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Monday, February 14, 2011

No bail for HRP members who refuse to remove shirts

After a night spent in the Seremban district headquarters lock-up, freedom is still out of sight for the 22 Human Rights Party activists arrested in last night's police swoop.

While their brethren arrested nationwide are already out on bail since the arrest, those in Seremban have been threatened with up to seven more days in the can for refusing to remove their distinctive Orange shirts.

Last night, the 22 were denied bail and told to remain in the lock-up for the night because of that.

"Those detained were told to remove their shirts and hand them over (to the police), before they could be bailed out. But they stood firm. There is confusion now. We are negotiating," said the movement's Selangor chief K Selvam, when contacted.

Selvam and others are in the movement are currently trying to bail out their Negeri Sembilan colleagues which included its state chief, from police custody.

Yesterday, police moved to arrest members of the movement as they drove in convoys from several locations in the country to protest the use of the controversial novel 'Interlok' as required reading material in secondary schools.

According to police, the HRP activists were arrested for obstructing traffic and moving in a large group.

The 22 detainees have been on a hunger strike last night, revealed Selvam.

In a statement, meanwhile, human rights lawyer and PKR vice-president N Surendran (left) condemned the arrests as being "planned and concerted" and "intended to persecute and intimidate HRP members."
The arrests were unlawful, oppressive and in breach of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guaranteeing the right to freedom of assembly and expression, said Surendran.

"Once again the government and police have displayed blatant disregard for the rule of law and democratic freedoms," said Surendran.

He also expressed being disturbed over the presence of five children among those detained by police.

"This action by police is in bad faith and gross disregard of laws protecting minors... The arrests were also carried out with excessive force and vulgar abuse was heaped upon some of those arrested," said Surendran, citing the assault on a Malaysiakini Citizen Journalist by police.

Commenting on the police's order for their Hindraf-Makkal Sakthi t-shirts to be confiscated, Surendran this was in "complete breach of the law" and "demonstrates the arbitrary conduct of the police."

"We call upon the IGP and Home Ministry to respect the Federal Constitution and the people's right to peaceably gather.

"We call upon the government to cease using police powers to stifle political dissent and to persecute legitimate opponents of the government.

"Finally, we demand that the government establish the IPCMC (Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission) immediately to prevent the Home Ministry and police from continuing to abuse their powers.

Bahrain opposition calls for rally

Riot police clashed with a small group of youths who staged a march in Karzakan, a Shia village in the west [EPA]


Bahrain's security forces have set up checkpoints to monitor people's movements as opposition groups blanketed social media sites with calls to stage the first major anti-government protests in the Gulf since the uprising in Egypt.

Units patrolled shopping centres and other key spots in a clear warning against holding Monday's rally, which has been the focus of social media appeals and text messages for more than a week.

One cartoon posted on a Bahraini blog showed three arms holding aloft a mobile phone and the symbols of Facebook and Twitter.

The decision by Shia-led opposition groups and others to call for demonstrations on February 14 is symbolic as it is the anniversary of Bahrain's 2002 constitution, which brought some pro-democracy reforms such as an elected parliament.

A Facebook page calling for a revolution in Bahrain on Monday has nearly 14,000 followers, and an emailed schedule of protests and demonstrations is also being circulated.

The developments came as riot police clashed with a small group of youths who staged a march following a wedding ceremony in Karzakan, a Shia village in the west.

An AP photographer said he had seen several people injured and others gasping from tear gas.

Shia discontent
Sunday's wide-ranging clampdown appeared directed toward Bahrain's Shia majority, which has led the drive for Monday's rallies.

Bahrain's Sunni rulers have already given out cash and promised greater media reforms in an effort to quell discontent.

In an open letter to the king, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights has called for wide-ranging reforms to avoid a "worst-case scenario", including the dismantling of the security forces, the prosecution of state officials for abuses and the release of 450 jailed activists, religious leaders and others.

The tiny kingdom is among the most politically volatile in the Gulf and holds important strategic value for the West as the home to the US Navy's 5th Fleet.

Bahrain's Shias , which account for nearly 70 per cent of the total popualtion, have long complained of systematic discrimination by the ruling Sunni dynasty, whose crackdown on dissent last year touched off riots and clashes.

Concessions
Bahrain's leaders have stepped in with some concessions to try to defuse tension.
Government media monitors began talks on Sunday with newspaper publishers and others to draft new rules to limit state controls.

The official Bahrain News Agency has also launched a new multimedia service that includes social media applications to seek more outreach.

Activists and rights groups have often had to contend with widespread blocks on websites and blogs.

On Friday, hundreds of Bahrainis and Egyptian nationals went out in the streets chanting and dancing near the Egyptian Embassy in Manama moments after Hosni Mubarak stepped down as Egypt's president.

Bahraini authorities quickly set up roadblocks to contain the crowds.

The chances for confrontation in Bahrain have been further elevated by the ongoing trial of 25 Shia activists - including two charged in absentia - accused of plotting against the state.

The detainees have alleged police torture and being made to sign forced confessions, but the court has moved ahead with the proceedings. The next session is scheduled for February 24.

Source:
Agencies                 

Invitation to join us in the March Against Institutionalized Racism Exercised By UNMO

YB Dato Seri Anwar IbrahimOpposition Leader of Parliament
A-1-09 Merchant Square
No 1 Jalan Tropicana Selatan 1
47410 Petaling Jaya
Fax: 78850531

YB Lim Kit Siang
Adviser DAP
No 24 Jalan 20/9
Paramount Garden
46300 Petaling Jaya
Fax : 03-79575718

YB Dato Seri Hadi Awang
President PAS
318 Jalan Raja Laut
50350 Kuala Lumpur
Fax: 03-26938399

14th Feb 2011

Re:  Invitation to join us in the March Against Institutionalized Racism Exercised By UNMO

I am writing to you for you  to join hand with us for the Peoples’ march on February 27, 2011 which is against racism practiced by UMNO.
As you may be aware, our recent car convoy activity yesterday was clamped down by the police with the arrest of numerous key HINDRAF activists/supporters across Malaysia. However this has not hindered the spirit of the HINDRAF members and we are geared up for the march.
Although we may differ in our opinions and approach, but I believe that our common objectives are the same to ensure human rights & liberty is prevailed for all Malaysian in equality.
The upheaval that we had witnessed in Tunisia and Egypt is the unity of the people irrespective of their race or religion battling for humanity to sustain against oppressive and suppressive governments similar to UMNO.
The audacity of the government to move ahead with the INTERLOK novel shows their arrogance and their effort to enhance racism and segregation within its society similar to BTN.  
The criticism and the demand to withdraw Interlok is not purely an Indian issue but rather to curtail racism as a whole for the nation irrespective whether it is an Indian issue or not.
I trust as a seasoned and genuine leader of the nation, you do understand the insensitivity and racism that is created towards a particular segment of the society and will be glad if you  can join us on February 27, 2011 to ensure that Malaysian society should not be cowed by such outright racism practiced by UMNO and its mandores.
Thank you
Yours sincerely
Waytha Moorthy
Chair HINDRAF

Ibrahim Ali wants NEP continued despite abuse

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 – Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali has admitted that the pro-Bumiputera New Economic Policy (NEP) has been abused but pushed for its continuation, saying the government should be stricter in the future implementation of the policy.

