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Friday, August 19, 2011

New interfaith chief named amid growing race, religious tension

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — The government has moved to appoint a new chairman for the Cabinet’s interfaith panel amid heightened racial and religious tension in recent months.

National Unity and Integration Department (NUID) director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan will officially replace Datuk Ilani Ishak as head of the Special Committee to Promote Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony, after the latter died of cancer on February 24.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of unity and performance management Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (picture) believes the committee will now be able to continue its task in dealing with interfaith issues.

The panel’s work was halted after Ilani’s death, with the rest of the committee members unable to find a suitable replacement for the former Kota Baru MP.

“The committee will go on. The prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) has endorsed the joint proposal made by both ministers — myself and (Datuk Seri) Jamil Khir (Baharom) to appoint Datuk Azman Amin Hassan, the director-general of NUID as the new chairman of the committee,” Koh told The Malaysian Insider yesterday in an exclusive interview.

With race and religious politics intensifying since the 2008 general election, Malaysians believe that inter-racial relations have degenerated over the past five years due to distrust among the different races.
A survey of 1,013 Malaysians conducted from May 24 to June 8 by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research found that only 66 per cent of respondents said ethnic relations were “good” — a 15 per cent decline from the 78 per cent who said so in February 2006. It also found that just over a third believed that there was “sincere and friendly ethnic unity,” down from 54 per cent five years ago, and those that thought unity was superficial rose from 29 per cent to 44 per cent.

Malay rights groups and Muslim NGOs have recently accused Christians of allegedly attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity following an Utusan Malaysia editor’s claims that Muslim primary schoolchildren are being taught about Jesus by Christian youths aiming to convert them, which is illegal under Malaysian law.

The claim comes on the back of heightened tension between Christian and Muslim groups following a raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on a dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) in Petaling Jaya.

Earlier this year, the Malay daily also accused the opposition DAP of conspiring with church leaders to turn Malaysia into a Christian state and install a Christian prime minister.

Another instance was the controversial edict by the Penang Fatwa Council banning the use of loudspeakers for reciting verses from the Quran before dawn prayers. The ban had caused a furore among the Muslim community in Penang and earned much criticism in the Umno-controlled media with political leaders claiming this as evidence that the DAP-led state government was impinging on the rights of Muslims.

Shortly after the edict was passed, the DAP’s headquarters in Penang was discovered partly charred by an unknown man who was purportedly seen leaving a stack of burning newspapers in front of its premises. DAP leaders have linked the attack to the ban, saying this was the second incident since the controversy hit the headlines.

The new man at the helm of the interfaith panel faces a daunting task — one that Ilani was unable to complete due to her death.

The panel, set up last year to address the Alkitab row, might have been snuffed out earlier if not for Ilani’s skilful navigation of the narrow channels of communication between the Muslim and non-Muslim camps. The four sub-committees formed by the panel have been holding meetings since Ilani’s death, but sources told The Malaysian Insider they are unable to take it up with the main interfaith panel until a new head is appointed.

“We were looking for someone outside, from an NGO but those suitable were not ready to take over. It’s a big responsibility. Although they are willing to participate.... That’s why it took us a while to manage that (finding a replacement),” said Koh.

The minister said that the year had been a very difficult one with the deaths of Ilani as well as interfaith dialogue member and former Gerakan vice-president John Gurusamy.

“This year has been a sad year... important figures within the interfaith (network) have passed away... But I believe the good examples they set will inspire us to continue their good work,” said Koh.

He also said that the main challenge was to create a general understanding between the followers of the different religions in Malaysia, and warned that “irresponsible” remarks made by individuals or groups could jeopardise the efforts in working towards that goal.

“Otherwise we can be sitting on a powder keg, can be very explosive. Good work sometimes can be punctured by irresponsible statements. One hundred people can say good things, but it takes only one person to say something extreme and good work is perceived to be destroyed,” added the minister.

Azman, 58, was one of two candidates named to lead the Special Cabinet Committee to Promote Inter-religious Understanding and Harmony, replacing Ilani

The Malaysian Insider understands the other candidate was Datuk Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan, the director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), also 58.

Azman, a Universiti Sains Malaysia graduate who majored in developmental communications, had been serving in the NUID since joining the civil service in 1977.

The Kelantan-born was due to retire in May this year but his contract was extended by three months.
He has been playing a key role in the interfaith panel since its inception early last year, following the firebombing of churches and other places of worship nationwide in January.

Isu murtad kena selidik betul-betul, kata Dr M

"Kadang-kadang tuduhan itu benar, kadang-kadang tak. Kalau gopoh untuk menyiasat, esok bila (tindakan itu) salah, orang dah tak percaya lagi. Tunggu dulu sehingga dapat maklumat yang benar," katanya kepada pemberita selepas majlis berbuka puasa di Masjid Al-Ehsan, Batu 3, Kodiang, dekat sini malam tadi.

JERLUN: Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad berkata kerajaan tidak perlu tergesa-gesa untuk mengambil tindakan dalam isu
dakwaan cubaan memurtadkan umat Islam di negara ini sebaliknya perkara itu perlu diselidiki dahulu.

“Kadang-kadang tuduhan itu benar, kadang-kadang tak. Kalau gopoh untuk menyiasat, esok bila (tindakan itu) salah, orang dah tak percaya lagi. Tunggu dulu sehingga dapat maklumat yang benar,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas majlis berbuka puasa di Masjid Al-Ehsan, Batu 3, Kodiang, dekat sini malam tadi.

Turut hadir isteri beliau Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali dan anaknya Datuk Mukhriz, yang juga Timbalan Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri dan  Anggota Parlimen Jerlun.

Akidah terpesong

Dr Mahathir berkata masyarakat Islam sendiri perlu mengambil berat terhadap golongan yang memerlukan bantuan bagi mengelak kemungkinan akidah mereka terpesong.

“Kalau tak ambil berat dan mereka menderita, mungkin mereka akan tertarik dengan orang yang menawarkan bantuan kepada mereka,” katanya.

Dr Mahathir juga berkata rakyat negara ini perlu memilih pemimpin yang betul jika mahu melihat Malaysia terus kekal di hadapan dalam aspek kemajuan berbanding negara lain.

“Jika pilih pemimpin yang tak kena, dia (negara-negara lain) akan potong kita. Jangan pilih orang yang cuma nak jadi Perdana Menteri tetapi tak nak buat apa-apa,” katanya.
- Bernama

‘Hypocrite’ govt must review UNHCR position

Taking the government to task for deporting Hindraf's lawyer, PKR MP Yusmadi Yusoff said Putrajaya should relook its place in the UN human rights council.


GEORGE TOWN: The deportation of Hindraf Makkal Sakti’s lawyer Imran Khan has mocked the universal concept of human rights, said PKR international bureau head Yusmadi Yusoff.

Hence, he called on Putrajaya to review Malaysia’s membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

By denying Imran his professional right to a fact-finding mission and meeting with clients, he said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s government brought disrepute to the country’s UNHRC position.

“Putrajaya has violated international human rights virtues.

