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Saturday, August 13, 2011

12 individu Muslim beri keterangan 15 Ogos

Waran tangkap akan dikeluarkan jika mereka gagal hadir memberi keterangan, kata sumber dalaman Jais.

PETALING JAYA: Seramai 12 individu Muslim yang ditahan Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) ketika menghadiri majlis makan malam di Gereja Methodist Damansara Utama (DUMC), Seksyen 13 minggu lalu akan hadir memberi keterangan Isnin depan.

Perkara itu dimaklumkan oleh sumber dalaman bahagian penguatkuasaan Jais dan ini sudah
dimaklumkan kepada 12 individu berkenaan kelmarin supaya hadir di pejabat jabatan agama itu di Shah Alam.

Menurut sumber itu, peguam dari firma guaman Tetuan Lee Hishamuddin yang mewakil 10 daripada 12 individu Muslim itu memahami situasi terbabit dan membenarkan anak guam mereka hadir memberi keterangan kepada Jais.

“Sebelum ini, mereka sudah menerima surat untuk hadir memberi keterangan namun gagal berbuat demikian pada Selasa lalu.

Sedangkan mereka adalah saksi kepada kes penyebaran agama bukan Islam kepada Islam, jadi kita perlu memanggil mereka untuk merekodkan kenyataan.

“Peguam mereka sudah memahami keadaan ini. Peguam benarkan anak guam mereka untuk hadir. Namun jika masih gagal berbuat demikian maka waran tangkap akan dikeluarkan kepada 12 individu tersebut,” katanya kepada FMT.

Pada 3 Ogos lalu, Jais menyerbu gereja DUMC selepas mendapat maklumat kehadiran sebilangan orang Islam pada majlis makan malam di gereja berkenaan.

Ketika serbuan dilakukan kira-kira jam 9 malam, seorang penceramah menyampaikan ucapan dengan menyelit ayat-ayat Al Quran dan terdapat bukti kegiatan penyebaran agama bukan Islam terhadap penganut Islam.

Berpandukan kepada siasatan awal, mereka yang terbabit boleh didakwa mengikut  Seksyen 10 Enakmen Jenayah Syariah 1995.

Di bawah seksyen itu, seseorang yang didapati melakukan kesalahan memujuk, mempengaruhi atau menghasut seseorang yang beragama Islam supaya cenderung kepada mana-mana agama bukan Islam, atau supaya menjadi penganut atau anggota mana-mana agama bukan Islam, atau supaya meninggalkan atau tidak suka kepada agama Islam.

Mereka boleh disabitkan mengikut seksyen kecil (1) dan jika didapati bersalah boleh dikenakan penjara sehingga satu tahun atau denda tidak melebihi RM10,000 atau kedua-duanya sekali.

Hindraf’s UK lawyer Imran Khan deported

Imran Khan, deemed to be a security threat, was stopped at the KLIA and sent back to the UK early Saturday morning.
GEORGE TOWN: Hindraf Makkal Sakti’s UK-based lawyer Imran Khan was deported back to United Kingdom upon his arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 1.50pm on Friday.

London-based Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said Imran Khan, a prominent British human rights lawyer, was forced by the Malaysian authorities to fly back to England at 2am on Saturday, 12 hours after he was refused entry to the country.

“The authorities deemed Imran as a threat to Malaysia’s security,” said Waythamoorthy told FMT today.

Throughout his ordeal, Imran was kept stranded at the immigration checkpoint. Imran was originally scheduled to leave the country only on Aug 18. His colleague, G Suresh however was allowed entry.

Waythamoorthy said Hindraf was appalled by the excessive and unwarranted act of the Malaysian police and Home Ministry to deny entry to an internationally-renown human rights lawyer.

He also slammed the government’s act of branding Imran as a security threat. This is “absolute nonsensical and cheap stunt.”

The deportation confirmed Hindraf’s fear that the Putrajaya administration would do a ‘Bourdon’ on Imran and his colleague upon their arrival in Malaysia.

French human rights lawyer William Bourdon was deported by the government when he was here to give a speech pertaining to the billion-dollar Scorpene submarine scandal last month.

“The refusal of entry to Imran in essence means that as far as the Malaysian Indians are concerned or their cause, the government can act in authoritarian ways against the rule of law,” slammed an upset Waythamoorthy.

Following orders

The Hindraf leader said that upon his arrival at KLIA, Imran had presented himself at the immigration counter.

Imran then informed the female officer that he was in Malaysia to meet his clients, who wish to engage him on a class action suit against the former colonial, United Kingdom government.

The officer checked in her list of “wanted” persons and immediately told Imran that his request to entry was being refused.

Upon insistence, Imran then met senior immigration officers who could not give any valid reason for refusing his application to enter Malaysia.

