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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RIGHTS NOT MERCY

Video: 14 year Mughilan in jail 3 months now

14 year Mughilan in jail 3 months now because can not afford RM 1,700 bail & lawyer. Vindictive police prosecuted him because he lodge police report against bully police for beating him up.

500 Malaysian students evacuated

KUALA LUMPUR: Five hundred Malaysian students will be evacuated in stages from their respective homes to the Abasiah Malay House (ARMA) in Abasiah, Cairo, beginning today.

The president of the Malaysian-Egyptian Medical Students Association, Muhammad Husaini Saleh, said the evacuation order was issued by the Malaysian Embassy in Egypt to prevent them from becoming victims of the violent demonstrations by Egyptians demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

“We still do not know the number of students who could be evacuated to ARMA since Jan 25 because the Egyptian government had imposed a curfew effective that day (Jan 25),” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

Muhammad Husaini, who is also a medical student at the University of Cairo, said the curfew was enforced from 3pm until 8am the following day (9pm until 2pm the next day, Malaysian time).

He said the Malaysian students only knew about the situation outside through the news carried by television and radio because the Egyptian government had disconnected the Internet line to prevent the dissemination of seditious news.

“Only the telephone line can still be used,” he said.

Muhammad Husaini also expressed appreciation for the cooperation rendered by the Malaysian Embassy in Egypt which had provided food and clothings to the affected Malaysian students.

Since last Tuesday, several street demonstrations were reported in major Egyptian towns including Cairo, Dumyat, Suez, Tanta, Alexandria and Mansura which resulted in about 100 lives being lost and more than 1,000 others injured.

-Bernama

Feb 17 decision on Aminulrasyid’s case

SHAH ALAM: The Sessions Court here today set Feb 17 to decide whether or not to call Corporal Jenain Subi to enter his defence on a charge of causing the death of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah in April last year.

Judge Latifah Mohd Tahar fixed the date after hearing submissions by both parties at the end of the prosecution’s case.

The prosecution had called 39 witnesses to testify in the trial which began on Oct 12 last year.

Jenain, 48 was charged with causing Aminulrasyid’s death between 1.10am and 2am on April 26, 2010 at Jalan Tarian 11/2, Section 11 here.

He is charged under Section 304(a) of the Penal Code which carries a maximum jail sentence of 30 years, and could be fined, if convicted.

Deputy public prosecutors Idham Abd Ghani, Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and Adilla Ahmad prosecuted, while Jenain was represented by lawyers M Athimulan and Salim Bashir.

Idham, in his submission, stated that based on the testimony by three patrol policemen at the scene, Jenain had fired at the teenager at Jalan Tarian 11/2.

On a submission by the defence that Constable Mohd Izham Mahayadin could have fired the shots at Aminulrasyid since a spent bullet belonging to him was found, Idham said there was no doubt that the other spent bullets found at the scene came from Jenain’s rifle.

On a claim of a machete found in the Iswara car driven by Aminulrasyid, he said it would not change the fact that the victim was a 15-year-old student with no criminal record.

“The Iswara car, BET 5023, also had no criminal record or is wanted by the authorities. As stated by Azamuddin Omar, who was in the car, Aminulrsyid only wanted to go home to meet his mother. He was also afraid… firstly being chased by a group of motorcyclists and then pursued by the police patrol cars,” he added.

Idham also submitted that Jenain was good at handling firearms and he also knew the effect and implication of his action in firing 21 shots at the car driven by Aminulrasyid.

“A shot which hit the back of the victim’s head from the rear windscreen showed the intention that the shot was meant to cause bodily harm,” he added.

As such, Idham said based on the facts, evidence and submission by the prosecution, a case under Section 304 of the Penal Code had been established against Jenain.

Meanwhile, Salim submitted that Mohd Izham was a witness with interests in the case because he fired the first shot at the car.

“There was a spent bullet found near the scene and this was not challenged (by the prosecution). This showed that Mohd Izham could have lied in the court to protect himself and he is the interested party because based on the facts, he also fired the shot on the day of the incident.

“The prosecution said that Mohd Izham could not be held responsible (for shooting Aminulrasyid) only because of one bullet and we also cannot say that the accused had caused the victim’s death only because of one bullet,” he added.

-Bernama

Farm hand in Sosilawati’s case wants to replace counsel

SHAH ALAM: A farm hand jailed for disposing the remains of Sosilawati Lawiya and three others told the High Court that he wanted to replace his counsel.

U Suresh, 27, told judge Mohtarudin Baki this as he was hearing arguments by Harpal Singh Grewal, counsel for another farm hand.

The High Court was hearing the review of sentence and conviction of farm hand K Sarawanan.

Suresh was jailed seven years in October last year for disposing the remains of cosmetics millionaire Sosilawati, 47, and three others.

The three were CIMB Bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44.

Sarawanan, 20, was also jailed seven years for disposing the remains of Sosilawati and three others.

Suresh, who was represented by counsel M Puravelan, said he wanted to appoint Sarawanan’s counsel AS Dhaliwal as his counsel.

When asked by Mohtarudin whether he accepted it, Dhaliwal said he needed five minutes to get instruction form Suresh.

Mohtarudin then adjourned sitting for five minutes.

On resumption, Dhaliwal told the court: “I received instruction from Suresh he wants to lodge a police report for his own safety.”

Puravelan left the court minutes later. Mohtarudin fixed the review hearing for Feb 9.

-Bernama

What I expected to happen



This is what I said three days before the Tenang by-election. Basically, with the majority of the Malay voters coming from the Felda settlements, Umno would be expected to win the by-election. The only question would be by how much.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

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Selepas Tenang, PAS rangka strategi berkesan

(Harakah Daily) - PAS akan merangka strategi berkesan dalam pilihanraya seterusnya dan akan melakukan desakan agar pilihan raya yang bebas dan telus dilaksanakan di Malaysia.
Demikian kata Presiden PAS, Datuk Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang dalam satu kenyataannya kepada Harakahdaily ekoran kekalahan calonnya, Normala Sudirman di Tenang.

Calon BN pada PRK Tenang, Mohd Azahar Ibrahim mendapat 6,699 undi menewaskan calon PAS yang mewakili Pakatan Rakyat, Normala Sudirman atau Cikgu Mala yang memperolehi 2,992 undi dengan majoriti 3,707 undi.

Meskipun berjaya mempertahankan kerusi Dun Tenang, namun BN gagal mencapai majoriti sasaran iaitu 5,000 undi sebagaimana yang pernah dihasratkan oleh Timbalan Presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Menurut Abdul Hadi yang juga anggota Parlimen Marang, PAS senantiasa menegaskan bahawa demokrasi tulen bukan terbatas kepada perubahan cetakan kertas dan kotak undi semata-mata,.
Tetapi ianya mestilah bertitik tolak dari peraturan yang adil, senarai pengundi yang bersih, media yang bebas, persekitaran kempen yang bebas dari sogokan dan ugutan rasuah projek pembangunan yang melimpah ruah semasa tempoh berkempen, dan berbagai lagi ciri yang mentakrifkan sebuah sistem demokrasi yang adil dan tulen.

Berikut adalaah kenyataan penuh beliau:

KENYATAAN MEDIA PRESIDEN PAS

“Keputusan Pilihan Raya Kecil DUN N.05 Tenang”

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) ingin menyampaikan ucapan terimakasih yang tidak terhingga kepada seluruh petugas pilihan raya kecil DUN Tenang dari berbagai latarbelakang politik, Pengarah dan Jawatankuasa Pilihan Raya PAS – DAP – PKR yang bertungkus lumus menggerakkan jentera kempen,  Pengerusi dan Badan Perhubungan PAS Negeri Johor dan seluruh Negeri serta orang perseorangan dari pelbagai rumpun bangsa yang datang menyumbangkan tenaga dan sokongan.

Ucapan tahniah diucapkan kepada calon PAS iaitu Cikgu Normala Sudirman dan keluarga beliau yang telah berjaya menggerakkan semangat juang yang tinggi di kalangan petugas sepanjang pilihan raya berjalan.

Jutaan terima kasih juga kepada seluruh pengundi berbagai kaum yang telah memberikan kepercayaan dengan mengundi PAS sebagai wakil Pakatan Rakyat dalam pilihan raya kecil berkenaan.

PAS amat menghargai sokongan dan harapan semua pihak dalam pilihanraya kecil ini untuk melihat fajar baru menyinsing dalam dominasi politik baru di tanah air tercinta ini.

Keputusan pilihanraya ini walaupun tidak menyebelahi kita, tetapi ianya telah menjadi kunci kepada semangat juang kita seterusnya dalam proses untuk kita melakukan perubahan yang menyeluruh dan bermakna dalam sistem demokrasi yang berat sebelah ini.