The Pasir Mas MP also repeated his call for the private sector to play a greater role in ensuring the success of what he called the Bumiputera agenda.

“Since independence, for the past 50 years, the government has been introducing several measures including the New Economic Policy as an initiative to balance out the economy with an affirmative action policy and the introduction of quotas as a strategy,” said Ibrahim (picture) in a speech at a gathering over the weekend on the future of the Malays which was published in full by Utusan Malaysia today.

“The policies may not be perfect because of leakages in implementation, but the success has been significant. But those policies must be strengthened, expanded, made to be more efficient and be diversified to address various future challenges,” the independent MP added.

The NEP was introduced in 1970 to restructure society by giving economic privileges to the Bumiputeras to enable them catch up with the other communities.

Critics of the policy, however, claimed that the NEP has been subjected to abuse benefitting only Bumiputera businesses with ties to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had previously announced his administration’s proposal to replace the NEP with a needs-based affirmative action policy through the New Economic Model (NEM).

In 2009, Najib did away with regulations requiring a 30 per cent Bumiputera stake in 27 service and financial sub-sectors, and limited the purview of the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) that oversees Bumiputera equity.

Last week, Najib however launched a new unit called Teraju which will lead, co-ordinate and drive Bumiputera economic participation, a move which was described by his critics as backtracking from his pledge to reform the economy.

Ibrahim vowed to continue fighting to increase Bumiputera equity beyond the NEP’s 30 per cent target, saying that the community was still economically backward.

The former deputy minister of law also pointed out historical facts that the Bumiputeras had no stake in the economy when the country gained its independence in 1957.

“Therefore, if the Malays and Bumiputeras today achieved the equity target of 30 per cent, it does not mean much, because they were once very poor,” said Ibrahim.

“And if today, the non-Malays and non-Bumiputeras are in control of 70 per cent of the equity, that means the government has been fair, because they were already economically advanced before independence, but continue to be in control after independence,” he added.

We won’t move, says AirAsia chief

KUALA LUMPUR: A standoff is looming between AirAsia and the government over a decision to move the airline’s operations from the four-year-old low-cost carrier terminal to the renovated Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) terminal later this year.

“We are not moving. I will chain myself and the Federal Reserve Unit will have to take us,” AirAsia Group chief executive officer Tony Fernandez told reporters from Sabah and Sarawak over the weekend.

Arguing that the move made no practical sense, he warned that the number of tourist arrivals to Kota Kinabalu would be at stake should the airline be forced to move its operations from the present terminal.

He said any move would cause a hike in ticket prices to and from the city to offset the higher airport tax that would be charged. Thus, the passenger service charge would rise to RM51 from the current RM25.

Fernandez also criticised the new terminal for its scant facilities.

“We are very against it because they don’t have enough facilities in the terminal for us from the start.

“It looks empty but during the peak time, there are a lot of planes coming in. So where are we going to put our planes? And there’s not enough check-in counters,” he said.

Fernandez added that the move, ordered by the Ministry of Transport, would have the dual affect of preventing any expansion to new destinations from Kota Kinabalu and possibly also result in the current number of routes being reduced.

AirAsia flies to 13 destinations in six countries including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan and is estimated to carry around a million tourists into the state capital.

“Already my Indonesian counterparts are reviewing whether to keep Jakarta-KK route,” he said.

It is currently the only route the airline has between Kota Kinabalu and Indonesia.

Plans on hold

As a result of the government’s decision, the budget airline has to put on hold plans to add two more aircraft to its current fleet of six in Kota Kinabalu to bring in an additional 800,000 passengers into the state a year.

Also on hold are plans to use the low-cost terminal in Kota Kinabalu as a major eastern hub to venture into markets in North and South America, Australia, South Korea, China and Japan.

“We can do so much more. Sabah and Sarawak have so much to offer but the airport charges and the lack of development are frustrating us.

“We are being held back from developing more international flights and it’s beginning to already affect KK,” he said.

He suggested that instead of converting the low-cost terminal into a cargo facility, it should remain as it is, and be further expanded.

“KK is now depending on the low-cost terminal. My recommendation is to get rid of the cargo and move it somewhere else. We have given the authorities a plan.

“Which is giving Sabah more? A little bit of cargo or a million tourists that we are bringing in?” he said.

The ministry and Malaysia Airports Bhd have not responded to the proposal.

Fernandez also lashed out at the Sabah Tourism Board for lobbying to have the airline moved to the new terminal.

“Sabah really supported us, brought us to where we are. Now we are saying, ‘Don’t stop the support.’ We don’t need the money or anything. Just help us in expanding the LCCT,” he added.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun has so far refused to comment on the issue, saying that he is gathering facts related to the matter and would be giving a response in due time.

In December 2010, Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha said that the ministry had an understanding with AirAsia, as well as other low-cost carriers, to relocate to the new terminal once the RM1.4 billion upgrade was completed.

The Raison d’ĂȘtre of MCLM

By Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are some who are puzzled by the sudden emergence of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) and the perceived confrontational stand that MCLM is taking towards the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat.

Maybe it is time I corrected this misconception and make clear what is our Reform Agenda and state MCLM’s Mission and Vision.

First of all, I have always been critical of the opposition since way back in 1999 when the opposition alliance called Barisan Alternatif was first launched and before there even was anything called Pakatan Rakyat.

And my critical articles were published in both Harakah and Berita Keadilan, the opposition newspapers of PAS and PKR (then called PKN) respectively.

So there is nothing ‘sudden’ about my criticisms and the opposition parties even saw fit to publish these articles in their newspapers without any editing or censorship. Maybe people have become more sensitive to criticism now compared to 11 years ago, so they have the impression that only of late have I been critical — whereas I have always been critical of the opposition since there was an opposition alliance or coalition. (We must remember, before 1999 there was no formal opposition coalition, only electoral pacts, which did not quite work anyway).

It could be that the sensitivities arise because prior to 2008 no one imagined that the opposition ever had a chance of forming the new federal government whereas now they do. So now they are more sensitive to criticisms because they feel that this criticism may result in Pakatan Rakyat losing out to Barisan Nasional.

The second point is that MCLM is not ‘sudden’. It emerged as a result of a culmination of events and a progression of developments in the political front that stretched over 35 years (as far as my involvement in politics is concerned).

The move (for me personally) to see changes started back in the late-1970s and the various stages of these events have brought us to what we see today — the emergence of MCLM.

In 1990 it was the Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah (APU) loose coalitions between Semangat 46 and DAP and between Semangat 46 and PAS respectively. In 1999 it was Barisan Alternatif, a coalition of PKN, DAP, PAS and PRM. And in 2008 it was Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS.

Wakeup call

So, over the last 20 years, we have seen the emergence of four different opposition coalitions. Therefore, nothing is static and instead we saw a progression and transformation where events dictated changes that were needed to meet these changes of events.

The same thing happened for political activism and the civil society movements. They evolved and transformed, peaking in 1999 when the Reformasi Movement was born.

