act (brutality) of the police force," she said adding that it was the responsibility of the government, including the home minister, police and doctors, to provide justice for those who die in police custody," Fadiah said.

"All they are doing is suppressing information from being made public."

Pakatan offers to work with MIC on Kugan RCI

(Malaysiakini) The death of 23-year-old A Kugan in police custody in 2009 saw outrage from both sides of the political divide, and yesterday's acquittal of a police officer charged of causing grievous harm to the forklift driver is again putting them on the same page.

Speaking to Malaysiakini late yesterday, PKR Kapar parliamentarian M Manickavasagam said Pakatan was willing to work with BN to bring justice to Kugan, and correcting the flaws in the system which led to his death and the "shocking" acquittal of constable V Navindran.

"We are willing to cooperate with BN parties who are also pushing for a royal commission of inquiry (on the matter), (MIC supreme council member) K Devamany, (MIC Youth chief) T Mohan and (MIC leader) T Murugiah all saw the injuries, so they should do something too," said the MP who represents Kugan's family.

Manickavasagam were among the few politicians in the forefront to press for a second post-mortem for the deceased. The autopsy subsequently revealed that Kugan was starved, burned and beaten in the five days in custody.

"It's shocking. After the Teoh Beng Hock open verdict and M Krishnan's second post-mortem, which came back with stomach ulcer again despite his bruises, this just smells like another case of cover-up.

"This was a clear-cut case. The injuries was so severe and he was at the mercy of the police," he lamented.

RCI better than inquest

In an immediate response yesterday, MIC leaders including Mohan called for a royal commission, not only into the death of Kugan, who was remanded under suspicion of car theft, but also on the high instances of deaths in police custody.

Similarly, the MIC leaders see eye-to -eye with DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang who renewed his call for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), proposed six years ago by another royal commission.
Manickavasagam stressed that a royal commission, not an inquest, is needed because of the number of 'open verdicts' in death-in-custody cases.

"(Former police chief) Musa Hassan promised that inquests will be conducted for all deaths in custody cases, but only a few did. Of that, many returned an open verdict, like R Gunasekaran and Teoh Beng Hock inquests.

"We've had so much resistance in all these cases, even just to have a second post-mortem. We even have problems viewing the body, we always have to put up a fight. The system is faulty," he said.

