Share |

Friday, July 29, 2011

Indians will whip BN again unless…

No Malaysian politician must now think that Indian votes are fixed deposit.
COMMENT - FMT
By R Kengadharan

In the last 60 years, Malaysian Indians aggressively supported Barisan Nasional. The Malaysian public in general have witnessed 12 general elections.

Approximately 80% of Malaysian Indians leaned in favour of BN up to the 11th general election.

The 12th general election in 2008 completely reshaped the political sphere of Malaysian politics wherein 65% of Malaysian Indians supported the various opposition parties resulting in BN not gaining two thirds majority in Parliament and losing five states to the opposition.

As for the Indians, the outcome of the 12th general election paved a new path in domestic policitcs.
However, public outcry of discrimination, marginalisation and segregation still steadily continue to date.

On the part of the establishment, there are piecemeal efforts to remedy the situation but to date have failed to provide and implement a comprehensive measure with permanent solutions.

There is a growing incompetency on the part of the establishment to identity and address some of the more pressing problems faced by the community.

There has been no direct intervention by the government to address such problems. Often when problems escalate, the easy way out is to outsource. This must be immediately halted. If the establishment is sincere and genuine, then your policies must reflect honesty.

While discrimination, segregation and marginalisation appear to be real and serious problems, issues pertaining to the Interlok novel, rampant demolishment of shrines, lack of scholarships, lack of job opportunities and promotions are still persistent.

The demands and expectations of the Malaysian Indian community have many times been raised and no establishment can be oblivious to the truth.

Additionally, the MIC does not possess the ability to lift the community from this dilemma single handedly. Therefore the collective effort of the private and public sector becomes essential and this can only be achieved if there is a genuine desire to uplift.

Comprehensive planning

The community in general has heard many power-packed speeches from the past and present leaders. But they all failed to comprehensively outline the aspirations of the community.

While this is not welcomed nor desired, there is little the community can do to overcome this mayhem within the political sphere.

The community does not require a wishlist. What they require is a comprehensive plan, placing the community in the mainstream of development, with the ability to face immediate and future challenges.

A wishlist may not possess all or encompass the essential ingredients for a steady and continued development. Therefore, substantive and material policy changes become ever more necessary so as to ensure sustainability of the community in general.

Unless the government is ready and prepared to announce positive measures, no support will return to the coalition.

A material fact that cannot be ignored by the civil society is that the Indians have contributed immensely towards the well-being of the country.

The presence of Indians is evident in almost all sectors of development and services prior to independence. Post-independence, hostile policies drove Indians out of those essential sectors and services.

While the government desires Indian support and votes, unless there are proactive measures and steps undertaken and implemented with absolute honesty and genuineness, never will they return to support the coalition and their desertion will remain permanent.

The community is not asking for concessions and privileges. What instead it deserves is a comprehensive and practical measure that would contribute to its progress and development.

No Malaysian politician must now think that Indian votes are fixed deposit. If you fail to provide attention and interest and if you fail to implement a clear action plan you will be abandoned.

While we have a change in the leadership of MIC, such change need not necessarily bring about new policies and measures, for old habits die hard. Any political party within the coalition spectrum must learn to accept democratisation within the party.

Pandora’s box opened

The Indians in general have today matured and are forward thinking and they can no longer be hoodwinked or hypnotised like before.

This deplorable methods were used in the past to suppress the genuine voices and grievances of the community. Today the Pandora’s box has been opened and the cat has been let loose.

I strongly believe that winning the hearts of the Indians at the MIC assembly this weekend is pointless unless there is sincere and genuine effort to uplift the community.

If no constructive measures are announced at the assembly then once again at the 13th general election the BN will be severely whipped.
R Kengadharan is a lawyer and a former ISA detainee.

Islamophobes distance themselves from Breivik

Anti-Muslim sentiment has become more and more outspoken across the West - especially since they gained a powerful platform through the Tea Party and other far-right groups[GALLO/GETTY]
As Norway mourns the loss of at least 76 of its citizens in Friday's bombing of government buildings in Oslo and mass shootings at a Labour Party youth camp, attention here has focused on the US bloggers and groups whose Islamophobic message appears to have fuelled the alleged perpetrator's murderous rage.

Their identity was established through the online publication by the alleged terrorist, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, of a 1,500-page manifesto entitled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" purportedly authored by an "Andrew Berwick".

All belong to what Toby Archer, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, referred to as a "transatlantic movement that often calls itself 'the counter-jihad'" in an article published Monday by foreignpolicy.com.
"As his writings indicate, Breivik is clearly a product of this predominantly web-based community of anti-Muslim, anti-government and anti-immigration bloggers, writers and activists," according to Archer.

He also noted that, in contrast to the traditional European right, this network tends to be philo-Semitic and supports the most extreme right-wing parties in Israel.
Particularly striking is the overlap between the US members of this network - all of whom are identified with the neo-conservative movement - with the leaders of last year's controversial campaign to prevent the construction of a Muslim community centre near the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque".

The same bloggers and groups also actively promoted "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West", a film produced by the Clarion Fund, an apparent front for the far-right Israeli group Aish Hatorah, that compares the threat posed by radical Islam to that of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Some 28 million DVD copies of the video were distributed to households in key swing states on the eve of the 2008 president elections in an apparent effort to sway voters against Barack Obama.

At one point in his manifesto, Breivik referred readers to YouTube segments of all 10 parts of "Obsession".
"As his writings indicate, Breivik is clearly a product of this predominantly web-based community of anti-Muslim, anti-government and anti-immigration bloggers, writers and activists."
Toby Archer, a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Among other sources cited by the manifesto, the "Jihad Watch" blog and its author, Robert Spencer, is cited no less than 162 times, while Daniel Pipes and his Middle East Forum (MEF) gets 16 mentions, according to a tally by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank here.

Another blogger, Pamela Geller, and her "Atlas Shrugs" blog is cited 12 times in the manifesto, while the Center for Security Policy (CSP), its president, Frank Gaffney, and CSP's senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs, Caroline Glick, appear a total of eight times.
All of them have sought to distance themselves both from Breivik and Friday's terrorist acts since his identity first became known Saturday, and have furiously protested suggestions in the media that they bore any responsibility for what took place in Norway Friday.

