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Monday, April 25, 2011

Demi negara yang tercinta dan setia

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voracious/Ancient%20Malaya.jpg
By Sara Be My,

Malai – Yur adalah istilah yang di pakai oleh orang berbahasa Tamil... Pada zaman Dinasti Yuan (1271–1368) dan Dinasti Ming (1368–1644), perkataan Ma-La-Yu sering disebut dalam sejarah China untuk merujuk kepada sebuah negara di Nanyang atau "Laut Selatan". Istilah ini sering dieja berlainan kerana perubahan Dinasti.

• (Cina: 木剌由) - Bok-la-yu, Mok-la-yu
• (Cina: 麻里予兒) - Ma-li-yu-er
• (Cina: 巫来由) - Oo-lai-yu (dikesan dari sumber tulisan sami Xuan Zang)
• (Cina: 無来由) - Wu-lai-yu

Dalam bab 48 dari teks agama Hindu Vayu Purana, ada dinyatakan satu perkataan Sanskrit Malayadvipa (secara harfiah: “benua bergunung-ganang”), yang merujuk kepada salah satu wilayah di kepulauan timur yang penuh dengan emas dan perak. Di situ letaknya sebuah bukit bernama Malaya dan juga gunung besar yang digelar Mahamalaya.

Manakala dalam buku agama Hindu Srimad Bhagavatam 10.90.19 bercatat Malaya bererti Pergunungan Malaya. Dari perkataan Malaya inilah datangnya kaum Melayu. Sekurang kurangnya dalam bahasa Tamil, Cina dan buku agama Hindu tercatat tentang Malaya dan penduduknya Melayu. Tiada satu baris pun tercatat dalam buku agama lain mahupun bahasa yang di sanjungi oleh kaum Meleyu, Arab.

Demi negara yang tercinta

Di curahkan bakti penuh setia


Malaya telah pun dihuni oleh kaum Hindu yang pernah mengunakan bahasa Sanskrit sebagai Lingua Franca dan juga sebagai tambahan penjajah British telah membawa Kaum India daripada India untuk kemajuan Negara Malaya. Kaum India ini adalah kaum yang setia kepada British. Yang Mencurahkan cinta dan bakti tidak berbelah bagi untuk pendapatan Negara daripada dulu sampai sekarang.
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Demi raja yang disanjung tinggi 

Kesetiaan tak berbelah bagi

Raja-raja disanjung tinggi atas dasar dan fakta daripada epic Ramayana. Raja Dasaratha dan Raja Ramachandra telah disanjung oleh penduduk dunia pada masa tersebut. Raja Dasaratha memerintah dengan mengunakan sistem yang adil dan saksama. Beliau tidak akan tebang pokok atau binasakan hutan kerana di sana pun terdapat pelbagai hidupan. Setiap Negara diperintah dengan cara yang sama. Pada masa Ramachandra terpaksa meninggalkan kerajaan demi permintaan ibu tirinya. Raja Bharat terpaksa merajui kerajaan untuk 14 tahun. Pada masa itu Bharat telah meletak Paduka atau kasut Ramachandra sebagai ketua pemimpin. Dari masa itu sampai hari ini kita mengunakan Duli yang maha mulia seri paduka baginda. Dalam sanskrit Seri Paduka bererti Suami Mahalaxmi Ramachandra.

Masyararat Malaysia memang setia dan sanjung Raja Malaysia. Apakah Raja-raja ini memerintah kaum kaum lain dengan cara saksama? Artikel 153 fasal 1 tercatat Yang Di Pertua Agong perlu menjaga kepentingan sah kaum-kaum lain. Pernahkah Raja kita bersuara untuk kepentingan bangsa lain ataupun pernahkah baginda peka dan respon untuk memorandum kaum-kaum lain? Jawapannya tidak.
Bagaimanakah dalam hati semua kaum sanjungan dan setia ini akan berkembang?

Kepada pemimpin kepada rakyat

Khidmat diberi penuh taat
Sama bekerja sama berusaha
Setia berkhidmat untuk semua.

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Pemimpin kita yang mempunyai Kuasa adalah pemimpin UMNO yang tidak pernah taat kepada rakyat bangsa lain. Fakta sejarah diubah, hak keistimewaan untuk bangsa Melayu direka. Padahal keistimewaan itu hanya diberi untuk tempoh masa 30 tahun. Namun sampai hari ini pemimpin UMNO menjajah kaum-kaum lain. Di negara ini tidak wujud perkataan sama bekerja dan berusaha. Pemimpin UMNO dan kroni mendapat kontrak dan manyamun harta negara ini. Hak-hak bangsa lain secara sistematik telah diketepikan. Perlukah masyarakat kita taat dan bekerjasama dengan penyamun dan penyalah guna kuasa?

Rela berkorban apa saja
Amanah bangsa tetap dijaga
Kami berikrar penuh setia
Untuk agama bangsa dan negara.

Pengorbanan bangsa Cina yang berkurun telah dicaci sebagai bangsa pendatang dan bangsa jual tubuh. Manakala Bangsa India dicaci sebagai bangsa Pariah dan keling. Apakah bangsa Cina dan India telah tidak bermaruah? Rangkap di atas berbunyi amanah bangsa dijaga. Setiap kali ada rungutan dan suara kaum lain tidak pernah dihirau . Mereka hanya dijaga pada masa pilihan raya dengan duit saku.
Itukah makna amanah bangsa dijaga?

54 tahun semua rakyat Malaysia berikrar dengan setia. Manakala Rukunegara ayat pertama ‘Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan’ tidak dihirau oleh Pemimpin Melayu UMNO. Mereka telah merobohkan kuil- kuil Hindu yang berusia lebih daripada 100 tahun. Sekolah sekolah estet yang berusia lebih daripada 60 tahun tidak diberi tanah dan keperluan asas. Kaum Melayu UMNO yang datangnya daripada kaum Hindu, India. Hari ini telah menderhaka dan menyalahi segala undang-undang negara untuk sikap tamak haloba mereka. Akhir kata mereka telah melanggar batas kesetiaan dan keharmonian Malaysia.

Ibu bapa protes terhadap sikap pengetua

Si Kitol MIC ganggu kelancaran perhimpunan aman.

SHAH ALAM: Seramai 50 ibu bapa pelajar sekolah menengah di Seksyen 25 di sini hari ini mengadakan perhimpunan di luar perkarangan sekolah sebagai tanda protes terhadap sikap seorang pengetua sekolah tengah hari tadi.

Perhimpunan yang bermula 12.45 tengah hari tadi adalah tindakan susulan berikutan kegagalan pengetua yang tidak dapat menyelesaikan masalah pergaduhan melibatkan 23 pelajar beberapa hari lepas.

V Stephen Perumal yang mengetuai kumpulan ibu bapa tersebut berkata:

“Polis tidak boleh menahan anak-anak kami tanpa kebenaran pengetua tapi puan pengetua tak mengaku yang dia arahkan penahanan anak-anak kami.

“Mereka alami trauma sekarang. Kami mahu pengetua ditukar,” kata Stephen yang melahirkan rasa puas hatinya.

Perhimpunan tersebut berlangsung selama 20 minit dan berakhir dengan rundingan dengan pihak polis.

FMT turut dimaklumkan bahawa satu mesyuarat telah diatur oleh pihak sekolah bersama dengan 20 ibu bapa pelajar untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian.

Bercakap mengenai perkara ini, Stephen berkata bahawa beliau akan menghadirinya meskipun tidak dijemput.

Satu sumber bagaimanapun memberitahu FMT bahawa mesyuarat petang ini berhasrat untuk membersihkan nama baik pengetua.

Wakil Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor, Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah, polis, dan Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) turut menghadiri mesyuarat tersebut.

Wakil MIC Si Kitol

Dalam pada itu penyelaras MIC, RS Maniam turut campur tangan bagi menyuraikan perhimpunan tersebut tetapi tidak disenangi ibu bapa yang sedang berhimpun.

K Rajaratnam, seorang bapa pelajar berkata bahawa wakil MIC itu sengaja ingin campur tangan dalam isu ini meskipun tidak dijemput.

“Si Kitol ini nak jadi hero dalam isu ini,” kata Rajaratnam yang menambah bahawa Maniam tidak mengendahkan masalah sekolah sebelum ini.

