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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Perkasa hates Chinese politicians, not race

The movement says it has an axe to grind with Chinese politicians who call for the abolishment of the bumiputera and Malays' special position.

PETALING JAYA: Perkasa clarified that it does not hate the Chinese, but has an axe to grind with Chinese politicians who call for the abolishment of the bumiputera and Malays’ special position.

“These politicians do not respect the Federal Constitution,” said Perkasa supreme council member Ahmad Sujak in a statement on behalf of the movement’s president, Ibrahim Ali.

“Some even insult Islam and misuse the Quran,” he added, vowing that Perkasa would continue to defend what it considered the rights of Malays and bumiputeras.

Sujak was responding to MCA publicity chief Heng Seai Kie who reportedly said that the Malay right-wing movement despised the Chinese.

He also lambasted Heng for blaming Perkasa and the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia for the loss of Chinese support in the last general election in 2008 and this month’s Sarawak state polls.

Describing her as being “ignorant of history”, Sujak said that Perkasa had not been formed during the last general election.

He also said the main reason behind the decline of Chinese support for Barisan Nasional was because MCA had a “sex actor” as its president.

“The main reason MCA was rejected in the 12th general election was the exposure of Dr Chua Soi Lek’s video, which also indirectly led to the resignation of MCA Wanita chief Chew Mei Fun in 2009,” he added.

Sujak said many of MCA’s “immoral” leaders were also charged with corruption, criminal breach of trust and abuse of power, and this eroded the community’s faith in the party.

As for Sarawak, the Perkasa leader reminded Heng that the movement did not hit the campaign trail there.

He said other ethnic groups in Sarawak had supported BN, and even if 100% Chinese supported BN, the ruling coalition could not form the state government if other bumiputeras rejected it in total.

“Which is more important, 100% bumiputera support or 100% Chinese support? There is no need for any Chinese representation in the Sarawak government,” he added.

Sujak also warned MCA against hurting the feelings of Malays, since their votes were important for the party’s leaders.

“Enough of blaming Perkasa and wake up. MCA leaders should stop covering up their weaknesses and blaming others. MCA has become a joke of a party that is without dignity,” he said.

DAP slams ‘dangerous’ Perkasa-Rela brigade

Teresa Kok says the latest development proves Barisan Nasional's tacit support for Perkasa's brazen racism.

PETALING JAYA: The Rela subgroup for Perkasa members is alarming, dangerous and unaccetable, said DAP MP Teresa Kok today.

She added that the latest development proved Barisan Nasional’s tacit support for Perkasa’s “brazen racism”.

Kok was referring to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s approval of the establishment of a subgroup within the Rela volunteer corps called “Briged Setia Negara” which is exclusive to Perkasa members.

To add salt to the wound, she said, Hishammuddin was even helping Perkasa build its capacity by providing its members with Rela para-military training, uniforms, and presumably other entitlements such as allowance and personal accident insurance.

“All of which are funded by Malaysian taxpayers of all races,” she added.

Kok said the minister was turning a blind eye to the fact that Perkasa was a self-proclaimed Malay supremacist group and that Perkasa’s position was completely antithetical to the government’s 1Malaysia.

“Since its inception, Perkasa has issued numerous hot-headed, fear-mongering and seditious statements with impunity. Just last week, Perkasa announced it will spearhead the 1Melayu 1Bumi movement to take on the so-called Chinese challenge.

“Given Perkasa’s extremist, far-right leanings, Hishammuddin should have recognised the imprudence in allowing the formation of this Rela-Perkasa subgroup.

“There is the danger that Perkasa may be emboldened to abuse its government-sanctioned Rela power in which to further its racial supremacist goals,” she added.

Kok also said that Hishammuddin’s stand was not surprising based on his track-record of Perkasa-like tendencies.

“In 2006 and 2007, he brandished the keris at the Umno general assembly, and in 2009, he had the gall to defend the despicable Shah Alam cow-head protesters,” she added.

The Seputeh MP urged the minister to immediately withdraw the approval for the Rela subgroup to demonstrate that racial supremacist groups like Perkasa do not have a place in 1Malaysia.

Kehormatan tidak terletak di celah kangkang kaum wanita

Translation
lady(Terjemahan oleh CPI daripada Bahasa Inggeris)
Baru-baru ini saya dikecam keras ekoran gurauan saya yang merujuk kepada seorang ibu sebagai seorang pelacur (rujuk sini). Saya akui ia menyinggung hati dan ia satu percubaan secara sengaja untuk memprovokasi.

Tetapi sejujurnya, saya tidak memandang rendah terhadap golongan pelacur atau pelacuran. Lagipun, ia sering disebut sebagai ‘kerjaya yang paling tua di dunia’. Hakikatnya permintaan merangsang bekalan dan bukan sebaliknya.

Pada pendapat saya adalah tidak adil sekiranya kehormatan seorang wanita ditakrif berdasarkan organ yang tersarang di celah kakinya. Apabila seorang lelaki “membela kehormatan seorang wanita”, bererti dia sebenarnya mempertahankan bahagian tubuh tersebut juga. Carut-marut yang paling teruk sekali di dalam bahasa Cina dan bahasa Melayu pun bukan lain dari nama-nama kesat untuk kelamin wanita.


Segalanya berkisar pada dara, kemurnian dan sucinya anu kaum hawa. Kita dihantui dengan pembelaan faraj wanita hingga masyarakat kita dari segi itu boleh diumpamakan sebagai cawat besi yang mutakhir.

Kehormatan seorang lelaki manakala tidak pula bergayut pada kelangkangnya. Ini jelas tidak adil. Kalau, misalan kata, saya mengurat seorang teruna dan kami bersetubuh, kehormatan dia tidak tercabul. Tetapi songsangkanlah jantina dan lain pula kesimpulannya.

Mengapakah ukuran kehormatan dan nama baik seorang wanita tidak mengambil kira seluruh aspek dirinya, dan bukan sahaja bertumpu pada liang peranakannya?

Mengapa janji seorang wanita tidak boleh dikira sebagai jaminan buat dirinya? Kenapakah watak, akal dan pencapaian seorang wanita tidak dinilai dengan lebih tinggi daripada soal sama ada seorang wanita mengizinkan atau tidak seorang lelaki untuk mengisi ‘jurang sulitnya’?

ikingSaya terharu semasa membaca ulasan-ulasan mengenai ‘kes pikat’ Daphne Iking. Suami Iking tergamak untuk membalas dendam terhadap pesaing untuk kasihnya dengan menggunakan undang-undang yang berkenaan. Ini satu persendaan.

