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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Immigration forced S'pore duo to do 'nude squats'

 (Malaysiakini) Two Singaporean women were reportedly forced to do squats in the nude by Immigration Department personnel following their arrest for “illegal entry” into Malaysia.

Such a practice was declared as “inhumane and undignified” and be immediately discontinued by the Royal Commission to Inquire into the Standard Operating Procedure, Rules and Regulations in Relation to the Conduct of Body Search in Respect of an Arrest and Detention report in 2006.

According to Singapore's Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, the incident happened during the wee hours of June 9 when the two women drove across the Causeway from the island republic.

The duo were headed to Johor Bahru for supper, but they were apparently negligent and walked passed the immigration counter without having their passports stamped.

For this, they were reportedly detained on the charge of being illegal immigrants and held at a lock-up facility in Pontian, Johor.

Under the pseudonym of Lin Li Li, the woman told the newspaper that she and her friend Zhan Ting Ting, another psuedonym, were ordered to take off their clothes and do 10 squats.

They were reportedly only given clothes meant for detainees after performing the act. They also complained about being handcuffed and that the lock-up conditions were atrocious.

"The clothes were dirty and smelly. The cell was only as big as two third of a basketball court, but there are 50 people inside. There were also a lot of mosquitos and cockroaches.

"We were handcuffed, we were treated as detainee even though we were proved not guilty. This is an insult,” Lin was reported as saying.

Home Ministry yet to receive report

After the 24-hour detention, they were released with a warning letter from the immigration officer.

Upset with their treatment, the duo said they will never enter Malaysia again even if they were invited to do so.

According to a Sin Chew Daily website, Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmud Adam has declined to comment on the matter because he had yet to receive any report on the matter.

nude ear squat royal commission report 230106 booksThis is the second major allegation of abuse of power by the Malaysian authorities since November 2005, when a video of a woman forced to perform nude squats by the police began circulating on the Internet.

According to the police, the nude squats was meant to look for illicit drugs.

The incident led to the formation of an independent commission led by former chief justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah, which recommended that the practice be discontinued.

Denied entry, Bersih chief sues Sarawak government

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan was stopped at the Kuching International Airport on April 15. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Election watchdog chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has filed a suit against the Sarawak government for barring her entry into the East Malaysian state two months ago, saying the move is against the Federal Constitution.

“Yes filed and leave application will be heard 13 July,” the Coalition for Fair and Free Elections (Bersih 2.0) chairman told The Malaysian Insider via a text message.

Sarawak and Sabah are allowed to deny entry even to Malaysians under the agreement to form Malaysia in 1963 with Malaya and Singapore, but must give a reason in doing so.

Ambiga was stopped at the Kuching International Airport on April 15; but no reasons were given as to why she was barred from entering the hornbill state where she was to monitor the polling process the next day.
The former Malaysian Bar president was travelling with two other Bersih 2.0 committee members — Subramaniam Pillay, a member of Aliran and Arul Prakash, a programme officer of Komas — and Ivy Josiah, executive director of Women’s Aid Organisation.

The trio were allowed in.

Ambiga joined a list of activists including Steven Ng, Cynthia Gabriel, Wong Chin Huat, Johan Tan and Subang PKR MP Sivarasa Rasiah, who were denied entry to the state in the days leading up to the state election in Sarawak, which ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) easily retained.

Bersih 2.0 has demanded that the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) investigate the “abuse and arbitrary use of powers” by the Immigration Department and the Sarawak state authorities.

Long-serving Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has not responded to criticisms about denying entry to Malaysian activists while Putrajaya has also remained silent over a citizen’s right to free movement within the federation since the hornbill state formed Malaysia with Malaya, Sabah and Singapore in 1963.

However, pro-government newspapers in West Malaysia have been playing up reports of a graft probe against Taib, who has rebuffed Putrajaya’s efforts to get him to end his 30-year rule, marked by reports of land grabs from the natives.

Malaysia has been found to trail the rest of the world in protecting freedom of religion, expression and other basic rights, managing only to place 59th out of 66 countries surveyed by the World Justice Project (WJP) for its Rule of Law Index 2011.

Low scores for freedom of religion, expression, assembly and privacy also meant that Malaysia placed second to last in its income group, which includes other upper-middle-income countries like Russia, Brazil, Mexico and Iran.

This is the first time Malaysia has been included in the survey.

Back-stabbing, betraying – Umno’s hallmarks

Umno is not craving for unity with PAS, it just wants it so that it can stay in power.

It’s Umno’s political culture that hinders unity with PAS. Umno operates by way of back-stabbing, reneging on promises and betraying each other.

Though the original sin isn’t inheritable, it seems the devious conduct is.

So Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan is willing to vilify the veteran political players of old, to achieve his aspiration.

When PAS and Umno split, the Umno president then was Hussein Onn.

Everyone seems to agree that Hussein was a straight arrow. Dull and bland, but nevertheless a straight arrow committed to principles and doing things the proper way.

His deputy at that time, who Ahmad says is his sifu, was Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Now Mahathir is a real politician. He is true to the Gaullist description of one who doesn’t have permanent friends but only permanent interest.

His overriding interest has always been to stay in power. Even now in his closing years his interest is to exercise power.

Mahathir has never been known to be magnanimous to PAS.