“All that the senior immigration officer could say was that he had no problems giving Imran entry.
“But the officer said his decision to bar Imran from entry came from the top most office of special branch in Bukit Aman and the Home Ministry.

“The officer added that the police deemed Imran as a threat to Malaysia’s security,” said Waythamoorthy.
He said Imran’s deportation showed that the government has something serious to hide, thus it makes arbitrary decisions pertaining Malaysian Indian issues.

He said Imran was coming to Malaysia to represent his clients from the underclass segment of the ethnic Malaysian Indian community.

Meeting will take place tomorrow

Imran was to meet his clients, or potential clients, on Sunday morning at the Klang Hokkian Hall to consider them as co-claimants for the British, which Waythamoorthy plans to re-file soon.

Waythamoorthy said he learnt that the British Foreign Office in London had tried to engage officials from its Malaysian High Commission to make representations on behalf of Imran.

But it’s learnt that the Malaysian authorities did not cooperate favourably.

Waythamoorthy said this was clear Umno government’s apathy culture, which is “despicable and embarrassing.”

Despite Imran’s departure, Waythamoorthy said local Hindraf leaders will proceed with the closed door meeting to brief local clients, activists and sympathisers on the suit.

Waythamoorthy originally filed the class action suit on Aug 31, 2007, the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, against the United Kingdom London courts for US$4 trillion.

However, it was stalled following the Malaysian government’s clampdown on Hindraf and arrest of its lawyers under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

The suit was to demand compensation for Indian Malaysians whose ancestors were brought in by the colonial government as indentured labour.

The suit claimed that, after granting independence to Malaya, the British had left the Indians without representation and at the mercy of the Malay extremism practiced by Umno government.

Large European Cities Overwhelmed by Muslim Population - Expert

Bulgaria: Large European Cities Overwhelmed by Muslim Population - Expert
Muslims attend the morning prayer during the religious festival Eid-al-Fitr. Photo by BGNES
Muslim population in many big European cities already exceeds 20%, according to Alex Alexiev, an expert in international security and radical Islam and visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.

In his words, however, what is especially worrying is that these Muslims are getting radicalized.
The expert reckons that almost all Western European countries are marked by a high degree of radicalization.

"Unlike our Muslims from the Balkan Peninsula, they are much more prone to radicalization because the religious organs in Western Europe, the Muslim religious organs, are controlled and commanded by radical Islamists, subsidized/financed by Saudi Arabia and other places, and preach the ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood and etc", Alexiev explains in an interview fir the Focus news agency.

According to him, it seems to escape public notice that almost all Muslims in Western Europe are people residing in big cities.

"Muslims in rural areas and small towns are hard to find. If we take the city of Marseille as an example, the Muslim population there exceeds 30%, the share of the young generation below 20 years of age is already above 50%, meaning that Marseille is on its way to become an exclusively Muslim city. The same applies to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Malmö, and Antwerp", the expert says.

He also notes that there is a region in the very heart of London where the Muslim population below 20 years of age constitutes a majority and where radical elements are quick to creep in.

According to Alexiev, the unrest in London in the past few days involved people of Caribbean origin, African-Americans, etc, as well as many people with big beards and no moustaches, which is typical of Islamists - they keep their beards but cut their moustaches short.

"These things are not accidental", he concludes, stressing that this community to a large extent fails to recognize European culture, is unwilling to integrate and poses a huge threat for the future.

Ezam wants to burn down online news portals

Ezam says he is doing it in the name of Islam and will wage war against those who convert Muslims.
SHAH ALAM: Umno senator Ezam Mohd Nor said he has to come to the defence of Islam and will wage war against those who tarnish the religion, including burning online news portals.

He also warned Muslim staff of Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider not to become agents for infidels.
“Don’t be a (Brutus) for the infidel’s agenda. You can find employment elsewhere,” Ezam said after claiming that these portals showed strong stance against the JAIS action at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC).

“We give you a last warning. If you don’t stop, we’ll burn,” said Ezam, a former ally of Anwar Ibrahim.

He also extended his threat to the Muslims who abet the non-Muslims in conversions out of Islam.
“We have no choice but to wage war to protect the Muslim faith,” said Ezam in front of 500 fellow Muslims at the compound of the Selangor state mosque in Shah Alam.

Other personalities present included Umno Youth exco  Lokman Nor Adam and Kulim Bandar Baharu MP, Zulkifli Noordin.

The gathering organised by newly formed Gerakan Cegah Murtad was meant to show their support for the action taken by Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (JAIS) against DUMC.

Last week, JAIS raided DUMC over allegations that Muslims were being converted.

Warning to MB and exco members

On a similar note Ezam told dozens of reporters that Muslims have no issues with non-Muslims.

“We have a problem if the Menteri Besar pawns Islam for votes,” he said in reference to Selangor Menteri Besar, Khalid Ibrahim.