Who and What Anwar is actually still a mystery

A simple recap, in 1972 he formed ABIM and served as their leader. In 1982, he surprised everyone joining UMNO. In 1993, he was made the DPM after forcing out Ghafar Baba. In 1999 after his incarceration, PKR was formed and the rest I guess is the new politics that we see today with the same old political agenda.          
The economist ran a pretty decent piece on him with facts and actuality as they described him as the Malaysian chameleon see link
Now let’s get down to facts to see whether he is a chameleon. While in ABIM, it was a Muslim agenda, then in UMNO, it was more a Malay agenda   by introduced numerous pro-Malay policies in the national school curriculum. One of the major changes that he did was to rename the national language from Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu. I wonder where One Malaysia or Malaysian First fits in here.
Other notable events such as the Kampong Rawa incident on March 1998 where there was a tense stand-off when politically induced Muslims emerged from Friday prayers in an adjacent mosque and marched in numbers to the Sri Raja Raja Madurai Veeran temple in Kampung Rawa. During this incident, the negotiator, Mr Anwar threatened the Hindus there to accept whatever he said, otherwise he said no temple bells will be sounded in Penang. Knowing, M.I.C., what would you expect. Naturally the temple demolished and relocated even when it had stood there before the mosque came into the picture.
Another interesting event is of cause the insertion of UMNO proxies in Sabah since its inception in 1991. Naturally the progenitor is none other than our famous Anwar. 
Anwar sympathizers will naturally cry foul for the follies and floric of Anwar during his reign against the community generally, as after all he did face persecution for his ambitious attempt to overthrow the might Machiavellian, Dr. Mahathir by another Machiavellian. Basically it was a clash of Titans with little relevance for the public concern or their need but the race to power.
The interesting point to be taken into consideration is, the charmed character of Anwar did not serves his imprisonment for a cause for the society but rather being a sour grape but naturally being a seasoned politician, he was able to gain public sympathy through his Reformasi.     
Fast forward 2011, amongst the three opposition coalition parties, the one that seems to be a time bomb seems to be PKR. Why? Same principle, all proxies to ensure Anwarism, no difference from UMNOrism style with their allies.    
Why am I bringing this up. I tell you why?  Little-birds in the sky have been chirping to me that Anwar has recently met with Taib (Sarawak) & Musa (Sabah) beyond the Malaysian waters. 
Now what is the purpose of meeting UMNO cronies? Trust me in politics it is not about principle but where and when the deal can be struck. Even the enemy is your friend. Naturally we all know that Peninsular is 50-50, but East Malaysia is where the real power is for political swing. What they discussed or why, is a good guess for you as much as it is for me.
Let’s ponder on my own perception. Taib and Musa have been under a lot of heat and it is unlikely that UMNO can hold it together for them as they need take care of their backyard in Peninsular. Anwar has his days numbered either he goes behind bar or strike a deal for a swing in power and in exchange for these blokes to continue with their billionaire lifestyle and fulfill his own agenda to become the PM .    
You see once you in power, it is very difficult to question anything, look at UMNO, a classic example for 53 years and why go so far even PAKATAN within their four states exercise and exhibits similar agenda with lots of media propaganda for the feel good factor so what more with seasoned politicians.     
On another take, for all you know, Anwar maybe negotiating  with Najib as he would now realize that PKR is falling apart as most are UMNO rejects or his proxies. I would do that, if I am a politician, wouldn’t you?      
Why would Najib negotiate with Anwar? Well for one a common enemy Dr M.  Najib has Dr M nibbling at his feet from day one since he has been the Premier.  The current DPM, a crony of Dr M comes with such contradictory statements from the current Premier alike another subtle proxy war. Is it so difficult to fathom this? It is always good to read between the lines to find the true agenda.     
 I won’t be surprised  that one day Anwar will turn around and say Najib,  I think you are doing the right thingy as we have a common enemy in sight so keep me loose to enhance your position and avoid me from serving prison sentence.         
The crux of this letter is, politicians are never our savior, but we the people are as we need to be savvy enough to understand and comprehend with apprehension the true objective of a politician. This can only materialize if they are steadfast in their principle from day one, not swaying and swinging for political need no matter how you see it. A good politician and its true meaning is to serve the society without the typical grandeur that we observe with Anwar as and when it fits the agenda.   
This can only happen if your individual action is in place to check and balance them as I attempt to do with Anwar Ibrahim for is his actual society’s cause as oppose to his own individual cause.  
A good conscious politician is what we make them to be for general consensus, not for us to be looped around to serve their own personal agenda.  
Whether I have my doubts about Anwar is secondary but it is your call as the society to hold the notion of oneness without the typical One Malaysian & Malaysian first to flush out artificial politicians.
With both side of the politicians, we will never know hypocrisy or democracy as most of us are chameleon ourselves? So how!!!  Easy, truth and reality on you for other reflects the politicians or how they are able to manipulate it for themselves or for how we get manipulated.    
Wong Mun Chee 

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement shout slogans in Amman, Jordan on Friday after weekly prayers.

London, England -- The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt this week urged its followers to protest after Friday prayers -- the first time in the latest wave of unrest the group has made such a call.

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.

The movement officially rejects the use of violent means to secure its goals. However, offshoots of the group have been linked to attacks in the past, and critics blame the Brotherhood for sparking troubles elsewhere in the Middle East. Many consider it the forerunner of modern militant Islamism.

When was it created?

The Muslim Brotherhood has been part of the political scene in Egypt for more than 80 years. It was formed there by Hassan al-Banna in 1928.

