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Friday, July 22, 2011

Bangladeshi has brick tied to penis as punishment

DHAKA: Bangladeshi police said on Thursday they were investigating the case of a man forced to parade naked through his village with a brick tied to his penis as punishment for kidnapping and marrying a minor.

The punishment was meted out Saturday to the 30-year-old man by the local council in a village 30 kilometres (18 miles) south of Dhaka.

Police said he had kidnapped and then forcibly married a 12-year-old girl, who later managed to escape.

"The council chief and some village elders beat him and made him parade with a brick tied to his penis at a river ghat (steps) under the full gaze of at least 200 people," police sub-inspector Binoy Krishna Kar said.

Village courts are legal in Bangladesh but only empowered to settle disputes related to land ownership, inheritance and other minor issues. They are proscribed from handing down physical punishment.

The latest incident came a week after the global rights monitor Human Rights Watch released a statement highlighting abuses committed by local councils which are often the result of religious edicts or fatwas.

The group urged Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 142 million people, to take "urgent" measures to prevent such cases, which have been blamed for the deaths of dozens of women in recent years.

Malaysian Indian poor has zero village safety net. 607 New Villages for Chinese poor, thousands for Malay, Asli, Iban & Kadazan villages for poor.

In any part of the world the social safety net for any community is their ancestral and traditional villages. In these villages they get to engage in at least agriculture  and lifestock farming for their livelihood. Thus their social safety net beyond which they would not fall. And in these villages they live as a community.

Unlike the example of the lone Indian poor ageing lady in her hut and living in worst off conditions than the Orang Asli (see photo).The most misfortunate, disabled, old and orphans are taken care of by the village community.

Even the dishwasher from Tamil Nadu a working in Brickfields may be better of than the 5th and 6th generation Malaysian born. Indian poor in the event of any misfortunate, disability or old age, always has a village social safety net to go back to in India. But this is not so for the Malaysian Indian poor. There are almost zero Indian poor villages in One Malay-sia as their social safety net.

rightly43_thumbThe few and far in between Kg Muniandi, Kg Ghandi, Kg Kanchang Puteh, kg Chikadee, Kg DBI, Kg Buah Pala, Kg Bengali, etc have denied permanent land titles and have been “ethnically cleansed” or waiting  for their day to be ethnically  cleansed. Even if there are the few Indian villages, their existence is temporary. As is the temporary solution for the Indian poor across  the board in One Malay-sia.

Land settled by the Indian poor are deemed squatters and bulldozed or waiting to be bulldozed but land settled by the Malays, Chinese and the Orang Asli Kadazan, Iban are recognized by the  State and granted permanent land titles.

Even the pre existing poor and landless Indian plantation workers were denied the 442,000 (112,635 Felda) (UM 21/4/10 at page 28), 28,235 Risda and 95,000 Felcra – BH  25/2/2010 at page 4).

We are only aware of some of Indians in the Felda schemes in Bahau, LBJ and Trolak and that too granted in the very early years in the 1960s. And never thereafter the ten acre land ownership schemes in Felda, Felcra and Risda schemes, 99% of which have been granted to the Malay muslims. We estimate over one million such ten acre land ownership schemes nationwide including those granted by Mardi, Fama, Agropolition and by the similar 13 State government ten acre land ownership schemes like Kejora, Kemubu, Kedara, Ketengah, etc where zero Indian poor have been granted land.

Even the Pakatan Rakyat State governments of Perak and Selangor within one month of they coming to power in Perak and Selangor granted:-
1) 110,000 land titles in 349 land titles in 349 Rancangan Kampung Tersusun for Malay muslims in Perak (UM 1/1/2009)
2)   102,000 land titles in 134 Chinese New  Villages in Perak. (NST 10/10/3 at page 23)
3)    2,500 acres to 9 Chinese Independent schools in Perak . (NST 31/8/8 at page 38).
4)    10 acres to each and every Orang asli in Perak (NST 9/3/9 at page 8).
5)    1,000 acres of land and RM100 Million for pig farming in Sepang Selangor. (NST 11/4/08 and
26/8/8).And today’s New Straits Times 22/7/11 at page 2, reported that there are 607 (Chinese) New Villages nationwide with 1.2 million villagers. To top it up no less than the Deputy Prime Minister grants RM 100 million to uplift the lives in these New Villages.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE                                              The UMNO government’s billions to uplift the lives of the Malay muslims, Orang Asli, Kadazan and Iban poor through various government programs goes without saying.

But to start off with there is almost zero permanent Indian villages, let alone the millions or billions of ringgit Malaysia to be given to them.

The tip of the iceberg case of the Indian poor without the social safety net is that of M. Krishnan (37) who was killed at the Bukit Jallil police lock up. Krishnan’s widow P. Revathi (37) had called over to our office in March 2011 told us that her husband was the sole bread winner who fed his family of six young aged between 8 to 17 years.  His pregnant wife can’t even go to work as she has to care for her three toddlers and cannot afford a baby sitter.

Even the UMNO Welfare Department refused to grant any emergency or other financial help. At best we know of some similar Indian poor families who were granted a maximum of RM 300 per month and that too for a mere three months and thereafter they have to go begging on their knees for the further RM 300. This RM 300.00 would not even be enough to pay her rentals in Sentul. This RM 300 Welfare help would go a long way if P. Revathi had the village safety net to fall back on. There was zero Indian village she could go back to or go to. The Felda, Felcra, Risda etc ten acre landownership schemes  would never take her in. What do we do; we have no answer for P. Revathi.

P. Revathi had asked us “What do I do now”? We had no answer we could just watch her cry silently. We do not know what ever happened to Revathi thereafter and we were helpless in the face of the bi-racial One Malay-sian political and economic reality.

P. Revathi told us that she is left with no other choice but to contemplate suicide. Tears swelled in the corner of our eyes and we took our sight out of the harsh reality she was undergoing to divert our mind. But we had and till today have no answers.

Had she been a Malay muslim the, Lembaga Urus, Zakat, Baitumal, Tabung Haji, Perkim, Yayasan, etc would have bailed her out.

Had she been a Chinese some Towkay would have bailed her out as they have been recipients of government largess for decades. Or she could have gone to one of the aforesaid 617 Chinese Villages. Some 50% of the Malay-sian economy controlling Chinese community will somehow care of their poor.

And we have the Jabatan Orang Asli, Yayasan Sabah and Sarawak, 25 and 31 Sabah and Sarawak native MPs and hundreds of ADUNs (minus the few Chinese MPs’ & ADUNS) and the whole of the Sabah and Sarawak State governments vis a vis the political power balance they wield, especially now in the post 2008 general elections scenario to care for the Kadazan, Iban, Orang Ulu, Murut poor.

But who cared for the Indian poor in bi racial One Malay-sia? There is no Yayasan or Jabatan. UMNO? BN? MIC? Pseudo multi-racial PKR, DAP, PAS, NGO?

And when we point out this level of unacceptable and shameful racism and religious supremacy, never seen in any other part of the world, we are in turn are very shrewdly branded as racist by our detractors as a very “clever” means to divert away from this the pressing Indian problems and which this mere 8% Indian community has almost zero political or economic power.

This is just the tip of the iceberg one off story of the Indian poor and landless. Many such instances are reported in

Tens of thousands of even the 5th and 6th generation Indian poor and landless nationwide cry in silence every day. Because bi-racial One Malay-sia does not care for them because they are the Indian poor. In bi-racial One Malaysia any issue that concerns the Malays or the Chinese is a ‘national’ issue andaddressed. Policies and programs are only designed to feed these two communities.

Only in bi racial One Malay-sian poor and landless their ethnicity matters.
Rights not Mercy.
P. Uthayakumar

Charles Santiago: who is K P Samy?

Klang Parliament member Charles Santiago dismissed K P Samy as ‘tak bolih pakai (no use)’ and someone who has no authority to speak on behalf of Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) pertaining to the public debate challenge he threw to MIC, which was reported in Malaysia Nanban Tamil daily today.

K P Samy has been very vocal and at times seems to be the de facto MIC Information Chief since Palanivel, the current MIC president, reinstated him back – Samy Vellu sacked him from party -- to the Central Working Committee. 

