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Monday, June 20, 2011

Pregnant, so no placement as relief teacher

The Shah Alam High Court will decide on July 15 if the government had committed gender-based discrimination by revoking the placement of a relief teacher upon learning that she is pregnant.

Justice Zaleha Yusof fixed the date after a hearing in chambers today, on the civil suit against the government - the firs of its kind in the country.

dap islamic state roundtable 100807 honey tanAccording to Honey Tan (left), lawyer for plaintiff Norfadilla Ahmad Saikin, the suit was filed on the basis that Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw).

"One of our main issues is to seek a definition of 'gender discrimination' because there is no such definition adopted by Malaysian judges yet, and we are trying to use Cedaw for this purpose," she said when met.

The Cedaw expressly states that governments must “take appropriate measure…to prohibit the imposition of sanctions and dismissals on the grounds of pregnancy or of maternity leave”.

Noorfadilla, 29, also cited Article 5 (the right to liberty) of the federal constitution and Article 8(2) which pertains to discrimination on the grounds of 'religion, race, descent, gender or place of birth…in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority'.

She is seeking a declaration that pregnancy cannot be used as an excuse to not employ a person as a untrained relief teacher (GSTT), and the revocation of the memo on her placement to be declared illegal and unconstitutional.

The memo for the month-to-month contract was revoked at a Hulu Langat District education briefing session for newly-recruited GSTT, when the ministry found out she was pregnant.

According NONEto her husband, Mohd Izwan Zakaria - who represented his wife today as she has just delivered their third child - Noorfadilla was called out during the briefing and “humiliated” for being pregnant.

“The (Hulu Langat district education officer) asked those who were pregnant to come forward. My wife and two others did. He then took away their placement memos,” he said.

Mohd Izwan said the officers had claimed that they were acting according to a 2007 circular which states that pregnant women cannot be hired as GSTT.

However, the circular sighted by Malaysiakini only states that GSTT are not entitled to maternity leave.

“One of the women who was called to the front with my wife was eight months pregnant and the job interview had been conducted within the previous month.

“Surely (the interviewer) would have seen that she was pregnant, so why was she offered a job?” he asked.

When he pursued the matter further, the Education Ministry informed him that it could not hire pregnant women because teachers need to be involved in co-curricular activities, which involve sports.

Named as respondents are Hulu Langat District education ministry officers Chayed Basirun and Ismail Musa, their department head Zahri Aziz, the director-general of the Education Ministry, the education minister and the government.

Lawyers Edmund Bon and Shahredzan Johan are also representing Noorfadilla.

Federal counsels Wan Roslan Wan Ismail and Aida Adha Abu Bakar are appearing for the respondents.

'Rights are not conditional'


Also present today was lawyer Andrew Khoo and human rights commissioner Detta Samen who held a watching brief for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, which deems the case to be "of public interest".

dap islamic state roundtable 100807 andrew khooKhoo (right) said that, while there are no specific laws on gender discrimination, the amendment to the constitution in 2001 to include gender in Article 8, based on Cedaw, shows the intention.

"We would prefer a specific law, but the rights of Malaysians should not be ignored just because the government has not been proactive on this," he said.

Commenting on the case, Association of Women Lawyers Meera Samanther said Noorfadilla was denied her equal right to work and earn a living, which should not be conditional.

"(She) was denied her right solely because she was pregnant and this is discrimination," she said when met today.

In a joint statement, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality called on the government and society to acknowledge maternity "as a vital social function".

"(We) call on employers to recognise that they are duty-bound to accommodate pregnant women and not dismiss employees or prospective employees on the basis of pregnancy," the group said.

It's clear, Ibrahim Ali out to create chaos

'Ibrahim Ali is openly threatening racial violence against the Chinese community. As usual, we expect the home minister to absolutely nothing.'

Anything can happen on July 9, Perkasa warns

Anonymous_40a7: "I believe the Chinese community, many of them, will have to stock up on food at home," said Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali.

Is that a thinly veiled threat against the Chinese community, Ibrahim? You should be charged under ISA for this... oh wait, I forgot he's untouchable.

By the way, I feel bad for the people of Pasir Mas who voted for this bigot because instead of having a person who serves his constituency faithfully, they ended up with someone who is hell bent on destroying everyone he doesn't see eye to eye.

"If you want to arrest, arrest everybody, as long as our nation is at peace," said Ibrahim. Yes, I agree. Starting with you.

Quigonbond: Chinese storing up food? Don't be ridiculous. There is no racial tension, just Perkasa thugs trying to prevent the masses from exercising their constitutional rights.

Perkasa is just an outsourced outfit of the Home Ministry - their new strategy is to use thugs to stop peaceful gatherings instead of sending in the FRUs after all the bad press in 2008. It's laughable of course, since permitting the thugs to do their dirty job, they end up tripling their 2008 error.

Instead of gathering and test their actual strength, they prefer to resort to threats of violence to win - typical of a school bully who is full of false bravados on the outside, but chicken on the inside.

Dhammika: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali is the real national threat. If there is a clash, who else will be responsible? How can the police let him have the freedom of speech to sow hatred and racial enmity?

If the police are do their job, then they must set a site for Perkasa to rally far away from Bersih's.

Disgusted: Ibrahim and Perkasa has made me more determined than ever to be present at the Bersih 2 rally - not to provoke violence but to take part in a peaceful march.

