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Monday, January 31, 2011

‘Charge author for sedition, use Hindraf novel’

Hindraf's P Uthayakumar also wants DPM Muhyiddin Yassin and education officers to be charged for introducing Interlok in schools.
BUTTERWORTH: National laureate Abdullah Hussain and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should be among those charged for sedition with regard to the Interlok novel, said Hindraf Makkal Sakti.
Speaking to FMT yesterday, the movement’s legal adviser P Uthayakumar suggested that his book on the Nov 25, 2007 Hindraf rally be introduced in schools instead.
The lawyer, who was detained under the Internal Security Act in the aftermath of the rally, claimed that his book was more current, effective, realistic and relevant than Interlok.
“The (students) will realise the mistakes of their forefathers and can then explore all ways and means to address and resolve the pressing Indian issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uthayakumar also demanded that Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar explain why action was not taken against those responsible for introducing Interlok in schools.
Apart from author, he said, Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, should be charged for approving the book.
He said the police should also charge education officials, especially those sitting in the education syllabus panel, for recommending it.
“But none of them were probed or charged despite the novel’s extreme seditious nature,” he said, adding that the book’s contents had hurt the feelings of Indians here and abroad.
Street protest held
Uthayakumar also slammed the 91-year-old author, who penned the book in 1971, for deliberately humiliating Indians by misrepresenting the facts.
He said Abdullah’s usage of the term “pariah” (outcaste) to generalise all Malaysian Indians was a mortification of the community’s dignity and integrity.
“By now the writer and the rest should have been charged for sedition. The IGP must explain why the police did not prepare charge sheets for the attorney-general to prosecute them,” he said.
Earlier, Uthayakumar led an anti-Interlok street protest outside the Butterworth police station after Hindraf’s state convention.
Some 70 Hindraf leaders and supporters, with anti-Interlok banners and posters, participated in the hour-long protest.
They also lodged several police reports, urging for action to be taken against those responsible for the book being absorbed into the school curriculum.
Following strong objections, Muhyiddin last week announced that offending paragraphs would be deleted before the book is used in classrooms. However, this fell short of the call from Indian groups to withdraw the book.
Commenting on this, Uthayakumar took Muhyiddin to task for not banning Interlok.
He noted that the Education Ministry removed some 400,000 syllabus books from school shelves last week for containing spelling and grammar mistakes.
“But the seditious and racist Interlok was not,” he said, urging Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to walk the talk on his 1Malaysia concept by banning the book.

‘Zuraidah has no right to meddle’

KUALA KUBU BARU: The Hulu Selangor District Council (MDHS) is seeing red over Ampang MP Zuraidah Kamaruddin’s alleged interference in the council’s internal issues.

A disgruntled MDHS officer told FMT that Zuraidah was constantly interfering in the council’s decisions although she had “no business” doing so.

Speaking to FMT, the officer, who declined to be named, said the latest incident involved a meeting which the president had called to appoint committee members for the tender quotation committee.

“Zuraidah called up our president Tukiman Nail and ordered him to postpone the meeting. This is not the first time she has done this. She has interfered in other internal council matters as well.

“It is very frustrating. She has no business doing this,” he said, adding that Zuraidah was always making arbitrary decisions in matters involving MDHS without discussing with the council.

A quick FMT check revealed that the MDHS letter of invitation for the meeting was sent to four district council members and copied to PKR Hulu Selangor division.

The letter, however, omitted former councillor Razali Mokthar, who is believed to be aligned with Zuraidah.

“This whole problem started after Zuraidah became aware that Razali was sidelined. On Jan 13, she called the president and asked him to postpone the meeting. Because she was the PKR women’s chief with influence at the top, Tukiman followed her instruction.

“But my question is, who is she to direct MDHS to defer the meeting? What is her position in the state government?

“As far as we are concerned, she is only a parliamentarian and PKR women chief. Is that enough for her to control the council?” he asked.

He urged Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to step in and probe Zuraidah’s misconduct.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach the PKR Hulu Selangor chief Nazar Yakin for further details were futile.

An analysis of the Tenang by –elections from the Indian perspective.

Here is an initial analysis of the Indian votes in Tenang:
  2008 2011
Total Indians voted 1104 694
Indian votes for BN 550 555
Indians voted for PR 554 144
This analysis is very telling.
1) What BN got in 2008, it was able to defend in 2011.
2) PR lost support of almost 400 Indian voters 2008- 2011.
3) But that did not mean BN got those lost votes. These Indian voters very smartly just abstained from voting either PR or BN– they just stayed home on a rainy day. The rains make more difference to them than either BN or PR.
Now, playing HRP and HINDRAF into this Tenang election could produce a picture like this –
1) 90%,of the Indians would have come out to vote if HRP/Hindraf were a factor in this election- in spite of the rain.
2) That will be 1500 voters who would have voted.
3) All those who abstained would very likely have voted HRP/HINDRAF.
4) That is already about 950 voters.
5) Then add about half those who voted BN vote for HRP, that will be another 275.
6) That makes for a total of 1,200 votes.
7) A swing of over 1000 votes would have occurred.
8) If PR takes HRP as its equal partner then all these votes would have gone to PR.
9) The margin here would not have been 3707, it would have been 1707.
All fthe above does not even consider the “oomph” factor that HINDRAF/HRP would have introduced into this election, hed they been a factor.
Does PR have the vision to see where HRP/HINDRAF stands or will they foolishly keep repeating that the HINDRAF factor is all but lost.
Clearly there is a serious leadership vacuum for the Indians that only HRP and HINDRAF can fill . No amount of screwing around this idea by PR or anyone else is going to help PR in the least. Getting to Putrajaya seems to be an increasingly receding vision for PR, the more they screw around. Latest, is their attempt to get Surendran on their side. Did that help? They still lost Indian support, big time,in Tenang.
What we see increasingly in these by elections is a sample from which to conclude about what could happen in a General Election. If PR wants to get to Putrajaya there is no alternative for them but to sit down and hammer out a deal with HRP/HINDRAF, before the window shuts

Best Regards

Like HINDRAF, we need a SUQUI to re-emerge for a Malaysian nation

Like HINDRAF, we need a SUQUI to re-emerge for a Malaysian nation 
Many may not know about SUQUI and their 17 point demand. This was a loose organization set up by Malaysian Chinese Organizations' Election Appeal Committee, which was made up of l3 organizations and had the endorsement of over 2,000 Chinese associations in Malaysia back in 1999.

