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Thursday, May 19, 2011

How do you eat safely in China?


Beijing (CNN) -- I was out shopping for groceries the other day with a friend of mine who has been living in Beijing for over a decade. We stopped by the fruit section, and I automatically gravitated to the bright red apples that looked delicious sitting on the store shelf.

She immediately stepped in. "I choose the apples that are pock-marked and are slightly bitten up by bugs," she told me while replacing the apples in my basket. "I figure if the fruit is good enough for the insect, it's good enough for me."

In China, she told me, the most perfectly formed, most appetizing piece of fruit is the scariest of them all.

With so many food safety scandals in China, everyone seems to have a philosophy on how best to eat. Avoid seafood. Never eat meat from the local market. Don't eat Chinese branded dairy products including cakes.

Probably the best and most consistent piece of advice I have gotten is to diversify your diet. "Rotate your poisons," a food safety expert advised me. It's enough to make you paranoid about eating anything at all.

Fear over additives, antibiotics, fake foods, and dodgy practices has grabbed hold of consumers here, some of whom are taking matters into the own hands by forming organic food buying clubs.

The government has recently ramped up efforts to tighten regulations and root out food safety violators in a state-backed media campaign.

The latest food safety report? Watermelons so juiced up with growth-enhancing chemicals that the fruit bursts open in the field. The CCTV report noted that few fruit markets are willing to buy the melons because they could erupt in transit -- oh, and irritate the digestive system if you eat them.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Chinese agricultural exports have grown significantly in the past decade with Japan, South East Asia, North America and the European Union all major customers. In February, the USDA said China's continued growth depended on three factors -- one of them being food safety conditions.

The World Health Organization's food safety official, Peter K. Ben Embarek, told me food safety is improving in China but more needs to be done.

"It's clear that the credibility of the system will suffer. The consumer will continue to lose confidence in Chinese products and consumers abroad will equally lose confidence in Chinese products," he said.

"And that will be unfair for all the producers and all the systems in place that are producing safe food in China."

Unfortunately, they get lost in the din of China's numerous food safety scandals.

Murder most foul: The truth still eludes us

'For the two who were convicted of the crime - who has seen their faces? Are they in prison or are they relaxing outside their beach homes?'

Wikileaks releases cables on Najib and Altantuya

Ferdtan: There is nothing new in the Wikileaks cables that we do not know about - but it is nice to get it from an unbiased third party, US embassy's political section chief Mark D Clark.

It gives credence to 'gossip' - and, it seems that these allegations must have some truth. Obviously the US embassy, being professional, must have done some basic investigations into the authencity of some of the allegations against PM Najib Razak before despatching their report to its head office in Washington DC.

No responsible officer, least of all an American diplomat, would want to send reports to their bosses in Washington without verifying their veracity up a certain extent. The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder is not going away, and it will keep on haunting the real perpetrators until justice is done.

Cannon: The curse of Altantuya's murder hangs over the Najib administration and over the heads of all Malaysians. Najib is being held ransom by the hardliners in Umno and there isn't a thing he can do to stop the troublemakers from threatening our peace and racial harmony.

Umno's depraved ways are shoved up our face as a 'norm' to live with. The law is what these vile Umno gangsters say it is. The floodgates are open for mayhem and there is hell to pay. And Najib plays on with his harp.

Singa Pura Pura: "Altantuya was murdered in October 2006 by two of Najib's bodyguards, chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 30 and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, who stood trial and were pronounced guilty in April 2009."

Still an unanswered question: Why did Najib's bodyguards murder Altantuya?

Anonymous_418f: Why did they kill her? No motive... Why, why, why? She is a sister, a friend, a mother and a human being - how could anyone 'C4e' her? She was not a terrorist.

Paul Warren: And as for the two convicted of the crime, who hasseen their faces? Who knows exactly where they are now. Are they in prison? Are they relaxing outside their beach homes? Are they walking the streets of Kuala Lumpur? Or are they permanently installed in Bali maybe? Who knows?

SusahKes: If I was attached to the US embassy, I wouldn't worry. I mean, Najib has sworn in a mosque that he never met Altantuya. On top of that, Raja Petra Kamarudin's 'interview' with TV3 had "exonerated" him; at least, that's what Najib says.

So these cables are not going to make Najib lose sleep. If anything, we have President Barack Obama having tea in the White House with the 'moderate' Islamic leader. For all intents and purposes, the weight of evidence that exists should have compelled the authorities to place Najib in the docks to face a public enquiry.

Instead, we have them running around demonising the opposition leader on sodomy charges - what a joke.

Black Mamba: This is a murder that will not go away until Altantuya's soul rests in peace.

1Malaysian: And for all of the reasons stated here, the current administration under Najib will fight 'to their last drop of blood' to ensure they retain control of Malaysia and all of the instruments of power.