Remember to bring along a lot of water and a mask or protective goggles to overcome the tear gas and chemical-laced water sprayed by the police. If Ibrahim and Umno provoke a riot then they will face the wrath of rakyat in the general elections.

Malaysiakini and the 'media rakyat', do have your cameras ready to capture all that happens so that the nation and world will know what type of government rules Malaysia and that they are no better than Libya, Bahrain and Syria. This is the way 'Islamic' rulers behave.

Md Imraz Muhammed Ikhbal: And Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein still wants to assert that no one is above the law? Ibrahim Ali is above the law, and it is high time our home minister stop thinking we are idiots.

Bozo: Don't threaten us with chaos, Ibrahim. The only people who would create problems will be Perkasa.

Bersih will continue its march peacefully and we are ready for any eventuality. Let democracy prevails. Perkasa is only good at burning flags, photos and creating trouble.

AnakBangsaMalaysia: Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa are openly threatening racial violence against the Chinese community. And as usual, we expect the police and home minister not only do absolutely nothing, but actually go out of their way to play the role of cheerleading Perkasa.

We have not forgotten that Hishammuddin Hussein himself personally appeared at a press conference to endorse the actions of the Perkasa/Umno mob which defiled a severed cow's head in Shah Alam, and that the police stood by and did nothing.

When the entire judicial apparatus is as corrupt as it is in Malaysia, we expect nothing. The system is too rotten to be repaired; only a thorough change and reform can save Malaysia now.

Anonymous_5fb: Ibrahim Ali, you said you want to help the home minister by getting Malaysians to observe the law, but you broke the law by burning and stomping on pictures of Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and issued threats that there will be chaos if Bersih 2.0 is going ahead with its rally.

Don't be a hypocrite. It seems you learn well the art of hypocrisy from the infamous doctor. It is sickening to see your type of Muslim that brings shame to Islam, as if Islam allows you to create chaos.

Malaysian Born: It's amazing that this fool is actually threatening a May 13 type action against the Chinese as retribution for the Bersih march going forward, and he is doing it openly.

TehTarik: The Sturmabteilung (SA), or Stormtroopers, functioned as a paramilitary organisation of the German Nazi Party. It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s.

SA men were often called 'brownshirts' for the colour of their uniforms (similar to Benito Mussolini's blackshirts). The hallmark of these stormtroopers was the use of violence to disrupt peaceful rallies by opponents of the Nazi Party .

The stormtroopers also believed in the superiority of the Aryan race. The SA regularly threatened Jews and other minorities. They also questioned their patriotism and threatened to expel them from Germany. Can you see the eerie similarities?

KSN: What are the police waiting for? Ibrahim Ali has promised, in his own words, chaos. If that is not a threat to national security and peace, then what is?

Multi Racial: This time Ibrahim Ali has gone too far. He talks without thinking, and he thinks he can say and do anything without consequences. It is obvious that if there is a riot on July 9, Ibrahim Ali and his people are responsible for it.

Malaysians of all races will not be threaten by this racist bigot. Shame on you, Ibrahim Ali.

Tamma: A kampung (village) boy can figure out what Ibrahim Ali is up to. His people will wear yellow T-shirts and mix with them and damage public properties. Then the government will put the blame on Bersih. Am I right?

Buffalo_Bill: How can the BN government, which claims to be the true champion of multiracial Malaysia, tolerate this Malay supremacist-cum-racist? All we hear is deafening silent from our 1Malaysia PM.

Perkasa marching against Bersih abusing rights

The scheduled Walk for Democracy organised by Bersih 2.0 - the coalition for free and fair elections comprising 62 NGOs - on July 9 is in keeping with the democratic tradition of citizens who want to highlight issues of concern.

This democratic process is intended to draw the attention of the government to grievances that greatly bother the citizens of a country so that their grievances can be addressed. Their call is to conduct free and fair elections, that will legitimise election results and make them acceptable to all contestants.

Bersih had organised a similar gathering on November 10, 2007, that attracted close to 50,000 participants in a peaceful attempt to demand free and fair elections. One cannot help but be impressed by the disciplined and responsible conduct of the protesters then. They even cleared and cleaned the streets of all rubbish after the event. They had traffic marshals to manage the crowd. They were that responsible.

Now, this proposed protest on July 9 can be expected to be just as orderly, disciplined and responsible. The protesters will be there representing a cause that would strengthen our democracy and make our elections meaningful. There is no reason for them to do anything stupid to jeopardise their cause by resorting to the ways of hooligans and hoodlums.

They would want to convince the authorities that peaceful gatherings are possible to drive home a message in a democratic manner. They would also want to safeguard their right to similar protests in the future - when necessary - by ensuring that no untoward incidents take place that would jeopardise their democratic space in the future.

Bersih 2.0 is headed by a reputable and admirable person with an impeccable character in the form of Ambiga Sreenevasan, a former president of the Malaysian Bar Council and recipient of the International Women of Courage Award.

Those associated with the Bersih 2.0 initiative are individuals of integrity who are determined to make this peaceful protest a meaningful act of democracy. Aliran is very confident that the rally on 9 July will be a showcase of democracy that will demonstrate to the world that when gatherings such as this are organised by responsible, committed people for the good of the country, they can be peaceful, orderly and exemplary.

This is why it is difficult to understand why Perkasa is hell-bent on causing chaos and creating a ruckus by deliberately threatening to organise its counter demonstration in confrontation with Bersih 2.0 on the same day. Their intention is to wreck Bersih's peaceful gathering and to create a situation of unrest and agitation. Their declared intention threatens the peace and security of the nation.