Undang-undang tersebut menyifatkan wanita tidak lebih daripada barang milik peribadi. Di bawah taklukan undang-undang tersebut, Iking tidak lain daripada seekor haiwan beban. “Kamu menggoda kaldai saya supaya masuk ke ladang kamu maka kamu bayarlah ganti ruginya!”.

Adakah para pembaca mengambil kisah tentang perkara itu? Tidak. Ulasan-ulasan yang ditinggalkan pada rencana itu menjijikan. Para moralis dengan senang-wenang menghakimi Iking, menggelarnya jalang, wanita yang tidak bermoral, pisau cukur. Mereka hairan mengapa majikan Iking tetap menggajinya walaupun tahu tentang masa lampaunya yang tidak menyenangkan itu.

Saya tidak mengenali Daphne Iking secara peribadi tetapi saya rasa dia tidak patut difitnah sebegitu rupa kerana tersilap langkah dalam cinta. Tidak pelik jika kita terjatuh hati dengan orang yang salah pada waktu yang salah di situasi-situasi yang paling rumit sekali — itulah hakikat hidup manusia.

Mereka yang berdesas-desus tentang siapakah ayah sebenar kepada anak perempuan Iking patut berasa malu. Buat apa menjaga tepi kain orang? Lagipun, apa yang dibuat oleh seorang wanita dengan anu di antara kakinya ialah urusan dia dan bukan urusan siapa-siapa selain darinya.

Siapa yang kamu tiduri, tidak tiduri atau mahu tiduri itu sebenarnya urusan peribadi anda. Kita sering bergembar-gembur tentang seks dan moraliti kononnya dan lupa apa ertinya menjadi seorang insan yang baik, berbudi, yang mengambil berat; insan yang tidak menghakimi orang lain dan yang melayan orang lain sepertimana kita sendiri mahu dilayani.

Buat kaum hawa, ingatlah: Kini sudahpun abad yang ke-21. Sanjungi diri anda dan naluri cita anda serta berbanggalah dengan hakikat bahawa anda tidak dinilai harga diri berdasarkan alat kelamin anda semata-mata.

(Terjemahan rencana yang bertajuk ‘Honour is not found between a woman’s legs’; The Malaysian Insider, Mac 9, 2011.)
Disyorkan baca juga: You still know nothing, West Malaysians

Musa-linked money laundering still on HK radar

A Sabah businessman who was arrested at the Chek Lap Kok airport in Hong Kong carrying S$16 million in cash has yet to explain why he was doing so.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Kong anti-corruption authorities are still hot on the trail of a money laundering operation linked to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.

Almost three years after the arrest of a Sabah businessman, Michael Chia, Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said the case was still open.

Chia, who is said to be a proxy for Musa, was in August 2008 detained at the Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong.

He was carrying a bag allegedly containing S$16 million in cash.

The arrest and subsequent revelations on the eve of the Permatang Pauh by-election stunned Sabahans.

The August 2008 by-election saw PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim return to Parliament after a decade-long absence.

Rumours have it that the matter was quickly hushed up after Musa agreed to help then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with election funds.

Chia had also subsequently issued denials over reports of money-laundering activities and allegations that he was a proxy for Musa.

But at no point since has he clarified what he was doing with S$16 million in cash.

Chia has since been released on bail.

Yesterday ICAC in an official reply to a query from FMT regarding the outcome of investigations said: “We don’t comment on operational matters.”

Acting chief press information officer Alan Tse declined to answer further questions posed by FMT relating to the case.

Monitoring inflow

On Nov 5, 2008, three ICAC officers arrived in Kota Kinabalu seeking information on the background of Chia, a Sandakan businessman, as well as a senior lawyer and a top state leader.

They left on Nov 7 after gathering documents and seeking the help of Malaysia’s ACA or Anti-Corruption Agency (now Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or MACC) to meet witnesses.

According to sources, the ICAC probe is focused on several hundred million ringgit purportedly found in the bank account of a Sabah lawyer allegedly holding it as trustee for a top Sabah politician.

The ICAC, it was revealed, had been monitoring the inflow of large amounts of monies from Sabah to the account in the Special Administrative Region for the past three to four years.

The ACA investigations director at the time, Mohd Shukri Abdul, confirmed at a press conference on Nov 7 that the ICAC had sought help from the ACA on the case.

He said that the ACA was providing assistance to the ICAC officers in gathering documents and meeting witnesses under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act (MACMA).

Shukri said that ACA itself was not conducting any investigations into the matter.

Declining to reveal the specific nature of the ICAC probe, Shukri said: “We cannot reveal details as it is their investigations.”

Shortly after the revelation, PKR Youth head Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin had lodged a report with the ICAC in Hong Kong, providing evidence that Chia and four others were the nominees of Musa.

He also stated that the money was obtained illegally and named several banks where the money was held in trust and urged the authorities to freeze them.

Denied links

According to sources, senior lawyer Richard Barnes was among those who was picked up and flown to Kuala Lumpur where he was questioned by the MACC.

Sources said officers from the commission also took boxes of documents from the lawyer’s office and Barnes was believed to have been detained for more than five days.

Denying any link to reports of money laundering and links to Musa, Chia had reportedly said: “I have no business or political dealings with the chief minister and I am not his nominee.”

Musa has also denied any association or financial dealings with Chia.

“I would like to stress here that I have no political and financial connection with this person,” he had told the local media at the time.

“He’s not my nominee and I have no nominee,” he said.

Musa, when asked if he knew Chia, said: “I know him and as a chief minister of Sabah, I meet a lot of friends and I have many friends.”

Musa’s denial prompted the DAP to lodge a report at the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur calling for investigations to clear the air over the reports.

“It does not matter if Musa has denied his involvement; the police and the ACA should proceed with the investigations against him,” DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said.

Najib’s no match for wily old Taib

The moment he got wind of Umno KL's plans to replace him, he swiftly moved to consolidate his grip over Sarawak.
COMMENT

It’s time for the boys on our side to rethink what has happened in Sarawak. A victorious and accordingly emboldened Taib Mahmud is now a cause for more headaches to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Umno.

Let’s replay the behind-the-scene incidents on April 16. On that night, after making sure he already had the numbers, Taib called the house asking family members to get ready.

He warned them that much depended on speed and that there was no time to lose. Taib then called the governor informing the latter to get ready by 10.30pm.

He arrived 15 minutes past 10.30pm and was sworn in as chief minister, even before the people in Kuala Lumpur could savour the win.

Taib had got wind of rumours that he will be replaced by someone more docile and favourable to Umno.

The man Umno had in mind is said to be deputy Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president .

Abang Jo is a Sarawakaian Malay and earmarked to be Umno’s man in Sarawak. But he wasn’t the first choice. Umno had discovered Salleh Jafaruddin and much hope was now placed on him.

