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Monday, March 28, 2011

Rebels gain ground as airstrikes continue in Libya

Ras Lanuf, Libya (CNN) -- Libyan opposition fighters marched west Sunday, seizing control of two key cities, CNN observed, and gaining ground as coalition airstrikes continued to pound the North African nation.

Rebel forces told CNN that forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi pulled back from Ras Lanuf. A CNN crew in the city witnessed damaged vehicles on the outskirts of the town, though the town appeared to have avoided major destruction.

There were some homes that appeared burned, and others had gaping holes. The damage looked to be from fighting when Gadhafi's forces had originally pushed the rebels out. There were no clashes reported Sunday, rebels said.

Rebels also appeared to have taken control of the key oil town of Brega, a CNN team on the scene observed.

Some opposition fighters focused on securing Brega's entrance while others traveled in trucks heading west, encountering little resistance along the way.

The gains signify that the rebel forces have reclaimed all the territory they lost to Gadhafi's forces at the start of the war. The opposition comeback was paved in part by coalition airstrikes designed to stop the killings of civilians, and that have hit Gadhafi's forces.

Coalition airstrikes continued Sunday as NATO approved an operations plan that will shift the entire Libyan military mission to alliance command, officials said.

The new NATO mandate will begin in two to three days, NATO officials said, allowing the current coalition, led by the United States, the United Kingdom and France, to stand down.

Coalition officials say the airstrikes are aimed at enforcing a no-fly zone and protecting civilians in Libya.

But Libyan government officials have countered that claim, arguing that coalition forces only target troops loyal to Gadhafi.

"The rebels are making their advance and no one is stopping them. And no one is even talking to them or saying, 'Where are you going?' or 'Why are you taking offensive positions and attacking the Libyan army and Libyan cities?' " Moussa Ibrahim, a Libyan government spokesman, told reporters in Tripoli.

He accused NATO of "starving the Libyan population to get Libya on its knees to beg for mercy."

"They are trying to weaken our spirits. They are not trying to protect civilians," he said.

Ibrahim added that 29 people were injured Sunday when a "peace convoy" came under attack by "armed militias." No one was killed, he said.

While the opposition rolled westward, the city of Misrata -- located between the rebels' current position and Tripoli -- remained under siege by government forces for the 11th consecutive day, an eyewitness told CNN.

The city remained under shelling and pro-Gadhafi snipers remained on rooftops, he said. Pro-Gadhafi forces appeared to be shelling strategic places like the port and a main industrial area, he said. Busloads of soldiers have arrived in the city dressed as civilians, the witness said. The soldiers ostensibly came to participate in a peace march, but it appeared to be a ploy to set up positions around the city, he said.

"The snipers are firing into the main streets and into the back streets. There are also tanks," he said. According to him, 116 civilians have been killed in the last week.

A doctor in Misrata working at a hospital said eight civilians were killed and 22 injured in the violence Sunday. CNN could not immediately confirm his report independently.

French warplanes on Sunday led airstrikes on armored vehicles and on a large ammunitions depot in the regions of Misrata and Zintan, according to the French Ministry of Defense.

After Ras Lanuf, the next major city on the highway toward the capital of Tripoli is Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte. Rebel forces told CNN they expect a long and bloody battle there.

In Tripoli on Sunday, CNN's Nic Robertson reported he heard six loud explosions and saw heavy anti-aircraft tracer fire. The CNN team there heard at least four explosions early Monday, followed again by anti-aircraft fire.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that Gadhafi is placing the bodies of people his regime has killed at the sites of some missile strikes by the U.S.-led coalition, according to intelligence.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation," Gates said he was unaware of coalition attacks causing civilian casualties.

"The truthof the matter is we have trouble coming up with proof of any civilian casualties that we have been responsible for," Gates said in the interview conducted Saturday. "But we do have a lot of intelligence reporting about Gadhafi taking the bodies of the people he's killed and putting them at the sites where we've attacked."

Asked how often it has happened, Gates replied: "We have a number of reports of that."

Determined to topple Gadhafi's nearly 42-year reign, rebels have said they will continue the westward march to Tripoli.

"The dictator has chosen to take the bloody road. ... We encourage him to leave or we will force his removal," opposition spokesman Col. Ahmed Omar Bani told reporters Saturday.

State television reported that civilian and military locations in Sabha and Gadhafi's birthplace of Sirte were bombed overnight.

Coalition planes flew at least 96 airstrike missions in a 24-hour period that ended Saturday, according to statistics released by the Pentagon, and leaders reported damage to Gadhafi's ground forces.

Opposition fighters chanted gratitude for the coalition's support Saturday after they wrested control of Ajdabiya, considered a gateway to Libya's vast oil fields and a stopping point en route to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi.

The coalition's air campaign continued Saturday, further limiting loyalist movements. French warplanes destroyed at least five Libyan combat planes and two helicopters over a 24-hour period, the Ministry of Defense said.

Explosions and airstrikes were also reported in Tripoli, Tarhunah and Misrata.

Alkitab row shows wider check on non-Muslims, says Pakatan

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Leaders from the Opposition have described the controversy surrounding
Malay bibles and the use of “Allah” by Christians as just the tip of the iceberg in the erosion of non-Muslim rights.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua (picture) said the government did not seem to be picking specifically on Christians, but other religions other than Islam as well.

“I think that the government has the same treatment to all religions, it’s just that the Christians are speaking up today. If you look at the school system, government departments, you can see mild forms of preferences or restrictions of religions increasing over the years.

“It is already happening, it’s just that [followers of] other religions are not speaking up about it,” he said.