“We have a problem if Shah Alam MP pawns Islam,” Ezam added, and extended his warning to Selangor’s Christian exco members- Teresa Kok, Elizabeth Wong, Ronnie Liu and Xavier Jayakumar.

“We have problems with infidels who convert  Muslims,” he said.

Meanwhile Zulkifli Nordin outlined four steps the group would take in the coming days.

“We will send a memorandum to JAIS to help them. We’ll also pressure the authorities for action against churches especially DUMC since it is illegal,” said Zulkifli.

He added Muslims would also be askde to lodge police reports in all districts within Selangor for police action.

Lastly he said that the group would meet the Sultan so that the Sultan can rectify the problem.

Prosecute Ezam, says PKR veep

In an immediate reaction, PKR vice president N Surendran said the police should take action against Ezam over his threat against the online media.

“The police and the Attorney General must take immediate action against Ezam under Sections 503 and 505 of the Penal Code, for criminal intimidation and mischief,” he said in a statement.

He said Ezam should not be let off the hook simply because he was “from the ruling party or aligned to the government”.

He added that it was appalling that a sitting member of the Dewan Negara had uttered such words and threatened publicly to carry out criminal acts.

“This is an outrageous threat to the property and offices of these two news portals; more seriously it is also a threat of grievous harm or death against their staff, writers and other occupants,” he said.

Hindraf lawsuit to correct historical wrongs

A UK-based solicitor and lawyer - appointed by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi - is scheduled to meet with members of the Malaysian public this Sunday.

His fact-finding mission is to help him better understand the situation on the ground and interview those participating in the Hindraf class action suit. This lawsuit against the British government seeks to correct historical injustices inflicted on Indians who were brought to the peninsula by the white colonialists.

hindraf book launch 191210 book back coverThe Hindraf move is almost certain to court a fresh storm of controversy and criticism from Umno, the party that will be most embarrassed when full details of the Indian marginalisation emerge. The extent to which the local Indian community, particularly Hindus of Tamil stock, is excluded from the nation's progress and well-being can only reflect badly on the Malaysian government.

Due to the stony deaf ears at home, Hindraf has had no choice but to petition abroad for redress, as outlandish as the amount of relief sought might sound. The case being heard in England will enable it coverage from the international press. The deliberate neglect of a minority that perceives itself as oppressed by a government acting in bad faith will soon be laid bare to the world.

Umno's extremist supporters such as Perkasa and Utusan Malaysia persist in denying allegations of discrimination against Indians although the plight of the community's underclass is evident to all. Just look at who are the homeless people who sleep along five-footways in the derelict parts of town.

Only small minority benefitted

More thoughtful Malaysians, however, are aware that the Indian community has come down, and continued falling a long way, in their socio-economic development and life prospects.
Accusing the Indian-based organisation Hindraf of disloyalty and worse is merely closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

NONEDuring the past 50 years since Independence, only a small minority of Indians have benefitted from the political and economic largesse handed out by the government. The majority have seen little or no improvement despite the fact that the much of the economic prosperity and development of the country was built, almost literally, on their back and their hard labour.

Disclosure of the exact socio-economic status of the community is hampered by a system in which there is a lack of transparency in the collection and release of data that may relate to the plight of non-Malays - the apparent fudging excused on grounds of ethnic sensitivity but more likely due to other politically driven manipulation and agenda.

Although difficult to come by, all available data clearly point to the fact that the relative performance of the Indian community has deteriorated across a wide range of socio-economic indicators.

The decline has been especially steep over the last four decades after 1970 with the commencement of the NEP.

Indian displacement

Indian impoverishment can be traced to two major developments.

One is the displacement (and also the lack of replacement) of Indians in the civil service. In 1966, one third of all Indian workers were employed in government or quasi-government jobs. In 2006, only 2.8 percent of Malaysian Indians employed were still to be found working in the public sector.

NONEThe other development has been the displacement of Indian rural workers by the massive unchecked and officially sanctioned influx of over three million foreign workers, and the absence of any compensatory programmes, including access to state and federal land and rural development schemes.

The predominantly Muslim foreign workforce, largely from Indonesia, the southern Philippines and Bangladesh, has displaced Indians from their traditional habitats and livelihoods so that Indians now form an urban and semi-rural underclass. The slums in which they live today are largely ignored by the government and racked by social and family breakdown and disorder.

Of course, ethnicity is not the only variable in determining access to social services, education, health benefits, land and other forms of development assistance provided by the government in Malaysia.

bukit jalil estate workers housing plight 300507 memoriesPolitics, class, region, family background and other variables also come into play. But for many poor and lower middle-class Indians - especially those from the younger generation - the fact that they are not bumiputera or Muslim mark them out for special discrimination and marginalisation.

Some will make it and escape poverty but the majority will remain severely disadvantaged unless there is a dramatic reversal in state policy.