In the beginning it was a ‘crude’ movement where the focus was merely to oppose a tyrannical government and bring about changes or reforms. But this movement was not so organised and lacked direction.

Worse still, we would not have known what to do had the opposition won the elections back in 1990 or 1999 and had to form the new federal government (which was demonstrated in 2008 when the opposition merely won five states and not even federal power yet).

But the civil society movements have matured since then and are now clearer in their minds as to what is required. 2004 was a wakeup call for the civil society movements although we are not too sure if the political parties have also woken up. And the wakeup call was the disaster suffered by the opposition in the March 2004 general election.

That was when I realised that the opposition and civil society movements must be better equipped to face the next general election due in 2008 or 2009. And to satisfy that requirement I launched Malaysia Today soon after the 2004 general election.

Also in 2004 a few of us also got together to form the Malaysian Civil Liberties Society (MCLS). This was so that we could offer a platform to unite the many rakyat eager to see changes and reforms and so that we could speak as one voice and help the opposition not only avoid another 2004 general election disaster but also prepare itself for the eventuality of forming the new federal government in the event it wins the general elections (or a few states, as the case may be).

So, MCLS was not ‘sudden’. It was in fact something that was started back in 2004 in response to the 2004 general election fiasco that the opposition suffered.

And MCLS was not the only thing that we started. Malaysia Today was another exercise in the many that were started in 2004 in preparation for the general election that would have had to be called at the very latest by 2009.

The general election finally came, but in March 2008 instead of March 2009. But MCLS never saw the light of day. Until today it is still awaiting approval by the Malaysian government.

Realising that after six years of waiting and not getting any response from the government it is futile to continue waiting, we decided to formalise MCLS outside Malaysia instead, in a country that would not block or hinder the formation of MCLS.

Two documents

And that was when we decided to formalise MCLS in the UK and instead of calling it MCLS we decided to call it MCLM by swapping the word ‘Society’ for ‘Movement’. Movement, after all, sounds more proactive than society, which gives the impression that we are merely a ‘talk shop’.

Anyway, let me backtrack a bit prior to the formation of MCLM in 2010.

Realising that 2004 was the worst setback for the opposition and that the opposition really needed to get its act together if it wants its fortunes to change, we launched two documents called The People’s Voice and The People’s Declaration in the run-up to the March 2008 general election.

These two documents were endorsed by six political parties (PKR, DAP and PAS included) in a ceremony organised by the civil society movements.

Even before there was any inkling that the opposition’s fortunes would change we got the opposition to commit itself to a clear and documented reform agenda.

This would be the basis of how the opposition would run the country in the event it won the March 2008 general election.

Unfortunately, the opposition fell short and failed to deliver on a lot of its promises. While Pakatan Rakyat did bring about some changes in the states they ruled, we feel that the opposition could have done more if it had been more focused on the task in hand. But because of the many internal problems the opposition lost focus and even lost one of the states it controlled.

It is no secret that many are disappointed with the opposition’s performance and those who have not swung back to Barisan Nasional have threatened to abstain from voting come the next election.

This does not augur well for the nation and the hopes to see a new reform-oriented government post the much anticipated 13th General Election.

Hence, the birth of MCLM on Oct 30, 2010 in London.

In my next article, I will lay out MCLM’s blueprint to usher in a reform-oriented government post the 13th GE, and the reform agenda that we wish to see that new government implement during its term in office.

Teoh’s inquiry: Lawyer seeks clarification

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock began its first day today with Gobind Singh Deo, representing the Teoh’s, firing his first salvo on the commission itself.

He questioned whether the inquiry would include new investigations or would it merely re-use facts from the inquest, which had returned an open verdict.

“Before the inquest, we had no evidence. But after a year the coroner found that there was indeed pre-fall injuries.

“I want to know, Mr Chairman, if the commission has done any investigations on those injuries. If not, what’s going to happen is the same as the inquest, or even the revision,” said Gobind, who also objected to prosecutors from the AG Chambers being the conducting officers at the inquiry.

He further asked if any statements were taken or arrests made.

Federal Court judge James Foong, the chairman of the commission, said that independent investigators would be sought by the court to assist in finding out its terms of reference.

Earlier, parties seeking representation , including Teoh’s family, the Selangor government, MACC and Bar Council, in the enquiry was allowed to do so by the panel.

Another matter being brought up was the fact that a revision was still pending and whether both could and should go on concurrently.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail is seeking a review of the coroner’s ruling.

On Jan 5, coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas delivered an open verdict, saying that Teoh’s death was neither suicide nor homicide.

Seeking adjournment

Karpal Singh, another lawyer for Teoh’s family, also asked that the court decide to have different dates for the inquiry as the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy case also resumed today.

Present today at the packed courtroom were Teoh’s family members, media, and supporters of Teoh, including PKR leader Tian Chua.

Last month, Federal Court judge Foong was appointed to head the commission to look into the cause of Teoh’s death and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) interrogation procedures.

Terms of reference

The commission’s terms of reference are:

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

2. To enquire into Teoh’s death and the circumstances surrounding and contributing to his death.

The other four members of the commission are former federal judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman, ex-Court of Appeal judge T Selventhiranathan, Penang Hospital’s senior consultant in forensic pathology Bhupinder Singh and Cyberjaya University College of Medical Science’s dean and consultant forensic psychiatrist Prof Dr Mohamed Hatta Shaharom.

The inquiry is scheduled to end on April 25, when the final report will be handed over to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. The King will then decide the next course of action.

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

Teoh, the DAP political aide to Selangor executive councillor and Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam here.

Teoh, then 30, died hours after he was interrogated overnight by the MACC at the Selangor MACC office located on the 14th floor of the same building. He was a witness in the alleged misuse of Selangor government allocations

Najib needs to control Rosmah

Najib needs to control Rosmah
Written by  Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle,     

Prime Minister Najib Razak needs to control his wife Rosmah Mansor, said PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin, accusing the ‘First Lady’ of being a bad role model who increased the uncomplimentary perception of women being manipulative yet fluffy-minded and decorative pieces intent on shopping pleasure.

“It is not just a matter of setting a bad example as a Muslim woman who has to make a lot public appearances but overall. We encourage women to be ambitious, to go for it. But Rosmah is over the limit,” Zuraida told Malaysia Chronicle in a recent interview.

Zuraida, who is the Member of Parliament for Ampang, was unhappy because Rosmah has spent little of her time advancing women’s causes or at least nudging women’s issues along the right direction.

According to Zuraida, Malaysian women ranked 101 out of 130 countries in the global gender index, and Rosmah, who holds a Master’s degree, should help in the battle for a more level playing field.

“But she’s not doing any of this. Umno is fond of saying 43 per cent of the workforce are women, but at what level? Do they search below the surface? Why isn’t Rosmah using her influence to engage with Women’s minister, Shahrizat Jalil? Of course not to the extent she takes over the ministry but she can help promote more worthwhile programs and researches,” said Zuraida.

“Women’s rights should not just be about opening ceremonies, cutting ribbons, flower decoration shows and visiting children’s home. It must also include taking the trouble to study and understand the social issues and the problems involved, and above all, put in place programs that offer long-term solutions and not blow quickie kisses or keep giving ang-pows.”

