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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Interlok ‘poison’ in print

In an open letter to the PM, renowned academic Dr Lim Teck Ghee says the book should be removed from classrooms.
PETALING JAYA: A renowned academic has called for the controversial Interlok novel to be removed from classrooms, saying it could posion young minds.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his cabinet, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI) director Lim Teck Ghee said the book contained “insidious and divisive racial stereotyping and messages.”

“I feel that, purely on educational and pedagogical grounds, this book with its denigration of the various communities, and in the context of our multi-ethnic society facing one of the most turbulent periods of our history, should be subject to higher standards of acceptance before being designated as a reading text in our schools,” he said.

“This is not to challenge the artistic freedom and independence of the writer in pursuing his craft and writing on any subject that he chooses. In our country there is a need for greater candor and honesty on all types of divisive issues, however sensitive there are.

“Writers and artists should be encouraged to write freely and without any restrictions; and all Malaysians should work harder to dismantle the constraints on our freedom of expression and other freedoms,” he added.

However, Lim noted that the conern was about the harmful impact on young and impressionable minds in the context of nation-building and 1Malaysia objectives.

“I urge you (and other concerned Malaysians) to read the book and arrive at your own conclusion as to the desirability of retaining the book as a required literature text. I, and many Malaysians, am of the opinion that the book should be withdrawn as a school text,” he said.

Following a massive outcry, namely from the Indian community, the government had agreed to amend the controversial portions of the book, which is to be used for the literature subject in Form Five.

Certain groups, however, remain disatisfied, arguing that the Malay novel, penned by national laureate Abdullah Hussain, should be withdrawn completely.

High-profile cases expose the unprofessional professionals

High-profile cases expose the unprofessional professionals Malaysia’s recent high-profile judiciary cases have highlighted the lack of professionalism in our forensic services. We are aware that our judiciary and the police are tainted, but are the ancillary departments, like the Department of Chemistry also compromised? Have key personnel been threatened or are the various ancillary services simply inefficient?
Teoh Beng Hock’s Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II Trial, Kugan’s police investigation and Aminulrasyid’s trial have all revealed a shocking work culture, which is borne of malaise and indifference.
Standard operating procedures (SOP) are not adhered to. Sloppy work, slovenly attitudes, inaccurate and infrequent data recording are common.
Where data analysis is critical, it is highly probable that a secondary school science student is more conscientious about accomplishing his task. One supposes that the acid test is to ask any policeman if he trusts any of the services offered by the forensic and investigative teams.
In Teoh’s investigation, local pathologists missed vital clues, a psychiatrist’s interview with Teoh’s family though approved never materialised, the DNA of at least two men were unmatched, fingerprints though dusted were not lifted, a note purportedly Teoh’s was only produced in the latter stages of the inquest, the poison-pen letter alleging a cover-up was dismissed, interference by a person or persons unknown was reported by the investigating officer but never pursued and the search for Teoh’s watch which went missing is only just being conducted, 19 months after his death.
In Anwar’s Sodomy II trial, similar foul-ups were observed. Data was not recorded properly and not all data and observations were written down. Cross contamination seemed highly likely. People conveniently assumed other members of the investigative team would have done the right thing, like documenting or preserving samples. Those whose findings would have influenced the outcome of the trial often assume a cavalier attitude.
In a separate case, the family of Kugan, who died in police custody, came close to kidnapping his body to show to the world the true extent of the injuries he suffered at the hands of the police. Even when faced with the incriminating evidence – Kugan’s wound afflicted body – the authorities refused to grant the family’s request for a second post-mortem to be conducted on Kugan. Public pressure eventually forced the authorities to change their minds. The results of the second pathological examination came to a different conclusion from the first post-mortem.
As for Aminulrasyid who was shot dead by the police for driving without a driving licence, the police forensic investigation officer unashamedly admitted he had been careless. He had collected the spent bullet casings two (2) days after the incident, and had only worked on the trajectory of the bullet nine (9) days after the shooting. He had forgotten to instruct police photographers to take photographs of the crime scene, had omitted to interview the police officers involved, had moved Aminulrasyid’s body to the grass verge and forgot to record in his notes that he had moved the body.
It is sad to know that 53 years ago, our ancillary services were one of the best in the region. We may not have had the best technology nor been able to afford them then but we can certainly afford the latest gadgetry now.
That would be money well spent, rather than unwisely buying up Offshore Patrol Vehicles at RM1 billion a piece, or renovating Prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s official residence.
But the latest machines are useless if the staff are not trained to use or maintain them. Even if both the experts and the latest equipment are perfect, the results will be rendered useless if no one adheres to the SOPs.
A week ago, 4 National Service (NS) participants died from unknown illnesses at their respective camps. There were calls for the NS to have ISO specifications. Perhaps it is more judicious to have one for the forensic services instead of for the National Service.
Najib seems to flit about the world with his large entourage, at taxpayers’ expense, trying to shore up bilateral ties, whilst simultaneously bad-mouthing Anwar. Is it any wonder that the lack of professionalism shown by Najib and his Cabinet is taken as the norm and is then adopted by our civil servants?
The sad thing is that those professionals who are accredited to a professional body or who swear allegiance to the king and country do not see fit to honour their pledge to their profession or nation.
In these high-profile cases, have the forensic experts been warned and their silence bought? Or are we seeing the true scale of an inefficient forensic service?
Can the forensic staff not search their conscience, that a man might be wrongly convicted because of their flimsy collation of evidence or wrong interpretations of the results?
What happened to commitment to the highest standards of integrity? What about expert, impartial and perceptive assessments? What about accurate and reliable data taking, recording and analysis. What happened to the passion and commitment of these forensic experts, to help solve crime? Until these are answered, Najib has no hope of delivering a high nation economy which can deliver world class solutions.

Reports: Libyan pilots refuse to bomb city, eject from plane

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) -- Even as Moammar Gadhafi called on the military to crack down on anti-government protesters, reports emerged Wednesday that the Libyan leader was facing growing international and domestic opposition, including from his own military.

An opposition figure told CNN that a pilot who had been ordered to bomb oil fields southwest of Benghazi refused to do so and instead ejected from the plane.

Citing military sources, the Libyan newspaper Quryna reported that the two people aboard -- the pilot and co-pilot -- parachuted out and that the plane then crashed into an uninhabited area west of Ajdabiya, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southwest of Benghazi.

Quryna itself is a sign of the changes sweeping through Libya. When protests began last week, it carried regime propaganda. But it later reported on the protests and casualty figures.

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

A Libyan Arab Airlines plane was denied permission to land in Malta on Wednesday, Maltese government sources said. Permission was denied for "clearance reasons," because officials did not know who was on board, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini characterized the situation as a civil war, "with the authorities of the capital ordering attacks against the same Libyan people -- bombings and acts of unprecedented violence." In a speech to the Italian Senate, Frattini said, "Unconfirmed reports spoke of 1,000 deaths; other sources have given even higher figures." He said the claim from official sources that put the total number of deaths nationwide at 200 to 300 deaths "frankly lacks credibility."

The head of the largest trauma hospital in Benghazi told CNN on Wednesday that 202 people have been confirmed dead in the city since protests began last week. The opposition now controls Benghazi and much of the rest of eastern Libya.

On Wednesday, the ninth day of protests, Gadhafi faced more defections from within his regime and new international pressure to halt military actions against demonstrators.

Uncertainty surrounded the whereabouts of one prominent defector. Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi, the country's interior minister, told CNN Wednesday in a telephone interview that he had resigned Monday and was supporting the opposition after hearing that 300 unarmed civilians had been killed in Benghazi. "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," al Abidi said.

He accused Gadhafi of planning to attack civilians on a wide scale but predicted that protesters would emerge victorious in "days or hours."

But hours after that interview, the Libyan government announced Wednesday that the former interior minister had been kidnapped. State media reported that "gangs" had abducted him in Benghazi.

But Benghazi, now solidly in the camp of the protesters, was peaceful Wednesday. The only shooting that could be heard was celebratory gunfire. Crowds cheered as international journalists drove through the city, thanked them for arriving and threw them candy.