Malaysians must raise their voices and oppose the state planned policy of exclusion and its unabashed execution by the authorities, all the way from national down to district level even if what amounts to a one-party state system has successfully managed to steam roll it through.

All talk without any walk

When the Hindraf class action suit is heard in London, then the morally repugnant practice of pushing the weakest segments of society to the brink will be made better known to all.

If we are to survive well as a nation and society, the government - and this includes the state governments presently controlled by the opposition - must not only pay attention to the needs of the politically dominant majority.

Those holding the reins of power (from whichever party) should ensure justice and fairness in the way they treat the minorities, especially the smaller non-Muslim minorities that lag behind the Malays and Chinese, and are lacking in political and economic clout.

How the government responds to the admirable campaign for inclusion, justice and equality for poor Indians will demonstrate to Malaysians whether 1Malaysia is all talk without any walk or whether the government may have finally found the political will and moral fibre to right this long-standing historical wrong.

DR LIM TECK GHEE is director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives

British lawyers to visit M'sia over Indian plight

(Malaysiakini) Two British lawyers acting for Hindraf will be meeting with marginalised Indians on a fact-finding mission as they prepare to re-file a class action suit against the British government.

The visit by lawyers Imran Khan and Suresh Grover is part of Hindraf's effort to build its case against the British government, which is accused of abandoning Indians without protection after bringing them in as labourers to then Malaya.

hindraf probed by police 141008 s jayathas“The lawyers will go to the ground and interview first-hand cases such as denial of identity cards and education among marginalised Indians,” said Human Rights Party (HRP) information chief S Jayathas (left).

The meeting, to be held at Klang Hokkien Hall, will begin at 9am this Sunday.

Jayathas, who is also a Hindraf activist, said when contacted that the movement is expecting a large turnout but stressed that it is strictly a discussion meeting, and is optimistic that there will not be any problems with the police.

30,000 documents to support the lawsuit

The fact-finding mission is one of many efforts by Hindraf to gather evidence as it picks up from its similar suit in 2007 which was stalled when top Hindraf leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act following the landmark Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur.

“We had three months to pursue the case when we filed the suit in 2007, but we decided to focus on securing the release of our Hindraf leaders first. Also, back then, we still needed more documents (to support our case).

“So far we have found 30,000 documents (in Britain) to support our claims and this meeting will be one of the things that we will need to do before we re-file the lawsuit soon,” he said.

Hindraf leader P Waythamoorthy, who filed the previous suit, remains in exile and is leading the charge in Britain.

However, his brother, HRP president and former ISA detainee P Uthayakumar, is expected to attend Sunday's meeting.

Perception: Parti Sosialis Malaysia Today

Juadah babi: PERKASA hantar memo pada akhbar

ROS rejects HRP’s application

The P Uthayakumar-led party's bid to become a registered political entity has hit a snag and its secretary-general cries foul.

PETALING JAYA: The Registrar of Societies (ROS) has rejected the application by the Human Rights Party (HRP).

HRP which applied to be a registered entity on Nov 25, 2010 was informed of the rejection via a letter dated Aug 4.

ROS said the rejection was based on two reasons – HRP’s application was not in order (tidak teratur) and that the party constitution did not fulfill requirements.

Crying foul, HRP’s secretary-general P Uthayakumar claimed that it was a delaying tactic by the ROS and Home Ministry.

“ROS said our application was not in order but did not specify which section of the application was not in order,” he told FMT.

He also questioned how HRP’s constitution could fall short of the ROS’ requirement as it was based on the “tried and tested constitution” of the 46-year-old DAP.

“Ninety-nine percent of our constitution is based on the DAP constitution. The differences are insignificant – like terms for party positions.

“DAP calls their leader chairman, we termed ours president. They have a deputy treasurer, we don’t, things like that…,” he said.

“So why have they rejected our application? It is just a delaying technique to deny the party from registering as a legal party and preventing us from standing in the next election under our own banner,” he said, adding that it was done in bad faith.

Appeal to be filed

Uthayakumar said the party would appeal against the rejection as granted by Section 18 of the Societies Act 1966.

He, however, anticipated the application to be rejected as well and the next step would be to take the matter to court.

HRP was already locked in a court battle over the delay in notifying the party with regard to the status of its application.

In the April 2010 hearing, the judge had instructed the ROS and Home Ministry to inform HRP of the status.

The hearing continues next week but Uthayakumar noted that the ROS’ rejection had rendered the matter academic.

However, the lawyer said that he would file for a judicial review in anticipation of the ministry’s rejection of HRP’s appeal.

CJ told to ensure justice for the poor

Bukit Jalil residents say the judiciary has no compassion.

PETALING JAYA: The residents of Bukit Jalil Estate have called upon Chief Justice Zaki Azmi to restore in the Malaysian judiciary a compassion for the poor.