Raziah’s choice

Najib’s intelligence people had reported that Taib was a much despised person in Sarawak and needed to be replaced lest the “fixed deposit state” vanished.

Najib’s political secretary who had been spending months on end in Sarawak had also returned to Putrajaya with the same prognosis. Taib simply must go, if Barisan Nasional (BN) is to retain its “fixed deposit”.

While Taib may not have as yet “chosen” his successor, probably because he’d prefer to die in office, his sister Rosie Genied (Raziah Mahmud Geneid), however, had other ideas. Her own main man was Planning and Resources Management and Public Utilities Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan.

According to reports, while Taib was busy being a newly-wed, it was the team of Rosie and Awang Tengah who vetted through the list of BN candidates for the April 16 polls.

One of the early casualties was Salleh. He was recommended as a candidate by Umno. They saw him as a possible replacement for Taib if he had stood on PBB ticket.

For that, Salleh was given a few million ringgit. If he had won, he could always be inducted later into PBB and installed as the pliant CM of Sarawak.

But Salleh’s appearance raised suspicion within Taib’s camp.

Umno plant

All of a sudden, this chap who was linked to the infamous Ming Court conspiracy in 1987, seemed to have a reversal of fortunes of sorts.

Salleh is known as a compulsive gambler and is a man of straw. The fact that he suddenly had money to contest in the state election raised suspicion that he must be funded by some people.

Taib went along, agreeing that Salleh be fielded as a PBB candidate. He was actually buying time to uncover what earthly plot has been hatched against him.

He didn’t have to think hard. Sister Rosie and her favourite horse, Awang Tengah, smelled a rat in Salleh. They suspected Salleh to be a plant by Kuala Lumpur to eject Taib.

If Taib goes, Awang Tengah, Rosie and company will also have to go. No more land grabs, no more yachts, no more salacious soirees. This simply meant that Salleh had to be guillotined.

When it became clear to Umno that Salleh wasn’t on the list validated by Team Rosie, it was decided then to field him as an independent.

With Salleh gone, Plan B was placed on alert.

Abang Johari’s shortcomings

This time it was decided that someone deep inside the ranks of PBB must be identified. They zeroed in Abang Johari. He’s no handsome Joe, but he serves the interest of Kuala Lumpur.

Abang Johari is a Sarawakian Malay, a man who can be counted upon to further the political interests of Umno.

Never mind his facial appearance. That doesn’t factor in peoples’ minds as there are several ministers at the federal level with Down’s Syndrome looks.

Not relevant, too, are Abang Johari’s shortcomings such as being damaged by the business excesses of his friends. He is also said to suffer from the same affliction affecting Pak Lah. He sleeps through his job.

But THE most important factor is that he is MALAY. With him at the helm, Umno can move into Sarawak.

Double dealing

Having “uncovered” a possible coup, Taib’s people rushed to brief him about Kuala Lumpur’s double dealing. Politically savvy Taib would now show these KL knuckleheads who’s the “taikor” in Sarawak.

He prepared his team to campaign on local issues and if this fails, PBB will go after personalities. And if everything else failed, then cheat-to-win would be the final alternative.

Unbeknown to Kuala Lumpur, Taib had got a firm grip on PBB’s 35 seats well before the polls on April 16.

He had his people all over the place. He had the local ketua kampungs (village chiefs), the tuai rumah (longhouse chiefs) and kapitan (community leaders) on his side.

Taib has a huge war chest and most of all he had better information than the misinformation that Najib’s intelligence people were conveying to Najib.

The moment Najib boldly announced that Taib will retire, the CM knew Najib’s intelligence people had been sleeping through their task.

Perhaps they had too much tuak, gawai dayaks and so forth. But the knowledge was enough to embolden Taib.

Taib’s countermand

Each time Najib reassured Sarawakians that Taib would go, Taib would come out in open defiance countermanding Najib. “I will deliver the coup de grace,” said Taib and so he did!

Taib had done sterlingly in the highly charged polls. He retained all the 35 seats PBB contested.
Other than Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP), which lost most of its seats, his other coalition partners won splendidly. Najib’s own BN over in the peninsula did dismally.

MCA had 15 seats in 2008 general election. Gerakan was all but wiped out – saved from extinction by the sad presence of its president Koh Tsu Koon, who incidentally also lost his seat.

MIC, meanwhile, is going around with bowl-in-hand chanting ritualistic assurances that the Indians are back in BN.

So, now comes the pain for Najib. How can Najib expedite the exit of Taib? He can’t force Taib out of office by using corruption as an issue.

If he does, then people will come back and ask him: “If you knew all along that Taib is corrupt, then why did you agree for Taib to stand as candidate? Wouldn’t that be like deceiving the people?”

Sarawakians are not Malay

The fact remains that Najib is powerless to deal with Taib and for many reasons. To begin with, there is the general sentiment of the Borneo people. They are not Malaya people. Sarawakians are not Malay people!

Sarawakians resent the dictates and high-handedness of the Malaya people. Secondly, Taib is not an Umno member and therefore not subject to any arm-twisting or enforcement of discipline. He doesn’t answer to the Umno president.

Thirdly, he has the numbers behind him. He won all the 35 seats his party contested. That’s more than what Umno can ever counter.

But the most important deterent to Najib’s possible voyage into Sarawak is what Taib holds – the key to Najib’s fixed deposit state.

Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats. And Taib controls at least 25 of them. Can any of the boys on our side comprehend the implications of this awesome power?

Taib owns 25 parliamentary seats which he can deliver in any direction he so wants. If Taib decides to abandon ship, Najib becomes the opposition leader in the next Parliament. So indeed, a victorious Taib is no joy coming to town.

How Chua Jui Meng made RM11 million from cigarette advertising


Chua Jui Meng was Malaysia’s Minister of Health for nine years from May 1995 to March 2004. In 1995, Malaysia officially banned cigarette advertising. However, the law was not enforced until 2003. That ‘grace period’ cost the cigarette companies RM11 million, which was collected on behalf of the MCA but went straight into Chua Jui Meng’s pocket. MCA received nothing, poor thing.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin
In Malaysia, the displaying of cigarette packets in advertisements with a general warning on long-time smoking that was enforced since June 1976 has been banned since 1995.

However, this has not stopped tobacco companies from advertising their products. There are also restrictions on tobacco advertising after the ban of displaying of cigarette packaging, print media advertising is restricted to only one page and advertising on television should not be more than 15 seconds. They have found ways to continue to build their brands by using brand names for a bistro and cybercafes such as Benson & Hedges Bistro and Sampoerna A International Cyberworld, for stationery, accessories, clothing like Dunhill, Marlboro Classics, Davidoff, Perilly's, Pall Mall, John Player Specials, Winfield and Winston. Holiday tours like Mild Seven Seafarers Club, Peter Stuyvesant Travel and Tours, Kent Holidays and Salem Holidays and even in the sponsorship of concerts and entertainment events.