Absent Gadhafi's influence, residents formed ad hoc committees to take over the business of running the city, ensuring that hospitals were adequately staffed and supplied, banks were protected, electricity was flowing and garbage was picked up.

They also formed a security force to defend the city in the event that forces loyal to Gadhafi were to attack.

One member of the ad hoc government said forces here have been in telephone contact with tribes in the west of the country, many of whom remained loyal to Gadhafi, and have tried to persuade them to reject him.

In New York, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon left no doubt about where the world body stands on Libya. "The reported nature and scale of the attacks on civilians are egregious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law," he told reporters. "I condemn them loudly and without qualification. Those responsible must be held accountable in courts of law."

He noted that the Security Council and the League of Arab States on Tuesday each issued strong statements on the matter. "The world has spoken with one voice," he said. "The government of Libya must meet its responsibility to protect its people."

Ban added that he was sending his senior advisers to the region.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the United States condemns the use of violence. "The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable," he told reporters as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood beside him. Libya "must be held accountable" for its failure to meet its responsibilities, he said, adding, "The entire world is watching."

He said he was sending Clinton to Geneva for international meetings about Libya.

The United States is considering a range of tools to pressure Libya to end the violence and respect the rights of its people, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Wednesday. "That certainly includes sanctions that could be imposed either bilaterally or multilaterally," Crowley said.

Peru and Botswana announced they were breaking diplomatic ties with Libya. Peruvian President Alan Garcia said his country suspended diplomatic relations after condemning "the repression unleashed by Gadhafi."

Botswana's foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that it was joining the international community, "which is calling for action to be taken against those persons who have committed crimes against humanity in the continuing conflict in Libya and hopes that such persons shall be referred to the International Criminal Court to account for their deeds."

But ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo noted that Libya is not a party to the Rome Statute, which set up the court. "Intervention by the ICC on the alleged crimes committed in Libya can occur only if the Libyan authorities accept the jurisdiction of the court," his statement said. "In the absence of such step, the United Nations Security Council can decide to refer the situation to the court. The Office of the Prosecutor will act only after either decision is taken."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for prompt European Union sanctions against Libya on Wednesday, such as "a ban on access to EU territory and financial monitoring."

Residents in the Libyan capital of Tripoli heard sporadic gunshots overnight, a resident said Wednesday. By daybreak, the main roads in the city had been "cleaned off as if nothing happened," she said.

More checkpoints have been set up, especially near the city center, restricting residents' movements, she said. And a food shortage is getting worse, she said. When her family tried Wednesday morning to buy bread, they found the bakeries were closed.

Police cars and downed trees blocked many of the roads in the neighborhoods, and security officials were not allowing pictures to be taken. Witnesses reported seeing about 10 burned-out civilian cars and bodies lying in the streets. Many of the streets were stained with blood, a witness said.

In Tripoli's Dahra neighborhood, people driving white vans cleared away makeshift barricades, a witness said.

Wednesday evening, planes circled overhead and shots were fired, though it wasn't clear whether the shots were coming from the air or the ground, a witness said. The streets were largely deserted, but one man could be heard in the street screaming in Arabic, "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet!" -- a liturgical slogan often invoked by Muslims in challenging situations, the witness said.

Witnesses said security forces increased their presence after Gadhafi defended his regime in a defiant speech Tuesday. He vowed to die a "martyr" and blamed the unrest on "rats" who are "agents" of foreign intelligence services. He warned that people found to be cooperating with outside forces fomenting discord and those who carry weapons against the country will be executed.

A government spokesman blamed U.S. and Israeli intelligence operatives for the unrest. "We will get rid of them, in collaboration with our people in the eastern province," he said.

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

The government version of events differed markedly from what witnesses reported, including helicopter gunships firing into crowds of protesters.

Those caught up in the unrest include asylum seekers and refugees, the U.N. refugee agency said, as it urged neighboring countries not to turn them away.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, the chief spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said she had received troubling reports about their plight.

"A journalist has passed information to us from Somalis in Tripoli who say they are being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries," Melissa Fleming said. "He says they feel trapped and are frightened to go out, even though there is little or no food at home."

The U.N. refugee agency praised Tunisia and Egypt for "positive indications" that they will keep their borders open to people fleeing Libya. The agency's staff is working at the Tunisian border to monitor the situation and identify "vulnerable individuals for whom immediate assistance is needed -- such as children without parents, women with children, and the elderly," the agency said in a statement.

An English-speaking Egyptian fleeing Libya told CNN of systematic destruction of cell phone cards and cell phone memory chips at checkpoints on the road to the border with Tunisia.

He also reported thousands of people gathering at the Tripoli airport, both inside and outside.

Meanwhile, the United Nations terminated Gadhafi's daughter's stint as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Development Program. U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Aisha Gadhafi was appointed goodwill ambassador for Libya in 2009 to address HIV/AIDS and violence against women in the country. Nesirky said the U.N. agency ended its agreement with her given recent events in Libya.

In an interview on Libyan state-run television, Aisha Gadhafi said she had heard the news. "I can't verify if it's true or not, but all the Libyans who know me ... know that I am the goodwill ambassador with or without the United Nations."

On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged leaders of regional countries to let people express their opinions, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency. The Iranian official news agency also reported that Ahmadinejad wondered how the ruler of a country could kill his own people using guns and tanks.

But after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's regime was toppled this month following 18 days of protests, Iranian protesters emulated them by taking to the streets, where they were met with force.

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

Author denies new Mahathir book a PR exercise

Kit Siang says Razak curbed Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was responsible for most of the restrictions

on parliamentary democracy, claimed Lim Kit Siang in his biography released last weekend.

The DAP parliamentary leader said in the book that the father of current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had curbed debate in Parliament when he was head of government by amending the standing orders.

“Most of the restrictions on parliamentary procedures that I mentioned earlier... were made during Razak’s time,” he said of the country’s prime minister from 1970 to 1976.

“Even after 2008, despite the huge number of opposition members, they can still ride roughshod over us as long as they have a simple majority. The spirit of parliamentary democracy is very weak,” he said, referring to the record 81 opposition MPs after the general election.

MPs were at first allowed to send as many questions as they wanted and to ask for leave for private member’s (non-government) Bills which allowed for debate, he said in academician Ooi Kee Beng’s “The Right to Differ”.

But the veteran politician said that the standing orders were amended, limiting questions to 20 and then 10 per MP for each sitting while private member’s Bills were relegated behind government business and, in practice, never reached.

“So that procedure became a dead letter,” said the veteran politician.

Lim said that parliamentary practice had eroded since Malaysia’s founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman was prime minister and who had instituted the office of Opposition Leader before the 1969 general election.

“I wonder if that institution would have been there otherwise. We see how although that position continues to exist, the person holding the position is not allowed to play any important role in terms of staffing, parliamentary procedures, etc.

“The Tunku would probably have been more respectful of that position,” he said.

Lim recalled that when Tun Hussein Onn succeeded Razak, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was his deputy and was obliged to hand Lim a report on the revision of government salaries as Lim was then opposition leader.

“Hussein Onn was one who would keep to the formalities but in terms of parliamentary avenues, I don’t think he contributed very much,” he said.

“So, on the one hand, there would be some openness, but on the other, they would have no qualms about tightening the screws,” he said in the book that was published on the occasion of Lim’s 70th birthday.

‘Magic of campaign’ can swing next GE, says Kit Siang

Lim described the 2008 general election as a ‘tsunami’. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Despite a decline in fortunes for the federal opposition since the 2008 general election, Lim Kit Siang believes that the campaign period for the next general election (GE) will be a “completely different ball game.”

In a biography published last weekend, the DAP parliamentary leader cited the last national polls where excitement had only been felt during the “magic of the campaign period.”

“This is something that cannot be felt except during the campaign period. Now, we all have our doubts but once the election campaign begins, we are in a completely different ball game,” he said in academician Ooi Kee Beng’s “The Right to Differ”.

“When it is time to cast your vote, the environment is different, the scenario is different, and the things that happen during the two weeks or whatever before that play a great role,” he explained.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had surprised many observers by denying Barisan Nasional (BN) its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament, taking 82 seats and also five state governments in the March 2008 polls.