“It’s a clear threat to human rights and is hypocritical. The government must immediately review its position in UNHRC,” said the Balik Pulau MP.

He said Imran’s deportation underlined Putrajaya’s hardline stand to halt the empowerment of human rights among its citizens.

Being a member of UNHRC, he added that Malaysia should instead be a role model to others with regard to upholding human rights values.

Yusmadi, who is a lawyer, noted that Imran was an international award-winning human rights lawyer and became a household name through his masterly legal representation for the family of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in a London racist attack in 1993.

He also praised Imran’s professionalism in upholding human rights values by taking up Hindraf’s suit despite being a Briton of Pakistani Muslim origin.

Imran had written a demand for compensation from the Malaysian government for the humiliation suffered after he was refused entry into the country upon his arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last Friday.

He planned to donate the compensation to a charity organisation.

His colleague Suresh Grover however was allowed entry and the latter left for London yesterday after meeting potential clients to be considered as co-claimants for the suit and accumulating evidence.

Meanwhile, Yusmadi also slammed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for making an ill-conceived decision to disallow Imran from meeting his clients.

With Malaysia being a Commonwealth member, he said, the Foreign Ministry now owed a public explanation due to Hishammuddin’s incompetence in revealing the reasons behind the immigration decision to refuse entry to Imran.

“What’s the point in talking about international political refugees, human trafficking and piracy when we can’t even allow lawyers to meet clients,” he said.

Baptism of fire for Gandhi family scion

The massive anti-corruption protests sweeping across India have put the spotlight on prime minister-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi.

By Alistair Scrutton
NEW DELHI: Huge anti-corruption protests and a fumbling government response have catapulted India’s family scion and prime minister-in-waiting Rahul Gandhi into a baptism of fire and exposed a leadership vacuum in the world’s biggest democracy.

“Where is he now?” said Manish Kumar Singh, a protesting 42-year-old state employee protesting outside the jail holding activist Anna Hazare, reflecting a sense of leadership vacuum.

“If Rahul is called the crown prince of Congress, he should come out and take up his responsibilities.”

Only a fortnight before the arrest of self-styled Gandhian activist Hazare and then a U-turn to release him, an undisclosed illness of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi had led her to nominate her son to take charge.

It was a transition that coincided with India’s most widespread and spontaneous social demonstrations in decades, leading to more than 2,600 peaceful protesters being arrested in Delhi alone, and the worst-ever crisis to face the Congress government now in its second term.

But since Rahul returned from visiting his ailing mother in the United States on Sunday, the 41-year-old heir to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty that has run India for most of its post-independence era has not said a word in public and may have been sidelined in government.

It underscores what may be an unstable succession to Sonia Gandhi, India’s most powerful politician, who has run the country from behind the scenes since handing the post of prime minister to economist Manmohan Singh in 2004.

“The complete incoherence of government strategy is not something that he (Rahul Gandhi) can distance himself from,” said political analyst Swapan Dasgupta. “The dynasty may be the glue that holds Congress together but there are times when events just overtake you and you become an election liability.”

Groomed for power

For seven years Sonia Gandhi has provided the strategy for the Congress-led coalition, leaving day-to-day running in the hands of her ministers but providing the overall, pro-poor and often populist direction of the left-of-centre national party.

The widow of assassinated prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and daughter-in-law of assassinated prime minister Indira Gandhi, she was the designated – if reluctant – successor, winning two successive general elections in 2004 and 2009.

For years Rahul has been groomed, hidden from the limelight, as Sonia’s successor.

While Rahul has avoided government posts, the Congress youth leader has travelled across India, staying in poor hamlets and preaching the cause of the poor and joining protests for farmer land rights.

Criticised as too young, he grew a beard. Criticised as too lightweight, he met with intellectuals and economists, attended business conferences and was photographed with international figures such as Bill Gates.


But the sudden announcement his mother had handed reins to a quartet including Rahul threw him into leadership of a party that is as notoriously bureaucratic as any ministry.

Returning from visiting his mother, Rahul attended government meetings before the arrest of Hazare – a detention that proved a costly political mistake – but he also may have been key in persuading the government to release Hazare.

It was a sign that Rahul was not fully in control, allowing more hardline politicians such as Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram to crack down on protesters.

“Rahul was catapulted to leadership even faster than he imagined. And to that extent he was not ready,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, editor at The Hindu newspaper.

“He seems to be far more aware of the political implications than ministers like Chidambaram,” said Varadarajan. “But he has always been reluctant to use his position to second guess the government.”

Who is in control?

Rahul also appears to have had little control over his own spokesmen, who inflated the crisis by claiming Hazare and his followers had fascist and anarchist links and that the United States had a hand in driving the protests.

When Manmohan spoke to Parliament over the crisis, Rahul, who is a lawmaker, sat stone-faced, silent and with his arms folded.

But even though he appeared not to agree with the government, he has failed to take matters in his own hands.

Yesterday he travelled to western India to meet victims of a land dispute with police – a noble cause but hardly leading from the front in a massive political crisis.

“We people were not expecting this level of problem,” said a senior Congress official and former cabinet minister. “Whatever he can do he will do. But to expect – he came, he has seen and he conquered – it will not happen.”

The crisis has also thrown into question the dual role that Sonia introduced after the 2004 election – nominating Manmohan but running strategy from behind the scenes.

The system has accentuated different centres of power, with ministers and Congress officials battling each other over key economic reforms like a food security bill and foreign investment in the modern supermarket sector.

The system has so far helped the Gandhis, creating a mystique and ensuring they are not focus of public ire that often is directed at Manmohan and his ministers. There were, however, small signs this week of cracks in that system.

“Sonia has always stayed above the fray even if people criticise the government, and that’s the same with Rahul,” said pollster Yashwant Deshmukh in New Delhi.

“That is changing. Anger is being directed at Sonia and Rahul. What I haven’t seen in seven years has now happened in the last 72 hours.”

But the real test for Rahul may not come with the corruption protests. His party faces a state election in Uttar Pradesh in 2012 that could prove crucial for the party’s fortune in the 2014 general election.

“The real metric to judge him will be the electoral outcomes,” said Varadarajan. “And he still has time on his hands.”
- Reuters

Pemuda PAS: Bertindak tegas ke atas pihak murtadkan orang Islam

Beliau berkata, pihak berkuasa agama perlu bertindak proaktif untuk membuat siasatan terhadap segala pendedahan yang telah dibuat.

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Pemuda PAS Negeri Selangor (DPPNS) meminta pihak berkuasa agama negeri terutamanya Negeri Selangor mengambil tindakan  tegas terhadap pihak lain yang cuba memurtadkan orang Islam.

Tindakan tegas mengikut enakmen dan undang –undang sedia ada  supaya polemik berkenaan usaha memurtadkan orang-orang Islam dapat dibendung, kata Ketua DPPNS,  Hasbullah Mohd Ridzwan.

Beliau  berkata, pihak berkuasa agama perlu bertindak proaktif untuk membuat siasatan terhadap segala pendedahan yang telah dibuat.