He said for example there was a limit on the number of temples that can be built, and that if it was in a Malay majority area, no other places of worship could be built in the vicinity.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) had issued a strongly worded statement yesterday accusing the government of riding roughshod over religions other than Islam when it imposed conditions for the release of 35,000 Malay bibles seized from Port Klang and Kuching.

In a series of news statements that started earlier this month, the Christian organisation denounced the government for defacing its holy books with the home ministry’s official seal, an act it said amounted to desecration.

About one in 10 Malaysians is Christian.

The MCCBCHST said the authorities seemed to want Malaysians to believe that the Alkitab conflict is solely a tussle between two creeds, Islam and Christianity; and affects only Muslims and Christians.

“After the Christians have been ‘fixed’, who next?” the council had questioned. Pua said, however, that he was anticipating the government would give “superficial forms of religious freedom”, ahead of the coming Sarawak elections.

But he remained convinced that the voters would not buy into the government’s ploy and that more Malaysians were waking up to the reality in terms of limited freedom of religion in the country.

“What they say is true. The question is whether or not it will find resonance among the communities,” he said, referring to the council’s suggestion.

When asked if the continuation of the current religious controversies might heighten the religious or racial tension in the country, he said it will have to depend on the ruling government.

“It depends on the wisdom of the ruling party or ruling elites, leaders, if they decide to uphold the constitution, then there will be no issue but if they take it upon themselves to uphold a particular belief in the expense of others, then it is hard to say,” he said.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution. Article 11 provides that every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion and is subject to applicable laws restricting the propagation of other religions to Muslims.

Under Article 3, the Constitution also provides that Islam is the religion of the country but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.

PKR political bureau member, Sivarasa Rasiah, said that the root of the controversies between the government and Christian groups stemmed from Barisan Nasional’s thought process, which is very dominated by the Umno Ketuanan Melayu concept.

He echoed Pua’s comments that Christians are not being singled out in these cases.

“Basically asserting the Umno thinking frame that Malay dominance means Islamic dominance,” he said, adding that the historical clash between Islam and Christianity is age-old.

“There is a kind of insecurity which is part of the Malay dominance, where they feel compelled to draw a line in the sand,” he said.

He added that the problem is not with the religion, but with the “politically insecure dominant group”, pointing out that Indonesia does not face the same problems, even though they have the most number of Muslims in the world.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub once again stood by his party’s stance that they do not have a problem for Christians to use Allah to refer to their God.

“I think that the government should be more understanding about this issue and PAS has a very firm stand about that that Christians can use Allah in the bible as long as use the name in the right context.

“So the government must understand the teachings of Islam,” he said.

Salahuddin pointed out one of the government’s many inactions, is that with the passing of the Datuk Ilani Ishak on February 24, her replacement to lead the national interfaith committee has yet to be announced.

The former lawyer was appointed by the Cabinet to be its special co-ordinator and had been specially handpicked by the Cabinet to head a national committee that saw, for the first time, Muslim leaders at the same table with leaders of other faiths to talk over how to end quarrel and misunderstanding among their followers.

“In the future, the government should engage in all this groups and have round table discussions when it comes to sensitive topics such as religion,” Salahuddin said. He added that the government has the resources to engage the different religious groups across the country.

“We should engage with the people before we make any decisions. The government have to look at this matter to understand and try to [reach a common ground] and not just enforce them in terms of Ketuanan Melayu, that’s the way,” he said.

According to the Population and Housing Census 2000 figures, approximately 60.4 percent of the population practised Islam; 19.2 percent Buddhism; 9.1 percent Christianity; 6.3 percent Hinduism; and 2.6 percent practise Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions.

The MCCBCHST — which represents five out of the country’s six main creeds — reminded the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition of its founder’s words uttered shortly after Independence in 1957, that there should be freedom of worship, speech, want, association, assembly and the freedom of movement.

The MCCBCHST further accused Islamic leaders of not knowing their own religion despite dipping their fingers into the controversy.

Prophet Muhammad was said to have made a promise to a delegation of monks from the monastery near Mount Sinai over 1,400 years ago that Muslims will always protect Christians and their way of worship.

The Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, for centuries in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

The tussle is still trapped in the courts after the ministry won a stay of the 2009 High Court ruling that allowed Catholic weekly The Herald to use “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ongoing bible row started in January and came to a head last week after the home ministry stamped the two separate shipments with its official seal before ordering their release.

The Christian importers have denounced the Najib administration for the act, which they say is a desecration of their holy book.

The government had since backed down and offered to paste over the marked Alkitab with labels that simply read “For Christianity”.

With Sarawakians going to the polls on April 16, the twin issues are expected to weigh on the minds of Christians who make up close to half of the hornbill state’s total population.

Perkasa: Melayu bukan bangsa meminta-minta

Kita hanya menuntut hak yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan - Ibrahim Ali.

KUALA LUMPUR: Presiden Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) Dato Ibrahim Ali mengingatkan semua pihak bahawa tuntutan Perkasa tidak bererti Melayu Bumiputera adalah bangsa yang meminta-minta.

“Kita hanya menuntut hak yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Ini bukan bererti kita tak hendak bersaing,” katanya ketika ditemui wartawan di Konvensyen Transformasi Ekonomi Bumiputera anjuran biro ekonomi Perkasa di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra di sini semalam.

Mengulas lebih lanjut, beliau berkata hak Melayu dan Bumiputera ada di dalam perlembagaan tetapi tidak dilaksanakan.

“Ada juga hak yang kita tak mahu sebagai orang Islam seperti hak berjudi, nombor ekor dan pusat hiburan. Masyarakat Sabah dan Sarawak patut diberi peluang lebih di dalam bidang ini.

“Berapa bilion ringgit boleh kita peroleh dalam bidang ini? Kita tak usik atas dasar agama.”

