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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why no in-depth study of Sword of Parameswara?

By Donplaypuks

I recently stumbled upon the fact that there is in the possession of the Sultan of Perak and the Perak Royal Family some astounding relics of antiquity that in all probability have an extremely significant bearing on the question of Malaysian identity and history.

One such astonishing artifact is the sword Cura Si Manja Kini or Chora Samanda Kian mentioned in John Leyden's 1810 'Malay Annals' or 'Sejarah Melayu' (published in 1821 by Sir Stamford Raffles).

The same sword is said to have been used during the installation of Parameswara as ruler of Malacca in 1400. But in fact, its origins go further back, possibly 200-400 years earlier than 1400.

The sword was part of the regalia of a Indian/Hindu prince linked to the Chola Kings (Raja Cholan) from South India, i.e. Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama (founder of Singapore) narrated in the 'Sejarah' as having landed on Mt Segantang Maha Meru in Palembang, Sumatra together with two other princes, Vichitram and Karna Pandita, and a probable Brahmin priest, Bat'h, exact date unknown!

Now, Bat'h is a pretty unusual name for an Indian and perhaps it's a truncated form of Vadhyar (Tamil for priest), Vadh, which became Bat'h, in the same way Vichitram is spelt in the 'Sejarah' as Bichitram.

This is consistent with the fact that the Malay language generally does not have old words that commence with the letter 'V' and 'B' was substituted.

The 'Sejarah' relates that it is this self-same sword that was used by the borrower (from Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama) and champion warrior Peramas Cumambang to slay the serpent monster Saktimuna (Sakatimuna/Ichktimani) into three parts in Minangkabau, Sumatra. In the process the sword became etched with 190 notches which is a strange "clue" of Dan Brown and 'da Vinci Code' proportions, that no Indonesia or Malaysian historian or anyone else has ever deciphered!

The relics listed at include, besides Cura Si Manja Kini, other precious items such as:

  1. Royal Collar (15th century) said to have been presented by the Emperor of China
  2. Dokong or Kerongsang Besar (Neck Pendant)
  3. Cap Lalulintar (Royal Silver Seal) of Sultan Muhammad Shah (Malacca) and Kayu Gampit mentioned in Sejarah Melayu. (The Royal Lance, Limbuar appears to be missing)
  4. Betel Boxes
  5. Mestika Embun (Bezoar of Dew)
  6. Kancing Halkah (Royal Collar Ornament)
  7. Kris Taming Sari (originally said to belong to Hang Tuah).
So, how did all these relics from Palembang and Malacca end up in the custody of the Perak Royalty?
After the fall of Malacca on 24th April 1511 to Portugal led by Alphonso de Alburquerque, Malacca's last ruler, Sultan Mahmud Shah eventually made his way to Kampar in Sumatra where he died in 1528.
One of the sultan's two sons, Muzzafar Shah journeyed to Perak where he was installed the first Sultan in 1528. It was Sultan Muzzafar Shah who brought with him the artifacts which had been handed down to his father, Sultan Mahmud.

The inscriptions on Cura Sa Manjani Kini in Sanskrit are said to come from the the words 'Churiga Si Mandakini' which means "the blade from Lake Mandakini of the Ganges (River) in India!!
Refer to Sembangkuala's blog at for more details.

And what is the link between the Chiri of Perak, nobat players and Bat'h the Brahmin priest cum charitra or cheritra teller in the 'Sejarah' (pg. c4/23 - 25 John Leyden's 'Sejarah Melayu')
Documents extracted from the 'Sejarah' and a 'A History of Perak' by R.O.Winstedt and R.J.Wilkinson published by The Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society reveal that Bat'h had recited the lineage of the three Indian/Hindu princes who landed in the mountains of Palembang to Demang Lebar Daun, the aboriginal chief and his people in Sanskrit !! Astonishing, is it not?
The 'Sejarah' also clearly states Parameswara was buried in Tanjung Tuan (Cape Rachado) near Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan (in Malaysia).
It is Demang Lebar Daun and Nila Utthaman/Sri Tri Buana/Sang Nila Utama who are reputed to have actually been buried in Fort Canning, Singapore!!
There is therefore some serious error with the claim that Parameswara was buried in Fort Canning (Bukit Larangan) in Singapore. Check out for Keramat Iskandar, Singapore.
It absolutely makes no sense that Parameswara would be buried in Singapore when he originally fled from there in fear of his life, before founding Malacca!!).

The time has come for the Singapore government to initiate investigations to identify through modern scientific procedures such as carbon dating, DNA testing etc., exactly who is buried in Keramat Iskandar and Fort Canning.
Some of these artifacts and regalia must be at least a thousand years old and there is not a shadow of a doubt about their links to Parameswara and the Malacca Sultanate of the 15th and early 16th century, Indonesia and INDIA!
So, why haven't our government and Department of Antiquities engaged an archaeologist and expert in Sanskrit and Indian languages/dialects and South East Asian history (and there must literally be hundred of them in India) as well as China counterparts to piece together what must surely be THE story of the century?

In particular, the Sanskrit inscriptions on Parameswara's sword need to be investigated in depth!

So, why the leaden footedness? Too busy 'interloked' in controversies?

Disabled man detained under ISA

The former PKR Youth member was detained for alleged subversive activities, says lawyer N Surendran.