Geller, who co-authored a book with Spencer last year that accused President Barack Obama of waging "war on America" (and for which the former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, wrote the foreword), called a front-page New York Times article that noted the couple's frequent citations by Breivik "outrageous".

"It's like equating Charles Manson, who heard in the lyrics of [Beatles song] Helter Skelter a calling for the Manson murders," she wrote on her atlasshrugs.com blog. "It's like blaming the Beatles. It's patently ridiculous."

Citing the same Beatles-Charles Manson analogy, Spencer also expressed outrage on his jihadwatch.org blog both at Breivik's alleged acts and the suggestion that he may have been responsible in some way for them.

Although he was only mentioned once in the manifesto, David Horowitz, whose David Horowitz Freedom Center, according to Politico, provided some US $920,000 to Jihad Watch in the latter part of the last decade, also defended Spencer on the far-right FrontPage website.

Most of that money was donated by the Fairbrook Foundation, which is run by Aubry and Joyce Chernick and which has funded other Islamophobic groups, including Pipes' MEF, Gaffney's CSP, and Aish Hatorah, as well as the far-right Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA), according to 2009 tax records. Indeed, many of the same funders - many of them right-wing Jews - have provided support to such Islamophobic organisations in recent years.

"Robert Spencer has never supported a terrorist act," wrote Horowitz on FrontPage Monday. "His crime in the eyes of the left is to have told the truth about Islamic fanatics beginning with the Islamic prophet who called for the extermination of the Jews."
Scare-mongering

For his part, Gaffney, who has long claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood is organising to impose Islamic law, or Shariah, on the West, including the United States, expressed concern on his centre's website that "the wrong lessons will be learned from the mayhem" in Norway.

"The murderous attacks in Norway last week cry out for justice for the victims," he wrote. "They also demand that Norway and other civilised nations respond thoughtfully - notably, by resisting the temptation to suppress those warning of encroaching sharia and, in the process, abet those who are striving to insinuate that totalitarian programme into freedom-loving lands."

According to Archer, much of the larger trans-Atlantic network of which CSP, Spencer, Geller, Pipes, and Horowitz are a part was inspired by Bat Ye'or, a British-Swiss researcher whose 2005 book, "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis", purports to describe "Europe's evolution from a Judeo-Christian civilisation ... into a post-Judeo- Christian civilisation that is subservient to the ideology of jihad and the Islamic powers that propagate it."

As a concept, "Eurabia", she said at a presentation at the neo-conservative Hudson Institute, is anti-Semitic and aimed against both Israel and the US. The book boasts favourable blurbs by Pipes, Spencer, the late Italian author Oriana Fallaci, and British historian Niall Ferguson, among others. Ye'or is cited 59 times in Breivik's manifesto.

Some experts on US Islamophobic movements observed Monday that Breivik's philo-Semitism and strong support for Israel were ironic, and not only because the far right in Europe historically has been anti-Semitic.

They said the manifesto's repeated emphasis on "Cultural Marxism" as the great enemy of Western civilisation reflected the latest incarnation in a long line of essentially anti-Semitic conspiracy theories depicting a small group of Jews as the corrupters of native societies.

"Breivik is clearly a rabid Islamophobe, but it's clear from the text that he has adopted a theory about 'Cultural Marxism' that argues that multiculturalism and political correctness are a conspiracy launched by Marxist Jews of the Frankfurt School in the 1930s, the result of which is Muslim immigration, which will destroy Norway and the rest of Europe and crush western Christian culture," Chip Berlet, an analyst at Political Research Associates in Boston, said.

A veteran observer of far-right US groups, Berlet said Breivik's manifesto echoed the themes set out in an open letter published by the late founder of the far-right Free Congress Foundation, Paul Weyrich, in 1999 in which he charged that "Cultural Marxism" as conceived by the Frankfurt School was "succeeding in its war against our culture".

"Breivik is pro-Israel because he sees it as a bulwark against Islam," he said. "I don't think he's personally anti-Semitic, but he's adopted a conspiracy theory that is anti-Semitic."
A version of this article was first published on Inter Press Service.
Jim Lobe's blog on US foreign policy can be read at http://www.lobelog.com.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

'Perkasa rally called off to avoid clash among Malays'

(Malaysiakini)Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali claimed that he had called off the July 9 rally to counter the Bersih 2.0 march at the last minute in order to avoid a clash among the Malays.

He said he issued an instruction for the Perkasa supporters to stand down about 90 minutes before they were to join the rally at the Titiwangsa lake garden at 2.30pm that Saturday.

The decision was made by the Perkasa leadership after he sent 50 inflitrators, who pretended to be Bersih 2.0 supporters, to monitor the situation on the ground in Kuala Lumpur that day.

"They told me that they (the Bersih 2.0 marchers) were all Malays. The Chinese only (made up) a small number, only one or two percent, and the Indians were also not that many.

NONE"I asked 'where are (DAP leaders) Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng', they said 'not there'. Then I asked who else were there? They said (PKR de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) and (PAS president) Abdul Hadi Awang," Ibrahim added.

"Had we gathered, we would not be able to stop the crowd from marching, then there will be loggerheads among the Malays," the politician told Internet TV station eTV in an exclusive interview last week. The recording was aired on Tuesday.

Ibrahim said two other reasons lead to his "bold decision" to call off the rally - the decree issued by the Agong and another by the Selangor sultan against street demonstrations, as well as his intention not to divert the police's effort in dealing with the Bersih 2.0 rally.

NONE"So taking into consideration the decrees by the Agong and the sultan, taking into account (the interests of) all Malays and taking into account the focus of the police force in controlling Bersih, I made the bold decision not to have the gathering. I called off the gathering at 1pm.

"If I went on that day, (we could) easily (mobilised) 3,000 people. When I called it off, there were already 300 Perkasa members at Titiwangsa," he said.

Piqued by those who called him 'coward'

The 61-year-old Independent MP for Pasir Mas also boasted that in the lead-up to July 9, 15,000 people had registered with Perkasa to join the rally.

According to him, those who registered had given their contact numbers to Perkasa, and any instruction from the leadership would reach them within seconds through text messages.

NONEIbrahim had called a press conference on July 8 - the day before the Bersih rally - where he said Perkasa was calling off its rally because the police had rejected their application for a permit and that no stadium was available.

During the eTV interview, Ibrahim said he had received hundreds of congratulatory text messages commending his decision, except for one which called him a "coward".

