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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

DBKL ‘vandals’ damage estate property

About 30 DBKL officers tore down the Bukit Jalil estate's banners while police officers looked on.
PETALING JAYA: The residents of Bukit Jalil estate claimed another “official vandalism” took place yesterday when nearly 30 Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officers tore their banners.
It all took place in the presence of nearly 20 police officers.

The estate action committee treasurer K Balakrishnan said that DBKL officers arrived at the estate at about 10am and started tearing down their banners placed at the estate entrance.

“When I enquired one of officers, known as Abdullah, he told me that he was instructed by the minister to do so,” said Balakrishnan. The estate comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry.

On May 25, about 30 DBKL officers and policemen tore down their banners and damaged the chairs placed at the security post located at the entrance of the estate.

The officers allegedly refused to acknowledge an injunction issued by the Court of Appeal on May 13 against DBKL although the residents produced a copy to them.

The ex-parte interim injuction was issued against DBKL from demolishing the houses pending trial.
Balakrishnan also showed Abdullah a copy of the injunction yesterday, but the latter dismissed it saying he has a family to feed and he had no other alternative.

When Balakrishnan approached the police stationed there for assistance, the officers allegedly told him that they were there to ensure “no problems arise from the action”.

Upset over the incident, Balakrishnan, who is also Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator, criticised Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin over the incident.

“I hold him personally responsible for this. He has disrespected the court by going against an injunction.
“When a minister doesn’t respect the court, the people will not respect the minister,” he said.

The residents had since lodged a police report over the latest incident yesterday.

Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said the action by the officers was tantamount to criminal intimidation.

“The officers can be charged under the Penal Code,” said Fadiah.

On whether the officers had committed contempt of court by their action, Fadiah said the officers can argue in court that they only tore down their banners, not their homes.

“I will need to discuss with my clients ( the residents) before charting my next course of action,” she said.

Estate workers want manager out

During a meeting with MIC leader S Vell Paari, Nigel Garder estate workers reveal that their main problem is the manager.
HULU SELANGOR: A group of Nigel Gardner estate workers met with MIC publicity and communication chief S Vell Paari on Saturday to air their grouses.
The meeting was held at a temple located outside the estate.

On Friday, Berjaya Group, which owns the estate, had denied Vell Paari permission to meet the workers inside Nigel Gardner.

In a letter, Berjaya general manager Sandy Tham stated that the meeting could not be held inside the estate as a mark of respect for the King, since Saturday was his birthday.

The workers also claimed that security at the entrance of the estate was beefed up just in case Vell Paari decided to show up.

After visiting the estate two weeks ago, Vell Paari said that he was appalled by the living conditions of the workers and mooted the idea of relocating them.

Subsequently, Berjaya, owned by tycoon Vincen Tan, denied that it was ill-treating or subjecting its workers to slave-like conditions.

The more than an hour long meeting at the temple kicked off at 3pm, and was attended by some 15 workers.

Those who attended claimed that many workers were afraid to come because the estate management had allegedly threatened to terminate their employment.

Their main grouse was with the estate manager, whom the workers claimed had failed to look after their welfare

“Our main problem is the manager. We just want him transferred out. During the Hulu Selangor by-election (in 2009), MIC leaders promised us that if we voted for them, the manager will be moved out.
“That’s why we voted for P Kamalanathan. But the manager is still here and Kamalanathan is never around,” complained a worker who declined to be named.

’50kg fertiliser bags’

Another worker complained about how the women in the estate had to drag 50kg bags of fertiliser up a steep hill.

“According to the agreement with the National Union of Plantation Workers (NUPW), each worker should only be assigned 12 bags per day. Each bag weighs 50kg. But in Nigel Gardner the women are forced to empty 18 to 20 bags,” he claimed, adding that prolonged exposure to the fertiliser could cause health complications.

The worker also disputed the estate management’s claim that special equipment were given to carry the bags.

Apart from this, the disgruntled workers also complained about the low wages, lack of public transportation and houses not being mended.

As for the relocation plan, some were receptive to the idea but others were afraid of moving to a township where the cost of living was higher.

“If we move to a town, there will be pasar malam and KFC, the children will asks us to buy things for them. How can we afford? Here in the estate, there is nothing. The nearest town is about 40km away, so the children don’t ask us for anything,” said a mother of three.

FMT learnt that in 2003, Barisan Nasional had promised the workers houses. The promise was repeated again during the by-election but there was nothing in black and white.

“Many of the residents are hesitant about moving out because they are afraid of losing the opportunity to own houses, should that ever materialise,” said a source.

However, the workers agreed to relocate if the manager was not transferred.

‘Put your complaints in writing’

Meanwhile, Vell Paari called on the worker’s representatives to list out all the grouses and demands on paper by the end of this week. He also asked for another list detailing the personal problems faced by each family in the estate.

Following this, he said that the complaints would be sent to Berjaya as well as to the Prime Minister’s Office, which had also requested for a copy.

“MIC president G Palanivel (the former MP for Hulu Selangor) will also be given a copy, and he has promised to personally talk to Vincent Tan about this matter.

“We’ll give Berjaya a time period to act on the complaints. If they fail to address the problems, then we’ll look at other avenues, perhaps some drastic measures.

“There is also the possibility that they want these workers out so that they can hire cheaper foreign labour. If that is the case, then we take them to court for constructive dismissal,” he said.

Urging the workers not to be afraid, Vell Paari also explained to the workers that the labour law did not allow arbitrary sackings.

“They know that you are ignorant of the law, so they take advantage of this. The next time, they do this, ask them to put it in writing, file a police report and notify me,” he said.
Previously, Berjaya’s senior management had promised to look into the complaints raised by the workers.

DAP insists on overseas scholarships for all SPM aces

Lim: If MCA cannot differentiate between foreign and domestic investments with revenue then MCA does not deserve to be part of government.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 7- All SPM top scorers should get overseas Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships instead of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) grants if Malaysia wants to retain the country’s human talent, DAP has said.
 
Putrajaya announced yesterday that 500 special education grants would be disbursed by 1MDB to rejected applicants to study locally.  The categories (annual): Scholarships to public universities (RM7,500), scholarships for critical courses in private universities (RM15,000), and grants for non-critical courses (RM7,500).

“This pledge to award overseas scholarships equally to all top students is necessary to win Malaysia’s future by escaping the middle-income trap to become a high-income economy with USD15,000 per capita income...Malaysia would be sending a wrong message if we reward mediocrity instead of excellence, do not have a level-playing field that is fair to the best and brightest and allow the brain drain to continue,” said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in a statement today.

Lim repeated his call for the Najib administration to make public the results of those who were awarded overseas scholarships, and accused Barisan Nasional (BN) for failing to uphold transparency and accountability by not doing so.

The Penang Chief Minister said that MCA was trying to “distract” attention by attacking his administration for not having enough money to provide scholarships to top students in the state, in response to MCA’s claims yesterday that Penang had vast wealth to spend on overseas scholarships because Penang came out top in investments with RM 12.2 billion in 2010.

“If MCA cannot differentiate between foreign and domestic investments with revenue then MCA does not deserve to be part of government. Investments are held by the private sector to spend to generate jobs and economic growth, not revenue for the state government to spend.

“Further the Penang PR state government is still trying to clean up years of BN’s misrule and abuse of power in the state that caused RM230 million in losses to Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai(MPSP) until MPSP became practically bankrupt and the Tang Hak Ju land scam that costs the state RM40 million,” added Lim.

Lim said that despite revenue constraints, the Penang government has continued to award loans at local public universities to all deserving Penang students, and also increased primary and secondary scholl grants to poor students.

A rape survivor’s tale

Samantha no longer has the same zeal for life. She is also cautious about making friends. While the pretty smile is still there, her eyes do not reflect the joy that comes with it.
PETALING JAYA: She was the sort of person anyone would bill “a good girl”. Responsible, hard working and generous to a fault, Samantha (not her real name) never thought twice about helping anyone in need – if she could. The Kuala Lumpur-born lass is the kind of girl you would want as your best friend – kind, compassionate and who is great at keeping secrets.

“She was so full of life,” says her mother, “and would always be the one with the jokes. Everyone loved her.” Samantha’s sister adds, “She was always the positive one, and I think the most non-judgmental person I know. And when she smiled at you, you just had that feeling that all will be well.”

