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Friday, August 12, 2011

Evangelist group calls church split ‘wild allegations’

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Malaysia’s main Christian evangelist group has said it does not have to defend independent evangelical churches from “wild allegations”, denying there is a split among Christians over attempts to proselytise Muslims.

The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship’s (NECF) denial came after The Malaysian Insider reported that mainstream churches are disappointed with some independent Christian groups for being too assertive in sharing their faith with Muslims and other religious communities.

“Why should I defend the group? There’s no proof!” NECF chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng (picture) told The Malaysian Insider heatedly yesterday.

“There is definitely no split in the church,” he stressed.

Eu pointed out that such allegations were not brought up when the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) and the NECF met last Tuesday in Penang.

The inter-denominational meeting occurred before the controversial Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raid on a thanksgiving dinner in the evangelical Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya last Wednesday night.

Asked if independent Christian churches shared their faith with Muslims openly, Eu said: “I don’t think they share openly.”

After being pressed further on whether such groups proselytised Muslims at all, he replied: “They always share. Anyone shares the message. They share the message.”

Eu also said he received phone calls from various churches expressing concern with The Malaysian Insider report.

“You guys ought to guard your reputation. You used to have a reputation where you are truthful; now, you are as good as Utusan (Malaysia),” he said, referring to the Umno-owned Malay newspaper.

“This split among Christians — people can tell this is a lie,” added the senior pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle.

Lawyers for 10 of the 12 Muslims who attended the dinner at DUMC were informed that Jais was now investigating the incident under section 4 of Selangor’s Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988.

The section makes it an offence for a person to “persuade, influence or incite” a Muslim to be inclined to any non-Islamic religion, become a follower or a member of a non-Islamic religion or forsake or disfavour Islam.

Christians comprise 9.2 per cent out of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population, according to the latest census.

According to Vatican statistics, Catholics comprise 3 per cent. Protestants, who include Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians, among others, make up the majority at 6 per cent, while the minority are independent evangelical groups.

Veiled Egyptian woman kidnapped, gang-raped

Egyptian women continue to struggle with the daily sexual violence against them.

CAIRO: In a new indication that sexual violence is not restricted to how one dresses in Egypt, a fully-veiled woman was kidnapped and gang-raped for an entire day in Giza. Police arrested five men and have charged them with kidnapping, rape and robbery.

Investigators are looking for another three suspects allegedly involved in the crime.

The woman, 33, unidentified by local reports, was kidnapped from the neighborhood of Imbaba by a Toktok driver, a small one-man motorbike vehicle that has linked to many crimes in the area, including many thefts.

The Giza governorate has pushed efforts to regulate the transportation means, but has failed many times, including only the day before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

The woman was reportedly out buying groceries before three men dragged her into the vehicle, covered her eyes and took her to an unknown apartment. The three called five other friends and they all took turns raping her for a full day, according to the woman’s testimonies.

The five who have been arrested have confessed to police and told them about the others who were involved in the crime. One of the arrested men had been released from prison three-months earlier, also kidnapping and raping a woman in the neighborhood of Haram, also in Giza.

The woman also said that they stole a sum of 3,000 Egyptian pounds she was using to buy Ramadan groceries.

Internationally Cairo is know for its safety, but growing and daily sexual harassment and assaults have left many questioning the city’s status.

According to a 2008 study published by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) 60 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women are harassed on a daily basis. The ECWR warned that harassing foreign women would lead to the loss of millions of pounds. A number of foreigners said they would never return to Egypt. 14 percent of all foreign women said they would either never return to Egypt or tell their friends not to visit.

With violence against women on the rise, many wonder if the authorities will do anything to impede these crimes.

“The man was in jail before for kidnap and rape, yet he was let go and he did it again?” asked Mona Hassan, a 28-year-old researcher in Cairo. She then asked the question that is certain to be on many women’s minds in the near future: “What will they do now with these men? We need harsh laws that ensure a woman’s right to walk on the street. It is unacceptable what is happening to Egypt and its women.”


Klang Valley: A ticking time bomb

Thousands of Malaysians migrate to the Klang Valley in search of opportunities, paving the way for an regional economic imbalance.

PETALING JAYA: It is no secret that Klang Valley is Malaysia’s most attractive economic hotspot.

Consisting of vibrant population centres such as Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Klang, the region is teeming with a myriad of business, education and entertainment prospects.

These factors, International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) professor Alias Abdullah said, have led to people flocking to the economic centre from all over the country.

Because of this, Alias estimated that at least 40% of Selangor residents were in fact domestic migrants.
“Migration has been happening from other states towards Selangor. Selangor has a higher population not because of natural growth but because of migration. At least 40% to 50% (of its residents come) from other states,” he said.

Alias said Klang Valley had always captured the attention of investors, more so than the rest of Malaysia.
“We cannot deny that Klang Valley is the most attractive area for investment. The concentration has been here for quite some time… three or four decades.

“You have the increase of land value, good infrastructure, centralisation, the number of public and private universities,” he said.

At 5.462 million people, Selangor has the highest population in the country, according to the 2010 Population and Census Report.

The state also has 2.1 million more people than Johor, its nearest contender (3.348 million), and recorded an average annual population growth rate at 2.7% (from 2000 to 2010).

Selangor’s rapid growth was also displayed under the 2010 Preliminary Count Report.

Once the state’s most sparsely populated district, Sepang experienced heavy average annual population growth rates, with 7.62% from 1991 to 2000 and 7.81% from 2000 to 2010.

Recorded at having 48,941 inhabitants in 1991, it now has 212,050 people.

KL’s neighbour, Petaling, also saw a heavy influx of residents over the past 20 years, nearly tripling from 633,165 in 1991 to 1,782,375 by 2010.

The nation’s capital recorded a population of 1.67 million last year, with an annual average population growth rate of 1.9%.

Currently having a population density of 6,891 (the highest in the country), KL was estimated to have 2.2 million people by 2020.

‘KL, a powerful magnet’

Alias said that Sepang’s population explosion could be attributed to the building of the nearby Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), and federal territory Putrajaya.

Petaling, too, was experiencing an incredibly rapid growth, with the IIUM professor and urban planner claiming a “300% to 400% increase” of development in the past decade.

“Population has increased in Selangor because people have bought houses there. They’re not from Selangor, but they stay there and work in KL,” he said.

However, the heavy concentration of development in the Klang Valley often led to other economic corridors being left out.

Regions such as Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Pahang through their economic corridors, he said, had to fight for the government’s attention.

“They cannot compete with Greater KL. I don’t see it as being neglected but it is depending on the pull factor.