Just yesterday, K P Samy told Kimma President to shut-up and not to divide the Indian Community. Previously, he clashed with DAP MP’s Kulasegaran and Sivanesan on the ‘interlock’ issue.

According to the Malaysia Nanban report, Charles said he was not questioning MIC’s contributions for the Indian community for all these years and also not interested whether MIC people supported Bersih movement or not but rather questioned why all the MIC leaders were tight-lipped when there were calls to revoke Bersih leader Ambiga Sreenevasan’s citizenship. 

“An Indian woman is fighting for the citizen’s human rights but no MIC leader came forward to defend her”.

Charles also condemned MIC leaders for their inaction on the ‘Interlock’ novel issue, the daily added in the front page report.

Apparently, Charles issued the challenge to Vetrivel, MIC branch chairman, for a public debate if he cannot comprehend the information available in websites about his services to his constituents, his contributions to the Indian community and his role in the Parliament.

But, K P Samy jumped in and accepted the challenge. 

On his part, K P Samy advised Charles not to throw stones on others outside the parliament using the powers bestowed by the people. 

“Stop the culture of attacking MIC”, de facto MIC Information chief said.

Malaysia needs free and fair elections, says former Umno minister

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — A former Umno minister and lawmaker has reminded the Najib administration to uphold its “responsibility” in ensuring that free and fair elections are conducted in Malaysia. 

Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, who was Tourism Minister during the Mahathir administration, urged the government to engage with electoral reforms group Bersih, and reminded Barisan Nasional (BN) that one of the key reasons why it lost its two-thirds majority in 2008 was its failure to listen to Bersih’s demands back then.

Abdul Kadir said that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) managed to win 48 per cent of the country’s popular vote with Bersih’s support.

“A free and fair elections is very fundamental,” he said in a speech at the launch of Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) here. “Why can’t we engage them (Bersih 2.0)?”

Abdul Kadir is deputy president of Amanah, led by former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Amanah aims to push for racial unity, good governance and respect for the federal constitution.

“The government will know whether elections are clean or not,” Abdul Kadir said. “Clean up the elections system so that people can choose the government they want.”

He proposed that the Election Commission (EC) include PR lawmakers as part of the commission to allow transparent scrutiny of the election body.

Abdul Kadir said “the year is 2011” and that Malaysians were more educated and demanded a fair and just government administration.

“You must have a good and clean government. Right now money is being spent everywhere; is it accounted for? I cannot sleep at night thinking about it.

“I’m happy that the government is against corruption, but do it properly. Jangan cakap tak serupa bikin (don’t say what you don’t mean),” he added.

Bersih estimates that 50,000 people showed up at the July 9 rally for free and fair elections despite efforts to prevent it from taking place, while police have said there were only 6,000.

The protest turned chaotic when police fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of demonstrators, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, scores injured and the death of former military man Baharuddin Ahmad, 59.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has said it will hold a public inquiry into police conduct during the rally following reports that they used excessive force to disperse protesters.

Police yesterday cleared themselves of wrongdoing following an internal probe into alleged police brutality, and have instead laid blame on Bersih protesters for provoking the police.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has accused the Bersih group of trying to seize power through mass rallies, while dismissing the electoral reform group’s allegations of poll fraud.

‘Under pressure’ Najib cancels family vacation

The premier cancels a family vacation because he wants to spend more time with Malaysians, signalling that all may not be well in Putrajaya.

SEPANG: The Malaysian political landscape is experiencing a series of tremors and with numerous conspiracy theories and speculations being churned out, some predict that an earthquake is imminent.

As for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, things started to roll downhill since July 9, when tens of thousands of Malaysians took to the streets to push for free and fair elections.

Observers claimed that the nation’s sixth premier, who had vowed to recapture Barisan Nasional’s glory following its 2008 electoral bruising, is now under tremendous pressure, and it is not coming from the opposition alone.

Speculation is rife that the daggers are out for Najib in Umno itself, and adding to the woes is the party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah’s newly launched outfit, Angkatan Amanah Rakyat, whose true objectives remain vague.

The iron-fist response towards the Bersih 2.0 rally soiled Najib’s image both here and abroad, and under this cloud of political gloom, the premier returned home this morning following a working visit to three countries, which also saw him visiting the Vatican.

When he touched down at KLIA, Najib added more coal to the burning speculation that all was not well in Putrajaya when he revealed that he had cancelled a family holiday to be with the people.

“I told my family I felt that I should return to Malaysia and that I was prepared to forgo the holiday for the sake of Malaysians back home,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

According to the national news agency, Najib was greeted by some 3,000 people, including his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin and his cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

There was also a banner unfurled at the airport bearing the signatures of “1.2 million Malaysians” backing his leadership. The campaign was initiated by the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma), an associate member of Umno.

‘They want to topple the government’

Najib said he informed Muhyiddin that it was important that both of them and the other ministers as well to go down to the ground to meet the people.

“We have to meet the people. We have to tell them that they can depend on the Barisan Nasional government, that BN is their best choice,” he said.

Najib also thanked his wife Rosmah Mansor and their children for understanding the need to cancel the holiday.

Meanwhile, another report quoted the prime minister of reiterating his charge that Bersih 2.0 was attempting to topple his government through street rallies under the guise of calling for electoral reforms.
Dismissing the claim that the Election Comission tips the scales in BN’s favour during polls, Najib said: “We have never cheated in an election.”

According to him, the rallies were not about reforms but rather to create the impression that his administration was autocratic.

Ku Li’s Amanah likely to lead third force

Umno veteran says his group aims to be in the forefront of the fight against the country's "continuous disintegration".
KUALA LUMPUR: Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah hinted today that his new group, Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah), could possibly be the catalyst to a rising third force.

The Kelantan prince, in an inspiring speech at the launch of his new group, called on the silent majority to voice their discontent against “rife corruption, cronyism and racial crisis”.

Razaleigh said Amanah aims to be the platform for Malaysians to fight against what he sees as the country’s “continuous disintegration”, hinting at the group’s bid to be a non-partisan pressure group.

“I believe at the end of the road that we are taking in these early steps, we will be called upon to make several important decisions for the future of our nation – choices that we must take regardless of the problems, challenges and obstacle that we face,” he said.

“This morning could be another normal social event or it could be the beginning of a journey towards something that has never taken place before, that may change the current of our country’s future,” he said.
The setting up of Amanah has triggered speculation that Razaleigh, who has been highly critical of his own party’s leadership, no longer believes he could reform Umno from within.

Defection to the opposition could also see his reputation as an independent statesman tarnished. In a country without a strong third force, Razaleigh’s weight among the moderates and especially among the idealistic younger voters could be appealing.

Amanah’s ideology could also be a charm factor. Studies have shown that younger Malaysian voters tend to vote for the opposition given the lack of a credible middle choice, not due to partisan politics.
Amanah aims to rekindle the multi-racial spirit that was fought for by the country’s founding fathers. Their goal is to bring everyone who believe in Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra’s vision of a truly united Malaysia together.

Middle and moderate voice

The group, boasting multi-racial political veterans membership like former Sarawak deputy chief Minister Daniel Tajem, former tourism minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and those still active like former MCA president Ong Tee Keat, could well fill in this gap.

While Razaleigh continued to pound the government, indirectly blaming them for worsening racism and dismal economic performance, he dropped more hints of Amanah’s possible third force role throughout his speech:

“We want to represent the middle and moderate voice that try to avoid confrontation with the authorities because we want to continue with our daily lives normally.

“If we do not do anything, the consequences will be horrible and the situation cannot be resolved. This is the time for the majority who have been silent to voice out”.

Razaleigh was not available to explain the real role of Amanah nor did he state how his group aims to achieve their objectives but said that they will be explained in due time.

Razaleigh, affectionately known as Ku Li, is touted to be the best candidate to lead the country next to Opposition Leader and former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Rumours were rife that the Gua Musang MP was approached by opposition leaders and offered the position should Pakatan Rakyat wrest federal power, but the former dismissed this.

Police version of rally unacceptable

The police version of the Bersih 2.0 rally has been slammed as a political message aimed at the government's rural constituents.