Ibrahim yang juga merupakan Ahli Parlimen Bebas Pasir Mas turut mengingatkan kerajaan agar berhati-hati dalam mendukung Program Transformasi Ekonomi Kerajaan (GTP).

Beliau berkata usaha kerajaan yang mengutamakan meritokrasi, liberalisasi ekonomi dan persaingan tidak sekali-kali boleh melanggar Perkara 153 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

“Majlis Ekonomi Bumiputera (MEB) sekarang seperti serpihan. Sepatutnya agenda ekonomi Bumiputera menjadi agenda ekonomi nasional,” ujar beliau.

Beliau turut melahirkan kebimbangan berkaitan dengan Model Baru Ekonomi (MBE) yang disifatkannya ‘longgar dan boleh dimanipulasi’.

Menyentuh mengenai Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) yang diperkenalkan oleh mantan Perdana Menteri Tun Abdul Razak, beliau berkata,

“kita dijajah selama 400 tahun. Takkan tak boleh selesai masalah ekuiti Melayu dalam tempoh 20 tahun.”

Antara syarikat berkaitan kerajaan (GLC) yang menyertai konvensyen ini adalah Ekuinas, Petronas dan juga pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) seperti Teras dan Teraju.

Konvensyen ini dihadiri 700 peserta dan melibatkan 76 NGO Melayu. Sebanyak 13 resolusi mengenai penyertaan ekonomi Bumiputera telah diluluskan.

Tag: Bahasa, Perkasa, ekonomi Melayu, GTP, MBE, MEB, DEB, Ibrahim Ali, Ahli Parlimen Pasir Mas

Siapa pendatang?

Penulis mengajak pembaca menilai suatu isu besar yang berada di depan mata tetapi sering tidak dibincangkan secara terbuka.

Saya amat menyampah apabila sesiapa sahaja merujuk warganegara Malaysia daripada kalangan kaum Cina, kaum India dan “lain-lain” sebagai “pendatang” dan “bangsa asing”.

Ternyata kelompok yang menggunakan istilah berbentuk penghinaan itu tidak tahu membezakan antara “keturunan”, “kaum” dan “bangsa” serta tidak tahu sejarah dan asal-usul masyarakat pelbagai kaum di negara ini.

Sepatutnya kelompok seperti itu ditahan mengikut Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) kerana mampu menggugat keamanan dan keselamatan negara dengan membawa unsur-unsur ekstremis dan perkauman melampau.

Saya biasa mendengar penggunaan istilah “bangsa asing” dan “pendatang”; misalnya apabila kelompok tertentu (termasuk Badut Paul Lathic, tentunya) berkata, “Bangsa asing dan pendatang perlu menghormati bla bla bla …” di mana istilah itu digunakan untuk merujuk kepada mana-mana warganegara Malaysia yang bukan “kaum Melayu”.

Saya juga amat menyampah apabila kelompok tertentu bercakap mengenai penduduk di Sabah dan Sarawak bagaikan kedua-dua negeri itu bukan sebahagian daripada Malaysia!

Sering juga saya mendengar orang berkata, “Bangsa asing dan pendatang pun sudah pandai bercakap Bahasa Malaysia” di mana “bangsa asing” dan “pendatang” bukan merujuk kepada bangsa asing (bukan warganegara Malaysia) dan pendatang asing tetapi merujuk kepada sesiapa sahaja yang bukan “kaum Melayu” walaupun mereka adalah warganegara Malaysia yang berjiwa Bangsa Malaysia.

Saya berani mengatakan bahawa istilah “pendatang” dan “bangsa asing” digunakan ke atas warganegara Malaysia yang bukan “kaum Melayu” hanya oleh kelompok yang fanatik, penuh dengan kebencian, bersikap perkauman secara ekstrem serta menganggap dirinya sendiri adalah “pendatang” yang sedikit pun tidak berjiwa atau bersemangat Bangsa Malaysia.

Maka, untuk menutup hakikat kelemahan dirinya itu, mulalah individu berkenaan melabel orang lain sebagai “pendatang” dan “bangsa asing”; tidak ubah seperti kelompok tertentu yang takut bayang-bayang sendiri dalam soal penggunaan istilah “Bahasa Malaysia” apabila merujuk kepada bahasa kebangsaan dan bahasa rasmi negara ini.

Pada 26 Julai 2010, saya ada menyatakan begini pada ruangan status di laman rangkaian sosial Facebook:

“Terkejut kerana masih ada kelompok tertentu yang merujuk pada warganegara Malaysia kaum India dan kaum Cina sebagai ‘bangsa asing’ dan ‘pendatang’.”

Pelbagai reaksi dan protes peribadi

Status itu mendapat beberapa reaksi daripada rakan-rakan. Masing-masing memberikan pandangan, komen dan kritikan untuk manfaat bersama. Sekurang-kurangnya, ada ruang dan peluang untuk mereka bersuara dan menyatakan pendirian berhubung topik yang sengaja dilabel pihak tertentu sebagai “sensitif” dan “menggugat keselamatan negara”.

Pada tarikh yang sama juga, saya memutuskan untuk mengambil langkah wajar sebagai protes peribadi terhadap penghinaan yang dilakukan mana-mana pihak melalui penggunaan istilah “bangsa asing” dan “pendatang”.

Keputusan saya adalah seperti berikut; sebagaimana saya paparkan pada ruangan status di Facebook pada 26 Julai 2010:

“Sesiapa yang berpendirian bahawa warganegara Malaysia daripada kalangan kaum Cina, kaum India dan ‘lain-lain’ sebagai ‘pendatang’ dan ‘bangsa asing’ tolong segera klik Remove From Friends kerana saya tidak layak menjadi sahabat anda. Teruskanlah hidup anda yang penuh kepura-puraan.”