KUALA LUMPUR: A 42-year-old disabled restaurant owner has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for subversive activities, said lawyer N Surendran.

According to him, Kadir Hashim, who only has one arm, was detained by the police at his residence in Kampung Kerinchi here yesterday evening.

“He has been detained for subversive activities,” the lawyer told FMT. “Lawyers for Liberty would be taking up this case,” he added.

He also told FMT that he had no further information regarding Kadir. Nevertheless, a press conference would be held on Monday.

Kadir, 42, is believed to be a PKR Youth member, said Anti-ISA Movement (GMI) coordinator, E Nalini.

However, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, when contacted, said that Kadir was a former member.

Libya government rejects rebel ceasefire

The ceasefire offer came as UN envoy Abdelilah al-Katib visited Libya

A Libyan government spokesman has termed the conditions set by the opposition for a ceasefire "mad", and asserted that troops loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, will remain stationed where they are.

"They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities. .... If this is not mad then I don't know what this is. We will not leave our cities," Mussa Ibrahim, the government spokesman, said on Friday.

Fighting raged on Friday near the key oil town of Brega, in the country's east, and the towns of Misurata and Az Zintan in the west.

Earlier, the opposition had said it would agree to a ceasefire as long as Gaddafi pulled his military out of opposition-held cities and allowed peaceful protests against his government.

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, head of the opposition's interim governing council based in Benghazi, spoke during a joint press conference on Friday with Abdelilah Al-Khatib, the UN envoy. Al-Khatib is visiting the rebels' de facto stronghold of Benghazi in hopes of reaching a political solution to the crisis embroiling the North African nation.

Abdul-Jalil said the rebels' condition for a ceasefire is "that the Gaddafi brigades and forces withdraw from inside and outside Libyan cities to give freedom to the Libyan people to choose and the world will see that they will choose freedom".

The UN resolution that authorised international air strikes against Libya called for Gaddafi and the rebels to end hostilities. Gaddafi announced a ceasefire immediately but has shown no sign of heeding it. His forces continue to attack rebels in the east, where the opposition is strongest, and have besieged the only major rebel-held city in the west, Misurata.

Abdul-Jalil said the regime must withdraw its forces and lift all sieges. He stressed the ultimate goal was still to oust Gaddafi.

"Our aim is to liberate and have sovereignty over all of Libya with its capital in Tripoli," he said.

Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee, reporting from Benghazi, played down the significance of the statements, noting that this is not the first time the rebels have said they are open to negotiation.

"You have to remember that Mr Abdel Jalil was saying it in the presence of the United Nations special envoy to Libya, and the UN is calling repeatedly for a ceasefire, and so he had to acknowledge that to some degree," Lee said.

"But the other thing you have to remember that he said, was that if there is no ceasefire then the rebels will

press on to try to liberate all the Western towns."

Despite the continued bravado, the protracted stalemate and shortage of arms is clearly causing unease in the opposition stronghold, he said.

"As time goes by, the military solution to this looks far less likely, and I think the political solution, if not inevitable, looks far more likely," he reported.

Forces loyal to Libya's leader of nearly 42 years spent much of this week pushing the rebels back about 160km along the coast. Attempting to regroup, the rebels hit back with mortars on Friday - weapons they previously appeared to have lacked. The previous night, they drove in a convoy with at least eight rocket launchers - more artillery than usual.

The rebels also appeared to have more communication equipment such as radios and satellite phones, and were working in more organised units, in which military defectors were each leading six or seven volunteers.

On Friday, they appointed Abdel Fatah Yunis, the former interior minister who resigned to join the opposition, as the commander of the opposition military forces combatting pro-Gaddafi brigades.

Fighting rages

The rebels' losses this week, and others before airstrikes began March 19, underlined the reality that their equipment, training and organisation were far inferior to those of Gaddafi's forces. The recent changes appear to be an attempt to correct, or at least ease, the imbalance.

Residents of Misurata, meanwhile, said they came under heavy bombardment throughout the day from pro-Gaddafi forces.

"They used tanks, rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds and other projectiles to hit the city today. It was a random and very intense bombardment," Sami, a rebel spokesman, told Reuters by telephone. "We no longer recognise the place. The destruction cannot be described."

Opposition fighters say government forces are targetting both the city's port and residential areas.

Heavy fighting also took place near the key oil port of Brega, where doctors told the AFP news agency that 11 people had been killed.

Meanwhile, in the village of Argkuk, near Ajdabiya, Al Jazeera's Sue Turton reported that what appeared to be a NATO-led coalition airstrike on a pro-Gaddafi vehicle killed seven civilians and injured 25 others when ammunition in the vehicle exploded.

Ibrahim, the government's spokesman, termed the strike a "crime against humanity".

It was unclear where the frontline was Friday. Rebels were holding journalists back at the western gate of Ajdabiya, far from the fighting. On Thursday the opposition had moved into Brega before Gaddafi's forces pushed them out.

A Libyan opposition official, meanwhile, said rebels would be able to buy more arms thanks to an oil deal they reached with the Arab nation of Qatar.

Ali Tarhouni, who handles finances for the opposition's National Transitional Council, said Qatar has agreed to market oil currently in storage in rebel-controlled areas of southeastern Libya.