“Sekiranya terbukti kebenaran daripada siasatan tersebut, pihak berkuasa agama perlu mengambil tindakan sewajarnya mengikut lunas undang-undang sedia ada,” katanya dalam kenyataan media hari ini.

Akhbar  membongkarkan seorang guru tuisyen di Jalan Kuchai Lama di Kuala Lumpur mengajar muridnya yang  beragama Islam menyanyikan lagu memuji kebesaran Nabi Isa.

Dilaporkan juga, murid yang belajar secara percuma daripada sekumpulan pemuda-pemudi bukan berbangsa Melayu di kawasan itu, telah diajar menyanyikan lagu “Yes, I know Jesus loves me” dan ‘Hari ini ku rasa bahagia’ yang memuji Nabi Isa sambil menunjukkan isyarat tangan simbol salib.

TPM nafi

Bagaimanapun, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin menafikan penyebaran agama Kristian di kalangan pelajar Islam.

Hasbullah berkata, jika pihak berkuasa agama tidak mengambil langkah segera untuk menyiasat dan mengambil tindakan, maka isu ini akan terus berlarutan dan berkemungkinan ada pihak tidak bertanggungjawab mengambil kesempatan  memfitnah dan mehnah sehingga merosakkan keharmonian prinsip kebebasan beragama.

Dewan Pemuda PAS Negeri Selangor , tegasnya penuh yakin dan percaya bahawa pihak berkuasa agama negeri-negeri terutamanya di Selangor akan dapat melaksanakan tugasan mereka secara profesional dan adil untuk mempastikan kesucian agama Islam dan umat Islam dilindungi.

“Dewan Pemuda PAS Negeri Selangor mempertegaskan tidak akan berkompromi dengan sebarang usaha dan agenda untuk memurtadkan orang-orang Islam.

“Pemuda PAS komited untuk membantu dan menghulurkan bantuan sekiranya diperlukan oleh pihak-pihak berkuasa agama untuk melakukan pemantauan, penangkapan, memberikan kaunseling atau apa jua bentuk bantuan yang diperlukan sekiranya ada kes atau isu yang berkaitan dengan usaha untuk memurtadkan orang-orang Islam,” tambahnya.

Race supremacists making a meal of the Star

by uppercaise


Ketuanan Melayu and its partner Ketuanan Islam are trying to make a meal of The Star’s Dining Out supplement having featured pork dishes while running a cover story on Ramadan Delights. Typically, it is being viewed as un-Islamic and the Star labelled as an un-Islamic paper. Calling it “un-Islamic” makes it sound like the Star is against Islam, a convenient way of putting pressure on the paper, its staff, its publisher and its chief editor.
But which paper is not un-Islamic?
The Star is un-Islamic? So are the New Straits Times, the Utusan Malaysia, Sinar Harapan and every other mass circulation newspaper in the country. None of them are Islamic publications.
Memo to Home Ministry: Have you labelled all newspapers as being un-Islamic?
Why single out the Star? Because it is a convenient target:
  • it is the only non-vernacular newspaper that is not owned by Umno
  • it is run by editors and journalists of various faiths
  • the chief editor, Wong Chun Wai, is a practising Christian who has openly written about his faith and defended it
  • the paper does not place priority on furthering a Malays First agenda
  • it also makes a lot of money and has high visibility on the stock exchange.
The recent attacks have been coordinated by Perkasa, the rabid Malays First movement that was spawned by Mahathir (I Am Not A Racist) Mohamad, and led by that political buffoon Ibrahim (mass comm grad) Ali.
It is no surprise, looking back on Mahathir Mohamad’s long antagonism towards the Star from the early days of his ascendancy to Umno power, his urging the New Straits Times to kill the Star and his urging tycoon Vincent Tan to start the Sun and knock down the Star.
This week’s attacks on the Star come in the context of the longstanding anti-Christian campaigns, the most notable of which recently were the claims of a so-called plot to turn Malaysia into a Christian country; the recent raid on a Protestant church because of claims of proselytising to 12 Muslims present at a thanksgiving dinner for an AIDS fundraising event; and the move by the Penang government to urge mosques not to broadcast prayers and sermons after the pre-dawn azan.
It must also be viewed in the context of non-Muslim schoolchildren having been reprimanded for eating in the school canteen during the month of Ramadan, supposedly for not showing respect for the fasting month.
The Star’s Dining Out supplement is a victim of such a thinking: that all Malaysians must conform to Islamic practices, whether or not you are a Muslim. It has been a longstanding campaign, supported by politicians in both Umno and PAS, to Islamicise the whole country and enforce public displays of Islamic supremacy such as by excessive use of loudspeakers at mosques for sermons and prayers and not just the azan.
It is Ketuanan Melayau and its partner Ketuanan Islam at work: to force non-Muslims (and thus mostly non-Malay people) into subservience and into conformity with Islamic practices.
Foremost among their stooges have been the Home Ministry and its Publications Division, and the minister, Hishammuddin bin Tun Hussein Onn, a man who saw no harm in wielding a keris to further his path to Umno power; who saw no harm in politicians making a public display of a deliberate insult to Hindus; and who took little or no action against the constant Christian-baiting and race-baiting by Utusan Malaysia (an Umno newspaper).
So the question comes to mind:
Is there anything Islamic about the race supremacists of Perkasa and the taxpayer-funded KDN or the taxpayer-funded Minister of the taxpayer-funded federation?

Sikh militants nabbed under ISA extradited to India

The Sun
by Charles Ramendran


KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 18, 2011): Three suspected Sikh militants sought by Indian police after they fled to Malaysia last year have been deported to India.

They were arrested by Bukit Aman under the Internal Security Act (ISA) two weeks ago.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar said the three Indian nationals – restaurant owner Amarjit Singh Jasvir Singh, 28, music teacher Daljit Singh Ajaib Khalsa, 37, who were both in Kuala Lumpur, while building contractor Kawal Singh Soundh, 39, who lived in Selangor – were detained on Aug 4 on suspicion of being members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).

The group is said to be involved in terrorist activities in India.

Khalid said in a statement today that investigations showed that the three suspects had extended logistics support to senior operatives of the India-based militant group.

Khalid said the men, who are wanted by Punjab police, were extradited and handed over to the Indian authorities on Tuesday.

Punjab police officials had said last year that at least four senior Sikh militants from the BKI and Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) were holed up in the Kuala Lumpur after fleeing India.

The officials reportedly said the four men were smugglers and supplied the militant groups with firearms with a plot to attack Punjab.

Meanwhile, Federal CID director Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said, in a statement, that a task force comprising Kuala Lumpur and Selangor police personnel has been formed to track down the culprits behind the recent spate of acid splash attacks in the Klang Valley.

He said police are viewing the cases very seriously and have released a photofit image of a suspect to the media.

Mohd Bakri also clarified that the latest cases involving sales promoter Mohd Raffie Abd Latiff, 28, on and Winson Ng, 24, was not the work of the serial acid splasher who had injured more than a dozen people including primary school students since March and has been lying low after his last strike on a victim in June.