Vilifying others

PAS was only a convenient tool for achieving a purpose. PAS was convenient as a platform when Mahathir was expelled from Umno.

Mahathir was never desirous of accommodating PAS and was absolutely against sharing power with PAS.
If the route to achieving unity is by way of a willingness to vilify others so as to achieve a strategic advantage, then the basis for unity between PAS and Umno is inherently faulty right from the beginning.
Unity should be built on the basis of merits and mutual respect.

But then Umno does not actually crave for a unity with PAS. Umno aspires to have unity because that will ensure Ahmad and Umno stay on in power.

PAS must be thinking: if this current leadership wants unity by way of intrigue, then it’s a unity not worth pursuing.

Since it’s going to be achieved through intrigue and guiltless willingness to kill off your own kind, that way of operating will always be there.

For that is what Ahmad is doing – killing off your own Umno kind, to achieve a strategic advantage.
Killing each other, betraying each other, is the natural way by which Umno operates. That is a scary basis for teaming up.

This excerpt is from the writer’s sakmongkolak47 blog. The writer is an FMT columnist.

Why Najib must hold the 13th GE this year instead of 2012

One does not hold an election in a recession year. And we know that it takes some time to recover from a recession. Some economists believe that 2012 is going to be a recession year. The UK is already seeing a decline in property sales and house prices have come down. This means Najib must hold the 13th General Election this year, maybe sometime in October or November after the Budget, or else Barisan Nasional is going to be kicked out. Is Najib prepared to place a bet that my assumption is wrong?
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Rosenberg Says 99% Chance of Another Recession by 2012

In a Bloomberg video David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates, says there is a 99% Chance of Another Recession by 2012. Rosenberg also talks about the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Selected Quotes

Bloomberg: How Certain are you that we may be headed for a recession

Rosenberg: I think that by 2012, I would give it a 99% chance. I say that because as an economist, you have to be part historian. When you have a manufacturing inventory cycle recession, they are usually separated 5 years apart. But when you have a balance sheet recession, credit contraction, asset deflation (for example residential real estate), the downturn tends to be separated every 2 to 2.5 years. ... Economists call this a soft patch. It's not like this is a soft patch. Basically, when all the stimulus is gone, you get to see what the emperor looks like disrobed. It's not a pretty picture.

No Double Dip

Rosenberg goes on to say it's a second recession, not a "double dip" and more stimulus is coming once the "Fed sees the white eyes of the economy".

Given that there is no incentive in Congress for more stimulus (nor should there be), Bernanke will have a tougher time, this time, unless there is a significant drop in oil and food prices.

David Rosenberg Interview on U.S. Economic Outlook

David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff & Associates, talks about the outlook for the U.S. economy. Rosenberg, speaking with Betty Liu, Jon Erlichman and Michael McKee on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop," also discusses fiscal policy and banking regulation. Bloomberg's Ian Katz also speaks. (Source: Bloomberg)

Bayan Mutiara and land use

Another township coming up. How about also allocating space for organic vegetable farms and orchards? With food prices soaring and the not impossible prospect of global food shortages, we need to be self-sufficient in food.

Business Times, 7 June 2011
Does Penang have a policy to promote sustainable farming and fishing? Even on the mainland, the space for agriculture and suitable fishing waters is shrinking. If we don’t protect and promote farming and fishing, we can’t complain when food prices rise. Think of the vegetable farms in Tanjung Tokong and Farlim that have vanished. Now we rely on Cameron Highlands for our vegetables – and as fuel prices (and hence transport costs) rise, further price increases are inevitable.

Germany recognizes Libya's rebel leadership

(Reuters) - Germany recognized Libya's rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people on Monday, giving heavyweight support to leaders poised to run the country if Muammar Gaddafi falls.

The recognition, voiced by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on a visit to the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, is significant because Berlin has been reluctant to be drawn into the conflict and opted out of NATO military action.

"We share the same goal -- Libya without Gaddafi," Westerwelle told a news conference after meeting members of the National Transitional Council, seen by many as a government-in-waiting.

"The national council is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people," Westerwelle said, to applause. Countries that have recognized the rebel council include France, Italy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged African leaders to follow suit and abandon Gaddafi.
Gaddafi has styled himself the African "king of kings" and over the years won support from many African states in exchange for financial help and generous gifts. Most countries on the continent have been lukewarm toward the rebels.

"It has become clear that we are long past the time when he (Gaddafi) can remain in power," Clinton said in a speech to the African Union at its headquarters in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

"Your words and your actions could make the difference... (in ending this situation) ...and allowing the people of Libya to get to work writing a constitution and rebuilding their country," she said.

Gaddafi's government on Monday promised to implement proposals laid out by African countries to end the stalemate as well as draft a constitution and a new media law, according to official JANA news agency.


A Reuters photographer in Misrata, the biggest rebel stronghold in western Libya, joined rebel units as they pushed their front several kilometers west to the outskirts of Zlitan, a neighboring town controlled by Gaddafi's forces.

The photographer was taken to the furthest rebel point along the main road, where rebels had shifted shipping containers and sand to block the road and provide cover for their fighters.