Teacher Al-Banna and his followers were initially united by a desire to oust the British from control in Egypt, and to rid their country of what they saw as "corrupting" Western influences.

What is its history?

In its early years, the group concentrated on religion, education and social services, but as its membership grew, it moved into the political sphere, organizing protests against the Egyptian government.

In the 1940s, an armed wing of the Brotherhood was blamed for a string of violent acts, including the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi in 1948 -- shortly after he had ordered the dissolution of the MB.

Al-Banna himself was assassinated soon afterwards -- his supporters claimed he had been killed on the wishes of the government.

The movement went underground in the 1950s, and decades of oppression by successive Egyptian rulers led many of the Brotherhood's members to flee abroad, while others were jailed.

The MB grew throughout the 1980s as part of a general growth of interest in Islam, and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 saw a spike in membership.

Why is it important in Egypt?

The Brotherhood is the oldest and largest opposition group in Egypt. However, it is illegal under Egyptian law, which bans all parties based on religion. Because of this, its members contest elections as independents.

Until last year's polls, the party had 88 seats in the country's legislature. But following a decision to boycott the election because of voting irregularities, its parliamentary influence was wiped out.

The Brotherhood has widespread support among Egypt's middle classes, and its members control many of the country's professional organizations.

How influential is the Brotherhood elsewhere?

There are branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in countries across the Middle East and North and East Africa, including Sudan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. There is also a branch in the U.S.

Its offshoots outside Egypt are markedly more conservative in their views: The Kuwaiti branch is said to oppose the right of women to vote.

Sayyid Qutb, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s, developed the doctrine of jihad, and the radical group Hamas is believed to be an offshoot of the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.

Surendran: It's institutionalised manslaughter

PKR threatens mass demo over custodial deaths

PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president N Surendran has threatened to hold a mass demonstration if the police and the government fail to address the issue of custodial deaths.

He accused the government of practising a “culture of neglect and abuse” against detainees.

“A total of 147 people had died in custody since 2000, according to statistics presented in Parliament. Sixty-three of them died of preventable ailments,” said Surendran, also a lawyer

For example, he said that in 2006, a 22-year-old Sabahan died of internal bleeding while in police custody.

“An inquest into his death found no foul play. What caused the internal bleeding was never established. The statistics also showed that 32 detainees died of HIV. Were they not given treatment
while in custody?” asked Surendran.

He said that 66 cases of death have been filed but “no further action” have been taken. “So far, inquests into deaths in custody have not been satisfactorily resolved,” he added.

He added that if the government failed to resolve the matter quickly, PKR would organise a peaceful protest at the Bukit Aman police headquarters.

On M Krishnan’s death, which absolved the police of any wrongdoing, Surendran accused the police of being guilty of manslaughter for failing to provide medical treatment to him.

On Jan 3, Krishnan was detained for a drug-related offence at the Bukit Jalil police lock-up. Three days later, he was rushed to Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) for stomach complications and died the next day.

New eyewitness

The first autopsy conducted by HUKM showed that Krishnan died due to stomach ulcer. A second autopsy at Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) on Jan 25 gave a similar result.

Surendran said there were eyewitnesses who claimed that Krishnan was assaulted by the police while in detention.

“He had contusion marks on his back. Ulcer does not kill you instantly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty campaign director, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, said that there is a second eyewitness who saw Krishnan being assaulted in custody.

“We are trying to get him to lodge a police report soon,”said Fadiah.

The first witness, A Sargunan, who was arrested along with Krishnan, lodged a report at the Dang Wangi district police station on Jan 12, claiming that he saw the latter being beaten by policemen in the lock-up.

He alleged that the police made both of them lie on their stomachs, then started kicking and stomping on their backs with regulation boots on.

Sargunan, who fear for his safety, is now staying at an undisclosed location

Dirgahayu Maniam dan keturunannya

Adik-adik sekalian,

Pada hari ini, saya mahu memperkenalkan anda satu perkataan baru iaitu ‘dirgahayu’. Ya, kita biasa menggunakannya pada setiap kali Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Raja atau Sultan menyambut hari keputeraan.