Sementara itu, FMT sempat bertemu dengan mantan pengerusi PIBG tersebut, A Sivaprakasam dan beliau berkata masalah disiplin semakin buruk di sekolah ini.

“Semasa saya jadi Pengerusi PIBG, saya beri tumpuan kepada isu keselamatan dan disiplin pelajar. Sebilangan guru turut tidak puas hati dengan pengetua. Dia diktator,” katanya yang meletak jawatan itu bulan lepas.

FMT gagal menghubungi pengetua sekolah Megawati Hasbullah selepas beberapa kali membuat panggilan telefon.

PKR leader held for ‘threatening’ teacher

PKR Puchong division chief S Murali was picked up by the police yesterday and is being investigated for criminal intimidation.


PETALING JAYA: PKR Puchong division chief S Murali was detained by the police for allegedly threatening a school teacher.Murali, who is the Selangor Tamil Schools Parents Association president, was arrested around 3.30pm at a secondary school in USJ, Subang Jaya, yesterday.

Contacted this morning, Subang Jaya district police chief ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar confirmed the arrest.

“He was arrested in connection with a criminal intimidation case. He had allegedly scolded a teacher at the school located in USJ8 last month,” he said.

The police chief also stressed that it was a “normal case and had nothing to do with politics”.

Murali, whose remand ends tomorrow, also had several police reports lodged against him in the past for alleged criminal intimidation.

Zainal said that the police were also investigating those cases.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president N Surendran told FMT that at the moment, the party would not hold an internal inquiry into the matter.

“We are aware of his arrest but as far as we are concerned, Murali is just being investigated. We don’t know if there is any substance to the complaint.

“But if the teacher files a complaint with PKR, then the disciplinary committee will investigate the matter,” he said.

Irate residents shoo away minister’s aide

Residents tick off Donald Lim's aide, saying that they don't want leaders who seek publicity from their suffering.

PETALING JAYA: Residents of PJS 1 here gave Deputy Finance Minister Donald Lim’s aide the cold shoulder when he turned up at their protest.

When Kevin Chong arrived around 10.30am, the residents told him off, saying they do not welcome the representatives of leaders who wanted to seek publicity from their suffering.

“When we highlighted the problem to Lim earlier, he told us to deal with the Pakatan Rakyat state government. Why are you here now?

“If you want to help, then bring the developer (Peter Brickwords Sdn Bhd) here,” said the residents.

Earlier, some 50 residents staged a peaceful protest urging Peter Brickworks to fulfil their demands before trying to evict them.

The developer had issued eviction notices to two families residing in the area early this month, which expired today.

However, Block E residents action committee chairman M Sugumaran had obtained an interim injunction against the developer and the court had fixed April 27 for the hearing.

“We held a meeting with the Petaling Jaya City Hall and the developer’s lawyers last Friday. The developer agreed to retract the eviction notices pending discussion,” said Sugumaran.

Calling on the developer to build their low-cost houses as promised seven years ago, he reminded the state government of its pledge that there would be no forced eviction in the state.

“We want a written guarantee that our demands will be met,” he said.

The residents, who were formerly from Kampung Pinang, Kampung Petaling Tin and Kampung Muniandy, moved to the current place after being promised a low-cost flat in 2003.

However, the developer failed to build the flats citing an injuction obtained by the residents on the proposed site for the project.

Hindraf Makkal Sakthi pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar, who was present, criticised the state government for ignoring the plight of the residents for three years.

“Where is the change you promised? Pakatan claims that Selangor is a welfare state but I do not see any changes in the way it does things.

“If the developer fails to fulfil its promise, then the state government should intervne and build the houses for the residents,” he said.

Man overpowered trying to hijack Alitalia flight

ROME, April 25 — A man with a knife tried to hijack an Alitalia flight from Paris to Rome last night, demanding it be flown to Libya, but was quickly overpowered and arrested when the plane landed, officials and witnesses said.

Witnesses said the man put a small knife to the throat of a female flight attendant and held her for a few minutes.

“The man grabbed the stewardess from behind her back and pointed the knife. She was in difficulty and tried to turn around,” a passenger named Sofia told reporters.

Stefanie, a French woman who lives in Italy, said the man laughed when the stewardess asked him to go the front of the plane with her.

“He held her for just a few minutes and then the other flight attendants intervened and passengers helped hold the man to the floor,” she said.

Italian media said police had identified the man as a 48-year-old citizen of Kazakhstan who worked in Paris.

A statement from Alitalia airlines said the man had “assaulted a flight attendant and asked that the plane be taken to Tripoli.”

Other attendants on flight AZ329 then overpowered the man, who was “clearly agitated” and the captain radioed police, who arrested the man when the plane landed, the statement said.

The flight attendant was taken to a first aid station at Rome airport for treatment of minor injuries. — Reuters

Deaths continue to mount in Misrata

Libyan rebels rest close to a building where pro-Gadhafi forces are reportedly holed up in Misrata on Sunday.Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Amid reports that pro-government forces have withdrawn from the besieged Libyan port city of Misrata, at least 16 people were killed and 71 were wounded there Sunday, a doctor at a local hospital said early Monday.

An eyewitness said pro-Gadhafi forces randomly and extensively shelled the city Sunday. The witness asked that his name not be used because of fears for his security.

"There are explosions every five minutes," the witness said.

The doctor, who also asked that his name not be used because of fears for his safety, said NATO fighter jets had begun hitting targets in Misrata early Monday.

The witness said he feels safe every time he hears the NATO jets overhead, because whenever they're not present, pro-Gadhafi forces shell the city.

Also early Monday, loud explosions and jets were heard in the capital, Tripoli. Anti-aircraft fire was both seen and heard.

A banner on Libyan state television cited a military source saying that the "crusaders' airstrikes" were targeting both civilian and military targets, resulting in casualties and damage.

Earlier, a source in Misrata described clashes with remnants of pro-government forces. The source declined to be named because of fear of reprisal.

A Libyan government spokesman explained the army came under rebel attack as it withdrew from Misrata, and so the army simply fought back as it continued withdrawing.

"Our army will always attack back if it is attacked," said the spokesman, Musa Ibrahim. "We cannot just ask them to die and not fight back."

Ibrahim said the army's withdrawal was continuing.

Misrata, a rebel stronghold in western Libya, has been the scene of some of the most prolonged fighting in the current conflict.

Rebels "liberated" the main market in the city and the central hospital, the local resident said, but the city remained unsafe and not under complete rebel control.

Ibrahim said tribal chiefs are moving to Misrata's outskirts and negotiating peace with the rebels and city inhabitants, but an opposition leader denied those claims.

"There are no tribes and there are no negotiations. It's only Libyan people fighting against Gadhafi's forces," said Col. Ahmad Bani, a rebel military spokesman.

Ruler Moammar Gadhafi is "lying to say to the world that he's looking to find a solution," Bani said. "These are Gadhafi dreams and they will never happen."

The regime had earlier said it was calling on the tribes to deal with the rebels in Misrata, whether by negotiation or force.

Ibrahim said the tribes are armed and "prepared to defend their land."

He said, "The rebels have two options: either to escape the country and leave Misrata and go somewhere else, or to give up their arms. And as we have promised before, a general pardon will be issued for everyone."

The rebels, under the umbrella of the Transitional National Council, received a pledge Sunday from Kuwait for about $180 million. The announcement came during council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil's visit to Kuwait, Kuwaiti state-run television reported.

Ibrahim responded to that report by questioning why Kuwait was seeking to help one side rather than seeking to resolve the conflict.

"We know that some countries are not interested in Libyan peace, democracy, and the future of this country," Ibrahim said. "Why is it that some governments jump on the opportunity to make the Libyan crisis even worse ... instead of helping all parties establish peace?"

Hundreds have been killed in the battle for Misrata, under a bloody siege from Gadhafi's forces for seven weeks.

It is the scene of some of the deadliest battles of the war as the rebels attempt to oust Gadhafi, who has been in power for 42 years.

Human Rights Watch has said Gadhafi was using internationally banned cluster bombs and other lethal munitions indiscriminately to kill civilians.

The United States conducted its first Predator drone airstrikes Saturday afternoon, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Darryn James said.

Keeping with U.S. practice not to comment on drone strikes, the Pentagon offered no other information.

Hope yet for Borneo people

International agencies, including the UN, are now more aware of the the plight of the natives in the island.