How many millions have been spent
Indeed the 60-year old Rosmah, who’s two years older than Najib, has attracted controversy even before her husband took over the premiership. From her dressing to her hairstyle, her Ferragamo shoes to her Lanvin hanbags, she has been criticized as the aggressor in their relationship and the more cunning partner.

There is also a dark side. She has been accused of being one of the masterminds behind the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder and although she has denied any involvement, the rumour mills continue to churn.  Even now, many Malaysians are unhappy to bestow on her the right to use the title of 'First Lady', preferring to give that honor to the Queeen.

But it is her latest series of overseas trips to represent Najib at overseas functions on official expense that recently riled up Malaysians.

“We have a Deputy Prime Minister. His name is Muhyiddin not Rosmah. How can she usurp his job, has she been trained, can she represent us properly? Then there is the matter of taxpayers’ money. Rosmah’s trips don’t come cheap, she always takes along an entourage,” said Zuraida.

“We are demanding to know the full costs of these trips. The federal government must present details of how many millions of ringgit she has spent. We are not accusing her of going on shopping trips at official expense but personal pleasure, but until the accounts are provided in Parliament, we cannot give her the benefit of doubt either.”

The power behind the throne
Rosmah’s most recent visits were to Saudi Arabia and Oman, where she had taken along the wives of several other Cabinet ministers. She has defended her trips as necessary.

"To me, if they want to complain, I've got no issues. Let it be. I'm only doing this as a leader's wife. It's my duty and responsibility to help any way I can, especially with regards to women empowerment and children's issues," she told national news agency Bernama.

She also denied she was the power behind the throne and was trying to steal the thunder from Muhyiddin. Yet late last year when Najib was down with chicken pox, she had been quick to insist on representing him at official functions and clearly eager to deliver her speeches.

"I'm not involved in politics, I'm not involved with the policies of the government - that's being taken care of by the Cabinet, the prime minister, deputy prime minister,” Rosmah assured.

Wicked-Perkasa-Leaks

Once again, our Perkasa has exposed more scandals and acts of treason against PKR, particularly its leader Anwar who must have really pissed them off for reasons best know.

The latest as reported in online news reports here is this defect-o leaders being charge for rear activities is planning a backdoor exit, ie. plans to flee if convicted of his behind the scene activities. If the scheme is true, it would certainly make for good Bolehlandwood or Bollywood material! And local film makers will be instantly granted the film incentives if they propose to make a drama series out of it!!!

And to reinforce the truth of their allegation our mother of all police reports filing party has of course made a police report. Given the police swift action on Perkasa's previous filing, it is only a matter of seconds the police resources will be deployed to give full attention to this 'treason' act!

One wonders if Perkasa has an office in the Bukit Aman solely to file police reports. After all they have so much evidence at their disposal they do need a unit to do this, no?

The reliable sources it seems are from the PKR itself. Now that would certainly make it all the more credible right? Who they are, Perkasa is not about to disclose and this is not that they abide by any journalism code. Come to think of it, they don't have any journalistic flair in them either.

Seems the police has asked them not to reveal the plans. But if you want to really catch and embarrass him, isn't it better not to reveal it and catch him with his pants down trying to do a backdoor exit eh?

Noone except Perkasa knows the reason for this sudden Wicked-Perkasa-Leaks against PKR and its leader. Has it got to do with events in the Egypt or maybe Pakistan? And our Perkasa fellos want to ride the tide of people's power to remove leaders who were once thought to be invincible and untouchable.

Speaking of which, our BolehLand leaders have always boasted about the greatness of BolehLand's democracy, rule of law, justice system and all that and look down on supposedly third world nation who are terrorist invested compared to BolehLand the land of the holy and holier than thou.

In Pakistan, they dare to issue a warrant of arrest to their former leader implicating him in the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto. Perhaps the events in the Middle East may have an effect on the conscience of governments in the region. Bahrain turned charitable giving money to its citizens and promise to relax things. Iran, well showed its hypocritical self by supporting the people power while clobbering their own last year!

And in BolehLand, perhaps Perkasa seemed to want to take over the vacuum with the fall of the modern Pharaoh in Egypt and be the new Pharaoh of BolehLand, bearing the title Ketuanan of BolehLand.

Their latest revelation seem to imply they have better intelligence gathering and more reliable than our own SB and intelligence fellos! The Peace Hill bois must surely try and learn a thing or two from Perkasa in intelligence gathering particularly if they want to ensure the PKR, Pakatan and those who have plans to take over the next government are thwarted with revelation of treason, escape, and internal conflicts in these opponents.

If, as reported, "according to his sources, Anwar would escape with the assistance of the Turkish, Australian and the US governments should he be convicted," 1Malaysia and Wisma Putra must act quickly and call in the ambassadors to explain themselves and expel them if it is true. How dare they interfere in our sovereignty and question our exemplary model Islamic nation and good government, right?

If the allegation is true, will we see Perkasa and UMNO members since Perkasa is considered the a 'wing' of UMNO with majority members from UMN, going to hold demonstrations soon and march to these embassies with effigy burnings of their 'traitor anwar' and the head of state of these nations involved in the escape bid?

Surely if this is proven, the whole PKR must be shut down and the family arrested for plotting such evil scheme. There must be something PKR and even the public don't know when the DPM just a few days back said PKR will fold up by end of the year. Could Perkasa's latest 'truth' be the smoking gun that will cause the demise of PKR and with that their they have fallen into an a big hole and abyss in their road to Putrajaya claim?

The accusation is serious as it accuses foreign governments of being involved in a conspiracy and crime against the exemplary justice system of BolehLand! So it would be interesting how these governments will respond to Perkasa's accusation!

Seems each time Perkasa 'leaks' the PKR and Pakatan fellos wet themselves in the pants!

But the reason for these wicked-perkasa leaks if one looks at them since it was formed, will see a pattern out to undermine and destroy PKR, its leaders and the Pakatan coalition including anyone who don't subscribe to their version of religion. The obvious reason is GE13.

Using the MSMedia to publicise successes of 1Malaysia and ETP is not good enough because it is incumbent of the government of the day to have policies and programmes to show they are capable of running the nation and carry out the trust of the people to manage the country's wealth and being well, right?

The other strategy is to paint a negative picture of your opponents and what better way is to sabotage them with stories of infighting, betrayers of race, royalty and religion, sex scandals, dynasties, treason and a band of misfits, right?

And Perkasa has been able to pace this 'going for the jugular' strategy and reveal very supposedly damaging allegations and file police reports against the opposition at strategic timing.

Only gullible fellos and of course the BN and Perkasa members believe Perkasa. If they didn't they would have left the party or boycotted it or even do some leaks about the leader too, right?

The timing of this latest expose while perhaps riding on the Middle East sentiments, is also about an impending by election in Malacca perhaps huh?

One reason Perkasa is stem rolling ahead with maximum power is perhaps they have been encouraged and given support by those seeking to preserve their political survival. The fact that each police report Perkasa files, the institutions of the state are moved into high gear is evident of the political agenda. Even before the police report is filed or the ink dry, an anonymous blog will trigger instantaneous full arm of the law ready to pounce, issue warrant of arrests and invite those accused for friendly chit chat where lawyers are barred or at venues such as the MACC and police stations!

