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Monday, February 7, 2011

PSM leader lodges report against police


PETALING JAYA: Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general, S Arutchelvan, lodged a report at the Kajang police station yesterday, claiming that he was harassed by several police officers. In his report, Arutchelvan claimed that four policemen from the Cheras district police were trying to question him unlawfully over his participation in a recent solidarity demonstration for Egypt at the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

On Feb 4, about 1,000 people staged a peaceful demonstration at the embassy to support the growing calls among Egyptians that their long-serving president, Hosni Mubarak, resign from his post.

Among others who participated in the gathering were PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, and PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin.

However, the police disrupted the demonstration by firing water cannons and arresting seven participants for failing to disperse despite numerous warnings.

Arutchelvan claimed the policemen served him with a notice under section 111 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) at his residence.

This requires him to give his statement to the police at a specified time and venue which is usually indicated in the notice itself.

“However, this notice did not have these details. When I enquired one of the officers, known as Inspector Faizal Abdullah, he said he will record my statement in my house itself,” said Arutchelvan.

Claiming the notice was defective, Arutchelvan refused to give any statement.

“Faizal then threatened to get an arrest warrant against me but I stood my ground,” he said.

Speaking to FMT, Arutchelvan claimed that Kajang police officers agreed with his argument that the notice was defective due to the absence of relevant details (venue and time).

“Since the police are serving a notice to a witness, they should learn to give some respect to the witness and not just come to his house and record a statement,” said Arutchelvan.

Samy sharpens his knives for Palanivel


PETALING JAYA: Newly crowned MIC president G Palanivel is headed for troubled waters after a spate of political manoeuvres that has ruffled the feathers of several MIC top guns.

And the disgruntled faction is said to be led by none other than Palanivel’s immediate predecessor, the mighty S Samy Vellu.

“The discontent began after Palanivel brought back several leaders sacked by Samy Vellu into the party. These people were very anti-Samy Vellu but they have cordial ties with Palanivel.

“Palanivel did a favour to his people but has earned the wrath of the old man (as Samy Vellu is fondly referred to in party circles),” said a highly placed source.

Over the last month or so Palanivel, a former journalist turned politician, had brought back party dissidents including S Murugesan, who was appointed as MIC information chief.

Murugesan was MIC secretary-general before he was removed by Samy Vellu, following his outburst that the former MIC supremo should not sack members according to his whims and fancies.

The party’s all powerful Central Working Committee (CWC), headed by Palanivel, also agreed to reinstate former Petaling Jaya Selatan MIC division head V Subramaniam or Barat Maniam.

Barat Maniam was previously sacked by Samy Vellu when he criticised the party leadership.

Former Hulu Selangor MIC division deputy chairman V S Chandran was also reinstated after his suspension term expired.

The fate of three others ex-leaders, V Mugilan, G Kumar Aamaan and K P Samy, is expected to be decided at the party’s next CWC meeting, which is yet to be fixed.

These three leaders formed the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS) movement mid-last year in an effort to force the former MIC chief to relinquish his post.

Sensing that his decisions would irk Samy Vellu, Palanivel tried to soothen things by appointing Samy Vellu’s son Vell Paari as MIC’s new media head, a newly created post.

Vell Paari, however, had rejected the appointment.

The two Subramaniams

The threat to Palanivel’s postion could come from several corners, especially from the two Subramaniams in the party. The first is former deputy president S Subramaniam, who was beaten by Palanivel at the party polls two terms ago for the number two post.

Sources revealed that Samy Vellu and Subramaniam, who were at odds for nearly three decades now, met during the recent Thaipusam celebration in Batu Caves.

“Samy Vellu patted Subramaniam on the back when the latter went to shake his hands. He was behaving as though they were old buddies. He even invited Subramaniam to lunch…

“This public gesture has sent some signals to MIC leaders and members. Is Samy Vellu telling MIC leaders and members that Subramaniam is not dead politically? Why this sudden move?

“I doubt Samy Vellu is willing to forgive the anymosity between him and Subramaniam so easily. Something must be cooking. Is Palanivel’s head on the chopping block?” said a source.

On another front, Palanivel must keep a close watch on Dr S Subramaniam, the human resources minister and MIC deputy president. The minister is also said to be “interested” in the party top post.

“If the party election is held now, we can see the two Subramaniams going against Palanivel. Dr Subramaniam is a strong candidate. We expect Samy Vellu, who has good grassroots support, to throw his backing for Dr Subramaniam. Furthermore they are of the same caste… this is also another consideration in MIC,” said the source.

Contacted by FMT to verify the speculation, a MIC top leader had responded in a text message, saying: “The motion is in process…waiting for all hell to break loose.”

WikiLeaks: Waytha may seek legal redress


GEORGETOWN: Hindraf Makkal Sakti chairman P Waythamoorthy has declined to elaborate on details of his meeting with American officials that was leaked by whistleblower WikiLeaks last week.

He, however, confirmed that the meeting was held on June 25, 2008 over his application seeking a temporary political asylum in the United Kingdom.

“But it would be better for me not to go into details of the meeting,” the London-based Hindaf supremo told FMT.

It’s learnt that he is now seeking legal advice on his next step to deal with the issue.

Details of his meeting with American officials from political and intelligence units in the US Embassy in London were leaked via the London WikiLeaks cables.

The details which were cabled from the embassy to the US State Department in Washington DC were leaked to UK’s newspaper, The Telegraph.

It was revealed that Waythamoorthy had raised suspicion to US officials that his temporary asylum application could have been stalled due to a pending arms deal between London and Putrajaya.

The Telegraph in its online portal article on Saturday revealed that Waythamoorthy had speculated that the London Home Office may not want to aggravate the Malaysian government by granting him even temporary asylum.

He had cited the high volume of trade, including a lucrative pending arms sale between the two countries, for his fear.

The US officers, however, expressed doubt over his accusation that the UK was dragging its foot over his temporary asylum application.

Political asylum

The officers reported that it was too early to determine the accuracy of Waythamoorthy’s suspicion that the UK government was stonewalling the asylum application.

They said that the UK Home Office, which would determine matters of political asylum, would move very slowly as a “general rule”.

Consequently, they thought that Waythamoorthy might attribute the UK action as “bureaucratic inertia”.

Waythamoorthy applied for political asylum vis-à-vis the Geneva Convention to the British government after his Malaysian passport was revoked by the Malaysian government in 2008.

The WikiLeaks details revealed that the human rights lawyer was concerned that his application for temporary asylum status had been put on hold, leaving him without documentation to travel.

It was leaked that he had requested financial assistance for his human rights work, claiming that his international lobby was focused on minority rights for the non-Muslim communities in Malaysia.

He had claimed that Malaysia was increasingly relying on Islamic syariah law either alongside or in place of Malaysian common law, and that “Hindraf was the only Malaysian group working to combat such changes to the legal system”.

He stressed that he did not want permanent asylum in UK as he wanted to return to Malaysia, citing his family and his stalled law practice as reasons.

However, he had insisted that he would return only after the other imprisoned Hindraf leaders have been released.

Waythamoorthy has also complained that his Malaysian passport was revoked by Putrajaya to prevent him from travelling to the US to further the Hindraf cause.

Human rights violation

He believes that it was Putrajaya’s tactic to force him to eventually be deported back to Malaysia where he fears arrest.

The WikiLeaks revealed that Waythamoorthy had then enquired whether the US government can issue a travel document so that he could travel to the US or Canada to pursue his advocacy works on a temporary basis.

He had told American officials that he planned to set up a mission to monitor and document human rights violations in Malaysia.

He had apparently also told the officials that the mission was also to train Malaysian citizens in the investigation of human rights abuses.

Waythamoorthy was also compelled to clarify Hindraf’s non-political position when the American officials told him that the US government would not back politically-partisan organisations.

He explained that although Hindraf remained a predominantly Hindu advocacy group, it was focused on the expansion of democratic rights for all Malaysians.

He also clarified that Hindraf was particularly involved in the advocacy of freedom of religion, educational equality, and equal rights for minorities.

The officers then told Waythamoorthy that they were not in position to offer assistance or determine whether Hindraf was a partisan organisation or provide a travel document.

