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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bersih 2.0 wants Stadium Merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 2.0 wants to hold its July 9 rally at the iconic Stadium Merdeka here, where the nation’s idependence was proclaimed more than five decades ago.

Speaking at a press conference here, the movement’s chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said: “We have decided it would be in Stadium Merdeka from 2pm-4pm.”

“A delegation of not more than 10 members of the Bersih 2.0 steering committee would then go to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum,” she added.

Bersih 2.0 has also called for the release of all those detained in connection with the rally, and demanded that a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) be set up to look into electoral reforms.

“The RCI was raised during our meeting with the King (yesterday),” said Ambiga.

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Ibrahim Ali live interview cancelled

The Perkasa chief says he cannot make it because of recent developments.

PETALING JAYA: FMT RAW’s live interview with Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali, has been cancelled at his request due to recent developments over the Bersih rally. The interview was scheduled for 2pm today.

Ibrahim was scheduled to talk about Perkasa’s opposition to the July 9 rally which will now be held in a stadium instead of on the streets.

However, in a text message to FMT at 11am today, Ibrahim apologised and explained that the cancellation was unavoidable due to recent developments.

“Sorry.2day i’m too busy due to latest development… we fix next time… i’ve been called to meet somebody important at 1.30pm. i hope you understand.”

Perkasa will hold an executive committee meeting later today to decide whether it will proceed with its own rally. The right-wing Malay NGO was adamant to face Bersih supporters head-on in an attempt to preserve the nation’s security.

However, Perkasa also said that it would call off its own rally if the Bersih rally was cancelled as well.

Casey Anthony not guilty of murder, other charges in daughter's death

U.S. mother cleared of killing toddler daughter
(CNN) -- After less than 11 hours of deliberation, a jury Tuesday found Casey Anthony not guilty of first-degree murder and the other most serious charges against her in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter.

But the jury convicted her on four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement officers.

As the verdict was read, Casey Anthony cried from her seat in the courtroom, breathing deeply as she looked forward. She then hugged her defense attorney Jose Baez and other members of her defense team.
Her father, George Anthony, meanwhile, showed no visible reaction from his seat in the back of the courtroom.

Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. set sentencing at 9 a.m. Thursday for Casey Anthony. She faces up to a year in jail on each of the charges of lying to police.

All 12 jurors in the case declined to speak to the media, court spokeswoman Karen Levey told reporters. "They are just not interested," she said, adding their response was an "unequivocal no." Perry has barred the release of their names at this point, Levey said.

However, one of the five alternate jurors in the case told HLN his opinion on the jury's decision.
"I agree with their verdict wholeheartedly," said alternate juror Russell Huekler, who sat through the trial but did not participate in the jury's deliberations.

"The prosecution did not prove their case," he said. "The big question that was not answered: How did Caylee die?"

That uncertainty was also expressed in a statement released by an attorney for Casey Anthony's family.
"While the family may never know what happened to Caylee Marie Anthony, they now have closure for this chapter of their life," said a statement issued on behalf of Casey Anthony's parents, George and Cindy Anthony, and her brother, Lee Anthony, by their attorney, Mark Lippman. "They will now begin the long process of rebuilding their lives."

"There are no winners in this case," Baez told reporters after the verdict. "Caylee has passed on far, far too soon." He said his motivation for the last three years has been seeking justice for Caylee as well as Casey Anthony.

"Casey did not murder Caylee," he said. "It's that simple. And today, our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction."

Another defense attorney, J. Cheney Mason, said he hopes the verdict "is a lesson to those of you having indulged in media assassination for three years."

"We're disappointed with the verdict today and surprised, because we know the facts," Lawson Lamar, state attorney for the 9th District, told reporters. But, he said, "I never, ever criticize a jury. Theirs is the task of deciding what to believe."

He praised the job done by prosecutors, but said proving the case was tough, as Caylee's remains were skeletal when they were discovered and lacked any chemical evidence. "This was a dry-bones case," Lamar said. "... The delay in recovering little Caylee's remains worked to our considerable disadvantage."

None of the prosecutors who tried the case -- Linda Drane Burdick, Jeff Ashton and Frank George -- spoke at Lamar's news conference.

The Anthony family statement said, "Despite the baseless defense chosen by Casey Anthony, the family believes that the jury made a fair decision based on the evidence presented, the testimony presented, the scientific information presented and the rules that were given to them" by the judge.

The Anthonys asked for privacy "to reflect on this verdict and decide the best way to move forward." They asked that well-wishers hoping to donate stuffed animals or toys near their home donate those items instead in Caylee's name to "families in need, religious centers or any other entity where the toys would be appreciated."

The Orange County Sheriff's Office will transport the jurors back to Pinellas County Tuesday night, Levey said. Jury selection was moved to Pinellas County because of extensive publicity surrounding the case in the Orlando area, and the jurors have been sequestered in an Orlando hotel for the trial.

The proceedings stretched to more than six weeks and featured allegations of sexual abuse, questions regarding Casey Anthony's competence and various theories on what happened to Caylee.

Casey Anthony, 25, was charged with seven counts -- first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child and four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer in Caylee's 2008 disappearance and death.

Caylee was last seen June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until July 15, 2008, when Casey Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, tracked her daughter down and demanded answers regarding Caylee's whereabouts.

Prosecutors alleged Casey Anthony used chloroform to render her daughter unconscious and then duct-taped her mouth and nose to suffocate her. They alleged that she put the child's body in the trunk of her car for a few days before disposing of it. Caylee's skeletal remains were discovered December 11, 2008, by former Orange County meter reader Roy Kronk.

Casey Anthony's defense attorneys maintained that Caylee was not murdered at all. They said the child drowned in the Anthony's above-ground pool on July 16, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George Anthony, panicked upon finding her there and covered up the death. George Anthony denied that in his testimony.

The defense also attempted to cast suspicion on Kronk, the meter reader. Defense attorneys asserted that he had found Caylee's remains months earlier than he claimed and that he hid them before placing them where they were found. He did that, they claimed, just before notifying authorities in an effort to cash in on the high-profile case.

Kronk denied those allegations, according to his attorney. He testified on the stand that after calling police three times in August 2008 to report something suspicious in the woods, a deputy met him at the scene and "chewed me out," telling him he was wasting the county's time. He said he dropped the matter after that until he revisited the scene in December and found Caylee's skull.

Prosecutors pointed to Casey Anthony's behavior during the 31 days before Caylee was reported missing as evidence of her guilt.

According to testimony, Casey Anthony was not looking frantically for her missing child as she later told police. Instead, she moved out of her parents' home and stayed with her then-boyfriend, Tony Lazzaro. She also got a tattoo saying "Bella Vita" -- Italian for "beautiful life" -- and went shopping, witnesses said. She also partied at Orlando nightclubs and participated in a "hot body" contest at one point, according to testimony.

Lazzaro and other friends and acquaintances of Casey Anthony's testified that at no time during that month did she tell anyone her daughter was missing or ask for help, and she did not seem anxious or sad. When asked where Caylee was, she told them the child was with her nanny, a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez. She told her parents other stories, including that she and Caylee were in Jacksonville staying with a wealthy suitor, Jeffrey Hopkins.

Eventually confronted by her family, Casey Anthony maintained Gonzalez had kidnapped Caylee.
Authorities never found the nanny. They found a woman named Zenaida Gonzalez, who denied ever meeting the Anthonys and later sued for defamation. A man named Jeffrey Hopkins took the stand and said he was an acquaintance of Anthony but that the two had never dated. The wealthy suitor and the nanny were among a host of people Casey Anthony made up, her defense attorneys acknowledged -- her attorney referred to them as her "imaginary friends."

Defense attorneys explained Casey Anthony's behavior in the month before Caylee's disappearance was reported to police by saying that she had been sexually abused by her father from the age of 8 and had been taught to conceal her pain. George Anthony denied that claim in testimony, saying, "I would never do anything like that to my daughter."

Perry ruled just before closing arguments began that there was no evidence Casey Anthony had been sexually abused and prohibited defense attorneys from mentioning it.

The defense also said Casey Anthony behaved as she did because of her dysfunctional family. Defense attorney Jose Baez told jurors his client had made some mistakes and bad decisions, but maintained that was not enough to convict her of murder.

