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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kuala Selangor — the tsunami’s end

Selvimari (third from left) and her son, Eswaran, (left) have been unable to get ICs. Her other children, Gayathri (second from right) and Ling Soong Peng have proper documents. — All pictures by Sheridan Mahavera
KUALA SELANGOR, Feb 23 — Letchmy Ponasamy has not heard of a political tsunami. Neither has her friend Selvimari. The change that it was supposed to bring did not reach their village of Sungai Yu, Kuala Selangor.  Letchmy and Selvimari do not have identity cards. Nor do Lecthmy’s four children and Selvi’s middle child. The women cannot get jobs and their IC-less children have never attended school.
According to charity worker Timothy Ratnam Subramaniam, this is a still common problem among the scores of Indian Malaysian families living deep in the oil palm plantations of Kuala Selangor.
Evangelical catch-phrases like “People First, Performance Now” and “Ketuanan Rakyat” feel empty when you come face-to-face with cases like Letchmy and Selvi.
And theirs is not uncommon even in Selangor, Malaysia’s richest, most-industrialised state. A state taken over by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in 2008 and which Barisan Nasional (BN) is fighting tooth and claw to regain.
The people in Petaling Jaya, Klang, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam may have felt change in their lives. But in places like Kuala Selangor, things have stood still despite it “changing hands”.  
Letchmy (left) and her children, (from left) Esther, Grace, Daniel, and Sarah are still hoping that they will one day have identity cards.
Shackled by poverty  Letchmy has tried to bring her case to a local politician. She claimed to have gone to see one not too long ago to highlight her plight. 
“But he told me that my area fell under Tanjung Karang so I had to go apply there,” said the 41-year-old in Tamil to Timothy Ratnam, of the Light of Life Association.
“Problem is, how is she going to get transport to Tanjung Karang?” asked Timothy Ratnam.
The only person who has gone to the ramshackle hut which is their home, is a Welfare Department officer who took down the family’s details. That was over a year ago.
Letchmy’s children — Grace, 19, Sarah, 17, Daniel, 5 and Esther, 2 — have never gone to school. 
No one has visited Selvimari, 25. She and her five-year-old son Eswaran do not have ICs. Only her nine-year-old daughter, Ling Soong Peng (from a previous marriage) and Gayathri, 3, do.
Timothy Ratnam explained that when Selvi had Eswaran, her husband, Murugan Thagavel, did not yet have an IC. So they could not register their son’s birth.
The two women told The Malaysian Insider that their families’ future lies in them getting this crucial document.
“Kalau esok saya dapat IC saya mesti kerja. Tak kisah kerja kecil ka, keras ka, (If I get my IC tomorrow, I will definitely work. Doesn’t matter if the job is small or hard)” said Letchmy.
An officer with Bukit Malawati State Assemblyman M. Mutthiah Pillay’s service centre has promised to look into their cases.
Though its days as a fort and administrative centre are over, the lighthouse at Bukit Malawati still steers ships passing through the Straits of Malacca.
A familiar tale of lost opportunity  Kuala Selangor’s urban centre is the state constituency of Bukit Melawati. The area gets its name from the historic hill which is the old administrative seat of the Selangor royal house. 
The hill is a treasure trove of storied landmarks. Together, they tell of the beginnings of the Selangor Royal house, as well as the rise and fall of the Dutch, the English and the Japanese colonial powers who occupied the hill.
Yet most of the tourists to Bukit Malawati will not know that tale, said Zulkifli Kassim, who sells ice cream and snacks on the hill.
“There are no official tour guides to lead travellers around the sights. So tourists come up to the museum and lighthouse, and they wander around aimlessly,” said Zulkifli, who has been in business for the past 12 years.
It is a common problem of ancient areas all over the country, from Johor Lama to Lembah Bujang to Bukit Malawati — no one with the over-arching vision of how to stitch together separate but related sites into one compelling package.
A building contractor feels that this missed opportunity to capitalise on the potential of Bukit Malawati and Kuala Selangor as a whole, is what differentiates the BN administration from PR’s.
“The transition from BN to PR disrupted Kuala Selangor’s development. There’s not as much business from tourism even though it’s strategic.
“We have Bukit Malawati, the kelip-kelip (fireflies) and Pulau Angsa. All close by. But no one is taking advantage of them,” said the 44-year-old, who declined to be named.     
The most common complaint from residents was the lack of well-paying jobs in Kuala Selangor. A sign perhaps of the yearning for the type of environment-changing, physical development projects that BN governments usually bring.  
Residents hope the new Tesco hypermarket will pump growth into Kuala Selangor's sluggish economy, even if it displaces small mom-and-pop stores.
A fondness for a factory  You can see this yearning when residents speak fondly of the “Sankyo” electronics factory which used to be sited not far from Kuala Selangor’s new Tesco hypermarket.
“They used to have at least 2,000 workers, operating three shifts a day. It was here for almost 10 years. People bought new houses and cars with the money they were making there,” said one stationery shop owner.
Another shop keeper in the old town talked of the factory as if it was the lifeline for businesses like his, “The workers bought everything from TVs to mattresses.”
When the factory and some other smaller ones in Kuala Selangor closed down about nine years ago, business suffered and never went back up.
“Thank God Tesco opened up. It might not be all that good for my shop but at least the people here can find jobs,” said the 52-year-old.   
But even with the slew of new shops sprouting up in the commercial lots facing Tesco, the jobs on offer have not been all that good.
“The salaries in Kuala Selangor are low,” said a snack and drinks seller in his 20s who set up shop near the hypermarket. “If you work in one of factories here, you’ll probably only earn about RM800 even after five years.”
His wife, who mans the stall with him, knows many people from their village in Kampung Kuantan who commute every day from their villages to factories in Petaling Jaya and Klang.
“You have to go out of Kuala Selangor to find work which pays decently.” she said.
Mutthiah admits that Kuala Selangor needs to boost its economy to raise living standards and lift its people out of poverty.
“We’re working with the district office to spur small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We’re building stalls near a fisherman’s wharf in Sungai Selangor to sell seafood products and giving out more small trading licences.
“We’re also lowering the rent in commercial lots that the state government owns to encourage more people to open business and we’re launching a micro-credit scheme next year.
“But it’s difficult. The last big industry left years ago and others are reluctant to open up because of the economy,” Mutthiah said when contacted. 
Besides the historic landmarks and gorgeous views, Bukit Malawati is also famous for its incredibly friendly and non-aggressive silver-leaf monkeys.
Staying in a place that stands still Yet it is not all doom and gloom. Ever since the Kuala Selangor district office took over management of the famous firefly sanctuary in Kampung Kuantan, the increase in tourists has helped create side incomes for many village youth.
The small jetty swarms with visitors on weekends and school holidays and youths like from Kampung Kuantan and surrounding villages will find part time work as boatmen, said Kampung Tanjung Siam headman Yusof Mohamad.
Though the Selangor government has not brought in any grand projects, the state-wide free water scheme is a great help for low-income families, Yusof continued.
“For people living in the village the few ringgit saved from not paying for water each month is very much noticed,” he said. 
But Yusof admits that the desire for growth is strong among residents. “Our standard of living has improved a bit.
“There’s still poverty but at least there isn’t too much suffering. We can still put our kids to school but we need to grow.”
The couple who sells snacks near Tesco are ambivalent about their prospects in Kuala Selangor’s current economy.
After all, they had gone into business themselves because they felt it was better than slaving in a job that paid peanuts.
“At the end of the day, this place is still a kampung”, said the wife in that unique way many villagers think of their homes — as a changeless place that they return to someday but which they need to leave in order to better themselves.

Police continue pressure on hindraf's interlok campaign

Interior minister resigns rather than carry out Gadhafi orders

Tobruk, Libya (CNN) -- Libya's interior minister said Wednesday he has quit the government and is supporting the protesters, who he predicted will achieve victory in "days or hours."

Ex-Interior Minister Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi told CNN that he resigned Monday after hearing that some 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi during the prior two to three days. He accused Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi of planning to attack civilians on a wide scale.

"Gadhafi told me he was planning on using airplanes against the people in Benghazi, and I told him that he will have thousands of people killed if he does that," Abidi said in an Arabic-language telephone interview conducted Wednesday.

Abidi said he now supports the people and the revolution.

He called Gadhafi "a stubborn man" who will not give up. "He will either commit suicide or he will get killed," said Abidi, who said he has known him since 1964.

