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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Unruly mob has its way at police station

Families of detained PSM members go through a harrowing experience as pleas for help to diffuse the situation is ignored by officers.

KEPALA BATAS: A group of unruly youths caused panic among families of detained PSM members at the northern Seberang Perai (SPU) district police headquarters last night.

PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan led about 40 family members of the 30 detained PSM activists to lodge a second round of police reports at the station at 8.30pm.

As the family members were lodging their reports at a mobile police booth outside the headquarters, a group of unruly youths, started to mushroom at the place.

The boisterous group began to intimidate the family members and walked menacingly towards PSM supporters gathered outside the police station.

Several of youths barged their way through the PSM group and entered the police station. Sensing trouble, Arutchelvan sought police help to provide protection to his people.

However, instead of providing protection, he said a police officer told the PSM members to leave the area first.

“If you all disperse, they will disperse,” the officer allegedly told Arutchelvan and several others.

Fortunately for the PSM members, a small group of Pakatan Rakyat local leaders, led by mainland councillor Johari Kassim from PKR arrived at the scene.

They quickly whisked away the PSM supporters into a tour bus and took them to the PAS local base in Pongsu Seribu.

The group of youths then began dispersing from the area, and the PSM supporters later spent the night at the PAS base.

Families of the PSM members arrested last Saturday evening at the Sungai Dua toll plaza of the North-South Expressway arrived at the district headquarters at 11am.

‘Police conniving with local thugs’


They lodged their police reports after they were not allowed to visit the detainees, among whom were Sungai Siput MP Dr D Micheal Jeyakumar.

Jeyakumar, PSM deputy chief M Saraswathy and a bus driver known only as Selvam are currently warded at the Penang Hospital to seek treatment for health problems.

All the detainees are being investigated for allegedly ‘waging war’ against the King.

Arutchelvan said that PSM members were not involved in any illegal gathering when they arrived here in the morning from Sungai Siput in a tour bus.

“We came here to visit our family members who have been detained. We only started to lodge reports when our requests to see them was turned down,” he said.

Arutchelvan said police officers told him to submit a formal request to Penang police chief Ayub Yaakob to obtain permission to visit the detainees.

Meanwhile, Hindraf Makkal Sakthi advisor N Ganesan, who was at the scene, said it was clear that the police were conniving with local thugs to chase away the PSM members.

“The police made no attempt to disperse the thugs who gathered illegally in the area. The situation was really tense and the thugs looked mean,” he said.

Arutchelvan was among the 28 people arrested in Tangkak, Johor, during the southern leg of the Bersih campaign yesterday. They were all released some hours later.

The PSM leaders and members were on a nationwide roadshow to woo people to join the planned mammoth Bersih rally on July 9 in KL demanding for free and fair elections.

Ibrahim Ali: Bersih rally meant to rescue Anwar

Minimum wages now, not policies

While a significant number of workers suffer due to poor wages, the government continues to be pro-employer in its approach.
COMMENT
By Syed Shahrir Syed Mohamud

It was a sad day for workers and unions in Malaysia when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak at the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) dinner on June 14 made no firm commitment on the promotion and protection of workers’ rights.

As for the minimum wage issue, his response was that this matter is to be referred to the National Wage Consultative Council. There was also no positive response on the issues of retirement age of 60, increasing maternity leave to 90 days for all workers, and the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

Workers in Malaysia are still a very low priority of the current Umno-led Barisan Nasional government that has ruled since independence in 1957. Pleas of workers and their families for decent wages continue to be ignored by a government that has been shown to be pro-employer and pro-business, which, by its actions and omissions, seems to be more interested in maintaining the supply of lowly paid, “problem-free” and “easily used and disposable” workers especially for private sector companies.

Workers’ demand and plea for a basic minimum living wage law that will ensure that workers and their families will be able to live decent lives as human beings continue to be ignored by this government, which has at the same time been very fast in increasing the cost of living. This government has allowed increase in the cost of electricity, water, postal services, phone charges, toll charges, petrol and generally the cost of living.

