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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Interlok row more than just about 'pariah'

(Malaysiakini) Members from the education ministry's panel (below) to review the novel 'Interlok' say that apart from the passages referring to the term 'pariah' that have caused offence, they have found others that they claim to be “misleading” and “humiliating” to the Indian community.

According to the list of 67 recommended amendments to the novel tabled at the last meeting of the panel formed by the education ministry to review the novel's use as a Form 5 textbook, amongst these are passages touching on Hindu gods and rituals.

NONEOne example they cited was the depiction of the marriage ceremony between Manian and Malini (pages 227 and 228 of the student's edition) that described the bride and groom on a dais decorated with mango leaves, that the author described “to be linked to Kaman, the Hindu god of love”.

They cited another passage that they called culturally misleading, in the section describing a prayer to the god Palikai after the ritual of Ankurarppanam, that the author Abdullah Hussain had described as a worshipping ceremony performed with a ceramic urn filled with the shoots of nine different grains.

The panellists' annotation read, “(With regard to) Facts and culture. Avoid giving information that are misleading,” to explain why they recommended the names of the Hindu deities in the related passages to be removed.

However, the panellists' recommendations, that Malaysiakini acquired from an ethnic Indian panel member Uthaya Sankar, did not elaborate why they found those passages misleading.

'Bumiputera' term alien to 1910

It is understood that Uthaya and two other Indian panellist were invited to the panel as representatives of the Indian community, and tasked with rooting out elements that are sensitive to the Indians.

NONETheir recommendations were among 100 that were proposed, some also touching on 'Book 1' and 'Book 2' of the novel that described how the Malays and Chinese lived in the times before independence.

The other Indian panellist were Aminuddin Baki Global Education Centre director NS Rajendran (right) and former education ministry officer G Krishnabahawan (below).

The trio also pointed out another passage that they claim to be “an embarrassing factual error”, in referring to the Indian cracker papadam as “papadom”, that they says is a British term.

Others parts of the novel singled out by the three are what they described as attempts to make moral and religious assertions, such as the passage that reads “tuak (alcohol) is prohibited by the religion” and depictions of Maniam praying.

NONEThe 12-page proposed amendments also argued that it is improbable that the novel's character Maniam was from the pariah caste in India, as it is inconsistent with the character's life as depicted in the novel.

As an example, they point out that in the novel Maniam had travelled to Tanah Melayu out of his own volition, something they said a true member of the pariah caste at the time would not have had the freedom to do.

Amongst the other recommendations are to:
  • Replace the word 'bumiputera' with 'residents' as the concept did not yet exist in 1910, the year the novel is set in
  • Remove the words 'Brahma caste' as it is an erroneous rendition of the term 'Brahmin'
  • Remove the words “chew betel leaves like a cow”
  • Remove the words “dark-skinned” as a reference to Indians in the novel
  • Remove the words “anjing orang putih” (dog of the Englishmen) used in reference to an Indian character
In their conclusion the three ethnic Indian members reminded the panel, without going into specifics, that they have to ensure that the textbook blurb - about how the story contains "values of 1Malaysia" - remains "a dignified blurb and not a blatant political propaganda tool”.

Searches continues in Japan as death toll rises

Tokyo (CNN) -- As searches for survivors continued Saturday, police in Japan said more than 7,100 people had died since the monster earthquake and ensuing tsunami struck.

On Saturday morning 7,197 people were confirmed dead, according to Japan's National Police Agency. Another 10,905 people were missing and 2,611 were injured, the agency said.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan sought to reassure the nation, saying Friday that he is committed to taking firm control of a "grave" situation.

Kan said the disaster has been a "great test for all of the people of Japan," but he was confident of the resolve of his people.

Amid a raised crisis level at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant from a 4 to 5 -- putting it on par with the 1979 incident at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island -- Kan told his compatriots to bury their pessimism.

"With a tsunami and earthquake we don't have any room to be pessimistic," he said. "We are going to create Japan again from scratch. We should face this challenge together."

Kan acknowledged the situation at the Fukushima plant remains "very grave" and said his government has disclosed all that it knows to both the Japanese people and the international community.

"The police, fire department and self defense forces are all working together, putting their lives on the line, in an attempt to resolve the situation," he said.

Search teams continued Friday to comb through the rubble and residents of decimated towns sifted through twisted metal and broken wood beams, looking for remnants of the lives they lost. Rescuers planted red flags where they found dead bodies.

"I have no words to express my feelings. I lost my mind. We will have to start from zero," Hidemitsu Ichikawa said, taking a break from shoveling mud outside his home.

In Miyagi Prefecture, officials observed a moment of silence Friday to mark the one-week anniversary of the quake.

Schools have become impromptu morgues, with names of the dead posted on the doors, NHK reported.

Long lines snaked around supermarkets as survivors stocked up on supplies.