This was the 17 point demand with further 83 specific demands.    

1. Encourage racial solidarity.
2. Increase democracy.
3. Defend human rights and uphold justice.
4. Eradicate corrupt practices.
5. Implement a fair economic policy.
6. Re-evaluate the privatisation policy.
7. Implement an education policy that is more progressive and liberal.
8. Encourage the development of all cultures.
9. Protect the environment.
10. Modernise and develop new villages.
11. Formulate a “House for Everyone” Policy.
12. Protect Women’s Rights.
13. Develop a fair media.
14. Restore the confidence of the people towards the police.
15. Improve welfare.
16. Respect workers’ rights.
17. Help the aborigines become self-reliant.

The points raised is clearly a clarion call to promote national unity, to advance democracy, to uphold human rights and justice, defending Chinese education and place of worship, to curb corruption, to have a fair and equitable economic policy and to allow the flourishing of multi-ethnic cultures. It appealed for the protecting of the Malaysian environment, modernizing the New Villages, and housing for all and to provide for the Orang Asli.

Naturally at the time, bearing the impending 1999 election, the memorandum received with considerable publicity and both the opposition and the BN accepted in principle the points it contained.

If you note what the Chinese were asking for their community is an end to the corruption, abuse, injustice, oppression, and many more transgressions that divides the nation by its race based politics. 

SUQUI, like HINDRAF was armed with army of volunteers, passionate with a worldview of national unity without a political agenda but to build the nation, yet after the election they were treated like communist, traitors, drawn in comparison with Al’Ma’unah (armed cult group) and compromised by the then toothless MCA and Gerakan for political survival and silence in reticence by the opposition.
Well, SUQUI may have been a similar movement like HINDRAF, but in nutshell both their objectives are same basic human rights in Malaysia without infringing the need of the others even when they fought for their own individual community.       
Coming back to SUQUI, unfortunately the Malaysian Chinese could not pursue their conscious and rightful agenda as their Chinese representatives and community rather hid behind the UMNO sarong who dresses them as the Chinese representative like what happens with the opposition without much to do as everything is taken care for.
Naturally HINDRAF did not encounter a natural death like SUQUI                who had trusted their Chinese political representatives, but they have and continued to put their head on the chopping board no matter what is the repercussion as long as they are focused in their goal to protect what is natural and humane for their community’s objective as Malaysian. 
Why I say this is because, although they are against UMNO and its allies, they have written numerous letters and engaged the opposition yet the protocol of politics seems to have the upper hand against them even with the opposition as the latter continues to “jaga” their own individual position as oppose to working with HINDRAF. I guess this the Malaysia Boleh concept that is well imbibed for the right connection, right time and right affiances. 
Well, if it is truly an agenda to protect and serve basic human rights and grievances of the marginalized, then why all this for the populace run when all you do is to please someone for individual run against what is best for the community? 
The rather self indulging urbanites fail to comprehend the needs of the marginalized and under privileged in the rural segment as we urbanite Malaysian continue to classify everything in a race, religion context on a personal modus operandi whether it is an UMNO One Malaysia or the oppositions Malaysian First but never able to comprehend, that this should not even be a factor when basic human rights is paramount with sound reasoning.
Today, the seismic shift that we find ourselves involved in modern day internet has completely shifted, but with little change as the fundamentals are not in place for as usual I know best whether UMNO is bad or Opposition is good.   
In hindsight, which is bad or good does not bother me or people like us, either way we endure, yet never for the untold struggle and survival for those who are not in our shoes. We at large fail to understand their struggles and mishaps are the silence acceptance and inept politics that we practice by picking sides when there is only one which is basic human rights irrespective of the origin.       
For a civic nationalism on a basis of humanity for the current generation irrespective of origin,    HINDRAF & a re-emergence of SUQUI with moderate level headed MALAY future leaders alike TAR, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Burhanuddin Helmi, Tun Dr Ismail, is what we need to create and enhance a Malaysian nation against a spoon fed chosen politicians nurtured at the courtesy of the typical UMNO and PAKATAN methodology with their hand- picked and hen pegged cronies who are only there for their own populist agenda.
The Malaysian bargain for civic nationalism starts with HINDRAF and SUQUI kind of organization without the typical political agenda that most politicians from both side of the equation run without a concern for the marginalized and discriminated that forms the bulk of the society.       
Wong Mun Chee 

Egypt's protesters defy curfew, surround opposition figure

Egypt protesters defy curfew, surround opposition figure
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- The U.S. plans to begin flying thousands of Americans out of the country on Monday, a day after the government's call for protesters to obey a curfew, plus low-flying fighter jets overhead did nothing to deter thousands of Egyptians from continuing their protests into Sunday night.

Crowds surrounded Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading opposition figure, as he walked into Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday. Throngs of people cheered his arrival.

Sunday's protests appeared to be mostly peaceful, with signs of increasing cooperation between the army and civilians in the face of looting and threats of violence from criminal elements.

ElBaradei told protesters Sunday that he came "to participate today in the lives of Egyptians. Today I look into the eyes of each one of you, and everyone is different today. Today you are an Egyptian demanding your rights and freedom, and what we started can never be pushed back. As we said, we have one main demand: the end of the regime and to start a new phase."

In a CNN interview earlier, ElBaradei called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to "leave today and save the country."

"This is a country that is falling apart," ElBaradei told CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

He said he has been "authorized -- mandated -- by the people who organized these demonstrations ... to agree on a national unity government."

ElBaradei, a former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is one of several opposition figures whose name surfaces when protesters talk about possible future leaders of Egypt. Among other names is Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League.

But Mubarak has given no indications of giving up his 30-year rule.

On Sunday, Mubarak urged the leaders of his new government to undertake "dialogue with all the political parties," according to a reading of his remarks on state-run Nile TV.

Mubarak said that dialogue "will accomplish democracy and to make the parties have more participation to help us achieve a democratic civil society."

The president charged the new cabinet, to be shaped by newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, to restore security in the country, along with Egyptians' faith in their country's economy. Mubarak also appeared to criticize the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition bloc.

"The citizens and the young people of Egypt have gone out to the streets in peaceful demonstration asking for their right for the freedom of speech," Mubarak said. "However, their demonstrations have been infiltrated by a group of people who use the name of religion who don't take into consideration the constitution rights and citizenship values."