However, prosecutor Burdick told jurors in her closing argument, "There's nothing that's wrong with Casey Anthony that can't be explained in two words: pathological liar."

Casey Anthony's car -- and the odor emanating from its trunk -- was another prong of the state's case against her, made up of largely circumstantial evidence.

On June 27, she abandoned her car at an Orlando business, saying it had run out of gas, according to testimony. It later was towed to a wrecker yard, where it remained until July 15, when her parents, George and Cindy Anthony, received a letter from the tow yard and went to pick it up.

Numerous witnesses, including a tow yard employee and George Anthony, said there was a vile smell coming from the car's trunk. The prosecution alleges -- and a number of witnesses testified -- that the smell was that of human decomposition.

A cadaver dog alerted to the possible presence of human decomposition in the trunk. Arpad Vass, a research scientist at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, testified that forensic testing of air samples, carpet, scrapings from the wheel well and a spare tire cover found a handful of compounds associated with human decomposition.

Vass said testing showed chloroform present at a "shockingly high" level on a carpet sample from the trunk. Defense experts who testified, however, disagreed with Vass' findings and found low amounts of the substance, which is present in a number of household cleaning products. However, prosecutor Jeff Ashton pointed out to jurors, none of the experts disagreed that chloroform was present.

Searches conducted on the Anthony computer were another focus of the state's case. Computer experts testified that in March 2008 -- three months before Caylee disappeared -- someone searched for keywords including "chloroform," "how to make chloroform" and "alcohol."

Cindy Anthony took the stand during the defense's case and testified that she searched for chloroform, saying that evolved from a search for "chlorophyll" as she was trying to determine if her dog's habit of eating bamboo plants in the back yard was making it tired.

Prosecutors introduced work records showing Cindy Anthony was at work at the time the searches were conducted. She said she could have left early that day, as she often took comp time from working overtime.

An attorney for Cindy Anthony's former employer took the stand as a rebuttal witness. He brought work records that he said showed that someone using Cindy Anthony's credentials was logged in and using a desktop computer at her office on the days when those searches were done on her family's home computer.

On the defense's contention that Caylee drowned in the Anthony pool, Cindy Anthony testified that Caylee was able to climb into the pool on her own. But she said the toddler could not have put on the pool's removable ladder or opened gates leading to the area. Baez told jurors in his closing argument that Cindy Anthony may have left the ladder up the night before, when she and Caylee went swimming, although she testified she did not.

Jurors heard hours of forensic testimony, receiving crash courses in DNA, hair analysis and chemistry, among others.

Experts testified that a hair found in Casey Anthony's trunk had a band that suggested it was from a decomposing body. The hair was similar to Caylee's, according to forensic experts, but could not absolutely be proved to be hers.

The trial was abruptly halted on Saturday, June 25 -- Perry said on June 27 that Casey Anthony had been examined by two psychologists and a psychiatrist following a defense motion questioning whether she was competent to proceed.

The defense called a woman to the stand who volunteered in the search for Caylee. Krystal Holloway testified that she and George Anthony had an affair. Holloway said that he once told her what happened to Caylee was "an accident that snowballed out of control." George Anthony denied the affair, and prosecutors used Holloway's statement to police to say she was taking George Anthony's comment out of context. According to the statement, Holloway told authorities George Anthony said he believed Caylee's death stemmed from an accident and that Casey Anthony may have covered it up somehow.

Throughout the trial, the pain experienced by Casey Anthony's family was evident. Both her father and mother sobbed on the stand at times recalling their granddaughter. George Anthony also cried as he testified about his January 2009 suicide attempt, which came shortly after Caylee's remains were identified.

Jurors heard testimony about items found with Caylee's remains. A Winnie the Pooh blanket matched the one found in the little girl's room at the Anthony home. The laundry bag that prosecutor Ashton told jurors served as Caylee's coffin was one of a matching set -- the other was found at the home. And all that remained of the little girl's T-shirt, saying "Big Trouble Comes in Small Packages," were some letters and the stitching around the collar.

Prosecutors pointed out in closing arguments that only Casey Anthony had access to all the items of evidence.

Stop pre-rally clampdown, Kit Siang tells Hishammuddin

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — With Bersih 2.0 and the government having reached a truce yesterday, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang now wants the Home Ministry to cease its nationwide pre-rally clampdown exercise.

Lim, a leader in the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) presidential council, said in a statement today that the police should end its “harassment” of Bersih 2.0 supporters, return all seized Bersih 2.0 paraphernalia and grant an unconditional release of all those detained in connection with the rally.

He expressed disappointment that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had not made the order himself yesterday, when the latter was commenting on the latest developments surrounding the rally debacle.

“The statement by the Prime Minister, passing the buck to the police to decide whether to proceed with its nation-wide pre-Bersih rally clampdown on supporters, is most irresponsible.

“Najib should know that as Prime Minister, he must always be reminded of the injunction: ‘The buck stops here!’,” said Lim.

In a brief press conference at his office in Putrajaya yesterday, shortly after Bersih 2.0 officials were granted audience with the King, Najib announced that the government was ready to meet with Bersih 2.0 officials to decide on a rally venue for this Saturday.

The prime minister expressed relief that all three street demonstrations planned for July 9 had been called off but would not say if his administration would now consider Bersih 2.0 a lawful organisation and would stop arresting supporters in connection with the rally.

With Najib having passed the buck to the police, Lim said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein should give the ceasefire order to his men in the police force, adding that this would be in respect of the King’s advice.

He listed four requests on Hishammuddin — release all those detained in connection with the rally, release Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar and five other Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members detained under the Emergency Ordinance, return all seized Bersih 2.0 paraphernalia and appoint a senior police officer to liaise with Bersih 2.0 on its stadium rally this Saturday.

Lim also cited the King’s words on Sunday when the latter said, “When any problem arises, we as a civilised society must resolve it through consultations and not follow our emotions.

“I also urge the government to carry out everything that is entrusted to it by the people in a just and wise manner, and it is important that I, as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, do not want to see this country with a plural society in a situation where there is animosity among them or a section of the people being enemies with the government, on whatever grounds.”

“If the King’s advice is not heeded, both Hishammuddin and the police run the risk of being regarded by large sections of Malaysians as being defiant and even disloyal to his commands.

“This will be unprecedented and the last thing that Malaysia needs under Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept,” said Lim.

In an unprecedented move on Sunday, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin stepped in to diffuse tension by advising the Najib administration and Bersih 2.0 to hold consultations over the issue of free and fair elections, which is the objective of the coalition’s rally.

Online, Bersih marches on

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Despite a government clampdown over the past week, online support for Bersih 2.0 has grown exponentially even as news of arrests, raids and confiscation of material rule the headlines.

As of 2am, the official Bersih Facebook group for the electoral reform movement has now 51,124 likes, growing by about 150 per cent since the middle of last month while the July 9 event page has grown from 2,200 confirmed participants on June16 to a whopping 17,039

The Pic Badges ( website, which enables small badges to Facebook profile pictures, Twitter and other social media platforms, shows that four out of the top eight badges worldwide are Bersih-related.

Ambiga leaving the Istana after her royal audience July 5 2011.
In contrast, the Patriot badge associated to Umno Youth's counter-rally only trends on in Malaysia, where Bersih-related badges take five of the top eight spots.

Despite Bersih capitulating and agreeing to move its street rally to a stadium, the past few hours has seen several posts from defiant supporters declaring victory by forcing Datuk Seri Najib Razak to come to the negotiation table.

The prime minister has now said he was ready to meet Bersih organisers to negotiate an appropriate venue after the movement's chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenvasan had accepted the government's offer yesterday to meet in a stadium

This came after Ambiga and two other Bersih leaders met the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who on Sunday stepped in to diffuse tension by advising the Najib administration and Bersih 2.0 to hold consultations over the issue of free and fair elections.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had already by July 1 outlawed Bersih 2.0, saying it was inciting the people and creating an atmosphere of unrest.

The police have also arrested more than 100 people in connection with the rally, most of them for wearing yellow T-shirts with the word Bersih emblazoned on them.

Police have also detained six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, for 60 days under the Emergency Ordinance in relation to the planned rally.