The truth must never come out. No one has more to lose than them. No one will fight as hard. And the killers of Altantuya will be victorious because Malaysians forget easily. And because the killers are willing to sacrifice all of Malaysia to hang onto their power.

Anonymous_5fb: Bertaubatlah sebelum terlambat bagi sesiapa yang terlibat, secara langsung atau tidak langsung. Sampai bila kamu semua insaf akan dosa-dosa kamu? Kalau sampai masa jumpa Allah baru nak pohon ampun pun sudah terlambat. Gunakanlah hati dan akal yang dikurniakan Allah dengan bijaksana.

Malaysiawatch4.blogspot: I agree the truth will not be uncovered unless the BN regime is voted out at the next GE. This murder shows the extent to which the powerful can manipulate the system as they control all the government agencies and are prepared to use them to cover grave misdeeds. A murder most foul.

Chipmunk: It looks like Najib will also be ending his career as the PM. DSAI (Anwar Ibrahim), please go for 'kill or nothing' (a normal American statement for 'do or die'). Wikileaks got to release more cables to implicate the criminals.

AnakBangsaMalaysia: It is good to see that as much as the Umno-BN regime has tried to cover up and suppress the murder of Altantuya Shariibuu, someone, somewhere knows the truth and that the entire government machinery - Immigration, the police, the Attorney-General's office and the judiciary - deliberately manipulated the case to divert attention and quash all connections to Najib Razak.

No prosecution has ever been so deliberately incompetent: Key witnesses were deliberately excluded, the prosecution deliberately bungled its case and hastily railroaded the murder case to a scripted outcome designed to (temporarily) scapegoat Najib's police bodyguards (who had no motive whatsoever to murder Altantuya) and Abdul Razak Baginda, who was not only Najib's friend and confidante but also the beneficiary of a 'commission' of RM500 million for the procurement of the Scorpene submarines through his fly-by-night shell company Perimekar.

Today, no one knows what has become of Sirul and Azilah, while Razak Baginda is enjoying himself the UK.

Anonymous_5fb: "I am like a scapegoat that has to be sacrificed by them, those who are not in this court, to face the consequences of their actions and plan," Sirul confessed.

Multi Racial: Convicting the two bodyguards does not close the episode. This is because in every murder, there has to be a motive. What is the motive for the two bodyguards, who didn't even know Altantuya, to murder her. So they were instructed. But then, by who?

The duo have said they were directed by their superior but both the prosecution and defence did not call this person to testify in court. Why? This person would eventually be able to link the murder to the mastermind.

Another area to investigate is the immigration records of Altantuya, which were deleted. This is unusual as these records cannot be erased unless someone powerful intervened. It should not be difficult as the source has to be the director-general of immigration and he should be able to tell us who had directed him.

This is not sometime complicated and as such the police would know what to do, but why did they not do anything about it?

Jiminy Qrikert: The DNA of Umno is murder, lies, corruption, stealing from the rakyat to bail out companies from going under, cheating Malays by feeding them crumbs while cronies become billionaires and worst of all, creating racial tension and a state of siege so that the rakyat are divided by race and religion.

With such DNA, Umno will never change in 100 years. If Umno does not change, BN will not change. And with Najib helming Umno, Malaysia is doomed to be 'C4ed' to oblivion.

M'sia1st: Very honestly, for God sake, this case should be re-opened. In both theory and practice, logic and reason, there was absolutely no reason whatsoever for Najib's bodyguards, Azilah and Sirul, to kill poor Altantuya, except with strict order or instruction to do so from their master, whoever he/she is.

The world, especially her Mongolian family and friends, is still waiting for justice to prevail. Whoever is behind this murder must and shall get his due, either in this world or the next, or both.

Abasir: If anyone has been wondering why Najib desperately wants to stop Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat from assuming power and revealing the truth, this is the reason. It is not 'win the election at all costs'; it is 'stop the truth from coming out at all costs'.

Malaysian 1st: De facto law minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, can this murder be norm as well?

Nazri ticked off for defending Ibrahim

(Malaysiakini) M Kulasegaran, DAP national vice-chairman and Ipoh Barat MP, today urged Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz to refrain from exculpating Ibrahim Ali over the latter's inflammatory rants.

NONE“I applaud Nazri for his leadership in the matter of our accession to the International Criminal Court, so why would he want to spoil the constructive spirit of that initiative with exculpations for a rabble rouser?” asked Kulasegaran (left) who worked behind the scenes with Nazri to smooth Malaysia's membership of the ICC.

“Without Nazri's initiative, Malaysia would not be on course to become a member of the ICCnext month,” he asserted.

Nazri drew immediate flak for the remarks he made over the Christian-bashing rants of Ibrahim Ali, the chief of Malay pressure group Perkasa, which have led to calls that action be taken against the Independent MP for Pasir Mas.

The de facto law minister offered the controversial view that inflammatory statements emanating from the Perkasa leader are now the common coin of the blogosphere; hence targeting Ibrahim for prosecution would necessarily be selective.