It is their political ruse to force the police to stop the Bersih 2.0 demonstration, which promises to bring in crowds never before seen in the streets of Kuala Lumpur. It is their ploy not to allow this demonstration, which will show how widespread is the dissatisfaction of the people with the Election Commission, to take place.

Ibrahim Ali has declared, “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.”

These are words of a trouble-maker and a rabble-rouser. He is no democrat and he has no respect for the rights of others in a democratic system. His mission is to stop the democratic exercise of those who believe in the rule of law. He is prepared to descend into lawlessness to create mischief and anarchy.

Aliran calls upon him to abandon his foolhardy action and behave responsibly in the interest of the nation. He should have his demonstration on a separate date if the intention is to show that he has a bigger drawing power to attract a greater crowd than what Bersih is capable of.

Have your day on the street before or after the Bersih event - but not on the same day. We would even urge the police to give Perkasa their democratic space to gather and protest. According to the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. “The heart of democracy beats only with the participation of all citizens in exercising their right - first for inclusion in the political agenda issues of concern to them, and second in the process.”

As pointed out by him, democracy becomes dysfunctional when the rule of law is undermined.

P Ramakrishnan is on the Aliran executive council.

Central Java, Justice held in check only one year for imam who ordered attack on three churches

by Mathias Hariyadi

In February Syihabudin, religious leader in Temanggung, incited 1500 Muslims against the local Christian community. Sentences of between 4 and 5 months for some accomplices. The violence triggered by an alleged case of blasphemy. Moderates see judicial system in favor of Muslims. Government and police helpless against the extremist groups.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The moderate Indonesian population is in shock after the lenient sentence of one year prison for Syihabudin, the imam responsible for the attacks against Christians that took place on February 8 in Temanggung (Central Java). Indonesian English-language newspapers published the criticisms of many readers regarding the ruling, which could be reduced, taking into account the months the religious leader has already served. 25 other people suspected of involvement, were tried and sentenced to between 4 and 5 months.

"The independence of the Indonesian court is not in question - says one reader - yet no one condemns those judges who do not respect the values of the Pancasilla (the five guiding principles of the state, which guarantees religious freedom and social justice for all - ed) and fail to take into account the equality of all citizens. " Another citizen points out: "Syihabuddin only got one year in prison. Who says the system is tilted in favor of Muslims?”.

On February 8 Syihabudin has incited a crowd of 1,500 Muslims to protest against the sentence of five years in prison for blasphemy of Antonius Richmond Bawengan, a Christian born in Manado (North Sulawesi), claiming he deserved the death penalty. Within hours, thousands of extremists led by Syihabudin have destroyed three Roman Catholic churches, an orphanage and a Protestant church (see AsiaNews 08/02/2011 Central Java: Thousands of Muslims attack three churches, an orphanage and a Christian centre).The police, who arrived in small numbers, failed to placate the crowd, which beat and injured several Christians.

Theophilus Bela, activist and promoter of interreligious dialogue, said that "despite the religious freedom allowed Indonesia, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the police forces 'sleep' when it comes to defending minorities against attacks by Islamic extremists." According to him, the government and security forces so far have shown no actions severe enough to disrupt the groups that promote Islamic slogans and commit violence against Christians. "The riots that occurred in Temanggung - he says - are a clear example of how the Indonesian government is powerless in the face of these radical groups. "

Bela also adds that the mild sentence against Syihabuddin demonstrates the fragility of the judicial system, which now fears the pressures of the strongest social groups.

Ibrahim: Time for police to act

Hutang RM6 bilion: Anak masih tunggu penjelasan Felda

Tidak cukup sekadar mendakwa kedudukan kewangan Felda adalah stabil dan para peneroka tidak perlu bimbang, kata Mazlan Aliman.

PETALING JAYA: Para peneroka Felda di seluruh negara masih menunggu penjelasan yang lengkap daripada Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Ahmad Maslan berhubung hutang agensi kerajaan itu yang berjumlah RM6 bilion dari Kumpulan Simpanan Wang Pekerja (KWSP).

Pengerusi Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangsaan (Anak) Mazlan Aliman berkata, tidak cukup sekadar mendakwa kedudukan kewangan Felda adalah stabil dan para peneroka tidak perlu bimbang.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada FMT berhubung kenyataan Datuk Ahmad Maslan yang mengakui Felda ada membuat pinjaman RM6 bilion dari KWSP dan menyatakan bahawa kedudukan kewangan agensi itu adalah stabil dan para peneroka tidak perlu risau.

Tegas Mazlan, “sehingga hari ini kita masih menunggu penjelasan yang lengkap dari Ahmad Maslan mengenai butiran pinjaman dan untuk apa pinjaman RM6 bilion itu dibuat.

Kalau dulu, Ahmad Maslan mendakwa salah satu sebab Felda mengalami susut rezab tunai lebih RM1.3 bilion dalam tempoh lima tahun adalah disebabkan perbelanjaan tanaman semula.

“Baru-baru ini, Ahmad Maslan mendakwa sebahagian pinjaman RM6 bilion itu juga digunakan untuk membiayai kos penanaman semula pokok kelapa sawit,” terang beliau yang juga Ahli Jawatankuasa Kerja PAS Pusat dan Pengerusi Lajnah Tanah dan Pembangunan Wilayah parti itu.