‘Opposition hijacked Bersih’

PBS has denied that it is being two-faced on calls for electoral reforms.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), Umno’s key partner in the state Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, is fully supportive of Berish 2.0′s call for electoral reforms but will not take part in the rally only because it has been hijacked by the opposition.

Party secretary-general Henrynus Amin said PBS agreed with Bersih’s call for fair and free elections.
“We support Bersih’s stated objectives but we will not participate in the illegal rally.

“The fact is, the planned illegal rally is already hijacked by opposition political parties to promote doubtful causes.

“PBS’ view is that the opposition groups are using NGOs to regain their momentum for the forthcoming general election after a series of losses in various by-elections,” he said.

He said now that the planned rally had been hijacked by the opposition, it was no more about seeking electoral reforms but instead would be a replay of the 2007 assembly which saw opposition parties chalk up huge gains in the 2008 polls.

Referring to allegations that PBS was being two-faced about its stand on reforms, he said the party’s decision should not be misconstrued.

“PBS is very clear and has consistently addressed the issue of tainted electoral roll by actively studying the matter and making objections; we have even gone to court to make a case.

“PBS is against the use of illegal street demonstration to make political statements,” he added.
Henrynus also expressed concern over the manner in which “unsuspecting” young people were being recruited over the Internet to “deliberately break the law and create chaos”.

He said that in view of this, PBS fully supported the preventive action by the police.

Indoor rally

Yesterday Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga announced that the rally will be shifted to a stadium.
This followed her audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin. She was accompanied by Bersih committee member Zaid Kamaruddin and national laureate A Samad Said.
Speaking to reporters after her audience, Ambiga said: “A rally in the street will not happen.”

“We are grateful for the King’s audience. We are accepting the suggestion of the government of holding the rally in a stadium,” she said.

Following Bersih’s announcement of a peaceful “Walk For Democracy” on July 9, a rattled Umno-linked Malay right-wing group, Perkasa, said it would hold a counter-rally.

Following Perkasa’s announcement, Umno Youth also jumped on the bandwagon.

As tensions escalated and police cast their nets, made numerous arrests and invoked the Emergency Order, the King issued a statement calling upon all quarters to hold consultations rather than follow their emotions.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported yesterday that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would approve Bersih’s plan to hold its rally in a stadium.

“We will agree as long as they stick to the conditions imposed,” he said, adding that he was ready to meet the Bersih organisers if they wanted to meet him.

‘People, reclaim your rights’

KUALA LUMPUR: These days it would be grossly derogatory to lump former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah together with the word “Umno”.

The Kelantan prince is a man of insight with a deep understanding of “what is right for the people”.

But in today’s Umno, he is seen as of “little consequence” with many among the current crop of Umno leaders wishing that the “old man will just disappear” into oblivion.

But Razaleigh, who is better known as Ku Li, is not a fly that one can swat and kill.

He is a master politician of the old school – a leader with impeccable integrity, with one ear on the ground and clarity in thought and speech.

The astute politician has from time to time surfaced to issue thought-provoking messages and arresting calls.

His latest and perhaps timely message urging Malaysians to reclaim their country, came during a talk at the Taiping New Club recently

In the light of how a peaceful Bersih 2.0 march “Walk for Democracy” planned for July 9 has been “branded” as an anti-Barisan Nasional demonstration by a highly rattled, power-hungry Umno, it seems appropriate to re-visit pockets of Ku Li’s speech on democracy.

Razaleigh said when Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country’s first prime minister, proclaimed Malaysia’s Independence in 1957, his unforgettable words were “Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with an independent judiciary”.

Tunku, said Razaleigh, had a grand vision of hope and happy people in spite of the looming economic problems the nation had to resolve.

“After that dawn of independence, there was a search of how we could achieve this happy society,
fulfilling the needs and aspirations of all Malaysians which was to continue for the generations to come.
“Tunku symbolised the concept and conviction of generational responsibility in his vision.

“Tunku and his generation were dedicated leaders, not for power but (with) a sense of duty to the present and the future.

“They were not in politics for the money or for themselves.

“Their guiding philosophy was responsibility to public office. Public office was seen as a duty, not as an opportunity.

“The public office was also part of their sense of political commitment to create a Malaysia that was fair, just, cohesive, and balanced.

“This was combined by a deep conviction of generational responsibility for those who would come after them,” said Razaleigh.

Greed and political manipulation

According to Razaleigh, one of the greatest losses in public office and politics today is the “loss of generational responsibility”.

He said that everything was now “surrounded by greed and the desire to be billionaires”.
“This had led to a pyramid of cronies within the incumbent political parties and their associates in business.

“It is this combination of the hierarchy of political and business cronies, which has led to the centralisation of power in the incumbent political leadership and in the office of the prime minister.
“This power (vested) in one individual allowed for the manipulation of the political system,” he said.

Razaleigh added that in exchange for the centralisation of power, “greed and self-interest were encouraged”.

He described this state of affairs as “one of the most dangerous and difficult to dismantle” because it involved 30 years of centralised power.

He said during these three decades the political style which had dominated the system was “double-think” and “double-talk” and the covert encouragement of racial and religious obscurantism.

“Freedom of speech and expression of our political concerns to change the atmosphere are restrained by how it will be interpreted by those who want to deny us the right to differ.

“Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees this freedom is almost non-existent or subject to fear of retaliation or defamation.

“Legal suits intended to silence legitimate concerns of public responsibility are increasingly used.
“Unfortunately, our judicial system has forgotten the fundamental importance of Article 10 to the democratic life of Malaysia.

“Common sense seems to have been taken out of the law,” Razaleigh said.

Generational responsibility

Razaleigh said that the challenge today is to return to “generational responsibility” in politics and public office.

This, he said, can only be achieved if we have democracy and responsible parliamentary power.

“Democracy was the basis of the founding of the state of Malaysia by the Federal Constitution in 1957.
“When it was briefly suspended in 1969, the leaders of that generation were uneasy, and they restored democracy as soon as possible.

“That is because they realised that democracy has an intrinsic value in creating a citizenship that is not made up of sheep but of responsible citizens.

“Only responsible citizenship that understands democracy can bring about stability, cohesion and economic prosperity,” Razaleigh said.

He added that during the early days it was “ingrained” in the generation of leaders that democracy was not only a form but a value system.

He said the leaders understood that the value system respected the essential institutions of democracy like the independence of the judiciary, the supremacy of Parliament subject to the Federal Constitution, the respect for fundamental rights, and free speech.

“They also understood the meaning and primacy of the rule of law and not of men.
“They also knew that democracy is the common heritage of humanity that we inherited and have a duty to continue.

“And one of our inheritances is the common law system of the rule of law which is enshrined in our constitution.

“They knew that the phrase ‘common law’ meant the wisdom that is passed to us in the progress of law and the values that are encapsulated in the law governing public office and responsibility to society.

“… the laws are meant to enhance democracy and freedom but not to maintain and continue political power, he said.

Restore genuine democracy

The challenge today, according to Razaleigh, is to reverse the centralisation of power and restore the check and balance of a genuine democracy.

“We need to reclaim as citizens of Malaysia our rights in a democracy; that power and authority are positions of trust and responsibility, not to serve personal interest or as an opportunity for personal enrichment.

“We need to re-assert as politically active and responsible citizens the concept of social obligation and public service in those who seek political office.

“Power is duty, not a prize,” he said, alluding to the current state of the mind of leaders.

‘Dirty victory’ for BN

Analysts say the change of venues for the Bersih rally reduces its effectiveness.

KUALA LUMPUR: Some analysts say the change of venue for the Bersih rally diminishes its effectiveness and signals a victory for the Najib administration.
“It won’t have the same kind of impact,” said political analyst Ong Kian Ming.

He described the venue change – from the streets to the stadium – as a “strategic win” for Barisan Nasional (BN).

Universiti Malaya’s Azmi Sharom agreed that it was a win for the ruling coalition, but he called it a “dirty victory”.

“Ultimately the losers are Bersih,” he said. “The whole idea was to take a belief, an expression, to the streets.”

The Bersih supporters had intended to take to the streets on July 9 to call for reform in the electoral process. The event was called a “Walk for Democracy”.

Azmi accused Umno Youth, Perkasa and the police of instilling fear in Bersih supporters. He referred to the three groups as “subcontractors of the ruling party”.