All of these are indirect advertising strategies employed by tobacco companies. Tobacco advertising is continued without displaying cigarette packaging until January 2003, when the Malaysian federal government has even banned such indirect advertising of tobacco brands, except in certain establishments licensed to sell tobacco products. Formula One Grand Prix and other sporting events are still allowed to use tobacco sponsorship.
**********************************************
World Smoking Health. 1984 Summer;9(2):27-30.
Smoking in Malaysia: promotion and control.
Soon Kee Teoh.
Abstract


This discussion of the promotion and control of smoking in Malaysia covers: tobacco cultivation; cigarette manufacture, advertising, and smoking; action against smoking; smoking in public; price increases; and future targets. About 62,000 families (120,000 people) of Malaysia's 14 million population are involved in tobacco farming, and 360 independent curers employ about 25,000 workers. Tobacco output has increased from 1.82 million kilograms in 1970 to a peak of 9.4 million kilograms in 1982, worth $38 million.

Tobacco manufacturers have direct interest in tobacco growing. 60% of the tobacco required for cigarette manufacturing is locally produced and is expected to increase to 65-70% by 1985. The industry, unable to deny the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, is now exploiting the economy of the tobacco farmers to justify their business and to influence the government from taking any action against smoking.

The government still provides technical expertise, guarantees purchase of tobacco, and provides almost 75% of the fertilizers used. There are 7 cigarette manufacturing companies. Cigarette sales in 1982 totaled nearly $460 million. The government received over $210 million or 47% of the total sales in various forms of taxes, a factor which influenced government handling of the smoking issue. Cigarettes were the most advertised product in 1981 when $9 million was spent.

In 1982, all cigarette ads were banned from television and radio and in all government publications. The government stated that the revenue could be replaced. The number of cigarette smokers increased from 5 to 7% over the last decade. Recent studies of secondary school children showed a smoking incidence of about 20%; about half were habitual smokers and about 1% had smoked for over 3 years. Except for elderly villagers, few women smoke.

After 7 years of lobbying by the Malaysian Medical Association and the Ministry of Health, the Cabinet approved legislation in 1977 requiring all cigarette packets to include a health warning. New antismoking measures were taken, culminating in a 19-point federal government directive prohibiting government employees from smoking in government offices, and at meeting.

Targets for the future include: banning all cigarette advertisements, or at least plugging loopholes on cigarette advertising; stopping all cigarette sponsorship of sports events; publishing tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide levels; expanding nonsmoking areas in public places; and making greater efforts in health education.
*******************************************
Thursday, 22 August, 2002, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Malaysia bans tobacco ads

Malaysia is to ban all tobacco advertising from next year, the Ministry of Health has announced.

However, sports such as Formula One - which rely heavily on sponsorship from cigarette companies - have been granted a temporary exemption.

Some sports have won a temporary exemption.

"The Cabinet meeting held last week decided to ban all forms of promotions on cigarette brand names in Malaysia effective from 1 January next year," Health Minister Chua Jui Meng told the official Bernama news agency on Tuesday.

But "further discussions" were necessary to discuss implications on soccer and the Malaysian leg of the Formula One car racing competition, he added. – BBC

Sri Lanka: evidence of ongoing repression and abuse

Channel 4 News obtains exclusive footage from the "closed off"corner of northern Sri Lanka, showing evidence of camps, repression and abuse, ahead of the publication of the UN's report on war crimes.

Warning: distressing images in this report

Two years on from the end of the devastating 26-year civil war that ripped Sri Lanka apart, Channel 4 News has obtained rare footage from inside the country's northern corner, formerly the Tamil stronghold.

This area has remained largely inaccessible since the end of the war and our footage was obtained by an independent source, who put their life at risk to film the material. The area remains under military control, and people still live in fear.

Tens of thousands of Tamils are still forced to live in makeshift camps and our film shows evidence and testimony of sytematic repression and the abuse of women.

War


Sri Lanka: (Reuters) Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have died in the final few months of the Sri Lanka war, and many more were displaced.

Channel 4 News has also obtained documents which suggest that almost 100,000 people were unaccounted for at the end of the conflict.

Sri Lankan Government records show that, in 2008, 430,000 people were living in the northern area of Sri Lanka most affected by the civil war. After the chaos of the final few months of war, the Government moved civilians into camps - but UN figures mark only 290,000 held there. The whereabouts of the 100,000 or so remaining is unknown.

Many people are still searching for their families. Others want justice: including Dr Manoharan, who saw his son killed by security forces in 2006. He told Channel 4 News he had been searching for justice for his son, and all the other victims in Sri Lanka, ever since.

On Thursday, the UN will publish a report into the final months of the Sri Lanka war. The report, which has already been leaked, is expected to point to "crimes against humanity" which, if proven, suggest a "grave assault" on international law.

It will suggest that both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) committed war crimes. The Government is accused of executions, rape and torture, as well as bombing civilians and hospitals, while the report suggests the Tamil Tigers used human shields and child soldiers.

The UN panel investigating the war also considered evidence submitted to them by Channel 4 News, in the form of an execution video which appeared to show clear evidence of war crimes.

The Sri Lankan Government has not responded fully to the report yet, but earlier branded it "fundamentally flawed".

Gordon Weiss, the UN spokesman in Sri Lanka during the Government's offensive against the Tamil Tigers in 2009, compared the war crimes claims to the infamous massacre of 7,000 men during the Bosnian war in 1995.

He told Channel 4 News: "This is Sri Lanka's Srebrenica moment, in fact it's a Srebrenica moment for the rest of the world."

Devastation mounts in Misrata after heavy shelling on port

Misrata, Libya (CNN) -- In the wake of what rebels describe as the heaviest shelling yet by pro-government forces on the port of Misrata, much of the western Libyan city appeared to be a wasteland Wednesday morning.

"I'm looking around, I can't find a single building that's not either damaged or destroyed," CNN's Reza Sayah said from Tripoli Street, a major thoroughfare in the city.

Witnesses said three people were killed and several were wounded after shells detonated near a refugee camp in the critical port area Tuesday. Thousands of migrants have been housed there as they wait for ships to carry them to safety.

Opposition forces said they believe if NATO forces had not intervened with air attacks Tuesday night, the shelling would have continued.

The latest destruction in Misrata comes amid renewed discussion about what NATO's intentions are -- and whether the alliance is trying to kill Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

NATO is leading an international military operation in Libya that includes airstrikes targeting Gadhafi's military resources. It is operating under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing any means necessary -- with the exception of foreign occupation -- to protect civilians.