PETALING JAYA: PAS’ Kuala Selangor MP, Dzulkefly Ahmad, has voiced shock over the police version of the Bersih 2.0 rally and dismissed it as a message meant for Barisan Nasional’s rural constituents.

Yesterday the police screened videos to support their take on the rally which depicted police restraint, provocations by demonstrators and police hospitality towards detainees.

Part of the footage included “acts of kindness” shown to Dzulkefly and Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar.

The police presenter claimed that the MPs were offered oxygen mask after being tear gassed in the KL Sentral tunnel. But Dzulkefly reacted with amazement when told of this.

“Oh my god, they were kicking and shoving us!” he exclaimed. “Nurul, (PKR deputy secretary-general) Sharifah Shahida (Syed Kamarulzaman) and I were the first to exit the tunnel. The minute we got out the FRU kicked us, threw us to the wall and ordered us to squat.”

“They wanted to handcuff us but Sharifah was having a severe asthma attack and there was no such oxygen mask. Then the Lembah Pantai head of police passed by, saw his MP on the ground and told the FRU to release us. So if that release constitutes hospitality…”

Dzulkefly added that he was extremely surprised that the police displayed selective portrayal of the rally despite the existing footage online.

“There is footage of unnecessary aggression by the police,” he said. “How can they shoot at us and then claim hospitality? And to say that the late Baharuddin Ahmad’s injuries were a result of medical assistance is atrocious.”

‘Very sad’

Police claimed that Baharuddin could have broken his bones and teeth because of the resuscitation method used and the insertion of tubes through his mouth.

“This video is meant for BN’s rural Malay voters who have no access to the Internet,” Dzulkefly said. “They know they cannot hoodwink the urban voters any more so they are targetting their rural constitutencies.”

Bersih steering committee member, Toh Kin Woon, called the video “very sad” and an indication that government institutions are “insensitive to public criticism”.

“They don’t want to do self-critique or ask themselves honest questions that could regain them their credibility and honour,” he said. “The police insist that every allegation against them is baseless so how can it be sensitive to public demands?”

Toh also disputed police claims that the protesters were provocative, saying that he neither saw nor heard any such accounts.

“I was at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall and all was peaceful until the police decided to fire chemical-laced water at us,” he recounted. “So of course the crowd shouted back at them. But there was absolutely no provocation on our end.”

Meanwhile, Batu MP, Tian Chua, whom the police blamed for provoking them by charging at them, refused to entertain the contents of the footage.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “If the police have evidence, then charge me and I will defend myself in court. It’s very bad for the police to engage in a trial by media. Why are they doing that?”

“If Umno screened this footage, then we can say that it is just trying to score political points and we will respond politically. But the law enforcement should not engage in an exercise to demonise the people.”

Habeas corpus hearing of EO6 adjourned to Aug 5

High Court judge adjourned the hearing on the grounds that the government wants to reply to the 15 affidavits filed by applicants' lawyers.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today allowed an application to adjourn hearing of the habeas corpus applications of six Parti Sosialis Malaysia leaders who have been held under the Emergency Ordinance since July 2.

Justice Su Geok Yiam allowed the adjournment on the grounds that the government wants to reply to the 15 affidavits filed by applicants’ lawyers.

In allowing time for the prosecution to file its affidavit, Justice Su said she was bound by a Federal Court ruling to give parties time to reply to the affidavits.

The judge fixed Aug 5 to hear the applications.The habeas corpus filing was done on July 6.
Justice Su also agreed to the adjournment after senior federal counsel Othman Yusof highlighted the most recent affidavits filed by Dr Subramaniam Pillai on behalf of the detainees.

“There are many claims that needs to be answered,” Othman said, in a crowded courtroom.
He is assisted by fellow senior federal counsel Amir Nasaruddin, Mohd Zain Ibrahim and Zafran Zafri Zaini.

Sulaiman Abdullah who led the appellant’s legal team was even willing to forfeit the 15 affidavits that was not addressed by the government in favor of a hearing today. This was dismissed by the court
The appelants’ legal team are also made up of Edmund Bon, Amer Hamzah Arshad, B Maha, K Arumugam, Aziri Malek, Baljit Singh, James Khong, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Ong Yu Jian and Andy Yong.

Continued detention in wrong

Sulaiman argued: “Continued detention is wrong in law. How do you justify continued detention (of the EO 6) after July 9?”

The EO 6 as they are now known are Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar along with five other activists – PSM deputy president M Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sugumaran, youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

They were rearrested on July 2 under section 3 (1) Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (EO).

They were initially detained under section 122 of the Penal Code for allegedly waging war against the King late last month.

Sulaiman also raised the right to counsel for the detainees as provided by section 28(A) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Othman countered by pointing out that legal access was not necessary for those detained under preventive detention laws but the points were rebutted by Sulaiman.

Malaysia’s Political Awakening: A Call for US Leadership

On elections, the US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices declares that Malaysian opposition parties are unable to compete on equal terms with the governing UMNO-dominated coalition because of restrictions on campaigning and freedom of assembly and association.
by John R. Malott, Asia Pacific Bulletin
A Malaysian recently wrote to me, “Most Americans don’t know or even care where Malaysia is.” Even among the so-called foreign policy elite, little attention is paid to Malaysia. There are few American academics who specialize in domestic Malaysian politics, and except for hosting visits by senior Malaysian leaders, think tanks and universities hold few Malaysia-themed programs. US newspaper and magazine reports are few, with most articles focusing on tourism and the delights of Malaysian cuisine. As a result, there is a tendency among Americans to hold an idealized (and outdated) image of Malaysia as a successful multi-racial and multi-religious paradise, an Asian economic dynamo, and a stable and moderate Muslim democracy. As a result of this deficit of informed analysis of Malaysia, there has been a failure to notice the internal political and economic changes unfolding within Malaysia over the past few years. The reality today, as one Australian expert puts it, is that the situation is the “most fluid and dangerous” in Malaysia’s history.

The Events of July 9 – A Date for the History Books

Because of this attention shortfall, the events of July 9, 2011 came as a surprise. On that day, tens of thousands of Malaysians—who have been ranked on Hofstede’s Power Distance Index as the most submissive to authority of any people in the world—chose to defy their government and join a “Walk for Democracy.” They heeded the call of Bersih 2.0, a coalition of 62 non-governmental organizations that calls for free and fair elections. In the days before the rally, the Malaysian government cracked down. It rounded up 200 leaders associated with the movement, claiming that they were “waging war against the King” and planning to overthrow the government. It declared both the Bersih coalition and the planned rally illegal, and in a truly bizarre action, it declared the color yellow—Bersih’s signature color—illegal. Malaysian citizens were arrested for possessing Bersih literature or wearing yellow T-shirts. The police established roadblocks around the city and banned 91 Bersih and opposition leaders from entering the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. By the morning of July 9, the city was in total lockdown.

Then something remarkable happened. As Ambiga Sreenevasan, the distinguished attorney who leads Bersih put it, the Malaysian people showed that they no longer would be intimidated by their government. They chose to march, knowing that they would be met by tear gas, chemical-laced water cannon, and police batons. Even after Bersih’s leadership was arrested, Malaysians of all ages, races and religions continued their “Walk for Democracy” through the streets of Kuala Lumpur. They locked arms, they sang their national anthem and “We Shall Overcome,” they blew bubbles and carried flowers. They were peaceful. The only muscle seen that day was the heavy hand of the police. Human Rights Watch later called the use of force excessive, the 1,670 arrests unwarranted, and the police attacks on marchers unprovoked.

This repression by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his government drew international condemnation, and it also put a lie to Najib’s two-year effort to portray himself as a modern, liberal-minded leader. More importantly, and of greater concern to Najib and his United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party—the main party that has ruled Malaysia continuously since independence in 1957—is that it awakened a new generation of Malaysians. It is too soon to know whether the movement for electoral reform and the establishment of true democracy in Malaysia will be sustained. If it is, then July 9 will be remembered as a turning point in Malaysia’s history.

Just How Free and Democratic is Malaysia?