Dalam masa tidak sampai 24 jam, dua individu berbuat demikian. Terima kasih, Tuhan, kerana menyelamatkan saya daripada terus berkawan dengan puak ekstremis yang menggugat keamanan negara!

Bayangkan! Walaupun negara merdeka pada 1957 dan Malaysia terbentuk pada 1963, desas-desus melibatkan “pendatang” terus kedengaran pada 1960-an, 1970-an, 1980-an dan 1990-an.

Sejak kecil, saya juga sering mendengar kanak-kanak, remaja, orang dewasa dan warga emas mengatakan bahawa kaum Cina dan kaum India di negara ini tetap dilihat sebagai pendatang dan boleh “dihalau keluar pada bila-bila masa”.

Tentu sahaja sebagai seorang kanak-kanak – dan kemudian remaja – perasaan saya terguris mendengar kata-kata yang menafikan hak dan kedudukan mana-mana warga Malaysia.

Saya juga sedikit marah terhadap generasi terdahulu kaum Cina dan kaum India yang masih risau memikirkan kemungkinan mereka “dihalau keluar pada bila-bila masa” kerana kononnya mereka tetap dianggap “pendatang” walaupun mereka lahir, tinggal dan bakal meninggal dunia di sini.

Bagi saya, citra kaum India di Malaysia adalah seperti watak Madhavi dan Vijay Kumar serta datuk mereka (Kumara Kurunadhar) yang saya paparkan dalam cerpen “Nayagi” (Menara 5, 1993).

Keakraban generasi muda pelbagai kaum di Malaysia adalah seperti yang diwakili dua watak kanak-kanak dalam cerpen “Orang Pulau” (Siru Kambam, 1996).

Peristiwa 13 Mei 1969 sepatutnya sudah menjadi satu pengajaran besar. Tentu sahaja tidak mungkin berlaku bencana seperti saya gambarkan dalam sebuah faksyen berjudul “Pulau Pendatang” yang sebelum ini disiarkan secara bersiri dan eksklusif menerusi blog saya mulai Ogos 2010.

Dahulu, saya tidak faham mengapa ada kaum Cina dan kaum India yang masih “takut” sedangkan segala hak dan kedudukan mereka terjamin di bawah Perlembagaan Persekutuan, iaitu undang-undang tertinggi negara.

Gajah di depan mata

Namun, nampaknya isu “pendatang” masih berlarutan pada Alaf Baru. Pelbagai cara licik dan tidak bermaruah digunakan pihak tertentu untuk terus mempersoalkan kesetiaan rakyat negara ini.

Kreativiti dan inovasi ternyata dimanipulasi sepenuhnya dalam hal ini. Sekadar contoh, apabila kaum Cina dan kaum India kurang berminat menyertai angkatan tentera, dikatakan mereka tidak patriotik!

Mujurlah majoriti Bumiputera Sabah dan Sarawak masih kekal di negeri masing-masing. Jika tidak, mereka juga berhadapan risiko dianggap “pendatang” berdasarkan acuan yang dijadikan ukuran untuk membezakan antara “rakyat” dan “pendatang”.

Realiti yang menyedihkan di negara ini adalah bahawa sesiapa yang tidak termasuk dalam acuan budaya kaum tertentu dan/atau acuan agama tertentu secara automatik masih boleh dipertikaikan semangat patriotik mereka dan masih boleh dipanggil “pendatang”.

Dan tindakan tidak bermaruah seperti itu dianggap tidak bertentangan Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Malah, jangan lupa bahawa sehingga 24 Mac 2011, kaum India yang dilabel menggunakan gelaran tertentu dalam novel Interlok edisi murid (DBP: 2010) dianggap tidak menjadi masalah.

Di sisi lain, polemik mengenai konsep, makna dan agenda sebenar “Ketuanan Melayu” (sila bezakan dengan “Kedaulatan Melayu”) masih berlarutan dalam kalangan kaum Melayu di negara bertuah ini.

Sesiapa sahaja tentu berhak mempertikaikan hasil penelitian rambang yang saya paparkan di sini bahawa kaum Cina dan kaum India di Malaysia masih dilabel sebagai “pendatang” dan ‘bangsa asing”.

Pada masa sama, tentu sahaja mana-mana pihak yang mengakui kewujudan Tuhan tidak boleh menafikan realiti yang benar-benar wujud di depan mata berhubung perkara yang saya perkatakan.

Kita tidak memerlukan WikiLeaks untuk membantu membuka mata kita untuk melihat gajah di depan mata!

Uthaya Sankar SB tidak menolak kemungkinan dilabel sebagai “pendatang”, “pengkhianat” dan “mengancam keselamatan negara” berikutan keberaniannya mengeluarkan pandangan seperti ini. “Saya lebih rela mati di hujung pedang daripada mati kena tendang,” katanya di

3 kereta polis kelilingi rumah Azmin untuk serah notis

(Merdeka Review) - Tiga buah kereta polis mengelilingi rumah Timbalan Presiden PKR Azmin Ali, untuk menyerah satu notis yang meminta agar beliau melaporkan diri di balai polis untuk diambil keterangan pada 28 Mac.

Satu kenyataan dikeluarkan Biro Komunikasi PKR pada tengah malam tadi, memaklumkan media bahawa rumah kediaman Azmin Ali (gambar kanan) sedang dikelilingi polis.  Bagaimanapun, berita ini dikesahkan kemudian bahawa tindakan polis tadi adalah untuk menyerah satu notis kepada Azmin Ali, agar beliau melaporkan diri di balai polis pada hari keesokan (28 Mac 2011).