Tarhouni said one sticking point is how to truck the oil out of the country. The money from oil sales will be put into an account which the opposition will use to pay for weapons, food, medicine, fuel and other needs.

Defections take toll

Gaddafi's greatest losses this week were not military but political. Two members of his inner circle, including his foreign minister, abandoned him this week, setting off speculation about other officials who may be next.

The defections could sway people who have stuck with Gaddafi despite the uprising that began February 15 and the international airstrikes aimed at keeping the Libyan leader from attacking his own people.

Gaddafi struck a defiant stance in a statement Thursday, accusing the leaders of the countries attacking his forces of being "affected by power madness".

"The solution for this problem is that they resign immediately and their peoples find alternatives to them," he said.

Yet Gaddafi's message was undercut by its delivery - a scroll across the bottom of state TV as he remained out of sight.

Meanwhile, nations behind the campaign of international airstrikes that have hobbled Libya's military hailed the resignation and flight to the UK of Gaddafi's foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, as a sign of weakness in Gaddafi's reign.

Koussa has been privy to all the inner workings of the regime, so his departure could open the door for some hard intelligence, though Britain refused to offer him immunity from prosecution.

Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former foreign minister and UN General Assembly president, announced his departure on several opposition websites the next day, saying "It is our nation's right to live in freedom and democracy and enjoy a good life".

Treki's defection comes after Al Jazeera uncovered what was supposed to be a secret visit to Tunis in mid-March.

The rebels say they have taken heart from the departures in Gaddafi's inner circle.

"We believe that the regime is crumbling from within," opposition spokesman Mustafa Gheriani said in Benghazi, the rebels' de facto capital.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

PRN S’wak: Taib umum calon BN esok

Pengumuman itu akan dibuat pukul 3 petang di Ibu Pejabat Parti PBB.

KUCHING: Calon Barisan Nasional (BN) bagi pilihan raya negeri Sarawak ke-10 akan diumumkan esok, kata Ketua Menteri Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Taib yang juga Pengerusi BN negeri berkata pengumuman itu akan dibuat pada pukul 3 petang di Ibu Pejabat Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) di sini.

“Saya akan mengadakan mesyuarat pagi esok. Pengumuman (calon) pada pukul 3 petang,” katanya ringkas kepada pemberita selepas merasmikan Program Sejiwa Senada Kerajaan Bersama Rakyat peringkat Bandaraya Kuching Utara di Perkarangan Sukma Ria, Petrajaya dekat sini hari ini.

Turut hadir pada majlis itu adalah isteri Taib, Puan Sri Ragad Waleed Al-Kurdi dan Menteri Perumahan dan Pembangunan Bandar negeri Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Semalam, Taib mengadakan pertemuan dengan Perdana Menteri yang juga Pengerusi BN pusat Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak di Putrajaya, dipercayai untuk menyerahkan senarai nama calon BN bagi pilihan raya negeri.

Pilihan raya negeri Sarawak akan diadakan pada 16 April ini dengan penamaan calon pada 6 April melibatkan 71 kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri.

You can't take the kampong out of the Malay

Umno should talk to us about psy-war. Instead of paying APCO tens of millions of Ringgit they should save their money and pay us just RM10 million to do their psy-war for them. We can do a much better job at a fraction of the price they are paying APCO.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I have said this before and I will say it again: you can take the Malay out of the kampong but you can’t take the kampong out of the Malay.

Look at the comic below, which is being widely distributed in Kuala Lumpur and many other parts of Malaysia. Go to the Umno website, Malaysia Instinct, and read what they write.

First of all, all these postings and ‘comics’ have no names to them. They are all produced by ‘anonymous’ people. Secondly, they all lack class and finesse. They are most crude and without taste.

You only need to read the articles, postings and ‘comics’ to detect that they are the work of Malays. The hallmark is very distinct. And in this case they are certainly the work of Umno Malays, those who have absolutely no class.

Somehow, Malays like this kind of thing. They do not understand art or literature. To them smut is literature and a work of art. How do we educate the Malays into understanding that there is a difference?

Of late, Umno has been shooting itself in the foot. The more they try to smear Anwar Ibrahim the more people are convinced that Anwar is innocent. The effort is backfiring big time. And Umno is scrambling to do damage control.

How we do teach Umno about proper and effective psy-war? What they are doing is not psy-war. It is political suicide. And the more they spin the more it spins out of control.

Umno should talk to us about psy-war. Instead of paying APCO tens of millions of Ringgit they should save their money and pay us just RM10 million to do their psy-war for them. We can do a much better job at a fraction of the price they are paying APCO.

Macam ini hancurlah Umno. Lagi spin, lagi sakit. The opposition actually needs not do anything. They just need to do nothing and let Umno self-destruct with this very childish and tasteless Malay-style spinning.

The problem is the opposition is also making many mistakes. And herein lies the problem. If they can just sit quietly and not make mistakes just like Umno, the opposition is assured of winning the next general election.

But will the opposition listen? No, their egos are too big for their heads. And, just like Umno, they also shoot themselves in their foot every step of the way.

Anyway, enjoy the comic below, if you are the type of person who enjoys smut, that is -- courtesy of Umno.


Twin Nightmares for Citibank Indonesia

A girl has to get by.
(Asia Sentinel) Sexy Swindler and Debt-Collection Murder Arrests Give Citi Sleepless Week in Jakarta

In Jakarta, Citibank’s public relations staff must have put the banking giant‘s corporate slogan – “Citi never sleeps” – to good use over the past week as twin scandals involving an alleged beating death and a sexy swindler rocked the company.