GENEVA: The people of Borneo can rest assured that they are not neglected by the international community. Their woes have been heard by the various United Nation agencies and international organisations.

Secretary-general of Common Interest Group Malaysia or CigMa, Kanul Gindol, told FMT in Geneva that dialogues with European leaders and the UN Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) have been fruitful.

“They certainly are listening to our reports and had promised more dealings not only with our governments but also with the people and civil societies, both local and from abroad, who are working to improve the life of the people of Borneo,” Gindol said after meeting with the UNCHR rapporteurs here.

Gindol said the international community had not “abandoned” the 19 million people of Borneo, more than half of whom are allegedly living in impoverished conditions.

“Leading parliamentarians in The Hague and Brussels told us that they are now more aware of what is going on in Borneo including in Sabah and Sarawak. In fact, a delegation of EU met the Sabah state government officials only a few weeks ago in Kota Kinabalu.

The UNCHR was represented in the dialogue by rapporteurs and officers from its various sections, including the human rights section; the economic, social and cultural rights section; the religious rights section; and the indigenous peoples and minorities section.

CigMa president, Daniel John Jambun, presented his paper “Disenfranchisement of bona fide Sabahans”, the same paper he had presented in earlier meetings in The Hague, Holland, and Brussels in Belgium.

Political manipulation

Hindraf leader, P Waythamoorthy, also made a presentation on the condition of Indian community in Peninsular Malaysia.

Also joining the dialogue in the UNCHR office in Geneva was Clare Rewcastle-Brown who made a power-point presentation on the recently-concluded Sarawak state election.

Brown, who operates the Sarawak Report blog and also the London-based Radio Free Sarawak, highlighted how political manipulation of the simple-minded natives in Sarawak had contributed to the triumph of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in the recent Sarawak election.

Borneo Island is one of the most divided islands in the world with three countries – Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia – governing parts of it. Including the tiny sultanate of Brunei, the island is divided into seven states or provinces – Sabah, Sarawak, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.

All states are endowed with gas and oil deposits, with Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei combined together having one of the biggest reserves of oil in the region. Large tracts of timber are being cleared for large-scale palm oil plantations which has become another big issue for the people in the island.

Anwar accuses EC of polls fraud

PKR will insist on international teams being present to monitor the general election in light of rampant malpractice by the BN and Election Commision, says opposition leader.

KUCHING: De facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim has accused the Election Commission (EC) of fraudulent practices in conducting the recently concluded state election in Sarawak.

“The process was clearly full of fraudulence. Take the case of the Senadin seat where the Barisan Nasional won by 58 votes and the EC refused a recount. This is unheard of in the country,” he said.

“Azmin Ali (PKR deputy president and party election director) is unwell, otherwise he could testify how he had to negotiate every step of the way to get the names of the counting agents.

“The EC wanted to know where the names came from. Before, no such questions were asked,” said Anwar, pointing out that the EC officials made things difficult for the opposition.

He said the timing and voting for postal votes also worked against the opposition.

On the coming parliamentary election, the opposition leader said that PKR and Pakatan Rakyat had learnt a lot from the state election.

“We will not allow the Barisan Nasional (BN) to cheat as it did in the Sarawak election. We will insist on international teams to monitor our election.

“We will insist on international media to be present and invite international MPs to come and observe the election throughout the country.

“We must ensure that the electoral process is clean,” said Anwar, pointing out that in many countries civil strife and disasters occur because of fraudulent electoral processes.

“We should not allow this to happen. We won’t condone vote buying and using the media to continue sacrilegious attacks on PKR without giving us an opportunity to defend ourselves,” he said.

Unfair tactics

Anwar also questioned why Bersih leaders like Ambiga Sreenevasan were not allowed to enter Sarawak on the eve of polling.

“Is it because they want to play ‘kotor’ (dirty)?” he asked.

Anwar also warned members and supporters of the opposition coalition that they should be well equipped to counter the BN’s unfair tactics in the coming general election.

“Knowing what has happened in Sarawak, we must use phones and videos to take photographs of every transaction. This we have learnt,” he said.

On the state election, Anwar said that generally PKR’s performance was very good in view of the fact that the party was given the most difficult and most remote constituencies.

The party won the three seats of Batu Lintang, Krian and Ba’Kelalan.

“Looking at the election results, the choice and decisions by Sarawakians including the Ibans showed that they preferred PKR candidates from among the opposition parties.

“These inaccessible areas and the short campaign period hindered our efforts to disseminate our messages,” he said.

Meanwhile, Baru Bian, the state PKR chief, who was present, said that the party was looking into evidence of electoral malpractices in several areas.

“After the results have been gazetted, we will file and take action accordingly. We have a very strong case of electoral malpractice in Senadin,” he said.

That bigot called Ibrahim Ali

The non-Malays have been patient with Ibrahim Ali, but the tsunami of their dissatisfaction, should it come to be, will drown Perkasa and its leader for good.
COMMENT

“I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill,” were the words of India’s father of independence, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Great words by a great man, unlike the words of a bigot called Ibrahim Ali, who goes on living each day thinking he has every reason to kill anyone questioning Malay rights and Islam.

Recently, during a Parliament sitting, Ibrahim questioned what action the government was taking to prevent non-Muslims from reciting Quranic verses in public, “questioning” Muslim practices such as Maulidur Rasul, the azan and all matters concerning Islam and the Muslims.

In short, Ibrahim wants the government to do whatever possible to scare the non-Malays and keep them on a tight leash, as far as questioning Malay rights goes.

Ibrahim, the founder of Malay-rights group Perkasa, is a noted racist but he is quick to deny it, saying: “There is not even a single police report against us (Perkasa).”

In spite of that, Ibrahim has unabashedly made no bones over his dislike for the non-Malays.

There have been numerous occasions when Ibrahim has threatened to kill all those who dare question Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which assures the Malays of their special privileges. Such threats are made openly time and again, so much so that the hatred Ibrahim has for the non-Malays has become mutual.

Ibrahim’s threats of physically harming anyone who “interferes” with Malay rights has never been taken seriously by the federal government, leaving the non-Malays to wonder whether Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is sincere, after all, about his propaganda of “People first, performance now”.

If Najib is truly serious, which “people” are those that he is according priority to? Had the non-Malays welfare been his concern, Najib would never have tolerated such threats from Ibrahim and would have pulled him up over his insidious remarks.

Ibrahim has gone all out to promote “ketuanan Melayu” or Malay supremacy, often warning the non-Malays to back off from so much as even mentioning it.

“Denouncing ‘ketuanan Melayu ‘ is a crime and politicising it, is a human crime to the Bangsa Melayu and its existence throughout the evolution of our Malay history and good values of Islam,” online news site Malaysian Insider quoted Ibrahim as saying last year.

Perkasa getting too big for its shoes

Last month, Ibrahim instructed its grassroots members to keep a hawk’s eye on bloggers, tweets, news reports and news portals which raised sensitive issues. They have been assigned by Ibrahim to attend talks and seminars where certain individuals tended to raise sensitive issues.

Ibrahim claims to be in the know of 15 personalities who raise sensitive topics and is going all out to trail their movements.

Ibrahim’s henchmen have been tasked to zero in on sensitive issues pertaining to Islam, Bahasa Malaysia, special privileges of the Malays, citizenship of non-Malays and issues relating to the position of the King.

“I have told them to immediately lodge police reports and give us a copy of the report (if they come across such articles),” Ibrahim then announced to the press.

Perkasa’s grassroots leaders total 5,940 and are located in 99 districts throughout the country. They comprise former army personnel and police officials and ex-parliamentarians and assemblymen.

“I want them to record and lodge police reports. In our interpretation of the law, these issues are sensitive, so we lodge reports. We’ll let the law take its course,” Ibrahim, who is also Pasir Mas MP, had said.

Obsessed with Malay rights?

Making sure he “educated” the non-Malays on the A to Z of Malay rights, Ibrahim has despatched Perkasa’s grassroots representatives to convey the “right” message on Article 153 and the basis of the Federal Constitution.

“The core of our constitution that arose from the jus soli (right of the soil) principle is similar to the Medina Treaty signed during Prophet Muhammad’s time which (formed the basis ) of the understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims,” Ibrahim had said.