In the hardest-hit parts of the country, thousands of people, many of them frail and elderly, settled into shelters not knowing when they might be able to leave.

Japanese media have reported difficult living conditions, including kerosene shortages that make it hard to heat the shelters.

Some 380,000 people are staying at 2,200 facilities, Kyodo News reported.

"With all possible measures I'm determined, as part of the government, to improve their living conditions as much as possible," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters Friday.

NHK reported that 25 of the nearly 10,000 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture have died in shelters.

Twenty of them were elderly people forced to evacuate from nursing homes and a hospital after problems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Several died as they rode without adequate medical care on a bus on the way to the high school shelter, Fukushima Prefecture government officials said.

Volunteers tried to care for hundreds of patients in the school's unheated athletic building. They sent out radio messages asking people to bring in any fuel they could spare, Koyo High School Principal Masaaki Tashiro said, choking up as he recounted the struggle.

"It was so far beyond anything we had ever experienced that we were doing our very best, just trying to cope with what was in front of us, he said.

"People are exhausted from the earthquake, tsunami, and now the fear of radiation," he said.

Japan's nuclear safety agency described the situation at the earthquake-damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant Friday as a "Level 5" incident, a rating based on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, with 1 being least and 7 being most severe.

A level 5 indicates the likelihood of a release of radioactive material, several deaths from radiation and severe damage to a reactor core.

Workers resumed efforts to douse a spent fuel pond outside a nuclear reactor at the Daiichi plant Friday, with its owner saying that earlier attempts had been "somewhat effective" in addressing radiation concerns.

Conditions at the plant itself remain dangerous. Radiation levels Thursday hit 20 millisieverts per hour at an annex building where workers have been trying to re-establish electrical power, "the highest registered (at that building) so far," a Tokyo Electric official told reporters.

By comparison, the typical resident of a developed country is naturally exposed to 3 millisieverts per year.

The top priority for officials is the nuclear facility's No. 3 reactor -- the sole damaged unit that contains plutonium along with the uranium in its fuel rods, Edano said.

Significant amounts of radiation have been released since the earthquake hit on March 11, followed by a tsunami that swept away diesel generators needed to keep water pumping over the fuel rods. The disasters spurred several hydrogen explosions at the nuclear plant.

But Japanese officials have tried to allay fears of an imminent meltdown.

A meltdown occurs when nuclear fuel rods cannot be cooled and the nuclear core melts. In the worst-case scenario, the fuel can rupture the containment unit spilling out radioactivity through the air and water. That, public health officials say, can cause both immediate and long-term health problems, including radiation poisoning and cancer.

The government has ordered the evacuation of about 200,000 people living in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) area around the plant, and told people living between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the plant to remain indoors.

"Evacuees, and that can be said of myself as well, are feeling anxious since we are not getting the needed information from the government in a timely manner," said Seiji Sato, a spokesman for the government of Tamura City, about 20 kilometers from the nuclear facility.

One group of 21 people evacuated from a town near the plant made it to a shelter in Shinjo-shi, 300 kilometers (186 miles) away.

They told officials there that they drove as far away as possible, until they ran out of gas.

Kundasang not neglected, only underdeveloped

KOTA KINABALU: Embarassed Kundasang assemblyman Joachim Gunsalam has denied allegations that the Barisan Nasional government had neglected his constituency.

Gunsalam, who was responding to complaints from villagers in the area about the lack of treated water, electricity and roads despite years of being under BN administration, said the area was “still underdeveloped but certainly not neglected”.

He said treated piped water supply did not exist in the area, much like in other parts of rural Sabah.

“I do agree that the area mentioned is still in need of much development. But the government in the past and present has provided them basic amenities such as gravity water supply in most if not all of the kampungs.

“But some are not working 100% due to many reasons such as insufficient supply of water as well as broken pipes,” he said.

He claimed that the District Office had tried to implement a RM200,000 water gravity project in Kg Mampakot, Malinsou sometime in 2009 but the Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) chairman rejected it.

The villagers, he said, had insisted on more allocations but “it was simply not available at that time”.

Funds diverted

The allocation was instead diverted to implement gravity water supply to two other kampungs – Kg Paka and kg Kilanas Ulu Sugut – also within the Kundasang constituency.

“Presently, the state government through the State Water Department is doing studies especially for clean water supplies to Mukim Malinsou and this hopefully can be implemented during the 10th Malaysia Plan together with Mukim Timbua,” he said.

Last Thursday FMT quoted villagers who claimed that kampungs such as Melinsau, Timbua, Kaingaran and Karagasan still did not have treated piped water supply, electricity or a tarred road, despite promises by several elected BN representatives in the past.

One community leader from Kampung Melinsau, alleged that even the solar power facilities given by the government about 10 years ago had broken down and not replaced.

Gunsalam said the government was doing its best to supply electricity to these areas and there was no discriminatory practices.