Sedition Act flouted with impunity

“A better tack would be for Nazri to say what he feels about Ibrahim's rants rather than seek to excuse them on the spurious grounds that these are now the norm in the blogosphere and therefore it is futile to call incendiary elements to account,” remarked Kulasegaran.

NONE“Perhaps Nazri (right) should lead a move to have the Sedition Act repealed because, according to him, it is no longer enforceable,” he suggested.

“There's not much continuing to have a law in the statute books that cannot be enforced simply because that law is being flouted with impunity,” opined Kulasegaran.

He said he was not being patronising to Nazri by claiming that based on the “constructive spirit” of the minister's initiative in gaining Malaysia's accession to the ICC, Nazri was “not a partisan hack but a minister capable of bipartisan endeavour.”

“It is not time, then, for Nazri to initiate the repeal of a law that has become obsolete and by his own reckoning is not enforceable?” queried Kulasegaran.

PKR to touchbase through Gawai dinners

Sarawak PKR is not resting on its laurels and is now moving to revive its campaign with the parliamentary polls in focus.
KUCHING:  Barely a  month after a gruelling campaign and hotly contested state election, Sarawak PKR is back on the road preparing for the parliamentary polls.
But this time they are kicking off their ‘campaign’ with celebrative dinners in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak (harvest) festival.
According to state chief Baru Bian, five Gawai celebration dinners will be held in major towns and cities in Sarawak.
“We are organising five gawai celebrations and dinners in major towns and cities. Through these Gawai dinners we try to get closer to the people especially the Dayaks whose support for us is vital for the coming parliamentary election,” said Bian, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.
He said PKR’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and other leaders from West Malaysia are also expected to attend the dinners.
“We have had a few weeks of recuperating, after the state election. And we think it is time for us to kick-start again our struggle and campaign.
“As we all know that parliament election is coming, I think it is most appropriate to have this Gawai do.
“In the spirit of Gawai, we hope all Sarawakians have a cause to celebrate and at the same time we pray for the hope for the future of Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole,” he said.
Fundraising dinners
Meanwhile, Mengga Mikui, the organising chairman of PKR’s state-wide Gawai celebration committee said that the party has big plans for the Gawai.
Themed ‘beserakup kita menang’ (united we win), Mengga said that their first Gawai do will be held on June 11 in Kuching which will be followed by Bintulu on June 18.
The next Gawai do will be held in Miri on June 24 and Sibu on June 25.
Limbang will be the centre for ‘ngiling tikai’ (rolling of the mat) on July 2 which is to signify the end of Gawai.
In all these dinners, Mengga hoped to sell at least 100 tables per do and called upon members, supporters and the public to come forward and buy tables.
He said that the purpose of the Gawai do is to enable them to raise their spirit again and to boost the support of the various communities especially the Dayak community for PKR.
Gawai Dayak is celebrated every year on June 1 and it is one of the major festivals in the state when friends, relatives and tourists from far and near will visit their Dayak friends during the ‘open house’.
Gawai Dayak is the time for Dayaks to enjoy themselves after successful harvests and at the same time to pray for good fortunes and good health in the coming year.
It is time also for them to display their rich cultural heritage.

No place in society for those who sow seeds of hatred

By R. Nadeswaran
The Sun

THE hallowed corridors of the renowned Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford University have been the scene of the entry of many luminaries whose speeches elucidated its audience.

Monday was no different when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak delivered his address. The packed hall had students, academicians, diplomats, businessmen both local and Malaysian, and even a disgraced politician.

Najib’s speech on moderation, peppered with quotes from the Quran, the Torah and even the Bible, went on to outline Malaysia’s success as a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society.

He said: “In managing our plurality, we have decided on integration as opposed to assimilation. Malaysians accept their diversity. We do not merely tolerate each other but we also embrace and celebrate. By leveraging the robustness and dynamism of our diversity, we have created a foundation for our national resilience.”

Touching on Islam and extremism, he said the solution lies in not for more Muslims to speak up but for the entire world to stand up.

“Just as Muslims need to make their voices heard, so do the Christians, the Jews, the Buddhists, the Hindus and the atheists who are sickened by intolerance, violence and terror and need to make their voices heard. We need to hear the concerted voices from moderates in all countries and from all walks of life. And when we do, the prize of peace is there for all to see.”

This was not the first time Najib had called for the voices of the moderates to drown out those of the extremists. At the United Nations in September last year, he called for a Global Movement of the Moderates that would see government, intellectuals, religious scholars and business leaders across the world take a united stand – a the spirit of moderation or balance.

Malaysians sitting in the audience must have been left wondering as to why their leader’s philosophies and ideals are not enshrined in the minds and hearts of some politicians back home.

If the PM is an advocate of moderation, tolerance and acceptance, why have the voices of extremism overpowered and threatened what we have done and achieved over the past 50 years?