“Other states have economic development programmes but the KL magnet is so powerful that it attracts a lot of things and diminishes other projects,” he said.

Alias added that when it came to weighing the benefits, businessmen often chose KL because of the obvious and larger returns.

“People will say, ‘Why should I open a business in Terengganu when I can make more money in KL?’” he said.

Alias warned that this concentration combined with heavy migration to the Klang Valley would lead to a “regional imbalance” if left unchecked.

“You will see a lot of traffic problems, a frequent increase of goods, facilities and utilities. Even energy consumption will increase, as you’ll have to provide more energy and water supplies,” he said.

A quick search on local property website revealed a disparity in house prices. Most double-storey terrace houses in Ipoh were priced at RM400,000 or less.

Many double-storey terrace houses in Petaling Jaya, however, could fetch more than RM500,000 each, with RM300,000 considered as low-range for a single unit.

Water, too, was a major concern.

“With rapid development, rivers will be wiped out and the government will have to invest a lot of infrastructure (to get water) from other states,” said Alias.

A “tense (living) environment”, he said, would follow suit, especially with residents having to work longer hours and spending more time commuting to their jobs.

He also predicted that fast-growing cities could lead to a rise in family problems as well as an increase in crime rate.

Alias said both federal and state governments needed to be careful if it wanted to avoid these issues.

Economic decentralisation needed

Agreeing with him was Monash University associate professor Phua Kai Lit, who suggested economic decentralisation as a solution.

“What the government can do is decentralise some of the growth, maybe locate to other areas besides the Klang Valley,” he said.

“They should look at places like East Malaysia as the growth poles where people will migrate to but they’re not because they have economic problems,” he added.

Doubling as a sociologist, Phua said that East Malaysia’s lack of opportunities was a primary reason why many there crossed over to the Peninsula.

“You need to encourage foreign investment, provide physical infrastructure, build ports, provide (adequate) water and power supplies and that sort of thing.
“If you decentralise, you wouldn’t have this problem,” he said.

Britain’s ‘broom army’ sweeps away vandalism

Using social networks, Britain's new local heroes got together to sweep away the piles of rubble and broken glass left behind in the trouble-hit inner cities.
by Anna Tomforde
LONDON: The broom, a sign of order and tidiness, has become the symbol of British opposition to the current wave of rioting, vandalism and destruction.

Middle-class housewives, equipped with dust-pans and rubber gloves, march fearlessly into the piles of rubble and broken glass left behind in the trouble spots of Britain’s inner cities.

Amidst the depressing sequence of violence and destruction, the emergence of the “broom army” has been universally welcomed as a positive by-product of chaos, anger and grief.

Ironically, the new local heroes – like the rioters – use social networks like Twitter to gather supporters.
They have gained praise from the highest places.

“We have seen the worst of Britain but I also believe we have seen some of the best of Britain: the million people who have signed up on Facebook to support the police; communities coming together in the clean-up operations,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.

“We have more broomsticks than Hogwarts,” is a phrase often heard in the upmarket London district of Clapham, which was hit by large-scale rioting and looting earlier this week.

When London Mayor Boris Johnson went to inspect the damage in Clapham, the crowd berated him for alleged police failures to “protect” their homes and businesses.

“Where’s your broom?” they shouted, pushing one into his hand.

Their example has been copied up and down the country, where the helpers, also known as the Riot Wombles, flood in at dawn to clean the streets.

Britain still Britain

The movement was – partly – born out of public anger with a perceived lack of police protection during the peak of rioting on Monday.

Campaign founders Dan Thompson and Sophie Collard said they were spurred into action by the fires and looting in Croydon, south London, where a large furniture store went up in flames.

“The most shocking thing was the TV footage of fires spreading across London,” said Thompson, a 37-year-old artist.

“The pictures of the furniture warehouse in Croydon burning was like something out of the Blitz,” he said, in a reference to the 1940-41 Nazi Luftwaffe attacks on London.

The response to the call had been amazing, Thompson told London’s Evening Standard. “I originally thought we might get 10 to 20, then photos came in of hundreds.”

Peter Dobson, whose cafe was vandalised, said: “Everyone is getting together, it’s not just a few people – it’s the whole community.”

In Liverpool, 16-year-old Anna Mason swept the streets. “I was sick of the senseless smashing up of our communities. It’s good to see there’s a real sense of community with people from all over
Liverpool – a vicar, mums and students – coming to help,” she told the BBC.

Lucy Inglis, a 34-year-old London-based historian, said she felt the broom was the “perfect symbol for the civilised majority”.

“It’s great to see so many people with brooms. It’s really ordinary and domestic and conjures up the sanctity of the home. A new broom sweeps clean what has gone before,” she said.

Times journalist Caitlin Moran says there’s something very British about the clean-up movement.
“We’ve gone from being terrified to being united. It’s a lovely sign that Britain is still Britain. People are making the best of it.”

Read my lips: 'arah' means 'advice'