Abidi predicted the revolution will succeed "in a matter of days or hours," and he called on Libyan security forces "to join the people in the intifada." Already, he said, "many members" of the security forces had defected, including those in the capital, Tripoli.

He said the entire eastern part of the country is no longer under Gadhafi's control and that security forces there have orders to never open fire on the people unless forced to do so in self-defense.

The Libyan ambassador to the United States, Ali Aujali, also called for Gadhafi to resign, joining a chorus of Libyan officials, including the deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who say they now work for the Libyan people, not for Gadhafi.

Among them was the Libyan ambassador to Bangladesh, A.H. Elimam, who resigned to side with pro-democracy protesters, said BSS, the official news agency of Bangladesh, citing a Foreign Ministry official Tuesday.

Their announcements came eight days into protests that have cost Gadhafi control of eastern Libya and the support of other prominent Libyan officials worldwide and hours after Gadhafi delivered a defiant, rambling speech Tuesday, refusing calls to step down.

"This is my country, the country of my grandfathers," Gadhafi said in remarks carried live on Libyan state television. He vowed to die "a martyr" in his country.

Blaming the unrest on "rats" who are "agents" of foreign intelligence services, Gadhafi said people found to be cooperating with outside forces fomenting discord and those who carry weapons against the country will be executed.

The 68-year-old leader, who has been in power for nearly 42 years, spoke from a compound that U.S. warplanes bombed in 1986, the Jamahiriya News Agency of Libya reported. The United States attacked the compound after implicating Libya in a discotheque bombing in West Berlin that resulted in the deaths of two U.S. service members.

Libyan state TV described the crowds on the streets who were watching Gadhafi's speech as his supporters; an opposition leader said they had been dragged onto the streets.

Some students at Tripoli's Academy of Graduate Studies were offered free master's degrees if they joined Gadhafi supporters in Green Square, a source said. Some people in Tripoli were offered money to put pictures of Gadhafi on their cars and go to Green Square, the source said.

A government spokesman, speaking on television, said Libyans were returning to their usual routine. "A sense of normalcy is returning," he said. "Some provisions are becoming shorter, but things will return to normalcy within a short period -- maybe a few days."

He said Libyan authorities have asked those tribe members who have attacked barracks and police stations to return the weapons they had taken "because security and safety will return to normal."

Referring to reports that the military had attacked civilians, he said, "We have reports and evidence they are not using arms unless against those who attacked the barracks."

The spokesman said U.S. and Israeli intelligence operatives were behind the unrest. "We will get rid of them, in collaboration with our people in the eastern province," he said.

Despite such claims and even as he called on Libyans who "love and support him" to take to the streets and demonstrate for him, Gadhafi's grip on power appeared to be weakening.

In eastern Libya, groups of armed people wearing civilian clothing were guarding the streets as opposition leaders seemed to be in firm control, CNN's Ben Wedeman reported. Wedeman was the first Western television correspondent to enter and report from Libya during the crisis.

As Wedeman and his crew were entering the country, a young man at the border in civilian clothing and toting an AK-47 asked them for their passports. "For what?" responded Wedeman's driver. "There is no government. What is the point?" They then drove in.

On the Libyan side, there were "no officials, no passport control, no customs," Wedeman reported.

After meeting Tuesday in an emergency summit, the Arab League issued a statement suspending Libya's participation in the body's meetings and all the group's agencies. The statement called for the immediate cessation of violence and condemned what it called crimes against protesters and peaceful strikers in Libya.

It also asked Libyan authorities to lift the ban imposed on the media, to open communications and telephone networks and to ensure the delivery of emergency medical aid to the wounded.

The U.N. Security Council met Tuesday in private -- the group's first meeting since the wave of protests began rippling through Arab countries several weeks ago -- and then issued a statement condemning the violence in Libya.

It called on authorities "to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law and to allow immediate access to international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies."

Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said the statement "was not strong enough, but I think it is a good message to the regime in Libya about stopping the bloodshed."

Dabbashi said Monday that the death toll could be as high as 800.

Human Rights Watch said Monday that at least 233 people have been killed during the unrest. CNN has been in contact with medics and witnesses in Libya, whose accounts appear to corroborate the Human Rights Watch report.

The rights group said Tuesday that witnesses in Tripoli "have described Libyan forces firing 'randomly' at protesters" this week and that sources from two hospitals in Tripoli reported at least 62 bodies being taken to their morgues since February 20.

Witnesses have told CNN that helicopter gunships fired into crowds of protesters.

Libya's government denied it was turning its air force against civilians. Gadhafi's second-oldest son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, told the state news agency Jamahiriya the warplanes were targeting weapons depots in remote areas.

But one witness, who agreed to be identified only as Adam, said helicopters landed troops "armed to the teeth" in Tripoli's Green Square on Monday.

"They have been using aerial tactics, along with men on the ground, to disperse and shoot indiscriminately into crowds," he said. The force included both government troops and mercenaries working for Gadhafi, he said. Residents responded by barricading themselves in their homes and setting up makeshift checkpoints to keep cars full of gunmen out of their neighborhoods.

On Tuesday evening, some anti-government protesters began trying to gather in Tripoli and were fired on by people on foot wearing plainclothes, a witness said. The sounds of "nonstop bullets" could be heard throughout the capital, which the source described as "electronic firing." At least some of the firing seemed to be coming from Green Square, the source said.

Red cars drove through the streets of Tripoli and fired indiscriminately at people, a source in the capital said.

Residents of Tripoli reported Tuesday a food shortage, gunfire and intimidation by security forces.

Security forces cordoned off the Fashloom suburb of the capital and were shooting people on the streets, including those who were trying to retrieve bodies, said Mohamed Abdallah, spokesman for the National Front for the Salvation of Libya opposition group. Abdallah attributed the information to four witnesses on the ground.

An opposition figure said some people were told the bodies of their loved ones would not be released unless they signed a form saying the person had died in surgery.

CNN could not immediately confirm reports for most areas. The Libyan government maintains tight control on communications and has not responded to repeated requests for access to the country. But CNN has interviewed numerous witnesses by phone.

In eastern Libya, where Wedeman was reporting, residents said hundreds of mercenaries from sub-Saharan Africa had been killed or captured while fighting for Gadhafi, but much of the army appeared to have switched over to anti-government forces.

In Tobruk, demonstrators chanted the same slogans that were heard in recent days in Tunis, Tunisia, and Cairo, Egypt: "The people want to topple the regime!" Here, the old Libyan flag now flies over the main square. The police station, a hated symbol of Gadhafi's rule, has been ransacked. Other buildings were sacked, but banks and some other installations appeared untouched.

People in Tobruk were threatening to cut off the export of oil from eastern Libya "unless this massacre is stopped immediately," local leader Abdallah Sharif told CNN.

But a U.S official with access to U.S. intelligence told CNN "little to no disruption of Libyan oil production" has been seen as a result of the unrest.

And Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman, who was attending the International Energy Forum in Saudi Arabia, said U.S. officials had seen no evidence of an oil shortage. "We believe there is a lot of product in the market," he said.

Still, the senior source close to the Libyan government said ammunition depots had been attacked and ammunition and guns were "everywhere." The source said the country was fighting "Islamic extremists."

The unrest in Libya has been fueled by protesters demanding freedom and decrying high unemployment.

Even as Gadhafi tried to hold on to power, he attracted the ire of increasing numbers of Libyans worldwide.

About 250 protesters stormed into the Libyan Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Tuesday, chanting and calling for Gadhafi to step down, a counselor at the embassy said. Osama Ahmed said most of the protesters were Libyan students studying in Malaysia. The protests were peaceful, he said.

A top Libyan diplomat stationed in China said Tuesday he had resigned in protest of his government's crackdown on protesters and called on Gadhafi to step down and leave the country.

Hussein Sadiq al Musrati, who was the second secretary in the Libyan mission to Beijing before stepping down four days ago, joined about 20 students and protesters in front of the Libyan Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday. Demonstrators held signs that read, "The game is over. Get out ... you're finished."

Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Libyan "military firing on its own people, killing its own people is absolutely unacceptable." The situation "needs to be resolved peacefully," he said.

CNN's Richard Roth, Waffa Munayyer, Pam Benson, Ben Brumfield, Amir Ahmed, Ingrid Formanek, Eve Bower, Salma Abdelaziz, Mitra Mobasherat and Jaime FlorCruz and journalist Natalino Fenech contributed to this report

Video : 8 Hindraf Activists arrested by UMNO Police in Simpang Ampat,Penang!