It is puzzling as to why Ibrahim keeps stretching the Malay rights and Malay supremacy issues to the point of no return, giving the impression that he is obsessed with the Malay rights to the extent of becoming paranoid.

When the issue concerns the Muslims, there seems to be no full stop for Ibrahim’s little battle with the non-Malays. It has come to a stage where he seems to be “recycling” issues for the sake of staying relevant and in the public eye, despite the racial haemorrhage Perkasa is guilty of.

Perkasa’s many ‘guises’

Ibrahim takes great pain in reminding the public that Perkasa’s status is that of a non-governmental organisation and has no intention of turning political. Ironically, whatever Perkasa says borders on politics, contradicting the claims made by Ibrahim himself.

Take the remark made by Ibrahim that Malaysians lack “jati diri” or true identity because they gave precedence to foreign languages instead of the national language, Bahasa Melayu or Malay language.

Accusing Malaysians of not loving their national lingua franca, Ibrahim questioned the need for many languages, saying countries like China, Japan and France used their mother tongues and not English.

Clearly missing the point on why English is preferred as the medium of communication, Ibrahim conveniently passed the blame to the government, saying it was responsible for strengthening the Malay language.

Obsessed with Perkasa’s aim of making Malaysia into “all things Malay”, Ibrahim found it unnecessary for leaders to speak in English, a move which he claims will erode the identity of the national language should the trend to speak in English continue.

How has Ibrahim neglected the fact that English is the “tool” of “getting things done” and a language favoured internationally? To force people to neglect other languages and speak in Malay is definitely not going to strengthen the national language. If anything, it is only going to cause a conundrum since English is the preferred language for obvious reasons.

The more Ibrahim tries to justify Perkasa’s existence, the more obvious its redundancy appears to be. To threaten the non-Malays and to force the Malay language down everyone’s throat is not how an NGO operates.

Perkasa manipulating its existence

There is no focus, only obsession that keeps Perkasa going. Ibrahim’s agenda is clear-cut, to defend the Malay rights at all cost. For that, he has no qualms manipulating the existence of Perkasa to make sure the non-Malays are kept at bay, never overtaking the Malays in any which way.

When Ibrahim was quick to exempt the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka from failing to do its job in the implementation of Bahasa Melayu as the “uniting” language, it confirmed Perkasa’s spineless existence.

Playing the blame game is the only move Perkasa has been making since its inception after the 2008 general election. As for Ibrahim, he can rest assure his words mean next to nothing to the non-Malays for he has failed to earn their respect.

To support NGOs like Gapena and National Writers Association in their effort to strengthen the Malay language is not going to win Perkasa accolades, especially after how Gapena reacted to the controversy surrounding the “Interlok” novel.

“We will support them as they are strong NGOs. If need be, we will raise issues that crop up,” Ibrahim was quoted by FMT as saying early this month.

Ibrahim cited as example Perkasa’s objection against the Penang government’s move to install signboards in multiple languages several years ago, based on Article 152 which stipulates Malay language as the official language.

But then Article 152 says, too, that:

No person shall be prohibited or prevented from using (otherwise than for official purposes) or from teaching or learning any other language and,

Nothing in this Clause shall prejudice the right of the Federal Government or of any State Government to preserve and sustain the use and study of the language of any other community in the Federation.

Instead of realising the need for signboards in multiple languages, Ibrahim foolishly latched onto the Federal Constitution. Is common sense something unheard of to Ibrahim, in comprehending the purpose of erecting signboards in several languages? Does Ibrahim expect foreign tourists to be born fluent in the Malay language?

Or perhaps Ibrahim himself needs some help in brushing up on his English and work on his vocabulary?

Clearly, Ibrahim’s arrogance has blinded him to the facts of life. For now, Ibrahim thinks the ball is in Perkasa’s court but that is a fallacy. While the non-Malays have been patient with Ibrahim’s racist nature, the tsunami of their dissatisfaction, should it come to be, will drown Perkasa and Ibrahim for good.

It’s so nice to be able to gloat


I felt good. They tried to screw me and now they got screwed instead. They thought they would punish me for walking away by charging me under Section 501 instead of 203. And now they realise it was a big mistake and that they set a trap for me which ended up trapping themselves instead.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER


Raja Petra Kamarudin
It’s a nice feeling when you are able to look the Malaysian Police to their face, laugh at them, and tell them that they fucked up big time. It’s equally satisfying when they admit it by not admitting it but by trying to put the blame of this super-blunder on someone else.

This was last night. I was already sleeping when my phone rang. My wife answered the phone and told me that the police were waiting for me downstairs. I called Haris Ibrahim who told me to wait in my room. “I will come over and we will go downstairs together,” he said.

My wife said she was also coming and the three of us went to meet the three police officers. They no longer needed me to go to the Malaysian embassy for my official statement to be recorded, they told me. This was a social visit. They merely wanted to have a ‘friendly chat’.

We adjourned to the lobby bar for a drink and a ‘friendly chat’. Basically, this whole ‘friendly chat’ was about my TV3 interview in Perth. There are some ‘gaps’ not covered by the interview, which they needed my help to fill in.

Understandably, the TV3 interviewer is not a police officer, so he did not ask certain questions that the police would have asked. After all, it was an interview and not a crime investigation.

I asked them whether they had seen the full length TV3 interview. They confirmed that they had. I then asked them how long was the interview. How many minutes? One police officer said it was 17 minutes.

I turned and glared at this police officer. “I said the full length interview. The full length is not 17 minutes. It is more than one hour, maybe one hour 40 minutes or so.”

ACP Aziz, his boss, replied he had seen the full-length version. “One hour plus?” I asked him. He confirmed it was one hour plus.

He then asked me a few things that were not mentioned in the interview, the gaps that I was talking about.

I then took this long-awaited opportunity to laugh in their faces. I had waited three years to finally look ACP Aziz in his face and laugh at him and imply that he is an idiot. And I did not mince my words to make him feel small. (Of course, he kept deflecting by saying that that was the decision of the Attorney-General, not his decision).

Anyway, before I ramble on and get myself into another of my cheong hei articles, let me cut to the chase.

When I signed my statutory declaration, the police (the police blame the AG, of course) did not want to charge me under Section 203 -- that is, a crime for signing a false SD. If they did then they would have had to prove it and I, in turn, would be allowed to challenge the charge by bringing my witnesses and evidence to court.

By charging me under Section 501 they can bypass all this because the truth of the matter is not material to the charge. Therefore, the court is not interested in the truth because even if what I signed in my SD is true I still go to jail.

And that was why I refused to respond to the charge and shouted at the judge that the charge is both defective and mala fide. But the court ignored me and instead took that as a plea of not guilty.

Clever right? Not quite, because over the next three years they spun the story that I had made an allegation against Rosmah Mansor, Col Norhayati Hassan and Col Aziz Buyong. In fact, the two colonels even sued me for RM1 million.

For three years I had to live under this dark cloud, the man who made that stupid allegation against Rosmah. And they played up this issue to the hilt.

And now this issue is hurting them bad and they want to untangle themselves from this web of deceit that they themselves spun. They realise that the issue of me making an allegation against Rosmah will not go away, as they had hoped, and Najib Tun Razak’s enemies in Umno are trying to use this issue to bring him down -- just like how they brought Abdullah Ahmad Badawi down two years ago.

But how are they going to get themselves out of this sticky situation? It was they who charged me under Section 501 instead of section 203. It was they who spun the story that I made an allegation against Rosmah. Now they want that story corrected.

And that was how they came up with his hare-brained idea of the TV3 interview.

And this was their second blunder.

Their agenda was to make it clear that I never made any allegation against Rosmah -- not then, not now. Some dunggu in TV3, however, decided to spin it another way. Instead of coming out with the story of me NEVER alleging that Rosmah was at the scene of the crime (and that the allegation was in fact made by someone else but reported by me), they spun it that I have now made a U-turn.

Maybe they thought they could kill two birds with one stone. Clear Rosmah and discredit me at the same time.

Clever right?

Not so clever. By spinning this ‘Raja Petra did a U-turn’ story, they just got themselves into a Bala SD1 and SD2 situation (a.k.a. ‘Bala U-turn’). Maybe they thought they could kill me. Instead, they failed to get the people to focus on what they wanted the people to focus on.