He said the current supply of electricity was not enough to cover the whole of the present Mukim.

He said two years ago a trial run for the “Bekalan Letrik alternatif Luar Bandar” (Alternative Power Supply for Rural Areas) scheme in Kg Mangkapo 1 and 2 had failed due to ‘problems’. Both vilagers comprised a predominatly Christian community.

Gunsalam did not elaborate on the ‘problems’.

Upgrading roads

Addressing the solar power, he said the government had stopped recommending it “because of the inability to maintain the batteries provided.”

“We have approached a few experts and they have been surveying the various kampungs to find out what is best and to try and provide electricity by the end of 2012,” he said.

He also touched on the quality of roads in the area.

Gunsalam said the upgrading of the roads in the area was presently being done from Kg Bongkud to Kg Monggis.

The road will go on to join the road to Kota Marudu and will be one of the main roads linking lower Kundasang to the town of Ranau.

“The government is also in the process of upgrading the road from Malinsou to Kaingaran during this 10th Malaysia Plan (one of the few NKRA projects).”

The Rural Development Ministry is in the process of implementing the Mini Estet Sahjetera (MESEG) schee in Kg Mansalu (also within Kundasang constituency).

He added that private bodies have also been in direct contact with the local community to help develop their land through joint ventures.

Mengapa ahli panel menentang pindaan yang dipersetujui?

Ramalan terhadap mengapa ahli panel menyokong lebih daripada 100 pindaan diketepikan.

PETALING JAYA: Panel Bebas Mengkaji Pindaan Novel Interlok pada 4 Mac sebulat suara bersetuju untuk meminda novel tersebut dan melaksanakan enam saranan.

Namun ketika sesi perjumpaan dengan Timbalan Perdana Menteri merangkap Menteri Pendidikan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin pada 16 Mac, ketua pengarah Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) Datuk Termuzi Abdul Aziz dan Profesor Dr Lim Swee Tin tidak menyetujui pindaan dilakukan.

Ahli panel lain yang hadir pada hari tersebut ialah isteri pengarang Datuk Abdullah Hussain, Datin Siti Saroja Basri dan tiga wakil masyarakat India – Profesor NS Rajendran dari Institut Pengajian Global Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris, mantan kakitangan Kementerian Penerangan G Krishnabahwan dan pengerusi Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan Uthaya Sankar SB.

Lim turut mempengerusikan sesi tersebut kerana pengerusi panel Profesor Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin tidak hadir kerana terpaksa ke luar negeri atas urusan kerja.

Wakil Gabungan Penulis Nasional (Gapena) yang turut menganggotai panel, Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Borhan juga tidak hadir atas urusan kerja.

Pada hemat penulis, penentangan Termuzi adalah wajar kerana beliau mewakili DBP – penerbit Interlok edisi murid. Pindaan dan penerbitan semula Interlok bukan sahaja memalukan malah merugikan DBP.

Penentangan Siti Saroja Basri terhadap sebarang pindaan ke atas Interlok juga boleh difahami kerana beliau mewakili kepentingan Datuk Abdullah Hussain.

Anugerah Sasterawan Negara

Apakah yang mungkin menyebabkan pensyarah Kesusasteraan Melayu di Fakulti Bahasa Moden dan Komunikasi, UPM Profesor Dr Lim Swee Tin berpaling tadah?

Lim merupakan pemenang hadiah SEA Write Award dalam tahun 2000. Beliau turut merupakan nama yang tersohor dalam dunia penyairan tanahair.

Pada tahun lepas Uthaya Sankar telah mencalonkan Lim untuk anugerah Sasterawan Negara ke-11. Ia turut dicatatkan di blog beliau.

Anugerah ini akan diberikan kepada seorang individu yang paling layak pada tahun ini.

Panel pemilihan Sasterawan Negara pula dipengerusikan oleh Menteri Pendidikan iaitu Muhyiddin.

Hatta, adakah mungkin Lim menentang pindaan untuk mengambil hati Muhyiddin demi gelaran Sasterawan Negara?

Sekiranya Lim memperoleh anugerah ini, beliau akan menjadi penulis bukan Melayu pertama yang memenanginya.

'Give Me Support And Trust As PM,' Najib Told Facebook Friends

KUCHING, March 19 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Saturday told the young people via his Facebook friends to give their full support and trust in him as the nation's prime minister to deliver a better future for Sarawak.

Expressing his delight to meet 250 online friends from all over Sarawak for the first time, Najib said young people should have idealism and expectation towards the government in terms of a fair and transparent governance.

"The government may not be perfect. But we try our best, as far as possible, to achieve a better governance and government so that the people are confident that it is here to protect the interest of every single citizen of the country," he said at the "Let's Meet and Communicate" (Mari Berjumpa Berhubung) session with his local Facebook friends here, who later joined him for breakfast at the face-to-face meeting.