This has since changed. Samantha no longer has the same zeal for life. She is also cautious about making friends. While the pretty smile is still there, her eyes do not reflect the joy that comes with it. Ten years ago, Samantha was raped while she was pursuing her degree abroad. The ironic thing about this was that she used to work with women who had been beaten, raped and abused.

“I used to volunteer at a centre for rape and assault victims. I look them in the eyes, I listen to their stories, I hold them, I pray. I was always the strong one for them – it was a real privilege. Now, when I’m alone, I’m reminded of what happened to me. I rarely talk about it, but today seems to be the day and I’m glad for the opportunity to say something about it,” she says.

It was in 2000 when Samantha left to pursue her degree in Psychology. She admits to being very excited yet anxious about the whole journey, as it would be her very first time away from home.

The attack


“On the first anniversary of my being abroad, I decided to throw a party to celebrate ‘making it’ on my own. I had a party in the flat I lived in. I was 23. I invited everyone I knew and… it was just a wonderful night.

“I didn’t care if I knew the people who were coming – I just chalked it up as me being generous and it as an opportunity to open my home to the possibility of making some new friends. I’ll never forget how good it was. I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. I was always never much of a drinker and that night, I remember nursing only a glass of wine the entire night,” she says, smiling wryly at the memory.

Near the end of the party, a man asked Samantha if she could take him home. “I don’t remember inviting him and thought that he must have come with someone else I invited. I didn’t think it was polite to ask him who did he come with. Besides, he was drunk, I was tired and sleepy.”

The man who gave his name as Liam then asked if could he crash on her sofa. A few other friends had said they were staying and so Samantha agreed. “This kind of thing is quite common with college life. We tend to accommodate people – it’s a student thing, I guess. Besides, I didn’t want to feel guilty should he drive home in this state and get into an accident – then I would think this wouldn’t have happened if I only had allowed him to crash on my couch for a few hours. So I said yes.” She shakes her head and pulls her sweater tighter around her.

“I remember walking to my bedroom and wondering how nice it is that I don’t have to be up early for class the next morning. I remember lying on my bed, fully dressed, face on my arms, feeling very pleased at how the party went. I dozed off with these happy thoughts,” she says. A long pause ensues and with a deep breath, Samantha says in a shaky voice, “Then it happened.”

She was suddenly woken up with someone’s hands round her neck. Liam was raping her. “It happened so quickly. I must have been fast asleep and he used this to his advantage to undress me. Over and over it happened while I wondered why no one was alarmed at the sound of me screaming – I found out later they’d all left shortly after I went to my room to sleep,” she shares of this experience.

Liam had also hit her many times during the rape and the last punch he delivered blacked her out.

The aftermath

It was winter and the sky was still a blackish blue when Samantha came to and called a friend – screaming. She was taken to the hospital and met with a detective. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Look, I don’t have a lot of time. I want to know, did this really happen or are you just angry because the guy had sex with you and left?’ I didn’t quite know how to react to what he said. But now, in hindsight, I wanted to scream at him,” she confesses.

After Samantha explained what happened, the detective said that description she provided wasn’t enough information for him to go on and that she “should know better than to allow a stranger into my house.” She adds that she knows this now, but wished for a little more compassion at the time.

“When a woman is raped, some authorities make them feel that they’re in the wrong. That they asked for it. No woman asks to be raped,” she says, with fists clenched.

Samantha was released from the hospital and a friend took her home. “It was so difficult stepping into the house, and the bedroom where it all happened. My friend helped me put together an identity-kit of sorts and the next day together with four other friends, pamphlets were handed out with the hope that someone would know who this man is. No one came forward to help. No one remembered him. No one but me.”

The days that followed


“The next few weeks was pure hell,” she states bluntly. Samantha didn’t want to stay home, neither did she feel brave enough to go outside. “What if he was lurking around the area waiting to attack me again? He knew where I lived, after all. I couldn’t tell my parents. They would be broken and worried to no end. But I had to in the end and they flew to meet me and bring me home,” she says while her mother grasps her hand in a show of support.

Today, Samantha has her own private psychology practice offering help to women just like her. “It has been 10 years since I was raped. Why am I telling you these memories? Why am I talking about this?” She asks, then offers a carefully thought out reply.
“When I hear people arbitrarily use the word rape so they can shock their friends and readers of their microblogs into paying attention to what they’re saying, or when I see people nonchalantly use the word rape so they can make people laugh, when I see people casually use the word rape for any reason, it burns something inside of me.

“There are some people who use the word rape to describe how ravenously hungry they are and I can only think, ‘I cut my arms open to get away from the pain after I was raped.’”

“I still can’t remember the first two years of my life after I was raped. That’s how bad it was. Then there are those who talk about rape like it’s a joke and I want to scream.

“Years later I still can’t sleep a full night without waking up screaming from the nightmares,” she admits.

Don’t erase me

When asks if she has problems with men, or if she hates them, Samantha offers, “Absolutely not. I know there are many good men in this world and it wouldn’t be fair to use this experience to generalise all them as being bad.

“I am currently seeing someone but it has taken me a long time to get here. It hasn’t been easy for him either – but he has been with me through it all and has helped tremendously with my road to recovery. But I’m still working at it, though,” she says, treating us to that elusive pretty smile.

Samantha adds that there are some people who argue with her to try and get her to understand that rape isn’t “just” being sexually assaulted – rape can be anything where one thing is taken from another person by force.

“When a person talks about it like it’s nothing, I want them to know, they talk about me and other rape survivors like we are nothing. They talk about us like we are alone. They talk about me like I am not a sister to the millions of other survivors of rape, sexual assault, and violence around the world. I want these people and the survivors to know we are not alone. We are not garbage to be taken out and thrown away… or forgotten,” she stresses.

Samantha also wants people to know that every time we use the word rape to refer to anything that is not rape – no matter how serious that other thing is – we are minimising and erasing people who have, literally, fought to bring themselves back from the brink of horror – a terror so large and overpowering that many never come back from it.

Many victims of rape succumb to this evil and commit suicide, she says, and find themselves addicted to drugs and alcohol, or end up in a situation where they are raped again.

“None of us will ever be who we were – whole lives decimated after the act of a soulless monster who chose to use us to make himself feel better about his lack of power. Most of us will never be able to recover those parts of ourselves we lost in the battle, either. We don’t laugh the same, we don’t dance the same, we’ll never be able to do mundane daily tasks without wondering if we’re safe.

“Some of us will wake up in the middle of the night for the rest of our lives, covered in sweat and screaming – feeling like we’re dying and the rape is still happening, until we realise it was just a nightmare. Then we’ll cry ourselves back to sleep. I have done these things,” she divulges.

As the interview comes to a close, Samantha asks if she could add one other thought on behalf of rape survivors. “If I could ask something of the world, it would be this: Do not erase me. Do not erase us. Do not erase our victory over something that could have taken us – as it has so many others – away from this world permanently. Do not take away from us what we have given everything to achieve: Survival. Do not victimise us again. We are survivors.”

PDRM: Cops or criminals?

Is the BN government's refusal to put the police force on a leash, a case of 'you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours'
COMMENT
There is a Malay proverb, “harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi” which can be taken to mean that a person who is entrusted with something often ends up betraying that trust. In today’s time, this saying best defines the Malaysian police force.

Reneging on their responsibility as protectors, the cops by virtue of their own misgivings will have to clean up their act to redeem public faith and trust that has slipped off.

Going by the many reports of police brutality, the latest reported by FMT on May 26, 2011, there is no doubt left that the people are having a tough time counting on the cops, for the cops seem to be making news, but for the wrong reasons.

The bad news includes detaining people behind bars and whacking the daylights out of them, leaving them dead literally. Then there is the insensitivity and indifference shown by the police when it comes to handling complaints concerning violence against women, be it rape or domestic violence.

On the issue of domestic violence, a young woman, Pakaim Subramaniam, died in February this year, just five months into her marriage. Her father, M Subramaniam, alleged that she was the victim of domestic violence due to the severe injuries she had sustained. He said the police failed to investigate the case, which then led him seek help from Suhakam, the country’s human rights commission.

Meanwhile, the latest cop brutality reported by FMT involved a 20-year-old student, S Ganesan, who claimed that he was beaten up and verbally abused by the police after he knocked into a policeman’s motorcycle at a roadblock in Rembau, Negri Sembilan, in the early hours of the morning.

“The policeman kept beating me and called me ‘keling’. They also shouted at me, saying I should just die so that they can close the case,” Ganesan was quoted by FMT as recalling.