Kita akan terus menerus merangka strategi berkesan bagi meningkatkan keupayaan dan kebersamaan gerakerja dalam pilihanraya seterusnya, dan dalam masa yang sama akan melakukan desakan agar pilihan raya yang bebas dan telus dilaksanakan di Malaysia.

Untuk kesekian kalinya kita berhadapan dengan Umno-BN yang menggerakkan jentera kerajaan dengan bajet yang tidak terbatas, media berat sebelah yang masuk di tiap-tiap buah rumah, dan peraturan pilihan raya yang tidak berasaskan suasana pertandingan di lapangan yang sama rata.

Oleh yang demikian, usaha menggerakkan massa menerusi saluran parti politik dan NGO akan terus dilaksanakan agar demokrasi yang tulen dapat ditegakkan.

Kita senantiasa menegaskan bahawa demokrasi tulen bukan terbatas kepada perubahan cetakan kertas dan kotak undi semata-mata, tetapi ianya mestilah bertitik tolak dari peraturan yang adil, senarai pengundi yang bersih, media yang bebas, persekitaran kempen yang bebas dari sogokan dan ugutan rasuah projek pembangunan yang melimpah ruah semasa tempoh berkempen, dan berbagai lagi ciri yang mentakrifkan sebuah sistem
demokrasi yang adil dan tulen.

Datuk Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang
Presiden PAS

Creating a harmonious, just, democratic and competitive nation remains the single greatest challenge of Malaysians

By Lim Kit Siang,

The creation of a harmonious, just, democratic and competitive nation, which is a model to the world as an united, tolerant and successful multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society, remains the greatest challenge of Malaysians.

Nation-building should not be a zero-sum game but must be a win-win formula for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.

Malaysia has strayed from this formula, with a world diaspora of a million-strong Malaysians – testimony that Malaysians are helping to create the greatness of other nations instead of their own country.

Although there is belated official recognition that human capital is even more valuable than natural resources as national assets in the era of globalisation, there is still no political will to introduce nation-building policies that will develop and retain Malaysian talent as well as attract foreign talent.

Slogans like “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” will not create a harmonious, just, democratic and competitive nation until and unless Malaysia could be seen by its people and others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family.

Wishing all Malaysian Chinese a happy and purposeful Chinese New Year of the Rabbit.

Nurin’s dad loses lawsuit

The Star
By M. MAGESWARI

KUALA LUMPUR: The father of eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin, who was abducted and murdered over three years ago, has lost his defamation suit against the police and Government for allegedly portraying him as a person who may have borrowed money from loan sharks.

In dismissing the suit with costs, High Court Judicial Commissioner Asmabi Mohamad held that the plaintiff - Jazimin Abdul Jalil - had sued the wrong parties in the legal action.

“In fact, Kosmo! and its reporter who wrote the (alleged defamatory) article should be the ones sued,” she said in her judgment yesterday.

In the defamation suit, Jazimin, 37, had named former Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, the Inspector-General of Police and the Government as defendants.

Jazimin, who works in a security firm, filed the suit on Aug 21, 2008.

In a statement of claim, he said Khalid had defamed him on Sept 21, 2007 by making a defamatory statement against him which was published by the local daily.

He sought RM2mil in general damages, other damages and further relief deemed fit by the court.

Justice Asmabi ruled that the evidence showed that the Kosmo! reporter had admitted that the words printed in the newspaper were not Khalid’s exact quotes at a press conference a day earlier.

She said the Kosmo! reporter had stated that he did not jot down the whole text of what Khalid had said but merely jotted down the main points.

Expressing her points further, Justice Asmabi said reporters from The New Straits Times and Oriental Daily had given sworn evidence that they also did not hear the words as printed in Kosmo! and that they did not remember Khalid saying anything about loan sharks.

The court will hear on taxation of costs later as Senior Federal Counsel Noorin Badaruddin has applied for a RM50,000 in costs for the three defendants. Lawyer Natasha Bashir, who acted for the plaintiff, applied for costs to be taxed.

Speaking to reporters later, Jazimin said he would discuss with his counsel whether to appeal against the dismissal of the suit.

Nurin Jazlin went missing on Aug 20, 2007 after going out to a nightmarket alone near her home in Wangsa Maju here.

Her naked body was found stuffed into a sports bag and left at the staircase of a shoplot in Petaling Utama on Sept 17, 2007.

Syariah judge charged with khalwat

The Star
By K. KASTURI DEWI

GEORGE TOWN: A Syariah High Court judge and a financial adviser have been charged with committing khalwat (close proximity) at a government quarters in Jalan Mesjid Negeri here last month.

Adam Tumiran, 43, and Nurul Izani Md Isa, 34, had allegedly committed the offence at 2.05am on Dec 5.

Both denied committing the offence.

Adam was charged under Section 27 (a) of the Penang Syariah Criminal Enactment 1996 while Nurul Izani, who works in Kuala Lumpur, was charged under Section 27 (b) of the same enactment.

If convicted, each could be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed not more than two years or both.

Syariah magistrate’s court judge Nik Bukhari Hashimy Nik Yahya fixed the case to be mentioned on Feb 22 and allowed bail of RM2,000 with one surety for both of them.

Earlier during the proceedings, the court dismissed an objection by their lawyer, Ahmad Munawir Abd Aziz, that the charge against the pair was defective.

He told the court that the two had married in a foreign country and had obtained a legal marriage certificate.

Syariah prosecuting officer Mohd Zulkhairi Aziz applied for the case to be transferred to the Syariah High Court as the case involved a senior official of the court.

He said the case would also need a deep interpretation of the Syariah law related to the charge.

Ahmad Munawir asked for a written submission on the application for the case to be transferred to the High Court.

He added it was only after hearing submissions from both parties that the court could make a ruling on the application.

“Justice should not be sidelined just because the one who is charged here is a senior court official,” he said.

Flood: More People Evacuated

MELAKA, Feb 1 (Bernama) -- The number of flood evacuees in Melaka rose to 4,545 people at 8am Tuesday from 2,889 at 9pm last night.

They are currently housed at 31 evacuation centres, most of them in Alor Gajah, with 2,163 people in 10 centres, followed by Jasin with 1,254 people in 14 centres and Melaka Tengah, totalling 1,128 in seven centres.

The weather was fine throughout the state this morning, a spokesman at the flood operations room said.

He said the Welfare Department was providing assistance in terms of food while other agencies such as the armed forces, Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Department were involved in the evacuation process.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali is making his rounds at the centres to ensure assistance were provided to the victims.

Roads in Taman Merdeka, Angkasa Nuri and Pasar Borong, all in Batu Berendam, are still closed to all vehicles.

In KUANTAN, about 800 people from three districts were evacuated to relief centres from 538 last night.

A police spokesman said 15 villages in Rompin, Raub and Bentong were hit by the flood while the flood in Maran had subsided and all the 55 flood victims allowed to return home.

"There are 476 flood victims in Rompin, 229 in Raub and 95 in Bentong," he said when contacted.

Several roads in Bera and Rompin were closed to all vehicles, he said.

The roads are Jalan Ladang Hwali, Jalan Ladang Trading, Jalan Kampung Baru Bukit Ibam, Sungai Gayung bridge, Kampung Lubuk Batu bridge in Rompin and the alternative road from Kampung Pasal to Felda Palong 8 near Muadzam Shah.

Protests in Egypt: Lively, but a calm before the storm


Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Fed up with years of corruption, poverty and lack of opportunity, activists in Cairo, Alexandria and other restive Egyptian cities robustly took to the streets in peaceful rallies Monday.

Angry demonstrators continue to protest the rule of embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who remains in power despite repeated grass-roots calls for his ouster and widespread dissatisfaction over his Cabinet selections.

But many observers regard the seething rage of the past week as the calm before the storm. Egyptians plan another huge wave of demonstrations on Tuesday, "million-man" marches in Cairo and Alexandria that will occur a week after the historic anti-government protests began.

Egyptian security forces in Cairo have been setting up concrete barriers around key locations ahead of the march, including iconic sites such as Tahrir, or Liberation, Square, the Egypt State TV building, and the Interior Ministry.

The ongoing demonstrations, inspired in part by a Tunisian uprising, follow years of social, political, and economic grievances that bubbled up among the citizenry, masses of whom have boldly shouted their displeasure with the ruler in public protests.

After ruling Egypt with an iron fist for three decades, Mubarak has given no indication of giving up his rule. He swore in a few new Cabinet members on Monday.