After taking control of a mosque in farmland beside the road, the two sides traded heavy artillery fire.
On the wall of the mosque, rebels had scrubbed out graffiti in Arabic that read "Muammar." The new positions, they said, were inside Zlitan district.

A doctor at a field hospital in Dafniyah, west of Misrata, said two rebels were killed and at least 12

A rebel poses with rocket-propelled grenades taken from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) captured from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on the outskirts of the town of Zlitan, west of the rebel-held port city of Misrata June 10, 2011. Forces loyal to Gaddafi on Friday surrounded Zlitan, one of only three towns separating the rebel-held city of Misrata from the capital Tripoli, a rebel military spokesman said.     REUTERS/Abdelkader Belhessin
wounded in rocket attacks near the mosque.

Zlitan may be the next town to rise against Gaddafi's rule, bringing the rebellion closer to Tripoli, the Libyan leader's stronghold which lies 200 km (124 miles) west of Misrata.

Rebels from Misrata say tribal sensitivities prevent them from attacking, and they are instead waiting for the people of Zlitan to rise up.

Western governments say they believe it is only a matter of time before Gaddafi's 41-year rule ends under the weight of NATO military intervention, sanctions and defections.

But Gaddafi has refused to quit, and he has proved in the past to be a wily survivor. Libyan television showed him on Sunday evening playing chess with the visiting president of the international chess federation.

His armed forces have also shown they are not about to buckle, inflicting heavy damage on the rebels on several fronts and forcing the NATO-led coalition to extend its operation until the end of September.

Britain's navy chief warned on Monday that a prolonged military campaign would be challenging for its naval resources.

"Beyond that (90 days) ... we might have to request the government to make some challenging decisions about what priorities they want," Admiral Mark Stanhope told reporters at a joint briefing with the head of the U.S. navy in London.


Fighting flared at the weekend in the town of Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital -- clashes the rebel leadership said were a sign that the momentum in the four-month-old conflict was shifting their way.

But on Monday, a rebel spokesman in Zawiyah who had been giving accounts of the fighting was no longer reachable by telephone. The main highway west from Tripoli, which had been closed because of the fighting, appeared to have re-opened.

A group of foreign journalists who traveled with an official escort from Tripoli to neighboring Tunisia on Monday morning passed along the main highway, instead of taking a detour near Zawiyah as happened at the weekend.

A rebel spokesman in the town of Zintan, in the rebel-held Western Mountains range southwest of Tripoli, said the settlement was subjected to its heaviest bombardment by pro-Gaddafi forces in several weeks on Sunday.

"There were nine martyrs from the bombardment ... yesterday. More than 40 others were wounded," the spokesman, called Abdulrahman, told Reuters by telephone from Zintan.

"The revolutionaries captured several mercenaries and Libyan army officers. Some of them were wounded and are receiving treatment," he said. "There was no bombardment today. It's quiet for the moment."

Gaddafi has said the rebels are criminals and al Qaeda militants. He has described the NATO military intervention as an act of colonial aggression aimed at grabbing Libya's oil.

Libyan state television on Monday showed pictures of what it said was Abu Bakr Jaber Younes, Gaddafi's de facto defense minister, touring the front lines in Brega, an oil town on the Mediterranean Sea that marks his eastern front line.

On Sunday, rebels said they were repulsed by Gaddafi's forces in a battle to retake Brega, despite NATO air support, and at least four were killed and 65 wounded.

"We attacked them first but they attacked us back. We tried to get to Brega but that was difficult," said Haithan Elgwei, a rebel fighter, after returning from the front.

(Additional reporting by Matt Robinson and Zohra Bensemra in Misrata, Jonathan Saul in London, Souhail Karam in Rabat, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Mussab Al-Khairalla and Nick Carey in Tripoli, Andrew Quinn in Addis Ababa and Sami Aboudi in Cairo; Writing by Christian Lowe and John Irish; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Bersih 2.0- Emergency motion filed by independent MPs

Kidnapped Pakistani Christian may be sold abroad


Pakistani Catholic sources have told the Fides news agency that a 24-year-old Christian woman who was kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and forced to marry a Muslim may soon be sold abroad.

Farah Hatim, 24, “was forced to sign a declaration stating that she had converted and married [according] to her will,” said a Pakistani nun. “The text was brought to the police and in court, so legally the case is considered closed. It will be possible to reopen it only with a written statement, in which Farah testifies that these communications were drawn out by threats and torture.”

The nun called for prayer and international pressure to help secure Hatim’s releases.
There are over 700 cases of forced conversion to Islam in Pakistan each year, according to Fides.

Hicom Puchong Hindu temple to be ethnically cleansed by PKR S’gor.

url hicomTo make way for a flyover. Why didn’t the racist UMNO Town and Country planners draw up the plan to divert away from this century old Sri Maha Mariaman Hindu temple? For the Puchong M.P. Gobind Singh Deo he chooses to remain yet another static P.R. Indian mandore. His silence on this Indian poor right to freedom of religion by virtue of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution speaks volumes.

But along Jalan Bangsar near University Malaya entrance and Jalan Rasah, Seremban, millions of ringgit was spent to save and preserve the Masjids in situ ie at the exact place where it is.

But for this Hindu temple it is as if there is no other land to get the flyover going.