"They said Perkasa is a wise organisation. That proves we are not militant, that proves we are not extremist. The records speak for themselves," said a proud Ibrahim.

He then slammed his critics as "sick people" in dire of treatment.

"I think these are really sick people. I really pity them. If I have enough money, I will to buy a sizeable plot of land, I will build a good chalet, keep them inside and I will give them food, I will to give them drinks.

"I want to take care of them because they need some treatment so that they can be more mature, responsible, and not too emotional and not too personal," he added.

Sarbaini case: Malays shouldn't make noise


At the interview, Ibrahim also shared his views on the late Customs officer Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed, who reportedly fell to his death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building in Kuala Lumpur on April 6.

NONE"The government has opened an inquest into the matter, so we will wait for the finding. We Malays don't make noise. Sarbaini got it, many other Malays also got it. We believe in the operation of law," he said.

Ibrahim compared the Sarbaini case with the death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock, saying that the latter had cost taxpayers "millions of ringgit" in the establishment of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI).

"If they are not happy with the result, then what are they going to do? A world (level) royal commission?" he asked.

The interview was conducted one day before the release of the Teoh RCI report.

"But to us, we don't make noise. The Malays did not make noise. There were many other cases," he repeated.

Rosmah denies buying RM24m diamond ring

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has denied she had purchased a diamond ring worth over RM24 million, three weeks after the allegations surfaced in cyberspace.

The wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak dismissed the allegation that was raised by a blogger, calling it yet another lie to slander her.

Rosmah said she had ‘no time to address the allegation’. — File pic
“There is nothing I want to say because I have no time to address such things. Let (the blogger) say what he wants.
 
“This is slander but what have I not experienced? I have experienced it all. 

So, rather than address this, it is better I pay attention to public issues as these are more important,” she was quoted as saying by Berita Harian when accompanying her husband on his working trip to Kedah yesterday.

Screenshots of a Customs computer screen showed the ring, from New York celebrity jeweller Jacob and Co, was brought in under her name.

Rosmah has faced continuous allegations of a lavish lifestyle ever since it became apparent that Najib would succeed Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister.

Attempts primarily by the opposition to embarrass the prime minister by attacking his wife have included ridiculing Rosmah’s videos that have appeared on her website and claims that the Prime Minister’s Office has a budget to run a first lady’s department.

A pro-Pakatan Rakyat (PR) blog called “Milo Suam” had claimed that the ring was sent to Rosmah in April.

The Customs screenshot also revealed that the ring did not have import duties imposed on it.

The allegation has since been spread online by Malaysians especially on pro-opposition blogs.

Pro-government bloggers have denied the allegations earlier, saying the diamond ring was in Malaysia for a private exhibition and was returned to the jeweller after four days.

Najib PM Terakhir Umno


Lambaian terakhir?

Negara ini sebenarnya selama 50 tahun diperintah oleh golongan bangsawan”.
~ A. Samad Said, Sasterawan Negara.

Ketika orang berdedai-dedai turun ke jalan raya dengan si tua kelaparan, anak muda tak berpekerjaan, bayi kesejukan kala malam dan satu-satunya harapan politik terakhir ialah berdemontrasi, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi bergilir ditemuramah wartawan dari ruang Istana Presiden.

Saif, 39, adalah anak kedua Presiden Libya, Muammar Gaddafi. Babak-babak ini berlaku hanya beberapa bulan sebelum di Kuala Lumpur, demonstrasi bersejarah 9 Julai lalu terjadi—Bersih 2.0.

Saif yang boleh bertutur Inggeris dengan telo Arab ditugas berhadapan dengan wartawan dan media antarabangsa; menjawab dan menjelaskan kepada dunia apa yang ‘sebenarnya’ terjadi. Seperti yang terduga, omongan penguasa totalitarian di mana-mana pun sama.

Saif menuduh pendemonstran yang menentang bapanya adalah dari rangkaian pengganas al-Qaeda. Mereka juga kata Saif, “pengkhianat” yang bermunculan daripada pendalaman—sedangkan di Tripoli, ibu negeri, sentiasa aman.

Tuduhan “pengkhianat” mahupun “al-Qaeda” tak ubah seperti tuduhan pentadbiran Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Najib Razak kepada mereka yang turun ke jalan raya kelmarin dalam demontrasi Bersih 2.0. Di sini, pemimpin dan aktivis yang ditangkap di bawah Ordinan Darurat (EO) tak boleh bertemu meski dengan anak-isteri.

Revolusi di beberapa negara Arab awal tahun ini antara lain menyelongkar perasaan yang terbuku di hati rakyatnya. Bukan sahaja soal korupsi, pembolotan kekayaan negara oleh segolongan elit, tetapi gaya politik legasi-nipotisme juga mulai ditolak. Mesejnya ialah, sama ada di Tunisia, di Mesir dan Libya, dalam lubuk sanubari manusia mereka menolak pemimpin politik yang mahu mewariskan pemerintahan kepada darah keturunan sendiri.

Sedar tak sedar, antara latar kebencian dan penentangan menjurus kepada Husni Mubarak adalah persoalan ini. Dia ditumbangkan kalamana Mubarak khabarnya dalam proses peralihan kuasa kepada pewaris yang dia sudah siapkan dari rahim isterinya, Suzanne. Menjadi rahsia umum di Mesir bahawa anak sulung Mubarak, Gamal, akan menggantikan si bapa sebagai Presiden.

Faham ala-maharaja dan rendah tamadun sebegini nampak berlaku di mana-mana. Mungkin sahaja, keresahan Sasterawan Negara, Pak Samad ada asasnya. Orang Malaysia, terutama sebelum krisis politik-ekonomi 1997-98, juga berfikiran feudal dan lapuk sebegitu. Rakyat kebanyakan (yang sekaligus memegang kuasa undi terbesar), dengan mudah-mudah melepaskan kuasa politik-pemerintahan kepada kelompok kelas atas, atau apa yang disebut Pak Samad sebagai “golongan bangsawan”.

Cacatnya golongan ini mudah, iaitu mereka (yang dibesar dalam lingkungan elit) takkan dapat merasakan denyut-nadi rakyat sampai ke bawah-bawah. Jauh lagi untuk fahami. Bukan juga rahsia apabila golongan bangsawan itu tak mahu anak-anak mereka bersekolah di sekolah mahupun universiti kebangsaan. Sementara sistem pendidikan yang mereka cipta dan mahu rakyat mendukung, mereka sendiri tak memakainya.