The youngster was then warned not to report the matter before he was bundled into an ambulance and despatched to the Tunku Jaafar Hospital.

Now, what should one make of such news when the men in uniform go back on their duties and abuse the trust the people have in them?

To think that the former inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, unfortunately set the precedent when he beat up former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, to the extent of punching the latter in the eye, earning Anwar the “blue” eye bruise that paradoxically went on to become the symbol of his party, Keadilan.

Police notoriety

With police notoriety fast becoming the norm than the exception, it is no longer acceptable that the government under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak acts nonchalantly over the abuse the public suffers at the hands of the police.

Clearly, the need for a body to keep an eye on the cops and admonish them where need be has to be instituted. The federal government’s refusal to acknowledge the role of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is best translated as the government’s could-not-care-less attitude about how the people suffer at the hands of the police. Are the police the new “law”?

Refusing to create a monitoring body to ensure the cops remain within the boundaries of their duty has only put the federal government in a bad light. Citing reasons why the IPCMC is not necessary gives the people the message that the government is not willing to undertake any measure to upset the police force. But why?

Has the country’s police force become a law unto itself, doing as it pleases, sending the public the message that it has immunity courtesy of the “powers that be”?

When cops who beat up detainees are let free by the court, it marks a sad day for the justice system in this country. And it is even more appalling that the government that keeps brainwashing the “people first” chant to the people finds it unnecessary to intervene.

In 2005, a 634-page report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Police Force, headed by a former judge, revealed that the police were brutal, inept and the most corrupt among the government departments. Between 1999 and 2003, there were 5,726 formal corruption complaints involving the police force and it was recommended that the police force be monitored by an independent watchdog.

Still, the BN government is adamant that there is no use for the IPCMC.

An Indian-based non-governmental organisation, Aastivaram Foundation, said between 2003 and 2007, there were 85 custodial deaths. This number excluded those who were shot dead.

“The commission is long overdue. Currently, the police themselves investigate cases of police abuse and I believe they tend to cover up such cases,” the foundation’s vice-president R Sanjeevan told FMT recently.

On June 18, 2008, a cop on duty at the Putra Heights (in Subang Jaya) police station raped a woman pillion rider after detaining her boyfriend at the police station for riding the motorbike without a licence. The 17-year-old girl gathered all her courage to take the perpetrator to court. And yes, this was not the first such case involving a policeman but something must be done soon to make sure it is never repeated.
If a policeman is unable to carry out his responsibilities with respect to the uniform he wears and to the people he is duty-bound to protect, then there is no reason left for his presence in the force.

Dare BN government leash the police?

Rape, deaths in cells, working with car-stealing syndicates and perhaps various other unlawful activities, the police force has today become a tainted profession, one which many would only venture into as the last resort.

If blame is to be assigned for the sad state of the police force, it rightfully goes to the BN government for, in its own way, “encouraging” the cops to carry on with their bad ways. Rahim became the thug of the day when he decided that bashing up a detainee was not a big deal. And the “trend” continues, with detainees suffering brutality at the hands of the police.

It is a different story for those detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA). They suffer a different kind of humiliation at the hands of the police, encompassing physical, mental and emotional tortures.

With so much wrongdoing taking place, the government is still in two minds about “leashing” the police force. Has this inability to decide, anything to do with the “you scratch my back, I scratch your back” syndrome infamously plaguing the government agencies?

When it comes to the deaths of detainees in police cells, this has been going on for so long that it begs the question, why is the government not disturbed by it? Or the government just does not care, to be precise.

Had the government under Najib cared, as he incessantly claims, the case of the police constable who beat up a 23-year-old suspected car thief, A Kugan while under police custody in 2009, and was let off the hook by the court, would have given the country’s leader sleepless nights. Instead, it is Kugan’s family who is left high and dry, after justice eluded them.

But then deaths at the hands of the cops is nothing new in Malaysia. If anything, it has become pandemic. Back in 1993, it was reported that teenage fisherman Manaf Mat died at the Alor Star General Hospital nine days after he was arrested for alleged possession of dadah. The police, however, refuted claims of negligence leading to Manaf’s death and passed the buck to the prison authorities.

In 1994, a 45-year-old detainee, Lim Thiam Hock. was found dead inside the Klang police station lock-up. Lim had defaulted on his supervision after serving sentence for dadah offences in 1990.

In 1995, the then attorney-general Mokhtar Abdullah ordered a judicial inquiry following dissatisfaction with the police’s failure to identify the death of an air-conditioned mechanic, Lee Quat Leong, while under detention. Lee was detained under the Emergency Ordinance 1969, in connection with the break-in of the Mayban Finance in Cheras.

Mokhtar made it clear that the police investigation cast serious and grave suspicion on certain officers over Lee’s death, which, according to the post-mortem, was due to internal bleeding. But city police chief Ismail Che Rus denied Lee’s death was due to internal bleeding.

In 1997, a 25-year-old man detained for suspected car and motorcycle thefts was found dead in a toilet at the Cheras police headquarters. He was believed to have died of strangulation as there were bruises on his throat.

In 1997, too, a second-hand car dealer R Shanmugam was found dead at the Kampung Tawas Police station lock-up, where he was detained for 66 days. The death certificate issued by the hospital authority stated he died of “hanging.” Suspecting foul play, Shanmugam’s father lodged a report at the Ipoh police station, claiming his son died due to injuries suffered while in police custody.

In 1999, a 20-year-old drug suspect was found dead at the Nilam Puri police station in Kota Baru, two hours after his arrest. Police were about to take him to the Kota Baru police headquarters when they found him dead inside the cell.

Deaths under police custody have yet to end. Meanwhile, the police force continues to end up with “bruises”, no thanks to the errant cops who continue to misuse the power in their hands.

Just how long more will the public be the recipients of such atrocities committed in police cells? Is violence the way sanctioned by the “powers that be”, allowing the police to trample the very law it is supposed to be a keeper of?

The Royal Malaysian Police is 204 years old and is smug about its motto of “Firm, Fair and Prudent” (Tegas, Adil and Berhemah). But looking at its “track record”, there is no doubt the police has failed to live up to its reason d’etre.

Aku Melayu keliru

7 JUN — Aku belia Melayu, rakyat Malaysia. Ibubapa aku dua-dua Melayu, rakyat Malaysia.
Masa aku kecil, ayah aku selalu cakap, bila aku sudah besar nanti, mesti tolong bangsa aku. Tapi dia juga cakap, tolong dengan cara majukan bangsa sendiri, dan jangan jatuhkan orang lain. Tapi bila aku sudah besar, banyak aku tengok pemimpin negara aku cuba nak tolong bangsa aku, tapi mereka sekat peluang bangsa lain. Aku keliru.

Ibubapa aku cakap sekolah itu penting, dan perpaduan juga sangat penting. Bila sudah besar, aku dapat masuk sekolah asrama penuh, ada Melayu, India, dan Cina. Siam pun ada. Aku tiada masalah nak bergaul. Aku jarang dengar pasal masalah perkauman, cuma  daripada buku teks sejarah. Tapi bila aku keluar, aku jumpa ramai kawan lain. Bila borak-borak, mereka kata sekolah mereka dipenuhi satu bangsa saja, sama ada Melayu, Cina atau India. Mereka jadi terlalu selesa bergaul dengan bangsa sendiri.  Aku keliru lagi.

Bila cerita pasal dakwah, aku bukanlah mahir. Tetapi yang aku faham, dalam dakwah, Muslim mengingatkan sesama muslim tentang Islam, dan menceritakan kepada yang bukan Muslim tentang keindahan agama ini.

Betapa indahnya konsep ini. Namun, bila aku sudah celik mata, lain yang aku nampak. Jarang dilihat rakan sebaya aku yang kuat berdakwah rapat bersama rakan kaum-kaum lain. Sebahagian mereka hanya hidup sesama mereka, hanya segilintir sahaja yang muncul kehadapan, berkongsi idea dengan rakan-rakan daripada agama yang lain. Aku jadi keliru.

Kini aku belajar di United Kingdom atas budi tak terhingga oleh MARA.  Dalam isu biasiswa, ramai pihak, terutamanya kaum bukan Bumiputera, ingin melihat sistem meritokrasi digunakan dengan lebih meluas dalam pemilihan pelajar. Ada juga mempertikaikan kewujudan MARA yang membantu Bumiputera namun tiada agensi untuk membantu kaum-kaum lain. Namun sejak kecil lagi, aku difahamkan pembahagian kuota untuk biasiswa adalah penting untuk mengurangkan jurang ekonomi di antara Bumiputera dan kaum-kaum lain.