Najib, who currently had upwards of 590,000 fans on Facebook and over 90,000 on Twitter, said it became increasingly important for him and other leaders in his administration to make their interaction meaningful with each Malaysian.

Having held two similar sessions at his official residence, Seri Perdana, in Putrajaya, he said leaders must go to find users of internet and other social networking sites, where the 'rakyat' or people could be found in growing numbers to engage them in dialogues.

"If you cannot come to me, I will go to you. I will try and meet with as many of my online friends as I travel across Malaysia," he said, adding that each and every one of his invited online friends supported and practised the 1Malaysia principle.

He described today's gathering as one of the ways to engage with the people in new and innovative ways since taking up the government's leadership.

"I have also been interacting regularly on Twitter, so if you have been wondering, yes, it is really me replying to your tweets. I tweet in the morning before work, in between appointments and after work before I go to sleep," said the prime minister.

With respect to Sarawak, he said, the federal government was working closely with the state government to bring about more development plans, especially after the impending state election which would be held any time soon.

While the government faced many challenges in bringing Sarawak on par with the peninsula, he said the state achieved the highest rate of development in the last two years alone.

Blogger terus diburu menjelang pilihanraya

Solidariti Anak Muda M'sia (SAMM) mendapat berita hampir tgh malam tadi kediaman adik Hanief seorang blogger yg porpular dgn pembikinan klip video informatif dan mengkritik regim telah ditahan dan rumahnya diserbu. Semua komputer termasuk milik ahli keluarga yg lain dirampas oleh pihak berkuasa tanpa memberi alasan munasabah.

SAMM melihat ini tindakan terdesak regim penguasa yg tertekan dengan gerak kerja anak muda yg bangkit dgn perbagai cara menumbangkan regim khususnya dalam meningkatkan kesedaran rakyat menggunakan media baru. Dalam mood pilihanraya yang mungkin dalam masa terdekat ini blogger dijadikan sasaran untuk ditakutkan. Baru saja blogger Din Binjai (sharpshooter) disaman Menteri propaganda Bn, kini adik Hanief dan keluarganya pula menjadi mangsa.

SAMM melihat ini perkembangan ini sebagai serius dan mengecam tindakan penguasa ini.
che'GuBard sendiri pernah berdepan dengan tangkapan gunakan alasan tulisan di blog walaupun diyakini tangkapan adalah berkaitan kerana hari tersebut baru saja pulang dari diskusi buku Misteri disebalik Pembunuhan Altantuya di Jakarta. Komputer cheGuBard dirampas termasuk cubaan memasuki Ibupejabat PKR menggunakan kes tersebut. Namun setelah disusahkan sebegitu rupa kes tersebut tidak dilanjutkan kerana ternyata atas laporan polis yang lemah sekali.
che'GuBard juga punya pengalaman membuiat laporan polis terhadap blogger pro Umno yang ternyata terlibat siar gamar lucah dan 'posting' perkauman namun seperti biasa penguasa hilang kuku bila berdepan parti regim.
SAMM berharap adik Hanief tabah bersama keluarganya. Kepada blogger lain jangan gusar teruskan usaha meningkat kesedaran rakyat. cheGuBard baru hubungi Hanief subuh ini dan difahamkan beliau telah dibebaskan dengan jaminan polis jam 2.30pagi tadi dan perlu hadir di Balai Sentul,10pagi ini.
Melihat perkembangan serius ini SAMM sedang cuba untuk 'organize' jaringan blogger 'nyamuk' untuk menjadikan mereka lebih kuat.

21 Mac,9pagi di Mahkamah Tinggi Malaya,Kompleks Mahkamah Jln Duta,Kuala Lumpur semua blogger muda ini dijemput bersama blogger Sharpshooter (Din Binjai) dalam sebutan kes saman dari Rais Yatim.

Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia

Sarawak polls imminent

So this is it. The Sarawak state election is likely to be held in April. And an announcement about the date could be made soon.

One contact in Sarawak told me last week that he heard the election could be held on the 9-10 April weekend. We shall see if he is right. Whatever the dates, these polls will be closely contested.
One theory is that Taib Mahmud may decide not to remain as chief minister to pull the rug from under the opposition campaign. After all, the chief minister has been in power for 30 years and has become the focal point of criticism. His administration has come under heavy fire in the wake of environmental destruction, the loss of native customary rights land (now being challenged in through law suits), the scandals in the corporate takeover of land, the ostentatious wealth of family members, and corruption scandals including the ‘leakages’ of federal funds.
More than that, it is the sense that Sarawak’s wealth, which could have benefited its people immensely, has instead fabulously enriched a small coterie of individuals and well-connected companies.
The elections will also provide a chance for the people to let the BN know what they think of the idea of more dams and smelters, in the wake of the controversial Bakun project. The corporate stakes are huge and it won’t come as a surprise if certain forces go all out to break up opposition attempts at ensuring straight fights in all 71 seats.
The polls will also tell us how secure the BN parliamentary vote banks (seats) of Sabah and Sarawak really are. 