First, a “relationship manager” employed by the bank for the last 15 years, variously known as Malinda Dee, Melinda Dee, Inong Malinda or just MD, was nabbed on March 25 after allegations came to light that she used her connections with her customers to steal about $2 million.

Pictures of the middle-aged woman, with long-hair, ample curves and heavy makeup, soon seemed to be everywhere, showing her in come-hither poses and skin tight skirts with a stable of luxury cars and an arm-candy husband, a minor 22-year old TV actor named Andhika Gumilang.

But Dee’s alleged over-the-top stealing is one thing, leaving a customer dead inside a branch office after a run-in with debt collectors is quite something else.

On Tuesday, Irzen Okta, 50, the secretary general of a minor political party, the National Unifying Party (PPB), went into a private room at a Citibank office on a crowded main street in Jakarta and never came out alive.

Police said the room where Irzen met with two contract debt collectors and a Citibank employee to discuss his credit card debt ‑ the bank said he owed, with interest, more than $10,000; the victim put the figure at about $7,000 – was splattered with blood but it was unclear if the brain hemorrhage that took his life was the result of a beating or just fear, stress and intimidation.

“The autopsy results so far have not shown any sign of beating with a blunt object,” a senior police officer told the media on Friday. “The cause of death, according to the autopsy, was a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.”

The police have arrested the two debt collectors and a Citi employee as suspects in the case and they are trying to figure out how Irzen’s blood ended up on the walls and curtains of the conference room.

The incident highlights the tough tactics of debt collectors in Indonesia. Credit firms, banks and others routinely hire thugs to go after deadbeats, leaving many people frightened of facing the agents if they get behind in their bills. Reacting to Irzen’s demise, lawmaker Harry Azhar Azis, urged Bank Indonesia (BI) to issue regulations to reign in violent debt collectors.

On Friday, the central bank summoned Citibank and other banks and told them to go easy on roughing up their customers, but a BI official told reporters there were no regulations that could compel banks to restrain their attack dogs.

The official, Muliaman Hadad, warned banks that they could be subject to “reputation and operational risks” from heavy-handed debt collectors, according to the Jakarta Post.

While the dead politician may not have been worked over with brass knuckles, police said the three debt collectors he faced were both rough and intimidating. After Irzen arrived at the bank asking to discuss his debt, he was taken to a small room where the suspects “pounded on the table, kicked a chair and tapped on the victim’s shoulders,” a police officer said, according to the Jakarta Globe. In another account, in the Jakarta Post, police said the victim was beaten and humiliated.

Most accounts agree that Irzen complained of a severe headache and was then further ridiculed, eventually falling to the floor, foaming at the mouth. One of the debt collectors, Aries Lukman, laughed at the man’s suffering, police said.

He died a short time later.

The politician’s death competed for headlines during the week with Dee’s antics. Her husband, who is a hunky pitchman for cigarettes of no particular renown before his wife’s alleged theft came to light, denied being aware of any misdeeds as he made the rounds of local gossip TV shows. Police seized from Dee two luxury apartments, two Ferraris, a Mercedes Benz and a Hummer in the course of investigations that began after some of Dee’s Citi clients complained that their savings had disappeared into her designer purse.

Given the woman’s looks, age and taste for the good life, Dee, who is variously reported to be 45 and 50, set off a storm of tabloid titillation, with many even respectable news outlets speculating on whether some of the ill-gotten wealth might not also have been spent on augmenting her impressive upper silhouette. On Friday, the National Police headquarters looked like a luxury car showroom as her fleet of flashy rides was on display in the parking lot.

Beleaguered Citibank officials said as little as they could about their twin PR nightmares during the week. “It is our commitment to protect the interest of our customers, including swiftly repaying all customers who suffered losses in the fraudulent transaction, fairly and timely,” said Citi’s Indonesia country corporate affairs head, Ditta Amahorseya, in a statement in response to Dee’s embezzlement.

After the bank’s contract employees were arrested on suspicion of murder in the Irzen case Thursday, Ditta issued a statement saying the bank had a strict code of conduct with regards to debt collection. “As representatives of the bank, all our contract staff are required to adhere to [the code] during all interactions with customers,” she said.

“We are cooperating fully with the police in their investigations to determine if agency staff adhered to the code of conduct.” 

Upgraded Hentian Puduraya To Reopen April 16

PUTRAJAYA, April 2 (Bernama) -- The upgraded Hentian Puduraya bus terminal is to reopen on April 16 after several postponements, Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said Saturday.

He said some of the facilities could almost match those of the modern Integrated South-Bandar Tasik Selatan Transport Terminal (TBS-BTS).

The reopening of the bus terminal in the city centre was originally scheduled for the end of 2010, but was rescheduled to February, then March and now to April.

Raja Nong Chik said the developer, Uda Holdings Berhad, had informed him that all the preparations were going on smoothly for the terminal to resume operations on schedule.

"On April 16, I will go down there. From the report I have received, everything is going well. I am confident the major works will be completed in the two weeks," he told reporters after flagging off 35 teams participating in a motoring treasure hunt of the Alam Shah School Alumni from here to Port Dickson.