The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) saw an overall rise of cost of almost all goods and services. Continuous subsidy removals have also resulted in the increase of prices of basic goods and amenities needed by all persons to sustain life. All these measures that resulted in an increase in the cost of living of workers and their families have been done speedily and systematically, but at the same time this government has not ensured increase in wages, and has been systematically removing the right to secure employment until retirement age.

New workers today are being allowed by the government to be employed as short-term contract workers, and sadly even once permanent workers are made to leave through various schemes, like voluntary separation schemes (VSS) and then re-employed as short-term contract workers. Then, the government has expressed the intention of wanting to deny these now contract workers the right to go to court and claim for reinstatement when they are wrongfully dismissed by employers, but the trade unions and civil society opposed this and the government has yet to make this law.

Now, another disturbing trend is that the government is allowing some companies to avoid employment relationships, and their duties and obligations to the workers who work in their factories, plantations and workplaces. It is doing this by a new illegal entity called outsourcing agents, who are actually contractors for labour that supply workers to principals, and this clearly is not allowed in our Employment Act 1955. The law applies to all, including the government, and action is demanded that injustice and violation of law are aggressively ended.

Workers living below poverty line


On minimum wage, Malaysia always had the Wages Councils Act 1947, which gave the government the means and mechanisms to stipulate minimum wages for workers but, alas, it seems that only four categories of workers have been covered by orders made under this Act, that is, in 1967, 1970, 1972 and 1977. They are catering and hotel workers, shop assistants, cinema workers, and Penang stevedores and cargo handlers respectively. For example, the 1970 order on shop assistants provides that the minimum remuneration for a worker ranges from RM170 to RM250, depending on the age of the worker, location and whether full-time or apprentice.

Now, rather than immediately setting and implementing a minimum wage for all workers in Malaysia, or coming out with a minimum wage law, the BN government is telling us that it is tabling a new Bill called the National Wage Consultative Council Act, and the fear is that this will just be as ineffective as the previous law, and all workers will not enjoy basic minimum wages for some time yet, if at all.

The government can immediately set the basic minimum living wages for workers now, subject to later adjustment. A few months ago, the government set the minimum wages for security guards at RM700 per month, which came into effect at the end of January 2011, and as such, the government also can and should immediately set a floor minimum wage for all workers now. It is proposed that this be at least RM900 and it become effective on July 1, 2011. Further adjustments and annual periodic reviews can be done later but at least workers will get sufficient wages now for themselves and their families when cost of living is already so high.

It is sad that the new president of MTUC, Khalid Atan, saw it fit to shower praises on our prime minister, and pledged that MTUC will be working closely with this government that has a history of being anti-worker and pro-employer. MTUC, trade unions and workers’ groups must always place as priority the fight for workers’ rights and welfare, and not try to curry favour with politicians and the government of the day.

It is also distressing that MTUC has allowed the event to become an Umno event, in particular when Umno Youth used it to launch its workers complaints (aduan pekerja) website. It would have been much better if the money was just donated to MTUC to have its own independent website.

Workers and their unions have been calling for minimum wage for a long time, and this demand intensified in the last six years but, alas, the current government’s response has to date been empty promises only save for the 100,000 plus security guards that got something.

Let us not forget that a study on wages initiated by the Human Resources Ministry has revealed that almost 34% of about 1.3 million workers earn less than RM700 a month, below the poverty line of RM720 per month. And in June 2011, our prime minister is not talking about workers getting minimum wages soon but only that “…he hoped a minimum wage policy can be implemented by year-end…”
Workers demand minimum wages today – not just a policy by end of the year.

Syed Sharir Syed Mohamud is the former Malaysian Trade Union Congress president.

Judges who don't know local laws well

The New Straits Times

GEORGE TOWN: Constitutional law expert Shad Saleem Faruqi has expressed shock that a person can be called to the Bar or be appointed as judge without studying local laws.

Shad Saleem said the current practice enabled one to be called or appointed without undergoing a "bridging course" or studying the Malaysian Constitution. 

"Almost 90 per cent of all superior court judges and most of the senior members of the Bar are trained abroad.