Are certain elements deliberately defying the PM? Are certain individuals in disagreement with the PM by covertly and overtly supporting the voices of extremism? While the PM has the support of the majority, is the PM walking alone in his bid for religious and racial harmony?

From afar and from reading what is happening, there has been unnecessary tension based on hearsay, half-truths and lies. Hatred is being spewed without basis and the minds of Malaysians of races are being clouded by uncalled for claims, allegations and statements.

In the buses plying in certain suburbs of London there are posters stating “Hate Hurts”. It is a constant reminder that hatred based on race, religion, colour, creed or gender is totally unacceptable.

Tolerance

Najib quoted Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in a prison in Staten Island. When asked how he got through that period (most of which was in solitary confinement), the anti-apartheid campaigner declared: “I would like to be bitter, but there is no time to be bitter. There is work to be done…”

Every right-thinking Malaysian will embrace the PM’s wisdom and prophetic words on moderation, tolerance and acceptance.

He concluded his speech with these words: “Our choice is clear. Come together in action for a future of justice, freedom, hope, compassion and goodwill for our children or it will be replaced by a future of injustice, tyranny, hopelessness, cruelty and hate.

“Because the real divide is not between East and West or between the developed and developing worlds or even between Muslims and non-Muslims.

“It is between moderates and extremists of all religions. Together, let us embrace moderation as the best course of action and for the best way forward.”

Will all those seeking fame and glory by flaming the fire of hatred in the hope of occupying the seats of power listen to the clarion call for some semblance of temperance?

Can those who in the past had made idiotic, unacceptable and deplorable statements for selfish purposes keep their mouths shut? Will those who were involved in acts aimed at provoking peace-loving Malaysians end their charades?

Everyone wants a harmonious Malaysia. Those who have sowed the seeds of hatred and abhorrence have no place in society, and that in a nutshell was the PM’s message to the world, especially his fellow Malaysians.

Muslim women groups urge Govt to consider setting up new body

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Muslim women groups are urging the Government to set up a child support agency to compel fathers in divorce cases to pay maintenance for their children.

Single Mothers Entrepreneurs Association chairman Latifah Abdul Rahman said the Government must seriously consider setting up the agency because using the full force of the Federal machinery would be more effective in confronting the issue than leaving it to the mothers to pursue the matter with their ex-spouses.

“When families do not have enough money to eat, for school fees, medication and other things, children too go through a lot of stress, may drop out of school and end up in vice,” she said in a workshop on Perspectives on Muslim Women and the Current Islamic Family Law for media practitioners yesterday.

Latifah said although the Government had set up the Family Support Body for Muslim women a few years ago, many members of her association could not get maintenance.

“They were told that their husbands or male relatives could not be located,” she said.

Moreover, the body – initially implemented in the Klang Valley – could not get other states to implement it due to the lack of manpower, she said, adding that there were more than a million single mothers in the country.

Musawah (an international group for equality and justice in the Muslim family) project director Zainah Anwar said that they wanted a Federal Government agency because it was a problem across the board involving Muslims and non-Muslims.

By setting up the child support agency, the Federal Government would be responsible in getting fathers to pay for maintenance rather than leaving it to the ex-wives as the Government would have records of ex-husbands and could punish the men by not renewing their vehicle or business licences and passports.

She said in advanced countries that had the child support agency, compliance on maintenance payments improved from 30% to 80%.

“The idea of a child support agency was made known to the Government a few years ago but there was no response,” she said, adding that they hoped to work with government agencies and the Bar Council on family law matters soon.

Sisters in Islam acting executive director Ratna Osman said the Government needed to review the proposal for the agency because the Family Support Body had failed to address the problem.

Astronomers Discover Ten Floating Planets

WELLINGTON, May 19 (Bernama) -- Ten new "floating" planets, which drift through the galaxy rather than orbiting stars, have been discovered by an international team of astronomers led by New Zealand scientists, Xinhua news agency said citing a local newspaper's report.

The finding of the Jupiter-sized planets was announced Thursday by the international journal Nature as having "profound" implications and opening a new chapter in the history of the Milky Way.

The orphan gas planets, formerly the stuff of science fiction, were discovered using software developed by Massey University computer scientist and astrophysicist Ian Bond, the Dominion Post newspaper reported.

"They're giant planets in our galaxy, around the size of Jupiter and somewhere between us and those distant background stars," he told the newspaper.

The planets are believed to be about two-thirds of the way to the centre of the galaxy, which is about 25,000 light years away.

If they were visible to the naked eye, the planets would be pitch black, as they emitted no light, Bond said.

The find raised the possibility that smaller, Earth-sized free- floating planets, which could support life, were yet to be detected.

Bond told the newspaper the orphan planets could have been ejected from a solar system because of close gravitational encounters with other planets or stars, or they could have grown from collapsing balls of gas and dust, but lacked the mass to ignite their nuclear fuel and produce their own starlight.