Even if those accused deny the allegations, the BOD or benefit of doubt seems to be given to Perkasa and huge public funds are used to confirm rather than dispel Perkasa's police report!

The public perception, at least those who are not blind or gullible, to each subsequent Perkasa police report is the refining of selective persecution and prosecution strategy of the instruments of the state. Which in the process, cause the public to lose faith in these institutions seen to be practising selective prosecution.

Since Perkasa was formed, noone seem to dare to investigate their leaders even if their allegations have been proven false or they have trampled on very sensitive issues. One gets the impression so long as they malign everyone except the government and the BN fellos they are like given an unlimited ride free pass, no?

Will Anwar's denial make the damage less or go away? Not at all because the PKR fellos and MSMedia are with Perkasa in giving maximum publicity and mileage to Perkasa's allegation.

And Perkasa is master in the art of manipulation and creating conspiracies, good Bolehwood scriptwriters. Wonder who their scriptwriters are? We know the producers are UMNO and it's only begging the question to ask who the directors are, yes?

So Perkasa has caught on the Year of the Rabbit quickly by jumping into conclusion and hopping mad with those who are about to commit treason. After all, its leader is playing the Mad Hatter role very well that would make the Chelsea cat envious right?

The Year of the Rabbit is just beginning, and we can expect more tricks up Perkasa's sleeve. Even if we can't have firecrackers to give us the big bang or chase away evil, we can always depend on wicked-Perkasa-leaks and their firepower to blast away the evil fellos in Pakatan from BolehLand right?

And Uncle Sam, down south Aussie bois, Turkish delights and probably the Jews better watch out! The action is no more in Egypt or the Middle East. It's all here in PerkasaLand, opps BolehLand, huh?

Wonder if this latest Perkasa 'leak' will end up they wetting their own pants than succeeding in drowning PKR! 

NEP must continue, says Dr Mahathir

By The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the New Economic Policy must continue even though many Malays had misused the opportunities given to them, such as selling off their business licences and contracts.

The former prime minister said that if the Malays had made the best use of those opportunities, they would have attained not only 30% of the nation’s wealth but much more than that.

He said the NEP had to be continued because the Malays had yet to attain the quota, but they should continue to strive to avoid becoming the most backward race in the country.

“The Government will safeguard our position, but there will come a day when it will not be able to defend national policies,” he added.

Dr Mahathir was delivering a keynote address at a symposium on The Malay Dilemma: Perspective and Conclusion, organised by the Persatuan Alumni Pemimpin Mahasiswa Aspirasi Malaysia at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.

To a question from the floor on why the NEP should be continued when he had admitted that there were abuses, Dr Mahathir said: “If you don’t give, then nobody will have it.

“But if you give, they may misuse it. So, we need to be more selective.

“It is not the policy that went wrong but the implementation.”

To a question whether the country’s leadership had been too greedy and whether the Chinese and Indians had been working hard while the Malays became spoilt, he said the Government could not not spoil the Malays because the opportunities were their rights.

However, added Dr Mahathir, the Malays should not rely too much on the Government.

To a question by DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua on the Government’s RM6bil allocation to buy six offshore patrol vessels for the navy, Dr Mahathir said it would not be a problem for the Government to explain.

“The cost of things have gone up,” said Dr Mahathir, who had warned the Government in his address not to get into an arms race with neighbouring countries.

At a press conference after his address, Dr Mahathir was asked about reports that DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had accused him of re-writing history by putting the blame on police for the arrest of 106 people under the Internal Security Act in 1987.

Responding to the allegation, Dr Mahathir was adamant that he met opposition leaders before Ops Lalang and had assured them that they would not be arrested.

“I have no reason to make the claim unless it (the meeting) had happened.

“I met them and assured them, but, of course, I don’t expect opposition leaders to be grateful to acknowledge anything from the Government, particularly myself,” Dr Mahathir said.

Lim had commented on the book Doctor M: Operation Malaysia – Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad, which revealed the former prime minister had said the 1987 crackdown was a police decision.

He also denied that Dr Mahathir had met him and other opposition members.

'Bersuara ikut Perlembagaan tak dianggap rasis'

Berita Harian

LABUAN: Rakyat pelbagai kaum yang menyuarakan pandangan masing-masing berlandaskan Perlembagaan tidak boleh dianggap bersifat perkauman atau rasis kerana mereka berhak menyuarakan keperluan masyarakat yang diwakili.

Menteri Kemajuan Luar Bandar dan Wilayah, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, berkata setiap bangsa berhak mengemukakan suara hati mereka demi kepentingan kaum masing-masing asalkan ia dilakukan secara berhemah serta tidak menyinggung mana-mana pihak.

“Kita boleh luahkan tetapi janganlah sampai memecah-belahkan masyarakat dalam jangka panjang,” katanya kepada media selepas merasmikan Karnival Sukan sempena program Juara Rakyat di Padang Perbadanan Labuan di sini, semalam.

Turut hadir Ahli Parlimen Labuan, Datuk Yussof Mahal; Pemangku Ketua UMNO Labuan, Datuk Yunus Kurus; Ketua Setiausaha kementerian, Datuk Ibrahim Muhamad dan Ketua Pengarah KEMAS, Datuk Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan.

Mohd Shafie berkata, dilema itu berpunca daripada orang Melayu sendiri kerana tidak mampu mempertahankan diri dan sentiasa mengalah serta mengundur apabila berlaku krisis.

Beliau yang juga Naib Presiden UMNO berkata, apabila orang Melayu menyuarakan keperluan mereka, tidak bermakna sistem yang kita amalkan berpihak kepada satu kaum saja.

Mengenai sesi perjumpaan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak bersama 118 ketua bahagian UMNO kelmarin, beliau berkata, ia adalah isyarat supaya semua pihak mengenal pasti masalah di kawasan masing-masing sebagai persediaan menghadapi pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Beliau berkata, pendekatan Perdana Menteri itu adalah pembaharuan dalam sistem politik dan sosial negara yang dilihat berupaya mengukuhkan kerangka persediaan BN memasuki gelanggang pilihan raya.

“Hanya Perdana Menteri mengetahui bila pilihan raya umum akan dilaksanakan. Sehingga tarikh itu, kita mesti bekerja kuat dan memastikan gerakan peringkat bahagian dimantapkan.

“Justeru, pemimpin akar umbi harus menggerakkan kerja tidak kira masa. Tingkatkan usaha mendampingi rakyat dan selepas masalah mereka dikenal pasti, kita perlu mencari jalan mengatasinya,” katanya. 

Five children among 58 held during Interlok protests

The Star

PETALING JAYA: A total of 58 people, including five children, were detained in several states during simultaneous protests against the Interlok school textbook yesterday.

A Bukit Aman media spokesman said six were detained in Perak, 26 in Negri Sembilan, 21 in Kuala Lumpur and five in Selangor.

Human Rights Party (HRP) chief P. Uthayakumar claimed that a 10-year-old boy who was accompanying his father was held at the Travers police station.

He added that four other boys aged between 10 and 17 were held in Seremban.