(see Starmetro 10/6/2011 at page 4
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

Businessman says gave Khir Toyo discounts out of fear

Khir brought the properties at nearly half the price that Shamsudin had paid for them. — file pic
SHAH ALAM, June 13 — A company director told the High Court here today that he sold his mansion and two plots of land to Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for RM3.5 million despite buying the properties for RM6.5 million as he feared for his business in Selangor.

Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Hayroni testified in the corruption trial of the former Selangor mentri besar that Dr Khir had rejected his offer of between RM5 million and RM5.5 million, insisting instead on buying his properties in Section 7 here for just RM3.5 million.

“We have projects in Selangor, businesses in Selangor and a mentri besar wants my house for RM3.5 million,” said Shamsuddin at the High Court here today.

“So we agreed. I was worried about my position as a businessman and I was afraid that my business would be threatened,” he added.The 55-year-old construction and property developer said he was involved in ongoing property projects with state subsidiaries Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) in Bangi and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) in Sungai Long, Cheras.

Shamsuddin, who wore a black coat, said he bought the house and two plots of land in 2004 for RM5 million and spent RM1.5 million on renovations.

“Datuk Seri Khir Toyo asked me to buy (the properties)... he was interested in the house,” Shamsuddin told a packed courtroom.

“I’m a businessman in Selangor. I have projects. So I felt I had no choice and I just proceeded,” he said.
Shamsuddin added that Khir had engaged landscape artist Nasir Ismail to design the Umno politician’s Balinese-style mansion.

Nasir testified last Thursday that he was paid more than RM6 million for the job, saying that he received five payments from Shamsuddin and eight from Khir of RM500,000 each.

Shamsuddin said today that he sold his properties to Khir, who previously helmed the country’s wealthiest state for almost eight years, in 2007.
“I just wanted to give a small discount,” said the businessman, when asked why he offered a selling price of RM5 million to RM5.5 million.

Shamsuddin pointed out that he had engaged a property valuer who estimated the value of his properties at RM5.5 million.

Khir, a former Selangor opposition leader, was charged with obtaining the two plots of land and the bungalow, which are located at No. 8 and 10, Jalan Suasa 7/1 L, Shah Alam, for himself and his wife Zahrah Kechik.

If found guilty, the Sungai Panjang assemblyman faces two years’ jail, a fine, or both under Section 165 of the Penal Code.

Hisham: No action against Ibrahim Ali for ‘jihad’ call

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — The government will not take any action against Datuk Ibrahim Ali for threatening Christians nationwide with a holy war against any move to usurp Islam with a Christian state.
“Action will only be taken if investigations find that the said act really contravened the country’s laws,” Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a written reply to Lim Lip Eng (Segambut-DAP) in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Lim had asked the Home Ministry to state whether it was a punishable offence for a person to declare “jihad” in the name of race and religion.

“I would advise that all parties be careful in making an accusation when its validity has yet to be verified,” said Hishammuddin (picture).

The Perkasa president’s threat to Christians was based on Utusan Malaysia’s recent allegation that church leaders were in a plot with the DAP to turn Malaysia into a Christian state and install a Christian prime minister.

Christian leaders and DAP members have denied the reports which have sparked protests but the Home Ministry has only slapped Utusan Malaysia with a warning letter for publishing the unsubstantiated report.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was forced to meet with church leaders to clear the air but Umno vice president and Home Minister Hishammuddin later said that there was “some basis” to the reports.
The police in Penang have completed an investigation into Utusan Malaysia’s claims and have handed over the case to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Utusan Malaysia had published a report entitled “Kristian Agama Rasmi?” (Christianity the official religion?) where it was alleged that DAP leaders and Christian clergymen were conspiring to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.

Kugan: Lawyers feel witness not independent

The counsel for late Kugan's family questioned the impartiality of the MMC inquiry.

KUALA LUMPUR: The lawyers representing the family of A Kugan who died in police custody were taken aback when an expert witness turned up to testify on behalf of a pathologist.

They cast doubts on the independence of the expert, Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, who gave his testimony on behalf of the Serdang Hospital pathologist Dr Abdual Karim Tajuddin.

Mohd Shah was a member of the independent committee set up by the health ministry to probe into Kugan’s death.

“We were surprised when Mohd Shah testified for Abdul Karim,” said Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) coordinator N Surendran when met here after the third hearing in the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) inquiry into the conduct of Dr Abdul Karim resumed here today. The inquiry will sit for three days.

The first hearing started in August last year and the second in March this year.

Also present were fellow LFL coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran and lawyer T Naraendran.

On Jan 14, 2009, Kugan, 23, from Puchong, was detained at Taipan police station, Subang Jaya, to facilitate an investigation over a luxury car-theft syndicate.

Six days later, he was found dead in detention, with his body riddled with severe lacerations.
Abdul Karim conducted the first autopsy and concluded that Kugan had died of fluid accumulation in the lungs.

Not allowed to cross-examine

At the behest of his family members, a second autopsy was performed by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre pathologist Dr Prashant N Samberkar who found that Kugan had been burnt, beaten and starved during detention.

However, an independent committee set up by the health ministry, chaired by Mohd Shah, concluded that Kugan died of acute inflammation of the heart muscle, compounded by blunt force trauma.

The committee also said the second autopsy conducted by Dr Prashant had misidentified and misinterpreted some of the results of the first post-mortem.