Mubarak had earlier vowed to listen to the protesters' message and fired his entire Cabinet on Saturday. On Sunday, Mubarak, 82, visited an armed services operations center, Nile TV reported. Mubarak was following up on the security situation and showing support for the military, a report said.

Sunday's demonstrations at times felt like a music festival, with people cheering, chatting and posing for pictures with members of the military in their tanks. The army had been deployed to replace police forces that had clashed brutally with demonstrators.

However, the Interior Ministry ordered police back onto some streets, a move that angered protesters, said Heba Fatma Morayef, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Tahrir Square. The army remained in control of the square, she said.

Some residents picked up the slack for police in areas surrounding the protests -- offering to clean up trash, for example. Medical personnel worked their way through the crowd, seeing if anyone needed help.

"The square has emptied out since the afternoon, but it's still a great atmosphere, a sense of solidarity and very well-behaved -- people are sitting around bonfires, or walking around picking up rubbish," Morayef said. "Crowds who find occasional looters drag them over to the soldiers and hand them over."

Several thousand people remained in the square Sunday night, and many said they plan to stay in place until Mubarak resigns, Morayef said.

Charter flights will begin taking thousands of government dependents, nonessential employees and private American citizens out of Cairo on Monday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Janice L. Jacobs said Sunday.

Officials are looking at Istanbul, Turkey; Nicosia, Cyprus; and Athens, Greece, as possible destinations, although the list was not finalized Sunday afternoon, she said.

The staff of the Cairo Embassy has been closed indefinitely but has a 24-7 task force and call centers and has been overwhelmed by inquiries, Jacobs said.

Turkey sent two planes to Egypt on Sunday to begin evacuation of its citizens, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Selcuk Una said.

In Alexandria, machine gun fire could be heard overhead as thousands of protesters marched down streets Sunday night, CNN's Nic Robertson reported. Gunfire could also be heard in several locations in Cairo, including in front of the Egyptian Museum.

With the world's attention focused on their efforts, the protesters issued two central demands: that the regime that has run Egypt for years face a trial and that the Constitution be changed.

Many expressed optimism that they will succeed. "This is the start of the rest of my life," one jubilant young man who appeared to be in his 20s told CNN. "As cheesy as it sounds, that's exactly how I feel right now."

He added that he had been concerned there wouldn't be enough people "to deter any threat -- either by police or by the army. Now, it's definitely over."

Ali Regal, a student activist leader in Alexandria, said that the military is working closely with "the masses" -- including demonstrators -- to coordinate security. He said that organizers were mapping out a plan to set up checkpoints around the port city.

"The army is very helpful and working with us," Regal told Robertson. "There is a strong cooperation between the masses and the army. That's what I can tell so far."

Mohammed Sidky, an Egyptian-American who recently moved back to Cairo, said residents were banding together to fill the security void with the military's help.

Sidky said the military had increased its presence in Cairo on Sunday, with more tanks and soldiers in the streets, and that some neighborhood watch groups who catch alleged criminals call the military, which had been responding to the scene within 20 or 30 minutes.

"So this is a sense of security to us, and it is ... working together, the military and the citizens," Sidky said.

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry told CNN on Sunday, "The situation seems to be improving slightly in terms of security for private and public property."

"The military has achieved some positive results in rounding up some of the prison escapees and in providing security in neighborhoods," he added.

A military representative appeared on Nile TV Sunday and called on Egyptians to obey the curfew "to make it possible for us to capture the outlaws," according to a translation of the comments.

The representative also asked Egyptians to quickly report "the whereabouts of those individuals committing thug actions."

Whether the 450,000-strong armed forces -- deployed to the streets for the first time since the mid-1980s -- will remain loyal to Mubarak is a key question for the nation's future.

More than 3,000 people have been arrested so far, including some looters and escaped prisoners, Nile TV reported.

Still, fear of anarchy and looting lingered Sunday. Shops and businesses were looted, and abandoned police stations were stripped clean of their arsenals. Sidky estimated that 95 percent of businesses in Cairo were closed.

A body was found in front of the country's Interior Ministry Sunday morning, but there was no police presence nearby.

In a statement carried by state television, Gen. Mohamad Tantawi, the defense minister in the sacked Egyptian government, urged the public to obey the 4 p.m.-8 a.m. curfew (9 a.m.-1 a.m. ET).

The curfew time on Monday will begin an hour earlier, at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. ET), and last until 8 a.m. (1 a.m. ET), Nile TV reported.

Tantawi was escorted to the network's headquarters by red-helmeted troops in a convoy of sport-utility vehicles. Later, Egyptian TV stations showed him walking in the streets of Cairo checking on troops.

Fighter jets began flying low over the crowd of tens of thousands minutes before the curfew was to begin. The jets flew so low, according to CNN staffers on the ground, that their cockpits could be seen.

A group of Egyptian troops fired warning shots at a car that tried to run a barricade around Tahrir Square, but the vehicle made it through the barricade and escaped, according to CNN photographer Joe Duran.

One of the biggest concerns of many Egyptians in the wake of the chaos -- that prisoners could escape -- proved true this weekend. Nile TV said some prisoners broke out of Abu Zaabal prison in Cairo, though it was not immediately clear how many.

At the Ataa prison in Al Badrashin, a town in Giza, some prisoners broke out too. Roughly 1,000 inmates escaped from Prison Demu in Fayoum, southwest of Cairo, Nile TV reported early Sunday.

The military representative on Nile TV Sunday asked "those individuals who have escaped from prisons ... (to) quickly give themselves up to the nearest police station or the armed forces in the streets."

Cell phone and mobile Internet service appeared to have returned, but word of a possible new crackdown on communication emerged Sunday.

Egypt's Information Ministry announced that it was revoking Al-Jazeera's license and withdrawing accreditation of the network's staff, state media reported.

"The closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people," the Al-Jazeera network said in a statement.

The network's Arabic-language channel was off the air in Egypt Sunday afternoon, but Al Jazeera English was still on the air.

Mubarak appointed his trusted and powerful intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his deputy on Saturday, the first time the authoritarian regime has had such a post. Suleiman is well respected by the military and is credited with crushing an Islamic insurgency in the 1990s, for which he earned the ear of Western intelligence officials thirsting for vital information about regional terrorist groups.