But they assured him they would convey an account of his status and Hindraf’s objectives to Washington and the American embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The officials have explained that they were unaware of the existence of such a travel document, and that they were doubtful that Waythamoorthy could be accommodated.

No passport

Waythamoorthy then clarified that he did not want a permanent asylum, either in the UK or US.

He left the country during a police clampdown on Hindraf activities in the aftermath of its landmark Nov 25 anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) in 2007.

His elder brother Uthayakumar, three lawyers and another person were detained without trial on Dec 13 under the draconian Internal Security Act.

The five have been released in early 2009.

According to Waythamoorthy, until today, the Malaysian government does not want him to return home and had refused to return his passport, which had been handed over to the Malaysian embassy in London.

Egypt reform promises doubted


Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has cast doubt on the government's willingness to follow through on promised reforms, following talks with authorities aimed at ending the country's political crisis.

One of the group's leaders told Al Jazeera that the Muslim Brotherhood does not trust the government to make its proposed changes - a development that came as pro-democracy rallies continued across the country.
The protests entered their fourteenth day on Monday, a day after tens of thousands of demonstrators observed a "day of the martyrs" in Cairo's Tahrir Square - the focal point of the protests - calling for an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.
Al Jazeera correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin, who was at the square, was arrested by the military on Sunday afternoon, prompting calls from the channel and international media-rights groups for his release. He was freed nine hours later.
The army fired tracer rounds into the air at a cordon they had set up near the Egyptian Museum, an Al Jazeera correspondent in the square reported late on Sunday evening. An army tank also moved towards the 6th of October bridge, where protesters often gather, he said.
Both Muslims and Christians held prayers at the square for the victims of the uprising.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters also gathered in the cities of Alexandria and Mansoura, while thousands more protested in Mahalla. In other parts of the country, banks and shops began to reopen as normal life appeared to be resuming.
Egyptian state television said Omar Suleiman, the country's newly appointed vice-president, began meetings with prominent independent and mainstream opposition figures on Saturday to go through the options, which centre on how to ensure free and fair presidential elections while sticking to the constitution.
The Egyptian president, in a televised address last Tuesday, said he would not seek re-election in September but refused to step down immediately, saying he feared "chaos".
Brotherhood talks
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) played down Sunday's meeting with Suleiman, saying that it was not prepared to drop its central demand of calling for Mubarak to resign as president.
"We cannot call it talks or negotiations. The Muslim Brotherhood went with a key condition that cannot be abandoned ... that he [Mubarak] needs to step down in order to usher in a democratic phase," Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a member of the MB, told Al Jazeera.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, cautiously welcomed the inclusion of the MB in talks, but said the US would "wait and see" what results the dialogue yields.
US president Barack Obama also weighed in again on the political situation in Egypt. He told the US television network Fox on Sunday that Egyptians would not permit a repressive government to fill the Mubarak void, adding that the MB is only one faction in Egypt.
IN VIDEO

Images shot by activists appear to show graphic scenes of intense fighting in Cairo and Alexandria
"But here's the thing that we have to understand, there are a whole bunch of secular folks in Egypt, there are a whole bunch of educators and civil society in Egypt that want to come to the fore as well.
"So it's important for us not to say that our own only two options are either the Muslim Brotherhood or a suppressed people."
The MB, which is formally banned but whose activities are tolerated, was one of several groups taking part in those talks. Other participants included members of secular opposition parties, independent legal experts and business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, attendees said.
A representative of Mohamed ElBaradei, the opposition figure, was also in attendance.
ElBaradei, however, told the American television station NBC that he had not been invited to the talks. He criticised the negotiations for being "opaque", saying that "nobody knows who is talking to whom at this stage".
The MB's Fotouh described the meeting as testing the waters for what concessions the government was prepared to make.
He said he "did not see any ... seriousness so far. They [the government] have failed to take concrete measurement on the ground.
"If they were serious, the parliament would have been dissolved, also a presidential decree ending the emergency law".
He said that articles 77, 78 and 88 of the constitution should also have been amended by now.
Fotouh was referring to an article of the constitution covering presidential elections, which now effectively puts Mubarak's governing NDP party in a position to choose the next president, and another that allows the president to run for unlimited presidential terms.
He said the Muslim Brotherhood "does not seek power" and will not be fielding a candidate for president in elections.
He asserted that the organisation was not prepared to step back from its demand for Mubarak's departure, saying that if it did, the move would be a "betrayal of the martyrs who have died in the these protests".
Official statement
According to a statement from Suleiman's office following Sunday's talks, the government offered to form a committee to examine proposed constitutional amendments, pursue allegedly corrupt government officials, "liberalise" media and communications and lift the state of emergency in the country when the security situation was deemed to be appropriate.
Click here for more on Al Jazeera's special coverage 
A proposal being promoted by a group of Egyptians calling itself the The Council of Wise Men involves Suleiman assuming presidential powers for an interim period pending elections.
But some opposition figures argue that would mean the next presidential election would be held under the same unfair conditions as in previous years.
They want to first form a new parliament to change the constitution to pave the way for a presidential vote that is democratic.
An Al Jazeera correspondent in Cairo described the news of the MB joining the talks as "highly significant".
"They are interested in talking about the resignation of president Mubarak," he said. "They want parliament resolved, they want those responsible for violence of the last few days put on trial ... and wanting to be able to peacefully protest."
Al Jazeera's correspondent in Alexandria - one of the Muslim Brotherhood's strongholds - says many people are surprised by the group's decision to enter talks.
He said it is a major concession that might be seen as a "weakness" in the sense that the MB did not stick to its stated position against joining negotiations until Mubarak resigns.
Cherif Bassiouni, president of the Egyptian American Society and a former UN human rights expert, said the MB has already proved itself to be a responsible participant in Egypt's legislative process.
"They participated in the 2005 legislative elections. They elected 88 members to the parliament. So they've had a role in the secular parliament," Bassiouni said.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies

Gerakan slams rude PKR-PAS ‘Egyptian’ demo


ALOR STAR: A Gerakan Youth leader here has slammed PKR and PAS for being rude for demonstrating at the US embassy yesteday afternoon, on the second day of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang chided the PKR and PAS leaders and members, who took part in the demonstration, for being disrespectful and insensitive to ethnic Chinese sentiments.

He said that Pakatan Rakyat could have held the demonstration on another day given that Chinese, the country’s second largest ethnic community, were celebrating the arrival of their new “Rabbit” year.

He called on Pakatan leaders, including Anwar Ibrahim, Abdul Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng to explain publicly the reasons behind such a “discourteous” demonstration.

He said the PKR and PAS leaders knew that Chinese New Year was among the most grandly celebrated ethnic-based festival in the country.

“But they were least bothered… they went ahead with the demonstration. It’s rude,” said Tan.

Tan said that the PKR and PAS leaders should be thoughtful and respectful of other cultures in a multi-racial Malaysia.

Some 1,000 people demonstrated outside the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after Friday prayers yesterday to condemn Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The protesters included NGO and Pakatan leaders, members, activists and supporters.

While Tan condemned Pakatan involvement in the “Egypt Demo” Hindraf Makkal Sakti adviser N Ganesan aimed to capitalise on it.

He suggested that PKR and PAS leaders display similar democratic zeal at home by joining Hindraf’s fight against the introduction of the controversial novel Interlok in school.

Strong support

Hindraf plans to hold a mass anti-Interlok and anti-racism protest on Feb 27 at KLCC, the venue of the human rights movement’s ground-breaking mass demonstration on Nov 25, 2007.

Ganesan said that Hindraf was encouraged by Pakatan enthusiasm in championing an international cause in the Arab world.

“It was heart-warming to see its strong support for the Egyptians’ struggle for democracy,” he told FMT.

Hence, he said that it was time Pakatan also showed a similar zest against the racist Interlok at home.

Ganesan urged its leaders, members and grassroots supporters to join Hindraf’s anti-racism stance.

He added that the Malay novel Interlok had shattered the country’s cherished multi-racial unity.