The family, however, lodged a formal complaint against Abdul Karim in March 2009 for alleged professional misconduct.

Manogaran said Mohd Shah’s presence today to testify raised concerns on whether the inquiry would be impartial in its view.

“He (Mohd Shah) was part of the committee that supported Abdul Karim’s report,” he said.

He was also upset that they were not allowed to cross-examine Abdul Karim during the hearing.
“We are not even allowed to make submissions. The inquiry said it is part of MMC’s procedure,” said Manogaran.

Abdul Karim’s legal team will give its final submission on July 11.

Perkasa to counter Bersih rally

Perkasa and Konsensus Bebas slam the July 9 Bersih 2.0 demonstrations, calling it a waste of time.

KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa has threatened to counter the July 9 Bersih 2.0 demonstration with a protest of its own.

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali promised the event’s organisers – Bersih and PAS – that he would “fight to the end” if people were to mass on the streets on July 9.

“If they go ahead with this demonstration, Perkasa has made a decision, and as its president, I will fight to the end.

That means on that day, there will be a confrontation,” he said.

“I don’t know how many they will gather, but Perkasa also has many members, and other NGO are coming, so we’ll be there,” added the Pasir Mas MP.

Ibrahim said that large-scale demonstrations such as Bersih’s would cause widespread chaos, and cited the unrest in the Middle East as an example.

“I cannot imagine that if there is a big crowd, certain element will come in, throwing the stone, burn the car, and with injuries like what is happening in Tunisia,” he said.

The July 9 “Walk for Democracy” Kuala Lumpur protest will be attended by several civil societies, including a few opposition parties.

Bersih and its coalition partners have six demands in mind, including an end to the misuse of government machinery and funds during elections.

With an expected attendance of more than 100,000, the march is expected to the biggest of its kind since the group’s 2007 demonstrations.

Protestor number predictions, however, did not faze the Malay rights supremacist, who said that most Malaysians would not buy into Bersih’s demands.

“Malaysia has 27 million people. Let’s say that Bersih wants to bring 300,000, so 27 million minus 300,000, we will have 26 million.

So you don’t worry about the figures,” he said.
Ibrahim also added that Perkasa will hold a roundtable discussion with at least 30 other Malay-based NGOs on Bersih’s planned demonstrations tomorrow.

‘No need for Bersih to make demands’

Independent MP Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said that Konsensus Bebas brought an emergency motion before House Speaker Pandikar Amin on the upcoming July 9 protests at 10am today.

He said that the motion was to urge the authorities to take necessary action against the gathering on July 9 and that the Speaker has not yet made a decision on the motion.

“We have no problem if they (want to) hand over a memorandum, but we don’t want an NGO (like Bersih) to be hijacked by PAS.”

Zahrain also rubbished claims that taking to the streets was an act of democracy.

“Democracy to whom?” he scoffed at reporters. “To me, this is not democracy. This is more like ‘cari pasal’,” Zahrain said.

Independent MP Zulkifli Noordin said that there was no need for Bersih to make demands, and defended the government and Election Commission over election irregularities.

“They (Pakatan Rakyat) can get five states, and they can run campaigns from morning to night. I don’t see the justification (for the protests),” the firebrand MP said.

The former PKR MP asked what Bersih’s real motive was for the protests, and accused them and its coalition partners of having “evil  intentions”.

Hisham: Don’t make sensitive statements

The government says it will not tolerate those who ran foul of the law.

KUALA LUMPUR: Legal action can be taken against people who make sensitive statements, the government said.

In a written response to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the government would not tolerate these statements if they ran foul of the law.

“The government will take action against individuals who come out with sensitive statements touching on unity, race, the monarchy including religious matters whether in public or through the
media,” he said.

Lim asked Hishammuddin if people who declared “jihad” against certain quarters in the name of religion and race could have legal action taken against them.

According to newsreport in Utusan Malaysia, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali had called for a “jihad” or holy war against Christians for allegedly seeking to make Christianity as the official religion
The story entitled “Kristian Agama Rasmi” (Christianity as an official religion) alleged that certain DAP politicians and Christian leaders conspired to take over Putrajaya.

At the time, Utusan alleged that the leaders intended to abolish Islam as the official religion of Malaysia, and install a Christian as prime minister.

‘Form commission to oversee scholarships’

NGOs are asking the government to set-up an independent commission to look into handling scholarships.

KUALA LUMPUR: Over 200 non-governmental organisations (NGO) have urged the government to set up a special commission to handle scholarships.

Speaking on behalf of the NGOs, National Anti-Interlok Team (NIAT) council member A Rajaretnam said the government must form an independent commission to examine the scholarship issue.

Over the years, the Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships have courted controversy due to top-scoring non-Malay students being overlooked.

Despite the government trying to find a solution by awarding 500 additional 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) scholarships, the issue is still far from being resolved.

Rajaretnam said that every year thousands of scholarships are given by PSD, foreign countries, government-linked companies and corporate entities.

“As far I know, there are about 20,000 scholarships every year, but nobody knows where these scholarships have gone,” he added.

In view of this, he said it would be best to have an independent commission monitor these scholarships.
“This will ensure greater transparency, and the commission can decide which student is worthy of getting a scholarship,” he added.