After discharging his previous Cabinet on Saturday, Mubarak appointed his trusted and powerful intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, as his vice president, the first time the authoritarian regime has had such a post.

The president charged newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq with shaping the Cabinet of his reshuffled government, which will have the goal of restoring national security and Egyptians' faith in their country's economy.

Mubarak on Monday swore in Mahmoud Wagdy as the new interior minister. He replaces Habib el-Adly, who has been criticized by protesters because of police actions.

Others sworn in on Monday were Finance Minister Samir Radwan, a former economist at the International Labor Organization, and Health Minister Ahmed Hosni Farid.

Radwan told CNN's "Quest Means Business" that his priority is "to show that this is a government that responds to the demands -- the fair demands, I would say -- of the people in Tahrir Square."

"We need to use public expenditure to achieve some sort of social justice and a better distribution of the fruits of growth, as to the bottom 40% of this country."

At the same time, he said, Egypt shouldn't sacrifice economic reforms and gains "that enabled it to stand the storm of two successive crises -- the food crisis and the financial crisis."

Meanwhile, there are international indications that the world could accept a changed Egypt without Mubarak.

Asked Sunday on TV whether the Obama administration still backs Mubarak as the legitimate president of Egypt, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hedged.

"We have been very clear that we want to see a transition to democracy. And we want to see the kind of steps taken that will bring that about. We also want to see an orderly transition," she said.

She said the United States wants to see a "well thought out plan that will bring about a democratic, participatory government."

"I also believe that this is in Egypt's long-term interests. It's in the interest of the partnership that the United States has had with Egypt," she said, noting that the situation is "intensely complex," without "quick yes or no answers."

While it was widely believed Mubarak was grooming his son, Gamal, as his successor, that plan now has been complicated by demands for democracy.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is one of several opposition figures whose names surface when protesters talk about possible future leaders of Egypt. Among other names is Amre Moussa, head of the Arab League.

Several opposition movements have been represented on the streets in the demonstrations.

Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, secretary-general of the Wafd Party, told CNN the group's followers have been "extremely active." He said he hopes opposition forces such as his party can help bring about a peaceful transition of power.

A government-imposed curfew began at 3 p.m., but this daily restriction has been largely ignored by protesters over the past few days, and it was again Monday.

In Alexandria, an armored personnel carrier fired warning shots as around 2,000 to 3,000 people gathered. The shots were seen as an apparent effort to intimidate protesters near a hotel.

In Cairo, the crowd has swelled compared with Saturday and Sunday, and people gathered Monday in Tahrir Square, a focal point of the protests. Some of them said they had spent the night, and the smell of smoke from campfires lingered in the air.

Police have been virtually absent from the streets since Saturday, after a brutal crackdown a day earlier when thousands of riot and plainclothes police clashed violently with protesters.

But police forces were scheduled to start deploying and resuming their duties throughout Egypt on Monday, state-run Nile TV reported.

Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef said the army is controlling the square and checking people's IDs at all entry points. She said there are some police visible in Cairo, such as traffic officers, but no state security police could be spotted downtown.

While it's difficult to ascertain a solid death toll during the violence, Human Rights Watch staffers have confirmed 80 deaths from two hospitals in Cairo, 36 deaths in Alexandria and 13 fatalities in Suez, Morayef said.

The unrest has paralyzed daily life in Egypt.

The Egyptian stock exchange and banks also were closed Monday, and the Moody's ratings agency downgraded debt ratings for the country because of the turmoil.

Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch emergencies director, said many essential supplies were running low in Egypt. Gas stations throughout Cairo and Alexandria were closing because they were out of fuel. The amount in shops was low and many shops were rationing how much food people can buy.

There were long lines in front of bread shops and supermarkets, ATMs and gas stations were closed, and there was a minimal police presence. In one neighborhood, however, sanitation workers were seen collecting garbage.

In Alexandria, people waited in long lines outside bakeries and supermarkets. Nile TV set up a hotline for citizens to call in and report bread shortages across the country. A private sanitation company was seen collecting trash there, also.

Shops and businesses were looted and abandoned police stations were stripped clean of their arsenals.

Men with makeshift weapons patrolled neighborhoods, creating checkpoints to fill the void left when police stopped patrolling the streets. The self-appointed defense groups appear to be working closely with the military.

There have been reports of prison breaks, and state-run Nile TV said Monday nearly 2,100 escaped inmates had been arrested.

Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based news network, said six of its journalists arrested in Cairo earlier Monday have been released, but their camera equipment remains seized.

The unrest has prompted evacuations of foreigners. More than 200 Americans have departed, the State Department said.

Suez Canal authorities have said operations there are unchanged and the army is in control. However, shipping companies are predicting delays. Soldiers are guarding the pyramids in Giza.

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

Opposition parties, NGOs protest Mubarak regime

Army to bring relief as Johor floods worsen


People are transported away from a flooded area in Segamat on an army truck, January 31, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — With three dead and over 40,000 already evacuated from Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, many are still trapped in several flood-hit Johor towns with no electricity, food or water supplies, forcing the army into action to provide relief alongside overwhelmed rescue workers.


  
As of 5.30pm, heavy clouds remain over Johor and unrelenting rain is expected to continue for the rest of the week.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also National Disaster Management Committee chairman, said in Labis, Johor that he has asked Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to deploy the armed forces to help in the evacuation process.

The rain has not let up for close to 10 days, according to residents of Segamat, and the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) said that it will continue for the rest of the week there as well as Kota Tinggi and Kluang.

Johor has seen more than 37,000 evacuated and two deaths while the neighbouring states of Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Pahang have evacuated more than 5,000 in total, with one reported death in Jasin, Melaka.

Two victims in Johor died after their cars were swept away by floodwaters.

With many roads now impassable, transportation of evacuees, rescue workers and supplies is turning into a logistical nightmare. Locals in the Segamat area fear that floods will be worse than those that hit Johor in December 2006 and January 2007.


  

Rain clouds from the northeast monsoon obscure parts of Malaysia in this satellite image.
Hotel guests are stranded and kitchens have been moved to higher floors to continue feeding their starving guests who can only watch as parts of town that survived the 2006 flood are now submerged under more than a metre of water.


  
The only way in or out of Segamat and surrounding villages is by boat and in various spots around the southern state, homes and surrounding roads are now under water, leaving families stranded without electricity and relying on rescue food supplies.

Other households have been spotted leaving their homes in sampans, escaping from chest-high waters while neighbourhood supermarkets and mini markets that are not flooded, have run out of food stock.

Families in evacuation centres are also concerned about food, claiming they only have enough for today although authorities said the welfare department is currently arranging food relief.

The persistent rain in Johor has raised fears of a repeat of floods four years which claimed six lives and inflicted more than RM1 billion in economic losses.

Three rivers in Johor have burst their banks and with the MET’s prediction of continuing rains, five more are on the brink and being closely watched by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage.

The rain in Johor is expected to continue into the night and after slowing down tomorrow morning, thunderstorms will resume in the afternoon, according to MET.

However, heavy rain in Segamat will not let up until Saturday,

A MET official told The Malaysian Insider that the heavy rain in Johor was caused by the northeast monsoon.
“The wind from the northeast monsoon, which brings heavy rain, is focused on Johor,” he said.

“The La Nina phenomenon could have added to the heavy rain, too,” added the meteorologist.

The 2006 floods had claimed at least six lives and caused over 60,000 people to be rescued as the southern state experienced water and electricity cuts, an increase of water-borne disease as well as looting after floodwaters receded. Economic losses from the flood then was estimated at over RM1 billion.

All three districts in Melaka have been hit by floods with a total of 2,714 victims being relocated while Negri Sembilan saw 1,921 evacuees, mostly from Gemas and Tampin.

Pahang also reported 538 victims in Rompin, Raub, Bera and Maran with several roads closed after being submerged under up to two metres of water.

Floods and landslides between Bahau and Tampin in Negri Sembilan, and Kluang in Johor, have forced Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to cancel several train services to the east and south.

‘Nik Aziz splits Muslims here and hereafter’

The former premier takes the PAS leader to task, saying that the latter's biggest accomplishment is dividing the Muslims here.
PETALING JAYA: Finding the PAS spiritual leader’s comments a bitter pill to swallow, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad needles Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and the Islamic party.

According to the 85-year-old statesman, the Kelantan menteri besar, who is five years his junior, has divided Muslims in Malaysia.

This, he said, is PAS and Nik Aziz’s greatest accomplishment over the decades.

Mahathir is sore with the PAS leader’s statement that the Malays in Malaysia rejected Islam more than Singapore’s former premier Lee Kuan Yew.

“It seems that Nik Aziz prefers to sieze the opportunity to condemn his political rivals instead of defending Islam and Muslims against Lee’s attack,” he said in a blog posting.