First read the Malaysiakini news report below. Then read the copy of the ‘surat arahan’ or ‘advisory letter’ below it that Nazri is talking about. 'Arah' may mean 'directive' or 'instruct' to those of you who do not speak Bahasa Malaysia well enough. But it means 'advice' to those like Ministers who do. This is what we call ‘lost in translation’.
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Nazri: I didn't instruct the GLCs, I only advised them
Hafiz Yatim, Malaysiakini
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has admitted that he sent a letter to government-linked companies (GLCs) on Aug 8 over a settlement with former Malaysia Airlines chairperson Tajudin Ramli, but denied instructing them to drop their suits against the tycoon.
Nazri said he made the move in his capacity as de facto law minister, and it came on the heels of moves by Tajudin over the past several months to come to a settlement with the government over the companies' suits against him.
It was therefore not compulsory for the companies to settle their suit, but it was conveyed to them that it was advisable, given the possible scenarios the new situation had presented, said Nazri.
The alternative was for the GLCs to further slug it out with Tajudin, without a guarantee as to when it would be resolved.
“Tajudin had been in contact with us for the past six months, proposing a settlement.
"I wrote to the GLCs after gaining approval from Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, and as a law minister to the effect, as this case has been going on for so long - six years," Nazri told Malaysiakini when contacted.
He said it was "not necessary" for the GLCs to follow his advice, as it was up to them to decide based on what they deemed to be in their best interests.
"If they feel they can win, they can continue with fighting the suit. As a legal entity, they have the right to make their own decisions.
“I only wrote to them to remind them Tajudin had approached (the government) with a view to settle, and I merely asked them to look into it,” he said.
The minister said further that the court cases could drag on without an assurance of victory for any party.
“Let's say this case goes into trial, it will take another five to six years and on appeal. It may (even) take another 10 years. We do not know whether the suit will go our way or in favour of Tajudin. Hence, that is why the out-of-court settlement was proposed.
“However, if we settle, it must not be at an additional cost to the government. We do not want a payout,” he said, admitting that some of the GLCs, like MAS, were in a bad shape.
Earlier today, former deputy prime minister-turned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim questioned Nazri's actions in writing to the GLCs.
Instructions to GLCs to drop their legal suits should come from the finance ministry, not Nazri, said Anwar.
Some GLCs upset
It is learnt several GLCs had disapproved of a settlement as some of them had already obtained summary judgments against Tajudin, who some said had provided a weak defence.
Some familiar with the case said such a move would not go well with the principle of corporate governance as GLCs were still public limited companies. The law requires the board of directors of these companies to decide.
It is not for someone outside the company to issue directives, and some even questioned how someone could direct a company to withdraw lawful suits.
It is learnt that Tajudin took loans from several financial institutions, totalling in excess of RM1 billion, which some alleged he was not able to repay when he took over MAS, resulting in the on-going suits.
Asked about this, Nazri said the GLCs have to look at the context that they were faced with counter-suits by Tajudin.
On the surface, the minister pointed out, when you get a summary judgment it means you win without a trial and that is just on the surface.
“However, on appeal it may go for a full trial and there is no way of telling who will be victorious. But I stress, it is upto the GLCs,” he said.
Nazri also explained that the matter came before Federal Court judge Justice Md Raus Sharif today, who was upset that the case had taken so long. Raus is the managing judge for the commercial division.
That is why, Nazri said, there was this proposed settlement.
“If nothing can be worked out by Sept 29, which is supposed to be the last date, the matter may go for a full trial,” he said, adding that between now and then, the parties concerned could discuss the matter.
Not afraid of skeletons in closet?
Asked whether the suggestion for a settlement was because the government was afraid of skeletons coming out of the closet if it were to go into full trial as there was a potential number of former VVIPs being involved, Nazri denied such a notion.
“Actually, we (the government) are not afraid if the case goes for trial,” he said, without elaborating further.
In Tajudin's counter-claim, he alleged that he had been instructed by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to take over MAS and this was against his will.
His defence is mainly about doing national service and that there was a conspiracy to get him to fail.
Nazri's letter comes on the heels of questionable actions taken by the minister and government, such as the replacement of lawyers who had been involved in the case for the past five or six years.
It is learnt four to five well-known legal firms acting on behalf of the GLCs in their suits against Tajudin and on the counter-claims he filed have been replaced by the Putrajaya-based law firm of Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak, which is well known among legal circles to be aligned to Umno.
According to sources, some of the GLCs are not happy that Hafarizam Wan & Aisha Mubarak had called them up and showed them the letter, directing them to transfer all files to that firm.
“Never in history has there been a case where lawyers direct their clients to appoint them,” a senior lawyer said.

Jais: It was a check, not raid

The Star 

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) said it did not conduct a raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church, adding that it was only a “check”.

Jais director Marzuki Hussin said the “check” to look for Muslims was conducted together with the police at 9.45pm on Aug 3, adding that this was provided for under the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995.

He said the department had received information that a buka puasa was to be held together with a thanksgiving dinner at the church.

Marzuki said discussions with the organisers was held outside the function hall of the church, which did not constitute a raid, adding that Jais had not acted aggressively or trespassed into the church.

“In fact, Jais officials asked for permission to enter and were allowed into the hall where they waited. They conducted the check after the ceremony was over at 11pm,” he said.

Stressing that Jais enforcement officers did not act aggressively that night, Marzuki said he was disappointed that Jais' action had been deemed unethical, although the officers were only performing their duties.

“Only after the ceremony, which was attended by about 100 people, was over did we perform the check.

“In less than 10 minutes, Jais enforcement officers and the police were directed to leave the hall by the organisers.

“Although the act challenges the powers of Jais and the police in enforcing the law on Muslims, Jais and the police did not detain the organisers or make any arrest,” he said.

He said 12 Muslims were present, adding that they only had their particulars recorded and were asked to attend a counselling session with Jais.

Christian Mother Beaten for Her Faith

On July 29, 2011, a group of Muslims assaulted a Pakistani Christian woman who was holding weekly prayers for believers in her home — which happens to be located in front of a mosque.

Please keep our sister and her family in your prayers.

‘Post-mortem showed youth killed by cops’

A post-term on Mohd Hanafi Omar, one of the three youths killed at Glenmarie last year, shows that he had died from three gunshot wounds, says the family's lawyer.

PETALING JAYA: One of the three youths who were shot dead by police last year in Glenmarie had died from three gunshot wounds – two to the cheek and one to the chest – which was fired at a 45 degree angle.

This finding, said the family’s lawyer, reaffirmed that the three were murdered by police in cold blood.

The post-mortem report on Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22, was released to the press by lawyer N Surendran today outside the Petaling Jaya police headquarters.

The family had lodged a fresh report urging the police to open an investigation of the case for murder.
Previously, the post-mortem reports on Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 15, and Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, indicated that they were shot at close range.

The family believed that gun shot residue found on one of the boy’s jackets and the angle in which the shots were fired showed that the police may have forced the boys to kneel.

“Hanafi’s post-mortem coincides with what we believed all along – these were shots to kill these youngsters. If the purpose was to stop them, one shot is enough. Why was Hanafi shot so many times? Are they trying to stop a 600-pound gorilla? I’m not sure,” said Surendran, who was with the family today.

“Police said they were bank robbers, but there were coins and RM2.40 in Hanafi’s clothes. Where’s the cash then? The police version is unbelievable,” said Surendran.

False information

He also added that the chemistry report showed bullets from three different types of pistols, indicating that there were more than one policemen who had opened fire.

He said that the police should open an investigation paper and classify it as murder.

Surendran also wanted the police to investigate deputy Selangor police chief SAC I A Thiaveegan for giving false information in a criminal investigation.

Thaiveegan, then acting as police chief, had defended his officers’ actions by describing the three dead as “seasoned criminals”.

“He should be investigated under Section 201/203 of the Penal Code and his men under 218 for lodging a false report on what actually happened,” he said.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also present, asked if the police force had a “shoot to kill policy”, saying this amounted to a criminal conspiracy to cover up.

She said she would be bringing this case up to Parliament when it reconvenes.

“The prime minister, home minister and the Inspector-General of Police must give us immediate answers.

They are trying to cover this up and not following it up at all. This is a clear-cut murder case… it looks like our youths are being killed right in front of us, and they say nothing? Are they simply just believing the lies spewed by the police?” asked Nurul.