"They are not familiar with Malaysian constitutional jurisprudence and often evade constitutional issues," Shad Saleem said yesterday at the International Conference on Decolonising Universities, jointly organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia and Citizens International.

He was speaking on "Western Intellectual Imperialism in Malaysian Legal Education" on the second day of the three-day conference, which began on Monday.

He noted that the country's judges often quoted from the unwritten English constitution and reject the ones from countries like India on constitutional law matters.

On a related matter, he said legal education, apart from being just a study of rules and procedures, must also involve service to the society.

Among the ways he proposed were: redesigning the curriculum to provide for mandatory faculty and student involvement in legal aid and advice clinics; a clinical legal education course involving field work to examine how the law actually works in society; and the formulating and conducting of tailor-made, short-term courses for targeted groups.

Political Scientists And Sociologists Say Street Politics Can Cause Riots

By Mohd Hisham Abdul Rafar and Ahmad Shukran Shaharudin

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 (Bernama) -- Sociologists and political scientists are worried that the illegal assembly planned for July 9 can set off a chaotic situation especially with the manipulation of third parties.

"The organisers might say the assembly will be peaceful, but one individual is all it takes to cause mob behaviour," said social scientist Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

"If the assembly is to go ahead, there may be disturbances, clashes between communities or among the Malays because of political differences," he said.

If the assembly were to be big, the chance of disturbances would be greater, he added.

Ahmad Atory also did not rule out the possibility of third party manipulation.

A Universiti Teknologi Mara political science lecturer in Dungun, Che Hamdan Mohd Razali, doubted the organiser was motivated by love of democracy.

"I see the assembly is meant to provoke. It is also to build up anti-government sentiment among voters for the coming general election," he said.

He said the assembly could only cause hardship to the people, particularly stall keepers and traders.

A senior lecturer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Abd Ghapa Harun, said the organisers should be held responsible for anything disastrous that happened at the assembly.

Hunt for the 'Burka Bandit': Man armed with knife and umbrella dressed as Muslim woman to rob travel agents

A man who holds up travel agents with a knife while dressed as a woman in a burka has been caught on CCTV.

The man, who travels from shop to shop taking 'substantial' amounts of money, was filmed twice in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

Dressed head-to-toe in the Muslim women's outfit, he first threatened two women with a knife on a raid at First Choice travel agents.

The man dressed in a burka as a disguise as he stole 'substantial amounts' of money
The man dressed in a burka as a disguise as he stole 'substantial amounts' of money
The 'Burka Bandit'
The thief dubbed the 'Burka Bandit' was caught on this CCTV film in August 2009 as he robbed Thomson Travel in Luton, Bedfordshire 

He was also seen carrying an umbrella but it is unknown if this was another form of disguise or if he used it to threaten his victims.

He forced them into a back room where he demanded cash from the safe.

The first incident happened in July 2009 and the second in May last year but these images were released last week as part of the Crimewatch Roadshow which is currently touring the country.
 
The second robbery happened at a branch of Thompsons where he threatened a member of staff and a customer, again with a knife.

As with the first robbery, which took place just around the corner from the second, he took the women into a back office and escaped with cash from a safe.

Detective Sergeant Terry David from Bedfordshire police said: 'Witnesses are sure [it was a man] because of the voice, build and mannerisms.'

He added it was difficult for police because officers can't go around lifting people's burkas.
'It is a very concentious issue,' he said. 'A contentious disguise and we think he is deliberately choosing that disguise because of that.

'He could quite possibly strike again.'

During the second armed robbery there was a customer in the travel agents at the time
During the second armed robbery there was a customer in the travel agents at the time

Mickey Mouse's Beard, Minnie's Veil Enrage Egypt's Muslims

Islamic hardliners in Egypt are calling for the severed tongue of a Christian telecom mogul who posted a Muslim-ized Mickey Minnie Mouse online.

Nasguib Sawiris, founder of Mobinil and a prominent promoter of a secular Egypt, tweeted an apology for an online cartoon that showed Mickey Mouse with a beard and Minnie Mouse in a face veil.