Disappointed with a High Court dismissal of their suit against Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) yesterday, the residents this morning submitted a memorandum to Zaki expressing regret that the court system seemed no longer interested in doing justice to the poor.

They handed the memorandum to Zaki’s special officer, Shazani Hidayat.

The 41 families living in the former estate land have been at odds with City Hall since March, when it issued them eviction notices under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

Their argument was that the EO could be used only to evict squatter settlers, not former estate workers.
However, in May, High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof refused to allow an injunction against DBKL.

Yesterday, Zabariah again disappointed the residents by dismissing their suit challenging DBKL’s use of the EO. The judge said they had sued the wrong party.

The residents have also sent letters to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin, urging them to intervene in the matter.

They have sent copies to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department G Palanivel, Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam and Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary general S Arutchelvan told FMT that Zabariah made a mistake in dismissing the residents’ suit against DBKL.

He agreed that the land now belonged to the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi), but he pointed out it was not Jawi that was trying to evict them.

“And DBKL did not indicate in their notices that they were acting on behalf of Jawi.”

He also said it was wrong for Zabariah to allow the use of the EO to evict plantation workers.

“The law can only be used against squatters,” he said. “This is the first time EO is being used to evict estate workers.”

The residents have filed an appeal against Zabariah’s ruling, but Arutchelvan said it would be an exercise in futility if the homes got demolished before the appeal was heard.

“You can compensate for their houses, but how would you compensate for a way of life?” he said.
He urged Najib to come up with a political solution, pointing out that DBKL came under the federal government’s purview.

“The Penang state government intervened in the Kampung Buah Pala issue though it involved a private land,” he said. “It is easier in this case as the land belongs to the federal government.”

GCM isytihar ‘perang’ jika isu murtad tidak selesai

Senator Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor berkata tindakan ini demi mempertahankan akidah sekiranya mereka tidak berhenti menyesatkan umat Islam.
SHAH ALAM: Gerakan Cegah Murtad (GCM) memberi amaran akan melancarkan ‘perang’ jika isu memurtadkan umat Islam tidak ditangani dengan segera.
Senator Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor berkata tindakan ini demi mempertahankan akidah sekiranya mereka tidak berhenti menyesatkan umat Islam.
“Kepada masyarakat bukan Islam, kami tiada masalah dengan anda. Tetapi kita ada masalah besar dengan orang-orang bukan Islam yang biadap dengan agama Islam dan yang cuba menarik umat Islam keluar daripada agama,” katanya di hadapan kira-kira 500 orang awam yang baru selesai menunaikan solat Jumaat di Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah di sini hari ini.

Beliau turut menyelar pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat di Selangor yang enggan mempertahankan Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) semata-mata untuk menyelamatkan kedudukan mereka.

“Kita tiada masalah dengan mana-mana Menteri Besar daripada mana-mana parti tetapi kita ada masalah dengan mereka sekiranya sanggup menggadaikan Islam dan Allah semata-mata untuk mempertahankan kedudukan…..begitu juga dengan Ahli Parlimen Shah Alam,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Kulim-Bandar Baru Datuk Zulkifli Noordin berkata isu yang berlaku di Gereja Methodist Damansara Utama (DUMC) bukanlah sesuatu yang baru, tetapi hanya sebahagian kecil sahaja jika dibandingkan dengan usaha memurtadkan umat Islam diseluruh negara.

Malah beliau menolak isu ini dijadikan alat politik untuk kepentingan tertentu.

Ini bukan isu politik

“Isu ini bukan isu politik, tiada kena mengena dengan Anwar (Ibrahim) atau PAS tetapi ia isu umat Islam. Ini isyarat jelas kita perlu bersatu dalam isu ini dan umat Islam tidak rela akidah dipermainkan,” katanya.
Beliau turut memberi amaran kepada portal web Malaysia Kini dan The Malaysian Insider agar menghentikan segera provokasi terhadap isu ini jika tidak mahu tindakan keras diambil terhadap mereka.

“Jangan jadi barua…kalau nak cari makan carilah makan ditempat lain,” katanya yang bercadang mahu menghadap Sultan Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah bagi membincangkan isu ini dalam masa terdekat.

Sementara itu, Exco Pemuda Umno Lokman Nor Adam berkata semua pihak perlu menghormati tindakan Jais yang cuba membanteras penyelewengan agama di kalangan umat Islam.

GCM terdiri daripada kira-kira 45 badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) Islam seluruh Selangor yang berjuang melawan isu murtad.

Hindraf: Govt need not dread UK lawyer’s visit

Imran Khan's meeting with potential clients on Sunday at Klang’s Hokkian Hall will be an orderly affair, assures its chief Waythamoorthy

GEORGE TOWN: Putrajaya need not be wary of UK human rights lawyer Imran Khan meeting local clients pertaining to Hindraf’s US$4 trillion class-action British suit.