Mazlan menjelaskan, sekiranya Felda membelanjakan sebanyak RM4 bilion untuk menjalankan kerja-kerja penanaman semula maka ini bermakna kos seekar menelan belanja sebanyak RM100,000.

Tidak masuk akal


“Ini suatu jumlah yang tidak masuk akal kerana sekiranya para peneroka sendiri yang mengerjakan tanaman semula, ia hanya menelan belanja sebanyak RM10,000 sahaja untuk seekar,” jelas beliau.

Beliau menegaskan bahawa banyak keraguan yang timbul di mana Ahmad Maslan perlu memberi penjelasan yang memuaskan kerana pengurusan kewangan Felda tidak dijalankan dengan telus.

“Keadaan ini juga menunjukkan komitmen kerajaan yang langsung tidak peduli akan nasib para peneroka dan kerajaan dilihat seolah- oleh lebih cenderong untuk menutup segala kelemahan dan penyelewengan yang berlaku dalam agensi itu.

Oleh sebab itu katanya, Anak menggesa satu suruhanjaya bebas ditubuhkan untuk menyiasat pengurusan kewangan Felda yang didakwa mengalami kerugian yang teruk.

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim baru-baru ini mendakwa pelaburan luar negara yang dibuat oleh Kumpulan Felda dengan menggunakan wang yang dipinjam daripada KWSP itu semuanya mengalami kerugian.

“Kami percaya bahawa semua pelaburan luar negara yang dibuat oleh Felda Global dengan menggunakan pinjaman wang KWSP itu mengalami kerugian terkumpul hampir RM500 juta dari tahun 2007 hingga 2010,” ujar beliau.

Menurut Ketua Pembangkang itu, pelaburan luar tersebut meliputi dalam syarikat Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Twin Rivers Technologies US, TRT-ETGO Canada, Felda Global Ventures Middle East dan juga Felda Global Ventures Arabia.

On ministerial responsibility

By R Nadeswaran, The Sun 

DEPENDING on which newspaper you read, Chris Huhne is the best secretary of state for environment and climate change the UK ever has had. But when he left his wife Vicky Pryce of 27 years for his aide Carina Trimingham, things seem to have gone awry. Hell, they say, has no fury like a woman scorned. Huhne, his estranged wife claimed, asked her to accept the penalty for a speeding ticket he collected in 2003. There has been no prosecution yet but the police have passed on their investigations to the director of public prosecutions.

In the past, ministers by convention have submitted their resignations if they had broken the law or had put the government in an embarrassing situation for failings within departments under their portfolios. Under the Westminster system, this is seen to guarantee that an elected official is answerable for every single government decision. It is also important to motivate ministers to scrutinise the activities within their departments. One rule coming from this principle is that each cabinet member answers for his or her own ministry in parliament.

The reverse of ministerial responsibility is that civil servants are not supposed to take credit for the successes of their department, allowing the government to claim them.

Although it may sound unfair, this doctrine demands that if waste, corruption, or any other misbehaviour is found to have occurred within a ministry, the minister is responsible even if the minister had no knowledge of the actions.

A research paper from the House of Commons states: “A minister is ultimately responsible for all actions by a ministry. Even without knowledge of an infraction by subordinates the minister approved the hiring and continued employment of those civil servants. If misdeeds are found to have occurred in a ministry the minister is expected to resign. It is also possible for a minister to face criminal charges for malfeasance under their watch.”

The archives in parliament are full of episodes, articles, stories and accounts of a string of ministers who had to send their resignation letters to the prime minister for failing to account for their conduct or that of a subordinate.

One of the most talked about case is that of junior education minister, Estelle Morris in 2002. She quit not because of personal scandal or personal agreement but she pledged to do so if the government failed to meet its targets for literacy and numeracy.

From the Hansard, this is the exchange that took place in the house:

Conservative shadow education secretary, (David) Willetts: Will the minister commit herself to the secretary of state’s pledge to resign if the government do not reach their literacy and numeracy targets by 2002?

Morris: Of course I will; I have already done so. Indeed, I generously commit the under-secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr Clarke) too. We speak with one voice. The Hon.

Gentleman’s question is a reflection of what life was like under teams of Conservative ministers, when a secretary of state would promise to resign but the rest of the team would not go.

The material on Reginald Maudling who resigned in 1972 makes interesting reading. Not in the cabinet (yet) six years earlier, he was made director in a company owned by architect John Poulson. Maudling helped obtain lucrative contracts. When Poulson was subject to a bankruptcy hearing, bribe payments and his connections to Maudling became public knowledge.

He quit and said: “As home secretary I was officially police authority for the metropolis, and was responsible for the Metropolitan Police. It seemed to me quite clear that I could not continue to hold that responsibility while the Met were investigating, with a view to possible prosecution, the activities of a man with whom I had had a business association. I had no option but to resign, which I did.”

In later years, Tony Blair’s one-time spin doctor Peter Mandelson resigned on two occasions. In late 1998, he resigned after it emerged that he got a loan from the paymaster general, Geoffrey Robinson, to buy a house. The media dug up several stories concerning the financial conduct of Robinson and oversight of these by Mandelson.

In his letter of resignation, Mandelson accepted that “it was necessary for ministers not only to uphold high standards in public life but also to be ‘seen to do so’.”

He returned to the cabinet a year later but had to resign again two years later for alleged improprieties. The Observer charged that he had called the immigration minister to assist an Indian businessman, Srichand Hinduja to obtain British citizenship. Srichand and his brother had donated £1 million to sponsor part of the Millennium Dome when Mandelson was in charge of the project in 1998. In 2001, an official inquiry exonerated Mandelson by which time he declared he would not want to be in the cabinet again.