"I apologize for those who don't take this as a joke; I just thought it was a funny picture; no disrespect meant. I am sorry," he tweeted.

But hardliners started Facebook groups attacking Sawiris, and others have filed lawsuits accusing him of religious contempt, according to The Associated Press.

"If you are really a Muslim, and you love your religion, boycott his projects," said a message from a Facebook group called We are Joking Sawiris. "We have to cut out the tongue of any person who attacks our religion."

Another Facebook group calls itself "We Hate You Mickey Sawiris."

Sawiris launched a political party calling for the separation of mosque and state after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Sectarian violence between the majority Muslims and the minority coptic Christians has plagued the country since the revolution began.

Wayang Kulit” in Grander 1Malaysia style

HRP, Naragan,
 
The following is a summary of a report on a so-called roundtable conference on the future of Tamil Schools from the FMT website on the 27th of June 2011. The report starts with a grand: “In a historic roundtable conference, BN and Pakatan leaders joined hands to chart the future of Tamil schools.” The stated purpose: “discussions were held to set up a steering committee to chart a blueprint for the future of Tamil schools in the country.” 

Present at the conference were SK Devamany, M Saravanan, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Kulasegaran, P Ramasamy, M Manoharan , S Manikavasagam, Charles Santiago , R Sivarasah , Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, A Sivaneson, P Guna, Daljit Singh Dalliwal and S Ramakrishnan.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, 

chaired the conference. It is learnt that the steering committee would be made up of 18, there would be six members from BN, six from Pakatan and the rest from Tamil Foundation and other NGOs.

Now look at the report like this.

This is the making of a “Wayang Kulit” in grander 1Malaysia style. This amounts to the politicans fine tuning their approaches. Before only the MIC used to engage in this sort of deceptive wayang kulit. Now, in the last 3 years the Pakatan Indian reps have begun to play the same game – you see this regularly in mock cheques and computers given away in the Tamil newspapers. Yesterday 

both these groups have taken this wayang kulit thing one stage further – in 1Malaysia style and these two groups are getting together for a joint wayang. This is 1Malaysia after all isn’t it. History suggests that this is what is happening. If I am wrong, then they have to show that I am wrong now. And further as if to legitimize this wayang , they pull in a few Indian NGO reps to give it an appearance of a non-partisan effort.
For 54 years the UMNO regime has been using their accomplice MIC in the grand game of deceit of the Indian people. The Malay elite harbour an implicit desire to kill off the vernacular schools, but are blocked by the provisions in the Federal Constitution. To circumvent this, they adopt – and this is unstated private but explicit policy, an ambivalent attitude in public and a clear non-allocation of resources in private. They have been doing this with full collusion of the MIC accomplices.

.Article 12 reads:
Rights in respect of education
12. (1) Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent or place of birth—
(a) in the administration of any educational institution maintained by a public authority, and, in particular, the admission of pupils or students or the payment of fees;
or
(b) in providing out of the funds of a public authority financial aid for the maintenance or education of
pupils or students in any educational institution (whether or not maintained by a public authority and whether within or outside the Federation). This is their way of killing off a part of the education system continued from the colonial times and which was institutionalized in the Federal Constitution.

Here is the reality. 

The amounts spent annually on education is about 20% of a RM210 billion budget – works out to about RM 40 billion. The expenditure for just the MARA education system, not to mention everything else that occurs in the education arena, just this one – 42 MRSMs with a student population of 12,400 , with each such school costing anywhere from RM 50 -120 million to construct, 209 Giat MARA schools with a budgetary allocation of RM550 million in just the 10th Malaysia plan period alone, Institute Kemahiran MARA which has put out over 200,000 Malay students, MARA UiTM University with 4 satellite campuses, 12 branch campuses, 9 city campuses and 19 affiliated colleges with an enrollment of 120,000 students and 15,000 staff, and all the other MARA schemes for the last 54 years. How much do you think the expenditure on all of that may be. No clear stats are available for me to quote accurately. But I think easily that would be 30 to 50% of the RM40 billion annually.