Suleiman had a meeting Sunday with the head of the military and the interior minister, Egyptian TV network ESC reported.

The protests come weeks after similar disturbances sparked a revolution in Tunisia, forcing then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country.

Both Egypt and Tunisia have seen dramatic rises in the cost of living in recent years and accusations of corruption among the ruling elite. Tunisia-inspired demonstrations have also taken place in Algeria, Yemen and Jordan.

The Egyptian crisis reverberated across the world, with activists in cities including New York, Toronto and Geneva staging protests Saturday in support of those in Egypt, demanding that Mubarak step down.

The aging president has ruled Egypt with an iron fist for three decades, and it was widely believed he was grooming his son, Gamal, as his successor -- a plan now complicated by demands for democracy.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, Frederik Pleitgen, Ivan Watson, Housam Ahmed, Caroline Faraj, Saad Abedine and journalist Ian Lee contributed to this report

Police Report against the Minister of Education of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Bin Yassin for including the book ‘Interlok’ into the SPM curriculum 30th Jan 2011

I N.Ganesan i/c # 510725715223 would like to make this Police Report against the Minister of Education of Malaysia Tan Sri Muhyiddin Bin Yassin for including the book ‘Interlok’ written by Abdullah Hussain into the SPM curriculum for the Malay Literature subject. This book contains demeaning and degrading statements about the Indian community. This whole book has a very subtle sense of disrespect and disregard for the feelings of the Indian community and is in my opinion intended to remind us Indians in Malaysia that we are still “pendatangs” and we should be grateful to the UMNO Government for allowing us citizenship in Malaysia. This is in gross violation of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Let me quote some of the offensive and demeaning statements in the book:

In page 211

Mereka yang dari arah ke utara sedikit bercakap bahasa Malayalam atau Telugu, tetapi hampir semuanya tahu bahasa Tamil. Malayalam dan Telugu pun berasal dari satu rumpun bahasa Dravidia. Satu perkara besar yang membuatkan mereka senang berkaul adalah kerana mereka tergolong dalam satu kasta Paria.

Also in page 211

Mereka tidak perlu takut akan mengotori sesiapa kalau bersentuhan.

In page 218

Maniam seperti orang India yang lain, tidak pernah khuatir tentang keselamatan isterinya.

Also in page 218

Dia gembira hidup di negeri ini kerana untuk pertama kali dalam hidupnya dia berasa dirinya sebagai manusia seperti orang lain.

In pages 218 and 219

Disini dia tidak sahaja bebas bercampur gaul dengan orang lain sama sebangsanya, malah dia tidak takut dengan pantang larang yang terdapat di negaranya apabila seorang India daripada kasta rendah menyentuh orang India daripada kasta tinggi.

In page 219

Di negeri ini, orang daripada keturunan kasta tinggi, kasta Brahma memakai punul yang

melintang di tubuh, tetapi dia tidak takut menyentuh orang itu

Dia boleh membeli barang daripada penjaja dengan memberikan wang dari tangan ke tangan; tidak seperti seperti di negaranya, dia mesti meletakkan wang itu di suatu tempat dan penjaja itu akan menyiram wang itu dengan air sebelum diambil dan dimasukkan ke dalam petinya.

In page 220

Apatah pula lembu ialah binatang suci bagi orang Hindu; dan kalau binatang itu mati, seperti ibunya sendiri yang mati.

In page 224

Tidak makan tengah hari tidak mendatangkan masalah, asalkan dia dapat mengunyah

sirihnya seperti lembu atau kambing memamah biak

In page 229

Setelah menjalani beberapa upacara yang meletihkan, maka pesta perkhawinan Maniam dan Malini pun berakhir.

In page 253

Dia gertak sahaja, orang kulit hitam ini tentu takut kecut

In page 256

Suppiah menerpa ke hadapan dan sujud di kaki orang putih…… Lantas, dia menendang

Suppiah. Suppiah terjungkir.

It is not just these statements but also the overall sense that this book projects that I find totally objectionable. Making it a compulsory text for the SPM Malay Literature language inspite of clear disapproval from the Indian community tantamounts to sedition on the part of the Minister of Education according to the Seditions Act.

1) Section 3.1.e which states that seditious tendency is “A “seditious tendency” is a tendency to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia and

2) 4. (1) Any person who— (a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has

or which would, if done, have a seditious tendency; and shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable fora first offence to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and any seditious publication found in the possession of the person or used in evidence at his trial shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.

I would like you to prosecute the Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for violating the above sections of the law in particular by authorizing the said book to be continuously used in schools pending the amendments if any and which is undefined. We also want criminal prosecution for sedition against the author, the syllabus panel of which approved the book for use in school and the relevant Education Ministry officials inspite of hundreds of Police Reports lodged nationwide against the said book.

With BN’s Tenang win, Malaysia far from being Tunisia, Egypt

BN leaders and Azahar (in songkok) raise their arms in victory in the Tenang by-election last night, January 30, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Will Malaysia become like Egypt and Tunisia? This is a question which many Malaysians are asking in the wake of people power and street demonstrations which have rocked several Muslim countries such as Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.
Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 3,707-vote majority win in Tenang within its Johor stronghold shows that the ruling coalition remains popular among the electorate although it has failed to regain the Chinese vote, a major block in most urban areas.
However, opposition politicians like to believe that the conditions are ripe for a similar style uprising here, citing repressive practices and endemic corruption by the BN government.
On the flip side, government leaders say that the situation in Tunisia, Egypt and Malaysia is as different as night and day, noting that the Southeast Asian nation has full employment, with the people having full stomachs and the country is a democracy with regular elections.