Gordon Brown’s sis-in-law behind anti-Taib campaign, says report

Taib’s alleged empire was the focus of the London duo’s operations. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Radio Free Sarawak, an independent radio station that has been critical of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, is being broadcast by former British prime minister Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law and a Dayak from London, according to a report by the London Evening Standard.

The tabloid revealed yesterday that Claire Rewcastle Brown is also the author of Sarawak Report, until now an anonymous blog that targets the Barisan Nasional (BN) government in the state and receives 18,000 hits a day.

The daily said that Rewcastle Brown and Peter John Jaban, known as Papa Orang Utan by his listeners, have decided to reveal their identities ahead of state polls that are expected to be held in April.

Her work, she said, is about “giving the 2.5 million oppressed people of Sarawak a choice.”

Rewcastle Brown, 51, was born in Sarawak to British parents before the former British colony was handed over to Malaysia, lived in the region until the age of eight, said the paper.

The unlikely duo broadcast from a flat above a restaurant in Covent Garden, located in the heart of London, to Sarawak, over 10,000km away.

Their aim is no less outlandish: To expose the alleged corruption of Abdul Taib, who has ruled over Sarawak for 30 years.

The London Evening Standard visited their studio where the tattooed tribesman Jaban was interviewing a village headman who has been forcibly removed from his land and was speaking to them on a mobile phone from the edge of the Borneo rainforest.

Rewcastle Brown briefed Jaban: “Make sure you ask if he knows that it’s chief minister Taib who has stolen their land? And get who he’ll be voting for!”

The paper said that the two had kept their identities secret over fears that Taib, 74, said to be one of the world’s most ruthless and wealthiest men — richer allegedly than the Sultan of Brunei, whose independent country lies alongside — would seek them out with “the full force of his retribution.”

“English is still the unifying language in Sarawak and I use my blog and broadcasts to expose the outrageous deforestation which has seen 95 per cent of Sarawak’s rainforest cut down and replaced by logging and palm oil plantations which have enriched Taib and his family,” Rewcastle Brown said.

“What’s more, my investigations indicate some of the Taib family money is right here in London and includes a lucrative property portfolio in the heart of our capital.

“The leader of the opposition party, a charismatic human rights lawyer called Baru Bian, inspires hope of real change in the upcoming election, but scandalously only one-third of the electorate are registered to vote and the corrupt Malaysian government turn a blind eye because Taib always delivers them Sarawak, their richest state,” she said of the Sarawak PKR chief.

She said their decision to go public was prompted by death threats posted to Sarawak Report and by the mysterious fatality of her chief whistleblower in the US.

“Before Christmas, Taib’s disaffected US aide Ross Boyert was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room with a plastic bag around his head. The inquest is still pending but there was a sense that Peter and I could be in danger. Rather than hide, we’ve decided to come out fighting,” she told the London Evening Standard.

“The irony is that Taib and his people think we’re a huge operation but there are just five of us with a couple of laptops and a mixer. Advances in MP3 technology mean that these days shortwave radio is cheap and easy to do.

“We’ve been so effective that Taib’s people believe we’re funded by George Soros, whose foundation funds Radio Free Burma,” she said, referring to the billionaire US financier.

Her outfit — started in October from the dining room of her loft in Victoria where she lives “in shabby dilapidation” with her husband Andrew and their two teenage children — costs less than £10,000 (RM49,000) a month, she said.

Initially she funded it herself but she has since roped in some “better-off friends” who help out “anonymously”.

“Not Gordon,” she said, referring to the former British PM. “His support is strictly moral!”

Her passionate dedication to a cause 99 per cent of Londoners have never heard of sometimes creates strains, she admitted, with friends and family.

“But I honestly believe that Taib is probably one of the worst environmental criminals on the planet and that he has taken huge amounts from the country of my birth,” she said.

“He never saw me coming. When he set up his property companies in 1982, he could never have imagined that some mad woman sitting in her kitchen in London would unravel his property empire simply by scrutinising company reports online,” she added.

As an investigative journalist who started with the BBC World Service in 1983, she is better equipped than most to uncover the wealth of the Mahmud family, wrote the LES.

“My investigations have indicated that Taib and his family have a property empire in Canada, the US and the UK. Funds have been generated by Taib selling off rainforests with some of the money going through the British Virgin Islands,” she said.

The London Evening Standard put these allegations to those who are behind the companies and they were denied.

Rewcastle Brown’s passion for the rainforests of Sarawak was kindled as a child when she accompanied her mother, Karis, a midwife, into the jungle. Back then, Sarawak had the most diverse rainforest in the world with 3,000 species of trees, 15,000 plants, 420 birds and 221 mammals, said the report.

“My mother would drag me to remote clinics to show the indigenous Dayaks what a healthy baby should look like.

“Everyone in those villages sleeps in one long-house and my mother frequently saved the lives of their sick babies. As a kid, my first friends were the local children and we used to climb trees and run barefoot, dodging the odd scorpion,” she recalled.

The article added that her family came to the UK when Rewcastle Brown was eight and she attended a private boarding school and later finished her masters in international relations at the LSE.

It would be 38 years before she returned to Sarawak on a media trip where the degradation of the rainforest — so evident from the air — shocked her to the core.

In 2008, she went back to report on a by-election and secretly filmed companies clearing rainforest for oil palm.

That was when she “fell into a peat bog and nearly died”, and it was also when she met Jaban, 46, an election monitor fired from Taib’s state-controlled radio for allowing callers to criticise the chief minister.

Last year, she invited Jaban to become the voice of Radio Free Sarawak in London. It was a drastic step because it meant that while Taib stayed in power, Jaban can never go back, the LES said.

“I miss my four children, I miss my home,” Jaban said, tears streaming.

“I am prepared to die for this cause,” he added. “In the days of my grandfather, you had to bring a decent clutch of heads as a sign of your masculinity when you got married. Today things have changed but you still have to be a man.”

What are their chances of success?

“People say our man hasn’t got a prayer in the election and that Taib will intimidate voters as he always does but I think our reports are having a huge effect and that there’s a groundswell for change.

“You’ve got to take heart from what is happening in the Middle East to rulers who seemed equally immovable until just a few weeks ago,” she responded.

No longer stateless, Indians hope for change in fortunes

The government has instituted a special task force to address the Indian community’s issues. — file pic
 
ANALYSIS, Feb 23 — In just two days, 5,000 Malaysian Indians have registered with the National Registration Department (NRD) in the MyDaftar campaign and now hope to see the government resolve their woes.

An estimated 40,000 stateless people born in the country — mostly Indians — will have until the end of the month to apply for official documents, without which they have been unable to find legal work, purchase property or open bank accounts.

The challenge now is for the MIC and the government to resolve their woes in a positive and proactive manner so that they need not live on the fringes of society as they have all these years.

Although born in Malaysia, they were rendered stateless because they or their parents did not register the births or apply for identify cards and other documents within the stipulated time.

Due to their or their parent’s apathy, abject poverty and illiteracy, these individuals have lived and suffered on society’s edges and form a vulnerable group among the Indian minority, whose plight has hogged the headlines for many years in the Tamil newspapers and contributed to the community’s deep sense of marginalisation.

But the government together with the MIC has begun a concerted eight-day nationwide campaign that kicked off last Saturday and runs till February 28, to find these individuals and register their needs and, hopefully, resolve their woes within six months from today.

This is the most proactive campaign ever to resolve this problem in a concerted manner and involves all 85 National Registration Department offices in the country in co-operation with Indian NGOs, MIC divisions and officials aided by a concerted publicity blitz in Tamil newspapers.

The response has been overwhelming, with long lines of people outside major NRD offices in the country since Saturday.

The political significance of the campaign, at least among the most vulnerable in the Indian community, is obvious as their plight has come to symbolise the community’s anger with the government.

The challenge now is for the government and the Special Cabinet Task Force for the Indian community — headed by Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam — to not let the issue fester any further, but instead to speedily resolve it.

With official documents, this group can take their place as rightful citizens of society and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, and the community’s sense of marginalisation can finally see closure.

The perception of marginalisation had heavily influenced the community’s voting pattern in favour of the Pakatan Rakyat in the 2008 general election.

The failure to hold official documents has a domino effect on the individuals and the community at large because it perpetuates poverty by denying individuals proper careers and education, and fuels anger at perceived discrimination.

To counter the trend, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, on taking power in April 2009, had promised to set up a special Cabinet committee for Indians and resolve long standing issues in a proactive manner.

One of the issues he had singled out is the lack of birth certificates and identity cards amongst the Tamil working class.