If all of that was for 60 odd percent of the majority community of the country, how much should have been allocated to the Indians who constitute 7.4% of the population this year, given the provision in the Federal Constitution Article 12 – on equal treatment . Of course this statistics again is not available. You and I can venture guesses. My guess is that it is less than 0.1 % of all of this RM40 billion. Even the stated amounts of RM 100 million for each of the last 3 years – statement by Devamoney in this conference (which amount I think is just eyewash anyway – but this is what he stated) works out to a bare 0.25%. Like with all their allocation pronouncements for the Indian community, this is most likely a significant exaggeration.

See how serious the problem really is. A community starved of their rightful allocations for at least two generations. This has gone on unchecked for 54 years, just because of this kind of complicity and deception. It is this problem that these reps must really correct. They must get their fundamentals right first.

In light of this seriousness of the problem it is extremely frivolous on the part of these lawmakers to continue with this wayang nonsense – they want to set up a steering committee now, and for what – to do a blueprint – what nonsense. If they are really working for the good of the Indian community, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!
We do not need another generation to lose out on something so fundamental as education. See the deleterious effects of this policy in just one aspect of the result– the increasing number of criminals among Indian youth, one in two youths that are in prison are Indians. These reps need to see what they are really dealing with.

If they do indeed represent the Indian people as they all project themselves to , then they have to start becoming effective in whatever they are doing. Without a doubt in my mind this is what they must all do, they should all get together now and go to their tuans and towkays and ask for the rightful allocations, now!. Otherwise I can only take it that they project themselves as representatives of Indians for no other reason than to make an income out of it for themselves. They are all today powerless because of the choices they all have made.They have chosen to make a personal career and a good income out of the miseries of the Indian poor. 

If these reps are serious they should act where it matters. All the BN run states and the Pakatan run states should immediately and before the next elections alienate 5 acres of land to at least 10% of the schools in the country – about 50 of the schools to establish their bona fide intent. These representatives should show bona fide intention this way first while any blueprint or anything else in the form of a robust plan is drawn up.

If these reps are serious they should start there where they do have some authority, in the States where they are in the Exco lineup of the State. We do not need a blue print to start real activity, if that is the true intention it is only a matter of a will. This is well known, so, what is required now is action. Just allocate the land needed – 5 acres each, instead of doing as P.Ramasamy did a few months ago,when he told the people of Ladang Batu Kawan when they asked him for additional 3 acres of land to make their school a 5 acres school, that they and whoever was speaking up for them – in this case, Hindraf, should come up with the additional RM 3 million for the land for the school, as land was not cheap in Penang. This is exactly the kind of thing Samy Vellu has been saying all these 50 odd years as he played Tango with UMNO.
If your true intention is to undo a terrible injustice, then start where you must and can – do not mislead with wayangs. Enough of all that nonsense – we are all so sick and tired.

Go back to your PKR, DAP and UMNO tuans and towkays and just say it to them. Get the ball rolling. Do not form anymore committees – we need to see some action. Pakatan reps , understand this, you should have started on this at the beginning of your respective tenures in 2008 and not at the end of it in 2011. BN reps you should have started all of this 54 years ago. 

Naragan

Dutch ban religious slaughtering of animals

Muslims slaughter bulls during the Eid-al-Adha festival in Lahore December 9, 2008. The Dutch parliament voted June 28, 2011 to ban ritual slaughter of animals, a move strongly opposed by the country’s Muslim and Jewish minorities. – Reuters pic
AMSTERDAM, June 28 – The Dutch parliament voted today to ban ritual slaughter of animals, a move strongly opposed by the country’s Muslim and Jewish minorities, but left a loophole that could let traditional butchery continue.


The bill by the small Animal Rights Party, the first such group in Europe to win seats in a national parliament, passed the lower house of parliament and must be approved by the upper house before becoming law.

It stipulates that livestock must be stunned before being slaughtered, contrary to the Muslim halal and Jewish kosher laws that require animals to be fully conscious.

“This way of killing causes unnecessary pain to animals. Religious freedom cannot be unlimited,” Marianne Thieme, head of Animal Rights Party, said before the vote.