Yang buat aku keliru adalah kenapa ada rakan Bumiputera aku yang bijak akademik dan tinggi sahsiah diri tidak mendapat biasiswa untuk perubatan ke luar negara, tapi ada kenalan Bumiputera yang sederhana akademik dan mempunyai pelbagai masalah disiplin mendapat biasiswa untuk pilihan yang sama?

Bila cakap pasal bangsa dan peluang, tak habis-habis debat sama ada pertolongan patut diberikan mengikut bangsa atau mengikut keperluan. Kalau ikut bangsa, kononnya kena adil dan tolong Bumiputera. Kalau ikut keperluan, mesti tolong siapa-siapa yang memerlukan tanpa mengira bangsa. Tapi berdasarkan fakta kemiskinan tahun 2009, semestinya jauh lebih banyak Bumiputera yang miskin (5.3 peratus) berbanding kaum Cina (0.6 peratus) dan kaum India (2.5 peratus).

Jadi, di kalau kita memberi pertolongan mengikut keperluan, sememangnya pertolongan ini akhirnya akan diberikan kepada Bumiputera juga. Maka apa lagi halangan untuk kita untuk dengan terbuka memberi bantuan ekonomi, kepada yang miskin terutamanya, berdasarkan siapa yang memerlukan? Oh mungkin pertolongan yang dimaksudkan adalah untuk Bumiputera yang sudah kaya untuk jadi lebih kaya. Aku jadi keliru.

Namun begitu, harapan masih ada untuk Malaysia. Masih ada Melayu yang percaya bangsanya perlu digalakkan untuk berjaya, bukan hanya disuap semata-mata. Ada juga Melayu yang sentiasa memperkasakan diri supaya mampu menjadi pemimpin bagi semua bangsa. Ada juga Melayu yang tidak hidup dalam kepompong Melayu dan rapat dengan rakyat Malaysia yang tidak berbangsa Melayu.

Namun, tindakan sesetengah mereka yang terlalu liberal hingga melakukan aktiviti-aktiviti yang haram di sisi Islam menjadikan mereka terlalu asing untuk dicontohi masyarakat Melayu konservatif. Aku bukanlah alim ulama dan aku sedar perkara ini tidak salah daripada segi kebebasan individu, namun secara jujurnya, sikap ini akan sedikit sebanyak mencacatkan imej mereka yang sepatutnya dicontohi.

Lebih teruk, imej kurang elok ini dianggap imej ideal untuk dicontohi masyarakat Melayu yang lain. Arak dijadikan wacana untuk bersosial dengan kaum-kaum lain walhal banyak lagi cara yang lebih dihormati.

Aku dilahirkan dalam keluarga yang konservatif. Berlandaskan kepada faktor sejarah dan demografi, aku percaya negara ini perlu di pimpin oleh Bumiputera beragama Islam. Perlu, bukan wajib. Namun, untuk merealisasi perkara ini, Malaysia memerlukan pemimpin-pemimpin Bumiputera Islam yang boleh menjaga kebajikan bukan sahaja Bumiputera Islam, namun juga kepentingan bangsa-bangsa lain. Konflik kepentingan antara kaum akan sentiasa wujud, tetapi aku percaya, jika Malaysia dipimpin oleh pemimpin Bumiputera yang adil, bebas rasuah dan juga tidak mementingkan diri sendiri dan juga keluarga, pemimpin ini akan lebih dihormati dan dapat menyelesaikan konflik-konflik vital ini secara muhibah.

Siapa kata konsep 1 Malaysia jadikan aku bangsa Malaysia?

Aku bangsa Melayu, rakyat Malaysia. Aku sayang bangsa aku, aku hormat semua rakyat Malaysia, jika mereka saling hormati aku.

* Ezlan is a 2nd year medical undergraduate at Queen Mary, University of London.  He tweets at @ezlanmohsen.

Hishammuddin refutes Aussie news report

The Sun
by Tim Leonard

KUALA LUMPUR (June 6, 2011): Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has strongly denied an Australian news report that linked the refugee swap plan between Malaysia and Australia with his brother's company which is an agent for an Australian banknote printing company.

He said he is not aware of his brother, Haris Onn Hussein's dealings and denied the insinuations in the report, which claimed that the latter was paid to "offer it access to, and influence over, Malaysia's top politicians".

"I do not know what my brother is doing and I don't think Australia will do that. Thirdly, there is no link at all to what I'm doing with Australia, simple as that," he said after opening the new Dang Wangi police complex today.

When asked if he denied the allegations in The Age report, Hishammuddin said: "Yes, that's what I said."

Both countries had last month agreed to sign a deal that will see Australia transfer 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia and accept 4,000 genuine refugees in return.

However, the deal has angered human rights campaigners, who claim the refugees may not receive adequate protection in Malaysia.

Today, The Age carried a front page article headlined 'Money trail nudges Malaysia's political royals' which said that the Reserve Bank of Australia's (RBA) firm Securency had engaged the services of Haris' company, Liberal Technology, in 2009 to help win banknote contracts.

Securency, which is half-owned and supervised by the RBA, has, for two years, been investigated by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the British Serious Fraud Office for allegedly bribing public officials in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria in order to win banknote supply contracts.

Under Australian law, it is a criminal offence for a company or individual to pay or offer a benefit to a foreign government official or their close relatives in order to obtain a business advantage.

Though Australia is yet to prosecute a foreign bribery case, Securency – which has four RBA appointed directors on its board – is likely to be the first. Those convicted face up to 10 years' jail.

Amnesty scam

The Star 
by SIRA HABIBU and STEVEN DANIEL

KUALA LUMPUR: Several companies claiming to represent the Home Ministry are under probe by the ministry for collecting money to legalise illegal immigrants.

It is learnt that some of the companies were collecting about RM800 per illegal immigrant under the Government's 6P programme which is a large scale legalisation and amnesty exercise to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in Malaysia, estimated at about two million.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the unscrupulous companies are being blacklisted as the ministry had not authorised any company or agent to collect money under the programme.

“The police and the Special Branch are already hot on the heels of the errant companies,'' he told The Star.

“I know it is happening. We will not tolerate this. If they collect money up front, out they go.

“We are blacklisting the errant companies, no matter how good or capable they are,'' he said.

The 6P programme which is aimed at registering, legalising, pardoning, monitoring, enforcing and deporting illegal immigrants, is expected to be finalised by the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Illegal Workers which is scheduled to meet soon.

On Monday, The Star which reported on the amnesty exercise, had said that under the programme, illegal immigrants could return to their country without being prosecuted. They, however, must first have their thumbprints recorded and stored in the Immigration Department database.

Hishammuddin said the ministry was in the process of screening several agencies interested in participating in the programme to help register illegal workers.

“We are starting with the biometric system, as we can use thumbprints to register illegal immigrants. We can track their movement, like the duration of stay in the country.

“We can also use the system to track those who returned to the country under a different name after deportation,'' he said, adding that documents could be forged, but not fingerprints.

He said the programme that was mooted 18 months ago would be implemented in a month's time.

“We are venturing into a new territory, that require much efforts from the right agencies in the right working environment,” he said, adding that other countries could emulate the Malaysian model to check human trafficking and other transborder crimes such as money laundering, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and terrorism.

“We can have all the basic information that can be shared by any agencies. We can share the information among other countries, and not only with Interpol,'' he said.

State TV: 120 security forces killed in northern Syria

(CNN) -- More than 100 people were killed Monday in and around the northern Syrian city of Jisr Al-Shugur in the third consecutive day of violence there, according to reports from the government and opposition groups.

State television cited 120 security forces killed, including 82 in Jisr Al-Shugur. In addition, it said, dozens of civilians were wounded.

State television said the security forces were killed in several attacks including an ambush by "armed gangs" in the city, when government buildings were set afire, and in clashes at a security center.

"The armed attacks targeted public and private buildings in various regions and lately there were similar attacks in Jisr Al-Shugur," Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Chaar said in a short statement on state television. "The state will deal with sternness and force within the law and we will not remain silent when it comes to any armed attack."

State television further reported that the "armed gangs" had stolen five tons of dynamite from a storage area near the Al Abyad Valley Dam.

Al Arabiya reported that the "Syria opposition is pleading for the military not to shell their city with their tanks."