He added that Nik Aziz considered the Malay nationalists’ brand of Islam much worse.

“During the time of the British, many Malay luminaries drank alcohol and Muslim workers consumed toddy. There were very few mosques, and not many Muslims prayed,” he said.

However, Mahathir added, the Malay nationalists’ struggle changed this: alcohol was banned from official functions, Islamic values were absorbed into the administration, government funds were used for Islamic activities, more mosques were built and much more.

“But what did PAS and Nik Aziz do? Their biggest contribution was dividing the Muslims. The formation of PAS itself divided the community after the Malays had united under Umno,” he said.

Mahathir went on to cite other examples of how PAS sows the seeds of divisiveness, such as forbidding PAS members form marrying those from Umno, barring them from attending “kenduri” (receptions) held by Umno people, as well as having separate cemeteries for PAS and Umno people.

“It is as if PAS wants the divisiness among Malay Muslims to continue in the hereafter,” he added.
New lease of life
When PAS contested the general elections (1955 until 1986), Mahathir said, the party accused Umno of working with non-Muslims, and therefore becoming “kafir” (infidels).

“Then PAS joined forces with Semangat 46 and DAP in the 1990 and 1995 general elections. With this, the Umno splinter group, Semangat 46, was given a new lease of life and the Malays were split into three groups.

“Thank God, Semangat 46 returned to Umno and the Malay Muslim unity in Umno was healed. But when the then deputy president of Umno (Anwar Ibrahim) was sacked, Nik Aziz promptly gave him strong support so that the next splinter party to be formed could lure more members away from Umno,” he said.

“With Nik Aziz’s support, the Malays were once again split into three groups,” he added.

Not contented with this, Mahathir said, Nik Aziz was also willing to work with the Chinese-dominated DAP to form the opposition alliance.

“The accusation that Umno had become kafir for working with non-Muslims was forgotten in order to make the alliance a strong adversary of Umno. With this, Nik Aziz ensured that the splitting of Malays into three weak groups remained intact.

“This is Nik Aziz’s contribution to Islam in Malaysia; he had disregarded one of Islam’s most important teachings, which is the brotherhood of Muslims,” he said.

Mahathir added that Nik Aziz’s version of Islam is worse than that of the nationalists because he is prepared to defend Lee, who urged Muslims in Singapore not to be overzealous in their faith.

“Imagine Islam under the rule of Nik Aziz and (DAP stalwarts) Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng. If his non-Muslim friends feel that Islamic teachings should be relaxed, Nik Aziz may agree to this,” he said.

Rais: Nobody left in PKR except Anwar, family and some cronies

(Bernama) - Parti Keadilan Rakyat appears to be no longer capable of contributing leadership towards the formation of a government in future, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said this was because party members had been leaving the party one by one and now only Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his wife, Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail who is also PKR president, and her deputy, Azmin Ali, as well as several of Anwar's followers were still loyal to the party.

"Those who are still remaining in the party are just himself (Anwar) and several family members as well as his close associates, whom, I feel cannot lead towards forming a government but leading to pit one against another because the ability to gain power has disappeared," he said.

He said this to reporters after witnessing the Construction and Maintenance Agreement Signing ceremony between Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) and NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) for the laying of the new international submarine cable system, here Monday.

Rais was asked to comment on the resignation of the Padang Serai Member of Parliament N. Gobalakrishnan from the PKR and becoming an Independent MP effective immediately, last Saturday.

Rais said Gobalakrishnan's resignation from the party clearly showed that the PKR was disintegrating.

He said it also appeared that the PKR did not give much contribution throughout the campaigning for the by-election for the Tenang state seat in Johor which saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) winning significantly on Sunday.

"Their contribution in Tenang recently was insignificant, in fact, PAS appeared to have played a bigger role," he added.

Malays still the kingmakers

The Tenang by-election result and the results of those by-elections before this have proven this point. Umno can’t depend on the non-Malays. Umno needs the Malays and they need Malays who are nationalistic to the point of being racists to remain in power.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Chinese votes alone not enough for Pakatan

Pakatan takes another hard knock in Tenang, making its goal of capturing Putrajaya looks all the more harder.

Syed Jaymal Zahiid, Free Malaysia Today

Yes, the Chinese votes for Pakatan Rakyat have increased significantly at the Tenang by-election but the fixation on this often masks one crucial fact – its inability to capture the Malay votes.

Too often the swing in Chinese support towards the opposition hogs the limelight, but the fact remains clear that without the Malay votes, Pakatan’s Putrajaya quest is impossible.

Barisan Nasional (BN) saw its candidate Azahar Ibrahim garner 6,999 votes against the 2,992 gained by PAS’ Normala Sudirman, with a majority votes of 3,707.

This is about 1,200 more than the victory margin attained by the late Sulaiman Taha of Umno in the 2008 general election, whose death triggered this 14th by-election since the last general election.

In the immediate aftermath of the election, the discourse turned on the Chinese votes as seen in the debate between BN and Pakatan politicians on the micro-blogging site Twitter.

The discussion on the return of Malay votes to BN was given little, if no attention at all, despite the clear fact that it signals Pakatan’s inability to capture the support from the country’s majority electorate.

The rise in BN’s majority could only mean one thing: if the Chinese votes had strayed away from the ruling coalition, the votes of other races must have made up for the increase in BN’s majority.

The turnout for the Indian voters, who make up about 12% of the 14,753 eligible voters here, was said to be a meagre 25%. Their votes had little impact on the outcome.

This means that Malay support made up most of the majority gained by BN.

Malay power

Pakatan chief and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim had admitted in the past that the bloc must widen its Malay power base if it ever hopes to capture Putrajaya.

The continuous decline in Malay support in almost all of the 14 by-elections, including Tenang, clearly indicates that Pakatan has failed miserably in its campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Malays.

And BN’s Malay lynchpin, Umno, is well aware that it is not heavily dependent on Chinese support to maintain power. Without the help of its non-Malay component allies, Umno parliamentarians alone hold enough seats to form and maintain the government of the day.

Of course, the continuous swing in Chinese votes towards Pakatan is a wake-up call for MCA, especially its president Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Tenang falls under the Labis parliamentary constituency, a supposed stronghold of the MCA supremo. It is now helmed by his son Chua Tee Yong.

Soi Lek, in his first term as MCA chief, is under great pressure to regain Chinese support. The failure to do so in his own fortress reflects badly on his presidency, but this is a separate discourse altogether.

So for now, Pakatan’s credibility as a potent opposition force is questionable as the Malays continue to abandon the pact. And capturing Putrajaya is nothing less than mere wishful thinking.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/01/31/chinese-votes-alone-not-enough-for-pakatan/

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That was Syed Jaymal Zahiid’s analysis of the Tenang by-election, which was published in Free Malaysia Today. And one thing you must note is the reference to Malay votes being the deciding factor in any election. In short, Malays are undeniably the kingmakers in Malaysian politics.

Whether it is Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat, or any man and his dog, when they talk about Malaysian politics or Malaysian elections it must be on the basis of Malay votes, Chinese votes, Indian votes, Dayak votes, Iban votes, Kadazan votes, and so on.

In Thailand it is simpler. It is either red shirts or yellow shirts. In Indonesia it is either pro-Reformasi or pro-Golkar. In the US it is Democrats and Republicans while in the UK it is Labour or Conservative (now made a bit more complicated with the LibDems as the new kingmakers).

But in Malaysia the division is very complicated indeed because we have to further compartmentalise the voters according to race. And if that is not complicated enough, the Malays need to be further compartmentalised into pro-Islam Malays and pro-Nationalist Malays.

More than two years ago I attended a MCKK Old Boys dinner and was seated next to Nazri Aziz. We had a most interesting discussion and he told me that in the March 2008 general election 51% of the Malays voted for Barisan Nasional, meaning Umno. This also means 49% of the Malays voted for the opposition.

Nazri admitted that Barisan Nasional did not do too well with the Chinese and Indian voters where 70% and 90% respectively voted for the opposition.

Now, in spite of three-quarters of the non-Malays voting for the opposition and only half the Malays voting for the government, Barisan Nasional still managed to form the government, although with not enough seats to control two-thirds of Parliament.

So, how many percent of the Malay votes would the opposition need to win to kick out Barisan Nasional and to form the next federal government, assuming it can still garner 70% of the Chinese and Indian votes (it looks like getting 90% of the Indian votes like in 2008 is now impossible)?

It appears the opposition would need to win at least 65%-70% of the Malay votes, which is impossible to achieve.