Another analyst, James Chin, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had handled the issue cleverly.
He said: “After the King intervened, Bersih had no choice. Why? Because the bulk of supporters will be Malays and they can’t be seen to be disloyal to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Bersih supporters might even see this as Ambiga backing down.” S Ambiga chairs the Bersih 2.0 steering committee.

The analysts criticised Pakatan Rakyat for getting too involved with Bersih. They said Pakatan diluted the movement’s non-partisan nature.

“It is Pakatan that should follow Bersih’s lead, not the other way around,” said Azmi.

Analyst Koo Kay Peng accused Pakatan of trying to “hijack” the march to use as a platform for energising the coalition as it prepares for the coming general election.

Malaysia is human trafficking hotspot - WikiLeaks

Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN 

Thousands of women from Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, as well as China and India were trafficked to Malaysia for forced labor and prostitution, according to an unclassified 2006 cable from the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur released by WikiLeaks, the online whistle-blower.

In a memo to the US Department of State dated March 3, 2006, then US Ambassador to Malaysia Christopher LaFleur also reported that the Southeast Asian country was a "destination and -- to a lesser extent -- a transit country for men and women trafficked for forced labor."

"Some economic migrants from countries in the region who work as domestic servants and laborers in the construction and agricultural sectors face exploitative conditions in Malaysia that meet the definition of involuntary servitude," Lafleur disclosed.

Aside from the Washington-based State Department, the envoy also furnished the following US agencies copies of the embassy memo, titled "Malaysia's Sixth Annual Trafficking in Persons Report": Homeland Security Center, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, and American diplomatic missions in Southeast Asia.

In addition to women from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, "smaller numbers" of women from Cambodia, Burma and Laos were also trafficked to Malaysia, said LaFleur.

All eight countries are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean.

"Anectodal evidence indicates that numbers of victims coming from neighboring Asean countries have remained relatively constant over the last few years. The number and patterns of victims coming from source countries tend to reflect Malaysian government immigration and visa policies," the envoy pointed out.

According to LaFleur, China "has become the largest and fastest-growing source country for prostitutes in Malaysia. Many of these Chinese women and girls are likely trafficking victims."

"China has grown as a source country in recent years due to a more liberal Malaysian visa policy that reflects growing economic ties and Malaysian government efforts to encourage tourism and university enrollment from Chinese students," he explained.

LaFleur noted that "while there are no reliable statistics revealing the total number of women trafficked into (Malaysia), estimates can be made drawing from different sources."

"Foreign embassies and (non-government organizations') report that in 2005, at least 500 trafficking victims were rescued and repatriated," he said.

The US diplomat also revealed that "during the first nine months of 2005, 4,678 foreign women were arrested and detained for suspected involvement in prostitution, compared with 5,783 arrested during all of 2004."

"Chinese nationals accounted for 40 percent, the largest percentage of such arrests, followed by nationals of Indonesia (25 percent), Thailand (17 percent), and the Philippines (10 percent). According to the government-funded National Human Rights Commission, or Suhakam and involved NGOs, a significant number of these women were probable trafficking victims," said LaFleur.

The Royal Malaysia Police "compiles statistics on arrests of foreign women with suspected involvement in prostitution, broken down by nationality. The Immigration Department's enforcement division also collects data on trafficking cases."

However, "Malaysian authorities do not adequately distinguish illegal migrants from trafficking victims. Law enforcement officials assert that the great majority of the foreign women arrested for prostitution in Malaysia entered the country voluntarily and with valid travel documents."

On the other hand, "surveys by the Suhakam and interviews with Indonesian, Thai and Philippine embassy officials indicate that as many as 50 percent of foreign women arrested for prostitution are possible trafficking victims," said LaFleur.

The Malaysian government "encourages victims to assist in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking cases, but reports says that most victims are unwilling to testify... One NGO reported that pimps and traffickers are often present in the courtroom during court proceedings to intimidate the victims."

In terms of prevention, "the Malaysian government took steps in 2002 and 2003 to toughen the criteria for young foreigners seeking student visas. It has also stepped up border detection for smuggling, illegal migration and people trafficking,"

LaFleur added "there is no evidence of widespread tolerance of complicity in trafficking-in-persons by government authorities, though accusations of more general corruption, particularly at the local police and immigration levels exist."

Hishammuddin and Police should respect and uphold the YDPA intervention by full co-operation with Bersih

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the police should respect and uphold the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s wise and just intervention in the Bersih 2.0 impasse by full co-operation with Bersih to make the July 9 Bersih 2.0 stadium rally a peaceful and orderly one as well as end all harassment against persons for wearing Bersih T-shirt and other paraphernalia and release all such items seized in past 10 days.

Hishammuddin and the police should pay special heed to advice by the Yang di Pertuan Agong in his special statement on Sunday where he said:
“I also urge the government to carry out everything that is entrusted to it by the people in a just and wise manner, and it is important that I, as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, do not want to see this country with a plural society in a situation where there is animosity among them or a section of the people being enemies with the government, on whatever grounds.”
If the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s advice is not heeded, both Hishammuddin and the police run the risk of being regarded by large sections of Malaysians as being defiant and even disloyal to the commands of the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

This will be unprecedented and the last thing that Malaysia needs under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia concept!

The advice by the Yang di Pertuan Agong that “When any problem arises, we as a civilised society must resolve it through consultations and not follow our emotions” must always be uppermost in the minds of the authorities, particularly the Home Minister and the Police.

For this reason, Malaysians are concerned that Hishammuddin and the Police have yet to respond to the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s intervention by standing down its apparatus of repression, stop all harassment
against Bersih supporters including persons wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts and other related paraphernalia and take positive steps to facilitate the peaceful and orderly holding of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 stadium rally.
The statement by the Prime Minister, passing the buck to the police to decide whether to proceed with its nation-wide pre-Bersih rally clampdown on supporters, is most irresponsible.

It is just not right and not in keeping with the office and responsibilities of a Prime Minister for Najib to say: “That is the police’s action. You have to ask the police” when asked if he would order the release of all those detained in connection with the rally.

Najib should know that as Prime Minister, he must always be reminded of the injunction: “The buck stops here!”

Let Hishammuddin and the police demonstrate that they are in the national forefront in respecting and upholding the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s wise and just intervention by:

(i) Release all persons detained in past 10 days in connection with the Bersih 2.0 rally for free, fair and clean elections and dropping all charges against them;

(ii) Release Sungai Siput MP Dr. Michael Jayakumar and PSM members detained under Emergency Ordinance;

(iii) Return all seized Bersih T-shirts and other related paraphernalia; and

(iv) Appointment of a senior Police Officer to liaise with Bersih to facilitate and ensure the holding of a peaceful and orderly Bersih 2.0 stadium rally on July 9.

Traders: It’s the best solution possible for all parties

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Traders associations and groups have hailed the decision to hold the Bersih 2.0 rally in a stadium as the “best solution possible” for all.

They are also happy that Umno Youth and Perkasa have called off their planned counter-rallies following the King's call to all parties not to hold such gatherings.

Malaysia Chinese Traders Association president Datuk Ang Lai Hee said holding the event in a stadium was an excellent way for people to express their opinions in a peaceful manner.

Ang said it was good that the Government allowed people to voice their feelings in a controlled environment where the police could monitor security properly.

“The Government wins, the rakyat win and traders win. This is a very good thing,” he said yesterday.

Chow Kit Hawkers and Small Traders Association chairman Edwin Choosaid the decision was timely and a relief.

He said many traders had not been sure of whether to open for business on Saturday.

“Now, tourists won't be afraid to come. Our business can go on as usual,” he said.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said all parties should consider the King's advice and “replace any sledgehammer in one's hand with an olive branch instead”.

Pakatan Rakyat is adopting an “open attitude” to the suggestion to hold the rally in a stadium.

In a joint statement, PAS, PKR and DAP said they were open to the idea as long as their right to assemble peacefully was respected.

“Pakatan wishes to stress that the demand for reforms in the electoral system to ensure it is clean, transparent and fair remains the main purpose of the assembly,” they said.

The statement was signed by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and DAP organising secretary Teresa Kok.