Now that registration has been a success, the challenge is to resolve their woes and see to it that they get official documents that would go a long way to alleviate their deep sense of official neglect.

Religious officer picked as BN candidate for Kerdau by-election

Kuala Krau Umno division vice-head Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad will lead the BN charge in the Kerdau by-election.

TEMERLOH: Kuala Krau Umno division vice-head Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad is the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Kerdau state by-election in Pahang.

Deputy Prime Minister and BN deputy chairman Muhyiddin Yassin made the announcement before more than 4,000 BN supporters at Dataran Sri Ketumbit, near here.

Syed Ibrahim, 44, who is a special religious officer to the Pahang menteri besar, is a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, and hails from Kerdau.

Muhyiddin said Syed Ibrahim was selected by the Umno top leadership after he had undergone screening at the Umno divisional and state levels.

“Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak decided on the candidate two days ago,” he said.

The Kerdau seat fell vacant on Feb 12 following the death of the assemblyman, Zaharuddin Abu Kassim of the BN.

The Election Commission (EC) has set Feb 26 for nomination and March 6 for polling.

Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob, MCA deputy president Liow Tiong Lai, MIC president G Palanivel, Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon and PPP president M Kayveas were among those present at the announcement of the candidate.

Muhyiddin asked for the candidate to be accepted with sincerity and in the spirit of unity.

Earlier, the deputy prime minister called on Zaharuddin’s widow, Rozlifah Ahmad, 33, and his five children at the family house here and conveyed his condolences.

- Bernama

Respect people’s rights, Suhakam tells ROS

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Limiting the number of societies and restricting new applications are inconsistent with the principles of human rights, said Suhakam yesterday.

Its chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said this in expressing the national human rights organisation’s concern over the Registrar of Society’s (ROS) recommendation that the number of political parties be capped at 33.

“The will of the people forms the basis of the Government’s authority, thus the citizens have the right to select their representatives.”

He said the right to take part in Government was enshrined in Article 119 of the Federal Constitution and Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While the ROS had the discretion whether to approve or refuse an application for registration under the Societies Act 1966, Hasmy said that limiting the number and restricting new applications were inconsistent with the principles of human rights as these curtailed the right to form an association and the right to freedom of expression.

He said Suhakam had recommended in its 2007 annual report that the ROS’ exercise of powers should be proportional to the purpose of the Act and be transparent.

Among others, it had also recommended a review of Section 5 which gives the minister absolute discretion to declare a society unlawful and for applicants to be given the right to be heard.

Kedah Gerakan youth chief Tan Keng Liang said that control on the number of political parties would only result in the formation of illegal political movements, reports P. ARUNA.

“I don’t see how the existence of more parties could be a threat to the people and the country,” he said, in urging the Government to reject the ROS proposal.

Hindraf invites UN to monitor Feb 27 rally

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has requested for observers from the United Nations (UN) to monitor its 'People's March in Solidarity Against Umno's Racism' this Sunday.
The march will start from the KLCC at 9am, and end at the Dang Wangi Police station.
The demonstration is to protest against Interlok, the controversial novel that Form Five students use as a compulsory literature text.
NONEHindraf national information coordinator, S Jayathas (third from left), said that it would only be fair if the UN were to to witness how the protestors were being handled by the police.
He was speaking at the UN office in Kuala Lumpur.
"The UN will see that we are running a peaceful demonstration."

Jayathas added that the police have yet to reply regarding their application for a police permit submitted on Feb 11.

Asked to comment on Ibrahim Ali Perkasa president lodging a police report against Hindraf today, he replied:
"Perkasa is under the Umno. If they were to report to the police, everyone pays attention and action is taken. If they were to run a demo, nothing happens, no one is arrested.
"When we make a police report, the response is slow. When others - like us - demonstrate, we get arrested.

On Feb 13, the police detained 59 people nationwide who were travelling in Hindraf organised convoys. There have been with allegations of rough treatment by the police.
Request for UN to intervene
Jayathas has also submitted a letter urging the UN to intervene in the 'Interlok' issue.
It was received by Devendran Patel, United Nation's Security Advisor for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
He explained that the book was not appropriate for use in school as it portrayed Indians negatively.
The novel, by national laureate Abdullah Hussein, became a controversial issue following the ministry's decision to use the novel as a literature textbook, with several parties claiming that it contains words deemed demeaning to the Indian community.
Education Minister MuhyiddinYassin had announced on Jan 27 that the novel will remain as the textbook for the literature component of the Bahasa Malaysia subject for Form Five, but with amendments to those parts deemed offensive by the Indian community.
Jayathas said he wants Unesco to intervene in this issue as it degrades the Indian and Chinese community.
"The book has nothing but racial slurs and it stereotypes the two races," he said, adding that the novel would only divide the peaceful Malaysian nation.
Jayathas added the anti-Interlok forum is still on schedule.

"Tonight we will run the forum at the Mahamariamman Temple at Ladang Bukit Jalil near Puchong and the last day of forum is at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tomorrow.

Defiant Gaddafi vows to fight on

In televised speech, Libyan leader blames youths inspired by regional events for uprising and vows to die a "martyr".


Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, has vowed to fight on and die a "martyr", calling on his supporters to take back the streets from protesters demanding his ouster, shouting and pounding his fist in a furious speech on state TV.

Gaddafi, clad in brown robes and turban, spoke on Tuesday from a podium set up in the entrance of a bombed-out building that appeared to be his Tripoli residence hit by US air raids in the 1980s and left unrepaired as a monument of defiance.

"I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents ... I will die as a martyr at the end," he said.

"Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution, I am not a president to step down ... This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his post."

"I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired ... when I do, everything will burn."

He called on supporters to take to the streets to attack protesters. "You men and women who love Gaddafi ...get out of your homes and fill the streets," he said. "Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs ... Starting tomorrow the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them."

Gaddafi said "peaceful protests is one thing, but armed rebellion is another".

"From tonight to tomorrow, all the young men should form local committees for popular security," he said, telling them to wear a green armband to identify themselves. "The Libyan people and the popular revolution will control Libya."

The speech, which appeared to have been taped earlier, was aired on a screen to hundreds of supporters massed in Tripoli's central Green Square.

At times the camera panned out to show a towering gold-coloured monument in front of the building, showing a fist crushing a fighter jet with an American flag on it - a view that also gave the strange image of Gaddafi speaking alone from behind a podium in the building's dilapidated lobby, with no audience in front of him.

Speech highlights

Shouting in the rambling speech, Gaddafi declared himself "a warrior" and proclaimed: "Libya wants glory, Libya wants to be at the pinnacle, at the pinnacle of the world".

Among the other points made by Gaddafi in his speech:

He called on the people to catch what he called drugged young people and bring them to justice.

He called on the people to "cleanse Libya house by house" unless protesters on the streets surrendered.

He warned that instability in Libya "will give al-Qaeda a base".

He cited the examples of attack on Russian parliament and China's crushing of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, saying that the international community did not interfere.

He said he could do the same in Derna and Bayda.

He offered a new constitution starting from Wednesday, but this would come with dialogue, not by collaboration with the enemy.

He blamed the uprising on Islamists who wanted to create another Afghanistan, and warned that those in Bayda and Derna had already set up an Islamic Emirate that would reach Benghazi.

He said that the country's youth was drugged and did not know anything; they were following the Islamists' leader and their leaders would be punished with death in accordance with the Libyan law.

Just minutes after his speech, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo reported that Amr Moussa, Arab League chief, had decided to discontinue the participation of the Libya delegation in the meetings of the council and all its institutions.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

HINDRAF-Urgent appeal to International Governments, UN & Orgs on possible UMNO sponsored Violence on 27/2/11

21st February 2011.



Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Urgent Request to make Representations to the Government of Malaysia on the Crackdown and possible violence by UMNO sponsored underworld “3 Line”, Pekida and Extremist Perkasa on Human Rights Advocates organising Solidarity March against UMNO racism in Malaysia on 27th February 2011.


I write to you with the utmost urgency for your attention on the above matter.

HINDRAF is a Human Rights organisation that advocates the rights of the marginalized Indian community in Malaysia. Although the Government of Malaysia has banned this movement without well-founded reasons, it has continued to organise various activities affecting human rights issues nationwide and as of late 2007, the movement has been operating from London.