London-based Hindraf supremo P Waythamoorthy assured that the meeting would be a closed door affair between Imran and several hundred potential co-claimants in the suit.

Waythamoorthy said the meeting has been arranged to held at Klang’s Hokkian Hall on Sunday morning.
“It’s a rare chance for local underclass Indians to meet their lawyer. It would be costly for them to travel to London to meet Imran.

“The government need not worry and be panicky about it,” said Waythamoorthy, who originally filed the suit against the UK government in London on Aug 31, 2007.

The suit, filed on the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence, is seeking compensation for Indian Malaysians whose ancestors were brought into Malaya as indentured labourers.

However, it was stalled following the Malaysian government’s clampdown on Hindraf and the arrest of several lawyers under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The suit laid claim that, after granting independence to Malaya, the British had left the Indians without representation and at the mercy of the Umno government.

Hndraf’s activists and sympathisers fear that the government may do a ‘Bourdon’ on Imran and his colleague upon their arrival in Malaysia this evening.

French human rights lawyer William Bourdon was deported by the government when he was here to give a speech pertaining to the billion-dollar Scorpene submarine scandal last month.

Waythamoorthy called on the federal government not to press the panic button and waste public resources to halt the peaceful lawyer-client meeting.

Prominent human rights lawyer

“Clients should be able to meet lawyers without fear and intimidation. Most clients are without means to travel to UK as they belonged to the underclass.

“I hope Imran would not be stopped upon his arrival in Malaysia this evening,” said Waythamoorthy.

Imran, a prominent lawyer in UK is best known for his human rights work, one of which was representing the family of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a racist attack in 1993.

In that case, Imran exposed institutionalised racism existing in the police force, prompting the government to carry out numerous reforms within the force.

His work on case catapulted him to national and international attention attention and to the establishment of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.

The impact of this inquiry reverberated throughout the British criminal justice and public service systems.
His other notable representations were for families of eight-year-old Victoria Climbe (who was tortured to death in February, 2000) and Zahid Mubarek (murdered by his racist cellmate in March 2000).

His work led to public inquiries into their deaths and brought about substantial social changes regarding the care of children and prisoners in the UK.

Imran has lectured nationally and internationally on human rights and criminal law and has also written extensive on these subjects.

He has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates in recognition of his work.

Malaysian PM's Office Drops Controversial TV Contract

Friedman, Najib. All over?
Planting favorable news stories in the international media now over? 

(Asia Sentinel) The Malaysian government appears to have abruptly dropped a controversial multi-million contract with a London-based media company that was designed to plant favorable news stories about Malaysia with some of the world’s leading television networks, according to a Kuala Lumpur news portal, Malaysian Insider.

Publicity over the contract, first reported by the Sarawak-based blog Sarawak Report, has resulted in embarrassment to both Malaysia and some of the world’s biggest television networks.

Tengku Sarifuddin, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s press secretary, said in a telephone interview that he hadn’t seen the story and asked for time to read it. He did not respond to repeated telephone calls after that. If the contract was dropped, as Malaysian Insider reported, it was uncertain when. The news portal said only that it was “in the past week.”

As Asia Sentinel reported on Aug. 11, the Malaysian government and Sarawak State Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud paid separately for Fact Based Communications, which describes itself on its website as a “European-based media and entertainment group specializing in television format creation, production and distribution,” to plant the stories with international television networks including CNBC, BBC and CNN, all of which have abruptly dropped the company’s programming and ordered investigations into the content. Prime Minister Najib was interviewed by one CNBC program produced by FBC Media 10 times over two years.

The story appeared to have escaped the notice of the media both inside and outside of Malaysia. Fact Based Communications, also known as FBC Media, reportedly was touted to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as a cure for Taib’s severe image problems in the wake of convincing allegations that he had funneled billions of dollars out of the state into companies owned by his family in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia and denuded the East Malaysian state of most of its tropical hardwood timber through illegal logging permits.

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.

Malaysian budget records show that between 2008 and 2009, the prime minister’s office paid RM57.68 million (USS$10 million at exchange rates at the time) to FBC Media to conduct a “Global Strategic Communications Campaign” for the Malaysian government. The government’s supplementary budget 2010, according to Sarawak Report, specifies another RM28.35 million to pay the cost of implementing a similar campaign for 2009 and a further RM42 million was spent in 2010 on “Public Affairs and Government Services and Strategic Communication, Public Relations and Press Outreach.”

Efforts to reach Alan Friedman, the FBC Media chairman, were unsuccessful. An aide in his office routed all requests to Friedman’s email address but he didn’t answer a request for comment. However, according to the company’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.