Following a recent attack on Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli, the Libyan government has claimed the coalition is trying to assassinate the ruler of almost 42 years.

On Wednesday, government officials took reporters to the city of Tarhuna, south of Tripoli, where they said that civilians were volunteering to be trained to defend Gadhafi from NATO. At a training camp there, reporters observed civilians learning basic military skills. Some of the volunteers looked as young as 13 or 15 years old, the reporters said.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also criticized the Western coalition.

"At first, they spoke about the need to close the air space," Putin told reporters in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tuesday. "All right, but how does that correspond with bombings of Gadhafi's palaces every night? They say they don't want to eliminate him. But why are they bombing his palaces then?"

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox said Tuesday evening that the alliance has been targeting "not individuals, but the capabilities of the regime."

"We don't discuss specific targets, but in the general point, we've made it very clear that our responsibility is the protection of the civilian population," Fox told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor reiterated Tuesday that NATO's mission is to enforce "the arms embargo, no-fly zone and conduct a civilian protection mission," but it's not regime change.

"As part of that mission, the coalition has targeted command-and-control sites that are being used by regime forces to wage attacks against Libyan civilians -- brutal attacks that this week alone have reportedly killed dozens of civilians in Misrata alone," Vietor said. "There is no change in U.S. policy regarding assassination."

The British Embassy in Washington issued a statement Tuesday saying it was on the same page as the United States -- though it hoped Gadhafi would go away.

"British Government policy is that we don't target (Gadhafi) either, but we do think he should go," the British Embassy statement said. "That is not the same as regime change. Our aim is to protect the civilian population, we're not acting to remove him, but if he went that would be a good thing."

"We've never discussed specific targeting and we've always said, anyone or anything involved in carrying out or directing attacks on civilians is a legitimate target" under the Security Council resolution, the embassy said.

On Wednesday, the African Union called for an end to military operations targeting Libyan officials.

"Council urges all involved to refrain from actions, including military operations targeting Libyan Senior Officials and socio economic infrastructure, that would further compound the situation and make it more difficult to achieve international consensus on the best way forward," the AU's website states.

Though Gadhafi's regime said last week that it was going to suspend operations in Misrata and let tribes deal with the rebels, heavy shelling suggests pro-government forces aren't done with the city.

"As fighting continues to rage in Misrata, the families recently evacuated by boats to Tobruk from the embattled city describe a catastrophic situation with many having lived in fear of indiscriminate shelling," the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday. "Many houses and buildings have been destroyed and some families had to move several times."

Misrata, the third-largest city in the North African country, has been surrounded on three sides by Gadhafi's forces. Though rebels say they have gained control of the city's center and have pushed government forces outside the city, they say Gadhafi's forces have continued to attack Misrata with heavy weaponry.

The port area has served as a crucial route of escape -- and as a lifeline to humanitarian aid.

Jean Michel Monod, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Tripoli, said a ship that was in Misrata to pick up foreigners had to depart prematurely Tuesday morning because of shelling close to the port.

He said the ICRC would have liked to help more than the approximately 630 people it did take.

Police crack down on protestors at UM

Kes ‘Scorpene’ belum ditutup, kata SPRM

Suruhanjaya itu juga sedang menjalankan siasatan terhadap Ketua Menteri Sarawak atas dakwaan salah guna kuasa, rasuah dan penyelewengan.

SHAH ALAM: Kes pembelian kapal selam ‘Scorpene’ yang menjadi pembualan hangat kerana membabitkan pemimpin utama negara belum ditutup, kata Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM).

“Sama sekali tidak…..kita tidak tutup,” kata Ketua Pesuruhjaya SPRM Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed dalam satu majlis di sini hari ini.

Pada majlis bertajuk “Rasuah Pemusnah Tamadun”, mantan menteri besar Perak Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin mendakwa kes itu belum disiasat. Kes ini melibatkan Abdul Razak Baginda yang dikatakan rapat dengan Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak).

Belumpun Nizar selesai berhujah, Abu Kassim mencelah dengan bertanya, “siapa kata kes itu ditutup?”

Beliau mengingatkan pemimpin PAS itu supaya tidak mencampuri kes yang masih belum selesai dalam mahkamah.

Di majlis tersebut, Abu Kassim menegaskan SPRM juga sedang menjalankan siasatan terhadap Ketua Menteri Sarawak Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud atas dakwaan salah guna kuasa, rasuah dan penyelewengan.

Katanya, SPRM sudah sembilan kali memberi jawaban mengenai perkara itu di parlimen. Dokumen parlimen adalah dokumen awam jadi saya minta ahli parlimen baca.

Abu Kassim menegaskan SPRM menjalankan siasatan tanpa memilih bulu dan tanpa mengira parti politik.

“SPRM juga tidak perlu mendapat restu daripada perdana menteri sebelum sesuatu siasatan dijalankan sepertimana dakwaan sesetengah pihak. Dan SPRM akan menyiasat jika ada asas (bukti) yang kukuh,” tambahnya.

Second part of sex video released

Police will record another statement from Anwar tomorrow.

PETALING JAYA: A pro-Umno blog has released another part of the controversial video allegedly showing Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a prostitute.

The clip, which carries the title “Papa Nurul Izzah Part II”, is 1 minute and 47 seconds long and is posted at Papagomo.com. It is also available on YouTube, uploaded by someone who goes by the name Wakparjosudorno.

Anwar’s personal assistant, Eekmal Ahmad, said today that police would record another statement from the opposition leader tomorrow afternoon in connection with the video.

Anwar already gave a statement last month to Bukit Aman police.

In March, several journalists were invited to Carcosa Seri Negara by a group of people calling themselves “Datuk Trio” to view the full video. It has since come to light that the Datuk Trio are former Malacca chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik, former Perkasa treasurer Shuib Lazim and businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah. They do not deny this.

On April 4, the first part of the sex clip, running nearly two minutes, was leaked online. The clip was made available on YouTube and anti-PKR blogs. But it was later removed from YouTube.

Yesterday, PKR Youth’s deputy information chief, Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was investigating a complaint against several bloggers over the leak.

Eskay beri sampel DNA kepada polis

"Saya hadir secara sukarela dan memberi kerjasama sepenuhnya kepada polis termasuk memberikan sampel DNA kepada polis," katanya ringkas.

PETALING JAYA: Ahli perniagaan Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah, salah seorang trio ‘Datuk T’, hari ini hadir di Ibu Pejabat Polis Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur untuk memberikan sampel DNA beliau.

Shazryl, berbaju biru tua hadir di Bukit Aman kira-kira 10 pagi tadi dengan ditemani beberapa pengawal peribadinya untuk memberi keterangan berhubung video seks yang didakwa dikaitkan dengan Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Beliau yang ditemui pemberita selepas selesai memberi keterangan kira-kira pukul 1.15 tengahari berkata, dirinya dihubungi polis pagi tadi supaya hadir membantu siasatan kes video seks.