He said police are working round the clock to track down the attackers.

Najib Announces Additional Grants For States

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the National Finance Council meeting which discusses matters involving state governments, particularly finance and related issues, today decided for an additional RM10 million contribution for next year under Grants Based on Levels of Economic Development, Infrastructure and Wellbeing.

For 2013, he said, the contribution under Grants Based on Levels of Economic Development, Infrastructure and Wellbeing would be RM288 million in addition to another RM30 million under Grants for States Facing Management Account Deficits.

The meeting, held at the Finance Ministry here, was attended by all menteri besar and chief ministers.

Speaking to reporters later, Najib who is Finance Minister said the meeting took note and was satisfied with the implementation of grants for the maintenance of slopes along state roads totalling RM60 million that was provided starting last year.

"It helps the states to better maintain slopes along state roads so as to ensure safety and comfort of road users," he said.

He said the meeting also took note of the implementation of advance allocations from the federal government totaling RM165 million to fund maintenance and operations works of agriculture drainage systems within and outside padi areas.

It included the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA) and Kemubu Agricultural Development Authority (KADA) as well as former Integrated Agricultural Development project sites covering all states including Sabah and Sarawak that was provided starting this year.

"The advances help the states implement maintenance works on agricultural drainage better," he said.

Karpal: Judge should act over Saiful's TV3 interview

Girl in Uganda Loses Use of Legs After Leaving Islam for Christ

Muslim father locked 14-year-old in room with almost no food or water for months.

NAIROBI, Kenya – A 14-year-old girl in western Uganda is still unable to walk 10 months after her father tortured her for leaving Islam and putting her faith in Christ, according to area Christians.

Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010 after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources said.

Susan and her younger brother, Mbusa Baluku, lived alone with their father after he divorced their mother. In March 2010 an evangelist from Bwera Full Gospel Church spoke at Susan’s school, and she decided to trust Christ for her salvation.

“I heard the message of Christ’s great love of him dying for us to get everlasting peace, and there and then I decided to believe in Christ,” she said from her hospital bed. “After a month, news reached my father that I had converted to Christianity, and that was the beginning of my troubles with him. Our father warned us not to attend church or listen to the gospel message. He even threatened us with a sharp knife that he was ready to kill us in broad daylight in case we converted to Christianity.”

Pastor Joseph Baluku of Bwera Full Gospel Church in Kasese said neighbors took her to the government hospital about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Kasese town after she was freed.

“He locked her up in a room of the semi-permanent house for six months without seeing sunlight,” the pastor said. “The younger brother was warned not to tell anyone that Susan was locked up in a room and was not given any food.”

Young Mbusa said that when their father was away, he roasted bananas for his sister.
“I also dug a hole under the door, where I could pour water through,” he said. “My sister could drink the water using her tongue. But most days she could only feed on mud.”

A nearby resident who requested anonymity said neighbors became concerned after not seeing her for several months.

“Her brother then disclosed to us that Susan was locked up in one of the rooms in the house,” the area resident said. “We then reported the case to the Harukunggu local council and then to the Bwera police station. The police went to the house and broke the door.”

Susan was immediately taken to the provincial government hospital about 17 kilometers (11 miles) away near Bwera town, where Pastor Baluku visited her.

“The miserable young Susan was bony, very weak, and not able to talk or walk,” said the pastor. “Her hair had turned yellow, she had long fingernails and sunken eyes, and she looked very slim, less than 20 kilograms [44 pounds].”

Members of the Full Gospel Church in Bwera prayed for her and visited her in the hospital, which like many government-subsidized hospitals in the region does not customarily bill until the patient is discharged, and at rates well below those of private hospitals. It is unknown when Susan will be released, but Pastor Baluku said area residents and church members will try to gather funds for medical costs incurred.

The pastor said billing from such government hospitals can often be deferred until enough money is raised.

“It could be a challenge, but we will try to do our best,” he said.

“By God’s grace Susan is still alive,” he said after a visit last week. “Though she can’t walk, she can now talk. She is still feeding on soft foods. The great news is that Susan is still strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. She needs prayers and support, so that she can resume her education soon.”

'How can we be loyal to you if you're disloyal to us?'

(Malaysiakini) Armed Forces chief General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin today described those claiming that its rank-and-file had been involved in electoral fraud as an act of betrayal.

In an emotional statement issued this afternoon, Zulkifeli slammed those making the allegations and questioned their “loyalty” to the Armed Forces of Malaysia (ATM).

“The actions can be interpreted as treachery and it should stop immediately. The ATM is the nation's wall of defence that should be supported by all levels of the people, regardless of ethnicity, religion and political position...

“It is hoped that the ATM is not made a scapegoat by those seeking to advance their own interests... the people should show their support and appreciation for the contributions of the ATM.
"In this context: 'How can we be loyal to you if you are disloyal to us'?"
Yesterday, four ex-military personnel confessed to committing election fraud at a press conference organised by opposition party PAS.

NONEThe four - Major (Rtd) Risman Mastor, Kamarulzaman Ibrahim, Mohamed Nasir Ahmad and Mohd Kamil Omar - said they had marked thousands of postal votes in three separate general elections between 1978 and 1999.

According to the four, they were ordered by their commanding officers to mark postal votes for the hundreds and thousands of personnel who were out in the field.

Their expose yesterday was the second after an ex-army man came forward earlier this month, making a similar claim that he was ordered to mark postal votes for other military personnel.

'Irresponsible parties' misleading the rakyat

Zulkifeli countered the allegations, stressing that the Armed Forces has always respected the freedom of its troops to cast their votes, as enshrined under the Elections Act 1958 and section 16 of the Election Regulations (Postal Votes) 2003.

“The Armed Forces denies that there is any manipulation as claimed,” he said in a written statement, issued to the media at today's press conference.

“The voting process carried out by the Armed Forces is clean, transparent and professional without any interference by all levels of the Armed Forces' leadership.”

Zulkifeli also accused “irresponsible parties” of trying to sully the Armed Forces' image by “poisoning the minds of the rakyat and erode their trust and support” in the Armed Forces – which he described as “apolitical”.

In what appears to be an indirect attack on the opposition – which has been highlighting several allegedly dubious arms acquisitions by the country – he claimed that there have been clear efforts to leak out military secrets and to spread false information regarding the efficacy and capabilities of the Armed Forces' weapons systems.

“Such actions will not only expose military secrets to interested parties who want to know the Armed Forces capabilities, but even worse, it has shaken the confidence of Armed Forces personnel,” he said.

Additional reporting by Salhan K Ahmad.

Asylum seekers not welcome in PD

The presence of asylum seekers will mar the town's tourist image, says the state assemblyman.

PORT DICKSON: Residents of Port Dickson are fervently hoping that the Australian High Court will rule against the deportation of 54 asylum seekers to Malaysia when it hears the matter on Aug 22.

The 54 are meant to be the first batch of asylum seekers sent to Malaysia under the recently inked Australia-Malaysia refugee swap deal.