Interlok was penned in 1971 by national laureate Abdullah Hussain in the aftermath of 1969 May 13 racial riots.

Ganesan insisted that the book must be banned because it would sow seeds of racism among the young.

“Pakatan leaders should walk their talk and join our fight against it. After all, charity starts at home,” he said.

Something is not right with PKR, says Najib


MIRI: The resignation of Sabah PKR chairman Pajudin Nordin from the party yesterday was another proof that something is not right with the political party, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, here today.

He said the latest crisis occurring within the opposition party was not surprising because previously many of their party members had also left, including a former deputy chairman and secretary-general.

“If many of the members have left, including those who had founded the party, there is certainly something that is not right within the party,” he said at a press conference after attending a closed-door meeting with the Sarawak Barisan Nasional state assemblymen, here.

He said the latest development could open up the eyes of the people on the current situation in the PKR which had earlier been obsessed with taking power but had lost many members before they could even achieve this target.

On the application by Pajudin to join Umno, Najib said the matter would be discussed by the party’s Supreme Council.

Meanwhile, Najib, who is also the BN chairman, said his meeting with the Sarawak BN assemblymen was not merely as a preparation for the state election but more on improving their effectiveness in serving the people.

He said all the Sarawak BN assemblymen whom he had met were fully prepared to report the situation in their respective constituencies and had given suggestions on resolving the problems of the people.

The matters raised by the elected representatives concerned touched on the powers of the federal and state governments which could be resolved through cooperation between both levels of governments, he said.

- Bernama

Legitimate queries from budding rights advocate


The various punitive measures instituted by SMK Vivekananda authorities against budding human rights advocate Nicol Paul Miranda, 17, doesn’t quite tally with the promotion of critical and creative thinking skills in our schools. The Education Ministry calls it KBKK or Kemahiran Berfikir Secara Kritis dan Kreatif. All the more so when Miranda didn’t cross the lines of reason and decency.

Miranda, who left the school in Brickfields last year after his SPM, has been denied his trial exam results and school leaving certificate. Pending the release of the SPM results, the trial exam results can be used to enter college. Needless to say, one needs the school leaving certificate as well.

He has gone through at least two periods of suspensions just before leaving school. His mother, it has been alleged, was almost physically harmed by the school authorities when she turned up to query his suspensions. Are the school authorities the products of the racist Biro Tata Negara (BTN)?

To add insult to injury, the school has lodged police reports against the student at the Bukit Aman headquarters and at the Brickfields police station.

Surely, these are dangerous precedents which the Education Minister should seriously re-consider or step aside to help de-politicise our politics. If the Education Ministry can be scrapped and replaced by an Education Commission appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, it would be so much the better for our children, youths and the country.

Miranda’s troubles began because he had the temerity to query why we are still celebrating independence when we have not evolved beyond the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) which has had the country in a vice-like grip for the last 54 years. Independence, in the youngster’s view, must mean the freedom to change the government on a regular basis.

Obviously, this has not been happening because the powers that be have been single-mindedly engaged in the destruction of the political opposition for much of the last 54 years. This has been pursued through various ways and means.

Bullying efforts

In the early years of independence, and for many decades after that, the Internal Security Act (ISA) was used to muzzle, terrorise and intimidate the political opposition into submission. Detention under the ISA was a logical follow-up to the constant monitoring and bullying efforts of the Special Branch which has since degenerated, along with the police and other government departments and agencies, into being yet another member of the BN.

Many political parties, for good measure, were deregistered when infiltrating and creating trouble through agent provocateurs didn’t work. The Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) was deregistered after nearly a quarter-century of existence as a breakaway from the Sarawak National Party (SNAP). SNAP was also subsequently deregistered and kicked out of the Sarawak BN but the courts have since given it a new lease of life.

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS), which claims to represent 20,000 ex-PBDS members, was also nearly deregistered in 2008 but a political decision by then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saved its hide.

Some 100,000 ex-PBDS members have been denied the opportunity to register the Malaysian Dayak Congress (MDC). They have since returned to SNAP which is now making waves in the opposition in Sarawak and giving Chief Minister and Putrajaya’s proxy Abdul Taib Mahmud sleepless nights.

The Dayaks, the majority community in Sarawak, have been chopped up among four political parties in the state BN, that is, one Muslim-led, another Chinese-led and two Dayak-led. The Muslims, meanwhile, are all in one political party as is the case with the Chinese. While the Dayaks in the Muslim-based party, Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), add to the strength of the Muslims, the Dayaks are politically weakened to a similar extent. It’s the same scenario confronting the Dayaks in the Chinese-based Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP).

In Sabah and Sarawak, the perennial question is whether the two states became independent at the same time as Singapore in 1965. The question arises because the definition of Federation in the Federal Constitution post-1965 is according to the 1957 Federation of Malaya and not the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and Federation of Malaysia.

All these provide food for thought and legitimate queries from students like Miranda who are obviously the product of the KBKK programme in our schools.

Miranda has also raised the interesting question of why we should swear by the Rukun Negara (National Philosophy). This sin was also included in the two police reports against him and the suspensions and other punitive measures meted out to him.

Miranda thinks that no one should be forced to swear loyalty to King and country. He has a point here but only if the King and country are not loyal to a citizen. This appears to be the case most of the time. Loyalty is not a one-way process but one that should work both ways. No one should be loyal to anyone who is not loyal to him or her.

Long struggle

Nowadays, many people are not loyal even if you are loyal to them. This is the case with companies suffering, with workers prone to job-hopping. They are wiling to cross the street to another company at the drop of a hat or merely for just a few more measly ringgit in their pockets.

Tenet number one in the Rukun Negara – Belief in God – is a no-no with Miranda, and with good reasons too.

He queries the tenet when the authorities are busy demolishing places of worship and denying people permission to build new places to carry out their obligations to their faith. There need be no argument on this.

One example is the only Catholic Church in Shah Alam which was denied planning and building permission. The authorities relented after a long struggle of over 20 years and this included many court battles. Finally, when permission was granted, construction was halted mid-way and the church was forced to move to another site in the industrial estate. Here, the church has not been allowed to look like a church on the outside but like the other factories in the area. In Russia, the churches look like “mosques” on the outside.

Orang Asli churches have been demolished routinely by the authorities under one pretext or another. In one case, a court surprisingly ruled in favour of an Orang Asli church which had been demolished.

In Selangor, recently, a 150-year Hindu temple was asked unceremoniously to move out because the entire neighbourhood had become majority Muslim since independence. Who came first? The temple or the residents? The temple first began as an isolated structure in a rubber estate.

Umno even staged demonstrations over the new site for the temple and this went to the extent of some people stomping on the head of a cow, considered sacred to the Hindus because of the huge life-giving role it plays in the economy of rural India.

In Kudat, Sabah, construction was halted on the building of a statue to Mazu – the Goddess of the Sea – after the court of appeal threw a spanner in the works.

The same court threw a similar spanner into the case of Everest hero M Moorthy over his “conversion” to Islam on his death-bed. History books will now no doubt record that the first Malaysian up Mount Everest was a “Malay”.

So, Miranda and many others like him can be forgiven for being more than cynical over the Rukun Negara and the need to celebrate independence. The Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak are even being told that they have been independent since 1957, as part of the Federation of Malaya – and now masquerading as the Federation of Malaysia – and not since 1963 as the Federation of Malaysia. This is a new twist on history.

Nik Aziz challenges Fatwa Council to debate

(The Star) - PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has thrown a challenge to the National Fatwa Council or other relevant authorities to debate why some Malays or pro-nationalists have rejected Islam.

“I am willing to take part in an open debate on condition that the reference must be based on the Quran and hadith.

“This is because muzakarah (dialogue) is a must in Islam when there is a dispute,” Nik Aziz, who is also Mentri Besar, told reporters after handing over 100 vouchers to claim 10kg of rice each to hardcore poor families here on Sunday.Nik Aziz was asked to comment on the challenge to debate by state Umno veteran council religious bureau chairman Prof Mohd Noor Deris.

The PAS leader said he was not interested in debating the issue with Prof Mohd Noor because he did not hold any post in the government.

