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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Police clamp down on HRP convoys, dozens arrested

(Malaysiakini) At least 30 Human Rights Party (HRP) members in Selangor, Perak and Kuala Lumpur have been arrested as police came down hard on their nationwide convoys.

Six were arrested at Jelapang, Ipoh police station while five more were nabbed near Jalan Templer in Selangor, as police mounted roadblocks to stop the convoy to promote an upcoming anti-racism rally.

hindraf feb 27 march against interlok 030211 posterAccording to eyewitnesses, a convoy member in Selangor had her camera confiscated and was hit in the face, while police were “very harsh” towards HRP members in Perak.

“The police raised their fists and threatened to hit (the HRP members),” an eyewitness said when contacted.

He added that the Jelapang police station is now closed off and other members of HRP are not allowed in, nor were they told why the six - Perak HRP chief P Ramesh, his deputy N Subramaniam and four other Perak HRP members - were arrested.

NONEThere are similar convoys in Johor, Negri Sembilan and Kedah.

According to HRP information chief S Jayathas, who was contacted moments before he was arrested along with Selangor party chief K Selvam and three others, police also mounted a roadblock in Rawang.

“They only stopped our cars, not other road users. We staged a small protest and they let us pass.

“We have the right to use the road. They can only check our road tax and drivers' licences,” said Jayathas, who is now held at the Selayang district police station.
Around 3pm, HRP activists in a convoy of three cars were taken into custody by police officers just after they alighted from their vehicles in Bangsar Utama, Kuala Lumpur.
NONETwenty activists had just arrived from Brickfields when police officers stopped them and took them into custody. They are currently in the Travers police station.
During a press conference later, Brickfields OCPD Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said that 21 people were arrested and brought to the Travers police station because they were obstructing traffic and moving in a big group.

“As we know, Brickfields is a very busy area,” he told reporters at the station today.

He added that the 21 detainees will have their statements recorded and will be investigated under Section 27 of the Penal Code.

Those arrested were 15 men and five women aged above 40, and a boy aged 10.

“We hope to release them under police bail by today,” he said.

NONEAlso confiscated were 55 posters, ten flags and 200 leaflets.

“We will also return their cars when we release them,” he said.
There are reports, meanwhile, that arrests have also been made in Kedah, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.
This includes 32 HRP activists who were arrested in Seremban and brought to the district police station there. Negeri Sembilan HRP chief S Sivakumar was among those taken in by the police.
HRP had yesterday expressed its fears of a crackdown after Perak police warned them not to proceed with the convoy.

PM to meet religious heads during Interfaith Week

Religious leaders could help head off interfaith tensions before they exploded, said Azman. — file pic
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 13 — Tomorrow, Malaysia will for the first time celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week as put forward by the United Nations (UN) with various programmes prepared, including a meet-and-greet session with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and religious leaders here.

National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan said the prime minister’s participation demonstrated his commitment towards resolving religious issues in the country and preserving the wellbeing of Malaysia’s multi-racial community.

“The Committee for the Promotion of Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony has also agreed on this celebration, which it says signifies the government’s concern on religious matters.

“This is also in line with Najib’s expressed hopes at the UN, in which he said he did not want any extremist or militant groups to threaten unity and security in Malaysia,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama on the programme here.

World Interfaith Harmony Week, was mooted by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, and his personal envoy and special advisor, Prince Ghazi Muhammad that was presented at the 65th UN General Assembly in New York last year.

It was then accepted and has been slated to be an annual celebration in the first week of February in all member countries.

The celebration also hopes to increase multi-racial co-operation and harmony worldwide following misunderstanding on Islam and terrorism after the September 11 incident at the World Trade Centre (WTC), New York, in 2001.

The Interfaith Week was mooted to address the linking of Islam to terrorism following 9/11. — Reuters pic
Commenting on the highlights of World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrations tomorrow, Azman said the prime minister will address religious leaders and followers to preserve harmony among Malaysia’s varied cultures and religions.