They were originally scheduled to arrive two weeks ago but faced a setback after an injunction against their deportation was extended.

The asylum seekers – mostly Afghans and Pakistanis – will be housed in two transit homes in Port Dickson for a maximum of 30 days while their applications are being processed.

The first home, Rumah Cycle Carri, comprises a colonial bungalow and two wooden chalets. The second, Cresent Peak, is a former hotel. Both facilities are slightly smaller than a football field.

When FMT visited Port Dickson last weekend, renovation work on both facilities was already in progress.
A third transit home, Pearl Villa Hotel and Resort, had pulled out of the arrangement last week after finding out the real purpose behind the hotel reservations.

“We were lied to,” a hotel spokeman told FMT. “The person who made the reservations first told us that it was for a group of engineers. Then it was changed to management trainees.”

Security issues

“Later on, officials from the Immigration Department and the Australian Embassy visited the hotel and told us that the booking was for embassy officials.”

“We only found out that we were one of the transit homes when we read the newspapers a few days ago and we immediately cancelled the booking. It’s a lot of money but not worth the risk.”

The spokesman added that the hotel was beseiged by worried calls from their regular clients and residents in surrounding areas.

“There is strong concern about security issues,” he said. “None of us were told that the asylum seekers would be housed in Port Dickson and we’re not sure what to expect. No one is telling us anything.”

Port Dickson state assemblyman, M Ravi, expressed similar frustration and opposition to the housing of asylum seekers in the seaside town.

He claimed that he had not been officially informed of this decision and had found out through a friend who is providing the transport for the asylum seekers.

“We don’t want them here,” he said bluntly. “If the government wants to place them in Negri Sembilan, then go to Kuala Pilah and Bahau instead. Don’t choose a tourist destination.”

“The residents are very unhappy as they feel that their security, especially that of their children’s, will be threatened. Already, there is unnecessarily high security at Crescent Peak which has created a sense of uneasiness among the locals.”

Beachside accommodations

Ravi also demanded to know where the asylum seekers would be placed once their applications are processed. The government has said that they will be “released into the community” but has made no mention of which community.

“Will they go to Kuala Lumpur or remain in Port Dickson?” he asked. “We need to know all these details before they arrive here.”

Bar Council Human Rights Committee chairman, Andrew Khoo, noted an element of a public relations exercise in the choice of Port Dickson.

“The government wants to show Australia that the asylum seekers are being housed in very nice beachside accommodations,” he said. “But these are transit homes. What happens after that?”

Khoo also pointed out that the two facilities were akin to detention centres as the asylum seekers would not be allowed to leave the ground.

“The community is not being adequately prepared either,” he added. “We’re not just talking about the official part of the preparations but also the social and community preparation.”

Bukit Jalil residents to DBKL: Honour Saravanan’s pledge



Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being deputy minister M Saravanan has given the assurance that no eviction will take place till a settlement has been reached with DBKL.

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being deputy minister M Saravanan has given the assurance that Bukit Jalil residents will not be evicted from their homes till a settlement has been reached with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

But the residents hope that DBKL will honour Saravanan’s directive and reconvene negotiations as possible.

Speaking after submitting a letter to DBKL mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail today, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan called upon DBKL to honour Saravanan’s words.

On Monday, Saravanan had reportedly told a Tamil daily that he had instructed DBKL not to evict the residents until both parties reached an amicable solution.

Although the residents lost their case in court, Saravanan told the daily that the government was still deliberating on how to help the residents.

“Till then, no eviction will take place. The residents can stay there in peace,” Saravanan told the daily.
Arutchelvan called upon Ahmad Fuad to reconvene negotiations with the residents soon to settle the matter once and for all.

Also present were Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Oppressed People’s Network (Jerit) coordinator E Nalini, Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator K Balakrishnan and Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPA) secretary-general S Bharatidasan.

A copy of the letter was also sent to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

MPs to write to minister


The 41 families living in the former estate area are in a stand-off with DBKL after the latter issued eviction notices to them under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) in March.

They argued that EO could only be used to evict squatter residents, not estate workers.

However, in May, the High Court quashed the residents’ application for an injunction against DBKL. The court also dismissed the residents’ suit against DBKL last Thursday. They have since filed for an appeal over the verdict.

Balakrishnan, who is also a resident in the estate, said all they wanted was four acres of land from the 26 acres land the City Hall wishes to develop.

“Our forefathers toiled in the estate in the past to contribute to our nation’s economy. Najib should adhere to our request if he really cares about us,” said Balakrishnan.

Sharing her views, Nurul Izzah said she and her MP collegues, Tian Chua and Khalid Ibrahim would write letters to Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin to remind him of Saravanan’s promise to the former estate workers.

“The residents are now living in fear. These people have lived there for generations and I hope both parties come to a mutual understanding to the matter,” said Nurul.

Glimmer of hope for villagers facing eviction

Six villagers from Balik Pulau who are facing eviction by a developer have been given a chance to make their defence in court.

GEORGETOWN: There is a glimmer of hope for six villagers who have taken on a developer which is trying to evict them from their land to make way for a residential-cum-property development.

The six villagers, who have been staying at their Pondok Upeh homes in Balik Pulau for over 50 years, will now get an opportunity to have their say in court.
A magistrate’s court here today fixed Sept 8 to hear their statements of defence.

Magistrate Mohd Hidayat Wahab ordered this during mention of an application by the developer , Evergreen One Development Sdn Bhd, to obtain a court order to evict the villagers.

Represented by lawyer Sumarni Saad, the developer has also requested the court to fix the quantum of compensation to be paid to the villagers.

The six villagers are challenging the developer’s summons by demanding an improved compensation.
The defendants are O Arumugam, G Neelavathi, M Jegadeesan, K Muniandy, Khuik Ah Nai @ Ani Abdullah and Quan Yam Sen.

They are represented by counsel Yusmadi Yusoff, who is also the Balik Pulau Member of Parliament.
The villagers were issued an eviction order by the developer in April 2010.


Originally the developer offered cash compensation of between RM10,000 and RM16,000 each, which the defendants rejected.

Each of them instead asked for a low-cost flat unit to be built in the project as compensation.

But the developer rejected their request and instead made a counter offer, improving the cash compensation to between RM14,000 and RM20,000 in August last year.

However, the villagers rejected the compensation and insisted on their demand for a flat unit each.
Yusmadi said the Pondok Upeh case was just an indication of the social problems caused by the sudden surge in urbanisation of Balik Pulau.

He said currently he was handling some 100 cases pertaining to eviction and compensation issues of Balik Pulau residents affected by the fast-growing development.

Yusmadi has started a public interest impact fund to financially aid the villagers in their litigations and welfare needs.

“I hope well-wishers would donate to this fund to help these poor villagers,” he told reporters in the court building.

Special investigation: TV company takes millions from Malaysian government to make documentaries for BBC... about Malaysia


Corporation suspends relations with leading film-maker accused of conflict of interests over 'palm oil' programmes

An investigation by The Independent has established that entries in the Malaysian government's Supplementary Budget 2010 show that FBC Media (UK) was allocated 28.35m Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) – nearly £6m – for work on a "Global Strategic Communications Campaign" ordered by the Malaysian government in 2009. A similar sum (MYR29.34m) was designated to the company the previous year. Concerns over the arrangements have been raised in the Malaysian parliament. 

By Ian Burrell and Martin Hickman, The Independent

The BBC has launched an investigation into how it broadcast to millions of people around the world programmes made by a company that had received millions of pounds in payments from the government of Malaysia.

It has suspended all programming from the London-based production company, FBC, which since 2009 has made at least four BBC documentaries dealing with Malaysia and controversial issues such as the country's contentious palm oil industry and its treatment of rainforests and indigenous people.

In a statement, the BBC said: "FBC has now admitted to the BBC that it has worked for the Malaysian government. That information was not disclosed to the BBC as we believe it should have been when the BBC contracted programming from FBC. Given this, the BBC has decided to transmit no more programming from FBC while it reviews its relationship with the company."

An investigation by The Independent has established that entries in the Malaysian government's Supplementary Budget 2010 show that FBC Media (UK) was allocated 28.35m Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) – nearly £6m – for work on a "Global Strategic Communications Campaign" ordered by the Malaysian government in 2009. A similar sum (MYR29.34m) was designated to the company the previous year. Concerns over the arrangements have been raised in the Malaysian parliament.

Documents filed with the United States government's House of Representatives in 2008 show that FBC Media (UK) contracted the Washington-based American lobbying company APCO Worldwide, which it paid more than US$80,000 (£50,000) in 2008 for the purpose of "raising awareness of the importance of policies in Malaysia that are pro-business and pro-investment as well as [showing] the significance of reform and anti-terrorism efforts in that country".

The BBC's guidelines on conflict of interest state: "Independent producers should not have inappropriate outside interests which could undermine the integrity and impartiality of the programmes and content they produce for the BBC."

Having obtained this information on the Malaysian payments, the BBC is conducting an investigation into whether any of the FBC material it broadcast was in breach of BBC guidelines on impartiality. At the same time, CNBC, a business channel owned by the giant American NBC network, has withdrawn "indefinitely" its weekly show World Business, which was made by FBC and featured Malaysia on many occasions. In a statement issued to The Independent, the broadcaster said: "In light of serious questions raised two weeks ago, CNBC withdrew the programme World Business indefinitely and immediately initiated an examination of FBC and its business practices. CNBC has made a formal inquiry to FBC for its explanation in relation to the allegations that have been made."

FBC denies any impropriety in its programmes for any broadcaster and said via its lawyers that "at no time have the television programmes made for the BBC ever been influenced or affected by our client's commercial activities". Its lawyers said that FBC ran both production and commercial divisions, which "are and always have been quite separate and distinct". They added: "Our client, having reviewed its procedures, is now taking steps to ensure that even the merest appearance of bias or overlap is fully avoided."

Last night, media regulator Ofcom said: "Ofcom is currently assessing this matter in accordance with our published procedures. We will shortly decide whether to launch a full investigation of the content in question under the broadcasting code."

The BBC and palm oil

With its lush vegetation and smiling workforce dressed in polo shirts, the footage from the Tuan Mee palm oil estate, to the north of Kuala Lumpur, gave no obvious reason for BBC viewers to think they were being shown anything more than an exotic travelogue and an intriguing business story.

But the coverage of the workings of one of Malaysia's most important industries, shown on BBC World News's Third Eye series this summer under the title "The Power of Asia", formed part of a much bigger picture.

The programme was made for the BBC by a London-based company called FBC Media, which has been hired by Malaysia to conduct a Global Strategic Communications Campaign, and has paid American lobbyists to raise "awareness of the importance of policies in Malaysia that are pro-business and pro-investment".

In the Third Eye programme, one of several productions made on Malaysia for the BBC in the last three years, viewers were told of the key role of the Malaysian palm oil industry in meeting the growing demand for food in countries such as China and India. "Once an efficient production centre for rubber, Malaysia over the years has increasingly turned to oil palm," said the voiceover. "The country is now one of the world's biggest exporters, producing 40 per cent of global supply, and is reaping the economic benefits of higher demand from Asia."

Azman Abdul Majid, of the Tuan Mee estate, was happy to tell his positive story. "The market now is so high that plantation in palm oil is a very good business in terms of profit, in terms of our benefit," he said. The BBC show also featured Kuala Lumpur Kepong, another Malaysian palm oil business, and other Malaysian business figures.

The programme dealt with the growing food crisis in Asia and the economic instability and social unrest that may result. It highlighted failures in harvesting rice in China and contrasted that with the successful Malaysian palm oil industry. "There are now more than 200,000 smallholders depending on the sale of palm oil," the programme stated.

It noted that "stocks in Asia's food companies from Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur are now hotly traded", but stressed the need to expand to meet the vast food demand. Indian companies were anxious to invest in Malaysian palm oil plantations "but land prices are now too high".

Only a brief reference was made to the reasons why the palm oil industry is the subject of fierce debate. Environmental groups complain that its spread has caused devastating levels of deforestation which harm biodiversity, threaten the livelihoods of indigenous people and put at risk the survival of the orang-utan.

The programme took the view that production needed to be stepped up fast: "Asia is now experiencing rising demand and rising prices for grains and oils but production is lagging, as is investment and increases in yield." It concluded with a sense of urgency: "Asia is going to have to grow its way out of trouble – and the clock is ticking."

It was not the first time that BBC viewers had shown programming on Malaysia produced by FBC. In February 2011, BBC World News broadcast on its One Square Mile programme a piece from Sarawak in which presenter Rian Maelzer, who describes himself as the "South East Asia Correspondent" for FBC's CNBC programme World Business, explored the lifestyle of the tribal Iban people and took a boat ride to visit a traditional longhouse.

"Tourism not only brings in money, it also encourages youngsters to keep alive skills that might otherwise have died out," he reported. "For the past 40 years, the Malaysian government has practised an affirmative-action policy aimed at raising the living standards of indigenous groups." The attractive portrayal of Sarawak, and the fight to preserve traditional culture, is at odds with the area's reputation among environmentalists, who have highlighted the battle of indigenous people in Sarawak to preserve the rainforest against logging and the development of palm oil plantations.

Similar subjects were examined in FBC's Develop or Die documentary for the BBC in March 2009. The programme opened with a cartoon that drew comparisons between colonialists who asked "Are the natives friendly?", and modern-day environmentalists who ask "Are the natives eco-friendly?" It examined the benefits of the Malaysian palm oil industry and its value to the economy, quoting smallholders whose lives have been transformed for the better by palm oil production. While it quoted environmentalists, it reported that "the major players in the industry resent the sweeping nature of environmental campaigns".

The programme concluded by pointing out the pressure on nations such as Malaysia to develop. "Now that their economies are more likely to fuel global growth in the next few years, they are more than ever questioning why they should be punished by Western-imposed standards." As part of its Develop or Die series, BBC World News also screened an FBC co-production, "World Debate: Islam and Democracy in 2009", featuring Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sitting alongside the host on the panel.

FBC's 'blue-chip service'

FBC is a media company with offices in London, Mumbai and Rome. It told The Independent that the programmes it has made "have always been fair, balanced and impartial". It also said that it was no longer working for Malaysia.

When The Independent first questioned the company about its business at the end of last month, it denied that it had ever done work for Malaysia. Confronted with evidence of contractual arrangements listed in Malaysian public records, the company's lawyers said they had made an "error", having "failed to spot an amendment made by our client to a draft letter that we had prepared".

It stated: "It is no secret that FBC received funds and performed consultancy work and media-buying for the Malaysian government in the past." Of its hiring of American lobbyists to promote Malaysia, it said: "The object of that work involved showing the economy of Malaysia to be attractive to investors and committed to battling terrorism."

After FBC was contacted by The Independent, most of its website was replaced with a single page, giving only the most basic of information. In its online promotional material for potential clients – now removed from the internet – FBC boasted: "We control blue-chip television editorial time-slots" and can "guarantee controlled messaging from A to Z on the world's leading news channels". Telling would-be customers that "FBC is not a traditional PR firm", it stated that it "can guarantee that your message is endorsed by prestige third-party ambassadors".

FBC also talked of its "broadcast news feeds" and informed clients that "by facilitating independent editorial coverage, broadcast news feeds can raise awareness amongst a highly targeted audience". In another statement on its former website, it said: "FBC specialises in the planning and execution of strategic communications and branding campaigns, helping raise awareness across the international media landscape". It then promised "an elite audience via" and listed a series of prestigious media brands including BBC World (now BBC World News), CNN, CNBC Europe and a number of print publications including The Economist, the Financial Times, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune.

FBC says that its company is split into two distinct divisions, one for television production and the other for branding. It says its references to "time-slots" were "to paid advertising commercial spots and paid advertorial programming that is clearly labelled as such".

The founder and chairman of the FBC Group, which is the 100 per cent owner of both FBC Branded Content and FBC Media (UK), is Alan Friedman, an award-winning journalist and former banking correspondent at the Financial Times. Friedman was credited as the "executive producer" of three of the FBC programmes featuring Malaysia made for the BBC.

Before the BBC broadcasts, it is understood that FBC, which has made 20 programmes for the BBC, signed the BBC's standard producer guidelines which guarantee to "not accept money or other services or benefits from any individual, company or organisation with a view to endorsing or promoting such services and/or products in the series or series publicity or which could lead to doubts about the subjectivity or impartiality of the series".

In a statement to The Independent, the BBC said: "All independent TV companies who produce programmes for BBC World News have to sign strict agreements to ensure programmes meet the BBC's editorial guidelines, including avoiding any conflict of interest."

BBC World News attracts 78 million viewers a week, is available in more than 200 countries and reaches around 300 million households and more than 1.8 million hotel rooms. The channel's content, which includes advertising, is also available on 57 cruise ships, 42 airlines, 35 mobile phone networks and a number of major online platforms including bbc.com/news.

The American-owned business channel CNBC has also begun an examination of "FBC and its business practices" and "withdrawn indefinitely" the programme the company produces, World Business. In the past two years, FBC has made at least 10 programmes for CNBC's World Business featuring Mr Razak. In other editions, the previous prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, appeared as well as senior figures from Iskandar Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines and palm oil company Sime Darby. In March this year, the channel showed Deforestation in Sarawak, which was syndicated to other broadcasters, including US state broadcaster PBS. The programme featured Sarawak leader Taib Mahmud talking positively about the condition of the state's rainforests and highlighted the area's attraction to tourists.

Eckart Sager, the president of FBC, is a former producer with CNN who, since joining FBC, has personally conducted interviews with Mr Razak, and separately his wife Rosmah Mansor, for CNBC's World Business. Friedman, who is an American and lives in Rome, has also personally interviewed Razak. FBC is also linked to another award-winning journalist, John Defterios, the host of CNN show Marketplace Middle East, since 2007.

Defterios, the former group president of FBC Media, last month conducted an exclusive interview for CNN with Mr Razak during his official visit to London. During the interview, Defterios questioned the Prime Minister on recent mass street protests by democracy campaigners in Malaysia. "Some would say you had 1,600 arrests of some 20,000 protesters. Are you satisfied with the security response to that particular round of protests, yourself?" he asked. Razak responded: "It was quite mild, you know, because although they were taken in, they were released after eight hours and they were treated very well. There was no undue use of force."

CNN issued a statement to say it had "never had an editorial relationship with FBC" and that FBC Media had not been involved in setting up interviews. "FBC has released a public statement that John Defterios resigned from the company," it said.

"While we appreciate that John Defterios's relationship with FBC during his tenure with CNN could present the appearance of an editorial conflict, we have been reviewing the situation and have found no indication that CNN's editorial standards were – or are in any way – compromised by that prior relationship."

The movers and shakers at the TV company
Alan Friedman, chairman and founder of FBC Group

The award-winning journalist, who studied at Johns Hopkins University, New York University and the London School of Economics, describes himself as a "media entrepreneur". He has worked for the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune and the Wall Street Journal. In FBC material he is described as "one of Europe's most respected economic and political commentators". He is the author of books on the Italian industrialist Gianni Agnelli, and on America's arming of Iraq. Friedman was the executive producer of many of FBC's programmes for the BBC and has conducted some of FBC's interviews, including with Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Eckart Sager, president and head of production for FBC

German-born and educated in the US, Sager is a former senior producer for CNN, based in London. He previously worked for CNN in New York, travelling the world profiling leading business figures. He is the executive producer of many of FBC's documentaries and also "provides key strategic communications advice and support on behalf of FBC clients". Sager has also personally interviewed Mr Razak for FBC.

John Defterios, former group president of FBC Media from 2000-2011

Since 2007, he has been the presenter of CNN International's Marketplace Middle East programme and is a journalist with 25 years' experience. He is a CNN news anchor and former Reuters bureau chief. In July this year he conducted an exclusive interview with Mr Razak for CNN during the Malaysian Prime Minister's visit to London, CNN said the interview did not involve FBC. Defterios resigned from FBC in March, the company has told CNN.

The money trail

* Malaysian budget records show that MYR28.35m (nearly £6m) was allocated to FBC Media (UK) for a "Global Strategic Communications Campaign" in 2009. A similar allocation was made in 2008. FBC Media (UK) is a subsidiary of FBC Group Ltd

* Documents filed with the United States House of Representatives show that FBC Media (UK) hired the Washington lobbyists APCO Worldwide in 2008 for the purpose of "raising awareness of the importance of policies in Malaysia that are pro-business and pro-investment as well as the significance of reform and anti-terrorism efforts in that country"

The palm oil industry's history of misleading claims

The Malaysian palm oil industry has a history of offending the authorities by making false claims on BBC World.