Lim had termed that general election a “tsunami,” a phrase that has since caught on, and admitted in the book that he did not expect to make such gains and deny BN its two-thirds.

However, the opposition pact’s momentum has slowed since late 2009, winning just one by-election since then and seeing between seven and 10 per cent of Malay voters swinging back to BN.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also enjoyed a 69 per cent approval in a survey conducted late last year, about 18 months after taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had presided over BN’s worst showing in an election.

“Although there is always the question of accumulated frustration, the concrete events and words seen and heard just before Election Day loom much larger,” said Lim, the Ipoh Timur MP.

He also said that “we had underestimated the people’s wish for change to the system we live under” and called for PR not to make the same mistake again.

“Although over the last weeks and months, there has undoubtedly been a lot of bad publicity about our coalition and its component parties, I think when it comes to the crunch, with the people wanting a change, a new start, the only way is to seek an end to the hegemony exercised by Umno and BN,” he added.

In praise of Lim Kit Siang

DAP vice-chairman M Kulasegaran says the opposition veteran’s book changed his outlook on life.

IPOH: DAP vice-chairman M Kulasegaran would have been one of the statistics of the brain drain from Malaysia if he had not read Lim Kit Siang’s book “Time Bombs in Malaysia”.

The book changed his destiny, he said in a tribute to Lim on the occasion of the opposition veteran’s 70th birthday.

Kulasegaran bought the book in 1978 – the year it first appeared – while he was en route to Subang airport for his flight to England for his law studies. He was then 21.

“On the long flight to London, I read the book and almost immediately began to rescind a prior decision I had made not to return to the country of my birth after my law studies for reason of its discriminatory policies,” he said in a statement released online yesterday.

He said it had kept alive his hope for political reform in Malaysia.

The book was reprinted last year by REFSA. The MPHonline bookstore called it a book that “will serve as a constant reminder of what half a century of Malay-centric policies have done to trivialise and damage race relations to an extent unparalleled in our history”.

Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat MP, spoke of the “democratic flame that still burns brightly in Kit Siang”.

“In the forests of the Malaysian opposition’s struggle for the reform of their country, the torch held aloft for nearly four decades by Lim Kit Siang has burned brightly, lighting the path for thousands such as I who have struggled to find their feet in the often bewildering and shifting sands of time,” he said.

He said “the flame of political hope” was first kindled in him when he was preparing for his Form 5 examination in 1974.

In that year, Kit Siang was charged with violation of the Official Secrets Act and was fined RM1,900, which did not disqualify him from Parliament.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh also released a statement in praise of Lim.

“Kit was a real force and I think he would have made a very good lawyer as he is very perceptive and sharp,” he said.

“He would have gone a long way in law if he had chosen to, but instead he chose to be selfless in his commitment to politics to serve the needs of all Malaysians.”

Landowners still waiting for refund

Both Sarawak Barisan Nasional and its partner Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP) have been urged not to hold landowners to ransom.

KUCHING: The state goverment is yet to keep its promise, made last year, to refund the excess land renewal premiums paid by Sarawakian landowners.

“This is the people’s money. Why is so difficult to refund their money? Until today no one has been paid, ” said Sarawak DAP treasurer Violet Yong.

She said the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) had informed the people last year that Chief Minister Taib Mahmud had agreed to refund the excess premiums.

“I want SUPP president and Deputy Chief Minister George Chan to explain. Or is this just another SUPP’s political stunt?” she asked.

According to Yong, following the government’s decision to reduce the renewal premium, SUPP had set up tables in Kenyalang Park, Kuching, and went to other towns of Sarawak to collect names of those who had paid their premium in excess.

She said SUPP had submitted 854 so-called application forms to Taib before the Sibu by-election in May last year.

But no news had since been forthcoming.

She said that a few days ago, a landowner had given her an application form issued by the Lands and Surveys Depatment.

Useless forms

Yong was surprised that the Lands and Surveys Department had prepared such forms because it meant that the applications submitted by landowners to SUPP were all useless.

“If what SUPP had done earlier is sufficient or good enough to support their applications for appeal for refund, why would the department come out with another form requiring all the particulars of the land and house owners?

“I think this form is unnecessary.

“It is a waste of time and money because all the information required like the identity card of the applicant, occupation, name of his employer, marital status…. are all there.

“The department can get all this information at its fingertip.

“After all, the data can be obtained from other government departments and agencies as they are connnected online,” she added.

Yong, who is the Pending state assemblywoman, said it was strange that people had to beg for their refunds.

“I hope SUPP or even the Barisan Nasional stop this entire political stunt. Stop fooling the people. And don’t hold the people to ransom.”

Pakatan Rakyat Fokus Agenda Perubahan

More curbs on freedom of expression last year, says CIJ

The Star 
by P. ARUNA

PETALING JAYA: The Government imposed greater restrictions last year on all forms of expression, especially on views expressed through the Internet, the Centre for Independent Journalists (CIJ) claimed.

“Authors and bloggers have been arrested, books banned, show-cause letters issued to newspapers and printing permits denied,” the press freedom watchdog said in its Freedom of Expression in Malaysia 2010 report.

The CIJ said efforts to suppress genuine freedom of expression in the country were likely to continue, but it would not be an easy task.

“It will become increasingly difficult to silence the growing and divergent voices that have emerged, especially with the Internet’s growing role,” the CIJ said in the report.


Politicians who were also bloggers and frequent users of social networks felt that people should have absolute freedom in commenting on government policies but should be restricted when it came to sensitive issues.

“Those who post racist or seditious statements should be penalised even if they post it on social networking websites or blogs,” Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said.

MIC Youth information chief S. Subramaniam said that while there should not be any restrictions on online news portals, the comments made on personal blogs and social media should be controlled.

Success Runs Deep In Malaysia's Oil & Gas Sector

By Yong Soo Heong

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- As Malaysia enters a new phase in its oil and gas industry, the country received heartening news in mid-February with a large discovery off the shores of eastern Sarawak.

"This is very good news for a sector that is facing declining annual production and the prospect of running out of hydrocarbons that fuel its economy in a space of 15 years and its Economic Transformation Programme (ETP)," said the Oxford Business Group (OBG), a business intelligence consulting group.

It said the discovery should help to temporarily halt Malaysia's slow declining oil and gas output, dovetailing nicely with moves to boost exploration and production from marginal and deep-water prospects.

Drilled from between 3,000 and 4,000 metres below sea level, the wells offshore eastern Sarawak tapped deposits totalling an estimated 79.28m cu metres of gas and approximately 100 million barrels of oil.

Now Petronas has put into action a plan to extract 1.7 billion barrels of oil from both existing, or "mature", and marginal wells.

OBG said with declining production added to increasing crude prices, oil fields that were once too expensive to exploit have now become prime targets for exploration and production (E&P).

To attract investment and E&P companies to these wells, the government has revised the Petroleum Income Tax Act with new tax exclusions for domestic investment in certain oil and gas fields.

The incentives are designed to draw foreign private investors for marginal field E&P and capital-intensive deep-water projects.

Additionally, the government hopes to use the plan to exploit its marginal fields as an opportunity to boost the economy over the next two years, said OBG.

"This involves investing billions of ringgit to recover oil in the marginal fields and encouraging independent Malaysian companies to become development and production (D&P) companies working under newly designed service contracts." it added.

Marginal oil fields are defined as low-producing fields with concomitant higher production costs, making them less profitable than regular fields. Malaysia has 106 of these, which are thought to contain about 580 million barrels of oil equivalent cumulatively.

OBG said the new risk service contract (RSC) that Petronas is now implementing is a different breed altogether from previous contracts. These contracts allocate ownership of the marginal oil fields to Petronas, which in turn will pay a consortium of D&P companies for their services after production has commenced.

Petronas takes on the majority of the risk here, and the consortium's profit is based on the price of oil and by taking an equity share in the assets.

In early February, Petronas awarded the first RSC to a consortium made up of Petrofac, with a 50 per cent stake, and two local firms - Kencana Energy and Sapura Energy Ventures - with 25 per cent each. The contract is to develop an oil and gas field in Berantai offshore Terengganu at an estimated cost of RM2.44 billion (US$800 million).