Last night I asked ACP Aziz why he tried to screw me with the wrong charge. He said that it was not he but the AG who did this. He then blamed me for it. “Why did you not clarify this when we called you for interrogation?” he asked me. (I in fact walked off when he tried to interrogate me and this was probably why he wanted to fix me up with the wrong charge).

“Can’t you read simple English?” I asked him. “My English is so simple even Malay-medium students can understand what I write. Pasal tu lah, suruh pergi sekolah tak mahu belajar.”

“It was not me, the decision on the charge was the AG,” he repeated.

“If you had told us what you said in your TV3 interview then we would not all be in this mess. But since you refused to give your statement we did not know the real story and charged you for the wrong crime.”

I felt good. They tried to screw me and now they got screwed instead. They thought they would punish me for walking away by charging me under Section 501 instead of 203. And now they realise it was a big mistake and that they set a trap for me which ended up trapping themselves instead.

First they screwed up on the charge. Then they screwed up on the TV3 interview when they spun it the wrong way. And now they need to crawl back to me, smile sweetly the entire night, buy me a drink, and try to get me on their side. Then they had to continue smiling while I whacked them and called them stupid, much to the delight of Haris who was smirking as the police cringed.

So there you have it. They tried to fix me up in 2008 and it backfired because of the wrong charge. Then they tried to do damage control by interviewing me on TV3 and again it backfired when they spun the U-turn story (and chose the Sarawak elections to air the interview). And now, with their tails between their legs, they need to come and see me on my terms.

Revenge is sweet and is best served cold. I am one satisfied man.

The Malaysian state of impunity

TWO things alarmed me about the arrest of Adrian Yeo, who is Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong’s aide, in Miri on 16 April 2011 after the Sarawak elections. One was the number of police officers who publicly assaulted him before he was taken away. The other was how none of the five or more police officers who dragged Yeo away could tell him exactly what he was being arrested for.
Despite repeated demands, even pleas, of “Apa kesalahan saya?”, no police officer at the counting centre for the Senadin seat can be heard explaining to Yeo why he was being arrested.
According to the Bar Council’s Red Book: Know Your Rights, an arrest is unlawful if you are not informed of the reason. And yet this did not stop the Miri police officers who hauled Yeo away that night. They unlawfully dragged and carried and pushed and incarcerated Yeo even though the whole incident was in full public view and was clearly being recorded. And they did this because frankly, the Miri police knew they could get away with it.
Impunity
From blog and Facebook discussions, it would seem that Yeo’s only crime was to ask for a recount of the ballots in Senadin, which Parti Keadilan Rakyat lost by a wafer-thin 58 votes. No matter what the event was that triggered his arrest, what should be startling to Malaysians is the impunity by which those in power – in this instance, the police – act against citizens or public interest.
What is even more disturbing is that the police’s impunity is not limited to just arresting someone who represents the opposition.
In an 11 March 2011 letter, Bukit Aman told the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) that the 2010 police statistics on sexual crimes and crimes against children had been classified as “confidential” and hence, could not be released.
No official reason was given for how or why these statistics, which are funded by tax payers, had suddenly become “confidential”.
WAO executive director Ivy Josiah explains in a phone interview that before this, for example in 2010, the women’s rights group was able to get hold of the same statistics for the previous year. “This would suggest that the process of declaring something ‘confidential’ or ‘secret’ is arbitrary,” she notes.
Josiah (Pic courtesy of Ivy Josiah)
Indeed, even though WAO has sent an appeal letter, dated 1 April, to explain the organisation’s need for the statistics in their public education work, no response has been forthcoming from Bukit Aman.
And why should the police respond? Or change their mind about releasing the data? After all, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) allows for anything under the tropical Malaysian sun to be declared a secret. And until we have a Freedom of Information Act at the federal level, the police can continue to act with impunity when it comes to statistics that belong to the public.
But the law is just part of a much larger problem. What is hacking away at Malaysia’s foundations today is the culture of impunity that those in power cultivate and guard jealously.
Malaysian culture
Consider this: Why does the prime minister, his deputy and other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have no fear of making election promises or threats that clearly violate the Election Offences Act? Let me hazard an answer: Because despite repeated calls by civil society for action to be taken, the Election Commission continues to act like it is not empowered to do anything.
Why do people continue to die in police detention, at immigration detention centres in Malaysia and while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)? Because nothing is done to book the officers responsible for these deaths and to clean up the system that allows for abuse to happen in detention.
Why is the government of Malaysia allowed to ride shoddily on citizen’s civil liberties? Because the courts would rather recognise the repressive laws of the land than uphold citizen’s fundamental rights and freedoms.
And why does nobody really know when or even if Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will step down after being in office for 30 years and amassing a vast fortune while his state remains one of the poorest in Malaysia? Clearly, it’s because many Sarawakians and the BN have made it possible for him to hold on indefinitely. At the same time, the MACC seems unable to investigate how he grew so wealthy.
This culture of impunity isn’t just made possible by laws. It’s made possible by state agencies and authorities and the other arms of government doing nothing to enforce accountability and responsibility in the public’s interest. Indeed, instead of public interest, it is the partisan interest of the BN incumbent that is protected by these institutions.
Are the pillars that hold up our nation crumbling? (vimark / sxc.hu)
Are the pillars that hold up our nation crumbling? (vimark / sxc.hu)
No surprise then that the customs officers who were recently caught for corruption had gold bars and bags of cash in their homes. They must have been supremely confident that they were going to get away with it. After all, the culture and environment we live in no longer has any modicum of accountability if the prime minister himself and his administration can get away with election bribery and offences.
“We seem to have to accept this as a way of life – that those in power will get away with whatever they choose to do, and it just makes people feel helpless and angry,” Josiah observes. That is true whether it’s the police or the prime minister who is involved in an act of impunity.
For certain, the message for Malaysians is loud and clear. If one belongs to the BN incumbent, one can act with impunity. And it is that culture of immunity that ensures further incumbency.
Surely there’s something terribly wrong with this picture? On many days when I’m in Malaysia, I feel like I’m in a disaster movie where the pillars that hold up our nation have been repeatedly hacked and are inexorably crumbling. And what awaits us is inevitable chaos and ruin.

DAP-SNAP merger plan triggers concern of a Pakatan rift

By Wong Choon Mei,  Malaysia Chronicle

Amid concerns that Pakatan Rakyat might become infiltrated by enemies from Prime Minister Najib Razak’s BN coalition, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim held a “pow-wow” with top leaders of his PKR party in Sarawak.

At the closed-door meeting, they charted plans for the national elections expected to take place soon. They also discussed solutions in the event of multi-parties contesting the same seats, should an internal row brewing amongst coalition members get out of hand.

“The meeting will include top leaders from the PKR national leadership. They need to strengthen the state machinery fast in case the GE really comes early. Another hot topic will course be the SNAP-DAP merger,” a PKR insider told Malaysia Chronicle.

Sarawak recently held its 10th state election, where PKR won 3 seats and Pakatan colleague DAP won 12. Although the Pakatan victory was unprecedented, with the Chinese voters clearly deserting the BN, there is speculation Najib might hammer through snap general elections rather than allow risks to snowball by delaying.

When Malaysia holds its 13th GE, Sarawak will become another hotbed of competition, not just between BN and Pakatan but also within Pakatan itself. Component parties are all eyeing the state’s 31 parliamentary seats. There a total of 222 seats in the Malaysia Parliament.

“Discussion with leaders and candidates in Sarawak. Their spirits were high and eager to get ready for GE,” Anwar later said on his Twitter site.

Clear links to BN

Flushed from its Sarawak success, Chinese-based DAP has expressed plans to expand its representation in Sarawak, where the Chinese form 31 per cent of the 979,796-strong electorate, the Iban 29 per cent, the Malay-Melanau 27 per cent, Bidayuh 8 per cent and the Orang Ulu 3.7 per cent.

It has proposed a merger with SNAP and despite a show of initial reluctance from Sarawakian-based party, few have doubts that the DAP-initiated tie-up will go through.

“DAP Sarawak state committee has given the nod to suggestion of DAP-SNAP merger as positive post-416 UBAH election to mobilise Sarawakians regardless of race,” Kit Siang said on Twitter on Sunday.

The plan will now have to be passed through the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council, which is due to meet on May 1.

The proposal has stirred unhappiness within the coailition especially PKR, which has accused SNAP of being a BN proxy.