Peguam yang mewakili Azmin, Latheefa Koya dihubungi isteri Azmin Ali, bahawa tiga buah kereta yang sarat dengan anggota polis IPD Ampang tiba di rumah kediamannya, untuk menyerah notis tersebut.

Ketika dihubungi MerdekaReview, Latheefa Koya berkata, polis tidak menyatakan sebab mereka memanggil Azmin untuk diambil keterangan.  Bagaimanapun, pihak mereka (PKR) menjangka ia mungkin berkaitan dengan Kempen Tolak kes Fitnah II, anjuran KEADILAN di perkarangan Pusat Khidmat Rakyat Ahli Parlimen Gombak, Taman Melawati pada 25 Mac 2011.  Azmin Ali ialah ahli parlimen Gombak.

Pada malam 25 Mac, polis dan FRU cuba menghalang Ketua Umum PKR merangkap Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen, Anwar Ibrahim daripada meneruskan ceramah.  Tiga anggota Angkatan Muda Keadilan ditangkap, malah Anwar dikhabarkan juga ditangkap.  Bagaimanapun, Anwar dikesahkan telah meninggalkan tempat tersebut dalam kekecohan, tanpa ditangkap polis.  Orang ramai yang menghadiri ceramah tersebut berasa marah, lantas membaling kerusi ke arah polis dan FRU. 

Latheefa Koya (gambar kiri) turut mengecam polis kerana membesar-besarkan perkara yang remeh-temeh, malah mempertikaikan, "Apa perlunya untuk menghantar tiga buah kereta yang sarat dengan anggota polis, hanya untuk menyerah satu notis?  Jelas, ini membesarkan perkara yang remeh-temeh.  Polis seharusnya dihantar untuk membanteras jenayah!"

Selain itu, Latheefa Koya berkata, Azmin Ali selaku ADUN Bukit Antarabangsa perlu menghadiri sidang mesyuarat DUN Selangor pada Isnin (28 Mac), maka beliau tidak dapat meluangkan masanya untuk melapor diri di balai polis pada hari itu.

Sharp rise in human trafficking to Malaysia: Report

 KISHANGANJ: The Indian embassy in Malaysia has, in a message to the state police, conveyed its concern over the growing menace of human traffick-ing to Malaysia from this part of Bihar.

Kishanganj SP Ranjit Kumar Mishra, confirming the message from the Indian embassy, said a probe conducted after four boys escaped from Ma-laysia and landed at Kishanganj on March 23 has disclosed that the racket had assumed gigantic proportions with its wide network spread over to Chennai and Siliguri.

An FIR lodged by escapee Jehangir Alam with the Kochadhaman police station states the traffickers modus operandi. Zila parishad member and Congress leader Lalit Kumar, his brother Luxman, their two cohorts Zabul and Anuj and Pak agent Rana have been charged with human trafficking. Indian traffickers are in cahoots with Pakistan agents in Malaysia who take care of the racket in Malaysia. An NGO is also under scanner, police said.

The FIR has been lodged under sections 467, 468, 471, 420, 120(B) IPC, among others, and 12/16 of Bandhuva Majdoor Unmoolan Act, according to SDPO PK Das.

Alam told TOI, adding inducing fear of arrest by police and subsequent jail term, they made us obey their orders.

Anwar Ibrahim And The Struggle for Reform: A Malaysian Epic


When Anwar Ibrahim emerged from six long years in prison, he could have retired from politics and taken to memoir-writing or the lecture circuit or catch up on lost time with his family. But he threw himself into a crusade to save the country from oppressive rule, which again put him on the path of head-on collision with Umno and the government.

He would have anticipated the bitterness with which the government would fight him, though perhaps not the depths to which they would sink in trying to destroy him. For the Barisan Nasional (BN), Anwar must be annihilated politically and personally, because Anwar advocates Reform, and real reform spells the end of the political life of the BN. The crumbling structure of the BN is now held up by a wide array of oppressive laws such as the Internal Security Act, Sedition Act, Police Act, Printing Press and Publications Act; and by tainted institutions such as the police, judiciary, attorney-general’s office and the Election Commission. BN leaders know that Anwar’s reforms will sweep away those laws, redeem those institutions and thus bring about the death of their coalition.

But it is Anwar’s astonishing resilience and fighting spirit that has captured the imagination and admiration of ordinary Malaysians. Though facing terrible odds, he never once gave up. Since 1998, they have thrown everything they have at him, yet he is still standing and still defiant. The government is baffled, their strategy is in tatters; hence, the desperate and now widely discredited sex-tape smear attempt against Anwar. The involvement of former Melaka Chief Minister Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik leaves no doubt of Umno’s constant plotting against Anwar and their complicity in the sex-tape conspiracy.

Both Dr.Mahathir and Najib thought they could crush Anwar and his reform movement with massive state power and financial muscle; neither men foresaw Anwar’s titanic and ceaseless struggle. The fact and manner of his struggle itself has brought positive change to the country; the people’s expectations of the government has radically changed and they make their just demands with a boldness unheard of in the pre-reformasi era. Anwar’s epic struggle has put our nation through a process of appreciating, asserting and regaining our rights as citizens and led to a maturing of our democracy. Indeed, there appears to have been a special providence in the fall and rise of Anwar Ibrahim. Like Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Anwar Ibrahim is Malaysia’s indispensable, necessary politician.


BN’s fatal screw-up


Gleefully following the victories of the people against one government after another in North Africa and the Middle East, I keep recalling that these revolutions were ultimately triggered by the death of just one young man, Mohamed Bouazizi, in Tunisia.