Some of the companies rumoured to be interested in the service contracts are niche players already in Malaysia, such as the UK's Petrofac, the Texas-based Newfield Exploration Company and Sweden's Lundin.

Other names being circulated - Perenco, Roc Oil, Petro-Canada and Salamander Energy - are not currently in Malaysia, but are thought to be interested in the contracts because they could bring the expertise and technology necessary, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR), to exploit marginal fields.

Whatever their eventual makeup, the consortia would have to be well capitalised: Petronas has indicated that developing marginal fields would require RM730 million (US$238.9 million) per field - a high price of admission for non-majors.

They would also be required to allocate a minimum of 30 per cent of their equity to local partners, presumably the new local D&P companies, said OBG.

Expansion in production, however it is achieved, is key to the government's ETP, which relies on oil and gas to provide 14 per cent of the gross national income by 2020.

This may explain why, over the next three years, Petronas and its contractors expect to drill more than 50 exploration wells offshore, OBG said.

Questions are also being raised, however, as to whether the government's reliance on non-majors to play key roles in this undertaking is reasonable.

Yet, if Malaysian D&Ps can rise to the challenge and learn from the experienced niche companies, local outfits could someday be regional or even global players in a technology that, sooner or later, many hydrocarbons-producing countries will have to lean on, said OBG.

Over the years, the contractual side of Malaysia's hydrocarbons industry has undergone a series of changes, beginning with the introduction of the production-sharing contract (PSC) in 1976.

Previously, the government operated a concession scheme in which oil belonged to foreign oil companies and the authorities were allowed only to levy taxes and extract royalties on the proceeds.

After 1976, Petronas's PSCs converted the concession system into a production tranche-based fiscal system, and Petronas took over ownership of the country's oil and gas reserves.

Under the PSC, contractors (oil majors such as Shell and Total) bear all risks and provide all financing for the E&P. In return, they receive a share of the total production recovered from their fields.

The PSC was altered in 1985, 1994 and 1997 to attract foreign investment and companies with experience in deep-water exploration, development and production and to allow for "higher-risk subtle plays" or enhanced oil recovery (EOR) respectively.

Petronas has again tweaked the rules and is banking on the RSC to work things out in the country's favour.

Gaddafi loses more Libyan cities

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's long-standing ruler, has reportedly lost control of more cities as anti-government protests continue to sweep the African nation despite his threat of a brutal crackdown.

Protesters in Misurata said on Wednesday they had wrested the western city from government control. In a statement on the internet, army officers stationed in the city pledged "total support for the protesters".

The protesters also seemed to be in control of much of the country's east, and an Al Jazeera correspondent, reporting from the city of Tobruk, 140km from the Egyptian border, said there was no presence of security forces.

"From what I've seen, I'd say the people of eastern Libya are the ones in control," Hoda Abdel-Hamid, our correspondent, said.

She said there were no officials manning the border when the Al Jazeera team crossed into Libya.

'People in charge'

"All along the border, we didn't see one policeman, we didn't see one soldier and people here told us they [security forces] have all fled or are in hiding and that the people are now in charge, meaning all the way from the border, Tobruk, and then all the way up to Benghazi.

"People tell me it's also quite calm in Bayda and Beghazi. They do say, however, that 'militias' are roaming around, especially at night. They describe them as African men, they say they speak French so they think they're from Chad."

Major-General Suleiman Mahmoud, the commander of the armed forces in Tobruk, told Al Jazeera that the troops led by him had switched loyalties.

"We are on the side of the people," he said. "I was with him [Gaddafi] in the past but the situation has changed - he's a tyrant."

Benghazi, Libya's second largest city, was where people first rose up in revolt against Gaddafi's 42-year long rule more than a week ago. The rebellion has since spread to other cities despite heavy-handed attempts by security forces to quell the unrest.

With authorities placing tight restrictions on the media, flow of news from Libya is at best patchy. But reports filtering out suggest at least 300 people have been killed in the violence.

But Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, said there were "credible' reports that at least 1,000 had died in the clampdown.

Defiant Gaddafi

Amid the turmoil, a defiant Gaddafi has vowed to quash the uprising.

He delivered a rambling speech on television on Tuesday night, declaring he would die a martyr in Libya, and threatening to purge opponents "house by house" and "inch by inch".

He blamed the uprising in the country on "Islamists", and warned that an "Islamic emirate" has already been set up in Bayda and Derna, where he threatened the use of extreme force.

He urged Libyans to take to the streets and show their support for their leader.

Several hundred government loyalists heeded his call in Tripoli, the capital. on Wednesday, staging a pro-Gaddafi rally in the city's Green Square.

Fresh gunfire was reported in the capital on Wednesday, after Gaddafi called on his supporters to take back the streets from anti-government protesters.

But Gaddafi's speech has done little to stem the steady stream of defections from his side.

Libyan diplomats across the world have either resigned in protest at the use of violence against citizens, or renounced Gaddafi's leadership, saying that they stand with the protesters.

Late on Tuesday night, General Abdul-Fatah Younis, the country's interior minister, became the latest government official to stand down, saying that he was resigning to support what he termed as the "February 17 revolution".

He urged the Libyan army to join the people and their "legitimate demands".

On Wednesday, Youssef Sawani, a senior aide to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, one of Muammar Gaddafi's sons, resigned from his post "to express dismay against violence", Reuters reported.

Earlier, Mustapha Abdeljalil, the country's justice minister, had resigned in protest at the "excessive use of violence" against protesters, and diplomat's at Libya's mission to the United Nations called on the Libyan army to help remove "the tyrant Muammar Gaddafi".

A group of army officers has also issued a statement urging soldiers to "join the people" and remove Gaddafi from power.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Statement by Dublin’s Frontline Defenders in Support of Human Rights Defenders from HINDRAF.

Front Line Defender

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi has applied for police permit for 27th February 2011 Hindraf Rally contrary to media statements by Home Minister and IGP

Copy of Dear Sirs 1

clip_image002
No.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur. Tel : 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245 Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com E-mail: info@humanrightspartymalaysia.com
Your Reference :
In Reply : MISC/February/2011
Date : 23/2/2011

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444
62502 Putrajaya E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my
By Hand
Y.B Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein,
Menteri Kementerian Dalam Negeri,
Kementerian Dalam Negeri,
Blok D1 & D2, Kompleks D,
Pusat Pentadbiran,
Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-2693 3131
62546 Putrajaya E-Mail: menteri@moha.gov.my
By Hand
Tan Sri Haji Ismail bin Haji Omar,
Ketua Polis Negara,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja,
Malaysia,
Bukit Aman, Fax: 03-20707500 50560 Kuala Lumpur E-Mail: kpn@rmp.gov.my
By Hand
Dear sirs,

Re : Hindraf Makkal Sakthi has applied for police permit for 27th February 2011 Hindraf Rally contrary to media statements by Home Minister and IGP
We refer to the above matter and to the news report in The Sun 17/02/2011 of page 2 titled “ Hisham : No application for rally permit “ and The Sun 18/02/2011
at page 4 titled “ Don’t hold rally IGP tells HRP” by the Home Minister and the Inspector General of Police respectively.
May we bring out to your goodselves attention that this is not the truth as we have indeed applied for a police permit. A copy of the said application with the Dang Wangi police stations acknowledgement is enclosed herewith to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the citizens right to assemble peacefully without arms.
We recall some years ago when Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin marched from Kampung Baru to the Renaissance Hotel to send a protest note to the then Secretary of State of the United States of America Condoleza Rice on the Palestinian plight and his march was neither disrupted or nor was he and his group arrested or prosecuted.
Further Article 8 of the Federal Constitution guarantees equality before the law and the equal protection of the law.
We also ask for our right to march against UMNO racism and Interlok on 27th of February 2011 at 9.00 am from KLCC to the Dang Wangi police station. During this peaceful march we also ask for police protection against possible extremist groups like Perkasa, Pekida, Tiga Line etc from creating problems and violence. We also ask for protection against possible UMNO Indian mandore gangsters who may assigned to create an “Indian versus Indian” fight and creating possible violence. If there is any violence on that day we shall presume that the same is orchestrated and well conceived UMNO plan a la Kg Medan as we have always been peaceful and have always subscribed to a non violent and peaceful struggle.
In the circumstances we trust that our application for a police permit for our aforesaid peaceful rally further to Article 10 of the Federal constitution would be granted.
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
P.Uthayakumar
Secretary General (Protem)



Dear Sirs 1
Dear Sirs 2  New Scan-20110223114843-00001  New Scan-20110223114803-00001

'Cap on political parties violates human rights'

(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has come out strongly against a proposal by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to cap the number of political parties, calling this an infringement of citizens' rights.