PKR leaders have minced no words slamming SNAP leaders including Edwin Dundang and Paul Kadang, both of whom have been accused of being enticed by the likes of fallen businessman Soh Chee Wen and former PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim. Soh and Salehuddin were allegedly behind several of PKR’s past defections to BN.

Others have also warned of BN infiltration

But this is not a case of unfair ‘point-the-finger-panic’ because the PKR leaders have not been alone in their accusations.

n late March, after the dissolution of the Sarawak state assembly, UK activist Clare Rewcastle-Brown wrote:

“Sarawak Report has received explosive evidence from the heart of Barisan National in KL, revealing that a secret deal has been forged with SNAP, in a desperate attempt to destroy the opposition and maintain BN’s grip on Sarawak after the election.”

“We have learnt that the deal, which involves Federal BN pouring money into the newly revived SNAP (Sarawak National Party, which is meant to be part of the opposition alliance), was finalised during the visit by Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin just last weekend.”

”Confidentially, UMNO will support SNAP and many BN Sarawak representatives will jump ship. Better to keep low key as nobody knows the game of the PM and Deputy PM,” Sarawak Report also quoted its sources as saying.

Another activist, MCLM president Haris Ibrahim too said his movement had received information that SNAP candidates, and some of their privileged leaders, had suddenly come into significant amounts of funds.

“We have been told that the funds were being made available by operatives from Kuala Lumpur acting under the direction of the BN,” Malaysiakini reported Haris as saying. “There is no conclusive evidence, but in situations like this, you rarely get black-and-white evidence.”

Not the first time

Nonetheless, boosted by their success, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and his father Lim Kit Siang are expected to ignore the advice from their Pakatan colleagues as well as from the activists.

In the chase for parliamentary seats, DAP may jeopardise the good relations in Pakatan. Some even expect the coalition to break up on this move as they see the DAP-SNAP merger as being an indirect tie-up with the BN.

“At the best, DAP will take Pakatan through the same sort of embarrassment as the PKR did when it brought in former Umno leader Zaid Ibrahim. But that was not clear then because Zaid had been sacked from Umno. After he quit PKR to form KITA, the speed that KITA got its party registration and the heavy praise it received from PM Najib, it is clear where Zaid and KITA stand,” Pakatan watcher Eddie Wong told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Now, with all the accusations against SNAP, for Guan Eng and Kit Siang to proceed with a merger means they are openly embracing the BN but through an indirect means. Frankly, for the DAP to join the BN is much hankered after by Najib because he needs a strong Chinese ally to bolster or even replace MCA. But in doing so, DAP would lose all its credibility. Becoming BN-friendly may not be what the Chinese community wants or even what its members want. This way, it is less obvious but very insidious. I would urge both PKR and PAS to tread very carefully.”

Indeed, in 1995 DAP left Tengku Razaleigh’s Gagasan Rakyat shortly before the general election plunging the Semangat 46-led pact into chaos and costly defeats. In 2004, it also pulled out of Barisan Alternative, paving the way for former premier Abdullah Badawi and BN to score a landslide victory.

Meanwhile, DAP MP for Taiping Nga Kor Ming denied the speculation.

“Rest assured. DAP will remain steadfast and committed to Pakatan Rakyat,” Nga told Malaysia Chronicle.

PAS MP for Bukit Gantang Nizar Jamaluddin, who fough tooth-and-nail with his PKR and DAP comrades to regain Perak after the 2009 BN coup d’etat, also dismissed the concerns.

“Sarawak results should enhance further solidarity among Pakatan components and heighten endeavour towards Putrajaya,” Nizar told Malaysia Chronicle.

South China Noodle Makers Ordered To End Production Due To Use Of Illegal Additives

BEIJING, April 25 (Bernama) -- Seventeen starch noodle manufacturers in Dongguan city, south China's Guangdong Province, were ordered to stop production over the weekend after claims emerged that they had been using illegal additives, Xinhua news agency said quoting China Daily's report Monday.

A large quantity of starch noodles were seized and will be subjected to tests following a raid by the Guangdong provincial administration of quality and technology supervision.

The starch noodles are suspected of containing illegal additives and of being made from corn instead of sweet potato, which they were supposed to have been made from, according to China Daily.

The 17 starch noodle producers were all situated in the Daliantang Industrial Development Zone in the city's Wanjiang township.

Starch noodles are an important ingredient and a staple of Chinese cuisine. There is a great variety of noodles and they vary depending on their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and manner of preparation.

The latest food scandal started to come to light on Thursday when more than 5.5 tonnes of starch noodles that were suspected of being tainted were confiscated and their producer was put under investigation for allegedly having used black ink, industrial dye and paraffin wax to produce them in Gangkou township in the province's Zhongshan city, according to Guangzhou Daily.

Workers from that company claimed that nearly 50 tonnes of apparently tainted starch noodles had been produced by the firm and had entered the market since it started business in February.

Workers said the unusual ingredients were used in an attempt to lower production costs and create fake noodles that appeared to be made of sweet potato, the report said.

Noodles made from sweet potato are more popular and therefore more expensive in stores.

The cost of producing the fake starch noodles was around 3,000 yuan (US$461) a tonne while noodles made from real sweet potato will cost more than 5,000 yuan to make, the workers said.

Three executives from the company that was raided on Thursday, including the boss surnamed Luo, were detained by police.

They reportedly told investigators that they learned how to make the fake sweet potato noodles from counterparts in Dongguan. Guangzhou Daily said the three executives told police that they got their additives and corn from the companies in Dongguan.

The claim led provincial quality authorities to send the teams to inspect the starch noodle producers in Dongguan, where they turned up evidence to support the claims.

An official from Guangdong provincial administration of quality and technology supervision, who insisted on anonymity, pledged that the case will be fully investigated and said the authority will severely punish anyone who has broken the law.

Protesters killed in Syrian shooting


At least three people have been killed in Jableh, a coastal city in Syria, after security forces opened fire on protesters, witnesses tell Al Jazeera.

They said by phone from the city that some of the security men were in uniform, others in plain clothes.

Thousands of security forces accompanied by "other armed thugs" besieged Jableh and indiscriminately opened fire at civilians, Abu Ahmed, a Jableh resident, told Al Jazeera.

Citizens were "all unarmed and peaceful," and were "surprised" to see heavily armed forces, he said.

Another activist said the security forces ringed Jableh and started to open fire after a visit by a new regional governor who met local dignitaries in the mosque.

There were also reports of clashes going on elsewhere in Syria.

In the town of Nawa, near Daraa, four people were injured when an unidentified gunman opened fired on security forces.

Security forces also detained dozens of opposition activists in Jableh, as authorities turned to pinpoint raids after days of bloodshed brought international condemnation and defections from President Bashar Assad's government.

The strategy, described by a rights activist, appeared aimed at rattling the opposition's leadership and showing that the state's ability to conduct arrest sweeps has not changed despite abolishing nearly 50-year-old emergency laws last week.

'Shoot-to-kill'

The rising level of violence, with more than 300 people reported killed since the uprising against Assad began five weeks ago, brought calls from the watchdog group Human Rights Watch for a UN inquiry.

Friday was the deadliest day to date with 112 killed.

"After Friday's carnage, it is no longer enough to condemn the violence,'' Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director for Human Rights Watch, said.

"Faced with the Syrian authorities shoot-to-kill strategy, the international community needs to impose

sanctions on those ordering the shooting of protesters."

But Sunday's tactics also suggest a government effort to head off the round of protest marches.

The police raids, which began late Saturday, concentrated around the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs, a hotbed of demonstrations against Assad's authoritarian rule, Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria, said.

"These people are not being arrested in a legal way. They are being kidnapped," Qurabi said, claiming the plainclothes security agents did not have formal arrest warrants.

Qurabi did not have full figures for those detained, but said at least 20 people were arrested in Homs. A resident in the Damascus suburb of Douma said at least five people were taken into custody and authorities cut Internet and telephone lines.

Later, security forces moved into the coastal town of Jableh, claiming they were searching for weapons, said Qurabi. He cited witnesses saying that police and army units opened fire from rooftops even though there were no apparent threats and no protests in progress.

"I am terrified ... People in the street are getting shot,'' a resident of Jableh told The Associated Press by phone.

'Pre-planned operation'

"Jad", a Jableh resident, told Al Jazeera by phone that he and other injured citizens were stuck in a mosque, unable to leave due to gunfire outside.