‘No closure for family’

Petaling Jaya City Council member and PKR legal director Latheefa Koya said that police have halted investigations after Thaiveegan’s statement that the killings were justified.

“There has been no closure for the family; if the authorities don’t do anything, we don’t know what we’ll do next. Is this how police investigate? Put people under Emergency Ordinance or just shoot to kill?” she said.

The Glenmarie shooting has been highly publicised, and this was the third time the families of the the three youths are lodging a report.

Several memorandums have been handed to the police, who promised to look into the matter. Recently, the Selangor police had suggested an inquest but the family refused, saying they wanted nothing less than a murder investigation.

On Nov 13, the three youths were gunned down in Jalan Kerjaya, Glenmarie, after they were alleged to have robbed a petrol station in Jalan U1/1 nearby.

In the incident, the police claimed the three youths were members of the notorious “Geng Minyak” and were wanted for preying on petrol stations in isolated areas.

The trio were apparently fleeing the scene when they bumped into a team of policemen who were patrolling the area.

A car chase ensued. When the car skidded and stalled by the roadside some 2km away, the police said the trio alighted and tried to assault them, forcing them to open fire.

'DBKL the wrong party to haul to court,' says Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof in striking out suit of 41 families.
KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here today struck out a suit brought by Bukit Jalil estate residents against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) for using the Emergency Ordinance to evict them from their homes.

The decision was yet another blow to the residents as yesterday, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision in May not to grant an interim inter-parte injunction to the residents.

The 41 families living in Bukit Jalil estate have been at loggerheads with DBKL since the latter issued eviction notices to the residents in March under Emergency Ordinance.

The residents argued that the Emergency Ordinance could only be used to evict squatters, not former estate workers.

The residents’ lawyer, Ragunath Kesavan, said Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof struck out the suit in her chambers today on the grounds that they had filed the suit against the wrong party.

“Though DBKL is planning to destroy their homes, Zabariah said it was the wrong party for the residents to haul to court.

“What the judge is effectively saying is that estate workers have no rights in this country and that their grouses mean nothing to the court,” said Ragunath.

No justice for the poor

Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary general S Arutchelvan said Zabariah probably dismissed the suit to avoid a full hearing of the case which was scheduled for October.

“She would have had to hear out the 41 families if it goes to a full hearing,” said Arutchelvan.

The court, he added, had set a bad precedence by allowing DBKL to use the Emergency Ordinance to evict estate workers.

“This is probably the first time in Malaysia that an arbitrary law is allowed to be used to evict former estate workers,” said the PSM leader.

Although the residents are planning to appeal Zabariah’s verdict, Arutchelvan said it was obvious that they needed a political solution to the issue.

“We have sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in March but have yet to receive any feedback.

“Since DBKL is a government body, we will hold the government responsible for DBKL’s actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bukit Jalil estate committee treasurer K Balakrishnan said it was clear that the court would not dispense justice to the poor.

“But we have lived there for four generations and will not back down without fighting to claim our rights,” said Balakrishnan who is also Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator.

‘Ex-med student fights for gullible husband’

The wife of an EO detainee who claims to be a former medical student believes that her husband has been framed.

KUALA LUMPUR: She was a bright student who purportedly scored 13A1s in her SPM examination and spent two years pursuing a medical degree in University Malaya.

But due to circumstances, V Santakumari claimed that she had to sacrifice her dream of becoming a doctor and resorted to collecting scrap metal and other recyclable items with her husband to make ends meet.

And now the 26-year-old mother of two, whose five-year-old son is a chronic heart patient, is fighting for her husband, whom she described as someone gullible and easily deceived.

K Navinkumar, 31, was detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) for his alleged involvement in the hijacking of a lorries but his wife is certain that he was framed. He was arrested in May.

Santakumari turned to the Human Rights Party (HRP) for help, and its leader P Uthayakumar had penned a letter to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Among others, the letter called for Navinkumar’s immediate release similar to the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders, whose arrest led to widespread criticism of the EO which provides for detention without trial.

Speaking to FMT, Uthayakumar said the arrest of the six drew international condemnation but numerous others were forced to suffer in silence because they were not prominent individuals.

“This is simply not fair,” stressed the lawyer, who himself was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) without trial after leading a massive street protest in 2007.

The EO had often been criticised as a convenient weapon in the police’s arsenal to throw suspected criminals behind bars without having to do the paperwork needed to charge them in court.

‘Police colluding with real culprits’

Uthayakumar also alleged that Navinkumar was abused during detention, including being burnt with cigarettes.

He also believes that the police had colluded with the real culprits to turn his client into a scapegoat.
The letter stated that due to financial constraints, Navinkumar, who hails from Ipoh, started working with a scrap metal dealer.

“He was asked to send his boss’ mother to the hospital for her check-ups and to take her to visit her other son at the Taiping prison. Sometimes, he was asked to deliver lorries to clients and was paid between RM30 and RM40 a day.

“On other days, he worked full-time collecting scrap metal. The local police knew this,” read the letter dated Aug 10.

Uthayakumar claimed that when the police detained Navinkumar’s employer, the man had implicated his client.

Following this, the employer’s business partners had urged Navinkumar to flee the state but the latter refused, because he had done nothing wrong.

The business partners were purportedly worried that if Navinkumar was arrested it would hamper efforts to secure the employer’s release.

But due to continued pressure, Uthayakumar said his client and his wife had become confused and went to Banting, Selangor, to stay with an acquaintance there.

The couple however returned home because they missed their children and resumed with their old job of collecting scrap metal and recyclable items.

While Navinkumar was later arrested, Uthayakumar said his client’s employer walked free after spending a mere three weeks under EO detention.

He alleged that Navinkumar had been physically abused by the police in order to extract a confession, but his client had refused to do so because he was innocent.

The letter also quoted one Inspector Vellu as telling Navinkumar that he was certain that the latter was innocent but his employer had submitted a petition which pinned all the blame on him.

No suspicious transactions

Uthayakumar also said that his investigation showed that Navinkumar had no savings and there were no records of suspicious transactions in his account.

“In fact, he defaulted on his house and car loans resulting in him being blacklisted. If he was the head of a hijacking syndicate, he would surely be leading a comfortable life,” read the letter.

Uthayakumar also stated that Navinkumar was unable to fork out the money needed to finance his wife’s education.

Pressed on the veracity of the claim that Santakumari was a former medical student, the HRP leader said: “I know it sounds unbelievable but I am convinced.”

Asked if he had seen the records, Uthayakumar said he had requested for it but the documents were currently in Santakumari’s mother-in-law’s house and there was some family misunderstanding.