“Saya hadir secara sukarela dan memberi kerjasama sepenuhnya kepada polis termasuk memberikan sampel DNA kepada polis,” katanya ringkas.

Namun beliau enggan mendedahkan butiran soalan yang ditanya polis sepanjang sesi soal siasat.

Shazryl dijangka akan mengadakan sidang media esok petang bagi menjelaskan perkara tersebut dengan lebih lanjut.

Selain Shazryl, trio ‘Datuk T’ termasuk bekas ketua menteri Melaka Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, 61, dan bekas Bendahari Perkasa Datuk Shuib Lazim, 75, turut mengaku bahawa merekalah dalang yang mendedahkan video seks yang ditayangkan kepada media di Carcosa Seri Istana 21 Mac lalu.

Mohan lodges police report against Barat Maniam

The MIC Youth leader claims that Barat Maniam is tarnishing his political image and he has a hidden agenda.

PETALING JAYA: MIC Youth leader T Mohan lodged a police report against the party’s Petaling Jaya Selatan division chief V Subramaniam for accusing him of being involved in an arson attack on the latter’s office yesterday.

He lodged the report at the Puchong Jaya police station at 4.30pm today.

Yesterday, Subramaniam’s office in PJS 1 was razed in the wee hours of the morning, suspected to have been caused by arsonists.

Subramaniam, who is also known as Barat Maniam, had accused the MIC Youth leader to have played a role in the attack.

In his report, Mohan urged the police to investigate and take action against Subramaniam for implicating him in the arson attack.

“It is malicious. He is trying to portray me as a gangster in order to tarnish my political image,” said Mohan.

Alleging that the veteran MIC man had a hidden agenda in his accusation, Mohan said he will take Subramaniam to court for his allegation.

“If anything bad happens to me or my family, I call upon the police to investigate Subramaniam as well,” said Mohan.

Seeming unperturbed, Subramaniam said it was Mohan’s prerogative on whether he wanted to take him to court or not.

Calling Mohan an insecure person, Subramaniam said the Youth leader was worried that the new leadership was taking back former members into the party fold.

“And he did this because I also supported the leadership’s move,” said Subramaniam.

Defending Mohan, MIC publicity and communication chief S Vell Paari said that Subramaniam was mistaken to think that the Youth leader had anything to do with the attack.

“Though Subramaniam is my friend, in this case he is badly mistaken,” said Vel Paari.

Mohan is also Vell Paari’s cousin.

He explained that when his family members are displeased with anything or anyone, they dealt with it face to face.” We face the person head on. We are not cowards to do things behind people’s back,” he said.

Bukit Jalil’s residents get two-week reprieve

The KL High Court delays DBKL's plans to demolish the Ladang Bukit Jalil houses.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur High Court will decide on the injunction sought by the residents of Ladang Bukit Jalil against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on May 10.

The judge, Zabariah Mohd Yusof, said this after presiding over an inter-parte hearing this morning. She also extended the deadline of the previous ex-parte injunction granted to the residents on March 15 till May 10.

DBKL was represented by Adnan Ali and his team, while the residents were represented by former Bar Council presidents, Ragunath Kesavan and Ambiga Sreenivasan.

On March 1, the 41 families residing in the former estate area were slapped with eviction notices by DBKL, asking them to move out within two weeks.

But they obtained an interim injuction after an ex-parte hearing on March 14 to stop the eviction notice.
During submission, Adnan told the court that it does not have authority to slap injunction against a government officer, referring to mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail, from carrying out his duties.

He added that 41 families residing in the estate had not been able to provide evidence that they were former estate workers or their kinsmen. Therefore, the eviction notices sent to the residents under the Emergency Ordinance in July 2007 and in March this year were valid, implying they were squatting on the land.

However, Ambiga rebutted the argument, saying it was dangerous to imply that the court has no jurisdiction over public officials.

“Based on that argument, the officials will hold too much power in their hands. In that case, they can even come and demolish my house and say I cannot argue the matter in court,” said Ambiga.

Ragunath said the families had provided ample evidence to DBKL in their correspondence over the years that they were either former estate workers or their next of kin.

“If they are squatters, then why were the notices sent on March 1, indicating goodwill payments for the 41 families? This is not how you deal with squatter dwellers,” said Ragunath.

The notices were referring to an offer made by the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry  in February, offering RM23,000 each to those who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.

Later at a press conference, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan reminded the residents who were present in court that their struggle was not over.

“DBKL’s  lawyers said you have not provided any proof that your were former estate workers,” said Arutchelvan, who accompanied by Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri.

Also present were the estate action committee secretary S Thiakarajan, Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator K Balakrishnan, Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit) coordinator E Nalini and Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation publicy chief A Rajaretinam.

Peguam Negara Lebih Berkuasa?


Dari Malaysiakini
Oleh Wira Arjuna

Perbicaraan kes liwat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menzahirkan satu realiti – orang yang paling berkuasa di negara ini mungkin bukan Perdana Menteri.
Ini kerana Datuk Seri Najib Razak terpaksa meraih mandat daripada rakyat setiap lima tahun dan menjawab kepada Parlimen apabila perlu.

Orang yang tidak perlu berbuat demikian adalah Peguam Negara.

Jawatan itu kini disandang oleh Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

Beliau tidak perlu ke Parlimen, tetapi hanya ke pejabat Perdana Menteri dan hadir pada mesyuarat Kabinet untuk memberi nasihat dan penjelasan dari masa ke semasa.

Pejabat Peguam Negara di Malaysia mempunyai kuasa mutlak untuk menentukan pihak mana yang perlu diheret ke mahkamah, yang mana boleh dilepaskan.

Peguam Negara juga berhak menentukan pertuduhan apa yang harus dikenakan terhadap seseorang, tidak kira jika pertuduhan itu menyimpang daripada laporan polis yang dibuat oleh pengadu.

Semalam, Ketua Pendakwaraya Yusuf Zainal Abideen mengesahkan kuasa mutlak pendakwaan di tangan Gani apabila beliau berhujah pada perbicaraan liwat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Yusuf Zainal mengaku dalam laporan polisnya, pengadu Saiful Bukhari Azlan mendakwa beliau dipaksa melakukan hubungan seks itu.

Namun, Peguam Negara menggunakan kuasa yang ada padanya untuk mendakwa Anwar atas tuduhan kononnya beliau dan Saiful melakukan seks luar tabii secara sukarela.

Kuasa mutlak

Yusuf memberitahu mahkamah bahawa Peguam Negara mempunyai kuasa mutlak untuk mendakwa Anwar di bawah apa juga undang-undang.