That proved the tipping point, the final straw that raised popular resentment against decades of corruption, repression and injustice to what nuclear scientists call ‘critical mass’, resulting in the chain reaction that’s already blown several regimes away and still threatens a great many others.

So, as a long-time loather of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional regime, I’ve been closely watching to see if it would succumb to the fall-out of the Arab revolt, or survive to later implode of its own accord.

But now I suspect that the seeds of BN’s destruction have been sown, not by explosive events in the Arab world, but by the ongoing nuclear emergency in earthquake- and tsunami-devastated northern Japan.

The Malaysian government’s astonishing arrogance in insisting that it would proceed with plans to build nuclear power stations despite the waves of fear unleashed on the Japanese people by damage to four of its reactors could well, I believe, prove its long-deserved downfall.

Of all the countless crimes and screw-ups the BN regime has committed, surely this one shows the most callous disregard for the well-being of Malaysian citizens.

And could well finally unite Malaysians in a way that no fake “1Malaysia” slogan ever could, in the realisation that all that drives BN is its greed for graft-riddled mega-projects at the expense of Malaysian people of all races and creeds.

Of course this God-forsaken government does its damndest, under cover of the “1Malaysia” mantra, to demonstrate that it is Muslim- and Malay-friendly. Its tolerance of the so-called “cow’s-head” outrage against Hindu Malaysians a couple of years ago, later fire-bombings of Christian places of worship, and the recent banning and subsequent desecration of a shipment of Bahasa-language bibles have all, no doubt, been engineered to dramatise its ‘defence’ of Islam.

But it also routinely outrages the values of Islam and any other religion I know of with crimes against the people at large.

No sure recourse to the law

And the destruction of the independence and integrity of Malaysia’s judiciary, starting with Mahathir’s sacking of the Lord President back in 1988, has left Malaysian citizens with no sure recourse to the law in defence of their rights and liberties, or in the face of government corruption and other forms of criminality.

This is starkly evident in legal, or rather highly illegal, fiascos like the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trials, the show-trial of selected suspects in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, and so-called ‘royal commissions’ into the police force, the fixing of judicial appointments and the death of the unfortunate Teoh Beng Hock following questioning at MACC headquarters.

Citizens also have no chance of redress or prospect of justice when they’re victimised by the police, as in countless suspicious fatal ‘shoot-outs’ and beatings and deaths in custody.

The law, so-called, clearly doesn’t apply to BN politicians and cronies, with a long list of high-level figures suspected of massive corruption, including Rafidah Aziz, S Samy Vellu and Abdul Taib Mahmud, not to mention former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, going uninvestigated, let alone prosecuted. And a long list of others half-heartedly tried and found innocent.

And most notoriously, in the Altantuya murder case, Najib Abdul Razak, though clearly at least peripherally implicated, was permitted to swear his innocence and indeed ignorance on the Quran rather than being called or even mentioned in court.

That the Malaysian populace hasn’t been outraged to the point of revolt by decades of such illegality and criminality is testament to the BN regime’s success in concealing and spinning the truth in its lying mainstream media.

But thanks to the power and pervasiveness of the same wireless, borderless communications technologies that have enabled revolutions in the Arab world, BN’s attempts to cover-up its crimes are increasingly resulting in screw-ups.

The expensive hiring of Apco Worldwide, a PR and lobbying organisation that was quickly identified as being Israeli owned, was and remains an idiotic hypocrisy by a regime that has long underlined its Islamic credentials by refusing to recognise the existence of Israel.

And many of the BN regime’s presumably Apco-inspired PR campaigns have blown-up in its face. The “1Malaysia. People first. Performance now” slogan, for example, which Najib Razak claims bears no relationship to earlier efforts elsewhere like “1Israel” and “1Singapore”, is widely seen as a stupid, cynical joke.

Chorus of scorn and derision

Even more disconcerting for Apco and its BN clients must be the chorus of scorn and derision that has greeted concerted and very costly attempts to transform Najib’s wife into a saintly First Lady of Malaysia figure.

Firstly she was alleged in an anonymously-paid advertisement in the New York Times to have received an international humanitarian award that apparently didn’t previously exist, from an organisation nobody had heard of.

Next she was credited by the government and its prostituted media with an outstanding act of national motherhood in ‘rescuing’ Malaysian, or rather Malay, students from the unrest in Cairo.

Some of Malaysia’s more naive citizens appeared to be taken in by this, so the regime and its PR people were emboldened to give the First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) an official office in Putrajaya and a slot on the government website.

But this proved a step too far for a great many perceptive and outspoken Malaysians, and thus yet another screw-up that the mendacious Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Aziz, had to explain away.

Nothing daunted, however, by this failure on the FLOM front, now it appears that the BN/Apco gang has embarked on what could well prove its most spectacular screw-up so far: the revelation by a mysterious “Datuk T” of a video allegedly starring Anwar Ibrahim in a sex-romp with a Chinese prostitute.

Judging by the initial public reaction I’ve seen, this could well prove the final, fatal boo-boo that I’ve been waiting so long for BN to commit. But if not, and the Malaysian people decide they still haven’t had enough of BN’s obscene, criminal screw-ups, then there’s always the nuclear power issue ticking away like a time-bomb, and threatening to achieve critical mass at any moment.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he mentors creative writing groups. Already published in Kuala Lumpur is a third book of his columns for Malaysiakini, following earlier collections ‘Mad about Malaysia’ and ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’.

Give Datuk T witness protection, says lawyer

The Star

IPOH: The three “sex video” datuks are whistleblowers and should be protected, said criminal lawyer Dr Naran Singh.

Naran, who is Perak People's Progressive Party deputy chairman, said the authorities should not take action against the three as they were only the “messenger”.