Prof Mohd Noor had also called on the Conference of Rulers and the National Fatwa Council to investigate Nik Aziz’s claim in the recent Tenang by-election that those who did not vote for PAS were jahil (ignorant).

Petition to reform history education: act now

By CPI

We urge CPI readers and others to sign this important petition by a courageous parent. The petition calls on the authorities to act immediately to address the bias and shortcomings plaguing the Malaysian history syllabus and textbooks.

Our younger generation deserve a broad, impartial and fair history in their education. They do not deserve narrowly blinkered history textbooks and a syllabus that are bent on propagandizing parochial ethno-nationalist and religiously biased perspectives and knowledge.

All parents and taxpayers in the country should be concerned with the current situation of history education which is providing our children with selective and biased views and knowledge that can only further polarize and divide the communities and nation rather than serve to unify us on the basis of a fair and accurate representation of our past and that of all civilizations.

***********************************

THE PETITION
CALL FOR REVIEW OF HISTORY SYLLABUS IN MALAYSIAN SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS PETITION

We, concerned parents and citizens of Malaysia, note with great concern the following weaknesses and problems in the history textbooks in our nation.
They:-

(a) are filled with many historical errors and half truths;
(b) fail to reflect fairly on the contribution of all races in the development of the nation;
(c) are written from a narrow world perspective and has a strong bias towards certain religious civilization and belief.

In view of the great impact the history textbooks have on the minds of our young children, we call upon our Government and the relevant authorities to undertake an immediate and comprehensive review and rewriting of the history syllabus and textbooks in schools and all other institutions of education in Malaysia.

We propose that this review and rewriting of the syllabus and textbooks be undertaken by a panel of qualified historians . They should be representative of all the major races in the nation.
The objective of the review should be to introduce a liberal and progressive history syllabus and textbooks. These should:-

(1) equip our students with a broad and balanced perspective of the major civilizations and events in world history;
(2) not contain undue emphasis on any particular civilization or religion;
(3) accurately record historical facts from an unbiased viewpoint;
(4) give due and fair recognition to the contributions of all races towards the historical development of the nation;
(5) focus on historical facts and processes, and not contain any religious or political agenda.

To sign petition click here…

Egyptian VP vows changes to appease protesters

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman on Sunday met with representatives of key opposition groups and offered concessions -- including some that, if enacted, could bring dramatic change to the country.

Among the ideas agreed to by the two sides, according to a report on state-run television, was a future end to the military emergency law that has been in place since President Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981.

The two sides also discussed steps to ensure free media and communication and plans to form a series of committees that would oversee changes aimed at bringing about a representative government.

Among the opposition groups represented in the meeting with Suleiman was the Muslim Brotherhood -- a group that, days ago, had said it would not negotiate until Mubarak left office. Members of the liberal parties Wafd and Ahrar have also engaged in talks with the newly appointed Suleiman.

After the meeting, Suleiman sat down with six young people who, according to state-run TV, were representing the "January 25" movement, named after the date the protests began.

But in Tahrir Square, some protesters slammed the idea that anyone representing them would meet with Suleiman. "This is an insult to people like us, activists. Who are they to speak on behalf of the revolution?" asked Gigi Ibrahim.

"I did not hear of any January 25 group when the revolution started," added protester Wael Abbas. "Only now I am hearing these rumors. But I don't know who they are because they definitely do not represent us ."

Mohammed Mursi and Mohamed Saad Al Katatni, both with the Muslim Brotherhood -- an opposition Islamist umbrella group that is officially banned but tolerated in Egypt -- said their party insisted that the closing memo after the meeting note that the two sides agreed to the importance of a peaceful transition by dissolving parliament and what the Muslim Brotherhood calls the parliament's "fraudulent" representation.

The group also insisted on an investigation into the deadly clashes in Tahrir Square last week, and that those responsible be brought to justice in Egyptian courts, the Muslim Brotherhood officials said.

Based on the meeting, the Muslim Brotherhood expects that on March 1, the two sides will take the next steps toward amendments in the Constitution and reforming of the parliament, Mursi and Al Katatni said.

The statement on state-run TV said the two sides agreed to form a national committee to work on constitutional changes within a month. They also agreed to reject any foreign interference in Egypt and form a committee from the legal authority and political groups that would work together to suggest needed changes, according to the statement.

If the emergency laws in place for 30 years were to come to an end, it "would be a very significant move," Egypt's Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "It has been a longstanding demand of most of the opposition and many segments of Egyptian society to guarantee that all political activity is undertaken under normal law and in the confines of the normal judiciary. So it would be a significant step and an indication of confidence that the political process is moving forward."

Many protesters are calling for Mubarak's immediate ouster and for him to stand trial. His announcement last week that he planned to stay in office through September's elections infuriated thousands and spurred further protests. But he also has vociferous supporters, who have clashed at times with anti-government demonstrators in recent days.

The demonstrations Sunday generally seemed peaceful, often taking on a festive atmosphere. Among those taking part were members of Egypt's Christian minority, who held a Mass in Tahrir Square paying tribute to those killed during clashes. Some Muslim protesters vowed to form a ring around the Christians and protect them during the service.

Egypt's population is 10% Christian, a minority mostly made up of Coptic Christians.

Warning shots were fired in Tahrir Square on Sunday evening, as had happened in some previous days, but the crowds stayed put.

On the streets of Cairo, there were increasing signs of normalcy returning. Some shops re-opened, traffic began to seem more like it did before the protests began, and some banks opened for the first time since January 27.

The nation's central bank imposed restrictions on withdrawals by individuals, but not by companies, said Ahmed Ismail, manager of the Abu Dhabi National Bank.

The justice minister announced that courts would reopen Sunday and the government eased its daily curfew, making the hours 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq told CNN conditions Sunday were "extremely better than yesterday." He added, "Hopefully tomorrow will get better."

Shafiq also said authorities have been told "not to bother" human rights acvitists and journalists, and that if there have been such problems, they are "not intended."

Mubarak will stay through September, Shafiq said. "A lot of points must be covered before he leaves," Shafiq said, adding

that the months ahead will make it easier for the government to "fulfill the mission" of preparing for new leadership.

Sunday's developments followed an announcement Saturday that key members of the ruling National Democratic Party resigned from leadership positions, in the strongest gesture yet to placate angry Egyptians.

Mubarak's son, Gamal, was among those who resigned from party posts, meaning that he is no longer eligible to take over from his father. His decision effectively put to rest a widespread belief that the embattled president was preparing for a dynastic handover.

The United States has been mounting pressure on Mubarak to step aside. On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a security conference in Germany, said it is "important to follow the transition process announced by the Egyptian government, actually headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman."

U.S. President Barack Obama, in phone calls with foreign leaders Saturday, emphasized the importance of an "orderly, peaceful transition" to a government that is "responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people."

The diplomatic official who delivered a message from the Obama administration to Egypt's leadership this week, however, said Mubarak "remains utterly critical in the days ahead as we sort our way toward the future" and must stay in office.

Changes are needed in Egypt to pave the way for a smooth transition, and "the president must stay in office in order to steer those changes through," said Frank Wisner, a former ambassador to Egypt. "It's his opportunity to write his own legacy."

U.S. officials emphasized that Wisner was speaking for himself, as an expert on the region, and not for the Obama administration.

CNN's Amir Ahmed, Frederik Pleitgen, Nic Robertson, Ivan Watson and Tommy Evans contributed to this report.

Malay NGOs to withhold support for Indian leaders


(Malaysiakini)More than 100 NGOs under the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) coalition have vowed not to support any ethnic Indian leader from any political party in general elections after this.

This is because, according to the coalition, Indian leaders and activists have distorted and influenced the government into bowing to threats and pressures over the 'Interlok' novel controversy.

“This is our first step in spreading awareness of this movement so that Malays do not give their support to any ethnic Indian leader, whether in the BN or the opposition, starting this general election,” said the coalition in a memorandum they submitted yesterday to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Yesterday, MPM and National Writers' Association (Pena) submitted by hand a memorandum each to Najib in Kuala Lumpur in protest against the government's decision to direct that certain parts of the novel, by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, be amended following objections by MIC and Indian NGOs.