The three parties said they would cooperate with the police and other authorities to ensure the assembly was carried out in a proper and peaceful manner.

PAS thanked the King, saying it was pleased with his concern and attention as protector of the Constitution and the nation's sovereignty.

“His Majesty said a civilised society must negotiate to find a solution to the problem and not be emotional about it,” PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said.

Meanwhile, traders in Kuala Lumpur were delighted with the latest development.

“This is great news,” said Masniya Muhammad, 33, who runs a clothing stall in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

“It is a weight off our shoulders.”

Another trader in Jalan Masjid India, Mohd Ikhlas Ashfak, said he was thrilled because “we survive on business from tourists. They would be afraid to come to town if there was a rally.”

Ragavendra Ravee, 21, whose father owns a retail outlet here, said they had been worried the rally might turn violent.

It was a blessing that the street rally had been called off, he added.

Another shop owner, M.S. Kumar, 39, said it was good news and hoped there would not be anymore protests in the future.

“Malaysia is a blessed country. This (protest) is not our culture,” he said.

Protest reaches Lynas’ HQ in Sydney

The Save Malaysia Committee with the assistance of Australian NGOs staged a protest outside Lynas Corporation’s headquarters in Sydney over the construction of a rare earth refinery in Gebeng near Kuantan.

The protest from 12.30pm to 2.00pm yesterday was followed by an hour-long meeting between six Save Malaysia reps and Lynas CEO Nicholas Curtis.
The Save Malaysia Commmittee are now heading to the Australian Parliament to meet with MPs and senators over the controversial plant, which they fear will lead to radioactive contamination in Gebeng and surrounding areas.

Indian Muslim Girl, 6, Spanked, Paraded Naked at Madrassa for ‘Poor Handwriting’

Courageous Madrassa teachers in daring capture of six-year-old Indian Muslim girl for homework and handwriting offences
Courageous Madrassa teachers in daring capture of six-year-old Indian Muslim girl for homework and handwriting offences

More abject depravity from the Education Dept. of the Religion of Tolerance & Understanding:

A six year-old Indian Muslim girl from the Islamic School in Shahpur Mill Compound was allegedly paraded naked by her class teacher because her handwriting was not good enough. She was later locked up in a washroom and made to clean the toilet bowls.

The parents confronted the trustee, but he denied the incident had taken place.

Outraged parents of the class I student, who came to know about the incident from her classmate, confronted school trustee Iqbal Patel. However, Patel vehemently denied such an incident had taken place at school. The girl’s parents filed an FIR with Shahpur police following which the teacher was arrested on Monday evening.

Incidentally, in January, parents had accused the all-girls school of forcing their children to clean toilets.
The girl’s father Sharavar Sheikh told Mirror, “Our child is very enthusiastic about going to school. A few days ago, when she started making excuses for not attending classes, we sensed something was wrong.

Although we asked her the reason, she made vague excuses and dodged the issue. It was through a classmate of hers that we came to know about the incident. We are appalled.”

They allege another Indian Muslim girl was also paraded along with their daughter.

According to the girl’s mother Samina, class teacher Zebabanu found her daughter’s handwriting illegible and decided to punish her in the most “horrendous” manner.

“She stripped my child naked and paraded her in front of the class. As if that was not enough, she locked her up in the school washroom and made her clean the toilet bowls. Zeba warned my daughter not to tell us about the punishment unless she wanted to endure more,” says an outraged Samina.

Apparently such punishments as those meted out to this indian Muslim girl take place with alarming regularity at this school. The Madrassa, like others in non-Muslim countries, operates as a ‘charitable’ institution outside state strictures. But don’t think this kind of behaviour is confined to the developing world, or an ‘isolated incident’.

As we have reported on other occasions, Islamic religious schools are notorious for child abuse. Even in Britain and other developed countries, humiliation and cruel and unusual punishment are alarmingly regular occurrences at these schools; and blind eyes are often turned by the authorities for fear of ‘causing offence’.

It’s not just virulent hatred toward the kuffar that is on the curriculum at these Islamic schools.
Abusive punishments by authority figures (often, as here, with dark sexual overtones) such as this disturbing assault on a young Indian Muslim girl, are also alarmingly common.

Just why is Islam so brutally harsh on women and children? Anyone from MPACUK care to comment? 

Read it all at the at the Ahmedabad Mirror.

Hindus protest Muslim prayers at school

valley park middle school
A Muslim religious leader is being allowed into the cafeteria at Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Blvd. to conduct prayer services after lunch on Fridays for students. (Veronica Henri, QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Hindus from across Toronto plan to protest outside a North York, Ont., middle school until a controversial Friday prayer session for 400 Muslim students are stopped.

The Canadian Hindu Advocacy is one of a number of Toronto-area groups opposed to the 30- to 40-minute services held in the cafeteria of Valley Park Middle School from November to March.

An imam from a local mosque is brought to school to head the service, officials said. During the service, male students are made to sit in front of the girls.

"This is alarming and unacceptable," said Advocacy director Ron Banerjee. "We respect the separation of church and state."

He said his group will be sending letters of protest to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and calling for an end to the noon-hour services.

"There's not supposed to be any religious classes taking place in public schools," Banerjee said. "We will be asking the board to stop the practice."

He said school officials stopped students from reciting the Lord's Prayers years ago and his group will picket the Muslim classes if the practice isn't stopped.

"Our organization has received many complaints from Hindu students and parents in the Valley Park Middle School region," Banerjee said.

He said his group would like to begin a discussion with TDSB authorities aimed at restoring secular education within the school system.

"We would also like to discuss the serving of halal meat within TDSB schools," he said. "Our organization is determined to ensure all Hindu students are provided non-halal meat alternatives."

Area resident Khalid Sheikh, who claims to be president of Parents For School Not for Political Parties, said local school councils have been "hijacked and controlled" by Muslim groups and political parties.

"Neutral parents who do not like this political stuff in our schools are neglected," Sheikh said. "For God's sake, stop this nonsense in our schools."

Area trustee Gerri Gershon said "there are many tensions within the community.

"The school should not be focused on these tensions and politics but have a wide representation of young people," Gershon said.

She said the program began after discussions with parents, community leaders and the school administration.

Malcolm Buchanan of Civil Rights in Public Education said he has no problem with the Muslim prayer service, as long as it doesn't take place during classes.

"Schools are for learning and not religious ideology," Buchanan said. "We have no problems as long as it doesn't take place during school time or the kids are not forced to take part."

TDSB officials said Monday the prayer sessions have been taking place for three years and are designed to help with the safety of students, sso they don't have to leave school to attend mosque.

The officials said the prayer sessions are working well and they haven't been approached about making changes.

EO detainees familiy handed over memorandum to SUHAKAM

Bersih can stop but Hindraf will not stop unless UMNO stops 54 years of racism and religious extremism targeted against Indian poor.

url anwarIn the prelude to the 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally, there was tremendous pressure on P. Uthayakumar and P. Waythamoorthy from the UMNO led government, Malay  radical groups, Tiga Line Pekida gangsters and the Police Special Branch. There was a series of arrests and rearrests of the Hindraf lawyers and particularly targeting Uthayakumar who raised charges of ethnic cleansing. The sedition charge is still ongoing right to this date. During the one month in November and December 2007 alone Uthayakumar was arrested on three occasions with the fourth being his detention without trial under the ISA for 514 days.

We were monitored and followed by the police round the clock and towards  the end by fully tinted and unmarked police vehicles. 1,000 Hindraf activists were arrested and some 111 prosecuted for illegal assembly.

The same albeit on far lesser scale took place again at the Hindraf Rally No. 2 against Interlok and UMNO racism on 27/2/11. One hundred over Hindraf activists were arrested right from Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, K.L and N. Sembilan.

In March 2011 alone 54 Hindraf activists were prosecuted at the Ipoh, Selayang, K.L and Seremban Courts for merely being a member of Hindraf, the first of it’s kind. Besides the absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia, no world citizen has ever been prosecuted for being a member of an NGO. This is according to Front Line Defenders of Dublin.

The ruthless and fascist UMNO regime abused the police force, the office of the Attorney General and the Judiciary to oppress and subjugate these Hindraf activists not to question their almost absolute rule and authority.