“For us religious freedom stops where human or animal suffering begins.”

In a rare show of unity, the Netherlands’ Muslim and Jewish communities – about 1 million and 40,000 respectively in a total population of 16 million – have condemned the proposed ban as a violation of their religious freedom.

European Union regulations require animals to be stunned before slaughter but allow exceptions for ritual slaughter.

Sweden, Luxembourg and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland ban ritual slaughter. – Reuters

Groups call for Sexual Harassment Act

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — Trade union groups today objected to sexual harassment provisions being included in a section of the Employment Act rather than translating them to a stand-alone legislation.

The groups, which are part of an umbrella body called “Malaysians for Decent Living Wage”, also rejected several other amendments to the Act, tabled in Parliament last week.

Speaking to reporters here, Friends of Women president Irene Xavier said according to the sexual harassment section of the Act, women earning more than RM2,000 were excluded.

Additionally, she said, the act lacks a workable definition of “sexual harassment”.


“There is no comprehensive definition of sexual harassment. This one lacks it so it will be difficult for anyone to lodge a complaint,” she said.

Klang MP Charles Santiago (picture) also complained about the inclusion of the words “for labour” in the definition of “contractors” in Section 2 of the Act, saying that it would only create “job insecurity” for workers.

“This amendment has serious implications on workers... the employment pattern in Malaysia will change and it will create job insecurity because you will see contract jobs becoming more popular than regular jobs.

“When this happens, outsourcing becomes popular, as opposed to regular jobs. When you join a company, you typically stay for a long time but now, you work on contract for one, two or three years and you are entitled to minimal benefits and lower salaries,” he said.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) former president Syed Shahir Mohamad Jalil also pointed to the proposed amendment to Section 19(2) of the Employment Act which he said would allow employers to delay overtime wages by more than a month.

According to the amendment, an employer would have to pay his employees for work done on a rest day, gazetted public holiday and overtime “not later than the last day of the next wage period”.

“So if I work overtime in June, I might have to wait until the end of July to get paid because the employer is granted leeway to do so,” he said.

He pointed out that many low-income workers relied heavily on their overtime wages to support their families.

“But if employers can delay it to the following wage period, it would affect their daily expenses,” he said.

Detained MP rushed to hospital

Reports allege mental torture and other forms of ill-treatment of PSM campaigners arrested last Saturday.

TAIPING: Sungai Siput MP Dr D Jeyakumar and two others have suffered health problems while in police detention and are warded at the Penang General Hospital.

Meanwhile, five reports have been lodged with the Penang police headquarters alleging that personnel at the headquarters subjected the three and others arrested last Saturday to mental torture and other forms of ill treatment.

The other two in hospital are Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy chief M Sarasvathy and a bus driver known only as Selvam.

They were among 30 people arrested while distributing anti-Barisan Nasional leaflets as part of a three-day information campaign in the northern part of the peninsula. Police accused them of waging war against the King and trying to revive communist ideology.

Apparently Jeyakumar, who has a heart ailment, did not get his medication on time and had suffered chest pains while Sarasvathy was dehydrated for lack of drinking water. Selvam’s condition is not known. No visitors are allowed in their ward.

Of the 30 arrested on Saturday, seven are detained at the Penang police headquarters, 21 in Kepala Batas and two at the Sungai Dua police station in Butterworth.

There is also a report about ill-treatment in the Kepala Batas police lockup.

In one of the reports at the Penang police headquarters, Jeyakumar’s sister D Prema said she gave her brother his medication late yestyerday afternoon, but that police had failed to give him his next dose on time.

Jeyakumar’s wife,  R Mohana Rani, reported that police turned down her request to give him his medication at 9.30 this morning, agreeing to administer it to him themselves only at noon.

Another of the reports alleged mental torture through solitary confinement in an attempt to extract confessions.