Police confirmed that a 10-year-old boy was detained for taking part in an illegal gathering.

Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said police detained 15 men, five women and the boy for questioning.

“We also seized eight cars, 55 posters, 10 flags and 200 leaflets,” he added.

Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah said police had to act to keep the peace.

In Seremban, 26 HRP members led by state party chief S. Siva­kumar, including seven women, were arrested after they ignored police orders to disperse.

Seremban OCPD ACP Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said those detained were released after their statements were taken.

In Ipoh, Perak CID chief SAC Datuk Dzuraidi Ibrahim said six Hindraf members were released on bail after police arrested them for taking part in a demonstration.

On Jan 27, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Interlok would remain as the textbook for the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five students, but with amendments to parts deemed offensive by the Indian community.

Military rulers dissolve Egypt's parliament


Egypt cabinet to oversee transition 

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's new military rulers said on Sunday they had dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution and would govern only for six months or until elections took place, following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Troops, some wielding sticks, earlier took control of Tahrir (Liberation) Square, the fulcrum of the 18 days of protests that swept Mubarak from power. That let traffic flow through central Cairo as the army struggled to return life to normal.

The Higher Military Council, which took over after a revolt that changed modern Egyptian history and ended Mubarak's 30-year rule, promised a referendum on constitutional amendments.

The initial response from opposition figures and protest leaders was overwhelmingly positive. "Victory, victory," chanted pro-democracy activists in Tahrir Square. "More is needed, more is needed," others yelled.
"It is a victory for the revolution," said Ayman Nour, who challenged Mubarak for the presidency in 2005 and was later jailed. "I think this will satisfy the protesters."

Egypt's constitution was written with built-in guarantees to keep Mubarak in power, elections were rigged in favor of his ruling party and opposition groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood were sometimes harassed, sometimes tolerated.

As the momentous events in Egypt continued to ripple across the Middle East, demonstrators in Yemen, inspired by protests in Tunisia and Egypt, clashed with police blocking them from marching on Ali Abdullah Saleh's presidential palace.

Egypt's government now reports to the military as it did to Mubarak. The former air force commander was despised by many for ruling like a pharaoh, though he was once a hero for his role in the 1973 war with Israel and who steadied Egypt after the 1981 assassination of his predecessor Anwar Sadat.

Protest organizers were forming a Council of Trustees to defend the revolution and urge swift reform from a military intent on restoring law and order during the transition.

Mahmoud Nassar, a youth movement leader, said: "The army has moved far along to meet the people's demands and we urge it to release all political prisoners who were taken before and after January 25 revolution. Only then will we call off the protests."

Protesters argued heatedly in Tahrir Square over whether to stay or comply with army orders to leave. "The people want the square cleared," one group chanted. "We will not leave, we will not leave," replied another.
Police officers, emboldened by Mubarak's downfall, gathered outside the Interior Ministry to demand higher pay. Warning shots were fired in the air. No one was hurt.

Workers from the health and culture ministries staged demonstrations as Egyptians began venting pent-up frustrations.

Thousands of workers have staged strikes, sit-ins and protests over pay and conditions at firms and government agencies in fields such as steel, textiles, telecoms, railways, post offices, banks and oil and pharmaceutical companies.

Egypt declared Monday a bank holiday after workers disrupted operations at the country's main state banks.

Italy declares migrant emergency


Italy has declared a humanitarian emergency after thousands of migrants sailed across the Mediterranean Sea from Tunisia, overwhelming authorities on Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island.

The Italian government said on Sunday that it was planning to deploy security forces on Tunisian soil to stop the waves of illegal immigrants.

"I will ask Tunisia's foreign minister for authorisation for our forces to intervene

in Tunisia to block the flux," Roberto Maroni, Italy's interior minister, said in a television interview.

He said that the EU had not responded to Italian calls for assistance, and that his country would have to manage the crisis.

Bernardino De Rubeis, Lampedusa's mayor, called the situation "out of control".

The remarks came a day after the Italian government said in a statement: "The cabinet today... has proclaimed a state of humanitarian emergency following the influx of the large number of citizens from North Africa."

The statement said that the decision to call an official emergency would enable civil protection officers "to take immediate action needed to control this phenomenon and assist citizens who have fled from North Africa".

In particular, the move will enable the central government to release funds for local authorities in areas which have been inundated by the wave of refugees, most of whom have fled to Lampedusa.
The majority of the people have come from nearby Tunisia, in the wake of the country's revolution four weeks ago.
Nearly 4,000 migrants have landed in Italy since Wednesday, according to Antonio Morana, harbour master on the island.

Most were packed into small fishing boats that were intercepted by coast guards and then taken to Lampedusa, where they were given blankets and received medical care after stepping off the boats.
Hundreds have had to sleep out in the open at the port because of a lack of facilities on the island, while others were taken to local hotels.

'More immigrants'
Karl Stagno Navarra, a journalist following events from Valletta, Malta's capital, told Al Jazeera that more migrants are on their way.

"The problem is not only for law and order on the island, but its also logistics, because the centre for migrants [on the island], which used to be operational up to a year ago ... has been closed," he said.

"The latest reports of the Italian authorities say they have identified at least another 10 boats that are expected on the island between midnight and 7am local time on Sunday."

Navarra said that up to 10,000 migrants were expected in the next week.
"So we have 4,000 migrants on an island with 5,000 inhabitants, and a structure that has a capacity to welcome not more than 800 migrants. So you can imagine the situation over there," he said.
"Throughout the night, thousands of migrants have been kept on the harbour keys, and also in the village squares. So we have a situation which is really out of hand at the moment."
Navarra said that many of the migrants say they are ultimately trying to reach France, where some of their family members are based.
Formal request
The Italian authorities have organised an airlift and put a ferry into service to take some of the people off Lampedusa, transporting them to identification centres in southern Sicily.

Italy made a formal request on Friday for aid from the European Union to combat what it warned was a looming humanitarian crisis, saying that the EU's justice and home affairs council should meet immediately to discuss the matter.

In a joint statement, Maroni, the Italian interior minister, and Franco Frattini, the foreign minister, also requested "the immediate deployment of a Frontex mission for patrolling and interception off the Tunisian coast", referring to the EU's border security agency based in Warsaw.

Maroni has blamed the influx on the Tunisian authorities, saying they were unable to enforce bilateral accords on curbing illegal immigration after the weeks of protests and political turmoil in the country.

TAP, the official Tunisian news agency, said a young Tunisian migrant had drowned, and another was reported missing, when a boat carrying 12 people sank on Saturday off the coast of Tunisia, en route to Europe.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies                 

Hindraf car convoy arrested by police

Say No To Interlok - Hindraf

Police clamp down on HRP convoys, scores arrested

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.

NONEA member of the Malaysiakini citizen journalist programme covering the convoy in Selangor had her camera grabbed from her and was hit in the face by a man believed to be plainclothes police.

In Perak, police were said to be "very harsh" towards HRP members during the arrest.

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

The six in Perak who were detained - Perak HRP chief P Ramesh, his deputy N Subramaniam and four other Perak HRP members - were charged with obstructing police on duty.

NONEThey were released at about 3pm under police bail.