He also said that by setting up the commission, the government can generate at least 20,000 professionals every year in various fields.

“If the matter is handled by one body, then the commission will be aware how many seats should be given for medicine, engineering and so forth,” he explained.

Rajaretnam also suggested that the commission, which must come under the purview of Parliament, should comprise those from Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat and NGOs.

Open Letter to the IGP

So I am quite certain you must be rather pleasantly overwhelmed by the show of support you will receive from an anticipated potpourri of 300,000 Malaysians on the 9th of July. You must be sighing with relief that this outpouring of anxiety from so many right-minded and law-abiding citizens will hopefully make your job a little easier.
Dear Mr. IGP,

I trust you and the Missus are both well and in the pink of health.

I am sure you must have heard about the upcoming Bersih rally planned for Saturday the 9th July. You must be as excited as everyone else over this remarkable event.

Isn’t it wonderful that hundreds of thousands of Malaysians of all races are planning to come together with such unprovoked and genuine ease with the sole purpose of showing their support for such a noble cause as this one. Yes, that’s right, showing the world that we, as concerned citizens, do not condone chicanery in any form. We are trying to make the point that all the cheating and unfairness that goes on in our parliamentary and state elections is actually wrong.

We want to make it known  to the world at large and to the Election Commission in particular that all these wrongs must be righted because this is actually an issue involving criminal law, which I know you are good at so you will appreciate the necessity for all this.

This is why I am so thankful to you for your anticipated offer of assistance to these true blue Malaysian patriots who will no doubt have to sacrifice quite a bit that day, like giving up a hard earned weekend, walking around in the hot sun, or pouring rain (you know what our weather is like) for no personal benefit other than their concern for the general well being of our country. Don’t you think that is so commendable? I know you do.

I also know that you are personally very concerned that all these wrongdoings which happen every time we have an election should not only be stopped immediately but eradicated forever.

We just can’t continue to turn a blind eye to all the bribery and corruption that goes on every time an election is held. You know I am referring to all those cash payments made to buy ballot papers from voters, monetary inducements, threats, blackmail, gifts, promises of financial assistance, misuse of public funds and government machinery etc etc. I am sure you are just as frustrated as everyone else is, having to put up with this nonsense every time.

So I am quite certain you must be rather pleasantly overwhelmed by the show of support you will receive from an anticipated potpourri of 300,000 Malaysians on the 9th of July. You must be sighing with relief that this outpouring of anxiety from so many right-minded and law-abiding citizens will hopefully make your job a little easier.

What a relief you must also feel knowing you have the support you so deservedly need in doing your duty to combat this ever present menace without having to look over your shoulder every so often. Take courage in the fact that the rakyat are behind you.

As you are new to this game please permit me to assist you a little. I hope I am not being a little too presumptuous here. Excuse me if I am. You see, your predecessors actually stuffed up big time on many occasions. We have to try and avoid past mistakes. This time we are going to do things right.
May I therefore suggest that you consider putting the following in place in an effort to ensure that everything proceeds smoothly on that glorious day:

1.    You will need to deploy extra police personnel to monitor the procession and to assist those who are taking part. You will need to have your men stationed at intervals along the route to ensure that the participants are protected from trouble makers who may be out to disrupt the peace and tranquility of the day. (There’s always the odd whacko around – see points 10 and 11 below).

2.    Therefore I suggest that you give instructions to all your men to volunteer to forgo the incessant assaulting of detainees, with sand filled rubber hoses and telephone directories, in all lock ups in and around KL for just one afternoon and instead put in a mass order for pizza delivery to keep these detainees happy while your men man the streets.

3.    It might also be a good idea to rope in some plain clothes detectives provided of course they are able to disengage themselves from shooting unarmed teenagers at angles of 45 degrees through their respective heads, for just a few hours. I am sure they wouldn’t mind…..the detectives I mean, not the unarmed teenagers. Actually, come to think of it, everyone would be happy, so it’s a win-win situation.

4.    As a further gesture of good will, I think it would be a good idea to set up drink stalls along the route as the participants might get thirsty and would welcome a cool glass of iced lemon tea prepared by the Police Wives Association. Better still, try and get some of that duty free beer you serve in the police messes and sell cans to the marchers at discounted prices. Can you now appreciate all that goodwill you will be creating?

5.    Don’t bother sending out instructions to the FRU boys. No one likes them. Tell them to take the weekend off. The last time your predecessor sought their assistance they got it all wrong. They started spraying peaceful marchers with water from cannons mounted on the back of their trucks. This created a horrible mess. People got drenched to their underwear and the roads became awfully slippery. Worse still some idiot thought it was a good idea to put mace into the water. Well let me tell you, that did not do anything for police/rakyat relations. Bad bad PR. Can’t let it happen again.

6.    Which brings me on to the next issue. This tear gas thing. It isn’t cool. It may be entertaining for you guys to make people cry but most of us do not find it funny. It is also terribly passé. Lets move on. Your FRU guys watch too many TV action movies. That’s why they should be kept away. We can do without the melodramatics.