Raja Nong Chik said the upgraded facilities at Hentian Puduraya would provide added comfort for the public using the bus services at that venue which was strategically located to provide integration with other modes of public transportation.

12 killed in Afghanistan after protests over reported Quran burning

Smoke rises from the U.N. building in Mazar-e Sharif on Friday where 12 people died of violence, including eight U.N. staffers.

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- At least 12 people were killed Friday in an attack on a United Nations building in Afghanistan that followed a demonstration against the reported burning of a Quran in Florida last month, authorities and a U.N. source with knowledge of the events said.

Eight workers for the U.N. and four Afghans were killed, said Abdul Rauof Taj, security director of Bulkh province. At least 24 people were injured, he said.

A U.N .source confirmed the dead included four Nepalese security guards. U.N. workers from Norway, Sweden and Romania were also among the dead, the source said.

The attack followed a demonstration against the reported burning of a Quran this month by Florida pastor Terry Jones, who gained international attention last year with his plans to burn a Quran, the U.N. source with knowledge of events said.

Jones is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. He canceled plans to burn a Quran last year, on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Last month, however, with far less attention than he attracted last year, Jones reportedly burned Islam's holy book.

The church says on its website that it planned to put the Quran on trial on March 20, and, "if found guilty of causing murder, rape and terrorism, it will be executed!" Another post on the website says "the Koran was found guilty" during the mock trial and "a copy was burned inside the building."

Jones said the attacks show that "time has come to hold Islam accountable."

"We must hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities," he said.

The attack on Friday happened at the operations center of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in Mazar-e Sharif, said Dan McNorton, a U.N. spokesman.

"The situation is still confusing and we are currently working to ascertain all the facts and take care of all our staff," he said.

Initial indications are that knives and small arms were used in the attack, according to a U.N. spokesman who declined to be named.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai called the attacks "an act against Islam and Afghan values," while U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said the deadly attack "was a cowardly attack that cannot be justified."

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the victims were only trying to help the Afghan people.

"In targeting them, the attackers have demonstrated an appalling disregard for what the U.N. and the entire international community are trying to do for the benefit of all Afghans," he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the attack.

"We stress the importance of calm and urge all parties to reject violence and resolve differences through dialogue," he said.

The United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, was on his way to Mazar-e Sharif to assess the situation, McNorton said.

DPM, Interlok neither a political nor racial issue

By Lim Teck Ghee

Civil society groups and other concerned individuals should not be taken in by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's statement that the Interlok issue has been resolved.
In fact, not only is it not resolved but compliance will mean that 'Interlok' could well be extended from its present Zone 2 (Klang Valley) coverage thereafter to Zone 1, Zone 3 and Zone 4 in the rest of the country.

Interlok is a beach head for the Little Napoleons and other Ketuanan bureaucrats to impose their agenda of educational and cultural seppuku on a young captive audience.

Success in imposing Interlok will only encourage these ideologues to move further upstream and inject their indoctrination into the syllabus for the younger forms, and eventually in the primary school curriculum. The history and moral subjects have already been tampered with. Currently the focus is on language and literature. What will be next?

Muhyiddin's statement that nobody should politicize or exploit the issue by using NGOs is made in wilful ignorance. The fact is these organisations have been in the forefront of the campaign from the outset.

It is not difficult for the minister to determine the chronology of events with regard to the emergence and growth of public (but hardly any political) consciousness, concern and agitation on the book.

A quick glance at news and reports from the websites will show that civil society organisations such as NIAT, Hartal MSM, and the Centre for Policy Initiatives have provided analysis and public feedback for several months now on the unsuitability of Interlok.

The NGO concern is in sharp contrast to the lack of criticism on the book by public figures. Political parties from both Barisan Nasional and the opposition have been slow or reluctant to discuss the appropriateness of the book as a school text.

While the education minister and his MCA deputy – the career politicians – have been adamant on its retention, why have the educationists and other Education Ministry officials been largely silent?

In NGOs voicing our concerns on key issues affecting our nation, we do not have any political affiliation or political axe to grind. Neither are we racially motivated because Malay and non-Malay, Muslim and non-Muslim groups are equally concerned as to why Interlok is being retained when it is clearly in contravention of the Education Ministry and the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka's own guidelines on textbook and literary work.

The Minister should welcome our feedback and seek to engage with us rather than try to intimidate us.

Giving up on the campaign to have the novel discontinued as a compulsory SPM reading is the wrong message to send. Capitulating to the Ministry's insistence will signal that we do not care for our education system to play a positive role in building social cohesion as is implicit in the 1Malaysia slogan.

NGOs and most particularly the parents should continue with even greater urgency and commitment to have Interlok removed from the classroom. The government has might on its side but might does not make it right.        

MIC backs revised Interlok, so they say

By S.Ramakrishnan,

On March 29, I received a phone call from a teacher who heard his headmaster announcing at the school morning assembly that the Interlok book has been accepted by MIC as well as all members of the independent penal set up to review the novel.

The ministry will be making the 19 corrections recommended by the panel and the book will be used as a literature textbook for Form Five students. In view of the ministry decision, no student or teacher is allowed to criticise the decision. Students' bags will be checked to ensure that they do not carry any fliers against the use of Interlok.