In Malaysia, one of the earliest cases of a minister having to resign in unusual circumstances was in the sixties when the then Education Minister Abdul Rahman Talib submitted his resignation letter after he was unsuccessful in a defamation suit. PPP leader D. R. Seenivasagam had brought up in Parliament, where he enjoyed privilege, improprieties committed by the minister. Seenivasagam accepted the challenge to repeat the remarks outside and was unsuccessfully sued by Abdul Rahman.

The other minister who resigned was Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek who quit as health minister in 2008 over a sex video featuring him.

While we embrace the Westminster system, history may have forgotten some doctrines and the saga of Abdul Rahman Talib v D. R. Seenivasagam and Chua.

R. Nadeswaran concedes that since it is a doctrine and not a law, it would be difficult to compel individuals to do the honourable thing. He is theSun’s UK correspondent based in London and can be reached at: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com

22 Children Die Of Mystery Disease In A State In Eastern India

MUZAFFARPUR, June 20 (Bernama) -- At least 22 children below the age of six years have died and 35 others hospitalised due to a mystery disease during the past one week in Bihar's Muzaffarpur district, officials said.

While four children died at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH), three others died at Kejriwal hospital in Muzaffarpur town, they said.

SKMCH Paediatrician Dr Braj Mohan confirmed the death of four children at the hospital since Saturday.

Superintendent of Kejriwal hospital Dr Bibi Giri told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that the three children below the age of six years died due to suspected encephalitis at the hospital during the past 24 hours.

While, 15 others have been admitted for treatment.

The health department of the north Indian state of Bihar has sent a team of experts from Patna to the district.

The team had already collected the blood samples and returned to the state capital, Principal secretary (health), Amarjeet Sinha said.

The blood samples were sent to a specialised laboratory in Pune for examination, he added.

Bihar lies mid-way between West Bengal in the east and Uttar Pradesh in the west. It is bounded by the country of Nepal to the north and by Jharkhand to the south.

Hague summons reaches Rajapakse for US Court case

Sri Lanka’s local media reported that the Sri Lanka Justice Department has received the summons filed in connection with the Monoharan et al v. Rajapaksa (Civil Action No. 11-235(CKK) under the Hague Convention. This notification and demonstrated failure of Mr Rajapakse to answer the complaint will allow the Court to proceed to the next step in proposing a last resort attempt at service by publication or to move to consider a default judgment, plaintiffs’ attorney Bruce Fein told TamilNet.

“[...] the government was not overly ruffled by this decision, and would not respond to it,” Daily Mirror said quoting unnamed sources.

If the plaintiffs succeed in convincing the District Court of District of Columbia’s Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly the the Court has personal jurisdiction over Mahinda Rajapakse then that will clear the way for the Court to issue a default judgement Mr. Fein told TamilNet.

The default judgement would force Rajapakse to provide a monetary award closer to $30M.

Watta Satta: Police block exchange marriage between 9-year-old and 14-year-old

The parents said police had no right to intervene when the minors agreed.
VEHARI/MITRO:  Police foiled a watta satta marriage arranged between a nine-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl on Friday.

According to police officials, Moza Surgana resident Ejaz Ahmed was set to marry Shazia and in-exchange their siblings Farzana, 14, and Amir Hussain, 9, were set to tie the knot on Friday afternoon. “There is nothing wrong with this match. All the parties had agreed and the children wanted the marriage,” said the bridegroom Amir’s mother Amira Bibi. “The police has no right to interfere in this instance. This is a private matter and no one was harmed. We don’t have to consult the police before settling on a match for our children,” said Farzana’s mother Mukhtar Bibi.

Mailsi Circle DSP Malik Daud and SHO Mitro Muhammad Aslam said they arrested the parents of the children after they received a tip off that two minors were being wed. “This has nothing to do with the parent’s wishes or the fact that the children agreed to the match.

The marriage of minors is illegal,” said Daud. “We need to raise awareness about the fact that underage marriages are wrong, regardless of tradition or culture. The children may have agreed to the marriage but a nine-year-old boy is not capable of making such a decision,” said an NGO worker Shabnam Batool.
Mitro police officials said that they raided a home on Friday afternoon.

“The entire place was packed with wedding guests and we saw the couples sitting on stage. “Ejaz and Shazia are of the legal age to get married but the watta satta of their younger siblings is wrong,” said Aslam.

Amir Hussain’s father Fida Hussain said “The police has no business to interfere in these matters. This is a custom of our land and we are not going to begin to adopt western customs. My son agreed to marry Farzana and she obeyed her parents,” he said. “There is nothing criminal in it,” he added.

Mitro police interrogated both couples under the Marriage Act and registered separate cases against the parents of both minor’s in the case. “They have ruined our wedding in the process and we cannot tolerate such injustice,” said Ejaz.

Muhammad Nawaz and Fida Hussain told reporters that the police had insulted them and arrested them over a wrong tip. “They thought this marriage was illegal because we were forcing the children but after they asked them both said they had agreed to the match. There is no case here,” Fida said.

“Ejaz and Shazia were going to get married and under the watta satta tradition Amir and Farzana’s nikah was also decided,” Muhammad Nawaz said.

“This has been happening in our family for decades. We will not stop it because the police and forces are trying to force us to adopt western norms,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2011.