We do not rely on the pseudo “multi-racial” PKR, DAP, PAS or the bi-racial Malay-sian civil society for support in championing the cause of the Malaysian Indian poor which they all have abandoned, unlike in the Western Civil Societies, as the Indian poor draws none or very little political mileage irrespective of the degree of their pain and sufferings resulting from the acts of UMNO racism and religious supremacy.
And today we are prepared to go for broke and to go solo as our struggle does not go by the political mileage and/or the Malay muslim, natives and Chinese “majoritarian gallery” votes or whether we do or do not get the votes but will continue being the focus group championing the cause of the Indian poor.

Unlike Bersih, Hindraf cannot and will not stop because of the 54 long years of the racist and religious supremacist UMNO segregating and excluding the Indian poor from the national mainstream development of Malaysia from womb to tomb.

From being denied Birth Certificates to the “ethnic cleansing of Hindu cemeteries.

Rights Not Mercy
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

Najib lets cops decide on Bersih arrests

PUTRAJAYA, July 5 — Despite agreeing to meet with Bersih 2.0 to arrange a rally venue, Datuk Seri Najib Razak today passed the buck to the police to decide whether to proceed with its nationwide pre-rally clampdown on supporters.

“That is the police’s action. You have to ask the police,” he said when asked if he would order the release of all those detained in connection with the rally.

The police have arrested more than 200 people, including opposition politicians and activists, in connection with the Bersih rally.

Six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar, have also been detained under the Emergency Ordinance.

Many have been detained or roped in for questioning for sporting yellow Bersih T-shirts or displaying Bersih materials, which the government has declared as illegal.

When asked if in view of the ban, Bersih rally participants would still be arrested for wearing the coalition’s signature yellow T-shirts, even in the stadium, Najib (picture) declined to comment.
“That is up to the police to decide,” he repeated.

The prime minister also refused to say today that if by allowing Bersih 2.0 to stage its rally indoors, he was effectively overruling the Home Ministry’s decision to outlaw the loose coalition.

“This is a point whereby we consider them illegal but they don’t consider themselves as illegal but what’s most important is public interest.

“I want to protect the Malaysian public from any untoward incidences and that is why I do not want this street demonstration to take place,” he told a brief press conference at his office here this afternoon.

He had earlier declared the government’s willingness to meet Bersih 2.0 officials to decide on an appropriate venue for their planned rally this Saturday.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, fresh from an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong this afternoon, announced that the coalition had decided to call off its street rally but would instead accept the government’s offer to hold it in a stadium.

Last week, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declared all pro-Bersih materials as illegal and that action would be taken against those found wearing or in possession of them.

He had also declared Bersih 2.0 an outlawed organisation, saying it was inciting people to create an atmosphere of unrest.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar has echoed Hishammuddin’s orders and warned last week that the police will not only arrest those sporting Bersih T-shirts but may also take action against anyone using any medium to promote the illegal rally.

“Not just T-shirts but shoes, cars, buses. If these are the tools used to encourage people to gather (illegally), this amounts to sedition,” he had said.

Perkasa to decide on rally tomorrow

Perkasa approves of Bersih's decision but will only decide whether to proceed with its own rally tomorrow.

PETALING JAYA: Malay rightwing group Perkasa has welcomed the Bersih’s decision to hold the July 9 rally in a stadium, but said it will only decide whether or not to call off its own rally at a meeting tomorrow.

Bersih chairman S Ambiga, steering committee member Zaid Kamaruddin and national laureate A Samad Said were granted an audience by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Abidin at 2pm today after which a decision was made to hold the rally in a stadium.

“We welcome Bersih’s decision,” Perkasa secretary-general, Syed Hassan Syed Ali, told FMT.

“It’s good for the people, country, economy and tourism. We will decide whether or not to proceed with our rally after our executive committee meeting tomorrow.”

Perkasa had consistently stressed that its presence on the ground on July 9 would be purely to preserve the nation’s security. Perkasa also said that it would cancel its rally if the Bersih rally was called off.

“But we also want the police to monitor the rally very closely even though it is being held in an enclosed area,” Syed Hassan added. “We don’t trust these people… we don’t trust them.”

He also admitted that Perkasa was disappointed that Bersih was granted an audience with the King.
Perkasa chief, Ibrahim Ali, yesterday railed at Bersih leaders for being “insolent” and “holding the King to ransom” by demanding an audience with him.

Ibrahim pointed out that similar requests by Perkasa had been turned down and asked that the King ignore Bersih’s request as well.

“We feel that the King shouldn’t have indulged Bersih,” Syed Hassan said.

“Ambiga asked to see the King like he was her uncle or something. But the fact is that our King is willing to meet with them for the sake of his people’s safety. And we deeply respect him for that.”

Meanwhile Umno Youth chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, confirmed that he has already called off the rally by Umno Youth scheduled for the same day.

“I called it off yesterday, ” he said in a text message to FMT. “We will not be holding any other rally in another venue.”

Khairy is currently abroad on a mission to Gaza.

Angry wife tells of last phone call from Noorhisham

The wife of the bank officer says she was upset with her husband when he left her and their children to help Sosilawati.

SHAH ALAM: The wife of bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, one of the four victims in the Banting murder case who included cosmetics millionairess Sosilawati Lawiya, told the High Court here today that she was angry with her husband when he left her and their children for three days to help someone else.

Suzana Radin Pangat, 39, said she expressed her anger through a short messaging service (SMS), which read “Kenapa sanggup nak bantu orang tapi tinggalkan saya dan anak-anak selama tiga hari” (Why are you willing to help others, but leave me and the children for three days), and sent to Noorhisham’s handphone.

“Noorhisham contacted me about 8pm on Aug 30, 2010. He said he wanted to help Sosilawati. He said Kamal (Kamaruddin Shamsuddin), Sosilawati’s driver, threatened Sosilawati because there was a photograph to be circulated, so he and Kamil (lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim) had to help Sosilawati.

“He told me to understand the situation and apologised and that he would tell me what happened when he comes back in three days.

“After that, I asked him where he was and where would he break his fast, but he did not respond,” she added.

At this juncture, Suzana, who is the eighth prosecution witness, broke down and had to be given time to calm down.

Suzana is testifying on the second day trial of a former lawyer, N Pathmanabhan and three plantation workers – T Thilaiyagan, R Matan and R Khatavarayan – who are charged with murdering Sosilawati, 47, Noorhisham, 38, Ahmad Kamil, 32, and Kamaruddin, 44, at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.40pm on Aug 30 last year.

Pathmanabhan, 42, Thilaiyagan, 20, Matan, 21, and Khatavarayan, 31, are charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Asked by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff the reason she did not contact Noorhisham, but only sent the SMS, Suzana, a personal assistant at CIMB, said she was angry.

When Ishak asked whether Noorhisham contacted her again after that, she said he did, but she did not answer the call.

Questioned whether she tried to contact her husband after sending the SMS, Suzana said she did.
“I tried to contact him during ‘sahur’ (pre-fasting meal) at about 3am on Aug 31, 2010, but I was not able to get him,” she said.

Sombre atmosphere

Earlier, Suzana told the court that the last time she saw her husband was when he sent her to her office about 8am on Aug 30, 2010. The couple married in 1995 and had three children.

“He told me that in the afternoon he would go to Banting with Ahmad Kamil for some matters regarding Sosilawati’s dealings. At about 4pm the same day, my husband contacted me at the office to say that he was going with Ahmad Kamil to Banting and they went in Ahmad Kamil’s car,” she said when Ishak asked whether Noorhisham had told her about what he was going to do on that day.

She said that when Noorhisham sent her to office on that day, he was wearing the green CIMB Islamic corporate shirt and a “Longiness” watch which he received for his excellent service from his employer in 2008.

Meanwhile, Sosilawati’s daughter, Erni Erinawati Sofia Buhari, who is the 11th prosecution witness, said Kamaruddin, whom she called “Uncle Kamal” had been her mother’s personal assistant and driver for about three years.

She described Kamaruddin as a good man, one who liked to make jokes and a caring person.

Erni Erinawati, 22, who is now in charge of her mother’s company, Nouvelles Beauty Centre Sdn Bhd, in Cyberjaya, said she lodged a police report twice on her mother’s disappearance, on Aug 31, 2010 and on Sept 2, 2010 as instructed by her older sister, Erni Dekritawati Yuliana.