The teacher added that all headmasters were briefed by the state director of Education Department to make sure that all students accept the usage of Interlok without any problem. Headmasters are required to send reports on the actions taken to ensure that students do not carry any anti-Interlok fliers to school.

This decision by the education minister shows clearly the MIC leader's double act as champions of Indian community but at the same time supporting Umno's and Gapena's proposal to continue using Interlok as textbook. The Education Ministry is going ahead because apparently both the MIC and the penal members had accepted the book.

The fact that three Indian representatives walked out of the penal was disregarded. The parliamentary debate on Interlok clearly showed the resentment and bitterness of Indian parliamentarians over the use of this book. Despite all the noise and expressed wishes of Indian NGOs against the use of Interlok, the Education Ministry still gave the go ahead to use the book.

Does that mean the whole panel formation to review the book was a show to give legitimacy to whatever decision taken by the Education Ministry? It's amazing how Umno has decided to shove the book down the students' throat.

MIC and other Indian-based BN parties have been pandering for over 50 years and therefore have become weak and spineless to stand up against Umno. They have mortgaged the dignity and pride of Malaysian Indians for the selfish benefit of its leaders. MIC has squandered all moral authority to lead Indian Malaysians.

Indian Malaysians and other minority communities will not accept the Interlok as a school textbook simply because it has no positive educational value. This book does not foster racial unity nor enrich students' mind.

A novel with many amendments on content, grammar and factual errors should be replaced. It seem to be an organised effort by Umno racial spinners to systematically institutionalise the immigrant status of non-Malays. This approach of BN government is in congruent with the Ketuanan Melayu concept upheld by Umno and its racist NGOs.

While upholding such racist sentiments, BN and Umno can gloat all over town the concept of 1Nalaysia. This shows the incredibly hypocrisy of BN/Umno to built a one Malaysia.

The writer is a DAP senator.

RON97 petrol up 20 sen from tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — The pump price for RON97 petrol will go up 20 sen a litre to RM2.70/litre effective midnight, a source said today.

It is the highest jump this year as world oil prices have spiked due to unrest in oil-rich North Africa.

“We received the confirmation notice this evening about the 20 sen rise,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

The price of the higher-grade RON97 rose 10 sen effective January 31 after a similar hike in early January 2011. It had earlier spiked to RM2.30 last December 1.

It is understood prices of other fuel grades will remain unchanged as only RON97 prices are determined by a market float.

The government had said it would review all options to ensure that it can maintain the price of the RON95 grade, used by most motorists, despite rising global prices.

Sex video clip genuine, says IGP

The special team investigating the case was in the closing stages of the probe.

KUALA LUMPUR: Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar said today the sex video clip allegedly involving an opposition politician is genuine.

This is based on the report of experts who had used the clip to investigate the case, he told reporters.

Ismail said the special team investigating the case was in the closing stages of the probe and that the investigation papers would be handed over to the attorney-general soon.

The sex video clip, said to be of an opposition politician and a woman suspected to be a prostitute, was shown privately to selected journalists recently.

Police set up a team to investigate the case after Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who denied that he was the man in the video clip, had lodged a police report.

PKR veep: IGP is confusing the issue

In an immediate reaction , PKR vice president N Surendran said the IGP’s statement that the sex video is authentic is a politically motivated attempt at confusing the issue to tarnish Anwar’s reputation.

“This announcement in no way proves that Anwar is the person appearing in the sex video. From the very first instance, Anwar has stated that he is not the person in the sex video,” he said in a statement.

Surendran added that the failure of the police and the AG Chamber to initiate criminal proceedings against the Datuk T trio was a major concern.

“Why the special treatment meted out to these particular offenders? Unusually, the IGP made his
announcement on the aspect of the authenticity of the video despite admitting also that the probe on the sex video is not yet complete.

“We call upon the IGP not to dance to the tune of the BN and to carry out police investigations fairly, impartially and professionally and take action against the real criminals in the sex video fiasco immediately,” he said.

MIC eyes general election, postpones party polls

The postponement of the party polls, due next year, is also believed to avert internal turmoil arising from the fight for party leadership.

KUALA LUMPUR: Saying that it wanted to fully concentrate on the next general election, MIC has decided to postpone its party polls scheduled for 2012.

The decision to postpone the all-important MIC leadership election was taken at the party’s all powerful central working committee (CWC) meeting yesterday.

The CWC also decided to appoint S Vel Paari, son of former party president S Samy Vellu, as the party publicity and media relations bureau chief.

However, a senior leader who did not want to be named said the move to push back the election was to avert internal squabbling arising from the outcome of the party polls.

“It is a well-known fact that everyone is waiting for the presidential election. Some quarters are saying that it could turn into a three cornered tussle between president G Palanivel, Dr S Subramaniam (Human Resources Minister and MIC deputy president) and S Subramaniam (former deputy minister and ex-deputy president).

“If this was to take place, then obviously there would be some infighting among the leaders and their supporters. The party might be somewhat divided. To avoid this, the CWC decided to push back the party election,” he said.

If the party polls had proceeded next year, it would have been Palanivel’s first attempt at defending the post. Palanivel was appointed party chief after Samy Vellu’s retirement late last year.

This enabled Dr Subramaniam, who was then vice-president, to move up a rank and occupy the party number two seat.

His supporters have been wanting their leader to go for the top post since he is a minister holding a parliamentary seat compared to Palanivel who is only a deputy minister by virtue of being appointed a senator.