In another report, lawyer Rowena Nair said he was denied access to his clients.
The report in Kepala Batas was lodged by PSM central committee member V Panneer Selvam. He alleged that:
  • Detainee G Pakiai Letchumy was punched and spat at in the face by police personnel.
  • Detainees were told to drink from the toilet bowls to quench their thirst
  • A diabetic detainee who asked for mineral water to wash down her medicine was instead given syrup.
  • Detainee P Jothi was kicked by police personnel.
  • The lockup toilets had no water supply.
  • Fourteen detainees were kept in a lockup meant for six.

‘Perkasa stands for peace’

Ibrahim Ali has declared that Perkasa's role on July 9 is to uphold democracy in the country.

KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali, today emphasised that Perkasa’s planned ground presence during the Bersih rally on July 9 was a reflection of its stand for peace and democracy in the country.

Two weeks ago, Ibrahim announced the formation of a new umbrella coalition called NGO-NGO Prihatin Keamanan Negara or Gerak Aman to counter the rally which he has accused of being a rescue mission of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“Do not blame Perkasa if any chaos erupts on that day,” he warned during a press conference this evening. “I have already said that I would call off our gathering if Bersih calls off the rally. We are a group that is pro-peace. I’m only reacting to Bersih and its political agenda to overthrow the government.”

“So I hope the police on that day can differentiate between Perkasa and Bersih. The difference is our intention to uphold peace in the country. Is that a crime?”

Ibrahim explained that Perkasa and Gerak Aman had been giving speeches in 22 locations so far during which its members were briefed not to tout any weapons or engage in provocative behaviour on July 9.

Asked if he could guarantee that Perkasa members would abide by these directives, he shot back, “Can Bersih give the same guarantee? It is a big crowd and we have done our part in advising our members to behave in a peaceful manner. We are not there to demonstrate. We are there to uphold peace.”

While he declined to reveal the anticipated number of Perkasa members who would show up on that day, he sneered at an online news report that put the number at 500.

“The Malaysian Insider said that there wouldn’t be more than 500 but we shall wait and see,” he said. “Perkasa people are brave people. We are willing to face any consequences. We don’t ‘baling batu, sembunyi tangan’ (throw a stone and hide our hands).”

The last remark was directed at social activist, Hishammudin Rais, whose name appeared today on Utusan’s published list of Bersih working committee members.

“I knew Hishammudin way back then,” Ibrahim said. “After causing chaos during the Baling demonstration in 1974, he fled the country while I was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). He smeared the country’s name but he returned home with Anwar’s help and no action has been taken against him since.”
Hishammudin, however, told FMT that he is not part of Bersih’s working committee but a mere organiser at one of the coalition’s events.

‘I’m a journalist too’

The press conference also saw a heated Ibrahim lashing out at the journalists from the alternative media for allegedly manipulating his statements and misrepresenting Perkasa.

“I’m a Mass Communications graduate and I’m a journalist too,” he said. “I was at the School of Freedom in Germany for three months in early 1974 and I was taught how to be a responsible journalist.”

Ibrahim was questioned yesterday by police for allegedly threatening the Chinese to “stock up on food” because “anything can happen during the rally”.

Implying that his words were taken out of context, he insisted that his statement was only advice and not a threat. But the incident has remained a sore point with him.

Ibrahim also said that the news portal had grossly underestimated the size of the crowd when Gerak Aman was launched that day, and had failed to notice the presence of Chinese and Indians there.

“The reporter who said there were only 500 people at the launch must have been blind,” he said sarcastically. “And the Chinese even took pictures with me. This is why I said they should stay home.

Because they are not interested in this sort of issue. The Chinese and Indians are only concerned about business.”

“The only Chinese who will be at the rally will probably be DAP since they are also Bersih anchors. And since a majority of Bersih consists of PAS members, what you will have on that day is PAS Malay meeting Perkasa Malay.”

Ibrahim also warned the online media to ensure that it broadcast the entire footage of the Bersih rally and not an edited version of “people shouting at me”.

When grilled by another online journalist on his earlier statements, the visibly annoyed Ibrahim told her, “If you want to stay in a safe country you better stop talking like this.”