Questioned by Ishak the reason Erni Dekritawati instructed her to make the police reports, Erni Erinawati said her sister had to take care of their younger siblings at home.

Earlier, the atmosphere in the court room turned sombre when Erni Erinawati broke down after being showed a picture of her mother for identification purpose.

Another witness, teacher Khairul Izwan Ismail, 30, who is Kamaruddin’s nephew, said he last spoke to his uncle at about 5pm on the date of the incident when he (Kamaruddin) contacted him while he (Khairul Izwan) was on his way to Kuala Lumpur.

“During the conversation, I promised to sleep at his house on the night of Aug 30, 2010 and he told me to give him a call when I arrived in KL. When I’m in KL, I’ll sleep at his house because I have no other relative in KL.

“During the conversation, we also joked and I also asked him where he was and he said he was in Banting. Then he hang up,” said Khairul Izwan, a teacher in Kuantan, Pahang.

Meanwhile, the 10th prosecution witness, Zaidah Shamsuddin, 52, a housewife, said he lodged a police report on Kamaruddin’s disappearance on Sept 6, 2010.

She said she lodged the report after an unknown women contacted her on Sept 2, 2010 and informed her that her brother was missing.

The hearing before judge Akhtar Tahir continues tomorrow.


Don’t dance to the tune of your ‘masters’, police told

Suhakam criticises the police for 'waiting for instructions from above' when rejecting requests by families to see the six detained PSM members.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) today criticised the police for not acting independently and denying requests by lawyers and families to visit the six Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) members detained under under the Emergency Ordinance 1969 (EO).

“It is clear that the police are dancing to the tune of their polical masters,” said Suhakam commissioner, Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah.

“When the family members want to visit them (the detainees), the police keep denying them access, saying that they are waiting instructions from above,” he told FMT today.

“What further instructions are they waiting for? They have already charged them and have a case against them. It seems police are not even sure about the instructions that they are getting,” he said.

This morning, police rejected a third attempt by lawyers and families to gain access to the six PSM members. They first tried to meet the six on Saturday when they were arrested but were told by the police that they could only do so on Monday.

Yesterday lawyers for the six detained and about 20 of their family members, some of whom had travelled from Perak, went to the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters but in vain.

This morning, Muhammad Sha’ani received a three-point memorandum from human rights watchdog Suaram over the rash action by the police in recent weeks.

Muhammad Sha’ani said that the police should act appropriately, adding that they should not parrot their “masters”, in reference to the recent clampdown on Bersih 2.0 organisers and declaring the three planned rallies on July 9 illegal.

“The police cannot declare anything illegal. They have no power. They have to wait for the home ministry to gazette something to be illegal,” he said.

In its three-point memo, Suaram, on behalf of PSM and NGOs such as Lawyers for Liberty and Aman (Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia), urged Suhakam to intervene and dispute the detention of the six under the EO.

They also want Suhakam to help families of the the six detained PSM members gain access to them and their lawyers.

Their third request is for all charges against the other 24 PSM detainees who were held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) be dropped.

“We viewed the matter very seriously and will contact the police immediately,” said Muhammad Sha’ani.
“We have to write to the police first. By law, they cannot deny us access. But I suspect in this case, the police will try and cause delays…,” he added.

No neutrality

M Raman, the father of Sarath Babu, one of the detainees, said: “We were in Bukit Aman yesterday but couldn’t see my son. Then we went back to Ipoh and came back today hoping to see him. But the lawyers told me that access has been denied again.”

“What mistake have they (detainees) done that we can’t see them? Yesterday, he (R Sarathbabu) was supposed to sit for his law examination but he missed it. So now we will just have wait and see what to do,” he added.

Edmund Bon, one of the members of the legal team, said that since access has been denied the third time, they will file for a writ of habeas corpus tomorrow in the Duta Court complex and get the family members to sign the affidavits instead of the detainees.

Another human rights lawyer, N Surendran, took a swipe at the judiciary for not executing its duties neutrally.

“Why did the (Penang) magistrate thoughtlessly give orders to remand them when there is no evidence against them?” asked Surendran.

He said that tackling this “pro-establishment” judiciary was one of the challenges that Suhakam has to take on.

Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, party deputy chairperson M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sugumaran, national youth chief R Sarathbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan were re-arrested under the Emergency Ordinance on Saturday for allegedly being involved in subversive activities.

They were initially a part of a group of 30 arrested and remanded in Penang on June 25. They were remanded for, among other charges, under Section 122 of the Penal Code for waging war against the King.

Yesterday, the rest of the 24 activists were jointly charged under Section 48(1) of the Societies Act 1966, in connection with the Bersih 2.0 rally scheduled for July 9.

The group is also jointly charged under Section 29 (1) of the ISA for being in possession of subversive documents.

Negeri cops accused of torture

A lorry driver says he was wrongfully detained for five days and repeatedly punched, kicked, stepped on, whipped and electrocuted.

KUALA LUMPUR: A lorry driver has accused Negeri Sembilan police of subjecting him to torture for five days, saying he was repeatedly punched, kicked, stepped on, whipped and electrocuted.

In a report lodged with the Negeri Sembilan police headquarters, 27-year-old S Sri Ramakrishnan of Bahau said he was wrongfully detained on suspicion of involvement with vehicle theft and that the torture was an attempt to extract a confession.

He told FMT the ordeal began sometime last month when friends told him that police were looking for him. He contacted Seremban police and was told to go to the headquarters on June 26.

“They didn’t tell me for what reason,” he said. “Nevertheless, I volunteered to go there on June 28.”
On June 28, however, several policemen arrived at his home in Taman Sattellite. They were looking for R Thiagu, a cousin of Ramakrishnan’s.

“I told them I did not know where he was, and they arrested me instead. They used brute force against me although I had agreed to be present at the police headquarters to give a statement.”

Inside the police car, he said, he was assaulted by an officer the others called Apai. They took him to the Bahau police station, where the assault continued, he added.

“I was kicked, stomped on and punched repeatedly in my stomach. They even used electric shock on me and hurled abusive words about my family.”

He was taken to the police headquarters in Seremban on June 30 where he was remanded for three days.
There, Ramakrishnan alleged, police officers told him to confess to theft, but he refused.

Lorry stolen

He told FMT that in March he had reported that the lorry he drove had been stolen. It was subsequently recovered, but without its cargo of fertilizers.

He said the police were trying to blame him for the theft.
“They threatened to seize my property and pack me off to Simpang Renggam detention centre if I did not confess. They tied up my feet and handcuffed me tightly, and hit me with a rubber hose on my feet.”

He said the policemen also used jump cables to electrocute him. “”They clipped me on the ears and shocked me. It was so painful that I didn’t care and just said, ‘Okay, I did it.’”

However, he was released unconditionally on July 2.
“Suddenly, they just let me go when they heard that my brother had engaged a lawyer,” he said.

He said the police had not returned his wallet, cellphone and other belongings and that he was considering filing a civil suit.

Police investigating the matter

Negeri Sembilan CID chief ACP Hamdan Majid confirmed receiving Ramakrishnan’s report.
“We are investigating the case,” he told FMT, but declined to give details.

Ramakrishnan’s case was brought to the press’s attention by Sri Sanjeevan, who heads the Astivaaram Foundation’s Public Complaints Bureau.

“He was kept for more than 24 hours, over the maximum allowed time for arrest, before a remand order was obtained,” he said. “That’s illegal.”

Sri Sanjeevan, who also heads the Negeri Sembilan chapter of the new party Kita, said he had handled seven cases of police abuse in the state.

Ramakrishan was the second person that police had allegedly assaulted in their search for R Thiagu. On May 28, lorry assistant S Devan lodged a police report claiming several plainclothes policemen had beaten him up when they were unable to locate Thiagu.

Devan said one of the officers shoved a gun into his mouth.

Pakatan Rakyat Terbuka Dengan Tawaran Menyertai Perhimpunan Aman BERSIH2.0 Di Stadium

Pakatan Rakyat mengambil maklum kenyataan Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak pada 4 Julai 2011 yang menyatakan kesediaan pihak kerajaan memberikan kerjasama untuk menganjurkan perhimpunan aman BERSIH2.0 di stadium.