Why should a government be so afraid of a call for fair elections? Like his predecessors, Najib claims that demonstrations will lead to chaos, even though the right of assembly is guaranteed by the nation’s constitution and is commonplace in any true democracy. As for free and fair elections, Najib says that Malaysia already has them; if not, then opposition parties would not have achieved the gains they made in the 2008 elections, when they received 47% of the popular vote and took control of five states. Opposition parties counter that if elections truly were fair and free, they would form the government and not the UMNO-led coalition.

Political rhetoric aside, Malaysia’s electoral system has been analyzed by academics in Australia, Malaysia, the United States, and elsewhere. In addition, the state of Malaysia’s political freedom has been assessed by many international groups. The Economist Intelligence Unit, for example, labels Malaysia a “flawed democracy” in its Democracy Index. Freedom House says that Malaysia is only “partly free.” Reporters Without Borders places Malaysia 141st out of the 178 countries in its Press Freedom Index. On elections, the US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices declares that Malaysian opposition parties are unable to compete on equal terms with the governing UMNO-dominated coalition because of restrictions on campaigning and freedom of assembly and association. “News of the opposition,” the report says, is “tightly restricted and reported in a biased fashion.” Academics point to the Election Commission’s gerrymandering, which creates highly imbalanced districts that favor the ruling party, where the number of voters per electoral district can range from 7,000 to over 100,000.

Over the years there have been numerous credible reports of the use of phantom voters, stuffed ballot boxes, vote-buying, and abuse of government resources to attract votes. In Sarawak’s state elections this past April, Prime Minister Najib was caught on video, blatantly telling a village gathering that his government would give them US$1.5 million for a local project, but only if they elected his candidate.

What Should Be Done?

Malaysia’s government may assert otherwise, but the evidence is overwhelmingly on Bersih’s side. Malaysia is not a full democracy, and its elections are neither free nor fair. Malaysian citizens have awakened to that fact. Now the world’s democracies need to stand on the right side of Malaysia’s future. The United States has a multitude of interests in Malaysia, one of which is to help strengthen democracy and the rule of law. Human rights groups have condemned what they call the US Government’s “lukewarm” response to the events of July 9. This is a moment when the United States, which named Bersih’s leader Ambiga Sreenevasan an International Woman of Courage in 2009, can show the same courage and make a difference in the life of a nation.

John R. Malott was the US Ambassador to Malaysia, 1995-1998, and continues to follow developments in that country closely.
The Asia Pacific Bulletin (APB) series is published by the East-West Center, which promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the US Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

French lawyer detained at KLIA, to be deported

(Malaysiakini) French lawyer William Bourdon, who was in Penang last night to speak about the controversial Scorpene submarines deal allegedly involving millions of ringgit in kickbacks to Malaysian government officials, was detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

It is understood that he will be deported later today. 

NONEAccording to Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel, immigration officials boarded the aircraft and detained Bourdon after their plane touched down at KLIA in Sepang this morning.

"He was taken to the immigration holding centre at KLIA," Gabriel told Malaysiakini.

Initially, the immigration officers did not allow Bourdon's wife Lia Foriester, also a lawyer, to accompany him to the holding centre.

Following some negotiations, she was allowed to do so.
According to Gabriel, the officers wanted to "question" Bourdon.

At a packed dinner in Penang last night to raise funds for the pending Scorpene trial in France in which the NGO Suaram is involved, Bourdon said the case would also expose details of secret meetings of those involved.

He said those beneficiaries and kickbacks from the RM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal would be exposed when the matter is raised at the French corruption trial against defence giant DCNS.
Bourdon arrived yesterday but did not go through KLIA immigration as he was in transit to Penang. 

AirAsia Takes Off

Come Fly with Us 
CEO Tony Fernandez seeks to join the world’s big carriers

AirAsia, the Malaysia-based budget carrier with the black leather seats and the perky flight attendants, appears on course to join the world’s big air carriers, expanding aggressively across the region, with plans to buy hundreds of new aircraft.
The carrier hopes to raise US$150-200 million in an IPO slated for the Jakarta Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter of this year, company officials say, underwritten by CIMB-Indonesia and Credit Suisse.

Earlier this month AirAsia announced that its Malaysian parent is purchasing a record 300 Airbus Industrie A320 neo jets for a reported $27 billion, the largest ever airline order -- until it was superseded Wednesday when American Airlines announced it is buying 460 single-aisle aircraft from both Airbus Industrie and Boeing for US$38 billion. Nonetheless, the AirAsia order vaults the carrier well up the order of the world’s airlines.

The world’s largest airline by fleet size is Delta, with 744 planes, followed by United, with 712, and Lufthansa, with 710.

A spokesman said that “at least” 175 planes are to be added to the current Asia fleet by 2015, nearly tripling current capacity. AirAsia Indonesia earlier said that it expects local passenger numbers to grow 15 percent this year.

Southeast Asia “is as big as Europe,” AirAsia’s Indonesia CEO, Dharmadi said while en route to a Tokyo press conference. “So [CEO Tony Fernandez] thinks we need 500 aircraft. If we do that, there is no reason we would not be No.1 in Asia.”

The airline's Indonesian unit has posted rapid growth in the budget sector and is looking forward to further expansion, according to Dharmadi, who was head of operations for Garuda Indonesia before joining AirAsia three years ago.

“We are now No. 1 in passengers carried on international routes out of Indonesia," he said, citing traffic to Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur from Jakarta, Bali, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung. The local carrier reported this month that it had flown 2.35 million passengers in the first half of the year, up 28 percent on the same period in 2010. Total passenger numbers for last year were in turn up 13 per cent on 2009.
AirAsia will soon open a major regional headquarters in Jakarta to serve as the company's head office.

“It will be the central office for investors to communicate with the company and for relations with Asean,” Dharmadi said.

The planned 2015 launch of the Asean “open skies” policy is a major reason for the opening of a Jakarta office, which will also be able to lobby Asean directly for the continued loosening of previously restricted Southeast Asian markets.

Launched by Fernandez and three partners in 2002 as a regional no-frills carrier with just two aircraft, the carrier is closely modeled on Richard Branson's Virgin brand and the US budget carrier Southwest Airlines. In 2010 it carried its100 millionth passenger.

The airline's current fleet is 93 planes flying regionally for three related companies, all of which are incorporated as joint ventures in their home markets - Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. A fourth partner, AirAsia Philippines, will start flying in September with Vietnam expected to follow closely behind.

In addition to the regional business, a budget long-haul service, AirAsia X, has flights to Europe, Japan and Korea from its Kuala Lumpur hub. That company is a joint venture between Fernandez and Branson.

Police Detain Man, Seize Dadah Believed To Be Heroin

KLUANG, July 22 (Bernama) --Police have detained a man and confiscated six plastic packets of dadah believed to be heroin after a raid on a house in Jalan Kampung Paya, here on Thursday.

Kluang District Police Chief, ACP Mohd Fawzi Arshad said the 52-year-old man, a local, was held when a Narcotics CID team swung into action at about 2.30pm after receiving information on dadah trafficking.

"Six plastic packets containing dadah believed to be heroin weighing 33.6 grams were found folded inside a newspaper held by the suspect when police was carrying out a body check on him," he told reporters at the Kluang District Police Headquarters Thursday.

He said the man was now under remand until July 28 and was being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1953.

In another case, Mohd Fawzi said police apprehended a 43-year-old man and seized dadah from a house in Taman Ria, Kahang here, three days ago.

He said the man, a local, is married but was not working when he was detained at about 12.10pm following public information.

"After inspecting the house, police found dadah believed to be heroin in a plastic bottle and in nine plastic packets weighing 5 grammes and 14 plastic packets of dadah weighing 3.7 grammes suspected to be syabu on the table," he said.

He said the man, when questioned by police, said the drugs were bought for RM2,000 from a man known as "Laga" in Johor Baharu.

The man has three previous records relating to dadah and is now under remand till next Tuesday to facilitate investigation under Section 39B, Section 12 (2) and Section 15 (1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, he said.