7.    It might also be a good idea (public perception and all), to perhaps make a short speech at the beginning of the rally, explaining the virtues of a truly democratic society and the role the police play in ensuring that the principles of such a society are protected by the guardians of the peace (that’s you guys) without fear or favour, everyone being equal in the eyes of the law and that you will leave no stone unturned in your forces’ pursuit of justice and fair play, or something along those lines. Again good PR.

8.    Parking issues. There will be a rather large number of vehicles entering KL with participants as occupants therein and they will need to park their cars somewhere. So instead of setting up road blocks on all the major arteries entering KL (like you guys did the last time) and causing massive traffic jams, perhaps we need to allocate designated car parks near the rally route to make things easier for the participants. Just set aside some ‘padangs’ for the afternoon. You may need to inform all those VIPs who can’t seem to travel anywhere without an escort of at least 9 out riders to just stay home for the day. You will then free up much needed traffic police personnel to help direct traffic instead.

9.    You will also have to get used to the colour yellow. Everyone will be wearing a yellow T-shirt. If your men spot someone wearing one wandering around aimlessly, just point him or her in the direction of the rally meeting point. Take a cue from the tourist police in all those glossy adverts depicting lost Mat Sallehs holding maps on the streets of our capital city. You know, the smiling ‘Cik Konstable’ in her rather dashing tudung indicating politely in a culturally acceptable fashion, with an outstretched thumb, where the Telekom tower is. That’s the way to do it.

10.     Now there will most likely be trouble makers present. You have to make sure these are the guys who are loaded into the back of hot and sweaty black mariahs, not the peaceful protestors. You will be able to identify the ‘baddies’ quite easily by the glazed and blank looks on their faces. Most will be wearing bandannas and sunglasses and will be found shouting incoherent profanities aimed at no one in general whilst waving yellow white and red flags. If your men spot a severed cows head or a Molotov cocktail or two, then that will be a dead giveaway. These are the ones you need to arrest even if they try camouflaging themselves in yellow T-shirts.

11.    Especially of concern to you will be a gentleman who has made it clear he is going to try and wreak havoc by inciting discord. If you have been reading the news in the blogs recently you will have no trouble identifying him. This man is a menace. He needs to be shipped out to a remote island somewhere so he can rant and rave to himself. I have no idea how he managed to become a parliamentarian. I think this is what the Bersih rally is about.

12.     When the rally is over, don’t just let things fizzle out. You will have a huge number of Malaysians in one place and at the same time. Encourage this ‘muhibbah’ spirit further by organizing a massive get together at Dataran Merdeka with live bands playing and buffet tables set up all around the padang serving local delicacies and refreshment. How to fund this you may ask? Not a problem. I hear Mr. Rais Yatim has a few million bucks to spend on cultural events. Just give him a quick phone call. I am quite certain he will fall over himself to donate towards such an important occasion, especially when it involves encouraging inter racial and inter cultural congeniality. I think that’s what his ministry is supposed to be doing anyhow.
When the party is finally over, after the crowds have dispersed and a dawn of a new day breaks, I have no doubt in my mind that you will feel a much better person for your most honourable contribution to such a worthy cause. You will be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing you have done the right thing. Your descendants will hold you in high esteem for being instrumental in helping bring the change this country so desperately needs.

And when you are living out your twilight years sitting in a wicker chair on your verandah, in your ‘pagoda’ singlet with a sarong wrapped around your waist, you will look back on this auspicious day with pride in your heart and you will say to yourself “I wouldn’t have done things any differently”.

Syabas my good man.
Yours sincerely,
Mat Malaysia

Remembering colonialism

Tommy Thomas (The Nut Graph) KUALA LUMPUR, 13 June 2011: The Malay peninsula was colonised exactly 500 years ago this year, and its significance in our history should be marked in some way by universities and scholars, lawyer Tommy Thomas said.

“We should be having public seminars and academic conferences to remember and discuss this aspect of our history on its 500th anniversary,” he said.

Thomas expressed disappointment that nearly half a year had gone by and no institution has announced any such initiative.

Thomas, who is also a student of history, said remembering that the Malay peninsula was colonised half a millennium ago was one way to remind the post-Independence generation of Malaysians to be grateful for Merdeka.

“It is critical to teach the present generation about the dangers of empire and colonialism, so that we can celebrate what independence means and pay tribute to the people who fought for it,” he said in an interview at his office on 25 May 2011.

“However critical we may be of our government and institutions, at the end of the day, we must appreciate Malaysia as an independent, sovereign nation which justly has a place in the world community,” he said.
Thomas noted that since 1511, when the Portuguese invaded and colonised Malacca, parts of the Malay peninsula, beginning with the trading port, have only experienced 54 years of self-governance.

“In the 446 years between 1511 and 1957, Malaya was colonised by three European powers and one Asian,” he said.

The Portuguese colonised Malacca from 1511 to 1641, and the Dutch from 1641 to 1824. The British were in Malaya from 1786 to 1941, when the Japanese invaded and took over until 1945. The British then returned to continue its rule over Malaya until 1957, when the country gained independence.

Additionally, for a period of 38 years between 1786 and 1824, two European powers ruled parts of Malaya – the British over Penang and the Dutch over Malacca.

Thomas said Malaysia’s colonial history is probably unique in the annals of imperialism in that we were colonised by four foreign powers.