Pak Samad menamakan dari PM pertama, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra yang lahir di anjung istana, sehingga kepada PM hari ini, Najib yang orang tuanya juga perdana menteri. Menurut Pak Samad, yang terlepas daripada lingkungan keluarga bangsawan [barangkali] cuma Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Abdullah Badawi yang sempat berkuasa sekelip mata, yang lahir daripada tatanan agamawan juga ditanda sebagai cebis-cebisan golongan bangsawan.

Rakyat selalu diwar-warkan, dipaku di dalam fikiran dan hati bahawa anak kepada seorang perdana menteri, misalnya, sediakala arif soal politik dan pentadbiran. Dia boleh meneruskan apa yang baik, yang pernah dilakukan oleh bapanya. Semua keyakinan ini tertanam sejak awal-awal lagi, dan, tak pernah dipersoal entah iya entahkan tidak. Padang permainan tak pernah sama rata…

Memandang kepada susur-galur Dato’ Onn Jaafar, kalau diangkat sebagai contoh, baik anak Dato’ Onn iaitu Hussein Onn mahupun si cucu, Hishamuddin Hussein; keduanya tak nampak tanda menginsafi idealisme leluhur mereka. Masing-masing buat endah tak endah terhadap antara idea utama Dato’ Onn iaitu gagasan mahu menjadikan Umno sebagai parti pelbagai kaum. Masing-masing hanya menggunakan bayangan ayah sebagai batu loncatan.

Gamal si anak Mubarak itu misalnya, dia memulakan kerjaya sebagai pegawai pelaburan perbankan di Bank Amerika. Di dalam parti yang dikuasai bapanya, Parti Demokratik Nasional, sedari awal Gamal dilantik sebagai timbalan setiausaha agung—di samping kuncu-kuncunya mulai diposisikan di jawatan-jawatan berpengaruh.

Dalam kes Najib, jejak politik beliau pertama kali menjadi ahli parlimen ialah pada umur 23 tahun; menggantikan sang bapa yang meninggal dunia mengejut. Malah sejak pulang belajar dari England, Najib sudah bertugas di Bank Negara dan Petronas.

Pencapaian-pencapaian Najib pernah dijadikan dokumentari propaganda; ditayang di TV1 seawal beliau memegang jawatan. Antara tujuan dokumentari itu antara lain untuk menimbulkan rasa ‘gerun’ di hati rakyat terbanyak—sedangkan boleh dipersoal, separuh pencapaian Najib tak lain kerana dia anak seorang PM.
Apakah tanpa nama Razak di belakang nama Najib, beliau boleh jadi Menteri Besar Pahang pada umur 29, mahupun sebagai timbalan menteri pada umur 25?

Dengan semua kemudahan dan peluang luar biasa yang terbentang itu, Najib tentulah tak pernah berfikir dan bersusah-payah sepertimana ramai anak muda seangkatannya. Jauh lagi mengharap Najib benar-benar merasai perih-payah sebagai orang bawah. Kalau di kampung saya, anak ketua kampung yang berangan untuk juga menjadi ketua kampung akan dicemoh kawan-kawan…

Betapa presiden-presiden Filipina yang masuk-keluar Istana Malacanang juga berlegar-legar selingkar sembilan keluarga tuan-tuan tanah di Filipina. Bangsawan ini mampu miliki kekayaan, tanah serta ladang maha luas diwarisi sejak zaman penjajah Sepanyol. Presiden Filipina sekarang, Benigno C. Aquino III pun bukanlah seorang yang terkenal cemerlang gagasan pembangunan dan politik ke atas bangsanya, meski keperibadian-politiknya beliau tetap sahaja seorang yang dikatakan demokratik.

Kini sedikit-sebanyak kita boleh bertanggapan bahawa ‘lusuhnya’ Rumah Putih tak lain apabila George W Bush si anak memasuki dan mendiaminya selama dua penggal. Tak biasa dalam sejarah kepresidenan Amerika Syarikat, anak-beranak atau suami-isteri bergiliran memegang jawatan presiden. Berbanding Bush si ayah yang tak sempat melancarkan perang ke atas Iraq, Bush Jr jualah yang lengkapkan misi itu. Saya kira itulah sumbangan terbesar Bush kepada tamadun manusia.

Dengan layanan buruk, kecaman melulu dan tindakan anti demokrasi menjelang demonstrasi Bersih 9 Julai lalu, dilatari kemunafikan elit penguasa, Pak Samad melontar sebuah harapan. Katanya dalam temubual yang sama dengan portal Malaysiakini, “Bapak harapkan dalam pilihanraya yang akan datang ini mereka (kerajaan Umno-BN pimpinan Najib) mundurlah ataupun jatuh.”

Rakyat tak pernah memilih Najib sebagai PM. Abdullah Badawi yang memberikan kunci Seri Perdana kepadanya—sementara era politik anak-cucu dan menantu sudah mulai dipertikai.

Maka PRU ke-13 bakal jadi tanda aras sama ada rakyat bersedia meleraikan sistem pemikiran politik feudal atau tidak. Dari kata-kata Pak Samad, fahamlah kita bahawa biarlah Najib jadi PM terakhir dari Umno yang mewakili sistem sebegini. Selepas lebih 50 tahun, sekarang peluang bagi bangsa kita bebas dari cengkaman golongan bangsawan dengan sebuah zaman baru yang waras dan adil perlu segera ditempa.

Stop the amnesty programmes, urges groups

Salleh didakwa berbohong

Malaysian ‘Islamic Officials’ in Daring Arrest of Teenage Girls – for Hugging

No prizes for guessing what (and who) dominates life in the Malaysian port city of TawauNo prizes for guessing what (and who) dominates life in the Malaysian port city of Tawau

As the international mainstream media indulges in a frenetic orgy of messenger-shooting following the horrific attacks by a depraved psychopath in Norway last week, the repressive, mediaeval cult of Islam keeps on trucking:

Two teenage Muslim girls were arrested by state Islamic officials for hugging and kissing each other publicly in Tawau.

The girls aged 16 and 17 were detained along Jalan Pesisiran during an integrated operation by the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department together with the Tawau Municipal Council on Tuesday.

The department’s officer Abdul Imam Basiron said the two girls faced charges under Section 83 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1995 that carries a maximum fine of RM1,000 (S$408.6) or jail of up to six months or both upon conviction.


Abdul Imam said during the operation they also detained three Muslim men aged between 20 and 60 for gambling.

They were caught buying 4D tickets at three premises.

During the operation, they also acted against two restaurants for displaying copies of the halal logo from other establishments.

He said restaurants were allowed to sell food to Muslims but they could not consume it within the premises during fasting hours.

He said the department would be conducting checks on Muslims who were not fasting during Ramadan.
Those caught could be charged under Section 58 of the enactment that carries a maximum fine of RM500 or up to six months’ jail or both upon conviction.

“an integrated operation by the Sabah Islamic Religious Affairs Department together with the Tawau Municipal Council”
Think about that for a moment.
This isn’t (despite what the lamestream media would be likely to claim if they ever stopped bashing the critics of Islam long enough to bother to cover such news) merely some over-zealous ‘misunderstanders of Islam’ at work. This is a fairly mild example of everyday reality for women and girls in Islamic countries.
Malaysia, often cited as the paradigm of a ‘progressive, moderate’ Islamic state, considers even innocuous affection between children to be against the doctrine of Islam.
Yet where is the supposedly compassionate voice of liberalism when it comes to speaking out against the plight of Muslim women and girls? Anyone?
Feminists, what do you think? Yes, we thought so.
[Source: AsiaOne]

Doc goes on hunger strike

Dr Michael D Jeyakumar's wife reveals that the PSM leader will go on a hunger strike until all the six are charged or freed.

KUALA LUMPUR: Detained PSM leader Dr Michael D Jeyakumar has started a hunger strike since this morning until all the six party activists held under the Emergency Ordinance are released or charged, said his wife today.

R Mohana Rani, who had tried to change her husband’s mind, said the police have not budged from their original stand despite the PSM six cooperating during interrogation.

“He (Jeyakumar) believes that the police and government have their own agenda and aims.

“He has given his full cooperation since being remanded,” she told FMT, adding that her husband signed three reports, including a 45-page report in Penang where he was first arrested.

Now, the authorities had prepared an 80-page report, but Jeyakumar decided not to sign it as he considered the investigation futile.

Apart from the Sungai Siput MP, the others under detention are PSM deputy president M Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

They were arrested in Kepala Batas on June 26 while distributing leaflets calling on the public to support Bersih 2.0′s demands for free and fair elections. The authorities later accused them of waging war against the King.

They were then re-arrested on July 2 under the EO which allows the police to detain suspects for up to 60 days.

Meanwhile, PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan could not confirm if Jeyakumar had started his hunger strike.

“I’m trying to contact a representative from Bukit Aman but so far I have not been able to.

“I am now planning to go there and find out more information, and arrange for the lawyers to go in as well,” he said when contacted.

He revealed that Jeyakumar, during a family visit yesterday, said the police were “not listening” and were trying to frame them based on unsubstantiated allegations.

“He has cooperated with them and now thinks that they are just trying to find new ways of detaining the six,” he said.

Maid’s death: Cambodian MP wants answers

Mu Sochua pledges to hound Malaysian authorities to get to the bottom of allegations that a Cambodian maid was beaten to death.

PETALING JAYA: Cambodian opposition MP, Mu Sochua (pix), has promised to badger Malaysian authorities to explain the recent death of a teenage Cambodian maid in Penang.

Choy Phich, 19, was found dead outside the back door of her employer’s house in Butterworth on the morning of July 17.

Police attributed her death to pneumonia but new allegations surfaced earlier this week of Choy Phich being beaten to death by her employer.

In an e-mail to over 400 people – including the Malaysian Embassy, the police and the Cambodian Embassy in Malaysia – a neighbour of Choy Phich claimed that many residents had witnessed Choy Phich being mentally and physically abused.

“She had many times sought help from other maids in the neighbourhood,” said Yip Soon Yew.
“Just a day before her death, she passed a note asking that her uncle in Cambodia be informed if she passed away without a valid reason.

“Rumours have been circulating that the local police officer was bribed to cover up the case as the employer is a wealthy and well-known local businessman,” said Yip.

Choy Phich was brought into Malaysia by recruiting agency, AP TSE & C Cambodian Resources Co.
The agency’s director, Seng Sithichey, however, has insisted that she was 21-years-old and that he had received a medical certificate indicating that she had died from pneumonia.

‘Not an isolated case’

Mu Sochua has promised to find answers to Choy Phich’s death and said that local NGOs have also taken up the case.

“I will take the matter up with Malaysian Embassy in Cambodia and also on the issue of the safety and security of Cambodian workers in Malaysia,” she told Cambodian news blog, Khmerization, yesterday.

Khmerization also noted that the Malaysian police had responded positively to its e-mail alert by promising to take “further action as soon as possible”.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), meanwhile, pointed out that Choy Phich’s death while unfortunate is not an isolated case in Malaysia.

“On June 5, a 26-year old Indonesian domestic worker died allegedly due to abuse by her employer,” said Jyotsna Poudyal of HRW in an e-mail to FMT.

“Ironically, this case came to light just a few weeks after Malaysia signed a new agreement with Indonesia to increase protection for Indonesian domestic workers.”

While HRW will be following the case closely with its partners in Cambodia and Malaysia, Poudyal called on both governments to go beyond a mere investigation into Choy Phich’s death.

“They should also undertake more systemic changes to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future,” she said.

“Given the Cambodian government’s increasing emphasis on “exporting” its labour abroad, the government and politicians should be concerned about any potential abuses they are facing.”

Stop demonising Bersih, free E06

MIC CWC member S Vell Paari says it is the likes of Ibrahim Ali and Utusan Malaysia who should be hauled up.
PETALING JAYA: The government banned Bersih 2.0 and accused it of working hand-in-glove with the opposition to topple Barisan Nasional through illegal means.

However, the Election Commission’s second-in-command Wan Ahmad Wan Omar saw it fit to engage the chairperson of the so-called illegal entity, S Ambiga, in a public debate, which was widely reported.

“Does this mean the EC recognises Bersih 2.0 and considers its demands for free and fair elections worth looking into?” asked MIC central committee member S Vell Paari.

He said this coupled with the fact that Bersih 2.0 leaders were given an audience with the King rendered the coalition a degree of legitimacy and the government should stop demonising the coalition.

“The country is moving away from ‘guided’ democracy and into a democracy in the truest sense of the word. Bersih 2.0′s demands are in line with the latter and must be considered.

“As I said before, the entire episode has been mishandled and BN is feeling the repercussions of this. So it will be wise not to exacebrate the situation,” he added.

Release PSM six

Vell Paari also reiterated his call on the government to release the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists held under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) since Bersih 2.0 was now becoming more acceptable.

Yesterday, MIC deputy president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam also urged the government to review the detention.

Today, MIC president G Palanivel said he had also told Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to release the six detainees.

Concurring with the party’s top leaders, Vell Paari said the authorities should charge the six in an open court if there was evidence or let them walk free otherwise.

“We should not be seen as using a draconian law which provides for detention without trial to keep our critics behind bars based on unsubstantiated allegations,” he added.

The detention of the six, Vell Paari said, also brought into focus the necessity for outdated legislation such as the EO and Internal Security Act.

“The government must consider repealing these acts as demanded by numerous groups over many years. Such laws give the impression of being convenient tools of suppression,” he added.

The PSM activists under detention are MP for Sungai Siput Dr Michael D Jeyakumar, PSM deputy president M Sarasvathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai and M Sukumaran, Youth chief R Saratbabu and Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan.

They were arrested in Kepala Batas on June 26 while distributing leaflets calling on the public to support Bersih 2.0′s demands for free and fair elections. The authorities later accused them of waging war against the King.

‘The real threats walk free’

Calling the charge both “extraordinary and unbelievable”, Vell Paari said it was people like Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali and the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia who should be hauled up instead.

“Threatening a repeat of the 1969 racial riots, asking the Chinese to stock up food and making unsubstantiated allegations of a Christian plot are disruptive to the well-being of the nation.

“These people threaten to wage war against the King’s subjects and by extension, attempt to wage war against the ruler himself, who is the protector of all races,” he added.

Similarly, Vell Paari said, the infamous cow-head protest was another example of a serious threat to national security, but those responsible were let off with a slap on the wrist.

“When numerous quarters, including those in the government, can defend Ibrahim, Utusan and the cow-head protesters as merely expressing their views, then the same argument can be used for Bersih 2.0 and the PSM six,” he said.

Vell Paari said the government must understand that the people’s mindset had evolved and should act accordingly.

“They ask the BN component parties to adapt to changing times but how can we do so when we are forced to defend government policies and actions which have not evolved?” he asked.

Responding to a question, the son of former MIC president S Samy Vellu said that the political differences between MIC and PSM did not cloud his view of the present situation.

“We are of different political camps but it does not mean we don’t respect our rivals.
“As far as I am concerned, the honourable doctor has worked hard for the betterment of the country and Indian community, not the other way around as alleged,” he added.

In the 2008 general election, Jeyakumar had defeated Samy Vellu.

A Sister's Grief

At the "BERSIH 2.0 Crack-Down: "EO Another ISA" Forum" last night, it must have been difficult for Dr Prema Devaraj, younger sister of Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, to recount the memories of the ordeal following the detention of EO6. Not many could have pulled it through but Prema did - beautifully! Her face, though weary, did not belie the grief within her. The sea of faces looking right at her must have given her the inner strength she needed to speak so movingly.



On that fateful night, she recounted how there were only ten supporters waiting outside the Kepala Batas Police Station and she wished that there could have been more that evening to cry for their release - the volume of support might have rattled the police.

Dr Prema went on to present the biodata of the EO6 - all of whom had one thing in common - their earnest and sincere effort to bring about social equality, gender equality and the eradication of poverty via various programmes.

Who are the EO6?

1. Sarat Babu
Born on 12.11.86, Sarat Babu is a local activist in Kampung Chepor and has been active in the cause since 2004. He is one of the founder members of Alaigal, working in the Bercham. Babu was a coordinator in Perak for JERIT and was a tutor for 6 years. He is a part-time law student in Universiti Malaya. Recently, Babu was selected as Youth Chairman of Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

2. Chon Kai
A Penangite, Chon Kai has been an activist since his university days at USM. He is a member of the Central Committee of Parti Sosialis Malaysia and the former coordinator in SUARAM Pulau Pinang. Chon Kai is a full-time activist in PSM and has been the Coordinator of PSM’s international relations, Editor of Akhbar Berita Sosialis (Socialist News Daily) PSM in Mandarin which is published once every two months not forgetting that he composed many songs about the leftist struggle.

3. Letchuman
Letchumanan, treasurer of the PSM Sungei Siput branch, is in his 40's. Married to Selvi, they both have two children - Devan and Poorni. Both are well brought up and top scorers in their school. The son of a rubber tapper, Letchu, has been proactively organized evening classes for neighbouring children in the Heawood plantation. He has been active in empowering workers to stand up for their rights. You can read about him HERE.

4. M Sugumaran
M Sugumaran is the liaison member of PSM Perak, coordinator for May Day program and often the negotiator with police when a demonstration takes place in Perak. He is married to Pushpa and they both have three children. He is also the Sungei Siput branch chairman.

According to Arutchelvan, Secretary-General of PSM, "when Sugu was arrested on 2 July, he spoke to me through the phone. He said, "I am Ok, please make sure someone will take my mother to the hospital".

5. Sarasvathy Muthu
Sarasvathy Muthu has been involved in activism since she was 17. She started working for Young Christian Workers (YCW). Two years later, she organized textile and food industry workers in Jelapang and Tasek factory level and also the state level to form a union body involved in picketing and strike. From then, she has travelled to various parts of SEA to represent Malaysia at conferences. Saras is actively involved in women’s groups networks such as AWAM and WDC in discussing the challenges of the female working community. As a full time activist in Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Saras contended in the 2008 elections for DUN Jelapang. Even though she lost,she has been servicing the constituency with a big heart.

6. Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj
You can read more about him in my post on The Gentle MP of Sungei Siput.

According to the latest news HERE, Dr. Jeyakumar is on a hunger strike. There will be a candlelight vigil tonight at 8p.m. Speakers' Square, Esplanade in Penang. Please come and show your support. 

Dr Prema expressed her appreciation to the three lawyers (all ladies) who were there to help EO6 when they were detained on July 2nd, namely Lim Kah Cheng, Karen Lai and Agatha Foo. They were released and shortly thereafter re-arrested. Handcuffed but with heads held high, they were taken in a convoy of cars to Bukit Aman KL.

She expressed her disappointment and outrage at the totally unnecessary and excessive use of force by the police. According to Dr Prema, the six of them are such gentle and dedicated activists that they would have taken the bus at their own expense to go to Bukit Aman if they had been summoned. There was no need to use taxpayers' money to transport them in so many cars. She explained that her brother was driven to KL in one car with FOUR other policemen and the others in different cars.

Dr Prema lamented that the last time she saw her brother was on 15th of July. The EO6 are being detained at different police stations namely Dang Wangi, Selayang, Travers, Jinjang, Petaling and Bukit Aman.

She explained that PSM is a registered political party working within a democratic framework. Like any other legitimate organization, PSM holds meetings, organizes programmes and networks with socialist organizations all over the world. It is no crime to have socialist ideas or to be different from BN and PR.

"Surely in a democracy, differences of opinions are allowed," she said, "and the government has to recognize that PSM has been dedicating itself to the service of the poor and marginalized groups."

The level of insecurity being displayed is by a government that is surely losing power.

She gave her a vote of thanks to all who have been loyally giving their support and urged more to speak up for the release of EO6.

When a government shudders at a yellow t-shirt and uses the tools of the state and arbitrary laws, it is exceedingly clear that at the next elections, they have to be voted OUT.

"Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS." Mahatma Gandhi

*This post is Part 2 of 'Tis Only Just The Beginning.  Part 3 will be about the lawyers' experiences  and the Q andA session of the forum.
Reactions: 

Press Release by TIan Chua on the Brutal Teargas Attack at the KL Sentral Tunnel


The title of this post is in fact the unedited heading of a press statement released by YB Tian Chua that I received by email.
The full text of the same is reproduced below.
___________________________
On July 21, the PDRM held a press conference to justify the  violent conduct of police personnel. An edited video footage was released to the press in order to show that BERSIH demonstrators were aggressive and provocative. The PDRM claimed that they had only used minimal force against the peaceful assembly.
One particular clip showed the scene where the crowd marching out of the KL Sentral were  met by a row of policemen.  The video is said to show  me leading the demonstrators running to  the front. The PDRM asserted that it was an evidence of provocation.
Subsequently the video has been broadcast on prime time TV almost daily, with the objective of depicting BERSIH rally as violent. This edited video does  not give the true picture of what happened at the tunnel that day.
The PDRM has launched an all-out media propaganda war to demonize BERSIH. Although the police did not specifically accused me for “charging”  the police, reports in mainstream media  insinuate that I and other demonstrators intended to “attack” or cause physical harm to the police officers.
This is far from the truth. From the video, it was clear that the policemen had their guns loaded with tear gas canisters. At the time, the crowd was trapped in an tunnel-like enclosed area. The group included BERSIH chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah, Hadi Awang, Lim Kit Siang and other leaders and participants.
For anybody in that circumstances could notice the danger of staying in the enclosure once the police fire the tear gas. The video footage only showed a few people rushed out toward the open air, and tear gas was fired directly into the crowd.
The video also showed that the police fired the tear gas canisters horizontally into the enclosed zone non-stopped. The police action was evidently malicious and intended to cause maximum harm to the peaceful group without warning. It was unprovoked and unwarranted action. It was police brutality
Hundreds of people were eye-witnesses to the incident. The edited video cannot distort the truth. The government should accept the responsibility of excessive force against peaceful BERSIH rally. The witch-hunt whether on me or other participants cannot absolve the guilt of brutality on 9 July.
The video also showed that the police fired the tear gas canisters horizontally into the enclosed zone non-stop. At least 12 shells were fired in a matter of a couple of minutes. 3 persons suffered injury to the head. The injuries suffered by Anwar Ibrahim’s  bodyguard Fayyadh Afiq Al Baqry who had his left cheekbone crushed were particularly serious.
The police action was evidently malicious and intended to cause serious injury to the defenseless demonstrators. Use of tear gas in such a manner has been known to cause death.The incident was eye-witnessed by hundreds of people and even the edited video cannot distort the truth. The government should accept the responsibility of excessive force against peaceful BERSIH rally. The witch-hunt whether on me or other participants cannot absolve the guilt of brutality on 9 July. I call upon the police to cooperate fully with the impending SUHAKAM inquiry where I believe the facts will be presented by all interested parties in a public inquiry. Let the public then judge based on those facts.
Tian Chua
Vice President Parti Keadilan Rakyat
Member of Parliament

Indonesian Mob Leaders Get Away with Murder

Image
Idris bin Mahdani. the leader of the pack
District court hands out slaps on the wrist for religious fanatics who murdered sect members in February
In what Human Rights Watch called “a sad day for Indonesia,’ a court Thursday gave astonishingly light sentences to religious fanatics who led a frenzied mob on that killed three members of the Ahmadiyah sect on video to between three and six months in jail.

An estimated 1,000 Muslims descended on the Ahmadiyah compound in the western Java town of Cikeusik in Banten province in February. The videotape, shot secretly, went viral across the world, showing the mob running down three men as they fled for their lives and beating them to death with rocks and sticks.

As hundreds of people prayed outside the Serang District Court, the leader, Idris bin Mahdani, was convicted of nothing more than illegal possession of a machete. He was jailed for five months and 15 days. Dani bin Misra, a 17-year-old who was shown in the film smashing a victim’s skull with a stone, received three months for manslaughter. None of the 12 who stood trial faced murder charges.

The light sentences for the 12 drew condemnation from human rights activists as well as the US Embassy in Jakarta, which in a prepared statement said that “We are disappointed by the disproportionately light sentences handed down on [Thursday] in the trials of twelve individuals implicated in the brutal murder of three Indonesian citizens during the February 6 attack on an Ahmadiyah community in Cikeusik, Pandeglang, Banten Province,” The US, the statement said, “encourages Indonesia to defend its tradition of tolerance for all religions, a tradition praised by President Obama in his November 2010 visit to Jakarta.”