Kemuncak Himpunan BERSIH 2.0

setelah berjalan dari Jalan Pudu, Stadium, Central Market dan banyak tempat lagi untuk kumpulkan sebanyak mungkin demonstran yang terpisah akhirnya himpunan terbesar berjaya diadakan di KLCC petang itu. Puluhan ribu telah menyanyikan lagu kebangsaan petang tersebut

14 rioters shot down in Xinjiang attack

HOTAN, Xinjiang - Police shot down 14 rioters who attacked a police station in Hotan city of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Monday, a Communist Party official in Hotan said Wednesday.

The official, who declined to be named, said the attack left four people dead, including an armed police officer, a security guard, a woman and a teenage girl. At least three others were injured.

Rioters hacked security guard Memet Eli to death while they were trying to break into the Na'erbage police station shortly after 12 pm Monday, said Ablet Metniyaz, chief of the police station.

"He is just 25. He planned to get married in September," said Abliz, an officer of the police station.
In addition to Eli, an armed police and two civilians died in the incident, according to Metniyaz, 38, who has been serving as chief of the police station for three years.

The rioters had taken six civilian people and some police staff hostage, and set fire and smashed things in the police station, leaving damaged computers, printers, furniture and clothes scattered around, Metniyaz said.

Shouting frantic religious slogans like "Allah the only God", the rioters ran to the top floor and police opened fire to stop them, said an anonymous policeman with the police station.

When the attack took place, most of the police station's staff were following Metniyaz to visit local residents in an effort to seek their opinions about safeguarding public security.

The rioters had occupied the police station when Metniyaz led his team back.

"I shouted in Uygur language, asking the rioters to stop doing things that run against the law and to settle disputes in peaceful way. But they kept casting gasoline bottles and rocks to us," said Metniyaz.

"I saw the rioters hacking innocent people, some of them got injuries on their faces, noses and ears."
Rioters also attacked the adjacent industrial and commercial bureau, injuring two staff there.

All the rioters were male aged between 20 to 40. They spoke with non-Hotan accent and wore sneakers -- "probably to prepare for running away," said Metniyaz.

Sikh man 'was beaten up by gang in street'

A Sikh man told a jury he was beaten up by a group of Muslim-looking men who knocked off his turban and pulled off his necklace and religious pendant.

The 25-year-old alleged victim suffered a cut head and other injuries after being hit to the ground and struck with a weapon, possibly a spanner, it was claimed.
He said he was at home with his mother, in Evington Valley Road, Leicester, at 1.40 pm when he heard banging on his door and shouting.

He looked out to see five or six Asian males, of Muslim appearance and dress, whom he did not know.
A black Audi was also outside.

The man said he felt "scared," and left through the back door, getting into his car at the rear and drove off.
He said at the Evington Valley Road traffic light junction with Ethel Road a man banged on his car bonnet and shouted at him to stop.

He said he also realised the men from outside his home were pursuing him in the Audi and carried on.
The alleged victim told Leicester Crown Court he pulled into the forecourt of a nearby tyre factory hoping to get help.

The Audi blocked him in and as soon as he got out of his car, he was attacked by several men, including one with a "rod or spanner."

The complainant said: "I fell on the ground and felt someone pulling my chain, which had a religious pendant on.

"They were hitting me."

He said he got up and pushed one of them, but ended up back on the ground being hit.
He added: "I don't know who was hitting me on my head with the spanner.

"I can't remember how many times I was hit.

"Someone was twisting my (gold) bangle but it didn't come off.

"While they were hitting me, it (his turban) was knocked off.
"They were saying something like 'killing you' and swearing."

The prosecution allege that one of the assailants was Moshin Khan (20), of Evington Drive, Leicester.
Khan denies jointly causing actual bodily harm or damaging a gold necklace belonging to the alleged victim on Friday, April 23, last year.

He claims that it is a case of mistaken identity and the complainant had wrongly picked him in a police video identification procedure.

The prosecution say the black Audi's registration number was linked to the defendant's address.
Giving evidence, the complainant said he was "sure" he correctly identified Khan as one of the group.

He alleged that after he managed to stand up, the defendant came towards him (unarmed) and tried to hit him.

He told the jury: "I tried to hit him back.

"Then he hit me back and I went back onto the ground."

The court heard the necklace and religious pendant were later found and returned to the complainant.
Mark Achurch, prosecuting, said one of the witnesses claimed he heard members of the group shouting "Allah, Allah" during the alleged attack.

The complainant's injuries included a swollen right eye, a cut to the back of his head and tenderness to his arms and body.

The trial continues.

PSM videos

Teacher pokes pupil to bleed

A teacher allegedly poked a student in his forehead with a ball pen for not been able to copy down an essay on time.

The incident took place at SK Puchong Jaya on Monday, which allegedly caused the forehead of standard four student, Timothy Deeran Shegar, to bleed. It is claimed that he was given no first aid until school was over.

Police say only fired tear gas, water cannons ‘nearby’ Tung Shin Hospital

Bersih protesters flee police tear gas and water cannon into the Tung Shin Hospital. — Picture by Jack Ooi
KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Police admitted Tung Shin hospital was hit with tear gas canisters and water cannon during the Bersih rally, but denied shooting directly into the compound.

Internal security and public order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rashid said today that shots were only fired “nearby” the hospital compound on July 9, and speculated that the wind caused by the rain probably caused the tear gas and water cannon to enter the hospital compound.

However this statement flies in the face of various video clips uploaded on the YouTube video-sharing site showing water cannons and tear gas fired into the hospital.
Federal Reserve Unit shooting tear gas during the Bersih rally on July 9, 2011. At least nine shots were heard in the video ... — Video uploaded by SalhanKatana on Jul 10, 2011
“In the event involving the Tung Shin hospital, it cannot be denied that water cannons were sprayed at the alley entrance to Tung Shin Hospital but tear gas was only fired nearby, not directly.

“What happend in Tung Shin Hospital, claims that police used tear gas and water cannons cannot be denied, but it could be caused by the wind,” he told a press conference here.

Salleh stressed that investigations were still ongoing and assured that immediate action would be taken against any police officer found to have shot tear gas to the hospital compound.

Fru spray chemical water canon in to tung shin hospital during bersih 2.0 — Video uploaded by hauyoung on Jul 11, 2011
The Health Ministry had ordered an investigation on July 14 after 11 medical specialists wrote to the media, refuting the hospital board and police’s claims that no gas canisters or water cannon were fired directly into the hospital compound.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had initially agreed with the city hospital, but then ordered the probe stating that patient security and hospital safety was paramount.

City police also announced on July 16 that it was looking into the incident which occurred as tens of thousands poured into the streets of the capital, resulting in the death of a protestor, scores injured, and nearly 1,700 arrests.

Police have also been accused of excessive force in crowd dispersal during the rally calling for free and fair elections. Bersih estimated some 50,000 people turned up but police said only 6,000 were there despite a security clampdown in the capital city.

‘Video shows PAS No 2 lied’

A video produced by the police debunks Mohamad Sabu's claim that he was knocked down by a police vehicle.
KUALA LUMPUR: A video recording revealed by the police today showed that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu fell off a motorcycle when it hit the road divider.

In view of this, Public Order and Internal Security Department director Salleh Rashid said action might be taken against the opposition leader for allegedly making a false claim that he was knocked down by a police vehicle during the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9.

“The CCTV recording shows him falling off his motorcycle after it hit a divider and he fell on the pavement,” he added.

According to Salleh, the footage was taken from a CCTV in the Sri Bukit Persekutuan housing area.
The recording showed the motorcycle, on which the PAS leader was riding pillion, losing balance when it made a U-turn to escape pursuing police vehicles.

Salleh also expressed puzzlement as to why Mohamad Sabu needed to be on a wheelchair when police investigations showed that the latter had a “soft tissue injury to the right knee”.

The PAS leader had claimed that he suffered a torn ligament in his right knee, resulting in doctors inserting a screw.

Contacted later, Mohamad Sabu refused to comment on the matter.

“I prefer not to comment because whatever I say will be twisted by the media. I have discussed with my lawyer and we are looking into the possibility of taking legal action against the police.

“I don’t wish to make any comments except in court,” he told FMT.

Stop making more wrong turns, BN told

MIC central working committee member S Vell Paari tells BN to stop dumping salt into the July 9 wound.
KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional should stop making one wrong turn after another with regard to the Bersih 2.0 rally, said MIC central working committee member S Vell Paari.