WikiLeaks dedah duta AS ragui penjelasan KL


(Buletin Online) - Duta Amerika Syarikat ke Malaysia memaklumkan kepada pemerintahnya awal tahun lalu bahawa pegawai-pegawai kedutaan meragui penjelasan pentadbiran Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak mengenai kecurian enjin jet pejuang F-5 milik TUDM pada 2008, demikian menurut maklumat yang didedahkan oleh WikiLeaks.


Dokumen yang ditandatangani oleh Duta James Keith itu berkata kedutaannya berkongsi 'kesangsian' yang diluahkan oleh satu siri komen media dalam talian mengenai pendirian Putrajaya bahawa enjin jet itu dicuri oleh dua individu berpangkat rendah dan pihak di peringkat tinggi tidak terlibat sama sekali.

'Kami berkongsi beberapa kesangsian yang dilahirkan oleh blog-blog mengenai kes kerajaan dan penjelasan siapa di sebalik kecurian enjin,' kata dokumen tersebut.

'Dalam (proses) penyelarasan dengan pihak Washington, Post terus menekankan untuk mendapatkan laporan lengkap bagaimana kecurian itu berlaku dan penempatan muktamad enjin-enjin (jet pejuang), serta untuk mengingatkan GOM (kerajaan Malaysia) tentang keseriusan isu itu dan keperluan mengambil tindakan pembetulan,' kata kabel yang disiarkan oleh laman blog Malaysia Today, semalam, dan ditukil oleh laman berita The Malaysian Insider pada hari yang sama.

Difahamkan, 'Post' merujuk kepada seorang pegawai politik Amerika yang mempunyai pejabat di kedutaan di Kuala Lumpur.

Mahkamah Sesyen sedang mendengar kes Sarjan N. Tharmendran dari Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) dan ahli perniagaan, K. Rajandran Prasad, yang menghadapi pertuduhan bersubahat mencuri dan melupuskan enjin pesawat milik TUDM itu.

Pada 6 Januari tahun lalu, Tharmendran, 42 tahun, tidak mengaku salah terhadap tuduhan bersubahat dengan Laskar Udara Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop, mencuri dua enjin pesawat F5 jenis J85-21 di Bangunan Material Processing Shed Matra 1, Pangkalan Udara TUDM Sungai Besi, di sini, pada 30 April 2008.

Rajandran, 38 tahun, pengarah sebuah syarikat pembekalan, pula tidak mengaku salah terhadap tuduhan dengan sengaja menghapuskan dua enjin TUDM itu di alamat 49 Jalan TS 6/6 Taman Industri Subang pada 30 April 2008.

Kededua enjin itu dibeli pada 1972 dengan harga RM303,570 ($123,644), dan bukannya RM50 juta seperti dilaporkan pada awalnya.

Bersih: Arahan Tertinggi Umno Punca Tindakan Polis

Illegal Assembly: Two Foreigners Detained

PUTRAJAYA, JUNE 28 (Bernama) -- Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein confirmed today that two foreigners have been detained to help police investigate an illegal rally planned for July 9.

He said the two claiming to be members of international non-governmental organisations were suspected of being involved with planners of the assembly and would be deported after their country of origin had been contacted.

Hishammuddin told reporters here that he had the impression that the organisers of the assembly had no idea what they had started except that certain political parties were exploiting the situation.

He warned all involved in defying the law to hold the assembly not to underestimate the ability of the police to investigate whatever was going on that affected security.

In another development, Hishammuddin said that Bangladesh would cooperate with Malaysia to handle human trafficking.

"This has something to do with Bangladeshi workers in this country and efforts to ensure that they are not exploited, especially by international syndicates," he added.

Pas provides shelter for PSM detainees' relatives

A Pas markas in northern Seberang Perai is providing shelter for some 35 family members and friends of the PSM activists detained in Kepala Batas.
 
The relatives and friends had earlier been waiting at a bus stop near the police station. Police ordered them to disperse.

A group of about 100-200 youths, some of them on motor-bikes, soon materialised.

Pas members then took the relatives and friends to their markas to provide a safe place for them to spend the night.

About half a dozen of the detainees are being held on the island, the remainder in Kepala Batas.