This is because of the gerrymandering where Barisan Nasional has very cleverly drawn up the constituencies so that they need win only 40%-45% of the popular votes to continue holding on to power, although it may just be with a simple majority. And we must not forget Barisan Nasional’s ‘fixed deposit’, the 57 seats from East Malaysia, which almost all went to Barisan Nasional in 2008.

I sometimes wonder whether it is an uphill battle and that the opposition will never get to march into Putrajaya. Instead of talking about forming the next federal government or marching into Putrajaya maybe we should instead be talking about trying to ensure that we have a strong opposition, thereby acknowledging that Pakatan Rakyat will always remain the opposition, albeit a strong opposition?

The fact that the opposition appears to be at each other’s throats more than focused on attacking Barisan Nasional and that the pro-Pakatan Rakyat Bloggers and activists are more concerned with trying to outdo each other and to bring down one another does not build confidence at all. It is not enough we have this very powerful Barisan Nasional to deal with, but we also have internal feuds and civil wars to contend with.

Malaysian politics and Malaysian elections are still very much about race and religion. Only a minority of Malaysians are concerned about ideology, performance, delivery, good governance, transparency, fundamental liberties, and so on. The majority are still focused on making sure that those of their own race and religion get to become the leaders and get to form the government.

How does Pakatan Rakyat get around this? It is not easy. As long as Malaysians are compartmentalised according to race and religion and they make decisions, such as voting, based on this criteria, then it is going to take a long time before Pakatan Rakyat can gain acceptance from the majority of Malaysians.

Officially we have such a thing called 1Malaysia. But if 1Malaysia really succeeds and Malaysians start thinking along the lines that we are all Malaysians and it does not matter what race and religion you are, then Barisan Nasional, in particular Umno is in deep shit.

No, it is not in the interest of Umno that all Malaysians think along the lines of 1Malaysia. Umno needs PERKASA and PEKIDA and all those ultra-Malay groups and paramilitary movements. Like it or not, Barisan Nasional’s and Umno’s future is in the hands of ultra-nationalist Malays. The day the Malays stop thinking as Malays and start thinking as Malaysians would be the day Umno is given a funeral.

The Tenang by-election result and the results of those by-elections before this have proven this point. Umno can’t depend on the non-Malays. Umno needs the Malays and they need Malays who are nationalistic to the point of being racists to remain in power. And they need to retain almost 100% of their East Malaysian ‘fixed deposit’ to make sure that Pakatan Rakyat will never march into Putrajaya or even become a strong opposition in Parliament.