Saya pernah menulis sebuah sajak berjudul ‘Pe(r)juang(an) Bahasa II’ pada 18 Disember 2002 dan ia pertama kali disiarkan di laman siber Komuniti Penyair (e-sastera) pada Disember 2002.

Sebagai seorang pejuang bahasa kebangsaan, saya menzahirkan protes terhadap cadangan Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran Sains dan Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (PPSMI) yang diusulkan pada Mei 2002 dan (akan) dilaksanakan pada Januari 2003.

Rangkap terakhir sajak itu berbunyi begini:

dirgahayu bahasaku!

dirgahayu Bahasa Malaysia!

Dalam konteks sajak di atas serta dalam konteks kegunaan biasa, istilah ‘dirgahayu’ membawa makna ‘(mudah-mudahan) dilanjutkan usia; dipanjangkan umur’ (Kamus Pelajar Bahasa Malaysia, DBP:1988). Malah, dalam kalangan kaum India di Malaysia, kita [gantikan dengan ‘kami’ jika perlu] menggunakan frasa ‘dirgha ayulsu’ dan ‘dirgha sumangali’.

Adik-adik sekalian,

Maka, apabila saya katakan ‘Dirgahayu Maniam dan keturunannya’, tidak timbul sebarang ‘niat jahat’ atau cubaan menderhaka kepada Raja-Raja Melayu.

Sebaliknya, saya sekadar mahu menunjukkan bahawa sesungguhnya watak Maniam dalam novel Interlok edisi murid (DBP: 2010) ‘dipanjangkan umur’.

Fakta, maklumat dan hakikat ini akan menjadi nyata jika anda rajin membaca novel berkenaan yang dijadikan teks Komponen Sastera Dalam Mata Pelajaran Bahasa Malaysia (Komsas) tanpa sekadar bergantung sepenuhnya kepada puluhan buku panduan menjawab soalan Komsas yang sudah membanjiri pasaran tanpa sekatan oleh pihak berwajib.

Berikut saya paparkan kronologi ringkas hidup Maniam dari 1880 hingga 1957 untuk kegunaan anda sebagai pelajar Tingkatan Lima di Zon Tengah yang terpaksa khatam novel Interlok edisi murid bagi tujuan peperiksaan Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).

Kronologi hidup Maniam

1880 – Maniam lahir di Kerala, India.

1905 – Maniam (25) berkahwin dengan Ambika (14).

Julai 1910 – Maniam (30) datang ke Pulau Pinang, Malaya dan bekerja sebagai kuli di pelabuhan.

Disember 1910 – Ambika sudah lari bersama Pillay. Maniam pergi ke Bagan Tuan dan bekerja sebagai kuli di kebun getah.

Februari 1911 – Maniam melarikan diri dari Bagan Tuan dan merayau-rayau selama beberapa bulan (saya andaikan tiga bulan).

Mei 1911 – Maniam tiba di Cangkat Lima dan bekerja sebagai kuli di kebun kelapa milik ‘orang putih’. Maniam berkenalan dengan Perumal (50) iaitu mandur kebun yang berasal dari Madras, Tamil Nadu, India.

November 1911 – Maniam (31) berkahwin dengan Malini (20) iaitu anak Perumal.

Julai 1912 – Malini sedang mengandung lapan bulan (bunting pelamin). Suppiah datang dari Bagan Tuan dan mula menyebarkan fitnah mengenai Maniam di Cangkat Lima. Maniam ditembak ‘orang putih’ semasa mengejar Suppiah. Akhirnya, Maniam diarahkan supaya meninggalkan Cangkat Lima. (Nota: Maniam tinggal di Cangkat Lima dari sekitar Mei 1911 hingga sekitar Julai 1912 tetapi Maniam mengaku kepada Inspektor Ramakrisynan di halaman 357 bahawa dia bekerja ‘hampir tiga tahun’ di Cangkat Lima.)