“But I don’t see why she should lie about this and if you watch the video on the HRP website, you can see for yourself,” he added.

Uthayakumar also said that Santakumari did not secure a better job because she needed the flexibility to take care of her sick child.

‘Kami tidak teragak-agak untuk gempur’

Persatuan Veteran Tentera Melayu juga mahu agar MB Selangor tidak mencampuri urusan Jais yang menjalankan tanggungjawab bagi melindungi kepentingan agama Islam.
SHAH ALAM: Persatuan Veteran Tentera Melayu Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur (PVTM) memberi amaran keras kepada
Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim agar tidak bersikap ‘double standard’ berhubung tindakan Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) mahu mencegah penganut Islam dari murtad.

Presiden PVTM, Mohd Ali Baharom juga mahu agar Khalid tidak mencampuri urusan Jais yang menjalankan tanggungjawab bagi melindungi kepentingan agama Islam.

Beliau berkata amaran itu turut ditujukan kepada pihak pembangkang dan sekiranya ia gagal maka mereka tidak teragak-agak untuk menggempur mana-mana pemimpin yang mengaibkan Islam.

“Menteri Besar jangan biadap dan derhaka dengan Sultan (Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah). Jangan diperkudakan oleh pihak tidak bertanggungjawab sedangkan MB berjiwa Islam. Kami kecewa dan mahu MB mohon maaf kepada umat Islam dan Sultan,” katanya.

Ujar beliau, “amaran ini juga dituju kepada pembangkang. Ini bukan arahan Umno-Barisan Nasional tapi kami suara pahlawan.

“Harap pembangkang dengar masalah dan kami tidak akan teragak-agak untuk gempur mana-mana pemimpin yang mengaib dan memecah-belahkan orang-orang Islam,” katanya yang berpiket di luar Bangunan SUK dan turut disertai kira-kira 60 anggota.

Satu memorandum turut diserahkan kepada wakil Menteri Besar, Pegawai Media Tuan Nazuri Tuan Ismail, bagi menyatakan rasa tidak puas hati terhadap Menteri Besar.

Sementara itu Pengerusi NGO Petaling Jaya Armand Azha pula menyifatkan tindakan Jais bukan untuk menolak agama lain tetapi hanya mahu memartabatkan Islam.

“MB kalau tidak faham diam. Jais hanya jalankan amanah untuk hal ehwal agama dan Sultan Selangor. Jais nak martabatkan agama Islam bukan tolak agama lain,” katanya.




Pada 15 Mei setiap tahun warga Palestin dimana sahaja mereka terbuang akan menyambut hari Nakba - hari Malapetaka. Pada 15 Mei 1948 negara Israel telah di cacakkan ke bumi Arab. Semenjak tarikh itu warga Palestin dan Arab terus hidup dalam kesangsaraan. Tanah mereka telah dirampas. Mereka menjadi orang pelarian. Huru hara berterusan di bumi Arab kerana kerenah kaum Zionis Israel. Nakba ialah hari untuk memperingati kesampaian Malapetaka itu.

Pada 31 Ogos 1957 Tanah Melayu pula menerima Malapetaka. Ini terjadi apabila British meninggalkan kuasa pentabiran kepada United Malays National Organistion. Semenjak 31 Ogos 1957 anak semua bangsa di Tanah Melayu telah hidup dalam kesangsaraan. Dasar 'ketuanan Melayu' telah membawa Malapetaka kepada Tanah Melayu. Justeru, 31 Ogos adalah hari untuk memperingati kesampaian Malapetaka itu.

Pada bulan Ogos tahun 2011 ini saya akan cuba membawa para pembaca untuk memahami konsep dan intipati Malapetaka ini. Memahami Malapetaka 31 Ogos ini amat penting. Jika kita tidak tahu dari mana kita datang maka kita juga tidak akan tahu arah mana yang hendak kita tuju.

Dari sejarah Tanah Melayu, kita diberi tahu bahawa pada 20 Jun 1948 British telah mengistiharkan apa yang dipanggil 'darurat'. Untuk saya, darurat ini macam kita dalam kereta tetiba merasa sakit perut yang amat sangat. Maka kita berhenti dan mencari tandas. Kerana tidak berjumpa tandas maka kita terberak dalam belukar di tepi jalan. Kerana tidak ada sumber air maka kita dedat dengan daun. Apa yang saya kesahkan ini ialah suasana darurat. Tetapi pada tahun 1948 dahulu - tidak ada seorang pun warga Tanah Melayu yang dalam darurat. Tidak ada sesiapa yang hendak terberak di tepi jalan.

Apa yang berlaku ialah kuasa kolonial British telah di serang oleh Tentera Pembebasan Rakyat Malaya di bawah pimpinan Parti Komunis Malaya. Gerakan bersenjata ini bertujuan menghalau penjajah British dari Tanah Melayu. Dengan licik Britsih telah mengalihkan perjuangan untuk mendapat kemerdekaan ini kepada ‘darurat. Tidak ada apa darurat. Yang hendak terberak di tepi jalan kerana diserang oleh Tentera Pembebasan Rakyat Malaya ialah soldadu upahan British. Soldadu upahan inilah yang sedang dalam darurat.

Berjuang mengangkat senjata ini telah membuka lanskap politik baru ke Tanah Melayu. Kuasa kolonial yang dianggap gagah dan lengkap bersenjata kini telah diserang oleh gerila Tentera Pembebasan Rakyat Malaya. Kuasa kolonial British amat memerlukan bumi Tanah Melayu kerana dari bumi kita ini terdapat kekayaan bijeh dan getah. Punca ekonomi inilah yang ingin dipertahankan oleh penjajah. Politik ialah ekonomi. Memiliki kuasa politik memiliki punca ekonomi. Justeru penjajah British bertahan kerana lombong bijeh dan ladang getah.

Serangan bersenjata dari gerila pembebasan ini menjadikan kuasa kolonial terus berdarurat. Akhirnya British merancang satu strateji baru. Jika terus menjajah maka perjuangan bersenjata yang dipimpin oleh Parti Komunis Malaya ini akan merebak luas. Tuntutan untuk merdeka akan merebak untuk menjadi ajenda anak semua bangsa. Keadaan sedemikian amat bahaya untuk British.

Justeru, British memerlukan budak suruhan yang baik sebagai ganti sebelum mengundur. Dengan licik dan terancang British telah memasang dua ekor kuda. Saekor kuda bernama Onn Jaafar dan saekor lagi bernama Tunku Abdul Rahman. Seperti di Iraq hari ini kuasa kolonial Amerika memasang lebih dari saekor kuda. Ada kuda bernama Nouri al-Maliki, ada Jalal Talabani dan ada Tariq al-Hashmi.