Libya declares ceasefire but fighting goes on

Libya's government has announced an immediate ceasefire against pro-democracy protesters, hours after the United Nations Security Council authorised a no-fly zone over the country.

In a statement televised on Friday, Moussa Koussa, the Libyan foreign minister, said his government was interested in protecting all civilians and foreigners.

"We decided on an immediate ceasefire and on an immediate stop to all military operations," he said, adding "[Libya] takes great interest in protecting civilians".

Koussa said because his country was a member of the United Nations it was "obliged to accept the UN Security Council's resolutions".

But government forces continued to fire on the rebel-held western city of Misurata, witnesses said, where an earlier attack had claimed the lives of at least 25 people.

Abdulbasid Abu Muzairik, a resident in the western coastal town, told Al Jazeera there was shelling from artillery and tanks.

"The Gaddafi forces are at the outskirts of the city but they continue to shell the centre of the city," he said. "The ceasefire has not taken place; he [Gaddafi] is still continuing up until now to shell and kill the people in the city."

Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tripoli, said the government's statement was "very carefully crafted ... very deliberate, almost forensic".

"Clearly the Libyans have been poring over their United Nations charters to decide which bits to disagree with and on the whole they can't find very much."

"My hunch is that it is an effort to buy time because the Libyans, I think, have been taken completely by surprise by this sudden resurgence of an [international] consensus on action."

The ceasefire declaration also contrasted with earlier comments by Muammar Gaddafi, the country's leader, who warned residents of Benghazi, the eastern rebel stronghold, that his forces would show "no mercy" in an impending assault on the city.

"We will track them [fighters] down, and search for them, alley by alley, road by road," he said in a radio address on Thursday.

Britain and France 'cautious'

Tony Birtley, Al Jazeera's reporter in Benghazi, said pro-democracy fighters there were positive but cautious about the ceasefire.

France also said it was remaining wary.

"We have to be very cautious. He [Gaddafi] is now starting to be afraid, but on the ground the threat has not changed," Bernard Valero, foreign ministry spokesman told the Reuters news agency.

David Cameron, Britain's prime minister, responded to the ceasefire saying Gaddafi would be judged by "his actions not his words".

"What is absolutely clear is the UN Security Council
resolution said he must stop what he is doing, brutalising his

"If not, all necessary measures can follow to make him
stop," he told the BBC.

"That is what we agreed last night, that is what we are preparing for and we''ll judge him by what he does."

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, echoed Cameron's views and said the "final result" of the UN's resolution on Libya must be Gaddafi's departure.

"Colonel Gaddafi's refusal to hear the repeated calls up until now to halt violence against his own people has left us with no other choice but to pursue this course of action," Clinton said.

"While this resolution is an important step, it is only that, an important step. We and our partners will continue to explore the most effective measures to end this crisis."

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, also warned that the international community "will not be fooled" by Gaddafi's government and will verify compliance with the UN resolution.

Earlier the British prime minister said his country was about to start sending fighter jets and surveillance aircraft to military bases in the Mediterranean in preparation for a no-fly zone.

Speaking to parliament he said Tornado and Typhoon jets would be deployed imminently along with surveillance and re-fuelling planes.

"Preparations to deploy these aircraft have already started and in the coming hours they will move to airbases from where they can start to take the necessary action," he said.

Military preparations

The UN Security Council backed a resolution authorising a no-fly zone over Libya and "all necessary measures" to protect civilians late on Thursday.

The intervention, which is expected to be enforced by Britain, France, the US, Norway and Qatar, bans military aircraft from flying in Libyan airspace, but not commercial or humanitarian flights.

The Arab League has reiterated its support for the no-fly zone, but it is not clear to what extent Arab nations will be involved in the operation.

Paul Brennan, Al Jazeera's correspondent in London, said the military preparations by international forces were going to continue regardless of Koussa's announcement.

"It could make it more difficult to actually launch attacks, but from the idea of preparation I don't think it's going to deflect the coalition forces at all.

"What they need to do at this early stage is get the forces into position so they can enforce a no-fly zone as authorised by the UN Security Council.

"They'll decide at some point whether they attack any forces on the ground and that will depend largely on what Gaddafi''s forces are doing."

Western countries pledged support for the no-fly zone on Friday, with many including France, Belgium, Spain and Canada saying they would deploy fighter jets and other military to the region.

Italy has also said it would make its military bases available and take an active role in any operations against Libya.