He is also scheduled to present letters of appointment to members of the Committee for the Promotion of Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony, he added.

Although the UN proposed for celebrations to be carried out in the first week of February, Azman said Malaysia had already started various programmes since early this year which would be held until end of this month.

Among the activities include “Muzakarah” (discussion) with Muftis from each state and prominent Muslim figures organised by the Islamic Development Institute, as well as dissemination of religious harmony and “muhhibah” (goodwill) messages at prayer houses with help from the Islamic Development Department and other religious organisations.

“We also took the opportunity to spread word about World Interfaith Harmony Week at several Chinese New Year events and invited all religious leaders to attend, emphasising that there needs to be increased co-operation among all followers in the country,” he said.

He added that religious leaders could help pacify conflicts and tension faced by any race or religion before they escalated into something more serious.

Citing the conflict among Muslims and Christians in Nigeria which took hundreds of innocent lives, he said the problem was resolved only after two prominent religious personalities — Imam Dr Muhammad Nurayn Ashafa and Pastor Dr James Movel Wuye — championed reconciliation.

“Both of them came to Malaysia last year with representatives from several other countries to tell their experiences which ended in friendship and joint campaigns to create interfaith understanding through peace, not war,” he said.

Commenting on unity in Malaysia, Azman said the situation was good with solutions found for most of the issues raised.

Other countries celebrating World Interfaith Harmony Week include Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia, Philippines, United States of America and Germany. — Bernama

Interlok novel must be withdrawn, decides Niat

(Malaysiakini) Representatives of more than 140 Indian NGOs assembled at a special closed door session in Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon decided unanimously that the controversial Malay literature textbook 'Interlok' must be withdrawn.

NONE"It has failed to meet the first five of the six criteria set by Jabatan Sastera. It is the unanimous decision of the meeting that 'Interlok' novel must be withdrawn", the chair of the session Haji Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim (left) told the press conference at the end of the session.

In addition to the representatives of the 140 Indian NGOs, who, according to Thasleem, the chair of National Interlok Action Team (Niat), "represents some three-quarter million Indians."

Leaders of all the political parties had also been invited, with Deputy Minister M Saravanan turning up for a while. Senator S Ramakrishnan and M Kula Segaran were at the meeting till the end.

Thasleem said that this novel is not suitable for 17-year-old students and that he was concerned about the long-term effects it would have on Malaysian society.

He said that this issue is not just a matter concerning only the Indians. "It is a national issue.

"It must be out of SPM syllabus. No addition, deletion or anything else. That is our unanimous decision.

"Any book that seeks to insult any race, Niat will be there to protest. We also want to make it absolutely clear that we have nothing against the writer as an individual," Thasleem added.

The six criteria

Hindu Sangam deputy president Bala Tharmalingam said of the six criteria of selection stated by Hamdan Yahya, director of Jabatan Sastera, for the selection of a textbook, only one is met on the Ching Huat chapter and Maniam chapter. But for the Seman chapter all the six criteria are met.
He then cited the criteria:

1. Literature that reflects positive culture of a race.

2. It should withstand the test of time.

3. It can be used as examples for future generations.

4. Literature that is used widely as research and reference material continuously by societies, scholars and students.

5. Literature that has a high quality of literary values of its time.

6. Literature whose author has achieved national laureate status.

NONEIn addition to these six criteria, there is another strict guide line laid down by the Education Ministry's Biro Buku Teks. "Any book that contains negative elements and negative characters should not be selected as a textbook."

Bala pointed out and asked, "How come this book was selected in violations of all these conditions and without prior consultation with specialists from the respective community,"?

The memorandum setting out its case for the withdrawal of 'Interlok' as a textbook will be submitted to the minister of education and the prime minister by Wednesday.

Thasleem said that they expect to get a reply within a week.

'MIC should do its job properly'

Shoud Niat fail to get the positive reply that it expects from the education minister, further measures will be instituted. Meetings and consultations with all the national leaders, Indian leaders, briefing of Indian and international media are some of the measures under consideration, Bala said.