Among those present when the memorandum was submitted were Pena president Mohamad Saleeh Rahamad and two steering committee members of MPM, Kamaruddin Kachar and Helmi Ismail.

In the memorandum, the coalition of 138 NGOs - made up, among others, of artists, intellectuals, businessmen, students and teachers - also said it believes following the pressure affected on the government that it would from now on be swayed by all manners of threats and influence.

“This shows how weak the government is, that it has overly compromised with these people to the point of setting aside rational analysis in order to blunt their threats and demands,” said the seven-page memorandum.

However, the coalition insisted, their's is not an incitement to racial hatred but an expression of disappointment with the weakness of the government in cowing to blackmail.

Unfortunately, no action has been taken against those that had burned copies of the Interlok novel and pictures of its author, which they said suggested of sedition, the memorandum read.

Mohamad Saleeh, meanwhile, was reported to have said their requests expressed the "voice of the Malays” and is not ill-motivated or a threat against the government.

“We are only upholding the interests and dignity of the Malays as a sovereign people (pemilik ketuanan), and (the dignity) of this country and land of ours,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying.

‘Inquiry mind’ student: ‘Claims not true’

SMK Vivekananda denies it is holding back Nicol Paul Miranda's school leaving certificate.
KUALA LUMPUR: A school in Brickfields here today refuted claims that it held back the school leaving certificate of a 17-year-old student who questioned the “celebration of independence” and the tenets in the Rukunegara.
“We will normally give the school leaving certificate when students come to collect their SPM results in March,” senior staff in SMK Vivekananda said.
They were commenting on a FMT report on Wednesday that the student, Nicol Paul Miranda, had complained that the school threatened not to release his school leaving certificate over his remarks. The certificate is a requirement to further his tertiary education.
Nicol, a Form Five student, has since left SMK Vivekananda after his SPM.
The staff also revealed that Nicol was suspended for three days after he used sensitive words about the Rukunegara in his answer sheet for his SPM trial exam.
They said that other disciplinary problems include coming to school without shaving his moustache and beard.
He also liked to wear sweater to school most of the time, they added.

“He wrote his own views and didn’t answer the questions,” said one of the senior staff who allowed FMT to see Nicol’s answer sheets.
Nicol wrote in his answer sheet: “Rukunegara tak guna… (Rukunegara is useless).”
‘Provocative answer’
On claims that teachers almost harmed his mother, one of the staff said that Nicol’s mother came to the school after Nicol was suspended and shouted at the school headmistress and a teacher for about an hour.
“Normally parents come to school to appeal against suspension. Nicol’s mother was shouting very loudly at us,” he said.
According to the staff, the mother told them that her son should be allowed to answer the questions as he wished.
Subsequently, it was reported that the teachers lodged a police report against Nicol.
The report was related to Nicol’s answer in the Civics paper that was construed as “provocations that may harm racial harmony”.
After consulting with the Federal Territory Education Department, the school considered Nicol to have breached the “discipline rule book”.
“Our conscience is clear. We did our jobs as educators,” the school staff said.
They said that on her second visit, Nicol’s mother came with an aide to Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar, but was quiet.
The aide reprimanded Nicol for not answering the questions as required, they added.
They also denied that the school lodged a report against Nicol at Bukit Aman.
The staff also alleged that Nicol had tarnished the school’s good name by writing negative remarks about it on his Facebook.
On Jan 16, his Facebook carried this entry:
“Plz (please) spread the word of SMKV’s standard to all who are planning to send their child there…”

Kita goes to ground to sniff out likely leaders

Zaid said Kita would not cater to those who were solely concerned about gaining positions. — file pic

PETALING JAYA, Feb 6 — Malaysian Social Welfare Party (Kita) president Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has said the party will use social welfare activities to identify potential grassroots leaders while reaching out to the community.

He told The Malaysian Insider it was important for the party to recognise “caring” members who were able to organise community events, adding that he was not interested in those only seeking office.

“These activities help to identify the grassroots leaders who are caring... so that’s why we want to do this first,” Zaid said after giving away Chinese New Year treats to some 50 senior citizens at the Seri Setia old folks home here today.

He said such charitable events also helped Kita attract “genuine support”, which was necessary for the party in the long term.

The former PKR Federal Territories chief added that Kita will hold political talks at some later point, after it is more organised.

“Every area must have good people... once we have good people then we do ceramah easily,” he said.

Zaid had earlier doled out Chinese New Year goodies at the Praise Emmanuel Children’s Home (PECH) for underprivileged children here.

Kita was launched last month with much fanfare by Zaid, who promised the party would bring political transformation to Malaysia and revive the spirit of Merdeka as envisioned by the nation’s founding father, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The former Cabinet member had left Umno to join PKR and was touted by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as a reformist.

But political differences led to Zaid quitting PKR to form his own party. He is now seen by PR as a potential spoiler in its rivalry with Barisan Nasional (BN).

Zaid who now heads Kita, a rebranding of Kelantan-based Malaysian People’s Justice Front (Akim), pledged to use his new platform to restore national unity while leaving his political equivalents in BN and PR to their own machinations.

The maverick politician claimed that Kita would stay on the middle ground in politics and only pay attention to pertinent issues that plague the community, instead of engaging in heated political debates with its foes.

Ban ‘Ketuanan’ term, says Jeffrey

United Borneo Front has called for all references to 'racial based dominance to be abolished'.
KOTA KINABALU: Federal leaders have been urged to erase racial references in the term ‘ketuanan’ and focus on first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s original call for “unity in diversity”.
In making this call, United Borneo Front leader Jeffrey Kitingan described the term ‘ketuanan’ as an old colonial concept of ‘master and servant’ that serves as a bitter reminder of British colonialism in this country.
Jeffrey said that it was regrettable that the term ‘ketuanan’, which agitates half the country, is used without caution and sensitivity reminding Malaysians about the oppression of the past.
“The term should be totally banned from political rhetoric, and all references to racial based domination of one race over another must be abolished,” he said in his Chinese New Year message yesterday.
Jeffrey said public holidays in Malaysia reflected the important festivals observed by various religions in Malaysia.
These holidays, he added, reflected the country’s commitment to mutual respect of the various races in this country.
“One would have thought that the study of these festivals and the world religions should have by now infiltrated the educational curriculum in primary schools.
“Otherwise, how is any Malaysian able to appreciate or comprehend the meaning of their often long and many public holidays?
“All of us should be able to explain the meaning of these festivals to tourists and outsiders but nobody is really prepared with the details. We end up looking like a nation of ignorant people celebrating without knowledge,” he said.
No tie-ups

Jeffrey also scoffed at reports that UBF had formed alliances with groups in Peninsular Malaysia.
“We have not formed any alliance with any parties or organisations from Semenanjung or Sabah as we are not aware of any of them making a public commitment to the Borneo Agenda or our UBF struggle.
“Some politicians though have privately and confidentially informed me of their personal commitment to the Borneo Agenda and we consider this to be a positive sign for the Borneo states,” he acknowleded.
Jeffrey added that UBF’s Borneo Alliance unites parties and organisations which subscribe to the Borneo Agenda and UBF’s seven core demands.
“The Sarawak National Party (Snap) has subscribed to our agenda and in this sense we consider them to be part of the Borneo Alliance,” he said.
He hinted that a political party representing the struggle of the UBF may be formed and will not conflict with the UBF as a concept.
“The UBF is merely a name given to a civil rights concept that loosely binds the movement of groups and people to a cause for the political and economic empowerment of Borneo.
“In itself, this concept is neither a society nor a political party.
“When people gather together in a tea party to celebrate the concept, they engage in a meaningful political discussion about this concept; a bit like a religious group gathering to talk about their God or a wedding party which talks about the sanctity of marriage, ” he said.
UBF will not contest

Jefffey urged people to stop thinking that the United Borneo Front (UBF) as a vehicle that would allow them to represent the people in cabinet or in parliament.
“As a concept, the UBF is popularised as a great moot point for debate.
“It will not enter the election as a party, have an elected organisational structure or collect funds from the public,” he explained.
He also announced that UBF will continue with its “Borneo Tea Parties” after the Chinese New Year and that he and his advisers and a few mentors will voluntarily train selected UBF protégés for political leadership this month.
Jeffrey and his two advisers, Nilakrisna James and Zainal Ajamain also attended the Chinese New Year open house organised by Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) here on the second day of the Chinese New Year celebrations. (photo above)

Patriotism is a matter of date


And is this not true of a Malay patriot called Tok Janggut? Today, he is a patriot. But back in his days he was a traitor who rebelled against the Sultan of Kelantan. Tok Janggut was arrested and put to death and his body hung upside down along the banks of the Kelantan River and left to rot.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

PM: Our citizens abroad are a patriotic lot

The Prime Minister is proud that Malaysians of various races abroad are patriotic.