NONE"The commission strongly urges the ROS not to proceed with the recommendation, thereby giving due respect to the right of the people to choose their representatives and their political affiliations," Suhakam chairperson Hasmy Agam said in a statement.

He acknowledged that it was within the powers of the ROS to approve or refuse an application for registration under Section 7 of the Societies Act 1966.

However, Hasmy said, limiting the number and restricting new applications were inconsistent with the principles of human rights, as it curtailed the right to form an association and freedom of expression.

"The will of the people forms the basis of government's authority, thus the citizens have the right to select their representatives,” he said.

"The right to take part in government is a fundamental right enshrined in Article 119 of the federal constitution and Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Recommendations made

Suhakam had, in its 2007 annual report, recommended that the powers of the ROS should be exercised in proportion with the purpose of the Societies Act, and that the ROS should be transparent and accountable in doing so.

Others recommendations were that:
  • Section 5 of the Societies Act, which provides for the absolute discretion of the minister to declare a society unlawful, be reviewed.
  • Section 7 should be re-examined.
  • Applicants should be given the right to be heard.
  • The Act should stipulate a reasonable timeline and rules that affect the registration process.
  • The decision should be made and communicated to the applicants within a stated time frame.
On Monday, English-language daily New Straits Times had reported the ROS recommendation to impose a moratorium on new approvals of political parties.

Registrar Abdul Rahman Othman had contended that such a cap would spare the nation the “draining” effects of politicking.

However the proposal has earned the regulatory body a slap on the wrist from parties on both sides of the political divide.

Roslan Ahmad calon BN bagi Merlimau

Anggota Jawatankuasa Umno Bahagian Jasin Roslan Ahmad dinamakan sebagai calon BN pada pilihan raya kecil DUN Melaka.

JASIN: Anggota Jawatankuasa Umno Bahagian Jasin Roslan Ahmad dinamakan sebagai calon Barisan Nasional (BN) pada pilihan raya kecil Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Melaka kawasan Merlimau, pada 6 Mac ini.


Pengumuman tersebut dibuat oleh Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin di hadapan kira-kira 3,000 penyokong BN di Command Centre di Merlimau dekat sini, hari ini.”Ini diputuskan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang juga pengerusi BN selepas kita menerima cadangan dan proses penyaringan berkali-kali dan kita dapati saudara Roslan adalah calon paling sesuai,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas majlis pengumuman calon BN bagi pilihan raya kecil DUN Merlimau di sini.

Turut hadir ialah Ketua Menteri Melaka Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Presiden MCA Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, Presiden Gerakan Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Presiden PPP Datuk M Kayveas, Setiausaha Agung BN Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor dan barisan pimpinan BN lain.
Muhyiddin, yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi BN berkata Roslan, 44, mempunyai rekod pengalaman dan pemimpin yang dikenali di kalangan pengundi DUN Merlimau dan beliau berharap pengundi berpuas hati atas pemilihan beliau sebagai calon.
- Bernama

‘Male Y’ DNA found on morning towel, bottle, toothbursh

Four samples sent for DNA testing share the same DNA profile of a 'male Y', says a chemist

KUALA LUMPUR: A chemist who carried out DNA matching on DNA extracted from a morning towel, toothbrush and a mineral water bottle, today told the High Court hearing the sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim that they matched two DNA samples lifted from the anus of complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Nor Aidora Saidon said four samples were handed over to her by investigating officer DSP Jude Pereira on July 17, 2008 for DNA testing and she later positively concluded through DNA analysis that they shared the same DNA profile of a “male Y” as stated in the chemist report of Dr Seah Lay Hong.

The sixth prosecution witness also told the court that she lifted a strain of hair from the morning towel but its DNA profile did not match that of “male Y”.

During examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin, Nor Aidora said she collected four swabs from the towel, two from the bottle and two from the toothbrush.

She explained further that the samples were subjected to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before she printed out the electropherogram graphs to confirm presence of DNA other than those of Mohd Saiful.

PCR is a scientific technique in molecular biology to amplify a single or a few copies of a piece of DNA across several orders of magnitude, generating thousands to millions of copies of a particular DNA sequence.

However, during today’s proceedings there was no explanation on how they obtained the samples or who the samples belong to.

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.

Common DNA profile

Questioned further by Noorin whether she compared short tandem repeat (STR) analyses of the graphs of three samples (bottle, toothbrush and towel) with graphs of samples examined by Seah, Nor Aidora said her analysis of the graphs matched the findings of Seah, which further confirmed that they shared a common DNA profile.

“The findings also confirmed that all the samples analysed by me and Seah came from the same source, which is ‘male Y’,” explained Nor Aidora.

Questioned further whether she carried out additional camparisons of her findings on the DNA extracts and those of “male Y”, she replied she did match probability study.

She explained that the study involved DNA database of the Malaysian population in particular Malays and Indians, before confirming the extracts belonged to “male Y”.

Earlier, defence counsel Karpal Singh had sought a brief adjournment of the proceedings when Nor Aidora repeatedly referred to data on her findings but copies of which were not supplied to the defence team.

After a brief exchange on the matter between Karpal Singh and Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, Mohamed Yusof agreed to supply the defence copies of the documents, even though initially he had contended that the witness was just referring to the notes to refresh her memory.

Immediately after copies of the notes were furnished to the defence, another defence counsel Ram Karpal Singh applied to the court to defer further examination-in-chief of Nor Aidora to Friday on the grounds that Dr Brian Mcdonald, who is assisting the defence team on DNA matters, needed time to study the data.

Trial judge justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah agreed to the request and instructed the prosecution to call a fresh witness tomorrow.

-Bernama

Directors charged with offences involving RM156m

Four directors face a total of 322 counts of financial offences for alleged illegal deposit-taking activities and money laundering.

IPOH: Four directors of Bestino Golden House Sdn Bhd were charged in the Session Court here today with committing a total of 322 counts of financial offences involving RM156 million.

The four accused are Chong Kuei Geh, 57, who faces 114 charges, Chong Yuk Ming, 49, (52 charges), Goon Koon Lee, 48, (102) and Ho Chee Cheong, 41, (54).

They, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them before judge Julie Lack Abdullah.

The accused are alleged to have committed the offences between July 9, 2006 and Sept 21, 2008.

They were charged under Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 for illegal deposit-taking and the Anti-Money Laundering and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2001.

Under the first Act, they can face a maximum fine of RM10 million or up to 10 years jail or both while under the second Act, a maximum fine of RM5 million or up to five years jail or both can be imposed, if convicted.

All the proceeds from the illegal-deposit scheme are believed to have been used to buy properties, assets and other commodities.

All the accused are represented by Rajivan Nambiar.

Bank Negara Malaysia was represented by prosecuting officers Alwin Ong Heng Kiat and Mohd Syahkirin Mampot for the illegal deposit-taking charges while Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohammad Fauzi Md Yusof for the money-laundering charges.

Ong asked the court to impose a RM5 million bail each on the four accused, arguing that the deposit collected illegally was massive. He also asked the judge to impound their international passports.

However, Rajivan said that the personal account of the directors amounting to RM1 million in cash and company assets of RM20 million have already been frozen by Bank Negara.

He pleaded for the bail to be reduced to RM100,000 or RM200,000 as the accused had cooperated with Bank Negara in its investigation of the company for the past three years.

Julie set bail at RM1.5 million in two sureties for each of the accused and also ordered them to surrender their passports to the court.

She then set April 11 for re-mention to decide whether all the cases should be heard jointly.

Later, Rajivan said that he would apply to the court to seek a revision of the bail tomorrow.

At press time, the four accused had not posted bail.