There were 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.

human rights party hindraf hrp convoy 4“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.
Twenty activists had just arrived from Brickfields when police officers stopped them and took them into custody. They are currently in the Travers police station.
NONEDuring 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.

human rights party hindraf hrp convoy 2Those 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.

Also 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 26 HRP activists who were arrested in Seremban and brought to the district police station there. Negeri Sembilan HRP chief S Sivakumar was among those held by the police.
Perkasa demonstration undisturbed
hindraf feb 27 march against interlok 030211 posterSeremban police chief ACP Saiful Azly Kamaruddin told Bernama that the group, including four children and four women, were arrested at 2.15pm as they did not have a permit.
HRP had yesterday expressed its fears of a crackdown after Perak police warned them not to proceed with the convoy.
Those detained at the Travers police station were released under police bail at about 9pm.

HRP officials informed Malaysiakini that those arrested in Seremban will be staying the night in the lock-up as they refused to remove their HRP T-shirts when instructed.
In a text message, pro-tem HRP secretary-general P Uthyakumar asked why members of Malay rights group Perkasa were not arrested when they held a demonstration in Seremban Square today.
When contacted, Perkasa Youth information chief Nurul Izham Anuar confirmed that its members had a protest gathering at the venue today.
He could not, however, offer any more details of the event.  

Mahathir given 7 days to name those he met

Karpal Singh became today the second DAP top leader after party advisor Lim Kit Siang to challenge claims by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad that he had met opposition leaders in 1987 and assured them they would not be placed under arrested.

Karpal, who is DAP national chairperson and member of parliament for Bukit Gelugor, said Mahathir's stand to that effect was “far away from the truth” and challenged the latter to name the opposition leaders that he met as well as the time and venue of the purported meeting.

“I state, with all the force at my command, that there was no such meeting,” said the veteran lawyer and politician, who was detained during 'Operation Lalang' under the Internal Security Act from late 1987 to early 1989.

“If Dr Mahathir does not respond to my challenge to him within seven days, it must be presumed that Dr Mahathir is not telling the truth... It is a very serious matter for a former prime minister to publicly lie,” Karpal added.

In the latest book on Mahathir by American journalist Tom Plate, the former premier was quoted as saying that he had actually met with opposition leaders to guarantee them they would not be prosecuted.

Mahathir told Plate that he had actually preferred to "handle it differently", but that the police had insisted on the arrests.

DAP supremo Lim had said four days ago: “I never met Mahathir and he never gave me any assurance that I would not be arrested before the launch of Operasi Lalang on Oct 27, 1987... let Mahathir name the opposition leaders he had met!”

In his statement today, Karpal said Mahathir's claim that it was the police who caused the detention of 106 people during Operation Lalang could not be true as it was Mahathir himself who signed the detention orders after the recommendations were made to him by the police following investigations.

“The police could not have forced Dr Mahathir to sign the detention orders at gun-point. Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir was then also Minister of Home Affairs and the police were directly under his charge, and not the other way around,” Karpal pointed out.

Furthermore, Karpal noted that following his release from ISA detention following his habeas corpus application on March 9, 1988, it was Mahathir himself who ordered his re-arrest and on April 16, 1988 signed the detention order for Karpal under the ISA.

As for former inspector-general of police Hanif Omar who backed Mahathir's claim that it was the police behind the detentions and not the then-premier, Karpal said this was “equally untruthful”.

“Tun Hanif should not add credence to Dr Mahathir's preposterous claim, nearly 24 years after Operation Lalang when, clearly, Dr Mahathir is not telling the truth.

“It is a shame that Tun Hanif should throw his dignity and self-respect to the winds just to please his former master who was responsible for his Tunship and heading Genting after his retirement,” said Karpal in reference to Hanif's honorary title and the multi-million ringgit gaming corporation of which Hanif was made a director.
Mahathir, however, yesterday reiterated his stand on his meeting with opposition leaders prior to Operation Lallang and accused DAP leaders, instead, of lying.

"They are lying. I have no reason to make that claim unless it had happened.

"But I don't expect the opposition leaders to be grateful of what the government has done especially if it came from me," he told journalists.

Police clamp down on HRP convoys, scores arrested

Merlimau tamil school, 40 years in the making

Nationwide swoop on Hindraf supporters

More than 70 people who had taken part in Hindraf's nationwide march against Umno had been arrested by the police for illegal assembly.

PETALING JAYA: The police embarked on a nationwide crackdown against Hindraf-Makkal Sakthi members who were participating in People’s March for Solidarity against Umno/BN.

FMT learnt that more than 70 Hindraf supporters had been arrested, including nine women and four schoolchildren.

The march – in the form of car convoys – started today in various states, each convoy ending in another destination in the respective states.

In Kuala Lumpur, the car convoy started at Brickfields this afternoon while in Selangor, it kicked off at Rawang at 9.30am. Similar convoys left their destinations in Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Kedah and Penang.

The police however were quick to swoop in the arrest those participating in these convoys, claiming that these people were taking part in illegal assembly. Some were arrested for obstructing the police from carrying out their duties.

The first group to be arrested were those involved in Perak. About six Hindraf members were arrested in Jelapang after leaving Buntong.

At about the same time, the Selangor police arrested about five Hindraf members, including Human Rights Party’s information chief S Jayathas at Rawang.

 They were taken to the Gombak police station for questioning.

Several other members of the Selangor convoy were also diverted to the Gombak police station. The remaining cars in the convoy had made their way to the Batu Caves temple where the Hindraf members are distributing leaflets for a massive rally planned at the KLCC on Feb 27.

In Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, the police arrested about 20 Hindraf supporters and had taken them to the Jalan Travers police station while 15 others were arrested in Seremban. Some Hindraf supporters were also arrested from the HRP headquarters in Bangsar.

In both Kedah and Johor, the car convoys were tailed by the police but so far no arrests have been made in these two states.

Feb 27 rally will proceed

HRP’s pro tem secretary general P Uthayakumar when contacted said: “Our lawyers have gone to the various police stations to bail out our supporters.”

He also said that the rally scheduled for the Feb 27 will proceed as planned.

“Our rally against Umno’s racism and the anti-Interlok rally will take take place as planned,” he said.
Uthayakumar also slammed the police over their double standards in not arresting any Malay nationalist movement Perkasa members who had protested against Hindraf in Seremban today.

In Perak, among those arrested included the state HRP chief  P Ramesh. His group was arrested following a cat-and-mouse game between the Hindraf members and the police.

He said the police told them that they were being arrested for moving in a convoy without a police permit. They were however released with a police bail of RM5,000 each.

After being released, Ramesh’s group lodged police reports against Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the controversial school literature book Interlok.

Safety and security reasons

Meanwhile in a Bernama report, the Negeri Sembilan police today confirmed that they had detained 26 Hindraf members, including six women and four children, who were involved in an illegal convoy of 16 cars in Seremban today.

Seremban police chief ACP Saiful Azly Kamaruddin said police had received information that an illegal convoy cars would be passing through the town today.

“Police started monitoring their activities from 1.35pm and detained the members when they reached the Jalan Zaaba traffic light near the Rahang police station at 2.15pm,” he told reporters here today.