Eurocontrol, Europe's air traffic agency, said earlier the Libyan government had closed its airspace to all traffic in response to the UN resolution. Egypt also confirmed that it had begun to enforce the no-fly zone and that all flights to Libya from Egypt have been halted.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

PRU 13: Kita tumpu kawasan majoriti undi kecil

Dalam perancangan awal, parti akan fokus kepada negeri Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Pahang, Melaka, Perak, Kedah dan Wilayah Persekutuan.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) akan memberi tumpuan kepada kerusi Parlimen dan Dewan Undangan Negeri (Dun) yang mempunyai persaingan sengit antara parti bertanding serta majoriti kemenangan adalah tipis ketika pilihan raya umum (PRU) lalu.

Demikian menurut Bendahari Kita, Rashid Azad Khan bahawa perancangan awal itu akan memfokuskan kepada negeri-negeri seperti Selangor, Pulau Pinang, Pahang, Melaka, Perak, Kedah dan juga Wilayah Persekutuan.

Menurut Rashid, walaupun Kita masih baru namun pelbagai perancangan sentiasa dilakukan dengan melihat situasi politik dan kemampuan parti untuk bertanding dalam PRU-13 akan datang.

“Saya melihat kepada situasi dan kemampuan parti buat masa ini. Kami masih mengumpulkan maklumat di mana kawasan-kawasan yang kita boleh menang.

“Contoh di Selangor kita berminat untuk bertanding di kawasan seperti di Kuala Langat, Puchong dan Kota Raja. Tapi kami juga fokus kepada kerusi yang mempunyai persaingan sengit serta majoriti kemenangan oleh parti bertanding itu adalah tipis.

“Selangor adalah salah satu contoh tetapi kenapa tidak Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Perak dan negeri-negeri lain? Tetapi perkara itu akan kami umumkan pada masa yang sesuai,” katanya kepada FMT.

Calon yang berkaliber

Menurut beliau, pembahagian kerusi itu tidak memerlukan perbincangan dengan mana-mana parti memandangkan Kita bukan seperti Pakatan Rakyat.

Maka pembahagian kerusi itu perlu menerusi perbincangan bersama dalam parti dan akan dimuktamadkan apabila mempunyai calon yang berkaliber.

Merujuk kepada kenyataan Penyelaras Pentadbiran Kita Selangor S Kottapan bahawa parti itu akan bertanding dalam 56 kerusi Dun Selangor, Ahli Jawatankuasa Eksekutif Pusat Christopher Firdaus berkata perkara itu bergantung kepada calon yang bakal diketengahkan.

“Soal Kita mahu bertanding di Selangor itu bergantung kepada sumber-sumber dan calon. Jika ada yang mengetengahkan calon sekalipun ia perlu dipersetujui oleh parti terlebih dahulu dan akan disahkan oleh Pengarah Pilihan Raya Selangor Abdul Malek Shamsuddin.

“Kita memerlukan calon yang boleh menang dan kriteria tersebut diambil kira oleh parti. Namun perkara itu perlu mendapat persetujuan Datuk Zaid Ibrahim. Jika beliau kata Kita perlu bertanding semua kerusi…maka kita akan lakukan,” katanya.

FMT sebelum ini melaporkan bahawa menurut Kottapan Kita akan bertanding di semua 22 kerusi Parlimen Selangor termasuklah di peringkat Dun malah seramai 28 calon Melayu; Cina (18) dan India (10) bakal mewakili parti dalam PRU akan datang.

‘Arrogant’ Hisham should quit

The whole issue involving the bible and the government's stand is 'discriminatory' and 'repressive' according to Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM).

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) has slammed the “arbitrary” defacement of the al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the bible, alleging that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s actions and words ‘smacked of disrespect and arrogance’ to people of all faith.

Calling for Hishammuddin’s resignation, MCLM president Haris Ibrahim said the “whole episode shows that the Malaysian government is repressive and discriminatory in its actions.”

“His (Hishammuddin) action and remarks smack of disrespect and arrogance not just towards the 10% of the population who are Christians but also to those of other religions.

“The whole episode shows that the Malaysian government is repressive and discriminatory in its actions. Any person who respects the Holy Scriptures of any religion would be appalled by this,” Haris said.

Haris was responding to reports that the Home Ministry, which allowed the conditional release of the impounded 35,000 Malay-language bibles on Tuesday, had stamped the holy books with its official seal.

The ministry had also stated that each copy of the bible must be stamped with the words “For Christians Only” and carry a serial number.

“MCLM also fears that the main reason for the directive for each of the bibles to carry the Home Ministry’s seal and a serial number is to have an election issue that will gain the ruling coalition popularity among the Malays/Muslims in the impending Sarawak state polls or the general election, ” said Haris.

He said that if this be the case then Hishammuddin must also apologise to all Malaysians for using “a religious matter for political gain.”