Malah, mengikut Yusuf, sekali pun Saiful “menukar” ceritanya, ia tidak menjejaskan pendakwaan selagi ada “bukti” untuk menyokong tuduhan itu.

Begitu besar kuasa yang ada pada Peguam Negara. Persoalan yang lojik yang akan ditanya oleh rakyat adalah apa jadi dengan laporan polis Saiful bahawa beliau dipaksa melakukan perbuatan itu?

Bagaimana fakta penting ini boleh diketepikan begitu sahaja oleh Peguam Negara… jika benar motif utama beliau adalah menegakkan kebenaran semata-mata, demi memberi keadilan kepada pengadu dan tertuduh.

Namun persoalan ini tidak akan dijawab, kerana Peguam Negara tidak bertanggung jawab kepada Parlimen.

Tidak ada ruang untuk rakyat atau wakil rakyat memperinci hubungan Peguam Negara dengan Pejabat Perdana Menteri dan kaitannya dengan keputusan-keputusan pendakwaan yang dibuat.

Pada tahun 1994, Peguam Negara ketika itu Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah mengambil keputusan untuk menggugurkan tuduhan rogol terhadap Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik atas alasan “kurang bukti” beliau melakukan jenayah itu terhadap gadis berusia 15 tahun.

Dipenjarakan

Sebaliknya yang didakwa adalah Lim Guan Eng yang kini Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang. Beliau dipenjarakan 18 bulan kerana mendedahkan perlakuan Rahim.

Tan Sri Mohtar adalah juga Peguam Negara yang bertanggungjawab untuk tidak mendakwa Rahim atas tuduhan rasuah RM40 juta, sekaligus menolak segala bukti-bukti yang telah dikumpulkan oleh Badan Pencegah Rasuah.

Jelas kuasa Peguam Negara adalah mutlak. Pejabat Peguam Negara menggunakan pertimbangan sendiri yang “rahsia dan agak istimewa” tetapi tidak menjanjikan ketelusan dan keadilan serta kesamarataan yang menjadi tonggak prinsip keadilan.

Rekod tiga Peguam Negara terakhir, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, Mohtar (kanan) dan Gani tercemar kerana cara mereka menggunakan kuasa-kuasa mutlak yang diberikan kepada mereka.

Mereka dilihat bersekongkol dengan pemerintah yang mahu menjayakan agenda sempit politiknya.

Contohnya peranan Abdul Talib (kiri) dalam pemecatan Ketua Hakim Negara ketika itu, Tun Salleh Abbas dan lima hakim lain pada tahun 1984.

Dalam kes Anwar, Gani menjadi sasaran utama kerana dituduh membawa pendakwaan yang rapuh dalam fitnah liwat pertama pada tahun 1998 dan ulangannya pada masa sekarang.

Rasanya tidak perlu menoleh terlalu jauh kebelakang untuk memperinchi rekod Gani. Dakwaan yang dibuat oleh Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, pengawai penyiasat polis dalam kes mata lebam Anwar bahawa Gani mereka-cipta bukti dalam kes Ketua Pembangkang adalah dalam pengetahuan umum.

Membekalkan pelacur

Anehnya, dakwaan-dakwaan itu tidak pula mengundang sebarang pendakwaan daripada Gani, walaupun ia memberi tamparan hebat kepada kewibawaan pejabat Peguam Negara,

Pada tahun 1998, peguam kepada Datuk S Nallakarupan, Manjeet Singh Dhillion mendedahkan Gani menuntut supaya Nalla merekacipta bukti terhadap Anwar kononnya Nalla membekalkan pelacur kepada Anwar.

Berikut petikan surat rasmi yang dihantar oleh Manjeet kepada Peguam Negara ketika itu Datuk Mohtar:

“That in exchange for a reduction of the present charge to one under the Arms Act he wanted Nallakaruppan to co-operate with them and to give information against Anwar Ibrahim, specifically on matters concerning several married women. Dato Gani kept changing the number of women and finally settled on five, three married and two unmarried.

That he would expect Nallakaruppan to testify against Anwar in respect of these women.”

Terjemahan: Bahawa sebagai syarat untuk mengurangkan tuduhan (daripada Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri) kepada Akta Senjata Api beliau mahu Nalla memberi keterangan terhadap Anwar, khususnya membabitkan beberapa wanita yang bersuami. Datuk Gani mengubah-ubah jumlah wanita yang harus dinyatakan oleh Nalla dan akhirnya mahukan Nalla memberi keterangan supaya Anwar mengadakan hubungan dengan lima wanita, tiga yang bersuami dan dua lagi belum kahwin.

Meninggal dunia

Hanya Datuk Mohtar tahu kenapa beliau tidak mengambil tindakan terhadap Manjeet kerana membuat tuduhan begitu serius terhadap Gani.

Hanya Gani tahu kenapa beliau sendiri tidak mengambil sebarang tindakan terhadap Manjeet ketika itu, mahupun sekarang.

Mohtar sudah pun meninggal dunia namun Gani masih hidup dan malah mempunyai lebih kuasa sekarang untuk mempertahankan kewibawaan dan keluhuran kerusi Peguam Negara yang diisandangnya.

Seseorang pengamal undang-undang, tidak kira sama ada pendakwaraya, peguambela atau hakim tidak boleh menghalalkan matlamat dengan apa cara pun.

Keadilan hanya boleh ditegakkan apabila pengamal undang-undang tidak dipengaruhi oleh sesiapa dan tidak menjadi sebahagian daripada agenda politik mana-mana pihak.

Setiap tindakan yang diambil haruslah konsisten dan bebas daripada sebarang telunjuk pemerintah, jika tidak keluhuruan sistem undang-undang itu pasti tercalar dan ternoda sehingga sukar disucikan semula.

Apa yang jelas ialah pejabat Peguam Negara kini disifatkan sebagai cabang pemerintah yang begitu berkuasa dan kebal daripada perincian rakyat.

Tindak-tanduk Peguam Negara tidak boleh dipersoalkan oleh rakyat mahupun Parlimen.

Keruntuhan badan kehakiman mana-mana negara berakar umbi daripada keputusan-keputusan pendakwaan oleh Peguam Negara yang dicemari dengan pertimbangan politik kerajaan memerintah.

Malaysia tidak terkecuali daripada hakikat ini.

Begitu juga keluhuran sistem keadilan akan sentiasa terpelihara jika Peguam Negara melihat diri beliau sebagai penjawat awam (public servant) dan bukannya kakitangan kerajaan dengan maksud yang sempit.