DBKL’s attempt to demolish homes illegal, says lawyer

Ex-Batu estate residents, who are embroiled in a dispute with housing developer Mayland Developers, want DBKL to stop interferring in the matter.

PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has come under fire for using the Emergency Ordinance to intimidate ex-Batu estate residents who are in a dispute with housing developer, Mayland Developers Sdn Bhd.

N Surendran, who is also PKR supreme council member, said DBKL’s attempt to demolish the houses of the residents was “illegal” .

“What DBKL is doing is illegal. They cannot be using Emergency Ordinance to threaten the residents in favour of the developer,” he said, alluding to last week’s stand-off between DBKL enforcement unit and the ex-Batu estate residents.

On Feb 16, DBKL’s security and enforcement unit comprising lorries, trucks and heavy machinery moved into the residential area of the former estate workers to demolish their homes despite a court ruling.

Negotiations between their legal counsel Muthu Veloo and DBKL officer Osman Ismail earned the residents a two-week reprieve which ends on March 2.

Earlier on Feb 16, the residents led by spokesman V Thilagenthiran had submitted a memorandum to the DBKL and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to look into their plight.

The ex-workers have been embroiled in a battle with Mayland since the High Court ruled in the residents’ favour in 2003.

The judgment recognised the rights of the former estate workers as the rightful occupants of the land.

The court ruled that any attempts to evict the ex-estate workers can only be done “with a full hearing and not summarily disposed of”.

Surendran said today that they will meet wth DBKL mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail on the issue.

“We will obtain an undertaking from the mayor that Kuala Lumpur City Hall will not interfere in the dispute between the residents and the developer (Mayland).

“We will also seek an assurance from DBKL not to demolish the homes of these workers.. This is none of their business” he told FMT.

He said PKR and the ex-Batu estate residents will organise a demonstration on Feb 25, outside the DBKL office in Jalan Raja Laut to draw attention to the residents’ plight.

Apart from PKR members and Subang MP N Sivarasa, several civil society groups including Lawyerw For Liberty, are expected to participate in the demonstration.

Asked if the party had applied for permits to demonstrate, Surendran said: “No… Article 10 of the Federal Constitution allows for ‘peaceful assembly’ whenever and wherever we want as long as it does not harm the public.”

Malays are afraid of themselves

Malaysiakini

The BTN or National Civics Bureau is divisive, racist and politically-motivated. Most people are aware of this except for BN politicians. Despite the serious allegations made about the BTN, their main coalition partners, MCA and MIC have not been effective in condemning the BTN.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin denied claims that courses run by the BTN were a form of political indoctrination. He said, “BTN is to inculcate nationalism and unity among the people in line with the 1Malaysia concept”.

Talk of nationalism smacks of the supremacy of one race over the other races. If he had said that the mission of BTN was to promote patriotism, this would be more in line with the spirit of Malaysian unity.

After a media blitz on the BTN in late 2009, the cabinet decided that the BTN would be revamped as it had run counter to its aims of instilling a united Malaysia. When former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad disagreed, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz described him as racist.

Nevertheless, the task of revamping the BTN was given to Ahmad Maslan, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who is also the BTN chief. As is common with most BN politicians, he flip-flopped and said that he was not going to revamp the curriculum but would merely ‘upgrade’ it.

In the last few days, we have heard that the BTN is indeed thriving.

The Pahang BTN assistant director, Ahmad Shah Jamlus, said on the bureau’s blog that “to reject race was un-Islamic”. He also stressed that “the religion and Malays are inseparable”.

Ahmad Shah then said that “the creation of Adam and Eve implied differences in mankind as we are made of distinct races”. He opined that the “Quran says Allah has created nations and tribes and the most honoured are those with the most piety towards Allah.”

Malays and Muslims are indistinguishable?

He said, “Therefore Malays and Islam cannot be separated. The first step in reaching a higher level of God-consciousness is established in the country’s constitution whereby Article 160 stipulates that a Malay must be a Muslim.”

Few people will understand what Ahmad Shah is trying to say in his article entitled “Rejecting race or ethnicity is rejecting human nature”. Is he saying that Malays and Muslims are indistinguishable?

His comments give an insight into the man. How does he equate the rejection of race or ethnicity as rejecting human nature? It is clear that he has a warped view of the Quranic teachings, and that is my being polite.

If Ahmad Shah is the assistant director of the Pahang BTN, then what sort of outfit does he lead? How many hundreds of thousands of minds has he polluted?

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is from Pahang. This is happening in his own backyard. What does he intend to do about this serious failing of his minister, Ahmad Maslan, and the Pahang BTN? Clearly, Ahmad Maslan has failed to do his job properly and should be sacked.

It is obvious that the BTN is not a tool to unite the people. It is only a propaganda machine to unite one race – the Malays.

One Malay man told me, “The Malay spirit is threadbare. Malays are fencesitters and support those who hold the gun. They have no pride and have become shoe lickers of the Japanese, British and the communists. Malays are not concerned about power and do not want to be united. They are willing to work with the devil as long as their livelihood is protected.”

Another said, “Past Malay leaders realised that the Malays are stupid and allowed themselves to be colonised for 500 years without a fight. They preferred to be ruled as long as they led an easy life. That is the reason that today, Malays are still slaves to the Chinese and Indians.”

It is disturbing that some Malays think like this in 21st century urban Malaysia.

Pakatan Rakyat will have to do much more to engage ordinary Malays – urban and rural. The Malays have a misconception that if Pakatan were to take over Putrajaya, non-Malays will rule and over-run the country and take away their rice bowls.

Malays are traditionally conservative and 53 years of brainwashing by Umno has corrupted their minds.

Strangling the ideals of all Malaysian peoples

The greater damage is that BTN has strangled the ideals, aspirations and uniqueness of all Malaysian peoples, not just the Malays.

These Malays will have to be made to understand that if Umno were to lose power, the Malays themselves would not lose power.

What BTN did not tell them was that they can be progressive, innovative, united, creative and excellent, without Umno’s crutches.

The fear these Malays have is a fear of themselves. They do not want to lose their identity. Indoctrination has made them become dependent on Umno for a place in society. Indoctrination has led them to believe they are who they are, because of Umno.

It is up to us to strip them of their insecurities and make them realise that with Pakatan in power, the Malays will flourish alongside the other races.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

NS trainee collapses, dies

(Bernama) - KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — A National Service (NS) trainee collapsed while performing the Zohur prayers at the Temasya Rimba Templer National Service Training Camp in Rawang, and later died at the Selayang Hospital, yesterday.

Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Ahmad, 17, from Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, was rushed to the Selayang Hospital at about 1.50pm but was pronounced dead about 50 minutes later.

“Medical record checks revealed that Syed Abdul Rahman did not have any medical problems and was active. He was always active in training at the camp,” said the National Service Training Department (JLKN) in a statement today.

According to JLKN records, the victim was only treated once for cough.

“The department will fly over his parents from Kuching, Sarawak and his body flown to Sarawak,” said the statement.

The incident has been classified as sudden death. — Bernama

Police Gagged Baru Bian – Exclusive video!

The Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud clearly has no intention of allowing the democratic process to get in the way of his election chances.  Sarawak Report has obtained exclusive video material showing how police were sent in to prevent the opposition PKR leader Baru Bian from addressing a peaceful gathering of people from his own constituency.  We have also learnt that Taib has sent out a disgraceful directive instructing police to deny permits for any opposition gatherings!
The incident happened in Baru’slocal main town of Lawas.  An invited gathering of party members and constituents had joined him at the Sin Yang coffee shop to take food and listen to his vision of a better future.  These key constituents wanted to listen to his messages and ideas in order to bring them back to their own communities and longhouses.  PKR party workers had, as usual, applied for a permit for the sit-down gathering, but as usual the permit had been denied.