Expressing regret over the harsh reaction to the rally from the onset, he warned that the July 9 episode had left a gaping wound and it was counter productive for BN to continue dumping salt into it.

“Let us put aside Bersih 2.0′s call for electoral reforms, what is also needed is a total reformation in BN, where its leaders should learn to handle a crisis in a more diplomatic manner instead of using tear gas and water cannons to silence dissenting views,” he told FMT.

Vell Paari noted that Bersih 2.0 had a bone to pick with the Election Commission, but the unwarranted actions and threats from the authorities made it seem that the coalition was against BN.

Commenting on the Tung Shin Hospital incident, he said the police should apologise if it had fired tear gas into the compound and not attempt to skirt around the issue when there were many videos and photographs to back the claim.

“Sometimes in a tensed situation, there is a possibility that an overzealous policeman may make a mistake, and the police should just admit this instead of going into denial mode,” he said.

The game has changed

Vell Paari said that the game of politics in Malaysia had changed tremendously over the years, but the politicians in BN still refused to adapt and held on to antiquated strategies.

“We cannot operate like how we did 10 or 20 years ago, everyone has access to information, almost everyone is walking around with a smart phone – with just a click of the button, information comes pouring.
“In order to argue its case, BN must engage its opponents and critics on the same wavelength and not invoke security laws, deploy the police or ban T-shirts,” he added.

Concurring with Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, Vell Paari said the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders held under the Emergency Ordinance should be released.

“Their continued detention will only make things worse for BN and the repercussions will be felt in the next general election,” he added.

On the same note, Vell Paari said he felt sorry for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who was bearing the brunt of the Bersih 2.0 fiasco.

According to him, the premier had been on the right track, pushing the right buttons, and saying the right things, especially with his 1Malaysia concept, since taking over the reins in April 2009.

“He was genuinely trying to bring changes and reform. But he has been given ill advice on Bersih 2.0 and now it has backfired. It seems that the PM needs new advisers,” he said.

Vell Paari also took a swipe at those calling for Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga’s citizenship to be revoked.

“It is precisely idiotic calls such as this which land BN in a fix. Some of these ‘jokers’ were also part of rallies and protests in the past, especially in Penang. So these hypocrites can do BN a lot of good by keeping their mouths shut,” he said.

Furthermore, he added, in terms of credentials, Ambiga “outclassed” them. - FMT

Police give their side of the rally story

A video presentation seeks to prove that the police restrained themselves, acted only on provocation and performed acts of kindness during the Bersih 2.0 march on July 9
KUALA LUMPUR: The police today screened videos to support their version of what happened during the Bersih rally on July 9.

The videos and associated presentations were divided into four segments:
  • The restraint shown by the police, provocations by demonstrators, and police hospitality towards those arrested.
  • An analysis of what took place at KL Sentral and KLCC.
  • An analysis of claims by PAS leader Mohamad Sabu and another key player named Shuhardi Mat Isa.
  • An analysis of the events at Tung Shin Hospital.
The videos were presented by the Internal Security and Public Order chief Salleh Rashid at the Bukit Aman police headquarters here this afternoon.

The presentation started with clips from videos shot by the police and other people. These were meant to support the claim that police exercised restraint in dealing with the Bersih marchers. There was no reference to widely publicised footage alleging police brutality. These have been circulating around the Internet since July 9.

One of the clips shown today depicted policemen facing protesters in the rain in front of the Puduraya bus station. Referring to the protesters, Salleh said: “We can see them gathering, even though we gave them warning.”

Salleh also pointed to a similar occurrence in front of the KL Sentral complex, saying the police “did nothing even though the demonstrators were in front”.

He said tear gas was fired only when a group led by Batu MP Tian Chua allegedly charged at the riot squad.
No tear gas was fired near the KLCC complex, he said, adding that the presence of water cannons was good enough to chase protesters away.

Slogans as provocation

To back the claim that there was provocation from the protesters, Salleh showed pictures of protesters throwing back tear gas canisters at the police. He also showed a video of a single protester from a crowd near the Puduraya bus station throwing an object, which he said was aimed at the police.

He said police also considered as provocation the chanting of slogans such as “Hidup Rakyat”.

Salleh then showed instances of arrested protesters being given “first-class treatment”.

“Look at how we treated this old man,” he said, pointing to a clip showing officers escorting a protester away.

“Look at how we helped him,” Salleh said, referring to another protester being led into a police Land Rover. “The police officer is holding his bag.”

He also showed a clip of Bersih 2.0 chairperson S Ambiga being given “a chance” to rest during the protests.

“We gave her a chance to drink water. Later, we led her into a van, and not a Black Maria.”

There were similar footage of “acts of kindness” extended to Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Salleh also showed what he claimed was evidence that would absolve the police of responsibility in the death of protester Baharuddin Ahmad. He said he died of heart complications.

He exhibited a still image photographed at the Avenue K shopping centre, saying it showed Baharuddin running through the entrance at about 4.29pm.

He said Baharuddin might have broken his bones and teeth because of the resuscitation method used and the insertion of tubes through his mouth.

Summing up the presentation, Salleh said the police acted professionally, following standard operating procedure.

“There were no deaths that could be directly connected to the police,” he said.

He also warned the public not to upload to the Internet any “items or articles” that did not reflect the “true facts” surrounding the rally.

“If you start to tell not the true story, the public perception will be different,” he said.
“If anybody is found to upload to try to make a false story, we will take action.”

Asked why the presentation did not feature the YouTube videos that their uploaders claim to be evidence of police brutality, Salleh replied: “Okay maybe that one we show the next time. If you have that video, forward to us, we will investigate.” - FMT

Karpal to Nazri: Quit now, you’re incompetent

DAP chairman Karpal Singh says Nazri is incompetent for making a statement supporting the use of the Emergency Ordinance to detain the six PSM leaders.

By Athi Sankar - FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Veteran lawyer and DAP chairman Karpal Singh has had enough of Nazri Abdul Aziz’s bumbling ways – he told Nazri, the de facto law minister, to quit the Cabinet immediately on grounds of incompetence.

Karpal said he was shocked by Nazri’s public statement that the Emergency Ordinance (EO) was used in the name of national security to detain the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders ahead of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally.

Nazri has suggested that the detained six were trying to rekindle the communist ideology and claimed that attempts to resurrect such ideologies existed in the country.

But Karpal dismissed Nazri’s accusations as “assertions without justification”.

He said Nazri’s statement had rendered him unfit to hold office as minister in charge of legal affairs in the Prime Minister’s Department, or for that matter in any other capacity in the Cabinet.

Karpal said this is not the first time Nazri has put his foot in his mouth and made public statements which reflected his incompetence to hold public office.

“Nazri must tender his resignation because of his incompetence. He has forfeited his right to continued membership of the Cabinet to which he has brought justified disgrace.

“Nazri should be man enough to take this step which, under the circumstances, is more than warranted,” Karpal, the two-term Bukit Gelugor MP, said in a statement here today.

He was commenting on the affidavit filed by Bukit Aman federal police through Kamarul Zaman Mamat from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in reply to affidavits submitted by the family members of detained PSM activists to support their habeas corpus application due to be heard tomorrow.
Karpal said Nazri’s public statement has been blown to smithereens by what were revealed in Kamarul Zaman’s affidavits.

He said Kamarul Zaman was in an authoritative position to make a sworn statement that the six were detained under EO for their alleged roles in Bersih 2.0 and not for activities related to communism, although the police grounds for the detention were baseless in the first place.

Karpal added that the serious contradiction with regard to the grounds for the arrest and detention of the PSM leaders was sufficient for the habeas corpus application to succeed tomorrow.

“It reflects serious mala fides on the part of the police in relation to the arrest and detention of the PSM six under the EO,” he said.

In view of this, Karpal called on Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to direct Bukit Aman police to withdraw its affidavit-in-reply and immediately release the detainees.

He also wants the government to pay the detainees for both aggravated and exemplary damages for detaining them without basis since June 25.

PSM’s Sarasvathy warded for chest pains

Family members angry with the police for keeping them in the dark over her health condition.

PETALING JAYA: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) deputy chairman M Sarasvathy was admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) after she complained of chest pains and her family is upset with the police for not informing them.

Suaram’s coordinator E Nalini said: “I was informed by Suhakam that Sarasvathy was admitted after complaining to the police officers of chest pains two days ago.

“She requested for a doctor and was taken to the HKL where she was admitted. She was discharged today and taken back into the custody of the police.”

Sarasvathy’s defence counsel D Yudistira also confirmed that his client was admitted.

“Bukit Aman (police headquarters) contacted me only today and confirmed that she was admitted for chest pains,” he said.

“They said that she is currently fine and is back in detention and refused to disclose the location
where she is being held,” added Yudistira.

Sarasvathy is among the PSM’s EO6 re-arrested under the Emergency Ordinance on July 2 after initially being detained under Section 122 of the Penal Code for allegedly “waging war against the King” and spreading “communist ideology”.

The other five are Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sugumaran, Youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

Meanwhile, Sarasvathy’s niece, N Sasinthra Devi (photo) , hit out at at the police and government for keeping her family in the dark about Sarasvathy’s admission and medical condition.

“We are angry and disappointed with them; the least they could have done was to inform us. She had complained of chest pains when we were allowed to see her briefly on July 15,” she said.

Sasinthra added that her family does not believe the information from the police about her aunt’s condition and would only believe that she is fine after meeting her in person. - FMT

Bank harassing buyers for non-existent flat

Buyers of units in Block E in PJS1 still receiving notices to pay up overdue interest despite the state government's pledge to resolve the issue.
PETALING JAYA: Some 276 families who had purchased low-cost flat units in Block E of PJS1 are being served notices by a bank for overdue interests eventhough the project has yet to take off.

Peter Brickworks Sdn Bhd, the developer for the project, had reneged on its promise made in 2003 to build the flats for them, leaving the residents without homes but with debts to settle with the bank for loans taken.

The Selangor government subsequently stepped in to take over the project from the developer last month.

Selangor State Housing, Building Development and Squatters Committee chairman Iskandar Abdul Samad told the residents the state government would negotiate with the bank to waive interests on
loans taken by the residents.

Residents action committee chairman, M Sugumaran, said the residents were now being given the run-around despite the promise made by the state government to revive the project.

“All the state authorities are telling me that they are in the midst of holding meetings to revive the project. Till now, there’s been nothing in black and white,” said Sugumaran.

He added that the residents attended a meeting with the Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) two weeks ago, highlighting their grouses but nothing has come forth since.

“Five buyers, currently living in PPR flats in Lembah Subang, told me that they received calls from the bank asking them to pay up on their instalments for the non-existent Block E project.

“When they told the officers that the state government is in the midst of resolving the matter with the bank, the officers just brushed the matter aside and insisted on payments,” said Sugumaran.

He also said several buyers in Lembah Subang were still receiving reminders from MBPJ to pay rentals despite being promised by city hall that it would bear the cost till Block E was built.

“It seems there is a communication breakdown in the city hall itself,” said Sugumaran.

Sugumaran said that he had sent MBPJ councillor Latheefa Koya numerous text messages on the matter and the only reply he received was that she would be meeting with Iskandar soon.

Ongoing talks

When contacted, Iskandar said the state government had decided in a meeting yesterday that the Block E project would be handled by Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim himself.

He added that there were several matters that needed to be resolved pertaining to the project before they could provide a written agreement to the residents.

One issue, he said, was in regard to the stalled school project which was originally scheduled to be built at the site where the longhouses are located.

“We are planning to build the school near Taman Kanagapuram, the site where Block E was to be initially developed. We need to discuss it with the federal government.

“We are shifting the school project as Block E is now slated to be built at the longhouse area,” said Iskandar.

He added that the bank has agreed to waive part of the RM1.1 million in interest owed to the bank in their preliminary talks and is puzzled as to why the bank was still calling the buyers.

“As for the MBPJ rental payment reminders, perhaps the officers had got their records mixed up. I urge those who had received reminders to forward them to my officers. We will deal with it.”

The buyers of the Block E flat units, formerly squatter settlers, were promised by Peter Brickworks in 2003 that it would build low-cost flats for them when they moved out from their homes.

Although the developer had already built four flat blocks, the developer was unable to build Block E due to a court order served against the project by residents near Taman Kanagapuram.

Two residents at the PJS 1 longhouses, who had been at loggerheads with Peter Brickworks for years, had moved out from their makeshift camp on July 8.

Waran tangkap 13 individu, termasuk Anwar tidak sah tanpa notis- Surendran

(Oleh: Norutul Ilham)
KUALA LUMPUR: Naib Presiden KEADILAN, N.Surendran berkata, waran tangkap yang dikeluarkan kepada 13 individu termasuk Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tidak sah kerana mereka tidak pernah menerima sebarang notis sebelum ini.

Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar hari ini berkata pihak berkuasa itu mengeluarkan waran tangkap ke atas  individu penting tersebut kerana pembabitan mereka dalam perhimpunan Bersih 2.0, 9 Julai lalu.

Ismail berkata waran itu dikeluar ekoran mereka gagal memberi keterangan pada 11 Julai lalu selepas diarah berbuat demikian bagi membantu siasatan polis.

Namun Surendran mempersoalkan mengapa waran itu dikeluarkan tanpa sebarang pemberian notis di bawah Seksyen 111 Kanun Acara Jenayah.

“Kita dapat tahu tidak seorang pun antara mereka diberitahu atau mendapat mana-mana notis daripada polis,”

“Kita tidak faham kenapa waran tangkap boleh dikeluarkan walaupun tiada notis. Walaupun kita tahu polis berat sebelah, tetapi jika dipanggil beri keterangan (dengan notis), kami tetap hadir,” kata Surendran, yang juga seorang peguam kepada Keadilandaily.

Justeru itu katanya, beliau menuntut Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Ismail Omar supaya bukan sahaja memberikan penjelasan berhubung perkara itu, malah meminta maaf kepada semua individu tersebut.
“Ketua Polis Negara perlu beri penjelasan dan meminta maaf kepada 13 individu tersebut.

“Ini salah dari segi undang-undang, langsung tidak ada sebab untuk mereka hadir (beri keterangan),” katanya sambil menyifatkan polis mempunyai niat jahat terhadap pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat dan Bersih 2.0.

Berita Harian hari ini melaporkan polis akan mendapatkan waran tangkap ke atas 13 individu, termasuk Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, berhubung penganjuran himpunan Bersih yang lalu.

Selain Anwar, mereka yang lain adalah Sasterawan Negara Datuk A Samad Said, Naib Presiden PAS Datuk Husam Musa, Timbalan Pengerusi DAP Perak V Sivakumar, aktivis Bersih 2.0 Wong Chin Huat, pengendali blog Haris Ibrahim, peguam Latheefa Koya dan aktivis Badrul Hisham Shaharin.

Sementara anggota parlimen Pakatan Rakyat pula yang termasuk dalam senarai itu R Sivarasa (Subang), Nurul Izzah Anwar (Lembah Pantai) dan Dr Hatta Ramli (Kuala Krai).

Husam Musa dan Dr Hatta dalam laporan Malaysiakini hari ini menyatakan mereka tidak dihubungi oleh polis berhubung perkara itu.

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Malaysian Graft Probers Caused Political Aide's Suicide

Questioning was a bit OTT
Aide hounded to death, royal commission finds
(Asia Sentinel) Opposition party political aide Teoh Beng Hock, whose death in Kuala Lumpur two years ago ignited suspicion that he had been murdered by Anti-Corruption Commission officers, was actually hounded to his death, a Royal Commission of Inquiry announced Thursday.

The suicide death of the then-30 year-old Teoh, who was engaged to be married to his pregnant girlfriend, set off a firestorm in Malaysia’s minority Chinese community. He was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth floor of a building next to the MACC headquarters after being questioned overnight at the Selangor MACC headquarters. He is believed to thrown himself out of a window of the MACC building after being granted a break from questioning.

A second death in April of a 56-year-old customs assistant director named Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, who was said to have thrown himself out of a third-floor window of the MACC headquarters, has raised more concerns about the agency’s interrogation techniques.

Teoh was called into the MACC headquarters in the middle of the night to be interrogated as a material witness into alleged irregularities in the disbursement of Selangor government funds by his employer, Assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah. As it turned out, Ean was later cleared of any charges of wrongdoing.

An autopsy ordered by the opposition to be performed by the flamboyant Thai pathologist, Porntip Rojanasunand, concluded that the aide had been murdered. Porntip’s autopsy was discarded by the royal commission as erroneous, however. And although the royal commission finding supports government officials’ explanation of the tragedy, the inquiry determined that the suicide was the result of continuous and aggressive questioning by MACC officials.

Three MACC officers were found to have continuously used interrogation tactics that were agresif dan tidak wajar (aggressive, inappropriate) and therefore in violation of the regulations, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Aziz told a press conference in the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur Thursday. The three officers are former Selangor investigations unit head Hishammudin Hashim, investigation officer Mohd Anuar Ismail and assistant superintendent Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

“The MACC conducted investigations following information that a Selangor executive councillor and assemblyperson was involved in false allocation claims for his own party interest,” Nazri told reporters. “Teoh was supposed to be the key witness for MACC which investigated the allegation involving the DAP executive councilor. MACC's investigation mounted pressure on Teoh to make a confession as evidence.”

The MACC officials did not intend to cause Teoh’s death, Nazri said. "He felt pressured and stressed as a result of continuous interrogation techniques." Nazri said that "appropriate action will be taken against those officers involved who went against MACC procedure based on the rules and laws already in place."

The commissioners' conclusion that Teoh had committed suicide was strengthened by psychiatric findings by forensic psychiatrist Paul Edward Mullen, who was engaged by the Bar Council that Teoh was "weak in character."

"Having considered all the evidence in its entirety, we found that Teoh was driven to commit suicide by the aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation to which he was subjected by certain officers of the MACC who were involved in the ongoing operation by the Selangor MACC on the night of the 15th and into the morning of the 16th," the report concluded.

Nazri said the commissioners, who were unanimous in their decision, have recommended that MACC's interrogation procedures be reviewed.

He added that the government is saddened by the incident that took Teoh's life and gave a commitment that appropriate action will be taken against the officers who had flaunted the procedures. He also urged interested parties, including Teoh's family, to put an end to the “episode” with the report out in public.

Besides concluding the circumstances surrounding Teoh's death, the RCI panel was also entrusted to look into MACC's interrogation procedures. It was recommended that the anti-graft authority review its entrance qualifications, upgrade infrastructure and public facilities and revamp its training schemes.

The report said: "But what is most saddening and regrettable is that the operation that the Selangor MACC embarked upon led to the death of Teoh, a promising young man in the prime of life who had everything to look forward to."

"His family was robbed of a son and brother, his fiancé of a husband and his then unborn child of a father. We can feel the pain and anguish that they must have suffered and continue to suffer as a result of the callous machinations and attitudes of the MACC officers who were involved in the operation.

"We express our heartfelt sympathies on the loss that the family of Teoh and his fiancée and son have had to bear and continue to bear. We can only hope that time will assuage their pain."

Nazri acknowledged that the report has shown “many weaknesses” in MACC's procedures and vowed that the government is committed to reviewing its techniques, adding that the commissioners have recommended that MACC's interrogation procedures be reviewed.

A coroner's inquest into Teoh's death returned an open verdict, leading the government to set up the royal commission to look into the circumstances of his death, as well as to evaluate MACC's interrogation procedures.

(With reporting from Malaysiakini)

What’s really choking investments in Malaysia?

JULY 21 — In my many years as a journalist, one of the most oft-asked questions I’ve put to interviewees who have business interests here in Malaysia is: “What are some of the factors that have prompted you to invest in Malaysia?”

The answers that I get, though not exactly the same every time, can be summarised into one or more of the following major points: low costs, multilingual workforce, skilled labour, and political stability. This was especially true in the heydays of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia, when multinationals began pouring their investments into Cyberjaya, building their shared services and outsourcing centres there.

Thus, I read with interest an article last week which quoted our deputy minister of international trade and industry as saying that one of the main features that attracted investors to Malaysia was political stability.
He went on to say that it was “unfortunate” his ministry will now have to rely on other “features” in its bid to promote the country, especially coming off the back of last week’s Bersih 2.0 rally.

“The main question we receive is whether this [Bersih 2.0 rally] is a common occurrence,” he was quoted last week in The Malaysian Insider as saying. “Although it was a hiccup last Saturday, we tell investors that it happens only very rarely.”

His responses got me thinking about a couple of things. Firstly, was the Bersih 2.0 rally, which admittedly doesn’t happen frequently, a real cause for concern as the deputy minister claimed? Secondly, what kind of other “features” does he think the government can use to sell Malaysia as an investment destination?

While I think it’s fair to say investors could have been marginally concerned about the one-off street rally that happened last week, I do not think that our position as an investment destination will be affected by the fear of more street rallies in the future.

In fact, I think what’s more worrying to businesses are basic issues affecting the nation’s economy as a whole. There are many fundamental ones that can be highlighted but I think two will suffice.

The first must be the application of equitable and transparent business practices at all levels of investments, especially in deals that involve taxpayers’ monies. Now, there have been many instances when the public has read and heard through the grapevine, and no doubt experienced by businessmen, of how the lowest priced and best submitted tenders aren’t the ones which would eventually get the job. 

Case in point: The recent Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension project in a so-called open tender exercise, which witnessed the Finance Ministry committee ordering Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd to award the deal to the Hartasuma Sdn Bhd-Bombardier joint venture, whose RM890 million bid is nearly 50 per cent higher than the lowest bid.

A source told The Malaysian Insider that “all bids are technically the same” but Prasarana had recommended Ingress Corp Bhd-Balfour Beatty Rail Sdn Bhd, which put in a bid of RM610 million, the lowest, against Hartasuma-Bombardier’s bid, which was the highest.

If indeed this were proven to be true, my question would be what happened to the principle that there must be a “level playing field” in order for true competitive practices to thrive and for the owner of the project, in this case, the government, to be ensured of getting the best value for its money on the said project?

Or are these kinds of deals awarded based on the age-old feudalistic principle of, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” instead of the “May the best man win” principle? This case is just but one of the many stories of how the best, most qualified tender submission, isn’t the one that’s going to get the job.

Now wouldn’t any businesses wanting to deal here in Malaysia be more concerned with a level playing field than street rallies?

The second factor I believe investors are likely to be antsy about is the systemic corruption and wastages that permeate all levels of tenders in the country. For this, we only need to turn to the pages of the Auditor-General’s report for the past few years to see for ourselves how bad the wastages in Malaysia are.

A sample of these occurrences include a set of four screwdrivers costing RM224; technical books consisting 10 titles that had a price tag of RM10,700; a 3.1-megapixel digital camera that was bought for RM8,254.

These figures speak for themselves. Surely this kind of practice can’t inspire confidence in foreign investors to make Malaysia a preferred investment destination, especially with other countries in the region rising to challenge our competitiveness?

One can’t really know what the right honourable deputy minister meant when he noted that we must use other “features” to make us more attractive to investors.

But regardless of what he means, I do not think that there will be any downside to making Malaysia a preferred investment destination if the government begins first by addressing the two aforementioned points before trying to do anything else to convince investors that are already here to stay, or those who are thinking of investing.

Political stability can’t be just about the absence of perceived disturbances and nuisance as a result of one rally. It must encompass much more than just that; it should be about how the government of the day allows free market principles to breed a competitive business landscape through the execution of open and transparent business practices instead of letting a feudalistic mentality continue to reign.

It must be about the eradication of systemic corruption, the plugging of leakages and the elimination of wastages that will always end up disrupting economic progress. 

If the government is truly serious about selling Malaysia, start by selling this feature — that it is committed to reform by being transparent for all to see while tackling the hubris that exists in the current system.

Do that, rather than simply making July 9, 2011 a convenient and obvious scapegoat for the flagging inflow of investment into the country.

This would be the best “feature” that will ultimately speak for itself and convince investors to part with their money and park it here in Malaysia.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.