A protester shouts during a demonstration in Cairo yesterday, January 30, 2011. — Reuters pic
For now, BN leaders are correct. And Azahar Ibrahim’s 6,699 votes against PAS’s Normala Sudirman’s 2,992 in the country’s 14th by-election since Election 2008 show that the ruling coalition has the policies that keep attracting support. But there are similarities between what is happening in Tunis and Cairo, and the authorities will be well advised to watch and learn and avoid the same pitfalls. These include:
• Turning a blind eye to endemic corruption, especially among ministers, government politicians, royals and those connected to the leadership.
Because this is a rich country, Malaysians generally do not go beyond complaining when they wonder how ministers and politicians can own a fleet of luxury cars, own luxury homes in London, afford to put their children in boarding schools and have their wives decked in million ringgit jewels when their monthly salary is not more than RM15,000 a month.
For now, the Malaysian reaction is a mixture of amazement, frustration and envy. But as the events in Tunisia show, pent-up anger over endemic corruption can push ordinary people to do drastic things.
• President Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt with a strong hand, supported by secret police and the military. He has refused to give any democratic space and frustration has built up to explosion point because many Egyptians believe that the system is stacked against them.
Elections are rigged, opposition politicians are threatened and the religious class persecuted.
Mubarak has weakened all the institutions and bent it according to his will. The situation in Malaysia is a long way from Cairo but this situation will only continue if the government understands that rules of fair play and justice must be adhered to by institutions, whether it is the judiciary, police, MACC, Election Commission and other institutions.
Mubarak believed that as long as he had the military might behind him he could run Egypt as his fiefdom. The point is that tolerance has its breaking point.
The turmoil, in which more than 100 people have died, has sent shock waves through the Middle East where other autocratic rulers may face similar challenges, and unsettled financial markets around the globe as well as Egypt’s allies in the West.
The final straw seems to have been parliamentary elections in November last year, which observers said authorities rigged to exclude the opposition and secure Mubarak’s ruling party a rubber-stamp Parliament.
The military response to the crisis has been ambivalent. Troops now guard key buildings after police lost control of the streets, but have neglected to enforce a curfew, often fraternising with protesters rather than confronting them.
It also remains to be seen if the armed forces will keep Mubarak in power, or decide he is a liability to Egypt’s national interests, and their own. It was also unclear if Mubarak had decided to talk with the generals or if he was summoned by them.
It was Tunisian generals who persuaded former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to flee last month after weeks of protests.

A crowd gathers around Egyptian soldiers standing on top of a tank in Cairo yesterday, January 30, 2011. — Reuters pic
That has not happened in Malaysia, even in 1998 at the height of the Reformasi protests against the sacking of then-Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. A series of desertions and a sacking from Anwar’s PKR have shown that the de facto PKR and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leader has still to come to grips with controlling his party rather than challenging Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for Putrajaya.
The latest polls result from Tenang appears to reflect that BN is regaining most of its support from the Malays, who deserted the ruling coalition in 2008, and the Indians who appear to have benefited from the Hindraf march in November 2007.
However, it has yet to receive more support from the Chinese, the country’s second-biggest community but the most dominant in business.
An editorial in Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysia weekly yesterday urged the government to curry favour with the Chinese to ensure continued support in the next general election amid concern that the situation in the Middle East could find its way to Malaysia.
With BN now winning six out of 14 by-elections since Election 2008, all eyes will be on the 15th by-election in Merlimau on March 6, two days to three years since the last general election, to see if the ruling coalition can maintain their momentum and win the Malacca seat.
Growing support for the Najib administration in the past few by-elections will help assure the government that Tunisia and Egypt will not happen in the country in the near future.
It will also keep the opposition in check but the Najib administration will have to continue with its reforms to ensure it remains in power. Otherwise, it will be a matter of time before protests grow like in Tunisia or Egypt and even in Indonesia more than a decade ago.

Anwar, Gobala tiff continues in tweet-fight

SHAH ALAM: PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said he had long expected that Padang Serai MP N Gobalakrishnan would leave the party.

“He has left, it’s all right. Let us continue,” he said when asked to comment on Gobalakrishan’s resignation from the party and relinquishing all posts that he was holding in the PKR yesterday.

He said this after attending a function, here today.

He also said that Gobalakrishnan had previously not responded to a show-cause letter sent to him by the party last month for criticising the top party leadership.

Anwar said that he and the party had not received any official letter from Gobalakrishnan on his resignation, and party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had asked Gobalakrishnan to give clarification because he had merely announced his decision on the twitter yesterday.

He also said that Gobalakrishnan had not informed him of his intention and the last time the PKR adviser met him was in Parliament.

Low intelligence level

Anwar also used micro-blogging site Twitter to lash out at Gobalakrishnan, whom he labelled as “bebalisme” without making any direct reference to the former PKR man.

He described the term as someone with “low intelligence level, does not know how to have a discourse, tends to spread lies and shows off his stupidity”.

Anwar’s tweet sparked a quick rebuke from Gobalakrishnan who lashed out at the former for repeating lies to the public.

He also claimed that Anwar had under-performed as the Selangor economic adviser with the state being the most corrupt in the country.

“Anwar as economic adviser corruption highest in Sgor. Will lose state if reform within not done. Visit councillors every district. AI (Anwar Ibrahim) even control sand,” he tweeted.

Gobalakrishnan’s tweets prompted others to jump in to ask Anwar to respond, to which the party supremo claimed that Gobalakrishnan’s attacks were due to him being overlooked for a position in the party.

Anwar claimed that Gobalakrishnan was upset that N Surendran was appointed as a PKR vice-president.

Nothing to do with party post

When contacted, Gobalakrishnan said his criticism against the party was not due to being overlooked for the vice-president’s post.

“Did I ever lobby to Anwar for the position? You can ask Anwar,” he said.

He added that it was not wrong for Anwar to appoint “Surendran – a professional” but he claimed that the latter was not even a party member.

From special position to ‘ketuanan’

Law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi reckons that Bumiputera is merely a term coined for political mileage.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is nothing racial about Article 160 of the Federal Constitution’s definition of the word ‘Malays,’ according to Law professor Shad Saleem Faruqi.

He said there was “no requirement for one to be from the Malay stock.”

Shad, who is from Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Law faculty, said the article merely states that one has to be Muslim, practice the Malay customs, speak Malay language, is born in Malaya and has at least one Malay parent.

However, this definition of “Malay” differs from that in the Malay Reservation Enactment.

“Indonesian Malays and Thai Malays who do not qualify under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution however qualify under the state enactment.

“Which is how so many plots of land are bought by Indonesians,” he explained to a 100-strong crowd who attended the Bar Council’s “Forum on Race Relations and Religion: Towards Equality and Non-discrimination” yesterday.

Touching on Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which provides for preferential treatment for Malays, Shad said there was no such word as “privilege or rights.”

“The constitution doesn’t give the word ‘privilege’ and doesn’t use ‘rights’. It uses ‘kedudukan istimewa’ (special position). But as things went on, ‘special position’ became ‘special privilege’.