Anything can happen on July 9, Perkasa warns

Ambiga: This rally is not about individuals



General Ibrahim ready to wipeout Bersih

Perkasa is heading a counter rally in a war to stop Bersih from continuing street demonstrations.

KUALA LUMPUR: An anti-Bersih movement was launched today by Malay right-wing group Perkasa with the main aim of stopping the July 9 rally organised by polls watchdog Bersih.

Perkasa’s chief Ibrahim Ali said the new umbrella coalition formed to work against Bersih will be called NGO-NGO Prihatin Keamanan Negara, or simply known as Gerak Aman.

It was launched at the Kelab Sultan Sulaiman field in Kampung Baru today. Their plan is to start gathering at night before the July 9 morning Bersih rally.

“Our main gathering point would be at Jalan Bellamy (near the Istana Negara) and we’ll gather on the eve of July 9 at night,” said Ibrahim.

Other gathering points include the National Mosque compound, Dataran Merdeka, the Stadium Merdeka compound and Istana Negara.

“I will call off our gathering if Bersih calls off its,” said Ibrahim, stressing that their counter demonstration was within their democratic right in a guided democracy.

“We are NGOs without political affiliation,” he added.

Bersih has planned to hold a massive rally on July 9 to call for a clean and fair elections. Its organisers have insisted that their rally will be peaceful. The police have warned them against holding the rally, labelling it as an illegal assembly.

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin accused the opposition of pushing for the Bersih rally to create tension in the country.

Bersih is officially launching its call for the rally for a clean elections later tonight. It is also expected to explain why it wants to hold the peaceful rally.

General ready for war


Earlier during his speech, Ibrahim likened himself as a general in a war to stop Bersih from continuing street demonstrations.

“We will wage a war against them at all cost to stop them from demonstrating because we want a peaceful nation.”

His announcement of the anti-Bersih rally was attended by about 500 people. He said that Perkasa’s demonstrators could be arrested by the police for their rally, and perhaps even face the Internal Security Act.
“However we do have about nine lawyers who will defend you if you are detained,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Ibrahim also welcomed a move by Umno Youth to hold its own rally on July 9 to back the Election Commission and the electoral process in the country.

He also stressed that Umno Youth’s plans to demonstrate had nothing to do with Perkasa.
“Congratulations to Umno Youth but it would be better if you come as BN youth,” he said.

Ambiga is Anwar’s tool

He also lashed out at Bersih for holding the rally on behest of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
“This has nothing to do with the Election Commission.  It is held only because Anwar failed in his Sept 16 (2009) promise (to takeover the government),” Ibrahim said.

“They want a Tahrir Square because Anwar knows that he’ll fail to get hold of the federal government through the polls,” he said in reference to the rallying point in Egypt.

“He wants to over throw the (BN) government,” Ibrahim added.

He said Bersih chairperson S Ambiga was being made a tool of the opposition, and proceeded to hit out at her for highlighting various controversial issues in the past.

“She was involved in defending Lina Joy, the Interfaith Council and a conversion forum. Soon she will become the spiritual advisor of PAS,” he added.

He also announced plans to organise a forum involving EC to discuss the issues revolving elections.

The launch was also attended by a handful of Indian representatives and about 40 Chinese from an NGO call Angkatan Rakyat Insaf.

Others included Kulim-Bandar Baharu’s independent MP Zulkifli Noordin and former deputy minister, Khalid Yunus.

Outside the venue, representatives of the various NGOs burned banners that had Ambiga’s photo on it.
A leaflet with the title ‘Awas!! Ambiga Wanita Hindu Yang Merbahaya’ was also distributed.

‘Not for Anwar to call off Bersih rally’

Bersih chairperson Ambiga says it is the people's rally.

KUALA LUMPUR: Coalition for Free And Fair Elections (Bersih) chairperson, S Ambiga today said the polls watchdog would not back down from its mass rally planned for July 9.

“It is not for Anwar to decide to call it off,” said Ambiga who leads the coalition of about 62 NGOs and political parties.

She was commenting on Opposition Leader and PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim’s remarks earlier today that he would call off the Bersih rally if the Election Commission guaranteed free and fair election.
Anwar’s remarks were said at the Selangor PKR convention earlier today.

Meanwhile when asked on Malay rightwing group Perkasa’s action of villifying her and burning banners of her picture, Ambiga said: “I believe police will take appropriate action. I will not respond to any statements against me.

“The rally is not me It is about the people,” said Ambiga, who was a former Bar Council president. She was talking to reporters at the launch of the Bersih rally tonight.
She also assured that the July 9 rally would be a peaceful event.

“We are peaceful. Our aims are noble, our cause is just, and our method is peaceful. If there is any violence, it will not be by us,” said Ambiga.

Anak muda perlu dibarisan hadapan Himpunan Bersih

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menyeru anak muda supaya tidak gentar menghadapi tekanan daripada pihak berkuasa semasa himpunan akan datang termasuk ditangkap polis dan dihumbankan ke penjara.

SHAH ALAM: Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menyeru anak muda turun menyertai Himpunan Bersih 2.0 dan berada dibarisan paling hadapan pada 9 Julai nanti.

Berucap di Himpunan Rapat Anak Muda 13.0 Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK), Anwar berkata golongan tersebut merupakan simbolik berdasarkan faktornya yang paling utama dalam menentukan kejatuhan pemerintahan Barisan Nasional (BN) semasa Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU13) akan datang.