He said police had initially spoken to the head of the convoy, R Sivakumar, 44, and told him that the convoy needed a permit and that it was illegal to carry on without a permit.

“However, our advise was not heeded but instead they continued and shouted ‘Hidup Hindraf’ in Tamil. We had no choice but to detain them due to safety and security reasons. They were also wearing T-shirts of the movement that has been deemed illegal by the government.

“We also detained 16 cars that displayed stickers “Say no to Interlok. They will be detained for further investigations,” he said.

Later tonight, the police confirmed that they have detained 59 Hindraf and  HRP members in Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur for staging illegal protests against ‘Interlok’.

A Bukit Aman spokesman said among those detained were 21 from Kuala Lumpur, five in Selangor, six in Perak and 26 in Negeri Sembilan.

“Similar protest convoys were also held in Kedah but no arrests were made. As of 7pm, police have only detained members in four states,” he told Bernama.

Gombak police chief ACP Abdul Rahim Abdullah also said that Jayathas was arrested for for behaving aggressively against the police
.
[Photos from HRP website. For further details visit the website]

‘Valentine’s Day is not a religious festival’

Harsh statements relating to Valentine's Day celebration to Christianity has riled religious scholars in the country.
KOTA KINABALU: A bishop irked by the misconception associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day has taken offence to Christianity being associated with ‘sinful’ behavior.

Bishop Ng Moon Hing who is the chairman of the executive committee of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) said Christians in Malaysia are deplored and hurt by several public statements made by an ustazah linking Valentine’s Day to ‘sin, Christianity and immorality’.

“In a recent statement made by the PAS Youth leader, quoting a statement by the National Fatwa Council, there was also an insinuation that Valentine’s Day has some Christian elements and sin, which can be interpreted to mean that Christianity condones and promotes sinful activities on Valentine’s Day,” he noted.
He said it was a false impression that Valentine’s Day which is commemorated worldwide on Feb 14, is a religious festival although it is linked to to a Roman Catholic saint.

He said nothing can be further from the truth and criticised a programme aired on national television and circulated on YouTube where the ustazah has said:  “maksiat, disco, couple-couple bersunyi sunyian, inilah tradisi masyarakat yang beragama Kristian” (that vices, disco-going and couples meeting in quiet places are the traditions of the Christians).

“Valentine’s Day is a secular celebration and statements which promote feelings of ill-will and hostility against any particular religious community cannot and should not be tolerated,” he said.

Ng urged those who have the capacity to make public statements that are carried on national television to be professional enough to conduct a scholarly research on what they are going to say.

“Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries today and not just in the West.

“It is not a Christian festival celebrated by the church. The earliest records indicate that a feast was dedicated to St Valentine on Feb 14 by Pope Gelasius I, as a martyr of Rome, ” Ng said.

CFM against moral policing
But details of the saint’s background are vague and much of the writings about him have been the stuff of legends and especially romanticised during the Middle Ages.

“The association with love and marriage may have arisen as part of popular culture at that time rather than as religious literature.

“The Catholic Church has removed the memorial of his feast since the promulgation of the new Roman liturgical calendar in the year 1969 (although his name remains on the list of saints and martyrs).

“In place of this commemoration, the feast of two revered saints of the Eastern Church, St Cyril and St Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs, are celebrated on Feb 14.

“Today, Christians do not commemorate Valentine’s Day as a religious festival. Its celebration by the public is very much within the domain of secular culture and has nothing to do with the Christian faith,” Ng further explained.

According to him CFM does not believe in nor practice the moral policing of individuals and groups in our society.

“The Church in Malaysia has always advocated that we should educate and teach the beliefs and tenets of our faith and live by them rather than to be engaged in spying upon and arresting Malaysians presumed to be engaged in alleged immoral activities.

“The Bible espouses love and hence CFM invites all Christians to express the love of God in their families, with their spouses and their loved ones and also with people from the various communities in Malaysia not only on this special day but throughout the year,” he added.

Individual choice
Ustazah Siti Nor Bahyah Mahmood, 47, a year ago made a remark during an Islamic educational programme aired on TV9, which is owned by the Umno-linked media conglomerate Media Prima, that Muslims should not emulate the sinful Christians.

In the online clip of her remarks, Siti claimed that it was the Christians who normally indulged in vice, such as frequenting discos and dating.

“Selalunya buat maksiat, pergi disko… couple, couple, bersunyi-sunyian, ini adalah tradisi bagi masyarakat yang beragama Kristian bukan agama Islam…,” she had said.

The video, which had been viewed more than 80,000 times, also had the ustazah warning Muslims that celebrating Valentine’s Day would mean “supporting Christianity and the English”

Meanwhile Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Thomas Philips had said no religion should be belittled due to a lack of understanding.

“We should not belittle any religion just because we don’t understand it.

“Her comments were not in context as she wrongly understood that Valentine’s Day was a Christian festival,” he said adding that Christians, like others, too know what’s right and wrong.

“Valentine’s Day is a day where people express their love, I don’t see what’s wrong with letting people have that freedom. It’s all individual choices and we should be above all this,” Philips said.

Following the furore over the ustazah’s comment, TV9 yesterday said it regretted the comments made by Siti Nor.

“Since the incident, we have been more vigilant in monitoring the content of our programmes. We want to ensure that our programmes do not offend or create potential sensitive content for any quarters of the society,” said Ahmad Izham Omar, the chief operating officer of Media Prima.

Muslims warned against Valentine’s Day

A fatwa issued by the country's top clerics six years ago noted the day "is associated with elements of Christianity”.

KUALA LUMPUR: As couples around the world ready for Valentine’s Day, Islamic officials here have warned Muslims against celebrating something “synonymous with vice activities.”

The warning follows plans announced last week by several Malaysian states who are planning a crackdown on “immoral acts” during Valentine’s Day as part of a campaign to encourage a sin-free lifestyle.

“In reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine’s Day is synonymous with vice activities,” Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which oversees the country’s Islamic policies, told state media.

“Islam would reject anything, even from the Eastern culture, if it contravenes the Islamic teachings,” he added.

Wan Mohamad said a fatwa issued by the country’s top clerics six years ago noted the day “is associated with elements of Christianity,” and “we just cannot get involved with other religion’s worshipping rituals.”

Jakim officials will carry out a nationwide ‘Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap’ campaign, he said, aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating the day.

Immorality checks

Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi, head of the Islamic party PAS’s youth wing said Wednesday that authorities in the opposition-controlled northern states of Kedah, Penang and Kelantan as well as central Selangor state will also carry out “immorality checks” on Feb 14.

PAS is part of the opposition alliance that won control of the four states in 2008 elections. Its conservative stance has caused friction with its two partners including the liberal and ethnic Chinese-based DAP.

“We have identified spots in these states which are used by lovers and we are deploying local religious department officials as well as party members to stop such sinful acts like casual sex, which violates Islam,” he told AFP.

Catholic church leaders say the day, which is named after Christian martyr Saint Valentine, does not have much significance as it was deleted from the church’s calendar of saints in 1969.

They say the day is more commonly associated with people expressing their love for each other by sending flowers and chocolates or exchanging greeting cards.

- AFP