The discovery team included researchers from Massey, Auckland, Canterbury and Victoria universities, all based in New Zealand, as well as from Osaka University in Japan and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, in the United States.

The group is part of the microlensing observations in astrophysics study, which uses a microlensing telescope at Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Gravitational microlensing is an astronomical phenomenon that refers to the bending of light that occurs when a star is aligned with a massive object in front of it, allowing the study of planetary bodies that emit little or no light.

HRP sets terms for Pakatan ahead of polls

HUMAN Rights Party secretary-general P. Uthayakumar has told Pakatan Rakyat leaders that his party will refrain from contesting in Perak provided Pakatan leaders are prepared to give in writing that they will honour Hindraf's 18-point demands, reported Malaysia Nan-ban.

However, Uthayakumar said Perak Indians could become king-makers if HRP contests and wins the seven state seats where the community has a large presence namely Buntong, Hutan Melintang, Jalong, Changkat Jering, Jelapang, Pasir Panjang and Sungkai.

He said that if HRP wins the seven state seats, the HRP could assert political pressure on Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan to grant land for the poor Indian community. He said this to the media during a fund-raising dinner in Ipoh last Saturday.

> RESIDENTS of Kuala Ketil, Kedah, are afraid that the Titi Panjang wooden bridge used by more than 500 residents would become a death trap if nothing is done to repair it, reported Makkal Osai.
Batu Pekaka Tamil school headmaster K. Subra said the bridge was the only link to the school from the village.

He said that residents had submitted a memorandum to the government but nothing had been done to repair the bridge.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this > sign, it denotes a separate news item.

Pakistan Taliban warns of retaliation

The Pakistani Taliban have issued their first videotaped message since Osama bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals earlier this month.

In the exclusive footage, obtained by Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, the group is shown vowing revenge for the al-Qaeda leader's death.

The message, from a man called Umar Khalid, said the group would "take revenge" for Osama's killing, saying that Pakistan and the US's intelligence agencies were now on its "hit list".

He added that bin Laden's influence was still strong despite his death.
"Osama bin Laden has given us the ideology of Islam and Jihad ... by his death we are not scattered ... but it has given us more strength to continue his mission," he said.

"It took the Americans 11 years to kill Osama but for us it is easy, we will take our revenge in less than a few months."

Khalid and his men are now hiding in the mountains, and appear to be well-armed with assault rifles and other weapons. They are also shown with a laptop and a radio.

The group use motorcycles and a station wagon, camouflaged under several inches of mud, to move around.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, dozens of fighters attacked security checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan, killing two policemen and wounding several others.

Up to 100 fighters reportedly stormed the post near the Khyber tribal area, a stronghold for Taliban fighters.

The Taliban have staged a number of attacks in Pakistan since bin Laden was killed in a US raid on May 2 near the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Last Friday, at least 76 people were killed in a double suicide bombing on a Frontier Constabulary training centre in the northwestern town of Charsadda.

The Pakistani Taliban said they carried out the attack - this year's deadliest on the security forces - to avenge bin Laden's death in a compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.

Al-Qaeda's interim leader

In another development on Wednesday, Al Jazeera learned that al-Qaeda has appointed a temporary leader and a new head of operations.

Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian, was named interim leader, while Mustafa al-Yemeni, would direct operations.

US prosecutors say Adel is one of al-Qaeda's leading military commanders and helped plan the bomb attacks against the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998.
Click here for more of Al Jazeera's coverage
They also say he set up al-Qaeda training camps in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990s.

An al-Qaeda expert had said on Tuesday that Adel would likely not act as head of the organisation.
"This role that he has assumed is not as overall leader, but he is in charge in operational and military terms," Noman Benotman, a former bin Laden associate who is now an analyst with Britain's Quilliam Foundation think tank, said.
Adel was believed to have fled to Iran after the US invasion of Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, and was subsequently held under a form of house arrest there, according to some media reports.

Arab media reports said Iranian authorities released him from custody about a year ago, and he then moved back to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Some analysts say Adel may have returned to Iran or Afghanistan in recent weeks.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies

PKR Youth and Perkasa showdown possible

Deputy IGP: Police won't play politics

Deputy inspector-general of police (DIGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said the police were not legally bound to reveal the identity of the man in the sex video who resembled an opposition leader.

NONEHe said the case was being investigated under Section 292 of the Penal Code which concerned possession and distribution of pornographic material and did not require the police to make the man's identity known.

"If we act beyond our legal boundaries, we may be accused of being involved in politics.

"We are only doing our job by investigating this case, but we won't reveal what we cannot. Don't force us as we are only following the law," he told reporters after attending a brainstorming session with Johor police contingent leaders, which was also attended by state police chief Mokhtar Mohd Sharif.

zaid ibrahim quits pkr 191110 04Khalid was responding to a statement made by Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita) chief Zaid Ibrahim (right) today which claimed that the police's credibility would be affected if they hesitated to reveal the identity of the man in the sex video.

Khalid said police had completed the investigation into the distribution and screening of the sex video and it was up to the Attorney-General's Chambers to take further action.

"We have done all that was asked by the public prosecutor," he said.

On the brainstorming session today, he said the Johor police discussed new approaches to reduce public fear towards crime.

He said Johor police had reduced crime by 20 percent this year in the state's hot spots from the number of cases last year.

He added that police had set up 25 police beats in the hot spots of Johor Baru and Iskandar Malaysia, with plans to add 25 more beats to fight crime.

- Bernama

Did Pak Lah try to nail Najib for murder?

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that US embassy officials had discussed the possibility of a conspiracy against Najib.

KUALA LUMPUR: His father had whispered something and the accused appeared agitated. When the court adjourned for recess, the accused banged and kicked the door, yelling: “You can die, Pak Lah! Die, Pak Lah! I am innocent. I am innocent.”

In a startling new twist to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, WikiLeaks had revealed diplomatic cables hinting that former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, known as Pak Lah, might had attempted to fix up his then deputy, Najib Tun Razak.

The case which haunts Najib to this day, had come close to derailing his ambition of becoming prime minister when one of his confidants, Abdul Razak Baginda, was charged with abetting the murder of the Mongolian national.

Razak was eventually acquitted while Najib had forced Abdullah to hand over the reins after Barisan Nasional’s (BN) dismal performance in the 2008 general election.

In the WikiLeaks disclosure to the Asian Sentinel, the conspiracy theory implicating Abdullah was found in a February 2008 cable from the US embassy’s political section chief Mark D Clark.

During the trial, Clark wrote, Razak “appeared uneasy throughout the morning session of court on Feb 20. Razak’s father, Abdullah Malim Baginda, had whispered something to him shortly before the trial had begun for the morning and apparently upset the accused.

“Razak remained quiet throughout the morning hearing, but just after the noon recess was called and as he was leaving the courtroom he kicked and banged the door and yelled ‘You can die, Pak Lah! Die, Pak Lah! I am innocent. I am innocent’. He was later seen crying before his lawyer while his mother attempted to comfort him.”

‘The Sun told to withdraw copies’

The embassy official also noted that local newspapers and the government news service Bernama had reported the outburt, but did not print his statements.

“The short-lived exception was the English language newspaper The Sun, which included the quotations from Razak in its early morning Feb 21 edition. Sources at the newspaper confirmed to us in confidence that the Ministry of Internal Security (Home Ministry) compelled The Sun to withdraw and recall thousands of copies of their first-run paper in which the original quote was included. Prime Minister Abdullah serves concurrently as Minister of Internal Security.”

Clark said that speculation was rife in Malaysia’s online community on what had sparked off the outburst, including conspiracy theories alleging that the Prime Minister’s Office had urged Razak to implicate Najib, and in return, the accused would be spared the guilty verdict and mandatory death sentence.

“Regardless, the Internal Security Ministry would want to limit any possibly inflammatory reference to the prime minister at the trial, and particularly at this juncture due to the proximity of Malaysia’s general election to be held on March 8.

“Any connection between the prime minister and the murder trial would be scandalous. The GOM (Government of Malaysia) reportedly has worked hard to ‘drive (the case) from public view’… and is not about to allow the case to influence the coming election,” read the cable.

Based on the cables provided by WikiLeaks, the Asian Sentinel reported that the US embassy here followed the trial closely and frequently discussed whether Najib was involved in the killing.

The diplomats, like much of the public, also speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed and feared what one cable called “prosecutorial misconduct” that was being politically manipulated.

The embassy officials had based their concerns on sources within the prosecution, government and the political opposition.

‘Razak’s wife in contact with Anwar’

The cables, stated the report, were replete with accounts of a long series of meetings with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who repeatedly told the Americans that Najib was connected to corrupt practices in the acquisition of submarines as well as the purchase of Sukhoi Su-MCM-30 Flanker fighter jets from Russia.

Anwar, it added, also called attention to Najib’s connection to the Altantuya case.

In a Jan 24, 2007 cable marked “secret”, it was written that “perceived irregularities on the part of prosecutors and the court, and the alleged destruction of some evidence, suggested to many that the case was subject to strong political pressure intended to protect Najib”.

On Feb 1, 2008, Clark wrote that a deputy prosecutor had informed him “there was almost no chance of winning guilty verdicts in the ongoing trial of defendants Razak, a close adviser to Najib, and two police officers. She described the trial as interminably long.”

“Clark called the trial a ‘a prosecutorial embarrassment’ from its inception, leading many to speculate that the ineptitude was by design. On the eve of the trial, Malaysia’s Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail dropped his lead prosecutors and replaced them with less experienced attorneys. Similarly, a lead counsel for one of the defendants abruptly resigned before the trial ‘because of (political) attempts to interfere with a defence he had proposed, in particular to protect an unnamed third party.’”