Recently, the Malaysian government took a decision to approve the use of a novel entitled “Interlok” as part of compulsory curriculum material for 5th Form pupils in selected areas in Malaysia but the ethnic Indian community and HINDRAF take exception to the use of the novel because it contains racially insensitive, degrading, humiliating, and disrespectful use of adjectives that is extreme racist nature and on behalf of the Indian community HINDRAF has called for a total ban of the novel. The government has chosen to ignore our compliant but insist that the material will go into circulation once amendments to the material are passed sometime next month.

In response to the recalcitrant attitude of the government, HINDRAF passed a motion to stage a Solidarity March against Racism on 27th February 2011 and in furtherance to the said event, we also organised various road shows, forums, car drive campaigns and such like at national level. We have managed to amass a total of more than 200 Hindraf Human Rights campaigners to carry out grassroots campaigns including distribution of posters and fliers regarding our intention.

However since 10th February 2011, the Government began a crackdown on HINDRAF Human Rights campaigners using harassment, threat of violence, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment including the demand that female activists remove their Orange Hindraf T-Shirts in public.

On 13th March 2011, a total of 59 Hindraf leaders and volunteers were arrested nationwide for taking part in an Anti Racism (car drive campaign). Police subjected one volunteer to inhumane ill treatment by placing him in a dark room for almost 19 out of 26 hours he was under arrest and detention. More than 120 other volunteers were prevented from continuing their campaigns nationwide.

The Police harassment continued from 13th February with:

a) Intimidation used against venue owners for allowing us to use their halls to conduct our forums;
b) Threatening venue owners with arbitrary arrest;
c) Threatening HINDRAF volunteers with arrests if they were to continue with forum discussions nationwide;
d) Placing HINDRAF volunteers under surveillance and making unannounced visits to their work places to intimidate and put pressure on employers to terminate HINDRAF volunteers from their jobs;
e) Road blocks at strategic points leading to venues of our nationwide forums thus preventing these forums from taking place.
f) Using the Police Federal Reserve Units (PFRU) in full riot gear to carry out a “baton charge” at a function Hall in Penang thus endangering the safety and security of vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, women and children at the anti racism forums.
g) Further arrests of 16 Hindraf leaders and volunteers also took place on 20th February 2011.

The Government of Malaysia is fearful that our road shows and ground campaigns over the last 3 weeks is likely to draw a large crowd for the Solidarity March on 27th February and is thus threatening us with the possible arrests under the draconian Internal security Act which may be a repeat of similar arrests which took place in 2007.

Despite the threats from the Government, we are undeterred as we are committed in our pursuit to continue with our peaceful Solidarity March scheduled on 27th February 2011. We have made an application for a Police permit; although we do not require one under the Federal Constitution, which guarantees Freedom of speech and assembly. We however anticipate that it is very unlikely that the Police would approve our requests for Police permits.

The March on 27th February 2011 would begin at KLCC and terminate at the Jalan Dang Wangi Police Station where more than 1000 people would lodge reports against the current Government which has been ruling for 54 years and its Primer Minister for practising Institutionalised racism in Malaysia.

We write to urge you to make an urgent representation to the Government of Malaysia to respect the citizens’ universal standards of Human rights, as well as the right to assemble and express feelings of discontentment and allow us to proceed with the March peacefully.

We fear the UMNO led Government would engage its agent provocateurs namely, the notorious 3 LINE and Pekida underworld gangs and its outsourced far right extremist wing such as the Perkasa to cause trouble on the said day.

We attach herewith our letters to the Inspector General of Police seeking his protection and co-operation (which thus far has been ignored) and a copy of the Memorandum of Complaint to the Human Rights Commission Malaysia, which is self-explanatory.

Your kind indulgence and urgent action is very much appreciated.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully


P.Waytha Moorthy
Chair
HINDRAF
+447502289313 (Mobile)

William J.Burns
The Under Secretary for Political Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

Rt.Hon. William Hague MP
Foreign Secretary
Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London.
SW1A 2AH

Ms Heidi Hautala
Chair of the Human Rights Sub Committee
European Parliament
Rue Wiertz
Wiertzstraat
B-1047 Brussels

Richard Ottaway MP
House of Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee
4 Millbank
City of London SW1P 3JA


Ms Navanethem Pillay
High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
+41 22 917 9656
civilsociety@ohchr.org

Mr. Githu Muigai
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: racism@ohchr.org

Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Gay McDougall
Independent Expert on Minority Issues
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006

Mr. Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: freedex@ohchr.org


Gabriella Habtom
Human Rights Officer and Secretary of the Committee
on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Human Rights Treaties Division
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel. +41.22.917.9193 - Fax +41.22.917.90.08
e-mail: ghabtom@ohchr.org / tb-petitions@ohchr.org
Palais Wilson - 52, rue des Pâquis, CH-1201,
Geneva, Switzerland

Frank William La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
UNOG-OHCHR
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 93 32
Fax: +41 22 917 90 22

Amnesty International
1 Easton Street
London
WC1X 0DW, UK
Telephone: +44-20-74135500
Fax number: +44-20-79561157
Email: activism@amnesty.org.uk

Human Rights Watch
Address: 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300
email: spiegem@hrw.org

Minority Rights Group International
54 Commercial Street
London E1 6LT, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7422 4200
Fax: +44 (0)20 7422 4201
Email: minority.rights@mrgmail.org

Front Line –
The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Head Office, Second Floor, Grattan House
Temple Road, Blackrock
Co Dublin, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0)1 212 3750
Fax: +353 (0)1 212 1001
E-mail: info@frontlinedefenders.org

OSCE Secretariat
Wallnerstrasse 6
1010 Vienna
Austria
Tel: +43 1 514 36 6000
Fax: +43 1 514 36 6996
E-mail: info@osce.org

NAACP
Washington Bureau
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 915
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 463-2940
Fax: (202) 463-2953
Email: washingtonbureau@naacpnet.org

European Union External Action Service
Menara Tan & Tan, Suite 10.01
207 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Tel.: +6 03 2723 7373
Fax: +6 03 2723 7337
E-mail: delegation-malaysia@ec.europa.eu

US Embassy Malaysia
Mr Brian D. McFeeters - Political Counselor
376 Jalan Tun Razak
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel No: (03) 2168-4946,
Fax No : (03) 2168-5165,
Email : mcfeetersbd@state.gov


Rainbow Push Coalition
National Headquarters
930 East 50th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: 773-373-3366
Fax: 773-373-3571
Email : info@rainbowpush.org

National Action Network
House of Justice
106 West, 145th Street,
Harlem ,NY 10039
Tel No: (212) 690 3070
Fax No ( 877)- 626 4651
Email : rachel@noerdlingermedia.com

Interlok: Hindraf delegation mets U.N. Devendra Patel today. Letter to UNESCO, Paris.

IMG_5215
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 New Scan-20110222161703-00001

MYDAFTAR is the new political tool to hoodwink the Indian community.

Senator Dr.S.Ramakrishnan

The systematic neglect and marginalization of Malaysian plantation workers, who are predominantly Indians for the past 54 years, has made them the new underclass community along with Orang Ulu of Sabah and Sarawak and Orang Asal of peninsula Malaysia. But the difference, is Malaysian Indians are still treated as immigrants while the others are natives of this soil. That makes the Malaysian Indians the underclass in the underclass community which is a totally hopeless situation.

This hopeless situation is further enforced by corruption in the powerful police and civil service and deliberate neglect and political hegemony of UMNO. The awakening after the Hindraf led protest resulted in drying up of loyal Indian votes for UMNO government in the march, 2008 national elections.


To win back the lost Malaysian Indian voters, PM Datuk Seri Najib and the past Samy Velu MIC leadership has hit on the stateless and non-citizenship problem of thousands of Malaysian Indians. This is a marked improvement because MIC always prevailed upon UMNO government that Indian problems are only Tamil schools and temples. Even though the registration of birth certificate and identity card are huge problems for the poor and less educated plantation workers, the 54 years delay in solving, have exposed the community to many other social diseases such criminal activities among youths. Large numbers of single mothers whose husbands are in jail, on drugs or eloped with other women with no birth certificates for children, large numbers of non-skilled workers now competing with millions of legal and illegal foreign workers, no opportunities and financial support for further education both locally and overseas for school leavers and complete shutdown in government procurement to Indian businessmen. The unavailability of birth certificates and identity cards for plantation workers and dysfunctional families has caused tremendous hardship and lost opportunities for thousands of families. The government had not made any attempt to change policies and practices to make other Malaysians more inclusive and to play a meaningful role in nation building despite the 1Malaysia campaign.