"We are not alone in this issue. I have spoken to many Malay and Chinese friends who appreciated our concern. We also appeal to the leaders of our Chinese community to speak up. I know how they feel about it," Thasleem said.

To a question as to what MIC, as a member of the government, should do in this matter - quit the government?

Thasleem replied, "MIC should do its job properly."

To another question whether Niat would support and participate in the demonstration that Human Rights Party had proposed to hold on Feb 27, "HRP is different and has a different approach. We sympathise with their cause, but our objectives are different", Thasleem said.

Malay dilemma: Ibrahim Ali hits out at student loan defaulters

Symposium Malay dilemma: Mustafa Ali on the concerns of PAS

Egyptians returning to work and a new normal

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egyptians on Saturday cleared burned cars, garbage and debris that accumulated over 18 days at Tahrir Square, a sign that Cairo and the rest of the country were beginning to get back to work while wondering what government comes next after the revolution.

A day after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, employees and businesses readied themselves for Sunday, the traditional start of the work week. The country's stock market is expected to reopen Wednesday.

Volunteers repainted black and white striped street curbs around a monument by the Egyptian Museum, which had been on the front line in street battles between Mubarak's foes and supporters.

In the immediate future, the military -- largely respected by Egyptians -- will have to grapple with guiding the country of more than 80 million people through the transition amid massive problems of unemployment and considerable economic underdevelopment, said CNN correspondent Ben Wedeman, who is based in Cairo.

Former Egyptian Trade Minister Rachid Mohammed Rachid recently told CNN that the new government must show it is business-friendly.

The African nation virtually shut down during the unrest, losing vital tourism dollars as well.

CNN's Nic Robertson reported Saturday that citizens who make their living off foreign tourists are angry.

"Young boys 17 years old and 18 years old, they want to say 'We are hungry, we want to eat, we want to work,' " said businessman Ayman el Myonir.

Businessmen near the famed Pyramids say about 50,000 people are employed in the tourism industry, Robertson reported.

"We try to help each other. We would like to put our hands together, and to help each other," said el Myonir.

As thousands reveled in their improbable revolution, the nation's newly appointed military caretakers laid out priorities Saturday geared at establishing stability, though they revealed little to elucidate the future.

The Armed Forces Supreme Council said it was committed to a democratic process resulting in civilian rule, but urged respect for the reviled police forces that had brutally clashed with protesters in the early days of the uprising.

"The armed forces council calls on the people to cooperate with the policemen," Lt. Gen. Sami Anan said on state television. "We ask our policemen to adhere to their slogan: Police is at the people's service."

It was unclear whether the statement signaled a return of the police security apparatus, noticeably absent from the streets after the violent clashes and the deployment of the army.

CNN's Arwa Damon visited a coffee shop in central Cairo, where patrons said they now feel free to speak honestly about Egypt's political problems.

"I am happy and sad," said Fateh, a customer. "I am sad because this is the president who carried us through wars and tough times."

He said the turning point came when Mubarak supporters rode horses and camels into the Tahrir Square crowd.

The military, meanwhile, announced measures geared toward establishing stability after the abrupt death of a 30-year dictatorship in the Arab world's most populous nation.

Anan, the armed forces chief of staff, said Egypt would still honor international treaties and commitments, a statement perhaps aimed at calming a jittery Israel that has quietly watched dramatic change unfold in its Arab ally.

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979. The Israelis on Saturday welcomed the Egyptian statement and Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke on the phone with his Egyptian counterpart Hussein Tantawi, who heads the supreme council, the Israeli Defense Ministry said.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is confident in Egypt's potential, institutions and people to successfully go through these difficult times," Anan said.

But as thousands of people still celebrated on the streets, the army's first statement since Mubarak's departure did little to spell out how long Egypt would remain under military rule.

"They want to see structural change," Parag Khanna of the Global Governance Initiative told CNN Saturday. "They want to see a change in the Constitution. They want to see democracy. That speech did not tell them any of those things."