“I am of the opinion that action should not be taken against Datuk T' for disclosing a sex video implicating Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“Under the Witness Protection Act, any witness who comes forward to reveal privy information on acts of wrongdoings should be given rightful protection.

“Otherwise, there is no point in enacting and passing such an Act,” he said here yesterday.

Last week, “Datuk T” exposed the video recording allegedly featuring Anwar.

Naran said if the three were charged and action initiated against them, it would set a bad precedent for whistleblowers.

“No one would be willing to disclose any wrongdoing in the future for fear of repercussions and legal implications,” he said.

His views were in direct contrast to several criminal lawyers who felt that action should be taken against the three under the various laws of the country, including the Penal Code.

Daim: PKR Lives Because Of, And Only For, Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 (Bernama) -- Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has described Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) as a party that lives because of, and only for, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said the opposition pact not only devoid of a strong political foundation, but PKR itself, of which Anwar is the de facto leader, was mired in problems.

"Can PKR remain the core of the (opposition) pact and can a pact like this convince the people that it can guarantee a better future for the people and the country compared to Umno and the BN (Barisan Nasional), which have been building the country over the past 50 years?" he said in an interview with Mingguan Malaysia, published Sunday.

Daim, who is a former special functions minister, said an opposition that was relevant would be the one that was able "to provide a check and balance to the government, one that is not chauvinistic and not having a tunnel vision, and one that is able to unite Malaysians of various races." Daim said: "If we look at the opposition parties now, it is clear that they have not lost their direction. It just that, each of them has their own directions. They are just a marriage of convenience," he said.

Daim also said that the opposition pact was "plagiarising" the BN's format but "they do this only half way, and not in full, and this is not a compelling alternative to the people." "Pakatan Rakyat, like I once said, is only a political conspiracy. I foresee that this group will not be able to reach consensus on important national matters because they are obsessed with their own stands and principles," he said.

He also slammed Anwar as inconsistent.

"Ask Anwar's friends, they say Anwar has been wearing all kinds of masks since he was in the university.

"When he was the 'pelampau bahasa Melayu' (Malay language extremist), the English language was sidelined and many of our children, who were born after 1969, lost their English language competencies. In the world of globalisation, the Internet and communication technology, lack of proficiency in English is a backwardness," he said.

"But it appears that Anwar is now a fighter of multi-culturalism and utopian liberalism, to the extend that some are questioning the positions of the Malay Rulers.

"This kind of attitude and political action, which forgo all self-esteem, dignity, standings and principles in order to gain support, reminds us of the main character in Christopher Marlowe's play, Dr Faustus," he said.

Daim also said that Anwar's sacking from Umno was not due to political conspiracy, and said that the conspiracy theory was Anwar's own making because he wanted to portray himself as "The Fall Guy" in order to attract sympathy and to cover up the blemishes of his own personality.

He added that without the then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno's machinery behind him, Anwar would have never become the party's deputy president.

To the eyes of the public at large, he said, Anwar did not have any extraordinary capability as an administrator.

There was no reform carried out in the ministries he had helmed as a minister then, he said.

"He is an orator who has the ability to flare up his audience's emotions even if his speeches contain only political nightmare.

"Based on this, the people nowadays are no longer convinced that Anwar can be an effective leader even upon the disposal of his court case," he said.

Luahan Hati Nenek Pendek Terhadap Rahim ‘Perogol Budak Bawah Umur’