BN government’s one off program like the MY DAFTER are all politically motivated to get votes, rather than to find a more permanent solution. Racial segregation and sentiments have gone down the bones and blood of the Malaysian bureaucracy’s psychic. Muslim Foreign workers have better opportunities and access to the powers to be than poor plantation workers. MY DAFTAR features predominantly and more frequently just before by-elections.

PM Datuk Seri Najib must recruit more non-malays in registration department and make the national registration policies and procedures for identity card and citizenship more transparent. Thousands of talented Malaysians are all over the country to make this country more competitive, and dynamic. The developments in Arab counties clearly show that incompetency, nepotism and corruption cannot save our country however religious the leaders and government institutions are. Government policies and programs must be realistic and not propaganda and merely a public relation exercise.

MRT land acquisition last straw for TTDI residents

Mrs Wong walking into her home with a copy of the SPAD notice in her hand. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
 
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Residents of Jalan Pinggir Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) here are having sleepless nights worrying about their homes which they are set to lose to the proposed mass rapid transit (MRT) system come May. On February 10, they were shocked to find land acquisition notices stuck on trees in front their homes.

Residents who spoke to The Malaysian Insider said it was disrespectful to paste the notice on trees and also unprofessional for the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to do such a thing.

“Being forced to leave the residential area is like commanding me to divorce my wife of 23 years,” said a disgruntled Salleh Muhammad.

The notice tells residents that the government is in the process of implementing the Klang Valley MRT project and that their land is more likely to be acquired for the project.
Although the homes in Jalan Pinggir Zaaba are not as grand as those in nearby Taman Zaaba, many were recently renovated.

Standing in front his newly-renovated home, Helmi is lost for words over the MRT project.
For someone who just renovated his home of 11 years last November, Helmi Al’ Attas said he could only feel cheated and sad after learning about the land acquisition notice. “I saved really hard over the period of 11 years to renovate my home,” said Helmi who bought his property for more than RM400,000 at the time.

“My son spent at least RM500,000 on his home and that does not include renovations. We wanted to live close by and this is what we get,” said a retired teacher who only identified herself as Mrs Wong.

Her home, together with 32 others including a corner lot her son just moved into a month ago, will be affected by the MRT project.
She said she has lived on the road for 34 years, “long enough to witness the birth of TTDI.”
Residents here pointed out that they have not objected to many projects in the neighbourhood that have disrupted their peace.

Having already lost their “feng shui” due to a three-metre-high wall built 20 metres from their gates, the residents have broken their silence and questioned the need for the MRT project in their area.
The SPAD notice stuck on a tree.
“Back then, my house cost me just RM55,600. It is now worth a million due to the area and its developments,” said Mrs Wong, who said she would welcome an underground train project rather than an elevated one.

Pouring out her distress over the prospect of having to relocate, she told The Malaysian Insider that she welcomes development in TTDI but not if it will cost the residents their homes.

“We let them build roads and block our houses with a brick wall which was supposed to minimise noise from the roads. But in the end, this is what we get for letting everything go,” she added.

Retiree Salleh’s main concern was parting with his neighbours who have become his best friends.

Salleh, who has been living in the area for 22 years, said he is comfortable being where he is as he and his family — spanning three generations — have grown accustomed to the noise coming from the road.

“At this time, I’m sceptical if I should or should not continue with the renovations,” said Helmi, who has organised and sent a petition to SPAD while still replacing the flooring of his home.
The residents are also unhappy with the inconsistent details on the project and the short time span given to debate on the issue.

“We are yet to receive a visit from SPAD but at the moment, I feel lost and speechless about the whole scenario,” said Helmi.

Is Saiful a homosexual?

Karpal Singh continues to punch holes in the prosecution's case in the trial of Anwar Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Is Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan a passive homosexual?

That was the pertinent question posed by senior lawyer Karpal Singh, the lead defence counsel in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, during cross-examination of DNA expert Dr Seah Lay Hong after multiple DNA profiles were found on Saiful’s anus during his medical examination following the sodomy allegation.

Karpal also asked if the evidence of DNA profiles found in Saiful’s anus could lead to that conclusion.

“I put it to you that is it a logical conclusion that multiple DNA profiles in his anus would make him him (Saiful) a passive homosexual?” he asked.

Seah in reply said she could not answer the question as she was not in a position to comment on the matter.

The veteran lawyer, looking to punch holes in the prosecution’s case against the former deputy prime minister, proceeded to ask for Seah’s comment on Saiful’s proforma report which stated that the “victim” had complained of attempted sodomy.

“If it was attempted sodomy, how could DNA be found in Saiful’s anus?” asked Karpal.

Lead prosecutor Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden objected to this question, saying that the doctor had nothing to do with the proforma report, and that therefore she need not answer.

Anwar, 63, is charged with sodomising Mohd Saiful, 25, his former personal aide, at Unit 11-5-1 of Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Heated exchange

Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden had a heated exchange with another defence counsel, SN Nair, when he told the counsel to stop making “running commentaries”, according to a Bernama report.

The exchange of words occurred when Nair confronted Seah over the Chemistry Department’s protocol when making markings on samples.

Nair singled out two samples out of the 12 received by the chemist on June 30, 2008 from investigation officer DSP Judy Blacious Pereira.

The counsel contended that Seah did not strictly adopt the department’s protocol, resulting in the dates on sample swabs B4 and B5 recorded as June 26, 2008, where in fact it should be June 28, the day the three doctors at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) collected the samples from Mohd Saiful.

Nair: I put it to you, you have recorded a different date for the samples?

Seah: Yes.

Nair: By your international standard, shouldn’t you have rejected these two samples?

Seah: I disagree.

Nair: If you have two samples not in line, you should look at other samples with suspicion. You say you have high integrity, isn’t that a question of integrity?

Seah: No. We should give benefit of doubt.

Nair: I put it to you, only you know about it and never informed prosecution?

Seah: Don’t agree. That was noted down.

Re-examined by deputy public prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin, Seah confirmed sample swab B5 (perianal region of Mohd Saiful) was contaminated, that is, there was DNA presence from the complainant, a male Y and an unknown person.

She did not rule out that the contamination might have occurred when that region (perianal) came into contact with the surface.

Seah also ruled out the possiblity of contamination at the Chemistry Department’s laboratory since such a possiblity had been elaminated with tests of DNA profiles of all staff attached to the department.

The hearing continues tomorrow.

Tuduhan Hindraf: Perkasa buat laporan polis

Ibrahim Ali menyangkal tuduhan yang Umno, Pekida dan Perkasa akan mengacau perhimpunan anjuran Hindraf Ahad ini.


KUALA LUMPUR: Satu laporan polis dibuat terhadap Hindraf kerana mendakwa Umno, Pekida, dan Perkasa akan mengacau satu perarakan aman yang akan dianjurkan pertubuhan tersebut Ahad ini.

Laporan polis itu dibuat oleh Presiden Perkasa Datuk Ibrahim Ali di Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah (IPD) Dang Wangi di sini hari ini.

Ibrahim berkata, Perkasa semalam menerima satu salinan surat (melalui e-mel) yang ditulis Pengerusi Hindraf P Waytha Moorthy memfitnah Perkasa dan Pekida sebagai alat Umno untuk menimbulkan huru-hara pada perhimpunan itu nanti.

Bertajuk “Rayuan kepada kerajaan antarabangsa, Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB), dan beberapa NGO terhadap kemungkinan Umno disebalik keganasan”, Waytha Moorthy menghantar surat itu kepada 21 penerima, antaranya Setiausaha Hal Ehwal Semasa Politik Amerika Syarikat, Setiausaha Pejabat Komanwel dan Negara Luar di London, dan beberapa pertubuhan hak asasi antarabangsa.

Waytha Moorthy dalam suratnya menyatakan kebimbangan beliau yang Umno akan bekerjasama dengan Perkasa dan Pekida untuk menyebabkan huru-hara pada hari tersebut.

Berikutan itu, beliau berkata Hindraf juga telah menulis surat kepada Ketua Polis Negara meminta perlindungan dan kerjasama, selain aduan kepada Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Malaysia (Suhakam).

Namun, Ibrahim dalam laporan polisnya menafikan dakwaan surat tersebut dan menegaskan Perkasa sama sekali tidak akan terlibat dalam mana-mana penganjuran perhimpunan haram.



“Selaku Ahli Parlimen Pasir Mas serta Presiden Perkasa, saya akan menghantar surat maklum balas menjawab tuduhan Waytha Moorthy kepada kesemua 21 orang diperingkat antarabangsa supaya dapat membersihkan nama baik kerajaan, rakyat Malaysia, Perkasa dan Pekida.