Kuasa kolonial berkulit puteh sedar dengan memasang beberapa ekor kuda mereka akan dapat mencari barua yang setia. Terlalu ramai anak tanah jajahan yang bersedia untuk menjadi budak suruhan dan mengikut kata tuan kolonial. Taktik British dan kuasa kolonial cukup senang - siapa yang dapat membuktikan yang mereka lebih setia kepada tuan penjajah maka sosok itu akan dinobatkan. Inilah taktik kuasa kolonial dalam percaturan reapolitik. Ianya berlaku dahulu dan sedang dijalankan sekarang.

Di Tanah Melayu kuasa kolonial British telah memilih United Malay National Organsiation untuk menjadi barua mereka. Parti Kebangasan Melayu Muda, AWAS, API, Hisbul Musliamin, Parti Komunis Malaya - adalah parti-parti yang menentang British. Parti-parti ini mengangkat senjata menentang British. Parti ini akan membawa merdeka tetapi amat bahaya untuk kepentingan British. Ini berbeza dengan United Malay National Organisation yang bekerjasama dan menjadi barua British.

Buktinya apa yang saya tulis ini cukup jelas. Pada bulan Ogos ini cuba baca - tak perlu beli - akhbar milik United Malaya National Organisation. Akan penuh dengan dengan kesah melawan komunis. Inilah apa yang saya katakan Malapetaka. Ketika anak semua bangsa bangun melawan penjajah British, United Malay National Organisation diupah oleh British untuk menentang dan melawan orang yang menentang British. Orang angkat senjata lawan Britsih gerombolan ini angat senjata lawan orang yang lawan British. Inilah kerja barua. Inilah Malapetaka yang saya maksudkan.

Kita akan muntah taik setiap tahun apabila melihat Bukit Kepong dikaca tv. Memang betul ada serangan ke rumah pasong Bukit Kepong. Memang betul polis yang diserang ketika itu adalah polis Melayu. Tetapi polis Melayu ini adalah polis upahan British. Kerana mereka Melayu tidak semestinya apa yang mereka lakukan baik dan betul. Melayu bukan bermakna betul. Ada Melayu barua dan ada Melayu nasionalis.

Anak muda hari ini juga wajib diberitahu bahawa serangan Bukit Kepong itu dipimpin oleh Mat Indera. Mat Indera ialah seorang nasionalis kiri Melayu. Ini tidak terdapat dalam filem Bukit Kepong kerana United Malay National Organisation tidak mahu rakyat Malaysia tahu bahawa ada Melayu yang berani angkat senjata melawan British. Dan dalam Parti Komunis Malaya amat ramai ahlinya, kadernya dan pucuk pimpinan terdiri dari orang Melayu.

Dari awal lagi British telah menjalankan dasar pecah dan perentah. Melayu, China dan India tidak ada akan dibenarkan bersatu. Pada tahun 1947 apabila ada kerjasama dan setiakawan yang erat diantara bangsa-bangsa maka muncul Perlembagaan Rakyat. Jawapan British kepada Perlembagan Rakyat 1947 ialah melakukan penangkapan beramai ramai. Satu tahun kemudian Tanah Melayu diistiharkan darurat - perang kolonial bermula.

Dasar pecah dan perintah dan dasar rasisma British ini telah diambil oleh United Malay National Organsation untuk diguna pakai hingga ke hari ini. Justeru, sebagai contoh paling terbaru - kita lihat bagaimana media dan tv United Malay National Organisation cuba menunjukan kepada umum bahawa tidak ramai bukan Melayu yang turut serta dalam tunjuk perasaan Bersih pada 9 Julai dahulu. Maknanya gerakan Bersih ini tidak dapat sokongan dari masyarakat bukan Melayu. Ertinya 9 Julai gagal.

Walhal, hakikatnya demo Bersih 9 Julai adalah yang paling cool dan paling Malaysia. Anak semua bangsa telah turun berdemo. Mereka menyatakan bahawa Malaysia ini bukan milik Rosmah dan Najib. Malaysia bukan milik 'ketuanan Melayu'. Malaysia ini milik anak semua bangsa. Mereka ke jalan raya sebelum ke pilihanraya.

Taktik pecah dan perintah ini adalah taktik yang ampuh untuk digunapakai oleh pemerintah yang zalim. Lihat di Palestine. Nakba di Palestin berterusan hingga ke hari ini tanpa henti henti. Warga Palestin terus diserang oleh kaum Zionis. Bagitu juga di Tanah melayu, semenjak 31 Ogos 1957 dahulu, Malapetaka ini bukan berkurangan malah terus bertambah. Malapetaka yang dibawa oleh United Malay National Organisation ini dari hari ke hari semakin mencekek kehidupan warga.

Kaum Zionis di Palestin telah menggunakan rasisma sebagai senjata yang ampuh. Kaum Yahudi telah dinobatkan sebagai kaum terpilih bukan sahaja di dunia ini malah diakhirat juga. Di Tanah Melayu ini, United Malay National Organisation telah menggunakan falsafah ‘ketuanan Melayu’ dimana dikatakan manusia Melayu memiliki hak hak yang istemewa. Di heboh heboh dan dicanang ke hulu ke hilir bahawa tanpa ‘ketuanan Melayu’ dan tanpa United Malay National Organisation negara kita ini tidak mungkin wujud. Inilah apa yang saya katakan Malapetaka.

Hari ini secara dirancang melalui akta dan peraturan garis pisah bangsa-bangsa telah diwujudkan. Melalui hukum dan syarat yang disadur dengan agama, tembok pemisah telah didirikan. Setiakawan antara India, Melayu dan China tidak dibenarkan mengampoh budaya bangsa. Prasangka antara bangsa bangsa sengaja diatur dan di susun untuk memastikan orang ramai terus syak wasangka sesama sendiri. Suasana syak wasangka ini amat baik untuk United Malay National Organisation meneruskan kuasa. Inilah yang saya maksudkan dengan Malapetaka.

Ogos bulan Malapetaka ini sedang memperlihatkan kepada orang ramai bagaimana taktik pecah dan perentah dijalankan. Minggu lalu, tetiba media kita heboh dengan berita Melayu murtad. Berita Melayu makan dalam gereja. Berita tentang penganut agama Kristian bersedekah kerana berniat untuk memurtadkan Melayu. Semua yang berlaku ini sebenarnya ialah taktik United Malay National Organisation.

Sebelum berita Melayu murtad ini kita telah membaca berita kepala babi ditemui dalam kawasan masjid. Berita Masjid dilempar cat. Berita gereja dibakar.