Making room for the best candidates

Haris: ‘We urge our candidates to be faithful to the rakyat and not MCLM’
The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement, launched late last year, does offer some different and interesting ideas but it really cannot be described as a third force in Malaysian politics.
The Star
SOME have described the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) as a third force in Malaysian politics. But politically, it might not really be. It is supportive of Pakatan Rakyat. By offering its “candidates of integrity”, what MCLM is trying to do is force Pakatan parties to be more selective in their choice of candidates to prevent crossovers and a fall of government through defections.
It does offer some different and interesting ideas like allowing a candidate to be independent of a political party, which frees the candidate from needing to toe the party line.
In an interview with The Star, MCLM president Haris Ibrahim explains the rationale of the movement.
Q: Why did you launch MCLM in London. Why not do it from here?
A: We tried to register MCLS (Malaysian Civil Liberties Society) in 2004 or 2005, We had an inaugural meeting for that in KL and submitted the application to ROS (Registrar of Societies) and guess what? The application is still there (it’s not been registered) so that tells you why (we did it in London). We want to move on and it didn’t look like we were getting anywhere with the ROS so we thought ‘ok let’s get it done in London’.
Q: But isn’t there a fear it is elitist because London isn’t really where the man-in-the street goes to?
A: We could have a glitzy launch in Hilton and that’s gonna be seen as elitist. If you look at the launch that we had on the 12th of Dec, it couldn’t have been more low key. There was no fuss and no fanfare. Most importantly, it must seem obvious that while we had established in London that we are working the ground here so this is not a movement in exile. It is very much on the ground.
Q: What is the rationale for office bearers not to contest?
A: MCLM is intended - vis-a-vis the Barisan Rakyat independent candidate initiative - as the structure which we build for candidates and the machinery. We don’t want to see a scramble for position. We didn’t want MCLM to be used as a stepping stone to further one’s self or be seen as a vehicle where any John Doe reckons he can get in, position himself, profile himself, then become a candidate. There may be a perception if you are an office bearer, a president, deputy president - then all things being equal - you will be nominated as a candidate. So we want to neutre that at the outset. That is the rationale. Holding office in MCLM is actually an impediment to any aspiring politician. If you hold office in MCLM don’t even dream of candidacy!
Q: MCLM is planning to field a maximum of 30 candidates?
A: There is no magical figure, no mathematical calculation by which we arrive at 30. That is a figure plucked simply on the basis that the principle that we want is to see a new pro-reform government post the 13th general election. In my calculation. it cannot be Barisan. (Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) Pak Lah gave us a whole host of promises and we haven’t seen any of those reforms like the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission). So at this juncture, I am not convinced that Barisan can deliver to us the reform government. This means having to work with all other parties. Assuming that we get that reform government in the 13th general election, our biggest concern is a “frog” festival ala Perak crisis (defection). So what we have to do is try to get enough people in there of unquestionable integrity whom we hope will be able to hold the fort.
We can’t really come up with a precise number because if non-Barisan political parties are lackadaisical in their selection, even if we offered 30 candidates of integrity and if they picked 50 who are weak, that 30 is not going to help. But you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere. We reckon that 30 is probably a fairly safe number. If you have 30 whom you are confident will not bite any bait, then there’s very little likelihood of the new government keeling over by reason of crossovers. At the end of the day, even 30 might not be enough. We don’t know.
Q: So MCLM is not really a 3rd force because they are aligned, supporting and working with Pakatan Rakyat?
A: We are working with any and every pro-rakyat pro-reform party.
Q: But not Barisan Nasional?
A: No because we don’t see Barisan as being pro-reform pro-rakyat. I was asked what would you say if (PM) (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) asked for your candidate. I’d say ‘very good, repeal the ISA, repeal the OSA, the PPPA’ and put in place a Race Relations Act, and let’s look at an affirmative action program that is not race-based and we’ll work with you. It’s got to show credit. Talk is cheap on both sides of the divide.
Q: The MCLM launch has caused some discomfort and fear that it might split votes if it comes to a 3 cornered fight?
A: Let’s take Batu Sapi. There was no civil society involvement. You had SAPP on one hand and PKR on the other hand taking on Barisan. We urged the two parties to come to the table, sit together, evaluate their respective candidates and pick the better candidate but they didn’t. So even without any civil society involvement, there was a three-cornered fight. (MCLM candidate) Malik Imtiaz has said many time that whichever constituency he gets and as he works the ground, if one of the political parties offers a candidate whom he perceives to be better than himself, he will withdraw. All parties which claim to have this common agenda of seeing a reformed government in place should be prepared to take this position if my candidate happens to be better than yours.
There’s one litmus test that we can adopt. Hear the voters out. We will be conducting polls every 2 months.
Q: The presence of a viable opposition is quite new and the formation of Pakatan Rakyat coming together is something Malaysian saw only in the last election. With MCLM now in the picture, won’t this confuse the people?
A: I think we should give the average man in the street a bit more credit. There was a suggestion put to me in the public forum was that they might get confused with the symbols. Now why do people vote according to symbols? Because both sides of the divide only disclose candidates close to nomination and that means voters haven’t really a chance to know the candidates. We on the other hand are planning to deploy in March. So if Najib is going have elections say on 11/11/11 that gives us 8 months.
That’s 8 months of working the ground, 8 months of working the programs that we’ve planned for our candidates, 8 months of town hall forums, 8 months of inviting the MP to debate. They are going to play the role of shadow MP. I think come nomination day, we are not going to be perturbed with what symbol we’ll have to use if we are going to have to contest as an independent.
We’ve always said we open up to nomination day for any of the non-Barisan parties to say ‘alright we take you’.
We ll leave the doors open till then. If the sense we get from the voters is that we like you and want you then we’ll put you. I don’t see why the common man will get confused. On the contrary, the common man will be asking why isn’t my MP doing what my shadow MP is doing.
Q: How is this MCLM initiative going to work - you identify the candidate then the constituency?
A: There are 140 Barisan and 6 Barisan-friendly independent constituencies. So 146 is up for grabs because those are Barisan seats.
And it’s open for anyone to say ‘I’ve got this candidate’ and ‘he seems suitable here’. In that sense, we are not stepping on any opposition toes. Those aren’t opposition seats. I am also having a briefing for volunteers who are evaluating the 76 opposition incumbents. We are using a criteria developed by someone working for PKR. If any of the 76 fail, we’ll notify the party leadership and individual concerned . That is tantamount to a notice to the party to note that unless we are alerted of an improved candidate, we will be looking at that constituency to deploy.
We want to make sure that the opposition candidates are not an integrity risk and have the requisite MP aptitude.
Q: But you can’t put your candidates in rural seats can you because most of the issues MCLM is pushing for has to do with human rights?
A: Why not? Candidates would be going to the ground, working programs that we design for that particular constituency. Right now, we have a team of consultants doing demographic studies in practically all the peninsular constituencies so that we are able to best identify the candidates that we are coming up with the constituencies we are looking at. I don’t agree that the candidates we mentioned so far are necessarily viable only in urban constituencies. At the end of the day, it is all a matter of the programme you design and the work that you are prepared to do on the ground. I know there is this presumption that ‘ah they are going to target only the urban seats’. But not necessarily so.
Q: How are you going to ‘sell’ the MCLM candidates because they - except for Malik Imtiaz - are unknowns and don’t have a track record?
A: All the better. I don’t think you need a track record. I certainly would like to achieve something like this - let the average Joe who cares (do it).
If you talk about MP duties and what it takes, we will be conducting training sessions. It’s no great mystery. We think with a reasonable amount of intelligence , it can be taught. But integrity is something you can’t teach - either you were born or your family raised you well or they didn’t.
Our priority is integrity and an integrity candidate. The rest we think we can teach.
Working the ground is about understanding the demographics, understanding what they need and tailoring the program accordingly. That is what we are doing.
Q: How much rumblings have you have heard from the PR parties over the MCLM initiative?
A: Raja Petra has been speaking to some of the leaders and I have been speaking to some of the leaders. Their biggest concern is that while they appreciate the intention, they are also concerned about repercussions with the grassroots. and I can understand that. You talk about a division leader who has been waiting in the wings who suddenly has been told that he has to give way to this civil society candidate. Those are problems they will have to deal with.
What I indicated to them it is a problem we understand and we are prepared to work together with them to go to ground to explain. We think it is a necesarry rehabilitative process where the worst possible thing that could happen is that we win with a razor thin majority and see the government collapse on account of crossovers. It is for that reason that we are proposing this.
I have suggested to them I’d be very happy to work with them and go down to the grassroots to explain to them. But there has not been such huge rumblings. Certainly I’ve not had it put to my face.
Q: Why now. Why not before the 2008 election. What was the event that got you all to set up MCLM now?
A: It wasn’t one significant event but certainly when we saw what happened in Perak (the fall of the Pakatan state government to Barisan through defections) and then one realises that last year, with five Pakatan MPs crossovers in a row who declared themselves independent - had another two gone over - Barisan would have its two-thirds majority (in parliament).
When you look at all that, we said we can’t postpone this anymore.
Q: Is MCLM a reaction to PKR candidates. A lot of those who jumped were from PKR?
A: Keshwinder (Singh) was from DAP, Hee (Yit Fong) was from DAP, Hassan Ali who has been causing havoc is from PAS. I don’t think we can pin it entirely on PKR. Last year if you look at the 5 frogs they are all from PKR but it’s overstating the case to say it’s essentially a reaction to PKR.
The party leaders itself too have been fairly candid. In the run up to the 12th general election, they didn’t themselves have enough candidates and have been candid enough to admit it. Anwar himself has admitted he has made mistake. I think that is good of him. We’ve noted that and we also note the politics of partronage on both sides of the divide. That’s a serious problem the politics in Malaysia faces today - the politics of patronage. With all this mind, if you are going to sit back and wait and hope that the political party will up their own standards, it might not happen. We have got to force their hands. We are forcing their hands when we deploy in March and candidates start working the ground. Voters may begin to ask why all these years have they been subjected to the 11th hour introduction to candidates rather than have them made known to them earlier.
If the political parties themselves begin to notice that working 8 months before, gives our candidate a head start - they might begin to think that the days of disclosing at the 11th hour are numbered.
We used to be told the reason they didn’t disclose earlier is because Barisan would come and buy them off. And those are the very ones we want to avoid.
Q: There has been name calling between MCLM and PKR like Raja Petra saying some of the PKR candidates are ‘not fit to walk the dog’. What is that about when you all are on the same side?
A: It’s like a father who takes out a belt and belts his son - it’s because he loves the son. So when Raja Petra hits out at Pakatan, it’s because he cares. When I criticise them, it’s because I still think they are viable. If I didn’t think this, I wouldn’t even bother. When we lash out it’s because we think they are still viable and we are criticising them in hope they will pay heed and give thought to it.
Q: In the event there is a reform-type of government in place whom do you see as PM?
A: All things being equal, assuming there is no change in the current leadership due to any circumstance, then I suppose (Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) will rise to that office.
Q: But how much of impact would MCLM have when you are talking about a maximum of 30 seats? The candidates might have integrity but without numbers you can’t push reform through?
A: If you do have 30 in parliament that is a number that cannot be ignored. But if we took 30 and Pakatan is able to able to muster 90 seats, they still don’t have enough seats to form a government on their own. But a coaliton between Pakatan and MCLM gives you 120 seats and a majority in parliament. You may need to take 30 people of integrity on board to form a government. So you can’t say 30 is insignificant and not have any clout. 30 in that case become critical.
Q: What issues appeal to the rakyat most ?
A: Bread and butter issues. We will go down to the ground and help teach him to fish rather than give him the fish.
Q: But MCLM is always talking about liberties like freedom of speech, the judiciary and these don’t resonate with the man-in-the-street?
A: The rakyat reform agenda essentially covers 3 parts. A restoration of the institutions of the state back to the rakyat - this is quite irrelevant to the man who is down-and-out. An independent judiciary, the repeal of so many laws, introduction of laws like the Race Relations Act - it is la-di-da - for the man-in-the-street. The one that would matter most to the man-in-the street is the social inclusion agenda which is the affirmative action program. It’s essentially addressing the needs of the marginalised. That would appeal most to the man in the street who has bread and butter as his issue.
Q: Would candidates be from around the area they are contesting?
A: That would be ideal from so many perspectives. Otherwise logistically it becomes a headache. But I don’t think it’s fatal if you aren’t from the area. We do make a point of asking the candidates if you had a free hand where would you want to contest and why. So at least we have an idea of their own thoughts. At the end of the day, we are working with some very good professionals who are studying the constituencies and we’ll leave that decision till the end. The candidate must have a say. We get recommendations from the consultants and we would like them to share with us why they are matching so and so with that constituency and we’ll share with the candidates the reason.
Q: What do you think of Kita and will you be working with them?
A: Don’t know. We said we’ll be working with anyone who is pro-rakyat pro-reform. I haven’t got time to think of anything else except what we are doing. At their launch, our chairman sent someone from here because we had the invitation and Raja Petra said go find out what it is all about.
Q: What is your response to those who say that MCLM is a bunch of disillusioned Pakatan supporters?
A: I am not going to waste my time even responding. Come March, the candidates will go to the ground and we have to let that initiative do the talking. Personally, I have never been a Pakatan supporter. We’ve always said we’d work with anyone who is pro-rakyat. When I’ve had to I’ve hammered Pakatan - be it DAP, PKR or DAP - in my blogs.
Q: Barisan says they are pro-rakyat but MCLM won’t work with them?
A: The last few days, we’ve heard of the possibility of expanding the Printing Presses and Publications Act to online news portals. That doesn’t sound like reform to me. It sounds like regression. What about the ISA? They are talking about amending it! Where’s the IPCMC? We’ve just had a few more deaths in custody. I just saw the Teoh Beng Hock inquest (outcome). And nothing has come out of the VK Lingam Royal Commission of Inquiry. I rest my case.
We’ve heard a lot about abbreviations - the KPIs and NKRAs and what have you. But ask the man on the street how much a roti canai cost today compared to last year. Bus fares cost more, the quality of canteen food has gone down.
Q: People had high expectation in 2008 when they took a chance and voted for the opposition but Pakatan Rakyat hasn’t deliver its promises?
A: It is not fair to put it that way. Let’s understand that state power and federal power are two different things. Pakatan may have made promises on the basis that if they took Putrajaya. I don’t think Sept 16 (to take over Putrajaya) was Pakatan’s promise but rather one man’s (Anwar) agitation. If you talk about pre-election promises, what they could have delivered is at state level. The media is one thing that I’ve personally been rather unhappy about.
Under Section 25(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act, state governments do not need a permit so the state governments could have come up with a newspaper. Also, they could have had local council election especially in Selangor. There were proposals for simulated local council elections in MPPJ or Subang. We have not seen any attempt at that. I think the other side of the coin is that the public expectation has also been unrealistic.
Pakatan doesn’t have federal power so there is only so much they can do. People want so many things fixed without quite appreciating that they are new and bound to have teething problems and more importantly they don’t have the requisite instrument ie power (at federal level). It is also unfortunate there has been instances of sabotage by the state civil service. And the governments has not made this information available to the public at large.
There was one instance this guy was trying to get his petty trading license and he was lamenting at the counter and the guy at the counter said ‘well those (Barisan) days you pay RM50 and you get the license within a week. But you were the one who wanted the Pakatan government and now everything we have to check and check’. So that chap goes off and thinks ‘oh I made a mistake’ That’s not to say that Pakatan has been perfect but it’s work in progress.
A lot of criticism that has been thrown to them is warranted but we have also got to be fair to them.
Q: Like it or not, support is said to have returned to Barisan when Najib took over as Prime Minister? And that the anger of 2008 has eased.
A: If it’s true, I’ll work harder. There is so much fluidity in all that is happening. A month and a half ago, it was that elections was imminent and then we had the Wikileaks then everything got held back.
There’s another rumour of there’s going to be another round of Wikileaks which is going to hurt some in government so elections is being held held back again. How much of this swing is real. How much is so sound and solidly grounded that it won’t swing back again with the slightest rumour of another crisis. How sustainable is this swing. But if it’s real, I’ll have to work harder.
Q: How would you assess the performance of Pakatan since the 2008 elections?
A: (Lim) Guan Eng has done well in Penang, (short term Perak MB) Nizar (Jamaluddin) never quite had a chance. Selangor leaves much to be desired. Kedah needs a new MB, Kelantan has not changed much and its still same-old same-old (Datuk Seri) Nik Aziz (Nik Mat). As a coalition that is looking to take federal power, a lot of us really wanted to see a shadow cabinet. That would have been good but unfortunately that has not been forthcoming.
It would have been good to see a shadow cabinet come up with its own policies, propose policies. I think that would have augur confidence with a voting public that this is a as a coalition that is readying itself. A lot of people are looking and asking ‘are they really ready?’ Pakatan needs to look at bolstering the confidence of voters.
Q: Is MCLM prepared to put a gay candidate for a seat?
A: Yes. If he’s not a closet gay and is prepared to come out. Our concern is a closetted lifestyle makes you susceptible to extortion and bribery. I really don’t care who you sleep with but you need to be open about it. If you are gay and prepared to tell the voting public that ‘hey, look i am gay” and “I am offering to serve you in parliament and if you’ve cleared all the other criteria, I’ll back you. We will also back a transgender candidate if we get one. It’s also about changing Malaysian mindsets.
Q: But is Malaysia ready for that. Would such a candidate win?
A: It’s a question of finding the right constituency then tailoring the right programme. If you give me a gay, give me a right constituency, I can confident we can go down. I think it’s worth the money even if we don’t win. In those kind of constituencies, MCLM will be going in to make a point. The process is about educating the public.
I’d rather a gay or a transgender who is honest than a heterosexual who’s got his bloody hands on the rakyat’s money! If the voters are left with a similar choice - here’s a transgender who’s got a track record that speaks heaps of his integrity opposing someone who’s got a track record of fraud and cheat and what have you. - you make your choice. I’d vote the transgender.
Q: What about someone who is a womaniser or a Muslim candidate who drinks - would they be candidates?
A: I’ve no issue with this as long as you are not a closet womaniser and you are not going to cave in when someone brings a video and says ‘I’ll shows this to your wife’.
Q: But some would argue a womaniser especially if the person is married is a question of integrity. Wouldn’t people would see this as a lack of integrity?
A: We ourselves know too probably many numerous instances where people stay together when the marriage for all intent and purposes have fallen apart. Even in my our family, aunts have lived with husbands for reasons other than love and that their marriage for all intent and purposes is a sham. I am not going to moralise here because I don’t know what’s going on with that husband and wife and what’s gone wrong.
Should that be part of a matter of integrity that we look into? I don’t think so. At the end of the day our concerns of integrity is this instance is specific. Is there anything in the resume or character of the individual that leaves us suspectible to a crossover. That’s our concern here. So if you happen to be a womaniser and make no secret of it, I think the risk of that is removed.
Q: That makes me think the target group of voters that you are reaching is more liberal middle class type. Are they?
A: If we do offer a gay or transgender, it would be really about making a statement. I do agree with you that it would be hard to sell such a candidate but we will certainly try. I am still the infernal optimist thinking that if you get the right constituency with the right programme that you have fighting chance. Even if we thought we were going to lose, those are contests that we are thinking to have to make a statement. And let’s not forget that we are about Malaysian civil liberties.
Q: But let’s not forget you are working with Pakatan and offering these candidate to those parties?
A: I am dead certain none of the parties are going to take that individual. So in all likelihood that individual would be standing under the kunci, burung or some other symbol. But we will still push it.