Thousands of Egyptians were in a still electric Tahrir Square Saturday, vowing to stay there until, as one protester put it, "Egypt is ruled by a civil government, not a military one."

A marble memorial was going up to remember those who died in the 18-day uprising. Human Rights Watch has documented 302 deaths, a number the monitoring group called conservative.

Protester Yehya Kheireldin said an "unspoken plan" had been reached between the military and a group of protest organizers to take down barricades and tents in Tahrir Square, even though some people wanted to hold out longer.

"It's time to start rebuilding the country," Kheireldin said, pointing to the hundreds of volunteers armed with brooms who are sweeping away the debris left by the sit-in.

Tantawi, the head of the military's supreme council, has a controversial reputation among the armed forces and had been derided by midlevel officers as "Mubarak's poodle" for his fawning over the now-ousted president, according to U.S. diplomatic cables sent from the Cairo embassy in 2008 and published by WikiLeaks.

The Constitution allows for only two scenarios for a head of state to relinquish power. The first stipulates that if the president has to step aside temporarily, the vice president steps into the top role. That is what the regime briefly orchestrated Thursday.

If the office of the president is vacated or the president becomes permanently disabled, the Constitution states that the parliamentary speaker is to assume the role until new elections can be held. Those elections, in turn, must occur within 60 days.

In opting for a third way, which put all power in the hands of the military, the Mubarak regime in effect rendered the Constitution inoperable.

Shawee El-Sayed, an independent member of Egypt's parliament and an expert on the country's Constitution, said Mubarak's move to transfer power to the military left Suleiman without an official role.

"The next step the council must (decide) is whether or not to validate the Constitution -- otherwise there will be a constitutional vacuum," he said.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said if the military wants to protect its self-interests, it has to help in a transition process to civilian rule.

"Otherwise," said Hayden, "they're going to see what's happened in the past 18 days repeated again and very likely not as peacefully."

A high-ranking Egyptian military official said the army's command has been discussing how to deal with Mubarak's government and when the next election would be held.

Saturday, Anan, the supreme council's spokesman, said the current government would remain in place until a new one could be formed. State television reported, citing a judiciary source, that several high-ranking government officials, including the former prime minister and interior minister, were facing lawsuits and were barred from traveling out of the country.

U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, praised the Egyptian military for acting responsibly and said it now needs to help ensure a credible transition as it attempted to better gauge the unfolding situation.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to visit key U.S. allies Israel and Jordan this weekend, a Pentagon official told CNN Saturday. Under Secretary of State Bill Burns was already in Jordan meeting with King Abdullah, the State Department said.

And U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke with Tantawi on Saturday, the sixth phone conversation with the minister since the start of the Egypt uprising, a Defense Department spokesman said. It was the first call since Mubarak stepped down.

Among other things, Egyptian authorities need to set about "protecting the rights of Egypt's citizens, lifting the emergency law, revising the Constitution and other laws to make this change irreversible, and laying out a clear path to elections that are fair and free," Obama said.

But some analysts were sounding the alarm over the takeover by the military, which has suddenly become accountable for the nation. Analysts with Stratfor, a global intelligence company, said Egypt had essentially experienced a coup.

"Egypt is returning to the 1952 model of ruling the state via a council of army officers," the Stratfor statement said. "The question now is to what extent the military elite will share power with its civilian counterparts."

And Amnesty International warned that Mubarak's departure did not necessarily mean an end to the police state. Egypt's emergency laws, said the monitoring group, remain intact.

But even as officials hash out the details of Egypt's murky political future, its people power rippled throughout the region.

In the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, protesters chanted: "Yesterday Tunisia, today Egypt, tomorrow Yemen will open the prison."

Saturday, men wielding knives attacked the anti-government demonstrators, said Human Rights Watch.

And in restive Algeria, anti-government protesters chanted "Change the power." Security forces clashed with the crowds.