Companies like FBC Media have been reaping a bonanza over the past two to three decades as television news bureaus have continued to contract, bitten by declining revenues and falling viewership. The networks’ answer has been to buy “video news releases” off the shelf. Often the videos are nothing more than 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.

FBC Media itself says on its website says the firm’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.”

Taib was reported by the Sarawak Report to be paying FBC Media RM15 million (US$5 million) annually to produce its reports. The website singled out BBC World’s ‘Develop or Die’ series, made by FBC Media, 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.”

Sarawak Report accused of FBC Media of also establishing a network of bloggers to tear apart the NGO’s reports on Taib in a US$55,000 campaign using online sites and “special blogging” in order to ”provide a blanket of positive coverage” about Taib and Sarawak in the Western media.

Still dreaming of a Malaysia to call Home — Farish A. Noor

AUG 12 — A Malaysian ambassador once asked me if, after living and working abroad for more than 2½ decades, I still kept my Malaysian citizenship. And I answered yes. He was surprised somewhat and added: “Thank God, at least we haven’t lost you as well.” I replied: “Well, we have lost so many good academics and professionals by now I’m not sure if that makes any difference by this stage...”

Yet out of some naïveté on my part I would still state that I believe in the Malaysian project, for all its quirks and shortcomings. And now, as Malaysia looks ahead at a decade that will undoubtedly transform the face of Southeast Asia and will witness the gradual decline of American influence and the rise of China’s in Asean, we hold fast to the ship of state that is due for a severe battering as never before.

While the inflow and outflow of foreign capital investment FDI in and out of Asean will radically re-draw the political boundaries of the region and lead to the rise of new growth centres and the decline of old ones, our national politics is dominated by horror stories, amok stories, bomoh stories and of course the motley crew of communitarian heroes and ethnic champions who care only about their own respective ethno-religious communities.

Every ethno-racial demagogue talks about having to champion the cause of “his people”; regardless of the fact that “his people” may not have appointed him to that task. Oppositional dialectics rules the roost as identities are configured in exclusive oppositional terms time and again: us against them, in-group versus out-group. This has been the mottled landscape of our national consciousness since independence, and we still cannot get out of this narrow and blinkered mode of thinking.

During my long sojourn abroad, I constantly met Malaysians who could discard and/or transcend their limited ethnic confines while overseas, for there they are Malaysians. Yet it seems as if a spell has been cast upon all of us, for as soon as we step back into Malaysia the first question that comes to our lips is: What race are you?

As someone who has researched across South and Southeast Asia for more than 12 years, I am struck by this peculiar habit of ours: in India and Indonesia — two countries I love as much as Malaysia — no one has ever asked me that question. And indeed, in both countries I often pass as a local and the case is closed. Few attempts, if ever, are made to locate me in the ethnic landscape of the country. Nobody asks what race I am, which religion I belong to, etc. Why?

I refuse to believe that Malaysians are condemned by history or genetics to remain in the rut that we have built for ourselves. There is nothing biologically unique about us as to condemn us to such narrow solipsism for eternity. And if we Malaysians can transcend narrow ethnic and religious compartmentalisation abroad, why can’t we do it at home?

Which brings me to the subject of home, and homeliness. “Home” is where we are meant to be happy and content; safe and assured; comfortable and at ease with ourselves. Home is where we need not wear our identities on our sleeves, or as armour to protect ourselves from whatever hostile influences there may be without. And if Malaysia is home to us, then it ought to be the one place on this God’s earth where we can be ourselves without having to apologise for it.

Yet the divisive nature of our communitarian politics has robbed us all of this sense of comfort and homeliness, for it seems that comfort can no longer be shared among all Malaysians, our fellow citizens. The comfort zones of each community has become something sacrosanct, thanks to the politicking of the various parties and politicians of the country, who continue to harp on the need to first protect, and then to expand, the respective comfort zones of their exclusive communities.

As a result, the boundaries of these different comfort zones are bound to clash, and the result is the antagonism we see everywhere in the media today: Harassment of intellectuals and non-partisan articulators; scare-mongering campaigns about how the “Other” is about to undermine “Us”; rumours of plots and stratagems used by “Them” against “Us”, etc. Where, pray tell, is the national body then in the midst of this mutual apprehension and distrust? How can a nation be built when its components do not think as a nation in the first place?

I write this only as an academic who constantly reminds his students that national identities are constructs that have to be sustained in the imaginary of individual subjects. As I have said countless times before, the trees and hills, rivers and valleys, roads and malls we see around us are not Malaysian: They have no consciousness and no awareness of what they are or even where they are. “Malaysia” is a construct that exists in us, Malaysians — and it is we, Malaysians, who bear the identity of the nation over time.