“What became ‘privilege’ became ‘right’. And ‘right’ became ‘ketuanan’,” explained Shad, adding that “ketuanan” was interpreted as supremacy as in “Malay Supremacy”.

Afirmative majority

Shad also noted that Malaysia was the only nation that provided “affirmative action” for the majority.

He said in most other nations it was the minority groups that received “affirmative action”.

“There is no harm in the majority grouping having affirmative action so long as they are needy and action is done within a fixed time frame.

“For instance women are a group that should be given affirmative action,” he said.

Earlier during his opening address, Shad noted that the Malaysian constitution was deeply flawed because “it is an example of social engineering that attempted to compromise” with the different races.

He said any attempts to dislodge Article 153 would tear the Malaysian society.

Responding to a question on the concept of “Bumiputera”, Shad dismissed the term as “political mileage.”

Addressing the question from a member of Amnesty International. Shad said: “It is something that includes those who should be excluded and excludes those who should be included… (it is all) for political mileage which explains why Malay parties have leaders with non-Malay features’.

“It is a term that does not exist in the constitution. And there is no political will to resolve the issues.”

In conclusion, Shad suggested the formation of a commission to resolve the current outstanding issues.

Also presenting at the talk were Dimitriana Petrova of the Equal Rights Trust and Kuala Selangor MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Police report against Saravanan and ‘his boys’

Deputy Minister M Saravanan has been accused of allegedly sending 'his boys' to counter resistance against him.
KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Development Minister M Saravanan has been accused of allegedly sending ‘his boys’ to settle a score with a DAP branch chairman who had participated in a hunger strike in Brickfields protesting the government decision on the Interlok issue.

A Saminathan, who is Bukit Beruntang DAP branch chairman, lodged a police report yesterday against Saravanan and three others alleging that he was beaten-up by the latter’s ‘boys’ and slashed with a razor.

Recounting the incident to FMT after lodging the report, Saminathan said the attack occured as he was getting out of a toilet in an Indian restaurant in Brickfields.

“I was in the toilet, when someone knocked on the door. As I came out, three Indian men confronted me, one of them held my neck and hit me. He slashed my head and hands with a razor.

“They warned me not to intervene in any issues involving Saravanan,” Saminathan said.
Saminathan’s friend, MS Arjunan had also previously lodged police reports over several ‘Saravanan-linked’ activities.

Saminathan claimed Saravanan, who is the Tapah MP, was somewhere in Brickfields when the incident happened.

“When we confronted Saravanan, he denied knowledge of incident… but the three men who beat me up were there standing behind Saravanan.

“I hope the police will take the report seriously and act against those who beat me up.

“If it is true that Saravanan engaged them to attack me, then he should resign from all his positions,” Saminathan said.

Meanwhile earlier in the day, about 100 Indian youths took part in a hunger strike in Brickfields to protest the government’s move to go ahead with the use of controversial novel, Interlok, in schools.

Saravanan had attended the hunger strike and received, on behalf of the government, a memorandom urging the authorties to ban the book.

Movement wants Baru Bian as CM if Pakatan wins

KUCHING: Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian is the choice of the Movement For Change, Sarawak (MoCS) to be the chief minister of Sarawak should Pakatan Rakyat comes into power after the next state election.

“Today, MoCS officially endorses Baru Bian as the new Sarawak CM in the event of a change of government after the polls,” the movement’s leader Francis Paul Siah announced here Sunday.

“For the past six months, MoCS has been looking for a suitable candidate to present to the people of Sarawak as their new CM. We have found that person in Baru Bian,” he told the MoCS public forum held at a local hotel here.

Siah described Baru as a dedicated public servant although he is actually in private practice as a lawyer.

“He had energetically fought for many victimized land owners over the NCR land issue and had won several landmark cases. He had toiled tirelessly for many years to help not only the Dayaks but other races as well.

“For his dedication to serve the downtrodden in society, Baru has earned the respect and admiration of many Sarawakians,” Siah added.

The MoCS leader said that another important reason why the movement was endorsing Baru was that the PKR chief is a devout Christian and a God-fearing person.

“Anyone who is God-fearing will have a conscience and is unlikely to be greedy and corrupt when he attains high public office,” Siah said.

Baru Bian, a 52-year-old Orang Ulu is the first Dayak politician to be endorsed by MoCS to be a candidate in the coming state election.

In another MoCS public forum in Miri Saturday, Siah announced the movement’s endorsement of five DAP state assembly incumbents. They are Wong Ho Leng (Bukit Assek), Chong Chieng Jen (Kota Sentosa), Chew Ching Sing (Kidurong), Violet Yong (Pending), Ting Tze Fui (Meradong).

MoCS also endorsed two other DAP potential candidates, Dr Wong Hua Seh of Bintulu and Fong Poh Teck of Miri.

Two weeks ago, the movement endorsed its first candidate, PKR’s Dr Michael Teo of Miri.

According to Siah, a MoCS endorsement means a public declaration that the candidate is a person of integrity and substance and that he/she is worthy to seek elective office and deserves the support of the people.

“It also means that the endorsed candidates will receive ground support from MoCS and its affiliated NGO’s during the election campaign,” he said.

Parti Kita president Zaid Ibrahim and SNAP vice-president Augustine Liom were the two guest speakers at the MoCS forum on Sunday.

Speakers at the Saturday forum in Miri were Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng and Dr Teo who is Miri PKR chairman.

Zaid, MCLM offer SNAP support

KUCHING: Two Peninsular-based organisations, Parti Kita and Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) are helping Sarawak National Party (SNAP) to rejuvenate itself into a party that can help bring about a change to the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Said Parti Kita leader Zaid Ibrahim: “The linkage with SNAP and other like minded-organisations may one day lead to the formation of “Barisan Kita”.

“SNAP is a party that has lots of history struggling for the rights of the people.

“Our country needs this sort of political party that has the welfare of the people at heart and a party wanting to give the power back to the people. SNAP is a genuine reformist.”

Expressing his delight at SNAP’s revival, he said in the coming election, Kita would help SNAP in its campaign and talk about issues that affect the people.

“We can do whatever we can to help SNAP. They are our true friends,” said Zaid, who attended a SNAP unity dinner last night where he was the special guest speaker.