In a statement read on state TV, Minister of Information Adnan Mahmoud said the people of Idlib District "were horrified" by the attacks, and accused the "armed gangs" of using medium-range weapons and bombs and using civilians as human shields.

But tweets and social media websites said the clashes took place when soldiers defected, refusing to follow orders to storm Jisr Al-Shugur.

State-run Syrian Arab News Agency said armed groups had barricaded themselves in some areas and were using machine guns and hand grenades.

The state security forces were facing hundreds of armed men in Jisr Al-Shugur and were trying to lift the siege of a neighborhood that had been taken over by the "gangs," state TV reported.

It said the state was sending reinforcements.

A resident of Jisr al-Shugur said earlier that the city was calm Monday, and that the clashes happened at nearby Khan Shaykhun, where 20 residents and an unknown number of security forces were killed.
He said residents were using hunting rifles.

The Syrian Revolution Facebook page said 10 helicopters were firing at civilians. The page predicted a major military incursion Monday night and appealed to residents to evacuate as soon as possible to Turkey.

Turkish officials in the border region said late Monday they had seen an increase in refugees and wounded Syrians in recent days.

Forty-one Syrians crossed Saturday into Turkey, local officials in the Yayladagi border town said.
Among them were injured Syrians who were taken to a hospital, witnesses said. The rest were taken to a tent camp set up by the Turkish Red Crescent in the Yayladagi town of Hatay province.

About 200 Syrian refugees have been living in the camp, which was erected on the grounds of an old tobacco factory, since late April/early May. They are not allowed to leave the compound and journalists are not allowed to meet with them.

A doctor from the regional hospital where some of the injured were taken said last weekend's arrivals -- about 30 in all -- had suffered mostly gunshot and shrapnel wounds amd were from Idlib, in Syria's northwest.

An opposition member who lives outside Syria but has sources inside the country who have proved reliable in the past said the clashes over the past three days in Jisr Al-Shugur, Khan Shaykhun and surrounding villages were between members and supporters of the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood and the Syrian security forces.

He said that 90 security members and 23 opposition members were killed Monday. In addition, nine tanks were destroyed and two helicopters were downed, he said.

He said the weapons had been taken into the country from Turkey, whose border is about 20 kilometers away. The wounded, he added, were being taken to Turkey for treatment.

The man, who has asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal, said Muslim Brotherhood supporters have long opposed the Syrian regime and were taking advantage of the uprising to settle their score. He further expressed concern that the brotherhood could hijack the peaceful secular uprising.

The Arabic Facebook group called the Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported that 42 people died Sunday in Jisr al-Shugur and its suburbs as the Syrian army and security forces sought to enter the city, where many of the stores have been closed in a general strike.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put Sunday's death toll at 47 -- 37 civilians and 10 security forces.

CNN was not able to confirm the reports. The Syrian government has restricted access to the country by members of the international news media and reliable information has been hard to get.

For example, two videos posted over the weekend on YouTube showed what Syrian opposition activists said was the slaughter of civilians in the besieged city of Daraa in the south of Syria. One video shows what appears to be a group of Syrian security forces standing over dead bodies, making jokes and discussing planting weapons on them.

The images included the bloody, mangled bodies of five men in civilian clothes. Men dressed in military uniforms walked around them, talking. "Show me those weapons," one said, "put them here."
Someone dropped what appeared to be weaponry onto the torso of one of the bodies.

"These are the weapons the committee will come film," a voice said.

Throughout the uprising in Syria, the Syrian government has described protesters as "armed criminals" and "terrorists," at times saying photos prove that the "criminals" were armed when security forces shot them.
The videos -- in which the bodies are bleeding from different areas -- are labeled online as having been shot April 30.

CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the videos.

The number of people killed in the government's crackdown on demonstrators, which began in mid-March, has exceeded 1,000, according to the United Nations.

Despite international calls to halt its aggression and sanctions by the United States, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has shown no sign of backing down.

Hezbollah, Syria PAYS Border ‘Protesters’: Media Attacks Israel Anyway

Useful (and paid) idiots: what did they think was going to happen? Israel border 'protestors' carry injured demonstrator
Useful (and paid) idiots: what did they think was going to happen? Israel border 'protestors' carry injured demonstrator

Nothing new there, then:Protestors at northern Israel border promised $1,000 reward by Assad’s regime, Reform Party of Syria claims; Israeli officials: Damascus encouraged rioters. Syria says IDF killed 23 people, wounded 350; army says figures inflated
Israeli officials later reinforced the claims, accusing the Syrian regime of encouraging protests along the northern border.
Sunday’s riots were an attempt “to divert attention away from the massacre in Syria,” one official charged. “The Syrians will be held accountable for these events.”
Late Sunday, Syrian officials claimed that 23 people were killed and 350 were wounded after the IDF fired at protestors aiming to rush the border fence earlier in the day. However, the army dismissed the figures, claiming that they were inflated.
Washington-based members of the Reform Party of Syria said intelligence sources close to the Syrian government in Lebanon informed them that the protesters on the Syrian side of the Druze community of Majdal Shams were in fact poverty-stricken farmers paid by the Assad regime.
Response
State department calls on sides to exercise restraint as protestors declare they plan on staging sit-down near fence throughout the night
According to the sources, the farmers migrated over the last few years from drought-stricken northeast Syria to the south. They reached the Israel-Syria border on Sunday in the aims of reenact “Nakba Day” events, the sources said.
The Syrian opposition group claimed that each farmer was promised $1,000 for showing up at the rally and $10,000 to their families if they are killed by IDF fire.
According to the report, the average salary of a Syrian citizen is about $200 per month, meaning that participation in Sunday’s demonstration could provide a protester and his family with five months worth of financial relief.
Surprisingly (it must have been inadvertently), the Guardian revealed the paid protester scam a couple of weeks ago in eariler border incidents:

But, despite the uncomfortable truth, yesterday the biased mainstream media were crowing in unison; headlining the inevitable consequences, concealing the cause:

In the morally-inverted world of the political and media √©lites and the anti-Israel industry they sustain, it seems it’s OK for baby-faced mass murderer Bashar Assad to divert attention away from the atrocities he is committing against his own people; whilst they persist in admonishing Israel for doing exactly what any other country would do – legally defend her borders from attack – and yes, with lethal force if necessary.
It’s just one more example of the oldest trick in the Arab book – deliberately place their own people in harm’s way then wave the corpses around as examples of ‘Zionist agression’.
Yet instead of pointing out the staggeringly bizarre irony of this – and that of ‘Palestinians’ and Arabs ‘protesting’ against a war their forbears started in the first place – and lost – the lazy, credulous ‘journalists’ of the world’s media, preferring it would seem to heap blame on the righteous; fall for Pallywood scams such as this time after time.

Najib’s economic advisers feared NEM just for show

KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s economic advisers were worried that the prime minister’s New Economic Model (NEM) brainchild was just a short-term public relations exercise without any lasting policy impact, according to a leaked United States diplomatic cable.

According to the cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks, the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) was frustrated with the slow responses from government ministries and the lack of high-level political commitment outside of the prime minister’s office.

The entire cable, which quoted NEAC acting director of research Tong Yee Siong and American Chamber’s Nicholas Zeffries, among others, was published in the Malaysia Today news portal today.
“Tong told us that achieving any of the goals developed by the NEAC will require significant political buy-in to operationalize the policy changes necessary to reinvigorate investment and spur additional growth.

“However, Tong commented that NEAC members are frustrated with a lack of high-level political commitment outside of PM Najib (picture) as well as the slow responses from Ministries which impeded progress on the NEM,” according to the cable sent from the US Embassy here to Washington.

It quoted Tong further as saying “that some NEAC members are concerned that the NEM maybe merely a public relations exercise that will have no real long-term policy impact.

“Zeffries told us that he was not confident that PM Najib has a sufficiently strong political position to pursue the NEAC’s upcoming proposals,” the cable added further.

Najib launched the NEM last year in two parts but dropped certain sections including one on the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) which was severely criticised by NEAC member, the late Datuk Dr Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof.

Zainal Aznam, who died on April 30, accused the Najib administration of succumbing to Perkasa and lacking the political will to implement reforms, including the formation of the EOC.

In a summary in the cable, US diplomats said: “Leading Malaysian economists believe that Najib is sincere in his desire to address these problems.

“However, they question his ability to make major changes in the government’s long-standing discriminatory Bumiputera preference policies which have discouraged domestic investment and new business formation and are driving the ‘brain drain’ of young professional Malaysians frustrated with limited opportunities under this system.”