WE are Malaysia, and WE are the nation. But that can only come true if we genuinely think of ourselves as Malaysians and we are prepared to step beyond our comfort zones in order to recognise, defend and uphold the common citizenship we share with each and every other Malaysian citizen around us. Every Malaysian is a brother or sister to his/her fellow Malaysian; and as such the qualms we have about the poverty and injustice we see meted to our fellow citizens is a concern to all of us. We cannot continue to racialise poverty as if it was an ethnic concern of one group only; any more than ownership of the nation can be claimed by one segment of the populace.

I do not think I will live to see the day when this sense of collective, common and equal nationhood will ever be internalised and normalised in the country, frankly. So to go back to the ambassador’s question as to why I never gave up my citizenship; I can only put it down to a naive, childish faith that may well be blind as well. (I am only thankful that I do not have any children and am unlikely to have any at my age now, for I genuinely fear for the future and where the future may take them.)

But faith, however feeble and irrational, is still required to give birth to nations that are born out of the collective aspirations of many. I do not know how much longer I can keep up my work, or doing what I do — for time seems to be running out for me and the end of the road is nowhere in sight. But as the storm clouds gather as the geopolitical winds build up across our region; and as talk of clashes between the great and emerging powers grow louder by the day, I fear not for myself but rather for Malaysia as a whole.

Our politicians seem to have an attention span that lasts only up to the next by-election or general election; our public figures play the racial or religious card whenever it suits them. Our nation is sorely in need of a reminder that we are all on the same boat, and whether it sinks or swims, it will carry all of us whether we like it or not.

For the first time in my life, I feel genuine fear for the future — made all the worse by the apparent absence of political wisdom and leadership of any meaningful kind. And in the face of fear, all I can hold on to is faith; faith in the Malaysian project.

* Dr Farish A. Noor is a Senior Fellow at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Najib And Rosmah Present In Court Regarding Anwar's Sodomy Trial

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, were present at the Jalan Duta Court Complex Friday with regard to the sodomy trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib and Rosmah arrived at 2.55pm to meet with Anwar's defence team headed by Karpal Singh.

They arrived 15 minutes earlier than Anwar's defence team.

The Prime Minister and his wife had met with Anwar's defence team separately for five minutes at the meeting room, Seventh Floor of the complex.

Najib and his wife left the complex at 3.28pm.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the Barisan Nasional (BN) Supreme Council meeting here, Najib said his presence at the Court Complex was to respect the decision made by the judge.

On Aug 8, High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had allowed two applications by Anwar to interview 15 witnesses including the Prime Minister and his wife regarding the sodomy trial faced by Anwar.

Meanwhile, Karpal Singh said Najib and Rosmah declined to be interviewed for Anwar's ongoing sodomy trial and both of them also did not want to be defence witnesses in the case.

Najib said he respected the decision made by the High Court Judge and "as a Malaysian citizen, I must respect the decision made by the judge, regardless of (my) position."

The Prime Minister said that was why he was present at the court and had stated his stand.

However, he declined to state what he had informed Anwar's defence team because he had "presented the matter according to my rights."

"I know my rights and I had conveyed them to the lawyer representing Anwar, and Anwar was also present there," he told reporters when asked about his presence at the Jalan Duta Court Complex.

Meanwhile, Karpal Singh said Najib and Rosmah had arrived at the meeting room before the defence team and the team met them separately, with Najib entering the room first and Rosmah later.

He said Najib and Rosmah said the same words as soon as they entered the room, which were: "I did not wish to be interviewed and I do not want to be a defence witness."

He also said that both of them were not accompanied by their lawyers.

Asked whether the defence wanted to call Najib, Rosmah and the other witnesses offered by the prosecution team, Karpal Singh said he had yet decide on the matter.

Karpal Singh said another witness, ex-Melaka police chief Datuk Mohd Rodwan Mohd Yusof, who turned up in court this afternoon, also declined to be interviewed and to be Anwar's defence witness.

As for now, the defence team had interviewed 15 witnesses including the owner of the condominium where the alleged incident occurred, Hasanuddin Abd Hamid, and his wife.

Karpal Singh said the defence had yet to interview six others, including former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

"Therefore, we cannot proceed with the trial, as agreed, before we complete interviewing all the witnesses prior to the trial," he said.

On Monday, High Court Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah granted Anwar's application to interview witnesses offered by the prosecution, including Najib, Rosmah and Musa.

At the close of its case, the prosecution offered 71 witnesses, including Najib and Rosmah. The defence chose to interview only 25.

The court has set Aug 15 to 26 for the defence case. The court had initially set Aug 8 to 26, with Anwar scheduled as the first witness to take the stand.

On May 16, Justice Mohamad Zabidin ordered Anwar to enter his defence after ruling that the latter's former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the complainant in the case, was a truthful and credible witness.

Anwar, 63, pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court on Aug 7, 2008, to committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature at the Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10 pm and 4.30 pm on June 26 of the same year.