The protracted nature of the case, Clark said, led “at least one regional newspaper to speculate that ‘the case is being deliberately delayed to drive it from public view. Malaysia’s daily newspapers rarely mention the case’s latest developments, and it is unprecedented in Malaysian judicial history that a murder trial could drag on for seven months and still not give the defence an opportunity to present its case. Such an environment has led many to conclude that the case was too politically sensitive to yield a verdict before the anticipated general election.”

Meanwhile, a January 2007 cable touched on Razak’s affidavit confirming that he sought the help of Musa Safri, later identified as Najib’s aide-de-camp, in ridding him of the jilted woman, and in other cables pointed out that Musa had never been called for questioning.

In another cable, dated May 16, 2007, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, a deputy home minister in

Abdullah’s cabinet, told US Embassy officials that he was “certain that government prosecutors would limit their trial activities to the murder itself and the three defendants; prosecutors would not follow up on allegations of related corruption or other suspects”.

In a cable marked “secret” on Jan 27, 2007, embassy officials wrote: “In December we heard from one of (Anwar’s) lawyers that Razak’s wife was in contact with Anwar and (Anwar’s wife Dr )Wan Azizah (Wan Ismail), suggesting one possible source for Anwar’s information.”

In April 2009, two police officers from the special operations force, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, were found guilty of murdering Altantuya.

The murder was tied closely to the US$1 billion acquisition of French submarines by the Malaysian defence ministry during Najib’s tenure as defence minister. Altantuya reportedly acted as a translator on the transaction, which netted Razak’s company a €114 million “commission” on the purchase.

According to reports, Altantuya had been offered US$500,000 for her part in translating and after she was jilted, she vainly demanded payment. In a letter she had written, made public after her death, Altantuya said she regretted attempting to “blackmail” Razak.

French lawyers are investigating whether some of the €114 million was kicked back to French or Malaysian politicians.

Don't "force us" to reveal man in sex tape, pleads deputy IGP

(Bernama) - Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIGP) Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the police were not legally bound to reveal the identity of the man in the sex video who resembled an opposition leader.

He said the case was being investigated under Section 292 of the Penal Code which concerned possession and distribution of pornographic material and did not require the police to make the man's identity known.

"If we act beyond our legal boundaries, we may be accused of being involved in politics.

"We are only doing our job by investigating this case, but we won't reveal what we cannot. Don't force us as we are only following the law," he told reporters after attending a brainstorming session with Johor police contingent leaders, which was also attended by state police chief Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Sharif.

Khalid was responding to a statement made by Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (KITA) chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim Wednesday which claimed that the police's credibility would be affected if they hesitated to reveal the identity of the man in the sex video.

Khalid said police had completed the investigation into the distribution and screening of the sex video and it was up to the Attorney-General's Chambers to take further action.

"We have done all that was asked by the public prosecutor," he said.

On the brainstorming session today, he said the Johor police discussed new approaches to reduce public fear towards crime.

He said Johor police had reduced crime by 20 per cent this year in the state's hot spots from the number of cases last year.

He added that police had set up 25 police beats in the hot spots of Johor Baharu and Iskandar Malaysia, with plans to add 25 more beats to fight crime.

Wikileaks,Pak Lah, Najib And The Altantuya Murder

Asia Sentinel

Cables show the US embassy in KL feared "prosecutorial misconduct" during the sensational 2009 trial
.

The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur closely followed the trial of the accused killers of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu and frequently discussed whether current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was involved in the killing, according to diplomatic cables supplied to Asia Sentinel by the WikiLeaks website.

The diplomats, like much of the public, also speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed and feared what one cable calls "prosecutorial misconduct" that was being politically manipulated. The embassy officials based their concerns on sources within the prosecution, government and the political opposition.

The cables also draw attention to an intriguing allegation that then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have attempted to use the proceedings to implicate Najib, a claim that was quickly hushed up in the Malaysian press.

Altantuya was murdered in October 2006 by two of Najib's bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30 and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35. who stood trial and were pronounced guilty in April 2009. Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib's best friends and Altantuya's lover, was accused of participating in the murder but was freed without having to put on a defense.

The murder has been tied closely to the US$1 billion acquisition of French submarines by the Malaysian ministry of defense, which Najib headed as defense minister during the acquisitions. Altantuya reportedly acted as a translator on the transaction, which netted Razak Baginda's company a €114 million "commission" on the purchase. Reportedly she had been offered US$500,000 for her part in translating. After she was jilted, she vainly demanded payment. A letter she had written was made public after her death saying she regretted attempting to "blackmail" Razak Baginda.