The diplomats said local economists expect Najib’s effort “to establish a policy framework that will foster a more gradual move away from ethnic preferences to a merit-based economy, but believe that may be insufficient”.

“If PM Najib is unable to deliver on NEM reforms, they expect the opposition will seize the reform agenda as an issue for possible 2012 elections,” it said.

“Each of our contacts agreed that political will is the key to reform, but none are convinced all of the coming announcements of plans to reform Malaysia’s economy will be backed by substantially broad concrete measures.

“After early enthusiasm for economic reform, some Umno insiders do not want reform that would take away the economic rents and patronage system they have relied on to maintain the party’s power base for over a generation,” the cable said.

The cable said that Umno leaders are challenging Najib’s reforms because the party will not “survive in power by moving to an open and transparent system.”

Najib has embarked on an effort to sell his NEM to sceptical Malay voters, arguing that a new direction is needed to pull the ailing economy out of its middle-income trap by freeing the market of the crippling Malay largesse.

‘Marriage not just about sex’

Marriage is a partnership and it is not about lust and gratification,says PKR Wanita chief
PETALING JAYA: A call by the Obedient Wives Club to improve th wives performance in bed has been taken to task by PKR.

PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said that the club reduced men to “sex animals” and regarded women as “prostitutes”.

“Marriage means much more than sex (…) Marriage is viewed more as a partnership, and is akin to a contract between two people.”
 
“Both husbands and wives have a part to play to uphold the institution of marriage. There is no justification to impose the burden on the wife to make the marriage work!” the Ampang MP said.

Zuraida was referring to a statement by the club’s vice-president Rohaya Mohamad, who reportedly said: “It is important to be a good at sex so that the husbands do not go to prostitutes.”

In an attempt to curb rising social ills, the club’s leaders aim to teach women how to please their husbands better.

Zuraida on the other hand, vehemently disagreed with this view.

“Is (Rohaya’s) statement supported by any facts or statistics or is that a personal opinion?” she asked.
She said that there was more to marriage than the fulfillment of sexual  desire.

Citing factors such as communication, understanding and respect as a recipe for a successful marriage, Zuraida warned: “If men are only for sex, we don’t need a marriage to satisfy that.”

She said that the club’s stance actually encouraged the enslavement of women by their husbands through obedience and sexual satisfaction.

“She has to know that what she advocated is akin to advocating abuse and violence against women,” she said, and demanded that Rohaya make a public apology over her choice of words.

Anwar fails to disqualify judge again

Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah rejects the defence's application to disqualify him from hearing the case on the grounds that he had pre-judged the trial.
KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim failed again to disqaulify Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah from hearing the case and for the trial to start afresh.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah today rejected the defence’s application to disqualify him from hearing the case on the grounds that he had pre-judged the trial.

“I find the application by the defence to be without any merit and therefore I hereby reject the application,” ruled the judge.

The judge however allowed for a stay of proceedings pending appeal to the Court of Appeal. The trial is set to reconvene on the July 13.

This is the third time Anwar has attempted to have Judge Mohamad Zabidin recused. His earlier attempts to have the judge recused – over the judge’s failure to take action against Utusan Malaysia and his threat to cite Karpal Singh for contempt – ended in failure.

Anwar’s defence, led by Karpal Singh, said in his submission that court held complainant Saiful Bukhari’s testimony as if it were fact while delivering a ruling to call Anwar to enter his defence, and as a result has pre-judged Anwar.

Karpal said that the maximum evaluation at the end of the prosecution case was the establishment of prima facie, not beyond reasonable doubt.

“Your lordship has shut out the defence by deciding PW1 (Saiful) is a witness of truth and gone beyond what is required by law,” said Karpal.

In his ruling on May 16, Justice Mohamad Zabidin said he found Mohd Saiful’s evidence “reliable, and if accepted would establish all the facts required to prove the charge against the accused”.

In ruling so, Anwar claimed, the judge had made a “conclusive finding” by relying solely on Saiful’s testimony.

The prosecution, led by Solicitor General II Yusof Zainal Abiden, claimed that the judge at no time said that Saiful’s evidence was the complete truth.

“What he said was, a prima facie case has been made against the defence, that is all,” he said.
Yusof explained that a prima facie case is where evidence which is beyond reasonable doubt has been adduced while the defence is given a chance to create doubt in the prosecution’s case.

“The court will rely on the same evidence to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. You must have ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to call for a prima facie case,” said Yusof, pointing out that Judge Mohamad Zabidin had not said that the guilt of the defendant was beyond reasonable doubt but rather the evidence had been.

Where is Najib, Rosmah?

Speaking to reporters later, Anwar stood firm with his contention that the judge had pre-judged the case.
He also said that the defence faced another problem in the delay by the prosecution in not producing witnesses.

“We’ve not been able to interview the list of witnesses. They want us to defend ourselves. Defend from what when a decision has already been made?” he asked.

Twenty-five witnesses were offered to the defence to be produced in court, but so far only five have come forward.

“It is not this application which is delaying the trial,” said Karpal Singh, who described the five witnesses who had been interviewed as “immaterial”.

“The prosecution has not produced the PM (Najib Tun Razak) and his wife (Rosmah Mansor),” he said.
This is the second time the PKR de facto leader has been charged with sodomy, the first being in 1998 alongside charges of corruption.

The complainant accused Anwar of sodomising him at a condominium in Bukit Damansara on 26 June 2008. If convicted, Anwar can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years jail.

"I will not leave this land until I die"

‘I want my flat or I’ll stay here till I die’

The two longhouse residents who had their homes demolished vow to stay near the rubble until developer delivers on pledge

PETALING JAYA: The two residents of PJS 1 longhouses, whose homes were demolished last Friday, vowed to stay put at the site until a promise made to them by the developer is honoured.

V Mahalingam, a 56-year-old disabled man and A Pushparani are living in a makeshift tent where their homes once stood pledged to stay put until Peter Brickworks provides them the low cost flat it promised eight years ago.

“I want my flat. If not I will stay here until I die,” said Mahalingam, a 56-year old disabled. “Life as a disabled is hard enough and Peter Brickworks has made it worse for me. They must answer for the misery I’m going through.”

After nearly a week-long tussle with the residents, Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) and the state government, Peter Brickworks ignored numerous pleas and demolished their homes on June 3.
Mahalingam and Pushparani received eviction orders from the developer on May 23 and given a seven-day deadline to make way for a condominium project.

The eviction was postponed after MBPJ issued a stop-work order against Peter Brickworks in an attempt to compel the developer to find an amicable solution with the residents.

Mahalingam said today that the MBPJ had offered him a low cost flat at Lembah Subang on June 1 but he rejected the offer because it was a temporary solution to his predicament.

“Lembah Subang is too far away. I receive medications from a nearby medical facility. How am I to travel all the way from there to PJS 1 if I take up the unit there?”asked Mahalingam.

As both he and his wife S Tamilchelvi were not working, Mahalingam said he relied a lot on assistance from friends and well-wishers who live near PJS 1. Tamilchelvi, 53, is partially blind.

“I also receive monthly provisions from a nearby spiritual organisation. Who will help me in Lembah Subang?” asked Mahalingam, who gets a monthly RM110 from the Welfare Department.

Mahalingam said he had no other place to go. “We have a son but we lost contact after he got married four years ago,” said Mahalingam who was reluctant to delve into the matter.

Pushparani, 44, lamented that the developer went ahead with the demolition despite promising not to at a meeting with Selangor state exco Iskandar Abdul Samad on June 2.

“We can only hope that the state government will help us now,” said a teary Pushparani.

‘We fear for our safety’

Pushparani, who ekes out living ferrying children to school by a mini van to make ends meet said she had to send her six children to stay with friends.

“My husband V Balakrishnan and I now camp out in the makeshift tent or in our van,” said Pushparani.

She added that she also feared for her safety as several unidentified men were lurking around the area where their homes once stood.

“I hold Peter Brickworks responsible should anything untoward happen to us,” said Pushparani.

Residents action committee chairman, M Sugumaran, said he received a text message from Iskandar this morning saying the state government would seize the land from Peter Brickworks.

During a walkabout this morning, FMT team saw two individuals taking pictures of the makeshift tent of the two families and the FMT journalists.

Sugumaran said that one of them was the general manager of Peter Brickworks while the other was the project manager of the condominium project.

Sugumaran urged the state government to speedily provide alternative housing for the residents, especially for Mahalingam.