Saturday in Algiers and detained roughly 100 protesters, according to the opposition Algerian League for Human Rights.

Mahathir concedes NEP abused but...

(Malaysiakini) Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad today conceded that the New Economic Policy has been abused by the Malays for quick gains but argued for the continuation of the controversial programme.

Addressing an audience of aroud 2000 at a symposium on the Malay dilemma, Mahathir said that is it those who had abused the NEP who were partly responsible for the failure to meet the 30 percent bumiputera equity target.

"I am embarrassed. I often defend the the NEP, but I realise that many of the opportunities awarded through the policy have been abused by the Malays.

"If not, we could have already achieved the 30 percent targets, if not more. We often do things that defeat the government's efforts to bring progress to the Malays," he said.

NONEBut despite its flaws, Mahathir (right) is adamant that the NEP should remain as revoking the policy would mean that all Malays losing out, including those who may need help.

"The problem is not the policy but the implementation. (It should be that) if they abuse, they don't get anything anymore," he said when clarifying to reporters later.

Dr M: The fault is ours
In his hard-hitting speech, the elder statesman said that Malay have abused the privileges by selling off permits and licenses awarded to them under the ethnic-based affirmative action policy, and thus have only themselves to blame for their current predicament.

"They receive approved permits (for automobile dealerships) and sell it, they are awarded contracts, they sell it. Quick gains don't last. Whose fault is it? It is ours.

Calling for unity, the former Umno president also urged the exclusively Malay audience to stand up for their rights and not be scared of being called racists for doing so.

"They say Malays come from India, Bugis, Sumatra, Turkey etc, so we are also pendatang (migrants) and some of us are afraid to be accused of racism so we keep quiet.

"(But) we fulfill the definition of a Malay, that is to speak the Malay language, practise Malay customs and Islam...It is the same in other countries ,too, where migrants learn the language, culture and some even change religions to be known as the people of that land," he said.

He added that defending Malay rights does not mean taking away from other races "who had worked hard for what they have", but to take what "rightfully belong to (Malays) their original land".

"We had willingly changed the name of our country, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Federated Malay States) to Malaysia, and no one is thankful that we had done so for their interests," he said.

"Our dilemma now is whether to continue this struggle or to accept a Malaysia where Malays have no relevance," he said. 

News Flash “Arrest” at Seremban HINDRAF forum “End UMNO racism & Revoke INTERLOK” tonight 12/2/11

Perkasa lodges police report against HINDRAF Negeri Sembilan on protest against UMNO racism.
A police report was lodge at 4.30pm 11/2/2011 at IPD Seremban. ( See UM 12/2/11 page 24)
HINDRAF Forum End UMNO racism & Revoke INTERLOK today 12/2/11 @ 7.15pm at Kuil Sri Subramaniar Balathadayuthapani, Lobak, Seremban.
100 over car convoy “End UMNO racism & Revoke INTERLOK” from Kemayan Curry House at 2.00pm on 13/2/2011
Negeri Sembilan Chairman Mr.S.Sivakumar said despite police report made by Perkasa all program will continue as planned. For more information please contact:- 0196944693, 0166909874, 0176616114
“Rights not Mercy”
Information Cheif

If PM again, Dr M would prioritise racial equality

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad placed racial equality as top on his list of priorities to develop the country if he were given a second shot at running the country as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir told songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza on the first episode of the latter’s new TV talk show “Siti” on Astro Ria tonight that despite having relinquished his job for over seven years now, he still had “many ideas” on how to improve development in Malaysia.

“I have many ideas that can help to develop the country, especially to achieve racial unity.

“But these plans can only be carried out by those in power... because I am not in power, all I can do is try to influence the present leaders,” he said.

The outspoken octogenarian explained that now that he was no longer in government, his only avenue to affect changes in the country was by speaking with present government leaders and writing in his blog

“My wish if I were to be PM of this country again, which is unlikely, is to ensure that Malaysia achieves its objective to achieve developed nation status,” he said.