Haris further underlined the fact that the freedom to practice one’s faith – which includes the right to read about this faith in the language of one’s choice – is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Do a ‘WikiLeaks’ on Taib, public urged

KUALA LUMPUR: Anti-graft watchdog Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) today urged the public to whistleblow on Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who has been accused of numerous allegations of corruption and abuse of power.
TI-M president Paul Low called on the authorities to investigate Taib and ensure that full protection and assistance are given to whistleblowers and witnesses.
“Anyone, even foreigners, can come forward with evidence that can help. Yes, even those who are working in companies allegedly linked to Taib. They can be just like WikiLeaks,” Low told FMT today.
Earlier, at a press conference here, Low said the public could hand over documents secretly to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or call up to seek its advice.
“I believe the MACC under Abu Kassim Mohamed can be trusted,” Low said, adding that he believed MACC has improved with a new team and structure despite public cynicism.
Low also said that a whistleblower’s identity should be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act, which came into force on Dec 15 last year.
However, he cautiuoned that if anyone wants to be a whistleblower, he might want to reconsider going to the media as that might jeopardise the investigators’ work.
A global anti-Taib campaign is currently taking place and protests have been held in UK, Canada, and US.
The protests, with more being planned, were held after Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund revealed that Taib and his family’s wealth is directly linked to 49 companies in eight countries around the world.
The companies are estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of US dollars.
“I think it’s only proper that investigations be carried out to clear the air on how the wealth was amassed,” Low said, adding that TI-M was not accusing Taib of anything.
Strong political will
Low said the MACC should act immediately as “the serious allegations of extraordinary corruption and abuse of power” against Taib, his friends and family as well as members of his Cabinet and business associates are “affecting the nation’s credibility”.
He added that TI-M was bringing up the issue now as it was “very concerned with the massive amount of wealth that Taib and his family has gained”.
“We view with grave concern about what is happening in Sarawak. We feel that as a NGO that fights corruption, we need to appeal to the authorities to investigate these online allegations immediately without fear or favour,” Low said.
He denied that the timing of the press conference was related to the upcoming state election, saying that TI-M was apolitical.
“We’re bringing this up because though these allegations have surfaced for some years, now the people are coming out with precise and clear details as well as information on the allegations,” he said, referring to documents that have been published online, especially in which has specifically named certain companies allegedly linked to Taib.
Low said that it was up to the enforcement agencies – including the police, Bank Negara and the Securities Commission of Malaysia – to clear Malaysia’s name as reports of Taib’s alleged misdeeds have been cropping up more frequently.
“The enforcement agencies must act promptly to counter the public’s cynicism of selective investigation or non-investigation and selective prosecution or non-prosecution, especially involving a ‘big fish’,” he said.
Low said that the public should be kept informed of the status of investigations of such cases to uphold transparency and build confidence and credibility.
“Our definition of corruption is not only confined to bribery but also covers abuse of power for personal gains.”
He said that if investigations have established a “good case”, then the Attorney-General should “go ahead and prosecute”.
But he added that strong political will was needed when faced with cases involving “big fish”.

The Unholy Trinity Revisited

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Jangan Jadikan Masalah Ghani Sebagai Masalah Kerajaan

Dari Malaysiakini

“Jangan jadikan masalah peribadi anda sebagai masalah kerajaan.” – Itu nasihat yang diberikan oleh ahli panel penasihat Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia, Tan Sri Robert Phang kepada Peguam Negara, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

Phang, yang terkenal dengan kelantangannya bersuara berkata Gani pada 4 Januari lalu telah memberi taklimat kepada lima ahli panel SPRM. Pada perjumpaan itu, beliau memberitahu akan berurusan dengan media dan orang ramai bagi menjelaskan pemergian kontroversialnya ke tanah suci menunaikan ibadah haji.

“Dua bulan sudah berlalu sejak perjumpaan itu dan saya tidak lihat Gani tampil menjelaskan perkara itu.

“Seorang penulis blog mendakwa Gani dan keluarganya menunaikan haji dengan seseorang yang wataknya ‘mencurigakan’. Saya tidak kata dia tidak jujur tetapi hanya mengulangi apa yang dimuat-naikkan dalam blog itu,” kata Phang.

“Tolong, jangan jadikan masalah perbadi anda sebagai masalah kerajaan. Tampil dan buat penjelasan kerana anda memegang jawatan yang berkuasa dan penting. Saya cuma membekalkan konduit bagi Gani untuk menjelaskan kepada orang ramai apabila berjanji berbuat demikian.”

Phang, bekas ahli Transparency International berkata demikian semasa sesi teh tarik bagi menceritakan segala-galanya yang dianjurkan oleh Malaysian petang semalam.

Meskipun Phang tidak menamakan ‘watak yang mencurigakan’ itu, namun mengikut kebanyakan laporan, ia adalah Shahidan Shafie, yang pernah dikaitkan dengan bekas pengerusi Penerbangan Malaysia (MAS), Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli.

Gani dibidas tahun lalu setelah timbul dakwaan di Internet bahawa beliau mempunyai hubungan dengan Tajudin yang kini disiasat oleh SPRM.