“I also hope the state assemblyman (Haniza Talha) and the MP for Petaling Jaya Selatan Hee Loy Sean will continue with their effort to assist the residents,” said Sugumaran.

In a latest development, Sugumaran said several men started baricading the area with wire fencing around the demolished area at about 2pm.

Meanwhile, Iskandar, who is in charge of the state housing portfolio, said that the state would acquire the three plots of land at the site because of Peter Brickworks’ defiance.

“The mentri besar (Abdul Khalid Ibrahim) had instructed state secretary Khusrin Munawi to acquire the plots under state laws on Friday,” said Iskandar.

However, Iskandar could not confirm whether the notice has been issued to the developer.

Pertahan Prinsip Keluhuran Beragama dan Menyanggah Faham Melampau


photoKENYATAAN MEDIA
6 JUN 2011


Kita menyedari agama Islam mempunyai kedudukan yang unik di negara ini dan di rantau Asia Tenggara. Peranan mubaligh yang menerapkan pesan Islam secara aman dan berperingkat telah berupaya membentuk weltanschauung umat Islam yang terbuka dan toleran (tasamuh) terhadap kemajmukan budaya. Islam juga telah berperanan merungkai minda umat Melayu yang sebelumnya berasaskan mitos serta tahyul kepada pemikiran yang rasional yang sejajar pula dengan pesan- pesan Al Quran.

Agama Islam merupakan agama yang menjunjung prinsip Keadilan, cintakan keamanan, menghormati hak penganutnya dan juga hak penganut agama lain untuk mengamalkan kepercayaan mereka. Prinsip utama syariah yang dikenali sebagai maqasid syariah merumuskan bahawa adalah satu keutamaan untuk melindungi agama, nyawa, keturunan, aqal, harta dan maruah.

Makanya berteraskan kefahaman Islam yang tepat, penghayatan agama yang tuntas oleh umat Islam untuk memastikan cara hidup yang berintegriti. Umat Islam yang mahu memenuhi maksud ihsan dan keadilan sebagaimana yang sering dianjurkan pastinya menolak penindasan, rasuah serte segala bentuk penyelewengan. Oleh itu tidak hairanlah ramai dari kalangan umat Islam kesal dengan sikap pimpinan Umno serta media kongkongannya yang tidak konsisten dalam penghayatan agamanya. Apatah lagi rasuah dan penyelewengan kuasa masih berleluasa.

Mutakhir ini, ada pimpinan Umno dan media yang dimilikinya mencuba menggugat keamanan antara penganut agama di Malaysia dengan retorika perkauman sempit yang tajam, dangkal dan tidak berasaskan prinsip Keadilan sebagaimana dianjurkan Islam. Upaya mereka semata mata mahu menakut-menakutkan umat Islam serta menimbulkan prasangka antara kita.

Kita kesal kerana retorika serta propaganda pimpinan Umno dan media yang dimilikinya hanya membantutkan usaha baik dari kalangan kita demi memenuhi maksud pesan Li ta’arafu, iaitu berusaha kenal mengenali antara kita yang berbeza kepercayaan dan budaya.

Dengan nada yang sama maka kami juga ingin menyanggah kecenderungan sebahagian yang menyarankan faham melampau di kalangan penganut agama mereka tanpa menghiraukan sensitiviti umat Islam di negara ini.
Maka kepada wakil wakil badan Islam serta agama agama Buddha, Kristian, Hindu dan lainnya, kami ingin mengulangi komitmen mempertahankan prinsip keluhuran hidup beragama yang termaktub dalam Perkara 3, Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

WIKILEAKS: Malaysia's New Economic Model


He noted barriers to non-bumiputras in the job market, starting and growing businesses, purchasing housing, and educational opportunities began a move of many well educated non-bumiputra Malaysians to emigrate. The fact that 800,000 young Malaysians are now working abroad, 300,000 having emigrated in the past 18 months, including increasing numbers of ethnic Malays was recently noted in Parliament. Malaysia's "brain drain" has begun to get the attention of policy makers, according to Husni.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 KUALA LUMPUR 000103

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2020
TAGS: ECON, EFIN, ENIV, EXIM, MY, PGOV
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA’S NEW ECONOMIC MODEL: ECONOMIC REFORM EFFORTS MAY MEET OPPOSITION