Dr Mahathir (picture) said this when responding to a question from a member of the audience who had asked the former prime minister what he would do if he were given the opportunity to run Malaysia again.

The country’s longest serving prime minister was the first guest on Siti’s maiden television programme.

During his 20-minute segment with the popular songstress, Dr Mahathir spoke of his early years growing up as the son of a school principal and strict disciplinarian, his passion for reading, his eating habits and the secret to his youthfulness.

The still-influential leader said that as a child, he had been “surrounded” by books and had naturally picked up the passion for reading, a past time he enjoys until today.

“My parents gave me guidance on how to lead a good life and how to achieve success through education,” he said.

He noted that the many youths today no longer turn to reading as a hobby due to the advent of other distractions like the Internet and social media.

“During my time, there was no TV, just the gramophone and even then, we rarely use it. Now, it is so easy, you only have to press a button and you can see the world.

“That is why we do not seek for knowledge from books these days and perhaps that is why we do not see many youths reading,” he said.

Dr Mahathir added that to encourage the habit, parents needed to convince and force their children to read more until they were able to enjoy reading on their own.

“In my opinion, in the beginning, some force is needed. But after that, once they begin to enjoy books, they will start to become more attracted to books on their own,” he said.

When asked for a message to the youth, Dr Mahathir said the young needed to appreciate the efforts of the nation’s founding fathers to achieve independence for Malaysia.

He noted that more often than not, such “blessings” were taken for granted by those who did not witness the struggle achieve independence.

“The youths who were born after Merdeka, they take Merdeka and freedom as a natural phenomenon that does not need to be worked at or defended.

“Because of that, we do not truly appreciate these blessings that we have received. But if we do not feel indebted in any way, do not appreciate and are not thankful, then we would not be successful human beings,” he said.

Dr Mahathir later laughed when asked of the secret to his youth and revealed that he always believed in moderation when it came to his eating habits.

“And it’s not that we should stop eating when we are full, we should stop once we feel that the food is terribly tasty. That was what my mother taught me,” he said, smiling.

Dr Mahathir, now 85, was Malaysia’s prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003 but remains today a significant and influential figure in local politics even after his retirement.

Kerdau rep dies, by-election No 16 looming

Another by-election is looming with the death of Umno's Kerdau elected representative, Zaharuddin Abu Kassim.

PETALING JAYA: The country will see yet another by-election, the 16th, with the death of Umno’s Kerdau elected representative Zaharuddin Abu Kassim this evening.

Zaharuddin, 63, died of a heart attack at the Hospital Sultan Ahmad Shah here at 7.15pm.

Temerloh’s deputy police chief Supt Zundin Mahmood said the hospital confirmed that the assemblyman had suffered a heart attack.

Zaharuddin was reported to be in critical condition last year when he was admitted at the National Heart Institute (IJN) due to kidney complication as well as a heart ailment and unstable blood pressure.

He, however, recovered sufficiently and got married to Rozlifah Ahmad, 33, late last year.

In the 2008 general election, Zaharuddin defeated the PAS candidate, Hassanuddin Salim, with a 1,615-vote majority.

He polled 4,135 votes while Hassanuddin obtained 2,520.

The country had just witnessed a by-election in Tenang, Johor – a state seat which was retained by Barisan Nasional.

There will be another by-election in Merlimau, Malacca, on March 6 following the death of the Umno incumbent Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hasan.

The Kerdau by-election will be the first in Pahang, the homestate of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Would Opposition leaders have let off Mahathir for two decades if he had broken his assurance before Operation Lalang that they would not be arrested under the ISA?

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has maintained what he said in Tom Plate’s new book “Doctor M: Operation Malaysia – Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad” that he had “actually met all of the opposition members (beforehand) and assured them that they would not be arrested”.

Following my rebuttal that I had never met Mahathir and that he never gave me any assurance that I would not be arrested before the launch of Operation Lalang on Oct. 27, 1987, Mahathir repeated yesterday: “I met Kit Siang and his friends as a group”.