“This is the battle cry of Dr Subramaniam’s supporters. They want him to contest the top post because he is a minister and has a parliamentary seat. They feel he is more qualified to take over the party compared to Palanivel who is a deputy minister.

“He was only appointed senator by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak because the Barisan Nasional (BN) top leadership wanted Samy Vellu to leave at that time. So now Dr Subramaniam’s people want him to reclaim what was due to him,” said a party source.

Simmering battle

While the tussle between Palanivel and Dr Subramaniam seems to be more subtle, the same cannot be said of former deputy president Subramaniam.

He is seen to be more vocal on issues affecting the party, especially that involving MIC’s education arm the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED). The veteran leader is expected to make a last-ditch attempt to become party supremo.

MIC practises a unique system, where the president is elected via a presidential election. The next presidential election was supposed to be on March 2012. The president is elected by the party’s 4,300 branch leaders.

Election of other top national office-bearers is held three to four months after the presidential election, where about 1,400 divisional delegates exercise their right to pick national leaders. The current term of positions – deputy president and downwards expires in June, 2012.

The CWC is empowered under the party constitution to postpone party elections.

The media was not invited for the CWC meeting at the party headquarters yesterday. Only vernacular daily Tamil Nesan, owned by Samy Vellu, ran a story on the party election postponement, quoting Palanivel.

Previously Umno, MCA and DAP were among the parties that have postponed their party polls in view of the expected early general election, which is legally due only 2013.

MIC Times to be launched

In a statement issued later, MIC secretary-general S Murugessan confirmed that the CWC had “unanimously decided to postpone all party elections until after the 13th general election”.

“This is to ensure that the entire party gives its undivided attention to the coming general election,” he said in a statement.

He also confirmed Vell Paari’s appointment as the head of publicity and communications bureau.

He added that the party will also be launching its own in-house bulletin called MIC Times beginning May to carry news on the activities of the party.

New publicity chief: No rift

In a related development, Vell Paari rubbished the speculation of a turmoil brewing in the party.

“There is no such thing, the relationship between the president and his deputy is good. It is just that some people cannot survive when things are peaceful in MIC, and hence make a childish attempt to create a rift,” he told FMT.

Vell Paari also said that the postponement of the party polls was in line with the decision taken by other BN parties.

“When the proposal to postpone the polls was brought up during yesterday’s meeting, everybody supported it,” he added.

NGOs lock horns with Muhyiddin

They reject the DPM’s accusation that there is a political agenda behind their opposition to Interlok.

KUALA LUMPUR: The controversy surrounding Interlok is far from over, with NGOs taking Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to task for suggesting that they had allowed themselves to be used by opposition political parties.

Lim Teck Ghee, who heads the Centre for Policy Initiatives, released a statement today that accused Muhyiddin of “wilful ignorance”.

“In NGOs voicing concerns on key issues affecting our nation, we do not have any political affiliation or political axe to grind,” the statement read.

Lim said the NGOs were at the “forefront of the campaign” to voice concerns over the book, which many groups have said had racist tendencies and was unsuitable for use in schools.

He said Muhyiddin should welcome feedback from the NGOs and engage them rather than intimidate them.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin as Education Minister repeated his assertion that the controversy had been resolved and described any further call for discussion as ill intended.

“If the opposition parties are exploiting the issue by getting non-governmental organisations to again voice objection, perhaps it’s because of the upcoming elections,” he told reporters.

Lim said that if Muhyiddin had studied the chronology of the controversy, he would have found that civil societies such as National Interlok Action Team (NIAT), Hartal MSM and the Centre for Policy Initiatives had been providing feedback for several months now.

He added that the NGOs’ activity in the matter was in “sharp contrast” to the lack of discussion among governing and opposition parties regarding the use of a controversial book as a compulsory text.

Lim disagreed with Muhyiddin that the issue had been resolved. He said retaining the book in the syllabus for Zone 2 of the school system meant that its use could be extended to other zones in the country.

Lim also urged NGOs and parents to continue expressing their opposition to the book as a school text.

Indian voters: PKR shoos, Najib woos

Pakatan is losing Indian support, mainly because of PKR, says a former party leader. He also notes that Najib is pressing all the right buttons.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat is losing support among the Indian community and this is because of PKR, said the party’s former deputy secretary-general PS Jenapala.

“There is no need for an analysis (on this matter), it’s clear that Pakatan is losing Indian support because of PKR,” he told FMT.

Jenapala, who now heads the Indian Justice Party, pointed out that in by-elections held in Hulu Selangor (Selangor), Bagan Pinang (Negeri Sembilan), Tenang (Johor) and Merlimau (Malacca), Indian votes played a big role in securing victory for Barisan Nasional.

According to him, the main reason why PKR had lost Indian support was because the party refused to take care of the plight of the community.

“People are fed-up with PKR. Internal problems, grassroots leaders being neglected, not recognising the Human Rights Party and party leaders jumping ship. The people have grown tired of PKR,” he said.

“The party has Indian leaders who are not fluent in Tamil, but have huge egos. These leaders don’t address the issues affecting their community because they are afraid. In Pakatan, there is not a single Indian leader on par with Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng,” he added.

Jenapala also noted that the alleged shortcomings in Selangor with regard to the Pakatan state government handling the woes of Indians were also a major factor.