Setelah melalui beberapa proses perbincangan, kami ingin merakamkan pendirian bahawa ketiga-tiga parti mengambil sikap terbuka dengan tawaran Perdana Menteri itu selagi ia menghormati hak rakyat untuk berhimpun secara aman seperti yang dijamin oleh Perlembagaan Persekutuan.

Pakatan Rakyat ingin menegaskan bahawa tuntutan reformasi dalam sistem pilihanraya negara agar bersih, telus dan adil kekal sebagai matlamat perhimpunan tersebut. Proses reformasi ini perlu dilaksanakan segera sebelum Pilihanraya Umum ke-13 bersesuaian dengan lapan tuntutan BERSIH2.0 dan memerlukan komitmen Perdana Menteri; selain dari komitmen sedia ada beliau untuk menawarkan stadium bagi perhimpunan aman BERSIH2.0.

Kesediaan ini juga perlulah disambut oleh pihak berkuasa dengan menghentikan pendekatan keras yang diambil setakat ini. Ketiga-tiga parti bersedia untuk bekerjasama dengan pihak polis dan pihak berkuasa yang lain bagi memastikan perjalanan perhimpunan itu nanti boleh berjalan dengan baik dan aman.

Oleh yang demikian, Pakatan Rakyat menyeru supaya kesemua individu yang ditahan kerana BERSIH2.0 dibebaskan serta-merta dan tuduhan yang dikenakan terhadap mereka digugurkan.

Timbalan Presiden PAS

Naib Presiden KEADILAN

Setiausaha Organisasi Kebangsaan DAP

Potentially Explosive Malaysian Rally Delayed

Too many yellow shirts for the cops to arrest
(Asia Sentinel) Electoral reform organization agrees to king’s call to hold rally at a stadium
The leaders of a projected July 9 street rally for electoral reform in Malaysia have backed down and agreed to hold the affair in a stadium at a future date, they said this afternoon after weeks of growing tension that had resulted in the arrests of nearly 200 people, raids on rally headquarters and confiscation of materials connected to the event.

Ambiga Sreenavasan, the head of the electoral reform organization Bersih 2.0, as it is called, made the announcement after meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia’s king, this afternoon.

“We accept the government’s offer to hold the demonstration in a stadium,” she said told reporters following the meeting at the Istana, or palace.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak later in the afternoon offered to meet with Bersih’s leaders to determine where and when the rally could be held. “They must go in peace and leave in peace,” he told reporters.

Bersih’s leaders had planned to march through the streets of Kuala Lumpur to present a petition to the Agong to clean up the electoral process. The decision to back away from a street rally and to delay it to an as-yet undetermined date gives a measure of relief to the tension, which has been exacerbated by threats by the Malay supremacy advocacy NGO Perkasa, headed by firebrand Ibrahim Ali, and the youth wing of the United Malays National Organization, to hold counter-rallies at the same time and place Bersih had scheduled to hold its event, a recipe for real trouble. The government had offered from the start to allow the rally to go ahead, but only if it takes place in a stadium.

Bersih, or the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, is demanding that the country clean up its electoral act, alleging that millions of voters have been disenfranchised by government electoral policies that keep the young and new voters off the rolls. The organization, joined by 60 other civic groups, has published an eight-point list of demands that the government clean the electoral rolls, reform postal ballots, allow for a 21-day campaign period, end gerrymandering, give free and fair access by both sides to the major newspapers and television stations, which are owned by the country’s major political parties, and allow other reforms.

The government, headed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, has reacted to the threat of the rally with inordinate force, threatening to charge its leaders with sedition and other offenses. Sources close to the United Malays National Organization, the biggest ethnic political party in the country, charge that Bersih is only a front organization for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

“Bersih as an opposition alliance is desperate to divert attention from (opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's) sexual escapades and political problems,” said an UMNO source. “The King's intervention has checkmated Ambiga. Expect things to heat up as we head into elections which are thought to be on early next year.”

That is a charge that Bersih spokesmen deny, saying their only aim is to clean up the electoral process. In any event, the organization’s determination to go ahead with the rally has raised implacable opposition from the government, which last week termed Bersih an illegal society and offered to invoke the country’s draconian Internal Security Act, which allows in effect for indeterminate detention without recourse to habeas corpus.

“They are arresting for all kinds of different reasons, mainly for wearing yellow tee-shirts,” said Wong Chin Huat, a political science professor and member of the Bersih steering committee. “Most have been arrested and released, but it’s still troublesome. Just a sign with the word ‘Bersih’ is taboo.”

In 2007, prior to elections that changed the political map of the country, broke the national coalition’s two-thirds hold on the Parliament and gave the opposition winning margins in five states, Bersih held a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur that attracted some 40,000 people. At that point it was the biggest in the country’s modern history, and created chaos on Kuala Lumpur’s streets. Police used water cannon and tear gas to seek to quell the protesters, blocking streets and chasing them through the city‘s thoroughfares.

“Malaysia is not a homogenous society,” said the UMNO source. “We are multiracial. That’s exactly how a race riot starts. And since Bersih says it’s on the side of the people, why not listen to people not to have a street rally? Why must they go against what so many people have asked them not to do? Why the need for a street rally if a stadium is provided?”

On June 25, the government arrested 30 members of the opposition Socialist Party of Malaysia on their way to a political rally, charging that they had communist materials and intended to wage war against Malaysia’s king, a charge that was regarded as nonsensical by most observers.

As far as Bersih 2 is concerned we are a peaceful movement,” Ambiga, the organization’s leader, told reporters at a press conference on Monday. “We have always wanted this to be a peaceful movement. And the idea was to communicate our views as to electoral reforms in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, events not caused by us, over the past one month have resulted in a series of events which have caused severe injustices to supporters of Bersih. We have been very unhappy with that situation. We also believe there were elements who were publicly trying to use scare tactics against Bersih supporters. We believe there were tactics used to raise tensions. None of which was the doing of Bersih”

“The government is seeking to prosecute Bersih leaders and activists under laws such as the Sedition Act of 1948 and the Police Act of 1967 in violation of fundamental rights recognized under international law,” according to a statement by Human Rights Watch, which urged the government to end its crackdown.

“The numbers of people who were going to attend the rally may have gone up because of provocation by the police,” Wong told Asia Sentinel. “Their tactics have backfired. For many people, what they have done has gone to the height of ridicule, it is absurd.”

Two opposition members of parliament have been arrested, one for leading a group of five people who were merely organizing cleaning activities in Johor, Wong said.

Bersih 2.0 accepts stadium offer for rally

Press Release: Halt assault on rule of law and democratic rights

ImageThe Malaysian Bar respects the decision of BERSIH 2.0 to exercise its constitutional right to assemble by doing so in a stadium.  The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s special statement, and willingness to meet the top leaders of BERSIH 2.0, are timely and most welcomed.

The Malaysian Bar expresses its shock at the over-reaction of the Government, and condemns the obvious and deliberate escalation in the Government’s brazen abuse of power and persecution of dissenting voices over the past few days.  This has been evident in, among others, the threat of declaration of a state of emergency, use of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (“EO”) to re-arrest six individuals, arrests of many other individuals, charges against the 24 activists arrested in Penang, declaration of BERSIH 2.0 as an “unlawful society”, and investigation of the BERSIH 2.0 Chairperson’s personal bank account.  The denial of access to legal counsel and family visits for the six individuals is also deplorable.

The Malaysian Bar reiterates its resolute stand that the EO, along with the Internal Security Act 1960 and other preventive detention legislation, are archaic and repressive laws whose continued use is repugnant to civil society.  These laws are devoid of any proper regard and safeguards for human rights, and their use is antithetical to the due process of the law, as no evidence need be produced in a court of law to support the allegations underlying their use.  

By resorting to the EO, the Government has displayed a high-handed and undemocratic attitude, as the use of this oppressive legislation is highly disproportionate to any perceived wrongs committed by the six individuals.  The authorities should charge the six individuals in open court and disclose the evidence against them so that they may receive a full and fair hearing, or release them without delay.

The Malaysian Bar urges all parties to consider the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and calls on the Government to now replace the sledgehammer in its hand with an olive branch instead.
Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar