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Monday, July 25, 2011

‘Islam comes second to Umno’

Najib will soon pay dearly politically, at least, for meeting up with the Pope, says a former Umno state assemblyman.
A friend called me recently and asked “hey, why is your former boss (Umno president Najib Tun Razak) ranting about defending Islam and saying all those things about Islam?”

My retort was: “What former boss? He is still my boss. Don’t listen to those pro Umno bloggers. I am still an Umno member.

“Unless they sack me. Until then, I am an Umno member.”

Are those belligerent and shrill statements from Najib going to tear us apart – pitting one religious group against one another?

Yet he just came back from visiting the Vatican and meeting the Pope, head of the Catholic Church.
My friends, don’t be unduly alarmed. Let me give you an analogy.

Najib saying he will defend Islam and saying all those things about Islam is like Hugh Hefner or Larry Flint defending and talking praises about Christianity.

Will Christianity be elevated just because Larry Flint and Hugh Hefner gave their endorsements?
Christians will be generally bemused and will smile it off.

So you people would be better off doing the same when Najib speaks about Islam. Najib will soon pay dearly politically, at least, for meeting up with the Pope.

His minions will write gloriously about his inclusiveness and his statesmanship.

Defending Islam?

But the Malays in the heartland will have other things to say.

They will say why didn’t Najib meet up with leading Islamic scholar, Sheikhul Al Azhar?
Is Najib sprinkled with Holy Water to win the next elections?

Malays in the kampungs will next be listening to PAS telling the voters that Najib is even willing to get accreditation from the Pope to appease Christians in Malaysia.

Now about Umno defending Islam, let me give you an example.
Remember the removal of the ban of entertainment in Kedah?

Well after the Kedah government rescinded the ban order, it was Barisan National partner, Gerakan, who wanted the ban written in as a permanent rule.

A state that is led by an Islamic party does what Islam commands in not discriminating against other religion. So it does what Islam commands it to do.

The one who should be supporting the move should be Umno whose president has said and continues to say that he will defend Islam.

But it’s Gerakan who came to the fore and Umno supports what Gerakan says.
In supporting what Islam wants, Umno comes second.

I would like to meet up with Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint. I too will do that in the name of inclusiveness.
The writer is a former Umno state assemblyman and FMT columnist.

Arab world outraged by Norway attack allegations

Prior to killer's apprehension, local, international media blamed Islamists for carnage, triggering Arab media's furor. Meanwhile, Muslim web surfers accuse 'terrorist Zionist state' for attack

Less than two days after the fact, everybody knows who carried out the shocking massacre that took place in Norway onFriday: Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian driven by extremist right-wing ideology. But before Breivik's apprehension, the local and international media alluded to an extremist Islamists link for the double attack on Oslo and Utoya island – triggering the rage of many Arabs and Muslims worldwide.

The London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat claimed Norway feared Islamist operatives much more than rightist extremists despite a significant growth of such groups in 2010. Another London-based international Arabic publication, Al-Hayat, added that the attacks were perpetrated by a Christian extremist who deplored Islam and Europe's cultural pluralism.

Norway youths discussed Palestine prior to attack / Ynet

Forty-eight hours before Friday massacre, teens participating in ruling party youth camp met with Norwegian foreign minister. Some called for boycott of Israel
Full Story

Meanwhile, a short time after news of the attack spread, many Arab and Muslim web surfers claimed that it was Israel who was responsible: "A criminal operation of this magnitude is not carried out without the support and planning of a terrorist state, which stakes out opportunities to shuffle the deck. It is the Zionist state, in collaboration with the extremist Zionist Christians, that wants to hurt Islam in its allie, Norway," a surfer named Omar Ali commented on Al Jazeera's website. "It's not al-Qaeda. The Zionists carried out the attack to punish Norway for supporting Gaza."

Oslo bombing site (Photo: Reuters)

'Mossad behind operation'

Another web user accused the Israeli secret service for the attack, and explained why: "Before Europe and the US rush to blame us for terrorism, know that the body behind this operation is none other than the Mossad. And why the Mossad? Because Norway recognized the Palestinian state two days ago, and what does it mean when a gas- and oil-rich nation like Norway supports the Palestinians? Israel would never allow it."

A third commentator said that it was clear to him that an intelligence agency, like the Mossad or the CIA – was behind the attack. Yet another surfer, from Jordan, accused the US, adding that "as usual, the American intelligence is pressing Norway to declare that Muslims carried out the bombing."

Another theory attributed the act of terror to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in light of his threats to retaliate against the NATO strikes. Others yet blamed the Syrian regime for trying to divert attention from what is going on in their country.
Shortly after the extent of the tragedy became known, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which counts 58 nations among its members, released a statement condemning the event, calling it a "terrorist attack." 

BN could bear brunt of voter anger over rising costs

Azhar, 45, a personal driver at a local corporation, picks out grapes at Econsave after work. He goes grocery shopping with his wife at various supermarkets and occasionally uses discount coupons found in newspapers. Although he feels that his monthly expenditure has gone up by between 5 and 10 per cent in the past year, his salary has remained stagnant.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — The rising cost of living could hit the rulingBarisan Nasional (BN) government hard in the next polls as Malaysians,especially urbanites, face falling living standards as they struggle with stagnant incomes and soaring inflation. 
A street poll of 100 city dwellers by The Malaysian Insider conducted in and around Kuala Lumpur had 44 per cent of people surveyed blaming the government for the rising cost of living as compared with 41 per cent attributing it to global factors and only 5 per cent blaming it on business owners.

Putrajaya announced last week that the rate of inflation in Malaysia rose to 3.5 per cent in June from the same month the previous year. The inflation rate in May 2011 was 3.3 per cent, still below the government’s acceptable rate of 5.0 per cent.

The Najib administration has not said when it will call snap polls but Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday told Umno party members to prepare as elections could be held anytime soon before the government’s mandate expires in 2013.

Of the 86 people surveyed who were registered voters, 40 said that the cost of living was likely to affect how they voted as compared with 31 who said otherwise. Fifteen said it would be a neutral factor.

Retiree Rohani Saad, 57, said she believed voting in an election was the only way she could voice her discontent over the rising costs of living. “If the government says harga tak naik, harga tentu naik (the price will not go up, prices will definitely go up),” said Rohani, who lives on her savings.

Even though Rohani is frugal, spending less than RM100 a week on groceries for herself and her husband, she still feels financially worse off this year. Even the relatively well off are feeling poorer now due to inflation.
An office manager who wanted to be known only as Anne, said the government should monitor prices, especially necessities such as food, to help Malaysians keep their cost of living at bay.

Although the combined income of Anne and her husband is more than RM10,000 a month, she said she had to cut down on buying fish because of its high price.

“We love eating fish, but that’s also where we feel the pinch,” she said.
Despite rosy projections of economic expansion under the Najib administration’s reforms and transformation programmes, it has yet to be felt by the public as prices, especially in urban areas, have raced ahead of income growth. This was reflected in the responses in the street poll.

Some 34 per cent of people polled felt financially worse off in the past one year while 43 per cent felt no change. Only 23 per cent felt better off.

And while the official inflation rate last year was 2.2 per cent and projected to be between 3-4 per cent this year, most residents felt that the real cost of living had accelerated much faster. Thirty-six per cent said costs had gone up between 5-10 per cent in the past one year, 26 per cent said it had gone up more than 10 per cent. Thirty-eight per cent saying it had gone up between 0 and 5 per cent.

“Life here is getting worse,” said Choong, 40, a restaurant proprietor in Subang Jaya.
The mother of four said Malaysians had to pay a lot for necessities, compared with other countries such as England. On top of higher household expenditure, she added that her restaurant’s business was dwindling as former customers cut down on eating out due to rising food costs.

But some people disagreed with Choong’s assertions, saying that Malaysians were relatively better off than those overseas.
“Malaysians who have never lived abroad do not know how fortunate they are to have everything back home,” said Muhammad Zafran Kadir, a communications manager from Subang Jaya.

“Despite popular belief, Malaysia is one of the lowest cities in terms of cost of living,” he said. “When I was in Australia, I had to fork out AUD400 (RM1,280) a week for rent. If it were not for a government loan, I wouldn’t have survived.”

Analysts nevertheless have warned that the cost of living and the state of the economy will be a key election issue.

“Cost of living is always a serious issue for the government when it comes to elections,” said James Chin, a political analyst at Monash University Malaysia.  “In hard economic times, the government is in trouble.”

Chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Wan Saiful Wan Jan, said that the cost of living was the most palpable issue to the public.

“How the economy is faring will play a significant role in how voting takes place,” he said.

Wan said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak now faces some tough choices as he is caught in a dilemma between trying to cut subsidies as part of fiscal reforms to help balance the government budget but which could at the same time worsen price pressures.

He noted that the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) by Tun Abdul Razak in 1970, which aimed to restructure society, had relied heavily on government intervention and subsidies, creating a subsidy culture in the country that would be difficult for Najib to overcome.

“How can Najib tell the public that subsidies are not sustainable?” said Wan Saiful. “He can’t say that his father was wrong about NEP.

“It is very unfortunate to be the government at this time,” he added.

But while Pakatan Rakyat has been gaining political mileage from the subsidy cuts and their impact on cost of living, Wan Saiful, who is a member of PAS, called the opposition’s approach populist and irresponsible.

Lee says he shops at supermarkets to get the cheapest deal. He says business has been going downhill since last year due to high food prices.
He said that as with the current government, Pakatan Rakyat would not be able to sustain subsidies for long, and that former finance minister and now opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should know better than to go against subsidy rationalisation. 
“The opposition will only postpone the problem. Reducing subsidy is a cold hard truth that Malaysians will have to deal with,” Wan Saiful said, adding that the Najib administration’s plan in easing the public into real market prices should be supported.

But while politicians fight to win votes, the voters themselves have grown cynical as they feel their votes are only courted during elections but do not count for much in reality.
A hawker who wants to be known as Lee said that in all his years as a voter, he did not feel like he changed a thing when he cast a vote.

At 70, Lee has voted in many elections, and feels disheartened that his plea for a better life is not heard.
He adds that he is getting fewer customers by the day as more people opt to eat at home.
“I don’t know where everybody went,” he lamented.

Himpunan 9 Julai, Ibrahim Ali kecewa

"Malangnya keadaan tidak menggalakkan. Kemungkinan sebab sekatan jalan raya," katanya

SHAH ALAM: Presiden Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) Datuk Ibrahim Ali melahirkan kekecewaan kerana  kehadiran anggotanya ketika perhimpunan di Tasik Titiwangsa pada 9 Julai lalu adalah kurang menggalakkan.

“Kemuncak 9 Julai saya pergi ke daerah Selangor dan bertemu jawatankuasa Perkasa peringkat Wilayah Persekutuan. Walaupun notis singkat dalam pertemuan pertama tidak sampai 60 peratus hadir.

“Pusingan kedua juga sama dan ketika itu kita harap dapat pamerkan Perkasa berlegar di Tasik Titiwangsa.
“Malangnya keadaan tidak menggalakkan. Kemungkinan sebab sekatan jalan raya,” katanya katanya dalam majlis penutup Mesyuarat Khas Tahunan Perkasa Negeri Selangor 2010 di Dewan Sri Budiman, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) di sini semalam.

Pada perhimpunan 9 Julai lalu Perkasa memutuskan untuk bersiar-siar di Tasik Titiwangsa setelah permit mereka ditolak pihak polis.

Menyentuh mengenai kegagalan itu Ibrahim Ali berkata sekiranya perkara tersebut masih berterusan di kalangan anggota Perkasa tidak hairan sekiranya dua negeri iaitu Perak dan Selangor akan kekal di bawah pemerintahan Pakatan Rakyat.

Politik Melayu

Menurut beliau kehadiran anggota Perkasa bagi kedua-dua negeri itu memberi makna besar kepada kelestarian kuasa politik Melayu.

“Kita tidak pandai putar belit seperti mereka…sampai akhirnya polis kena tayang video. Dulu mereka minta Suruhanjaya Diraja untuk kes Teoh Beng Hock, tapi bila dah tubuh mereka kata Suruhanjaya tidak betul.
“Jika dilihatlah peringkat bawahan keadaan seperti ini saya  tidak taruh harapan terhadap Selangor.

“Kehadiran anggota di Perak dan Selangor memberi makna..tidak perlu saya ulas kerana Perak dan Selangor kita perlu kuat untuk mendukung kuasa politik kekal terhadap orang Melayu.

“Tetapi jika ini keadaannya..saya tidak menaruh harapan malah Selangor akan jadi seperti Pulau Pinang dalam proses.

“Kalau Selangor gagal kita ambil alih, satu penggal lagi ia akan jadi pintu masuk kepada Pakatan…pada masa itu 23 tahun pun belum tentu kita dapat tawan maka memekiklah kita,” katanya kepada kira-kira 500 anggota yang hadir.

WIKILEAKS: Anwar becomes opposition leader in Parliament

Anwar’s Political Secretary Sim Tze Min and PKR electoral chief Saifuddin Nasution told Poloffs that the opposition plan to achieve a majority in Parliament by September 16 remains "on" but others, including PKR Vice President Azmin Ali, were more cautious, noting "we'll see." More detached observers remain highly skeptical of Anwar’s ability to meet his self-proclaimed deadline, but do not deny, given his present momentum, that the opposition leader could eventually prevail. 
Raja Petra Kamarudin




E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2018



1. (C) Summary.  Anwar Ibrahim, still savoring his landslide by-election victory, was sworn into Parliament on August 28 after being officially confirmed as leader of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition alliance.  His first intervention was to question the merits of the DNA identification bill which the ruling coalition planned to pass later that day. 
Some key Anwar aides seemed to be hedging on their leader’s stated pledge to oust the Government by September 16 and neutral observers were even more skeptical, but most agreed that Anwar is now enjoying a surge of momentum.   A suddenly more assertive mainstream media is portraying the BN as mired in old thinking and old methods, in contrast to the more cutting edge tactics effectively employed by the opposition in Permatang Pauh.  End Summary.
2.  (C) Parliament was the center of attention on August 28 as Anwar Ibrahim, followed by a large media entourage, entered to be sworn in by Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia at the beginning of the session.  The Speaker also formally announced that the PR parties had unanimously selected Anwar as Opposition Leader in Parliament. 
Star newspaper chief editor Wong Chun Wai, (recalling a conversation with PM Abdullah a few days before) told Poloffs that PM Abdullah himself had overruled underlings who wanted to delay Anwar’s entry into Parliament and ordered that the newly-elected MP be sworn in as soon as possible.  Anwar, again mobbed by reporters upon re-emerging from the chamber, chided the BN for spending "billions" in Permatang Pauh but failing to win over voters with its negative race-based campaign. 
Having harshly criticized the media over the past several weeks, Anwar told the assembled journalists that he knew "your hearts were in the right place even though you have to write what your bosses order."  In that regard, state-owned RTM (Radio-Television Malaysia), which normally broadcasts the first 30 minutes of every Parliament session, began its coverage only after Anwar’s swearing in.
3. (C) The mainstream media, with the notable exception of Malay language publications, has exhibited uncharacteristic boldness in the wake of the by-election, with a number of articles sharply critical of the BN's campaign in Permatang Pauh and expressing grudging admiration for the opposition alliance's operation.  Star editor Wong told us he had resisted pressure to downplay Anwar's triumph and insisted on reporting it in banner headlines. 
Such openings have appeared in the past only to be slammed shut, and the GOM sent a message on August 27 by ordering all 21 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country to block access to Raja Petra’s controversial Malaysia Today website (  
The site remains accessible, however, through an alternate link.  Raja Petra charged that the GOM had breached its own commitment not to censor the internet during the promotion of Malaysia’s own version of Silicon Valley, the Multimedia Super Corridor.
4.  (C) While Anwar held court outside, in the chamber opposition MPs voiced their objections to the DNA identification bill, which Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid was pushing to pass by the end of the day.  Anwar himself returned to make his first intervention, questioning the Government’s motives for trying to rush through the bill, widely seen as targeted at Anwar's own ongoing sodomy case (Ref C). 
Opposition MPs acknowledged to us that they had no hope of delaying the legislation and expected it to pass, but as noted (Ref A), the bill must pass through the upper house, not scheduled to meet until December 1, before becoming law.
5.  (C) Anwar’s Political Secretary Sim Tze Min and PKR electoral chief Saifuddin Nasution told Poloffs that the opposition plan to achieve a majority in Parliament by September 16 remains "on" but others, including PKR Vice President Azmin Ali, were more cautious, noting "we'll see." More detached observers remain highly skeptical of Anwar’s ability to meet his self-proclaimed deadline, but do not deny, given his present momentum, that the opposition leader could eventually prevail. 
Saiffudin maintained that Anwar is now clearly winning the electoral game, but what remains is winning over the critical institutions, especially the police and the military.  He claimed, however, that compared to ten years ago, Anwar and the opposition are in far better shape in this regard to having, won over a number supporters within the various key state institutions. 
He acknowledged that the Police Special Branch was especially critical in this regard, expressing the hope that SB personnel, better than anyone else, knew which way the political winds were blowing and would want to emerge on the winning side or at least hedge their bets.
6.  (C) Our PKR interlocutors continued to exhibit some nervousness about PAS's reliability as a coalition partner.
While gratified with what they saw as a sterling PAS performance in supporting Anwar in Permatang Pauh, they worry that elements within PAS, especially its youth wing, will continue to issue extreme pronouncements that alienate other coalition partners.  They also concede that any new balance of power resulting from MPs crossing over to Anwar’s side must include sufficient numbers of Malay/Muslims to avoid alienating PAS.
In addition to the fragility of the PR, of course the next serious obstacle for Anwar is his upcoming sodomy trial.  GOM sources continue to suggest that they have what they see as some sort of convincing evidence up their sleeve.  This presumably would be revealed upon the beginning of the trial, the date of which will be determined when the court reconvenes on September 10.

LAWASIA Statement - Malaysia: Reaction to Bersih Rallies

ImageLAWASIA, the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific, has observed with shock recent developments in Malaysia that saw citizens (including members of the legal profession) subject to considerable repression when seeking to exercise their constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

As an association formed of nationally-representative law associations of Asia and the Pacific region, it expresses its strong condemnation of the actions of the Malaysian authorities in attempting to prevent the planned BERSIH 2.0 rallies on 9 July and in subsequent police reaction to the rallies that proceeded, according to reports, peacefully.

It is especially concerned that reactions to the BERSIH movement are in significant breach of fundamental human rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provide, at Article 19 that: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers and at Article 20 (1) that: Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

It understands that actions by the authorities included arrests, some under emergency provisions that allow for long detention without access to due court processes, a shut-down of public access to areas of Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, and an eventual display of police brutality against rallying citizens and others that was both uncivilised and wholly unmerited.

Actions of this sort in any country will always deserve the strongest criticism from the legal community on both legal and humanitarian grounds.

Eyewitness and media reports of events on 9 July have highlighted arrests of more than 1600 people and alarmingly, an indiscriminate use of tear gas and water cannon by police on participants in rallies that were at pains to maintain a nonviolent and disciplined attitude. Of considerable concern are further reports that haphazard crowd control methods employed by police saw a hospital compound in Kuala Lumpur affected by both tear gas and water cannon, an action for which there can be no justification.

Eyewitness and media reports of events on 9 July have highlighted arrests of more than 1600 people and alarmingly, an indiscriminate use of tear gas and water cannon by police on participants in rallies that were at pains to maintain a nonviolent and disciplined attitude. Of considerable concern are further reports that haphazard crowd control methods employed by police saw a hospital compound in Kuala Lumpur affected by both tear gas and water cannon, an action for which there can be no justification.

In respect of police action on and around 9 July, LAWASIA notes that the Bar Council Malaysia, among others, has called for an independent investigation by SUHAKAM, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia. It strongly supports this call for an independent assessment of the way in which police executed their crowd control functions in this instance, noting the Bar Council’s view that the actions of 9 July appear to constitute a serious breach of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which Malaysia adopted in 1990.

LAWASIA is further concerned to learn that arrests continue and that the wearing of BERSIH livery is considered sufficient grounds for arrest. Aside from the evident breaches of basic human rights this signifies, it defies understanding than any government which claims to support the democratic process can maintain credibility amongst voters when it feels threatened to this extent by a movement whose stated aims and activities are to promote clean and fair elections through achievable reforms.

Above all, LAWASIA encourages the Malaysian government to be mindful not only of the rights of its citizens but also of the message that its actions in respect of the BERSIH movement have sent to the wider world. The queries over Malaysia’s fitness to hold a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council, in view of its apparent disdain for the fundamental human rights of its citizenry aptly highlight international concern that aspirations to hold political power now far outstrip an adherence to the democratic principles on which the country was founded.

Given the leading role that Malaysia plays in the Asia Pacific region, its compliance with universally-held principles attached to human rights, the democratic process and the rule of law is of supreme importance in the examples it sets for lesser developed neighbour nations. It is of profound regret to the regional legal community that reaction to the BERSIH movement sees these principles cast aside, and of profound concern what this may signify for Malaysia’s regional role in the future.

Lester Huang
July 22, 2011

Tel: +61 7 3222 5888
Fax: +61 7 3222 5850

Vigil at Dataran Merdeka for PSM 6

The vigils calling for the release of the PSM 6 continue, this time at Dataran Merdeka last night

Photograph: millemeow

Taliban Hang Eight Year-Old Boy

The biggest killers of children in Afghanistan
The biggest killers of children in Afghanistan

Taliban hit bottom, keep digging again – but Obama and Cameron still want to talk to them:
Suspected Taliban militants hanged an eight-year-old boy in southern Afghanistan after ordering his father, a local police commander, to surrender, a government spokesman says.

The child was kidnapped by militants in Greshk district of the southern province of Helmand four days ago and was hanged on Friday, provincial governor spokesman Daud Ahmadi said on Saturday.

“The militants had warned his father, who is a local police commander, to surrender with his police vehicle and weapons, otherwise they would kill his son,” Ahmad said.

The Taliban have not commented.

After being driven from power in late 2001, Taliban militants have killed dozens of people accused of spying.

Last year a seven-year old boy was killed by the Taliban for being a spy for foreign soldiers in the same province.

Elsewhere, an operation by Afghan and coalition forces in Helmand left 16 militants dead overnight, officials said.

They also confiscated a drug cache of 2000 kilograms of poppy, six kilograms of heroin, 50 kilograms of hashish and 150 kilograms of morphine, as well as 20 kilograms of ammonium nitrate, which is used as an explosive component.

It was only a year or so ago that they killed another child; a seven year-old from Sangin, who had been accused of spying for the CIA.

They gas young girls who have the audacity to attend schools, summarily execute dancers – and are responsible for killing Western kids too, by way of their extensive heroin dealing and smuggling operations.

But so devoted to their religion. So Pious™ – they are the Taliban. Drug Dealers and child murderers for Allah.

MACC promises reforms suggested by Teoh RCI

PUTRAJAYA, July 24 — The two-and-half-year-old but under-fire Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) set-up a special panel to initiate reforms stemming from the Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission of Inquiry’s (RCI) findings about its investigative methods.

Teoh died in 2009 while being under MACC care, which the RCI surmised the anti-graft body complicit in forcing the DAP aide to suicide.

It pledged to “study, review and implement” relevant recommendations for improvement made by the RCI through its newly-formed Executive Transformation Committee (ETC) led by Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed.

“The MACC has examined the entire RCI report on Teoh’s death that was released on Thursday, July 21, and seriously and openly accepts the recommendations for improvements as proposed,” MACC’s corporate communications unit said in a press statement today.

It said the ETC that will be tasked with the immediate responsibility of: Improving the agency’s quality and its supervision mechanism; to monitor and carry out structural and MACC management reforms and investigation effectiveness; to enhance operations through human capital development; to develop the capability of forensic accounting investigations; as well as to refine MACC’s efforts in tracing any weakness within the agency in order to take prompt remedial action,”

The statement said today the panel will also seek help from both foreign and local experts, including officials from Pemandu, in evaluating and implementing the proposed improvements.

Today’s announcement comes as MACC faces tremendous pressure to undergo a massive clean-up after the RCI’s report revealed last week that the commission had pressured Teoh into committing suicide in 2009.

Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam after he was questioned overnight by MACC officers at their then-Selangor headquarters on the 14th floor.

The RCI’s report stipulated that Teoh had committed suicide as a result of “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous interrogation” by MACC officers, particularly the then deputy director for Selangor MACC Hishammuddin Hashim and enforcement officers Arman Alies and Mohd Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

The MACC announced yesterday the suspension of the three officers named in the RCI report, pending the findings of another committee it had set up to look into the royal panel’s findings on Teoh’s death.
The ETC will comprise four senior management officials from the MACC, four MACC panel and committee members and two legal experts, including one from an existing committee.

Apart from Abu Kassim, its members include deputy chief commissioner of operations Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull, deputy chief commissioner of management and professionalism Datuk Zakaria Jaafar, deputy chief commissioner for prevention Datuk Sutinah Sutan, Anti-Corruption Advisory Board member Tan Si Rashpal Singh, Operations Evaluation panel member Datuk Zamani Abdul Ghani and Consultative and Prevention of Corruption panel member Datuk Seri Azman Ujang.

The two legal experts in the committee are former Court of Appeal Judge and MACC Complaints Committee chairman Datuk Mohd Nor Abdullah and former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman.

Abdul Kadir was also on the RCI panel investigating Teoh’s death. - TMI

Perpaduan parti komponen pra-syarat BN menang PRU 13

"Kita tidak mempunyai banyak masa. Hanya tinggal beberapa bulan sahaja lagi," kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri.
KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mahu semua parti komponen dan anggota gabungan Barisan Nasional (BN) merapatkan barisan
menjadi satu pasukan BN mulai sekarang bagi menghadapi pilihan raya umum (PRU) ke-13 akan datang.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri, yang juga Timbalan Pengerusi BN, berkata perpaduan di kalangan parti komponen dan anggota gabungan ialah pra-syarat utama yang mesti diberi tumpuan utama ia boleh memberi kesan kepada PRU.

“Kita tidak mempunyai banyak masa. Hanya tinggal beberapa bulan sahaja lagi dan kita mesti menunjukkan kepada rakyat bahawa kita mempunyai pasukan yang mantap untuk berdepan pilihan raya umum.

“Kalau sebelum ini kita mempunyai Team 1, Team 2 dan sebagainya, saya mahu mulai sekarang, kita hanya mempunyai satu team sahaja iaitu Team BN,” katanya ketika merasmikan perhimpunan agung tahunan ke-19 parti Barisan Kemajuan India SeMalaysia (IPF) ke-19 di Seri Kembangan di sini hari ini.

IPF yang diasaskan mendiang Tan Sri M.G Pandithan pada tahun 1991 telah diterima sebagai anggota gabungan BN pada awal tahun ini. Ini juga merupakan kali pertama persidangan tahunan parti itu dirasmikan oleh pemimpin tertinggi negara.

Mendahulukan kepentingan rakyat

Muhyiddin berkata dasar kerajaan dalam mendahulukan kepentingan rakyat adalah pra-syarat kedua yang perlu diberi perhatian.

Beliau menegaskan bahawa semua anggota parti komponen BN harus terus mendukung perjuangan kerajaan dalam mendahulukan rakyat dalam setiap aspek sosial dan ekonomi.

Ini merupakan teras penubuhan parti-parti komponen BN yang mahu memperjuang dan membela nasib rakyat, kata Muhyiddin.

“Seperti juga IPF, perjuangannya bukan untuk mendiang Pandithan, tetapi untuk membela nasib rakyat jelata supaya menjadi lebih baik dan usaha ini perlu diteruskan,” katanya.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri turut menegaskan bahawa perpaduan nasional negara ini perlu dipertahankan dan mana-mana anasir jahat harus ditentang.

Mengambil contoh serangan berkembar oleh pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab di Oslo, Norway yang kini telah mengorbankan lebih 90 nyawa, Muhyiddin berkata perkara sedemikian tidak harus dibenarkan berlaku di sini.

“Kalau ada pihak yang mahu memporak-perandakan kita dengan politik sempit, kita harus menentang mereka,” katanya.

Sementara itu, dalam ucapan perasmiannya kepada hampir 2,000 anggota IPF, Timbalan Perdana Menteri mengiktiraf sokongan dan peranan IPF kepada BN selama ini walaupun hasratnya untuk menjadi parti komponen BN belum tercapai.

Beliau mencadangkan supaya presiden IPF M Sambathan menyediakan dan mengemukakan kepada beliau projek yang mahu dilaksanakan oleh parti itu dalam membantu rakyat.

“Saya juga berjanji akan memberi peruntukan untuk pelaksanaan operasi….. aktiviti-aktiviti boleh dijalankan dengan sebaik-baiknya,” katanya.

Najib has a point here

Actually, we have already decided how Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan, Ahmad Sarbaini, and many more died. Sure we want a RCI to be held. But we want the RCI to come out with a verdict that dovetails with what we have already decided had happened. And if the RCI contradicts what we believe, then we are going to raise hell.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Inquiry results not to be questioned: Malaysian PM

KANGAR - Conclusions made by the Malaysian Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into opposition aide Teoh Beng Hock's death should not be questioned as this will only defeat its purpose, said Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said the RCI was an independent body, which had been set up with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's consent and made up of individuals with high credibility to investigate the matter openly.
“What is the purpose of setting up the RCI if its findings are questioned? There are groups which questioned it because they are unhappy with the findings.”

“They have made their own conclusion and they wanted the RCI's report to reflect their thinking and demands. That is unfair.”

“The truth remains the truth whether it is bitter or easy for us to accept. We can't deny the truth,” he said after meeting the Perlis Barisan Nasional leaders yesterday.

The Commission had concluded that Teoh was driven to commit suicide due to intensive interrogation by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers. -- THE STAR/ANN
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has a point here. The problem is when he said “…should not be questioned…”.

Anything can be questioned. To say “…should not be questioned…” is just like England of 500 years ago. When you questioned the church or the King you would be arrested, tied to a stake, and burned alive. Surely we have come a long way since then from the days when everything “…should not be questioned…”?

Nevertheless, what Najib said was true on the other part of his statement. If the RCI had come out with a verdict that we like we would have applauded its findings. We would have praised the RCI to kingdom come.

When the Shah Alam High Court allowed my habeas corpus and ordered my release from detention in November 2008, the judge was one fantastic guy. If he had rejected my application and ruled that I should remain in Kamunting, then the judge is an arsehole who is corrupted and is in Umno’s pocket.
That is how we think.

Okay, we demand a RCI on the Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed death. Say the government does hold the RCI as what we want. And say the RCI comes out with a verdict that he died while trying to escape through the third floor window. Would we be satisfied or would we be up in arms? Say, instead, the RCI comes out with a verdict that he was killed while under interrogation. Would that satisfy us and would we praise the RCI to high heavens?

Actually, we have already decided how Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan, Ahmad Sarbaini, and many more died. Sure we want a RCI to be held. But we want the RCI to come out with a verdict that dovetails with what we have already decided had happened. And if the RCI contradicts what we believe, then we are going to raise hell.

This makes it very difficult, of course. What we want is not a RCI to determine the truth, whatever that may be. What we want is a RCI to confirm what we believe.

If we already believe what happened then why not we just go on and believe this? Why bother to ask for a RCI to be held when we know the RCI is going to rule against what we believe?

The chances of the RCI coming out with a verdict the same as what we believe is very slim. The chances of the RCI coming out with a verdict that we don’t believe is very likely.

So why bother?

Many believe Anwar is innocent of the allegations of sodomy and the porn tape and what have you. If that is what we believe then let it be. Let’s not bother with an inquiry or investigation or whatever because the chances would be the findings or verdict will not be what we want.

Let me put it this way: if you already believe that there is a God in Heaven and that when we die we would go to either Heaven or Hell and Muhammad or Jesus or whoever is our Prophet and there is no changing our mind on this matter, does it serve any purpose talking about this matter?

If I tell you I believe what you believe, you will be extremely happy. And if I tell you that you are talking crap and what you believe is a myth, you will be terribly unhappy. 

In short, you do not wish to discuss or debate this issue. You want me to agree with you and not contradict you. Better we just avoid the issue and not talk about it then.

You get my drift?

Angry Malaysians — CL Tang

24 JULY — Wong Chun Wai says, “Can we stop being angry people and try to make sense of the issues affecting the nation instead? Or better still, laugh at them?”; in his Sunday column, Of Angry Birds and Angry Malaysians: Sunday Star 24 July 2011.

A young man, about to become a father and a husband, saw his life tragically ended after being subjected to near inhumane interrogation by a government institution. Teoh Beng Hock was under such duress that, according to the RCI, it drove him to commit suicide. And this is someone who is apparently innocent of any wrongdoings.

An elderly lady, drenched as a result of the water cannons, walks away from a brigade of riot police, eyes stinging from tear gas. All she did was to take part in a peaceful march for electoral reforms with thousand others who suffered the same fate.

A mainstream newspaper and a so-called NGO with its bellicose leader is allowed to spew out racist rants; fan religious tensions; and spread fantastic conspiracy theories (Jewish/Communist/Christian domination, take your pick) to divert attention away from the failings of the government, with barely a murmur of disapproval from those whom we look to for protection of our shared values.

Blatant corruption are not investigated or treated with the customary “tak cukup bukti”; a government that ask its people to tighten our belts but barely able to contain its own bloated spending; and public institutions such as the police and MACC that spend more time defending its obvious masters rather than the public.

Last but not least, our mainstream media that appeals to the lowest journalistic denominator — substituting real, unbiased reporting for a shameless, one-sided politicized news and opinions that stretches the truth or manufacture controversies to hide the real issues.

And we are wondering why Malaysians are angry? What is anger, if not a mix of frustration and passion for the subject matter? When we are angry with someone, it is usually with the people we love or care about.

When we are angry with certain events, it is because the events affect us personally, directly or indirectly. Yes, we are angry. We are absolutely livid with the current leadership that have virtually stripped our public institutions of their independence, dignity and best traditions. We are enraged by so-called leaders that preaches 1Malaysia on the one hand and turns around to defend those that rubbish it.

We are furious with politicians who think that we, voters, are smart enough to vote them into office but clueless to think of ourselves that they see fit to contaminate our minds with half-truths, spins and censorship. We are furious when we see this country of plenty being plundered by those who were supposed to protect it.

Being angry shows we care. Being angry shows we still love Malaysia. Being angry shows we are hopeful. Hopeful that Malaysia may yet be redeemed by leaders who possessed the real conviction to steer this country to its full potential, for the betterment of our children and not their own well-being; leaders who serve the people with humility and not with arrogance and sense of entitlement.

Anger is good. Anger is fuel for change. WCW shouldn’t worry about angry Malaysians. He should instead worry the day Malaysians stop being angry. When that day comes, it won’t be replaced by laughter, as he suggest, but in most likelihood, by tears and resignation. I pray that the day won’t come.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

IPF Will Pursue Dreams To Become BN Component Party

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 (Bernama) -- The Indian Progressive Front (IPF) will continue to pursue its dream of being accepted as a component party of the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Party president M. Sambathan said IPF had been a staunch BN supporter and hoped its application to become a full member would be backed by other BN component parties.

IPF, a splinter of MIC, was formed by the late Tan Sri M. G. Pandithan in 1991, following a fallout between him and then-MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Since then, its application to become a full BN member was rejected (as the acceptance needs consensus from all component parties).

However, early this year, IPF was accepted as an associate member of BN.

"We still hope the BN will open its doors for us to become a permanent member. IPF treats MIC as an older brother and hopes all BN component parties will support our application," Sambathan said at the party's 19th annual general assembly (AGM) at Seri Kembangan here Sunday.

The AGM was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also BN deputy chairman.