Phang yang antara mereka yang membidas Gani dan secara terbuka menuntut Peguam Negara itu menjelaskan kontroversi berkenaan. Namun, kedua-dua Gani dan Shahidan terus membisu.

Gani dikatakan telah membuat penjelasan kepada SPRM tetapi sesetengah anggota panel dikatakan terus tidak berpuas hati dengan penjelasannya.

Taib To Make Announcement On Sarawak Polls Saturday

KUCHING, March 18 (Bernama) -- Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Friday that he will make an announcement on the state election Saturday.

"Wait one more day," Taib told reporters when asked to comment on speculation that the state legislative assembly would be dissolved on Monday for the election to be held next month.

He quashed rumours that he would leave for Mecca on Sunday to perform his Umrah before the election, but otherwise declined to answer any question related to the polls after opening the Youth Assembly 2011 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here.

Speculation on the dissolution of the state assembly, whose term expires on July 23, went into high gear after Taib called on the Yang Dipertua Negri Tun, Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng early yesterday.

Political observers said that making the announcement on Saturday made sense because both the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, will be in Sarawak for the start of a meet-the-people tour of all states over several months.

Barisan Nasional holds 62 of the 71 seats in the assembly. The DAP has six, PKR and SNAP have one each while an Independent holds the remaining seat.

Bakun emergency response plan?

The mistakes, cover-ups and profit-maximisation/cost-cutting of the past in Japan have come back to haunt us.

A General Electric Co engineer said he resigned 35 years ago over concern about the safety of a nuclear reactor design used in the now crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. Dale Bridenbaugh said the “Mark 1″ design had “not yet been designed to withstand the loads” that could be experienced in a large-scale accident. Read the full Reuters report here.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is the conglomerate at the centre of Japan’s nuclear radiation emergency at Fukushima. Its operations over the past several decades epitomise the government-backed pursuit of corporate profit, at the direct expense of lives, health and safety. It’s a familiar story. Read the full WSWS article here.

While we are reminded about the cover-ups in the past in Japan, let’s look closer to home. What about our emergency response plan (ERP) for Bakun — is there any? Even while the dam is filling, the people have been told nothing about an ERP. Since Rosmah is so concerned about environmental issues now, she should ask some serious questions about this!

Palanivel fails to defuse Interlok crisis

(Malaysiakini) The controversy over the novel Interlok has not been resolved today after MIC president G Palanivel met with the three ethnic Indian panellists who had withdrawn from the Interlok panel.

NONEPalanivel (right) claimed that the trio had changed their minds and agreed to continue working towards resolving the issue, but this was denied by one of the panellists, Uthaya Shankar SB, who said that it was merely Palanivel's “personal opinion”.

In a statement today, Palanivel said that he had met two of the panellists together with the prime minister's special officer Ravin Ponniah.

“The Indian panel members have requested me to arrange a meeting exclusively with only Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister.

“The panellists told me that they have identified all the sensitive portions in the book and would present them to Muhyiddin,” read the statement, adding that the Education Ministry should take their views seriously.

NONEPalanivel also said that the chapter on Maniam in the novel contains writings that hurt the sensitivities of the Indians and the the panellists were only putting forward the feelings of the Indian community.

Uthaya (left) told Malaysiakini that the panellists did not request Palanivel to arrange a meeting with Muhyiddin.

“It was not discussed. We only presented our suggestions to amend the novel,” he said when contacted.

Therefore, he could not comment on the meeting with Muhyiddin as he had not been informed about it.

The writer, together with Prof NS Rajendran, director of the Aminuddin Baki Global Education Centre of the Tanjung Malim Educational University and former Education Ministry officer G Krishnabahawan, decided to quit the eight-member independent panel on Wednesday after attending a panel meeting.

'Modifications were rejected one-by-one'

The decision was taken because other members of the panel had changed their minds and rejected one-by-one the 100 modifications that had been recommended to render the book appropriate for Form Five students.

Muhyiddin later said the walkout was a “misunderstanding” and maintained that the trio were still in the panel.

“There was a misunderstanding yesterday... I was informed by Palanivel that he is now speaking (to the three members)... Palanivel has given his assurance that he will make sure that they will stay in the committee,” said the education minister.

Earlier today Uthaya told Malaysiakini that during the 30-minute meeting held today, he and Krishnabahawan merely explained to Palanivel about the panel meeting on Wednesday and the reason they quit.

“He understood and said he will release a statement to the media about this issue. I can't say anything on his behalf.”

He stressed that the meeting was not held for Palanivel to persuade them to return to the panel.

Uthaya also denied that the withdrawal was a “misunderstanding” as claimed by Muhyiddin.

“We were not contacted by anyone. If it is a misunderstanding, you can refer to my blog that reveals the content of the meeting (on Wednesday). This is not a misunderstanding.”