REF: A. 09 KUALA LUMPUR 303
        B. 09 KUALA LUMPUR 318
        C. 09 KUALA LUMPUR 887

1.  (C) Summary:  Prime Minister Najib Razak (Najib) introduced a first wave of limited economic reforms (refs A and B) shortly after taking office in April 2009 and has promised more substantial economic reforms designed to improve Malaysia's competitiveness (ref C). 
To accomplish this, Najib formed the National Economic Advisory Committee (NEAC) to develop a New Economic Model (NEM), an economic policy roadmap which he hopes will lead Malaysia from middle income to high income country status. 
Little has been revealed about the contents of the NEM, but government officials say it is intended to address Malaysia's "stagnating" economy, by improving education, reducing corruption, strengthening weak public institutions, reconfiguring emigration, cutting back on government over-involvement in the private sector, and increasing low domestic investment rates. 
Leading Malaysian economists believe that Najib is sincere in his desire to address these problems.  However, they question his ability to make major changes in the government's long-standing discriminatory Bumiputera preference policies which have discouraged domestic investment and new business formation and are driving the "brain drain" of young professional Malaysians frustrated with limited opportunities under this  system.
Economists here expect Najib's effort to establish a policy framework that will foster a more gradual move away from ethnic preferences to a merit-based economy, but believe that may be insufficient.  If PM Najib is unable to deliver on NEM reforms, they expect the opposition will seize the reform agenda as an issue for possible 2012 elections.  
Executing a robust NEM, however, will be even more difficult as the PM will undoubtedly face steady opposition from within his own political party (UMNO), particularly from members who fear their parliamentary seats may be lost if the current patronage system is dismantled.  End Summary.
The New Economic Model: Reigniting High Growth
2.  (C) Since Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak (Najib) took office in April 2009, he has called for Malaysia to move from a low value-added, manufacturing-for-export oriented middle income economy to a knowledge-based service oriented high income economy.  He has used the rubric of former Prime Minister Mahathir's Vision 2020 goal of reaching "high-income country" status by the year 2020 as his call to action to justify developing a "New Economic Model" (NEM) to promote economic transformation. 
PM Najib quickly announced an investment liberalization agenda and by April 2009 implemented a first tranche of reforms aimed at reducing bumiputra (ethnic Malays and other non-Chinese or Indian ethnicities) ownership requirements in 27 different non-influential service sectors (e.g. veterinary services and ship salvage and refloatation services) and allow foreign controlling ownership interests in some types of financial institutions (Ref A). 
PM Najib announced a second tranche of reforms late in April including reducing bumiputra ownership requirements on all listed companies from 30% to 12.5% and repealing Foreign Investment Commission guidelines on new mergers and acquisitions by foreign firms (Ref B). 
In July, PM Najib formed the National Economic Advisory Committee (NEAC) and charged the new body - made up of high profile Malaysian and non-Malaysian economic figures - with developing the NEM.  In his October 23 budget speech (Ref C), PM Najib promised additional economic reforms.
Financial Crisis and Capital Flight Push GOM to Reform
3. (C) Najib has been forced to consider a broader reform program because the Global financial crisis (GFC) has put tremendous pressure on the underpinnings of Malaysia's economic growth.  FDI has slowed to a trickle, $15 billion of portfolio investment departed in 2009 and has just begun to return, and there remain large domestic reverse investment outflows as Malaysian conglomerates focus on overseas rather than domestic investment. 
According to a January 8 UBS Securities report, Malaysia experienced net capital out flows in excess of $27 billion from mid-2008 to mid-2009.  More telling, the UBS report states Malaysia has not experienced net capital inflows in any one calendar year since 1997.  UBS cites domestic investors investing outside Malaysia as the primary source of the outflows. 
PriceWaterhouse Coopers Consulting Malaysia (PWC) General Manager Pearlene Cheong described Western multi-national corporate interest in investing in Malaysia as "dormant" and that ethnic Chinese Malaysians had been taking their money out of Malaysia ever since the Asian financial crisis.  She said that PWC's investor advisory business has seen primarily North Asian investors working in the extractive industries focused in East Malaysia and added, "This is not the knowledge-based type of employment that the government is looking for to stimulate wage growth."
Bold Statements Calling for Change
4. (C) The Najib administration has identified several areas of the economy needing reform and has announced its intentions to carry out reforms through the NEM.  In a December 1 speech to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, Finance Minister II Husni said Malaysia's economy was "stagnating" and highlighted Malaysia's most pressing economic issues needing to be addressed by the NEM as education, corruption, GOM economic over-management, weak public institutions, emigration, and low domestic investment rates.
Education: Husni said, "Our universities are a disappointment." He cited Malaysia as having its highest unemployment rate for recent college graduates while adding that there is a severe shortage of skilled workers, implying that large numbers of Malaysian recent college graduates are unskilled.  Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah reported that skilled labor shortages and the poor quality of Malaysian graduates costs Malaysian competitiveness 15% of GDP annually.
Corruption and Cronyism: He cited the recently released Transparency International 2009 Corruption Perception Index, in which Malaysia fell to number 56 of 180 countries, its lowest rating in over 20 years, and continuing a fall from number 26 in 2004. 
Husni promised wholesale reform in government procurement practices, controlled by the Ministry of Finance, and an end to sole source contracts, except for the military.
GOM Over-involvement in the Economy: Husni called for the transparent divestiture of GOM interests in government-linked corporations (GLCs) and the restoration of the private sector's role as the primary engine for growth.  He also cited that the GOM needs to discontinue open-ended protection of domestic industries, allow market driven resource allocation including greater precision in subsidy allocation, and foster better competition policies to spur innovation.
Weak Public Institutions: Husni criticized the lack of diversity in the civil service and proposed strengthening public institutions through greater ethnic participation.
Brain Drain: He noted barriers to non-bumiputras in the job market, starting and growing businesses, purchasing housing, and educational opportunities began a move of many well educated non-bumiputra Malaysians to emigrate.  The fact that 800,000 young Malaysians are now working abroad, 300,000 having emigrated in the past 18 months, including increasing numbers of ethnic Malays was recently noted in Parliament. Malaysia's "brain drain" has begun to get the attention of policy makers, according to Husni.
Low Domestic Investment: Since 1997, domestic investment rates halved from 20-25% of GDP annually to roughly 10% and have remained at reduced levels for the past decade.  Husni said that the 1Malaysia concept is intended to introduce competition and move Malaysia to a more performance-based culture like Japan, Korean, and Singapore, promoting an attractive investment and working environment for all Malaysians.
NEM to be Broad and Wide-Ranging
5.  (C) The government and our contacts have released few details of the upcoming NEM.  However, PM Najib announced December 22 at the Finance Ministry's "Media Night" that he had approved the NEM direction, and that the final model will be presented to the Cabinet and made public by the end of February 2010.  The NEM will "set the direction of the economy and make the economy more resilient", according to Najib. 
NEAC Acting Director of Research Tong Yee Siong, said the NEAC met the week of February 1-5 to finalize its recommendations to the Cabinet for approval and public release by the end of February.  Tong told Econoffs that the NEAC will produce goal papers and an economic model framework.  Tong expected the recommendations to be very broad, and would propose a policy framework to address the most significant economic issues facing Malaysia and improve its economic competitiveness. 
Nicholas Zefferies, the president of AmCham, and the only "foreign" member of the NEAC, told Econ Counselor January 13 that NEAC reform recommendations to PM Najib would be wide-ranging.  Zefferies said that Najib was planning to give NEAC powers similar to the Prime Minister's Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah), to enforce the planned economic reform program on government Ministries.
Economic Reform Versus Ethnic Preferences
6.  (C) Tong told us that the NEAC is focused on removing disincentives to domestic investment established in the New Economic Policy (NEP) as a key to reinvigorating domestic and foreign investment.  He added that any basis for serious economic and investment reform efforts in Malaysia involves dismantling old entrenched Bumiputra ethnic preferences established since the Mahathir regime in the NEP. 
Finance Minister II Husni's speech was important for connecting Najib's 1Malaysia slogan to real economic reform, according to Malaysian Institute for Economic Research Managing Director and long-time UMNO economic advisor Mohamed Ariff.
However, as Husni criticized Malaysia's longstanding ethnic preference policies, he qualified his statements by asserting that "the government is not abandoning bumiputras" and that the government will pursue reform in "a prudent and cautious method" in an effort to allay bumiputra fears of economic displacement. 
Ariff told us that the Husni speech angered some senior UMNO members who complained that Najib was opening the economy too much and moving too fast toward reform.  Opposition parliament members praised the speech, according to Ariff.
PM Najib Seeks Incremental Reform
7.  (C) Our economic contacts close to PM Najib said they were convinced he is sincere about wanting economic reform. Economic Planning Unit Deputy Director General K. Govindan, who briefs PM Najib and the cabinet weekly on Malaysian economic performance and economic policy, told us he believes PM Najib understands in general terms the reforms needed to improve human capital and productivity, increase trade and investment, and reduce corruption. 
Nevertheless, Govindan said he does not make specific economic policy recommendations at those meetings for fear of offending other Ministers in the meeting who oppose the reform agenda. 
Ariff also believes PM Najib legitimately seeks economic reform. Ariff told us PM Najib's words to him were "change or be changed" when referring to economic reform.  But Ariff also said he expected PM Najib to slowly pick away at the NEP without causing too much economic and political disruption. This will require regularly announcing small reforms rather than the sweeping reforms required to transform the economy.
Ariff offered the February NEM release and the June 2010 release of the 10th 5-year Malaysia Plan as two upcoming opportunities for Najib to roll out more economic reforms.
Safe Won't Work
8.  (C) In the view of our economist contacts, PM Najib's "politically friendly" incremental strategy to economic reform may end up being too little too late.  Tong projected that for reform to work, the PM will need to make a bold announcement on major reforms and then rally public support for change.  Tong said that NEAC members are advocating that PM Najib announce significant structural changes to Malaysia's economy as a part of the NEM. 
Govindan agreed that major structural changes are needed for sustained economic growth.  He added that a series of small reform programs will eventually limit Malaysia to an unacceptably low 3-4% annual growth rate that will keep the country trapped in middle income status until "politics are removed from education and the economy." 
The critical point, Ariff said, was that while Malaysia continued taking baby steps on economic reform, its competitors for investment such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam would be overtaking Malaysia as the first choice for foreign direct investment.
Ruling Party May Block Aggressive Reform
9.  (C) Each of our contacts agreed that political will is the key to reform, but none are convinced all of the coming announcements of plans to reform Malaysia's economy will be backed by substantially broad concrete measures. 
Ariff told us that after early enthusiasm for economic reform, some UMNO insiders do not want reform that would take away the economic rents and patronage system they have relied on to maintain the party's power base for over a generation. 
Ariff predicted that UMNO would not survive in power by moving to an open and transparent system and that UMNO insiders would challenge Najib if he moved too strongly on government reform. 
Govindan sees Malaysia's huge and largely ethnic Malay civil service, completely loyal to UMNO, but increasingly incompetent, as PM Najib's largest obstacle.  He commented that the civil service has a very narrow worldview and will oppose, even refuse to implement, reforms perceived as damaging ethnic Malay interests, even if convinced of the long-run gains for Malaysia. 
Tong told us that achieving any of the goals developed by the NEAC will require significant political buy-in to operationalize the policy changes necessary to reinvigorate investment and spur additional growth.  However, Tong commented that NEAC members are frustrated with a lack of high-level political commitment outside of PM Najib as well as the slow responses from Ministries which impeded progress on the NEM. 
He added that some NEAC members are concerned that the NEM maybe merely a public relations exercise that will have no real long-term policy impact.  Zeffries told us that he was not confident that PM Najib has a sufficiently strong political position to pursue the NEAC's upcoming proposals.  Liew described the opposition closely watching economic reform, offering that an inability of the ruling coalition to implement promised economic reforms will provide powerful political ammunition for use in upcoming federal elections in 2012.
Ethnic Minorities Support Reform
10.  (C) Cheong sees her Malaysian private sector business clients as highly supportive of the type of economic opening she believes PM Najib will announce in the NEM and commented that ethnic Chinese, Indian, and urban Malays not directly benefitting from UMNO patronage will strongly support economic reform efforts, but that rural Malays, a strong UMNO constituent base, will fear changes labeled as detrimental to Bumiputra interests. 
However, Cheong observed that Non-Bumiputras have successfully competed in the open economy at a disadvantage to Bumiputra and government linked businesses for over 30 years and that Malaysians would patiently wait for change.  She added that the lack of investment is so obvious that the government is practically being forced to take action.
KEITH