"There are two municipal areas [in the city]. All the areas were cordoned and the security personnel were positioned in a very strategic manner as if this was a pre-planned operation."


In the mosque is one killed and several injured from gunshots in the chest and lower limbs, Jad said.

The accounts could not be independently confirmed because Syria has expelled journalists and restricted access to trouble spots. Witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Security forces have even targeted mourners participating in funeral rites for the deceased.

Assad has blamed most of the unrest on a "foreign conspiracy'' and armed thugs trying to sow sectarian strife.

The state-run news agency SANA said 286 police officers have been wounded since the uprising began. It did not give further details.

But possible cracks could be emerging from within.

Two members stepped down from the provincial council in the southern region of Daraa, which has the highest death toll in the country. The resignations came a day after two lawmakers and a religious leader from Daraa also turned their backs on Assad in disgust over the killings.

Such internal rifts have added resonance since nearly all opposition figures have been either jailed or exiled during the 40-year dynasty of the Assad family.

'Tyrant Bashar'

Protesters are demanding political reform and for an end to Assad's 11-year rule. The deaths come despite the lifting of decades-old emergency laws last week and human rights activists insist the state of emergency was only lifted on paper.

In the wake of the killings, about 3,000 residents of nearby Baniyas held a sit-in protest blocking the main road which links the port city of Latakia to Damascus, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Earlier this month, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, called Assad to say he was "greatly disturbed'' by the reports of violence. Many Western leaders, including President Barack Obama, have condemned Syria's harsh tactics to quell dissident.

Britain's Foreign Office advised against all travel to Syria because of the violence. It added that "in light of the deteriorating security situation, British nationals in Syria who have no pressing need to remain
should leave by commercial means."

In Jordan, 150 Syrians living in the kingdom protested outside their embassy in Amman. "Out, out with the tyrant Bashar Assad,'' shouted the group, which also burned a portrait of Assad.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Sathya Sai Baba death: Thousands throng Prashanthi Nilayam

PUTTAPARTHI: Thousands of devotees thronged the Prashanthi Nilayam ashram in Puttaparthi to pay homage to Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the godman who breathed his last in the wee hours of Sunday. By evening, the crowds swelled as Sai Baba's mortal remains were brought to the ashram from the nearby hospital. The body of Sai Baba was kept for "darshan" for the devotees to catch a last glimpse of their spiritual guru.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Reddy, BJP President Nitin Gadkari, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu were among the thousands of devotees who came to Puttaparthi on Sunday. Sachin Tendulkar , a known Sai Baba devotee, is also likely to arrive on Monday to pay homage.

A four-day state mourning has been declared in Andhra Pradesh. A day's holiday has been declared in the district of Anantpur.People from all over the country and all walks of life came down to watch Sai Baba in his resting place. Amid the crowd was middle-aged Mushtaq Ahmed, a Sai Baba devotee and a 'refugee' from Kashmir.

In the early nineties, when the Kashmir problem was at its peak, a group of people left the state in search of a new home. Mushtaq was one among them. "We came to know of the place through newspapers," Mushtaq told ET.

"When we couldn't not live in Kashmir any longer, we left. We ended up settling here after many months of searching," he added. Mushtaq and a group of about 100 people from Kashmir run shops and small businesses in Puttaparthi. "Most of our families are here and we visit the valley more often these days," he adds. Mushtaq strikes an honest chord when he says that the benefit for him here has been two-fold. "We grew spiritually and we could feed our families," he says.
Twenty seven-year old M Subramanian, a barber from Bagepalli claims to have had visions of Sai Baba in his dreams about a year back when his wife Usha was pregnant.

"Baba came in my dreams for three days continuously and said he will be born again. He told me that he will take his third avatar to battle the evils in the new era," says Subramanian.

Anant Maheshwari, a student who studied at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba higher secondary school from 1989 to 1995 and works as a finance professional in Bangalore, says, "There have been many instances where I have felt grateful to Baba. Though I don't have any personal experiences that stand out, the trust has helped me and my family for at least three generations to get better education," he said.

Sai Baba's body will be at the ashram for public viewing for the next two days. The burial is likely to be held on Wednesday morning.

Remove ‘bumi’ obstacle, Najib told

The government must relax the system, with regard to bumiputera requirement, if it is serious in spurring the economic growth for Indians, says a business leader.

KUALA LUMPUR: An Indian business leader has urged the government to relax certain age-old requirements pertaining to the bumiputera in the economic sphere.

Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar said the government must do this if it was serious in wanting to spur the Indian community’s economic growth.

“Mere lip service and grand promises are not enough. Miba feels that things must be loosened a little at the Economic Planning Unit, especially its stranglehold over such regulations,” he added.

Sivakumar was responding to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s statement yesterday that Indians were unaware of the potential benefits of the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

The Miba president said there were only a handful of Indians with “Class A to E” licences but the requirement remained that these companies must have a 51% bumiputera composition.

“GLCs (government-linked companies) also make the same demand. To even get a grass cutting contract, there are many roadblocks.

“Najib can claim that the system is now more flexible and anybody can apply but the roadblocks are still there. As and unless these are dismantled, Indians will not go anywhere,” he added.

‘Are we doomed to be spectators?’

Sivakumar also stressed that the system must become more non-Malay friendly.

“We too have constitutional rights. The Malays can have their lion’s share, but with these age-old restrictions in place, are the non-Malays doomed to be spectators?

“Most of the Indians who have made it are sub-cons and not main contractors. When will we become the main players or ‘see the light at the end of the tunnel’ so to speak,” he added.

Sivakumar said while the Indian community was appreciative of some of the government’s efforts, more however had to be done in terms of economic upliftment.

“We acknowledge the distribution of MyKads and birth certificates, the absorption of Indians into the civil service, the disbursement of Tekun loans and not to forget, temples not being demolished.

“But the government cannot say we are unaware of economic opportunities, we are aware of them but we run into many obstacles, and we have to keep reminding the government about this.

“Why should we keep reminding them? The government should know what the situation is and act to rectify the problem,” he added.

The Miba president suggested that the government rope in Indians with Class A licenses to form, what he called an “umbrella concept”, and in return distribute the pie to other Indians.

However, he said the government should focus on developing the people and not the already well-heeled business captains.

“We also need 10% employment in GLCs for Indians and 10% of GLC contracts for Indians, especially in giant players like Petronas. Then, the 3% equity ownership target will become a reality,” he said.

Najib had said the Indian community was not excited about the ETP because they did not realise that they could benefit directly from the new jobs, business opportunities and better incomes.

In view of this, he called on Indian leaders and organisations to explain the matter to the community

Rahim willing to face action for nation’s interest

Upholding the interest of the country is far bigger than facing court action, says a member of the Datuk T trio.

MALACCA: Former Malacca chief minister Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik said he is willing to face legal action over the screening of a video recording of a sex act involving a man resembling Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“If those behind the screening are charged in court, so be it, as upholding the interest of the country is far bigger than facing court action,” he told reporters at a function here today.

He was commenting on a news report that police may charge the “Datuk T” trio responsible for screening the video recording.

On Monday, deputy CID director Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said police did not dismiss this possibility as it was an offence under Section 292 of the Penal Code, to screen pornographic material.

However, Rahim, who is Risda chairman, said: “We don’t distribute or produce (the video), the item was discovered.”

He stressed that the police had a “national responsibility” to reveal who were involved in the sex act.

On March 21, the sex video was screened for several selected journalists at Carcosa Seri Negara hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

The mystery of the “Datuk T” trio comprising Abdul Rahim, businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and former Perkasa treasurer Shuib Lazim was uncovered on March 23, when Rahim and Eskay admitted at a press conference that they had screened the sex video for the group of journalists.

Inspector-General of Police Ismail Oman recently said that the video was confirmed to be genuine by experts who examined it.

- Bernama

Drama in Bangkok


It seems Utusan Malaysia carried a news report on my TV3 interview and a police report had been made by someone relating to this Utusan Malaysia report. So it was not about my June 2008 SD. It was also not about my TV3 interview. It was about the Utusan Malaysia news report.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin
Just before the start of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) talk in Thailand at 6.00pm yesterday, a police officer attached to the Malaysian embassy in Thailand approached me and requested that I follow him to the embassy for my statement to be recorded. He informed me that a police officer from Kuala Lumpur, ACP Aziz, is in town waiting to see me.