“The way Selangor is governed shows that PKR is a party which has the soul of Umno. For example, only three Indian students were given education loans, while 1,500 loans were given to Malay students,” he claimed.

The IJP leader added that the state government had also refused to allocate land for Tamil schools, while less than 1% of the state’s budget had been earmarked for Indians.

Najib pressing the right buttons

On the other hand, Jenapala said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was pressing all the right buttons to woo Indian voters.

While MIC had failed to win their hearts and minds, he said, the BN chairman was certainly doing it.

“Look at the 1Malaysia concept. Although it does not live up to its slogan of ‘people first, performance now, it has however reached every corner of the country, everyone knows it.

“That’s the success of BN, backed by powerful state machineries. They have learnt from their mistake in the 2008 general election.

“Pakatan did well in the last election because the people were angry with BN, not because they liked the opposition,” he added.

However, Jenapala warned that throwing blind support behind BN could also prove detrimental for the Indian community.

No Samy, no ammo

Meanhwile, MIC veteran KP Samy also agreed that Pakatan was losing Indian support.

In 2008, he said, the Indians voted against BN primarily because they were angry with MIC and its former president S Samy Vellu.

“But with Samy Vellu gone, the new MIC leadership under G Palanivel is making things better. Furthermore, without Samy Vellu, the opposition has nobody to attack now.

“I feel that DAP’s Indian leaders are more popular than those in PKR, so the young Indians are looking at the possibility of joining DAP,” he said.

A PKR insider told FMT that the “Indian section”, the internal term used for Indian leaders in the party, were not weak but rather staging a “silent protest” against the leadership.

“The problem started with the appointment of lawyer N Surendran as the new vice-president. We know he is ‘clean’ but the fact is, he is not a politician and was parachuted into a top post,” he said, adding that Surendran did not possess grassroots support.

‘Give MACC, EC more clout’

They need it to tackle graft especially during elections, says former Transparency International Malaysia chief Ramon Navaratnam

PETALING JAYA: Enforcement and government agencies need to be given more power if they are to combat money politics and political corruption.

Former Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Ramon Navaratnam said these bodies needed more bite to tackle graft, especially during elections.

“If they don’t have the power, then create that power,” he said, referring to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Election Commission (EC).

“The MACC and the EC should be doing this (tackling corruption). They should be given the power to enforce the guidelines for the provisioning of funds during elections.”

On many occasions, the EC said that its job was to manage and not enforce elections. It also claimed that instances of corruption during elections came under the MACC’s purview.

At the same time, the MACC does not have the power to prosecute individuals or parties guilty of corruption. That task, however, rests in the hands of the Attorney-General.

Navaratnam said political parties did not need to tell the public where they got the funds from to run their election campaigns.

“Right now, political parties can get away with murder over political financing,” he said.

He added that individuals and companies must declare their donations to political parties and these parties should provide records of their expenditure during their campaigns.

Government must get serious

Navaratnam, the former MACC Corruption Prevention Panel chairman, also said that it
was pointless to have guidelines against graft if there was no enforcement.

“There need to be a declaration on what your donations are. And also enforcement over this matter,” he said.

He added that guidelines already in place against illicit political financing were not enough to combat corruption.

“The guidelines that are in place right now are not comprehensive, are not tight enough and are not enforced. There should be guidelines for the provisioning of funds during elections.”

“Right now they (guidelines) are very scant and limited. The government must be serious about its pledges to combat corruption. Why is it not doing this?”

Navaratnam also said that the government needed to do a study on the best practices employed by other countries when it came to political financing and incorporate these practices.

“This must be done urgently, and while it won’t be ready in time for the Sarawak state election, it should be ready for the next general election.

“Only then will the public believe that the government is serious in its will to combat political corruption,” he added.

Even though the Sarawak election has not started yet, allegations of money politics are already coming to the surface.
Bukit Aman denies Women's Aid Organisation vital information, citing instructions were issued by IGP.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Aman has denied NGO Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) access to the 2010 Crime Statistics booklet prepared by its Sexual Crimes and Child Abuse division.

“We requested for it on March 3, but got a reply that they cannot release these statistics as they have been classified as confidential,” said Ivy Josiah, WAO executive director.

“Why should statistics on sexual crimes and crimes against children be ‘confidential’? Isn’t the request a basic one?”

She said that these statistics were important to learn the trends of sexual crimes in order to help people understand violence against women more clearly.

“We need them to formulate public education messages and policy reform, for example, an important statistic is how many women die in their own homes and whether there are prior domestic violence reports so we can see if there’s a link.”

She also questioned why Bukit Aman is refusing to release the statistics, when it has done so without a fuss regularly before.

“I have no idea why this is, but I’d speculate that perhaps it may show Malaysia in a bad light. This is why it’s important to have a Freedom of Information Act.”

Bukit Aman, however, declined to comment except to say that the book has been classified as a secret document under the OSA on the instructions of Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar.

Josiah said the WAO sent a letter of appeal to Bukit Aman today asking them to reconsider their decision not release the information.

“For 25 years, WAO has been helping the people of Malaysia, and the statistics aid us to provide services that are relevant to changing needs over time.”

“Statistics also help us understand trends and effects. Without them, we cannot focus our attention on those who need it most and to help combat these crimes.”