Sehubungan itu, beliau yang juga Ketua Umum PKR menyeru anak muda supaya tidak gentar menghadapi tekanan daripada pihak berkuasa semasa himpunan akan datang termasuk ditangkap polis dan dihumbankan ke penjara.

“Sekarang masanya kita bertempur dalam gelanggang lawan. Ya mungkin ada yang akan ditangkap ‘so what’? Apa yang menghairankan?

“Rakyat akan bersama kita dalam menumbangkan kezaliman Umno-BN,” laungnya yang turut diiringi sorakan kira-kira 1,000 AMK di Dewan Jubli Perak di sini malam tadi.

Beliau turut meramalkan himpunan dalam menuntut sebuah pilihan raya yang adil itu nanti menjadi satu titik tolak revolusi dalam sejarah negara sama seperti apa yang berlaku di beberapa negeri Timur Tengah termasuk Mesir dan Tunisia.

“Perubahan itu pasti berlaku dengan kesedaran rakyat, dengan desakan supaya soal survival yang djamin dalam Perlembagaan dikembalikan,” katanya.

‘Anak muda jangan takut’ 


Sementara itu, Ketua AMK Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin berkata anak muda perlu buang persepsi takut dengan tekanan undang-undang termasuk dipenjarakan jika mahu berjuang menuntut sistem demokrasi pilihan raya yang adil.

Menyahut cabaran Anwar yang mahu anak muda dibarisan hadapan, Shamsul berkata anak muda seperti ‘bom jangka’ yang tidak akan tunduk dengan desakan kerajaan.

“Kalau tak dapat, kita akan guna cara jalan raya. Jangan cabar kita guna jalan raya untuk jatuhkan kerajaan,” katanya.

Selain itu, Shamsul turut memberi jaminan terhadap mana-mana ahlinya yang aktif dan berani kehadapan akan mendapat peluang menjadi calon dalam pilihan raya nanti.

Sehubungan itu, beliau berkata pihaknya akan membuat usul kepada pimpinan tertinggi parti supaya AMK diberikan peluang sebanyak 60 peratus menjadi calon kerana mahu negara ini dipimpin oleh orang muda yang berkebolehan.

Himpunan anjuran Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih) merupakan himpunan kedua selepas tahun 2007 membuat tujuh tuntutan termasuk menghantar memorandum kepada Yang diPertuan Agong supaya diadakan pilihan raya yang adil.

WIKILEAKS: In Iran they weigh and not count the cash


Radzi said that Petronas told MITI it does not have any investment in Iran now and that the private companies (SKS and Amona) claimed they had no financing sources for their projects in Iran. Radzi also described how Malaysian firms go to Iran with suitcases of money to purchase oil and gas concessions from the Iranians. He said that they bring too much cash to count the money, so they weigh it to determine if the amount is correct. Radzi did not offer why Malaysian firms would purchase an O&G concession from the Iranians for a project they are unable to finance.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KUALA LUMPUR 000037

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/19/2020
TAGS: ECON, EFIN, ENIV, ETRD, ETTC, IR, KNNP, MY
SUBJECT: MALAYSIA: ISA UPDATE - PETRONAS MOVING AWAY FROM IRAN INVESTMENT