French lawyers are investigating whether some of the €114 million was kicked back to French or Malaysian politicians. Despite the scandal, the US government has not publicly backed away from Najib. In April 2010, Najib visited the White House and was praised by President Barack Obama for the parliament's passage of an act allowing Malaysian authorities to take action against individuals and entities engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The cables are replete with accounts of a long series of meetings with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who repeatedly told the Americans that Najib was connected to corrupt practices in the acquisition of the submarines as well as the purchase of Sukhoi Su-MCM-30 Flanker fighter jets from Russia. Anwar also called attention to Najib's connection to the Altantuya case.

A Jan. 24, 2007 cable, marked "secret," wrote that "Perceived irregularities on the part of prosecutors and the court, and the alleged destruction of some evidence, suggested to many that the case was subject to strong political pressure intended to protect Najib."

In a Feb. 1, 2008 cable, the embassy's Political Section Chief, Mark D. Clark, wrote that a deputy prosecutor had told him "there was almost no chance of winning guilty verdicts in the on-going trial of defendants Razak Baginda, a close advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, and two police officers. She described the trial as interminably long." (That, of course, turned out to be wrong. Sirul and Azilah were ultimately convicted and have appealed their sentence)

Clark called the trial a "a prosecutorial embarrassment from its inception, leading many to speculate that the ineptitude was by design. On the eve of the trial,Malaysia's Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail dropped his lead prosecutors and replaced them with less experienced attorneys. Similarly, a lead counsel for one of the defendants abruptly resigned before the trial 'because of (political) attempts to interfere with a defense he had proposed, in particular to protect an unnamed third party.'"

The protracted nature of the case, Clark continued, led "at least one regional newspaper to speculate that 'the case is being deliberately delayed to drive it from public view. Malaysia's daily newspapers rarely mention the case's latest developments, and it is unprecedented in Malaysian judicial history that a murder trial could drag on for seven months and still not give the defense an opportunity to present its case. Such an environment has led many to conclude that the case was too politically sensitive to yield a verdict before the anticipated general elections."

A January 2007 cable called attention to Razak Baginda's affidavit confirming that he sought the help of Musa Safri, later identified by reporters as Najib's aide-de-camp, in ridding him of the jilted woman, and in other cables pointed out that Musa had never been called for questioning.

In another cable, dated May 16, 2007, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, a deputy home affairs minister in former Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi's cabinet told US Embassy officials that he was "certain that government prosecutors would limit their trial activities to the murder itself and the three defendants; prosecutors would not follow up on allegations of related corruption or other suspects."

In a Jan. 27, 2007 cable, marked "Secret," embassy officials wrote that "In December we heard from one of (Anwar's) lawyers that Razak Baginda's wife was in contact with Anwar and Wan Azizah, suggesting one possible source for Anwar's information."

Razak Baginda's wife, during one of his first appearances in court, screamed that her husband "doesn't want to be prime minister." That was taken by observers as a reference to the fact that Najib reportedly had been having an affair with Altantuya but passed her on to Razak Baginda because it would be unseemly to have a mistress when he succeeded Abdullah Badawi as premier. Najib has offered to swear on the Koran that he had never met the woman.

However, in July 2008, P Balasubramaniam, a former policeman and private detective who had been hired by Razak Baginda to protect him from Altantuya, filed a sworn statement saying he had been told by the accused man that Najib not only knew the murdered woman but had an affair with her and introduced her to him, passing her on because he did not want the onus of having a mistress in the event that he would become prime minister.

In a telephone interview on May 9, Anwar, however, told Asia Sentinel that Razak Baginda's wife was not the source of his knowledge of Najib's connection and that instead he had been told of the connection by Setev Shaariibuu, Altantuya's father, who said he had wished to present evidence of Najib's involvement, but was not allowed to do so. Multiple attempts to contact Setev by Asia Sentinel have been unsuccessful.

Almost immediately after he made the statement, Balasubramaniam was picked up and driven to a police station, where he was forced to withdraw the statement and write a new one saying Razak Baginda had told him nothing of the sort. Balasubramaniam fled Malaysia for India. He later said Najib's brother, Nizam, and wife, Rosmah Mansor, had met with him and that he was offered RM5 million (US$1.48 million) to forget his statement connecting Najib to Altantuya. Balasubramaniam displayed a flock of checks drawn on the account of an associate of Najib's wife. The former private detective has made a a series of statements from outside the country about Najib's involvement.

A February 2008 cable from Political Section Chief Clark gives a hint that Abdullah Badawi himself may have been trying to get rid of Najib by forcing Razak Baginda to implicate him in the murder.

"In the latest turn of the ongoing Altantuya murder trial (reftels), accused political insider Abdul Razak Baginda, who has remained calm and composed through most of the proceedings, unleashed an emotional tirade shortly after the February 20 noon recess on the trial's 90th day," Clark wrote. "Referring to the Prime Minister by his nick-name 'Pak Lah,' Razak reportedly exclaimed: 'You can die, Pak Lah! (in Malaysian - Matilah kau, Pak Lah!) I'm innocent!' according to unpublished journalist accounts. Read more.