“Although far from home, they remain loyal to the country and uphold its constitution and laws,” Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said at a teleconference with Malaysian students, professionals and heads of mission in seven foreign cities.

He spoke to them on Thursday in conjunction with Chinese New Year.

Najib said: “I hope this spirit (of patriotism) will be our bond, our bond of 1Malaysia, 1People, 1Nation and 1Direction.”

The Prime Minister reminded the students abroad to return home upon completing their studies and contribute towards the country’s development and prosperity.

“You can gain experience by working overseas (after the studies), but ultimately we hope you will be return to work in Malaysia.” -- The Star

*************************************

They say that patriotism is a matter of date. It all depends on when (the date) you are declared a patriot. You can be a patriot one day and a traitor the next, or vice versa.

This would ring true for many a patriot. And it all depends on how the image of this patriot is built through the ages. Myths and legends have a way of creeping into facts to distort history and make the truth murky. It also depends a lot on who won the day. History is always recorded by the victor, not the vanquished, so the winner decides who becomes the patriot and who the traitor.

Paul Revere is a patriot merely because the Americans won the ‘War of Independence’. Even the ‘War of Independence’ would not be known as the ‘War of Independence’ today if the British had won. It would have been called the ‘American Rebellion’.

During the War of Independence, the Americans called themselves ‘Patriots’. The British, however, called them ‘Rebels’. But since the Americans won and the Americans wrote the history books, then they shall forever be known as ‘Patriots’ and not ‘Rebels’.

Paul Revere is one of the more famous ‘Patriots’. He is credited with the famous ‘Midnight Ride’ from Boston to Lexington on 18 April 1775 where he was supposed to have ridden to warn the Americans that the British were coming. In 1940 a statue of Paul Revere was unveiled in Boston to commemorate this famous ride.

But Paul Revere did not ride alone. In fact, he did not even complete the ride. He was captured by the British and later released. Others who managed to avoid capture actually completed the ride, though they are not mentioned by history.

So how come Paul Revere is credited with this ‘Midnight Ride’ and the impression given is that he was the sole rider and actually completed the ride? This is because of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 40 years after Paul Revere’s death, which opens with:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year?

This poem was memorised by American schoolchildren all over America and eventually immortalised Paul Revere, culminating in that statue in Boston 122 years after his death.

Paul Revere started his military career as a Major of the Infantry and was later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the Artillery. He was involved in the Penobscot Expedition, which ended in disaster and is said to be the worst American defeat in the war against the British.

Paul Revere was alleged to have demonstrated cowardice when he led a retreat and deserted the American forces, which were utterly destroyed by the British. Paul Revere's rather undistinguished military career ended with the failed Penobscot Expedition.

After his return he was accused of having disobeyed the orders of one of his commanding officers and dismissed from the militia. Paul Revere was later cleared of the charges by a court martial.

Because of Longfellow’s poem, the Paul Revere myth lives on while the truth is forgotten. And what American schoolchildren remember is his famous ‘Midnight Ride’ and not the desertion and failure to obey orders and the court martial that followed (which exonerated him but does not change the facts of history).

The problem is Paul Revere was unruly and defiant and very quarrelsome to boot. He wanted to be the man in charge and not take orders from his superiors, with whom there was a lot of bad blood. So he refused to attack the British and instead retreated, giving the British their most successful victory of the entire campaign.

For all intents and purposes, the British were winning the war and America would have remained a British colony if not for one fact. And that one fact is the French declared war on England because they thought the British were bogged down in America and would not be able to defend their more lucrative colonies in other parts of the world.

The British decided that from an economic point of view the other colonies should be defended first (they were bringing in more money). So the British withdrew from America and sent their army and navy to fight the French elsewhere.

So it was not the American ‘Patriots’ who made the birth of America possible. It was the French. In fact, the French played a crucial role in the American War of Independence, as did the native-Americans who fought alongside the Americans against the British. Left to the Americans, it was disaster after disaster.

George Washington, the first President of the United States, was actually a very bad general. While the Americans referred to him as ‘General Washington’ the British refused to acknowledge him as a general and addressed him as ‘Mister Washington’.

The British refused to recognise Washington as a General because of his dismal track record on the battlefield.

So, as I am trying to demonstrate above, history laced with myths, legends and cleverly written poems have a way of creating ‘Patriots’. Those who are ‘Patriots’ today could actually have been traitors or bungling fools in their days.

And is this not true of a Malay patriot called Tok Janggut? Today, he is a patriot. But back in his days he was a traitor who rebelled against the Sultan of Kelantan. Tok Janggut was arrested and put to death and his body hung upside down along the banks of the Kelantan River and left to rot.

And what was Tok Janggut’s crime? He rebelled against the British and wanted independence for Kelantan. And for that the Sultan had him killed and refused to allow him a decent burial. In short, he had committed treason and was not a patriot.

And with that we end your history lesson for today --Traitor one day and Patriot the next, or vice versa.

Oh dear, what can the matter be?