Religious intolerance has been reaching deeper and deeper into the Indonesian population, with 30 percent of those polled in a study in 2010 approving of violence against members of the Ahmadiyah sect, a Muslim offshoot that preaches that its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the last Islamic prophet, succeeding Muhammad.

However, other religions and sects have become increasingly concerned about Islamic fundamentalist intolerance and outright violence as well in what has always been regarded as one of Islam’s most tolerant societies. Just days after the mob killed the Ahmadis, an angry mob destroyed three Christian churches after a local court in Temanggung, central Java, handed down a five-year sentence against a Christian man accused of blasphemy against Islam. The protesters were demanding a stiffer sentence, authorities said.

Even Shiite Muslims have expressed concern. The thugs in the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) have been intimidating non-Muslims, threatening pork sellers and raiding night clubs – most recently in Surabaya in East Java against a giant prostitution complex. Attacks have even taken place against performances of wayang kulit, the famed centuries-old shadow puppet play.

While other religions and segments of society have watched the events with growing unease, however, it is the Ahmadiyah who have taken the brunt of the violence. That stems from a 2005 ruling by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). The fatwah, which called Ahmadiyah’s teachings blasphemous, has been compounded, particularly in the last two to three years, by the seeming indifference of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who has displayed relatively little ambition to rein in Islamist extremists and outright thugs acting in the name of religion. The government has done little to discourage violence against the Adhmadiyah and Yudhoyono himself has never called on the police to arrest the hooligans.

Human Rights Watch Deputy Director for Asia Phil Robertson said.that “instead of charging the defendants with murder and other serious crimes, prosecutors came up with an almost laughable list of ‘slap-on-the wrist’ charges. The Cikeusik trial sends the chilling message that attacks on minorities like the Ahmadiyah will be treated lightly by the legal system. This is a sad day for justice in Indonesia.”

Talking a good game with our PM – Shannon Teoh

JULY 28 – Football is the people’s game. It’s simple, engaging and enjoyed by both players and supporters.

But Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s football analogy this morning urging Malaysians to move from tolerance to acceptance was none of the above.

He called our diversity the “strength of our nation. As in a football match, people from our various communities help one another for the success of our team.

“If one of us score an own goal, we will lose. This (solidarity) value is important to us all, no matter the colour of our skin or how we look,” said the prime minister.

It remains unclear which team exactly he wants us to play for or support. On the one hand, there is 1Malaysia. There is also the power-sharing model under Barisan Nasional (BN) which isn’t all that bad an idea.

On the other, are the likes of Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Perkasa. Both are allowed to do or say as they please, like monsters that have grown too big for their master to control. Nothing seems to escape their fury – Chinese, Christians, Hindus, Jews and even Muslims who support PAS.

And we’re not done there.

It’s difficult to imagine that our prime minister has forgotten that even the use of the word Allah or Malay-language bibles by Christians is not tolerated. After all, he just met the Pope, didn’t he?

Meanwhile, Indians had to tolerate being called pariahs in schools as part of the Malay literature syllabus.

Our prime minister cannot have forgotten that he brooked no dissent from Bersih, demanding the electoral reforms group step off the streets and into a stadium, and then telling the movement to gather outside of Kuala Lumpur at the eleventh hour.

When they ignored him, police dispersed tens of thousands with tear gas and water cannon and arrested nearly 1,700 demonstrators, leaving scores injured and an ex-soldier dead.

Malaysians though, are asked to tolerate, no, accept that t-shirts of Chin Peng are a threat to national security, that nothing can be done about inflation and subsidy cuts and that big money deals fall under the Bumiputera agenda.

Just to top up the list, Najib’s administration also does not tolerate alleged Wahhabism or the colour yellow.

I have a football analogy too. Teams wear different colours on the pitch. The point is to ensure there is no mixup and everyone knows who and where their teammates are.

Najib’s mixed signals are leaving the public confused as to whether it’s Team Umno, Team Barisan Nasional, Team Malaysia, or even Team Najib that we’re rooting for.

Maybe if he made a clear stand on all the above instead of washing his hands of the actions of the civil service, police and party machinery, we’d finally be able to figure out who “our team” really is.

Najib is a Manchester United fan. But surely he must know that the Red Devils have not gotten to where they are simply by talking about not scoring own goals.

They get down on the pitch and score a few goals at the other end too.

* Shannon Teoh is a senior reporter with The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Malaysia To Assist Muslims In Cambodia

From Rhoma Ahmad Razali

PHNOM PENH, July 28 (Bernama) -- Malaysia will provide aid to the Muslim community in Cambodia through a micro-credit system to facilitate the community to obtain loans for business.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the system to be established would be similar to the Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, a joint-venture between Malaysia's non-governmental organization, Yayasan Restu with Cambodian Islamic Development Foundation.

"I have discussed with Othsman Hassan, the President of the foundation to create a system with a capital of USD1 million (RM3.2 million) and we are looking for sponsors.

"I have also discussed with Yayasan Restu President, Datuk Abdul Latiff Mirasa so that the building of the Cambodian Yayasan Restu is made the office for its operation," he said when speaking at the opening of the Cambodian Yayasan Restu office here Thursday.

He said to ensure that the desired objectives are met, a few individuals from the local Muslim community have been identified and will be brought to Malaysia to learn and manage the system.

He said with the system in place, it was hoped it would help the Muslim community, especially those from the low income group, to start small business to empower their living standard.

Towards this, Abdul Latiff said Yayasan Restu in Cambodia would ensure the Muslim community was assisted and received appropriate support.

He said the organization's office here would be a centre for training and to gain knowledge on culture and Islam.

"By studying the community's culture here, Yayasan Restu will help train the youths and adults seek more profound knowledge of their culture and the teaching of Islam," he said.

PSM 6: Vigils in KL, Penang tonight

Vigils demanding the release of the PSM 6 are being held in Brickfields, KL and Speakers’ Square, Penang tonight.

The vigil at Brickfields tonight - Photograph: Nashita M N
2130: The crowd has dispersed from Brickfields – but some of them have moved to Bukit Aman to continue their vigil. See picture below:
Vigil moves to Bukit Aman - Photograph: Nashita M N

They have now dispersed. 2040: Police have just ordered the crowd of 200 at the Brickfields vigil to disperse and are poised to move in.
At Speakers’ Square, close to 100 people have gathered for a vigil held at short notice. Low-key police presence and they are not interfering – so far.