Police stopped Baru Bian's speech in Lawas from Farnham Film School on Vimeo.
“The police just said no.  They gave no reason” explained Paul Bian, Baru’s Campaign Coordinator
Our orders are from the Top!
PKR officials say they felt they had no choice but to proceed with the meeting.  “By refusing us a permit they were interfering in our democratic rights” continued Paul, who is Baru’s brother and a long-term political ally of the human rights lawyer. He went on:
“Our rights have been denied.  This is a democratic country and everyone has a right to give their opinions and a right to meet together and give the information that we can’t give to the people any other way.  We in the opposition are not given any media coverage”
Peaceful and seated gathering, soon to be disrupted by police who feared to let Bian speak
Baru Bian, who has shaken Taib’s authority on numerous occasions over the past two years by winning a series of crucial land rights cases on behalf of communities fighting against the Chief Minister’s land grabs, only just missed out on winning the seat at the last election in 2006, despite enormous odds.  At that time Bian started legal proceedings which detailed a long list of corrupt practices used by BN to win the seat by just 200 votes.  These included bribery and vote-rigging.  Taib-controlled judges, of course, immediately dropped the case on the excuse of ’ legal technicalities’.
PKR rightfully believe that Bian should have the absolute freedom to speak to his people, who are from his native area.  They say the fact that Taib is resorting to such dirty tactics and abusing the authority of the police at such an early stage in the election is a sure sign that he is fearful that opinion in Sarawak has turned firmly against his authoritarian government. His 30 years in power have brought great wealth to his family, but only poverty for the longhouse people, whose lands he has taken for timber and oil palm.
Peaceful gathering was threatened by police provocation
Witnesses say that the guests to the event started arriving at around 7 oclock in the evening and sat down to enjoy some initial refreshments.  Many of the several hundred people who turned out to listen to Baru Bian had travelled very long distances from the longhouses.  It had been raining all day and the journey in some cases took several hours, but they had been undeterred.  According to one report received by Sarawak Reports, some poorer people, who had come the day before, had had to sleep out in the open.
Police start to surround the event and turn away guests
By 7.15 pm, according to the organisers, a substantial contingent of local police officers had started to arrive.  In all witnesses say there were around 20 uniformed police and another ten plain clothes officers from Special Branch.  Their presence cast a threatening shadow over the meeting and they started turning away later arrivals and surrounded the building.   Paul Bian explains how his original plan had been to show a video to the people at the beginning of the meal – it was an information film about Baru and his mission and policies for transforming Sarawak into a fairer society.  However, the police prohibited the showing of the film.
“We appealed that there is no other way to communicate.  We explained that we dont get media coverage or newspaper coverage or TV coverage, so couldn’t they just let us show this?” says Paul.  “The police boss was sympathetic, but he replied that he was taking orders “from the top”!  that means either the Police Chief or the party bosses”
Bian had originally lined up three interesting speakers to address the gathering, “I had the community leader Pemanch Jenging anak Radin, who has defected from BN after his land was grabbed and also Abun Sui, the land rights lawyer who has won key cases in the area and last it was to be Baru Bian”.  However, with the police pressure mounting he says he decided to cut straight to the key content of the meeting and the speech from Baru Bian.
Not allowed
A hand on your shoulder Tuan!
As our video shows how Baru had hardly got to his feet before the police marched up to him and “placed a hand on his shoulder”.  There was a policeman on either side of him and five had followed behind to where he was standing, according to Bian.  They told him he was “not allowed” to speak.   Witnesses say it was a frightening moment because members of the crowd became angry.
“We are a thousand so its 30 to one!” was one of the cries, explains Bian
For this reason, as the video shows, Baru took responsible action in circumstances where a large frustrated gathering could have taken their anger out on the police.  He calmed the crowd and encouraged them to understand that it was better to cooperate with the police, rather than to allow the danger of violence breaking out and someone getting hurt. Without Baru’s diplomatic leadership the event could have degenerated, because of the unnecessary provocation of the police.
For these reasons the angry crowd were forced to return back to their longhouses without having been allowed their democratic right to hear their local candidate!
Borneo Convention Centre - laughably designed to look like a leaf in deference to the environment!
Meanwhile, on March 5th Taib Mahmud plans to hold his own Party Convention rally for 5 thousand people in the Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching, for which it will be no surprise to learn the BN party had no problems in obtaining a police permit!   Sarawak Report assumes that none of the speakers at the rally will be referring to the corruption surrounding the building of the Borneo Convention Centre, which was commissioned by the Chief Minister and handed to the company PPES works, which is the ”construction arm” of his own family company CMS!
Heading the Board of Directors of CMS is Taib’s own son, the youthful and fashionable Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, who is also the largest shareholder.   Until her death the previous largest shareholder of this multi-million ringgit concern, which is quoted as a public company, used to be his Mum, Laila Taib!  Her husband (his Dad), the Chief Minister has consistently channelled most of the top state contracts through his own family company for the past 3 decades.  For this reason the share price of the company has shot up in past months in anticipation of all the money the government is saying it will be spending on SCORE projects!
Backfired
PKR say that the discriminatory and anti-democratic behaviour of the current government on this and other matters is clearly proving to be counter-productive.  “The people were not intimidated, but they were angry”, says Paul Bian.  “This event opened the minds of the people to what is going on and it made them very, very bitter.  Since this event Baru Bian has been getting more and more offers to come and speak to villages in the region.  They say ‘come speak to us any time’.  This has not made them scared, it has made them become more resolute against the malpractices”.
BN may yet discover that disappointing and angering the electorate is no way to go about winning elections.  People are concluding that BN fears the opposition leader so much they dare not let the people hear him speak!

Sampel DNA Diambil Dari Tubuh Saiful Sebelum Laporan Polis Dibuat?

Dari Keadilan Daily

Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur dalam kes perbicaraan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hari ini memanggil saksi ke enam pendakwa, iaitu ahli kimia Nor Aidora Saidun.

Beliau adalah Ketua Unit Paterniti DNA, Jabatan Kimia sejak 2008 dan menyertai Jabatan Kimia, Kementerian Sains dan Teknologi sejak 1998.

Mahkamah juga dijangka mengetahui identiti DNA ‘lelaki Y’ yang dianalisa ahli Kimia dari Jabatan Kimia, Dr Seah Lay Hong hari ini. Awal pagi tadi, Dr Seah menyambung keterangannya dalam sesi soal balas buat hari ke lima.

Dr Seah semalam enggan mengakui jumlah sperma Saiful DNA lelaki Y lebih banyak ditemui pada pengadu, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Peguam Anwar, Karpal Singh membuat kesimpulan Saiful seorang homoseksual pasif memandangkan lebih daripada satu sampel DNA ditemui pada pengadu itu.

Selain itu, mahkamah turut dikejutkan dengan pendedahan bahawa sampel DNA diambil dari tubuh Saiful sebelum laporan polis dibuat.

Sebelum ini, mahkamah digemparkan dengan beberapa keterangan dari Dr Seah. Antaranya borang proforma yang tidak lengkap diisi dan keterangan dalam borang tersebut yang menyatakan hanya berlaku ‘cubaan liwat’ dan oral seks’, yang mana menimbulkan persoalan.

Pakar itu sebelum ini juga mengakui tidak mengikut garis panduan antarabangsa yang ditetapkan International Society of Forensic Genetics dalam membuat analisa. Berikut kronologi perbicaraan hari ini:

10.55 pagi – Hadirin di mahkamah kelihatan ketawa kecil apabila Nor Aidora sendiri menawarkan bahan bukti tersebut untuk diperiksa pendakwa dan peguam bela.

Sampul D1 mengandungi sebatang berus gigi. Ia ditanda sebagai ID58. Menurut Nor Aidora, beliau mencalit bahagian bulu dan pemegang berus gigi untuk mendapatkan sampel.

10.47 pagi – DPP Noorin dan Nor Aidora menandakan bahan bukti. Sampul D mengandungi sehelai rambut di atas kertas putih ditanda sebagai ID57.

11.02 pagi – Sampul D2 mengandungi tuala ‘Good Morning’ dengan rambut. Rambut ditanda sebagai D2(a). Sampul D2 ditanda sebagai ID59. Tuala ‘Good Morning’ ditanda sebagai ID59(a). Rambut D2(a) ditanda sebagai ID60.

11.18 pagi – Sampul D3 mengandungi botol air mineral jenama ‘Cactus’. menurut Aidora, sampel DNA diambil dari bibir botol itu. Ia ditanda sebagai bahan bukti ID61.