REF: 09 STATE 121808

Classified By: Econ Counselor Matt Matthews for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1.  (C) Summary: Post approached the three Malaysian companies listed in Ref A that are reportedly doing business or contemplating doing business in Iran.  Petronas told us January 11 that it has no active investments in Iran, no commitment has been made to invest in South Pars Phase 11 and its contractual obligations in the Munir block are complete, with no further investment under consideration. 
Petronas officials noted that Petronas is concerned about investing in Iran due to current political uncertainties there.  Amona told us via telephone they sold their oil and gas (O&G) business, including any interest in the redevelopment of the Resalat Oilfield. 
Post has made contact with representatives from SKS Ventures, which will be reported septel.  Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Principal Assistant Secretary and America Desk Officer Muhammad Radzi Jamaludin (Radzi) told post that the Ministry of International Trade and Investment (MITI) held a meeting with Petronas, Amona, and SKS Ventures and told them to cooperate with embassy inquiries on Iran investments.  End Summary.
2.  (C) Comment: Our meeting with Petronas was at a surprisingly high level and the information offered was unusually frank and forthcoming for such a sensitive topic. As a Petronas Board member, Azhar is well positioned to provide accurate information on Petronas' Iran investment plans.  Post will continue to press for additional details on Petronas South Pars Phase 11 activity.  End Comment.
Petronas
3.  (C) Deputy Econcouns Salin and econoff Williams met January 11 with Petronas Board of Directors Member and Corporate Secretary Mohd Azhar Osman Khairuddin (Azhar) and his assistant, Head of Legal Research, Planning and Issues Management, Abdul Rahim Mydin (Rahim) to query Petronas about existing and planned investments in Iran,s oil and gas sector (O&G) and awareness of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). Deputy Econcouns delivered ref A points and provided additional background on our information request.
4.  (C) Azhar said that Petronas does not have any investments in Iran at this time.  Azhar explained that Petronas aspires to be a global company and desires a positive relationship with the USG.  However, he related that Petronas was a relatively late entrant to the O&G business and was not competitive with international oil companies (IOCs) in most development areas. 
Petronas made the conscious decision in the mid 1990,s, with the blessing of the GOM, to compete in countries where Western sanctions precluded the largest IOCs from competing such as Iran, Sudan, Myanmar, and Mauritania, according to Azhar.  He claimed that in 1996 the Petronas president met with Clinton Administration officials informing the USG of Petronas, plans to invest in Iran and that Secretary Albright gave Total, Gazprom, and Petronas ISA exemptions on South Pars Phases 2 and 3. 
Azhar said that Petronas developed the Siri field without an exemption and that both of Petronas, prior Iran projects are now finished.  He mentioned that Petronas does have an ongoing trading relationship with Iran, exporting lubricants to Iran.
5.  (C) Azhar told us that Malaysian O&G reserves are not large and are running out soon.  (Note: Conoco Philips Malaysia confirmed that without new discoveries, Malaysian oil production will decline at approximately 10% per year, from 550,000 bpd in 2008 to roughly 490,000 bpd in 2009 and 450,000 bpd in 2010.) 
Azhar noted that revenues from Petronas accounted for 45% of the GOM budget last year and stated that the GOM is over-reliant on Petronas to fund its operations.  He said Petronas feels tremendous pressure to grow its business in order to maintain Malaysia’s political status quo and added that Petronas wants to stay insulated from politics, but must comply with GOM policy. 
He acknowledged the large amount of liquid assets on Petronas, balance sheet and Petronas, concerns that those funds be invested in productive O&G assets to promote future profitability rather than be spent now on domestic programs for political gain.  He described Petronas as a stabilizing force in Malaysia and in ASEAN regionally and his desire that the USG recognize the important role Petronas plays in maintaining political stability in the region.
6.  (C) Azhar was not aware of press accounts of Petronas investment plans in the South Pars Phase 11 gas field and was noticeably irritated that Petronas gas subsidiary Carigali had not mentioned Phase 11 when it briefed Azhar on its Iran activities.  He was quite clear, from his position as a member of the Petronas Board of Directors, that no final investment decision had been made on any new project in Iran.
Azhar added that Petronas is closely following the political situation in Iran between President Ahmadinejad and the opposition and stated that Petronas is very concerned about investing in Iran at this point due to political uncertainties and the possibility of "disruptive changes."
7.  (C) (Note: In a follow-up telephone call January 14, Rahim told econoff that investment in South Pars Phase 11 is still under consideration, but that Petronas has not committed to the investment.  Econoff asked follow-up questions on the status, timing, and cost of due diligence, contract status with Iran/CNPC, and when a final decision could be reached.  Rahim asked econoff to forward the follow-up questions via email and that he would try to respond. End Note.)
8.  (C) Azhar was excited about Petronas successful bid with Shell to develop the Majnoon oilfield in Iraq.  He praised the open and transparent competitive bidding process and said that Iraq’s opening is putting a lot of pressure on Iran. Petronas is bullish on the political situation in Iraq and plans to compete for additional business in Iraq, according to Azhar.
Amona Claims O&G Business Sold
9.  (C) Econoff and LES Tang Loon Lian contacted Amona December 9 via telephone regarding its announced investment in the Resalat Oilfield.  An Amona representative told us Amona had sold its entire oil and gas business to Oil Corp., a publicly traded Malaysian company. 
Local news databases did not report announcement of a sale.  A search of Bursa Malaysia publicly listed companies showed that Oil Corp. is losing significant amounts of money and appears near bankruptcy. 
Post will continue to check for additional details on the status of Malaysian participation in the Resalat transaction.
MFA and Trade Ministry Authorize Cooperation
10.  (C) During a January 12 meeting, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Assistant Secretary and America Desk Officer Muhammad Radzi Jamaludin (Radzi) told econoff that he had recently attended a MITI-led meeting, in which MITI called in Petronas, SKS Ventures and Amona and told them to cooperate with the embassy in our ISA inquiry. 
Radzi said that Petronas told MITI it does not have any investment in Iran now and that the private companies (SKS and Amona) claimed they had no financing sources for their projects in Iran. 
Radzi also described how Malaysian firms go to Iran with suitcases of money to purchase oil and gas concessions from the Iranians.  He said that they bring too much cash to count the money, so they weigh it to determine if the amount is correct. 
Radzi did not offer why Malaysian firms would purchase an O&G concession from the Iranians for a project they are unable to finance.
KEITH

PKR Has Shortlisted 60 Per Cent Candidates For Election

SHAH ALAM, June 19 (Bernama) -- Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) election committee has shortlisted about 60 per cent of its candidates for the general election, which include some new faces.

Its deputy president Azmin Ali said the list will be submitted to party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and its political bureau in two weeks for consideration and endorsement.

"Elected representatives who had not performed and served well will not be selected for election.

"There is no guarantee that those who won previously will be allowed to recontest," he told reporters after attending the party's election convention near here, Sunday.

Azmin said those chosen to contest in the general election would undergo tight vetting to ensure they are committed towards the party and capable of serving the people.

"Our past experience has taught us to be more careful when choosing candidates," he added.

PKR also wanted to retain seats won in the 2008 general election.

However, there will be a swap of seats that the party lost with PAS and DAP.

It will continue to field candidates in mixed areas with equal number of voters from various races.

Bersih 2.0 'Walk for Democracy' launched

Images from the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tonight, where the civil society-led Bersih 2.0 Walk for Democracy on 9 July has been launched.
Photo credit: MediaRakyat
Image of the packed hall:
Photo credit Gan Pei Nei
Speakers revealed that global solidarity rallies will take place at 2.00pm from the Malaysian High Commission in UK, in Sydney and elsewhere.