New forms of colonialism

True nationalism, Thomas said, meant being wary of different forms of colonialism and standing united against any foreign occupation, and not the current jingoism that pits the different races against each other in a plural society.

Thomas noted that even though Malaysia was no longer colonised, new forms of financial, economic and cultural imperialism have developed. He cited Hollywood films and obsession with English football as subtle cultural imperialism Malaysians are addicted to.

“What is critical is for public discussion on the effects of empire and imperialism. It is not healthy to pretend that we were never under colonial yoke, and that our history only begins with Merdeka in 1957,” he argued, asking for a public debate to begin.

A Famosa in Malacca, a reminder of the Portuguese settlement in Malaya (Public domain; source: Wiki commons)

Admittedly, he said, Malaysia did benefit from some colonial legacies such as the civil service, educational, transportation and legal system, parliamentary democracy, and the English language.
He observed that Malaysians are resilient to foreign influence, having retained our religions, culture, food, dress, and other aspects of our identity despite the presence of various colonial powers and the duration of colonialism.

No imminent threat

Thomas said there was no imminent threat of Malaysia being colonised again through brutal invasion by any of its four former colonisers.

“Since Merdeka, Malaysia enjoys the best of relations with the four colonial powers. Should we seek reparations from each of them or at least a public apology are matters worthy of public debate,” he said.
However, he noted with regret that colonialism involving invasion and occupation still exists in the 21st century.

“The US is the most dangerous colonial power in the 21st century. Since 11 Sept 2001, the US has invaded and occupied two sovereign states – Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries remain colonised even though Osama bin Laden has been executed and the public justification for invading Afghanistan has disappeared. There was none for Iraq,” Thomas noted.

He added that Malaysia was fortunate in that the country was not deemed to be of strategic importance to the policymakers in Washington, DC, and hence, Malaysia was not likely to be occupied by the US.

Najib Announces Nine New ETP Projects Worth RM2.27 Billion

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Monday announced nine new initiatives under the Economic Transformation Programme which will bring in a total of RM2.27 billion in investment, gross national income (GNI) impact of RM18.67 billion and create 36,595 jobs by 2020.

He recapped six Economic Transformation Programme projects that were announced recently which include a refinery and a petrochemical integrated development (Rapid) which will cost RM60 billion.

Combined, these 15 initiatives within seven National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) will account for about RM63.38 billion in investment, RM66.31 billion in Gross National Income (GNI) and 63,531 new jobs.

On a cumulative basis, the ETP has to date recorded RM170.28 billion in investment, RM220.15 billion in GNI and 362,396 new jobs, Najib said at the ETP Progress Update Six here today.

Among the initiatives announced today were the UCSI Group, parent organisation of the UCSI University, to develop a 64ha integrated health education cluster in Bandar Springhill, Port Dickson.

The development will comprise the first private teaching hospital in the country. The 1,000-bed UCSI University Hospital will feature Malaysia's only anti-aging, aesthetics and regenerative medicine facility.

The group is expected to invest RM850 million by 2012, which will generate RM1.3 billion in GNI and 2,000 jobs by 2020.

Another initiative, a consortium comprising SEGi Education Group and eight early childhood care education (ECCE) providers will upgrade qualifications of existing workforce to a minimum of diploma level and provide multiple and accessible training as well as develop national programme standards for ECCE training.

The ECCE will be fully operational by 2015, the investment is worth RM700 million and will generate RM900 million in GNI.

Others include Sime Darby Healthcare Group investing in the establishment of two specialist hospitals, Sime Darby Medical Centre Ara Damansara (SMDC AD) and Sime Darby Medical Centre Desa ParkCity (Parkcity).

SMDC AD and Parkcity will cost RM240 million and RM40 million, respectively.

Under the ETP Progress Update Six, the Agriculture NKEA initiatives will feature two star products, premium shrimps and swiftlet nests.

Najib said JEFI Aquatech Resources Sdn Bhd was spearheading an initiative to develop Malaysia as a leading shrimp producer for the global and halal market by developing agro-entrepreneurs in the country's rural areas.

The three main components of this project are the establishment of the Jefi Aquatech Centre and Jefi Aquatech Farm, which includes the development of Agro-Entrepreneur Programme.

This initiative will require RM575 million in investment.

In another initiative, Yanming Resources Sdn Bhd is investing RM5 million to increase its edible bird's nest production capabilities, this will increase mechanisation in the processing line, up to 60 per cent from the current 10 per cent. It is expected to create RM88.7 million in GNI and 103 new jobs by 2020.

Moving on the Communications Content and Infrastructure NKEA, VADS Bhd and Cisco have signed a collaborative agreement to build the first TelePresence Exchange Infrastructure in Malaysia to offer Managed TelePresence Services to the private and public sectors in the country and the region.

This investment is worth RM11.3 million.

Meanwhile, the government-funded initiative to stimulate sales of energy-efficient appliances will cost RM50.2 million in 2011. The programme is spearheaded by the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry to improve energy efficiency in the country through five initiatives.

Lastly, to create stronger growth for the retail sector, the Unified Malaysia Sale will unite the three main sales events into one central coordinated event.

This year, the 1Malaysia Unified Sale will be introduced for the first time from Wednesday to Aug 31, 2011 which will encompass more than 50 sectors as compared with just garments and footwear previously.