“Kebetulan juga 24 Februari ini saya akan bertemu dengan salah seorang pegawai tertinggi Kedutaan Amerika dan saya akan memberikan penjelasan bahawa gambaran yang diberikan pihak terbabit tidak benar,” katanya kepada pemberita.

Hindraf dijangka mengadakan satu perhimpunan aman bermula di Pusat Konvensyen Kuala Lumpur (KLCC) dan berakhir di IPD Dang Wangi dimana 1,000 tandatangan pengadu dikumpul bagi membuat laporan polis terhadap kerajaan dan Perdana Menteri yang dituduh masih mengamalkan perkauman.

Ibrahim berkata dakwaan itu hanya sebagai alasan untuk Hindraf merancang satu suasana tegang sehingga mencetuskan huru-hara seperti yang berlaku di Tunisia dan Libya sekarang.

“Dalam demonstrasi jalanan, apa pun boleh berlaku. Jika ada yang cedera, mereka akan salahkan polis,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, Ibrahim dalam laporan polisnya turut menggesa polis bertindak tegas terhadap Hindraf yang digelarkannya sebagai pertubuhan haram dan amat merbahaya.

‘Sulu Sultan’ quits Umno

Local businessman Mohd Akjan Bin Datu Ali Muhammad, caught in a controversy over his self-proclamation as the 33rd Sulu Sultan has slammed his critics for blowing the issue out of proportion.
KOTA KINABALU: Self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, Mohd Akjan Bin Datu Ali Muhammad, has resigned from Sabah Umno and its Gaya division with immediate effect.
Stating that the controversy over his “coronation” had reached a point of no return, he said he had no choice but to leave the one-and-only political party which he had been with for more than two decades, especially after having contributed to its growth and expansion in many ways.
He, however, said that he reserved the absolute right “to fully explain it” (his contribution to Umno) when the right time comes.
“Hence, there’s no need for anyone to bring the matter concerning my membership in Umno to the supreme council for deliberation and decision,” he said.
He noted that copies of his resignation letters were submitted to both the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, as well as in Sabah, today.
Akjan said the recent series of attacks in the media and police reports lodged against him by certain organisations and individuals in Sabah on his purported “coronation” as the 33rd reigning sultan of the Sulu Sultanate on Feb 2, were politically-motivated and with malicious intent to “assassinate” his character.
He also regretted that this has subsequently caused his entire family including his children, aged from nine onwards, to be picked up and investigated by the police.
“I shall reserve my right to take legal action against this group of individuals and organisations,” he said.

Informed Special Branch
However, he considered the event a blessing in disguise as it allowed him to see who his true allies and foes are.
Akjan reiterated that what took place on that particular day at one of his properties in Kampung Likas here, was just a “majlis doa selamat dan kesyukuran” (thanks-giving ceremony), following his acceptance of the offer and mandate from the Sulu interim government to be the 33rd reigning Sultan of Sulu.
He said that it was not a coronation ceremony as interpreted and “blown out of proportion by certain individuals and groups with political interest”.
He claimed that prior to the ceremony, he had in fact personally informed and briefed the officer of the Special Branch (SB) of Kota Kinabalu district, of what was going to happen on that day.
“I even invited him and his officers to attend and to witness the ceremony but they said there was no need to do so since I have briefed them on it,” said.
Akjan said he had fully briefed the Special Branch chief and his officers during their meeting at the Hyatt Kinabalu Hotel here. Among others, he informed them that he had turned down the offer by the Sulu interim government and relevant senior officials of the Sulu Sultanate thrice, but subsequently gave in to their plea.
He also swore that he had never lobbied nor was he interested to be the sultan as he fully understands its heavy responsibility, risks and challenges that come with it.
He explained that he was “shortlisted” and offered the position, following a thorough investigation and examination conducted by senior officials of the Sulu interim government and the palace, which confirmed that he is indeed a direct descendant of the last reigning Sultan of Sulu, Paduka Mahasari Maulana Al-Marhum Shariful Hashim 1.

Drop claim against Sabah
Akjan said that one of the main reasons he accepted the offer was that the Sulu interim government and senior palace officials had agreed to his condition to drop the ongoing claim on Sabah by the sultanate.
This will be officially made known to the United Nations (UN) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, he said.
“This was formally agreed in a written agreement which was signed by me during the thanks-giving ceremony. It was witnessed by more than 60 people, including the prime minister of the Sulu interim government, Datu Albi Ahmad Julkarnain, and various representatives of the Council of Royal Datus, the Royal Houses of Maimbung and Patikul,” he said.
He also said he accepted the Sulu interim government’s offer to be the sultan because he wanted to restore the Sulu Sultanate’s long-subdued sovereignty.
Also, he said, “it was partly because of his love for Malaysia since he is a bona fide Malaysian citizen”.
Akjan said that when the day of his actual coronation comes, he will have no choice but to surrender his Malaysian citizenship. Akjan claims he was born on July 7, 1957 in Kampung Limau-limauan, Kudat.
He also said that he has only Malaysian citizenship.
“Let me assert here that I have not gone crazy as what some of my critics have thought. I am fully aware of what I am doing, even if it means I have to sacrifice my Malaysian citizenship and even my life, for my struggle for truth, justice, peace and the betterment of my Muslim brothers and sisters in Malaysia and Sulu,” he said.

"Kuburkan BN atau bina kuasa ketiga"

Let us accept as a fact for debate that the people want a change from being governed by BN. That does not entitle Pakatan Rakyat to say that they are the only ones that have the legitimate right to fight for this change. No individual, political party or organization in this country has the absolute right, or will ever have the right, to say that only they can decide who can or cannot battle for the hearts of the voters, and the future of the nation.
By Dr. Paraman
Salam sejahtera diucapkan kepada semua hadirin hadirat yang dihormati sekalian.

Sebelum saya mula ucapan ini, izinkan saya untuk mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih kepada Parti Sosialis Malaysia kerana sudi mengundang kami untuk mengambil bahagian dalam forum ini.

My name is Dr Paraman. I am a Malaysian. I come here representing Mr Uthayakumar of The Human Rights Party of Malaysia.

We have come this morning as a friend of Pakatan Rakyat and as true friends, we shall only say what we feel will truly benefit the people of this nation in the next. We have not come here to be apple polishers.

The invitation letter states that 'the 13th GE, memberi peluang terbaik untuk Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih pemerintahan negara'.

'Namun demikian, kebelakangan ini terdapat pelbagai kenyataan yang menonjolkan sifat-sifat Kuasa Ketiga (The Third Force). Sudah pastinya kewujudan suatu kuasa ketiga ini boleh membawa padah kepada perjuangan rakyat yang menuntut pertukaran kerajaan BN kepada PR'. Meaning that there are some out there who will be acting as spoilers to the perjuangan rakyat.

Now, lets not get carried away. Pakatan Rakyat managed to get 3.79 million votes in the last GE, out of 10.74 million people who were registered to vote from a total of 15.2 million Malaysians who were eligible to vote. That too with the help of numerous organizations in this country, some of whom are present today.

With all due respect, 3.8 out of 15 million votes does not constitute 'perjuangan rakyat'.  What does that then make the 4 million votes that BN won?? Also Pakatan Rakyat hanya adalah pakatan di antara DAP, PAS dan PKR and perhaps PSM juga dan bukanlah pakatan antara semua golongan atau lapisan rakyat.

Let us accept as a fact for debate that the people want a change from being governed by BN. That does not entitle Pakatan Rakyat to say that they are the only ones that have the legitimate right to fight for this change. No individual, political party or organization in this country has the absolute right, or will ever have the right, to say that only they can decide who can or cannot battle for the hearts of the voters, and the future of the nation.

The only right that any political party has is to decide who they pick as their allies, and who they will consider as their opponents. And that will be something that Pakatan Rakyat will have to consider very seriously before the next GE, if they truly want to have any chance at all of capturing Putrajaya.

The letter also states, 'Semua ahli panel juga diseru memfokuskan kepada isu pokok iaitu bagaimana hendak menewaskan BN'.

So we are here to discuss how Pakatan Rakyat can defeat BN in the next GE. The answer is simple, that is by getting way more than the 3.8 million votes that Pakatan Rakyat won the last time.
To be safe, let us just say that Pakatan Rakyat will need in excess of 5 million votes to win Putrajaya.

Now, how can they do this?