Three years ago, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) criticised a campaign from the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) for carrying "misleading" claims about its impact on the environment. The advertising from the MPOC, which was not made by FBC, appeared on BBC World in 2007 and showed a palm oil plantation interspersed with shots of a rainforest and wildlife. In a voiceover, it asserted that "its trees give life and help our planet to breathe, and give home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Malaysia palm oil: a gift from nature, a gift for life." The MPOC also claimed that palm oil had been "sustainably produced" since 1917.

A second advert showed a man running through a forest, cut with shots of a palm oil plantation and wildlife. The voiceover said of the palm oil industry: "Its trees give life and help our planet breathe. Its fruit provides vitamins for our bodies and energy for our daily lives." But the ASA upheld a complaint from Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Europe that the advert was misleading on the grounds that much palm oil was produced in a way that was not socially or environmentally sustainable. The advert was made before the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil completed a verification system for sustainable palm oil.

The ASA ruled that the advert "was likely to mislead viewers as to the environmental benefits of palm oil plantations compared with native rainforest". It also said viewers were misled "because there was not a consensus that there was a net benefit to the environment from Malaysia's palm oil plantations".

In July this year, another campaign from the MPOC was banned by the advertising watchdog in Belgium for once again claiming that the production of palm oil is "sustainable". The Jury d'Ethique Publicitaire ruled that production had impacts on the environment and the campaign was in breach of its environmental advertising code.

Afidavit Tolak Zainul Rijal Selaku Pendakwa Raya Dalam Kes Qazaf Di Mahkamah Syariah

BORANG MS 3
AKTA TATACARA MAL MAHKAMAH SYARIAH
(WILAYAH-WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN) 1998
(SubSeksyen 13(1))

PERMOHONAN
DALAM MAHKAMAH RAYUAN SYARIAH DI MALAYSIA
DALAM WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN
PERMOHONAN NO.
Dalam Perkara di bawah Rayuan No. 14000-099-0017-2010 di Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah di Malaysia, Wilayah Persekutuan di Kuala Lumpur (Rayuan ke atas Perintah Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah bertarikh 14.4.2010);
Dan
Dalam Perkara di bawah Rayuan No. 14000-099-0020-2010 di Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah di Malaysia, Wilayah Persekutuan di Kuala Lumpur (Permohonan Pengenepian Notis Rayuan);
Dan
Dalam Perkara Penghakiman/Perintah bertarikh 14.4.2010 di dalam Permohonan No. 14100-099-012-2010 di Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Wilayah Persekutuan di Kuala Lumpur;
Dan
Dalam Perkara Arahan Amalan No. 4 Tahun 2002 ;
Dan
Dalam Perkara Kaedah 3, Kaedah 7 dan Kaedah 8 Etika Peguam Syarie 2000 di bawah Akta Pentadbiran Undang-Undang Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1993
ANTARA
DATO’ SERI ANWAR BIN IBRAHIM …PEMOHON
(No. K.P. 470810-07-5095)
DAN

ZAINUL RIJAL BIN ABU BAKAR …RESPONDEN
(No. K.P. 690131-08-5165)

AMBIL PERHATIAN BAHAWA Pemohon yang dinamakan di atas bercadang memohon kepada Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur pada hari pada haribulan 2011, jam pagi/petang untuk mendapatkan perintah bahawa:-
1. Pemohon diberi kebenaran memfailkan Permohonan ini di Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah Wilayah Persekutuan melalui Notis Permohonan;
2. Responden ditegah dan tidak dibenarkan daripada mewakili dan menjadi Peguam Syarie di dalam kes Rayuan No. 14000-099-0017-2010 dan kes Rayuan No. 14000-099-0020-2010 di Mahkamah Rayuan Syariah di Malaysia, Wilayah Persekutuan;
3. Kos ditanggung oleh Responden;
4. Lain-lain relif yang difikirkan patut dan sesuai oleh Mahkamah Yang Mulia ini;
Alasan permohonan ini sebagaimana berikut:-
i) Responden telah berkelakuan tidak professional;
ii) Responden tidak bersifat jujur dan tidak berniat baik untuk menegakkan keadilan;
iii) Responden tidak menyenggara kebebasan profesionalnya dan bertindak bertentangan dengan kepentingan pentadbiran keadilan yang terbaik; dan
iv) Wujud percanggahan atau konflik kepentingan pada Responden
Permohonan ini disokong dengan Afidavit Pemohon yang dilampirkan.
Bertarikh haribulan Ogos 2011
……………………………………….
PEGUAM SYARIE PEMOHON
PERMOHONAN ini telah difailkan oleh Tetuan Kamar Ainiah, Raziff & Zashidi beralamat di E3A-3A, Jalan Selaman 1/2, Dataran Palma, Off Jalan Ampang, 68000 Ampang Selangor Darul Ehsan.
No. Tel: 03-42702055 No. Faks: 03- 42702077

MIC Youth Wants Sivarraajh's Suspension Lifted

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- The MIC Youth wants the one-year suspension on youth secretary C. Sivarraajh lifted, describing it as too harsh.

Its chief T. Mohan said he would raise the matter at the upcoming meeting of the party's decision-making body, the Central Committee (CC), on Aug 28.

"I will definitely raise this matter. We want him to be reinstated. The CC has the power to overrule the disciplinary committee's decision," he told Bernama here Thursday.

He added that based on similar cases previously, the committee should have either advised or warned Sivarraajh and not resorting to suspending him.

"I hoped the party president and the CC understand the situation and eventually lift the suspension," he added.

The CC suspended Sivarraajh on Tuesday after criticising the party's leadership for accepting back several members who were expelled in April last year.

He has since appealed against the suspension.

Sivarraajh was reported to have lodged a report with the Registrar of Societies after the party decided to reinstate three leaders, namely former youth deputy chief V. Mugilan and two former CC members, K.P. Samy and G. Kumar Amaan.

‘Tapah 6′ arrested over EO 6 ceramah

Two organisers of a PKR ceramah in Tapah were arrested when they tried to negotiate with police over a ceramah. Police said they had not given a permit for the ceramah and claimed that they had received complaints.
 
The two were Perak state assembly member for Teja, Chang Lih Kang, and Tan Kah Hing, and they are being investigated under Section 27(3) of the Police Act for allegedly disturbing the peace. Leaflets and the PA system were also taken away.

Police had moved in while Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj was speaking at the celebration to mark the release of the PSM 6. With light strike force and a police van on standby, police gave the gathering 15 minutes to disperse.

According to a tweet by Kah Hing, a retired corporate figure based in Perak had earlier donated RM50000 to the PSM.

Lih Kang and Kah Hing were taken to the Tapah District Police Headquaters to have their statements recorded. Outside a small group gathered to chant “Bebas, bebas!” Police came out and arrested four of them: Nagen (PSM), Patrick Vincent (PSM), Appalasamy (DPPPas), and Chua Yee Ling (PKR Ulu Selangor councillor).

Jeyakumar lodged a report against the action while lawyer Baldip Singh arrived to assist those arrested.
The six were released on police bail just before midnight after their statements were taken and bail was processed. They will have to report to the station on 19 September 2011.

“These arrests are only going to make the people of Tapah upset,” Jeyakumar said when contacted.