He said he felt some of the political figures did not need to serve detention at that time.

“It was the police who took action against them and I accepted their decision.”

I had challenged Mahathir to name the Opposition leaders he had met and given assurance that they would not be arrested – now reduced to “Kit Siang and his friends as a group” –but subsequently overruled by the police in the Operation Lalang crackdown, but Mahathir has not been able to name anyone of the others.

The simplest rebuttal to Mahathir’s claim would be to pose the question – Whether the Opposition leaders to whom Mahathir had given an assurance that they would not be arrested in an Internal Security Act (ISA) crackdown would have let off Mahathir for two decades if he had broken his solemn word to us before Operation Lalang of no ISA arrests?

We would have ridiculed him as a impotent Prime Minister and Home Minister at the beck-and-call of the Police – which everybody know was not true.

Former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar has come out to corroborate Mahathir’s version of Operation Lalang, claiming that “it was entirely the police’s decision”.

If so, can Hanif explain why the UMNO Youth leader at the time, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was not arrested in the Operation Lalang crackdown as it was the Umno and Umno Youth leaders who were chiefly responsible for creating the racial tensions of October 1987?

Or was Najib in the police arrest list but overruled by Mahathir?

I did pose this question to Mahathir after my release together with Guan Eng from Kamunting Detention Centre on April 19, 1989 – the last two Operation Lalang detainees to be set free after 18 months of detention.

Both of us were released without conditions but there were 16 former Operation Lalang detainees who were subject to restrictive conditions relating to freedom of speech and movement depriving them of their civic and political rights.

In my meeting with Mahathir on 6th May 1989, I had asked Mahathir point-blank why Najib had not been detained if Operation Lalang was allegedly to deal with the racial tensions in October 1987, referring in particular to the Umno Youth rally at Jalan Raja Muda Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on 17th October 1987 with banners displaying slogans: “MAY 13 HAS BEGUN” and “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD”.

There was no proper answer from Mahathir, only the typical illogical Mahathir retort: “Who asked you to provoke him?”

Mahathir never told me that it was the Police who wanted to make the Operation Lalang arrests and that he had no choice as Home Minister but to go along.

Despite Hanif’s collaboration, nobody would believe that Mahathir was not the mastermind of the Operation Lalang arrests to consolidate his power position in Umno.

It is public knowledge at the time that Hanif was on his way out, and the man who had the full confidence of the Prime Minister was the then Special Branch Director, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, whom everybody expected to take over as IGP after Hanif. May be, an explanation from Rahim Noor might be more appropriate than from Hanif.

Be that as it may, what is intriguing is why Mahathir is trying to rewrite history as to who was responsible for the Operation Lalang arrests – some two decades after the darkest chapter of human rights in Malaysia.

This is not the first time that Mahahtir had passed the buck of responsibility for Operation Lalang to the police. He did it the first time in August 2006 and I had immediately rebutted him at the time.

Malaysian Embassy In Egypt Continues To Monitor Situation

KUALA LUMPUR, 12 Feb (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Embassy in Egypt will continue to monitor the situation despite the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry said there were 1,584 Malaysians waiting to be flown home from Jeddah.

The ministry said in a statement Saturday that Malaysians in Egypt are safe, and that the last batch of 574 will be evacuated this Monday.

The ministry also said that Malaysia hoped that the transfer of power to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would lead to a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Egypt.

Farewell, ‘Lady Macbeth’ of Tunisia

Ousted Tunisian dictator Ben Ali had to put up with serious insult from his wife Leila before they boarded the plane to flee the country.

'Lady Macbeth' Leila - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
When hubby refused to board the plane, Leila commanded, “Get on imbecile. All my life I’ve had to put up with your screw ups.” “Leave me, I don’t want to go, I want to die here for my country,” pleaded Ben Ali pathetically, sounding a bit like Mubarak.
But Ben Ali’s hated political police chief, Ali Seriati, pushed him up, shouting: “For —-’s sake, get on!” Read more