I asked him what the statement was in relation to and he informed me that it was about my Statutory Declaration (meaning, I assume, the one I signed in June 2008 -- since that was the only one I have signed).

I told him I was prepared to go but only after the talk ends at 8.00pm. I also told him I was going to announce this and he agreed. I then informed Haris Ibrahim and Amarjit Sidhu about the matter and they went into panic mode. I only found out later that the Deputy IGP had also made a statement on the matter and that it was carried in the online mainstream media networks.

During the two-hour talk and Q&A, my wife received many phone calls from other lawyers from various parts of the world as well as from friends and family who told my wife to not let me go into the Malaysian embassy. My phone was switched off, naturally, as I did not want any interruptions during my talk and this added to the panic when no one could reach me.

When the talk ended my wife immediately confronted me and was almost in a state of hysteria. She was adamant that I am not going into the embassy and that there is no compromise on the matter. Haris and Amarjit told me that if I persist and refuse to listen to their legal advice then they are cutting off all links with me and will no longer have anything to do with me.

I told Haris and Amarjit to discuss this matter with the embassy official, which they did, and they told him that if the police want to take my statement they could always come to the hotel to do it. It need not be done in the embassy.

The embassy officer left and came back to the hotel a while later with two police officers. A heated discussion, which turned into a shouting match, ensued and it appeared like it was about to become something very physical. Both sides, the lawyers as well as the police officers, did not want to back down.

My lawyers demanded to know what the whole thing is about. ACP Aziz appeared evasive and said that it is about my statement. “Which statement?” my lawyers asked, and they were told it is about the Utusan Malaysia report.

It seems Utusan Malaysia carried a news report on my TV3 interview and a police report had been made by someone relating to this Utusan Malaysia report. So it was not about my June 2008 SD. It was also not about my TV3 interview. It was about the Utusan Malaysia news report.

My lawyers then asked under which section of the law they are taking my statement. The police said it is under Section 203.

Amarjit then told ACP Aziz that back in 2008 they had already taken my statement under Section 203. And my statement was taken under Section 112, which means I was being interrogated as a mere witness. However, they finally charged me under Section 501, which is for criminal defamation, and not Section 203, which is for making a false statement.

ACP Aziz said that this was not his decision but the Attorney General’s decision.

Amarjit then asked to see a copy of this 14 April 2011 police report and ACP Aziz did not have it with him. He asked us to follow him to the embassy to see it and Amarjit and Haris said they are prepared to go to the embassy but that I am to stay in the hotel. The police wanted all of us to go to the embassy but Amarjit and Haris disagreed.

Amarjit and Haris finally followed the police to the embassy while I waited at the hotel. They came back way past midnight and told me that they had to wait an hour for the police report to be faxed from Kuala Lumpur. It seems ACP Aziz did not have a copy with him. And the police report clearly stated that Utusan Malaysia had carried a report about my TV3 interview and that I should be investigated for it.

The impression my lawyers got is that the investigation is against me and that it is focusing on the possibility that I lied in that TV3 interview. That is why the investigation centres on this police report and on Section 203.

And that was exactly what happened back in 2008, which resulted in me being charged for criminal defamation. So we were seeing history being repeated here.

After discussing the matter further, I told Haris and Amarjit that I will consent to my statement being recorded in spite of this utter confusion. They disagreed but finally relented on condition that I do not walk into the Malaysian embassy. This decision was relayed to ACP Aziz who lost his temper and said that he no longer wishes to take my statement.

I then phoned ACP Aziz to inform him that I volunteer to make my statement but he told me the same thing he told Haris, that he is no longer interested to take my statement.

And that was how the Bangkok drama ended at 2.00am this morning.
For the record, I am prepared to give my statement. My lawyers, however, disagree because the police are vague as to the reason my statement is required but will compromise on his matter as long as it is not at the Malaysian embassy. The police are adamant that it must be at the embassy.
So where do we go from here?

Sex scandals obsess Malaysia: the country with a one-track mind

The Independent

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader, tomorrow faces the resumption of one of the less edifying cases to have been heard amid the colonnaded formality of the Kuala Lumpur High Court: his trial for allegedly sodomising a 25-year-old aide named Saiful Bukhari.

It is not the only scandal with which the former deputy prime minister, whose dismissal and first trial for sodomy made world headlines more than a decade ago, is dealing.

The man once feted as Newsweek’s “Asian of the Year”, whose supporters include Al Gore, the former US vice-president, and Paul Wolfowitz, a former World Bank president, is also accused of being the star of a 21-minute sex tape featuring a Chinese prostitute (by way of variation, female), a clip of which was briefly posted on YouTube.

But these are only two instances of the sexually related incidents that fill the country’s papers and gossip sites every day. So numerous are stories of physical misdemeanours in this conservative, Muslim-majority but essentially easygoing country that the question is being asked: are Malaysians obsessed with sex?

Within the past few days, it has emerged that the education department in the eastern state of Terengganu has set up a boot camp to which it has sent 66 schoolboys to deal with their “effeminate tendencies”.

“The severity of the symptoms vary. We understand that some people end up as homosexual,” said the department’s director, Razali Daud, “but we will do our best to limit the number. If left unchecked, it could become a problem for them, their families and society.”

Earlier this month, a well-known MP, Ibrahim Ali, the leader of the Malay rights group Perkasa, asked in parliament if wives truly “understand their roles”. “Husbands driving home after work see things that are sexually arousing and seek their wives to satisfy their urges,” he said, complaining that sometimes women pretend to be busy with other matters. “They will say, ‘wait, I’m cooking,’ or ‘wait, I’m getting ready to visit relatives’.” They evidently required a “proper explanation” that “in Islam, wives are supposed to stop everything to fulfil their husbands’ demands.”

Although now an independent, Ibrahim was once a luminary in the governing Barisan Nasional alliance, which cannot appear too overbearing in matters of personal morality given that it includes non-Muslim Chinese, Indian and indigenous components as well as Muslim Malays.

The Islamist opposition party PAS, however, is less constrained, as its youth leader, Nasrudin Tantawi, made clear in February. “We have identified favourite spots where lovebirds mingle,” he said, warning that his organisation would be helping to check “immoral activities” in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. “We are deploying our members to preach and distribute pamphlets promoting sin-free lifestyles.”

The action was certainly necessary, he said. “Last year there was a campaign to promote a no-panties day.”

Such remarks do not go without comment. The country’s Women, Family and Community Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, has already condemned the Terengganu state government’s boot camp, and Ibrahim’s antediluvian views have provoked widespread condemnation.

“Ibrahim must apologise and submit himself for gender sensitivity training,” said Teresa Kok, of the opposition Democratic Action Party. Nasrudin’s Valentine’s Day campaign, meanwhile, led to PAS’s youth leader being slapped down by more senior members of his own party.

Anwar’s sodomy trial, which has been dragging on since February 2010, is widely thought to be politically motivated. So is the sex tape, which was produced by a trio collectively known as “Datuk T” (Datuk being a Malaysian honorific all three bear), one of whom is a former Barisan state governor with a personal axe to grind against the opposition leader.

But while many dismiss the allegations, what Ziauddin Sardar calls “the seeds of doubt” have been planted in the minds of others. Sardar, a prominent scholar of Islam and cultural critic in this country, was an adviser to Anwar when he was deputy prime minister in the 1990s and warned him then that his enemies would seek to destroy him through manufacturing allegations of homosexuality.

“One can always fudge the evidence,” he told me. “And in Malaysia it carries a heavy penalty” – both a prison sentence (Anwar’s initial conviction for sodomy was later quashed) and, even before any verdict, the suspicion of the rural and religious Malays that he had been up to something “abhorrent and unnatural”.

Why, however, the torrent of other stories, whether they be the Chief Minister of Malacca urging council workers to look out for couples indulging al fresco at heritage sites, police raiding hotels to uncover Muslims committing khalwat (close proximity), or international pop singers being warned to cut back on risqué moves and outfits if they want to appear in the country?

“This phenomenon isn’t limited to Malaysia,” said Nik Nazmi, the communications director of Anwar’s party PKR, on the Malaysian Insider website recently. “But Malaysians seem to be possessed by an insatiable curiosity about what happens in other people’s bedrooms.”