Nuclear Energy Roils Indian Politics


Image
Jaitapur says NO to nukes
(Asia Sentinel) The fallout from Fukushima

Protests, political volatility and bloody clashes between the local populace, activists and police in India's Maharashtra state have once again revived the contentious debate about nuclear power safety versus cheap energy production in an emerging economy.

It also raises the question how a country like India, which needs nuclear energy to power its exponential growth, marry its seemingly contradictory requirement for cheap energy production with nuclear safety.

Jaitapur, a small city on the Arabian seacoast, is the projected site for the world's largest nuclear power project, a 9,900-MW, US$10-billion plant in the eco-sensitive geological Western Ghats Belt. Last December, the French multinational Areva Group was awarded the contract by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to construct six European Pressurized Reactors, each of 1650 MW capacity, or four times the size of Fukushima. The project is expected to overtake the world's current largest, the 8,200 Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

Work on Areva's reactors, to be operational in 2018, is to begin shortly. However, the project has fuelled concern among Jaitapur's local populace – mostly farmers growing paddy, mango and cashew – about a Fukushima-like catastrophe. Opponents have noted that the area is seismically very active and a record 95 earthquakes rocked it between 1985 and 2005. The seismic activity was minor, government officials counter, adding that the plant's location on a high cliff further cushions it against tsunamis.

Jaitapur's residents have opposed the nuclear project for the past three years. That opposition gathered momentum last week and exploded in the face of the Congress-led state government when a protesting fisherman was shot dead by the police.

The villagers' main concern is that the state government never really took them into confidence about the project and thus failed to win them over. This led to a groundswell of anger that the anti-nuclear lobby and Shiv Sena, a Hindu fundamentalist group, are capitalizing on, for political gain.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a staunch advocate of nuclear power, nearly staked the survival of his government, the United Progressive Alliance-led coalition, in 2008 on a civil nuclear deal with the United States. That agreement, finally sealed last year, has enabled India to purchase nuclear technology from Western nations that previously would not sell to it because Delhi was not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

However, following the treaty, opposition parties led by the right-wing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, forced the UPA government to buck international practice and make nuclear plant suppliers liable for accident compensation claims as well. This, they deemed necessary, to prevent a repeat of the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984 in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh, which ranks as of one of the world's worst industrial disasters. Critics say that despite the magnitude of the disaster, the Indian government at the time, led by late PM Rajiv Gandhi, let Union Carbide off the hook quite easily despite the latter's paltry monetary compensation to the gas victims. The lenience of the action against the Union Carbide officials led to an uproar in India.

Since the formalization of the India-US treaty, western companies – including Areva, the US's General Electric and state-owned Russian enterprises – have been vying for India's nuclear industry bandwagon, eager to snag contracts worth billions of dollars.

This competition among western companies, analysts say, is likely to intensify further as by 2030 India gets set to generate 40,000 MW of nuclear energy with modern nuclear technology to sustain its 9-10 percent growth.

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has ruled out a reassessment of the planned Jaitapur facility although he said over the weekend that concerns raised by villagers' were "rationally justified" and the government must go-slow with the project.

The minister said that his ministry would, if required, reimpose certain conditions and safeguards on the Jaitapur project following a report by a ministry-appointed committee to look into safety issues at all coastal plants.

Even so, the phobia among the Jaitapur residents continues. They fear that the reactor will wreck their traditional livelihoods of fishing and farming. Already, many of the over 2,000 Jaitapur landowners have rejected payment for the land the government forcibly acquired for the plant as a form of protest.

Local farmers are worried that radioactive contamination might have an adverse impact on their produce, mainly the region's acclaimed Alphonso mangoes, which fetch about US$20 for a dozen in Mumbai's markets. Fishermen worry that the millions of gallons of hot water that will whoosh out of the proposed plant into the sea will render the coast uninhabitable for edible fish, ruining an industry that supports thousands of families.

Currently, India gets about 3 percent of its electricity from the 20 relatively small nuclear reactors in the country. But five big new reactors and 39 more modest ones are in the pipeline to help meet the country's gargantuan appetite for power as a fast-growing economy of a billion-plus people.

By 2050, the Indian government hopes to significantly augment the nuclear component in the country's energy profile. It says a quarter of the nation's electricity should come from nuclear reactors over the next four decades. And the Jaitapur project would be a giant step towards that ambitious goal.

According to Robinder Sachdev*, India's nominee for a Global Task Force set up by the World Energy Council (WEC) to assess the impact of Fukushima crisis on nuclear energy sector, one common worry emerging amongst most countries, including India, is the role played – and autonomy enjoyed – by each country's atomic regulatory bodies.

For India, Sachdev proposes that the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) be given greater autonomy and its capacity built upon to strengthen and infuse transparency in the country's nuclear dealings. "Also," he adds, "the AERB must stay at an arm's length from the power producer and policy planners at the Department of Atomic Energy."

A sharp focus on liability issues, according to the expert, would also help – since the operator and vendors would then have to clearly demarcate their responsibilities, and could then even act as a counter-check on each other.

Apart from this, what also needs to be addressed, say experts, is the human resource shortfall within the AERB. "The Board's current human resources capacity is woefully inadequate," Singh says. "India must invest in higher education, training schools and the certification for professionals in this industry to produce trained engineers and other experts to man the power plants."

As further plants are set up in India, especially with reactors from foreign vendors, this professionalism will force greater transparency upon dealings as the terms and conditions of the contracts will be negotiated in a more open manner, opine experts.

To prevent a repeat of more Jaitapur scenarios, Ramesh also advocates effective public outreach programs which demystify nuclear energy. "Right now," says an industry source, "an average Indian associates the word `reactor' with a nuclear bomb! So the government needs to work upon this and win over their confidence."

"However, Fukushima doesn't spell the funeral of atomic energy in India," the source says. "It has just put the spotlight on the industry's unsolved problems."

Correction made 27April 2011

Neeta Lal is a New Delhi-based senior journalist 

Horrible Disgusting: TV3 Prime News turns porn – will PM stand up for decency?

Tweets

limkitsiang
Let every BN Minister DyMin MP SA declare stand -agree w TV3′s disgusting porno? PM Najib – r u going 2draw a line on whats decent or not?

limkitsiang
All parents lodge police rpts agnst TV3. Lets have nation-wide campaign 2protect homes/children from such disgusting TV fare/gutter politics

limkitsiang
TV3 boss/all responsible 4terrible bad taste violating homes children w such disgusting snippets shd be sacked or InfoMinister Rais shd go


limkitsiang
Ord decent Msians feel violated in their very homes w such disgusting TVfare – turning TV3 into pornographic channel. No child safe at home.


limkitsiang
Horrible Disgusting Complaints from those who watched 8pm TV3 Prime News which showed latest snippet of so-called Anwar Carcosa sex video.