Majority pay for sins of minority

By R. Nadeswaran, The Sun

THE young man being interviewed by the Immigration Officer at the airport produces a "Certificate of Completion" in Information Technology and a "Letter of Acceptance" from a local college to complete a "Diploma".
He is asked: "What subjects did you do during your first year?"

"I can’t remember."

"Where did you attend the classes?"

"I can’t remember."

"In which street was your college situated?"

"I can’t remember."

"You said you did IT. What does URL stand for?"

"I can’t remember."

"What does www stand for?"

"I can’t remember."

Those who watch the re-runs of TV documentaries on the UK’s Border Agency will be familiar with the dialogue above. Despite having been issued a student visa by the agency in Pakistan, the "student" was scrutinised on arrival at Heathrow and refused entry. Subsequent investigations revealed that he had been working as a mini-cab driver in Luton.

Then, there was the case of a member of a Nigerian Youth Volleyball team who came to UK on a six-month visa and stayed on for seven years before he was arrested and deported. Every episode of the series shows how the various dubious means and guises many go to end up in the UK. Sham marriages, bogus bank statements, falsified academic qualifications and even admission letters are caught by the expert eye of the authorities.

If previously, such acts of deception were mainly carried out by those from the Indian sub-continent, Africa and China, now Malaysians can claim membership to this club.

The statistics speak for themselves.

» It is estimated that there are about 20,000 Malaysians living in the UK illegally.

» In 2009, Malaysian nationals accounted for 2% of all persons held in detention in the UK solely for immigration offences.

» Three hundred and seventy Malaysian nationals were deported in 2009 for committing immigration offences including working while on tourist visas.

The figures for 2010 have not been collated but we have been told that two Malaysians were deported every week last year. In 2009, Malaysia was put on the same ranks as China and Brazil, and was subject to a Visa Waiver Test to maintain its visa-free status for its citizens visiting the UK. Currently, Malaysians do not require a visa to visit the UK but it is illegal for them to work in the UK if they are visiting or to stay longer than six months without permission. We still maintain the visa-free status but for how long?

Last week, the Border Agency announced the arrest of over 200 illegal workers including 11 Malaysian nationals in a series of raids as part of a nationwide operation to tackle immigration crime.

Steps have been taken to deport them as they were either working in breach of their visas, or overstaying their visas and working illegally. Those deported cannot re-enter UK for 10 years. Even Malaysians with a valid student visa can only work up to 20 hours a week during term time and anyone exceeding this limit can have his or her visa revoked.

Instead of getting the stipulated minimum wage of £5.80 an hour, many of the illegal workers get less than £4 and they do not enjoy insurance or medical benefits. Some of them work long hours, sometimes as much as 16 hours a day.

Damian Green, the UK immigration minister, says that illegal immigration puts huge pressure on the public purse at a time when the country can least afford it. With the cut on allocations for health, education and social services, there is resentment from the local populace as well. The National Health Service is bursting at its seams and students are protesting against the lift in the ceiling for university fees. With all these, the chances for anyone trying to cheat the system are almost zero because the activities of foreigners are often reported to the authorities.

In a statement, he said: "UK Border Agency officers across the country have carried out a major enforcement crackdown which has generated a large number of arrests, cash seizures and prosecutions. It has also brought fresh intelligence which the agency is using to further disrupt the activities of people involved in immigration crime.

Together with the police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency we will continue to make life as difficult as possible for those who to cheat the immigration system."