Maniam pergi ke Cangkat Janggus bersama Musa (sahabat barunya) dan menjadi kuli di ladang getah di sana.

Ogos 1912 – Malini melahirkan Ramakrisynan (Rama).

Februari 1913 – Musa balik kampung.

1915 – Malini meninggal dunia semasa Rama berumur 3 tahun. Maka, budak itu dipelihara oleh datuknya, Perumal.

1916 – Umur Rama kini ialah 4 tahun, Maniam (36) dan Perumal (55). Maniam kembali dari India ke Malaya selepas berada di negara asalnya bagi suatu tempoh yang tidak dinyatakan. Novel Interlok edisi murid juga – setakat yang saya baca – merahsiakan sepenuhnya apa yang Maniam lakukan di India. Mungkinkah dia memburu dan membalas dendam terhadap Ambika yang curang dan Pillay yang derhaka? Pelajar mungkin digalakkan menggunakan imaginasi dan kreativiti seni dan sastera untuk mengisi plot (jalan cerita) yang hilang. (Klu: Tonton filem dari Tamil Nadu banyak-banyak.)

1933 – Maniam (52) kini menjadi mandur di kebun getah di Cangkat Janggus dan inilah mobiliti sosial peribadi (personal social mobility) yang harus menjadi kebanggaan kepada generasi muda kaum India yang menghayati novel Interlok edisi murid. Maniam merujuk kepada Rama (21) sebagai ‘anak remaja’.

1933-1941 – Kisah kehidupan Maniam yang bahagia bersama keluarga Seman, iaitu anak Musa.

1941 – Rama kini berumur 29 tahun, Maniam (61) dan Perumal (80). Pelajar boleh mula melaungkan frasa ‘Dirgahayu Perumal!’ semasa perbincangan di kelas sebagai tanda sokongan moral tanpa perbezaan kaum dan agama.

Disember 1941 – Serangan tentera Jepun. Maniam ditangkap tetapi kemudian diselamatkan anaknya, Rama. Maniam tetap tinggal di Cangkat Janggus dan tidak pulang ke Cangkat Lima.

Ogos 1945 – Kekalahan tentera Jepun berikutan pengeboman Hiroshima dan Nagasaki oleh tentera (wira?) Amerika Syarikat (AS). Pentadbiran Tentera British (British Military Administration) di Malaya sebagai persiapan awal ke arah memberi kemerdekaan kepada negara.

1946 – Britain memperkenalkan Malayan Union (MU) tetapi ditentang hebat oleh penduduk Melayu dengan ‘semangat kebangsaan’ yang semakin menjulang. Diikuti peristiwa serangan komunis dan ‘kemenangan pasukan keselamatan yang paling besar di daerah itu’ (halaman 414).

1948 – Persekutuan Tanah Melayu terbentuk dengan ‘restu’ penduduk Melayu. Perlembagaan digubal dan ia menjadi asas kepada Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang kekal sebagai bukti kedaulatan negara sehingga hari ini. Dirgahayu Perlembagaan Malaysia!

31 Ogos 1957 – Persekutuan Tanah Melayu mencapai kemerdekaan daripada penjajahan ‘anjing’ British. Rama berumur 45 tahun, Maniam (77) dan Perumal (96).

Adik-adik sekalian,

Sila maklum bahawa semasa kisah dalam novel Interlok edisi murid berakhir pada tarikh keramat 31 Ogos 1957, watak Rama, Maniam dan Perumal masih hidup dan sihat walafiat.

Maka, mari kita sama-sama berdiri berpegang tangan dengan semangat ‘1Malaysia: Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan’ dan ayuh kita laungkan bersama-sama dengan suara yang nyaring dan bergema ke seluruh pelosok dunia:

‘Dirgahayu Maniam dan keturunannya di Malaysia yang merdeka!’