10.36 pagi – Menurut Aidora, pada 17 July 2008 beliau menerima 4 sampul surat bertanda D, D1, D2, dan D3 daripada pegawai penyiasat, DSP Judy Blasious Pereira.

10.33 pagi – Mahkamah bersidang semula.

10.12 pagi – Timbalan Presiden KEADILAN, Azmin Ali kelihatan di luar mahkamah bersama Ketua Umum KEADILAN, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

9.35 pagi – Mahkamah ditangguhkan kerana Sankara mahu pasukan peguam Anwar diwakili Karpal Singh untuk menyoal balas Nor Aidora. Karpal Singh dilaporkan dalam perjalanan daripada satu lagi kes di Shah Alam.

9.03 pagi – Mahkamah diteruskan dengan memanggil saksi keenam pendakwa, Nor Aidora Saidun. Beliau masuk ke kandang saksi mengangkat sumpah dan memberi keterangan.
Nor Aidora merupakan Ketua Unit Paterniti DNA, Jabatan Kimia sejak 2008. Beliau menyertai Jabatan Kimia, Kementerian Sains dan Teknologi sejak 1998. Menurutnya, selama hampir 13 tahun beliau sudah mengendalikan hampir 100,000 sampel DNA.

8.53 pagi – Mahkamah mula bersidang bagi mendengar keterangan saksi ke lima, Pakar kimia dari Jabatan Kimia Dr Seah Lay Hong.

Timbalan Pendakwaraya DPP Noorin Baharuddin menyoal Dr Seah berkenaan label tarikh pada sampel B4 dan B5. Menurut Dr Seah, sampel sampai ke makmal Jabatan Kimia dalam keadaan baik. Maka, walaupun tarikh berbeza daripada laporan polis (2 hari lebih awal daripada tarikh laporan polis), Jabatan Kimia tetap menerima sampel.

Malaysia's Sorry Record on Press Freedom

Image
Najib Tun Razak
(Asia Sentinel) Ruling coalition's 'multi-pronged approach' to curb expression


Malaysia's Barisan Nasional, or national ruling coalition, has gone to extreme ends to control freedom of expression and monopolize the dissemination of information, according to the Kuala Lumpur-based Center for Independent Journalism.

The NGO's report, released Tuesday, says the Barisan "adopted a multi-pronged approach, using the myriad of laws at its disposal to curb expression. The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 was used to intimidate The Star, China Press and Special Weekly, among others."

A summary of the report, furnished by the center, follows. It is the fourth such report the organization has released.

These publications were issued show-cause letters over various issues, from a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Najib Razak as Mr U-Turn to a commentary on the whipping of women under shariah law. The newspapers were pressured to apologize or make changes to their editorial teams to avoid the risk of losing their printing permits.

Books were also banned and seized under the PPPA, ostensibly to protect public order and morality. Among the banned and seized books were cartoonist Zunar's 1Funny Malaysia, Perak Darul Kartun, Isu Dalam Kartun and Cartoon-O-Phobia. Zunar himself was arrested for sedition on the day of Cartoon-O-Phobia's launch, although later released. Also banned was Kim Quek's March to Putrajaya, which was then released free online.

Government control also extended to the broadcast media. ntv7 producer Joshua Wong resigned in protest, saying his bosses had received text messages from the Prime Minister's Department, complaining about his show Editor's Time's content. RTM producer Chou Z Lam also exposed content interference, saying that a documentary on Sarawak's Bakun Dam was cancelled after only two out of nine episodes had aired.

Shortly after Chou's exposé, his contract with RTM was terminated. On radio, disk jockey Jamaluddin Ibrahim was sacked along with two other Star RFM employees. This occurred after Jamaluddin interviewed a gay pastor on race and relations and opposition Democratic Action Party secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on his radio show.

Internet Control
The government has stepped up its efforts to control the internet. The public are constantly reminded how Malaysia's many repressive laws such as the Sedition Act are applicable online. The home minister announced the setting up of a "special unit" to monitor the internet, especially for postings that could ignite racial tension and cause disunity. The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) formed a special team with the police to handle threats to national security and unity in cyberspace. Meanwhile, special guidelines have been drafted to explain the reach of the
Sedition Act and the PPPA online.

The Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 was also used as a tool against expression online. Malaysiakini and Malaysia Chronicle were investigated for their news reports on Najib's opening speech at the Umno general assembly. Blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman was charged for a satirical post on Tenaga Nasional Berhad. Rocky's Bru blogger Ahirudin Atan was quizzed for his posting of rumours of lucrative Information Ministry contracts involving a minister's son.

Sedition
Arrests and harassment under the Sedition Act also continued. Those arrested include blogger Aduka Taruna and PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham (known as Chegubard) for postings on royalty. Wee Meng Chee (known as Namewee) was questioned for a YouTube video criticising a principal's alleged racist remarks. MCA president Chua Soi Lek and PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar were questioned over remarks about bumiputera corporate equity and the constitution's Article 153 respectively. A "special team" was set up to investigate Penang imams apparently praying for Lim Guan Eng instead of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. And police reports were lodged against MyConstitution which aims to educate people about the constitution's principles; and against a Shah Alam church for planning to stage a play at the Shah Alam Convention Center during the fasting month.

Najib recently said that "the government has no monopoly over information and the dissemination of information". With the many creative ways in which Malaysians are expressing themselves – whether online, through flash mobs, "cake parties" or open letters, it is clear that it will be impossible for the BN to control everything that is being said about it. But although absolute control of information may not be within its grasp, the BN federal government has certainly demonstrated that it is not willing to relinquish whatever control it still has. And as discussions persist over whether to extend the reach of the PPPA online, it is equally clear that the government will try to extend its control as far as it can in the coming year.

Najib and five others apply to strike out suit by ISA detainees

The Star 
by M. MAGESWARI

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and five others are applying to strike out a RM200mil unlawful arrest and detention suit filed by two former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, M. Manoharan and P. Uthayakumar

High Court Judicial Com­missioner Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal will hear the application on March 24 because another judge has recused himself.

Justice Harmindar set the date yesterday after meeting Mano­haran, who represented himself, and senior federal counsel Diar Isda Yazmin Ismail in chambers.

“High Court Judicial Com­missioner Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham recused himself from hearing the matter as he was Najib’s classmate,” Manoharan told reporters later.

In their application, the six defendants said the civil action filed by Manoharan and Uthaya­kumar on Dec 9 last year was an abuse of the court process.

They are asking the court to strike out the suit under the Rules of the High Court 1980.

Alternatively, Najib and five others are asking the court to use its inherent jurisdiction to strike out the suit with costs.

In the application filed on Feb 16, the defendants also stated that the suit was frivolous and vexatious.

They said the two plaintiffs’ action was directly related to a case which has been applied and disposed of by the High Court and Federal Court.

Among others, they said the filing of the civil action was actually prohibited by Section 8B(1) of the ISA Act 1960 which stated that there shall be no judicial review in any courts except on procedural requirements under the same Act.

In an affidavit to support the application, the two plaintiffs are applying to court for RM100mil each in damages and that an annual interest of 8% be awarded on grounds that they had been wrongfully detained for 514 days from Dec 13, 2007 to May 9, 2009.

In their suit, the plaintiffs named Najib, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, the Taiping detention centre superintendent and the Government as defendants.

Charter Plane To Evacuate Malaysians In Strife-Torn Libya

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 (Bernama) -- The government will charter an aircraft from Europe to evacuate 190 Malaysians who have appealed to leave strife-torn Libya following the Libyan government refusing to allow in military planes.

National Security Council (NSC) secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab told Bernama Wednesday night that the Libyan government was opening its air space for 48 hours to allow evacuation of foreign nationals.

"But we can't use the C-130 aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. We are now looking at the second option, which is to hire a charter plane from a European country that is nearer to Libya," he told Bernama.

Mohamed Thajudeen said once the details were sorted out, the chartered plane would leave for Tripoli to bring out the Malaysians and fly them to Rome.

"We have Malaysia Airlines operating scheduled flights from Rome which can be used to bring them back home. At the same time, the C-130 currently in Slovakia will fly to Rome and stand by as a back-up," he said.

Libya is seeing an uprising by the people against its leader, Muammar Gaddafi.