During a SNAP symposium earlier in the day, MCLM head Harris Ibrahim said the movement was prepared to help train SNAP’s election and campaign workers.

“We are offering our service to help SNAP in the election.

“We can even help scrutinize the background of its candidates, their life styles, financial background, their attitudes and aptitudes,” Harris said.

Real change

He did not want to see SNAP suffer a similar fate as PKR when one after another of its elected representatives left the party to become independent and BN-friendly.

“This is because PKR did not vet its candidates properly,” he added.

Meanwhile, Zaid told the diners that there are people who either talked about change or changing the prime minister.

“We are not interested in that; we are talking about the real change – the policies that need to be reformed.

“We want to talk about more say in the state; how many Sarawakians are working in the civil service; how to run the state government, and how to manage the revenue from the state.

“These are things that we need to look at and not just change in the general term. We have to be specific about change,” Zaid said.

He pointed out that what Malaysia was grappling with now is that its leaders were still obsessed with petty issues of 1950s and 1960s such as language, religion and control of the civil service.

Addresing real problems

He said that those issues were good when Malaya was struggling for independence and trying to form a nation.

“But now this country needs 21st century vision to solve 21st century problems.

“And if you talk about these issues, then you forget how the country is being raped, the riches of the country have been plundered and billions of dollars have taken out from this country.

“The real problems affecting the country are not being addressed both by the government and the opposition,” he added.

On the question of whether Parti Kita is a spoiler, Zaid said: “You must not say we are spoilers. If you are interested in good politics and good opposition, then you don’t say we are trouble makers.

“You have not listened to us and yet you say we cause trouble.”

He added that the only people who did not like him and Kita were those who want PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim to become Prime Minister.

“They are the ones who do not like what we are doing.

“What make you think that Kita and SNAP will split the opposition?

“We will be the opposition and make better and a very strong opposition,” Zaid said.

PAS MP: No way for Islamic state

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS MP Dzulkefly Ahmad said there is no way for the party to establish an Islamic state in Malaysia.

Speaking at a forum on race relations and religion over the weekend, he said the political demography in Malaysia is such that there is no way for PAS to create an Islamic state

“There are 60% Muslims to 40% non-Muslims. We don’t even have all 60% support from the Muslims,” he said in response to a question.

Dzulkefly told the participants that Islamic state only existed during Prophet Muhammad’s era in Medina when another participant pointed out examples of Islamic states such as Pakistan.

“We have included the setting up of an Inter-Faith Commission in our election manifesto. Few years ago, PAS was dead against people like (lawyers) Haris Ibrahim and Malik Imtiaz (Sarwar) but today we work hand in glove,” explained the former toxicologist.

The Interfaith Commission was suggested by an NGO named Article 11 led by Malik Imtiaz to address inter-religious problems.

However, it was shot down by former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration after numerous Muslim groups, including PAS, protested against it.

Dzulkefly also dismissed fears over hudud, saying: “Why do you need to fear it when it is only mentioned twice in the Quran?”

He said PAS is more concerned about justice as it is mentioned many times in the Quran and it is what PAS is pursuing via the Pakatan Rakyat platform.

Issues such as the banning of wayang kulit, separate queues for men and women – as was done in the PAS-ruled Kelantan – were also raised by another participant.

To this, the PAS leader responded that Islam does not stipulate it outright for restriction and rules.

The sour grapes syndrome

Whenever anyone resigns from PKR or Pakatan Rakyat, the opposition supporters always say it is because these people are ex-Umno or ex-Barisan Nasional people; so what do you expect? These ex-Umno or Ex-BN people are not reliable or honest and eventually they betray the opposition cause and go back to their old party, is the argument we are given. Does this argument apply to all ex-Umno or ex-BN people in the opposition who are yet to leave the opposition to go back to the ruling party?
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).

The Karmapa and the Cash

Image(Asia Sentinel) Huge foreign currency seizure from a Dharamsala monastery puts Tibet's 3rd highest lama in question

The discovery of more than US$750,000 in foreign currency equivalents in the administration office of the 17th Karmapa Lama, Tibetan Buddhism's third highest religious leader, threatens to tarnish what heretofore has been a heroic golden story and could put the future leadership of the Tibetan religion in doubt.

Many see the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee, as a living Buddha as well as the next world Buddhist leader and political successor to the Dalai Lama. The latter defended the 25-year-old lama, telling reporters in Bangalore that "The Karmapa is an important lama, a spiritual leader. People from different parts of the world including many Chinese, come to seek his blessing and offer money." However, the Tibetan leader said, "The foreign and Indian currency should have been deposited in a bank and not kept in cash at the monastery."

Officials in Dharamsala held a press conference Sunday to say the money, in nearly two dozen different foreign currencies, was given by the Karmapa's followers in connection with a land deal with an Indian businessman. Reportedly a Dharamsala-based businessman is being questioned after Rs10 million (US$217,800) was found in his possession. An official said the money was a payment made by the Karmapa's trust to buy land near Dharamsala. However, even if the money came from followers, there are questions whether the foreign currency violates India's foreign currency laws.

Indian intelligence officials quizzed the Karmapa, for hours, seeking details of the source of the foreign currency. Reports have emerged that he was questioned over whether he has connections with the Chinese government as a large part of the currency seized was in Chinese yuan, in wads of successive serial numbers.

Despite his escape from China in 1999 and his subsequent acceptance by the Dalai Lama as the true Karmapa Lama, Ogyen Trinley Dorjee has always been suspect to a portion of the Tibetan Buddhist community. Another monk, Trinley Thaye Dorje, 28, was enthroned independently as the 17th Karmapa Lama by a minority of the Karma Kagyu monasteries and lamas.

In December 1999 the then-14-year-old Dorjee, who was anointed by the Chinese government as the true Karmapa, pretended to go into seclusion but instead slipped out a window of the Tsurpu Monastery in Tibet with a handful of attendants. He began a daring 1,450-kilometer winter trip across some of the most forbidding terrain on the planet by foot, horseback, train and helicopter to Dharamsala, making world headlines and embarrassing Beijing. He was given refugee status by India in 2001.

Skeptics in India have continued to question whether Dorjee could possibly have managed such a spectacular escape without the help of the Chinese government and have alleged that he is actually a Chinese spy. Thus the allegations of the seizure of the foreign currency have rocked not only Buddhist followers across the globe but also much of India, which in recent months has been hit by a series of black money scandals.