Berikut kenyataan Sabri bin Mohamed Yasin bagi pihak ibunya Pendek binti Ahmad, nenek kepada Noryati binti Mohamad Yusop, mangsa rogol yang terlibat dengan kekas Ketua Menteri Melaka Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik di Hotel Belmount, Melaka ada 3hb November 1999:
Saya tidak faham mengapa cucu saya hanya menyatakan sekarang tidak mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim bila dia telah mengakui selama 5 tahun kebelakangan ini sejak 1994 bahawa dia mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim, termasuk membuat keterangan bersumpah di mahkamah di depan tuan hakim
Cucu saya, telah membuat satu kenyataan pada 2hb November 1999 menafikan keterangan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur pada 29hb Oktober 1999 bahawa dia mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan bekas Ketua Menteri Melaka Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik pada tahun 1994.
Saya amat terkejut dengan kenyataan cucu saya ini kerana sepanjang 5 tahun ini, cucu saya telah mengakui mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim semasa cucu saya masih berumur 15 tahun. Cucu saya juga memberitahu ahli keluarga dan saya bahawa Tan Sri Rahim merupakan orang lelaki pertama yang melakukan hubungan sulit dengannya.
Oleh kerana cucu terlibat dengan Tan Sri Rahim, dia ditahan oleh pihak polis pada akhir bulan Ogos 1994 sehingga saya sebagai nenek yang membesarkannya tidak dapat berjumpa dengannya. Saya hairan mengapa pihak polis dan kerajaan BN boleh membenarkan seorang mangsa rogol ditahan sedangkan mereka yang merogolnya bebas tanpa dipenjarakan. Ini boleh dilihat selepas 14 lelaki, kecuali Tan Sri Rahim, mengakui merogol gadis bawah umur di mahkamah tetapi tidak dipenjarakan sebaliknya dibebaskan. Akibat peristiwa hitam itu, cucu saya telah melahirkan seorang anak perempuan pada 1995.
Oleh kerana tidak dapat menjumpai cucu saya, saya telah meminta bantuan daripada Ahli Parlimen Kawasan Kota Melaka YB Lim Guan Eng yang berjaya memaksa pihak polis membenarkan saya melawat cucu saya. Saya amat kesal dan sedih bahawa YB Lim dalam usaha membantu mendapat keadilan untuk cucu saya telahpun dipenjarakan di Penjara Kajang pada 25hb Ogos 1998 dan kehilangan statusnya sebagai Ahli Parlimen.
Dalam kes mahkamah Lim Guan Eng yang mulai pada 20hb Jun 1995, Ketua Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Mok Siew Hoong menyatakan bahawa cucu saya telah mengakui mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim. Pada 27hb Februari 1997, cucu saya pula memberikan keterangan sebagai seorang saksi kepada hakim Mahkamah Tinggi dalam kes YB Lim Guan Eng bahawa Tan Sri Rahim mempunyai hubungan sulit dengannya.
Selepas itu cucu saya, semasa berjumpa dengan saya, masih mengakui bahawa Tan Sri Rahim ada hubungan sulit dengannya. Malah, cucu saya telah membuat satu ucapan di depan kami di Hotel Federal, Kuala Lumpur pada 27hb Januari 1999 menyokong YB Lim Guan Eng yang dipenjarakan seperti berikut:-
“Saya merasa sungguh kesal atas apa yang telah berlaku di masa lampau, dan merasa sungguh sedih sekali kerana YB Lim Guan Eng kini telah dipenjarakan. Apa yang beliau cuba lakukan hanyalah untuk membantu saya. Tetapi beliau sendiri pula menjadi mangsa. Semua ini sungguh tidak adil. Saya berdoa semoga keadilan akan dikembalikan kepada YB. Malam ini, saya telah membawa dua surat rayuan, satu kepada Yang Di Pertuan Agong dan satu lagi kepada Yang Di Pertua Negeri Melaka, meminta supaya YB Lim Guan Eng diampunkan dan dibebaskan segera supaya meneruskan tanggungjawab sebagai seorang Ahli Parlimen sejati Malaysia. Saya meminta supaya YB Lim Kit Siang selaku Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen boleh membantu sampaikan surat-surat rayuan saya ini kepada kedua-dua pihak itu.”
Saya tidak faham mengapa cucu saya hanya menyatakan sekarang tidak mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim bila dia telah mengakui selama 5 tahun kebelakangan ini sejak 1994 bahawa dia mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim, termasuk membuat keterangan bersumpah di mahkamah di depan tuan hakim.
Saya berasa hampa, malu dan marah atas kejadian rogol yang menimpa cucu saya. Tetapi saya berasa lebih hampa, malu dan marah bila cucu saya boleh membelakangkan kebenaran dan keadilan dengan melupai jasa baik YB Lim sehingga bersedia bohong dengan menafikan dia mempunyai hubungan sulit dengan Tan Sri Rahim. Nyata sekali, ini adalah satu lagi konspirasi kerajaan BN menutup kebenaran demi kepentingan politik.
Saya masih mengingati cucu saya begitu tersiksa semasa ditahan di Pusat Pemulihan Rembau sehingga cuba melarikan diri banyak kali. Dia memberikan keterangan di mahkamah bahawa dia berjaya melarikan diri daripada tahanan sekali sebelum ditangkap balik. Jelas, kasih sayang keluarga kami kepadanya tidak dibalas.
Lim Guan Eng ditangkap kerana membantu mangsa yang dirogol olih Rahim Thamby Chik.lge_rahim
Apa yang dilakukan oleh cucu saya adalah tidak adil kepada YB Lim Guan Eng yang telah kehilangan begitu banyak, termasuk dipenjarakan kerana cuba mempertahankan hak cucu saya ini. Saya tidak boleh lupa betapa susah anak-anak dan isterinya yang sering menangis merindui bapa mereka semasa dipenjara. Oleh itu, saya ingin meminta maaf kepada YB Lim atas apa yang cucu saya telah lakukan.
Saya juga berhasrat memberikan jaminan kepada YB Lim bahawa keluarga kami sentiasa mengenang pengorbanan beliau dan mengingati kesediaan beliau menanggung segala penderitaan dan kerugian kewangan demi membantu sebuah keluarga Melayu miskin yang dianiayai oleh kezaliman kerajaan BN. Kami tidak akan lupai YB Lim adalah satu-satunya orang yang bersedia menegakkan keadilan untuk kami bila tidak ada seorang pun yang berani tolong sama kami.
Semoga Allah S.W.T boleh memaafkan cucu saya.
Pendek binti Ahmad
Sabri bin Mohamad Yasin
Alamat: Batu 13, Kampung Sungai Petai, 78000 Alor Gajah, Melaka

Sarawak's real poverty rate: 5.3% or ?

One of the biggest issues in the forthcoming Sarawak election is the level of income distribution, inequality and poverty in the state, or more specifically how many people have been left behind or totally left out in this resource-rich state.
BN propaganda inevitably touches on how the official poverty rate in Sarawak has purportedly plunged during the Taib years to only around 5 per cent now. Take for example this piece in the BN’s
In the mid-1980s, Chief Minister Taib faced a Sarawak where nearly 32% of its population lived in poverty, a shocking statistic to anyone living in the Western world. In three decades of democratic leadership, Taib has helped pull his citizens out of the depths of destitution. Now only 5.3% of Sarawakians live in poverty. For comparison, that is less then half the amount of Americans who live below the poverty line, a startling feat.
Less than half the US poverty rate? Betulkah? That is indeed startling! This assertion is repeated over and over again in But then, what about that inconvenient truth – all those natives living without proper water and electricity supply and latrine facilities?
How realistic is the official poverty rate figure then? Coming up with a realistic poverty rate depends on how you set the poverty line income threshold, and whether that threshold is a fair reflection of reality.
Aliran expert Philip Khoo takes a closer look and gives us a clue as to what a more realistic poverty rate for Sarawak might be. His conclusion is even more startling than Sarawak Reports’ claim!