On 25th October, 2009, in a post entitled ‘The end days of PKR in Sabah?’, I wrote :
“Keningau division chief, Datuk Dr. Jeffery Kitingan, is the choice of the strongest PKR divisions in Sabah.
My source who was at the meeting at Merchant Square today said Anwar made it clear at the meeting that he was not going to have any of this.
“No way in hell will I have Jeffrey as chief”, Anwar is reported to have blasted.
Anwar, it seems, is determined to see a Muslim lead PKR in Sabah because, it is said, he insists that Muslims make up the majority in Sabah.
That may be so, if we take into account the millions of illegal Muslim immigrants granted citizenship during Anwar’s days as DPM to Dr M.
Surely Anwar must know this. His hands are as tainted as that of Dr. M’s with the dilution of the political strength of the indigenous people of Sabah by the influx of Muslim immigrants who were later given citizenship in return for enforced allegiance to BN at the ballot box.
Even if it is true that Muslims now are the majority in Sabah, have we not gone beyond communalist, race-based and religion-orientated politics to that of meritocracy?
Is that not what PKR and Pakatan are supposedly championing?
The decision on the new Sabah PKR state leadership would suggest otherwise, at least as far as PKR is concerned.
I am told that the party leadership will announce that the man given the task to lead PKR in Sabah is Libaran division chief and Sabah PKR state secretary, Ahmad Thamrin Hj Zaini…
…Malaysiakini reports today that Sabah Peoples Progressive Party (SAPP) has rejected overtures to get them to join the anticipated formalised and registered Pakatan Rakyat coalition, if it ever materialises.
Yong Teck Lee, SAPP president, gave as reasons for this, that SAPP sees little difference between BN and the proposed opposition alliance and noted that “Pakatan in Sabah still took orders from Kuala Lumpur and this apparently made it impossible for Sapp to be a member of the opposition alliance”.
Anwar had his way, proving Yong’s words to be true. Disregarding the wishes of the majority of division leaders, Thamrin was appointed as Sabah state chief.
Looking back now, it would seem that the party leadership’s insistence in having it’s ( read this as Anwar’s and Azmin’s ) own way had set the stage for an avalanche in Sabah and Sarawak that the party might never recover from.
The trouble-ridden party nationwide direct elections from August through to November last year proved to be historical for all the wrong reasons.
Hairline cracks hitherto noticed in the party’s states and national leadership soon came to be seen as full blown fractures.
Fractures which some of the President’s men were determined to see never heal.
Zaid quit the party, formally in December.
Gobala also finally quit a few days ago.
By letter dated 31st December, 2010 e-mailed to the party President, Jeffrey Kitingan confirmed that he, too, was severing his membership with the party.
His reasons : “Anwar’s obsession is to capture Putrajaya without listening to us and our Borneo Agenda. Therefore, after a deep soul-searching I have decided to resign from PKR with immediate effect. We have learnt from the 47 years of our so-called independence and our partnership with Sarawak and Malaya in the federation of Malaysia that we cannot trust others to defend our rights and to do things for us… We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our future.”
5 days later, the party’s 26-member Kadazan-Dusun-Murut  (KDM)  Task Force  dissolved itself and resigned from the party.
FMT reports the Task Force’s chairman, Daniel John Jambun, as saying that “After a deep soul-searching, we found that being a peninsular-based party, PKR is just like Umno and can  never be trusted to fight for Sabah and Sarawak’s cause”.
On 10th January, the President announced little-known Pajudin Nordin of Tuaran
as the new Sabah PKR chief, replacing the much-criticised Ahmad Thamrin Jaini.
On this, FMT reports Pajudin as saying that “his appointment was part of PKR’s bigger plan to put young, capable leadership to helm the party’s state liaison team”.
“I appeal to all divisional heads to leave behind their differences. I pledge to work with all divisional heads. We uphold the constitution and we shall respect the decision of the president,” he said, adding that everyone in PKR should work to topple the Barisan Nasional.
Thamrin had this to say of Pajudin’s replacing him : “It is the prerogative of the president. I have no problems”.
Once again, Yong’s words were proven true. Party leadership at Merchant Square, through the vehicle of the President’s prerogative, had ridden roughshod over the choice of the divisional leaders in Sabah.
Pajudin’s attempt to convene his first state liaison meeting a week after his appointment turned out to be a disaster.
Only 6 out of 25 divisional leaders showed up.
A rumour that PKR leader, Kalakau Untol, armed with signatures from 17 divisional chiefs, was then in Kuala Lumpur to meet PKR leaders over the deteriorating situation in Sabah might explain the poor attendance at Pajudin’s first failed meeting.
On 25th January, FMT reported that 19 of the 25 PKR Sabah division chiefs called for president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to take charge of state affairs.
Yesterday, PKR in Sabah hit an all-time low.
Pajudin not only quit as state chief and party member but, having earlier urged everyone in PKR to work to topple BN, formally applied to join UMNO.
His reasons?
According to this FMT report, Pajudin said that he felt “disappointed with Anwar (Ibrahim) and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail because they are just fooling us, the PKR Sabah leaders. My credibility and loyalty to the party should not have been doubted but due to their action it has led to a further crisis in Sabah PKR ... I am very disappointed that all this while Anwar said that PKR is fighting for Sabah and the people’s right but he cakap tak serupa bikin (did not walk the talk)…I have lost confidence in the leadership of PKR…I have seen that under the leadership of Najib Tun Razak and in Sabah under Musa Aman, only Umno and BN could take care of the rights of the people and bring development to the country and state”.
All this now coming from the man who was hand-picked by party leaders at Merchant Square in KL?
On Gobala’s quitting the party, Malaysiakini reported PKR vice-president and strategic director Tian Chua as saying that “During the 2008 general election, people expected us to have better quality representatives… unfortunately, during the last election we were unable to do that, because we were in a rush, we got so many candidates that were not competent enough and Gobalakrishnan was one of them”.
I wonder what profound explanation PKR’s number 1 strategist will offer in respect of this latest debacle?
During my recent 3-day working visit to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu at the end of last month, I spoke by phone with one of the 19 Sabah division leaders who are calling for the President to take over the state leadership.
In despair and total resignation, this person said, “Haris, PKR is finished in Sabah, lah. Sarawak will follow. Habislah”.
In my earlier post where I posed the question if the end days of PKR in Sabah was at hand, I had closed the same with three questions and one message for Anwar.
I repeat the same now below.
First, how the *#@* did you ever dream of taking the federal government last September 16th, apparently counting on the support of Sabah and Sarawak when, it would seem, you haven’t a clue of how to win the hearts and minds of their locals, leaders or otherwise?
Second, is your ‘Ketuanan Rakyat’ any less sloganeering than Najib’s ’1Malaysia’? Is it from the heart or just skin deep?
Third, are you truly the changed man from your UMNO days, or are you now a closet Malay nationalist, because you see it as politically expedient?
The message.
I want to repeat here something I had said in my letter to Anwar on 18th August last year.
“On Black 14, I heard you use the phrase ‘Ketuanan Rakyat’ for the first time.
Do not waver from this.
End race politics.
End the politicisation of Islam.
You must be brave enough to tell the Malays that this country belongs to all the anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia, to remind the Malays again and again that UMNO’s ketuanan Melayu is unIslamic and has been their evil tool to enrich themselves and divide this nation.
Do this, and be assured of the strongest support from the majority of anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia who, by far and large, are decent people.
…A final reminder.
The rakyat today are not like that of 16 years ago.
We understand national issues better, we are better informed, and we have a greater sense of commitment to the ideals of justice and equality.
And we have a newly found self-belief to pursue these ideals and to pursue change.
Understand and remember that we are no longer afraid.
We fully understand today that governance of this nation was intended to be in the hands of the people, and that when you and your party leaders offer to govern, it is with a view to serve us.
Therefore, understand and remember that it is we, the rakyat, who govern through those who have taken oath to serve us.
It is only by abiding by that oath that you might honourably be called a leader of men.
Any less and you would have proven yourself to be no better than those whom you now endeavour to displace”.

Open Letter To Anwar Ibrahim

Dear YB DSAI,

Since the day the great Tun sacked his deputy, the seed of reform was sowed. The Tun Dr can either be scorned or praised for that defining moment when he made a decision to annihilate his deputy in disgrace.

And so began that arduous battle between DSAI and the Barisan Nasional.

Today, one man stands out battling a whole crew of BN aligned politicians. That in itself is amazing.

While DSAI has successfully reined in the decades old battle weary ‘opposition’ parties, BN rightly so now aims for that one single target –DSAI.

The billion-dollar question is: Will he survive the onslaught? Will his pact stay the ground, come what may?

Or will BN be hammered into a tight corner, fighting tooth and nail for survival?

The answer lies not within the power corridors of the ruling government. The answer also cannot come from the ‘opposition’ pact. The answer – fortunately or otherwise, lies in the hearts and minds of the rakyat.

If the rakyat cannot withstand the price that must be paid for reform, then they will have aided the demise of a political hope for many – DSAI.

If the rakyat believed that DSAI is not a hope but a curse, then BN would have killed this man the day after he was unceremoniously sacked and hackled in prison.

But what we are witnessing today is that hard to assimilate fact by several quarters, i.e. that DSAI is making in-roads into the hearts and minds of the rakyat despite the advantage position of the ruling elite.

If this is not true, the BN should test the waters. BN at best can arrest DSAI and all his powered-allies. Incarcerate them in prison. Sell the story to the rakyat about DSAI and his teams’ wrong doings. What will be the eventuality?

Will the rakyat celebrate in a euphoric mood or will there be a sea of street protests as in the likes of Tunisia and Egypt?

If anyone cares for the well being of the humble citizen, this battle must cease. Give the platform back to the citizens to vote their hero –DSAI or BN. And let the winner take the lead to re-build a nation of people who are praying and crying for a happy future.

……..Thanks to MT.