Apa makna semua berita berita ini?
Semua ini adalah taktik dan strateji gerombolan United Malay National Organisation untuk menakut nakutkan Melayu. Manusia Melayu wajib terus ditakutkan. Jika manusia Melayu takut maka mereka akan mencari perlindungan. United Malay National sedang memasang lukah untuk memerangkap Melayu yang takut.

Apa dia Melayu yang takut?

Melayu yang takut adalah Melayu yang rendah diri. Melayu yang berjiwa hamba. Melayu yang sanggup mencium ke bawah duli. Melayu yang telah bagitu lama ditakut takutkan sehinggakan tidak lagi memiliki initiatif sendiri. Melayu yang takut ini cukup bijak dengan budaya bodek yang telah disebarkan oleh United Malay National Organisation. Melayu yang takut ini hanya sanggup menerima fatwa kerana tidak ada memiliki fikrah yang kritikal. Otak manusia Melayu yang takut ini telah di bonsaikan oleh United Malay National Organisation semenjak 31 Ogos 1957. Inilah dia Malapetaka yang menhimpap manusia Melayu. Justeru tarikah 31 Ogos ini sama-sama kita nobatkan sebagai hari Malapetjka untuk Tanah Melayu.(TT)

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Fitnah II: Najib, Rosmah lambatkan perbicaraan- Peguam

KUALA LUMPUR: Perbicaraan kes Fitnah II yang melibatkan Ketua Umum KEADILAN, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akan terpaksa ditangguhkan lagi jika Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan isterinya, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor masih enggan ditemubual peguambela Anwar.

Peguam Anwar, Sankara Nair berkata, perkara itu secara tidak langsung akan terus melambat-lambatkan lagi bicara kes itu yang sepatutnya memasuki peringkat pembelaan minggu hadapan.

“Jika mereka (pendakwa raya) tidak menyediakan semua saksi seperti dipersetujui sebelum hari Jumaat ini maka, perbicaraan tidak boleh diteruskan pada hari Isnin (depan),” kata Sankara Nair dalam satu Khidmat Pesanan Ringkas (SMS) kepada Keadilandaily.

Najib dan Rosmah termasuk dalam senarai saksi-saksi yang mahu ditemubual pasukan peguam Anwar sebelum perbicaraan bersambung Isnin depan.

Isnin lalu, Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah memutuskan semua saksi yang ditawarkan pendakwa raya kepada peguam Anwar perlu hadir untuk ditemubual peguam Anwar.

Termasuk di dalam senarai itu adalah Najib dan Rosmah serta bekas Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan dan bekas Ketua Polis Melaka, Datuk Rodhwan Yusof.

Selasa lalu merupakan percubaan pertama pendakwa raya untuk melengah-lengahkan perbicaraan apabila enggan meneruskan sesi temubual peguam Anwar bersama Musa Hassan dan Rodhwan Yusof atas alasan Anwar turut sama hadir.

Hakim Zabidin pada hari Rabu kemudian memutuskan Anwar berhak hadir dalam temubual yang berlangsung namun tidak dibenarkan bertanya soalan kepada saksi-saksi. Sehingga ke hari ini, Najib dan Rosmah masih lagi belum muncul untuk ditemubual peguam.

Peguam mahu memanggil Najib sebagai saksi kerana penglibatannya dalam kes tersebut, apabila mengaku berjumpa dengan pengadu Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan sebelum pemuda itu membuat laporan polis terhadap Anwar.
Saiful juga bertemu dengan pembantu khas Rosmah, Datuk Mumtaz Jaafar dan beberapa tokoh lain.
Pegawai Penyiasat kes itu, DSP Jude Pereira dalam keterangan di mahkamah pada Mac lalu mengaku mengambil keterangan Najib dan Rosmah berhubung kes berkenaan. Ia sekaligus mewajarkan Najib dan Rosmah untuk ditemubual  sebagai saksi dalam kes itu.

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Malaysian PR Move Backfires

Friedman makes nice with Najib
Government effort to plant stories tarnishes major TV networks worldwide 

(Asia Sentinel) The Malaysian government and Sarawak state Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud have been spending millions of dollars to plant favorable stories on some the world’s most influential television news networks, according to a Sarawak-based NGO.

According to the Sarawak Report, the news programs are being produced by Fact Based Communications, a London-based company also known as FCB Media, that describes itself on its website as an “European-based media and entertainment group specializing in television format creation, production and distribution.”

The story was posted on the Sarawak Report blog earlier this month, but appears to have escaped the notice of the mainstream media. However, the US television network CNBC announced on Aug. 4 that it was cancelling World Business, a program that airs in Europe and Asia, after the network learned that FBC Media was found to have a contract with Taib and had paid USS$70,000 to the APCO Worldwide public relations firm to lobby in Washington, DC on behalf of the Malaysian government. CNBC World has carried 10 interviews by FBC Chairman Alan Friedman with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak over the past two years.

The BBC also said it was pulling any FBC-created content pending an investigation. In addition, according to the US-based website Politico, CNN International was criticized for “lobbing softball questions” at Najib a week after Malaysian police arrested hundreds of protesters in the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9. John Defterios, the host of CNN International, was previously president of FBC Media.  CNN denied any bias.

Alan Friedman, the chairman of FBC Media, visited Taib twice in Kuching, Sarawak, to formulate a contract that “promised to transform the international image” of the Sarawak chief minister, who has suffered from horrendous publicity in the wake of convincing allegations that he had funneled billions of dollars from illegal timber sales out of the state into companies owned by his family in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Taib is being investigated by Swiss authorities on allegations that he has stashed millions of dollars in Swiss banks. Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption Commission has announced it would investigate the charges as well.

Taib, who has served as Sarawak’s chief minister for three decades, said he would step down after state elections earlier this year. Reportedly, both Najib and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad have urged him to leave office. However, after his party won the state elections, he reportedly is balking at stepping down.

According to FBC Media’s website, the company’s syndicated stories reach more than 300 million television households in seven languages in 100 countries and more than 30 of the world’s leading airlines.

As television news bureaus have continued to contract because of declining revenues, networks have been farming out more and more of their news feeds to organizations like FBC Media, some of which produce out-and-out propaganda for governments and corporations that is disguised as news. The stories are rarely if ever identified as having been produced at the behest of corporations or countries that paid the media agencies to produce them.

In an exhaustive 2006 study, the US-based Center for Media and Democracy identified 77 television stations in the US that collectively reached more than half of the US population using “video news releases,” or public relations videos from PR companies without disclosing their source. The clients, according to the center, included General Motors, Intel, Pfizer and Capital One.

“In each case, these 77 television stations actively disguised the sponsored content to make it appear to be their own reporting. In almost all cases, stations failed to balance the clients' messages with independently-gathered footage or basic journalistic research. More than one-third of the time, stations aired the pre-packaged VNR in its entirety,” the center said..

A request to speak to FBC Media chairman Friedman was deferred by an aide who said all requests were to be routed to Friedman’s email address. An email sent to Friedman wasn’t answered immediately.

However, the website says FBC Media’s “team of senior-level executives provides one-on-one strategic communications advice and support to government and corporate leadership as well as one-stop management of media buying and media partners. The team, the website said, “handles all relations with news channels and media partners in order to maximize prices, discounts and value for money for its clients.

“These face-to-face meetings with editors and senior representatives from leading publications ensure that our clients’ events stay firmly on their radar.” Elements of the process, the website said, include “Proactive news stories: managing the news agenda; Reactive news stories: reacting to the news agenda; Forward features: influencing the news agenda.”

Malaysia, according to Sarawak Report, is at the forefront of that trend. Television networks that have carried stories about Malaysia and particularly Sarawak include CNBC, CNN and BBC World, which is supported by the British government. All have carried programs by FBC Media, containing items promoting their multi-million dollar PR clients.

Taib is paying FBC Media RM15 million (US$5 million) annually to produce its reports, according to the website. The website singled out BBC World’s ‘Develop or Die’ series, which concentrates on Malaysian palm oil and the claim that “sustainable development is being used increasingly as a convenient argument by those in the richer world to protect their global economic dominance.”

Najib was said to have recommended FBC Media’s PR services to Taib, the website says, although it doesn’t reveal how it learned that information. It added that Najib, former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a number of Malaysian companies including the giant conglomerate Sime Darby are also FBC clients. The website carried a picture of former Prime Minister Badawi being interviewed by Friedman over a bottle of wine on Italian television.

Sarawak Report quoted Saifuddin Nasutian, the general secretary of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, as revealing that Malaysian budget records show that between 2008 and 2009 RM57.68 million was paid by the Prime Minister’s office to FBC Media to conduct a ”Global Strategic Communications Campaign” for the Malaysian government. RM29,337,650 was paid out in 2008 and RM28,350,000 in 2009.

The Malaysian government’s supplementary budget 2010, the website said, specifies “an amount of RM28,350,000 to pay the cost of agreement to implement the project Global Strategic Communications Campaign between the Malaysian Government and FBC Media (UK) Limited for the year 2009.″ A further RM42 million was spent in 2010 on “Public Affairs and Government Services and Strategic Communication, Public Relations and Press Outreach”, according to the latest supplementary budget.

The contract advocated that the campaign last for three years, but for the first year alone FBC´s services have amounted to US$ 5 million (RM15 million), plus expenses, the website said. For this Friedman is said to have offered a campaign across prime TV, online and print news media platforms “designed to convince international viewers that the Chief Minister’s government of Sarawak has been beneficial in bringing development to the people of Sarawak.”

For a further charge of US$55,000 a month (RM 162,000) Sarawak Report reported, the FBC Media contract also offers a separate campaign using online sites and “special blogging” in order to ”provide a blanket of positive coverage” about Taib and Sarawak in the Western media.

Why let Tajuddin go scot-free? — The Malaysian Insider

AUG 11 — Why?
Why let Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli get off the hook by ordering all government-linked companies, including Malaysia Airlines and the national debt restructuring company Danaharta, to cease all civil suits against the one-time corporate high-flyer?

That’s a question that Putrajaya has to answer.

After all, Danaharta has a judgment against the one-time telecommunications, tourism and transport czar and as at December 31, 2005, the amount outstanding was RM589.14 million.

On May 11, 2006, which also happened to be the original Umno’s 60th year, Danaharta and the subsidiaries commenced action to recover the money from the man trusted by Umno to helm Malaysia’s flag carrier.

So why this volte-face in Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s letter to the GLCs and Danaharta that the Finance Ministry will settle all outstanding civil suits against Tajuddin, a poster boy of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s plan to groom Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

“This is to inform you that the government of Malaysia and the Finance Ministry have agreed to settle all civil claims against Tan Sri Dato Tajuddin Ramli and others to be withdrawn immediately in view of the fact that the government and the Finance Ministry have agreed that the said cases will be settled out of court.

“For your information the government has given me the mandate to act for the government in this matter,” Nazri said in the letter sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

To add the incredulous nature of this flip-flop, Nazri’s letter also directs the lawyers acting for the GLCs and Danaharta to hand over their cases to the firm of Hasfarizam Wan and Aisha Mubarak, a known Umno lawyer.

Why an Umno lawyer? Is there any more blatant show of the nexus between business and politics in Malaysia?

Doesn’t it raise further suspicions about how this country is managed?

MAS was a profitable company when it was flogged off to Tajuddin in 1994 but by the time he left at the end of 2001, the state airline was in debt for RM9.5 billion. It has never recovered since then, despite going through an asset-stripping exercise and two business turnaround plans.

Just this week, the men who engineered MAS’s wide asset unbundling (WAU) in 2002 had to finally resort to getting the men behind Asia’s largest budget carrier AirAsia to help steer the loss-making state airline back to profitability.

But those who presided over MAS’s decline from one of Asia’s best airlines to an also-ran are not brought to account for their deeds. Fact is, MAS has lodged a police report against Tajuddin. Is that report now considered false?

For those outside the corridors of power in Putrajaya, there must be a need for accountability. If the likes of Tajuddin can go scot-free, then the politicians who absolved him will have to be accountable. Perhaps, in the next general election.

DAP Sacks Three Members For Breaching Party Discipline

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 (Bernama) -- The DAP has expelled three members for serious breach of party discipline, the chairman of its disciplinary committee, Tan Kok Wai, said Wednesday.

They are Puah Ju Kian of the Teluk Gadong branch, Yap Kon Min of the Serdang Baru branch and Tan Chew Wah of the Balakong New Village branch, he said in a statement.

The disciplinary committee held a hearing for the three on Aug 5 at the party's national headquarters and was satisfied that the explanations given by them could not justify their respective acts which had seriously jeopardised the party interest and breach of comradeship, he said.

Puah was expelled for mismanaging branch affairs, Yap for repeatedly and openly making defamatory and malicious accusations against party leaders and Chew Wah for repeatedly and openly making personal attacks against party leaders, he said.

They could appeal within 14 days against the committee's decision to the party's central executive committee pursuant to Clause VII Paragraph 3 of the party's constitution, he added.