We all know that UMNO and its thousand odd warlords are the real political masters of this country. But these thousand odd warlords need the help of their boys in MCA, MIC and Gerakan as well as all those other pro BN parties to win enough votes to stay in power. Without these lackeys, the UMNO warlords will not be able to even win a hamper at a lucky draw.

Can DAP, PAS and PKR say that they have the ability and resources to battle all 17 BN component parties, to reach the entire voter spectrum, to ensure that they will be able to get into the homes and hearts of every red blooded voter out there and say that we represent your dreams for this great country? Can you?

Can Pakatan Rakyat even guarantee, as things stand today, that they will be able to at least match the 3.8 million votes that they won the last term, if the elections were called tomorrow?

It cannot be denied that the political picture has become muddled and chaotic, and that BN has to a certain extent regained some measure of the support they lost in the last GE. Can Pakatan Rakyat stop this slide, and make themselves once again the best choice for the voters out there?

If things were indeed going according to track, we will not be here today, having this discussion would we?

The only reason there is a rise of new players, who are anti BN, and yet not a part of Pakatan Rakyat, is because there are voters out there who have lost some measure of faith in Pakatan Rakyat as being the best choice there is. Whether these new players are called the third force or not, is partly in the hands of the component parties of Pakatan Rakyat.

If the matlamat is to kuburkan BN, then Pakatan must acknowledge that it needs help to achieve this feat.

This is a divided nation, with race, language,class, religion, geography and social history being the factors in the many divides we have here. Unless Pakatan Rakyat shows that it can fit the real needs of all the Malaysians out there, regardless of which box they may fall into, then it cannot have a chance of beating the broader reach of BN.

If Pakatan Rakyat chooses to label anyone as a third force or as a spoiler, and at the same time does not want to accommodate, accept and engage the same as their allies in the struggle to topple BN, then they have only themselves to be blamed.

If PAS and DAP, from entirely different planets in terms of ideology can work together to change things, why does Pakatan Rakyat not want to consider any other anti BN force out there as an ally?

We cannot speak on behalf of anyone else. But we can guarantee that HRP will contest in at least 15 parliamentary and 38 state seats in the next GE. And we will do this alone, or as part of a partnership with anyone that considers BN as their opponent, including Pakatan Rakyat. But the decision that we will contest is not negotiable, as we have nothing to lose, just like the Malaysians that we fight for.

All HRP can say is this; we can take on anyone in BN for at least 500k of the 700-800k Indian voters out there, and mind you, most of these votes will be in crucial rural constituencies where it is going to make a huge difference to Pakatan Rakyat or BN. Whether this becomes a part of the votes needed for Pakatan Rakyat to capture Putrajaya is really up to them.

Regarding the 3 questions:

Q1 : Apakah sepatutnya matlamat kita dalam PRU ke 13 - Kuburkan BN atau bina kuasa ketiga?

A : Kuburkan 'minda BN' di kalangan semua. Apakah 'minda BN' ini? 'Minda BN' adalah sifat tiada toleransi antara kaum, sikap hanya mengutamakan golongan majoriti dan individu2 kroni tertentu sahaja, sikap melabelkan apa-apa jua tuntutan golongan minoriti yang paling tertindas dan teraniaya selama lebih 4 dekad sebagai rasis semata-mata sebagai helah untuk mengelakkan diri daripada mencari penyelesaian yang terbaik dan mutlak untuk masalah-masalah berkenaan. 'Minda BN' juga merangkumi perangai tidak mahu mendapatkan konsensus semua dan tiada budi untuk membalas surat-surat tentang tuntutan dan masalah rakyat yang di kemukakan.

To bury the 'BN mindset' in all of us is far more relevant than just the mere concept of burying BN as a coalition party by itself.

Q2 : Apakah tuntutan2 utama rakyat yang anda rasa boleh membawa perubahan ke Putrajaya?

A : I feel this question is just too wide to be covered in 3 mins. I couldn't possibly do justice by covering it in such a short space of time. However what I do suggest is that all the political party's secretary generals in this forum, meet up in a series of closed door sessions and iron out their differences and come up with proper solutions for all the people in this country. So can Mr Arul organize this?

Q3. Apakah perkara yang harus di tumpu atau di hindari dari sekarang jika hendak melangkah ke Putrajaya?

A : We feel Pakatan Rakyat should mature from just being an alternative government which is aiming only to get into Putrajaya into becoming the real and caring government for all people that views long term governance. Pakatan Rakyat will have to dare to make aggressive changes that has been long due. That is moving away from the naked manipulation of Malay support (like what UMNO does) to grooming Malay support based on facts, intelligence, conscience and brotherhood of all races. Love has to be made the very base and foundation. Positive values derived from love for all is to be infused to all.
Visualize your dream for Malaysia. See the Utopia that you want, then prescribe it to the people.

Biarlah PAS berjuang untuk hak-hak golongan India yang tertindas supaya HINDRAF dapat berjuang untuk hak orang Melayu yang miskin. Biarlah orang Semenanjung berjuang untuk hak asasi orang Sabah/Sarawak supaya mereka pula dapat berjuang untuk keadilan di Semenanjung.
The rich must help the poor, the majority must help the minority.
Sama-samalah kita kuburkanlah minda 'BN'  dalam kalangan semua demi keadilan untuk semua dalam erti kata yang sebenarnya.


Love All Serve All

Sai Ra

Najib’s bid to strike out RM200m suit by Hindraf leaders to be heard on March 24

(Bernama) - KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The High Court will hear on March 24, an application by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and five others to strike out a RM200 million suit filed by former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees M. Manoharan and P. Uthayakumar.

The application will be heard before High Court Judicial Commissioner Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal.

Harmindar set the date in chambers, upon meeting Manoharan who was representing himself and Uthayakumar, and Senior Federal Counsel Diar Isda Yazmin Ismail appearing for the defendants.

Speaking to reporters, Manoharan said Harmindar would hear the matter as another judicial commissioner, Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham, who was initially scheduled to hear the case, had recused himself from hearing the matter on the grounds that he was Najib’s classmate.

Manoharan also said that the court had ordered the parties to file written submissions before the striking out the hearing.

In the striking-out application, Najib and the five other defendants said the suit filed by Manoharan and Uthayakumar on Dec 9, last year was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process.

In the suit, Manoharan and Uthayakumar named Najib, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, the Taiping detention centre superintendent and the Government as defendants.

They are seeking RM100 million each in damages, an annual interest of eight per cent be awarded on grounds that they had been wrongfully detained for 514 days from Dec 13, 2007 to May 9, 2009. — Bernama

Interlok: Chinese sell their daughters

by hartalmsm 
chinese

Page 160, scanned excerpt from ‘Interlok’.
If you thought ‘pariah’ was the worst insult there is in the novel ‘Interlok’, you’re mistaken.
It is filled with every conceivable racial stereotype of Indians and Chinese that you can think of, applied hodge-podge but in over-abundance to the main characters.
Below are scans from the book. We’re using the original, ISBN 983-62-5578-8. There is a new abridged version tagged ‘Edisi Murid’, edited for students however.


Pages 119-120: Kim Lock, the father of the Chinese main character Cing Huat, is depicted by the novelist Abdullah Hussain as someone quite prepared to sell a daughter.

Page 151: Kim Lock is tempted by the bad guy Paman Kok Leng to sell Cing Huat. Because Cing Huat is a boy, the father has qualms. However, he would consider the proposition if the child was a girl.
Pages 232-233:
‘Gua menyesal gua dapat dua [anak] lelaki saja. Kalau ada orang mau tukar anak lelakinya dengan Poh Eng dan Poh Kheng gua mau sekarang ini.’


Cing Huat, now a father himself, is portrayed by Abdullah as someone who is in turn prepared to trade his daughters (for boys) without second thought.
This novel is full of negative racial stereotypes and BTN-like slurs. Remember Nasir Safar (the prime minister’s aide) who resigned after the comment (below) attributed to him:
‘Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially the women came to sell their bodies’
‘Interlok’ is filled with the same characterizations of Chinese — prostitutes, womanisers, gamblers, cheats, scumbags, opium addicts, and more. Although the Chinese have no ‘pariah’ in their language, Abdullah Hussain portrays the ones who came here as debased creatures and from the dregs of society.
So you must be wondering why it is only the Indian NGOs and political parties that have raised complaints and nothing is heard from the Chinese even when they have been similarly subjected to the implied ‘pariah’ slurs?
CLICK, ‘Interlok: Chinese immigrants came here to carry shit buckets’