The Indian press has had a field day with the story, with news channels running headlines asking "Karmapa could be a Chinese agent?"

In the two-day search operation led by the Indian state police at the Gyuto Tantric monastery, the temporal base of the Karmapa, his close aide and accountant, Rabjaychojan alias Shakti Lama, was arrested and placed in police custody. Gompu Tsering, his secretary, was also questioned. At the time of the raid, The Karmapa was in the monastery at the time.

"The raid came in connection with the arrest of two Indians on Wednesday at the Una border of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, recovering Rs10 million in cash, said Santosh Patial, a senior district policeman. "Upon investigation the two said they had received the money from the monk, an Indian national, to buy a plot of land near Dharamsala. The cash was allegedly brought to the state to clear some payments in connection with a land deal involving a Tibetan institution,"

The Karmapa's officials, under tight security, were all tightlipped. After 48 hours they officially gave a statement upon consulting the Karmapa's lawyers saying that "We would like to categorically state that the allegations being leveled against the Karmapa and his administration are grossly speculative and without foundation in the truth….We categorically deny having any link whatsoever with any arm of the Chinese government.

"The cash in question under the current investigation by the police is offerings received for charitable purposes from local and international disciples from many different countries wishing to support His Holiness' various charitable activities. Any suggestion that these offerings were to be used for illegal purposes in libelous," the statement added.

The Tibetan government-in exile also appears to be continuing to back the Karmapa amid the rampant media speculation. "There is no basis in media speculation linking the Karmapa Lama with the Chinese government," said Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in exile. "Both the Tibetan Parliament and the Kashag (the advisory board of the government in exile) stand behind the Karmapa and have been extending all necessary support to come out with the truth about the matter."

At the Gyuto Monastery where the Karmapa resides, large numbers of Tibetan and Indian Buddhists have come to show their solidarity with what they consider to be the future head of their religion. Sonam Tenzing, a young monk who lives in the Gyuto monastery, told Asia Sentinel that "probing the money is very much legitimate if Indian officials think there is some foul play but Indian media blaming the Karmapa as a traitor is simply not acceptable."

The Indian government at New Delhi has for far not reacted. However, some media agencies have reportedly quoted an investigating officer as saying: "Sources say that there are enough indications that the Karmapa was in regular touch with the Chinese authorities to help Beijing control Buddhist monasteries from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The huge recovery, including 11 lakh (110 million) Chinese yuan, substantiates what we have always suspected. The Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities have been asked to probe this."

That is regarded as specious media hype in Dharamsala. Despite backing from Buddhists across the globe, nonetheless the mystery revolving around the Karmapa is deepening, with both Tibetans and Indians keeping a close watch. Even if he is absolved, however, the question remains over how a living Buddha could have amassed so much temporal cash, and why.

Saransh Sehgal is a writer based in Dharamsala, India

Blogger harap karya Abdullah Hussain 'tidak disentuh', diubah

Utusan Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR 29 Jan. - Semua pihak diminta supaya memelihara dan tidak mengubah kandungan Interlok, novel kontroversi karya Sasterawan Negara, Abdullah Hussain bagi menghormati penulis tersohor itu.

Seorang penulis blog, Zakhir Mohd. berkata, pandangan sesetengah pihak yang mahukan sebahagian kandungan novel itu diubah adalah tidak masuk akal dan melanggar tatasusila memandangkan status Abdullah sebagai Sasterawan Negara kelapan yang dikurniakan oleh Yang di-Pertuan Agong pada 1996.

Selain itu, katanya, kehebatan Abdullah sebagai sasterawan bukan sahaja diiktiraf di peringkat tempatan malah hasil karyanya turut diperakui oleh negara jiran seperti Brunei.

"Apatah lagi seruan itu (menukar kandungan Interlok) hanya hadir selepas 40 tahun (ditulis), sedangkan subjek paria ketika itu hanya terarah kepada panggilan merujuk sistem kasta yang masih diamalkan oleh beberapa segmen masyarakat India (ketika itu)," katanya.

Zakhir berkata demikian dalam entri bertajuk Fearing own past: Leave Abdullah Hussain's work 'lone' melalui blognya di http://bigdogdotcom. hari ini.

Sementara itu, katanya, semua pihak juga diminta supaya menghormati Abdullah dengan tidak menukar kandungan Interlok kerana sebagai seorang yang mempunyai jati diri Melayu, sasterawan itu pasti amat menyayangi setiap karya ciptaannya.

Barisan Nasional Retains Tenang State Seat With Bigger Majority

LABIS, Jan 30 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) retained the Tenang State Assembly seat when its candidate, Mohd Azahar Ibrahim defeated PAS candidate Normala Sudirman with a bigger majority.

Mohd Azahar garnered 6,699 votes while Normala had 2,992 which gave the BN a majority of 3,707 votes.

In the last general election, the BN candidate, the late Datuk Sulaiman Taha beat Md Saim Siran, from PAS, with a majority of 2,492 votes.

The result was announced by the Returning Officer for the by-election for the Tenang state seat, Md Asri Amir, at the Labis District Council Multi-purpose Hall at about 10.05 Sunday night.

The result was initially expected at 8pm but a major flood that hit the state constituency had delayed the arrival of several ballot boxes.

Also present at the hall to celebrate the BN victory were Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, who was also the BN election director for the Tenang state seat, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and other BN leaders.

As soon as the result was announced, Mohd Azahar, who was wearing a blue shirt and a 'songkok', was hoisted by his supporters over their shoulders while chanting 'Hidup BN!' (Long Live BN).

Despite the major flood that hit several low-lying areas in the Tenang state constituency, polling went smoothly with 67 per cent or 9,833 of the total of 14,753 registered voters in the constituency casting their votes.

The flood and heavy rain throughout the day had caused the voter turnout to drop this time compared with the 73.52 per cent recorded in the last general election.

Some of the voters had to go to the polling centres by boats and trucks provided by several government agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysian Armed Forces, police and the Malaysian Red Crescent Society.

Mohd Azahar, 39, who is also fondly referred to as 'Tok Ai', was a former Assistant Land and District Administrator for the Rengit sub-district, Batu Pahat, while Normala was a former teacher.

The Tenang by-election was held following the death of incumbent Assemblyman Sulaiman, on Dec 17, last year.