The activities of this small minority will affect all Malaysians. We could be put on the "watch list" once again and it will make it difficult for genuine tourists and visitors, who have no intention of overstaying or breaking the law

Segera Bawa Pulang Rakyat Malaysia

Ketegangan di Mesir jelasnya tidak akan mengendur dalam beberapa ketika ini. Protes menuntut Perubahan disertai puluhan jika tidak ratusan ribu rakyat setiap hari di beberapa kota utama negara tersebut. Keadaan semakin tidak menentu, keselamatan orang awam tidak lagi terjamin. Lebih membimbangkan adanya laporan bahawa wujudnya kumpulan samseng yang melakukan jenayah sewenang-wenangnya.

Saya difahamkan rakyat Malaysia yang kini tinggal di Mesir hampir mencecah 11 ribu orang, 10,328 dari jumlah tersebut merupakan pelajar yang mendaftar dengan kedutaan Malaysia di sana. Saya khuatir kedutaan kita menghadapi kesukaran untuk mengawasi serta menjamin keselamatan para pelajar dan rakyat Malaysia. Beberapa hari ini regim Hosni Mubarak telah mengambil tindakan untuk merencat penggunaan internet terutamanya jaringan media sosial seumpama Facebook dan Twitter. Malah, perkhidmatan telefon mudah alih juga sukar diperolehi. Adalah mustahil buat kedutaan Malaysia mengawasi serta menjamin keselamatan seluruh rakyat kita di sana kerana sistem telekomunikasi sudah lumpuh dan tidak lagi berkesan.

Perkembangan ini sewajarnya menyedarkan Kerajaan Malaysia bahawa mereka perlu segera merencana kepulangan rakyat kita dari Mesir. Adalah tidak munasabah membiarkan rakyat kita terdedah kepada bahaya dan tersepit di celah-celah keributan menuntut Perubahan. Saya menggesa kerajaan segera membawa pulang rakyat kita di sana. Jangan tunggu sehingga nasi menjadi bubur.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Thailand is No. 1

Image (Asia Sentinel) An online poll says Thai schoolgirl uniforms are the sexiest in the world

Taking sides in one of the great debates in Asia, the Japanese news Web sites Rocket News 24 and Livedoor have declared that the uniforms worn by female Thai university students are the sexiest in the world.

In an online poll, the form-fitting black skirts and body-hugging white shirts common on every university campus in Thailand outpointed the short pleated skirts and sailor blouses ubiquitous to Japanese higher education.

In a country famous for what may be the largest organized sex industry in the world, where the lure of naked dancing girls draws at least as many tourists as the country's famed beaches, the poll predictably caused some familiar outrage.

Indeed, it is common in Thailand for educators and moral welfare guardians to rail against the habit of young women shortening the skirts – which are intended to be worn at knee length – to the point where sitting demurely in public must be a challenge. The starched white shirts, which are adorned with signature campus pins, are frequently so many sizes too small in the bust that they seem to challenge the strength of both fabric and buttons.

In response to the poll praising the pulchritude of Thai students, Deputy Education Minister Chaiyos Jiramethakorn was quoted in the Thai language daily Naew Na last week saying that universities should crack down on revealing outfits. He said the ministry will summon educators to discuss the problem and work out policies to tackle the issue.

A similar clampdown on suggestive dressing by elite coeds at Bangkok's top-tier Chulalongkorn University and Thammasat University in 2009 seems to have been short-lived and ineffective, despite calls by the universities at the time for the government to launch a "Social Cabinet" to tackle the issue of students wearing uniforms inappropriately.

Thammasat's deputy rector for student affairs, Parinya Thewanaruemitkul, said at the time that the university closely supervises the student uniform code at each university and he called on the government to help others assure that students wear "appropriate clothes" to all classes.

The perennial issue of sexy schoolgirls in Thailand seems rarely to occasion thoughts of simply scrapping the uniforms and treating students like the young adults they actually are and allowing them to dress themselves. Thai students have for years said they dress the way they do precisely because they see the uniform as a rule from an earlier time and they just want to appear stylish and young.

In reacting to news of the Japanese uniform poll, a columnist for Naew Na spun the usual line in calling for greater moral teaching to stem the tide of eroticism on campus.

"At least, the existence of uniforms will help teach our children about discipline and courtesy. Uniforms will remind them of their status as students whose role is to study and seek knowledge. Students in uniforms should be mindful in whatever they do or don't do," wrote the author of the Kuan Nam Hai Sai column.

"The most practical solution could be to educate and make students appreciate the value of wisdom and good deeds, instead of external beauty, stardom and fame."

Press Release: Justice is not measured by speed or statistics but by a full and fair hearing and a reasoned decision

ImageThe decisions of the Magistrate in the private summons case involving Ryan Chong Yiing Yih and Darren Choy Khin Ming, to proceed with the hearing on 28 Jan 2011 although counsel for the accused was clearly ill, and when counsel was taken to the hospital, to proceed to fix further hearing dates without consulting the free dates of the ailing counsel, were uncalled for.

Such decisions are clearly contrary to the principle of a full and fair hearing, and natural justice.

This was not the first occasion the Magistrate ignored the principle of right to counsel.  On a previous occasion, he brought forward the originally fixed trial dates of March 2011 to early January without considering the availability of counsel and witness.

Such a pattern of behaviour smacks of blind obsession with speedy justice without any heart or regard to justice to the parties.

The right to a full and fair trial must by necessity include the litigant or accused’s right to counsel of choice, and therefore, the fixing of a hearing date must take into consideration the availability of counsel on the proposed date.

It is in recognition of this simple principle that the Chief Justice, on behalf of the Judiciary, had agreed in various discussions with the Bar, that, with regard to the issue of hearing dates and postponements:

(a)    hearing dates for cases, which have already been fixed by the court with the agreement of counsel, should not be brought forward without the consent of the parties involved;

(b)    in the exceptional circumstance where the court intends to change a hearing date that has been fixed, lawyers must be informed in writing at least one month in advance and the change of date can only be done with the consent of all parties; and

(c)    Judges must exercise their discretion in considering applications for adjournments.

The Malaysian Bar regrets that it has to state the obvious, that Judges are reminded that justice is to be dispensed through a full and fair hearing, and not speed and quantity of cases disposed of.

Lim Chee Wee
Vice-President
Malaysian Bar

Nik Aziz Wants To Run Down Political Enemies, Not Defend Islam - Tun M

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat is only interested in running down political enemies and not defend Islam against attacks by Lee Kuan Yew.

He regretted Nik Aziz' defence of Kuan Yew's view that Muslims in the republic should not hold fast to Islam.

The Kelantan Menteri Besar said that the Singapore Mentor Minister's view was not as bad as Muslim Malay nationalists.

"Imagine Islam under Nik Aziz, Karpal, Kit Siang and Guan Eng. Nik Aziz will probably agree that Islam be compromised if asked to by partners," he said in his new entry in his blog www.chedet.co.cc today.

He said the situation now is different than during British rule where many Malay leaders consumed liquor while the Malay workers took toddy.

Dr Mahathir said the Muslim Malay rule presently was due to the struggle of Malay nationalists.

"They ban liquor during government functions, inculcate Islamic values, allocate funds for Islamic activities, facilitate Muslims to perform haj, build mosques, set up Universiti Islam, Bank Islam, Takaful and ban national lottery."

The former prime minister said the biggest triumph for PAS and Nik Aziz was to divide Muslims in the country.

"PAS divide Muslims by having two imams during Friday prayers and banning marriages between PAS and Umno members," he added.

Oil in Malaysia: Worrying trend

As petrol pump prices rise steadily (another increase in RON 97 price has just been reported), here’s a less well known trend: Malaysian oil production has been gradually falling since peaking in 2004.
This graph should be of concern to all Malaysians. Notice the production-consumption gap narrowing.
Graphic credit: http://www.eia.doe.gov
That’s why they are dishing out contracts for ‘enhanced’ oil recovery.
Says the US Energy Information Administration:
Total oil production in 2009 was 693,000 barrels per day (bbl/d), of which 83 percent was crude oil. More than half of total Malaysian oil production currently comes from the Tapis field in the offshore Malay basin. Malaysian oil production has been gradually decreasing since reaching a peak of 862,000 bbl/d in 2004 due to its maturing offshore reservoirs. Malaysia consumes the majority of its production and domestic consumption has been rising as production has been falling. Exports in 2009 were 157,000 bbl/d. However, the government is focused on opening up new investment opportunities by enhancing output from existing fields and developing new fields in deepwater areas offshore Sarawak and Sabah.
Isn’t it time we looked at how we can conserve our reserves for future generations, instead of consuming like there is no tomorrow? We cannot pretend that oil is an infinite resource.
It’s also time we really looked at how we are spending our oil revenue and frittering away precious resources. We need more accountability and transparency in Petronas accounts as well.
We need a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economic model that is also socially just.