As Salaam,

J.D. Lovrenciear

Thailand and the WikiLeaks Cables II


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Thailand's next king?
The Crown Prince promotes his dog to air chief marshal and displays his topless wife

See also: Free speech on trial in Thailand

Two more explosive WikiLeaks documents have been made available to newspapers in the United Kingdom. In one, which has been broadcast before in Thailand, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is shown throwing a birthday dinner for his dog, Foo Foo, in which his wife, Princess Srirasmi, dines topless and wearing only a thong. The video can be found here: http://www.khmercity.net/video/wikileaks-thailand-crown

In the second, former US Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce described a November 2007 farewell visit to a state dinner at which the Crown Prince presided, along with the FooFoo, who had been named an Air Chief Marshal. Foo Foo, dressed in uniform with paw prints, walked down the banquet table, drinking from water glasses, including Boyce’s. The cable follows, verbatim




(C-RE9-01798) REF: LONDON 001876 (8/12/2009) Classified By: MICHAEL P. OWENS, ACTING
Header: AMEMBASSY BANGKOKTO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0717INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONSRUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1507RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDCRHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HIRUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DCRHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HIRHEFDIA/DIA WASHDCRHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC
Tags: PGOV,PREL,PINR,KDEM,TH
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BANGKOK 005839 SIPDIS SIPDIS NSC FOR PHU E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/16/2017 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, KDEM, TH SUBJECT: CROWN PRINCE DISCUSSES MONARCHY, POLITICS IN AMBASSADOR'S FAREWELL CALL Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reason: 1.4 (b) and (d).
SUMMARY -------
1. (C) I paid a farewell call on Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn on November 13. He appeared pleased with the news that his father had been able to jam two days earlier for two hours with the visiting Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He said in general terms that the institution of the monarchy had helped prevent Thailand's falling into a state of dictatorship, and he labeled former Prime Minister Thaksin as a dictator who had come to power through elections. He agreed Thailand would likely be governed by a weak coalition government after December's elections, with the pro-Thaksin People's Power Party (PPP) unable to draw allies and PPP party leader Samak Sundaravej unsuited to become Prime Minister. The Crown Prince assessed the security situation in the South as improving; he also commented that his Royal Consort had experienced some frustration adjusting to her new role. In an earlier encounter with Srirasm, she told me her son was speaking energetically, contrary to rumors that he has shown signs of autism. She exhibited visible discomfort with an innocuous question about Princess Sirindhorn, seen as a rival of the Crown Prince. Srirasm also confirmed that royal poodle Foo Foo now holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal. End Summary.
REMARKS ON THE KING -------------------
2. (C) I paid a farewell call on Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn at his Sukhothai Palace residence on November 13. We began by talking about the Embassy-sponsored Preservation Hall Jazz Band event which he and Royal Consort Srirasm had attended on November 10. Interestingly, the Crown Prince was unaware that King Bhumibol had participated in a two-hour jam session with the band the following day (November 11). He was pleased with news of the session, saying it would have been invigorating for the King \"after all he has been through\" lately. He added that the King often preferred to communicate through music rather than speech, noting that musicians have a common bond that transcends language. (Note: According to the musicians, the King was able to speak normally and showed no sign of serious impairment from his recent mild stroke. End Note.) 3. (C) The Crown Prince continued to discuss the King and the monarchy generally; he praised his father for his achievements while on the throne and noted the King always conducted himself with the interests of the Thai people at heart. He said, \"Without this institution, Thailand might be a real dictatorship, like we used to have under (Field Marshal) Pibulsonggram.\" (Comment: It was unclear whether he was distinguishing the monarchy as an institution from King Bhumibol's personal role. Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram overthrew the absolute monarch and held power from 1938 until 1944, then again from 1948 to 1957 -- including the first decade of King Bhumibol's reign. End Comment.)
POLITICS --------
4. (C) Turning to Thai politics, the Crown Prince remarked that it must be difficult for outside observers to fathom the complexity of developments here, adding that even he sometimes found it hard to grasp. As we speculated on scenarios for the upcoming election, he agreed with the notion that the People's Power Party (PPP) might win the most votes but prove unable to form a government, because people recognized that PPP was essentially a reincarnation of Thai Rak Thai, and returning this group to power would throw the country into disarray.
5. (C) The Crown Prince rolled his eyes at mention of PPP Party Leader Samak Sundaravej, saying that Samak would be unacceptable as Prime Minister. While Samak could be an effective public speaker, his judgment was poor and he had always been brusque and controversial. The Crown Prince assessed the current interim administration would almost certainly be supplanted by a fragile and relatively ineffective coalition government, quite possibly led by the BANGKOK 00005839 002 OF 003 Democrat Party, with PPP forming a combative, strong opposition force.
6. (C) Despite Thailand's long history of coups and its many constitutions, the Crown Prince said, the Thai people loved democracy and individual freedoms. He said he found it ironic that Prime Minister Thaksin had essentially been able to act as a dictator, although coming to power through elections. (Comment: Early in Thaksin's administration, Thaksin seemed to invest heavily in cultivating close ties to the Crown Prince. The two men later had a spectacular falling-out, prompting the Crown Prince to abandon the Nonthaburi Palace that Thaksin had purchased and outfitted for him, moving to the Sukhothai Palace downtown. Stories vary about a meeting between Thaksin and the Crown Prince in London earlier this year; the version we assess as most likely is that Thaksin sought an audience with the Crown Prince, and, when this was not granted, he inserted himself into the reception line at the Crown Prince's hotel and had a 45-second discussion devoid of substance. End Comment.)
THE SOUTH ---------
7. (C) The Crown Prince also noted that he and Royal Consort Srirasm had recently traveled to southern Thailand. (They were there from November 11-13, providing assistance to residents of the troubled border provinces, performing a religious rite to commemorate the King's upcoming 80th birthday, and presenting honors to prominent local figures.) He said the security situation in the deep was improving, but it was necessary to travel there, to boost the people's morale.
SRIRASM'S ADJUSTMENT TO HER NEW ROLE ------------------------------------
8. (C) The Crown Prince noted that Srirasm's life had changed radically when she became a Princess; she had to master massive responsibilities and deal with a wide range of issues relating to protocol and the use of court language. Although she conducted herself publicly with perfect grace and composure, the Crown Prince said, in private she had felt some frustration adapting to her new role. He added, however, that Thais loved her because, like the King's mother, she was a \"commoner,\" and her background added to her charm.
DISCUSSION WITH SRIRASM AT JAZZ BAND EVENT ------------------------------------------
9. (C) I also had the opportunity to speak with Srisasm when we were seated next to each other at the November 10 Preservation Hall Jazz Band gala dinner. I asked at that time how she had adjusted to the new protocols and court language usage required of her. She told me that she had no difficulties, as she had worked for the Queen for 15 years at the Bang Pa-in summer palace.
10. (C) Srirasm also described her son, Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, as a bit of a prodigy, noting that he speaks energetically -- mostly in Thai, but also in English (in which he receives instruction). She remarked that Dipangkorn tended to speak like an adult, because he was always in the company of adults. (Comment: If true, this account would appear to put to rest rumors of autism. End Comment.)
11. (C) I mentioned to Srirasm that, during the state dinner hosted by the King for former President Bush in December 2006, the King had appeared most energized when discussing animals; he had spoken animatedly about his most well-known dog, Thongdaeng, and others. I mentioned having heard Princess Sirindhorn had a large dog, and I asked Srirasm if she knew the breed. Srirasm appeared immediately to freeze up; her body language changed, and she said curtly that she knew nothing of Sirindhorn's affairs. (Comment: Her reaction was interesting, given a widespread, longstanding perception that Sirindhorn may somehow edge out the Crown Prince as successor to the King. End Comment.)
12. (C) Srirasmi also confirmed that the Crown Prince's miniature poodle, Foo Foo, currently holds the rank of Air BANGKOK 00005839 003 OF 003 Chief Marshal. Foo Foo was present at the event, dressed in formal evening attire complete with paw mitts, and at one point during the band's second number, he jumped up onto the head table and began lapping from the guests' water glasses, including my own. The Air Chief Marshal's antics drew the full attention of the 600-plus audience members, and remains the talk of the town to this day.
COMMENT ------- 13. (C) The Crown Prince appears healthy. I was recently told by M.R. Pridiyathorn Devakula, former Deputy Prime Minister and Palace insider, that the reason the Crown Prince had looked gaunt and was walking unsteadily a few months ago (which sparked rumors of his failing health) was because he was wearing some kind of constricting apparel under his clothing. The doctors told him to take it off, and he immediately looked more fit and stable. In conversation with me, he was able to engage in easy back-and-forth discussion throughout